P.C.Pop with Pablo

Archive for the ‘metro’ Category

Mad Men Style

In Fashion, fatherhood, GQ, life, Mad Men, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Movies, Pablo Malavenda, parenting, Pop Culture, Rat Pack, Sinatra, TV, Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

Growing Up with GQ — Part 2:

Either You’ve Got or You Haven’t Got STYLE!


Robin & the 7 Hoods


This is the second PC Pop blog post in a series called Growing Up with GQ.  As you know from previous PC Pop blog post (Growing Up with GQ), I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school; and someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70′s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.

Robin & the 7 HoodsRecently I have realized that my son is the sole heir of this marvelous legacy.  He’s the only Malavenda male in his generation.  That’s a lot of pressure on him — and me. I have been looking for inspiration in many places and searching for opportunities to make the point without triggering the “oh, dad” so typical these days.  Not sure if you have noticed but men are dressing better in movies and TV — and men and fashion is once again acceptable.  And thanks to shows like Mad Men and characters like Don Draper there is a renewed interest in the classic fashion styles of the past — even the ’60’s. One thing my son and I do have in common is our love of “black and white” movies and TV — classic cinema and television.  He and I (to the dread of my wife and daughter) watch a lot of the Dick Van Dyke Show and movies on the classic movie channels. He loves the George Clooney – Ocean’s movies; so, we watched the original from 1960. Last weekend, we stumbled on a movie similar to the original Ocean’s 11 that featured amazing fashion — Robin and the 7 Hoods starring the Rat Pack.

Robbo played by Frank Sinatra is a mobster from Indiana who is now in control of Chicago’s north side during pre-prohibition times. Robbo and his band of thieves which features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are different from the other gangsters (Peter Falk) and corrupt Sheriff (Victor Buono).  With some of his money Robbo with theSinatra, Dino, Bing help of an orphanage director (Bing Crosby) creates a nonprofit social services initiative.  In addition to the orphanage, they run a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The movie is a great vehicle for the Rat Pack with great music, dancing — and great costume design. The movie score features some of the most memorable Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen songs like “My Kind of Town,” “Bang! Bang!,” “Any Man Who Loves His Mother,” and “Don’t Be a Do-Badder.”

Ole Blue Eyes, Bing, Dino and Sammy are also dressed to kill the entire movie. Mad Men - Men's StyleThe fashion and style of this movie are classic, mobster, glamorous 1910’s style with a Technicolor – 1960’s – Vegas – Rat Pack swagger. More importantly the fashion in this movie has helped me make sense of my family. I forgot about the connection between the appreciation of GQ style with the men in my family — and the Rat Pack. The song and dance routine, “Style,” from this movie says it better than I. As the song goes, “Either you’ve got – or you haven’t got – style.” It would even inspire Don Draper.

Watch this clip from Robin and the 7 Hoods.  I think it speaks for itself.



Today, with the recent fascination with everything Mad Men and Don Draper — perhaps there is hope for my son to be more conscious about fashion and how he looks, smells, and dresses. A father could hope for a kid whose “got it” — yes?

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Growing up with GQ — Never Stack Up Your Patterns (and other fashion rules for men)

In College Students, Fashion, GQ, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture on June 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school.  Buying a suit off the rack was unthinkable.  And it didn’t stop there.  They wore the best athletic shoes, ironed their under-shirts and jeans, never wore jeans or t-shirts to school, tweezed eyebrows, and had their own signature cologne. Someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70’s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.  These men were also tougher than anybody in the neighborhood but never afraid to wear pink. (My uncle wore a pink suit to my confirmation as he served as my sponsor and got a compliment from the bishop.)  Everyone wanted them on their team, wanted to be their friends, and envied their sense of style — and their mojo.

GQ was a must read.  GQ is great if you have tons of money and have the ability to be dressed by a designer.  GQ is useful for knowing what color is the new brown; how skinny or wide your tie or lapel should be; or if your pants should be plain front, straight leg, cuffed, pleated or skinny. (I could go on and on about skinny jeans but we’ll save that for another time.)  So you can imagine my horror when I see men mixing the patterns.  Every day it seems I see someone with a plaid shirt with plaid shorts or someone with a pattern tie with a plaid shirt and a striped suit.  Now I am told that it is the latest fashion to mix your patterns — that it is the current fashion rule that is OK to break. GQ calls it “stacking your patterns.”  Designers are promoting it and famous folks are wearing them.  But you have to be brave to defy such a long standing fashion rule.  And not everyone, strike that, very few can pull it off.  I have yet to see someone in my small town pull it off.  So Stop.  Please.  My advice is to follow the rules.  Here are a few, if you missed that lesson growing up.

  • Don’t mix patterns — if your shirt is plaid, striped or patterned, everything else should be a solid color
  • Tuck in your shirt and Wear a belt
  • Your belt should match your shoes — black belt with black shoes, brown shoes with a brown belt — and your watch band should match your belt
  • Only wear white pants and light suits between Memorial Day and Labor Day — never wear white after Labor Day
  • Don’t wear suede or leather in the summer
  • Wear socks
  • Socks should match your pants
  • White socks with athletic shoes only
  • Flip flops only at the beach or in the locker room
  • No socks with sandals – or should I say mandals
  • Iron your shirt, at least
  • Polish your shoes
  • Learn to tie a tie with a dimple — and never wear a tie too long or too short
  • Tie should complement your shirt and suit
  • Don’t be afraid of color
  • Undershirts should remain under your shirt
  • Sweatpants are for the gym only
  • Pajamas, lounge pants, and slippers are for bedtime not to be worn in public
  • Never wear camouflage
  • For nicer occasions (wedding, interview) wear a white shirt
  • Never take off your suit jacket at an event, meal or meeting
  • Don’t button the last button of your suit jacket
  • Suit jackets should be snug on your shoulder — pants should break once not gather on your shoes
  • Black with black; Blue with blue — black pants with black socks; blue pants or blue shirt with blue socks
  • Never wear black with brown or navy
  • Don’t mix metals — all gold or all silver — not both
  • Unless you’re in the NBA or a professional clown — Never wear blue with orange; never wear red with green; never wear purple with yellow
  • Comb your hair, use some product tame it but not too much so it looks slick or stiff
  • Shave, shower, and don’t wear too much cologne

If you want to be more fashionable than the rest of the neighborhood kids, then here are a few things to remember.

  • No pleats — only plain front pants
  • Straight legs — no flared legs
  • Medium width to skinny ties with medium sized collars
  • Leave the really skinny ties for the younger generation — but wide ties are out for all ages

Now you may after reading this think that I fancy myself a well dressed man but I don’t.  I’m a state worker.  I’ve worked for the state for many years and stopped trying to be the best dressed at work.  I do however know the rules and follow them and appreciate when others do as well.  I also cringe when I see the rules being broken.  I secretly wish I never knew the rules.  What a carefree life you might have if you didn’t know about the rules, didn’t care about the rules, and just dressed as if no one was watching.  Walking around with plaid shorts, a plaid shirt, flip flops, and not so fashionable messed up hair — Oh the freedom.

But for me — oh the pressure. So for now, please, please stop stacking up the patterns.

Good luck.