The Wizard and the Wardrobe – Men’s 10 Clothing Essentials

Photo via simons.com

How’re You Livin’,

It is so difficult to make a wardrobe. It is even more difficult to build a wardrobe on a smaller budget. We all want to dress well and we would all love to do it by spending as little as possible. I’m here to offer the 10 clothing essentials that every man should have his closet to cover all occasions. Be aware, these are my own personal opinions on style and fashion. You will be able to develop your fashion, style and outfits in due time, and I am here to help. Respect each other’s opinions and have fun with it. Fashion is a form of expression so go express yourself.

Now lets get started. I’m here to suggest the 10 wardrobe staples to cover all events and occasions.

10. The T-Shirt

MEN U SUPIMA® COTTON CREWNECK SHORT-SLEEVE T-SHIRT | UNIQLO US
Uniqlo – U CREW NECK SHORT-SLEEVE T-SHIRT

The t-shirt is an iconic and unforgettable style. It is easy to wear and goes with all styles from jeans to even a suit! It is the clothing of choice for all casual and relaxed wear. It is best to lean more towards neutral colors. This way, you can wear your t-shirt with all outfits while still matching and coordinating colors and pieces. The versatility of the t-shirt is completely unmatched in the wardrobe.

9. The Suit

Kenneth Cole Reaction TECHNI-COLE Black Slim Fit Suit - Men's Suits | Men's Wearhouse zoom in
Kenneth Cole Reaction – TECHNI-COLE Black Slim Fit Suit

The two-piece suit is a staple piece in the closet. This article of clothing is made for more formal wear occasions. The two-piece suit consists of a suit jacket and coordinating dress pants. These two pieces can be worn together or separately in order to elevate more casual outfits or tone down formal outfits. You can never go wrong picking up one all black suit to fit all formal occasions!

8. Denim Jeans

Levi's Men's 501 Original Fit Stretch Jeans & Reviews - Jeans ...
Levi’s – Men’s 501 Original Fit Stretch Jeans

Needless to say a pair of denim jeans is essential in a wardrobe. Like the t-shirt, a good pair of denim jeans goes with any look and style. It can be dressed up or it can be dressed down. Opt for medium and darker washes of denim for greater style and versatility in your wardrobe.

7.) Dress Shirt

Nordstrom Men's Shop Smartcare™ Trim Fit Solid Dress Shirt | Nordstrom
Smartcare – Trim Fit Solid Dress Shirt

Dress shirts are a must have for your wardrobe. Dress shirts are typically made for formal wear and important occasions. Dress shirts are the simplest go-to for formal wear in men. However, the dress shirt can also be worn more casually. One black and one white dress shirt and you will be set for any occasion.

6. White Shoes

Nike Air Force 1 '07 Women's Shoe. Nike.com
Nike – Air Force 1

You can never go wrong with a white pair of shoes. White is a neutral color meaning it can go with any color. White shoes can be bought in numerous styles, brands and materials. Find what you like best and what goes with most occasions in which you find yourself.

5. Hoodie

Image 7 of BASIC HOODIE SWEATSHIRT from Zara
Zara – Basic Hoodie Sweatshirt

The comfy piece that every wardrobe needs. Hoodies can be worn on lazy days to stay cozy. Hoodies are made in all sorts of colors and materials. Its comfort wear you can wear anywhere.

4. Dress Shoes

Men's Leather Dress Shoes - Shop Brown & Black Leather Shoes | JoS ...
Jos.A.Banks – Joseph Abboud Cap Toe Oxfords

Dress shoes are next on the list of essentials. Dress shoes are typically leather shoes. They are made for formal occasions. These shoes have never went out of style since they were created. They are the go to staple footwear for formal events. Dress shoes come in a wide array of colors and styles. I would recommend neutral colors and one colors that go with multiple outfits.

3. Chinos

j.crew factory: slim-fit flex khaki pant for men, right side, view zoomed
J.Crew Factory – Slim-Fit Flex Khaki Pant

Chinos are a great option to choose instead of pants and jeans. This type of pants are made from cotton and have a more relaxed and casual feel. They look great with a t-shirt or a hoodie. These are a quick option to put on to look more dressed up going out. Chinos are an excellent go to pair of pants made for the well dressed casual dresser.

