The Product Review: The Michael Bastian x Uniqlo Polo, 2015

Going in-person with the latest from the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo 2015 collection. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Liz Todd.
Going in-person with the latest from the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo 2015 collection. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

When the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo collaboration was first announced way back in the spring of 2013,  there was some uncertainty as to how the partnership between the fast-fashion outlet and the lauded American designer would sell — and more crucially, how it might be received (at least from this #menswear writer). Well, those questions were answered when polos flew off the shelves in-store and online. Last year’s collaboration polos offered more eclectic designs mixed with traditional prep-sportswear touches, but didn’t seem to sell nearly as well at first — so the question remained, would the collaboration return?

Washed polo by Michael Bastian x Uniqlo. Navy chinos by Bonobos. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew Factory. Silver dive watch by Invicta.
A look at the trim fit of a polo from this year’s collab. Navy chinos by Bonobos. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew Factory. Silver dive watch by Invicta.

It’s back in full force, and then some. This year’s run expands on the customary, well-designed polo set to include colorful T-shirts, tank tops and two styles of shorts – but the polos really caught this writer’s eye. There’s again a mix of quirky designs alongside classic prep polos, like ones with thick rugby stripes and open collars. I opted for a more middle-of-the road option, a washed pique polo in a medium royal blue with a buttondown chambray collar (also available in colors ranging from white to orange). As with last year’s offering, count me highly pleased with my pickup — perhaps the first of a few from the line.

 

A look at the rather substantial collar and small details, like a notched V & extra button at the biceps.
A look at the rather substantial collar and small details, like a notched V & extra button at the biceps.

While one might expect a chambray collar to be floppy or lack structure, I’ve found it to be fairly substantial. It’s slightly larger than the typical polo collar, with a nice roll and the ability to stand up across the day thanks to that buttondown collar (in particular, that style from the brand in general is worth a look). The mix of light purple & blue stripes on the collar is a stylish and effective way to break things up visually, and I had no problem pairing it with a thicker-striped cream & navy belt (different pattern scales, see?). The dressier four-button placket gives the shirt a casual-but-polished feel. As a bonus, the washed pique fabric is soft and breathes pretty well for being a thicker material. It’s got a nice hint of stretch to it, and a Medium fit my six-foot, one-inch frame nicely — it was trim across the chest, through the shoulders and particularly at the sleeves (no baggy golf polo issues here). The V-shaped notch and extra button at the bicep is the sort of detail that design aficionados can appreciate, while the button-flap chest pocket is a neat visual touch, too.

One of the many ways this polo can be styled. Slim dark denim by Bonobos. White sneakers by GREATS. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew Factory. Silver dive watch by Invicta.
One of the many ways this polo can be styled. Slim dark denim by Bonobos. White sneakers by GREATS. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew Factory. Silver dive watch by Invicta. See more on Instagram.

The color on this option is also a nice change of pace from more solid navy polos. There’s a marled-like texture to the fabric because of the pre-washing, and this shade of blue plays well off darker denim or navy chinos (as you can see here). This polo would also look right at home with light to medium-grey chinos or a deep tan khaki pair, too. The buttondown collar makes this one polo you can wear with white sneakers and a blazer — an unconstructed navy option (keep coming back to that one, right?) offers lots of easygoing polish.

Another look at how you could style pieces from the collaboration. Image courtesy Capsule Show.
Another look at how you could style pieces from the collaboration. Image courtesy Capsule Show.

I actually paired my selection with a light tan V-neck (similar to this J. Crew sweater) on a recent chilly spring day to great effect, too. The collar stood up throughout the day and the fit of the polo itself was trim enough to accomodate the extra top layer. As with last year’s polos, this is one designer collaboration worth looking into — it seems as if Uniqlo has really made that their forte, what with the recent reintroduction of the “Best of J+” collection with famed minimalist-minded designer Jil Sander. At the prices these polos are going for now (2 for just $39.90), I’d suggest you grab at least two — or perhaps more.

What do you think of the designs in this year’s collaboration? How many are you planning on picking up (if any)?
Florsheim

Ben Sherman US

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Guest Post: Five Ties Guaranteed To Make You Stand Out

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Madhav Sekar of wardrobedomination.com. Madhav’s site helps young men with limited style knowledge quickly and inexpensively improve their style to live better lives. Take it away, Madhav! 

