Style Pick of the Week: Welcome Stranger Stadium Jacket

Editor’s note: Expect these posts with some regularity detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here.

The Stadium Jacket from San Francisco's Welcome Stranger.
The Stadium Jacket from San Francisco’s Welcome Stranger.

So there you have it — that’s what a $150 spring jacket looks like above, courtesy of the excellent San Francisco fashion and lifestyle boutique Welcome Stranger (spring will be here soon enough, mark my words!). The Welcome Stranger Web shop alone is worth drooling over, with a nice mix of heritage brands and trendier offerings like button-down shirts from Saturdays Surf NYC and of-the-moment grooming products.  It’s worth a mention that none of these items are cheap or budget-friendly — so the jacket above definitely qualifies as aspirational thinking.

But it’s a piece worth aspiring to — a cotton-poly blend that combines a very springlike heather grey fabric with a silhouette that echoes the iconic MA-1 jacket (note the ribbed collar, cuffs and waist). It also looks to be a trimmer fit. Keep in mind that the higher price tag goes toward covering the cost of production right here in the States, too. This piece would work exceptionally on top of some dark denim, a navy polo, white sneakers and maybe a patterned watch strap on spring weekends. I also see it meshing well over a blue OCBD, navy chinos and some unique shoes (maybe some dark olive oxfords?) in a crisp Casual Friday setting. A guy can dream, right?

What’s one splurge purchase you’re aiming for right now? Would you snap up this jacket?

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Reader Giveaway Opportunity: Linjer Leather Goods

A beautiful leather billfold in mocha from Linjer — read on for details on how to enter!
A beautiful leather billfold in mocha from Linjer — read on for details on how to enter to win this or other great offerings from the brand.

If you follow the Men’s Style section of this site with any regularity, you might remember last fall’s brand profile on Linjer Leather Goods. They launched an INDIEGOGO campaign that quickly took off, with the aim of providing high-quality leather goods like briefcases, messenger bags and satchels at prices far below luxury brands. The company blew by its initial fundraising goal on INDIEGOGO (by 287%, no less!) and is now getting closer to an initial production run of its products, most of which are set to ship in March. They’ve got some beautiful-looking offerings up on the site right now, including a soft leather briefcase in an eye-catching navy and a slick messenger bag. They have plans to launch new items soon, including the mocha billfold pictured here and a stunning set of vertical wallets, passport wallets, cardholders and work totes.

These are outstanding products made to last with high-quality materials, and given all that, I’m proud to be able to give away another tremendous offering from the company — your pick of a Linjer Leather Goods billfold, passport wallet, cardholder or vertical wallet!

Enough room for the essentials and some cash. Much slimmer than a regular wallet.
Enough room for the essentials and some cash. Much slimmer than a regular wallet.

Unlike the last reader giveaway on the site, this involves the actual product right upfront. The mocha billfold pictured here came into the Siblings With Style Brooklyn outpost earlier last week and seems to live up to the reputation the company’s built for itself in just a short period of time — it would be an awesome pick for the lucky winner of this contest.

The leather is rich yet supple and should develop a nice patina over time, and it’s extra slim — around 40% the thickness of a traditional wallet thanks to only two layers of leather. It features enough space for 6 cards and two slots for cash. A more in-depth review of this particular piece is planned for early March, but before that time, a great Linjer piece could be yours! Simply follow the instructions on the giveaway below, and check out some close-up photos of the cardholder, vertical wallet and passport wallet in the meantime.

Slim, sleek and well-made. Photo courtesy of Linjer Leather Goods.
Slim, sleek and well-made. The mocha billfold is just one of the potential options for the giveaway winner. Photo courtesy of Linjer Leather Goods.

For full details on the giveaway, follow the listed link! Good luck and thanks for reading!

Win a Linjer wallet!

 

And The (Best-Dressed) Oscar Goes To…

Perhaps that title’s misleading, as it’s not the Academy giving out any awards — it’s just me! And this pick doesn’t relate to film, but rather the male stars who walked the red carpet — and one exceptionally well-dressed guy in particular.

