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The Imagination Is Gone?

The Imagination Is Gone?

In this day and time, there are so many distractions. Whether it comes in the form of social media or the never ending emails, distractions and priorities are different from the past. In the clothing industry, this has never been more true. We have the access now to literally all the information in the world at our finger tips and yet, all we care to do is brag about the dinner we had last night or the wonderful weekend getaway we just had (trust me, I am guilty of this as much as anyone). The sad part is, have we lost that sense of imagination and wonder?

When it comes to the men's clothing world we were on a great path. We were inventing new fabrics, new prints and new looks. However, are we stuck in this new age attitude of just trying to be so different, that we have forgotten who we are as people. I know what you're thinking, "This is a clothing store's blog..why is he getting so deep?" The fact of the matter, is that we have to get this deep to fully understand the issues.

I remember spending countless hours of my youth imagining that I was on some far, distant planet figuring out how to defeat evil with a light-saber (Yes, I am a Star Wars guy). Nowadays, kids are so glued to their technology that the ideas of imagination and wonder are invented by people on another screen. This sad mentality has left us with a soon coming generation of men and women that have lost their sense of wonder. Is there a way to go back and fix what has happened? The short answer to this question is no. The long answer to this question revolves around the idea of why would we want to go back?

Is technology a bad thing? No. The question that should be asked is how can we invigorate the world with the ideas of using their imagination to do something meaningful. Let me take it back to the men's clothing industry. Think back to a time when men wore suits every day. This was an age were imagination was running wild. Everything was so new and fresh that any time there were "new fashions" every man had to jump on the train. Now, every company is making a "performance" shirt, every company is making pants that stretch. Is this all that our imaginations can come up with? Copying one company to another?

I surely hope the answers to these questions is a resounding no. If there is anything that this blog gets across I hope that it helps you to have a moment to reflect, to put down your cellphone, and realize that imagination can only happen from within. It doesn't have to be a deliberate decision. It just needs to be a conscious choice to remember that boy/girl who's imagination ran wild.

Sincerely,

James R. Bower Jr.

 

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A Suit Coat Isn't a Sport Coat!

A Suit Coat Isn't a Sport Coat!

How, where and when did it go this far? When did men say to themselves, "You know what...I'm going to wear this suit jacket as a sport coat with a pair of jeans!" This is by far my biggest "pet-peeve" and someone needs to explain this faulty mindset.

Growing up, I obsessively watched the show Frasier. I was constantly flabbergasted by the idea that men, "real men", wore beautifully tailored clothing and literally knew everything about the items that they were wearing. From the Spanish shoes to the Italian suits, Frasier Crane was the epitome of what to wear and how to wear it. To me, it was interesting for a man to actually care about how they presented himself. In my hometown, there were plenty of men that dressed up for Sunday Church, but that was about it. Rarely, if ever, did you see a man dressed in clothing that he had picked for himself or that he even knew how to wear.

Fast forward to 2019, where now many men have no idea how to wear a sport coat or even what you should wear to "go out." Pick any restaurant in Lynchburg and you will see a handful of young executives wearing a suit jacket with a pair of dark denim pants and they seem to have no issue with it or even knowledge about the fact that this is a fashion nightmare. So, with this blog post, I am going to guide this generation, and hopefully a few others, about the sartorial elegance of wearing a sport coat.

Sport coats are an interesting piece of fashion. For years, the idea of a sport coat was built around the idea of sporting. I know, that's pretty obvious given the name. However, you'd be surprised to know that most people do not grasp that concept. For example, during the 1950s-1970s, the idea of wearing a sport coat instead of a suit to work was something that was frowned upon. Most men wore a sport coat only on the weekends to the country club or a barbecue or something of that nature. Now, the idea of a true, fun, elegant, bold sport coat is lost. Sport coats are meant to show your fun side, not show that you took a dark blue suit jacket and tried to turn it into a sport coat with jeans.

First, the main difference in a sport coat and suit coat is usually the fabric. Suits are usually a worsted wool and can either be a year around weight or a weight that is subject to one's climate (I obviously know that there are other fabrics for suiting, but for this blog just indulge my layman's explanation). Now, a sport coat is usually made from a blend of fabrics or even a straight forward fabric like linen, flannel wool, cashmere and so forth depending on the season. Another difference is the fit of a suit jacket as opposed to a sport coat. A suit jacket with usually have more of a padded shoulder and more structure to appear more professional.This then leads to the pockets of a suit jacket as opposed to a sport coat. Most suit jackets will have flap pockets, while a sport coat will have patch pockets or flap pockets if the coat is more dressy in nature.

