3 Rules I Made Up for What I Wear on Road Trips, as the Modern Millennial Dad

As you may have noticed by now, our family takes a lot of road trips: Key West, Lake Tahoe, and San Diego, just to name a few destinations over the years. This is something that makes me special, as a daddy blogger. (In addition to be the world’s manliest vegan, of course!)

During our trip to Louisville, Kentucky last week in the 2017 Toyota Highlander, I realized that I’ve established a dress code for myself over the years when I travel. My simple list ensures that as I drive across America with my lovely wife and our blonde children, I will be comfortable, yet still masculine and charming, but not a slob. Here are my 3 rules:

1) Boat shoes with no socks: It’s almost like driving barefoot, but projects an image of a guy who knows how to have fun, in an adventurous, yet classy way. I picked mine up for about 15 bucks at Old Navy. Plus, they look good with just about anything else I would wear on vacation anyway.

2) Long sleeve, casual button down shirt with comfortable jeans: I’ve noticed that as the driver, I get the constant brunt of the A/C, as my son is typically on the verge of sweating in the back seat. Long sleeves and long pants keep me from getting too cold when I drive, yet I look sophisticated enough when I get out of the car for rest stops, restaurants, and hotels.

3) Classic rock-r-roll t-shirt: This sends a message that despite being a responsible grown-up with a family, I am still one cool dude. Obviously, my rock band of choice is Metallica; an American legend since 1981; just like me. But really, just choose a rock band that that’s been around at least 25 years and you’re good to go. Other options could include Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Stone Temple Pilots.

You’ll never see me road tripping while looking like a loaf of laziness. No!

I am a man with a plan.

Boat shoes with no socks? Check.

Long sleeve, casual button down shirt with comfortable jeans? Check.

Classic rock-n-roll t-shirt? Wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Mic dropped.)

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Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat; or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat, or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

Two Christmases ago, I began collecting puffy vests; and gave away my jackets and coats. I now own 7 puffy vests, which only cost me around $18 each; though some of them were gifts:

Red, burgundy, blue, gray, green, orange, and black.

I even own an 8th vest; which is black too, but it’s not a “puffy” vest. It serves as my “outdoor project” vest that I don’t have to keep clean; like when I changed my wife’s car tire after it froze and went flat.

Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat, or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

As for my 7 puffy vests, I basically wear one every day from the months of October to March. I think they go well collared button down shirts. I think they look cool and are masculine in an outdoor sort of way.

Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat, or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

I fundamentally don’t believe in wearing jackets or coats. I have never liked wearing a jacket or coat. As a kid, my parents always had to tell me to wear one in the winter, telling me I would get sick if I didn’t.

As an adult, in recent years, I’ve gathered my thoughts on the subject and now officially understand why it is that I don’t like wearing a jacket or coat.

Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat, or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

1)      I don’t like the responsibility of keeping up with a jacket or coat. Once I’m inside a building, which is most of the day, I typically don’t need my jacket or coat again until the end of the day when I go home. I don’t want to have to worry about forgetting it and leaving it somewhere.

2)      They restrict the use of my fingers. When I first arrive in my office each day, while I am wearing still a jacket or coat because the heat isn’t fully turned on, I find it annoying that the ends of my jacket or coat sleeves slow down my thumbs and sometimes block my view of my fingers as I’m typing; should I need to seem them.

3)       Jackets and coats either keep me too warm or not warm enough. It’s a guessing game. I don’t like having to planning my day about how thick of an outer garment to wear.

Meanwhile, a puffy vest eliminates all 3 of these issues:

1)      Puffy vests take up less space. When I do need to take them off; it’s not a burden having to find a place to put it, nor must I worry about the sleeves of it dragging the floor while it hangs on my chair when I’m not wearing it.

2)      My arms, hands, and fingers are free. When you only wear puffy vests, you learned that unless it’s extremely cold and/or snowing, it’s mainly just your torso that needs to warmth.

