INDEX of SUPERFLUOUS NECESSITIES: The Velvet Slipper

It is said the truly great things in life are things one desires, not things one needs. This can be said for great Bourbon, a fast car or a luxurious smoke.

IT is further said you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes, but what about when shoes need to be 1) comfortable and 2) thoroughly decadent?

What if such a shoe need s to find itself appropriate for the opera and as at home for wearing around the house?

These shoes, potentially, can  be worn with smartly cut dark jeans and a black velvet jacket to go about town and are, not anything a man truly needs, but they still manage to be the perfect gift.

Enter: The Velvet Slipper.

True, the notion of a man in a seemingly precious pair of slippers is enough to  send shudders down most guy’s spines, but, alas, the velvet slipper has its place! A casual night at the local cigar-lounge, hanging by the pool in the moonlight at the Soho House or a chic evening outing, a velvet slipper can add a touch of nonchalant elegance to any man’s wardrobe.

Like anything that straddles that line between utterly and stupidly pretentious and smartly stylish and classic, it’s all about the details (and the rules that govern such details…)

Places to not wear one:

–       The local Pub.

–       The Office.

–       The Hardware store.

The Ultimate "Chill-out Shoe"

Places to wear them:

–       At home, chilling.

–       Whilst enjoying a cigar and a Scotch.

–       A brothel.

 

Otherwise go nuts with the following guidelines:

–       Do NOT wear with casual or sports clothing.

–       Do NOT wear them to walk around the town.

–       Keep embroidery to a minimum… some guys like skulls on them, some want their initials (keep them simple) but keep the snobbishness to a minimum (i.e. no crowns, fleur-de-lys or ‘family shields’ – unless, of course, said wearer belongs to a proper royal household).

–       Wear them well: Don’t cook in them, don’t mow the lawn in them, don’t run in them.

–       The shoes are the statement- keep everything else tame.

–       Wear with confidence.

 

Jeans and Blazer Shoe

The Color Protocol

–       Colors Light: Light blues and yellows can be worn with slim cut, flat-front khakis or white pants, even very faded well-cut jeans. This is important, when one wears velvet slippers one must account for them, that is, the velvet slipper is the punch-line and very much a central part of the outfit, and by wearing them one is referencing a very specific European lifestyle ‘look’ therefore if you are not comfortable with this look- ditch the velvet shoes (at least in lighter colors). Otherwise, wear as you would

Smart Casual

–       Colors Dark: This is the safest bet! Black (classic), navy or hunter green. As for the first two wear them with similarly colored blazers and either dark jeans or grey trousers. Dark ‘hunter’ greens get trickier but with a similarly colored polo or a khaki suit they may look appropriate. If “less is more” was ever a stand-by, this is it.

–       A Word on the “red/Burgundy” slipper: Should you be the ‘smoking jacket type’ (see our post about said smoking jacket here) in that classic shade of velvet and burgundy then by all means; but tread carefully—it is but the boldest men who can pull off this look!

 

In truth a great pair of velvet slippers could well be the most versatile shoe you own.

 

Where to find them

A small army of great suppliers feature velvet slippers; from Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren to venerable houses like Paul Davies London and John Lobb. We like Del Toro Shoes for their fantastic range and custom-options. For your first pair this is the way to go!

 

Enjoy (and don’t say we didn’t warn you!)…

Index of Superfluous Necessities: The Spirits Decanter

The mark of a true gentleman is best illustrated in the details of how he carries himself, dresses himself and adorns his surroundings (and/or chooses to do away with frivolity while doing so).

TAKING a cue from this we shall visit the gentleman’s private bar, the place where he chooses to store a small but carefully curated selection of spirits for the Gentleman to enjoy at his leisure.

It is important that the gentleman carries a selection of spirits that suit his tastes (not a message or image he wants to convey) as well as those friends, colleagues and individuals whom imbibe with him in the pleasures of a Scotch or cocktail.

