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Fragrance Friday: Luna Rossa from Prada

Video soon.

Feel refreshed with Luna Rossa from Prada.

Year of Release

2012

Notes

  • lavender
  • orange
  • clary sage
  • spearmint
  • ambroxan
  • ambrette

Performance

Longevity: Fair

3-5 hours. Beyond that, it’s a skin scent.

Projection: Poor

>1 hour (a pity). It comes close to you after ~20 minutes.

Evokes…

a shower in a bottle. Clean professionalism.

Luna Rossa is for those who want a fresh, inoffensive way to display their industriousness. It’s a scent that can inspire your confidence and productivity.

Rock This…

at work, at school—any social setting where you want to smell presentable and clean.

An all-weather fragrance, but best enjoyed when the sun is out.

Best for casual and professional environments.

Price

$70 for 50 mL

$90 for 100 mL

$108 for 150 mL

A fair price. Shop around online for better deals; this juice has been out long enough to find at prices below retail.

The Bottom Line

Performance notwithstanding, Luna Rossa is a safe purchase for a fresh, clean addition to your fragrance arsenal. Prada knows what it’s doing in the way of clean scents, and you can trust that you’ll get Prada-grade quality.

What you smell is what you get. You may find that Luna Rossa is a fairly linear fragrance on your skin. Synthetic, sweet and pleasant through and through—not nearly as herbaceous as the top notes (i.e. clary sage, lavender) may lead you to believe.

If only it lasted longer…

Final Grade: B+

***

Have you tried Luna Rossa from Prada? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

~Dr. Necktie

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Fragrance Friday: The One Grey from Dolce and Gabbana

Year of Release

2018

Notes

  • grapefruit
  • coriander
  • basil
  • cardamom
  • lavandin
  • geranium
  • clary sage
  • vetiver
  • patchouli
  • labdanum
  • tobacco

Wear This…

for formal occasions, or to work. Fine in all weather.

Performance

Longevity: Average

Lasts around six hours.

Projection: Fair

Pushes out strongest for first hour, then pulls back to skin scent.

Evokes…

a modern, put-together man. Carries a sense of maturity. Attention-grabbing, spicy—at least in its beginning stages. Very cool, green opening. Has a woody-fresh edge that comes from the basil and sage. Dries down to a faint vetiver-tobacco mix that you have to get very close to detect.

Price

$68 for 50 mL; $88 for 100 mL.

The Bottom Line

The One Grey lives up to its name: middle of the road, neither black nor white. A very safe flanker from the D&G The One fragrance line. May be unexciting for some.

If you like sweet scents, The One Grey is perfect for you. Spicy, nutty sweetness here.

It may not blow you away, but if you’re drawn to it, The One Grey is worth a try.

Final Grade: B+

***

Have you tried The One Grey from Dolce & Gabbana? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

~ Dr. Necktie

Thread Talk: Get Yourself a Shirt That Can Do Both

Shirt by Bugatchi. Tie by Hugo Boss.

I love formalwear pieces that are multidimensional: a tie that looks different ways in different lighting; a pocket square with colors that will complement multiple outfits; a shirt that gives you options for how you wear your cuffs.

Say what?? Yes, you heard me. I came across a shirt that lets me wear my sleeves buttoned, but also allows me to rock cufflinks.

I got the above shirt for 50 percent off from Nordstrom. I know my size, so I ordered online. A few days later, the shirt (and above tie) arrived.

The shirt is beautifully made: soft, high quality cotton, fine stitching, detailed geometric print. I discovered something odd, though, about the cuffs:

The hole on the left was obvious. That was where the button went through. But there was also a hole between the two buttons, a matching slit alongside the traditional one.

“Interesting,” I thought. It was strange; it struck me as a mistake. And then I had my revelation.

This shirt is cufflink-friendly!

I rushed for a pair of cufflinks to test, and to my delight, it worked nicely:

Mind you, nowhere on Nordstrom’s website did they advertise this feature, nor could I see it in the pictures.

But I’m okay with that. It was a pleasant surprise. Hats off to Bugatchi for this masterfully made shirt.

The Bottom Line

I love dynamic formalwear items such as this shirt. Why?

  1. You take your formalwear options (and your dollar) farther.
  2. You can wear the same thing different ways—and get away with it! Few will notice your clever economy.
  3. Finding versatile items fosters creativity. Put together killer combos to infinity.

If you could wear a single article two, three, four (or more) different ways, why wouldn’t you spring for it? Get yourself a shirt, a tie, a belt—something—that can do both.

***

~ Dr. Necktie

Look Dapper for Cheap with Bows ‘n’ Ties

I love my Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, and other designer brands as much as the next guy. But I’ve found that looking good does not have to break your bank.

I want to shout out Bows ‘n’ Ties, a formalwear accessory company that distributes quality ties for dirt cheap.

Bows ‘n’ Ties has been a reliable source for me. As the name suggests, this house has neckties and bowties (and pocket squares, tie bars, and cufflinks!) in every color of the rainbow.

Shop by color. Shop by pattern. Shop by material. Fine-tune your searches and you’ll certainly find something that strikes you.

Everything is affordable; the most expensive tie I’ve ever seen on Bows ‘n’ Ties is $39.90. Most of the ties fall within the $5–$15 dollar range. Seriously.

If you need a matching set of ties and pocket squares for groomsmen at a wedding, Bows ‘n’ Ties is the perfect place to shop. Ensure that those gentlemen will match.

