Celebrity Styles: Suits

It’s no secret- I love suits. In fact, I love suits so much, I’ve literally put on a suit just to watch a television show called Suits… in my living room.

Sad? Maybe…

Awesome? I think so.

Now I’d love more than anything to elaborate on what you should look for in a suit, what colors you should get, or how suits should fit on you, but in the interest of time, I will leave that for a future post.

Instead, I’d like to show you some celebrities that I look up to, when needing some Suitspiration.

Gabriel Macht – Harvey Specter (Suits)

harvey specter2 Celebrity Styles: Suits

Harvey Specter is a man of power, and he dresses the part. He generally dons a 3 piece suit by Tom Ford, with peak lapels and a strong shoulder line. The cut of his suits is slim, but not too slim, as he isn’t trying to give off a “trendy” look. Ties are also a bit more wide, matching the width of his broad lapels. Recommended for someone who wants to look like a man of pure authority and power, not a man of trends and modernity.

Matt Bomer – Neal Caffrey (White Collar)

neal Celebrity Styles: Suits

This is the sleek and sexy look. Generally, Neal Caffrey wears a two-piece suit with a very slim silhouette, thin notch lapels, a tie, tie bar, and pocket square. His dress shirts and accessories are made by Thomas Pink and his suits by Paul Smith. Very different from Harvey Specter in that Neal’s suits fit much more modern and hip. The narrow shoulders, thin lapels, and high armholes all contribute to this. If you want to be known as the “impeccably stylish man of today,” learn from Neal Caffrey.

Daniel Craig – James Bond (Casino Royale)

bond Celebrity Styles: Suits

Ah, James Bond. My ultimate role model. Always dressed to the 9s in Brioni or Tom Ford suits. I think the beauty of the suit that Bond wears is its simplicity. It’s all about basic colors and precise tailoring, nothing more, nothing less. Also, we mustn’t forget that Bond is the epitome of pure confidence, which ultimately makes the suit look better than it probably is. We should never forget this. Wear your outfits with confidence, and your appearance will all of a sudden change for the better.

The Black Oxford

 The Black OxfordWhy is proper footwear ignored so often today? Guys think they can look good while wearing their Asics running shoes alongside their chinos and sports coat. Or better yet, wearing Jordans with their slacks and dress shirts. God bless these people, but let’s get our act together gentlemen!

The reality is, shoes can literally make or break an entire outfit. Nothing saddens me more than a man who wears a flawless outfit on top, then completely ruins it with an odd, beat up pair of shoes.  Let’s talk about upgrading your look from the bottom up. Let’s talk dress shoes.

To keep it nice and simple, let me tell you that you need to own at least one pair of black, and one pair of brown dress shoes. I’ll be focusing on black shoes in this post, as I believe it is the more important of the two.

Yes, black dress shoes are everywhere. You can go to Kmart and get a pair right now for under $20, or you can spend $1000 on a pair of Santonis. The range of choices makes shopping for black dress shoes a bit more difficult. So let me see if I can guide you a bit.

What’s a good style? I’d say the first pair of dress shoes you need to get are a pair of oxfords. Forget derbys or loafers, you need to go with an outright classic. Make sure the shoe looks nice and streamlined, without a boxy toe. Square or boxed toes used to be popular at one point in history, but today, people will dismiss any sense you have in style if you’re caught wearing them.

You want a rounded toe that helps elongate your foot a bit, and stick to a classic leather texture (no grains or patent leather). Also, if you like the Captoe look, go for it, since it’s accepted in all formal situations as well.

If you can, I’d say go for a leather sole. Not all rubber soles are bad, but leather soles will usually last longer, as they are generally stitched onto the shoe and not glued like rubber.

How much should I pay? Personally, I think you shouldn’t spend any less than $100 on a pair of nice dress shoes. Good news is that you can find sales on black dress shoes quite regularly. Whether it be Nordstrom’s anniversary or half yearly sale, Macy’s sales and coupons, or seasonal fall and spring sales just about anywhere, you can find a nice pair of black oxfords for much less than retail price. I personally spend about $200-$300, since I can find amazing quality shoes at those prices.

What can I wear them with? In terms of pairing, the part that matters is really the pants. Dark denim and grey, navy, or black slacks should do the trick just fine.

