Category Archives: Fashion and Design

Jump Back Ball Fashions and My Dear Friend Etsy

Accessorizing.  It’s the best part of Jump Back Ball prep.

The upside to last year’s dress debacle and scrambling for a last minute replacement is that I learned how much I love Etsy. A few accessories can take any dress and tie it into the theme.

PlayhouseSquare Jump Back Ball

Another lesson I learned from last year is the need to get my dress early – a dark blue one-shoulder gown that didn’t break the bank and is a great base for a Mrs. Peacock ensemble.

With the dress in hand, I turned to Etsy. From head to toe, I’ve found plenty of Peacock-themed ideas on the site.

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Guest Post: Not So Clueless in Clothing Anymore

Last week Scott and I took a drive out to Moreland Hills to visit J3 Clothing Company.

We met up with Smitten…in Cleveland, Wearing Mascara, Blog – The New Black and Life in Cleveland for a blogger get-together hosted by the store. After thoroughly enjoying pizza from their next-door neighbor Flour, we spent our evening learning more about this unique, locally-owned men’s clothing store.

I was in a mood to mix things up today, so since Scott is J3′s target audience, he’s guest blogging about our experience there.  Enjoy!

J3 is located at 34105 Chagrin Blvd. in Moreland Hills

I am very thankful to have been extraordinarily lucky in life. Maybe not in money, and maybe not in looks, but where it counts: with people who love me.

Two of these people have been my Mother and my Wife.

Of the many things each has done for me, the only thing pertinent to this blog post is that they have single-handedly rescued me from looking like a sloven idiot, one taking over for the other as I progressed through life.

J3 Clothing Co. puts customers at home with funky art and decor throughout the store

My Mother saved me from embarrassment at school (or at least additional embarrassment beyond my tall gangliness and nerd-preferences) by making sure I didn’t leave the house in plaid shorts and wrinkled t-shirts. And my Wife saves me from unemployment by making sure I don’t go to work in that same outfit…literally.

I still fit in those shorts.

The point that I am verbosely making here is that my opinion of clothes is quite simple; I can’t go out naked and, as far I am concerned, clothing is clothing. Those same shorts that I somehow snuck into my Mother’s shopping cart nearly two decades ago cover me up just as legally as any designer pants. So why bother spending money on something that gives the same socially-required results of something I already own?

The answer to that question is quite simple. At some point during that period called “college” when I was released unsupervised into the wild, Amanda managed to see past whatever travesty I had managed to put myself in (note my eternal gratitude there). From then forward I have welcomed and benefited from her ability to guide me in a fashionable direction.

But she, like all wives, deserves to have a husband who can look good on his own without requiring her involvement. In fact, I’ve come to realize that I like dressing well and looking good for her.

The shelving and displays were built by local businesses A Piece of Cleveland and 44 Steel

The trouble is…I don’t really know how. Someone’s always been around to do it for me, and my mind hasn’t absorbed any of it. And I’ve walked into plenty of large men’s clothiers across many states and not really known if the pre-fab suit I’ve just had tossed over my shoulders looks good because it does or just looks good because the person aching for a sales commission has convinced the ignorant fool staring at three mirrors that it does. I’ve long known that I’ve needed some sort of alternative I can turn to which can help me look good for Amanda without requiring her input.

And that’s where J3 Clothing Company enters the picture.

Let me pause here to elaborate a little bit about what Northeast Ohio’s newest independent men’s store is about (liberally plagiarizing the bits from their website that I like). Between the three founders – JB Dunn, Jack Madda, and Joe Paster – the store benefits from “a collective 65 years experience in the men’s clothing industry.” They claim to have “examined, refocused, and reinvented our business with one goal in mind – to create a comfortable shopping environment for our clients, customers and friends where the clothing is most suited to your lifestyle.” On top of that, they’ve designed their sales space with a lounge that “invites you to relax, watch the game, enjoy an event or simply visit.”

I must say…I agree with those claims.

