Our Favorite Posts from 2012

Remember when we taught you how to concoct a manly mixed drink? Or the day we gave you the 411 on what ladies think about your cologne? Or, what about the time we taught you how to do your laundry? It’s been a great year writing A Tip of the Hat since its launch this past March.

Just in case you missed some of our posts along the way, we rounded up some of this year’s most memorable…

A Guy’s Guide to Gift Buying — This is a great one for all of you last-minute shoppers scrambling to get holiday gifts the morning of (or even after-the-fact). Read our tips, and don’t disappoint her again this year.

How to Stock a Bar — Our very first post, this oldie-but-goodie shows you the essential items needed for an at-home bar.

Style File: Don Draper — Who doesn’t want to emulate the always-dapper Don Draper?

Mad Men Inspired Cocktails — Speaking of Don Draper, check out our recipes for Mad Men-inspired cocktails. Learn how to make a Vodka Gimlet, a Brandy Alexander, a Tom Collins, and a Bloody Mary.

Tips on Going Tailor-Made — When it comes to buying a suit, we recommend going tailor-made. Read our tips on finding a tailor, choosing a fabric, communicating with your tailor, and keeping it fresh.

15 Manly Mustaches for Movember — In honor of Movember, we rounded up 15 of the best mustaches of the modern world, from Daniel Day-Lewis to Alex Trebek.

Designing a Bachelor Pad? What You Need to Know — Guys living on your own, take note of our bachelor pad decor ideas. We’ll help you create a classy, yet masculine, space for yourself.

How to Find the Perfect Jeans Cut — We cover all the cuts so you can discover the best jeans for your body type and style. Remember, if your jeans don’t fit correctly, color and style don’t matter.

Four Clever (and Easy) Costumes for Guys — Our Halloween costume ideas revolved around hats (of course) and staples that you probably already have hanging in your closet.

Get Straight with Your Razor — This brief history of shaving will convince you to go get a straight razor shave. By the way, did you know men used to shave with clam shells?

Happy Holidays from A Tip of the Hat!

 

How to Throw a Gatsby-Themed Party

What do you get when you cross the most lavish literary scene of all time with the biggest party night of the year? A Gatsby-themed bash that’s sure to go down as your most epic New Year’s Eve yet! Just in time for the 2013 movie premiere starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, transform your typical year-end bash into an extravagant 1920s soiree reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. (Minus the obsession, love triangles, and tragedy, okay?)

And for even more goodies, check out the rest of our Great Gatsby Guide:

Great Gatsby Character & Fashion Guide

’20s Toppers: Great Gatsby Hats

Great Gatsby Music: 1920s Playlist

Great Gatsby party

All you need are mood-setting invites, decor, music, and refreshments, along with a dapper and flapper-esque dress code that’ll get everybody into character. Here’s our breakdown of all the essentials for an unforgettable Gatsby party:

The Invites

As with any party, setting the scene and expectations for your Gatsby party starts with the invitations. Since it’s NYE, you want to keep the invitations looking sophisticated and fun, but with an old time feel. Invites in gold, champagne, black and white, or silver with vintage block fonts work best. Extra points for ’20s images or metallic and/or glittery details (guys, we understand — you can skip the sparkle). Or, you could use the book’s original cover and make your own invites instead.

Gatsby theme party invitations

The Dress Code

On your invites, be sure to tell your guests to get all gussied-up and Gatsby-fied. For the Jay Gatsbys, Tom Buchannans, and Nick Carraways out there, dress like a dapper gent in a black suit and bowtie, or dress pants, an old-fashioned blazer, and suspenders. Slick back the hair and grab a cigar for an authentic look.

For the Daisy Buchannans, Jordan Bakers, and Myrtle Wilsons out there, it’s all about retro waves, rouge lipstick, fur coats, and eye-catching dresses!  The flapper look of the ’20s was all about clothing you could move and twirl in, with beading, gems, tassles, sequins, ribbon, or other flashy embellishments. Looking for a little inspiration? Try the look below!

what to wear to a Gatsby party

The Accessories

When it comes to looking the part, accessories are key to pulling off Gatsby garb. For guys, it’s all about the fedora (and lucky for you, we know where to find ’em). To pull off the high-scale Gatsby appeal, grab some cufflinks, a pocket watch, and a handkerchief for your coat pocket.

For the ladies, your go-to hat is the Daisy-like cloche. Be sure to don a headpiece underneath that topper, carry a hard-cased clutch, and don’t skimp on the pearls, velvet, rhinestones, jewels, and feathers — pile them on! 

accessories what to wear to a Gatsby themed party

The Decor

Although the book takes place during the summer, it’s easy to decorate using the rich colors, bold lights, and shimmery decor of the 1920s during the holidays, when there’s an overabundance of glitzy baubles lining the store shelves (most will be on sale right before and after Christmas, too).

