Posts filed under 'Men's'

Men’s Q&A: How to Build a Casual Preppy Wardrobe

Q:  I’m in a fashion plateau. I’m a college sophomore looking to expand my wardrobe. I find myself wearing a solid colored polo, cargo shorts and a pair of vans slip-ons or low athletic style sneakers every day. I would really like to try and diversify my wardrobe without ditching my polos. I want a more mature look but still a bit preppy.

Casual Preppy Wardrobe
Clockwise from top left: Patrik Ervell Linen Pink Check Buttondown ($264 at South Willard), Michael Bastian photo from The Sartorialist, Save Khaki Pants from GQ, Cardigan Sweatshirt ($157 at Oak).

A: You’re in luck–you don’t need to spend a lot in order to look more mature.  In fact, you can often replicate a designer look at generic prices.  To me, the spirit of “young but mature” rests in taking staples of a man’s wardrobe and putting a contemporary twist on them.  The most common outfit you will see that captures this spirit is the classic t-shirt under the blazer look.  You may also see some guys pushing up the sleeves on blazers.  As for your specific question…

Classic Fit Lightweight Chino from J CrewPants: Ditch the cargo pants.  Those bulky pockets are just a bit too high school.  Instead, try some well-cut khakis in a lighter color.  They’re worth the investment.  I would look into a designer called Save Khaki; I like their cut and casualness. If you’re in New York, you can go to their boutique; otherwise you can find them at online at Barney’s Co-op, Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman.  And if its prep you want, look no further than a pair of Nantucket Reds; these classics are the very definition of East coast prep.  You can also try Ralph Lauren or J. Crew, which always has some good chinos (and of course, their classic chambray shirt).  Or, if you want something new, you can explore Gant’s Rugger line.  And while we’re on the subject of pants, don’t be afraid to try jeans that aren’t blue.  Grey jeans look great.
   
Nantucket Red ShortsShorts: For those hot days, look into some clean cut Bermuda shorts; they’re like cargo pants without the bulky pockets.  Nantucket Reds can be pretty stylish, as seen on Michael Bastian (pictured top right). Also check out what Banana Republic has to offer.  Style tip?  Properly fitting shorts do not fall below the knee.

Fitted Gingham Checked Shirt at GapTops: You can stick to polo shirts, but I have a feeling that if you look around, every 3rd guy will be sporting a polo.  How to differentiate yourself from these other guys?  Look for polos that deviate from the common styles and brands.  Try investing in some interesting buttondowns; they’ll come in handy for dates too.  Solids and stripes are always a safe bet, but if you feel like being bold, try some checks or plaid.  Whatever you do, leave the collar down; a polo with a popped color isn’t preppy, it’s pretentious.

Common Projects Achilles Low Top Sneaker at JakeShoes: Don’t bash yourself too hard about wearing slip on Vans; they’re actually coming back in style.  Also, classics such as Jack Purcells probably won’t go out of style any time soon, so don’t worry about wearing sneakers every now and then.  You can find some alternatively preppy shoes without breaking the bank though: try some Sperry Top-Sider or L.L. Bean boat shoes.

Blazers/Suits: Also, now that you’re in college, it’s time to look into blazers and possibly a suit if you don’t have one.  You’ll definitely need a well-cut suit for your job interview, so it’s only a matter of time.  For about $500, you can get some pretty good suits at Banana Republic.

Regardless of what you buy, please make sure that whatever clothes you do buy actually fit you properly.  Bagginess is for kids, not a mature guy like you.

Have a great tip about building a preppy casual wardrobe?  Share it with us in the comments!

Pictured:
Classic Fit Lightweight Chino | $69.50 at J. Crew, Nantucket Red Shorts | $52.50 at Nantucket Reds, Fitted Gingham Checked Shirt | $39.50 at Gap, and Common Projects Achilles Low Top Sneaker | $295 at Jake.

4 comments May 7th, 2008

How to Wear a Blazer with a Casual Shirt

Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.


How do you wear a blazer with a casual shirt?  Match the informality of your shirt–be it a polo, henley or t-shirt–to your jacket.  Choose a unstructured jacket in a casual cotton instead of your traditional wool. 

