A springtime suit at the Rosewood

Earlier this week, I headed to the Rosewood for a spring fashion show hosted by Capitol File Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue. That meant it was time to rock a great springtime suit. It was an ideal spring day so I knew I could not get away with the darker looks from this winter.

The Rosewood is famous for its exquisite roof top deck and has great patio seating and was the perfect venue for this show. As one of the few men at the event, I knew I had to rock an amazing springtime suit to sit among the well healed beautifully put together women.

I love a blue suit. I have several in different shades. It’s a color that I wear throughout every season. For spring, I like a bright blue color. My suit is in between a navy and royal blue. It’s a nice vibrant color for this time of year with a nice bold white pinstripe. The suit is a slimmer cut for a nice modern look. I’d like to say it was to show off my slimmer physique but that’s still a work in progress.

To keep with a springtime suit looking perfect for the season, it was all about the details. Pops of color and a light colored tie help to showcase the spirit of the season. My off white paisley tie had bright green accents so I chose a bright green pocket square to accentuate the tie. If I wear a pocket square, I typically do not wear a lapel flower but sometimes I throw caution to the wind and just go for it. In this case the white lapel flower was a nice added touch.

Also notice the shoes. What’s great about a blue suit is you can get away with black, brown or even cordovan shoes. There are a variety of options. I feel that my brown shoes keep the springtime theme going. As for the fashion show, it was great to see what women will be wearing for the season. It was even better to know that my springtime suit look will make me the perfect escort (arm candy)! Did I bring my A game? I’d love your thoughts and comments.

Shop my look/Details

Blue pinstriped suit – Isaia; White dress shirt – Gucci; Off white paisley tie – Etro; White lapel flower – Hook + Albert; Green pocket square – Elite Solid; Brown lace-ups – Louis Vuitton (similar); Watch – Timex

Photography: ALaceyPerspective

My staycation style

Sometimes it’s nice to get a little R an R away from home even if it’s just a staycation just around the street. I recently had a chance to pop over to the Washington Marriott Georgetown for a quick overnight getaway. Let me tell you it was a much-needed retreat.

I like the idea of going away but not really going away. Often times when I’m home and just planning to relax, I get sidetracked by things to do around the house. Things like household chores, unwritten blog posts or just too much television grab my attention and I never take time to enjoy myself.

With this staycation, I got to relax and with no real plans even got to enjoy myself. Although I wasn’t going to far, I still dressed like I was going on an out of town excursion. I was going to relax in the room, enjoy the hotel amenities and have a great night out.

My look was easy to travel in. Denim is a great travel option because of comfort and ease. I opted for mine in a forest brown, which is a nice departure from the traditional blue jeans. Although it’s spring the weather has been unpredictable so I knew I needed a jacket. I like to travel with a navy blazer because of its versatility. It can be worn casually or dressier creating a variety of fashion options.

Since my staycation was so short, I didn’t want to pack too many items. I planned an evening out so the blazer was the perfect choice. Sporting a fantastic floral tie, I pulled together a great evening out look. The added bonus? More room in my keepall for a little I.W. Harper whiskey!

The Marriott was close to the Kennedy Center so we decided to take advantage of the free concert at the Center’s Millennium Stage. The Millennium Stage has free performances every day and no tickets are required. It’s a come as you are type of event so must people are very casual. But here’s the beauty of dressing a little nicer. One of the docents noticed me and had extra tickets for the evening’s performance of the opera, The Boxer. Although I’m not a big opera fan, it was something to different and made my staycation something unique.

Shop/My Look Details

Blue navy suit jacket – Theory; Blue cotton dress shirt – J Crew; Forrest Brown denim jeans – AG Jeans; Floral tie, watchband, socks & sunglasses lapel pin – Sprezzabox; Olive sneakers – Wolf vs Goat, Hat – Goorin Bros.; Overnight bag – Damier Louis Vuitton Keepall 

Cherry Blossom Time: Pink Tie and more

The cherry blossom at its peak is one thing I look forward to every year. Washington is really at its prettiest when these flowers are in bloom.  In addition, cherry blossoms are the official signal that spring is finally arriving to the Nation’s Capital. Although we had a pretty mild winter, it’s been pretty quirky and a late winter storm and rains wreaked havoc on this year’s blossoms.