The Drink...

[TGG Hint; for more on re-stocking you bar see The Spirit’s “6 Upgrades to your Bar”]

In keeping with this notion (of doing away with unnecessary frivolity) a gentleman must eschew any possible show of pretension, unfortunately such avoidance is at times difficult as spirits producers have worked diligently in developing eye-catching labels which are as self-announcing as the shape of the bottles themselves.

 

Enter the Spirits Decanter.

The Decanter

Unlike a wine decanter which primarily serves to air a wine (in addition to separating sediment from the w2ine in older bottling) the spirits decanter hails from an era where a gentleman may have had his favorite local distiller bottle the spirit, straight from cask, into an often ornate decanter from his collection. These decanters were often made by the lead craftsmen of the day, many still recognized today: Christofle, Baccarat and in the Americans, Tiffany’s.

The crystal decanter

Today the spirits decanter, although made somewhat irrelevant by the lighter and more transportable bottle, serves as an elegant touch to a gentlemen’s bar an does away with the unnecessary affectations of recreating a gaudy tavern, with rows of labels, in what should be an elegant pursuit of pleasure… one sip at a time.

 

What to look for:

 

Look for a decanter which suits your tastes and sorroindings; cut glass is not a taste all enjoy equally. Should a Gentleman’s personal style lean more towards minimalist, then find a decanter which expressese the same kind of lean simplicity.

The most important part of a decanter is the stopper: it must create and air-tight seal, otherwise its contents will evaporate. Although plastic is popular, sanded glass, which requires a slight twist once inserted, is far superior.

 

Where to keep them:

The Setup

Keep decanters in an elegant setting on a bureau or in a corner table on a tray. Otherwise in the confines of a cupboard.

 

What to keep in them:

 

You’re go to spirits: Scotch, whiskey, gin, rum, etcetera. Cream-based liqueurs are best

The letter should reflect the spirit therein

in their bottles. Other items such as triple-sec or vermouth could also be kept in a decanter; but these are better-off kept stored in their own bottles.

While monogramming with one’s initials is a silly affectation having a single letter, that of the spirit  enclosed, is useful if all the decanters are the same style so that a “G” would denote Gin while a “S” is Scotch.

 

 

[All the decanters pictures in this post can be found at www.potterybarn.com or at www.ralphlauren.com as part of his “Home Collection” the ‘modern’ decanters can be found at Crate & Barrell]

 

 

 

2010 Gift Round-up

WE at the Young Gentlemen’s guide recognize the importance of a good gift; one that is well-thought out, refined and appreciated. A good gift is one that is not inevitably necessary but superfluously essential: one that you would not buy yourself but would happily receive.

Gentleman’s hint: these gifts work well for the other Gentlemen in a Young Gentlemen’s life…

For Him


iPad Folio (from Temple Bags)

The only iPad folio you’ll ever need- sleek, stylish, comfortable and will age gracefully. There are quite a bit of choice out there but we like these from Temple Bags.

A scent to bring that special someone near: Figuier by Heeley


The Fig Leaf

Ethereal, from our Editor-at-Large and lead Perfume Critic; Alejandro Ortiz: ” This was truly magical, i couldn’t take my nose off of it… it hits immediately with a beuaotful note of  freshly-shaved fennel and fennel seed with whisps of green tones which unfurls into waves of powderiness before settling into soft citrus tones- perfectly balanced, delicate and nuanced and yet present, serene. This Heeley at its best! -AO”

Find it at Lucky-Scent

Corduroy Tie by Alexander Olch

Cord Tie

Understated yet bold; a tradition of hand-crafted, hand-folded ties in a laid-back fabric. But this isn’t teenage corduroy- this is thin wale, Italian corduroy that is butter soft. We recommend navy or burgundy colors to truly bring out the vibrancy of the fabric. Get it here.

