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Mr. Well-Groomed’s Ultimate Guide to Getting a Yes

You meet your match! All the stars are aligned, everything feels right, and you are both ready for the next step. YOU’re ready to get down on one knee and put a ring on it. But what exactly do you have to do? What’s next? Where to start?

Let’s break it down.


Not to brag or anything, I flew across the world to propose to Mrs. Well-Groomed’s parents. Because it was THAT important for her and her family. If you seek to be approved, look no further than her dad.


1. Getting Educated

It is a jungle out there. Hitting the shelves without knowing anything is just not wise, like going to a car dealer and "letting" the sales guy talk you into upgrading to the butt-massage enabled passenger chair. (Not against it, if that’s your thing and you have the money for it, it actually is ergonomically helpful). No need to be a certified gemologist, but having a clear understanding of the 4Cs is an excellent start to understand what you’re investing in.

2. Budgeting

How much should you spend on an engagement ring? While the average price point that couples spent in 2014 is $5855 (based on survey by The Knot), the real answer is not set in stone. You can follow “suggestions” and “rules” like the 1-3 month’s salary, but the truth is that it’s a very personal decision. You’d want to have an open communication about what she wants and what you are comfortable with spending.

3. Ring Shopping

The catch: kick your ego to the curb - the ring is for her. She will be the one wearing it, so please get what she wants, not what you want or what you think she wants.  Be honest, you’re clueless about her taste and style, ask her bestie for guidance so s/he can help you navigate. If you’re a non-traditional couple, making a day out of ring-picking can be quite romantic (and helpful)!

4. Getting it Insured

Whether it’s a Cartier jewelry, a custom from Alexis Russell, a vintage,  a round-cut halo diamond set in a pave band, you’ve got the ring down. After all the tumble and stumble of your getting the perfect ring, the last thing you want is to see it stored in its box in a drawer, off-limits. You’d want your other half to be treasuring and wearing it without any concern that it’d be lost or damaged. Enter: Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

They offer the most comprehensive coverage in jewelry insurance and pretty much cover all of our fundamental jewelry insurance must-have checklist:

v Heart-ache and headache free. 

Well, losing or damaging a diamond ring would cost quite a heart-ache, but not for long..because these guys don’t make you jump through hoops getting several estimates before proceeding with a claim. They will even let you work with your own trusted jeweler.

v Total coverage 

Loss, theft, any kind of damage, or even mysterious disappearance ANYWHERE in the world, you will have gotten it covered, because you check this box on the to do list.

v Bringing the bling back

Trained-eye, certified gemologists is part of Jewelers Mutual on-staff experts - and their sole mission is to repair or provide replacement jewelry virtually indistinguishable from the original piece.

Consider it your own little safety net.


1. The how to propose

There are so many options and inspirations avail to us in this day of age. Type in “proposal” in the search bar and you’ll get everything from the rustic outdoor coffee house to a James Bond style proposal.

Grand gesture + rose petals + million candles = infinity.  Oh, who are we kidding? There is no one formula; but try to include a special, heart-felt prop involving something personal to you and her. Example, don’t just bring her to a favorite restaurant, go back to your first date scene.

And here’s another approach. Start by thinking about the aftermath, will she feel great telling her friends and family? Will you feel awesome telling the story?

2. Practice

If you are the “feel-the-moment” type of guy who can impulsively say the things that pull her heart strings, good for you! Most of us, on the other hand, wouldn’t want to be at a loss for words for this big moment. The fact remains, there is no perfection without practice. It just makes it *that* much smoother when you don’t have to struggle finding the right words.

3. Document the moment

We’re a big fan of keeping memory sake - something tangible or visual that we can pull out to tell the tale. If it’s within your budget, why not hire a photographer - or ask a relative / friend to be your candid camera-man.


1. Logistics

She’ll want to call her people, you’ll want to do the same. Be a gentleman and keep those extra chargers handy, since night-long texting and story telling are probably on the (phone) menu.

2. Be in the moment.  

Dude, you did it. Breathe and relax. You’ve popped the question, now it’s time to pop the champagne. Go ahead, show off the precious sparkle, flash it without worry.

Please, enjoy the incredible feeling of being newly engaged. Dance, kiss, laugh, be goofy. Be together.


This post is brought to you by Jewelers Mutual® Insurance Company


Popular Plaid and Check Patterns and How to Wear Them

Patterns in men fashion have come a long way as designers continue to include and create more in their canvases. But some patterns, like plaid and check, remain popular since the beginning of the 17th century, and have certain meanings that were socially embedded and continue to do so, some because of the history and/or the popularity of their first users.

