Style Suggestion: Thanksgiving Dinner

At most times of year, and particularly Thanksgiving, it’s important to take time to celebrate with family and loved ones while enjoying some much-needed relaxation. Putting some thought into what you wear is just one way to make the occasion even more special. And you want to look good in those photos, right? Enjoy the week and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thanksgiving oftentimes toes the line between between dressed-up and dressed-down, falling usually on one side of the spectrum. With some modifications, the outfit suggestion below should be able to fit in either way. The most important thing, though, is spending the day with those you love — if you’re able to dress well to do that, all the better! And for other Thanksgiving style ideas, see last year’s post.

Here’s the spread (See descriptions below for links):

Keeping things casual, yet crisp, for Turkey Day.
Keeping things casual, yet crisp, for Turkey Day. Cardigan: J. Crew Factory. Tie: JCF. Shirt & Pants: Bonobos. Watch: Invicta. Boots: JC Penney. Belt: H&M. Socks: Oak Street Bootmakers.

The Sweater: J. Crew Factory Shawl-Collar Cardigan 

This shawl collar cardigan provides more bulk and texture than a thinner cardigan (although a trim cotton cardigan could work if you go dressier). The marled grey color also fits in well with the shades of the season while not being too outrageously bright, unlike some sweaters on the market.  If the situation calls for getting more dressed up, navy corduroy blazer would work just fine.

The Shirt: Bonobos Hudson Brushed Blue Twill Shirt

The Bonobos option is a pretty substantial chunk of change for a regular, more casual buttondown shirt, but the twill fabric and diamond print add some nice texture and visual detail to the piece. Twill also adds some heft to stand up to that thicker cardigan. On the cheaper side, a dark denim shirt from J. Crew Factory provides that same visual bulk for a much lower price. And, a classic chambray shirt would also be a serviceable option.

The Tie (If Needed): J. Crew Factory Wool Herringbone Tie 

Some Thanksgiving dinners lean much more casual, and in that case, you could definitely ditch the tie. But should you want to reach for some neckwear, stick with a seasonal fabric with some depth to it — this brown herringbone piece changes up the typical charcoal wool tie you might see (Frank & Oak offered a standout option last year). It also blends nicely in terms of texture with that thicker cardigan and heavier shirt. Need a tie bar to keep it in place? Your go-to place is, of course, The Tie Bar.

The Pants: Bonobos Burnt Orange Washed Chinos (Or heavier pants in a fall-appropriate color)

Again, this is quite the expensive option for a simple pair of pants — but, on a personal note, these pants have gotten tons of mileage this fall, and that’s sure to hold true this upcoming winter as well. They don’t have the heft of a pair of corduroys, which one might typically go for at Thanksgiving, but like the rest of this outfit, these options are geared to go either dressier or more casual — washed chinos hit the middle perfectly. Many love Bonobos for their fit and great customer service, too. On the less expensive side, you could reach for a twill pant in a similar deep fall shade.

The Boots: JC Penney Stafford Gunner Men’s Leather Boots

Assuming that most of us will be in a colder clime for the holiday with the polar vortex that’s sweeping the nation, captoe boots serve two functions: they combat the snow and also add a dash of style for sweeping through cold weather (see what I did there?). They aren’t the much-beloved brown Stafford wingtip, but black boots help to ground what’s already a pretty color-rich outfit. They also look a little slicker, helping bring a more dressed-up appeal to the ensemble.  If you go really rugged-casual, some new boots from Frank & Oak could also meet the two criteria above.

The Rest: Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Watch, Oak Street Bootmakers Hickory Trail Sock, H&M Leather Belt

Since we want maximum versatility in an outfit, this Invicta watch, which calls to mind the Rolex Submariner, is as classic  and stylish an option as any. And although it’s not necessary, the black dial conveniently matches up with those boots. If you go more casual, a Timex Weekender with a simple canvas strap is always a safe bet, too. Since it’s going to be chilly out there, thicker socks that stay stylish thanks to their marled texture work very well with those black captoe boots above. Make sure your belt matches up with those boots, too.

What are your thoughts on the above picks? Anything you would change or add? What will you be wearing on the holiday? 

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Online Shopping Picks: New Footwear from Frank & Oak

The Canadian menswear brand expands its offerings.
The Canadian menswear brand expands its offerings.