You could always try the plain t-shirt under the blazer (or layered tees), but you can take the outfit up a notch by layering a fitted polo shirt over a t-shirt.  Bonus points for a brightly colored tee–we love the splash of color this creates at the neckline. 

Finish the outfit off with a casual belt (woven, not leather) and a pair of stylish sneakers.

Have a great tip about how to wear a blazer with a casual shirt? Share it with us in the comments!

Add comment April 29th, 2008

How to Determine the Quality of a Suit

How do you know if the suit you want is worth its hefty price tag? While there are a lot of things that go into a great suit, there are two quick tests you can do on the showroom floor to help you determine the quality of the suit.

Anthony Peak Wool SuitWrinkle Test: A quick way to test the quality of the wool from the suit is to grab the cuff of a pant leg and firmly squeeze.  That’s right: I’m telling you to purposely try to wrinkle the wool.  If, after a minute or so, the wool remains wrinkled after you release the pant leg, we recommend you move on to a better quality wool suit.

This wrinkle test becomes important after a day at the office, during which you sit at your desk, elbows – and jacket – bent.  To all of the investment bankers out there: You may have stayed at the office overnight, but you don’t have to look like it.  Get a suit that passes the wrinkle test. Disclaimer: If you just throw your suit on your bedroom floor, even the best ones will become wrinkled.

Canvas Test: Between the exterior cloth and the lining of the jacket, every proper suit has a layer of cloth called a canvas.  High quality suits will have this canvas hand-sewn into the jacket.  Lesser quality jackets use a process called fusing, in which the lining is, essentially, glued to the jacket.  The canvas is entirely hidden, and you cannot see it unless you literally rip the jacket open.  Some designers will tell you that there are new innovations in fusing that make the fused jacket just as good as hand-stitched ones, but I’m not entirely sure if I believe them.  A jacket with a canvas will fit better, especially across the chest.  Plus, the canvas also gives the lapel its roll.  

How to tell if your jacket has a canvas?  Find the part of the jacket in between two button holes.  Gently pinch the two sides (exterior and interior sides) apart.  If you can feel a third layer in between, there’s a canvas.  If you can’t, the jacket is fused.  Style tip: Price doesn’t equal quality, so don’t assume that every expensive blazer has a canvas.  I recently saw a $1,300 blazer in Barney’s that failed the canvas test.

Pictured: Anthony Peak Wool Suit | $1795 at Ralph Lauren.

3 comments April 2nd, 2008

Q&A: Aftershave and Cologne 101

Q:  How do I pick out an aftershave or cologne for myself? What is the difference between the two? How much is too much, and how do I figure out how much to wear?

Men\'s Fragrance - Polo Ralph Lauren, Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme, Rochas Man

A: Even though aftershave and cologne can smell the same, they’re two very different products.  Aftershave is meant to condition the skin after shaving, so while it is scented, it contains conditioners to heal your skin after a close shave.  Cologne, on the other hand, is purely for fragrance.  As such, cologne has a much stronger, longer-lasting scent than aftershave.

How much is too much?  While you can splash your face with aftershave, your coworkers will be able to smell you from across the office if you do so with cologne.  Cologne is best applied in small quantities—a dab here and a dab there is enough.

Picking a scent is really a personal process.  We would recommend going scent “window shopping” first to familiarize yourself with the variety of scents out there.    Spray the fragrance on the paper cards provided at the store—that way, you’ll be able to distinguish between the colognes.  (Plus, you’ll keep your wrists and arms scent-free.)  Give your nose a break in between sniffing each fragrance.  And take your time—the process of elimination to find the perfect scent doesn’t need to be done in a day.  

Once you get down to the top three to five fragrances, you’ll need to actually try them on.  Everybody has different personal chemistry, so a fragrance smells different on different people.  Your perfect fragrance will be one whose smell you love—but one that also works for your personal chemistry.

Have a great tip about how to pick a fragrance?  Or would you like to share your favorite scents? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

Pictured:
Polo Ralph Lauren Eau de Toilette | $47.50+ at Sephora, Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme | $40+ at Sephora, Rochas Eau de Toilette Spray | $44 at Sephora.