3)      They keep my body temperature consistently regulated. Just like an insulated mug keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, the plastic material of my “torso-sized sleeping bag” keeps my body temperature consistent with itself; as opposed to overkilling the heat like a coat can or not keeping me warm enough like a jacket. When it’s really cold, I can simply wearing gloves, a scarf, and a hat; in addition to my vest.

Why I Own 7 Puffy Vests (or 3 Reasons I Don’t Own a Jacket or Coat, or 3 Reasons Puffy Jackets are Better Than Jackets or Coats)

So between my 7 colors of puffy vests, not to mention my “outdoor project” vest, I’m set. Give away your jackets and coats this Christmas. Buy 7 puffy vests instead!

The Perfect Men’s Hairstyle for a Receding Hairline/Video and Pictures

The Perfect Men’s Hairstyle for a Receding Hairline/Video and Pictures

I’ve poured dozens of hours of my time into my YouTube videos, but none of them compare to as this one:

It’s constantly getting new views as well as grateful and positive comments.

Yet I’ve never actually watched it myself! I just lazily made it one night before I even had video editing software.

So I figured if that many men are searching all day long to learn more about having to manage their receding hairline, maybe I should start making more videos and writing more blog posts about it.

Granted, my hairline isn’t too bad for a 34 year-old.

Plus, as I mentioned in a follow up video, men typically put too much pressure on themselves once they realize their hair is thinning and/or receding; since in reality, they’re aren’t really being judged on that aspects by others.

But, as I explained in my original video, I know certain techniques to “downplay” the fact my hairline isn’t quite what it was at age 17.

For example, I never comb by hair straight up or straight down.

I also never keep it at that awkward quarter of an inch length, as it reveals how much my hair has thinned on top. If I buzz my hair all over, I do either a #1 or #2 guard; never a #3 or #4.

Also, I always keep my hair a #2 on the sides and back (unless I buzz it with a #1 all over, obviously), which better proportions that fact my forehead is a little bigger now and that my hair is a little bit thinner on top.

It’s taken me 34 years to finally discover the perfect hairstyle for myself. My hope is that I can help other men in the process.

If you Google “men’s hairstyles”, you’re much more likely to come across pictures of trendy, counter-cultural, and/or high maintenance hairstyles that most average dudes like me cannot appreciate.

So I’m going to help you out. Just go to your barber and pull up this blog post, with the video I made below, and show it to whoever is about it cut your hair.

But first, here is why I feel this is the perfect men’s hairstyle for a receding hairline: A) low maintenance, B) masculine, C) aesthetically appealing.

All you need is a $2 can of Maury’s pomade and about 20 seconds each morning, and you’re good for the rest of the day with this haircut.

It’s short enough to where the wind can’t blow it out of place.

So here it is; give this below info to your barber, and/or pull up this video on your phone:

  1. Leave about an inch and a half on top. In the event your hair is beginning to thin on top like mine, this leaves enough hair to expose that fact.

  2. Fade it with the clippers from a #4 down to a #2 on the sides and back. Do a “lower fade” in the back further down the back of your head; as opposed to the style where the fade begins immediately below the crown.

  3. Let the fade begin higher up on your crown, so that the fade from your 1.5 inch hair to the #4 actually begins on top of your head instead of the side. That helps prevent your hair from “fanning out” to an annoying diamond shape on the sides. It also places the bulk on your longer hair in the middle and front of your head, giving your hair a fuller look without the high maintenance of hair at the back of your head.

  4. Texturize the hair on top; which helps give it the appearance of more body.

  5. Cut your sideburns halfway down the year; it gives just enough of a stylistic edge without looking like you’re a washed out wannabe rock star.

  6. Trim the eyebrows and hairline on the sides with clippers.

  7. After washing the hair, immediately dry it with a towel, then dip your pointer and middle finger into a can of Murray’s pomade. Apply a pea sized amount on to the middle of your hairline first, then use the rest the remainder to the hair on top.

