About bravadopersonified

I'm a sartorially inclined gentleman living in NYC. One of the few things I'm passionate about is fashion and style. Particularly menswear and the evolution of the art of being a man; the finesse of male bravado. This is an exploration of how different men personify bravado and how those lessons can translate into something viable and tangible for others. What's better than being the best, most urbane, most genuine, tasteful man you can be? Nothing. I'm a guys guy. I love football. I love my woman. I love working out. I love milkshakes and smoothies. I love God.

Pop-Up Flea Market X J.Crew Sample Sale

You know what I like most about living in New York? Alongside Paris, it’s the fashion capitol of the world. And I’m a bonefide junkie. Pupils dialted with excitement, precision pacing, eyes glazed and glassy, drool peaking at the corners of my lips, body uncontrollably undulating, grabbing for shirts and ties, surely bystanders believe the “Intervention”  production crew is nearby documenting the agony and ecstasy of my retail therapy. Ok, so  that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not out blowing thousands of dollars on clothes, frankly because I don’t have thousands of dollars to blow on clothes. One day I will. I’ve made an important decision. I’m not buying anymore clothes, except a Christmas present to myself, until the spring. Developing more self control is vital for life. I have cultivated self control in areas of my life most people claim absolutely impossible and are always flabbergasted when I tell them. It shouldn’t be that difficult to do the same for clothes I hope.

Lots to do this week. I ventured out with my homeboy Kenric to the J.Crew sample sale. This was my first sample sale experience. There were plenty of people and plenty of great clothes. I wasn’t looking for much – a sweater, maybe some neckwear. I ended up purchasing a sweater, two ties, and a beanie for myself, and optimistically got my girlfriend two sweaters, hoping she liked them and hoping they fit that scintillating body she carries with meticulous expertise. No pics of the J. Crew goods or the sample sale scene.

The  fourth annual Pop-Up Flea was this past weekend. I’m glad I discovered this impromptu menswear haven, but also slightly saddened. Saddened at the fact the only way you would know about the event is either casually walking Bleeker St., a friend telling you, or obsessive-compulsive immersion in menswear tumblr/blogosphere. I’m the latter. I should definitely devote more time to more important things. It was a sunny, breezy fall afternoon and there were hoards of other casually, sharp dressed guys just hanging outside the Pop-Up Flea. Presumably checking the scene out, live blogging and tweeting, texting, networking, and possibly shopping. Conversation was casual, personable, and informative – waxed leather, fabrics, denim construction, shoe construction, suede, and furniture.

That's me.

I politely sipped (my coffee) and surveyed. There were some labels I had heard of and really admired like Hickoree’s (dope BK spot), Levi’s. Gitman Brothers, BillyKirk, etc. But there were plenty of undiscovered labels to examine. I was most impressed by Alexander Olch neckwear and Dehen 1920. Absolutely gorgeous ties. I must have hovered around their table set up five or six times, talking myself out of buying a bow-tie. Dehen 1920 is an Oregon based company making extraordinary varsity jackets and cardigans. They were going for about $420, which is actually reasonable and accurate considering the superior craftsmanship. Next fall you can bet I’m investing in one of these guys jackets. 

Alexander Olch Neckwear

Dehen 1920

Flawless Victory.

I ended up spending only $60 with Wooden Sleepers out of Greenpoint-Brooklyn. Which was excellent considering some of the prices other gear was going for. Lovely, luxurious, 3-inch width knit tie and flannel shirt on deck. I’m really growing to love flannel shirts. Not a lot of people wear flannel in the south, so I’m really not accustom to wearing it, but I’m starting to love it.  All in all it was a fantastic event and a fantastic day. Enjoy the rest of the pics. And stay clean.

