Wearing sport coats casually

Sport coats are technically supposed to be part of a casual outfit. In the old days, it used to be that on the days that one was not wearing a suit, it would be customary to relax at home with a sports coat on instead. Boy have the times changed. Today, the moment you put on a sport coat, you’ll get plenty of questions asking why you’re so dressed up and formal, not dressed down.

Overly casual dress has become the name of the game, and thus I see far less sport coats worn in public. Instead, a weekend outfit would more likely be comprised of a North Face jacket, distressed jeans, and Vans than a sports coat and chinos.

The traditional way to wear a sport coat would be to wear it as an odd jacket that pairs well with, but doesn’t match your trousers. For example, people will often wear navy sport coats with grey flannel trousers. Or maybe heavy brown tweed sport coats with tan khakis.

Well, even though the times have changed and people aren’t wearing their sport coats as traditionally as I would prefer, I still think there are plenty of ways to wear them casually, all without looking like too much effort is being put forth. Here’s an example of how I would wear a sports coat fairly casually:

tweed2 Wearing sport coats casually

I’m wearing this Harris Tweed sport coat with a pair of dark denim, a casual button up, and a brown belt. Since the jeans, shirt, and belt all scream casual, I thought putting a tweed sport coat into the mix would be a good way to dress the outfit up, but still remain relaxed.

tweed1 Wearing sport coats casually

Tweed is a good material for the fall, and can look a bit less dressy when compared to a worsted wool jacket that looks like it came straight from a suit. For this reason, tweed allows you to dress down easier than other sport coats probably can.

This applies to materials like seersucker and corduroy as well (tweed and corduroy are more for the winter, cotton and seersucker are more for the summer).

Sports Coat: Michael Bastian (similar) | Shirt: A.P.C. (similar)

Belt: Club Monaco | Jeans: Tellason

Now, technically you could still dress this type of outfit down even further, going with a T-shirt or sweater instead of a button-up shirt. I say go for it as long as everything looks nice and fitted to your body. Not my first preference, but I’d say it’s fair game. All I’m really trying to say is that the sport coat was, is, and always will be an amazing piece in menswear and because people consider it too formal today, it is utilized far too sparingly.

If you have to dress a sport coat down to feel comfortable wearing it out, do so, as I think it will still elevate your style game. You’ll get much joy out of wearing one, I promise.

Dress Shoe Makers

First off, Merry Christmas Eve my friends. Hope you’re enjoying a nice day off.

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Beautiful John Lobb captoes. (Photo credit: dieworkwear)

A couple people have been asking me about what dress shoe brands I like. Well, here’s a quick list I put together for you all. It’s certainly not exhaustive, but hopefully it helps you guys familiarize yourself with some premier shoe brands. Just FYI, most of these shoes are quite high-quality, so they’ll probably be much more expensive than shoes at your average Kenneth Cole / Calvin Klein level.

Dress Shoes

Edward Green $$$$ : Stunningly amazing shoes, but will easily cross the $1k mark. Not for the light-hearted… or light-walleted.

John Lobb $$$$: Also extremely amazing shoes, and a direct competitor to Edward Green. Will cross the $1k mark easily just as well. The finish on these bad boys is second to none.

Gaziano & Girling $$$$: Okay okay, I’ll stop with the $1k+ shoes here. G&G is also one of the premier makers of ready-to-wear dress shoes, just like John Lobb and Edward Green.

Crockett & Jones $$$: A solid shoemaker from England that makes some of my favorite shoes in the world. Great design, high quality construction.

Santoni $$$: Pure Italian designs using extremely supple, high quality leather. Comfort and design in one.

Tricker’s $$$: Pretty innovative company getting press for doing some cool collaborations recently, but ultimately they are pros at their craft in their own right.

Alfred Sargent $$$: Quality English shoemaker that gets a lot less attention than they deserve.

Peal & Co. $$$: High-end Brooks Brothers brand name, but they’re actually Crockett & Jones or Alfred Sargent shoes, depending on which one you get.

