Somebody help this guy…

•December 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Forget terrorism and full body scanners. The idea of a murse (man purse) is worse than both…

The AG landed at ABIA late last night, only to have a l-o-n-g workday capped off by the sight of the stylish fella you see pictured above. (Side note: File “private detective” under the category of jobs the AG could never hold. It took seven attempts to snap this photo without getting caught. Seven.)

This guy is dressed like the airport is a Gold’s Gym. Even if you’ve settled with looking that sloppy, wear something with pockets, thus avoiding the over-the-shoulder tragedy we see here.

His Prada* shoulder bag might be fashionable across the pond, but here in the lower 48, men don’t use them. Period. What is even happening inside that bag?! Guys, if you don’t have room in your pockets for your keys/wallet/phone/etc., you’re carrying too much stuff.

Ditch the man bag, clean out that Costanza wallet and start living life better.

*Note the small, triangular logo at the top of the bag.


The Bottom Drawer

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

While the heroes we admired as boys never sat behind a desk, the modern gentleman is often relegated to one for a several hours a day—if not more. Now that you’ve come to terms with this cold reality, shouldn’t you at least prepare yourself accordingly? There are essential tools in every job, and you have to store them somewhere. 007 had his Aston Martin; Batman had his utility belt; you have your desk drawer.

Load up your office with this AG-approved list of items and you’ll be ready to handle anything from pink slips to promotions.

You absolutely must have…

  • DEODORANT—don’t pretend like you’ve never forgotten to put it on
  • IBUPROFEN—from hangovers to back aches, it’s God’s little miracle pill
  • ONE CLEAN* WHITE SHIRT—penne carbonara + shirt = not good
  • BREATH MINTS & GUM—that pasta isn’t doing your breath any favors, either
  • TRAVEL UMBRELLA—in case you forgot your coat at home

You probably want to have…

  • MOUTHWASH—enjoy that large black coffee…then clean house
  • COLGATE WISPS—black pepper; spinach; poppy seeds
  • HEADPHONES—cubicle or corner office, nobody wants to hear Deadmau5 all day
  • PEPTO BISMOL/TUMSthis lady swears by the stuff
  • SHOE SHINE SPONGE—keep ’em shined, gentlemen
  • NAIL CLIPPERS—not key like deodorant, but still good in case you forget
  • SHORTS/POLO/FLIP FLOPS—impromptu 5:00 trip to Woodrow’s, anyone?

Hell, you might as well have…

  • CASH, CASH, CASH—good for lunch deliveries, happy hour and March Madness
  • LEATHER CATCH-ALL—keys, loose change, sunglasses, that cash we talked about
  • FLASH DRIVE—any brand will do, unless you’re stealing corporate secrets
  • COLOGNE—when you don’t wear it to work but need it come happy hour
  • PUTTER—add in a sleeve of Titleists and you’ve got conference-call bliss
  • SCOTCH—If you think you’ll get fired, don’t do it. Period. In most offices, however, if you’re working past dinner or just need to have a serious one-on-one with a co-worker, you’re going to need something to drink. And please, do make it scotch. Unless you’re one of those suspiciously handsome guys from the Ketel One commercials, scotch is the only liquor commonly consumed neat. Keep two simple old-fashioned glasses, as well—one would make you an alcoholic; three or more would make you bar.

You may not need every item on this list. Hell, you may not need half. Nevertheless, it’s an office survival kit built for any situation. Take a look at your own work environment and adjust accordingly. Just don’t forget the scotch.

Time to tidy up that desk, get back to work/Angry Birds and start living life better.

*The next time you drop off your dry cleaning, have them tag one of your plain white dress shirts to be folded (not hung) for storage in your desk drawer. The AG has used Westbank Cleaners for years, and they’ll fold for no extra charge.

Why the AG Always Makes a Christmas List

•December 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me / A whole bunch of crap I didn’t need”

It’s the first week in December, gentlemen, which means our wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters and/or secretaries will be power-walking their way through the Domain soon enough—credit cards and empty car trunks at the ready.

