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Zack X Carlton

I'm taking on yet another alias this summer. You can call me, "The Fresh Prince of Bayside." As I mentioned a few posts ago, my summer style is being completely influenced by the early 90s. It might be a result of my complete and utter obsession with Nick at Nite for the past few months. Reruns of Family Matters and California Dreams have me in a trance, salivating over pieces in the wardrobe.

Since I tend be a little more "Preppy" in my personal style, I wanted to pull in elements of Zack Morris' closet and combine it with the Carlton Banks-esque articles of clothing I have in mine.

THIS is one of my first photographed attempts at meshing the 2 styles. I'm wearing a Ralph Lauren oxford ($5, thrift), black Levi's ($35, Macy's), grey wool limited edition Sperry Top-Siders ($85, Zappos.com), and an amazing, vintage graphic cardigan I found at Goodwill for $2.

Thoughts? Opinions? All are welcome. I'm loving how this whole thing is coming together. It's forcing me to stretch the limits of my creativity.

To further compliment the pairing, I purchased these retro looking pair of Air Flights from a Nike Outlet in somewhere in Florida after my trips to Miami for $40. They are some of the most comfortable shoes I've owned in my life. Every time I put them on, someone thinks I fished them out of some sneaker-head auction or something. LOVE them!
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Journey Home

About a month ago I went "home" to Atlanta for the graduations of my cousin James, long time friend Patrick, and honorary little brother Marcus from my alma mater Morehouse College. I hadn't been in 2 years. ATL is always such a breathe of fresh air for me. I was born and raised in LA, but it wasn't until I made my matriculation through Morehouse that I became a man. In retrospect, its so crazy how much I matured, experienced and learned in what seemed like a flash of 4 short years.

While sitting in the Alumni section upfront during the graduation ceremony, I was almost moved to tears looking around at all my peers who have accomplished so much since walking through those gates and thinking about what it means to be amongst the ranks of such men. The term "Morehouse Man" implies to so many different things and comes with so much responsibility --- all of which I welcome and do my best to live out each and every day of my life.

After the ceremony ended I marched out with my fellow alums, leading the brigade of new graduates. During the precession I stared at all the different halls in which I walked, took in the Georgia air that I breathed and smirked at the new generation of Men of Morehouse in all their stylish, rightfully arrogant glory --- my chest swelled with pride and my heart full of joy.

I have returned home with a renewed sense of purpose. For I know that I am predisposed to greatness.

While walking around campus I so much praise on my blog. I had no idea that so many people were turned in, even though we don't speak on a regular basis. What a humbling feeling. In addition, there were several compliments on one my favorite accessories I acquired for the season --- the ever so regal straw Italian boater hat you see in the photo above.

The “Boater Hat” was created in the 1880’s and was brought to America by Italian immigrants and was so called, because it was originally worn by the Gondoliers, usually with a long, doppio nastro. The “nastro” was an easily worn hat ribbon usually in navy and red. Its popularity soared with the American public in the late 19th and early 20th century. The boater hat was a favorite choice of summer headwear and was often seen sported by the middle class for weekend outings, picnics, and more formal events.

Through the years, the Boater hat enjoyed such popularity that it became known as “The Hat of the People”. Not only was it a favorite for entertainers in Vaudeville and light musicals but it was also thought to have been worn by some FBI agents as a sort of unofficial designation in pre-war times.
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Neckwear :: The Cravat

How many of you can honestly say that you know what a cravat is? Wikipedia describes the cravat as:

"a neckband, the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and bow tie, originating from 17th century Croatia. From the end of the 16th century, the term band applied to any long-strip neckcloth that was not a ruff. The ruff, a starched, pleated white linen strip, started its fashion career earlier in the 16th century as a neckcloth (readily changeable, to minimize the soiling of a doublet), as a bib, or as a napkin. A band could be either a plain, attached shirt collar or a detachable "falling band" that draped over the doublet collar. It is possible that cravats were initially worn to hide shirts which were not immaculately clean."

I love that all my fashion forward friends know how much I love a creative challenge. The inspiration for this post came after receiving the following tweet from friend and designer Jenny P who is notorious for keeping me on my toes.

As soon as I can my hands on a decent cravat I'm going to do a follow up post with the results of my styling options for the classic neck piece. Thanks, Jen! ;)

Ironically, the same day I received the challenge from Jen, I later watched an episode of The Game where Hosea Chanchez's character Malik Wright was so brilliantly styled in a paisley print cravat, tuxedo jacket with big lapels and plum colored dress shirt. This definitely got my wheels turning on possible alternatives... And low key, I have worn something like a chavat, but unfortunately have no photos of myself from that night. Oh well! It just gives me excuse to get dressed up again.

For more coverage on the classic neck piece, click here for my brother and fellow fashionisto Quimari's take on his blog A Tailored Observation.
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Check Out :: Janelle, Drake & Cee-Lo

CEE-LO + GREG STREET x STRAY BULLETS

It seems like 2010 is giving us the gift of phenomenal music! Cee-Lo's new mixtape Stray Bullets is amazing! I cannot articulate how much I love this compilation of wonderful music. The cover art and the fact that its a mixtape threw me way off kilter. I was not expecting what has been responsible for giving me eargasms for the past week. To call this project a work of art would be an understatement. It resignates so well with my spirit and gives me so much creative inspiration. If you don't listen to anything else I ever say, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do yourself a favor and download this mixtape.

