A Time to Vent

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Shopping to me is just as much bred into my life as drinking coffee, breathing, and playing music.  One thing that really does bother me (if I can even call it being bothered) about shopping is not necessarily the ability to shop, but the environment where your ability is exercised.  I am writing this blog in a hotel room near Dulles airport in DC, and after being in a couple of malls within a 15 mile radius during the past 3 days, I have come to the conclusion that I am much more of a shopping snob than I have anticipated.  Let me explain.

I love big metropolitan cities, and usually big metropolitan cities have big shopping areas that hosts both your local/average shops and high-end couture.  Why is being in a metropolitan city a big deal?  Because it generally contains both quality and quantity value, something you don’t really find in smaller cities or “growing” metropolitan cities.  I love New York and all of its shopping glory.  I love SoCal because of the many places where I can get great deals on high-end shops.  And after visiting the quaintness of Reston Town Center to the “grandeur” of Tysons Corner, I came to the conclusion that the value of shopping does have weight when it is surrounded in an environment where that value is shown in all of its grandeur.  The mall at Tysons Corner is very big and definitely has lots to offer to various types of shoppers.  It even has a good portion of shops that I am very familiar with in the West Coast — shops and restaurants like Armani, Gordon Biersch, Movado, Aldo, Steve Madden, Urban Outfitters, Kenneth Cole, Nordstroms, and H&M — shops that aren’t your typical mall retailers like Express, Abercrombie, Banana, etc.

And while I am a good sport in finding great places to shop anywhere, I’m also very critical of where those places are in comparison.  I know that shopping in Manhattan will never compare to shopping in Oklahoma City, nor will shopping in Promenade be any better than shopping anywhere in Montana.  Moreover, for a supposedly “metropolitan” area (and I question the value placed on that word), where I live now is neither the best place to shop nor the worst, but it certainly does not make it easy on metros like me who wish for a supposedly “metropolitan” area to have great shopping centers.

There is a certain responsibility that the environment around that area has on building up such shopping grandeur.  There must be a level of progressiveness and a healthy balance of quality and value in that development; however, the perspective should also be progressive and the drive to move forward, to provide the best that THAT city can offer.  Even if I end on that note – which I won’t – I can only define my thoughts based on the actual experience and knowledge that I have and compare that knowledge and experience with others I have encountered.  The fact there are only 2 “fantastic” malls to shop in my area doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a level of progressiveness and drive to move forward, because I know for a fact that there is such a level and perspective.  But, as I sit here contemplating on that, I am wondering how fast that level and perspective of “progressiveness” is being embraced.  I already have my own views on such an environment, and I don’t even want to create havoc on exposing that just because I want great shopping centers.  What I want is more than that, but shopping centers are a great tangible result that shows proof of that progressiveness; it shows the ability for a community and city to expand its horizons and be involved in economic and city development, bringing in tourism, consumer confidence, and retail establishment and loyalty, among others.

I missed Nordies and Armani when I left the Northwest, and while I can get their products online, it’s never the same in comparison to sitting down at Gordon Biersch and be surrounded by familiar things in life.  As someone pointed out to me this past week, being a transplant to another city is never easy, and hardly the same in comparing environments.

You know what?  Nothing is ever easy anyway.

A Must-Have Look

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Looking good is just as much an attitude and mental perception than it is your outfit and how you wear it.  But it doesn’t hurt to have a great outfit that makes you feel good and helps your mind feel good about what you wear.  Having the perfect combination of cut, texture, tailoring, color, and style will always hit the mark in giving a person that wonderful sensation.  The outfit I’ve shown below is a great example of how to get that sensation.

Express Curdoroy Suit

Express Curdoroy Suit

This corduroy suit from Express.com is a perfect blend of sophisticated and classic look with a modern flair. The 5-button vest playfully shown underneath the 2-button corduroy jacket provides that classic 3-piece-suit-look without straying too far away from the more contemporary design. The buckle belt gives this outfit a subtle hint of modern wear without being overtly modern, which makes this whole design more versatile than one would think.

Next, add a solid or lightly striped 1MX shirt to make the jacket and vest pop out.  Look for strong and light hues of white, purple, blue, or red to enhance the look that you are trying to achieve.  Stripe patterns are also great with the look if the occasion calls for it.  Since this is corduroy fabric, depending on the wale patterns and size, offset large patterns with more subtle tones, widths, and lengths to balance the design.  And if you’re bold enough, you can even add a bold black button-down shirt with wide pinstripe patterns in lighter gray, purple, red, or off-white colors to get that modern-ish craving.

Add a flat-front corduroy Producer Pant to round out the outfit.  If you are looking into getting pleated corduroy pants, make sure to check the wale patterns of the corduroy and see how the strong the pleated lines are.  You want to ensure that the wale patterns are not obtrusive enough that it distorts the pleated lines, which will screw up the pant’s role of slendering your body.

Of course, I can’t finish this without my friends from Shopittome.com, who have supplied me with sweet deals on shoes. As always, I’m going to look for quality, stitch, style, and comfort when picking shoes. There are going to be some brands that people tend to love and others tend to hate. Pick the brand that you know that is going to last you a long time, that will look good as it grows on you, and that it will be as versatile to your wardrobe. With this in mind, I’ve always trusted Kenneth Cole to get the job done, and here’s how I am taking care of business.

Kenneth Cole Sim-Plicity Moc-Toe Oxfords

Kenneth Cole Sim-Plicity Moc-Toe Oxfords

A great shoe to match this outfit would be something that 1) is not too pointed, 2) that is slightly arched on the front, but not too much that it looks like a flat-toe, 3) slip-on or laces, and 4) has a strong sole foundation on both the heel and the side. Kenneth Cole has never disappointed, and its Sim-Plicity shoe is an excellent choice to polish this outfit.

Other add-ons include square-shaped cuff-links from Banana Republic or Kenneth Cole, striped or solid pattern ties in various hues and colors similar to the 1MX shirt, and last but not least, sheer confidence.

Lots of it.