Editor’s note: Normally, brand or site round-ups haven’t been covered here on the site. However, sometimes seasonally appropriate or standout items just jump off the page. These choices don’t reflect sales picks at the moment, but simply offer a snapshot of great products from a (hopefully) affordable brand.

If you follow men’s style regularly, you’re at least a little bit familiar with Canadian menswear brand Frank & Oak. The brand has blown up in recent years for its stellar mix of affordable, e-commerce-based menswear that manages to mix both vintage and of-the-moment elements. They recently opened a flagship store in Toronto, have curated a neat community space in Montreal, and they continue to make some serious headway outfitting men from head to toe with some newly-launched shoe styles in addition to their slick sneaker collection.  They’ve ventured into footwear in the past, but this seems to be the most comprehensive launch yet. Their monthly releases are always a personal favorite, and they’re now making it quite hard to shop anywhere else. Check out top picks from some of their footwear offerings below — always handy to get some gift ideas in mind as the holidays approach, either for yourself or someone else stylish on your list!

#1. Rubbed Soled Italian Leather Lace-Up Boots in Cognac — $225

Style that mimics the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot at a much more affordable price.
Style that mimics the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot at a much more affordable price.

With all of the attention workwear and the resulting Americana craze has gotten in recent years, these boots build off the rugged style that so many seem to crave nowadays. They look to be a more affordable, slightly sleeker alternative to something from the Wolverine 1000 Mile collection, and that combination of looks and low pricing really can’t be beat. These would pair excellently with some trim chinos (perhaps in a fall-appropriate shade?) and a thick cardigan, and they’d also stand out underneath a classic pair of dark denim or slim corduroys.  Be warned: sizes are already going fast.

#2. Italian Leather Chukka Boots in Brown — $185

One of the more versatile pieces of footwear a guy can own.
One of the more versatile pieces of footwear a guy can own.

A solid pair of brown chukka boots is an incredibly versatile and stylish piece of footwear that can be worn plenty of different ways. This pair looks to be much the same as other chukka boots in terms of versatility, yet leans slightly more casual given the crepe sole. It’s got just enough sheen to dress up a bit. And the casual crepe sole doesn’t automatically mean these shoes would look out of place underneath a pair of patterned trousers or with a fall-weight suit. In fact, these boots would probably look all the better with either combo after getting beaten up a bit. The price is a bit much compared to other chukka boots, but the quality should hopefully be up to scratch. If shades of brown aren’t necessarily your thing (and let’s be honest, everyone needs a pair of black dress shoes), these should do the trick.

#3. Polished Leather Chelsea Boots in Black 

A sharp, fall-ready piece of footwear.
A sharp, fall-ready piece of footwear.

Although these slick boots are part of the brand’s Holiday Collection launched last week, they’re still worth mentioning in this round-up. Namely, they’re a more refined, less rugged and slightly trendier take on the boots pictured above — these are more suit-ready than the other footwear picks listed here, without a doubt. Chelsea boots are continuing to have a moment as far as footwear goes, and for good reason — they’re a great callback to ’60s-era style and fit perfectly under slim suits. The construction also fits well with fall and winter. This pair, like the rest of the brand’s footwear offerings, is far more affordably priced than other alternatives as well.

#4. Park Leather Low-Top Sneakers in White 

Common Projects style for a much smaller price tag.
Common Projects style for a much smaller price tag.

These aren’t part of their newest footwear release, but the importance of a clean, crisp pair of white sneakers can’t be emphasized enough — especially in the spring and summer, they can pair with everything from olive chinos to dark jeans and colorful shorts. They provide the footwear equivalent of a neutral base, just like a pair of navy or khaki chinos. While this might not necessarily be the season for them, given the right temperature and climate, white sneakers can do a lot fashion-wise, from pairing with jeans and a blue blazer to dressing down some suit separates. For more calendar-appropriate leather sneakers, these navy-and-blue hightops look stellar, too. As far as the white sneaker goes, Common Projects first pioneered the style, but this F&O pair provides the same look for far, far less.

Anybody have any experience with F&O footwear? Any thoughts? Leave it below and thanks for reading! 