Ralph Lauren $$$: I’m talking about their “Made in England” shoes, as they’ll be constructed by Crockett & Jones. This applies to POLO Ralph Lauren shoes as well.

Church $$$: Solid company, with a solid reputation. Amazing quality and attention to detail, highly recommended.

Alden $$$: One of the last standing classic American shoemakers. Quality of their stuff is absolutely rock solid, but a bit more bulky in design than, say, an Italian shoe.

Tod’s $$: Never really tried these on, but have heard rave reviews about them consistently. Might want to find them on sale though, as value isn’t the best.

Allen Edmonds $$: Best bang for the buck high quality shoes. Made in the U.S. and is probably the standard in American-made shoes.

Loake $$: Another nice shoe maker that I respect quite a bit. A very good alternative to Allen Edmonds.

Meermin $$: Simple shoes, made with very nice attention to detail. Harder to get, since I believe they’re in Europe, but worth a try.

Florsheim by Duckie Brown $$: Duckie Brown makes some interesting designs, but I’ve been a fan of his partnership with Florsheim. Pretty good quality stuff and you can find it on sale often.

Charles Tyrwhitt $: Follows very classic designs, and provides pretty high quality shoes. Good news is they often go on sale as well, thus giving them one $ sign (still will cost you over $100 though).

Johnston & Murphy $: Solid entry level brand for shoes just as well. Don’t expect these to compete with most of the above brands though.

There you go! Get yourself a pair of dress shoes. They are investment pieces, so I’ll say this again… they’re worth the extra buck or two.

What am I wearing 12.23.12

Sometimes, you just want to feel comfortable and warm. Well, for me it’s just one of those days. Here’s what I’m wearing… while heating up some hot water for my tea.

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A shawl collar cardigan can be worn with so much; it’s so versatile. This is a very casual outfit for me, and I feel the cardigan doesn’t look out of place, despite being equally appropriate with a dress shirt and tie.

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Interesting story about the pair of chucks I’m wearing. They were gifted to me by the person who designed them (a designer at Converse). Honestly, I don’t know how many pairs of these are around, but my suspicion is that it’s quite limited. Shout out to my cousin for hooking it up.

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Even if you wear a simple T-shirt, it can still be a solid contributor to your overall look. In this case, I feel like the popping color of burgundy helps this shirt be one of the standout pieces of this outfit.

Cardigan: Brooks Brothers | Shirt: Rag & Bone | Watch: Omega

Pants: Uniqlo | Shoes: Converse

It’s so interesting… I put this outfit together on a whim based on how I felt (wanted some comfort and warmth), but it looks like every item I’m wearing is kind of a “trend” item. The chunky shawl collar cardigan has been the thing to wear this winter, the colors burgundy (or oxblood as many like to call it) & olive green are prime colors for Fall/Winter 2012, and cargo pants have only recently begun to become popular again in mainstream fashion. Maybe I gotta take it easy on the fashion trends!

Either way, thought I’d share with you a comfortable look that you can easily emulate if you feel like it. Happy Holidays folks, stay comfortable and warm.

Now to get back to my hot tea.

Couple Sales

So it looks like there’s sales everywhere right now, but I wanted to point out a couple for you in case you have some last minute Christmas shopping to do:

1. Ralph Lauren

 Couple Sales

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is having a sale of up to 65% off right now. This includes Purple Label, Black Label, and RRL too! I’m fairly excited about this sale. Some items I thought I would point out include this RRL Morgan Plaid Wool Jacket, Merino Wool V Neck Sweater and this Lindrick Calf Boot by Crockett & Jones.

2. Barneys

barneys new york Couple Sales

Barneys is having up to 60% off on sale items. The problem is that most of their items are so expensive that even with 60% off, you’ll end up paying quite a bit… but in case you have the extra cash to spend, I say the time to shop is now!

3. Billy Reid

billy Couple Sales

Love Billy Reid. Great clothing, decent pricing, and overall a solid company. They’re currently running a private sale (whatever that means) and I thought I would let you guys know. Some stand-out clothes for me include: Madison JacketAstor Coat, and Tuscumbia BD.

