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By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

It doesn’t take much to feel like you have an entirely new wardrobe. A few, choice items and it will feel like an all new you.

 

Photos: Shutterstock, PR

 

Outerwear

A new coat or jacket is a sure way to update your look. Look at outerwear as an investment that may not be used as much as other pieces of clothing, but will outlast many of them altogether.

Polo Ralph Lauren Herringbone Wool-Blend Coat, $695

 

 

 

 

 

Accessories

Adding an accessory can instantly brighten and transform your look. Just think of how a new belt, colorful socks, or great tie can change the look of what is already in your closet.

Charles Tyrwhitt Navy Multi Plaited Belt, $65

Happy Socks Mini Diamond Socks, $12

 

 

 

 

Shoes

Daresay, a new pair of shoes is probably the most transformative clothing item you can get – nothing makes you feel like new like fresh footwear.

The Rail Brysen Chelsea Boot, $110

 

 

 

 

 

A Different Cut

Sometimes going just a little outside your usual boundaries, will make a big difference. Case in point: Knitwear is a seasonal staple, but switch up the ole sweater for a shawl-collared cardigan for a change.

Brooks Brothers Shawl-Collar Cardigan, $98

 

 

 

 

 

Fragrance

It may not be clothing, but you still wear it on your body – and a new fragrance has the ability to envelop you in the feeling of something luxurious and new just like a piece clothing can.

Acqua di Parma Colonia Pura Eau de Cologne, $110

 

 

 

 

 

Bag It Up

Another item that should be viewed as an investment is your bag that will simultaneously and instantly upgrade any look.

Coach Bleecker Backpack, $695

 

New Stores

A really great way of changing up your style a little is to simply try out new stores. You may have your selection of clothiers, but that also means your style stays within that realm. Switching up your shopping habits can mean great things to your look!

By Mik Hyldebrandt

Fall is here, so it’s time to break out the knitwear, long pants, and jackets. This season is all about breaking up the prep boy look and making it a little bit more edgy. Here are the key trends that will take you from uptight to unconstrained.

 

Bomber Jackets

A jacket in a classic bomber style is the perfect outer layer for your outfit. Get in in leather or in a quilted version as a cold-weather staple.
Eddie Bauer Quilted Jacket, $199

Diesel L-Rush Leather Jacket, $898

 

 

 

 

 

Knitwear with Graphic Prints
A sweater is unavoidable for fall and winter but it does make the edgiest guy look like a cozy granddad – unless you up your knitwear game with some cool graphics!

American Eagle Outfitters Sweater, $50

 

 

 

 

 

Statement T-shirts
So, technically a good statement t-shirt has never gone out of style, but if you want to present yourself with even more of a twist, you let your tee do the talking!

Zara Man Sequined T-shirt, $30

Vision Street Wear T-Shirt, $55

 

 

 

 

From Skinny to Oversize
This is another way of bulking up for the fall season – by donning oversized clothing! Wear your sweatshirts, sweaters or jacket in a size up for some added trend to your style.

Gap Canvas Fishtail Jacket, $120

 

 

 

 

 

90s Influences
If you have a vintage 90s Calvin Klein t-shirt in your closet, you’re in luck because they’re back in style. If not, they are readily available.

Calvin Kleib Jeans T-shirt, $44

Tommy Jeans Cap, $49

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt, Photo: PR

 

Some people spend months preparing while others go for a last-minute solution. To help you deal with the stress of picking out a costume for Halloween, we thought it would be helpful first to determine what personality you are when it comes to picking out a costume. Then comes the task of choosing a costume, creating it from scratch or throwing something on last minute.

 

 

All Out

No expense spared, months of preparation, and meticulous attention to detail characterizes your choice of costume. You want to wow others at the party (and preferably go to a fancy costume ball!), but you also enjoy the process of putting together the costume and seeking out just the right props to go with it.

Storm Trooper, $899.99

Creature Reacher Midnight Howler, $329

 

Always Sexy

You like to be the trick and the treat! You see Halloween as an opportunity to flaunt your progress at the gym and turn a few heads at the same time. You like the idea of dressing up as a conventionally sexy character and will either invest in a skimpy costume or modify and alter a regular costume, so it fits better and shows off the bod.

Sparta Costume, $80

Sexy policemen, $50

 

Go Goofy

Your childish soul comes out at Halloween, and you opt for a silly costume option that will put smiles on people’s faces. A funny costume is also the perfect opening for some light-hearted conversation and a way to talk to a lot of individuals at the Halloween party.

