Posts filed under 'Men'

5 Lightweight Jackets for Early Spring

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April means transition weather - the awkward space between the cool winter days and the weather we associate with spring.  You don’t want to be hauling your winter parkas around, but it’s not quite warm enough to be headed out without a jacket in tow.  What to do?  Choose a lightweight jacket to throw over your tees and button-down shirts.  Neutrals, khakis, and browns are big this season - and will pair well with the rest of your wardrobe.  But, if you’re up for it, we encourage you to try something a bit different - a chambray parka or a deep green Baracuta jacket will certainly anchor your spring wardrobe.

1. The Smooth Company Chambray Shawl Collar Parka | $200 at Urban Outfitters

2. Members Only Racer Jacket | $78 at Urban Outfitters

3. Cadet Jacket | $128 at J Crew

4. Four Pocket Cotton Jacket | $150 at Banana Republic

5. Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket | $275 at J Crew

3 comments April 6th, 2010

Spring 2010’s Five Must-Have Mens Accessories

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It’s no secret that the easiest way to update your look is with aptly chosen accessories. Even if you haven’t gotten around to picking up your chambray shirt or splurging on a utility jacket, you can still grab some "quick wins" with our five classically cool accessory picks: the statement tie, the quality moccasin, the canvas tote, the spring snood, and the aviator sunglasses.  So don’t wait - step up your style for spring with these five must-have accessories.

1. Cotton Madras Tie | $59.50 at J Press

2. Grizzly Moccasin | $249.99 at Quoddy

3. Want Organic Mirabel Day Roll Bag | $145 at J Crew

4. Grey Jersey Snood Scarf | $24 at Topman

5. Aviator Sunglasses | $5.90 at Forever 21

10 comments March 30th, 2010

How to Wear a Statement Tie

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Pictured, clockwise from top left: White and Red Slim Tartan Tie | $20 at Topman, Blue Liberty Print Slim Tie | $32 at Topman, Black Acid Wash Check Slim Tie | $20 at Topman, Purple Reversible Slim Tie | $20 at Topman.  See Topman’s entire collection of ties here.

The foundation of a tie wardrobe is composed of solids and stripes in neutral colors.  You probably already have your striped repp, your narrow black, and your perfect-shade-of-grey.  But do you have ties that make a statement?  Cross over into statement tie territory with a selection of ties that add a bit of spark to your wardrobe - but not in a crazy kind of way.

How do you wear a statement tie?  Three practical tips:
(1) In order to make a statement without going overboard, choose a fun color or an interesting pattern - not both at the same time.  Make your statement with a bold color, like the regal purple tie pictured bottom left.  Or add visual interest via a special pattern, like the kitschy liberty print pictured top right.
(2) So that your statement tie takes center stage, pair your tie with a blank canvas.  The plain white button-down is a clear winner, but depending on the color of your tie, you can also try a solid colored button-down in a complementary color.  The liberty print tie, pictured top right, would look lovely against a pale blue button-down shirt.
(3) Keep the rest of your outfit simple - flat front trousers and a pair of brogues will do the trick.

How would you wear a statement tie? 
Share your style with us in the comments.

3 comments March 24th, 2010

What to Wear March 2010, Menswear Edition

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Days are getting longer (thanks, Daylight Savings Time), the air is getting warmer, and we’re eagerly anticipating Spring.  While the weather may not be Spring-tastic in all areas of the country yet, it’s definitely time to start - or continue - your Spring wardrobe update.  What do we recommend that you add to your Spring 2010 wardrobe?  Patterned shirts, a denim utility shirt, a light cotton jacket, pieces with military influence, and because the weather can still be chilly, a cable knit sweater jacket.  But don’t forget your accessories - update with a pair of old school grey sneakers, driving mocs, a canvas weekend tote, and a dandy-inspired fedora.  

1. Nailhead Oxford Utility Shirt | $98 at J Crew

2. Cotton Utility Jacket | $130 at Banana Republic

3. White and Red Check Shirt | $50 at Topman

4. Cotton Cable Harpoon Sweater Jacket | $198 at J Crew

5. Casual Bomber Jacket | $98.50 at Banana Republic

6. AE Leather Driving Moc | $49.50 at American Eagle

7. Packable Striped Fedora | $13.90 at Heritage 1981

8. Wool Check D.R. Tote | $147.50 (sale) at Jack Spade

9. AE Old School Sneaker | $24.95 (sale) at American Eagle

Guys, what will you be wearing this March?  Share your style with us in the comments!