As fall is here and winter season is coming, plaid and check patterns are back in fashion. We’d like to share some of our knowledge about the popular patterns with all of you. 

  • Tartan

  Tartan Scarf
Tartan scarf: Image via Bonobos
Want to know our rating for this particular scarf? Click here.

Tartan Necktie and Pocket Square1
Tartan tie & pocket square: Photographed by Emerson Kim at Z-Phyr Productions.
Similar tie & pocket square at Etsy.

Tartan Neck Tie and Pocket Square2     Tartan ties & pocket squares: Photographed by Emerson Kim at Z-Phyr Productions.
Find similar ties & pocket squares at Etsy.

Tartan dates back to 17th century and has its own nationalist history because of its common use in Kilts, which is the national dress of Scotland. Tartan patterns are designed with vertical and horizontal stripes that cross at the right angles to form checks of varying sizes. Tartan patterns are often used in woolen and cashmere fabrics. The most famous tartan pattern in modern fashion world today is the cream-colored base with black, white and red stripes, which was made famous by the English fashion house Burberry. Because tartan is a bold plaid pattern, other than for flannel shirt, tartan should best be used to accentuate your attires or for accessories (such as ties, bow ties and scarves). Tartan wearers are often perceived as classics or traditionalists. 

How to style the Tartan plaid:
Tartan flannel shirt is okay for one of those laid-back, cozy, relaxing kinda day. For a more well-groomed style, use Tartan as an accent (like tie or pocket square or both for a more structured look). Pair it with solid white shirt or solid shirt in the same hue, and solid suit.

  • Glen Plaid 

Glen Plaid Blazer
 Glen plaid sport coat: Image source: unknown
Find similar glen plaid sport coat here.
Want to achieve the same look? Get the layering details here.

Glen Plaid Pants
Glen plaid trousers: Image via RDLooks
Glen Plaid Sport Coat

Glen Plaid Sport Coat: Brooks Brothers.

Glen Plaid pattern got its name from Glenurquhart Valley in Scotland, England. This pattern was popularized by the Duke of Windsor and Prince of Wales, which is why some people also refer too this pattern as The Prince of Wales Plaid. Most commonly found in woolen suits and sports coats, this pattern consists of alternate small and large checks in muted colors, often in grey and white. This pattern have also been favored by Presidents and gentlemen, hence people who wear Glen Plaid often perceived as Important People.

How to style the Glen Plaid:
To create that Very Important look, Glen Plaid should be the center point. Glen Plaid suit + solid white shirt + tie in the same hue + pocket square. If you need extra warmth, add a solid vest. Add polka-dot patterned scarf within the same hue for that modern twist.

  • Tattersall


Tattersall Shirt: Ike Behar. Image via Bloomingdales

Tattersall shirt: Peter Millar. Image via Nordstrom
Tattersall shirt: Peter Millar. Image via Nordstrom

Originated in London, England as far back as 18th century, Tattersall usually consist of thin, regularly spaced stripes in contrasting colors like black and red on a base of white, or blue and orange on a white base. A Tattersall-patterned shirt is very versatile: depending on the color, Tattersall-patterned shirt can be worn as business casual or sophisticated formal attires. People who wear Tattersall-patterned shirt are often perceived as traditional, versatile, and sophisticated. 

How to style the Tattersall check:
Tattersall shirt paired with Levi's are uber cool for Casual Friday or weekends. For other days, pair Tattersall shirt with solid trousers. A solid tie and a sport coat in the same hue could also be added for a more gathered look.

  • Graph Check

Graph Check Shirt
Graph Check Shirt: Banana Republic

Graph check is the same pattern like the one you see on graph paper. Similar to Tattersall, only graph check patterns have thin stripes in single or non contrasting color that cross each other and forms even, small-sized checks. Graph check pattern can create a business casual look, or formal look, depending on the color. Just like Tattersall, people who wear graph check are perceived as traditional, versatile and sophisticated.

How to style the Graph check:
Graph shirt in muted color lines is our go to pattern when we are bored with solid white shirt. Wear Graph shirt with a solid suit, and solid tie and pocket square within the same hue for a traditional look. To create a more modern, playful, sophisticated look, try Graph shirt in bright color lines with a solid suit, mismatched patterned bow tie or mismatched patterned pocket square.

  • Windowpane 

Windowpane Suit

Windowpane Suit: Zara.

Windowpane Sport Coat1

Windowpane Sport Coat: Ike Behar

Window Pane Vest1
Windowpane Vest: Image by Jessica Beebee Photography
Find similar windowpane vest here.
Click to see more of this black and pink combo photo shoot.