Cigars from Nat Sherman:The VIP “Baron Selection”

The Smoke(s)

There is no more gilded name in the world of American Tobacconists than that of Nat Sherman.  Nat opened his doors in the 1930’s and made a name for himself and his cigars selling to Gentleman’s Clubs in New York City for over 75 years.

This is a selection of their VIP line of Cigars originally “names for the captains of industry… that helped to shape the face of…” New York. The cigars are beautifully creamy and lush. Dominican and South American Tobacco. Find it here.

Rum dressed as Cognac: Ron Zacapa XO

The drink

From ‘Ministry of Rum‘:

Brown rum distilled from sugar cane syrup. Blend of rums aged from 6 to 25 years. in used whisky and bourbon barrels.

Like the other Zacapa rums XO is aged in a combination of bourbon, delicate sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine casks to create a unique depth of flavor and character. After three years the used barrels are emptied and then recharred while the contents are married with other rums in the first part of the Zacapa solera system. Scraping and recharring the used barrels give the rum a sweeter flavor from the newly charred wood.

The premium rum from Zacapa, XO is aged in used specially selected cognac barrels for an additional two years giving it a slightly drier flavor and finish compared to Zacapa Centenario Reserva.

PS- Try it with the cigars!

For Her

A wise man once said: “As a gift, you only buy a woman two things: jewelry or lingerie otherwise you don’t know what you’re doing!”

For this we need to take out the big guns; four things we like:

Family Jewels-

Jewelry is not skimping territory, but that does not mean that you can’t make an impact with what you get that special woman in your life, be it your significant other or your mom. Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier and many other players carry more trinkets than most men know what to do with- but no color or name makes a woman heart skip as much as Tiffany’s so with that in mind we bring you two options; the first for under $250USD whilst the latter falls below $1000.00USD- either way, they both say “I care and I appreciate you…”

The Silver Bracelet by Tiffany’s

 

A Classic

 

 

(above) Medium twist bangle in sterling silver. Size large, fits wrists up to 6.75″ in circumference.


The glimmering necklace by Tiffany’s

 

Tiffany Diamonds included…

 

 

(above) Tiffany gets to the heart of the matter. Pendant with round brilliant diamonds in platinum. On a 16″ chain.

A little Sexy…

For men, buying lingerie can be a dicey game; often the divergence comes in what a man finds supremely erotic and she finds, well… whorish. The idea here is, Gentlemen, to get her something that will make her look beautiful (not like a porn-star);  if it’s early on in the game, stick to nighties and little silk numbers that cover just enough… but not too much.

Our picks from one of the best houses around: La Perla

The Safe bet: The Nightie (aka The Babydoll)…

 

(above) get it here

Sexy but Playful...

 

(above) Get it here

Either way… A gentleman gives without expecting to receive; It’s about celebrating life, celebrating the art of living.

Happy Holidays from TGG

Index of Superfluous Necessities: The Smoking Jacket Revisited

The reinvented classic

We here at TGG get more hits a day from gentlemen all around the world for our post on the Smoking Jacket (here) than for anything else. This tells us that there is a real pent-up hankering to know what the smoking jacket is all about. To be sure the Smoking Jacket is not a summer thing, although a light silk one could be quite comforting in a cool summer night. Its origins, like so many other things sartorial, lies in the English noble tradition. British patricians thought it rude to expose a woman’s delicate (and we contend superior) nose to “off odors” and so therefore when the gents took their leave from the ladies to have cigars and cognac, they exchanged their jackets for one used exclusively for smoking. If you were born after Star Wars (A New Hope, not The Phantom Menace) chances are you have never seen this fine specimen in the wild; instead it is relegated to pretentious types in movies and t.v. shows. Fear not; once upon a time madras was for geriatrics.

We say; Get your smoking jacket on!

Traditionally the smoking jacket is made of velvet and silk; a silk body with a velvet shawl-collar; although padded silk collars and full velvet ones exist; and although most old-fashioned smoking jackets are three-quarter length. The more modern renditions fit like a blazer.