9 comments March 4th, 2008

How to Wear Flannel Stylishly

How to Wear Flannel, courtesy of the Sartorialist

Flannel is one of those things people seem to avoid because, I think, they are scared of looking like an early 90’s grunge rocker wannabe.  And it’s true: flannel can look very grungy when done sloppily.  It’s too bad, though, really.  Flannel button downs are great for locales with colder fall seasons such as the Northeast because of the heavier fabric.  Plus, the patterns, usually plaid, can make a bold statement.

So if you want to stand out from the crowd, wear flannel–but do it right.  Here’s how:

Find a Great Flannel Shirt:
First off, you need to find a flannel shirt.  Well-made flannel shirts aren’t the floppy and flimsy pieces that you probably saw in the 90’s.  No, they have lines and form a great shoulder.  And while I said they aren’t floppy; I didn’t say they aren’t soft.  Here are three of the best flannel shirts

Oak Slash Pocket Buffalo ShirtPictured: Oak “Slash Pocket Buffalo Plaid Shirt” | $130 at Oak
This is a great piece from a great store, Oak NYC.   The bold pattern goes well with anything, from jeans to a wool coat.  It looks boxy in the picture, but it’s not when you wear.  Notice the absence of a collar; it’s a ring collar, similar to that of a t-shirt.  The pocket detail, Oak’s signature, is another sleek feature. 

Steven Alan “SA Work Shirt” | $178 at Steven Alan
I really like this shirt in Red/Green (use the "choose a style" dropdown to view).  Bold and colorful, it’s slim fitting and has a great shoulder.  It also has a hint of rugged outdoorsman sex appeal.  The picture doesn’t quite do it justice.  Also be sure to check it out in White/Navy.

Cassette Flannel Shirt | $253 at Revolve Clothing
A little pricey, to be sure, but very stylish.  It has a hint of West Coast/Southern California fashion, but it doesn’t obnoxiously scream “Los Angeles” like those Ed Hardy graphic Ts do.  The slightly faded pattern gives it a worn-in (in a good way, like a pair of jeans) vibe. 

 Craft an Outfit around the Flannel Shirt
As always, fit is going to be key here.  If the shirt is big on you, it will look very sloppy.  Too small, and you’ll give off an emo rocker vibe.

Since these patterns are so bold, you want to let it be the focus of your outfit.  Whatever else you wear, make sure it’s subtle and, preferably, patternless.  Wear your flannel shirt with some dark denim with no fade (or a subtle one at the most).  Well-fitted khakis would also work—and they’d look especially good with the Steven Alan shirt.  The tan from the khaki complements the green and red, which immediately stand out, but it’s the subtle brownish base that really makes it work.  If it’s cold enough to wear a jacket, pick one that isn’t too busy and one that picks up or complements the base color of the flannel shirt.  As for shoes, sneakers should (as always) be low tops.  Shoes other than sneakers can also work, but this look is harder to pull off.

How you wear your hair is actually important here too.  Having medium or longer hair will give off kind of an indie rocker vibe.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear flannel with longer hair, but I’m not saying you should either.  I think shorter, more styled hair gives it a refreshingly sleek look.

Last tip?  Don’t bother wearing an undershirt with these flannel shirts; wear just that shirt and button it, but not all the way.

Photo of man wearing flannel courtesy of The Sartorialist.

Have a great tip about how to wear flannel?

Share it with us in the comments!

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

18 comments November 14th, 2007

How To: Dress Ten Pounds Lighter

Theory Domina Above DressThe key to dressing ten pounds thinner has much to do with a good magic trick.  Like a magician that uses misdirection to compel his audience to look where he wants them to, you can visually create a slimming, elongated vertical line for the eye to follow.  However, you don’t need to be a magician to look like you’ve shed pounds.  To look like you’re ten pounds thinner without so much as a trip to the gym, try:

Wearing What Fits:
Fit is the #1 determinant of whether you look poor or polished.  For good fit that flatters, look for clothes that skim your body.  Body-hugging clothes, or those that pull at the buttons, only draw attention to problem spots.  Before you wear something out of the house, make sure that nothing is puckering or pulling. And when in doubt, go one size up.  The looser fitting clothing will encourage others to ask the golden question: “Have you lost weight?”

Monochromatic Outfits: The simplest way to create an elongated vertical line is to craft an outfit in one color.  However, you needn’t be so strict—dressing in light and dark variations of one color creates much of the same effect. 