4. Boylston Trading Co

sale eow Couple Sales

30% off of any order with “LASTDAYS”, and there are already some sale items! There is something for everybody: Jack Purcells for Converse, Common Projects, Ovadia & Sons, Gitman Vintage, Gant Rugger, Woolrich Woolen Mills, and many other great brands.

Happy shopping folks!

Style rules – part 3

And we’re back. Ralph Lauren style rules part 3, and my thoughts on them.

style note 07 Style rules   part 3

This one is very important. It truly does make a huge difference when wearing a suit, and can distinguish you from others in the pack who don’t get it. Suit jackets look best when properly tailored, and sleeve length is usually the first place to start. Sleeves that end halfway down your palm or at your upper forearm look sloppy. Instead, make sure you wear a properly fitted dress shirt when fitting your suit jacket, and leave some room for that shirt cuff to show.

style note 08 Style rules   part 3

Okay, here’s the first rule that I flat out disagree with. Nothing wrong with it, and I see why they see it this way, but I just have a differing opinion. I personally think your first suit should be charcoal in color. It’s the most versatile, and can be worn in almost all situations where you wear a suit. The second suit should be navy, like mentioned above, as it’s equally versatile and classic as the charcoal, and is a wardrobe essential. Both the charcoal and navy suits should be solid in color, with no plaid or stripe designs.

Now once you’ve gotten the two main basics, then you can start to branch out. Going seasonal (like tan for the summer), patterned (like pinstripes), or black (like… black) are all fair game in my opinion. I personally would still stay on the path of remaining classic, and get myself a mid-grey suit. It’s still just as versatile as the others, and  looks great in almost all situations. Again, I personally would avoid any patterns on this suit as well.

So there you have it, my recommendation is: First suit – Solid Charcoal. Second suit – Classic Navy. Third suit – Mid-Grey.

style note 09 Style rules   part 3

To be honest, I don’t know that many people who wear suspenders, but either way, this is a good rule to know and lock in your head in case you do start wearing them. Wear a belt or suspenders, but not both. Quite simple as that.

Alright, well there you have it. Three more rules for all of us to keep in mind when dressing ourselves in the morning.

One thing I will mention is that the important part of all of this, is that you know the rules of style, not necessarily that you follow them. Those who have the best minds and eyes in fashion generally have the rules down pat, it’s just they know how to break the rules just as comfortably. Something to think about.

Shoe care – what it takes

shoe maintenance Shoe care   what it takes

One of the first items of clothing I purchased after landing a job out of college was a nice pair of leather dress shoes. Why? Because I needed a new pair, but more importantly, I knew it would be an incredibly important aspect of my professional dress. After doing a bunch of research, I became convinced that it was indeed worth it to spend a little more and invest in a nice pair of shoes, as opposed to getting any Kenneth Cole or Steve Madden dress shoe out on the market. Thus, I treated myself to a pair of Allen Edmond Strands (pictured above), and it has since become one of my favorite items of clothing.

However, I didn’t really know how to properly take care of my shoes. I just figured- Hey! I spent so much on these shoes, they should last forever... Oh how I’m an idiot. The truth is, once you invest in a nice pair of leather shoes, it becomes imperative to take proper care of them; your care could allow them to last a decade or even more!

As you can see above, there are some products that I personally use to maintain all my dress shoes. Let me go over what’s in the picture exactly, so you know what to get.

1. Shoe tree : This is probably one of the most important things you can get for your shoes. Shoe trees will help your shoes maintain the shape they are meant to take on. After a long day of walking around in your shoes, you’ll start to get creases and folds in places you don’t want. Shoe trees help alleviate those stress points, and they also have the added benefit of sucking up moisture (from your sweat) and helping your shoes smell fresh.

