Collar height

Smyth and Gibson   Collar Bar Prince of Wales check GQ 12Apr12 pr b 642x390 Collar height

Source: condenast

We all know fit is incredibly important when it comes to clothing. You can find a piece that uses the highest quality fabrics, was designed by the brightest minds in fashion, and has incredible value, but if it doesn’t fit well, might as well throw it in the trash because you simply won’t look good.

And it’s pretty easy to tell too. Even the most amateur of menswear enthusiasts can spot sleeve lengths that are too long, bagginess and billowing in the torso, or too broad of a shoulder fit.

That being said, there are other fit problems that most folks won’t readily notice or be able to diagnose. The smaller details that you know are bothering your subconscious mind, but just can’t pinpoint. One of those problems is collar height.

What is collar height? Well, simply put, it’s the length from the top of the collar fold to the bottom of the collar on a collared (obviously) shirt. Interestingly enough, the collar height really does matter when you’re searching for a well-fitted shirt.

Below is a picture I took for this blog a long while back. Back then, I didn’t really see a problem with the fit of my shirt, but today, I’m a little more critical of myself. As a result, I’m a bit bothered by the collar height. Take a look:

 Collar height

Now, I don’t think it necessarily looks bad, but I think a shorter collar could be more aesthetically pleasing in this outfit, don’t you agree? Take a look at the collar height on a shirt like this:

OD AD369 collar G 20110113171137 Collar height

Source: wsj

Sure, if I was a gargantuan linebacker in the NFL, a short collar like the above might actually look more comical than anything. But seeing as how my neck is far smaller than someone like that, the aesthetics just work better to use a collar with a shorter height.

Now, having made this discovery, would I go back to my closet and replace everything with a suboptimal collar height? Probably not, that would seem a bit over the top. However, would I consider this detail when buying shirts in the future? Absolutely.

So it’s just one more thing to think about when looking at fit. Take it or leave it, but put some consideration into the collar height when choosing a new shirt! My guess is that your current shirt collection is overly generous in collar height and you’ll want to reduce them just a bit with your new shirts. But also remember, don’t go too far in the other direction either – look at this guy, I feel like his collar is way too short:

Thin Collar Shirt Collar height

Also, if you’re still clueless on what to look for when choosing the shirt for you, check out Hugh & Crye’s collar guide. Gives you quite a bit of detail about what you should be looking for in a shirt, down to the nitty-gritty details.

Cheers fellas, stay warm.

Wishlist December 2014

Every time the Holidays roll around, my wishlist starts to extend longer than Stretch Armstrong’s limbs (oh boy, remember those toys?).

Alongside cool gadgets, auto equipment, alcohol, and other goodies, clothing usually sits atop of the list. Today, I share with you some of my wishes for December.

Leather / wool rifle coat

 Wishlist December 2014

Source: Theory

I don’t know what it is about wool coats with leather sleeves, but I’ve become a die hard fan. A bit on the trendy side, I know, but damn the combination looks good. I particularly like this Theory one above. It’s expensive, but I saw it on sale at Macy’s (yeah we have a legit Macy’s that carries Theory) for almost half off, and was about a millimeter away from pulling the trigger.

New Balance high tops

296289d089fde7d533f90532e87322d9 Wishlist December 2014

Source: Pinterest

Oh man, I am going to lobby hard to get these shoes under my Christmas tree this year. I’ve always been a fan of suede New Balances and these high tops are no exception, even though I think they’re a JCrew collab exclusive. The color scheme, streamlined silhouette, and material all look wonderful to me. They even look comfy to boot!

Alden scotch grain bluchers

Corbett Longwing in Black Scotch Grain 97975 2 Wishlist December 2014

Source: unionmadegoods

Whoo wee! What beauties. As many of you know, Alden is one of my favorite shoe brands in the world. One of the few remaining American shoemakers making quality product through the generations.