Can’t remember Ford administration and have no idea what Russian dressing is? Then stick to a blazer-length smoking jacket; especially if you plan to wear it out. Moreover, smoking jackets now a days come in an array of colors; the most elegant being black and deep midnight blue, although fabulous renditions can be found in off-white and black. Stay away from greens, ambers and greys unless you wan to look like a pimp. And definitely no animal prints. Being summer, now is the perfect time to buy one as many retailers and haberdasheries alike have steep sales of “winter” items during summer time.

Here are The Young Gentlemen’s Guide picks for your superfluous needs:

The Classic

Full length and luxurious in classic burgundy color with satin lapels, three pockets and full Bemberg lining; great with a long cigar or your favorite book (we recommend a Davidoff Millennium Series stogie). This is a robe more than a jacket. From Paul Stuart $797.00

Gearing up for Fall/Winter 2010/2011 is a choice selection of smoking jackets from various designers including Armani, Ralph Lauren and, our favorite maker of what has to be the hippest and most fashioned forward of all Smoking Jackets: Dolce & Gabbana. (Prices vary).

Ultimately a smoking jacket is about you- your individuality, your taste and personal flair; your “esprit des corps” as the French would say or in ‘Merican “mojo.” There are many fantastic of the peg shirts, suits, blazers and shoes out there. If you get something made, get something unique.

The Billy Reid Smoking Jacket

You want a great smoking jacket that speaks of your own personal style and taste? Get one made. Bespoke Life IF there is ever an item to get made to exacting custom specifications (delimited by non other than yourself) a smoking jacket is it. Shawl collar or peak lapels? Are they velvet or padded silk? The length? Lined? Etc. Saville Row is the classic choice (Gieves & Hawkes, Henry Poole, or Huntsman) as are a number of American establishments such as Phineas Cole, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Laurent amongst others. In Europe choices are aplenty and in Asia Ascot Chang or Singapore’s Raffles Taylor can work wonders.

Index of Superfluous Necessities: The Smoking Jacket

THERE is no other item of men’s clothing that is as misunderstood as the Smoking Jacket. It is often seen as affected, foppish, and silly. Nothing could be more far from the truth.

Originating in the late 17th century as the “robe de chambre” and is thought to mimic the silk robes found on Maharajas in India.

As Turkish and Caribbean tobacco became fashionable in the mid 1800’s it was customary for men to retire for a cigar and brandy; while the women enjoyed tea and petit-fours.

It was considered rude and ungentlemanly to expose a woman to “foul” odors and so began rule-of-thumb for a man to don a comfortable, velvet, jacket exclusively to smoke in so as to never expose his lady friend to off-scents.

Although seldom used today, the smoking jacket/house coat although was used by some of history’s greatest Gentlemen like Cary Grand, Frank Sinatra and even Fred Astaire (who was buried in it) wore it in style.

How the Young Gentleman Wears a Smoking Jacket:

Worn with dark trousers the Modern Gentleman can wear his smoking jacket to any event that would require “formal ware” whether it’s the opera, a dark cocktail party or a posh restaurant the smoking jacket adds a touch of flair and personality to the wearer.

Buy Here from Dolce & Gabbana

The Young Gentlemen’s Guide Gift Roundup 2009

WE at the Young Gentlemen’s guide recognize the importance of a good gift; one that is well-thought out, refined and appreciated. A good gift is one that is not inevitably necessary but superfluously essential: one that you would not buy yourself but would happily receive.

Gentleman’s hint: these gifts work well for the other Gentlemen in a Young Gentlemen’s life…

For Him

House slippers
Through the thousands of years of history, civilization has given the human animal minor ways to distinguish himself from his fellow critters on this world; part of that innovation is shoes. The usage of shoes should not be confined to spaces outside a Gentlemen’s home. Unless a Gentleman is walking on fine Turkish Carpets or pure cashmere floors shoes, a pair of ‘house shoes’ or sandals, ones lined with fleece, animal fur or cashmere can add an air of luxury and pleasure with every step. A Gentlemen would be wise to keep them by the bed in the evening or by the front door so he can slip them on as soon as he walks in from a hard-day’s work: immediately the Gentleman will be taken to a place of Zen… One’s feet deserve it.