7 comments March 16th, 2010

Q&A: How to Build Your Wardrobe from Scratch

Q:  I’m getting a pretty big bankroll for Christmas this year, and I’d like to spend almost all of it on clothes.  I have a few questions - should I buy all clothes for the winter? Or mix it up for Spring coming next year? What are some of your favorite things that are currently out? When building a new wardrobe, what are your "must haves" that you need to get before anything else. Also a list of your favorite stores would be great too. And maybe show me some of YOUR recent purchases.  I love clothes and am a big fan of name designer brands.

A: Well-dressed men are never define by who they wear; rather, it’s about how they wear it.

As far as what one “should” buy, my answer really depends on a few things, none of which concern what season is currently in store.

I am a firm believer that if one splurges on clothes, one should first splurge on essentials, items that never go out of style.  These pieces should be your first priority: a wool charcoal single breasted suit, a wool navy single breasted suit, a couple pairs of shirts (either solid white or solid light blue), a couple of ties (solids and stripes only for now), one pair of black leather oxford lace-ups, one pair of brown leather oxford lace-ups, a wool overcoat (either in navy or charcoal), and a dress belt (black and brown reversible; keep the egregiousness of the belt buckle to a minimum).  I am also assuming you have a pair of dark navy jeans, with no fade or ridiculous embellishments on the rear pockets, as well as solid navy or charcoal sweaters.

This is the foundation of a well-dressed man’s wardrobe; the colors I pick –navy and charcoal- are the two most versatile.  Notice I did not pick a black suit.  I don’t know when it became acceptable to wear a black suit during the daytime, but it is not “appropriate.” 

If you don’t yet have all of these items, get them.  If you feel like you know about proper fit, from reading posts on this site, or from reading magazines, or from other respected forums (Ask Andy about Clothes is a classic), feel free to shop around.  If you are less-than-confident, go to a respected department store and trust the TAILOR (not necessarily the salesman).  Listen to what he has to say, and follow his advice.  Note that magazines such as GQ and the like often pick up on trends that are not deemed “traditional” fit.

Now, if you DO already have these items, pick up pieces from what I am arbitrarily deeming the second “tier” of the foundation.  These items include classics such as bomber jackets, wool peacoats, scarves, mackintoshes, trench coats, slacks, blazers, and suits in colors not previously mentioned (keep them wool, for now).

If you also have these second tier foundation items in your closet, you can start to find more novelty, trendy items.  Read through the trends highlighted on this site; there are plenty and not worth listing here.

As for what I’ve bought recently, I’m never one to buy and tell (designer wise), but I will say that the items included a navy oilcloth peacoat, a crewneck gray sweater, a wax cotton jacket in a fantastic dark olive, and a navy windbreaker with a vivid red detail.  I also managed to find a great pair of cords on Gilt, as well as some ties.  I think my next purchase will be a toggle coat.

If you really are insistent on brand names, I would suggest buying items that do not have labels or logos showing.  You pay for brand names for fit, details, texture and quality of construction (well, you should anyway), not so you can show people how much you can spend.  I have a pretty firm “no logos” rule.  I would make exceptions for jeans from Dior Homme (the “slash” is a logo of sorts) and items from Martin Margiela (the 4 thread indentations are a clever subtle logo).

As far as my favorite stores, I really don’t want to be a walking advertisement for a designer, so I make a conscious effort to mix it up.  Here’s a few of my favorites: I like Steven Alan for button downs; H&M for novelty trendy items; Gilt.com for anything; Alexander Olch for ties; and James Perse for t-shirts.  Michael Kors (the designer himself) is known for loving peacoats, and it is reflected in the peacoats he sells.

One last word on style: an item isn’t a good deal just because it is on sale.  It’s a good deal if you would have paid more than the price for that item, regardless of what the price is and regardless of whether it is on sale or not.

And a last word - don’t be afraid to save some of that bankroll to pay your parents, undoubtedly the generous donors of this gift, for, say, college tuition.  Spending beyond one’s means helped get us into this economic mess.

Have a great tip about how to build your wardrobe from the ground up? Share it with us in the comments!