We'd all be fortunate to have this many ties in our arsenal. For now, here's a few versatile picks.
We’d all be fortunate to have this many ties in our arsenal. For now, here’s a few versatile picks below. Image courtesy Shutterstock.

It is essential to own the classic ties, those ones that have found their way into the closets of guys for decades on end (think a red pindot tie or a blue repp stripe tie). These are the kind of ties even presidents wear over and over again — the ones that are just that timeless. However, we all need to toss on a unique piece of neckwear from time to time. Style isn’t just about looking good or fitting a “dress code” — it’s a way to communicate and express yourself and your creativity. You want to show people that you are different and that you take risks.

Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting you wear psychedelic paisley ties that look like they came straight out of a hippie’s latest hallucination… just ties with a bit of personality that will get you noticed.

Here are five ties that will separate you from the herd (in a good way).

#1. The Tie Bar Washed Navy Chambray Tie — $19

A subtle pattern, great fabric, and affordable price.
A subtle pattern, great fabric, and affordable price.

 

If you haven’t heard of The Tie Bar yet, you should probably start shopping there. It’s a great brand. Their ties retail between $15-$25 and they actually combine quality and looks for the price. This tie is made from chambray, a lighter fabric that makes for an extremely stylish look, particularly in warmer weather.  Chambray is one of my favorite materials right now, and designers are literally using it to make every article of clothing. This tie will stand out in equal parts for its design, color and material.

#2. J. Crew Factory Gingham Tie — $30

Gingham is a must-have for your wardrobe.
Gingham is a must-have for your wardrobe.

It’s hard to make any sort of clothing recommendation without mentioning J. Crew.  While this tie doesn’t have striking colors or crazy patterns, it will still help you stand out. I am personally a huge fan of gingham (I may or may not own five different gingham shirts). Gingham may be the most underutilized pattern in a man’s closet. This tie can be worn in any sort of situation – for a big meeting or a more casual event. It would look especially stellar paired with a crisp khaki suit. If you need more convincing: anytime I’ve worn any gingham article of clothing, especially this one, at least two or three people have complimented me on it.

#3.  Barney’s Multi-Stripe Tie — $39

 

Rebelling from the classic repp stripe tie.
Rebelling from the classic repp stripe tie.

Even though this piece is a mere striped tie, it still brings a unique edge thanks to the rather unusual color blending (a couple shades of blue, some white & red and a caramel stripe, too).  I love this tie because of its implications for the rest of your outfit. First, you can find a great pair of socks that complement or match this tie in terms of color. Second, the possibilities for your pocket square are endless. You can choose a square with similar color and a different texture, a completely different color with a similar texture, or something completely random!  As always, you should be wearing a watch with this outfit.  The other ties in this list are either too bold or not bold enough for this kind of accessory freedom. When paired with a neutral khaki suit, each piece should work quite well together.

#4. J.Crew Silk Tie with Embroidered Insects — $75

 

For the first time on this site — recommending you wear an insect pattern.
For the first time on this site — recommending you wear an insect pattern.

This tie is probably the first, and last, time you’re going to see insects mentioned in any style-related context. But here they are. Ties with some creepy crawlers on them. It’s different, but different is good. I could actually imagine this tie working especially well in a formal setting. Here’s why: when you rock this tie with a nice suit or blazer you’re basically saying, no proclaiming, “I respect the workplace environment, but I’m also bold enough to explore and do unconventional things if I have to!” The chance of a promotion after wearing a tie like this increases 98-99% on average (source: too much data to cite). A note on price — try and use that student discount if you can swing it!

#5. Bo Clothing Fasel Tie – $80

Can you handle this tie?
Can you handle this tie?

This tie is a bold piece – and also an expensive one. Here’s how you can justify your purchase. The chance that you’ll accidentally wear a similar tie as a co-worker or friend is basically nonexistent. You will get compliments. You will get asked about it. You will cement your position as a man who knows what he’s doing. If you need more convincing, think of this tie as an investment. You won’t get tired of wearing it and you’ll get endless happiness from looking at yourself in the mirror. Another tie that brings similar pattern for much less can be picked up from team at Harrison Blake Apparel. Tone this one down with a crisp white OCBD and a navy blazer.