The Slipper

“Him” Scent: Tabarome by Creed
One of the most iconic Gentlemen of the 20th century is the illustrious Winston Churchill. He was a consummate consumer of all the best the world had to offer: champagne, women, cognac and fine Cuban cigars. For him the iconic perfumery house of Creed created a scent that recalled is unending passion for an item that rarely left his lips; a fine cigar. Creed crafted a scent with notes of bergamot (the intoxicating citurs which lends its aroma to Earl Grey Tea), leather, and vintage Cuban tobacco. Winston-Churchill wore it until his death. No perfume, no cologne, no scent in the world evokes the spirit of what it means to be a Gentleman than Tabarome. It is a celebration of manhood and speaks volumes of a Gentlemen’s inimitable and timeless style.

From Creed:

The Scent

CREED TABAROME MILLESIME (buy here)

A fragrance for men who aspire to be leaders, Tabarome Millesime has the essence of success in every drop. Tabarome was commissioned by a legendary British statesman who loved fine brandy and highest quality cigars. The name “Tabarome” honors the pinch of finest tobacco aroma that gives this fragrance its English club luxury.

Classification: Dry Woods / Fresh

Characteristics: A rich, warm, sensual scent perfectly balanced by a citrus freshness that is appealing to both men and women. Original, sensual, sophisticated.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Tangerine

Middle Notes: Ginger

Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, ambergris Tobacco, leather

A Monogrammed Shirt

The tradition of the monogrammed shirt hearkens back to the gilded age of European and New England prep schools where one Young Gentlemen’s blue pinpoint stripe oxford had to be set apart from the next; hence the tradition of sewing a Gentlemen’s initials was a thing of necessity.

Today’s Young Man is not in prep school anymore but nonetheless a monogrammed shirt still can exude a certain air of class and sophistication. Monogramming can seem affected and contrived and must be done tastefully. There are two schools of thought, however, when it comes to the location of a Gentlemen’s initials: 1) initials should not be visible when the shirt is worn (tucked in); or 2) such initials should be where a properly dressed man (read: jacket or waistcoat) is not visible and or in a discreet place on one’s person. The Young Gentlemen’s Guide gives credence to both these maxims; Monogramming is an “under the radar” embellishment and the Young Gentlemen would be wise to place such a monogram in an unsuspicious space, traditionally, on the left waist (under the left chest pocket should his shirt have one). These small, subtle details set the Modern Gentlemen apart from his peers without any pretence of unnecessary preciousness.

The Shirt by Brooks Brothers "Create Your Own Program" (click here)

A Fountain Pen
Everything in life should deliver subtle amounts of pleasure; nothing is quite as blissful as writing with a fountain pen. In this day and age of computers, Blackberries and iPhones, the written word is worth a lot more than ever before, and a Gentleman pulling out an elegant (and unembellished) fountain pen makes a powerful statement of taste and refinement.

It would behoove the Young Gentlemen to keep the pen simple but graceful without any unecessary embellishments (save his own initials) and eschew any pretentious notions of showing the world that he bought a famous brand; he should instead aim for substance and test the pen’s feel and balance to suit his hands and needs.

The Pen

A Custom Tie from Alexander Olch

A tie is not a needless adornment on a Young Gentlemen’s wardrobe but a mark of taste and style. A nice tie can smarten up even a simple but elegant look like a white shirt and jeans. Not all ties are created equal and many a cheap and clunky tie exists. Alexander Olch  makes some of America’s most luxurious ties in a multitude of materials; from English wool to Italian cashmere (not to mention silk, seersucker and corduroy). For the price of a nice bottle of vintage Champagne the Young Gentleman can enjoy the enduring grace of a custom-made tie, from a fabric of his choosing and in the length and width that flatters him, complete with his initials in the back (buy here).