A leading-man look fit for a red carpet. Tom's Ford masculine finishing touches created the perfect get-up for Chris Pratt.
A leading-man look fit for a red carpet. Tom’s Ford masculine finishing touches created the perfect get-up for Chris Pratt.

I admittedly didn’t see many of this year’s films, so the menswear get-ups on display were arguably my biggest focus (for more on that, check out my Twitter feed here). While Eddie Redmayne, John Legend and Bradley Cooper put on admirable dressing displays, and while host Neil Patrick Harris wore five standout tuxes throughout the night (a hugely unfair advantage!), my pick for best-dressed in just one ensemble goes to Chris Pratt. Everyone’s new favorite leading man, Pratt was kitted out in a masculine, classic Tom Ford shawl-collar number with bold lapels that perfectly suited his strong build.

Tom Ford’s luxury finishes are probably the most red carpet-worthy of any American menswear designer today, and Pratt held up that standing well. His accessories were nicely done, from the crisp white pocket square to relatively trim yet not overly-tailored pants and sharp black shoes. Pratt definitely led the pack last night — if you have to dress up that much any time soon, he’d be a good star to emulate.

Who’s your pick for best-dressed among the guys? What’d you think of the show?

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Winter Boots

Editor’s note: Click this link to read the 2016 edition of this site’s best men’s winter boots.

So these past few weeks in NYC have delivered some of the coldest weather on record — not only in the city itself, but across much of the rest of Eastern U.S. and Midwest. That really puts things in perspective style-wise, because in cold weather like this, function is just as important as fashion, particularly in the footwear department when trekking through feet of snow (or even just walking through blustery, chilly winds). There are several options on the market that serve only functional purposes (like the famous Bean boot from L.L. Bean), but the best boots serve both stylish and utilitarian means — like the 5 picks below. Read on and leave your picks for your favorite pair at the bottom!

#1. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots in Brown — $360

An all-American original with rugged details.
An all-American original with rugged details.
Wolverine’s 1000 Mile line of boots is an all-time classic — revered for their durability and toughness, the brand has slowly built up a fashion following across the past five or so years as workwear and Americana themes have come back into vogue in men’s fashion. While this pair is particularly pricey compared to options you might pick up on a budget, the price is well worth it —the 1000 Mile collection combines toughness and dependability with beautiful leather styling and lots of attention to detail (read more on a pair from the line here). In a rich brown color like the pair above, they’ll work at the office with more rugged outfits as well as marching through the cold to get there. Note that these boots are also on-sale through Nordstrom for a bit less than the above price.

#2. Thursday Boots Captain Boot in Brown — $199

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.
A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.
The second pick on this list drops the price down significantly from the Wolverine boots above, without losing too much quality. In fact, for being a very new startup courtesy of Kickstarter, these boots provide just as much top-notch styling potential as any other boot from the heritage brands on this list — and they do it for a greatly reduced price.  They offer a slightly sleeker-looking silhouette, a more office-friendly captoe and that same rich brown leather that should pair well with all kinds of outfits throughout the winter. And even more importantly, the company’s garnered some positive reviews around their initial collections, meaning it’d be more than safe to take the plunge on this pair.

#3. Frank & Oak Rubber-Soled Italian-Leather Lace-up Boots in Black, $175

From Frank & Oak's new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.
From Frank & Oak’s new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.
The first pair of black boots on this list is also, quite curiously, on-sale through Frank & Oak with plenty of sizes left. On top of that, they’re by far the cheapest pair on the list to date, yet if F&O’s other new footwear offerings are any indication, this pair should deliver in both quality and looks. They’re by far the dressiest pair on the list, given that sharp black color (a slightly resurgent footwear trend), and the brushed black eyelets and waxed cotton laces only add to their sleek styling. These would work best in the same manner that Bond wore his black dress boots in Skyfall — with a sharp grey suit or tailored navy trousers or cords. They’d also work to channel your inner Justin Theroux with slim dark denim. Given the rate of turnover on Frank & Oak’s site, the question remains as to how long these boots will stay in-stock, especially on-sale.