One thing you’ll notice is that these are not made of your normal calfskin leather. After looking at some Thom Browne samples the other day, I realized I really like the use of scotch grain leather on shoes, and they add a bit of pop to what would normally be a very conservative shoe design. The Unionmade ones on the link above are sold out, but I think JCrew sells something similar here.

GQ x GAP leather backpack

1417454532870 BNMDA Holiday En Noir Backpack Wishlist December 2014

Source: GQ

It looks like GQ is partnering with GAP once again to deliver some really unique pieces, designed by some of the top designers, to the general public. The collection isn’t set to be out until December 15th, but GQ offered a sneak peak into some of their favorite pieces. I really like this backpack by En Noir. I felt like there was a time when leather backpacks were a bit gaudy, but that time is no more. This slim, simple, elegant design just works, and I’ll definitely take a look to verify quality when the collection comes out.

Anyhow, there’s my December wishlist. Even though I’m trying not to buy any clothing, I will certainly be looking out for ways to get some of these things come January. Hoping that sales roll around by then! Stay warm out there, fellas.

Buffalo Plaid

Screen Shot 2014 11 29 at 3.40.53 PM Buffalo Plaid

Source: JCrew

Ah buffalo plaid. A staple in almost every fall/winter catalog I come across.

Truth is, it took me a while to really embrace this pattern, mainly because I was brainwashed to hate the color red (go UCLA). That being said, the more I saw it on magazines, store windows, and print ads around town, the more I began to fall in love with the aesthetic. As a result, I now have a couple buffalo plaid pieces in my closet that have achieved the status of “go-to” within my wardrobe.

So exactly where did this ubiquitous red and black pattern originate from? Perhaps Paul Bunyan? Some hipster in the Mission District of SF? Nope. Buffalo plaid comes from the genius minds at Woolrich, a company that began producing shirts with this pattern around 1850. That’s right, over 150 years ago! Talk about withstanding the ups and downs of fashion, huh?

Here are some of my favorite ways to outfit buffalo plaid.

1. Scarf to add some pop to an otherwise very conservative outfit. (See above)

2. Collared shirt underneath a solid blazer or suit. Adds a ton of complexity to a formal outfit, Timothy Olyphant representing below:

tumblr lvqqpbULKi1qgj6jvo1 500 Buffalo Plaid

Source: GQ

3. A classic buffalo check wool shirt from the OGs who created it. Definitely a more rugged look that can be used on the streets as easily as it can be out in the woods.

All in all, buffalo plaid is versatile, able to be worn as a subtle accent piece or stand out as the main attraction. I suggest looking around to find a piece that works for you. If folks are still wearing this stuff 150 years after it was originally made, it’s probably safe to assume you’ll be in style for however long you choose to wear it.

PS: To add to that Timothy Olyphant picture above, he had a full shoot with just buffalo plaid in this GQ article. Worth looking at.

Put This On has an awesome list of sales for Black Friday

black friday sale Put This On has an awesome list of sales for Black Friday

source: bbe

One thing I don’t have much patience for is curating Black Friday sales. I mean where do you start, there are just so many!

The good news is that the gentlemen over at Put This On have done the work for us already. Some pretty decent stuff on their list, ranging from local sample sales (Ovadia & Sons, Union, etc.) all the way to department store-wide sales (Barneys, Saks).

Check it out here. And happy shopping!

Style in what you carry, not just what you wear

Today, let’s just assume that you know everything it takes to look good. You’ve read every menswear blog, magazine, and article in the world, and have developed the perfect wardrobe specifically for you.

Well now that you’re playing in the big leagues, perhaps it’s time to step it up to the next level and focus on the details. Let’s talk about not just what you’re wearing, but what you’re carrying on you!

EDC Items Style in what you carry, not just what you wear

Source: SafetyglassesUSA

Sure, most people won’t ever get a chance to see the things you carry, like your wallet, phone or keys. But what’s important is that you’ll see them. Pretty much every single day of your life, actually. So doesn’t it make sense to invest a little more in the things you carry? Wouldn’t it be nice to crack a smile every time you pull out that awesome-looking handmade leather wallet from Portland, Oregon?