Honorable Mention:

Another great and essential piece is the silk knit tie.  This tie is super versatile in that it can be used to dress down a formal outfit or dress up a casual one.  Regardless of which route you choose it is a highly stylish piece.  Wearing it will definitely get you noticed.

The Hill-Side has a vast selection of unique ties made out of lovely fabrics, in addition to also unique clothing and accessories in general.  While these ties are a bit pricier, they are undoubtedly worth the investment.

The ties by the folks over at General Knot are also well-made and similarly priced. They’re all limited edition and created using rare and vintage fabrics found all around the world (Editor’s note: Anyone have experience with this brand? Never tried them out, but curious!).

Whichever selection you go with, each of the ties on this list really bring great spring & summer styling potential — from the boardroom to the bar and back.

Would you experiment with any of these ties?  Do you have any more suggestions?  

Editor’s note:  Need more spring style content? I’ve been writing a series of weekly Buyer’s Guide pieces on VOUCH Mag — the next is coming up on Wednesday, April 29.

 

Style Pick of the Week: Apolis Standard Issue Utility Chino

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly 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, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

The Standard Issue Utility Chino from Apolis. A rich caramel color, modern fit and attention to detail make these worth the higher price point.
The Standard Issue Utility Chino from Apolis. A rich caramel color, modern fit and attention to detail make these worth the higher price point.

In keeping with the theme of last week’s Style Pick, I tried to switch things up from the typical offerings that have categorized this series (y’know, mostly shirts and outerwear). And while it was a tough call, the stylish and sturdy-looking Standard Issue Utility Chino from Apolis is this week’s selection. It’s that time of year where it’s not quite warm enough to bust out a short-sleeve printed shirt and shorts  just yet, so a little thicker pair of pants will have to suffice. Made out of a 9.5 oz. cotton canvas and finished with buffalo horn buttons, these Apolis chinos are one dependable pair of pants. And if you’re not familiar with the brand, it’d be wise to take a peek at the continental classics they’re crafting — the right way.

These aren't Apolis chinos, for the record, but this is just one way the classic pant could be styled. White henley by Pistol Lake.
These aren’t Apolis chinos, for the record, but this is just one way the classic pant could be styled. White henley by Pistol Lake. Chromexcel Horween leather watch strap by Form-Function-Form.

Like the rest of the brand’s offerings (including a white pocket tee seen on GQ earlier this week), the price is a heck of a lot to pony up for a pair of chinos. But, the brand is using rigorous social & environmental standards to craft its product, something in which more of us should probably be taking an interest. And in a neutral, rich Hunter Khaki color and a slimmer, modern-leaning fit, these chinos should work with everything from a trim white henley and patterned watch strap to brown loafers and a slim blazer for occasions calling for more polish. Also available in Grey, Olive and a lighter, cream-like Khaki color, the dark caramel shade pictured at the top of the page is probably going to be the best pick — and for $138, it had better be. Maybe one day?

Have you bought from Apolis before? What are your thoughts on the brand?

P.S. Apolis isn’t involved in this giveaway, but if you still want some great gear & goods from Gustin, The Motley and Taft Clothing, the trio is running a giveaway until April 30 here! 

The Friday Read: Summer Watches, Uniqlo Sneakers and NYC Tunnels

Editor’s note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays — consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and …. non-style (?) content. For more entries, click here.

Some weekend reading action. Featured books: The Wes Anderson Collection, The Youngs by Jesse Fink & On Writing. Leather valet tray & bracelet by Made Supply Co. Dive watch by Invicta.
Some weekend reading action. Featured books: The Wes Anderson Collection, The Youngs by Jesse Fink & On Writing. Leather valet tray & bracelet by Made Supply Co. Dive watch by Invicta.
What have you been up to this week? Been busy? Same! (Of course, I assume you replied ‘Yes’ there). Personally, I’m looking forward to taking in my first New York baseball game (a Subway Series showdown between the Mets & Yankees), and of course, getting some writing done on this here blog. Anything you’d like to see on The Friday Read? Let me know for next week, because this week’s all set below for your perusing pleasure.

