DRESS CODE ENFORCED

•September 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Upon arriving at a sports bar on Saturday (not in Austin), the AG couldn’t help but notice the sign in the picture above. In short, is this sign’s presence on the bar’s front door a good thing or a bad thing?

You could say it’s good because they want to keep their establishment classy—as classy as a sports bar can be, that is—by keeping out idiots dressed in baggy pants and flat hats. (Side note: Could someone please email the AG and explain what a “flat hat” is? Thanks.)

The argument to say this is bad, however, is just going to point out how depressing it is. The only reason management put that sign on the door is because there had to be—at some point past or present—a recurring issue with people coming in dressed like trash. Signs like this shouldn’t have to exist… In that same vein, dress codes shouldn’t have to exist! Not knowing how to dress appropriately when out in public is simply ridiculous.

Sorry to get on the soapbox, but the AG found this sign to be really interesting. Can you remember the last time—if ever—that you saw a sign like this somewhere? If nothing else, you have to enjoy the humor of #6, “NO SLEEVELESS JERSEYS”. Lord Jesus help us all. Grown men wearing jerseys is bad enough, but sleeveless jerseys? Mothers, hide your children.

Time for the AG to patronize a higher-quality sports bar and for the rest of you to start living life better.

The Friday Find: Vintage Texas Longhorns tees

•September 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

While picking out a friend’s birthday gift the other day, the AG stepped into By George Mens. Amongst some other great items—dress shoes and an awesome plaid sport jacket, to be precise—were a collection of vintage University of Texas t-shirts. Well, vintage or vintage-looking. Either way, they caught the AG’s eye. Thought it a good move to put them up on the site since we’re only 24 hours out from UT’s season opener.

The pictures may not show it, but these are essentially popular UT shirt designs that have been aged to look and feel like your favorite old t-shirt that your girlfriend always seems to sleep in. Though they’re not exactly suited for the UT Club or the suites, these tees would fit perfectly in DKR, at a tailgate or on the porch at Scholz’s. Drop into By George Mens today and pick one up, provided they have any left.

Time to sport your new t-shirt in the 100-degree heat, bet against Rice and start living life better.

Ask the AG: What’s better than Levi’s or Wrangler jeans?

•September 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

AG: I know there is a blog related to wearing jeans to weddings.  Any chance you can suggest jeans other than Levi’s 501s or Wrangler Cowboy Cut?  It would be greatly appreciated. The advice you give is fantastic.  Keep up the good work.—Michael

Michael, who paid you to call the AG’s  advice “fantastic”? Seriously though, thanks for the question and the comment.

We’re in the same boat—the AG has been wearing 501s since grade school.  Here’s the problem, though: jeans are tricky. Before you take any more advice from the AG, you should probably turn to a woman—your wife, your girlfriend or your best female friend—and get her opinion. As men, we tend to buy clothes in a hedonistic manner; that is to say that we worry first about how it feels, not how it looks. Exhibit A: the “dad jeans” epidemic, portrayed most notably by our Commander-in-Chief.

You may not realize it, but before you start wondering if you can pull off that sweet turtleneck, your body is telling you if it’s comfortable or not. Just think about it. You’ve worn Levi’s 501s and Wrangler Cowboy Cut jeans all your life because they’re comfortable. Even if it looks good on them, most guys won’t buy an uncomfortable item of clothing.

Women, on the other hand, will wear the most ridiculously uncomfortable clothes just to look good. Exhibit B: high heels. The point, again, is to defer to the fairer sex. When you slip those jeans on for the first time, a woman is looking for very different things than you are. That’s good—she’s the one you want to impress, anyway.

When you do start trying on jeans, keep a few things in mind.

  • Don’t be afraid to step outside your wheelhouse. Pick out some jeans with a darker wash and a slimmer cut, and you’ve got the AG’s guarantee that your girl will crack a smile. You would be surprised how easy it is to get a more modern pair of jeans that still fit and feel great.
  • Step outside your wheelhouse, but don’t leave the ballpark. There’s nothing wrong with jeans that are “in style”, but don’t go crazy. Black and white jeans are for musicians, and anything on the butt other than a credit card-sized logo patch is unnecessary—and ugly as sin.
  • Expand your ideas of where “guys go to buy jeans”. Nordstrom has one of the best selections of denim around, though it may not be the first place you’d think of. Local spots like Stag Austin and By George have fewer brands to choose from, but they still have some great stuff.
  • You get what you pay for. If you’re anything like the AG, you’re not going to buy three or four pairs of jeans and rotate them, but instead, buy one pair and run ’em into the ground. With that said, you shouldn’t hesitate to pay $100 (or more) for a good quality pair of jeans. If the fit well and look good, consider it an investment.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the AG wants you to go seek out your next pair of jeans, not just take a recommendation. The footer of your email sent the AG to the Facebook page of, presumably, a bar or restaurant you’re opening on Rainey Street. The AG has spent some time on Rainey, and it’s packed full of hip, trendy folks. It may indeed be time to upgrade your denim to something more modern and sleek if you’re going to be running a food and beverage establishment on a street with that much buzz.