#4. Red Wing Beckman Boot in Black Featherstone — $340

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.
Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.
Yet another pair of black boots fills spot #4 on this list. Just like their Wolverine brethren, Red Wing has a long heritage of delivering sturdy boots made to last. This pair of Beckman boots knocks down the price compared to the 1000 Mile pair listed above, but that in no way detracts from the quality. These have that same reinforced sole and Goodyear welt construction that should make resoling possible down the line — practically like getting a new pair of boots for far less than full price. And in this case, the bottom sole is stitched to the midsole, meaning these boots can more than stand up to the abuses of winter weather. Notably, the leather on this pair is richer in color than your typical black leather — it has a luxurious, almost burgundy-like tint to it. Throw ’em on with dark denim, a henley and a shawl cardigan or pair them with slim burgundy cords and a crewneck sweater.

#5. Florsheim Gaffney Wingtip Boots — $150

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.
A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.
The final pair on this list is the first and only set of wingtip boots on here —mainly because of the fact that while inherently stylish, incredibly nice wingtip boots (like the Allen Edmonds Dalton) don’t always do the best job of beating back the snow and slush. If you have a pair in your closet though, give them a try — after all, $400-plus boots don’t deserve to just sit around! The Florsheim Gaffney is a slightly more upscale replacement to JCP’s much-loved Stafford Camlin and Stafford Deacon wingtip boots, but in a louder “toffee” color. That makes them a little more eye-catching and slightly less versatile than the darker brown options on this list, as tan doesn’t necessarily sit as well under, say, khaki chinos or dark charcoal trousers. They would, however, pair just fine with dark denim and navy chinos, for example. And the sole on these boots looks to have a fair bit of grip as well, which is a definite positive for stepping outside in these chilly temperatures. The leather also looks to have some texture, a nice way of adding a bit of visual interest to fall and winter outfits.

Although many of these boots are up there in price, the benefits are well worth the extra dollars, as a great pair of boots can combat slush, snow and ice without needing a change for working hours — or dinner and drinks out later.

Got a favorite pair of winter boots? What other options would you add to this list? Leave it all below! 

Additional note: Look for a Reader Giveaway Opportunity coming up on the blog! I’ll be giving away a Linjer Leather Goods wallet! Details coming on Wednesday. Thanks for reading! 

 

Style Commentary: Why I Wear A Watch

A look at my watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch.
A look at the author’s watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch. Some new additions pictured below.

Although I’ve written about watches in the past on this site, there hasn’t often been much discussion on why it’s important to me, or why it just makes intrinsic sense (to me, at least!) to wear a watch. There are plenty of other ways to tell time, undoubtedly, from computers to smartphones to other apps on your phone. But each of those, while functional, are utilitarian and not the most stylish — and ambition in matters of style is always good to have!

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.
A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

The best timepieces have meaningful stories and memories behind them and style that fits in with your day-to-day life — really, that’s the biggest benefit! The first watch I really bought to wear was a Timex Weekender (seen in the case above and in this post here), with a black canvas strap. It was a trusty timepiece that took me through many late nights editing and writing at the student newspaper at Michigan State — classic, minimal in design and style and well set-up for casual wear. I’ve upgraded over time to a larger collection, as you can see in the photos here — a brown-leather watch from Stuhrling, a black-rubber casual watch also from Stuhrling, a Timex Ameritus Sport watch with interchangeable canvas straps (seen in this post on Dappered) and a silver dive watch from Invicta. The black-rubber Stuhrling watch is great for casual outfits — a crewneck sweatshirt, henley and jeans on the weekend, or a pocket T-shirt and khaki shorts in the spring and summer. And the Timex Ameritus watch has tons of versatility, too — it can be worn with a dressier leather strap as pictured above, or with a colorful paisley strap for warmer weather.