Not something you’d expect to find in a men’s clothing store – a chandelier made from repurposed glassware

I visited their Moreland Hills location thanks to Amanda being invited to a hosted blogger event. Already knowing that there will be people one knows there helps put one in a relaxed state, but upon arrival I was personally greeted by JB and Joe (Jack was assisting another customer), who did make me feel right at home. Their enthusiasm for their store – both the items for sale and the items those items were sitting/hanging on – was infectious.

They gleefully motioned around to things I couldn’t buy – the reclaimed wood and metal display stands and decor created by local artisans like A Piece of Cleveland and 44 Steel. Even the clothing itself – such as the belts displayed in a cross-hatch pattern – was uniquely displayed with a laid back feel.

The wood and glass details and decoration gave the store a comfy feel…something I’d want to set my NES up in and play a little Super Mario Bros 3.

In fact, I don’t think there was a point where either JB or Joe showed any desire for me to actually move on to browsing their wares…which was a very appreciated feeling. I was the one who initiated the browsing, and they let me wander about the store at my own pace, always clearly available should I need them but never hovering, waiting for me to tug at the line.

An item I really loved – a jacket by Aether, a company founded by documentary filmmakers who wanted outerwear that used technical materials in a more sophisticated form

Now, I’m not going to lie…when I turned over the first price tag I had a bit of sticker shock. Before then I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of fabric with a price tag attached to it which used 4 numerals…all to the left of the decimal.

But, after my audible gasp, I reminded myself of two things, the first being this: my whole life I’ve been going to sub-par clothing stores. My reaction was basically like that of someone who has driven pedal cars all their life and has now walked into an actual car dealership. I’ve simply never been somewhere where they sell you the right things for what they’re actually worth.

The second thing I reminded myself of was that there were other things in the store, and after that first random price check I found plenty of items which had only 3 and 2 numerals to the left of the decimal. And, honestly, the pricing is irrelevant. After going back to JB and Joe and talking clothes and shoes in a little more detail, it was clear that they were more interested in finding the items that were the right look for me over the ones that had the highest price tag.

Building on their experience it was revealed that I could bring in some of the old suits I had inherited from various great uncles and other relatives and the sharp-eyed gents at J3 would tailor them to actually fit me…if it was an outfit worth wearing. Understandably the suits purchased at their store would take preference over ones brought in from elsewhere, but just knowing that was an option made me smile.

I couldn’t get Scott to give up his sneakers – until he saw this shoe. Victory is mine! (Thanks, J3!)

Unfortunately I had not come to J3 that day prepared with the time or money to buy a proper outfit. I was prepared, however, to outfit myself with some new socks. I picked out a pair of comfy black ones, and Amanda selected a blue pair with a racing stripe (which, I believe, will make me go faster). As of now I am still quite satisfied with this purchase, which is good since Joe had indicated we had chosen wisely.

But make no mistake, I will be heading back to meet with JB, Joe, and Jack (who I met briefly before leaving) again. They are the ones who will be able to guide me into the outfit that I know Amanda deserves to have me dressed in. After my visit to J3 Clothing Company I have no doubt that their 65 years of experience will make use of their amazing selection to outfit me in the proper style and cost.

After all, I’m the man who has a pair of plaid shorts which have lasted him 20 years that I don’t want to wear anywhere. Buying a suit that actually looks and feels good that I’d want to wear everywhere would be absolutely worth it.

I’ll still pale in comparison to the amazing woman at my side, but it will be a pale in something that fits.

My personal favorite picture of today’s guest blogger Scott (or as he likes to call himself “Husbanonymous”)

About the Guest Blogger

Scott Hicken is the much kinder half of Team Clue Into CLE (seriously, I’m the lucky one – he doesn’t give himself the credit he should).  In addition to the being the guy behind the camera when I drag him to blogger stuff, he stays busy archiving his collection of vintage video game systems and managing the long-running webcomic Exiern.com. His latest project is the reimagining of Golden Age comic book heroine The Purple Tigress, currently in production.  Stay up-to-date with the progress of this comic at www.PurpleTigress.com.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the J3 Clothing open house in exchange for tweeting and blogging my thoughts about it. I asked Scott to blog about it because I thought he would have a more personal perspective on the subject. The opinions provided here are 100% his own.