 The Black Oxford

What is a good brand? This will largely depend on your budget. For me, the best bang for the buck shoe company is Allen Edmonds, hands down. Their shoes range from $200-$400, so they’re not cheap, but they are excellent quality. In my opinion, no other brand matches them at their price point. By the way, right now they’re having a huge sale! Check out their website and get a pair while you can, the promotion ends Oct 9.

Below that price-range, I would probably recommend a shoe maker called Meermin or possibly Johnston & Murphy.

Going above Allen Edmonds, my favorite brands are Crockett & Jones, Alden, and Santoni. Just a warning that the prices can get very high with these brands.

Here are some of my favorite black dress shoes:
$100 – $250: Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue, Magnanni Frederico, Allen Edmonds Kenilworth

$250 – $350: Allen Edmonds Park Avenue, Loake Dorchester

$350  and above: Alden Straight Tip, Crockett & Jones Connaught

The right pair of black dress shoes can last you a decade, and with the proper care, even longer. Many high end shoe manufacturers will also resole your shoe for you at a pretty reasonable cost, shipping the shoe back to you in almost new condition. Know that spending the extra money for a good one will be worth it in the long run.

So, feel the need to start looking classier? Get yourself a pair of nice black dress shoes! It’ll make you look exquisite… I guarantee it.

Layer

 LayerYour breath creates a fog as you walk slowly along the breezy coast. A beautiful woman walks by your side and begins to cross her arms for warmth. You ask her if she’s cold, and she abruptly says no, even though you can tell she’s shivering. Time to be the man she wants you to be. Time to give her your jacket.

You take off your fitted trench and drape it along her shoulders, feeling cool and masculine…. But oh no. You start getting goosebumps, your teeth start shaking, and you can barely keep up with conversation. You realize the only thing you’re wearing is a thin dress shirt, and it’s too damn cold… My friend, you’ve just lost the cool that you had 10 seconds ago, and it’s all because you didn’t LAYER.

Gentlemen, we’ve just started fall, and winter is next door. The time has come for us to layer our clothing in order to keep warm… and of course to look awesome.

To me, nothing looks more sophisticated than a man who properly layers his clothing. You’ll get a nod of approval from me if you put a wool scarf on top of your favorite peacoat and sweater, with a little bit of your dress shirt peeking out. Apart from keeping you warm and fuzzy, the technique of layering helps you show off more parts of your wardrobe at once. Layering allows you to start being creative with color, pattern, and texture matching, not to mention the fact that you never need to choose between wearing your black sweater and your grey jacket. Just put them both on and call it a day.

Of course this doesn’t mean you can just blindly choose a random sweater, shirt, and jacket to layer on top of each other. We’re still trying to remain stylish, and there are some basic rules I would suggest you follow.

1. Don’t wear too many patterns.

I love patterns. A gingham shirt or pinstripe jacket can really make clothing a bit more fun and appealing. However, you start layering heavy stripes on top of argyle on top of checks, and you’ve essentially made your outfit unbearable to look at. Your clothes will start to distract attention from you… and that’s never good.

2. Colors matter.

Try to layer with complementing colors. The reason I keep recommending greys, blacks, whites, and browns is because you can match a lot easier with basic colors/shades. Put yellow, purple, green, and orange in one outfit, and you’ve likely got yourself an eyesore. This isn’t to say that you can’t have some accent colors in your layered outfit. In fact, I would recommend it! Put a pink shirt on in the midst of greys, or an olive sweater around black. It’ll be fun and classic at the same time.

3. Don’t overdo it.

Yes, I’m telling you to layer. However, I don’t want you to perspire to death or debilitate your arm movements while doing so. Stick to layering two or three pieces. Maybe four if the fabric is thin enough. If you start layering too many pieces, the other problem is that patterns, colors, and fabrics may start to clash. We want to keep style simple, not complicated.

So next time you’re on that date and you’ve just lent out your jacket in the midst of a cold winter night… thank your style knowledge, for it saved you both practically, and fashionably.

Wish List #1

I don’t have an unlimited stream of cash coming out of my faucet, so one of my favorite things to do is create wishlists and drool over things I can’t get. That sounds really sad, now that I verbalize it. Here’s my recent wishlist, in case you were interested.

