The Long & Short of It All

Lately we’ve been fielding questions about the appropriateness of wearing short sleeved shirts.  This apparently has become a mini-crises in the minds of men since the weather has turned warmer and lots of folks have weighed in on the topic.  You all know that we don’t not follow trends but this is obviously something men are concerned about and it should be addressed.The short sleeve shirt has its place in a man’s wardrobe.  It is a variation of its long sleeve brother who is the gold standard we are familiar with.  However, its usability is vastly different.  Short sleeve shirts are meant for warm weather and climates, whereas long sleeve shirts are all-weather and can be worn year round.  The majority of short sleeve shirts are designed for sport and play while the majority of long sleeve shirts are designed for work.  Depending on your job, environment, climate, etc. a short sleeve shirt may be just the thing you need.  If you live in Bermuda, work at McDonald’s, or don’t have a title that needs to be shortened into a three letter acronym (CEO), then short sleeve shirts are just fine.  If you’re attending a BBQ, hanging out at the beach, or running errands on the weekend, by all means wear a short sleeve shirt and go about your merry way.

However, if you find your yourself behind a desk at work; your job title includes manager, supervisor, lead, CEO; or if you find yourself at restaurants with white table cloths, then you’ll just look like a putz in short sleeve shirt.  We have yet to see a stylish man over history sporting a short sleeve shirt in a professional environment without criticism or critique.  The garment is inherently casual and sporty and should stay that way.

Matt Singer Short Sleeve Popover

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and drop a few stones on a couple good short sleeve shirts you best know how and when to wear them. If the bottom of the shirt is curved it usually should be tucked in, but due to the relaxed nature of the shirt this is left up to the wearer.  Flat bottomed shirts are designed to be untucked.  If you leave it untucked it should not cover your bottom like a long sleeve shirt.  Similar to polo shirts the sleeves should hit mid bicep and while they should show off your arms they shouldn’t be tight.  The collar can be regular turn down or button down.  Most short sleeve shirts will come without collar stays which lends itself to the casual wearer even further and they can have a pocket or no pocket with  a short placket or long.  Throw one on in gingham, plaid, or solid in cotton, chambray or linen with your chino shorts, boat shoes, straw fedora and aviator sunglasses and you’re good to go.

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Spot Treatment

Most grown men may not have seen a pimple on their face since high school, but others with skin problems such as sensitive skin or razor bumps may still have unexpected breakouts.  Since your face is your most important physical asset a man needs to keep it clean and clear.  In steps tea tree oil.  This natural oil helps treat that pesky breakout on the spot.  It attacks the blemish at its root and penetrates it to zap it away.  Try Burt’s Bee’s versionKeep it in your dopp kit when you travel and your medicine cabinet at home.  You never know when a breakout will; well–breakout.

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Return of the MAC

You may think we are talking about the ladies, but we aren’t referring to the hit single by Mark Morrison.  We mean the raincoat; AKA the slicker, AKA the Mac; short for Macintosh, named after Charles Macintosh and known worldwide for over 200 years for it’s wet weather protection, it was the first raincoat.

We just picked up our first Mac last month and just got it out of the tailor last week.  Since it’s been wet and dreary this week it came out right on time.  The Mac is the gold standard of wet weather gear.  It was the first of its kind to be used as professional wear.  Some may think that Burberry’s trench coat did the same, but the trench has a military heritage while the Mac was created for the city man.

The genius of the Mac’s weather protection is its vulcanized rubber exterior.  Macintosh created a formula to spread rubber over cotton thereby making it water proof.  Water proof is better than water resistant which is better than water repellent.  Know the difference and wear accordingly.

J. Crew Black Watch Mac

The Mac is recognized by its simplicity.  It’s single breasted, stops short at or above the knee, has a set in sleeve with single or double cuff buttons, a reversible collar which can stand on its own with a tab for extra weather protection, no belt, and contrary to its cousin the trench, it comes sans epaulets.  Wear it anytime the clouds look ominous and turn up the collar for a bit of rakish style.  Simple and plain, yet functional and classic. Today most single-breasted raincoats made in this fashion are called Macs.  You should own one.

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Granted Endorsement: Jack Black Skincare Products

It’s time for another Granted Endorsement.  Today we are endorsing Jack Black skincare products.  The majority of men may view grooming as a chore and something best left to the ladies, but keeping yourself groomed is as important as keeping your clothes clean.  Jack Black is made for the manly man and the dandy.  Their products are easy to use, made with organic and natural ingredients so they won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin; and they make you smell good which is always a plus.  I’ve personally used several of their products and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a shipment from Jackson & Connor on its way.  Here is what I ordered.

Beard Lube-  No pre-shave oils needed.  Just splash on some water and lather up in a thin layer of this gel and your shave will be nice and smooth.

Beard Lube

Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser- Wash your face everyday.  Twice a day.  Morning and night.  Use this stuff to do it.

