Watches, belts, cufflinks and more
Eric Raisina worn by Chanel Iman, Lars Andersson SS 2013
Thankfully, I missed the days of the pendulous medallion and heavy gold neckwear, though I endured the rope-chain-with-wallet-in-the-back-pocket look (think Swingers, mid-late ’90s). Men’s accessories are cyclical, but guys need things—there’s no shame in admitting it. The trick is not to get too complicated.
For a sportier look, Tag Heuer is a sturdy high-end brand, but for classically luxe appeal, Raymond Weil offers lower price points for elegant timepieces. Naturally, there are always Rolex, particularly the hyped Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master, Cartier, OMEGA, Baume & Mercier and Chopard. Good places to visit for these are Greenwich’s Manfredi, and David Harvey Jewelers, in Darien and Norwalk. Note: In summer, a metal band is perhaps easiest, as one does perspire, and leather doesn’t wick away sweat.
Cufflinks and Collars
Leather cuffs have made some inroads again. And, just as young ladies currently layer bracelets, a male trend is clustering twisted leather braids, often with silver or steel inlays and clasps (think David Yurman). More unimpeachably stylish, however, are Hermés cufflinks for your summer shirts. Any fine jeweler also will have some truly sterling cufflinks on offer (Lux Bond & Green leaps to mind), or you could try Johnston & Murphy in Stamford or Westport as a starting point, perhaps, where there are nifty choices. An element often forgotten by many, however, is cheaper and crucial: collar stays. These plastic/metal slats that slot into your collar will keep it from collapsing (get some at your dry cleaner, or buy a small vial at Brooks Brothers). Trust me, after the spin cycle, they will slide out; Eton shirts, for example, have stays sewn in, but most don’t.
Head to Richards in Greenwich or Mitchells in Westport (or on Greenwich Avenue, the Hermés store) and you’ll have your pick of any quality leather piece. Most people think Italian makers, especially Gucci, Ferragamo or Zegna are the real keepers (women have bags and shoes; men have belts, I suppose). Brooks Brothers also is an excellent source, though an elegant alternative at a lower price point comes from J.Crew, with this simple beaut.
And if over that buckle there will be buttoned a linen summer jacket, then think pocket square. Two schools of thought prevail here: a white square, crumpled or folded neatly (there are various ways), or patterned and bold, in dialog with your tie. Oh, and yes—you do need a tie bar as well to hold down that cravat, though the choice of tie and bar themselves your own. For playful pocket-square patterns, I’d suggest Howard Yount—wonderful.
If you have a calling/business card, you need a card case, to go with your billfold or wallet, too. Personally, I think the simpler the case the better (I prefer Brooks Brothers), but there is also a move toward larger wallets and more “statement” material again. Once more, try Richards or Mitchells first for suggestions, and branch out. And, speaking of statements…socks, IMHO, should have some kick to them. J.Crew’s naval striped and dotted varieties offer fine flair, and Jack Wills’s pheasanted socks come in great patterns and colors.
Sunglasses you also no doubt own; hands down, though: SPECS has the most elite selection in throwing distance. Need a gym bag? Try American Apparel in Norwalk for a fine, wide selection, though most athletics accessories (gloves for weights at the gym, etc.) also can be had at The Darien Sport Shop as well.
Hands and nails require maintenance in between professional management, so buy a small kit by Tweezerman with clippers, a board and four-sided buff. For stem-to-stern bodily care products catering to gents, Anthony Logistics for Men will have the fix—portions of the profits also benefit a worthy cause: a cure for prostate cancer. Visit Blue Mercury in Westport or New Canaan and talk to an associate (they also stock Kiehl’s). In terms of summer fragrance, the folks there recommend CREED or Bleu de Chanel, both of which they carry (I’d add Salvatore Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale to the mix, too, with its lemony mint freshness). That said, of late I’ve become a L’Occitane addict (there’s no shame in admitting it)! Skin, men or women’s, benefits from shea butter, and L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream is, essentially, a non-girlie way to avoid sandpaper palms (if you do Roman Chairs at the gym, BTW, use it on your elbows afterward as well).
Personally, for hair care, I prefer American Crew products (many bearded gents look to the Jack Black line as well). To keep the ’do stable, a bit of product will help; as I have fine hair, American Crew Defining Paste is my go-to—it can be had at Stamford’s Montana For Men, where other selections are available, too. An entire suite of products from Provence will help enrich a man’s home, in fact: L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Gel is a superb cleanser; the Milk Concentrate Cream firms tired skin around your eyes; and honestly, no one wants a home to smell poorly, so try L’Occitane’s Parfum Maison Verbena in summer to freshen any room, particularly le bain, if it’s poorly ventilated (go with Rameau d’Hiver in colder months).
Obviously, there are entire magazines devoted to this topic, so I’ve confined myself to a few essentials (and nonessentials — yes, I know…). But this is a start, and particularly important for warmer months. As we grow older, care is crucial, as is the feeling that we care enough to pamper ourselves. Because looking good is a huge part of feeling good, as the better you feel, the better you will look…and best of all, the better you will be.