If you’ve planned ahead, the women in your life will have a wish list on hand, thus avoiding the mishmash of random gifts men seem to get during the holidays. Sorry ladies, it’s true. We love you more than ourselves, but you buy things sober in December that you wouldn’t buy drunk in July. Moms, especially.

So, while the AG isn’t interested in competing with the many “gift guides” for men, you can at least heed this advice: make a Christmas wish list.

Otherwise, your younger sister might try to buy you working cigarette-lighter cuff links. Does the AG smoke? No. Does the AG have an interest in lighting himself on fire? Apparently so.

Time to make sure your fire extinguisher is working, celebrate the season and start living life better.

UPDATE: Can’t stand the rain, baby

•December 6, 2010 • 3 Comments

This Mackintosh® coat from J. Crew is 30% off through 12/8/10.

It’s piss-poor weather in the capitol city today, and once again the AG is stuck  in his office with a unopened fifth of Bulleit and Tom Petty on the stereo. Luckily, Austin is outside the reach of the really wicked weather stretching across Texas. Those conditions, though—unseasonably low temperatures, gusting winds, heavy rain—are a fact of life, and every now and then, you’ll have to bear them.

If a gentleman must take on the inclement weather, he’s going to need a garment he can trust. So what’s the solution? Simple. Get yourself a coat. Not a jacket, not a parka, not a slicker—a coat. Savvy?

The AG doesn’t know your particular style, so there’s no one coat to suit you all. (Suit… get it?) The AG does know, however, what makes up a good, all-purpose coat.

Fit, Fashion, Fabric, Function and Family History.

FitBaggy was cool in the 90s, slim-fit was cool last year, ripped and dirty is still cool on Drag Rats, blah blah blah. Here’s an idea: Stop paying attention to what’s “cool” and wear what fits. Not too loose and [please] not too tight. In coats, always buy your suit coat/blazer size and NOT bigger. If you’re a 42’reg like the AG, any decent clothier will have taken this into account and make the coat just big enough to fit over a sweater, blazer, etc. As for length, the answer is and forever will be 3/4, ie: slightly above the knee.

Fashion—It doesn’t take much sartorial acumen to look back on all the styles that have come and gone. It’s all about knowing what styles will look just as good tomorrow as they will in 20 years.

Fabric—The AG would love to profess endless knowledge on fabrics, materials and the like, but it’s just not there. Your best plan is to always inspect that oft overlooked tag showing what the garment is made of. Do a little Googling and make sure you’re buying a coat you’ll want to pass on to your son, not a panhandler on 7th St.

Function—Remember to avoid buying anything too heavy. This is Texas, and that coat needs to work for more than just our 6.27 days of winter each year. The AG thinks you’re better off focusing on how well the coat protects you from the whipping wind and pouring rain (again, a fabric issue).

Family History—Maybe the AG is old fashioned, but there’s something to be said about buying a product straight from the maker—or at least damn close to the maker. Seek out smaller, family-run clothiers (or at the very least, a clothier who has held onto their roots) and you’ll almost always be in good shape.

The coat that suits the AG best is the Mackintosh classic, as pictured above. Still handmade in Scotland (and now sold via J. Crew), the glen plaid* edition of this coat is quiet, elegant and classic. It is, simply, a gentleman’s coat. So head on out there and find the right coat for you, and remember to get one that jives with the Five F’s. Damn, the AG should probably get a patent on that phrase, yeah?

Time to keep that good lookin’ suit dry and start living life better.

*If you’re concerned you can’t pull off glen plaid, note that this pattern is a rather subtle one. Oh, and that the late, great Ronald Reagan used to wear glen plaid. The. End.

Ask the AG: Wedding Day Shave

•September 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

“I’m told you know Austin well, so help me out. I’m from Dallas, but my fiancée is from Austin. We’re getting married at the Mansion on Judges’ Hill in December, and I’m looking for a place where I can take all my groomsmen to get a shave or beard trim the day of the wedding. Do you know of any good spots for us to go? -Brian”

Brian, congratulations on your pending nuptials and compliments on the great idea. The AG has never heard of a groom throwing something like this together, but it sounds like it could make for a good time—provided no one died or went to jail at the bachelor party the night before.

