Category: Fashion Padawan

Fashion Padawan: The Blazer, It’s Not Just for Church Anymore

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

/PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

A relaxed yet fitted blazer is your best bet./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

I should start off by saying that I’m pretty much a blazer expert. I went to a prep school, where coat and tie was the norm and Vineyard Vines was as ubiquitous as Mystery Meat Mondays — a necessary evil. So I am well-acquainted with the navy-blue devil, sewn-up pockets and padded shoulders that could rival those on any prom dress in the ‘80s.

But I have learned to redefine the blazer, and disconnect it from those preppy days. You see, blazers aren’t just for stiff formal occasions anymore. If you pick the right fabric and cut, they can be much more versatile.

Firstly, stay away from the structured restricting styles. Go for something more casual and loose; it should feel comfortable. A common mistake is going too small on a blazer when trying to achieve a slim-cut look and ending up looking like a corporate sausage. Most blazers are cut slimmer to keep in vogue with the current styles, so as long as you’re not getting swamped in an XXXL, stick to what feels natural.

Next, pick what fabric you want. The typical navy blazer comes in some itchy nylon, so I would suggest going for softer alternatives, like linen, corduroy and tweed. My personal favorite is tweed. I have a gray tweed blazer with brown corduroy elbow patches. It keeps my “grandpa-chic” style consistent. But if you’re looking to class up a summer look, go for linen. It’s light and breathable, but unfortunately easily wrinkled. Just be delicate.

Lastly, apply to your wardrobe. A blazer can take any outfit from unkempt to sleekly casual. Don’t be afraid to really go out of the box. Of course there’s the typical look of pairing a blazer with some jeans and a button-down. Get a pair of skinny-cut sweatpants, throw on a band t-shirt and a tweed blazer.

In fashion nowadays, there’s a lot of mixing between what is typically “casual” and “formal.” Ten years ago, wearing sweatpants in public might be a no-no, but now it’s the latest trend. Knock together some chic Nikes, some black sweats and a blazer, and you’ve got yourself an in-vogue, effortless afternoon look. Now you can grab that cup of coffee in style or hang out at the movies in comfort.

Blazers aren’t just for business meetings and weddings. Play around with different cuts and fabrics, until you find a blazer you like. Don’t be afraid to experiment and good luck!

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Fashion Padawan: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

These boots were made for walkin’…or for the extreme cold./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

When it gets to late November and early December in Boston, you should know what to expect. I’m a lifelong New Yorker, but even I was unprepared — emotionally, physically, spiritually — for the North Pole crashing down Commonwealth Avenue a few weeks ago.

If you don’t remember a few Sundays ago, it was FREEZING. I went out for a total of 20 minutes with the intention of seeing a quidditch match, but apparently Harry Potter didn’t pack his thermal underwear because the tournament was over before I even got there.

And when I was waddling/cry-walking back to the warmth of Warren Towers, I realized that my winter garb was not up to snuff. And unless you’re super-prepared for the icy wrath of Tilda Swinton a la “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” you’re not up to snuff either.

So, here are a few things we need to get prepared for winter:

1. Insulated shoes: Oh, what’s that? These two things attached to my ankles are not blocks of ice? They’re feet? Thanks, Converse, for not letting me know. As much as I love Converse — roughly to the moon and back — I can’t keep wearing them. It’s time to break out the boots. I have a pair of black leather biker boots (tongue-twister) that I almost never wear, but I think I’ll have to reintegrate them into my wardrobe. If you don’t have boots, I would suggest a meander over to Zappos for free shipping, or American Eagle for some Sherpa-lined boots.

2. Turtlenecks: The name sounds vaguely horrifying, but I can’t argue with the results. Even if I wanted to, I can’t because the International Turtleneck Association refuses to answer my letters. Turtlenecks are designed to keep you warm, and if you wear them in the right way (neck folded down aesthetically) then this personal fashion do-not can become a fashion do.