New Balance 1400 for J. Crew

new balance 1400 J.Crew  Wish List #1

I think New Balance has a home run on their hands with these J Crew collab sneakers. I’m not much a fan of New Balance, but this shoe changes my opinion drastically. This is one of the few running-inspired sneakers that I would say works well with chinos and a casual button down shirt, not just dry fit shirts and shorts. The suede-like texture gives it a hint of class, but it still remains very casual and “I don’t care”-like, which is always good.

Thom Browne Oxford Button Down Shirt

10222 Wish List #1

I’m a huge fan of Thom Browne Oxford Cloth Button Down shirts. The size 1 fits my body just right, and the material he uses feels like a million bucks against my skin. I particularly like this shirt’s design because green and blue are my favorite colors, and they’re crossing each other very creatively, especially on the collar. I’d wear this with a pair of dark wash jeans and maybe a navy trench or peacoat to match the blue on the shirt.

Burberry London Cashmere & Wool Peacoat

 Wish List #1

I’m in dire need of a peacoat, since I gave away my last one (it was too big on me). It’s the ultimate winter coat, and can work with just about any outfit, outside of workout clothes. Since peacoats are classic, and never really go out of style, it’s worth spending the extra money on one you love. Burberry is my choice here, and I’m tempted. I think they do the back of this jacket especially well. The belt and vent flap = pure class.

Ermenegildo Zegna Formal Jacket

41309244AL 13 F Wish List #1

What a classy jacket. I’m a big fan of Ermenegildo Zegna, and have always loved their suits and jackets. This particular jacket is a favorite of mine due to its unique texture.  It has silk shimmer but still remains quite subtle and classic thanks to the cashmere. Lapels are a nice width and the silhouette is slim… too bad it has an astronomical price tag.
Well, there’s my envy list for today. If only high fashion didn’t cost so much money right? Cheers!

Affordable designer clothing

You want to look sleek… You want to buy designer…. You have no money.

My friends, I understand this sentiment all too well. I’m a frugal man myself. I instinctively look at price tags before anything else, I thrift for second-hand whenever I can, and I go to the sales rack before knowing what store I’m even in. Sure, I may be recommending Black Fleece and Paul Smith on this blog, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more affordable options out there with amazing fit & quality.

Here are some outfits I quickly put together with affordable pieces. Please excuse the awful picture quality:
affordable wardrobe Affordable designer clothing

Here are the pieces, and their prices -

Outfit 1 (Left): Kenneth Cole Reaction Jacket $29 :: American Rag Flannel Shirt $20 :: Calvin Klein Jeans $25 :: Simple Shoes $9

Outfit 2: Alfani Dress Shirt $18 :: Ben Sherman Tie $15 :: Perry Ellis Leather Belt $18 :: Louis Raphael Slacks $39 :: Calvin Klein Dress Shoes $49 :: Gap Double Breasted Jacket $25

Outfit 3: Marc Edwards Casual Shirt $14 :: Brooks Brothers Chinos $49 :: Converse All Stars $32

Outfit 4 (Right): Old Navy Hoodie Jacket $15 :: Calvin Klein Shirt $6 :: Levi’s Sneakers $21 :: Levi’s 513 Jeans $39 :: Gap Belt $12

In the land of affordable, I would recommend several go-to brands.

1. Uniqlo – If you have a Uniqlo close by (NYC, SF, NJ), I would definitely recommend heading to the store immediately. This place is amazing, as their selection and quality is better than most clothing companies at double the price. I have some of their shirts and pants, and they are stylish and durable. Good news is Uniqlo just tweeted that their online store will be opening this fall as well. Just to give you an idea of prices: dress shirts $29.90, chinos $39.90, henleys $19.90. The Japanese know their stuff.

2. Land’s End – This company makes some great clothes at very reasonable prices. You will find that a lot of their clothing is a bit old-school and not contemporary enough for today’s standards. It’s okay though, since they make some great basics (like white shirts or grey pants) that never go out of style at wonderful prices. Stick with their tailored fit

3. Zara Man – I don’t have first hand experience with this brand, but some of my more stylish friends swear by it. They make some great looking clothes, albeit a bit more “fashion-centric” than, say a Brooks Brothers. Quality will be much better than an H&M, and Zaras are fairly widespread, so you won’t have trouble finding one. Here a cool jacket, gingham shirt, and casual shirt by them.