DCFashion Fool Cherry Blossom Pnk Tie Party

Unfortunately, I was not able to make it down to the Mall to see the flowers this year. However, I was able to take part in the official kick off to the Annual Cherry Blossom festival and attend the Pink Tie Party and Fundraiser. After all, I can never say no to a good party. The Pink Tie Party is the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature event. The money raised during the party goes to support and promote the cherry blossom through year-round programs, events, and education initiatives.

Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Blossom Pink Tie Party with A Lacey Perspective

One of the challenges for me each year is what to wear to this pink extravaganza. While women have a variety of options and can even Rent the Runway for a greater selection, guys are not so fortunate. While those more daring may done some over the top looks, men typically we opt for a much safer route limiting our selection to our shirt and tie combinations.
DCFashion Fool Cherry Blossom Pnk Tie Party Pink Tie Party with ChicVilleUSA

A lot of men tend to shy away from wearing pink but I think it’s a great spring color option. Simple combinations such as a pink shirt with a contrasting floral tie or a white shirt with a solid pink tie look great with both light and dark suits and are excellent style choices as the weather gets warmer.

DCFashion Fool Cherry Blossom Pnk Tie Party

For my cherry blossom look this year, I went with a tonal pink shirt and tie combination.  I paired these with one of my favorite plaid blazers that also had pink tones for a great festive look.
DCFashion Fool smiles at Cherry Blossom Pnk Tie Party

Clothing Details

Plaid Blazer & Pink dress shirt: Robert Talbot; Pink Tie: Fendi; Blue dress slacks – Armani Collezioni; Penny Loafers: Tom Ford

Cherry Blossom Events

The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs through April 16. Miss the blossoms or Pink Tie? Don’t fret there’s still a variety of activities to hit. Check out these upcoming events:

1 – April     BLOSSOM KITE FESTIVAL

                  ROSÈ ROMP

2 – April     CREDIT UNION CHERRY BLOSSOM TEN MILE RUN AND 5K RUN-WALK

7 – April      NCSS CHERRY BLOSSOM GRAND BALL

8 – April     NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL PARADE 

11 – April    BLOSSOMS AND BASEBALL

14 – April    EVENTS DC CHERRY BLAST!

                   GALLERY TALK: MIKA YOSHITAKE ON YAYOI KUSAMA’S PUMPKIN

15 – April    SOUTHWEST WATERFRONT FIREWORKS FESTIVAL 

Elevated Casual

Opting for the elevated casual look

There are so many terms for casual wear these day that it can be a bit confusing. Casual wear is such a catch all that there seems to be subcategories to define all aspects of casual clothing. Today we talk about atheleisure, business casual and even elevated casual (just to name a few) to define our leisure look. It is that last category, elevated casual, that I seem to be drawn toward.

Elevated Casual

I have to admit that I have not really gotten into the atheleisure looks. While I think it’s great for some, I’m not sure that it works or me. Although never say never as I’ve been known to sport a great sneaker from time to time. And when I hear business casual, I always envision the oversized polo with ill fitting khakis. When a lot of companies went business casual that became the standard work uniform. Yuck! I think that’s why I gravitate towards an elevated casual look.

Elevated Casual Elevated Casual Elevated Casual

For me elevated casual means a look that’s casual but not too casual but also not overly dressy. It’s a look that’s great for a variety of occasions. Perfect for the office, a great way for travel and is the ideal date night look. Think fitted polos with slim cut khakis or maybe a pair of statement pants or shoes. Because we are in a transitional weather period don’t forget a great jacket. Even your coat can become part of your elevated casual look. The tie is optional but don’t be afraid to don one from time to time.

Elevated Casual Elevated Casual

Details/Shop My Look

Camel top coat – J. Lindebrerg (similar); Black turtleneck – Burberry (similar); Plaid Slacks – Burberry;(similar); Black chelsea boots – Prada

Elevated Casual

Other Elevated Casual Looks

Elevated Casual

Photography by Lauren McGrath

Styling my Aliveshoes in Philly

Last week I was really excited to show you the sneakers I designed from Aliveshoes. I’ve been really stoked to create my own pair of sneakers. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big sneaker wearer but I do have a few pairs in my closet. However the chance to design my own pair meant that I could get something that was uniquely me.

I wanted a great looking shoe in muted tones. I opted for earth tones but with just a hint of color but nothing too flashy. That’s why I added the burgundy. I think this little subtle color makes this shoe a winner.