3. Real gloves: I’m so guilty of buying — cough, stealing from my mom, cough — cheap gloves that seem like a decent purchase in the beginning but then make me want to cry. And in this day and age of iPhones, it is imperative to have touch-screen gloves for walking and texting in the cold. I recommend buying from L.L.Bean or Timberland; they’re less stylish than Urban Outfitters or H&M, but they’ll get the job done. The job: keeping your fingers from falling off because of horrible frostbite.

Once I get back in the green — aren’t I so hip? — I think I’ll devote some of it to getting the aforementioned items. Because once we are all wrapped up toasty and warm, we can appreciate the Christmas spirit. And those Christmas sales.

Fashion Padawan: Three Things You Need to Wear This Winter

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

Danny McCarthy

Danny McCarthy wears a trapper hat, Asos scarf and festive socks/ PHOTO VIA Justin Hawk

When the high from chugging that Starbucks venti pumpkin spice latte fades and you’re stuck walking from East to West campus in weather so cold your hands might as well be frozen meat-gloves, you realize that sometimes, winter sucks.

And when you’re waddling to class swathed in layers of clothing, it’s easy to forget that, even in winter, you need to make an effort. Everyone else may be pulling a full-on marshmallow act, but there are things you can do to spice up that dull wintry wardrobe.

Here are the three things you need this winter:

1. The hat: When I’m looking at someone, my gaze instantly goes to their head (and because I am a reliable source and sample of the general population, I’m assuming you do too). And since we focus on the head, we need a head-dress, aka the hat.

I refuse to accept that some people aren’t “hat people.” That’s a lie; you’re just weak. There are some people—me—who have a head for hats, and there are some who have to work hard for it. Maybe it’s a baggy beanie, or a tweed newsboy cap. I personally have a soft spot for trapper hats. They’re so cute and warm and the BU Bookstore has a few of them for a pretty decent price.

2. The scarf: I feel like guys think scarves aren’t “manly” enough to wear. But what’s more manly than wrapping your neck in what is essentially the cloth version of a strip of bacon? Literally nothing. Scarves are warm and can add depth to any outfit. I have been particularly fond of this cable-knit, mustard-yellow scarf from ASOS that I bought back in August—for just $8. If my outfit is leaning towards darker colors (a distinct winter possibility) a yellow scarf can add some oomph. Just avoid the scarf and t-shirt combo; you’re not a fashion savage.

3. The socks: Why are socks always the middle children of the clothing world? As a middle child, I know their pain. But we need to champion the middle children—most importantly me—and value their worth. Boring socks make me want to throw fake blood on the perpetrators—whoops. But if I spot a flash of spots or stripes or bright colors between your shoe and your pant, I want to throw diamonds on you. You can get cute socks anywhere, but I recommend J. Crew for spots or stripes, and Urban Outfitters for the wackier options.

I know it’s hard to get dressed in winter, when all you want to do is curl up in bed and watch “The Vampire Diaries” (I’m projecting a little, but hey, pick your poison), but you can still make the effort. The great thing about accessories is that they can take a mundane outfit to new heights. If you’re wearing a dark sweater and some nice brown chinos, but you add a bright pair of socks and a cute hat, suddenly you’re ultra-chic and knowledgeable; you can become the ‘it’ guy.

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: Jealous of: Finn Harries

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

‘Tis Finn Harries, the YouTube celebrity./PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

If you don’t know who Finn Harries is, don’t feel bad. He’s part of a growing subculture of the Internet. Finn and his twin brother, Jack, are YouTube celebrities who run a channel called “JacksGap.” It has over two million subscribers. Besides being grossly handsome — it’s almost offensive — Finn has great style and it’s simple enough that everyone can pull off.

The breakdown:

1. The shoes: Desert boots. Finn typically wears dark brown desert boots. Desert boots are notoriously comfortable, but little tip: if the arches of your feet start to hurt after wearing desert boots, buy an insole from CVS. Desert boots have sparse support, but slip in the insoles and you’ll be golden.