Lastly, I wanted to let you guys know about an awesome way to afford some high fashion clothing at a reasonable price. Starting this Thursday 9/27, GAP and GQ are doing a collaboration event where high end fashion designers (Ovadia & Sons, Mark McNairy, etc.) are designing pieces under the GAP brand. Just to give some context, a pair of Mark McNairy shoes cost upwards of $450, and an Ovadia & Sons shirt is over $200. This might be an opportunity to get some designer clothing at very reasonable prices.
Hope this help, my fashion-forward friends.

Phone case

 Phone case

I’m not much a fan of cell phone cases. My Galaxy Nexus has been naked since the day I got it, mainly because it’s slimmer and more aesthetically pleasing without the case.

Recently upgraded to the iPhone 5 (which is currently in the mail) and I saw this very interesting commercial that caught my eye by case-mate. Click on the picture above to check it out. Why did it catch my eye? Because Common is one of their celebrity endorsers, and his clothing choice in this commercial is legit; I wonder what the guy’s closet is stocked with.

Anyway, I think this commercial is making me rethink my stance on cases. I mean check out some of the designs, they’re fantastic.

Looks like a lot of the cases are “coming soon” since the iPhone 5 is brand new, but I’d keep an eye out.

Ask me: wave #1

Some of you have been asking me questions, and I really appreciate you writing in! I wanted to take this opportunity to answer a couple of them:

Can you share some pictures of what you wear? I’m just curious, since it might help give me some ideas on what I should wear. – Jim

Absolutely. I’m in the process of getting a DSLR to make personal pictures a regular thing, but until then, I’ll put up a post soon with some camera phone pics of my attire. In fact, here’s what I was wore to work the other day:

wayw91912 Ask me: wave #1

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Ticket Jacket :: Michael Kors Mainline Dress Shirt :: Diesel Darron Jeans :: Theory Leather Belt :: Coach Briefcase

What’s your favorite brand right now? – Jesse

Great question Jesse. This always changes for me, but right now I’m a huge fan of Thom Browne. His stuff is expensive, but the quality is exceptional, and the style unique. Though he has some great pieces, he also makes some really ridiculous, out of this world stuff, so I make sure to choose carefully. Not looking for anything that will make me look like the Hulk.


I really like the leather jacket you posted up in your jackets post. Like you, I also have a really hard time finding a leather jacket that fits, but wanted to get your recommendation on what types would work on someone like me. I’m 5’8” and 150 lbs, and not looking to spend over $750.  – David

Ah, the leather jacket struggles. I feel your pain brother. The good news is, with a $750 budget, you’ll probably find some really great quality leather jackets. The bad news is, it may take a bit of work and looking to find the right one. I personally think leather jackets are a lifetime investment, so I’d choose wisely. Spend a little extra, keep it simple, and take good care of it.  I’m around the same height and weight as you, so if you have the same problem as me, the main issue might be that the sleeves are too long. You can get sleeves altered on some leather jackets, but it will cost you.

My recommendation would be to stick with black or brown, go with a moto or bomber look in lambskin (much softer), keep zippers and accessories as minimal as possible, and get 100% leather. If you want a jacket from an actual motorcycle leather jacket company, I’d recommend Schotts. They make their jackets in the US, have been doing so for ages, and make quality leather. For more fashion-based jackets, I personally like Ralph Lauren and if you have a little more to splurge, I’d go with their black or purple label stuff. The last brand I would recommend is called Temple of Jawnz, or ToJ. This is more of a made-to-measure leather jacket company that offers their jackets for under $800, so you KNOW it will fit. The only downside is that there is a wait time, but if you’re willing to wait, try it out. Lots of buzz and positive feedback about that company on forums out here.

Alright gentlemen, keep sending questions over, love to answer them! Until next time.

Sweet sales

Looks like two companies that I admire, Brooks Brothers & Land’s End, are having sales right now!

Brooks Brothers: 25% off with code FNFBB1

Land’s End: 30% off with code LOVEFALL, pin 2101

@ Brooks, I would recommend getting a couple OCBDs (Oxford Cloth Button Downs). They’re made in the USA, the signature piece of Brooks Brothers, and fairly cheap at $49 a piece if you buy 3. They also have some really great sweaters/knits made with high quality wool, and classic sports coats in various styles.

