A Gents Pep Talk- The Finer ‘Tings’

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Photo Credit: Francis Bassey

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” Carl R. Rodgers couldn’t have said it better.

Our goals, aspirations and hopes of what we wish to accomplish are generally shaped by others. These are things that are naturally rooted by our likes/dislikes and ambition to change our current situations. Along the timeline of events, we develop an idea of success and failure. Both shape us in such a unique way; we often confuse the two. Failure has a reputation of making the bravest fighter hesitant—but success has a reputation of making the hardest worker content. The most difficult thing isn’t chasing your dreams, it’s holding on to them.

The idea of succeeding towards our goals can become a one-time-measurement—rather than a measurement of success by our growth. It is a divine process blended with failures, each one more intricate than the next. The more we consume the success of others, the more we allow failure to consume us.

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Photo credit: Francis Bassey

Pinpointing success comes from perfecting who you are. Your best ‘you’ is incomparable. It’s an exclusive right to exceeding the goals you’ve set, not just reaching them. Remember, keeping up with the Joneses can be expensive—but originality is a priceless trend.

Onward,

j.Bodwin

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From the Shadows to the Spotlight: “Dark color combos that stand out.”

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Photo Credit: Francis Bassey @frvncisbvssey

Since the age of my earliest memory—I’ve been a batman fan to the core. I owned all the costumes, read all the comics and threw the best batman-themed birthday parties up until the age of 21. While most of my peers sought out the heroics of others with super powers, I saw something different. It wasn’t the idea of being fastest, strongest or tallest. It was the idea of being the coolest.

Despite what you may think about a 21-year-old wanting a batman cake and balloons. Or batman being the coolest, I became obsessed with his confidence. He had the undeniable ability to be calm in any situation. He carefully orchestrated every mission as if it were his last. He truly defined what it meant to be a soloist. Most importantly, he did it while wearing black.

Over the years, black has been commonly referred to as a bold color. It goes with virtually anything and will cease to go out of style. From the leather jackets to timeless tuxedos—it has befriended most. But the new age of casual wear and dark colors will be sure to befriend all. Colors such as midnight blue, charcoal, and original gray have adopted a bold characteristic. One that is much more refined than before.

How to do it?

You can always bet on black—so start by gambling with your favorite piece. For some it begins with the shirt and for others, it starts with the shoes. There’s never a wrong answer when deciding which piece of the puzzle comes first. The best artists are inspired by whatever comes naturally. But remember, boldness is the offspring of confidence and risk-taking.

 

Here are a few shots that should hit your target while gaining modern notoriety. Try not to miss.

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Photo Credit: Francis Bassey @frvncisbvssey

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Photo Credit: Francis Bassey @frvncisbvssey

Upward,

                                                              J.Bodwin

                                                           @treybvonte

 

 

“The New Road Warrior: “Streetwear for the Unruly.”

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Photo credit: Francis A Bassey

Between your fathers criticism of skinny jeans and Russell Westbrook’s extreme amount of originality– there’s a happy medium that doesn’t require you to pick sides.

It takes a lot of moxie to dress and play like Mr. Russ, but it only takes the character to stop traffic. It’s no secret that confidence is key. Character is the defining factor that separates us. It disconnects the hyper-aggressive billboard advertisement from the vibrant street graffiti in downtown. It alone separates the flat-casual route from the extraordinarily-scenic drive.

OK, enough with the street puns. Your character in style epitomizes the difference between what you wear–and how you wear it. The pioneers, the trailblazers, all have one thing in common. Their motives are to transform, transcend and innovate–not to reside within specific parameters and formalities.

So where do you start?

Everything has a beginning and your persona should dictate that. Your staple pieces should bridge your personality with your confidence. It takes time for some; others have already created an ensemble before reaching this point of the teaching. Remember, creativity comes from authenticity. Inspiration can be seen/ heard anywhere, but uniqueness unveils by design.

Don’t expect any cheat codes, but these combos should inspire an easy path to the next level. 

Onward,

j.BODWIN

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Photo credit: Francis A Bassey

A Gentleman’s Steps to Success: Summer Lessons

Chief Editor of The Gentleman's Circle j. Bodwin (Left) and Wisdom Contributor Jean-Gabriel (Right)

Chief Editor of The Gentleman’s Circle j. Bodwin (Left) and Wisdom Contributor Jean-Gabriel (Right)

 

Neon hues, classic shades and the faint whisper of a warm but refreshing breeze blowing across your internal thoughts. Reminds you of a true summer season doesn’t it?