2. Casual Shirts

Macy’s – Polo Ralph Lauren – Men’s Classic Fit Soft Cotton Polo

The casual shirt a shirt that has a collar but is not a dress shirt. This can include polo shirts and short sleeve shirts. Casual shirts offer a more dressed up look for more casual situations. These shirts come in many colors and patterns that can fit any of your preferences and tastes. This can help elevate an outfit to a more business casual look for a dressier day.

  1. Accessories
Sunglasses for Men | Ray-Ban® USA
Ray Bans – AVIATOR CLASSIC

The last essential for a wardrobe are accessories. These small seemingly insignificant pieces of an accessory help add small details and interest to an outfit. There are so many outfits to choose from. There are watches, necklaces, bracelets, sunglasses and so much more. Accessories should match with an outfit in order to add visual interest. Choose any accessory you like and express yourself.

There are so many pieces of clothing that can be considered essential. These are just some that I suggest all men have in their closet. Experiment with different colors, styles and fitting to find clothing that works the best for you! Please share all your outfit ideas and styles with me because I would love to hear from you about what you like and love in fashion. Fashion is about fun and wearing what you like. Be happy and confident in what you wear. Take care of yourself and others. Have a wonderful and fun day and dress well!

10 Obscure DC Characters

Photo via DC

I have been reading DC comics for almost as long as I have been able to read. With the DC universe being as large as it is, there are hundreds of great characters that have been left untouched by most mainstream media. While some of these characters have appeared in animation (and a couple in live action), most have only appeared in the comic so far. You likely have not heard of most, if not all, of these characters, which is why I am here to talk about how great they are and recommend you some solid reading material at the same time.

The Question

Cover art from The Question: The Death of Vic Sage #2

Created by Steve Ditko (the co-creator of Spider-Man), The Question started out as an aggressive investigative journalist when he debuted in Charleton Comics’ Blue Beetle (1967) #1. Acquired by DC in 1983, The Question morphed into a conflicted vigilante, often feeling conflicted about how to deliver justice. The Question struggles with the temptation to kill, afraid that he too will fall victim to the corruption surrounding his side of Hub City. I highly recommend checking out Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowen’s run on the character, which is available here.

Shade, the Changing Girl

Cover art from Shade, The Changing Girl #11

A member of the alien species known as the Metan, Loma steal the Madness Vest from a museum. The Vest allows her to possess a comatose teenager, Megan Boyer, of Earth. Created by Steel Castellucci and Marley Zarcone, Shade, the Changing Girl is an introspective book, exploring depression and xenophobia. The first volume of Shade the Changing Girl is available here.

Mother Panic

Cover art from Mother Panic (2017) #6.

Mother Panic is a relatively recent addition to the DC Universe, debuting in 2016 as a part of DC’s Young Animal line. Created by Jody Houser, Tommy Lee Edwards and Gerard Way, Mother Panic was envisioned to be the “anti-Batman,” as her vigilante guise is not just a simple act. Due to her darker nature, Mother Panic explores the darker underbelly of Gotham, facing crime and misfortune that is usually left to the reader’s imagination in most Batman stories. The first volume is fantastic and you can check it out here.

Blue Beetle

Cover art from Blue Beetle (2011) #1.

The superhero Blue Beetle has been around since 1939. However, the current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, first appeared in Infinite Crisis in 2006. A teenager living in El Paso, Texas, Jaime finds a scarab in an abandoned lot, bestowing him the power of the Blue Beetle. The scarab acts as an artificial intelligence, aiding Jaime in battle and granting him the ability to produce swords, shields, energy cannons, wings, grappling hooks and even communication devices from the armor. It can even produce specific types of energy, such as kryptonite radiation. If you are interested in reading more about the Beetle, I recommend starting with his first ongoing comic by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner, which you can get here.

Harper Row

Harper Rowe in costume as Bluebird with Batman in Batman (2011) #28.

Created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo during their New 52 Batman run, Harper Row first appeared as a minor character. This all changed in Batman #28, where she donned the name Bluebird and became Batman’s newest sidekick. She first met the bat when he saved her brother from being gay-bashed by bullies. This left a lasting impression on Harper as she attempted to fight crime on her own in Gotham. Besides being skilled in hand-to-hand combat, she also possesses a gift for electrical engineering. After discovering how Batman disables Gotham’s security cameras, she improves on the design. You can read all about Harper’s story in the pages of Batman (2011), the first volume of which is available here.

Cave Carson

Cover art from Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #8.

