Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

So we’re onto the second installment of the Essential Outerwear series, and today, the spotlight is on the field jacket, or sometimes more broadly called, the utility coat.

fieldedit Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

So what in the world is a field jacket? Well I’mma get descriptive on you: field jackets are jackets that are inspired by a type of outerwear design worn by soldiers during World War II, usually characterized by a rugged look made of waxed cotton or some sort of synthetic, donning multiple pockets, and generally in an olive green or khaki color, just like the military men wore it. To see a couple classic field jackets, check out the M65 or M43.

I love field jackets and utility coats, and they’ve become quite popular in recent years. I swear every other person on the street is wearing some sort of olive green canvas jacket, whether guy or girl, old or young. Good news is that this ubiquity has made this jacket a very seamless one to wear in any situation. You can be in casual sweats, and a field jacket won’t look out of place. I’ve also seen the other end of the spectrum where finance folks from London are layering their Barbour jackets over their pinstripe suits. I might add that it’s not a bad look.

If you’re going to get one, I would recommend getting a field jacket/utility coat in a neutral color. Think olive green, khaki, navy blue, black, gray. They look best when they’re a bit distressed or wrinkled, and they should fit well at the shoulder, but it’s not 100% necessary for them to fit too snug. For example, the Barbour Bedale is one of my favorite field jackets, and it’s actually cut in a more classic form to help make sure your movement is unrestricted while you’re hunting that deer, or grappling a bear.

These jackets can also act as great rain coats. If it’s made of waxed cotton, it’s actually meant to be worn in the rain, as the wax keeps the jacket protected from any rain damage. I will have to warn you though, they usually aren’t as warm as wool or puffer coats, and hopefully you didn’t expect them to be. They work well in the winter time, but not in below zero degree weather.

Here are two of my field jackets, one being more classically field-like (the Barbour one), and the other being a little out of the box (the Banana Republic one). I like them both a lot though:

field1 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket field2 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketI love the corduroy detailing on this particular jacket. field3 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketWear these jackets with a scarf if your neck gets cold. Looks great in my opinion. field5 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketHere is the most common color that you’ll find a field jacket in. Olive green. field6 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketThis one has no lack of detailing either. Leather on the collar. field7 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket This is actually the jacket that Bond wore in the main battle scene of Skyfall. Couldn’t resist getting it for myself as a result. field8 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

Sweater: J.Crew | Scarf (blue): Todd Snyder x Gap | Scarf (black): Prada

Jeans: Rag & Bone | Jacket (blue) : Banana Republic | Jacket (black): Barbour

Now, I normally say you should spend the extra dollar in getting a piece, but honestly, with field jackets, you can find some great ones for a little less at your mass retailers like Gap or Uniqlo. Penfield also makes some less expensive ones (though they’re going to be more than what you find at Gap or Uniqlo).

In the case that you do want to spend the extra dollar, I’d say look for jackets from Barbour, Filson, or Pendleton, GANT, or Jack Spade, in that order. Nordstrom has a great filter where they show only utility coats, so I’d check that out as well.

Either way, a field jacket / utility coat is a great piece that you’ll own for quite some time, perhaps even for the rest of your life. I recommend getting one sooner rather than later, and wear it throughout the entire year. Love the ones I have, and I don’t regret a single cent in those purchases.

Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

Finally, I’m starting the outerwear series I promised you all a couple weeks ago. First on the agenda… leather jackets.

leather71 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of leather jackets. What’s not to like? They protect you from the wind, feel great to the touch, and of course, make you look incredibly badass.

As a result, over time, leather jackets have basically become my favorite article of clothing. I’ll tell you though, the journey to get there was not easy. I don’t have the most forgiving body type, so leather jackets often looked weird on me. Sleeves would be too long, shoulders would fit awkwardly, and some reason, most jackets gave me the silhouette reminiscent of an NFL linebacker.

Also, the cost of real leather jackets were always prohibitive. If I finally found one that I liked, I usually needed to take a deep breath before looking at the price tag- mainly to prepare for shock. Usually every jacket extended well beyond the $1k mark.

leather13 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

Over time though, I realized two things. First was that it’s not easy to find a leather jacket that fits well. This is largely due to the fact that leather jackets are not easy to alter, so the flexibility of customizing your jacket disappears. The second is that it is well worth it to spend the extra buck for a nice leather jacket, because it will last you for a lifetime.