The Tie: Its Raw Ingredients

FOR the Young Gentlemen with Ladies in his life it is important that such gifts reflect the same class and attention to detail he wishes to embellish on himself. Ultimately a gift is personal and not all women like champagne and truffles; some may just prefer a vintage cigar with a good bottle of brandy. Nevertheless The Young Gentlemen’s Guide has rounded up a variety of basics sure to please most Ladies.

Chocolates:
The Young Gentleman would be wise to skip the plethora of cheap, commercial chocolates and gift the lady or ladies in his life with fine, handcrafted chocolates. A selection of truffles or migniardise would please even the most ardent of chocolate aficionados.

The Personalized Chocolate: by Recchiuti

Cuvee Elizabeth by Billecart-Salmon
There is nothing as sensual as a rosé champagne, and of those, none is more ethereal than the Cuveé Elizabeth from Billecart-Salmon. Made in honor of the founding family’s matron.

Created in 1988 it is a seamless balance of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; hand crafted in the maison by the current generation of the Billecart Family, the champagne exudes notes of exotic woods, figs, and christmas spices… fabulous.

The Champagne

The Silk Hermes Scarf

Whether around a lady’s wrist, around her neck or on her head to keep her hair from waiving about; nothing is as immediately elegant, regal and yet subtle than a beautiful silk scarf. From playful prints to simple and classic styles. No one makes more beautiful and classic scarves than the house of Hermès ; originally a saddle-maker, an Hermès scarf is beautiful and timeless.

The Hermes Scarf

Her Scent: by Serge Lutens


A woman’s scent lingers far after she leaves a room; her aroma, her ghost lingers to record itself into the memory of every man, and through it, she reaches immortality. A woman’s beauty, aura, and mystique should be echoed by the perfume she wears.

Skip the plastic scents and perfumes made by celebreties and brush right through the factory made essences from designer houses to discover the magic of master perfumer Serge Lutens.

Born in Lille in 1942 Lutens’s many acheviements include films, photography as well being the creator of Christian Dior’s makeup line in 1967 and most recently Shiseido.

Serge Lutens creates immortal scents that takes its weaerer and those around them, through by gone eras and other worlds.

Here are a few picks from TGG:

{Buy them all at Aedes de Venusta}

Arabie

925 Serge Lutens Eau de Parfum

Serge Lutens hommage to the Arabian dream. A solar, rich and mysterious woody fragrance where cedar and sandalwood resin are enriched by candied mandarin peel, dried figs and dates spiced with nutmeg, cumin and clove. Bayleaf, balsamic resins and Siamese benzoin make the fragrance soft and silky, almost even medicinal. Once applied to the skin, the fragrance reveals its sensuality and many rich facets.


Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

985 Serge Lutens Eau de Parfum

Follow Serge Lutens on a magical voyage through England. Afternoon tea is served as we dip into his world of refined nostalgia. Time for tea at an English manor, all black Wedgwood china and gleaming silver. Then one discovers this peppery sweetness, which is unusual and smoky in flavor… Ginger in the right setting!

Ginger root gives this delicious Eau de Parfum its sensual character. Top notes of sparkling bergamot give way to the warmth of spices and honey.


Un Bois Vanille

932 Serge Lutens Eau de Parfum

Serge Luten’s opulent vanilla scent is composed with black liquorice, sandalwood and a hint of coconut milk. Inspired by a Mexican beverage recipe back from 1519.


A La Nuit

928 Serge Lutens Eau de Parfum

This exhilarating fragrance is composed of Moroccan, Indian and Egyptian jasmine, irresistibly oriental white honey, benzoin and musk. The perfume breathes and expresses freshness, sensuality and splendour.

The Young Gentlemen’s Guide wishes everyone a Happy Holiday Season!