Need more style content to tide you over?

  • I penned a piece over on VOUCH Mag rounding up comfortable jogger pants (divisive to be sure, but streamlined and stylish).
  • If you haven’t bought your spring or summer blazer yet, some affordable and stylish picks can be found here.

 

Online Shopping Picks: Owen & Fred

Goods made in America with an eye for masculine design.
Goods made in America with an eye for masculine design.

No, you’re not confused — although there was indeed a review on Frank and Oak published here last week, Owen & Fred isn’t that brand’s equally well-dressed set of twin brothers. If anything, Owen & Fred is a complementary set of lifestyle offerings centered around well-made items you never knew you needed. The Brooklyn-based company offers affordable, made-in-America accessories  (much more on that below) that add some cheeky zest and a nice masculine touch to … just about any area of your life you can think of. Best of all, the brand’s website is remarkably clean, easy to use and set in a crisp typeface that’s very pleasing to the eye (if that matters to you — which it should!). Peruse some picks from their Web store below, and get on into one of their partner retailers to grab some gear as well.

#1. Army Green “Work Hard, Play Hard” Duffel — $99

Sturdy exterior, nice space and a versatile olive color make this one travel-ready bag.
A turdy exterior, nice space and a versatile olive color make this one travel-ready bag.

The first pick on this list definitely fills a product category every guy needs — a great weekender bag. While it just missed the cut on that last roundup, it tops this particular set because of that rich (yet neutral) olive color, sturdy duck canvas exterior and moderate dimensions that make it ideal for a quick trip. And when you get down to it, a bag like this is going to see a lot of use — especially at that price point. It’s a little sporty mixed with a lot of classic.

#2. “This Bag Is Not Yours” Leather Luggage Tag — $26

Purchased on a vacation, fittingly enough, and ready for lots of use on the road.
Purchased on a vacation, fittingly enough, and ready for lots of use on the road.

Does every bag need a luggage tag? Not necessarily. But I guarantee you if you pair this tag with the above bag or another weekender (or heck, a regular suitcase), you’ll get questions and compliments, and you’ll feel just a little … dare I say it … cooler. Take it from a guy with this very luggage tag on my weekender. It’s not the most necessary accessory to be sure, but it’s well-crafted and made from thick, vegetable-tanned leather. It can definitely withstand everything you throw at a bag, which is saying a lot for a leather square.

#3. “You Earned It” Bottle Opener — $29

Nothing better than a little pick-me-up opened with this thing at the end of the day.

Sure, we’ve all got an assorted jumble of free bottle openers lying around, but there’s an argument for upgrading the little things — and thereby upgarding your lifestyle, bit by bit. The team at Owen & Fred is on to something with this one here (although by all means, if those freebies are your bag, more power to you). This is one bottle opener that’s hefty, made in the U.S.A from solid brass. And what’s better than a delicious soda or an ice-cold brew (perhaps one mentioned in last week’s Friday Read)? Knowing that you earned it, and using something this cool to crack it open.

#4. “It’s Only Money” Brass Money Clip — $20

Another cheeky piece that simply looks cool & serves a nice function.

Some would argue that spending $20 on a small money clip to hold more money might mean that you’ve simply got a bit too much cash. But this piece goes hand-in-hand with the bettering-your-lifestyle argument above, and it’s the little things that help that happen. Another piece made out of sturdy brass, and even having this thing should encourage you to carry more cash.

#5. English Bridle Leather Coasters in Black — $29

Water-resistant, English bridle leather coasters that’ll more than cushion any drink.

Perhaps you’re not the type who has a home bar, or even the space to do something like that. And if you’re recently out of college or still in college, this might be something to save for a purchase down the road. Although they’re just coasters, Owen & Fred’s mission shines through here with a simple design and high-quality materials, resulting in a minimal, premium product that would complement any living room table or bar.

Again, not all of these products are necessities for anyone, most of all if you’re shopping around for style on a budget. But any one of these items would really upgrade a home or bar and bring with it a nice, premium and … cool feel.

Tell me: Would you think about picking up any of these items? What’s the one accessory you’d really like to have for your space?