Style Suggestion: Dark Leather Sneakers

Rocking some leather sneakers -- perfect for the fall & winter. Jacket by Frank & Oak. Long-sleeve T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by Billy Reid for K-Swiss. Watch by Stuhrling. Glasses by Burberry.
Rocking some leather sneakers — perfect for the fall & winter. Jacket by Frank & Oak. Long-sleeve T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by Billy Reid for K-Swiss. Watch by Stuhrling. Glasses by Burberry.  Photo credit: Liz Todd. 

Even though it’s getting closer and closer to December (and thus the start of real winter), there should still be opportunities when the snow clears to put away a pair of thick boots and instead reach for some more casual, laidback footwear. Specifically, a pair of leather sneakers should do the trick. While white sneakers offer lots of wearability in the spring and summer, darker shoes just make more sense for fall & winter. We’ve been seeing a lot of brands launch luxury versions of athletic-inspired sneakers — even Tom Ford offers rich leather kicks now. And brands like Frank & Oak have gotten a lot of publicity for their more affordable takes on the dressed-down silhouette. Given the variety of shades and their versatility, footwear that clean and crisp can easily be worn with chinos and a blazer (my personal favorite from that launch would be the chestnut low-top sneakers below).

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 1.54.22 PM
One of Frank & Oak’s takes on the luxe leather sneaker.

However, in the fall and winter, sneakers should definitely also lend a rugged appeal to an outfit. The great thing about the sportswear-inspired takes we’re seeing on so many shoes is that they’re also blending elements of fashion with athletic vibes — take American menswear designer Billy Reid’s collaborations with K-Swiss. The most recent run of sneakers in that collaboration vanished off the site quickly — the pair in the photos here was scooped up in July during a sale, and now they’re nowhere to be found on the K-Swiss site. No need to despair though — other retailers are still stocking them. 

Plenty of excellent, fall-ready alternatives are out there, from J. Crew’s suede Sawa sneakers to the Frank & Oak options mentioned above. Additionally, the Ellington and McQueen models from footwear brand CLAE bring lots of cold weather-centric texture with minimal logos and clean design. Given the nice mix of crisp styling and fall-ready colorways available, matching these sneakers up with an outfit isn’t too hard at all.

More rugged than Frank & Oak's, but just at ease with slim joggers.
More rugged than Frank & Oak’s, but just at ease with slim joggers.

In dark brown or even black leather, sneakers like the ones above can be paired with slim joggers (like J. Crew’s Wool Sideline Pants, as seen here) or dark denim, a henley and a rugged workwear-inspired coat. In particular, the K-Swiss sneakers shown here strike just the right balance between crisp and rugged — the dark brown color allows them to fit right in with auburn chinos, a cardigan and a blue OCBD, while the distressed leather, sporty diagonal stripes and rawhide laces give them a hybrid vibe that pairs perfectly with the equally hybrid wool joggers from J. Crew. Olive chinos or jeans, in a similar shade to the joggers above, would also complement darker brown leather nicely. These have also gotten use with a shawl-collar cardigan and even simple long-sleeve T-shirts. More vitally, these sneakers have held up well being worn two or three times a week — keeping the sole clean is going to be vital with any pair of sneakers, and given the potential for fall or winter rains, treating them with some sort of waterproofer (especially for suede options) will be key.

A fall and winter-ready alternative to the Billy Reid x K. Swiss option pictured.
A fall and winter-ready alternative to the Billy Reid for K. Swiss option pictured.

For the rest of the fall and winter, my Billy Reid for K-Swiss sneakers will continue to get lots of wear — they’re rugged and sporty, yet the rich, distressed leather doesn’t look out of place with less casual get-ups. Grab a clean, crisp pair and they’ll go well with just about any outfit over the coming months.

Online Shopping Picks: Uniqlo

A well-known online retailer with an expanding brick-and-mortar presence.
A well-known online retailer with an expanding brick-and-mortar presence.

Editor’s note: Normally, brand or site round-ups haven’t been covered here on the site. However, sometimes seasonally appropriate or standout items just jump off the page. These choices don’t reflect sales picks at the moment, but simply offer a snapshot of great products from a (hopefully) affordable brand.

Uniqlo is one brand that’s gained a lot of traction in the fashion and style world over the past few years. Through the heavily-touted launch of their e-commerce website in 2012 to a quickly expanding presence in terms of physical retailers, they’re building something unique — starting from a base customer who likes colorful, basic activewear and catching the attention of more fashion-conscious consumers, too. The best part is the way they do it — by stocking affordable staple items and catering to crowds who also love it when they turn the equation on its head (with the recent relaunch of their much-loved +J Collection featuring Jil Sander). Check out the below picks for some fresh ways to incorporate the brand’s modern, fresh feel into your wardrobe.