Oh, and the Wranglers? No matter how hard Brett Favre tries, Wranglers will never look good on anyone other than George Strait and legitimate cowboys. Saddle up or move on, Michael.

Time to think twice about your “dad jeans”, Mr. President, and start living life better.

A Flask for Every Occasion

•September 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

While there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe in life, sometimes it’s just no fun to walk the line. Rules were made to be broken, right? Right. We could talk all day and night about which rules must be adhered to versus the ones people break every day, but there’s one universal fact we can all agree on—sometimes, you just gotta’ sneak in a little bit of hooch.

Now listen, this doesn’t mean whipping your 1/2 pint out at church or during a board meeting, but, from time to time, you’re going to run into an event that requires you to stash a bit of Jack in your coat pocket. Equal parts logistics and panache, the act of “flasking it” isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. Besides, how else are you going to get through your nephew’s birthday party at BlazerTag?

The problem the AG has always faced, though, is what flask to buy. Plastic or metal? Pocket or ankle? There are just too many options. And, since the geniuses at NASA have yet to create a super-flask, we’re just going to have to run this thing through line by line. Here goes…

The Hip Flask

Tried and true, the hip flask is the epitome of classy and discrete alcohol transportation—the curved shape is made specifically for the inner breast-pocket of your suit. Available in silver or stainless steel, it’s the perfect starter for any gentleman. The AG has three different hip flasks that were given as gifts over the years. If you don’t have one of these, it’s pretty much necessary that you pick one up. Even better, drop a hint to your lady friend that you would love one as a gift; if she has it engraved without you asking, she’s a keeper.

USE IT… at weddings, funerals or any event that requires a tie.

AVOID… any flask with a logo.

The Plastic Flask

Cheap and sturdy, the plastic flask serves two purposes: transporting booze to the great outdoors and fooling metal detectors. Let’s take those one at a time. Whether it’s rough, back-country camping or just a bonfire at the ranch, you probably don’t want to risk roughing up a good flask. A plastic version will take all the bumps and bruises you can dish out, and it won’t matter how much you scratch it up. As for metal detectors, the AG can’t think of anywhere you would need to sneak alcohol past a metal detector—besides prison or a Houston night club—but if you did, the plastic flask is your best friend.

USE IT… while and/or after hunting, on camping trips or while visiting your cousin T-Bone at the Travis County jail.

AVOID… the jumbo 24 oz. and 36 oz. models—who needs that much cherry-flavored vodka?!

The Floppy Flask

Once the king of college football contraband, Floppy Flask has apparently stopped selling their products. Nevertheless, a slew of knock-offs (like the Booze Belly, above) have come along to fill the void. Essentially, it’s a durable plastic bag-and-hose system equipped with a nylon belt to keep it under your pants and around your waist—like a CamelBak with a sense of humor. Though they’re built for and marketed to the college crowd, the AG sees no reason why Floppy Flasks can’t be used by those of us with a few more years under our belts. “Is that 25 ounces of Glenmorangie Lasanta in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

USE IT… at UT football games, Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) or on a family road trip

AVOID… over-filling the flask (it will bulge) and remember to seal it up TIGHT—If you spill a liter of gin on your pants, the cat’s pretty much out of the bag.

The Bootlegger

Though relatively new to the market, the “Bootlegger” ankle flask has sold pretty well, and with good cause. Say you’re sharing with a buddy who doesn’t like the same stuff as you. Now you’ve each got three shots of your preferred poison. Say you like to pace yourself out and not just pour straight from the flask. This guy’s got you covered for six perfect 1.5 oz. pours (six shots). Or maybe, just maybe, you want to have six different mini-bottles of liquor on hand at all times. You know what—scratch that last one. That doesn’t even make sense…  [Special thanks to Uncrate.com]

USE IT… when you and your gal don’t see eye to eye on what to drink—the AG has a lovely ‘friend’ that insists on drinking rum, so… yeah.

AVOID… stretching it out, lest it slide down your leg and reveal your 80-proof secret(s)

The Pocket Shot

Similar in concept to the “Bootlegger”, Pocket Shots are 1.5 oz. servings of whiskey, spiced rum, vodka, gin and tequila—each of which, the website claims, is of top shelf quality. Though quite atypical, the Pocket Shot is somewhat convenient, if only for the fact that its flexible plastic casing is perfect for tossing into—you guessed it—your pocket. The “shot” concept really fits here, too. While the AG uses flasks for pouring mixed drinks, someone may, in fact, just want to do a shot. With this product, it stands to reason that you could tear off the top, throw back a shot of [allegedly] good liquor and toss the package. Easy enough, right?

