Since the last time I reviewed the brand in October 2013, a lot — and I mean a lot — has happened for Frank & Oak.
The Montreal-based startup menswear retailer has put together an impressive string of unconventional, of-the-moment presentations at New York Fashion Week, opened up six physical shops in Canada and announced plans for six long-term, U.S. pop-up shops. They’ve done all this while continuing to put out monthly collections that really resonate with consumers and feature nearly every clothing category imaginable — from athletic gear to tailoring. They’ve also started offering a biannual print magazine and all kinds of grooming products & accessories on top of that.
For those who aren’t familiar with the brand, they offer new, refreshed collections each month tailored to the season. They also offer the option to join the Hunt Club, an exclusive members-only option offering free at-home try-on and free shipping & returns on up to five items from each monthly collection. It’s a pretty great deal when you also throw in special discounts, early access to certain sales, and rewards points.
I got my hands on three pieces from Frank and Oak’s April 2015 issue (The Leisure Issue, to be exact). Thankfully, the brand’s offerings haven’t slipped from fall 2013 to now. The collection plays off easygoing, lightweight spring staples and fabric blends like cotton and linen in trousers, shirts, sweaters and blazers. Crisp short-sleeve button-ups, sturdy spring outerwear, lightweight shorts & T-shirts and other easywearing staples (like this striped popover) also fit right in with the collection. I picked up the Cotton Plaid Shirt in Aquifer, the quick-selling Linen Cardigan in Jute Heather and the 7.5″ Sheldon Herringbone Shorts in Navy — all at a great price-quality ratio.
The great thing about Frank and Oak is that its collections offer modern updates on relatively timeless staples in addition to slightly trendier offerings (like these Chino Jogger pants) — this month’s wares are no different, and that’s remarkable, really. The cotton plaid shirt pictured here is nice and lightweight — it’s breathable and comfortable against the skin. It also manages to not feel flimsy or scratchy despite the lighter fabric. The heritage F&O-branded buttons are a nice touch, too. Having had previous experience with F&O shirts, the fit was exactly what I’d come to expect — tailored across the chest and through the sleeves (but not too trim in a size Medium), with high armholes. It’s the type of shirt that would look just as great with this get-up as it would under a khaki blazer or with navy chinos and brown loafers. One caveat to this: If you prefer a lowered second shirt button, this isn’t necessarily the best bet — that second button is pretty high (not a problem for me personally, but it very well could be for others!).
When worn together, the get-up was absolutely perfect to stroll outside in Brooklyn on a spring morning with temperatures in the high 50’s. The ottoman knit ribbing across the cardigan’s front added nice texture and breathability. And the cotton-linen blend shorts were nicely tailored, hitting above the knee, featuring a button-tab closure and complete with a cut similar to that of J. Crew’s Stanton short. Never having tried a pair of shorts from Frank and Oak, this was positive indeed — just like the rest of my selections this month. When worn with my GREATS sneakers and a nice dive watch, the outfit was an ideal transitional, spring-ready get-up — one that could easily be emulated by mixing and matching other F&O items. That one ensemble can be made with offerings from one brand (and one month’s collection) really speaks to what Frank and Oak has done. Here’s to hoping they put out more of the same in the future — much more.
What are your experiences like with Frank and Oak? Did you pick up any items from this month’s collection?