In giving you an answer, it’s best to tell you that the barber shop mentioned below is the AG’s favorite. That is to say, there is a bit of bias going on here. There are plenty of popular barber shops in town—Bird’s, Wooten and Avenue to name a few—but that’s a conversation for another time.

If you’re looking for an excellent straight-razor shave or a cleanup on aisle beard, you’ve got to visit the Good Life Barber Shop at 5th and Brazos. Monday through Friday, this is the best place in town to go for a high quality shave, haircut and shoulder massage. While you’re being taken care of, there’s a refrigerator full of beer and a group of flat-screens running ESPN and CNBC. If there’s a wait, plop down on one of the leather couches, get your shoes shined or shoot some pool.

By now, Brian, you’re probably asking yourself, “How does Monday-Friday help me on my wedding day?!” Don’t worry, my soon-to-be-married friend—the AG has you covered.

The AG put in a call to Debbie, who co-owns Good Life with her son Ryan, and found out that for about $35 per groomsman, they’ll open up the shop on a Saturday just for you. While your friends get an old-school straight-razor shave one at a time, the rest of you can relax over drinks, play some cutthroat and talk about the mistakes you made just hours before.

Along with the TVs, pool table, etc,. the shop is actually underground and has a very vintage vibe, so the AG has a feeling you’ll spend a few hours there. Enjoy yourselves, and when your faces are smooth as glass and those four or five Heinekens have calmed your nerves, it’s just a short cab ride back to your hotel or the Mansion.

Don’t forget to send the AG an invite.

Time to pop five or six Advil, get a good shave and start living [married] life better.

The Friday Find: The Black Crowes’ last hurrah

•September 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you haven’t heard the news, the Black Crowes are taking a break from music—again.

This time, though, it would appear that the hiatus could be for good. Even if they do eventually return—and especially if the don’t—tomorrow is your best bet for catching one of the greatest southern rock bands to ever hit the stage.

Stubb’s will host the Crowes in one of their final six gigs before they hang it up, and it’s sure to be a good’n. The bad news is that the show sold out yesterday morning. The AG knows this because two friends didn’t heed his advice and purchase tickets  last week. Warned you…

The good news, however, is that tickets shouldn’t be tough to find. Anyone who has ever stood outside Stubb’s waiting for the old iron gate to open knows that there are plenty of scalpers running around for big shows. The AG has to presume tomorrow will be no different. Take cash and don’t pay more than $45, as the tickets were $35 (face) + fees.

Whether you bought your tickets last month or plan to snag a couple on Red River, it’s time to Shake Your Money Maker and start living life better.

The Friday Find: A little bit classy, a little bit rock’n’roll

•September 17, 2010 • 1 Comment

While GQ and others have been pushing flannels, parkas and scarves for weeks, we Texans have been slaving through 100-degree heat with no foreseeable end in sight. That’s why this Friday’s find is a set of spring/summer items. It doesn’t matter if it’s high-fashion or not; if you’re dressing for “fall” right now, you look goofy. And probably sweaty.

Thus, the AG presents The Hill-side ties and handkerchiefs. Made from chambray and canvas and God only knows what else, these are some of the most stylish items on the market, and they come in various colors and patterns.

Hill-side pieces look just like linen, but they hold up like a damn 2×4. This is good, since any man that has ever worn linen knows that after about 30 seconds, it wrinkles like it just came out of your laundry basket—which is quite possible for some of you. The AG picked up a tie and handkerchief about three weeks ago, and they’ve done well so far.

While there are bound to be shops with a handful of Hill-side pieces floating around town, the only dealer in all of Austin—uh, make that all of Texas—is Stag on South Congress*.

Time to shop locally, throw a shot of color into your office attire and start living life better.

*Austin-only tip: Just as no one from Austin says “Lady Bird Lake”, they also don’t say “SoCo” when referring to South Congress Avenue. If you’re too busy to squeeze out three syllables, this town is probably too relaxed for you, anyway.