2. The pants: Finn perfectly reflects the slim-leg trend. Some guys might shy away from this trend, whether by peer pressure or the daunting notion that you might turn into a eunuch if you manage to pour yourself into some skinny jeans. As a frequenter of skinny jeans, I can assure you that they aren’t as bad. Skinny jeans help to create a general V-effect, making your shoulders the widest part of your body and narrowing down to your slim little legs. Finn goes with dark jeans, a trend that I’m starting to appreciate more in the autumnal months.

3. The top: Finn isn’t fancy; he normally wears a t-shirt, but this isn’t your average t-shirt. Because he’s British (aka at least six months ahead of American men’s fashion) he buys from Topman, a branch of Topshop, which is like a classier, British-er, nicer version of H&M. Topman has online shopping but notoriously frustrating shipping. Peruse the website so that the next time you’re in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Las Vegas, you can pop in. However, if you’re feeling the whimsy, Finn also wears Johnny Cupcakes, a store that “bakes” up “batches” of t-shirts, each set unique and fun. They ship worldwide, but you can pop down to Newbury Street and visit them. You’re welcome!

4. The face: Sadly, no one can ever have Finn’s face. Except for his identical twin brother, Jack.

5. Bracelets: Some people (me) find bracelets charming on other people, but never remember to buy any for themselves. Finn eschews that notion because his wrist is covered in bracelets, metal, wooden beads and rope. It personalizes anything you’re wearing. If you hate the idea of spending a bunch of money on bracelets, I suggest buying one or two neutral ones and then make your own. Cut some yarn and tie it around your wrist.

You might not be able to be Finn Harries, but you can certainly dress like him. As always, the number one accessory to any outfit is confidence (gag-worthy, but totally true).

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: Sweater Weather

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

As the weather turns cooler we all turn to a necessary basic: The Sweater/PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

The weather has finally cooled from its roiling boil. And with this lowered temperature comes the more hallowed weeks of the year aka sweater weather.

If you live under a rock, then I pity you. It’s dirty under there. And you don’t know about sweater weather. Sweater weather, as defined by the Dictionary of Me, is “weather where it is appropriate to look chic in knitwear without the fear of being either too hot or too cold”.

It’s not hard to look good in sweaters. With so many different styles (baggy, structured, slim-fit) and so many textures (cable-knit, silky-smooth, rough-knit), you can find a sweater that fits your exact specifications. When I was looking over my shockingly meager supply of sweaters, I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to add some more knit into my life. I got sloppy and devoted too much money to adorable crew-neck sweatshirts.

But I do have a few gems amidst rough stones. I’m a sucker for oversized things, so my sweaters favor grandfatherly and hipster, in shades of burgundy to egg-cream. Some of my sweaters, the higher-end ones, are gifts — as if I can afford anything from Men’s Wearhouse — but the majority are things I’ve bought from regular clothing stores.

For really nice quality, I would obviously recommend something of Men’s Wearhouse or Joseph A. Bank. But let’s face it, no one our age has that kind of money. So I’m here to offer up some more reasonable alternatives.

1. H&M: Although the quality can be hit or miss, I find that H&M has some great sweaters. The store on Newbury has several thick, interesting-patterned sweaters for twenty dollars a pop: Not a bad deal.

2. Uniqlo: Now, I don’t know how widespread Uniqlo is, but I know that there are several in New York. Uniqlo has some amazing pieces, like slim-fit button-downs in florals and spots. It also boasts a bajillion — real number? Nope — sweaters, ranging from $90 cashmere sweaters to $20 lambswool. The Uniqlo sweaters are perfect for simpler tops; they don’t have crazy patterns, but you can get V-necks, crew-necks, cable-knit, and cardigans in a variety of colors.

3. J. Crew: I can never decide if I love J. Crew or hate J. Crew. On one hand, it has great quality and chic style, but on the other hand, it can be pricey and sometimes I feel like the men’s clothes just stay the same, over and over, throughout the seasons. However, if you do a little bit of hunting during the sales, you can find some amazingly soft and cute sweaters.