[Dis]honorable mention…

Finally, the AG will leave you with  links to some of the products you really, really ought to avoid, be it for their difficulty, stupidity or both.

  • Cell phone flasks—Unless this is a leaked image of the iPhone 5, you’re probably going to give yourself away with such fake excuse for a phone.
  • Wine Rack—The AG has seen women sneak alcohol into an event, but this is a stretch. Keep it classy with a hip flask and garter, ladies.
  • Holy Bible flask—You carved out pages of the Good Book to hide liquor?? You, sir, are just asking for a DWI.
  • Hammer flask—If the bottle opener doesn’t give you away, smashing your wall full of holes in a drunken rage might do the trick.
  • Binoculars flask—First off, who even uses those huge, old school binoculars anymore? And second, who is this guy sneaking one Budweiser into the game?
  • Sippin’ Seat—How much booze could you possibly need in a stadium seating situation? Are you hiding some whiskey or three gallons of Chianti?

Time to sneak a little bit of good bourbon into a ball game, stay out of trouble and start living life better.

DISCLAIMER: The AG would like to be clear on two points. First, you should carry liquor on your person at your own risk (or benefit, if you’re a “glass half full” kind of guy). Second, if you’re going somewhere that sells alcohol, don’t sneak it in. They’re running a business, dammit, so just pay for it like a man. Go capitalism!

Let’s go for a swim

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

"Swimsuit? This is the only suit I'm interested in."

Whether you’re taking a dip in the backyard, heading to the lake or auditioning for Jersey Shore: DFW, you’re going to need a swimsuit. Good thing the AG’s here to help you look sharp, because let’s be honest—when your shirt comes off, you’re going to need as much help as you can get.

The beauty of a good-looking swimsuit is just that—it’s good-looking. It’s not about what’s in style, what your friends are wearing or anything else, but rather what looks good on you. One of the AG’s swimsuits wouldn’t necessarily look good on a short, chubby friend nor a tall, skinny friend. It’s made to fit the AG, not you.

Everything a gentleman keeps in his closet—with the exception of deep, dark secrets and neckties—should be made to fit him. This doesn’t mean bespoke tailoring for everything down to your dress socks, but it does mean that you should only buy clothes that fit you well. Swim trunks are no different.

As for selecting a cut, you’ll have to defer a little less to the aforementioned advice and look to style. Here’s the breakdown…

First, let’s knock out the red flags. Anything—ANYTHING—that hits below the knee must be avoided at all costs. Unless you’re trying to look like Turtle or hide a Glock, there’s no reason for any of that nonsense. The same goes for the ultra high-cut suits. Nobody wants to see your business when you’re standing on the high dive trying to impress Mom. Those two might be obvious, but here’s one that seems to escape even some of the nicest guys the AG knows: white swimsuits. Really? Most of us spent our teen years praying for a monsoon each time we saw a girl wearing white, yet somehow you think it’s OK for you to wear it at the pool? Yikes. Things just turned PG-13…

Half the battle is simply sidestepping the pitfalls listed above, so from here, it’s pretty simple. Stick with solid colors and simple patterns—none of this screen-printed crap that looks like you’re about to step into the Octagon. Strong colors like blue, orange and green stand out, but in a good way. Tan looks weird, black is boring and red = Hasselhoff.

The flat-front/eyelet style of classic board shorts looks best, but beware, they have the opposite effect on heavier guys. Just like with trousers, if you try to pull off the flat front look and have 20 extra pounds around your stomach, that skin’s got nowhere to go but over the top. Not good, my friend. Not good. Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers swimsuits’ stretchy waistbands look like something your dad should wear, so try to find something with a flat front that has some give. If you’ve got the cash, get your hands on this classic design from Hartford, updated with tuxedo-inspired side tabs to adjust the waistband after you’ve had too many hot dogs—or beers.

Last but not least, make sure you are, in fact, wearing a swimsuit. Don’t go to a pool party in fishing shorts, REI hikers, stand-ups or [especially] gym shorts. These are not swim trunks. Period.

Time to get yourself into a proper swimsuit*, make your way to the water and start living life better.

*Getting out of said swimsuit is just as essential. The AG encourages you to go skinny dipping with some attractive female(s) whenever possible. Life’s short, gents.