This Weekend – Cleveland Fests from East to West!

Another week is almost done – what are you doing this weekend?

If you don’t have plans, a slate of festivals have you covered from the east to westsides.  Get out this weekend (bring a water bottle – it’s going to be hot) and experience the unique art and entertainment our community has to offer:

23rd Annual Parade the Circle takes place this Saturday in University Circle

Parade the Circle and Party in the Square

Parade the Circle returns this Saturday, June 9th from 11am-4pm (the parade itself starts at noon).  For more than 20 years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has been bringing this free signature summer event to Greater Cleveland – it’s one of my favorite things about June in Cleveland.

At the start of each summer, University Circle fills with color, music, and art for all ages. International and national guest artists join Greater Cleveland artists, families, schools, and community groups in a spectacular display of bright costumes, giant puppets, stilt-dancers, handmade masks, and colorful floats.

The 2012 parade route – themed around Branches Become Roots – will begin and end at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, moving in a clockwise direction along Wade Oval Drive and East Blvd. The parade will end by turning onto Wade Oval.  In addition to the Parade, University Circle Inc. hosts Circle Village, filling Wade Oval with activities, entertainment, and food.

Download the Parade Program here.  A parking map is also available and free valet bicycle parking will be provided by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op in front of the Cleveland Institute of Art from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Parade the Circle guests can take a free shuttle back and forth to Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day

For the third year, Parade the Circle guests can also hop over to the westside for Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day.  University Circle and Gordon Square Arts District will provide a FREE shuttle service to and from Parade the Circle and Gordon Square.

Round-trip shuttles will be available all day with the Eastside shuttle picking up at East Blvd. and Bellflower every hour between 10:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and the Westside shuttle picking up at the corner of West 65th and Detroit every half-hour between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

At Gordon Square Day, you can enjoy free classic cartoons at Capitol Theatre, live performances at CPT’s and Near West Theatre’s outdoor stages, art galleries, pop-up shops and food and drinks.  For more information, visit www.gordonsquare.org.

WMC Fest runs all weekend long – starting Friday with an evening of bands

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

If you can’t wait for Saturday, the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest starts tomorrow (Friday, June 8) and runs through Sunday.

The Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is heralded as the premier art, design, and music event in the Midwest. Now in its third year, 1,000+ attendees will descend on Cleveland to enjoy 20 inspiring speakers, 20 artists and designers, and almost 30 bands.

Part conference, part concert, part art show, and part festival, WMC Fest’s grassroots movement strives to educate, inspire, create and celebrate.

Get inspired by 20 speakers, 20 artists, almost 30 bands and the rest of the Weapons of Mass Creation community

Friday’s schedule revolves around a pre-fest mixer with music at Saigon Plaza.

Bands will continue to play there on Saturday and Sunday, while speakers take the stage noon to 7 both days at Reinberger Auditorium.

The speakers include a fantastic mix of Cleveland talent like Julia Kuo and CLE Clothing Co’s Mike Kubinski, as well as creative professionals and designers from across the country and our neighbor to the north.

WMC Fest’s Art & Design Show will take place at the iLTHY Workshop. Admission is free for the art show, while one-day tickets and weekend passes are available to purchase for the bands and presentations.

You can purchase single-day or weekend passes for the speakers and music. The art show at iLTHY Workshop is free.

So what are you waiting for? Cleveland is opening its doors this weekend to our neighborhoods, shops, and galleries and celebrating our thriving creative community. Whether it’s east, west, or both sides, hope to see you out and about!

Note: Graphics/photos of WMC Fest from wmcfest.com; Discover GSAD Day image from discover.gordonsquare.org. Parade the Circle photos are mine from a couple of years ago.

Giveaway: Be a Fashion Week Cleveland VIP!

Want the VIP treatment at this year’s Fashion Week Cleveland? There are 5 easy ways to enter!