Now with the sneakers in hand, I set out to find some great looks to wear them with. Have you ever got an article of clothing and designed your whole look around it. That’s how I felt with my new sneakers. These Aliveshoes were the first things I grabbed as I planned a quick weekend getaway to Philadelphia.

It’s hard to believe that it’s the beginning of spring when last week we where facing icy cold conditions and snow. The weird thing is that the weather this winter has been so mild so the cold snap was kind of a surprise. That was the surprise that hit me as I tooled around the City of Brotherly Love.

Fortunately I have not packed away my chunky sweaters and grabbed one that was ideal for the artic blast the hit the city. I like a classic sweater with a little bit of character and I’m a big fan of cream. Think about contrast against your skin tone to make a piece a little more dramatic. While jeans would be an okay choice I found a great pair of corduroys that matched the strip in my shoe. How cool is that? And I took Philly by storm!

Shop My Look/Details

Chunky cream sweater – Zara (similar); Berry corduroys – Saks Fifth Avenue; The DCFashionFool hightop – Aliveshoes (use CUSTOMNOW for a 15% discount)

Photography by Lauren McGrath

An influencer’s thoughts: Why I blog

Yes I blog

When I first started my blog, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my thoughts and express my fashion ideas. With so many blogs out there, I figured it would just appeal to the 5 people, mostly family, that popped by my page. I started and stopped posting more times than I care to remember. But now it’s something I really have a passion for.

Blog standing

The terms people use these days are creator or social influencer but what does that really mean? To me that means being true to yourself and sharing your thoughts and opinions in an honest way. If I recommend a brand or product, it’s something that I stand behind.

Blog Felix Gray closeup

In fact, I like the idea of posting about my fashion finds, showcasing my style and giving my take on advice. However but it has not been without it’s challenges. I thought blogging would be a simple thing. You slap up a page jot down your thoughts and put up a few pretty pictures. However I’m finding it’s much more than that.

 

My blog challenges

Blog work

One of the hardest things to do is be consistent. I’d like to think I have something to say but sometimes it’s hard to keep it up on a regular basis. Life gets in the way or sometimes I just have writer’s block. It’s those times I just don’t know what to say. All I can do is be myself and hopefully that’s enough.

Blog concentration

Second who knew that maintaining a blog can be hard work? Before I started my site, terms like domain authority, SEO and page views were all foreign words to me. Now it’s these things I have to consider as I build my site or write a post.

Blog closeup on concentratiion Felix Gray blog

But my biggest struggle is trying to figure out how do I attract people to hear what I have to say? How do I break through all the noise? I’d like to think I have a voice and a definite style. I want to be one of the go to guys that people go to for fashion and style advice.

Computer and Felix Gray blog

The DCFashion Fool Blog call to action

Blogging at Starbucks

Help me make my site better. In a few weeks, The DCFashion Fool site is getting a whole new look. I want to bring you great content, show of my style and give you tips in keeping with my motto,

“You too can be a fool for fashion!”

But I want to hear from you. What do you want to hear and see from me? Send me your thoughts and comments. Call me out if I’m not being truthful and let’s make this a great stop on the web. My blog will be better for it and I will be deeply appreciative.

Jimmy Choo blog

Shop My Look/Details

Fuchsia cashmere sweater – Neiman Marcus; White dress shirt – Theory; Plaid dress slacks – Peter Millar (similar); Tassel loafers – Jimmy Choo; Glasses – Felix Gray  (Computerized glasses)

Full blog look

Photography by Jeffrey Thatcher Photography 

Designing my first custom shoe

What would you do if you had the opportunity to design your own shoe? Would you design something unique representing your personality or go completely over the top? Maybe, you’d copy a shoe that you’ve been coveting like that wild pair of Christian Louboutins (yes they do make them for men!). Well, that was the dilemma I faced when Omar from OSK Styles asked me to design my own custom shoe.

The thought of owning a custom made shoe was a luxury that seemed to be out of my reach. However at a price point of around $299, the dream quickly became an accessible reality. Now that a custom shoe was within my grasp, next came the fun part…designing the perfect shoe. Using OSK Styles online 3D site, I set about crafting a beautiful pair of shoes.

Let me tell you designing your ideal shoe is tougher than it looks. You get choose ever aspect of the design from the shoe style, the materials used to every component from the sole to the laces. I wanted mine to be just right so my design project soon turned into several hours of scrutinizing every choice, making adjustments and second guessing myself. In the end, I believe it was worth it and did I mention fun?