15 comments December 22nd, 2009

Do as Londoners Do: Sport the Perfect Winter Coat

Greetings from London!  What’s striking about London (besides the freezing cold - it’s a far cry from sunny California out here) is the fantastic outerwear.  Both men and women sport coats that are as fashion-forward as they are functional.

For men, the perfect layering coat works as well with trouser pants (for work) as it does with jeans (for weekends).  We’ve seen a number of great jackets and coats that fit the bill.  Here’s five of our favorite mens coats from London destination Topshop:

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Carolyn Massey Navy Scarf Coat | $250 at Topman

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Self DB Bomber Jacket | $158 at Topman

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Grey Wool Mix Crombie Overcoat | $300 at Topman

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Self Duffle Coat | $280 at Topman

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Charcoal Wool Mix Overcoat | $180 at Topman

4 comments December 16th, 2009

Five Cold Weather Coats to Keep You Warm this Winter

Whether you’re going to be out and about or keeping cozy inside this winter, it’s time to update your coat wardrobe.  To make your way through the cold weather, you’re going to want a variety of jackets and coats so that you can mix and match and layer for every occasion.  This year’s must-have coat is the rugged parka (a cousin of the also-ubiquitous puffer jacket), but we also recommend that every man have a nice topcoat in his wardrobe for dressier occasions.  Whether your style runs formal or stays casual, we have a cold weather coat for you:

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All Son National Parka | $98 at Urban Outfitters
Tough out the cold, stormy weather in this parka.  Wear it with a sweater and jeans, as shown, or switch out the sweater for a collared white button-down and a skinny tie for a fetching juxtaposition of casual and formal.

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OBEY Wasted Youth Coated Jacket | $168 at Urban Outfitters
This coated denim jacket can be layered over shirts and tees - and under your overcoat.

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Mayfair Wool Cashmere Topcoat | $257.60 (sale) at J Crew
A wool cashmere coat that’s classic and modern all at once.  Plus, it goes with everything in your closet.

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Heritage Toggle Coat | $355 at Banana Republic
Toggle closures on this classic cold weather coat add a nautical touch.  

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Kai-Aakmann Black Long Hooded Coat | $489 at Oak
Featuring two internal removable layers, this tough, heavy-duty coat will prepare you for whatever winter brings.

1 comment December 8th, 2009

Mens Trend Alert: The Colorful Plaid Shirt

If there’s an "It" pattern this season, it has to be Plaid.  And what better fabric than plaid to dominate the runways and storefront windows?  The fresh, unstuffy feeling of plaid crosses boundaries - of both class and occasion.  You don’t need to confine plaid to the weekend, or to being paired with jeans and sneakers.  Try dressing it up with a snappy, tailored overcoat and a chunky knit scarf or sweater for some extra texture.  Here’s four versatile plaid shirts to incorporate into your wardrobe:

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Eagle Plaid Shirt | $39.50 at American Eagle

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Fitted Greenbrae Plaid Shirt | $49.50 at Gap

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Firm Plaid Woven Shirt | $24.90 at Heritage 1981

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Eagle Flannel Shirt | $29.95 (sale) at American Eagle

9 comments December 2nd, 2009

The Power of Jeans: Four Rules to Upgrade Your Jeans to Business Class

martin-osa-straight-leg-jean_111709Straight Leg Jean | $79.50 at Martin + Osa
Pair these impeccable dark rinse jeans with the right shoes and top, and you’ll be ready for the boardroom.

It’s not every day when the tech world starts a fashion trend - but power jeans aren’t just for Silicon Valley innovators anymore.  Though they’re still not accepted in certain industries (bankers remain wholeheartedly woolen), power jeans are becoming increasingly popular among elite business and political circles.  Even President Obama is wearing them.  But how do you elevate your jeans to business class?  We have four simple rules just for you.

Rule 1: Wear Your Jeans Dark
Generally speaking, the darker the color, the more formal the jean.  So when you’re wearing your weekend denim, only pull out your dark rinse jeans for work.  The plainer the jean, the better.  Save your acid wash, distressed, and embroidered (eek) jeans for the weekend.