Second, wearing a sport coat is something that should be enjoyed and should be fun. That means a sport coat will usually have more of a fun color, texture or print as opposed to a straightforward suit. With that in mind, a sport coat is one of the best places to display your personality. If you're bold, go with a BIG PLAID. If you're more conservative, go with a solid color that has a texture to it. This leads me to the main issue that so many men have with sport coats.

Wear them, do not be afraid of standing out. Do not be afraid of not matching. At the end of the day, everyone has a blue blazer. Everyone can figure out what to wear with that. However, a sport coat takes practice. It takes dedication to hone in the art of being a better man. At the end of the day, you are the only person that can stand out and be you, so why not be the best version you can be.

If this blog post still leaves you confused on what to wear with a sport coat and why you shouldn't wear a suit jacket as one, you know where to find me... R. Coffee Ltd.

 

-James R. Bower Jr.

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Is It Worth It?

Is It Worth It?

In a world where being casual, no matter the situation, is socially acceptable. Is it worth it to go through all the hassle of dressing up? The answer, of course, is a resounding YES! I know that the majority of the time there is absolutely no need to be wearing a suit or a tuxedo, but there are definitely times where "dressing up" is a necessity.

When I first started my career in the men's fashion industry, the "rules" on what to wear and where to wear it were changing. Now, the whole fashion industry has been thrown on its head. Men wearing jogging pants with a sport coat and tee-shirt, men wearing skirts....yes....I just said that and no they will NEVER be in my store. There is nothing wrong with expressing who you are through your clothing, I do that every day. However, there is something wrong with society when I show up to an event with a sport coat and jeans on and feel over dressed.

What happened to the men like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who dressed up even when they were going out for drinks with the rest of the "Pack"? What happened to the idea of men taking pride in themselves and caring about their appearance? I'll gladly tell you what happened, WE HAVE BECOME LAZY!

Growing up in my hometown the idea of dressing up was something that rarely happened and wearing a polo was considered to be well-dressed. It's a sad fact to see the entire menswear industry be thrown to the wayside because of laziness. So, I am going to tell you a story...

I have a very special customer that comes into my store twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This customer started with me about two years ago and came in looking for two dress outfits to wear. (P.S. a dress outfit for us is a sport coat and dress slacks or a suit.) So, I helped him out and luckily he FELL IN LOVE with our clothing and service. Once my work was done with him, I waited. This waiting period is fun for clothiers because we know if we did our job right he will come back and come back he did. Twice a year for the last two years I've helped him and I've loved it.

Last week, this man came in for his spring visit and he told me a story that was striking. First off, every time he comes in he continually tells me about the compliments he gets on our clothing and I love to hear his stories,but this time it was different. He explained to me that he had gone out to a restaurant in town and was dressed to the nines with one of our ensembles. He said that as he was walking into this restaurant everyone was staring at him and people would compliment his outfit.

When he sat down for dinner, the manager of the restaurant came over and told him how much she LOVED his outfit and that more men should dress that way! As the dinner was coming to a close, he saw the manager walking back to his table. Once she got to the table she told him that the bill had been taken care of. He asked, "Why? How?" She said, "Having you dressed the way you are in my restaurant makes my restaurant look great and I just want more of the men in this place to see you and dress the way you do!" As any good R. Coffee Gent does, he kindly thanked her and walked out of the restaurant happy and confident.

So the final aspect of this article. Is dressing up worth it? Is the hassle of thinking and deliberately making a clothing choice worth it? Is any of it worth it?...........

I don't know, you tell me.

 

-James R. Bower Jr. (Jimmy)

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Time for Spring Cleaning!

Time for Spring Cleaning!

Constantly, we are asked about what people should do with their old clothing or what they should throw out of their wardrobe or not. In this post you will be given a description of things that should be thrown out and items that should be saved!

To begin with here is a list of items that should be taken out of your wardrobes completely.

-Really Wide Ties (Yes, every tie has a story or a reason behind why you bought it. But, that doesn't mean you should keep it till it "comes back" into style 50 years later!

-Pants That Just Look Dated.... you know who you are and you know what you should do with them!

-Ugly Sweaters. Why I have to put this still astounds me. The sweater you wore in 1995 that has the funky design on it will NEVER COME BACK IN STYLE! HA

- Dress Shirts That Have Pointed Collars. If you try it on and you look like Robert De Niro in the Movie "Casino," it has to GO.