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.
From the collection: A Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.
A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.
A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

It’s not essential to have a large collection or even multiple watches, however. When I travel, I take one, maybe two watches at the most (like I did on a recent trip to Michigan). And the most versatile watch in my collection for day-to-day wear is undoubtedly my silver Invicta pro diver watch — the stainless steel links pair with either brown or black leather shoes and belts and everything else from casual sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt in the summer to a navy suit and dress accessories (like this get-up). Although I haven’t gotten to it yet, the links can be swapped out for a canvas or leather strap for even more versatility. The stainless steel style (say that three times fast) is favored by fashion icons on screen and in real life, so that’s an added bonus.

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.
An up-close look at a versatile and oft-worn timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

And this particular watch is definitely special for more than its looks — it was a Christmas gift from my parents, so I think of them every time I wear it. It’s a daily reminder of consistency, too — wearing a watch helps me start my day off on the right foot and keep track of appointments and meeting times. The fact that it’s got intrinsic style benefits to it is just an added bonus. While I save up for a bigger purchase (for now, this Shinola watch), my collection will definitely do just fine.

If you’re just starting out looking for great watches, some pointers can be found here on key styles and low prices. And if you want to add some long-term “grail” watch purchases to your list, Invaluable has some drool-worthy men’s watches up for sale right now — and they’ve also got some women’s watches up on the site if you need a gift for that special someone in your life! In the meantime, buying an inexpensive, solid timepiece like the ones above should work well for style purposes and functionality.

Do you wear a watch every day? What’s on your wrist from Monday to Sunday? And what would be your dream watch? Let me know! 

Style Suggestion: Valentine’s Day

The day is almost upon us — a holiday to celebrate being with someone you love that also happens to bring up questions on what to do if you’re on your own. In that vein, Dappered has a great series running this week covering 3 different outfit scenarios — out on the town with a loved one, staying in for a date at home with your significant other, or staying in on your own; all terrific picks for each situation. But for this particular post, we’ll cover an idea on how to get dressed for a classy date out and about — whether it’s just down the road or a jetset across the country. Check out the picks below.

The Suit: J. Crew Factory Thompson Voyager Suit Jacket — $238 and Pants — $138

A basic navy in an easy-to-move fabric that'll look classic and sharp.
A basic navy in an easy-to-move fabric that’ll look classic and sharp.

J. Crew Factory recently launched their own set of travel-ready suit separates, very similar to sibling store J. Crew’s Traveler suit launched last year. In the case of J. Crew Factory, it’ll be tough to top their Thompson suit separates (which have gotten fantastic reviews), but these appear to be in a similar vein — a nice and relatively trim cut and this time, fabric that moves easily and (hopefully) doesn’t wrinkle too readily. In the case of this outfit, a navy suit is as classic as it gets for a sharp night on the town — it also acts as a neutral base while still looking different than a traditional black suit. Fortunately, plenty of sizes are available in both the pants and the suit jacket. If the occasion calls for something less formal than a suit, a great navy or charcoal blazer from a more affordable brand (like one of Uniqlo’s pieces here) would look right at home with some slim tan chinos.

The Shirt: J. Crew Factory Thompson Dress Shirt in End-on-End Blue —$54.50

Blue that's just different enough thanks to the end-on-end texture.
Blue that’s just different enough thanks to the end-on-end texture.

For the shirt pairing, we stick with a frequent theme in men’s style it seems, and pair different shades of blue together. However, that’s not always a bad thing — in this case, this particular shirt is less stark and more suited for winter than a white dress shirt; it helps bring some depth to the outfit as well thanks to the end-on-end texture. Thompson dress shirts are an excellent budget pick (as outlined here) and play nicely off the deeper navy of the suit in this instance. When paired with the grey tie from below as well, the shirt acts as a cooler-colored anchor.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Grey Wool Herringbone Tie — $15

Taking a traditional suiting pattern and turning it into a tie.
Taking a traditional suiting pattern and turning it into a tie.

The Tie Bar has long made ties that are an excellent value — and great quality for the price, too. Their options can be overwhelming at some times, but it seems their seasonal ties are some of the best in the business — and for dozens of dollars less than larger outlets, too. This wool herringbone tie is a winter twist on a fabric and pattern normally reserved for blazers. It’s not shiny at all compared to regular silk ties, so it blends in better with heavier cold-weather textures. And there’s good contrast between the navy suit thanks to the herringbone pattern. A silver knit tie could also serve the same purpose in terms of texture while offsetting the suit more, however.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Solid White & Red Tipped Cotton Pocket Square — $8.00

Paying homage to the holiday with a subtle accessory.
Paying homage to the holiday with a subtle accessory.