If you feel like we’re speaking the same language, here are some tips on how to jazz up your “everyday carries.”

 Style in what you carry, not just what you wear

Source: Shopify

1. Keychain: If you live in an apartment/house, drive a car, or even just have a mailbox, then you have keys. Time to put those keys on a half decent keychain. Mostly this is for aesthetic pleasure, but it does make a difference. This one is mine and I’m a huge fan of it. It almost makes carrying around my keys a bit of a pleasure. If you drink beer as well, I’d recommend attaching a nice looking bottle opener to the chain. This one’s pretty cool.

2. Phone: I think statistics say that the modern American spends more time on their phone than they do on everything else in their life, combined. Just playing, but you get the point. You use it often, so put a nice case on it to not only protect it, but also make it look better. My favorite materials to case phones in are wood, leather, and metal. I personally use the leather case that Apple carries in-store. It’s expensive, but I love it.

3. Wallet: I recommend keeping your wallet slim, it just looks better all around. Minimalism, man! For that reason, card holders like these (I have this one from Everlane) or money clips do the job the best. The days of chunky wallets are over, so do yourself a favor and ask for a nice card holder this Christmas! By the way, you can never go wrong with black or brown leather.

4. Bag: I talk a little bit about it in this previous article, but having a stylish bag is a big plus. I can go into this topic in quite a bit of detail, but I’ll keep it simple here. If you’re wearing a backpack, simplicity and slimness are the names of the game. A pretty inexpensive option is Herschel. I think Herschel makes some nice looking bags that hold up well over time.  If you’re going with a messenger or single strap bag, think about canvas or leather as the primary material. I’ve preached Filson a million times before, but I’ll continue to tout it here. There are so many other makers of good bags out there, so here’s a link to someone who’s done far more research to help you out (though this is more specifically briefcases).

Upgrade your “everyday carry game” my friends. In the slight chance that someone notices your wallet or keychain, you might even get a compliment or two. Stay awesome and eat plenty of turkey y’all.

Uniqlo +J is back

 Uniqlo +J is back

I think it was 2010 when I walked into a Uniqlo store for the first time. Back then, the only city with a physical Uniqlo store outside of Japan was New York City.

Having made the trek all the way out there from San Francisco, I had pretty high expectations, especially since I had heard so much about Uniqlo from friends who had visited that were re-buying their entire wardrobes from the store.  The good news was that the store didn’t disappoint. Even today, I still think of Uniqlo as one of the best companies out there providing stylish clothing at an affordable price.

Admittedly, at the time, I didn’t know nearly as much about menswear as I do today. Nonetheless, I remember seeing a really nice line of menswear pieces out in the back of the store marked with a +J logo on the tags. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I distinctly remember being impressed with the collection, both in quality and style. I literally ran to a salesman to find out if any of the pieces were in my size (by then the stock was mostly oversized), but it was all to no avail.

uniqlo1 Uniqlo +J is back

Source: Suwaveandswank

Well, it seems as though good things come to those who wait. Uniqlo just recently announced that they will be bringing back their +J line this month.

Now, since I know vastly more about menswear today than I did back then, here’s some context for you. The Uniqlo +J line was one of the first collaboration efforts Uniqlo had ever done with an outside fashion designer. This one was with the legendary Jil Sander.

For those of you who don’t know, Jil Sander is a very respectable player in the high fashion game, both for men and women. Her stuff is often eclectic, dare I say weird, but you all know how the high fashion game works. Anyhow, one thing that you can be sure of when buying Jil Sander is that most pieces are ludicrously priced. I mean we’re talking $700 for a pair of cotton pants.

The good news is that Uniqlo’s +J collection won’t be anywhere close to that price tag. They’re saying pieces will range from $39.90 to $229.90. The official launch will be October 3rd @ their new Philly store, but the rest of us will have to wait till October 10th when it comes out to all the other stores and online. 

Here is the link to check the collection out.