Vertical Lines: Instead of wearing garments with strong horizontal detailing, try ones with vertical details.  What kinds of details are we talking about?  Zippers, buttons, stripes, piping, pockets, and other embellishments.

Dark Colors: It’s no secret that dark colors tend to recede, and light colors tend to come forward.  Though wearing dark colors visually minimizes problem spots, wearing head-to-toe dark colors can be dreary.  Play up your best features by strategically adding lighter colors in those places.

Wearing Something You Love: To truly look amazing, you also have to feel amazing about yourself.   And there’s no better way to feel good about yourself than to be wearing something that you love.  Draw attention to your best features with a favorite sweater that shows off your amazing collarbone or an eye-catching necklace that frames your gorgeous face.

Pictured: Theory Domina Above Dress | $275 at Shopbop.

2 comments August 31st, 2006

David Lim of Kasil Jeans: How To Choose the Right Pair of Jeans

David Lim knows a thing or two about denim.  As the designer and CEO of Kasil Jeans, David sculpts the form fitting denim designs that adorn the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and a host of other A-list celebs. 

Want to be a denim guru yourself–or at least dress like one?  Read on (or listen to the Jack and Jen Morning Show on Richmond’s Mix 103.7) for David’s five tips on how to choose the right pair of jeans for your body.

1.  Look for a GREAT WASH. Dark washes typically are more flattering and make you look leaner and taller. Also be sure to pick a jean that has a natural looking fade to it, nothing too contrived.

2.  Of course the FIT!  Balance is key when it comes to fit, and back pocket size and placement are important to make the jeans look balanced and proportionate.  Look for a good front rise and a back rise that doesn’t ride too low. The gapping in the back isn’t flattering. The waistband should sit comfortably around your waist, not tight enough to cut off blood circulation.  For men:  It’s important that the jeans fit flush on the hips.

3.  TOP QUALITY FABRIC. Fabric is the foundation for a great jean, and just as good grapes make great wine, good fabric brings out great washes. Good denim will also be able to hold its shape throughout the day. Cheap denim will eventually stretch out within the first two hours of wearing.  

4.  THE DESIGN.  Design is what distinguishes between brands, and subtle details and innovative construction are what defines premium denim. Stay away from anything too loud that screams for attention; simple and clean is timeless. Also, buy brands made in USA.  Los Angeles is the capital of premium jeans, and you can’t go wrong if you stick to the right labels.

5.  And the last tip for looking for the best premium jean: Just look for the KASIL label. Everything I’ve mentioned is in our label :).

Check out Kasil Jeans online at http://www.kasiljean.com/, and read Omiru’s Designer Profile on David Lim.

6 comments August 17th, 2006

How To: Dress for Work During a Heat Wave

Office

The key to looking fresh at work despite the sweltering heat is to keep your look simple and remember that the difference between looking crisp and feeling wilted is all in the details.  To beat the heat while keeping your look professional, try:

Lightweight, Breathable Fabrics: It goes without saying that lighter weight fabrics are generally going to be cooler than heavier weight fabrics.  However, consider how breathable the fabric is.  Natural fabrics like cotton and linen work especially well on hot days because they absorb and release moisture quickly, allowing fabric to “breathe.”

Simple Silhouettes: Simple, unfussy silhouettes—such as a well-cut suit or a shift dress—automatically give your look a polished feel, even when you’re sitting in the stifling heat.

Adding the Unexpected:
Upon this simple foundation, add an unexpected color or detail to punch up your outfit.  A bright color, an oversized collar, or a special detail like pintucking or piping will take your outfit from simply work-appropriate to stunning.

Layering: Layering becomes more important than ever when alternating between the blisteringly warm outdoors and an ice-cold air-conditioned office.  Keep a fitted sweater on hand in the office to weather these temperature shifts.

Personal Grooming:
Neat hair, manicured nails, and scuff free shoes—personal grooming essentials—are de rigeur.  Longhaired women can pull back their hair into a ponytail or a bun for a refined look.  Oil absorbing facial wipes work well to keep your skin fresh looking (and feeling) throughout the day.

We’ve used these principles to create a mini-series of heat-resistant and work-appropriate outfits for women and men.  Enjoy!

For Women
For Men

1 comment August 2nd, 2006

How To: Wear Weekend Clothes to Work

Picture yourself in your closet on a typical Monday morning.