While you could go all out and don something outrageously red here, sometimes subtlety is the best policy. In this case, the very slight red of the pocket square (which should just be peeking out of your jacket, at any rate) nods to Valentine’s Day without going overboard. Even better, it pairs well with the dark navy suit, blue shirt and grey patterned tie without throwing off the outfit at all. The price is, of course, tremendous for an accessory from The Tie Bar.

The Shoes: Stafford Logan Wingtip Oxford — $39.99

A classic wingtip shape at an unbeatable price.
A classic wingtip shape at an unbeatable price.

That’s right — $39.99 on clearance right now, with quite a few sizes left (if you’re a 12 or 13 though, you’re out of luck). These shoes first came recommended here for their looks and budget-worthy price, of course. If sizes do run out, you could always reach for a slightly lighter shade of brown from the same maker. Dark brown is a good pick in this case because it echoes the darker shades of winter while standing out quietly. Even in a dark brown, it’s less traditional but nearly just as sharp as a black shoe. It also plays off all the other shades in this outfit — from navy, light blue and grey to red. On another note, if a dress shoe won’t work given the weather, a thicker wingtip boot with a grippy sole could strike the same balance in the outfit.

The Socks: J. Crew Ribbed Stripe Socks — $14.50 

The ribbed texture and simple stripes on these socks go a long way toward their versatility.
The ribbed texture and simple stripes on these socks go a long way toward their versatility.

This particular pair of socks has gotten recommendations across the board in several different types of outfit scenarios on this blog, and with good reason — they’re a nice in-between blue color that plays off the navy in the suit while still adding a bit (but not too much!) pattern. Much like the pocket square, they also work nicely in tandem with the other colors in this outfit. At the same time, they’re not too rugged, like these similarly-priced striped socks might be

The Rest: Breda 1680d Watch in Brown Leather — $59; J. Crew Factory Plaque Leather Belt — $23.50

Brown leather on both the wallet and watch, to match the shoes. A camel topcoat to finish things off.
Brown leather on both the wallet and watch, to match the shoes.

For these two accessories, the obvious color choice is brown given the deep brown color of the shoes. The watch by Breda is slightly less minimal than a similar brown-leather Stuhrling option for about the same price, but the white dial and grey numerals help keep things crisp and clean. J. Crew Factory’s plaque belt is the brand’s appropriately dressy take on a similar option from J. Crew, yet for about half the price. Both pieces would be good pick-ups as part of either a watch or belt rotation, and since that J. Crew Factory belt is decidedly slick, it would work well at the office or on business trips, too.

To finish off this whole outfit, other accessories are key — a great topcoat is an awesome finishing piece that serves an essential function in cold weather  — Stafford’s signature topcoat  has a decent number of sizes and colors left (that camel option would be a rich, luxurious-looking outfit topper for a great price). Warm, sharp gloves in black leather surely wouldn’t go amiss, either. Appearances can certainly go a long way in making the night a great one, but don’t forget about a great gift (and your time and attention!) either!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? What will you be wearing?

 

 

The long way home: Recapping a winter weekend in Michigan

Me (Beau) posing in front, yes, Beaumont Tower on MSU's iconic campus. Overcoat by Kenneth Cole.  Scarf by J. Crew Factory. Glasses by Warby Parker.
Me (Beau) posing in front, yes, Beaumont Tower on MSU’s iconic campus. Overcoat by Kenneth Cole. Scarf by J. Crew Factory. Glasses by Warby Parker.

This past weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to go back home — to my home state of Michigan, to my college “home base” (Michigan State University) and to a great town where I made so many great memories and great friends — East Lansing! Although getting into town was arduous thanks to the weather (a 50-minute flight from Detroit to Lansing was delayed by 4 hours), I eventually made it with my Navali Stowaway Weekender in tow and had more than enough time to hit the town both nights. 