If I did I decent job of describing this, and you did a decent job of showing your barber your smart phone so they could see these pictures and the video, and you had them read those 7 steps, your hair should look something like a masculine, post rock star, post military, Millennial businessman. Or maybe it’s sort of like a much shorter version of rapper Macklemore’s hairstyle.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help!

I’ll close with this other video I made about how I fix my hair in the morning:

Spring Cleaning and Closet Purging: If You Haven’t Worn That Item of Clothing Within the Past Year, You’re Not Going to Wear It This Year Either, So Get Rid of It!

This black vest I wore at my 10 Year Class Reunion two years ago is now in the give-way bag. (June 2009)

I am in the third week of my new job.  That means I have now worn all my best quality and best matching “outfits” to work.  It’s  during week three that the mediocre stuff comes out of the closet.  Those weird-fitting collared shirts that pooch out in the stomach and make me look 30 pounds heavier.  The sweaters that are a little too short and expose my belt.  The purple shirt.

And for the fact that we are official in Spring now, I’m taking full advantage of my current “Spring Cleaning” mindset: This week as I wear the clothes in my closet that I don’t wear often, at the end of each day I am choosing officially whether to get rid of it (by giving it away) or keeping it.  For example, today I wore my khaki vest to work.  I think I’ve realized I like the idea of vests more than I actually like wearing them.  When I got home today, the khaki vest went into the give-way bag.

Despite the fact I bought this sweater in 2006, it still deserves a place in my closet now in 2011. (April 2011 at my sister's last day of work before leaving on maternity)

For me, I often keep items of clothes too long because of my pride of how long I’m able to keep them around.  But styles change and so do the ways things are supposed to fit.  Jeans from five years ago are going to be lighter and baggier than jeans I buy now.  Some clothes are nearly timeless; most are not.  Feel free to join me in my closet purging campaign:

If You Haven’t Worn That Item of Clothing Within the Past Year, You’re Not Going to Wear It This Year Either, So Get Rid of It!

Goodbye, Black Vest of June 2009. We had a good run.

The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man: Appear to Be More Charming, Important, and Better Looking Than You Actually Are

I’m no fashion expert, just a guy who happens to be conspicuously clued in.

This past week, I had a job interview.  And I would say it went very well.  Plus, a few days later, word got back to me that the guy who interviewed me made a comment after I left that he really liked my suit.  People really do notice when a man knows how to dress nicely.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t actually wearing a suit anyway; it was just a good-looking ensemble.  A month ago I went to the Gap Outlet and bought a $30 black, slim-fitting sports jacket, $20 black, pinstriped pants, and a $20 dress shirt.  I already had a black-and-blue Tommy Hilfiger tie from TJ Maxx ($12) and a black pair of European style dress shoes from  the DSW Shoe Warehouse ($50).

Wearing an actual suit isn’t always the answer to knowing how to dress nicely, anyway.  By throwing together an ensemble like I did for the interview, it showed that I take enough care in my appearance, but that I don’t know too much or think too much about it.  Or even worse, that the only really nice thing I have to wear is the same suit which I wear to all “nice” occasions but then dress like Ray Romano on all other occasions.

In a world where effeminate yet culturally knowledgeable men rule the TV shows on HDTV and TLC that we watch only because our wives watch them, many of us guys have ended up shying away from knowing the basics of and the importance of dressing nicely.  We have let ourselves believe that light pleated khakis, a faded polo shirt, and Nike Shox account for “dressing up” for an event.  And if we dare attempt to push the envelope by wearing something more stylish, like a pink dress shirt, we ruin it for ourselves by wearing those same awful light pleated khakis with it, earning us a big red “FAIL” stamp.  (You should wear black, slate, or dark gray pants with a purple shirt.) A few months ago I realized that Scenic Route Snapshots was getting several hits a day from guys asking Google, “should men tuck in their dress shirts into jeans?” and “should I wear khakis to the club?” as they would click on the titles featured at the very bottom of this post.