Just in case you’re curious, here are some of my favorites from the collection:

Slim Denim Shirt 

Uniqlo J Denim Shirt Uniqlo +J is back

Slim White Shirt

Uniqlo J Slim Shirt1 Uniqlo +J is back

Cashmere Sweater

Uniqlo J Cashmere Uniqlo +J is back

Cardigan

Uniqlo J Cardigan Uniqlo +J is back Puffer Coat

Uniqlo J Down Parka Uniqlo +J is back Chesterfield Coat

Uniqlo J Chesterfield Uniqlo +J is back

Flannel Jacket

Uniqlo J Jacket1 Uniqlo +J is back

Tapered Flannel Pants


Uniqlo J Flannel Pants1 Uniqlo +J is back

So go wild fellas. Yes these pieces are rather basic, but they look great and won’t let you down if they fit correctly. It’s all about keeping it simple right? Cheerio, happy hump day.

Update to the Minimalism Challenge

minimalism typography hd wallpaper 1920x1200 6093 Update to the Minimalism Challenge

Source: HDW

I’ve been neglecting this blog for far too long my friends. If you’re still with me God bless you- and yes I agree, I am the worst. But let me at least give you guys an explanation on my absence… And I think it’s legitimate to some extent.

January of this year, I proposed a challenge to myself. A challenge that I shared with all of you during that time period. If you’re not up for reading that entire post, the gist of it was that I decided not to buy anything (outside of the essentials, like toothpaste) for the entirety of 2014. It’s now been a healthy 10 months into the year, and I’m happy to report that I’m still somewhat on track with that challenge. The reason “somewhat” is in that last sentence is because I think I might have found a loophole that I violated to some extent (cough, I bought a motorcycle for the “experience,” not proud of it).

I’m a little backlogged on the giving away one thing everyday part of that challenge, but for the most part, it’s been pretty liberating to depend less on material objects. You almost forget how much your possessions start to own you more than the other way around. True, the hardest part of the year is still ahead of us (the holidays), but I’m confident I can weather the storm.

130327 CBOX MinimalistCraze.jpg.CROP.article568 large Update to the Minimalism Challenge

Source: Slate

Now to the main point: why I haven’t been writing in this blog as often.

It turns out that when you block yourself off from buying any new clothing for the year, you stop thinking about clothing on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. And when you’re not thinking about clothing, oh how much harder it becomes to write about it.

Okay, it’s an excuse, but the good news is that I do have some things to report as a result of this experience so far, and I thought it would be a good reason to write a post. In case you’re curious, here are a couple things I’ve learned from not buying any clothing for the year:

1. You are forced to be more creative with your current wardrobe.

So you don’t own a leather jacket that would have been perfect for a particular event. So what? Because you’re forced to work with what you have, you become a bit more creative in how you choose your outfits. You “shop your closet” more, if you will.

2. You end up discovering your “go-to” outfit far more easily.

I didn’t expect this part, but when you don’t shop as regularly, you gravitate towards your tried and trues more often than you think. I’ve realized black jeans, brown boots, blue oxford shirts, and olive green jackets have more usefulness than most of my other pieces.

3. You save a bunch of money / are more generous with it.

As a result of your reduced expenditures, you really do see your bank account gain a little health, but more importantly, you’re more generous with how you use the extra money. I don’t hesitate as often to pay for another person’s dinner or dessert!

4. You don’t write in your blog as often.

Lame.

Anyhow, I’m not finished yet but I think that this challenge is something that everyone should attempt at some point. Maybe it’s not for an entire year, but rather for just a couple of months. Or even just one month for the shopaholics out there. I swear it’ll make a difference in how you live, even if it’s a just a little.

A simpler kid

You know, when I was a kid, I wore strictly second-hand clothing. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thriftway, you name it. Our family didn’t have much money, and I was going to be growing out of my clothing anyway, so why bother with fashion?

Personally, I think it was a good thing. Shopping that way helped me really appreciate buying a new shirt or pair of jeans when I got in high school. I hopefully plan to raise my future kids the same way.