 Sweet sales

@ Land’s, My recommendation is a pair of Flannel Wool Pants at around $40. A classic piece everyone needs. Plenty more great choices available; shirts can be as low as $15 @ surprisingly great quality. Try to find a tailored fit, since their classic fits are baggy.

 Sweet sales

Happy shopping, go nuts. These two brands are solid at their respective price points, and have very few rivals in my opinion.

Jackets, my favorite

I’d have to say my favorite article of clothing is the jacket. Always has been, likely always will be.

Why do I have such a fascination with jackets? Because they not only keep me warm, but they also are the most noticeable article of clothing one puts on. I mean seriously, a jacket goes on TOP of everything else, covering any clothes you are already wearing. It’s also one of the only articles you can take off or put on multiple times in a day. It allows you to effortlessly change your look whether you’re outside or inside. Make sure you have an awesome one in your wardrobe.

Here are some jackets that I personally like, all different styles:

jacket brands Jackets, my favorite

Just quick comments on the photos above.

Trenches make you feel boss, and will never go out of style. This is especially true for Burberry , since they invented trenches. Stick with tans, greys, blacks and navys, and make sure to find the right fit, since they’ll last you a lifetime.

Parkas, like the wings + horns one above, are extremely versatile, and can be dressed up or down effortlessly. They protect you from the rain, and are quite utilitarian, with the pockets and all.

Matt Bomer from White Collar pulls this jacket off awesomely (is that a word?). I’ve always had a hard time finding leather jackets that fit me well, but the day I do, I hope it looks like the one above, simple and slim.

Lastly, I think John Varvatos makes some really creative, and quality jackets in his mainline collection. If you’ve got some $, or rather, $$$, I would take a peak; you might find one that sings to you.

In terms of brand recommendations for jackets, it really depends on the price range you’re looking at. Jackets can get astronomically expensive, because designers know they can charge a hefty fine on them. They usually are constructed with thicker fabrics, have a lot more variance in design, and are bought more sparingly, thus people are willing to splurge more.

I recommend spending a bare minimum of $50 on a jacket. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, because it will last you a long time if you buy the right one.

At the $50-$100 range, I would probably recommend Land’s End or Banana Republic with a coupon (easily accessible). Many snobs will gawk at anything from GAP Co., due to their mass production and inconsistency of quality. However, I think that you can get some great jackets here that are stylish and will last. I have a jacket from BR that looks like the parka above, and I love it. People compliment this jacket all the time, and I got it for around $80 bucks.

At the $100-$200 mark, I like Topman and Diesel. I am going to say that these two recommendations are mainly based on look, rather than quality. Not saying that the quality is bad by any means, but just know that I put a bit of weight towards design. I also have to plug in The North Face & Patagonia, where it’s function rather than fashion.

When we get to the $200-$400 range, this is where I think one should spend to get a quality jacket that will last. Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren have very high quality jackets, and have obviously been in the business forever. In this range, my highest rec goes to Barbour since they make a damn solid jacket, and you’ll notice the quality is exceptional.

Between $400-$1000, many jackets start to look absolutely amazing. However, you are now heading into brand name snobbery territory, so watch out!  Brooks Brothers Black Fleece and Ralph Lauren Black Label are two of my favorites.

$1000+: My favorite looking jackets come from John Varvatos Collection, Dior Homme, and Paul Smith Main Line. All three make very sleek, trim, European style jackets that I think can elevate your look. Be careful, as clearly you’re spending a lot for the brand name, rather than the pure functionality of the jacket. Hey, but if you have the cash, why not right?

I’d recommend picking up a solid jacket for the fall. Whether you buy a parka, trench, leather, or wool jacket, find one that helps identify your image. It will get noticed.

Dos and don’ts: black

clooney black suit Dos and donts: black

I’ve been asked many times whether it’s okay to wear a black shirt with a black suit. The short answer is no. The long answer is, unless you’re George Clooney, and you can maybe, JUST maybe pull it off, I would recommend another colored shirt. Truth is, there are too many other options out there to wear just black on black. It becomes hard to tell the separation of clothing, and it makes two potentially great looking pieces look like one mediocre piece.

I know some of you may want to look sleek wearing dark colors at a club or lounge. If you must go with a dark color on your black suit, I’d say use a grey shirt instead of black.