#1. +J Wool Flannel Chesterfield Coat  — $229.90

A razor-sharp topcoat with unique detailing.
A razor-sharp topcoat with unique detailing.

For the first pick in this rundown, we’ll stick with a sharp piece from the brand’s +J relaunch. While sizing isn’t available across the board in this option, this piece changes up the typical topcoat silhouette with those peak lapels and a slim fit. It’s also a deep, neutral color that would pair well with all manner of pants and shoes. Beware of that slim fit though — it looks to be pretty trim. (For more details, check out this Dappered review). On the cheaper side, there’s also Uniqlo’s Wool Cashmere Chesterfield Coat — however, sizing for that piece is even more limited. Does anyone have any experience with this particular model?

#2. Denim Shirt — $14.90 (On Sale)

A fall essential that differs from other denim shirts.
A fall essential that differs from other denim shirts.

An earlier piece covering online shopping picks from J. Crew Factory also recommended picking up a denim shirt — but this piece differs from that option in some key ways (hey, what’s wrong with having lots of blue in your closet?). For one, the lack of buttons on the collar dresses up this piece ever so slightly. From personal experience, a denim shirt is almost an essential fall layering piece — the deep, dark blue shirt provides the same versatility up top as a dark pair of jeans does. A denim shirt looks crisp and polished under a tan herringbone or charcoal blazer, and pairs with just as many different types of sweaters as a white OCBD. The same holds true for darker shades of pants, as well. From personal experience, this shirt fits nice and trim, and while the collar is thin, it stands up just fine to knit ties. Keep in mind that this piece can be had for an exceptionally low price at the moment, too.

#3. Extra Fine Merino V-Neck Cardigan — $49.90

A neutral (yet not totally-plain) option that pairs well with lots of fall colors.
A neutral (yet not totally-plain) option that pairs well with lots of fall colors.

Cardigans are definitely continuing to have a moment across men’s style, from chunkier, throwback inspirations to thinner, crisper variations like this one. As sizing options continue to go quickly, it’s definitely worth jumping on while it’s still around. While chunkier cardigans convey rugged style, a trimmer cut in a good go-between fabric like merino looks more work-ready and appropriate with chinos, a knit tie and say, a denim dress shirt like the one above. Of course, this piece could definitely still be layered over a henley or long-sleeve shirt with ease. And given the price, it’s a comparable deal to more expensive options, too.

#4. Slim-Straight Selvedge Jeans — $39.90 (On Sale)

Selvedge denim at a nearly unbeatable price.
Selvedge denim at a nearly unbeatable price.

Some might argue that it’s not worth buying selvedge at such a low price, but there’s no better time to buy a pair of jeans like this, especially when more expensive variations can run well into triple digits. Another upside to these jeans is that it provides a great incentive to dip into the world of selvedge denim — if it’s a great fit, it could be worth researching more. This particular pair includes classic selvedge detailing at the cuffs, and a slim-straight fit that (from personal experience with Uniqlo jeans) is trim and tailored without being too tight. That navy color is going to look great with just about any pair of shoes this fall and winter, from casual leather sneakers to sturdier boots, while a selvedge cuff perfectly complements the chillier weather we’re starting to see across much of the country.

#5. Jacquard Socks

A rustic pattern (for your feet) that brings to mind heavy Nordic influences.
A rustic pattern (for your feet) that brings to mind heavy Nordic influences.

While socks aren’t by any means the most eye-catching purchase from any website, they could easily become an eye-catching part of an ensemble — and that’s why reaching for a pair with some pattern is always a solid choice. At their current price, they’re positively a steal for one pair alone — even moreso  given that you can snag some of Uniqlo’s sock options for $12.90 for three pairs. A jacquard-inspired print calls out the Fair Isle patterns typically seen on sweaters this time of year – why not bring a similar flair to your feet? And if you pick up a pair of heavy boots for trekking through the snow (or stomping your way through a rock concert), you’ll need something else to combat the cold.

That’s all for this edition of Online Shopping Picks. Do you have any favorite picks from Uniqlo? Any personal experience with the brand? Leave it all below!