Style Suggestion: Fourth of July

Putting together an outfit for the holiday that'll hopefully cause some fireworks (that is, in the reaction to said outfit).
Putting together an outfit for the holiday that’ll hopefully cause some fireworks (that is, in the reaction to said outfit).

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions covering what to wear at everything from a summer wedding to other holidays, head here.

In just a few short days, that well-known patriotic holiday centered primarily around fireworks, good food and great times will be here. It’s really starting to warm up everywhere, and that presents some tricky scenarios as far as what to wear while keeping cool and still looking good (if you’re curious about other Fourth of July options to wear, head here for last year’s rundown). Fourth of July is another summer holiday that, much like Memorial Day, can offer the potential for situations ranging from ultra-casual to a little more polished. Here’s an outfit that should toe the line between both. And if your holiday plans involve hitting the road, check out this post for accessories to pack, and this post for a primer on your potential travel get-up itself.

The Shirt: Michael Bastian x Uniqlo Polo, $14.90 (Sale Price)

One of the many options from this year's collaboration should keep you cool and looking sharp.
One of the many options from this year’s collaboration should keep you cool and looking sharp. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew Factory. Silver dive watch by Invicta Watches.

You read that price above correctly. This year’s collaboration between the noted American designer and the fast-fashion outlet has been another fairly successful seller, yet those prices are dirt cheap right now — so you could go a couple different ways with a purchase, from a grey-and-red striped option that nods to the holiday yet also throws off sportswear vibes, to a  more straightforward military-style chest pocket number. Heck, at that price you could buy both of ’em. Either way, these polos have a trim fit and aren’t too dressy or casual, whether you’re grilling in the backyard or heading to a nice patio restaurant. If a lightweight jacket is needed, you could throw on a neutral, lightweight (and classic) Harrington style from Ben Sherman US.

Ben Sherman US

The Pants: Mott and Bow Denim, $96

The Moso in Dark Blue in Skinny Fit from NYC-based Mott & Bow.
The Moso in Dark Blue in Skinny Fit from NYC-based Mott & Bow.

Now, $96 certainly isn’t cheap to drop on a pair of denim when some classic Levi’s go for about half that. However, Mott & Bow denim isn’t a heavy, overly rigid set of jeans that’ll cause overheating if the weather’s too hot. In fact, the brand’s Comfort Denim line offers jeans with 2% elastane stretch built in, for a pleasingly comfortable yet still slim fit. The Crosby in Dark Blue offers a versatile straight cut and a wash that could work across multiple seasons (even better — you can get 15% off your first purchase with the brand here). Tucking in the polo with those jeans is up to you; the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo polos seem to be cut slim enough to work either way. If it’s just too atrociously hot for pants, the Stadium Short from J. Crew Factory mixes a cool chambray fabric, flattering fit and an elastic waistband for ease of movement (potentially of use after wolfing down some hot dogs).

The Belt: Land’s End Club Stripe Elastic Belt, $39 OR H&M Braided Belt in  Light Beige, $12.95

Take your pick between a preppy Land's End option and a textured H&M pick.
Take your pick between a preppy Land’s End option and a textured H&M pick.

Unlike a more typical casual braided leather belt, the Land’s End option leans even more casual thanks to the elastic webbing, while still injecting some preppy style into your get-up. The mixed media option & beige color makes this a belt you could also wear in the spring & fall; conversely, you could go with a more patriotic red striped option. The H&M number also uses a neutral color and some texture to break up an outfit that might look a bit too stuffy with a plain leather dress belt — the incredibly cheap price doesn’t hurt, either.

Ernest Alexander Free Shipping

The Shoes: GREATS Brand Leather Wooster Slip-on, $149

A close-up look at both the Blanco and Cadet versions. Photo courtesy of GREATS Brand.
A close-up look at both the Blanco and Cadet versions of this versatile and sleek shoe. Photo courtesy of GREATS Brand.

GREATS definitely does get a lot of play on this blog, but with good reason — no brand right now is making shoes with the type of construction they make, for the low price point they offer. Crisp, casual options like the Wilson in White or the Rosen Runner in Navy could also be good pick-ups here for an even cheaper price. The Leather Wooster specifically is a relatively new offering from the brand that can go more casual or a bit dressier because of that sleek, no-laces look. The Cadet (or Navy) shade is perhaps going to be the most versatile choice here, although Nero (or Black) would certainly be equally adaptable. And to check out another way to style the Cargo (or Olive) shade of the Leather Wooster, head here.