2. Shoe polish : Interestingly enough, five of the items in the above picture are a form of shoe polish. A good shoe polish serves as the item that keeps your shoes shining like a dime. Not only does polish repair the damage of daily wear and tear, but it also nourishes and moisturizes the leather, keeping it healthy. I recommend getting polishes that match the color of your shoes. If they don’t, you run the risk of discoloring your shoes, and that’s no good. There’s also a quick and easy solution to giving your shoes a shine, and that’s the sponge with polish already on it. If you need to shine your shoes quickly, then that’s a great alternative option, though I would always recommend the traditional way.

3. Leather conditioner : Conditioner/Cleaner can be used to remove surface area residue and to keep leather soft and pliable. I recommend using it only once in a while though.

4. Shoe horn : You basically stick one of these into the back of your shoe while you insert your foot, and it helps your foot slide right into the shoe without any trouble. Ultimately, it prevents any smashing or creasing on the back of your shoe, and trust me, it’s pretty necessary. They can be found for real cheap, and they’ll help your shoes last a lot longer.

5. Shoe/Shine brush : You need to brush the dirt off the shoe before starting your polishing, and also brush the polish over the shoe as well. That’s where the shoe brush comes in. Definitely a must. You can use it to clean, apply polish, and also shine the shoe.

6. Polishing cloth : You can take the shoe shine brush route, or the polishing cloth route. It can serve a similar purpose (cleaning, applying, and shining).

The process of shining or cleaning your shoes is actually really relaxing and rewarding, as nerdy as it sounds. Sometimes, I have a cup of tea, play some jazz, and polish my shoes after a hard day’s work. Makes me sound like an old man, but hey… whatever’s clever.

Anyway, point is, you should invest in a nice pair of dress shoes. You’ll need them, and they’ll be a pleasure to own. Once you have ‘em, wear ‘em and give them the kind of character they deserve. But every now and then, make sure you give them some love as well. Get yourself some of the items above, and maintain your shoes. They’ll thank you by lasting for a long, long time.

Cheers.

Wearing black only

I’ve seen it a million times. Guys wearing all-pitch-black getups. Uniform combination of black shoes, black shirt, black jeans, black jacket, black watch, black scarf and black rimmed glasses. So yes, black is cool, and it’s especially appropriate during fall and winter. However, I personally think you can always do better by adding a little extra color to your outfit, even if it’s subtle. This actually applies to any color, since a little variety in an outfit can help it from being too boring or uniform.

For example, here’s an all-black outfit I’m wearing. The difference is that I wanted to add a subtle hint of color (some green and navy gingham on the shirt which together looks like black, and brown lining on the boots), and also distinguish my blacks a bit from each other. Notice my jeans are a lot lighter than the rest of the outfit, while still having that underlying black color to it. My scarf also has grey on the inverse side.

black2 Wearing black only

See? Denim on denim can sometimes work.

black1 Wearing black only

From a closer distance and with ample lighting, you can see that the shirt is actually blue and green, not black. Some red highlights on my watch as well.

black3 Wearing black only

Hmm, my Red Wing boot lining matches my coffee table.

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I like to cuff my pants when wearing boots. Show a bit more of the boot.

Jacket: Ralph Lauren Black Label | Shirt: Black Fleece | Watch: Casio G-Shock

Scarf: Merona (similar) | Belt: Paul Stuart | Jeans: Diesel | Shoes: Red Wing

Now, I still would prefer to wear a lighter shirt with an outfit like this, but if you want to wear all-black, my recommendation is to find some way to make each piece slightly different from one another. Or else it’ll just look like you’re in a black jumpsuit, since others won’t be able to distinguish one piece of your outfit from another.

So go out there and continue to wear black (even though some will tell you it matches with nothing… which I don’t believe in the slightest). But also remember it’s okay to still have some color or differentiation in your outfit to make it more interesting. Grey can be a great friend in this case, and despite what people will tell you, brown can work marvelously if used properly.

Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Hi folks! Time for another edition of “ask me.” First off, please continue asking away since I’m here to be your resource, and am more than happy to help out where I can. Second, really sorry if I’m sometimes a little late in answering your questions, life’s been a bit hectic recently, but I promise to get to every single question I can.