-Nasty T-Shirts. The stains under your arms on that white tee shirt will never go away, but the tee needs to flee.

-Holey Underwear. If someone can see through them you need to remove them from your wardrobe.

Now, Its time to describe some items that are salvageable. 

-Pants That Are Too Big or Small. This is something that any tailor can easily fix. Whether you need to cinch up the waist or make the legs of the pant smaller, it is definitely worth it to save a nice pair of britches.

-Shirts That Are Too Big. It's a simple fix to take in the sides of the shirt. The main thing to figure out is whether or not the shirt is worth taking in. On average its $24 to take in the sides of a shirt. If it isn't worth it, save your money for a new one later on!

-Suits/Sport Coats That Are Too Big. I'm not talking about saving the suit you got married in in 1987, I'm talking about saving a suit or sport coat that is worth saving. Lets say the lapels are too big or the coat is weirdly long, then it needs to go.However, most things can be fixable, but I would definitely talk to a haberdasher before making that decision. 

Once you have finally decided to get rid of the things that need to go and salvage the things that need salvaging, it is time to take the old things away. Here are the options.

-Salvation Army

-Goodwill

-Ebay (great place to sell vintage goods!)

-Consignment store

...these are pretty much all of the options.

I hope you have gained some insight into what needs to go this Spring cleaning season! It can definitely get overwhelming, but if you do it right...it will be worth it!

 

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Why Buy From Us?

Why Buy From Us?

In a world riddled with a million avenues to purchase virtually anything you want, it can sometimes get confusing about what you should purchase and where. To answer the rather obvious question, this is not some sort of marketing scheme to make you think that the value of purchasing from us is something that must be understood. The truth is, you don't really have to understand why to purchase from us, you need to understand why it makes a difference. At R. Coffee Ltd., there are essentially three main factors that separate us from the rest of the pack.

  • The first is that we know what we are doing. Yes, this is something that most stores and business think about themselves, but we really have it. I remember one of the first few months that I started at R. Coffee and a woman came into the store. I greeted her, as I do everyone, with a smile and a hello. She looked at me with confusion because Rick Coffee was not in the store that day. She then went into a long story describing how Rick had always picked out the perfect items for her sons at Christmas and she truthfully only wanted him to wait on her. At that exact moment, I knew that this was not just a clothing store, it was a family. You buy from us because we have built your trust over the years and you have realized that we know exactly what we are doing and you appreciate it. So many clothing stores just want you to buy something and move on, we are not like that.
  • Secondly, each piece of clothing in our store is purchased with people in mind! How many companies can say that literally everything they purchase has someones wants and needs in mind. Yes, every store tries to make purchases that their consumers will love and want to buy from them, but we specifically think of customers with each and every piece of clothing that is in our store. We go to "market" twice a year and when we go, we are the first buyers there and the last ones to leave. We spend countless hours pouring over books and books of inventory from our 65 vendors (THAT'S RIGHT 65 Vendors!), to insure that we are making the best purchases for our customers. We cherish each and every piece of clothing in our store and when you buy from us, the joy we get from seeing you excited is why we do it. It comes from the fact that we know that that one sport shirt you just bought was curated from 10,000 other sport shirts we see at any given show!
  • Finally, we love what we do! There are not many business that have employees and owners that truly love what they do. However, we are blessed to say that we are one of them. Last weekend I had a father and his 14 year old son come into the store and purchase a blazer, trousers and a few custom shirts from us. That moment of seeing that boy and his father bond and spend time looking at different items to purchase is without a doubt the reason we do what we do. At R. Coffee Ltd., memories are made, shared and cherished every time you come into our store. We love our customers and no matter how long it takes us to guide you in making a purchase we appreciate you and love the memories that we've made.

So, these are our distinguishing factors. Even though this post may be longer than usual, I hope you have come to realize that we are in the business of making you feel confident in how you look, making memories that will last a life time and making sure you realize how much you are appreciated. After all of the remodeling we have done over the past year and the new business ventures that are ahead for us, we want to say THANK YOU for choosing us and for making us successful. Even though you may be able to go to any golf pro-shop and buy a product from Peter Millar or shop online and pick something out from Vineyard Vines, we hope you know that we want you to think of us because the work and effort we put into everything is for YOU!

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New Year, New You?

New Year, New You?

Well, if you have heard it once, you have heard it a hundred times. Everyone is going around saying, "New Year, New You!" If you are like the majority of people, this mantra, after a few times of hearing it, will make you want to pull your hair out. But, is there some truth to that statement? Is it really a chance to begin a new path or a small change that can make a world of difference? The answer should surely be YES!