I had a few criteria for designing my ideal custom shoe:

  • Work well with a suited look
  • Be versatile. I wanted to have a lot of options to wear it
  • Have a unique design, something you wouldn’t normally find in a store

With millions of options, it’s really easy to design a shoe that’d never been done before. I didn’t want something that was too over the top or garish. Yes sometimes I can wear a bold statement piece but I was thinking subtlety. I think I succeeded.

What did I design? I chose a blucher style dress shoe, in a mix of dark brown calf leather and blue faux crocodile. I’m really happy with the way it came out. It’s a shoe that will work with a variety of suit colors… brown, blue, gray. For my first look, I tried them with one of my favorite blue suits.

I’m pretty happy with the shoe and will definitely design another custom shoe in the future. What do you think and how did I do? Let me know your thoughts.

Shop My Look/Details

Custom shoes – OSK Styles; Blue suit – Armani Collezioni; Striped blue shirt – Joseph Abboud; Blue polka dot tie – Ties.com; Blue floral pocket square – Harrison Blake

Photography by Jeffrey Thatcher Photography 
StyleCon

Why I attended StyleCon

I’m funny. I don’t think I’m the most outgoing person. Heading into a room full of people I don’t know is not something I really look forward to but I’m working on getting better at it. That’s one of the reasons I have attended StyleCon for the last two years.

StyleCon

A few years ago I hosted an event with Brock McGoff, the man behind the Modest Man and he mentioned that there was this men’s StyleCon convention coming to Atlanta. I didn’t think too much of it and soon forgot about it. Shortly thereafter I was researching different sites to find the top male blog sites and stumbled across this post, Top Ten Men’s Style Blogs | 2016 Edition | Best Male Fashion Websites | 423 Men’s Style Bloggers Ranked.

My blog had been up for a while but I wasn’t very active so I certainly didn’t expect to see my name in the top 10. However when I saw there was a listing of over 400 sites, I assumed I’d be ranked somewhere. Imagine my surprise when my site was nowhere on that extensive list. Naturally, I was a bit salty. So of course the first thing I did was hit the comment tab on that ranking website.

StyleCon StyleCon

This is what I wrote,

I wanted to say I enjoyed your rankings of male bloggers. I write the DCFashion Fool (www.dcfashionfool.com) I’m a relatively new men’s fashion and lifestyle blogger and I really have a passion for showcasing my style. With all the content out there, I’m finding it a challenge to break through and share my love with others. I was wondering if you’d take a look at my blog to see where I’d rank in your ratings. I’m always looking to make improvements and your opinion would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

Partly self-serving and partly genuinely wanting feedback, I didn’t expect a response however 3 hours later, this was the response,

Thanks for letting us know, Barnette. Will definitely check your website out. 

Curious, have you considered coming out to Men’s StyleCon? It’s on this March 11th- 13th. As you could see we have a lot of brands and content creators there. I think it would be a great event for you to meet like-minded individuals and I think there would be a lot of value that you could get from this.

Let me know if you can make it.

Wishing you well,

Antonio

Hmm who was this Antonio? But there was that StyleCon thing again. And that was the impetus to get me to go to my first StyleCon. Still not knowing what to expect I booked my trip to the ATL. What I found was an incredible group of guys from diverse background all trying to build each other. It wasn’t just about style but it was about empowerment, self help and the free exchange of ideas and support.

StyleCon StyleCon

Did it make be better at networking in new groups? No but I’m working on it. Have I made the top ten style blog list? Not yet but that’s just a matter of time. What I did get out of it was a great deal of useful information and some food for thought to give me the determination to continue on my quest to build the DCFashion Fool into something to be proud of.

StyleCon

And even in my awkwardness and shyness in networking, I was still able to make some great new friends as well as new connections that are just as passionate in their endeavors. It’s that passion, that brought me back to StyleCon for a second year. to reconnect with these likeminded individuals and continue the momentum.

StyleCon StyleCon

This year, StyleCon featured even more well rounded very accomplished individuals who not only led incredibly informative sessions but also were pretty accessible for one on one chats and personal follow up. But the big take away was the fellowship of an amazing group of men (and a few women) with the common goal of helping one another succeed.

StyleCon may have changed its name to Menfluential for 2018 however I still plan to attend. And who knows? Maybe when I return I’ll command the room with my networking skills.