After understanding these two concepts, I decided to first, be patient with shopping for a leather jacket. The investment would be substantial, so making the right decision was crucial. Second, I needed to suck it up and just be okay with paying the money, knowing that it would be hard to get a decent leather jacket without spending a bit more. Plus, they don’t really go out of style.

As a result, here are the two I ended up with:

leather61 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

leather51 791x1024 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

leather41 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

leather21 681x1024 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

leather31 1024x776 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

 Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Shirt: J.Crew | Jeans: Rag & Bone

Belt: Hugo Boss | Jacket (Black): Theory (similar)

Jacket (Brown): Levi’s Made & Crafted (similar)

So this is an outerwear series in preparation for winter. You may be asking why leather jackets are part of that list. Well, leather jackets are actually appropriate year-round, and winter is no exception. Especially in cities like San Francisco, leather jackets work great during the colder months, especially when paired with a scarf and sweater.

They do well against the wind as they’re not porous, they are great at insulation (depending on the type you get), and the style is not only appropriate, but encouraged during the fall and winter months.

Get one if you have the opportunity, you won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Chris Eldredge

A warning about Black Friday

Unlike a lot of folks, I’m a huge fan of Black Friday. Thanksgiving has just passed, the air is crisp, the malls are bustling with interesting people… If anything, it’s a wonderful time to people-watch and hang with some friends in a busy environment.

Black Friday Phone Deals A warning about Black Friday

Source: Visitminot

This may also seem like the best time of the year to buy clothing, especially when every single store has a seemingly ridiculous sale going on at the same time. That’s why I’ll see a line out the front door at Macy’s, or an ensuing fight between two middle-aged ladies clutching at a single purse in the Bloomingdale’s line.

However, I do have one warning for you all: Black Friday is usually not the best sale you’ll find all year, or even all season. So before you go to your favorite mall and wait in line for two hours, do some research, and utilize that nifty thing called your computer, to make things a bit easier for you.

Here are my observations around Black Friday:

1. Oftentimes, better sales happen around Black Friday, rather than on it. Shops like Macy’s have actually told me that they have higher discounted pricing on weeks prior to Black Friday than Black Friday itself. Not sure what the strategy around that is, but it seems to be shared across a ton of other retail stores as well.

2. Look at sites like Slickdeals.net, Fatwallet.com, Dealsplus.com, etc. to find better deals than you can find on your own. These sites are amazing, and (warning) addicting as well. They curate some of the best deals on the web at any given time, and the deals during Black Friday are generally pretty ridiculous.

3. Electronics, toys, and other items are more heavily discounted than clothing. Contrary to popular belief, clothing is usually discounted only marginally during Black Friday. Most of the bigger discounts you’ll find are related to other things like iPads, TVs, games, etc. Not always true, but just take a look for yourself!

4. Check blogs like Dappered & PutThisOn. Some menswear blogs post up sales during these times of the year. I would suggest you check them out for some of the deals that are ACTUALLY decent.

black friday shopping 620km111612 1363291018 A warning about Black Friday

Source: Styleist

All this to say that there are smarter ways to spend your time shopping this Black Friday. I wouldn’t recommend waking up incredibly early, waiting in line, fighting the crowds, and ultimately getting a deal that’s inferior to one you could get weeks later, when you could go online and figure all that mess out beforehand. Just sayin’.

Either way, have a safe and homey Thanksgiving, fellas. I’ll probably post before Thanksgiving again, but thought I’d put it out there for now.

Essential Outerwear

09 yves saint laurent coat 1109 lg Essential Outerwear

Source: Esquire

There are a number of reasons why I enjoy fall the most when it comes to menswear. Among those reasons, one in particular is my love of outerwear. My favorite category of clothing, hands down.