It was then that I recognized my responsibility as an average guy who happened to have a quarter Italian blood and some distant Jewish blood in my veins (the Italians and Jews are largely responsible for leading the way in men’s fashion, like Versace who is Italian and Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger who are Jewish) to let other dudes in on what I know that they need to know.  And I’ve learned that the more I write about men’s fashion, the more that men find and read my website.  I can’t let these fashion-curious men down.

Dressing for Work: In season two of The Office, I learned this from Jan telling it to Pam: “Dress for the job you want to have, not the one you already have”.  Instead of finding ways to get by with the current dress code, find ways to slightly “up step” the expectations and your male coworkers.  For example, if you can get by with wearing “nice jeans” Monday through Friday, don’t.  Save those dark jeans for Casual Friday, but don’t just simply wearing a t-shirt then.  On Casual Friday, still wear a dress shirt, but don’t tuck it in, and unbutton the top two or three buttons.  The idea is that even on your most laid-back day, you’re still dressed nice enough to fire someone and be taken seriously.

Dressing for Weddings, Graduations, Banquet Dinners, Etc.: It mainly comes down to the belt, the shoes, and the necktie.  Rule- The color of your belt must match the color of your shoes.  In other words, it’s a sin to wear a black belt if your shoes are brown.  Which brings me to another rule- Do not wear black with brown.  While there are dangerous exceptions, like going “Black and Tan”, it’s too much of a gamble to wear black pants with brown shoes.

As far as the necktie, it’s safest to go with solid colors.  Rule: Just to be on the safe side, if your shirt is striped, wear a solid tie; if your tie is striped, wear a solid colored shirt. Regarding the shirt itself, make sure it is long-sleeved.  Last time I checked, it’s Dwight Schrute and McDonald’s cashiers that are wearing short sleeved, button down collared shirts with ties.  You don’t want to look like them; trust me.  You want to be taken seriously.  As far as wearing short sleeved, button down collard shirts, treat them like polos, not dress shirts.

Can you get away without wearing a tie to really nice events?  Yes.  Try wearing a nice vest.  Or as long as you have a good, newer suit, the matching jacket and pants will suffice.

The bottom line is this; there are certain items that every man should have in his wardrobe.  What’s not important is how much money you spend on these items or the brand names.  What does matter is that they are not outdated or worn out.  In other words, if you brag that you can still fit in the same suit you’ve had since 1993, there’s a good chance that suit is now out of style- likely, it’s too boxy and baggy.  Here are the items you need to get by:

A pair of black pants (no pleats) and black dress shoes, a pair of dark khaki pants (no pleats) and brown dress shoes, one good dress shirt, one good tie, one decent jacket that matches either the black or brown pants, a pair of nice dark jeans (not the kind that Jerry Seinfeld wore on his show), and a decent pair of casual shoes (Chuck Taylor’s, nice running shoes, etc.)  If you have these items, you can get through most situations with style.  So go to Kohl’s or TJ Maxx and buy them cheap.

I’ve got to where now I started dressing nice when I am traveling by plane.  People assume you’re more important if you’re wearing a nice jacket or a tie.  I like to think that one day my plan will pay off and I will be bumped up to First Class simply because I looked special enough to deserve it.  As for you, your quality of life will improve a small degree as you apply what you have learned today in this post and the ones I included as links.  It will be our little secret.  When you receive compliments on how nice you look, there’s no need to even bring up my name.  We’ll just keep it on the DL.

As the title implies, you will appear to be more charming, important, and even better looking than you actually are.  Your actual looks can be highly compensated for if you know how to present yourself, especially if you are consistent in your outstanding attire.  If you enjoyed and related to this post, there’s an 86% chance you will also appreciate at least one of these too, so just click the title itself to read more.