Here are a couple select questions that I’ve gotten that I thought I would share with everybody:

RX HGRM DL large mens closet s4x3 lg Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

I’ve started to understand style a lot better in the last six months or so. Unfortunately, all the clothes that I own don’t really fit the way I want them to, according to my newfound knowledge. Do you think I should just purge everything? – Steve

Great question Steve. I’ve had this dilemma in the past as well. There was a point where I looked at my closet and felt like only 1/10th of it was actually wearable anymore. This was due to two reasons. First, I had just lost about 15 pounds, and most of my clothes simply did not fit. Second, I thought it was finally time to do away with hoodies and baseball caps, since I wanted to have a bit more refined sense of style.

In these situations, I don’t think it’s a good idea to completely purge your wardrobe at once, as it takes a lot of time, effort and money to recoup from something like that. Instead, I would do a basic purge of items that you know you won’t wear anymore, and then start replacing one piece at a time. If you have a coat that you’re not a big fan of, go ahead and buy another one that you actually do like, and replace your old one. Keep going on like this once in a while, when you happen to be shopping, or have a little more disposable income, and in no time you’ll have a wardrobe you actually enjoy, and one you’ll cherish for the long haul. In the meantime, try and be creative! Mix your old clothes in with the new, and create new combinations of outfits. You might find that your old clothes actually look pretty great in the right context.

f11 rick owens armor Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Thanks for the blog man, it’s awesome! So my question is, do you think that dressing really too well as a man might give off the impression that you might be gay or metro even if you’re not? I want to dress better, but I don’t want to give ppl the wrong idea. – Brian


First off, be confident in your sexuality man! If you’re straight and you know it, that’s all that matters. Plus, who says that a straight man can’t look dapper too?

Now that being said, I think I know where you’re going with that question. There is certainly a point when someone can look too polished, too clean, and too meticulous with their clothing. This can potentially give off a sort of non-hetero impression to others, not that there is anything wrong with that. Also, going skinny as opposed to slim, wearing flamboyant colors and patterns, and showing a lot of skin can all contribute to you looking more “metro” as well.

For that reason, if this is very important to you, and you want to maintain a clean, good look while still having no one question your straightness, I’d stick to more classic colors and patterns, wear slim-fitting but not skin tight clothing, and exercise proper skin discretion (not wearing shorts & shirts that are too short). Also, if that’s not enough, maybe adapt a more rugged style, wearing more Barbour and Filson, and less Margiela and Rick Owens.

As long as you do those types of things and remain confident, you should be just fine. Also, nothing wrong with people asking if you’re gay because you wear nice clothes, since it might be more of a compliment to your style than anything else. We all know gay men can dress well.

band logo Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Can I ask what your go-to clothing companies are in terms of fit? I think I have a build similar to yours and I usually can’t find very well fitting clothes. – Young

Sure man, not a problem. In terms of pure fit, I do have some companies in mind, though I will say it’s not so cut and dry due to possible inconsistencies in fit even within the same brand. Also, I’ve made a larger habit of altering my clothes recently. I never used to do it before, but now that I know how effective and cost-efficient it is, I try to alter anything that I feel doesn’t fit well, regardless of brand.

I would say my best fitting brands would be the following, in price-point order:

1. Ben Sherman

2. Theory

3. Black Fleece

4. Band of Outsiders

5. Thom Browne

Hope that helps!

Alright fellas, keep asking away! And as always, stay dapper.

Insta-recap

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a bit of a newb when it comes to social networking. However, I will say, getting familiar with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for the first time, has brought a new element of interest to my life. Particularly Instagram, because it allows me to share some photos that I normally would keep to myself. In case you don’t use Instagram, here’s some recent pics of mine. I promise they’ll get better with time.

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This is me getting excited about finally owning a pair of suede New Balances.

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A little collar fun- add some spice to your life.

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Ovadia & Sons tie that I’m a fan of.

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Showcasing my love for tartan, and Barbour.

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My thought on what a proper casual pocket square should look like.

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Early Christmas.

Also, would love to get feedback on what types of pictures people would want to see. I’m all ears.