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Encounter :: Jeremy Scott

During a trip to one of my long lost favorite thrift stores (St. Vincent de Paul) in the Pasadena area, I ran into genius fashion designer Jeremy Scott! I couldn't have been more excited! I was in the women's section helping my best friend find a couple of items for summer and he was sifting through the rack right across from me. I had to do a double take. Long story short, I introduced myself and asked for a photo. He was extremely gracious. I talked with him briefly about his most recent collection and others thing he has in the works. Great guy! It was such a pleasure.

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Style Investment :: Gym Membership

The battle with my weight is one that I've been fighting almost my entire life! The summer before kindergarten my metabolism decided it was going to slow down and so the war began. Though I was always overweight and awkward, I was always accepted by the in crowd so other then simply thinking I wanted to be thinner, I never seriously did anything about it. My parents kept me in sports year-round, but my appetite countered anything I was doing on the field.

During my senior year at Morehouse College my weight had reached its height, tipping the scales at almost 300 lbs. After moving back to LA after graduation, I got addicted to NBC's The Biggest Loser and decided I was finally going to do something about my weight. All the superficial reasons I'd previously had for wanting to lose the weight shifted into a more serious concern for my health. Everything I did left me winded; from climbing a single flight of stairs to tying my own shoes. Besides my health, fashion being my first love, I wanted (and still do) my clothes to fit better and to be able to shop at any store I wanted.

I started my journey by purchasing The Biggest Loser: The Weight Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health, and Life. This book is outstanding! It gave me all the knowledge I needed about how to actually lose weight in a way that I'd never before been taught. Each and every one of my assumptions was incorrect.

I went on to lose around 80 lbs over a span of 7 months - weighing in at 206 lbs. The lowest in my adult life. I felt great! The compliments wouldn't stop, my shopping options opened up and I felt like I was finally in control of this "hunger monster" that had been dominating my life for so many years.

Unfortunately, my determination was fueled by depression and after I got over what I was going through, I gained 50 lbs back...fast! It took a long time, but today I've refocused and got back in the gym and am constantly fighting my eating habits. I've lost almost 20 lbs, with a new motivation and purpose.

I still have a ways to go. The battle continues...

Even if you happen to be your ideal size, that doesn't make you healthy. Being in great shape has nothing to do with what you look like and everything to do with what you do with your body. I encourage all of you to go out and get a membership at your local gym doing any form of exercise you like. I can't express what a difference it's made in my life since I started going 3 years ago. Although I'm not where I want to be, I know every time I step foot in 24 Hour Fitness I'm adding days to my life!

I read a great article in the February 2010 issue of GQ Magazine that talks about how to successfully and slowly shift your eating habits, making the right decisions with a busy lifestyle and seeing results down the line. Here are 10 easy steps to remember and follow:

1. Eat early.
2. Eat (small portions) often.
3. Reduce portions.
4. Monitor your hunger.
5. Drink water all day.
6. Set small, specific goals.
7. Choose the healthier options at restaurants.
8. Choose one fat per meal, not several.
9. Fuel up (eat) before exercising.
10. Drink less, drink light (alcohol).
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Saddle Up!

Being a fashion forward thinker often times presents a problem. I usually figure out my look at least a season ahead and there's guaranteed to be a problem with one of the staples that I've selected. Well my hunt for the timeless saddle shoe is certainly no exception. In fact, it's the prime example of what I'm talking about. I've been looking for a saddle shoe for nearly 2 years now. I looked just about anywhere you can think of. Thrift stores (of course), flea markets, uniform stores, the internet - the list goes on for days.

Because this classic shoe has become more popular over the past couple of years, my luck has improved and I've found several options in the last 6 months. Now the proud owner of not one, but 2 pair, I have to say that this American classic is one of my favorite pieces.

Initially, I purchased this beautiful white & black Burlington from Bass Shoes ($89). Apparently it slipped my mind that I tend to wear a smaller size in dressier shoes because these were much too large for my feet. I filled out the packing slip for an exchange. That is, until I found these...

In my many travels to different thrift stores around LA, I found these 2 amazing pair of saddle shoes. During a trip to Jet Rag, with my friend celebrity wardrobe stylist Monique Scott, I found these taupe and navy saddle shoes by Cole Haan for $35 (left). I stumbled across these black & brown saddle shoes by St. John's Bay for $20, brand new, in possibly thee most random shoe/clothing store in Sante Alley.