Most of the spread for this past weekend in Michigan. Sweaters and shirts top left, bags top right. Jeans, shoes and socks bottom left. Dopp kit and other accessories on the bottom right.
Most of the spread for this past weekend in Michigan. Sweaters and shirts top left, bags top right. Jeans, shoes and socks bottom left. Dopp kit and other accessories on the bottom right.

I packed pretty heavy on the winter clothes for this particular trip, and with good reason — it was pretty chilly throughout the weekend, just as I suspected it would be. My outfit of choice on Friday ended up being both comfortable and versatile for both the flight and going out in East Lansing later that same night — I paired my Reigning Champ crewneck sweater with my Bonobos blue OCBD (similar option here) and brown Travel Jeans (as seen in the photo below), along with my wingtip boots (a prized pickup from JC Penney now out of stock, unfortunately).  My red J. Crew socks proved a nice complement to the entire outfit, too — and it’s a positive that the ensemble was so comfortable, as I had to hop on a ride with my good friend Matt to get halfway to Lansing from Detroit on Friday after a lengthy delay!

Allegheny Oak Travel Jeans from Bonobos, along with a Reigning Champ crewneck sweater and brown JCP wingtip boots for Friday's flight.
Allegheny Oak Travel Jeans from Bonobos, along with a Reigning Champ crewneck sweater and brown JCP wingtip boots for Friday’s flight.

On Saturday, I paired my extremely warm Todd Snyder cardigan with a rugged dark chambray shirt from GAP (as you can see below). This combination fortunately proved warm and pretty stylish for cheering on Michigan State basketball and hitting up some great bars in East Lansing (any fans of the Peanut Barrel out there?). Checking out MSU’s beautiful campus was also a huge highlight — my Kenneth Cole overcoat (now sold out), J. Crew Factory scarf and Target Merona gloves (similar option here)were worthy and much-needed accessories throughout the trek across East Lansing. My trusty pair of Bonobos dark denim worked great in tandem with the rest of my outfit, and I took a chance by wearing my Billy Reid x K-Swiss brown leather sneakers — probably one of my favorite pairs of shoes. They held up fine in the snow, although wingtip boots might have been a better option. To keep my feet warm, I threw on a pair of J. Crew ribbed stripe socks — the darker blue hues tied the rest of the outfit together nicely.

Saturday's outfit — Dark chambray shirt by GAP, shawl-collar cardigan by Todd Snyder. Not pictured: Bonobos dark slim jeans, Billy Reid x K-Swiss brown leather sneakers.
Saturday’s outfit — Dark chambray shirt by GAP, shawl-collar cardigan by Todd Snyder. Not pictured: Bonobos dark slim jeans, Billy Reid x K-Swiss brown leather sneakers.

For what proved to be a particularly lengthy travel day (more on that below), I kept things simple and wore my white henley from Everlane along with my Bonobos Travel Jeans and wingtip boots for both comfort and polish. Later in the day, I also changed into my charcoal American Apparel crewneck pocket tee. Unfortunately, what should have been a quick flight from Lansing to Detroit was delayed by roughly 4 hours — this, combined with another delay in Detroit, put me home at about 1 a.m. Sunday night! That made work a bit rough the next day. However, the trip was truly great overall — it was so fun to see great, great friends and even that made the lengthy delays much more bearable. As far as packing goes, I was well-prepared for the weather and also able to get around in style. I stayed warm in comfortable thanks to the sweaters and casual shirts in my bag, while my Bonobos jeans are quickly proving to be the most comfortable pants in my rotation — well worth checking out a pair. This trip combined so many great things and really made me appreciate my college experience even more — that’s worth far more than a lengthy plane delay.

Any harrowing travel stories to share? What are you bringing in your bag when you hit the road?

Bundled up: Packing for a chilly Michigan weekend

Although I’m based in Brooklyn now (along with my amazing girlfriend Liz), my roots are in mid-Michigan. I grew up twenty minutes from Michigan State University, wrote and edited news and sports for three years at The State News and absolutely consider myself a Spartan at heart — sorry to disappoint any Wolverine fans reading the blog (see you in October, yes?). So all of that makes this weekend pretty special — I’m flying back into Lansing, Mich., on Friday and taking the short drive down the road to reconnect with great friends from both high school and college.