The Product Review: GREATS Brand Rosen Sneakers

The GREATS Rosen Runner — a perfect casual sneaker for high-low wear. Short-sleeve mini-check shirt by H&M. Khaki chinos by Frank & Oak. Silver dive watch by Invicta. Glasses by Warby Parker.
The GREATS Rosen Runner — a perfect casual sneaker for high-low wear. Short-sleeve mini-check shirt by H&M. Khaki chinos by Frank & Oak. Silver dive watch by Invicta. Glasses by Warby Parker.

In recent years, as high-low dressing has exploded and really gained more traction — think much more stylish iterations of the everday blazer-and-jeans combo, to start — sneaker options for guys have also really exploded as well. While there have always been classic options like Converse Jack Purcells, certain sneaker silhouettes have definitely swung back in style — especially the runner-style sneaker (see Exhibit A here). These types of sneakers mesh perfectly with everything from joggers (yes, joggers can work when worn casually) and a tee to chinos and a buttondown (asyou can see here). One of the more recent sneaker offerings from GREATS out of Brooklyn is cut from that same versatile cloth.

Getting out and about in Brooklyn with a versatile, casual shoe.
Getting out and about in Brooklyn with a versatile, casual shoe. Photo credit: Liz Tod.

GREATS has been featured on this site a few times already, but the quality of the last pair of sneakers I picked up was simply too good to pass up the chance at another pair. The Rosen Runner dropped in about mid-February to rather mixed reviews (if you follow Hypebeast comments, that is) but I snagged my pair in Cadet (a nice navy color) about a month back from the brand’s small Field House shop near Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The sneaker takes its styling cues from classic American runners and tips its cap to legendary track coach Al Rosen, born in Brooklyn himself. It’s also available in a nice deep Olive and a cream Nimbus color, but navy was my pick.

The combination of nylon and suede is surprisingly durable. Khaki chinos by Frank & Oak.
The combination of nylon and suede is surprisingly durable. Khaki chinos by Frank & Oak.

The sneaker brings to mind other kicks with the same silhouette, namely virtually any one of the pairs in the New Balance for J. Crew collaboration, although the shape of this shoe seems a bit trimmer.  Design inspiration aside, these shoes look great, fit extremely well and provide tons of comfort — perhaps even moreso than the previous pair of GREATS sneakers in my closet. That comfort proved necessary during a long walk through Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and an evening spent exploring Park Slope on foot, too. More importantly, they’ve paired perfectly on a few different outings with the khaki chinos seen here, as well as a Rust V-neck tee (from my pals at Pistol Lake) and a denim jacket for a casual lunch.These sneakers would work just fine with longer, patterned socks, but no-show socks fit just fine.

These sneakers would work just fine with longer, patterned socks, but no-show socks fit just fine.

As far as comfort, these shoes feel springy and surprisingly durable to move around in. The Vibram outsole and EVA midsole provide a very nice amount of cushion — this definitely doesn’t wear like a normal pair of canvas sneakers.  While they could also be worn with longer patterned socks (like with this look), they were comfortable with some no-show socks, too. The bottom tread isn’t just for looks, as it’s grippy and adds to that springy feeling. And while I was initially wary of the combination of suede and nylon, the nylon stood up to a slight ice cream spill (the horror!) and cleaned up just fine, while the suede portions of the shoe have good color and a decent (not necessarily cheap) feel.

Subtle branding on the back heel.
Subtle branding on the back heel.

The minimalism of these shoes and the lack of a logo on the side (in contrast to their New Balance counterparts) is a definite benefit — I’ve found them to be highly versatile because of that. There’s only a very small “G” emblazoned on the suede top of the tongue, and a lightly stamped “GREATS” arch logo across the suede on the back heel.  While it’ll be interesting to see how the suede holds up with repeated wear, I’m not worried about the durability of the nylon or the construction of these shoes — they certainly don’t feel like a pair of sneakers you can pick up for less than $50. For the price, they’re an outstanding deal — maybe the best on the market right now.

What’s your experience been like with GREATS? How would you style this particular pair?

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Style Pick of the Week: Billy Reid Clarke Pants

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for  — like the pants discussed below. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

Luxurious pants from an esteemed retailer.
Luxurious pants from an esteemed retailer.

