More men are discovering what some of us fellows have known for years - that a hip wardrobe is incomplete without at least one pair of boots.
We’re not talking about brogans, Timbs, Wellies, or even cowboy boots, all of which have a place in the well dressed man’s closet. We’re referring to fashion boots. The kind that can go with jeans or a suit. The kind that have you feeling and walking taller. The kind that compel people to tell me “I like your shoes,” and then smile in mild surprise as I lift a pant leg and reply, “Thanks, they’re boots.”
They’re also practical, especially in winter, when they help shield the ankles from frigid wind, snow and rain. I have several pairs by Aldo, and Kenneth Cole and Hugo Boss currently have some hot styles out. They have influenced the return of high-top sneakers, which in many cases are getting a dressier look.
I recently saw a style by Rockport that vaulted to the top of my wish list. It’s called the Lexington, and it looks like a hybrid between a boot, a high-top sneaker, and an old-fashioned boxing shoe. It comes in the obligatory black, but the version in a burgundy-maroon shade called “sumac berry” is much more interesting. You can click on the picture to see more hot footwear for men and women by Rockport.
Last fall, when menswear designer Tom Ford turned out his third fragrance for men, it was worth the wait.
The former designer for Gucci and Yves St. Laurent introduced his first scents - the seductive Black Orchid for women and the mysterious, debonair Tom Ford for Men - in 2006. He followed in 2008 with the floral, hauntingly elegant White Patchouli for women and the amped-up Tom Ford for Men Extreme. He also cam up with a collection of Private Blend scents for his business partner, Estee Lauder.
The first two men’s colognes were pretty good. But Grey Vetiver, launched in 2009, became his most ambitious men’s effort to date. The eau de parfum is a departure from the predictable yet not altogether unfamiliar, combining exotic woods, spices and herbs with hints of grapefruit and orange flower on a base of oakmoss and fresh vetiver. It’s passionate and provocative, charismatic and refined - sort of an olfactory version of Mikhail Baryshnikov or Laurence Fishburne or Enrique Iglesias.
If you’re a man of discriminating taste and understated elegance, this one’s for you. You can get it at higher-end retailers or at a discount at Fragrancenet.com.
Valentines Day is a time to remember your sweetheart, and you don’t have to empty your bank account to give a thoughtful and memorable token of love. Gifts can range from practical to indulgent, depending upon the recipient’s likes and personality. And in this age of time crunches, high fuel prices, and unpredictable weather, there’s nothing like surfing the ‘net and sending quality, affordable gifts from the convenience and comfort of home - or anywhere else you have access to the Web.
We’ve done some looking for you and come up with 10 items for men and women that might inspire you as you mull seemingly endless options. You can click on any picture to browse and see what else the e-store has to offer. It seems that everybody has some great merchandise on sale.
For the woman who likes pampering, Fabulosity Body Souffle’ is an amber-infused delight at BabyPhat.com. With notes of plum, coconut milk, Tasmanian honey and vanilla absolute, she might be tempted to eat it.
Any man of style worth his collar stays knows that he can’t follow the rest of the pack and hibernate for the winter, casting most of his grooming regimens aside until spring. Preserving the handsome is a year-around job.
To help you do that, I’m recommending a half-dozen of my favorite products that can keep any guy in shape from head to toe. Winter weather is much harsher than summer’s, so it doesn’t make sense to slack off at such a critical time.
Incorporate some of these products into your ritual, along with exercise, healthy eating, dietary supplements, and lots of good water. The economy and weather might be dismal, but your appearance doesn’t have to be.
Where it is: AtHisBest.com
What it costs: $9.99
Why it’s important: It’s a sad day at my crib when I’ve run out of cartridges for this, the king of disposable razors. Wet shaving is better for the skin than dry shaving, especially in the winter, because it provides the many benefits of water. Shaving helps exfoliate dry, dead skin from the face, which is more likely to occur in winter’s harsher weather. The beauty of this five-fold blade is that it ensures a clean shave through stubble with a single swipe. There’s a special blade on the reverse side made just for trimming mustaches, goatees and special-attention areas such as near the ears and just under the nose. Each blade head lasts for quite a few uses, making it perhaps the best value among disposable razors on the market. For under $10, you get the razor and two cartridges.
Where it is: Beautorium.com
What it costs: $30
Why it’s important: .Everything else might look weather-beaten this time of year, but your face doesn’t have to. Like living room carpet, everybody’s face needs a good deep-cleaning on the regular. Whether once a month or every two weeks, this product does a great job cleansing pores. Formulated for oily and combination skin, it sucks out impurities and dead skin that cause blackheads, pimples, ingrown hairs and razor bumps. It purifies and balances without drying, thanks to ingredients such as sunflower, lavender, and an anti-inflammatory ingredient - oat beta glucan - that also protects against UVA damage and stimulates collagen production.
Where it is: AtHisBest.com
What it costs: $60
Why it’s important: Yep, we’re parking on the face with one more product because your face is your number-one billboard. It’s never enough to just wash your face, especially in the winter. Nourish, protect, and heal it and it will be one of your biggest assets for decades. Serums just might be the best over-the-counter products to maintain a healthy complexion, and this one is one of my favorites (along with Erno Laszlo’s and La Mer’s). It also may be the most environmentally correct. It contains ingredients such as peptides, certified organic green tea and omega-3 antioxidants, and natural sorghum stalk. It’s also free of colorants, parabens, and fragrance. The result is a vegan, high-performance potion that firms, strengthens, smoothes, moisturizes, and protects skin. And it makes aftershave and moisturizer unnecessary.
Where it is: Juaraskincare.com
What it costs: $37
Why it’s important: Beneath all those warm layers of clothing, your skin is crying for moisture. You would be wise to apply lotion or cream from neck to toes every day in winter months. But first, you’ve got to eliminate scaly, flaking skin caused by cold, dry weather and clothing that chafes. The solution? A scrub that does the job without irritating or burning. This might be the most man-friendly body scrub on the market. It’s a paraben-free, one-step shower - no need for a cleansing bar or body wash because it contains gentle, sulfate-free cleansing agents. It stimulates circulation and, when used in the morning, has the added benefit of an invigorating java aroma courtesy of fresh Indonesian coffee beans.
Where it is: Apothica.com
What it costs: $135 for 1.7 ounces
Why it’s important: There are colognes, and then there are colognes. What separates the men from the boys of men’s fragrances are the ones that are sophisticated without being stuffy, uncommon but not bizarre, and lasting yet never overpowering. The New York-based cult brand Bond No. 9 makes such scents. And this one, in eau de parfum concentration, is one of my favorites. With notes ranging from pineapple to basil to sandalwood, it combines a diverse range of olfactory categories: earthy, woodsy, spicy, fruity . As such, it’s a liquid microcosm of The Big Apple. Riverside Drive will put you in a New York state of mind. And what could possibly be wrong with that?