I just got back from our annual weekend of comic book epicness in Chicago, only to drive to Connecticut in 3 days for wedding #4 of the year (congratulations, Graham and Aubrey!).

However, there’s no rest for the weary (seriously! I’m writing this at 3am) because I have a really fun giveaway to share today:

Last week I hinted at it during my preview of the 9th annual Fashion Week Cleveland.

Running May 4 through May 12, this year’s showcase will feature runway shows, parties, and educational exhibits – and you have the chance to attend two of the week’s premier events for free!

The winner of the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway will not just get a pair of tickets to GlamJam: Fashion & Music in the Rock City on May 5, but also a pair of VIP tickets to Fashion Week Cleveland’s black-tie Runway Shows on May 12.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway!

**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment sharing why you want to attend Fashion Week Cleveland (need some ideas? learn more about the fashion festival here). You’ll earn one entry for doing this.

2) Like “Fashion Week Cleveland” and “Clue Into Cleveland” on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

3) Follow @CLE_FashionWeek and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave me a comment letting me know you did both.

4) Twitter users can get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I just entered @ADHicken’s giveaway for a chance to be a @CLE_FashionWeek VIP and you can too!  Enter here: http://wp.me/pPIgG-1bp”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Want to share your fashion style? Get another entry each day for tweeting a picture of your most fashionable outfit accompanied with the following: “@CLE_FashionWeek and @ADHicken, I love this outfit because…”  (Each day you tweet a new outfit, you must leave a new comment below.)

You have until this Friday, April  20 at 11:59PM to enter.  On Saturday, April 21, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

***Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets to give away to a reader. As always, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own. Images courtesy of Fashion Week Cleveland.***

Fashion Week Cleveland's Forward Momentum

May 4-12

When I attended my first Cleveland International Film Festival last month to see Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, I was mesmerized by her story – a woman whose fearless personality and unconventional views on beauty transformed fashion during her time at Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

This May, Cleveland will showcase our next generation of fashion innovators during the 9th annual Fashion Week Cleveland (May 4-12).

Fashion Week Cleveland has been called the third largest fashion week after New York and LA by Women’s Wear Daily and offers a week of runway shows and parties, as well as exhibits, workshops and educational events.

The press conference for Fashion Week Cleveland 2012 not just gave a peek at some of the fashions, but also at this year's lineup of events

Drawing upon its mission of being the nation’s “Educational Fashion Week,” the week’s events will both entertain and provide insightful perspectives on the topics of fashion, design, and merchandising.

With the theme of Fashion Forward, this year’s Fashion Week focuses on showing the public and retailers the future of Cleveland’s downtown consumer and fashion district.

By educating audiences about Cleveland’s potential as a fashion and design star, Fashion Week Cleveland hopes to inspire those in retail to consider bringing their business ventures here and join those like Dredgers Union and CLE Clothing Co. who are building a vibrant shopping experience downtown.

Fashion Week Cleveland's runway shows on May 12 will highlight the innovative work of a number of area designers

So this May head downtown for two weekends of educational, entertaining and breathtaking fashion events:

Friday, May 4

Retail’s Night Out! (8-10 pm; Free)

Saturday, May 5

GlamJam Fashion and Music in the Rock City (8-11 pm; $10)

Fashion Rocks After-party (11 pm-2 am; Free)

Friday, May 11

Dressed documentary showing at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Q&A with designer Nary Manivong and director David Swajeski (6:45 pm; $9 General Admission, $7 CMA members and students)

The Artists’ Salon After-party at L’Albatros (9 pm – midnight; Free)

Saturday, May 12

Runway Shows  and Black Tie Gala (8 – 11 pm; $40 Special Guest Admission, $100 VIP)

Mad About Fashion After-Party (11 pm – 2 am; Free)

Fashion Week Cleveland features a number of educational events such as the documentary Dressed at CMA

Updates and more information about the events schedule can be found on Fashion Week Cleveland’s website, Facebook and @CLE_FashionWeek.

Plus, come back next week for a very special Clue Into Cleveland Fashion Week treat!

(Note: Photos and logo courtesy of Fashion Week Cleveland)