Well the good news is that there are a variety of different types of outerwear to choose from come October/November. The bad news is that this “unleashing of the bulls” per se, can get a bit overwhelming- you’ll have a hard time figuring out what coat to actually buy.

dark shades men coat pitti Essential Outerwear

Source: Trashness

To make things a little easier, I’ve outlined what I consider the essential outerwear list. This doesn’t mean you need to own every piece on the list, but choosing a couple from here might do your wardrobe some good. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Peacoat

2. The Field Jacket / Utility Coat

3. The Trenchcoat

4. The Leather Jacket

5. The Topcoat

6. The Cold Weather Coat

In the following weeks, I hope to delve a bit deeper into each of these jackets/coats, and let you know why I think they’re awesome pieces to have in your closet. Keep an eye out, and also let me know in the comments below if there is anything specific you’d like to know about each item.

PS: I realize that I never finished by accessories series (only went through about half of the items on that list, here’s part 1 , 2 , 3). That’s definitely going to be intermingled with this series!

 

My question to you: Puffer vests

I’ve been meaning to talk about this subject for quite some time. Puffer vests.

 My question to you: Puffer vests

Some part of me really likes them, and finds the look quite appealing. The other part of me wonders why they’re so popular when they’re functionally kind of awkward. If it’s cold enough to be wearing a puffer anything, I would imagine that it’s best to put on a puffer coat/jacket that covers the sleeves. If it’s not cold enough to be wearing a puffer anything, then wouldn’t it make sense to just wear a lighter jacket?

Again, I’m a fan of the look, but this thought makes me hesitate on getting one for myself. And I’m also not talking about those thinner quilted vests, but rather the type of vest that makes you look like Marty McFly or the Michelin Man.

Maybe it’s for the layering aspect, where you can layer a vest underneath another jacket or coat, but not deal with the sleeve bulk? Or perhaps it’s just an easier piece to put on above your sweater? Whatever the case, would love to hear from you guys why you would or would not wear a puffer vest. Lay ‘em on me!

In the case that you are pro puffer vest though, here are a couple that I’m a fan of:

$50-100 : Uniqlo Ultra Light Down , Banana Republic Grey Flannel Vest , Kane & Unke Colorblock Vest

$100-200 : North Face Lindero , Ralph Lauren Elmwood

$200-500 : Canada Goose Lodgewood , Gant Rugger Down Vest

$500 + : Moncler Hooded Vest , Burberry Crosby

My Fall Wish List

It’s wishlist time. I’ve started to buy clothing again so there are a ton of fall/winter items on my list that I’ve been drooling over. Also, the fact that it’s getting pretty cold in San Francisco (oh what a wimp I’ve become…), means that most of these items are actually relevant again.

For anyone who has mounds of cash just sitting around, please feel free to buy me any of the pieces below:

John Varvatos Star Topcoat

 8355608 My Fall Wish List

Source: Nordstrom

There is something so incredibly classy about topcoats. They are wonderful complements to a formal or semi-formal getup, and keep you really warm and toasty. I own a topcoat already, but have been thinking about upgrading, since topcoats are very much investment pieces. I came across this one from John Varvatos on the Nordstrom website recently, and really liked the simple design. Can’t really attest for the quality just yet, but I may visit the store to see if they have one on the rack to try on. Will report back.

Hey and if you’re doubtful about getting a topcoat, if anything, Don Draper wears them.

Bloomingdale’s Ribbed Knit Beanie

 My Fall Wish List

Source: Bloomingdales

One of my buddies recently showed me his Prada knit cap, and I was thoroughly impressed with how it looked. It was charcoal in color, made with very fine wool, and extremely simple in design, like the above picture. I checked online to see how much the thing cost, and unfortunately, it was priced at over $200.

I’m all about buying quality but $200 for a hat was quite a stretch for me so I found a suitable substitute at Bloomingdales and am contemplating picking it up. I mean they say the head is where you hold the most heat, so I have to keep that heat in during the colder months, am I right?

Moncler Puffer Jacket

NMN1UAL mx My Fall Wish List

Source: Neiman Marcus

I cheated a bit on this one as I’ve recently bought a similar model to this particular jacket due to a sale.

To be honest, I used to be kind of against puffer jackets, and still am to some extent, but some of the models that Moncler has been releasing have really caught my eye. You retain the warmth of a puffer jacket, but the fit doesn’t make you look like a marshmallow, and the attention to detail is just fantastic.