If you’re either too lazy or too far away to get to these stores, fear not. J. Crew has had an alive and well online store for some time now, and Uniqlo and H&M recently opened online branches of their own stores. So go out and enjoy some sweater weather. Make sure you drink lots of tea and slap on a few hats while you’re at it.

Winter is coming.

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: That Time I Dressed Up for Ellen + Bonus Padawan

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

The Green Monster and Rosie the Riveter all thrown into one./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

Ellen came to Boston. The tweet read: “Who’s ready to win some World Series tickets? I’m talking to you, Boston. Marsh Plaza at BU. 5pm. Be there.”

False.

This statement should have read, “A representative of Ellen DeGeneres is holding a competition for, like, three people to win Red Sox tickets after standing in the cold for five hours.”

However, no one knew that originally.

At 3:30 p.m., I went with two friends to CVS to pick up green makeup and hairspray. Now, I was hoping that Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t super popular and no one would have read her Twitter challenge. That didn’t happen. The line for the cash register stretched back into the depths of the store.

Armed with a Halloween set of paint and blue and yellow spray paint, we literally sprinted back to the dorm, ripping through our rooms for anything green or Sox.

I wore a green t-shirt, green jeans (yeah, I own green jeans) and a fabulously assembled pair of red boxers on my head. After applying green eyeliner, I looked like a slightly more feminine version of Rosie the Riveter. Seriously.

However, even in my green glory, I was a candle to the flame that was my next-door neighbor, who only wore a pair of green boxers and green body paint. We all wandered down to Marsh Plaza, where, shockingly, we weren’t the most outrageously dressed. There were people head-to-toe in thick green body paint, a Gilly suit (respect, respect) and someone who was literally draped in towels.

I admit, I wanted the Red Sox tickets, but after an hour and a half of standing out in the cold and drizzle, I was ready to go home. I took my tight pants and my aching shoulders — we thought it would be a good idea for my friend to sit on my shoulders so that we got more attention. SPOILER ALERT: It sucked as an idea. Worst idea ever — back to Warren to take a warm shower of defeat.

In the end, I didn’t get to see Ellen and I didn’t win Red Sox tickets. But I got to dress like an idiot with my friends and walk up and down the streets of Boston like a gypsy. Because when will I next get to be in college and dress in green and go crazy?

Answer: St. Patrick’s Day.

May the Fashion be with You!

BONUS PADAWAN:

Are you completely lost as to what to wear for Halloween? Are you allergic to dairy? I can help you with one of those two things.

Let’s face it, college is expensive. And buying massive amounts of queso (I crave the cheese) probably doesn’t make my bank account any happier. So if you’re like me and can’t deal with shelling out some Benjamins or Andrews, here are some quick and easy Halloween costumes you can do:

1. Borrow a floor mate’s eyeliner and draw whiskers and a frown on your face. Smear the remaining eyeliner around your eyes. Pair with a white t-shirt and a pair of homemade cat ears that you cut from printer paper and you are…

 GRUMPY CAT

2. Go through your closet and find a dress shirt and a pair of substantial boxers. Slap on some running sneakers and you are…

HALLOWALK OF SHAME

3. For this you need a buddy. Dress your friend in a white t-shirt and write across the front, “Mansion-Apartment-Shack-House”. Then, wear an oversized sports jersey and tighty-whiteys underneath. Stick your tongue out, and you and your friend are…

BANGERZ AND M-A-S-H

Seriously, you’re welcome.

May the Fashion Be With You.

Fashion Padawan: Appropriate For Class

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

BU is a mecca for all kinds of people./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

Walking across campus, you tend to run into some interesting people. Boston University is a diverse place, and that makes itself apparent when you come across students from Shanghai, Wichita and Athens all within a 10-foot-radius. So, in this melting pot of culture, it can be a shock when you come across…Adidas Slides.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with Adidas Slides, but I’m definitely not saying that there’s anything right with them.

Like most things, the Slides have their place in our world: namely the shower, if you live communally.