Face Buff- Just like snakes you need to shed your old skin every once in awhile.  Use this twice a week.

Industrial Strength Hand Healer- For guys who’s calluses are out of control.  No woman likes rough paws on her skin.  Soften them up with this.

Cool Moisture Body Lotion- Cool and fresh.  Use this all over your body. Anytime and anywhere.

All Day Oil-Control Lotion- Lotion for your face.  Rub this on and keep the shine off your forehead..

Post Shave Cooling Gel- Repair, refresh and protect your skin after you shave with this cooling gel.

Post Shave Gel

All Over Body Wash- Use it every time you shower. It should last awhile since you don’t need to shower everyday.  The hot water dries out your skin.

Signature Sliver Mark Eau De Parfum- A cool, clean, light fragrance perfect for Spring/Summer.  Strong enough to make her swoon.  Soft enough not to overpower.  Hit your pulse points and you’ll smell great all day.

Silver Mark Eau De Parfum

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Mr. Jackson Meets Mr. Connor

I’ve returned from my travels refreshed and rejuvenated.  I also return with a story to tell.  During my time away I was able to some shopping.  Shopping in particular at the Northampton, MA menswear boutique Jackson & Connor.  J&C; was created in 2008 by co-owners Tara Tetreault and Candice Connors.  The boutique is built on the premise of classically modern apparel and it does not disappoint.  These ladies have over 30 years of menswear experience between them and they both have a wealth of knowledge to offer.  They certainly kept me on my toes during my visit.

J&C; offers clothing and gear options for two types of men.  The Jackson man as described by the owners is a little more fashionably aggressive, follows the latest trends, vacations in Cancun and/or Miami, and is likely to be a business owner.  The Connor manis described as traditional with a twist, is more likely to be found in dress slacks or khakis rather than jeans, drives and Audi or Lexus, and vacations in Martha’s Vineyard.

During my visit I was able to dissect the boutiques offerings and they have a strong lineup of traditional powerhouses like Jhane Barnes, Robert Graham, Jack Victor, and Toscano.  Other lesser known but just as impressive lines they carry are Projek Raw, Retro Sport, and Gala.  I was pleased with such a  large and diverse selection for such a small and relatively new boutique.  The owners have obviously worked hard to build relationships with the right vendors and their efforts are paying off.

The store’s environment is decidedly modern, rugged, masculine, eclectic, and is inviting for men of all ages and professions.  It’s the kind of place a man can go pick up his suit jacket freshly tailored, choose a new sport shirt for the street or a new tie for the office all while sipping a Scotch and talking hem lines and silhouettes with two beautiful women.  What more can a well-dressed man (or aspiring to be well-dressed man) ask for?

Aside from the clothing options J&C; offers an exclusive line of grooming products from Jack Black. (No, not the actor)  Everything a man needs from facial scrub to sun tan lotion is offered in store or it can be ordered upon request.  J&C; also carries a variety of Eau De Parfum fragrances that are suited just right for the Spring and Summer.  We were pleased to see such a high quality scent offered since we were recently discussing the topic.

The owners were generous enough to allow me the privilege of purchasing some of their wears in order to inspect the quality of their garments.  I was fortunate enough to pick up two linen/cotton dress shirts, one short sleeved gingham sport shirt, one plaid dress shirt, and one windbreaker.  I tried on several other items (sport coats, khakis, dress slacks) but having an athlete’s body is a blessing and a curse and not everything fit as it should so I went with the best options.  Below are some photos of my purchases.  So far I can say that the quality of my purchases is exceptional and I’m excited to pair my new options with my old.

Cotton & linen blend dress shirts

Cotton dress shirt (l) Cotton sport shirt (r)

I always try to be an objective critic, and while J&C; has many things going well for them I noticed some aspects where they could improve.  I was disappointed in the selection of ties in the store.  The available options were the tried and true 100% silk in the standard width and the standard silk bow ties.  While every man needs these staples in his wardrobe I would’ve liked to have seen some other fabric options like cotton linen, or seersucker for the warm months ahead.  Alternative widths would have also been nice.  Another area I noticed lacking was the hosiery options.  All of the socks were dark and boring.  Socks are a bit of an obsession for me and I would have liked to see more color and pattern variety and again in different materials like pima cotton.  Along with the lack of sock options the undershirt offerings could have been better.  To give them credit J&C; does carry the 2(x)ist underwear line which is very credible.  I used to wear their product myself years ago.  But the placement and amount of product seemed to me like an after thought instead of a priority.  To alleviate this issue I introduced the owners to the RibbedTee company.  We hope that this relationship can take off and that we will be seeing RibbedTee on the shelves at J&C.;  We are always looking for ways to connect our friends in the industry to help serve men better.

In the end Jackson & Connor certainly has much more going for them than they do against them.  I highly recommend them to all my followers.  You can write, call, or stop in on your way through town.  Tell them Grant sent you!

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