The Socks: Richer Poorer Beginner No-Show Socks 2-Pack, $15

Two basic colorways among other choices at an affordable price.
Two basic colorways among other choices at an affordable price.

When you’re throwing on slip-ons as comfortable and well-made as the Leather Wooster, socks might actually not be much of a worry. However, a solid pair of no-show socks like these Richer Poorer no-show socks offer a layer of protection for your shoes and your feet. That’s especially important if you’re spending lots of time on your feet during the holiday. This pair should be a true no-show, offering that much-coveted, sleek sockless look. The price point isn’t too bad either, and the range of colors means you could pick up a few pairs to blend in with different types of footwear.

The Watch: Stuhrling Original Aquadiver Manta Ray Rubber Strap Watch, $83 OR Skagen Steel Mesh Watch, $165

Two choices, one sporty and one sleek, for a holiday that could involve activities in both areas.
Two choices, one sporty and one sleek, for a holiday that could involve activities in both areas.

Just as with Memorial Day, perhaps your Fourth of July plans involve heading to the beach or a body of water; while you don’t want a watch that’s clunky and overly large, you still want something that’s durable and tough — the Stuhrling Original Aquadiver (full review here) stands up to the test and doesn’t look too much like a digital sports watch. On the other end of the spectrum, the Skagen Steel Mesh Watch is super crisp and clean — no wasted design or added touches here. It is a bit pricier, but you get a watch that’s sharp enough to be worn during the week, and eyecatching enough to be worn on the weekends.

The Sunglasses: Randolph Engineering Concorde Flash Lens Sunglasses, $169

The Concorde Flash Lens series from Randolph Engineering -- an all-American pair of sunglasses for an all-American holiday.
The Concorde Flash Lens series from Randolph Engineering — an all-American pair of sunglasses for an all-American holiday.

This pair was first featured on the blog as this past week’s Style Pick of the Week, and they are lookers indeed (made in America, too!). There’s certainly nothing wrong with sunglasses you already might have, especially if they’re a timeless shape like an aviator or even the resurgent Wayfarer. But these shades as pictured here offer up a vibrant set of blue lenses that complements the theme of the holiday (if you’re into that sort of thing), while providing a style that’s versatile the entire year. The fact that they look like Mr. Bond’s preferred choice of eyewear in Skyfall isn’t a bad thing, either.

While these clothes can help you look good, the most important thing about this holiday is celebrating the occasion with family & friends — that’s something to be kept in  mind no matter what you were.

Will you be picking up any new items for the Fourth of July or the summer season in general? What’s your go-to fireworks-watching outfit?

Florsheim

Nunn Bush

Advertisements

Style Pick of the Week: Randolph Engineering Concorde Sunglasses

Ernest Alexander

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 Concorde Flash Lens series from Randolph Engineering -- looks similar to those worn by a certain secret agent, yes?
The Concorde Flash Lens series from Randolph Engineering — looks similar to those worn by a certain secret agent, yes?

Chances are, where you live, it’s getting hot right now about now. And sunny. Possibly even very sunny — what do you use to shield the sun’s rays stylishly? That’s a great question, and that’s why we’re here with this week’s Style Pick of the Week. It can be difficult to find sunglasses that strike a decent middle ground in terms of price, lack ornamentation or logos (looking at you, Ray-Bans), and still look good. And as far as American-made sunglasses — well, that whittles things down even further. One would be remiss to leave out American Optical, on that note. But let’s go a different direction:  Randolph Engineering’s reputation is rock-solid, their sunglasses aren’t insanely expensive (unlike, say, a similar shape worn by Mr. Bond) and the quality is self-evident. You’re getting military heritage and modern styling potential. While they stock a few different frame shapes (including a more squared-off aviator), the Concorde Flash Lens collection ties in that classic aviator shape and features looks that hit dead-on for Bond’s sunglasses, while being about half the price. Two frame options, 57mm and the larger 61m, are available — although some options take sizing down to 52mm. (A note on price: If you’re on an even tighter budget, the ever-dependable J. Crew Factory has a host of options from flashy to traditional).

Another sleek aviator option from Randolph Engineering, the regular Concorde series.
Another sleek aviator option from Randolph Engineering, the regular Concorde series.

 

While some would argue aviator sunglasses look a bit too “police-like”, it’s arguably the most versatile sunglass shape out there — thanks to the sleek chrome styling of the Flash Lens series in particular (plus the versatile blue lens color), these sunglasses work in situations both dressy and rugged-casual. Heck, the aviator style works particularly well in all seasons. And compared to even the regular Concorde series (no slouch in the looks department, either), this pair is $50 cheaper. Of course, you can’t throw on a great pair of sunglasses without some sharp swim trunks and a short-sleeve henley.