Originally appearing in Brave and the Bold #31 by France Herron and Bruno Permiani, Cave Carson and his team explored the mysteries beneath the Earth’s surface. Despite being introduced in 1960, Carson did not receive his own solo title until 2016. Written by Gerard Way and Jon Rivera, and with art by Michael Avon Oeming, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Besides the weird eye, Cave Carson is just an ordinary man exploring the strange world that exists below us. You can check out the first volume of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye here.

Vibe

Cover art from Justice League of America’s Vibe #10.

You may recognize Vibe from his appearance in CW’s Flash TV series. Similar to that version of Cisco Ramone, Vibe can create shockwaves powerful enough to effect the fabric of spacetime, allowing him to create dimensional portals. This loud and proud hero first appeared Justice League of America Annual #2, where he joined the new Justice League of America (JLA) after the original was disbanded by Aquaman. Remaining a team player for most of his time in the comics, Vibe finally received a solo series in 2013 titled Justice League of America’s Vibe by Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg and Pete Woods. You can read the first volume here.

Donna Troy

Cover art from Titans Rebirth #1.

The first sidekick to Wonder Woman, the original Wonder Girl, Donna Troy, debuted in Bob Haney and Bruno Permiani’s The Brave and the Bold #60. She was a founding member of the Teen Titans when the team received their first book in 1973. Donna has appeared in numerous incarnations of the team, including 2016’s Titans Rebirth. Originally raised by Wonder Woman, Donna’s history was changed for the New 52 where she was created by an evil sorcerer to defeat Wonder Woman and replace her. Much like Wonder Woman, Donna possesses superhuman speed, strength and endurance. In some appearances she could even fly. She also wields the Lasso of Persuasion, which allows Donna to control those whose willpower is weaker than hers. If you are interested in reading more about Donna, you should try the first volume of Titans (2016), available here.

Forager

Cover art from Bug! The Adventures of Forager #1.

I only recently discovered Forager thanks to Young Justice: Outsiders and Tom King and Mitch Gerads’s Mister Miracle. Created by Jack Kirby, Forager debuted in New Gods #9 as a member of the insect nation of New Genesis. He worked together with the New Gods Orion and Lightray to defend his people from being slaughtered. As a New God, Forager has superhuman speed, endurance, strength and reflexes, as well as being immune to disease. He can also stick surfaces and shoot streams of burning acid. In 2016, as a part of DC’s Young Animal, Forager received his first solo series. Bug! The Adventures of Forager follows Forager as he awakens in a basement on Earth and must deal with his new unknown surroundings. You can read all six issues here.

Cover from Batman: Detective Comics #1006 featuring the Spectre.

The Spectre

Initially created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily in More Fun Comics #52. The Spectre has had many hosts over the years, but the first and most notable is Jim Corrigan. After Corrigan is murdered by thugs, his spirit is refused entry into the afterlife. Instead he becomes the Spectre, seeking vengeance against those who murdered him. Once he achieves this, Corrigan continues to act as the Spectre whenever his vengeance is required. The Spectre is one of the most powerful characters at DC, possessing time-space manipulation, control over matter, invulnerability and limitless strength. His only real weakness is that he needs a human host. If you have any interest in reading about this vengeful spirit, the best place to start is John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s run. You can purchase the first volume here.

Is there a DC character you think I should have included? Comment below!

Kygo’s ‘Cloud Nine’ – Album Review

Kygo has been my favorite artist for the last three years. So, with Kygo releasing his third album in a week, I decided to do a review on his first two albums. Kygo’s freshman album, Cloud Nine, is a masterpiece, filled with luscious piano melodies, enchanting vocals and heart-throbbing lyrics. Each song features Kygo’s masterful piano skills and the album, while having a few weaker songs, is one incredible musical journey.

Song #1: “Intro”

“Intro” is a piano interlude performed by Kygo himself that works in preparing the listener for the magic that they are about to listen to. The song starts off slow, with just the piano playing. It then builds, adding more sound, expanding the range of the piano, and adding more hype for the songs to come. It then dies back down to the initial note that it starts off with from the piano, and then fades out. This song is very beautiful and serves very well as an introduction that showcases Kygo’s mesmerizing piano skills and tropical sounds; thus transporting you to a beautiful beach-like fantasy.