Rule 2: Stick With Straight Leg Jeans
As for fit, you want to strike a balance between too loose and too tight.  Just like Goldilocks, you’re looking for something that’s just right.  Too loose, and you can be accused of wearing "dad jeans."  Too tight, and you’ll be accused of just the opposite.  Straight leg jeans work best; leave your skinny jeans and your bootleg jeans for the weekend. On a similar note, look for low-to-medium rise styles - no excessively low rise jeans for work, please.

Rule 3: Top Off Your Jeans With a Pressed Shirt
The idea here is to pair your jeans with an equivalently business-appropriate top. Button-down shirts (or cashmere turtlenecks) are de rigeur, and to ensure that the look is appropriately tailored, make sure that your woven shirts are pressed.  (But please don’t press your jeans - that’s a bit much.)  Top off the look with a fitted blazer - or a seasonally appropriate topcoat.

Rule 4: Finish Off Your Look With Good Shoes
To elevate your jeans to the boardroom, pair them with business-appropriate shoes - oxfords or other leather-soled shoes are a must.  No athletic shoes, no sandals, no flip flops.  And unless you’re working in Silicon Valley, or an equally casual culture, no sneakers.  

How do you wear your jeans to work?
  Share your style with us in the comments!

4 comments November 18th, 2009

5 Universal Lessons in Style from Tokyo

Tokyo style runs the gamut from schoolgirl cute to Harajuku edgy to ladylike sophisticate.  But there are more commonalities than first meets the eye.  We’ve boiled down five lessons in style to adopt from the ever design conscious Japanese.  

Lesson 1: Dress up!
You don’t need a special occasion to look good.

Culturally, the Japanese are a formal people, with an emphasis on immaculate presentation (noted in both fashion and food).  What happens is that the mere act of leaving the house is a reason to get dressed up.  After all, you want to look your best.  Both women and men fuss about the details - the perfect turn of a cuff, the correct type of shoe, the silhouette of a jacket.  Formal attire isn’t required, but it’s artfully blended into everyday outfits, for work and for the weekend.  While this fastidious attention to detail isn’t practical for everyone, it’s worth noting that it almost never hurts to dress up - whether it’s for work or for the weekend.

Lesson 2: Mix things up. 

Experiment with texture.

Japanese clothing is dominated with neutral colors - black, white, shades of grey, khaki, and olive.  What keeps the fashion interesting isn’t really the color palette.  Rather, it’s the textures that make the outfit. We love the mix of chunky cable knit with smooth, opaque tights - or the gleam of (faux) leather paired with a tailored tweed.  Even monochromatic looks can be visually interesting when the right textures are combined.

Lesson 3: Make a Statement. 
Include a statement piece in every look.

Most great styles are actually very simple.  Think of the standard blazer/white button-down/jeans combo, for example.  But depending on the pieces chosen, this iconic fashion formula can be visually boring or interesting.  The rule of thumb here is to pick the visual center of your outfit (e.g. the blazer), and choose one that makes a statement.  Maybe it’s a collegiate crest on the breast pocket, or maybe it’s a chain detail on the pocket - these details can turn an ordinary blazer into a statement piece.  But remember that it’s not necessary to make an outfit full of statement pieces; these special garments can carry a look.

Lesson 4: Think holistically. 
Consider your whole look when getting dressed.

This guideline follows from the lesson on statement pieces.  The Japanese focus on simplicity helps to balance a look between statement pieces and ordinary garments.  The idea is to consider each piece in relation to the entire outfit so that you have an look that works holistically.  That way, you have an outfit that’s more than the sum of its individual pieces.  It’s easiest to do this when you start with an idea of what you want your outfit to say about you.  Then, add and remove pieces so that your final look reflects the concept you’re trying to achieve.

Lesson 5: Be bold. 
Try on new styles, even if you don’t think they’re for you.

As Katie in Tokyo said, the Japanese are all over new fashion trends with a passion.  They’re wearing puffer jackets, chunky knits, capes, shorts with tights, foldover boots, collarless jackets, and whatever else is hot on the fashion radar.  While Tokyo’s eclectic style isn’t directly translatable in other countries, Tokyoites’ sense of fashion adventure is.  You don’t have to buy into each trend (please don’t), but do try out new styles in store, even if you don’t think they’ll work with your figure.  You’ll be amazed at what new styles you can wear, and it’s the best way to explore your sense of personal style.

6 comments November 8th, 2009

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