Windowpane pattern consists of crossing single-colored lines that form wide, evenly sized checks that resemble the panes on a window. Windowpane is quite similar to graph checks: the only difference is that the stripes are often thicker and further apart than used in graph checks. Windowpane pattern is most commonly found in suits and sports coats. People who wear this pattern are often perceived as straightforward and elegant.

How to style the Windowpane check:
Windowpane pattern is best paired with solids. White, gray and black usually work well with Windowpane pattern. Other than that, pair it with solids from the same hue. A splash of bright color can be used for a fun twist, although using too much of it may decrease the elegant effect.

  • Gingham 

Reversible Gingham:Stripes Tie Black and White
Reversible Gingham/Stripes Tie: Ties.com
See this tie and get tips on how to tie salmon herringbone, khaki, and black & white together here.

Gingham Shirt Creme
Gingham shirt: Photo via Pinterest

Gingham Shirt Blue Teal
Gingham Shirt: Express
Glasses: Warby Parker's Willoughby. Photographed by Hitch & Sparrow
Click to see more of this stylish blue gingham groom and his groomsmen's ensemble.

Gingham Shirt RedGingham shirt & tie: Ben Sherman
Suit: Hugo Boss. Boutonniere: Bloomin' Cute. Photographed by Feather & Stone

Originated sometimes in mid 18th century in Manchester, England, gingham is a very popular menswear pattern that is mostly used for dress shirts. Consisting of broad single-color bold and tight square checks on a certain background (usually white), gingham also commonly used for tablecloth. People who wear gingham are often perceived as casual, fun, and don’t take themselves too seriously.

How to style the Gingham check:
Gingham is a fun pattern that can be dressed-up or down however you want it to. Dress up a Gingham shirt with a solid suit and a solid bow tie. Or have fun by clashing it with a little bit of polka-dot accent tie. For a more informal look, pair gingham shirt with a vest and trousers that have the same hue, and leave the suit at home :)

  • Madras
Madras Shirt
Madras Shirt: J.Crew
Red Pants: Banana Republic. Boots: Lucchese. Photo by: Spindle Life
See more of this madras shirt and the patriotic themed engagement photo shoot here.

Originated in the 19th century, Madras got its name from the original name of a city in India that is now known as Chennai. This vibrant pattern consists of colorful lines that cross to form uneven checks. Madras patterns are most commonly found on lightweight cotton fabric worn in summer or in warm climates. As a pattern that is very bright and casual, madras patterns are seldom be found in business attire. However, this pattern is commonly used on shorts, chinos, golf apparel, casual shirts, and accessories. Madras is a preppy staple that screams: Bold. Bright. Carefree.

How to style the Madras plaid:
Madras IS a casual pattern. To up it a tad notch, madras shirt can be paired with a suit, or with a solid sport coat and solid trousers within the same hue.

...Now that you know the 7 popular patterns, which one best describes you?

To make it easier to navigate the world of plaid, here's a cheat sheet for you!


Sources: Town & Country, Alexander West, Tie a Tie

Plain to Posh: How to Dress Up Your Basic Polo Shirt

"We were constantly being stopped by onlookers telling them how awesome they looked!"

- Michael Meeks, wedding photographer, Non Pareil

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 4

Loud and proud, bright colors and spot on styling, this couple made a sartorial spread out of basic polos. With carefully selected quirky items, their coordinated outfit is perfectly bold for an engagement session. But it gets better: when broken down, each item would be casual enough for the couple to wear later on.

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 1

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 9

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 17

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 19

The polos take a backseat, tucked into the red and blue Rue 21 pants, belted neatly. Socks as cheerful as the pair and matchy-matchy grey toned shoes ground the look. On the solid colored bow ties topping the attires, we noticed it's no accident that the red and purple follow the embroidered logos on their shirts. Yup, the little details that matter!

About the Couple: 

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 7

James and Brian met in the summer of 2010 via an online dating website, their first date was nothing overly fancy, they got to know each other over coffee at the local Dunkin Donuts. Soon after James left for the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World and told Brian that he would be coming back for him! They kept in contact the entire time, and soon after James returned to Wisconsin from Orlando they officially began dating. They both decided to move to Orlando, in June of 2010, Brian proposed to James in front of Cinderella castle in 2013 at Mickeys Very Merry Christmas party, which was perfect because that is their "happy place".

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 14

Get The Look: 

Classic Fit Grey Polo: Abercrombie and Fitch
Classic Fit Navy Polo: American Eagle
Red and Blue Pants: Rue 21
Bow Ties: Stafford
Shoes: Vans

how to dress up your basic polo t-shirt at well groomed blog engagement session photographed by non pareil 23

Photographed by: Michael Meeks, Non Pareil


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