So recent Style Picks have really centered around … shirts. Lots and lots of shirts, from a great henley to a nice set of pocket T-shirts and even a soft-looking French terry stadium jacket. It was high time to change things up in that department, and a trip to the excellent West Village Billy Reid store secured this week’s Style Pick (fear not — these beautiful pants are available online, too). And before you ask — I was not able to buy them; this Style Pick belongs in the expensive splurges category above). But, like much of the famed American designer’s work (including the covetable Bond peacoat), these are truly outstanding.

A tailored but more traditional cut.
A tailored but more traditional cut.

Made of a ridiculously soft and luxurious-feeling 60% cotton, 40% silk (yes, silk), blend, these pants feature a single pleat (which has been building on the runways for a while now) and tab adjusters in lieu of a belt. The texture definitely feels similar to that of a knit tie, actually. Despite the pleats, these are the kind of pants that are trend-resistant, not fashion-forward — and for that eyepopping price tag ($395!), they better be. The cut is traditional but still looks tailored in an old-school sort of way. In the event that you’re able to buy these (maybe a nice tax refund came your way?), I could see them being worn with everything from an unconstructed blazer, dress shirt and striped tie to a high-low T-shirt & trousers combo. As a final note to tempt you, the brand is running a 20% Off deal for its SS15 collection through tomorrow night at midnight with the code: SS15. So, still pricey — but worth it?

Tell me: What’s on your Expensive Splurges list as of late? Would you ever consider buying these?

One last note: Before the weekend’s up, this site will transition to The Style Guide (if you haven’t gotten the previous memos!), covering the same great categories in men’s style and fashion.

Stay stylish,

-Beau

The Friday Read: Spring Beer, No-Show Socks and the Costs of Starting a Fashion Brand

Editor’s note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays — consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style content and …. non-style (?) content. For more entries, click here.

Another week is in the books, folks. Thankfully? Anyhow, here’s a selection below of some great pieces that caught my eye across this past week — the first really nice spring week we’ve had in NYC, at least. Grab a cup of coffee, right-click to open these links in a new tab (just kidding — they’ll do that on their own), and read away today and this weekend.

  • The gentlemen over at InsideHook were kind enough a few weeks back to round up the 21 beers every guy should try this spring (Note: Have you had any of these? Want to try the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA first) .
  • Since it’s spring, Kempt offers a rundown on why you should wear no-show socks, and offers five great pairs to get you through the season.
  • The streetwear and fashion-forward minds at Hypebeast deliver another entry in a fascinating series they’ve been running on the costs of starting up a fashion brand (monetary, personal — the whole nine yards).
  • Long Read of the Week: Although it’s from June 2014, I stumbled across an intriguing New York Magazine piece on the fractured relationship between the two men who’ve created some of the world’s most recognizable type designs (fonts, to all us common folk).

Looking for something else to read?

  • I’ve been putting together a set of weekly Buyer’s Guide pieces for the great site VOUCH Mag, which you can find here.
  • Need some spring shorts or a spring jacket? Click away.

One last note: Remember, this site’s name and layout will be transitioning after the weekend (but please stop by before then!), to The Style Guide — that’s http://www.the-style-guide.com. Come see us there! 

Stay stylish,

-Beau

Online Shopping Picks: Stylish Shorts for Spring and Summer

Spring & summer weather means it's shorts season. T-shirt by American Apparel. Shorts by Banana Republic. Watch by Timex Ameritus and patterned watch strap by The Knottery. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.
Spring & summer weather means it’s shorts season. T-shirt by American Apparel. Shorts by Banana Republic. Watch by Timex Ameritus and patterned watch strap by The Knottery. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.

So, spring is finally here (right?). And while I love me a great pair of denim or some excellent chinos, it’s always good to have a pair of shorts in the rotation. I mainly stick to neutral colors like khaki or navy to pair with other like-minded shades, but several designers & brands are adding louder hues and more wild prints to their shorts offerings this year, too. I got a question from a friend the other day recommending a relatively inexpensive, versatile pair — hence the picks you see below here. Now to be clear — none of these recommendations involve the extra pockets or the baggy cut of cargo shorts — that’s outlawed around these here parts. So, turn tail and get yourself to the mall (or stay right at your computer) and do some shopping.