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GANT, Goldfinger, and GQ

Y’all know I’ve been itching to shop. I really do need a couple of sweaters. I was walking to the train from my internship waiting for the light to change on fifth avenue. I thought, “H&M right beside you Brandon. Why don’t you go in there and have a look at the Versace collaboration?” My stomach was twisting with hunger. “Oh look at that, there’s the GANT flagship store. I’ll just  take a peek.” Sure, take a peek. “Sir Imma need you take your hood off”, says the large door man. I looked right at his big fat scowled face, barely heard him with  my headphones in bumpin’ that Drizzy “Lord Knows” track. But he said it to me like I was some kind of deviant klepto. I wanted to say, “Nigga it’s raining outside”, but he’s just doing his job.

“I don’t know about you but I went through a bunch of gyrations in college and settled into a sense that, “all right, this is my look.” Remember having “going to school”- clothes and “going out”- clothes? And your “going out”- clothes were just ridiculous? Hopefully by the time you’re in your mid-to-late twenties you’ve settled on something. Then it’s just a matter of drilling into that even deeper & getting that perfected.” -Michael Bastian 

The GANT flagship store has collections spread across two floors. The 2011 (Holiday & Fall) collections are on the first floor while GANT Rugger collections are on the second. I enjoyed the second floor the most. It was great. I was literally the only person shopping and felt like the floor was closed to the “public” for my personal shopping experience. I spent about an hour perusing and fantasizing. I didn’t plan on buying anything. A conviction I usually have no trouble standing on; that is unless I start trying clothes on. I spotted a flannel button down I’d been admiring online for some time and had to try it on to see if it looked as good on me as I had imagined.

Country Twill Flannel Shirt I dressed myself in my head occasionally.

Of course it looked good – great fit, great fabric, great colors. I picked up a similar button down and tossed that on as well. Looking in the mirror I thought, “This shirt looks better. It goes well with my skin tone.” I’ve never been one of those shoppers who shop thinking about colors and skin tones but I couldn’t ignore the reflection in the mirror. “Let’s be financially wise about this Brandon” I said to myself. I mean this was an expensive shirt. Seconds later, “Will that be debit or credit sir?” Damn you, Michael Bastian. You got me. The man didn’t win CFDA menswear designer of the year for making unattractive, ill-fitting clothes. Check this interview out with the GANT designer – http://www.parkandbond.com/the-intersection/men-of-style/michael-bastian-q-and-a

Purchased Flannel Button-down

I also took a Friday afternoon stroll down to Barnes & Noble on 86th street to pick up the new GQ. I didn’t really need to go to Barnes & Noble, I could have bought the GQ at the train station, but I wanted to get out and kill a couple of hours. Just so you know I’m pretty obsessed with James Bond. In my mind every man has a slight obsession with 007. And if you don’t I’m afraid I have to question your manliness. Not really (yes really), but he is arguably the quintessential model of male bravado and excellence. My fascination is somewhat half-hearted. I’m only familiar with the onscreen Bond, having no concrete knowledge of the literary character or how Ian Fleming eloquently constructed Bond’s persona.

“Bond picked up the body and laid against a wall in deeper shadow. He brushed his hands down his clothes, felt to see if his tie was straight and went on to his hotel”

So I impulsively bought “Goldfinger”. I’m only fifty or so pages into the book and it’s really good; clever, witty, and engaging. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It’s about James Bond. I think it rather outlandish that I’ve neglected reading any of Mr. Fleming’s series for so long. I don’t read a lot of fiction. Doesn’t really interest me. I prefer reading magazines and non-fiction. But buying “Goldfinger” was a choice decision. I’m no longer relegated to my Android games, I’ll have something to read on the train. I’m working on several pieces to post and I believe I’m most excited about the Bond piece. Who knows when I’ll finish it but I hope it proves readable. Stay Clean.

What’s That Jacket, Margiela?!

I promised a play-by-play of the Watch the Throne concert day. Without further ado…

4PM: I get back to my girlfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn from a quick (bicep & tricep) pump at the gym. She stumbles half asleep out of her room and I decide I need a hearty meal before this concert. So I slide into the kitchen to prepare some spaghetti. Her roomate’s brother, Jason, is posted in front of the television, submerged in his apple computer monitoring fantasy football like a real man.