For my freshman peeps, it can be rough trying to avoid contracting rare toe fungi. Not fun…gi (pun).

But BU is, at its core, an academic institution, and sadly some people don’t take that seriously when they’re going to class. Walking back from a discussion a few days ago, I spotted someone wearing basketball shorts, a sweater, tall white socks and leather loafers. Where was this person going? Is there any suitable location for this outfit?

Even though it might seem like a hassle to get dressed (rough, I know) for class, you really should. Why? Because dressing in real clothes means that you’re serious about learning. When you roll up to an 8 a.m. in sweatpants and a sweatshirt ready to get back into bed, that affects how willing you are to work.

So because I’m nice and I care, here’s a quick list of what’s appropriate for class!

Appropriate For: Class

1). When in doubt, belt it: Maybe it’s just me, but putting on a belt means that I’m wearing real pants. And real pants means that I have to be seen. If your pants don’t have a belt, they might be track bottoms. And if they’re track bottoms, you need to look at your life.

2). Match: This isn’t a fashion potluck, where you wear something from every walk of clothing. Take our loafer-wearing friend; if he had swapped the leather for a pair of sneakers, his outfit would’ve been cohesive, albeit a little lame. Don’t just throw on whatever you find around your room.

3). Groom yourself: If you look like Kip Dynamite when you don’t shave or homeless when you don’t comb your hair, then you need to step up before someone else (me) takes drastic action. I have nothing against facial hair, but it needs to be kept in check. And run a brush through your hair once in a while. We’re adults. Be classy.

So there you have it! Three tips to make yourself all apro-pro for class!

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: The Shoes I’m Currently Coveting

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

Nothing beats classic./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

Shoes are the foundation of any outfit. And if we’re going by my shoe collection, my outfit is built on a foundation of sand and Jell-O. I’m not saying my harem of shoes is dismal, but it could definitely stand to be improved upon. I think one reason I hardly ever buy shoes is that it is such a major purchase and I don’t do well with bigger decisions. Just ask anyone who is out to dinner with me.

But let’s call a spade a spade: Shoes are more expensive than your average article of clothing. And, after all, shoes tend to get more wear and tear than your sweater, unless you’re doing weird things with that sweater.

So if one day I hit the jackpot/pull a bank job (which one do you is more likely?) and I decide to spend some of my millions on shoes, here are the shoes I’d currently go for:

Shoes I Heart:

1. Clarks Desert Boots: Okay, so I already have a pair of Clarks Desert Boots, but I have the “Sandy”-colored ones. I have my heart set on the brown suede, a chocolate-y dream that would do wonders for my autumnal outfits. Dark brown suede, dark jeans and a cozy striped sweater: could anything be better than that?

Price: $120

Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing To Give Up: 1.5

2. TOMS: These are adorable and need to be in my life. I bought my first pair of TOMS over the summer, and fell in love. I went for the safer black color, but I want to own a pair of red slip-ons before the end of this year. They’re so light and comfortable; I feel like I’m walking on a cloud that a child in Africa is also walking on. Side note: make sure you wear socks with TOMS, because if you don’t, they will smell and you will be embarrassed.

Price: $48

Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing to Give Up: .6

3. Sperry Top-Siders: The only pair of shoes I have never owned; and I want to so badly. I want to go for the Original in either light blue or faded green, but they’re expensive enough to give me pause. I used to hate Sperry Top-Siders because I thought they were very “Dad”-ish, but they’ve grown on me, like fungus on the walls of Lascaux Caves (too soon?).

Price: $70

Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing to Give Up: 2

So there you have it, a peek into my deepest shoe desires. This also goes for anyone who wants to buy me a present: Let’s hold off on the gift-cards, and look to the aforementioned items for reference. Thanks!

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: Top Ten Things Girls Love On a Well-Dressed Guy

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

Classic Converse with a light blue twist./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

This week on Fashion Padawan, Danny hit the streets! No, I’m not homeless. But I did make several awkward attempts to ask Boston University girls what they would want their boyfriends, brothers and male friends to wear.