For Gatsby theme decor, think lavish extravagance meets sleek, retro sophistication. For the tablescape, choose items in black, white, gold, silver, and jewel tones — and don’t forget the luxe contrast of white candles and flowers. The beverage area should be the center of attention in a 1920s themed party, so deck out a bar cart or side table in vintage-looking barware, swanky bottles, and chic touches like a cocktail menu, festive streamers, and retro straws. We love the idea of using vintage gold frames (you can find them at your local Goodwill) and painting the inside with chalkboard paint — the perfect ambiance-setting signage for your place. And last but not least: don’t forget the confetti. It’s a Gatsby and NYE must!

Gatsby theme party decorations

The Refreshments

Gatsby threw over-the-top parties to impress Daisy; his parties were all about overindulging, especially when it came to food and drink. Let’s start with the drinks, because even though the story took place during the Prohibition era, that didn’t stop Gatsby’s free-flow of booze for his guests. Gin was a staple in the speakeasy era, but try to make a few authentic cocktails, too, like a Mint Julep, Southside, Sidecar, Highball, and French 75. And don’t forget the bubbly — it’s NYE, after all!

If you’re serving a few apps, try your hand at tea sandwiches, crab-stuffed mushroomspancetta-wrapped figs, baked brie with pecans, triple deviled eggs, and shrimp cocktail. Serve savory chocolate dipped brownie cookies, triple chocolate truffles, creme brulee donuts, or a simple angel food cake for dessert. To Gatsby-ify your hors d’oeuvres, use fedoras as serving bowls by lining them with aluminum foil (for protection), covering the foil with a cloth napkin, and filling them with your foods.

Gatsby theme party food and drink ideas

The Music

To top off your Gatsby bash, switch out your top hits for swing music. Bust out that old fashioned record player and play some vinyls, or load your phone with all sorts of Swing-era tunes. Early jazz artists like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cole Porter, Ben Pollack, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Red Allen, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, and John Kirby are staples for your Spotify playlists (check out our collection of 1920’s hits here), or listen to stations like Early Jazz Radio or Roaring ’20s Radio on Pandora. Guests will surely get into the swing of things.

Great Gatsby theme party music list

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Image sources: hitfix.com, polkadotdesign.com, potterybarn.com, polyvore.com, dose.clubzone.com, theglitterguide.com, blog.hwtm.com, stylemepretty.com, pinterest.com/modeetmaison, marthastewart.com,
paleomg.com, loveandoliveoil.com, jazzbluesclub.com, hollywoodoutbreak.com, bennycarter.com

 

Blogger Gift Picks, Part 2

We’re back with more holiday gift picks, as recommended by our favorite bloggers. Read on for gentlemanly gift ideas that any guy on your holiday list will appreciate. And if you missed Part 1 of this series, you can check it out here.

Midwestyle Gift Picks

It’s been argued that men these days don’t know how to dress. While athletic shorts and t-shirts make their way to the sidewalks, a few chaps from the train tracks  constantly educate the way a frugal man can dapper up. Hailing from Chicago, Jeff, Seth, and Cam pour their hearts and souls into the localized, well-photographed blog Midwestyle. Filled with wardrobe advice, these three featured some unique accessories too noteworthy to pass by this holiday season.

Bartender Roll-up Kit

Bar Roll-Up — For the man who treats his elixirs with more interest than debauchery, try a bar roll-up kit from Cocktail Kingdom ($135). One part quality leather and waxed cotton, one part rugged design by Jim Meehan, a roll-up kit is sure to express and enhance his spirited passion. If your coin purse is running a little light these days, Amazon shelves a basic boxed set of bar tools at $40.

A Thrifted Historical Watch — This time around, consider a watch that speaks of both past and present time. Cam discovered a Vostok watch from WWII for $30 on Etsy, but you can best find these old-timers on eBay, Craigslist, or even your local thrift shop. Just be wary of the watch’s age compared to its ability to keep time.

Reindeer bottle opener

Housewares from Anthropologie — If wisdom can be found in the most unlikely of places, so too can a great, affordable gift. Typically a store for the ladies, the Midwestyle gents went out on a limb and found a few treasures at Anthropologie. With kitchen goods like a reindeer horn bottle opener ($28), you can leave your ego with the cabbie and man up while you shop for the special someone in your life.

