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The Essentials

It took me a rather long time to determine how I was going to kick off my fledgling blog and then it came to me in the form of a convenient quote: “Why don’t you do a piece on what this site entails? The essentials.”

“Brilliant!”, I said…to myself. After that, the rest was easy.

As much as I like to say I am not the authority on what is fashionable, more and more I’m starting to find that my fellow men (especially my peers) are slowly staring to backslide into a realm that found somewhere between sneakers-with-a-suit and jackets-three-sizes-too-big…

With that said, I offer up these brave and misguided ‘dudes’ a solid foundation onto which they can hopefully regain footing:

1. GQ Magazine (2-year subscription, $9.99, gq.com)

Anyone who truly knows me should also be aware that this publication is a considerably important facet of my life (read: the Bible). Gentleman’s Quarterly is more or less the authority on men’s high-lifestyle but do not be alarmed when first flipping through one. The overly expensive ads that inundate the F.O.B section are quickly balanced out by their wallet-friendly fashion research pieces found in the B.O.B areas.

A quintessential ‘guide’ to all things male, GQ covers topics ranging from home décor, style/fashion and sports to politics, food/wine, and sex; but this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill magazine. Quarterly is definitely for those who have graduated from the brown-socks-match-with-brown-shoes days.

If you do manage to pick up the latest copy of this religious text and you find yourself somewhat overwhelmed, fret not! GQ has a brother magazine, Details, which tends to cater more to the younger, post-high school crowd.

2. The Nina Simone Anthology (2-disc, $22.99, amazon.com)

If James Brown was ‘the Godfather’ and Elvis was ‘the King’, then Nina Simone was definitely the ‘Grandmother’ and overall ruler of the jazz/folk world (no joke).

Simone’s career spanned almost 50 years when she finally settled down in her final months along the French countryside; in her prime, though, she churned out some of the most haunting renditions of music classics and several of her albums and compilations have been on top-selling lists for years. Don’t believe me?: Everyone from Common to Talib Kweli have sampled Simone’s songs for their own tracks.

Among her hits, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is a must, hands down. Whether you’ve just been in a fight with the missus or just have a bad day (or good one), just sit back, relax and enjoy one of the most prolific performers of our time.

3. 10 Cane Rum (750ml, $36.99, winedelight.com)

As much as it may pain you to hear this: There is definitely life after Captain Morgan. I have spent years sampling various spirits from all over the world and although Puerto Rico may be renowned for their expert rum-making skills, the true gold lies with the small, understated island country of Trinidad. 10 Cane Rum is a very gradual step up from the Castillo and other lower grade rums that you may be used to imbibing.

Made by the pressing virgin sugar canes, instead of molasses, to produce the purest sugar, 10 Cane goes great with…nothing else. With its sweet undertones and light body, you will find it hard to muster the strength and add a cube or two.

4. Cotton Navy Blazer (Ben Sherman Fowler Blazer, $185.00, bensherman.com)

Like a broken-in pair of jeans, the navy blazer is (and should be, if not) a very essential part of a man’s wardrobe. Originally, the ‘blue’ blazer was a staple in the day-to-day, country-clubber’s uniform, but now it has expanded its repertoire to cover a night out on the town paired with a nice pair of dark jeans, a crisp polo and loafers (sock-less, of course) or with fitted khakis. True American style at its best, I promise.

5. The Lacoste 2-Button Polo ($75, 248 King St., Charleston, S.C., 843.723.0256)

Speaking of American style, the Lacoste polo has become somewhat of a national icon. There are several variations on the classic shirt but the solid-colored pique polo has always been the go-to piece for the humid, Charleston summers and anywhere else your days (or nights) may take you; but two rules come with wearing any polo: 1) Make sure it is the correct size; it should hug your biceps and show off some of that hard work you put in all year. 2) Get it in black, jet black. No substitutes.


Photo credits: Amazon; Lacoste USA; Zappos.com; DarkSideBar; GQ.

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