4:45PM: Dinner is about ready. Jasmine mumbles something to me about Dez Bryant, how her red bull just kicked in, and admits she’s excited about the concert. Why wouldn’t she be excited? She loves yeezy and loathes Jay-Z. Conflict of interest I guess.

5:20PM: Jason decisively renders his verdict asbout my spaghetti; “It’s good. Really good.” Sure it doesn’t take much to make great spaghetti but there happens to be a duel of sorts between Jasmine and I. Who makes the best spaghetti? Me. Time for some music. First track “Love Lockdown”.

5:45PM: Now Playing: “Salt Shacker”. I need the atmosphere to shift in here. No one seems to be as excited as me.

6:20PM: Now playing: “Stronger” & “Dueces” (remix). There’s a short debate over what Jasmine should wear. Here comes Amber (her roomate) with her opinion and her opinion immediately supercedes mine. It’s a wrap. As long as Jasmine feels comfortable and sexy I have to acquiesce. And she (always) looks damn good. For the record, I will not be chuckin’ dueces.

"Nails done, hair done, everything did."

7:05PM: Marche rolls up. Everyone heads downstairs to the car and we start our journey to New Jersey. I’m really getting excited about the concert. Marche is excited as well, making agressive, evasive manuevers in the car. Jasmine looks over at me and fastens her seatbelt. Now playing: “I’m On One”

7:25PM: Amber is on the phone. I whisper, “Amber get off the phone. I need to hear this song.” “She’s on the phone with someone in Iraq.” Ooops. He gets a pass for being in a war zone. Now playing: “Party” Beyonce.

7:40PM: Lord have mercy. The radio is at it’s lowest volume and the women (Jason and I are outnumbered 3:2) start talking about relationships. It’s inevitable – assemble a group of women and this will no doubt occur. It’s some type of natural phenomenon. All of a sudden the Ford is transformed into an Oprah-esque open forum about relationships. I look over at Jason peering out the window presumably brainstorming how to kill himself.

8:00PM: We arrive at the IZOD Center

8:04PM: Murder Death Kill confirmation. Hold your gasps of horror. Murder death kill is a two part reference. The next vehicle I own will be all blacked out. “All black everything” as Hov would say. Anything (especially vehicles) blacked out I refer to as “murder death kill’d out.” I shared my delightful anecdote with Jason earlier and while walking in the parking lot he pointed to a car, “Murder death kill.” I knodded in agreement and Marche says, “What movie is that from?” I got really excited that she was familiar with the movie reference. “The one with Wesley Snipes? Demolition Man!” Jasmine acknowledged the movie reference earlier as well and now Marche has validated my claim that everyone knows the phrase “Murder Death Kill”. Demolition Man, what an awesome movie.

8:15PM: Seats are dope. We have our own little row of seats. The second (rising LED) stage is literally 30 feet away from us.

Our Watch The Throne row

8:45PM: Standing in line for drinks. Looking around, the crowd is very representative of Kanye and Jay-Z fan base. A tapestry of ethnicities, ages, sizes, and shapes.

 9:15-9:18PM: Jay-Z enters the arena adjacent to our seating section and the arena erupts with screams. Beyonce comes out behind Jay and makes her way to VIP. It’s pandemonium. They’ve just finished “HAM” and the second stage in front of us lights up and begins to rise. The stage is visually awe inspiring. I have a keen sense of smell and the stage is not the only thing that begins to rise; someone, actually some thousands, have just lit their blunts to mentally prepare for what’s sure to be sensory overload for the next two hours.

9:22PM: “Otis” crowd sing along

9:27PM: “Welcome To The Jungle” My man on the organ is showin’ out.

9:30PM: Kanye speaks to the crowd, “I go by many names. Martin ‘The Louis’ King Jr…”

During "Welcome to the jungle".

9:38PM: We’re into individual performance territory now. Mr. West begins with “Can’t Tell Me Nothin” and goes into “Flashing Lights”. “Who makes songs about lights and fashion? This is the original”, says Kanye.