Looking for a particular solid color? Find your perfect hue at Bows ‘n’ Ties.

Are old-school knit ties your thing? Bows ‘n’ Ties carries those.

Are you a polka dot fiend? You can shop polka dots, big and small, to your heart’s content at Bows ‘n’ Ties.

I like this house’s online features, too: Bows ‘n’ Ties posts a fan-submitted “look of the week” for fashion inspiration. It also has a “dress code” section: guidelines on what to wear for various occasions.

The Bottom Line

It’s a great value for what you get at Bows ‘n’ Ties. You can’t argue with the prices. For the price of one designer tie, you can get a necktie for every day the week.

The ties and pocket squares are true to their pictures on the website. If you’re trying to look good on a budget, you won’t be disappointed with your options at Bows ‘n’ Ties.

Find Bows ‘n’ Ties at http://www.bows-n-ties.com. I cannot recommend them enough.

***

~ Dr. Necktie

Thread Talk: Contrast with Texture—The Power of Contrast Part 1

Contrast is exciting. Contemporary. A great way to spice up your wardrobe. But it’s important to do it right.

I’ll discuss some ways to create contrast with texture. You’ll find that you can be as conservative or as daring as you want with textural contrast. The important thing is avoiding blunders.

Conservative: Solid Shirt, Patterned Tie

Contrast can be subtle. In fact, you’re safest if one of your elements is sure to stay out of the way of your necktie. Start with a plain, solid-color shirt, like so:

Tie by David Donahue. Read about the origins of this tie pattern here.

You won’t have to worry about clashing patterns. Even the microtexture in my suit won’t compete with paisley. Why? Because there’s contrast.

Less Conservative: Like Colors, Different Textures

If you’re just starting out, it may be smart to stay within a color family.

Here is the Golden Rule of Contrast: Make it intentional.

Go big or go home. Otherwise, it will look like you don’t know what you’re doing. If you have a small-patterned geometric shirt, pair it with a large-patterned geometric tie:

See how nice that looks? And, in this case, a delightful bonus: The blues tie everything together nicely. Similarly, if you have a large-patterned shirt, pair it with a small-patterned tie.

remember…

People will see you from far away and up close. Each of these textures will do different things for viewers at different distances, so make sure nothing competes.

The left looks okay, but it could be better: the dots in the tie have similar spacing to the squares in the shirt.

As a result, they create a texture that’s too similar; the elements contend with one another. Set them apart with greater textural contrast. The right creates better contrast with wider stripes.

Even Less Conservative: Different Colors, Different Textures

Once you feel comfortable putting together bold contrasts with safe colors, see how you can further textural contrast with different colors.

Here’s that same square-patterned shirt again that didn’t work so well with the dotted tie. See how the contrast is more successful with a burgundy medallion tie:

 See how far you can push this idea of textural contrast. The more dissimilar your patterns, the better.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be a wimp about textural contrast!

Contrast of texture is how you make your outfits interesting no matter how close or far away you are from someone.

Contrast will draw people in, and they’ll complement your smart dressing. But they won’t be able to put words to that cool thing you’re doing with your attire.

However, you can now put words to it. Go try it.

***

Which of these combinations is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

~ Dr. Necktie

Mini-profile: Yves Saint-Laurent (1936-2008)

Image from Scoopnest(d0t)com.

In 1961, Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent began one of the most iconic labels in the high fashion industry.

Saint-Laurent worked under the tutelage of Christian Dior, who saw in him the potential to alter the world of fashion forever. At the age of 21, Saint-Laurent succeeded Dior as head designer after Dior’s fatal heart attack, keeping the fashion house’s creative edge alive.

After a feud with Marcel Boussac, the owner of the House of Dior, Saint-Laurent sued Dior brand—and won—creating his own eponymous fashion brand thereafter. Saint-Laurent is best known for creating the woman’s eveningwear tuxedo, named “Le Smoking,” and for designing empress Farah Diba’s wedding dress at the age of 19.

Left: Woman modeling “Le Smoking” tuxedo. From Flickr by user Tiina L.
Right: Saint-Laurent with Diba’s wedding gown. From The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor.

Saint-Laurent valued women’s looking comfortable yet elegant in haute couture outfits, and regularly employed non-white models—something other houses weren’t regularly doing in mid-century high fashion.

Saint-Laurent suffered from poor health throughout his career due to the volatility of the fashion industry and critics’ reactions of his pieces. He abused alcohol and drugs to cope. He died from brain cancer in 2008; his doctor and loved ones withheld it from Saint-Laurent that his cancer was terminal.

Saint-Laurent was a young talent. Gifted. At age 17, he won third place for sketches that he submitted to a contest. His environment catered to his greatness; he had his mother and two sisters, supportive women in his life, who encouraged him to pursue his art form.  A few biopics have recently released dramatizing his career, but they are all posthumous releases. Furthermore, I’ve heard that they’re not entirely true to his life.

If Yves Saint-Laurent were alive, here are some things I’d love to ask him:

  1. What did your father think of your fascination with fashion?
  2. If you could take one design of yours and do it over, which would it be?
  3. What was your inspiration for “Le Smoking”?
  4. Tell me about your all-time favorite piece that you’ve designed.
  5. What is one piece of advice you’d give to a man or woman about choosing an outfit?

***

~ Dr. Necktie