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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Thank You

Today we’d like to take a moment and thank all of our readers, followers, listeners, fans, and friends.  Over the last few months you all have been instrumental in our success.  The month of April was a whirlwind for us with a television appearance on CNN and two magazine features in TIME & Black Enterprise.  May has also started on a good foot.  Today we are interviewing for a segment to air later in May on CBS/WUSA News Channel 9 (for those of you in the DC metro area).  We are humbled, gracious, and amazed by this attention and we hope and pray that it continues to skyrocket.

That being said, we are starting May off with some much needed rest & relaxation.  We will resume bringing you relevant and useful image, style, and fashion advice next week.  Until then feel free to write us, join us, or follow us.  Stay stylish gents!

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Trend Watch

We’ve been thinking about trends lately.  You all know we are not big into trends.  We prefer style over fashion, but since men’s clothes change at a much slower rate than women’s, when there is a trend it must be recognized.

A trend we’ve seen recently is men wearing their tie very short and wide–a la the 1930′s mobster. I’ve seen several men wearing their tie too short to look like they just missed the proper length a tie should be that day, and too long to look like they’re wearing it short on purpose. It’s that in-between length. I’ve seen it at the office and at church. I’m not sure if this is a trend or these men just don’t know how to wear their tie properly, but I’m investigating.

We believe since many men do know their own style nor do they take the time to find it, they leave it up to TV, magazines, musicians, politicians and the like to dictate their wardrobe.  While a small percentage of these mediums provide quality examples for men to follow, the majority do not.  Be wary of trends.

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Facial hair has been a man’s right of passage for centuries. From the time we are boys we watch our fathers and grandfather’s shave and yearn for the day when we have our first peach fuzz show on our upper lip. Then we mature and our facial hair becomes a chore like any other with shaving and upkeep. For some men facial hair is more of a burden than a blessing with razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and other skin irritations. Today we won’t discuss the mechanics of the proper shave, but instead the social perceptions of a man’s facial hair. How does society react to beards, long or short? What do women think about that stubble on your chin or your five o’clock shadow? How does facial hair determine your career opportunities?

According to research men with beards are seen as more trustworthy, competent and approachable than men who are clean shaven. This may seem ironic since men have been shaving their faces since biblical times. However, many women find a man with facial hair more attractive, more mature, and more capable of being a good father than clean shaven men.

Now we don’t mean to say that if you have a beard to your belly button that women will swoon and men will bow at your feet. No, we mean that having neatly kept and trimmed facial hair adds a certain level of masculinity to your look. Wear a beard.

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Sell Your Clothes

So you’ve done some spring cleaning which includes your wardrobe.  You’ve pulled everything out of your closet that’s too small, too big, too old, too worn out, etc.  So what do you do with this pile of clothes?  Throwing them out is an option but hardly a practical or sensible one.  Handing them down to a sibling or gifting them to another family member is a choice, but giving someone clothes that are either too small or too large may inflict emotional damage on the recipient and physical damage on you.  Then there comes the ideas of selling or donating.  We find these options to be the most socially, environmentally, and economically prudent.  Find your local Salvation Army, thrift store, or secondhand shop and turn in your lightly worn goods.  Or if you’re looking to turn a profit you can sell your old threads.  1=32045″>HERE  is how the ladies do it.  Maybe we should take notes fellas.

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