Shop  My StyleCon Style/Details

StyleCon

The J.Crew Ludlow Suit – mine Glen Plaid – see other styles;  Turtleneck – Ralph Lauren; Double monk strap – John LobbWindowpane suit –  SuitSupply


StyleCon

New York Fashion Week and individual style

New York Fashion Week Men’s has cone and gone and I’m still processing the many presentations, runway shows and events that occurred over the four days. It was a lot to take in however attending the week help to renew my love and interest for men’s fashion. It also made me feel good about my own individual style.

Individual style at NYFWM

Individual Style

It’s interesting. Fashion Week is a time when the industry gathers to see what everyone will be wearing during upcoming seasons. I find it fascinating that the industry promotes uniformity but also encourages individuality. That got me thinking about my individual style. What is it about my dress that makes me me?

Individual Style Individual Style

I think my individual style is a hodgepodge of ideas. I like both uniformity and individuality. At times I like to stand out and wear some funky piece like I did earlier in the week with my statement pants. Other times I just want to blend in. When I’m with some of my fellow bloggers and influencers, I’m the suited guy while others may be a bit more casual. And I think that’s ok.

Individual Style

For the last day of NYFWM, I chose a charcoal three-piece suit, checked shirt with a purple paisley tie. I felt comfortable and thought I looked great. At some shows, I was clearly overdressed while others I fit right in. That’s the one of the best things about figuring out your own personal style. Overdressed, underdressed or just right, the look works because these are the looks you are most at home in.

Individual style Individual style

It’s not about standing out in the crowd, although that may happen. It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin. That’s kind of how I looked at some of the great clothes I saw during the week. There were some truly great pieces and I look forward to incorporating some of them into my wardrobe for the upcoming year. That’s what makes NYFWM such a marvelous time. It’s about translating designers and brands inspirations and infusing your own unique personality into your own individual style.

How are you developing your own individual style? I’d love to hear from you. Email me or send me a comment.

Shop my Look/Details

Charcoal 3-piece suit – Ralph Lauren; Mini-checked French cuffed dress shirt – Ralph Lauren; Purple paisley tie – Ike Behar; Sunglasses – Tom Ford; Double monk strapped shoes – John Lobb

Photography by Joel Cas (Instagram: @itsjoelcas)

New York Fashion Week in statement pants

One of the ways, I feel I can elevate my style is by wearing a great statement piece of clothing. This year for New York Fashion Week Men’s I found an awesome pair of tie-dyed pants that I thought would be the perfect statement pants to work into my wardrobe. A terrific pair of statement pants in an interesting print is a great way to go a little bolder in your dressing.

I’ve said it time and time again; Fashion Weeks are when you get to see some of the most outrageous street styles. For those who know me, know that I’m not going to wear some crazy get up that begs for attention and can only be worn outside the venues hosting the fashion shows and runways. However I’d be lying if I said I don’t care about being noticed for my style. After all, I do run The DCFashion Fool to do that very thing, show off my style. So of course I’d love to be snapped by the paparazzi and noted for my great fashion sense.

For my New York Fashion Week Men’s street style moment, I donned my statement pants and paired them with a black velvet blazer and speckled tie. I like the idea of toning down other pieces in my look to give that statement piece a little extra attention. I also added pops of color such as my bold fuchsia pocket square and my purple socks. Grabbing a pair of sunglasses and a fantastic carry all tote, I was ready for a full day of fashion like catching the 12 designers showing their looks during New York Men’s Day.

What is really interesting to me is the street style roundups from all the publications once the fashion weeks in each city are over. Everyone always touts the best street styles captured during the week but I find that many of the looks are a little too outlandish or costumy and don’t really represent the “Best in Style.” It’s almost similar to what’s going inside at the shows. It’s the over the top look that oftentimes garners the media attention. It’s an attempt to break through from all the fashion that’s being shown at once. Is it a good thing? I don’t know but remember the words of Yves St. Laurent, “Fashion’s fade, style is eternal.” What are your thoughts on street style? I’ld love to hear your take. Send me a comment or tweet me.

Shop My Look Details

Tie-Dyed Print Pants – J. Brand; Velvet Blazer – Tommy Hilfiger; Speckled Tie – Sprezzabox; Tonal Patterned Tote – Alexander Wang NYC (similar);  Penny loafers – Tom Ford; Sunglasses – Tom Ford (similar)