Do you own any sunglasses from Randolph Engineering? Would you consider picking up this pair? And what’s your go-to frame shape when the weather heats up?

Ben Sherman US

The Friday Read: Epaulet Sneakers, GAP Closings and the Most Stylish Men Alive

Florsheim

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.

Can you believe it’s almost July? Unbelievable, truly! Have you done any traveling yet this summer? I’ve been in the midst of starting a new job this past month while mixing in a family wedding and a music festival; both have made it a great summer to date. Now, we’re almost on the Fourth of July, and on that note, we’ll have a style suggestion coming up for your reading pleasure next Monday. In the meantime, I suggest you check out my weekly roundup below of only the best pieces fit for weekend reading — and let me know what you’ve been reading yourself on Twitter or via the Contact page!

  • Design and style website Selectism details Epaulet’s stunning new line of made-in-America unfinished leather trainers (sneakers, to us common folk)
  • My buddy Joe over at the always-stylish Dappered reflects on the news earlier this week that GAP will close a quarter of its stores by recapping 10 of the best pieces from the brand in recent years (including one item that also appeared in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series)
  • NBA superstar LeBron James made GQ’s list of the 20 Most Stylish Men Alive and talked to the menswear magazine briefly about his style choices and inspiration (on that note, anyone else have some qualms about that list?
  • Long Read of the Week: In a fascinating set of entries, 10 New Yorkers share their most memorable “dusk to dawn” nighttime memories of the city that never sleeps

Need more of The Style Guide?

  • My latest piece for Effortless Gent, covering five ways to wear slim shorts this summer, was published on Thursday; check it out here!
  • Might I also suggest an earlier Style Guide entry this week detailing stylish men’s dress shoes on a budget?
  • Lastly:  If you’re shopping for some new denim, you might want to give Mott & Bow jeans a whirl after you check out this product review

 

Ernest Alexander

Online Shopping Picks: Stylish Men’s Dress Shoes

A shoe for every possibility. Don't worry -- the shoes on this list aren't that expensive
A shoe for every possibility. Don’t worry — the shoes on this list aren’t that expensive
Editor’s note: For more online shopping picks covering everything from great brands, gift guides and the best warm-weather blazers and shorts, head here.

As I was preparing this post, I got a question from a reader on the very topic about to be addressed below — what’s a great, versatile (second) set of shoes fit for a business casual environment and beyond? Well, that answer’s coming shortly. Meeting the needs of your everyday life while also having a sharp pair on-hand for seasonal occasions, like holidays or weddings, is part of building and maintaining a well-curated closet (although I doubt many of us have space like the above photo!). So with that in mind, I’ve pulled together some picks below that cover both specific occurrences as well as versatile three and four-season picks with a budget in mind. Let me know your thoughts and reach out with any questions via the Contact page!

The Versatile, Everyday Dress/Casual Shoe: Florsheim Jet Chukka, $135

Take your pick of black or brown, and wear 'em with jeans, chinos or a suit.
Take your pick of black or brown, and wear ’em with jeans, chinos or a suit.
If you already have an affordable dress shoe that can stand in for everyday wear (like the second option on this list), upgrading to something a bit unconventional is certainly one way to go. The Florsheim Jet Chukka has a sleek toe shape, sharp three-eye chukka boot construction and the ability to be worn both with slim chinos, dress trousers or jeans. This style can even be worn with a suit — just ask James Bond. The price is pretty agreeable for an offering from a respected brand, although on the regular dress shoe front, the Mercanti Fiorentini Wingtip Oxford would also be an exceptionally wearable upgrade for just about $15 more. Don’t sleep on something like the Aston Grey Captoe, either, and a slick Chelsea boot would be an alternative style option to look into as well.

The Budget Dress/Casual Option:  JC Penney Stafford Logan Wingtip, $49.99

Fit for weddings, office wear and casual Fridays.
Fit for weddings, office wear and casual Fridays.
This particular style has made a few appearances on this blog, notably in last fall’s budget style series. It’s received surprisingly solid reviews, similar to the much-loved Stafford Wingtip Boot of old. The quality isn’t anywhere near as strong as the Mercanti Fiorientini Oxford discussed above, but in a pinch, it should provide reliable style for the price. The color, while a little bolder than a more versatile dark brown, should work with everything from lightwash jeans to chinos. It’s also available in Black for that same low, low price — and considering these shoes normally retail for almost twice the current price, it could be wise to pick up a pair now.