There are a couple downsides though. First, I live in SF, so it rarely gets cold enough to wear this thing. These jackets don’t just keep you warm, they make you melt inside if it’s not cold enough outside. Second, Moncler is outrageous with pricing. The cheapest models are barely sub-$1K, and the more expensive ones are ludicrously expensive.

Ralph Lauren Merino Wool Sweater

 My Fall Wish List

Source: Ralph Lauren

I tried one of these Polo Ralph Lauren sweaters on last week at Bloomingdales, and absolutely loved the feel and look of it. Not only did it fit snug to my body, but the colors were beautifully vibrant, and there was no annoying polo logo on the front. Again, the only thing stopping me was the price, as each one of these is $125. The sweater is actually quite thin, so it made me wonder if this was something worth investing in.

I may still end up getting it, but it will hurt the wallet.

So there is my wish list this November. God, do I love fall/winter for menswear.

Nordstrom’s 10 Fall Essentials

header Nordstroms 10 Fall Essentials

Source: Nordstrom

While I was doing some research for my grey crewneck sweatshirt post, I came across Nordstrom’s 10 fall essentials post, and wanted to share it with you all. Not necessarily because it’s groundbreaking or a must-see, but because I do agree with a lot of it, and think it could be a decent guide for some of you heading into F/W 2013.

In case you’re too lazy to click through, here’s the cheat sheet:

1. Wool overcoat : Definitely agree with this, a must for winter. Look for one that ends before your knees though.

2. Crewneck sweatshirt : See previous post to view my opinion on the matter.

3. Quilted jacket : This is probably one I disagree with. Quilted jackets (especially by Barbour) are cool and all, but certainly not an essential in my book.

4. Chunky cardigan : My chunky cardigan has saved me from the cold on more than a couple occasions. Thus, this is also a must.

5. Brown leather-strap watch : I’m finding that brown leather straps are more versatile than black leather straps for me. Perhaps it’s because I own more earth-toned clothing, but either way, I concur with this item.

6. Patterned sport coat : This is another one that I don’t necessarily find essential. I’m a fan of patterned sport coats, but don’t go rushing out to buy one of these just because Nordstrom told you to.

7. Soft briefcase : Here’s my thought on briefcases. Yep, if you’re over the age of 21, you need one.

8. Corduroy pants : Corduroy pants came back last year pretty strong during the fall and winter months. I think they are a good item to have since they’re warm and also something different from your daily denim. Essential though? Maybe.

9. Iconic sunglasses : Not sure why this is a must have for fall and winter, but sure, iconic sunglasses are always good to have.

10. Dress boots : I own 3 dress boots, need I say more?

Though everything Nordstrom.com offers isn’t always my style or taste, there are some really good finds in there if you dig long enough. Get yourself some fall/winter clothing in preparation for the changing winds. Cheers.

Gray crewneck sweatshirt

Category Sweatshirts Gray crewneck sweatshirt

Source: American Giant

Back when I was in grade school, I always saw gym teachers, or sometimes senior citizens, wearing gray crewneck sweatshirts out on their weekday strolls. It was so fashionably lame to me at the time, that I started to weed crewneck sweatshirts out from my wardrobe entirely. It wasn’t until last year that I started to rethink my position.

After seeing blog entry after blog entry of awesome outfits incorporating crewneck sweatshirts, I had no choice but to turn 180 on this particular subject, and in fact, I have started to get a couple of them for my wardrobe once again. Among all of the colors and textures though, I believe the most versatile and dare I say fashionable, is the plain heather gray cotton crewneck sweatshirt.

Yeah, I know, how boring and plain… but hear me out.

The gray crewneck sweatshirt is one of those rare pieces that you can dress down equally as much as you can dress up. I mean let’s break it down for a second. You can use a gray crewneck sweatshirt for just about any casual situation out there, we’re talking workouts, lounging, even sleeping. However, it can also look  just as great (if not better) with a dress shirt underneath, some dark denim, and a pair of wingtips. Hell, add a tie if you want, like Chris Paul does below:

chris paul 5 Gray crewneck sweatshirt

Source: GQ

The simplicity of this piece allows you to wear whatever over or under as needed. If you’re feeling a little dressy, pair that tie and jacket with it, and conversely, if you’re feeling lazy, just plop it on top of your T shirt and you’re good to go. Either way, I think it’s a piece that everyone should look into owning for this season, especially since we’re heading into fall/winter.