A gorgeous season to the follow the last deserves much more than our casual gym shorts and tank tops. The cry of redundancy gets louder each year when the topic of summer wear is discussed. Why not be different? Why not bold? Why not be—extremely unmatched in the realm of gentlemen lifestyle.

Easier said than done? There’s no doubt. However there is something unique in every individual that naturally translates into their everyday lifestyle. Let us view this complex idea from 50,000 ft. up.

Why does it appear effortless for a child to exude his/her character without fail or hesitation? The happiness, the excitement; the goofiness. It may seem irrelevant to them but it’s all they know how to do. The sum of what they feel and what they see results in their own idea of society.

Where does it get lost? As we maneuver pass our adolescence into adulthood, how do the lenses of our life become blurred on what makes us unique?

It’s quite rudimentary to blame our media, but what about our fears? Why did I once think over-sized jeans and tee-shirts would help me fit in? (I’ll be the second to admit this by the way.)

Was it because I knew how unaccepted gentlemen were within my neighborhood. Or was it because I was afraid to embrace what I knew was different?

It wasn’t until I distanced myself to see what lies beyond the border of Oak cliff, Texas when I realized that I chose to be different. For me that moment was in a place called Redbird Mall (which is present day Southwest Center Mall). After walking with my little brother who was eight years-old at the time, we passed a group of people of similar age. A group of people I recognized. I was wearing a black cardigan, a t-shirt that was actually my size and straight-leg khakis. As we passed they laughed in amusement that I was dressed the way I was. It was obvious that they’d never see anyone there age dress this obscure. In the year of 2009, if you weren’t dressed like the hottest rapper of the time, you were stoned for your disobedience.
As my brother looked up at me to ask; “What was so funny,” I told him that they were afraid to be unique. They never saw and end to the veil that blinded them. I’d just been fortunate enough to peek through the fog that the city provided for us.

Our road to success begins with embracing your fears and conquering them with unique courage. By no means does this come over night. It is a long journey and the road ahead is filled miscellaneous experiences. But keep your eyes peeled for a hitchhiker named happiness on the way.

 

(From left-to right) Sir Jamaal Dardar, j. Bodwin, M.S. Zach Alexander.

(From left-to right) Sir Jamaal Dardar, j. Bodwin, M.S. Zach Alexander.

 

 

Onward,

 

j. Bodwin

Pecan Whiskey: Blazers to the Rescue

“To a gentleman, there’s no such thing as slacking. So grab a seat and matching blazer.”

3rd Level: Ace of Treys

3rd Level: Ace of Treys

The year of 2015 has officially invited itself into our everyday-schedules and paramount lifestyles. For some, this may come with a series of New Year’s resolutions that have become faint memories of what would’ve been. For others, this year couldn’t have come at a better time. As gentlemen, it is pertinent that we see the glass half-full–along with the classiest blazers in our photos.

After years of the traditional over-sized dress-shirt left untucked over a pair multi-purposed jeans, it’s time that we catch the next flight out of the early 2000’s.

The slim fit blazer and suit has re-surged in a textbook fashion for gentleman. Its versatility has the power to speak confidently across any stage of formality. We’ve known colors such as navy blue, gray and black to be only suitable for the most distinguished occasions. While this is true, a gentleman’s “coat color-wheel” has expanded by a margin of many. However, the safest rule to abide by is as follows… Anything goes!

Everything is graced in within reason and portion of course. We don’t suggest wearing a soft-pink fitted-suit in the middle of November. But we do suggest wearing that suit the right way this Spring.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the white button-collar dress shirt is your compadre. The top two-three buttons of your dress shirt should be relaxed and free depending on how Daniel Craig‘ish your feeling. Remember, a gentleman’s style will flourish as far as his innovative mind. Be bold. Be confident.

 

Cheers

Cheers

 

Onward,

 

j.Bodwin

 

Food for Thought: A Gentleman’s taste buds. Featuring Chaz Hammonds

“Food for the soul begins with the food that you grow.”