Now before you gallop off to the stores for these things, check out more from the young bucks at Midwestyle. They have plenty of wardrobe posts and styling tips, all presented with a sharp wit and youthful spirit. The boys have just about everything on their site from a safety pin tie clip post to a Midwest thrift shop map for easier trunk-diving.

Alex Grant’s Gift Picks

When our team is in need of wardrobe inspiration, we know that we can rely on Alex Grant’s blog to get our creative juices flowing. His relaxed, yet sophisticated style has inspired us to break away from the ordinary and try new looks this year. While we like almost all of the products he features on his site, here are the three we would love to see wrapped up under our tree:

bills khakis berkshire jacketBerkshire Jacket — We love this warm, plaid jacket for the bitter cold winter months of January and February. Red is the perfect color for the holiday season, and it will look great with almost anything in your wardrobe. The entire product is made in the USA, which is an added plus.

danner boots

Danner Boots
— While winter boots tend to be less-than-attractive, these leather boots by Danner will keep your feet dry, warm, and stylish. We love how Alex swapped out the original laces for a pair of red ones. These would be a perfect gift for any guy on your list who ventures outside during winter’s cold months.

jack spade vest

Warm Vest — This down vest is the perfect layer for those especially cold and windy days. Any guy who lives in one of the bitter-cold, snow-laden states (that’s you, Minnesotans) will love layering this vest over a warm sweater or thermal.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our Blogger Gift Picks series next Friday!

Follow Suit: How to Wear a Tie Clip

Listen up, guys. We hate to break it to you, but your suits are looking reaaaally boring these days. We think it’s time for men everywhere to step up their suit game. But how do you do it, you say? Ah, we’re really glad you asked. We bring you (drum roll please) … the tie clip.

How to wear a tie bar tips and tutorial

Now, before you roll your eyes and classify it as “things only Don Draper would wear,” a simple tie bar can transform any ol’ suit from classic and mature to fresh and modern in one full swoop. Just ask LeBronJay ZJakeDavidChanning, and our good friend Gordon. The tie clip not only polishes up your appearance, but proves to the ladies that you’re a gentleman who pays attention to the details (trust us, it’s important).

Lucky for you, we’re experts on how to wear them — because in case you were wondering, you really can screw this one up. Read on for how to use, choose, and wear a tie clip to perfection:

What is a tie clip for?

the proper way to wear a tie cliphow to wear a tie clip tie bar

Tie clips — also called a tie bar — are sometimes mistaken as simply a tie accessory. However, they do serve a purpose. A tie clip is intended to clip the front of your tie to the placket of your dress shirt. That way, when the wind blows or you’re getting down on the dance floor, your tie stays in place, and you don’t end up looking like this guy. It also keeps your tie from dipping into your meal at dinner (major plus).

Which tie clip should you choose?

how to wear a tie clip tie barhow to wear a tie clip tie bar

With tie clips picking up in popularity, there are a lot out there to choose from. We advise something a little more basic, in silver or gold. These tend to look the most sleek and sophisticated, and go with just about everything. Our model used this tie clip. Oh, and if your tie clip comes with a chain, remove it. Save those for your grandpas, guys.

how to wear a tie clip tie barhow to wear a tie clip tie bar
too big                                                                   just right

Also, make sure to choose a tie clip based on the width of your tie. Tie clips look strange and overpowering if they’re wider than the tie, but a tie clip that is too small will look goofy and overshadowed. The bar should usually cover about 3/4 the width of your tie.

How do you wear one?

how to wear a tie clip tie barhow to wear a tie clip tie bar
too low                                                                    too high

The placement of your tie clip is very important. If you place the bar too low, it looks like a paperweight for your tie. Placing the tie clip too high just looks silly, and gives your tie a weird, wrinkled “bubbling” effect.

how to wear a tie clip tie barhow to wear a tie clip tie bar
casual                                                                     formal

Follow these rules:

If you’re dressing a little more casual or your suit jacket is staying open, place the tie clip between the fourth and fifth shirt button — your jacket will cover the tie clip when buttoned. This is a more traditional look.

If you’re going more formal or attending an important event, push the tie clip up between the third and fourth button — your jacket should button below the tie clip. This placement actually makes you look taller and slimmer, and gives a stylish appearance.

 

Voila! You are a tie clip master. So get spiffy, and try one out!