Here are a couple crewneck sweatshirts that I would recommend you take a look at:

$52 J.Crew

$69 American Giant

$115-$130 GANT & Todd Snyder

$220 Rag & Bone

And though I haven’t actually seen the fit and quality of these, you can get an uber budget version of the sweater at Target: $8.

What am I wearing 11.11.12

Turns out my first post in the “one day” series is taking a tad longer than I’d hoped, my apologies. In the meanwhile, people have been asking for consistent “what am I wearing” posts, so in case you’re curious… here you go.

As some of you may know, it’s getting a bit chilly here in San Francisco. As long as it doesn’t rain, I’m cool with that, as it’s the perfect time to bust out some fall-wear.

 What am I wearing 11.11.12

wiwt2 What am I wearing 11.11.12

 What am I wearing 11.11.12

Coat: Banana Republic | Sweater: POLO Ralph Lauren | Shirt: Black Fleece (similar) | Belt: Perry Ellis

Watch: Omega | Chinos: Brooks Brothers | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Calvin Klein Collection

Sometimes it pays to coordinate. In this particular outfit, the centerpiece for my coordination stems from the Ralph Lauren sweater. The sweater has a subtle, but noticeable red polo logo on it. As a result, I layered a red shirt underneath it, which might help make the outfit a bit better than if I wore any other color.

Likewise, I opted for black shoes and a black checkered coat to go with the sweater as well. In my humble opinion, these types of small details can definitely elevate your style to the next level.

Lovin’ Tweed

tweed1 Lovin TweedBeautiful tweeds lined up in a closet. Drool.

It’s fall, and winter is coming. Time to bust out the tweed.

Tweed is one of my all-time favorite fabrics. Not only does it keep you warm, but it also oozes of pure class. I think every man should strive to have at least one piece in their wardrobe made of this awesome cloth.

Now some of you may say, “Tweed? What am I, an old man?” To that I say… you think you’re better than tweed, you wanna fight?  In all seriousness, I do get that tweed can seem a bit dated, as its resurgence is a bit of a throwback to an earlier time period. A time period when our grandfathers wore tweed sportcoats while smoking cigars, and sipping neat bourbon in their dim lit living room. But come on, doesn’t that time period paint an amazing picture? I’ll gladly embrace the revival of old school tweed, and wear my tweed pieces till I grow old myself. Plus, if you’re still feeling self conscious, take a look at any fashion magazine today- tweed dominates.

Tweed comes in many shapes and forms. Think crazy patterns and colors like above, or plain grey herringbones like below. Unlike other fabrics, most patterns and colors, however crazy, can look great on tweed. Despite this, if you’re new to tweed, I would recommend getting it in an overcoat or sports coat, colors being a solid grey or brown. This way, your piece will remain timeless, and you can at least have your basics down before moving onto more daring pieces.

Nordstrom has a large list of really great tweed pieces, but you’ll notice that most of them require quite an investment (which I think is warranted). Some standouts to me are the Todd Snyder sports coat and Gitman woven tie. Either way, I say you should look into tweed a bit, and get a piece for yourself. If you’re still uncertain, here are some pics that may help persuade you.

tweed6 Lovin TweedThis is probably my favorite tweed- a mid-grey herringbone. In my opinion, it’s the most versatile out of all the tweeds, as it will go well with almost anything. Doesn’t the subtle pattern just mesmerize you? Does for me.

tweed4 Lovin TweedNotice how there are literally between 10 and 20 colors all interacting together in this picture? Tweed has an amazing ability to showcase color and patterns while still remaining relatively subdued and classic. If I were to don these colors on leather or even cotton, I would likely look ridiculous.

tweed51 Lovin TweedTimeless and elegant.

So in all, I say you should get yourself a nice tweed jacket for the fall and winter. You’ll get great use out of it, and you’ll probably rely on it more often than you think. It’s a piece you can be proud of wearing today, tomorrow, and forty years from now. Cheers.