Kanye during "Can't tell me nothin'".

9:42PM: “Jesus Walks” starts up and Jasmine goes bananas. Kanye does the Jesus walks across the stage and drops to his knees to finish the track.

9:45PM: “Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is JOV!” Flames shoot from the stage and the arena is shaking with voices rapping along with Jay.

10:00PM: “Monster” cues and Kanye proclaims, “Best rap group of all time.” There’s a close up of Kanye on the big screens and literally as I turn to Jasmine to say, “Look at that niggas bracelet”, everyone else around us (and probably the entire arena) says the same thing verbatim.

10:10PM: “Hard Knock Life” This song was my first introduction to Jay-Z. My cousin, Farrah, gave me “The Life and Times of Sean Carter Vol.2” and I was made a Jay-Z fan instantly. I might have been twelve.

10:26PM: “If I told you I didn’t like the dress you wore tonight, don’t mind me. I’m an asshole…cuz you always fine…”  Those words really resonated with Jasmine for some reason. Kanye performs “Runaway” on the second stage right beside us.

"Runaway"

10:32PM: “Stronger” on the stage beside us.

"Stronger"

10:35PM: “On To The Next One” mixed in with a little “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice. This was an awesome mix and it only lasted for the intro. I would’ve given anything for that hint of Justice to stay in the entire track.

10:54PM: “All Of The Lights>Big Pimpin'” I almost lost it about this point in the concert. “All Of The Lights” went SO HARD and the transition was seamless and flawless.

“Y’ALL NIGGAS AIN’T READY!!!!”

11:12PM: This is what Kanye screams again and again as “Niggas In Paris” begins. This is the end of the show and the most anticipated song of the night. The duo performs the track three times. The encore track is “Encore”.

11:27PM: I’m sitting down, head in hands, trying to gather myself after one of the best shows I’ve had the priviledge of experiencing. We compare voices, identifying who screamed their lungs out of functioning properly and head to the car.

12:00PM: Jasmine says Jay-Z has elevated from a 4 to a 74 in her book. We all agree that’s a fair upgrade.

12:54AM: Everyone gets back home very hungry. I attack the spaghetti. Amber says, “That little spaghetti sauce is good.” I say, “I know, I made it. I can’t wait to tell Jasmine what you just said.”

1:17AM: Bedtime.

Hilfiger X J.Crew X Ralph Lauren X Clarks

I sure wish I was in Tuscaloosa for the Bama vs LSU game . I was stuck on the couch (in New York) with an ungodly heart rate, screaming “Strip the ball!” at the televsion, knawing and chewing on pillows. We lost 9-6 in overtime. I was pretty dissapointed after the game, I’m not ganna lie. But we’ll bounce back stronger than ever. Check out yesterdays look.

What Else Do I Do With My Free Time?

Yeah that’s me shopping. Some days when I have free time I shop like most people. And most of those days I do my best to not spend money. Unlike most people I don’t have a problem with just going to look at clothes. I absolutely love just looking at clothes. People don’t like to look at clothes especially when they don’t plan to spend money or have money to spend. Not me. I love clothes – I love to look at them, to touch, and feel fabric. But what’s really happening when I’m looking at clothes? I’m fantasizing. I’m fantasizing and parlty calculating about what this shirt or that tie could do for my wardrobe. My style is very calculated, there’s nothing random about it, and it’s probably the only calculated aspect of my life. I’m fantasizing of how I would (confidently) wear whatever it is I’m looking at. Fashion is a fantasy anyway, right?

In my free time you can find me posted in front of the television for football Saturdays and Sundays. Afterall, I am southern. I haven’t done much shopping as of late. I’ve been busy. Busy managing my (three) fantasy footbeal teams. I’m 5-2 in my best league while my girlfriend actually has a better record than I do in our league. She’s on a two game loosing streak and i’m on a two game winning streak. I’m looking to make my playoff run bout this time. I’m ready.