Nunn Bush

The Upgraded Dress/Casual Option: Jack Erwin Adam Wingtip Oxford, $195

It doesn't get much more classic than a dark brown wingtip at a more premium price.
It doesn’t get much more classic than a dark brown wingtip at a more premium price.
So let’s say you’re in a unique spot — you can’t quite afford a pair of dress shoes from Allen Edmonds (more on those below) but you want a better-quality pair than the ones listed above. Where do you go? Jack Erwin has you covered. Produced in Spain and designed in New York City, the Adam Wingtip Oxford checks every box you might be looking to fill when hunting for a versatile, affordable shoe. The not-too-dark, not-too-light chestnut brown color, a full-grain calfskin leather upper and a pleasing toe shape allow for wear with everything from a suit to denim and a T-shirt if you’re feeling a bit more bold. The same style is also available in a very continental dark brown suede.

The Casual Three-Season ‘Dress’ Shoe: J. Crew Factory Calvert Suede Oxfords, 98

Dark tan suede + a rubber sole = an Oxford that wears like a desert boot.
Dark tan suede + a rubber sole = an Oxford that wears like a desert boot.
Suede is one material that, much like fine leather, fits in just as well during spring & summer as it does during fall. In fact, other than a pair of crisp leather loafers, there might not be a dress shoe more geared toward warm weather than a suede Oxford, like the Calvert from J. Crew Factory. While this pair leans much more casual thanks to a rubber sole, that also makes it a little more versatile. This shoe should wear and feel more like a suede desert boot, making it the perfect lightweight match for a light blue cotton suit and an outdoor wedding, or a pair of lightwash jeans and a short-sleeve henley. Wait for a sale and  they could dip below $70. The Kenton Suede Bucks from J. Crew provide similar summer style for about $100 more.

The ‘Serious Investment’ Dress Shoe: Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue Captoe Oxfords, $385

American-made. Suit-ready. Five color options available.
American-made. Suit-ready. Five color options available.
By far the dressiest and priciest of the bunch, the Fifth Avenue Captoe Oxford is legendary in the premium footwear market for its made-in-America quality and sharp looks. While the brand has something for everybody, (including equally pricey wingtips), this captoe model has been around for decades and continues to hold its own. Considering the price of this shoe, it can and should be worn in as many ways as possible. The captoe is dressier than a plain old wingtip, but with a pair of slim cuffed denim and an unconstructed blazer, it wouldn’t look too out of place. Picking  up this pair in black would be conservative on the style spectrum, but if you own one pair of black dress shoes, make it these.

When sorting through the world of men’s dress footwear, there are bound to be brands left out. Banana Republic’s Digby Brogue gets an honorable mention nod, as does the absurdly expensive (yet lovely) Brown Plain Toe Blucher from Oak Street Bootmakers. Out of the above picks however, any option should be able to transition seamlessly from day to night, and from outfit to outfit.

Which of the above pairs is on your must-buy list? Are there any brands you would add? Let me know in the comments!

Need a sharp shirt or weekender bag to go along with your new dress shoes? Take advantage of the exclusive offer below from Ernest Alexander, now through July 31. Happy shopping!

$10 Off a purchase of $100 or more; Free Shipping on orders over $200 at Ernest Alexander Enter promo code: STYLEGUIDE10 at checkout. Valid 06-12-2015 through 07-31-2015

Ernest Alexander

Ben Sherman US

The Product Review: Mott & Bow Denim

Mott and Bow denim
Getting full details on a newer denim brand — featuring the Skinny Fit Mosco jean in Dark Blue from Mott & Bow. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Olive leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand.

If you’re looking to upgrade your style, or even just refresh it a bit, there’s virtually no better place to start than buying a classic pair of dark denim. The styling potential for a nice, inky dark pair in a slimmer fit is virtually limitless — in a business casual environment, they work just like slim khaki chinos worn with a blazer and chambray shirt. And the rest of the time, they’re a great go-to piece matched with a pocket T-shirt and slip-on sneakers in the summer (as seen above), or with a shawl cardigan in the fall & winter. Finding the right pair, built to last and at a decent price, has definitely gotten easier over the years, what with the popularity of American-made brands like Gustin,but if you’re able (or looking) to spring for something a bit further up the price ladder than that, Mott & Bow would be a nice place to start. Crucially, you can get a discount if you keep reading, and the fine folks at Huckberry do a nice job offering Mott & Bow denim at a nicely discounted price.

