Aimée Gowland is a local fashion expert and stylist who specializes in personal shopping, wardrobe consultation and private shopping excursions. Email questions to [email protected].
Q. Can you recommend some stylish gifts for dads or for kids to give their dad to help him be more stylish? We love our father, but he is hardly ready for Gentleman’s Quarterly.
Caroline and Victoria D., Faubourg St. John
A. If your dad is not channeling Justin Timberlake or Usher, it’s best not to force the issue. Although you cannot change most men, all females, daughters, wives, mothers and sisters can try their best through their subtle powers of persuasion.
The most straightforward approach to buying a gift is to first consider his lifestyle, hobbies, interests and daily activities. After you’ve narrowed his preferences, it should be simple to find him a fashionable gift in your budget; impeccable taste does not have to cost a bundle. Here is a list of thoughtful items that can be found at all price points, along with the unflappable men who are the inspiration.
Your Gift and His Muse:
Sunglasses: Surfer Laird Hamilton or guitar hero Jimi Hendrix
Wallet/money clip: Spy James Bond or hotelier André Balazs
Carry-all: Workout bag suitable for David Beckham and LeBron James
Monogrammed boat tote: President Jack Kennedy
Kicks/casual slip-ons: Skateboarder Tony Hawk or actor George Clooney
Leatherman tool: Survivalist Bear Grylls
Heart monitor: Cyclist Lance Armstrong
Cuff links: Classic crooner Frank Sinatra or rapper André 3000
Watch: Batman Christian Bale or iconic actor Cary Grant
This Trend Gets the Boot
Q. The cover of Lucky magazine had a feature on summer boots. Is this fashion paradox possible in New Orleans?
Judith, French Quarter
A. “Boots” is one word that should not be used in juxtaposition with the words “June,” “July” or “August.” I read the same feature and there were some adorable styles—short and slouchy and rugged with a Western twist—but for fear of foot odor or a repeat of the Friends episode where Ross’s leather pants shrink due to perspiration, I will forgo boots in climates with extreme humidity.
Here’s a true story: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival always presents interesting people with interesting styles, which provide endless inspiration for my articles. This year, my honey and I had an alcohol-induced beverage challenge to see who could spot the most ridiculous fashion trends. The contenders: summer boots and fanny packs. When one of us noticed either trend, the person who missed it had to take a sip of their beverage (similar to the Punch Buggy road trip game but with cocktails). The summer boot, looking adorable on the non-baby boomers, has but one objective, to look cute. However, the demographics of my fanny packers are more concerned with function than form. Despite the fact that the accessory does nothing for your figure, it has a specific purpose: to hold your money, SPF 70 and Purell. After hours of shouting “FANNY PACK!” and “SUMMER BOOTS!” we left the Fair Grounds a tad bit inebriated. Ultimately, the frontrunner … age before beauty and function conquers form. Long live the fanny pack!
Off the Cuff
Q. What does the phrase “shoot the cuffs” mean?
Chuck B., Lakeview
A. The phrase is relatively easy to explain and means quite the obvious: to “shoot your cuffs” is to project or pull your shirt cuffs so that they
protrude beyond your jacket. To “shoot one’s cuffs” is also an idiom for “showing off.” The expression refers to the habit of men flicking their wrists in order to display the cuffs of their sleeves and cuff links. According to experienced tailors, a suitably dressed man should allow for half an inch of his shirt cuff to peek beyond his jacket. In order to attain this desirable state of dress it is necessary to shoot or jerk your arms and shoulders so the cuffs pop into view.
In the HBO series The Sopranos, Paulie coaches Christopher (a newly made man) to “shoot ’em,” so his cuff links are visible. In Paulie’s eyes this is a sign of class and distinction. I concur that a well-dressed, confidant man is sexy but shooting your cuffs alone will not get you on the cover of Esquire. On the other hand, it might get you a table at Eleven 79.