That being said, there IS something awesome about kids who look as fashionable (if not more fashionable) as their adult counterparts. I came across a Buzzfeed article this week where a toddler’s mother dresses her kid like a walking GQ advertisement. This kid looks amazing! Check out some of his pictures below. And follow him on Instagram if you want more:

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

10454163 737646282924760 1053428156 n A simpler kid

Little guy’s making me look like an incompetent dresser. Props to him and his mom for keeping up with the Instagram account. We all know it takes discipline to keep these things going icon smile A simpler kid Happy Friday folks.

 

Wristwear

tumblr lob4am6zqn1qe76uxo1 500 Wristwear

Source: Midnightcool

Wristwear has been all the fad lately. More and more, I’m seeing guys wear stacks on stacks on stacks of bracelets extending from their wrists up to potentially their mid forearms. It’s become, to some extent, commonplace.

How do I feel about this trend? Well, I’m a bit torn. Do I like the aesthetics of a wristband or two on a guy’s arm? Yeah I do. Do I think that men of class (a la George Clooney, Don Draper) would choose to wear a wristband (apart from their watch)? Probably not. Would I ever wear a colorful wristband to a board meeting? Absolutely not.

Mens Woven Friendship Bracelets Wristwear

Source: Itsnotforgirls

As many of you guys know, I’m a huge fan of wristwatches, and feel that all men should go out right now and purchase a watch if possible. However, wristbands/bracelets are a bit more flashy and/or casual, since they serve no functional purpose. They’re purely for aesthetics, and for this reason, I don’t find them to be essential in anyway.

That being said, they do add a bit of spice to any outfit, and you can especially benefit during the Spring and Summer when your arms are exposed. So here’s my advice. If you don’t always need to look professional in your day-to-day, and enjoy the aesthetics of a bracelet or two, go for it! But here are my suggestions.

1. One or two : Don’t be one of those guys who wears fifteen bracelets on both wrists, trying to make a giant statement about how you’re the most fashionable guy this side of the Mississippi. Stick with a single bracelet or two. I personally like wearing just one on the wrist I wear my watch on.

2. Leather + metal : I think fabric bracelets are cool, and they often come in a multitude of colors and patterns. However, they’re not all that versatile. Unless you have a giant wristband collection, I would stick with a solid colored leather bracelet with maybe some metal accents.

3. Brown , gray, black : Again, there are tons of colors out there for wristbands. However, if you want to stick with owning only a couple, then I suggest going for a bit of a mute color, like brown, gray, or black. This way, whether you’re dressed up or down, your wristband will remain appropriate.

Put This On has a good list of some wristbands for you if you’re interested. Personally, I like Miansai or Tod’s bracelets the most, but they can be a bit prohibitively expensive.

Anyhow, cheers, and happy Monday!

 

 

V-neck or Crewneck shirts?

white tee V neck or Crewneck shirts?

Source: GQ

People often ask me whether they should purchase V neck or crewneck T-shirts, as if one is clearly superior to the other.

In all honesty, my answer to this question has changed again and again. Five years ago, I was all in on V neck T-shirts. They simply looked better, no doubt about it. You ask me that same question today and I’ll probably switch my answer over to crewneck, unfortunately without a good reason as to why.

Just like anything in fashion, perspectives change, and there are times when crewneck shirts are “in,” and times when V neck shirts are “in.” I think right now, we might have landed on a time where crewneck T-shirts are more popular.

This being said, I believe that you should absolutely own both V neck and crewneck T-shirts at any given time. First off, neither will ever go out of style, since they’re such staples in any man’s wardrobe. I just ask that you keep your V necks at a more conservative depth – deep Vs can look ridiculous.

Secondly, both serve distinct purposes. For instance, crewneck T shirts look better with crewneck sweaters. V neck T shirts can work better with dress shirts. Etc. etc. etc.

So the next time you’re choosing between crewneck and V neck, just know you’ll likely end up having to get both in your wardrobe, so just flip a coin…. I say that half jokingly.