Song #2: “Stole the Show” (featuring Parson James)

“Stole the Show” was one of Kygo’s first major hits, and deservedly so. The melodies of the keyboard are enchanting. The percussion is also very powerful. However, the most interesting element of this song are the lyrics. It is a breakup song, but not just any traditional breakup song. Instead of just talking about the complications of a breakup, Kygo decides to compare a breakup to performing a show. There are many lines throughout the song that addresses the breakup, but from a stage performance view. The idea to take a new spin on the traditional breakup songs in this manner is very unique, which definitely helped earn its fame.

Song #3: “Fiction” (featuring Tom Odell)

In my opinion, the best thing about “Fiction” is easily the piano. Throughout the song, there is this catchy melody that Kygo performs on the piano that is extremely fun to listen to, with a version of the melody played later in the song that just takes my breath away. Only three songs into the album, and it is clear to see how insane Kygo’s piano and melody writing skills are.

Song #4: “Raging” (featuring Kodaline)

“Raging” is a bit somber compared to the last song, with Kodaline singing about how rough it is to not be with his girl at the moment. The vocals, provided by Kodaline, are very powerful, and with Kygo’s piano chiming in with Kodaline, this song is very enchanting. The song also has a nice touch of guitar, adding it a bit of a different sound than the last few songs of this album.

Song #5: “Firestone” (featuring Conrad Sewell)

“Firestone” is one of the gems of this album. Initially released as a single, this song not only put Kygo into the spotlight, but is still even considered his best song by many of his fans. Once you listen to this song, it will make sense as to why this is such a defining song of Kygo’s. The flow of this song is exceptional. It starts off with a piano intro, as well as some breathtaking percussion. It then dies down to just piano chords and Sewell’s vocals. Then it starts to build alongside Sewell, who is singing a very motivational message of what love truly is. This build up then ends with Kygo’s piano dipping out, Sewell taking over the stage for his final lyrics of the verse, and then Kygo swooshing back in with one of the most enchanting melodies ever crafted. The flow of this song is truly exceptional and, alongside its positive message, it definitely stands out not only in Kygo’s repertoire, but in the world of music as well.

Song #6: “Happy Birthday” (featuring John Legend)

First off, the fact that Kygo was able to acquire a legend like John Legend on his first album is no minor feat. John Legend’s vocals mesh so beautifully with Kygo’s sound. The vocals that John Legend delivers on this song is definitely one of my favorite vocal performances on this album. This song’s melody is a lot simpler compared to the melodies that are featured earlier in this album, however, it not only works for the song, but for the album as well. After experiencing the overwhelming majesty of “Firestone”, the listener definitely needs a bit of a break, and this serves very well as that break, while also not being boring. Although the melody is a lot simpler, it is still very soothing to the ear. This is one song that I continue to go back and listen to.

Song #7: “I’m in Love” (featuring James Vincent McMorrow)

Although many people probably love this song, I personally find I’m in Love to be one of the weaker songs on this album. I personally do not care for how James Vincent McMorrow’s vocals are utilized in this song and the melody is not particularly special. 

Song #8: “Oasis” (featuring Foxes)

“Oasis”, although it is not my favorite of the album, it is still very pretty. The vocals on this song are not my favorite, although they still are pretty to listen to. The piano is definitely the best element of this song.  However, what prohibits this song from being a masterpiece to me is the flow of it. For some reason, the transitions between the verses and choruses seem a bit forced, causing this song to not sound as amazing as it could have been.

Song #9: Not Alone” (featuring RHODES)

“Not Alone” is one of the more somber songs of the album. Although I am not usually a huge fan of somber songs, this one surprisingly works for me. Throughout the song, there is a constant build up leading towards the end of the song, where RHODES delivers a beautiful message, “You’re not alone”, in an enchanting repetition. It then ends with Kygo harmonizing with his piano to RHODES’ vocals creating a sad, throbbing, yet hopeful emotion, which is truly special to listen to. The simplicity and somberness of this song not only works in the context of the album, but also provides a different, intriguing view into the musical abilities of Kygo.

Song #10: “Serious” (featuring Matt Corby)

“Serious” is another somber song of the album, however, it is one of the more unique songs on the album.  Unlike the last nine songs, “Serious” has a very different sound and message. Instead of having a more positive tone, Kygo decided to do what most EDM (or even pop) artists are too afraid to tackle, actually talking about heavier problems than romance. This song’s message addresses the problems of money – how it can take control of us and can damage our relationships. The song also has a much emptier sound to it which works very well in conjunction with the message.