Over the years of working in the men's fashion industry there has been so many times that I have heard the fact that someone needed an update or that their clothes do not fit anymore! The new year is the perfect time to completely do an overhaul of your life and sometimes your clothing. Whether people want to admit it or not, clothing has a huge impact on their day-to-day life. It can come in the first face-to-face meeting with a new client or in that date on a Friday night. The first impression that comes in what someone wears is very important.

I know that the fact of this is sometimes hard for people to accept and realize, but it is completely true! The first impression that a person makes is without a doubt the most important thing in starting any type of relationship and clothing can make or break the situation. So, to be sure that you are putting your best foot forward, it is completely necessary to start the new year off by taking a gander at your wardrobe and seeing what can be overhauled and what must be kept. This guide will give you some parameters as well as suggestions to help you through this process.

  • Picking Favorites- As with anything there is always going to be staples in your wardrobe that must be kept. For men, it is rather simple. Blue Blazer, clean looking Khakis, nice well kept Ties (not wide ties) are a necessity and must be kept! Also, go through other items and pick a handful of your favorites. If you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it!
  • Donating the Old- This is a great way to spread some love to the community. Donate the older items that you haven't worn in a year or so and give someone else to chance to treasure your garment!
  • Plan to Shop- Whether you spend a large amount at one time for a brand new wardrobe or you take it monthly, it is a necessity to buy some updated pieces! This is sometimes hard for people to grasp, but it is important to stay up to date with your fashions. It not only shows that you care about yourself, it shows that you care about what is going on around you!

So, in completion, it is very important to try your best to stay fresh and up to date! It will not only change your looks to others, it will change how you look at yourself! New Year, New You!

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Time For Change...?

Time For Change...?

Throughout the centuries, there has only been one true constant in the world...clothing. Yes, I get it. You're thinking to yourself, "What is this guy talking about, of course clothing has always been a constant. People can't walk around naked!" I get that, but clothing has and will always be a constant thing that people need, and indulge in, in order to make a difference in their lives.

It's completely cheesy and moderately self-satisfying for me to say this, but clothing is the one thing that people use to make themselves feel better about themselves. Ever since I can remember, clothing was a struggle for me. At the ripe age of 12 I was 200lbs.+ and yes, it was hard to look in the mirror growing up and be confident in what I saw. This was until I decided to do something about it. I started to dress better and that, in turn, made me want to physically look "better".  I took my health into my hands and even though it took multiple attempts and weight gain back and forth I have kept 60lbs. off for five years.

This post is in no way a means for me to "brag" or "boast" about what I was able to accomplish, this post is made for people to realize that it might be time for a change and that clothing is one way to make yourself want that change. No, clothing is not the end all to all your health problems or self-image problems. It is just a way to show the world who you really are and that you are accepting yourself. In this journey of life, you are always going to have things that need to be worked on. Whether it be a spiritual aspect or even a self-image aspect, the journey never ends.

My theory has, and always will be, that on this journey why not put your best self forward? I believe that the aspect of dressing well and presenting the best version of yourself is found by digging deep and presenting that version of yourself that represents who you are. It just happens to be that one of the best ways to do that is by dressing to your personality and who you are.

You know that old saying "You only get one chance to make a first impression?" Well, that is so true, but one thing that men have to realize is that the second impression, third and fourth impression has the same impact on that person you're meeting as the first impression. ALWAYS present the best version of yourself! This is why we, at R. Coffee Ltd., have been in business 31 years. Our philosophy is found in the idea of "Curated Clothing for Every Man", this concept is based on that fact that we spend countless hours pouring through hundreds of clothing vendors to find You the best clothing available on the market. This is also why we have everything from casual t-shirts to sport coats, Every Man deserves the chance to dress well, no matter what his personality is.

We are here to help make you feel good about yourself. I knew the first day in my career here that I was in the right place. I had a customer walk in and asked for a suit. I take him back show him to his size and pick out a gorgeous suit that I knew would fit perfectly and fit his personality. When he first came in, his personality was rather boring and he barely spoke. However, by the time I had him in his suit and had him look in the mirror, his face completely changed and he felt like a new man. He left the store with a huge grin on his face and has been back three times a year ever since.

This is why I am in this industry, I want to make Every Man feel like that man did leaving my store or even when they are on this website. I am here for you and if you need anything at all please contact us through email or even call the store! Small business builds Big relationships and I am here for any question or concern.

-James R. Bower Jr.

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