I’m also ready for this Watch The Throne concert this weekend. During my college years I lived for live music and attented festivals and concerts with my friends religiously. Those were great, blurry, high times. I’m talkin’ HIGH times bro.

Not this go’round. I promise to give a play-by-play of what’s sure to be one of the greatest concerts I’ve attended. It’s ganna be hard to top Radiohead and Coldplay (HIGH), but if anybody can do it, Kanye and Jay-Z certainly have the capability. Not sure what I’m going to wear. Jeans? For sure. Tie? Possibly. Pics to follow. Stay clean.

Oct. 29 - 25 degrees & snow (not pictured-vest)

Socks & Bow-tie

I said I would post picks of my bow-tie and socks soon. Well here are the goods. I wanna reiterate how excited I am to wear these socks.

I had a very important meeting this night. I was a little nervous but for the most part I was confident. I was confident in what I was wearing and what I was wearing made me confident. And let me tell you, I nailed it; completely nailed my meeting and was actually complimented on my look. Something  I’ve discovered is that if you don’t feel particularly confident, you should atleast dress confidently. And somehow that style confidence and swagger will translate into a confident attitude. And that’s what both you and I want. Check out the pics. I can see I’ll be wearing my vest alot this fall. Stay Clean.

J.Crew X Ralph Lauren X Levi’s

I did a bit of shopping this weekend. I love J.Crew and usually purchase something every time I step into the men’s shop on 79th & Madison.

“You know outerwear is 20% off today sir” said the dapper gentleman in the navy 3-piece suit…

 Well sure I’ll buy a vest, I mean why not? This buttton down really needed a heavier (wool fabric), darker tan tie, which I almost bought. But I held off so I’d have someting to look forward to purchasing next week. I also got some socks I’m really excited to wear. I’ve never been excited about socks but these joints are nice. Pics of the socks and bow-tie I purchased last week coming soon. Stay clean.

Tweed Run Wrap-Up

The Ralph Lauren Tweed Run was this past weekend. It was a gorgeous day in NYC; perfect for cycling and perfect for styling. My girlfriend and I decided to check out the event and check out the Rugby Store on University Place. We ran into some Occupy Wallstreet demonstrations and pressed on in style to visit the store neither of us had seen. The store is small in dimension but gigantic in style – nothing less than what you’d expect from Ralph Lauren. Here are some pics….

So we did a little, and I mean, a little shopping. I simply cannot go into a store and not buy something. It’s a problem, like for real. As a matter of fact, today i walked into the J.Crew Men’s Shop and bought a bow tie. Do I need a bow tie? Not partiularly. But I bet i need it when it’s in my closet. Anywho, I picked up a simple tan/brown striped button down, on sale might I add, and bought my girlfriend a lovely wool dress. She was really excited about the dress – because she looked so damn good in it – and excited about the store in general. Here’s a peak at the goods. Stay Clean.

Polo Rugby Tweed Run

Fitness and Fashion? Sign me up! But dont actually sign me up because i dont own a bicycle. Inspired by the British cycling event, this year the Polo Rugby Tweed Run will take place October 15 in New York. The proper attire for such an event is tweed jackets, tweed vests, newsboy and driving caps, and herringbone belts and ties. Bikers will begin in Manhattan, break for a spot of tea and crumpets, and end with a proper do in Brooklyn. That’s British slang by the way. I won’t be around for the biking but you can bet I’ll be around for the partying. The tweed run is sure to bring out a tapestry of style and has inspired these selections for your consideration. Check them out here at Chaos Magazine http://chaosmag.blogspot.com/2011/10/polo-rugby-tweed-run.html

Ovadia & Sons Fall Lookbook 2011

I’m in love with Ovadia & Sons. The two brothers behind the label really understand style. I didn’t think it could get much better than the labels Spring 2012 collection; a timeless aesthetic reminiscent of my favorite style period the 1920s. Yet they bring the heat again with the fall lookbook and conjour images of what the well dressed man will be wearing. See the lookbook and style review here: http://chaosmag.blogspot.com/2011/10/ovadia-sons-fall-2011-lookbook.html