So, if you’re a human male and want to impress the fairer sex, you should totally continue reading.

The Top Ten:

  1. Chinos
  2. Leather jackets
  3. Sperry’s Top-siders
  4. Big-frame glasses (real, not fake)
  5. Band t-shirts
  6. Short sleeve button-downs
  7. Classic Converse
  8. Cardigans
  9. Flannels
  10. Oxford shoes

Interestingly enough, the answers weren’t as expensive or outrageous as I thought they would be. Personality appeared to be a big factor in what the “boyfriend” should dress. A few mentioned a specific style and then suggested what would work for that style: skater, hipster, etc. Some girls inquired for the situation.

If your personal style is more prep, some girls suggested Vineyard Vines. If you’re more eccentric, try Urban Outfitters.

The items on the list seems pretty ubiquitous in every store, so what makes them what girls favor most on a guy? One recurring theme was this notion of confidence. I chatted with a few girls who said that they wouldn’t care what a guy was wearing as long as he was confident in it.

But if confidence isn’t your natural inclination, the ladies of Boston University also offered me the following advice:

  1. Dress for your personality: If you’re a skater guy, don’t worry about dressing in the preppy style. Vineyard Vines probably isn’t your fave, but feel free to play around with Vans clothing.
  2. Make sure everything fits: No baggy jeans, please. Jump out of your comfort zone with straight-leg and slim-fit.
  3. Dress cohesively: Make sure everything goes together. A really expensive pair of leather shoes will look ridiculous with a pair of sweatpants, but if you swap the sweat for a nice chino, I’m sure you’d look fantastic.

So, if you want to impress that cutie in your Psych discussion, or go crazy over the barista in Starbucks, feel free to follow these tips!

May the Fashion Be With You!

Fashion Padawan: Make Up Your Mind, Weather

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
@dannyvonunicorn

When the whether takes a turn halfway through the day, you need to be prepared./PHOTO via Danny McCarthy

As the calendar flips to October, we should know what to expect, weather-wise: chilly days, pumpkin-spice lattes and thick sweaters. Nope. The weather is broken. And the weather isn’t like my iPhone; I can’t turn it off and turn it back on, in the hopes that the problem will be fixed. And when we can’t fix something, we must adjust.

As a guy, I have so few layers to work with already, and it’s made even more perilous by a temperature that changes numbers faster than T-Swift changes boyfriends. It’s like a square dance of “hot and cold, hot and cold.” I need to make each piece of clothing work, because: one, I won’t be beaten by the weather and two, I’m not going to get changed. I have to pay for my laundry now.

So, if you are similarly afflicted by stubborn pride and a small wallet, then this How-To is for you!

How To Dress When the Weather Is Cray:

1. Button-downs: How have we not bowed down to the mystical powers of the button-down? I recently wore a chambray (like denim, but slightly more pretentious) button-down and was pleasantly surprised by how breathable the fabric was. Button-downs often have a more defined figure than your average t-shirt, so it structures your shoulders into appearing broader and squarer than they might usually be.

2. Loose shirts: For the love of everything sacred, avoid tight clothing. I’ll be the first to admit: I’m a human being and I sweat. And sometimes, when it’s hot or I’m hurrying somewhere, I sweat more. Tight shirts cling to your body, making it all the more obvious when you’re gross and sweaty. Go for a looser t-shirt and roll up the cuffs of your sleeves to give it a slightly more tailored look in the arms, which are uber important.

3. Pants: If I know it’s going to be cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon, I opt for pants. I’d rather be comfortable than cold in the morning. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with rolling up the cuffs of my pants. I would normally roll my eyes at those idiots, but if you know how to do it right, it works. My advice? Roll with fitted pants and only roll enough that your ankles are exposed. No one needs to see your calves in their unholy glory. Have some class.

Are we all ready to brave the tumultuous twists of Boston weather? Just remember to be smart; pack a sweater if you’re going with a t-shirt for the mornings and roll your cuffs to keep cool.

May the Fashion be with you, Padawans!