Needless to say the Bass saddle shoes went from being exchanges to returns.

Read more coverage on these classy kicks from my brothers Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs over at Street Etiquette...
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Successful Thrifting

Because of the numerous requests and inquiries I've received in regards to successful thrighting, I decided to edit, update and re-post this article I wrote 2 years ago titled, "Do Your Wardrobe a Favor." For all you who are either beginners or have never been thrifting yourself, this how-to-guide will provide you with all the information you'll need to anticipate when walking into a thrift store and being able to navigate through one comfortably (and cleanly).

I have no problem or shame in humbly saying I'm a pretty dapper young man. Wait, can you be humble and make such a statement? Hmmm...who knows? Anyway, I'm often complimented on what I'm wearing and the way I put it all together. It's just a beautiful mess in my mind. What most people don't know upon meeting me, however, is even though my wardrobe is currently ridiculous, I don't spend a lot of money on clothes. Since the time I was a little boy, my mother always taught me to be a smart shopper. I never was the type of person to run to the most popular store in the mall to grab anything you could find 100 other people wearing at any given time. Even when my style was more "urban" I would frequent Marshall's, Ross and TJ Maxx.

Sometime in high school when my style started to evolve and I was enlightened by a great friend about the whole vintage movement and thrift shopping. At first, it was a little off-putting, as it may be to many of you. Whenever I passed a Goodwill or Salvation Army, I had this stigma that those types of places were for poor and homeless people. Needless to say I was dead wrong. It was/is actually a hidden treasure.

I love the current state of fashion in all its schizophrenic glory because I feel like almost anything goes. Just as long as you give an ensemble some thought and be somewhat forward thinking, you can pretty much do what you want. Thrifting is so very conducive to this.

In order to be a successful thrifter, it takes patience. You must have patience. The thrift is nothing like shopping in the mall or at a department store. They are rarely neatly organized and sales reps are not going to help you find item A in a size B. What you see is what's available. They're often a mess. And the closest thing you can come to any organization is the categories - shirts, vests, jackets, pants, suits, etc. That's about it.

Upon entering you should definitely anticipate the smell. Although it isn't unbearable, it is very "pungent and [may] sting the nostrils" as Ron Burgundy would say. Haha! Once you find your desired section, you're going to have to sift through just about everything. I usually try and focus my sights on colors, patterns and textures, and go from there. If it looks like something worth purchasing, I first check the size. If the size is sufficient, I check the quality of the piece looking everything from stains to missing buttons. If everything checks out, I add it to my basket.

I visit some of my favorite thrift stores on a weekly basis and always leave with at least 5 pieces and never spend more than $20.

Everything is second hand, but if you can look past that and you have a good eye, the thrift can be extremely rewarding - as evident by my closet.

Below are all the "ingredients" for any good thrifter.

First and foremost, since I do thrift so often I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my car. Thrifting may be extremely rewarding, but the harsh reality is that you don't know where that shit has been.

These are pretty self-explanatory. Again, you don't know where the stuff you purchase in a thrift store has been so wash the hell out of it. I sometimes wash my finds twice to be on the safe side.

Finally, find a good dry cleaner. A lot of the items you buy in the thrift can be machine washed, but some of them can't (or shouldn't be). In the past few months, I've come up on some pretty awesome leather jackets, blazers and other coats that I had to take in. And even though my cleaner is ridiculously expensive, it's worth every penny.
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Roll 'Em Up Right

One of the things I hate to see the most when I'm out is a man with his sleeves rolled up incorrectly. Sleeves that are not properly rolled up look sloppy, are comfortable and constantly slip down your forearm. Below is a simple, easy to follow guide on how to do so. Please take note gentlemen.
Now that spring is here, sleeves will be rolled, ties will be loosened, and buttons will be undone. If you’re looking for something more interesting than the usual sleeve roll, here’s a tip on how to stay cool -- pun intended, of course.

1. Fold your sleeve in half, bringing the cuff up to your bicep.
2. Take the lower portion and fold it in half again, creating a roll
below the cuff.
3. Smooth it out and make it neat -- the bottom of the roll should rest
above your elbow. Leave some of the cuff visible.

(Illustration by Michael Hoeweler)