A picture from my stint as sports editor at The State News, circa spring 2014 (I'm on the far left).
A picture from my stint as sports editor at The State News, circa spring 2014 (I’m on the far left).

It’s an exciting trip, one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. With that being said, I’m still aiming to get around in style. It should be a pretty chilly weekend back in the Mitten (unlike a trip this past summer to San Francisco), so I’m aiming to to be warm and still look good. Of course, I’ll be bringing all my gear in my trusty Navali Stowaway Weekender and a well-worn Kenneth Cole Reaction messenger bag. Check out the photos and line-up below to see what’s trip-worthy.

Most of what's going in the bag this weekend. Sweaters and shirts top left, bags top right. Jeans, shoes and socks bottom left. Dopp kit and other accessories on the bottom right.
Most of what’s going in the bag this weekend. Sweaters and shirts top left, bags top right. Jeans, shoes and socks bottom left. Dopp kit and other accessories on the bottom right. Not pictured: Overcoat, scarf and gloves.

Kenneth Cole Wool-Blend Overcoat (Sold out; for more on great topcoats, click here)

J. Crew Factory Scarf and Target Merona Black Leather Gloves (Sold-out; similar option here)

Todd Snyder shawl-collar cardigan (Sold-out; similar option here)

Reigning Champ Raglan Crewneck Sweatshirt (Budget-friendly option here)

Bonobos Rhodes Collar Blue OCBD (Similar option here)

GAP Chambray Shirt

Everlane White Henley 

American Apparel Charcoal Jersey Pocket T-shirt

Bonobos Slim Tailored Travel Jeans in Allegheny Oak (Review here)

Bonobos Slim Tailored Blue Jeans in Resin Dark Rinse

Target Merona Braided Leather Belt

Perry Ellis Black Webbed Belt

JCP Stafford Camlin Wingtip Boots (Sold-out; similar option here)

Billy Reid x K-Swiss Leather Sneakers

J. Crew Factory Printed Socks

J. Crew Ribbed Stripe Socks and Red Foulard Socks (Sold out; similar option here)

Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray Watch

Invicta Pro Diver 8926 Watch

For toiletries: J. Crew Factory Dopp Kit and Brickell Men’s Products Face Wash & Moisturizer

At first glance, that might seem like a lot of clothes for one weekend. However, each piece has its purpose in combatting the cold Michigan weather. I plan to wear the crewneck sweatshirt, blue OCBD, Bonobos Travel Jeans and wingtip boots on the plane, layered under my charcoal overcoat. That same combination should feasibly work on Friday out and about in East Lansing, although based on conditions on the ground there, I might switch over to my leather sneakers for more casual wear.

A close-up look at some personal favorites. Pictured: Billy Reid x K-Swiss sneakers, Gap chambray and Bonobos Travel Jeans in Allegheny Oak.
A close-up look at some personal favorites. Pictured: Billy Reid x K-Swiss sneakers, GAP chambray and Bonobos Travel Jeans in Allegheny Oak.

For the rest of the weekend, I plan to layer either the Reigning Champ crewneck or Todd Snyder cardigan (a recent purchase —check out another photo here) with my Everlane henley, the GAP chambray shirt or the charcoal pocket T-shirt. Any combination should work well given the weather and the relatively interchangeable colors of each piece. And since the trip should involve some visits to East Lansing’s finer establishments, either sweater should also look stylish but not too dressy. If the weather proves warmer than expected, any of the above shirts could be worn on their own, too.

I’m definitely looking forward to wearing more casual outfits this weekend, as I tend to stay pretty dressed up during the week. On the accessories front, either casual belt should fit right in  — since my sneakers are a rugged, worn-in brown leather and part of casual pairings, I’m not too concerned about matching with the casual black belt from Perry Ellis or my black rubber-strap watch.