Linguine, Sausage and Meatballs Costume, $33

 

Go Stealth

You love the fact that you can be masked during Halloween and people may not recognize you right away. Maybe it’s your inner superhero or undercover agent that wants out – or maybe you just like the feeling of not being constrained by your inhibitions while wearing a mask.

Black Panther Costume, $56

 

Last Minute

Sure, you enjoy Halloween, but it always catches you a little off guard, and you never think ahead and plan a costume months in advance – who has the time, right? But, you’re also not the guy who doesn’t partake in the fun, so you buy or borrow a fun wig last minute, do a quick rummage through your closet, and voilá: you’re a Swedish tennis player!

Wig, $5

 

 

*Fact Box*

 

Excellent Resources for Costumes

 

Costumes Etc.- High-end to last-minute costumes for everyone!

2138 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324. costumesetc.com

 

Gail K Fabrics Inc. – If you’re creative and want to sew everything yourself or need specialty materials. gailkfabricsinc.com

 

Atlanta Costume Norcostco – High-end rentals and props for elaborate costumes

2089 Monroe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30324. norcostco.com

 

Psycho Sisters – Second-hand costume options and vintage fashion finds

428 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. psycho-sisters.com

 

 

Find the costumes on these pages online here:

HalloweenCostumes.com

Costumesupercenter.com

Buycostumes.com

Spirithalloween.com

Candyapplecostumes.com

Orientaltrading.com

The myth of the Pink Dollar, and how keeping up with the gay Joneses is corrupting our priorities

By Mike Fleming

If you’ve been out and proud long enough, you’ve already heard that gay people are affluent and have tremendous buying power that can be harnessed for activism and marketing. But is it true, and what effect does that nottion have on our spending habits and financial priorities?

Is the concept of the Pink Dollar doing us more harm than good? With skyrocketing displays of wealth and plummeting credit scores, sorting and setting our priorities in the right direction may start with acceptance that gay affluence is a myth in the first place.

The age-old thinking goes that, since most gay men and lesbians don’t have children, and since many same-sex couples have two incomes, we have money to throw around. Like a broken clock that’s right twice a day, it could feel true on a case-by-case basis.

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that we do throw money around – on trips, cars, homes, watches, and myriad other trappings and luxuries. To compound the idea, business heads, gay rights advocates, advertising and marketing people, and LGBT think tanks love to tout the Pink Dollar and its apparent power. This summer, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce branded the “LGBT Economy” the seventh largest in the world, bigger than entire countries including Russia.

But comparing LGBT consumer spending – an overwhelmingly large $917 billion annually – to entire nations and their Gross National Products is like standing a 19-year-old twink next to a 50-year-old daddy bear and calling them the same because they’re gay. They have things in common, but they are not the same.

Pink Dollar: Fact or Fiction?
The annually updated Income Inflation: The Myth of Affluence Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Americans puts an even finer point on it. A joint publication of the Policy Institute of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, it examines the economic status of a population group that is stereotyped as an economic elite insulated from discrimination by their wealth.

We are the only market segment compelled to spend based on quite the same criteria, so when we buy, we are emotionally attached to what our purchases mean. Shopping can be an extension of ourselves. Making materialism a priority in gay culture becomes a tangled web mired in personal issues.

Income Inflation calls the image of high-income gay men and lesbians “distorted” and asserts that it “has remained in force through the reliance on a limited number of marketing studies, conducted on behalf of gay business groups about their members and gay publications about their readers.”

The report compares the economic status of lesbian, gay and bisexual people with that of heterosexual people. It consistently finds that LGBT Americans do not earn more and do not live in more affluent households. In fact, according to two most recent studies it examined, gay men earn less, on average, than similarly qualified heterosexual men.

If that’s the case, and that $917 billion spending number is accurate, why are three-to-five percent of people in the U.S. spending more than some large countries? Have we bought into our own hype? Are we spending beyond our means to try and make that hype a reality?

Even if some of us can afford to spend frivolously, what about the rest of us trying to keep up with the gay Joneses?

The 2017 Gay Community Survey of readers from gay media outlets around the world — including Goliath Atlanta and its sibling Peach ATL, as well as Georgia Voice and Project Q in Atlanta — show big spending by about a third of gay and bisexual men in every consumer category, especially electronics, home furnishings, new cars, clothing, homes and major home remodels. More than half in the last year have purchased theater tickets, salon services, concerts, or fundraisers with a cover charge of $100 or more.