Click here and enjoy.

TRACK LISTING

1. Goldschläger (Produced by The Grey Area)
2. You Don’t Shock Me Anymore (Produced by The Grey Area)
3. Cho Cha the Cat (with the B-52’s) (Produced by The Teddy Bears)
4. I Like It (Produced by The Grey Area)
5. Little Black Book (Produced by The Grey Area)
6. Talking To Strangers (Produced by The Grey Area)
7. ChamPain (Produced by Doc & The Grey Area)
8. Night Train (with the Goodie Mob) (Produced by The Grey Area & Anthony Kronfle)
9. The Secret (Produced by The Grey Area)
10. Sophistic@ted B!$ch (Produced by The Grey Area)
11. I’ll Kill Her (feat. ME & LOnan the Destroyer) (Produced by ?????)
12. Is It _ (Produced by The Grey Area)
13. Super Woman Theme Song (Produced by The Grey Area)
14. Night Cap Outro (One Last Shot of Goldschläger) (Produced by The Grey Area)

DRAKE x THANK ME LATER

I am lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an advance copy of Drake's first official record Thank Me Later a little over a week ago. I've finally decided once and for all, after more than a year, that I'm a fan of his music after listening. I mean, wow! Like Kid Cudi, he successfully tells the story of an ambitious Black male in his 20s so creative and honestly - covering everything from relationships to the grind. I don't think I've ever related so closely with anything else I've listened to in my life. He's exceeded each and every one of my expectations.

Be sure to go and pick up a copy tomorrow in stores!

TRACK LISTING

1. Fireworks (feat. Alicia Keys)
2. Karaoke
3. The Resistance
4. Over
5. Show Me a Good Time
6. Up All Night (feat. Nicki Minaj)
7. Fancy (feat. T.I. & Swizz Beatz)
8. Shut It Down (feat. The Dream)
9. Unforgettable (feat. Young Jeezy)
10. Light Up (feat. Jay-Z)
11. Miss Me (feat. Lil Wayne)
12. Ceces Interlude
13. Find Your Love
14. Thank Me Now

JANELLE MONAE x THE ARCHANDROID

It might sound silly, but although I don't know Janelle Monae personally, I feel like I have a special connection with her. She started off a local artist in Atlanta doing shows in the AUC (Morehouse, Spelman and Clark-Atlanta University) when I was in undergrad and various other venues and I've had the pleasure of watching her evolve as what I'm confident will be described one day as a legendary artist over the past 7 years. Her newest record The ArchAndroid is a classic! She gives you so much musical range with so many different genres, solid lyrics and powerful vocals. I am truly blown away every single time I listen to it.

Go and grab a copy at retail NOW!

TRACK LISTING

1. Suite II Overture
2. Dance Or Die (Ft. Saul Williams)
3. Faster
4. Locked Inside
5. Sir Greendown
6. Cold War
7. Tightrope (Ft. Big Boi)
8. Neon Gumbo
9. Oh, Maker
10. Come Alive
11. Mushrooms & Roses
12. Suite III Overture
13. Neon Valley Street
14. Make The Bus (Ft. Of Montreal)
15. Wondaland
16. 57821 (Ft. Deep Cotton)
17. Say You’ll Go
18. Ba Bop Bye Ya

(Photo taken at Morehouse/Spelman Homecoming 2007)
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Board to Death!

Even though the June gloom insists on looming in my SoCal airspace, I think it's pretty safe to say that summer's officially here! For probably the first time in my adult life, I am genuinely excited about the season and everything it has to offer - from the countless barbeques sure to ensue to all the trips to beach I'll be taking. Because I've previously been so stuck on cold weather seasons (especially for the sake of layering), I never took the time to appreciate how awesome summer really is.

Lately, my style's been extremely influenced by the 90s and I've been searching the thrift for pieces to fulfill all my wardrobe's needs in order to respond to my new inspiration accordingly. Again, retail is just not doing it for me. I can't seem to stop yawning as stores are starting to put last season's clothing on the clearance racks and the summer inventory out on display. Everything has me bored to death, and ironically the board shorts are one of the worst offenders. There's nothing stylish about an over-sized short with too much stitching and awful graphics. Gentlemen, it's time for a change... An upgrade, if you will.

I found the shorts in the photos above at a few different thrift stores for all under $5 each (and of course I cleaned them thoroughly). I love them because of the colors, designs and lengths. They feel more adult, have much more character than the board shorts they're currently selling at retail and they are more closely aligned with my style.

My favorite are the vintage, acid wash Nike shorts you see in the first photo above (pictured in front of Versace's house). I styled them with a green striped tank I got from Old Navy for $5 during a recent trip to Miami. I love the contrast of the textures and colors!

I absolutely love what Rogues Gallery is doing this season with their collection of swim trunks! They use bold colors, great length (right above the knee), and smart tailoring. This is the prime example of what I'm endorsing this summer. Click here to see more from Rogues Gallery.