A small follow-up note on GQ…

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Remember what the AG said about GQ a couple of weeks ago? It’s all still 100% true, including the note about Glenn O’Brien—the Style Guy. In one of his many attempts to “solve your sartorial conundrums”, O’Brien tackled the subject of womens attire.

“If your wife comes out of the bedroom wearing something completely ridiculous, do you say something or bite your tongue? I always say something and we get in a huge fight. Does this happen to you?”

Me? Never! But should the impossible happen, I wouldn’t say anything. Before you tell your wife that what she’s wearing is preposterous, decide if you really want to suffer horribly for the next few days. If she looks bad, she’ll find out soon enough from the body language of the women she encounters. If she later complains that she looked terrible and everyone was staring at her, tell her that you thought she looked fantastic. Then jump her bones.

There’s really not a better answer to this question.

It’s high time Glenn O’Brien ditch GQ and start living [his] life better.

Taking Her on a First Date

•August 4, 2010 • 3 Comments

First Date 101: Avoid wearing a silver ring on your index finger. Or any finger. Ever.

You avoided saying something stupid when you first met her… Your buddy told her you do charity work with special needs children… Your mom paid her… Whatever the circumstances, you’ve got a date with a lovely young lady and you’re looking for some advice. Sure, according to some of the AG’s exes, this is what you might call “the blind leading the blind”, but at least you’ll have someone to blame when things go treacherously awry.

The first date is the most important time in any early relationship. It’s the first chance she’ll have to spend time with you alone, and in turn, it’s the first chance you’ll have to screw it up. Nevertheless, you’ve got to relax. The most common mistake the AG sees amongst his friends is when they blow the first date out of proportion. Fancy dinner, expensive cocktails—the whole nine yards.

This is the wrong play for a whole host of reasons, the most important of which is this: A first date should be easy. Most women want a simple, carefree environment where they can be themselves and get to know you. Instead, you’ve got her sitting at Jeffrey’s or Trio surrounded by three different wine glasses and seven different pieces of flatware. Elegant? Yes. Simple and carefree? No. [Editor’s Note: If she’s from Dallas, stop reading now. Actually…stop reading like five lines ago.]

Let’s begin.

When are you going?

Dates aren’t just for the weekends anymore. Fridays and Saturdays are always good, and as the saying goes, “Thursday is the new Friday”, so that’s safe, too. Sunday is manageable, but make sure it’s a day-date that doesn’t drag past 5 or 6 o’clock. Wednesday’s are tough to line up, so swim at your own risk. Avoid Monday and Tuesday like the plague.

Next, what are you doing?

Lord knows you’re not interesting enough to keep her attention all evening, so you’d better plan for some kind of activity to fall back on. The idea here is to avoid anything that forces you to stare at each other and force a conversation—that’s what marriage is for. At the same time, you should steer clear of anything that limits conversation, like a movie*. Stick to something fun and easy like shuffle board at Buffalo Billiards, putt-putt at Peter Pan or washers at Freddie’s. Trust the AG; these three places are golden.

Finally, what are you wearing?

You don’t have to try too hard, but you’ve got to look good, so dress accordingly. This is the part where all <20 years-old and deep East Texas AAG readers chime in, “worrying about your clothes is so gay, man!” You know what else is “gay”? Not getting a second date because you dressed like an idiot on the first. Like all things, keep it balanced. If you’re overdressed, she’ll think you’re nervous or that you’re a pretty boy. If you’re underdressed, she’ll think you’re sloppy, or worse, that you don’t really care about being on a date with her. Jeans, boots and a pressed oxford? Now we’re talking.

LIGHTNING ROUND!—What are you saying?

As little as is humanly possible. Just kidding (sort of). Don’t be silent and wait for her to talk, but don’t get all gabby like a sixth-grade girl and start talking about yourself—she doesn’t care what this economic climate has done to the value of your condo. If she asks about you, answer her, but err on the side of brevity, always turning the conversation back to her. Never say it, but make sure she knows how glad you are to be out with an awesome girl like her. Still, remember that there are approximately 400,000 males in Austin, and she’s out on a date with only one of them—you. Being a gentleman means having confidence and humility.

Time to show her a hell of a time, secure that second date and start living life better.

*Austin-only tip: Movies—generally speaking—are a bad idea for a first date. It’s tough to choose a good movie for both of you, and you won’t get to talk much at all. On the other hand, take her to one of the AG’s favorite spots, the Alamo Drafthouse, and you’ll be in good shape. Show up early for some popcorn and beer, share a meal, and most importantly, take her to one of the many Drafthouse special screenings. These one of a kind shows—including bad movie quote-alongs and genre-specific compilations—are always funny, and encourage talking amongst the crowd. ‘Saved By the Bell’ marathon, anyone? Find them at OriginalAlamo.com & @Drafthouse.