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Food is the way to a man’s heart, but the question still remains. Is the food we intake good for the heart? Every gentleman loves a home-cooked meal, there’s no doubt about it. However, the ability to create such masterpieces begins with an individual’s creativity and desire to add a unique stamp to each meal.

I always admired my grandmother’s soul food growing up. I wanted to make the food that she was infamous for, but with a little twist. The challenge has always been making those same great-tasting dishes healthy enough for myself and others to eat. I started taking pictures of everything I ate to do so in October of 2013. I documented foods that would be considered good and bad, as well as the foods I found to be most delectable. I began to effectively see the amount of food and contents of each meal I was eating. These photos made me realize the amount of bad foods and toxins that I was consuming daily. I immediately knew that there had to be a change in a gentleman’s lifestyle, rather than his temporary diet.

As the months went by I started to change the food I was consuming while documenting the food I cooked with recipes on social media. It was time to create dishes that would allow me to stay healthy, live longer and get fit. To start off the 2014 year I created @Soulfitgrill on Instagram. Image

I began making simple changes such as grilling and baking instead frying my food. Months went by and people started to notice the difference. That is when I started adding recipes to my photos. I wanted to share the experience with my friends, family and various communities so they may know how to cook healthy food with flavor. During the Spring of 2014 I built my own backyard-garden where I grew multiple vegetables such as: tomatoes, zucchini, banana peppers, anaheim peppers, jalapenos, cilantro and collard greens. Growing my own vegetables allowed me to arbitrate exactly what I consumed. In today’s generation, it is pertinent that we are aware of the many foods we eat. Not everything that looks “organic” rings true in today’s society.

With more than 2,000 later, I’ve been privileged to motivate a generation of people who wish to lead fit and healthy eating lives. Though it is rare to see a young man grow and cook his own produce, I believe it has inspired others to do the same and more. You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow your own garden and I’m living proof of just that.

 

SoulFitGrill

SoulFitGrill

Onward,

Chaz Hammonds

Owner and Creator of SoulFitGrill

Finding a Rhythm to Your Finances

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Meet a man thinking about the future,

 

Greetings,

 

As we begin to embark on the journey to adulthood and maturity, let us ask ourselves about financial awareness and monetary stability. One of the many things that concern us as savvy yet intelligent gentleman is our ability to obtain personal growth and how to catapult ourselves in a position for success throughout our lives.

Let us sit back and pay close attention to some of the trends of our generation. We have been subjected to an era of the uneducated consumer, consequently leading to the fear of missing out (FOMO). Although one cannot avoid the cycle of working to meet our responsibilities while simultaneously taking care of loved ones, it is never too late to address careless investment priorities and lack of knowledge in today’s financial realm.

There was once a time where the money you earned wasn’t directly related to your ranking in the world. Money was commonly used as a tool for current and future stability for you and your lineage. The constant consumption of our generation has served as a major distraction to this concept. Although the definition of financial stability is relative to each person, you cannot achieve true comfort until you are solely knowledgeable about everything that your monetarily  worth and how those values work for you.

It is important that we address a few resources that are afforded to us such financial advisory books and online networks/ sites. I am simply a man whose curiosity about our generation’s financial longevity took a wild swing over the past few years. I began my research with http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/ and www.FINRA.org—websites that have the purpose of informing the individuals on managing their funds efficiently while accumulating financial gain investing effectively. These sites are phenomenal resources for gaining clear perspectives on the way money works. I am extremely privileged to share these treasures of knowledge with you…. The information is for our benefit, but the most important thing for us to do is to continue informing others.

 

I wish you the very best regarding your attempts to mature in not just a financial aspect of life, but in every area.

 

Sincerely,

 Allen A. Burton

“Don’t Sweat the Technique”: 7 Ways to Stay Cool During Summer.

Cool Summers. Photo by Rebecca Negron. (From left, editors Trey J. Bodwin and Ariaan Modder

Cool Summers. Photo by Rebecca Negron. (From left, editors Trey J. Bodwin and Ariaan Modder

 

Welcome to summertime in the south, where the heat is unbearable and pocket squares become a euphemism for sweat rags.

Greetings,

  We all love the idea of leisurely spending time by the pool or visiting the city’s hot spots Miami Vice style, but how do we make it happen without letting everyone see us sweat? Here are seven things that will make life a lot cooler when the temperatures aren’t.