1) How to Wear Dress Pants, If You’re a Guy: Don’t Wear Them With Sneakers and Avoid Khakis

2) How to Wear Pink, If You’re a Guy

3) How to Wear All Black, If You’re a Guy

4) Sweaters are the Shirt

5) Long Sleeved, Button Downs are the Shirt

6) Are Jeans Really as Comfortable as We Think?

7) Being a Handsome Man Vs. Being a Hot Guy

8) The Perfect Haircut for a Guy: A Modern Day James Dean Hairstyle

9) Manspeak, Volume 9: Appearance



How to Wear Pink, If You’re a Guy

 

Because you’re old enough to know now.

The idea that it takes a real man to wear pink is a misconception.  Any guy can wear pink.  The question is, can that guy pull it off, or will he look stupid in the process?  He might look pretty stupid, actually.  And like he doesn’t know how to dress himself, which is an abomination against Italian men everywhere.  But not if he reads my advice on how to make it work.

It’s all about the pants. No matter what you’ve heard, don’t ever wear a pink shirt with khakis.  You don’t want to have a light colored shirt and light colored pants.  That’s too many weak colors; there needs to be a strong color to counter the pink.  Like black, dark gray, slate, or dark blue jeans.

Don’t talk about your pink shirt. If you yourself are the one acknowledging to others that you are wearing pink today, you are saying, “I don’t totally feel confident wearing this- it’s not what I’m used to”.  Let others do the “pink speaking” for you.  And if you’re wearing the right pants with the pink shirt, you are most likely to get compliments, not laughs or funny looks.

Limit your wearing of the pink shirt to once a month. Pink shirts are special.  If you wear your pink shirt every Thursday, you’ll become “the Pink Shirt Guy”.  You don’t want to bring too much attention to yourself by wearing it.  You want to be able to pull it off effortlessly.  Use it, but don’t abuse it.

Now, go buy yourself a pink shirt at TJ Maxx and be the guy that can always pull off wearing a pink shirt.

dad from day one: The Importance of a Man’s Shoes

Twenty-three weeks.

I blame it on my Italian heritage, which trickled down to me throughout my life thanks to my grandfather Metallo; of course, since I grew up in the South, he was simply “Paw Paw”.  I’ve inherited an instinct to incorporate just a little bit of peculiar character in purchased items.  It’s a careful balance of finding items that are slightly flashy and clashing, yet still classy, but not trashy. (Bet you can’t say that phrase five times real fast…)

In this American generation, the idea of a man caring much about his shoes is often considered to be related to gay or metrosexual culture.  But I don’t subscribe to that mentality.  In fact, I believe an important part of being a man is how he dresses; and as everyone should know, his shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe, since they ultimately set the tone for his clothing.

My mindset is more of an old-school class American idea; yet it is still a staple concept of any movie or TV show portraying Italian culture.  From The Godfather movies to The Sopranos, the way an Italian man dresses is well planned out.  Never an accident.  Italians are not slobs.

Paw Paw Metallo

Being that my wife and I both are one quarter Italian, our son Jack will also be one quarter Italian as well.  That means he will not get by with the typical American guy’s shoe collection: a pair of black dress shoes, a brown pair of boots, a pair of running shoes, and a pair of flip flops.  No, not my son.

Jack will be like me.  I own no less than 15 pairs of shoes, some of which are at least 10 years old, yet you would never know it because I take such good care of them.  And while Jack won’t be born for another three months, he already has two pairs of essential “flashy, clashing, and classy yet not trashy” shoes awaiting him.

Last week as my wife and I were registering at Target, we found some shoes on clearance that not only meet the criteria, but also are essentially identical to shoes I already own.  A pair of Kelly green sneakers (6-9 months, in time for Summer) and a pair of white leather loafers (12-18 months, just in time for Christmas).  Like father, like son.

*Jack is still the size of a papaya; no major change in fruit size this week.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Official "baby bump" picture