If you’re anything like us, you see more weekend clothes than workday clothes. With a greater range of colors, fabrics, and silhouettes, they’re just more fun to wear. It’s just a shame that they’re fully appropriate only two days out of the week.

Or so you may think.

We try to liberate these fun loving clothes from the closet as often as we can, covering ourselves with the Law of Weekend Clothes at Work. Simply put, the Law states that, in a business casual office, you are allotted one (1) weekend appropriate item per outfit, given that you surround that item with suitably business appropriate clothes.

Why does it work? Well, the formality of the rest of the outfit serves to elevate the look of the one casual piece. Note that the one item part of the law is more of a guideline, rather than a strict rule. With one casual item, you usually can’t get into too much trouble. For those of you who enjoy a challenge, however, we encourage you to try two or more items. If you want to share a cool outfit idea, (or if on the other hand, you run into problems) feel free to contact us at styleintelligence@gmail.com.

Now let’s look at two common examples of the rule in action.

For women: Say you want to wear your favorite t-shirt to work.

Sabrina Embellished Tee
Sabrina Embellished Tee | $39.50 at Abercrombie and Fitch

Dress it up with a cardigan, skirt, and a pair of heels. An added bonus—on the off chance that you’re perceived as unapproachable at work, the addition of a personal item to your look can go a long way to softening your image.

For men: This example is perfect for the man with one (or two, or ten) too many pairs of jeans in the closet.

“Faded Away” Jean
“Faded Away” Jean | $89 at Kenneth Cole

Pair your jeans (no wild washes or treatments, please) with dress shoes, a blazer, and a sport shirt. The quintessential dot-com entrepreneur look, yes, but you’ll be backing it up with more than buzzwords like “mindshare” and “eyeballs.”

Add comment August 29th, 2005

How To: Pack Light

Whether you’re traveling a day or a month, domestic or international, summer or winter, packing light is an essential. A few things to remember:

  • Bring versatile clothing, such as colors that match easily, reversible outfits, and clothes that can go day-to-night.
  • Avoid packing anything that wrinkles, since you’ll have to press or steam it when you arrive at your destination.
  • Convenience and comfort, above all else, are key. Spare your back and travel with a roller bag, and sans stilettos.

This hat comes in handy when traveling to sunny
destinations, and it won’t become damaged if bent.

Crushable Panama Straw Hat
Crushable Panama Straw Hat | $14.98 at Lillian Vernon

A 3-in-1 makeup remover, toner and atomizer–
Brilliant for dehydrated skin on the plane!

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Cleansing Water
Extra-Gentle Cleansing Water | $18 at L’Occitane

Fold this bag into your suitcase, and you’ll thank yourself
later when you use it to carry gifts on your trip back.

Longchamp Large Foldable Tote
Longchamp Nylon Large Foldable Tote
in Hot Turquoise | $125 at Magnum Jewelers

Sometimes, size does matter!

Samsonite Smallest Umbrella
Samsonite Smallest Umbrella | $20 at Flax Art & Design

Skip the smelly, germy airline blankets and
turn heads with a stylish pashmina instead.
Nordstrom Pashmina Scarf in Antique Rose
Pashmina Scarf in Antique Rose | $28.90 at Nordstrom

Layering is the answer to climate changes. This twinset is ideal
for day-to-night transitions, and the layering allows for multiple looks.
Ralph Lauren Black Label Cashmere Jersey Cardigan
Black Label Cashmere Jersey Cardigan in Cafe| $598 at Ralph Lauren

Cashmere is great to travel with to cooler
locations: It’s light, warm, luxurious and travels well.
Queue Fold-Down Waist Cashmere Pant
Queue Fold-Down Waist Cashmere Pant| $132 at Hotter Than Hollywood

These lightweight sandals come in their own handy pouch.
Lola 'Mommy' Sandal
‘Mommy’ Sandal & Pouch | $85 at Lola

Perfect for biking or walking on the go, this feather-light training
shoe rolls up so you can make room for exercise in your travel bag.
adidas ToGo Mind
ToGo Mind | $75 at adidas

A wheeled carry-on that’s big on organizer pockets as well as style.
Tumi 20
20" International Carry-On | $450 at Tumi

4 comments August 1st, 2005

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