His silks are strong - if that's what you're in to.
That was Kwame Jackson's response when our conversation took a fleeting nosedive into steamy territory. Jackson, one of the stars of the first season of Donald Trump's The Apprentice, was in Cincinnati to showcase his line of neck wear, Krimson by Kwame.
I was lucky enough to join Jackson for a lunch prior to his trunk show Thursday night - it was an opportunity Wordsworth Communications orchestrated as a way for the businessman to meet some of Cincinnati's bloggers and blog readers. Red Kat Blonde and I were joined by our contest winners, 5chw4r7z (yes, this guy is a good friend of ours and he campaigned hard to get one of the coveted spots - but we swear it wasn't rigged) and my good pal Jamie.
The minute I met Jackson, I was struck by his presence - he's a tall, fit gentleman with instantly observant eyes and of course impeccable fashion sense.
He was wearing cuff links. I know I've mentioned it on Twitter several times, but I don't know if I've said it here - I have a serious thing for cuff links.
We sat down to a table in McCormick & Schmick's second floor dining room and began talking about technology - blogging, Twitter and the importance of some anonymity despite full disclosure in social media. Being a successful, attractive man with exposure to the national scene, Jackson shared that he values his privacy and must wade between his public persona and personal life.
After dishing about the nuances of the internets, our conversation took a natural turn to fashion, and I was particularly interested in Jackson's take on style amidst a culture that's cutting back on spending. The savvy businessman says folks coping with job loss in the economic crisis should put their best foot forward when interviewing. There's nothing like a suit, and Jackson says people watching their pennies can pick up an oldie but a goodie at places like Goodwill and other thrift shops. With the help of a tailor and the dry cleaner, you can have a practically custom-made suit for less than $50. Jackson said people on a budget should strive to have one great suit, two nice shirts and three ties to yield a combination perfect for any boardroom, wedding, interview or funeral.
Jackson spent a good bit of time in Cincinnati while working for Procter & Gamble many years ago, and I was interested in knowing which hot spots made his list of favorites. He said he was pleased with Bootsy's and has heard a good bit of buzz about Twist (which is oddly missing from the new Relish Restaurant Group website), but also had fond memories of the days when Bella occupied the space now home to Nada.
I liked Bella, but I have to say, Nada has a much better scene, and I swear they put some kind of addiction-inducing drug in that guac, because I'm hooked on it like a crack whore jonesing for a fix.
Red Kat's keen interest in fashion spurred her to ask Jackson how women can apply the traditional necktie to their ensemble. Jackson's instantly offered that a woman can knot a silk tie around her waist like a belt or make a play on menswear by wearing a tie around the neck with a white button down and black pencil skirt. In my mind I envisioned some of the preppies I've known over time who wore neck ties like a headband, the tails flowing beneath the hair in back.
Instead, I mentioned that ties are the perfect thing to grab when you want to tie someone to the bedpost.
Please know I've never done that - but I guess there's a first time for everything.
And as Jackson said, his ties could live up to the duty.
If only finding the right man were that easy.