Song #11: “Stay” (featuring Maty Noyes)

After the last few more somber songs of the album, “Stay” is a very welcome return to Kygo’s cheerier repertoire. Everything about this song works so magically. The vocals provided by Maty Noyes are very unique, adding a bit of spice to this song. Also, the keyboard and percussion gel perfectly, creating a very bouncy tune that is quite addicting. Bottom-line, no matter what your mood is prior to listening to this song, it will be hard to resist the happiness found in it.

Song #12: “Nothing Left” (featuring Will Heard)

After the joyful tones of the last song, Kygo decided to return to a few more somber songs. The first one, “Nothing Left”, is a much more serious song. Similar to “Serious”, “Nothing Left” also addresses a much more serious problem, the problem of living a self-centered life. Songs like this is what makes Kygo a much higher-caliber artist than most EDM and pop artists. Addressing serious topics that could be polarizing takes a lot of courage, and I am delighted to see that Kygo has no problem with addressing them. Unlike “Serious”, “Nothing Left” does not have an empty sound to it, however, it does have a more serious sound than the rest of the album. The vocals of Will Heard also work very well for this more serious song.

Song #13: “Fragile” (featuring Labrinth)

The next somber song, “Fragile”, is more of a love cry rather than a wake-up call for society. Personally, I do not care too much for this song. The melodies are not very memorable, and the vocals provided by Labrinth are a bit annoying to me. However, I have heard worse songs, so I am not necessarily complaining, I just do not have a lot to say about this one.

Song #14: “Carry Me” (featuring Julia Michaels)

The last upbeat song, “Carry Me”, is easily one of my other favorites of this album, and probably Kygo’s entire repertoire. “Carry Me” is a love ballad that starts out pretty calm, with a continuous piano melody playing in the background. For most of the song, the star is easily Julia Michaels. Her voice works so wonderfully with the angelic sound of a Kygo song. However, where the song gets interesting is toward the end, where the continuous piano melody drops out, leaving Julia Michaels singing by herself. This creates an interesting build up. After Michaels repeats her bridge line a few times alone, Kygo immediately jumps back in with his piano, with some powerful build-up chords, which then leads to one of my favorite piano solos that I have heard yet from a Kygo song. The feeling of the piano solo is just pure bliss. This song not only works well as a stand-alone song of Kygo’s, but also as the last upbeat song of the album. It is a great summary statement of how magical Kygo’s music can truly be.

Song #15: “For What It’s Worth” (featuring Angus & Julia Stone)

“For What It’s Worth” works so well as the closing song for Kygo’s freshman album. It has a much more somber tone, and a very interesting message as well. The song is basically an apology letter, stating that “for what it’s worth, I was only trying to wake you up.” There are a lot of different meanings that can be drawn from the lyrics of this song. Although the lyrics are definitely exceptional in this song, my favorite part of it is, yet again, the piano. Kygo actually released the piano part as an instrumental before this song was released. The piano accompaniment does a fantastic job of making you feel heartbroken, yet soothed, all at the same time. The fact that this song also has few electrical elements compared to a traditional Kygo song works very well for the closing song of the album. Having a song that focuses more on the piano skills of Kygo, like the opening song “Intro”, does a great job of concluding the magical journey of Cloud Nine.

Summary

Kygo’s induction into the world of EDM with Cloud Nine was not only a spectacular introduction for the music crafter but changed the world of EDM entirely. It has been said that Kygo is Avicii’s successor, and after listening to this album, it is clear that this is no shallow statement. Although Avicii initiated the transformation of EDM, Kygo took Avicii’s accomplishments, and continued his vision. The way that Kygo weaves talented vocals, powerful lyrics and his magical piano skills into each song is stunning. It is a drastically different approach to EDM compared to most EDM artists; to create music rather than just beats. The fact that Kygo not only was able to pull off an astonishingly beautiful work of art for his first album, but redefine an entire genre of music as well is astounding. Cloud Nine is definitely a production of musical genius and, out of Kygo’s two albums that have been released so far, it is easily my favorite. Although there are a few songs that I do not care for, the rest of the album is so perfect to me that it far outweighs the disadvantage of inconsistency. Cloud Nine was not only a masterpiece, but a statement to the world that a new artist was taking the spotlight; one that was about to take the world’s breath away.

Rating: 9.5/10