The key accessories for this trip. Pictured: J. Crew Factory Dopp Kit, Perry Ellis Black Webbed Belt, Target Merona Braided Leather Belt, Invicta & Stuhrling Watches, along with some Brickell Men's Products.
The key accessories for this trip. Pictured: J. Crew Factory Dopp Kit, Perry Ellis Black Webbed Belt, Target Merona Braided Leather Belt and Invicta & Stuhrling watches, along with some recent pick-ups from Brickell Men’s Products.

That brown leather belt from Target’s Merona line has proven to be durable and versatile as well, bringing the right amount of fall and winter texture to casual outfits. It can be worn with either set of shoes, too (on that note — if it proves extremely snowy, the sneakers might have to stay in the bag). With a lot of varying shades of blue in various outfits, darker navy or red socks should offer a nice contrast, while the grey patterned socks can be worn casually with any combination (because matching your socks to your pants is old-fashioned, right?).

As to my accessories, I’m admittedly a watch guy — my collection recently grew to include a Form-Function-Form No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather strap. However, for maximum versatility, I’ll be bringing my silver Invicta dive watch to pair with either belt or shoe combination (for more on the watch, see the above review). I’m also packing a black rubber-strap watch as a second, more casual option. Of course, no trip would be complete without a handy (and stylish) dopp kit, like the terrific olive waxed cotton option from J. Crew Factory pictured above. Mine will definitely include some skincare essentials I just picked up from Brickell Men’s Products. With all the above in mind, hopefully this bag is packed for maximum versatility and style.

Next week, check back for a recap on the trip and this packing plan! 

What’s in your bag when you hit the road? Any travel must-haves?

Brand Profile: Tom Cridland Trousers

Editor’s note: To read past brand profiles on the blog, click here.

A U.K.-based brand expanding into the U.S. via Kickstarter.
A U.K.-based brand expanding into the U.S. via Kickstarter.

The men’s pants market has received several shots in the arm across the past half-decade or so, notably from Bonobos and their tremendous Washed Chinos. Of course, Bonobos has since expanded into brick-and-mortar Guideshops across the country. Some brands are still doing it the “old-fashioned” way in this new age of technology, starting with an online presence and expanding from there. Tom Cridland is a curious case in this regard — they’ve got a solid brand base in the UK (and stock in certain physical retailers), along with a full e-commerce retail site, but they’ve recently taken to Kickstarter to finance a push into the States (check out the full Kickstarter campaign here).  Check out more coverage on their brand blog here, as well.

Tom Cridland's Classic Navy option.
Tom Cridland’s Classic Navy option.

They’re offering cotton trousers in a wide array of bright colors for now, similar to Bonobos, and they’re aiming to raise $20,000 by Feb. 15. That’s a pretty tight deadline, but the campaign to date has raised more than $11,000. The brand’s offerings range from a Classic Navy chino to louder colors, like a Chili Red pair of chinos (seen below) that wouldn’t look out of place with a pared-down set of white sneakers and a grey henley this summer.

A more vibrant Chili Red that could be dialed down with minimal accessories.
A more vibrant Chili Red that could be dialed down with minimal accessories.

The fit of these pants looks particularly promising for those who favor a slim cut — from the photos, these pants look like they should rival something like the Bonobos Slim Tailored option. However, they’re only offering a slim cut, for now — that leaves those with more leg muscle out in the cold. Sizes do run from 30R to 40L. And note that while Kickstarter can be tricky for certain men’s fashion campaigns, this has a solid base to build off and some good deals for those who contribute (a pledge of $98 gets you a pair of Tom Cridland trousers — normal retail $139). On top of that, for $176, you can knock $100 off the normal retail price for two pairs of trousers. A bonus: Worldwide shipping is included in the pledge.

At full retail, those prices are certainly a cut above what most of us would pay — that’s what makes this Kickstarter so advantageous. And if you’ve been looking to take the plunge on a more colorful pair of pants, these could be just the ticket — remember, just one pop of color at a time though!

Any plans to contribute to this Kickstarter campaign? Thoughts on Tom Cridland? Let me know below!