Lately from Our Favorite Bloggers…

We rounded up fall and winter outfits and style tips from some of our favorite bloggers. From tartan to corduroy, we hope these guys provide you a little style inspiration:

The Silentist blogger

Kiyoshi Martinez from The Silentist wore elephant-patterned Bonobos pants for election day. He paired these political-party-appropriate pants with a lambswool sweater, a button-down, a tie, blue socks, and horse bit loafers. Fantastic!

plaid jacket

On his blog A Headlong Dive, Jeremiah Simmons shared a little history about appropriate-for-fall blackwatch tartan. This black, blue, and green plaid is named for the Royal Highlanders who policed fighting against the throne in Scotland during the 18th century. They were dubbed the Black Watch because of their black, blue, and green tartan, which served as camouflage in the forests. Check out our blue, black, green, and red plaid-ribboned trilby.

men's style pro blogger

Sabir Peele from Men’s Style Pro showed us how to pull off a three-piece corduroy suit, which is a big trend this fall and winter. Today’s corduroy suit has thinner ridges in the fabric (known as wale) and sports a more modern cut, but still provides good warmth and style for winter. Sabir wore the suit five different ways, but our favorite was the blazer and trousers paried with a turtleneck, fedora, boots, and pocket square.

wardrobe maintenance tips

Will Boehlke from A Suitable Wardrobe shared handy wardrobe maintenance tips from Barry Pullen. For example, cut your fingernails at night to avoid snagging woven ties, administer alcohol with a cotton ball to your neck to remove oil and save your collars, and clean out trouser cuffs once or twice a year.

Know of any style blogs that we should check out? Please share them in the comments!

A Chef’s Take on Oven-Cooked Steaks

We already know you’re a grillmaster (or, at least you think you are). You can broil, barbecue, smoke, and roast just about any type of meat on an open flame. But what happens when the weather goes south, and your grillin’ days are put on hold for the night — or the season? Trust us, no one wants to cook while they’re shivering in their skivvies. So how are you going to impress your lady friend over a steak dinner if you have to cook it in the oven? (Insert dramatic look here.)

Advice from a chef: How to cook a steak in the oven!

That’s where our good friend, Chef Andrew Horstmann, comes in. As a graduate of The Chef’s Academy and a Sous Chef at The Oceanaire in Indianapolis, he really is a grillmaster, a fishmaster, a steakmaster, and everything in between. Here are his foolproof tips to the perfect oven-cooked steak in under 15 minutes. And honestly, it’s even easier than grilling.  (Insert another dramatic look.)

How to Cook a Steak in the Oven

By Chef Andy

Equipment

• Iron Skillet (it should be oven-safe, meaning there shouldn’t be rubber or plastic anywhere on the handle)
• Tongs
• Oven Mitt
• Stove
• Oven

Ingredients

• 6 oz filets
• Salt
• Pepper
• Olive Oil

Directions

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Be hefty with the seasoning.
• Warm the skillet on the stove on high heat.
• Once skillet is hot, drizzle just enough olive oil to cover the surface of the skillet.
• Place steak in skillet and leave on one side for 2-4 minutes, until you get a hard sear. It should be rich brown in color, but not black (otherwise known as burnt).

Advice from a chef: How to cook a steak in the oven!

• After one side is seared, flip steaks and place entire skillet immediately into the oven. The hot skillet will continue to sear the uncooked side while in the oven.
• Leave steaks in oven for preferred amount of time. See cook times below.
• After removing steaks from the oven, let them rest for 2 minutes in the pan. This helps the flavor and juices redistribute themselves throughout the steak.
• Place oven-safe plates in the oven for 1-2 minutes before putting steaks on them. Steaks are always better on a hot plate.
• Plate it up and serve.

Advice from a chef: How to cook a steak in the oven!

Top It Off

If you want to get a little fancy, throw olive oil, fresh spinach, sliced tomatoes, and Dungeness crab meat into a skillet, and sautee for a few minutes. Spoon this on top of your steaks for a little surf and turf. Serve with feta and rosemary-stuffed mushroom caps.

Cook Times

If you’re a first-timer and you really want to do this right, suck it up and use a meat thermometer. They’re the easiest way to cook your steaks to the desired temp, especially if you’re uncomfortable with touch. Use this temperature chart as a guide.

Also, cook times vary depending on the cut of your steak, so if you’re cooking something other than a filet, use this steak-cooking guide.

Here’s my rule of thumb:

• For rare, don’t bother with the oven. Just sear on both sides on the stove for 2-4 minutes.
• For medium-rare, cook steaks 6-8 minutes in the oven. All sides should look cooked, but the steak should still feel squishy (like the palm of your hand).
• For medium, cook about 7-10 minutes in the oven. If you poke the steak with your thumb, it’ll squish in, but plump back up quickly.
• For medium-well, cook 10 minutes. To touch, it will be pretty firm.
• For well done, you should just get yourself some chicken.

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