#1. J. Crew Factory 7″ Broken-in Reade Short — $44.50

Washed fabric in a slimmer cut that hits above the knee — exactly what's needed in spring or summer shorts.
Washed fabric in a slimmer cut that hits above the knee — exactly what’s needed in spring or summer shorts.

J. Crew Factory’s some kind of a bully when it comes to online shopping picks on this site, but these shorts check all the boxes in terms of the ideal pair. They’re available in a full range of neutral colors (particularly the grey seen here) and they hit above the knee in a clean, modern fit. The “broken-in” finish gives them an easygoing vibe, too.  J. Crew’s mainline Stanton short (seen here) is a similar style for a bit extra cash.

#2. Frank and Oak Sheldon 7.5″ Herringbone Shorts in Navy — $60

The 7.5" Sheldon Herringbone Shorts in Navy. Seen with an Invicta dive watch, Frank and Oak Cotton Plaid Shirt, and GREATS Brand sneakers.
The 7.5″ Sheldon Herringbone Shorts in Navy. Seen with an Invicta dive watch, Frank and Oak Cotton Plaid Shirt, and GREATS Brand sneakers.

These shorts were first seen in this Frank & Oak Hunt Club crate review just the other day. They’re a really excellent pair, with  great depth to the fabric and a cut that’s a little trimmer than the JCF option above. For having a length of 7.5″, they certainly don’t feel noticeably longer than a 7″ pair. The cotton-linen blend makes them lightweight and breathable, perfect for getting out and about. They’re also available in a darker Asphalt color, but this particular blue wouldn’t clash with, say, navy or indigo.

#3. Urban Outfitters CPO Crosby Chino Shorts — $44

An olive color that's different than the typical navy or khaki, paired with a decent price.
An olive color that’s different than the typical navy or khaki, paired with a decent price.

This pair of shorts from Urban Outfitters feature a similar price when lined up against the J. Crew Factory option above, and they’ve got a somewhat similar faded wash to them. But, that olive color is pretty visually pleasing — it plays well with lots of neutrals like white, tan, grey or navy but is different ahn a basic khaki short. These are available in some brighter colors too, like a Sky Blue or Red option, but the slightly fringed hem at the bottom might turn some away.

#4. Old Navy Slim-Fit Twill Shorts in Ink-Blue Stripe — $22.94

They should fit pretty trim, and the stripes are a nice touch … but that inseam could be a tad long.
They should fit pretty trim, and the stripes are a nice touch … but that inseam could be a tad long.

Old Navy’s shorts are a fairly underrated part of the brand — while they do excellent work when it comes to other basics, their shorts game has finally caught up — for the most part. Prices dip as low as $15 on slim-fit shorts in every color imaginable, from a heightened Beryl Blue and wild Blue Floral Print to a more pedestrian grey. The one caveat is that these do have a longer 9-1/2″ inseam, which might not work for the shorter among us (and even taller guys might prefer a slightly higher-cut short).

#5. Bonobos 7″ Washed Chino Shorts in Deep Khaki — $68

Almost $70, yes, but a nice combination of quality and price.
Almost $70, yes, but a nice combination of quality and price.

Nearly $70 for a pair of shorts? Yikes. Yes, for that amount you could buy almost two pairs of shorts from J. Crew Factory (or heck, almost 5 very on-sale pairs from Old Navy). But there’s a reason behind the pricing for these shorts — you get the same easywearing, relatively durable Washed Chino fabric that the company’s great pants are made out of, and you also get a range of length and color options (although this khaki is highly versatile).

NOTE: Other pairs that just missed the cut here include Bonobos’ newer, tailored Americano shorts (nearly too dressy to be worn casually), and these dark blue patterned chino shorts from H&M.

What do you think of the above recommendations? What will you be stocking your shorts drawer with this spring and summer?

And one final note: Looking around for more suggestions to pull together your spring and summer wardrobe? I’ve been putting together a series of weekly Buyer’s Guide pieces for the great team at lifestyle website VOUCH Mag; check out the full set here
Ernest Alexander