Whether we can actually afford it was not part of the survey. Some 14 percent of respondents, and 17 percent of gay and bisexual male respondents, say they are doing “great” financially. Another 30 percent perceive the are “doing better than most.” Together, that’s less than half.

Another third of those male respondents feel they are “barely breaking even,” and the rest categorize themselves as “falling behind” or “struggling to make ends meet.”

Overspending to Overcompensate
So why are so many of us spending what we don’t have? Is it part of gay culture, and is it fixable?

On DebtFreeGuys.com, the entire website is devoted to gay men and their money. Bob Wheeler, the CPA, radio host, and author of The Money Nerve: Navigating the Emotions of Money, says that gay men may overspend to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy.

If you are at an expensive dinner with friends and try to pick up the tab, the impulse may be driven by ego and not reality. Wheeler says that he had three cards declined in a similar situation before he realized his expectations were inflated by his drive to prove his wealth.

“In the LGBT community, it’s a competition to maintain appearances,” he says. “Overspending can also come from too many of us ‘living for today.’ Whether because so many of us, especially middle aged and older men, have seen the ravages of HIV, AIDS, or been abandoned by family friends or society, we may search for happiness in consumption.”

The problem of course is that, like any addiction, it takes more spending to fill the hole as time goes by.

The DebtFreeGuys host Wheeler and others in a YouTube series called Queer Money Week that helps analyze the problems and take steps to correct them. To fix our finances, experts now say, we must decide that we want to change. We must understand our feelings about money, our financial fears and dreams and learn what we really want in life.

Sources: Daily Worth, the LGBT Community Survey, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Queer Money, The Money Nerve, DebtFreeGuys.com.

Eight Signs You’re Overspending
If you need to own up to too many of these, eliminating them is your first step to solvency.

Credit Purchases
You’re using plastic to pay for an increasing number of purchases.

No Budgeting
Your lifestyle exceeds your budget, or you suspect so because you don’t budget.

You Grew Up Poor or Rich
Feeling deprived as a child could trigger you to buy, or being raised with the finer things could have you trying to maintain a certain lifestyle.

Appearances Sake
Many people live according to their presumed expectations of others and try to maintain an image that they think they “should” have.

Peer Pressure
You’re usually fine, but spend too much money with friends or colleagues because you’re too insecure to admit you can’t afford it.

Emotional Void
You can’t control many of the events in your life, but you can feel in control temporarily when shopping.

Yes Man
Some people just can’t say no. There’s a difference between surprising a boyfriend with flowers once in a while and over-indulging those we care about.

No Goals
Not understanding short-, mid- and long-term financial goals can lead many to give in to spending temptations in the moment.

This story appears courtesy Project Q Atlanta.

Just because it’s ‘in’ doesn’t mean you should be in it. Suit up in the latest swimwear that also looks great on your body type.

By Mike Fleming

Slim_BodSlim Jim

Suits that hit just above the knee, and fit snug not baggy, balance proportions and keep legs from looking too long. When it comes to color and graphics, go for it, especially horizontal.

nauticalNautical Board Shorts
jcrew.com
$75

 

 

unspecified-3Indigo Dot Trunk
perryellis.com
$60

 

 

unspecified

Banzai Trunk
$60
bonobos.com

 

 

Dad_BodDad Bod

Size matters. Avoid anything marked ‘tailored’ or ‘fitted’ or “slim,” look for relaxed fit and waistbands, and don’t squeeze into a size that used to fit but doesn’t anymore.

unspecified-2Chubbies Midshipman
$69
chubbiesshorts.com

 

 

unspecified-6Small-Patterned Swim Short
$48
lacoste.com

 

unspecified-2Jakarta Mid-length Swim Shorts
$110
mrporter.com

 

 

 

Fitness_BodFitness Fan

You work hard, so you can wear most colors and styles. Bare as you dare, and personalize it with any pattern or color from showy to subtle.

unspecified-1Bulldog Swim Shorts
$245
orlebarbrown.com

 

 

unspecified-5Oarsman Trunk
$58
parkeandronan.com

 

unspecified-7Athletic Stripe Box Cut
$29
originalpenguin.com

 

 

 

Fat_BodMore to Love

Solids slim you down, and roomy is better than tight. Show some leg in mid-length and shorter cuts to lengthen your profile.

unspecified-1Beach Britches
$68
birdwell.com

 

unspecified-8Turtle
$260
vilebrequin.com 

 

 

unspecified-7The Earl
$30
originalpenguin.com

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