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.

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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.

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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:

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 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 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

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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.

What am I wearing 1.22.12

Time for another outfit of the day post. Felt like dressing up a bit (ie: putting on a tie and pocket square), but also wanted to remain casual enough to blend into the city a bit.

Here’s my solution:

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Coat: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples | Pocket Square: John W. Nordstrom

Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie: Drake’s | Cardigan: Black Fleece

Belt: Perry Ellis | Pants: Ian Velardi | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Paul Smith

So as many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Thom Browne’s branding (the red, white, and blue, generally on grosgrain). That’s exactly why I’m wearing this Black Fleece cardigan along with a relatively conservative outfit. I think a small, but noticeable pop of color can really put some spice into an otherwise “safe” getup, so this cardigan fit the bill for me. I’ll certainly be doing a post about adding pops of color to an outfit shortly.

So until then…

Ask me: Pitti Uomo

doyougrazia 441793 Ask me: Pitti Uomo

Courtesy: Complex Mag

What do you think of these outfits from Pitti Uomo? Seems a bit extravagant to me. – Ronald

For those of you who don’t know what Pitti Uomo is, it is a menswear trade show that occurs in Florence, Italy twice a year. Some of the world’s top designers and labels will converge at this location to show off their new collections for the season to come. It’s also a time when people in the industry will wear the most fashion-forward stuff you’ll ever see, and take pictures of each other out in the streets.

I personally think that the outfits people wear at Pitti can range from beautiful to laughable (or both). Some people put together combinations of clothing that are both innovative and inspirational to me. For example, I saw people at Pitti using colorful gloves as pocket squares for their outerwear. Fashionable and practical? Boy did I want to go out and put that in practice immediately. Also, some of the outfit color/pattern combos are beautifully executed, and I’m extremely jealous of the high quality garments being worn. Kiton, Isaia, Brunello Cucinelli, good lord.

xJNM5 Ask me: Pitti Uomo

At the same time though, I am completely turned off by the absurdity of what some of these people are wearing. Trendiness is off the charts at Pitti, and I feel like conservatism is sometimes laughed at.

Suit shorts? Of course, but only if it’s above the thigh!

Jackets shrunken to toddler sizes? Hmm, shall we try baby sizes?

Women’s hats and meggings? Maybe we should add a bow to our hair as well?

So I guess that’s my long way of saying that the outfits at Pitti can range from ludicrous to fabulous, and most of what’s being worn should be seen as fashion-forward and trendy as opposed to classic and timeless. Probably fun to look at and take small ideas from here and there, but not necessary to emulate in its entirety. Definitely not dogging on the event or the people who attend it, as I think events like this are necessary to move fashion forward, but you probably won’t see me in some of the more outlandish Pitti-wear anytime soon.

So there you go, my thoughts on Pitti Uomo. Oh, and if you want a laugh, here’s an excellent article about how to “fit in” at Pitti Uomo.

My new year’s style resolutions

Weirdly, I take new year’s resolutions kind of seriously. Even if I fail, I’m usually determined to get as close to my goal as I can for the majority of the year.  This year, my resolutions include cooking at home more often, playing my musical instruments regularly, and actually reading books, but I don’t want to bore you with details on those.

More interestingly, here are my style-related resolutions, where I’m relying on you guys to help keep me accountable.

 My new years style resolutions

1. Layer more often.

Layering multiple pieces of clothing allows you to show your creativity and style a bit more than… well, not layering. Though layering is especially appropriate during the fall and winter, I still think it can be done properly all year round. There’s just more substance and variety when you start combining multiple pieces to create a cohesive outfit. It will stand as one of my top style goals for 2013.

handing over cash My new years style resolutions

2. Buy only if I love.

Sales can be irresistible, and often too hard to pass by. For example, I recently saw some authentic Harris tweed sport coats go on sale at Walmart (who’da thunk?) for $75 a pop. Ridiculous price for such a high quality garment. Well, just because the price was right, didn’t mean everything else was as well (it fit boxy, they didn’t have a color I liked, and the armholes were too big).

Through the years, I’ve been shafted by sales too many times to count, ultimately spending money on things I didn’t need or want, that could have gone to something I truly loved. My goal is to stop the impulse shopping, and focus on just those pieces that won’t leave my mind after I’ve tried them on in the store. Makes more sense to invest in things I love rather than spill money for things that are just OK.

nph 3 My new years style resolutions

3. Own a signature look.

Developing my signature look has been a work in progress for a while now, and that hasn’t changed entering 2013. I’m starting to understand what I feel most comfortable in, and conversely, what just isn’t me, but again it’s a work in progress. Is it the rugged Americana look, consisting of flannel, denim, and waxed cotton? Maybe it’s the sleek, precisely tailored European suits and wool outerwear look. I guess only time will tell, and it’s my mission to get closer to figuring it out this year.

Anyhow, I hope you guys keep me accountable. And good luck with all of your resolutions as well. I hope you are all able to achieve your highest highs this year. Seize opportunities, grab life by the horns, and stay legit.

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.