Winter is nearly over for us desert dwellers.

We may have about 20 to 30 more days of silly rains and cool evenings, but back east and in other places around the globe, snow is still on the ground, and there is still a chance to rock your coats and sweaters. Now, the days of thick fabrics, the sun setting low in the horizon and morning frost are almost totally gone. Therefore, the style of  local gents will start to change to slacks, shorts, shirts, tank tops, sandals and a light sweater  – when needed.

This cinematic episode registers life in Phoenix a few weeks back when I had the opportunity to visit to one of my favorite modern developments in town. I was asked to guide the redesign and remodel of a bathroom located inside one of these unique modern dwellings. Fortunately, I was able to find a bit of historic information about the complex via – the popular blog by Ms. Alison King, but not much detail was found. I’ve been told that the HOA and the owners within the complex are thinking of opening a website which will keep track of historic – which most of us that like modern achitecture will be very fond of.

“THE OLYMPUS”, a modern development built in 1964 was designed by Architect Mr. Bob Starkovich- was originally called “The Monarch” – is a very expressive architectural complex and a sign of an elegant era long gone. The fashion captured here feels somehow related to that time. The elegance of what  I decided to call, again and again “THE ELEGANT DUDE”.

The Olympus
An elegant modern man knows how to tie a bowtie and when to use it. From day to day to evenings – a bowtie is a sign of elegance, and more.

This “ELEGANT DUDE” calls for dapper neckwear in different shapes and forms in contrast to the cinematographic background of this unique architectural development. It becomes part of the urban memory of the city.

The Urban Dude
As the geometry of the modern building unfolds, an elegant modern man fits perfectly with the environment. Cultivate your style!
Simple layering of garments and accessories allows the modern man to create different looks as the day progresses. As this time of year brings melting snow and our afternoons are a bit warmer, these multi-layers allow for different looks with the strategic removal of an item or two…
A simple extra layer
Pattern on pattern on the background mixed with solids on the forefront are perfect for a man of style!
Oversized Bow Tie
As far as I recall, there is nothing bad about wearing an oversized bow tie, not when the purpose is elegance. However, if you look at yourself in the mirrow and the wings of the bow tie pass your ears, then you are entering clown territory. Keep it proportioned with your neck.
The Olympus as background
The softness of the arches and vertical structure which supports the balconies are a fantastic background to play with – against the pattern on pattern the model is wearing.


Leather Jacket plus Plaid
Yes, neckwear looks good with leather!
Shades of Red
See how the bowtie and the shirt play off of each other within the color palette? But at the same time, they distance themselves from each other as the patterns are varied and mixed.

The goal of this photojourney is more of a sensibly stylized vision of modern times combined with a spin of contemporaneity – rather than simply a statement of fashion.

The use of neckties help to define our man’s elegance (as seen in previous posts) in combination with the simple leather jacket and dark denim to the multilayer wool and heavy cotton. The idea is to keep the body warm, but at the same time create a series of contrasting, blending, and juxtaposed layers that is not possible during the warmer months were simple layers are the best option.

After  I finished the photoshoot with upcoming model Mr. Mitchell Martinez, I realized that the background and the syling of the shoot was a perfect match for his modern style! – I saw the building design of textured materials, colorfully contrasted with layered subdued and muted tones – very much of what happens with modern architecture, where white, strong geometry and simple pop of colors work to define the structure.

Black and White and Texture All Over
A trilogy not to miss! Solid colors and pattern to match them – plus the soft wool jacket hides a soft texture to deviate from the overwhelming grounding effect of wearing black!
Black and White
The “fleur de lis” masonry blocks create cross ventilation to the stair structure in the back – and is the perfect background for a ‘black and white’ portrait.
Black and White - simply stated
I am a huge fan of all the elements on this look: suspenders, geometry, contrast. I guess the basics of elegance will never pass.

The exterior of the structure is defined by elongated vertical elements topped off by a series of center-point arches. These combine to create a aesthetic solution for the building crowns offered a sensible, yet seductive interior that was very hard to capture without faulting to dramatic or overly direct.

Necktie is the Key
As the look leans to all black on black, a simple necktie with black background and elements of color snaps to create an outstanding elegance.
Black Bohemian Soho
What else can combine with this modern architecture background? Simply black on black as many Soho boys in London sport and to spin it, the pop of a simple necktie.

I decided to use tones similar to the environment:  a series of blacks and greys, and captures the entire architectural description of tones – which splash and taste as an element of contrast to what I wanted to highlight the most: simple and elegant neckwear.

Satin bow tie
The bow tie is the perfect fit for this look, as the blue picks up on colors subtly in the grey jacket and the grey background.
Fake Fur and color
This Armani Exchange jacket has a fake fur hoodie – yes, it is fake…and perfect.

The neckwear above in bright cobalt is part of an exquisite selection of ties and bowties that my friend Ms. Janet Traylor’s husband Bill (owners of the condominums I am showcasing here) inherited from his father. It was a treat for my design senses to see a very well-preserved series of boxes, each with an assortment of different colors, lengths, thickness of ties and bowties, which also included photographs of Janet’s father-in-law wearing them throughout his life. (I definitely have to spend more time with her and create a cover story about that subject.)

A simple sweater
A simple thick sweater in one tone once again is the perfect grounding element to a pattern-on-pattern-on-pattern background.
Color and Plaid combination
If you look at this picture closely, all of the colors are within the same pattern – and some colors are playing each other on the pattern, since dark blue is the main color.

This time, I wanted to capture the essence of the white space, the extraordinary architecture and the flair of an elegant era long gone.

Pairing up layers
As a fan of textures, these two predominant layers add the cap and scarf as a playful combination.
Texture as a Gesture
Scarf and skullcap match as bowtie and pocket square match. The background and jacket play off of each other.
Monochrome and accent
Not sure how to mix and match? go monochrome and use the same colors on neckwear as the same on pants.
Monochrme and accent 1
I always suggest oversized bowties – they are a great accent to your neckline, even if they are monochrome. (use material as a tool to change the dimension)

So, even if year after year, the style is repeated,  these are  just some suggested looks for whatever cold weather remains – to help transition out of the tail of winter.

DISCLAIMER:  All ideas, photography, styling and media on this blog photography, written or video are exclusive for the use of Oscar De las salas under Any use, copy, crop/paste action, or any similarity of this material is strictly prohibited unless authorized by or by Author. All Copyright laws for internet or media use are applicable. If you want, need or require any of this material for any reason please contact my agent – Always in style – Oscar.

2 replies to “THE TAIL OF WINTER

  1. Thanks to your styling and photography, “The Fabulous Olympus” has never looked better, Oscar!

    By the way, the architect of record was Bob Starkovich, who died just a few years ago. He was from one of Arizona’s “first families” — those who were early settlers. His firm did a lot of commercial buildings, including schools.

    The Olympus is a great example of mid-century concrete-block construction. The transverse vaults visible in some of your photos are made of cast concrete. They’re remarkable for their load-bearing capacity, sound-insulating ability and poetic drama; they catch the light so beautifully. We love living here!

    1. My dear Janet-
      Thank you so much to you and Bill to allow me to use your wonderful flat for this post – THE OLYMPUS CONDOMINUMS is one of my favorite modern dwellings in Phoenix, and thank you so much for providing the architect of record name – I was not able to find much information about the architectural process or develpment of the project.

      Projects like THE OLYMPUS should be kept impeccably as it is an important contribution to the cityscape and an example to future generations of the ability of modern architecture to be genteel and friendly with the rest of the city, but yet, keeping it’s essence.

      Always in style!


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