  1. Lighter colors are your friend.

Summer brings with it a happy laziness that conjures images of slow days spent on rooftop patios in Havana. Match this lightheartedness with light colors, enjoy the experience by playing with color combinations. Remember, style is developed.

  1. The rise of the hats.

Fashionable straw-hats, bucket hats, you name it. Remember to keep it light. Straw hats are popular for exuding the most formal but yet summer look while providing a lighter feel with a slight breeze.

  1. Accessorize

Everyday summer wear can get boring for men; avoid this by pairing accessories with your outfits. Shades and bead bracelets are popular with these editors. Leather watches are a necessity. Try out light versatile colors such as beige, orange or shades of a humble brown.

  1. Explore new colognes.

Your cologne should reflect the season’s styles. Match the heat with a light citrus fragrance during summer. Be the second-best smell at this summer’s poolside BBQ. Remember, daytime colognes are your friend. However, it’s important to not over-use. A successful smell should take 1-3 (light) sprays. Try one on the collar/ chest area, followed by another on the top of your head. The key is to not overdo in the same area. Places such as the wrist and forearm can become a hit or miss depending on how strong the fragrance can be.

  1. Invest in a lightweight blazer.

For summer time you’re going to need a blazer that isn’t making you sweat profusely. We suggest linen and seersucker materials.

  1. Shorts & Short-Suits.

The name of the game is called staying cool, and in this exhibition the gentleman who masters the short-suit is the victor. Shorts are an important component of beating the heat. This aspect of men’s summer wear can be fun and innovative. Try coordinating different colors with your shorts and top. Not ready to include this in your monthly budget? You don’t have to; try cutting slim fit chinos or khakis into your own pair of summer shorts. Just make sure you take your time. A nice pair of homemade shorts will rise right above the knee about an inch or two while standing and about three-four while sitting. Take a look at Pharrell’s example of the short suit and how it should look.

  1. The game of shoes.

For some, a man’s summer ensemble begins with his shirt. For others it begins with his shoes. Utilize your loafers and boat shoes to their full-potential with or without sock visibility. No show socks with brogues are key in proving that you are the coolest character on campus. In the event that you want to show a bit more, try contrasting your outfit with different sock designs and patterns for the finishing touch. Once again, your style should reflect you. Be creative.

Onward,

By: Trey J. Bodwin & Ariaan Modder

 

Meet the editors: Ariaan E. Modder

Co. Editor Ariaan E. Modder. Photo by Rebecca Negron

Co. Editor Ariaan E. Modder. Photo by Rebecca Negron

“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple” – Natalie Babbit

Greetings,

In this world of the ever-changing, a few things remain constant. One of these stable truths is that a gentleman is defined by his mind and his image. Strip away the dapper attire, and you’re left with a man who is in many—if not in all ways —an accurate representation of the image he chooses to create for himself. The issue of image is multidimensional, but this writer believes that the ability to entertain an abstract idea is the centerpiece to the image of the modern gentlemen.

My name is Ariaan Modder, and I’ve had the privilege of being exposed to a variety of cultures and places, as well as possessing a quiet appreciation for literature. These two happy truths have allowed me to create complex opinions on a number of topics; including what makes a gentlemen.

Although my stance is usually intricate, I believe that a gentleman is built on the simple ability to entertain an idea. On this one skill, we can build: an appreciation for the arts, the ability to discuss political and social topics, the skill of debate and articulation and the all-important strength to sit cordially at a table with those that may be different from you. To be concise, a gentleman is built on his open-mindedness, and like all magnificent things, this is very simple.

 

Onward,

 Ariaan E. Modder

Welcome to the Gentleman’s Circle.

Gentleman's Circle. Photo  by Rebecca Negron

Gentleman’s Circle. Photo by Rebecca Negron

Greetings,

It is said that a gentleman is one of good family, social standing and intelligence. Though we believe these descriptions to be true, the definition of a gentleman is much more intricate. As we invite you to embark on a path of enlightenment, join us for the latest in gentleman’s lifestyle, intelect and motivation. So feel free to take a seat. Welcome to the Gentleman’s Circle.

Onward,

j. Bodwin