A slim, tapered fit allows this pair of jeans to sit nicely over slip-on sneakers for the summer months. Denim by Mott & Bow. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.
A slim, tapered fit allows this pair of jeans to sit nicely over slip-on sneakers for the summer months. Denim by Mott & Bow. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.

Founded by University of Michigan engineering grad Alejandro Chanin, who grew up around a family of denim producers, the brand has expanded aggressively thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that shot very quickly past its goal last year. Mott & Bow has set out to perfect what it calls “denim science” using fabric sourced from Turkish mills, and the brand does a nice job of walking you through the steps in its process on its website. As an added perk, Mott & Bow offers a home try-on program with free shipping both ways — an ideal way to test out a pair. I had the chance to catch up with Alejandro earlier this spring for a chat about M&B, and he was nice enough to provide me with a sample of the brand’s Skinny Fit Mosco Denim in Dark Blue for review (also covered in a shorter piece on GearHungry).

Wear these jeans with everything from a pocket tee to a blazer. Braided leather belt by Target Merona. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.
Wear these jeans with everything from a pocket tee to a blazer. Braided leather belt by Target Merona. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

The brand itself differentiates between its models through a neat touch — the street names of its NYC home. The Mosco is one of 6 models in its Comfort Denim line, which features jeans with 2% elastane stretch built in. Slim and Straight fit options are available, both of which still look nice and tailored, but the Skinny option (with a narrow 13 1/2″ leg opening) was the pick for me. Overall, Mott & Bow jeans fit and feel quite similar to a pair of Stretch Slim Fit Jeans from Uniqlo; if you’re into a pair of heavy selvedge denim, the Mosco and some other options likely won’t be for you given their lighter weight and hint of stretch. However, the Rivington, a raw, never-been-washed offering, comes in Slim and Straight fits for the company’s standard price of $96. And it’s also worth checking out the Norfolk Raw Slim if you want a sturdier jean in a slim fit.

A sturdy leather patch and simple back pocket stitching complete this pair.
A sturdy leather patch and simple back pocket stitching complete this pair.

The color of the Mosco in Dark Blue is rich and deep, although pre-faded options are available replicating everything from 2 months to 18 months of daily wear (the Waverly in Light/Medium Blue would be ideal for spring & summer). Colors like Dark Gray and Black can also be picked up for $12 more. The fit on this Skinny pair is excellent — akin to that of a pair of Bonobos Slim Tailored Jeans or even something from J. Crew’s 484 line. Mott & Bow definitely gets  a lot of things right. The tapered leg sits nicely over chukka boots, while it can also be rolled a few times (as seen in the photos above). The hint of stretch keeps these comfortable, too. The rivets and back logo patch have sturdy placement, small details that upgrade it from similarly stretchy, but cheaper, pairs.

No wild stitching or branding from Mott and Bow -- just a clean logo across the interior back waistband.
No wild stitching or branding from Mott and Bow — just a clean logo across the interior back waistband.

Wearability with a new pair of denim is key. These Mott & Bow jeans feel so comfortable thanks to the resin rinse process — designed to replicate raw denim — that there’s no break-in time needed. In a size 34×32, I’ve found I can also cuff them if needed. The simple detailing and nice color make these the ideal pair of dark denim — I’ve worn them with a khaki blazer  and a casual shirt, as well as a long-sleeve henley.  The delivery presentation of the denim itself is also well-done — custom black tissue paper and a large ‘M’ emblazoned on a black box change things up from the standard brown box presentation some brands go for, as you can see below.

The packaging and presentation on a pair of Mott & Bow denim.
The packaging and presentation accompanying a pair of Mott & Bow denim.

The one drawback might be that price –at just under $100 for a regular pair, it’s a good deal more than other options. However, you can get 15% off your first purchase using this link or you can shop slightly different offerings from the brand via Huckberry. Of course, cheaper pairs are out there, but the fact that Mott & Bow focuses exclusively on denim (for now) means the brand is putting everything it has towards that product; the results reflect that. For now, sticking to a tried-and-true pair of Levi’s is a safe option if you’re on a budget, but  if you want to switch things up and add to your dark denim rotation, Mott & Bow could be just what you’re looking for.

Do you own any Mott & Bow denim? Have you ever considered buying from the brand?
Join the Hunt Club - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank & Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!

Ben Sherman US

Style Pick of the Week: The Hill-Side Striped Tie

Ben Sherman US
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.

Japanese navy fabric and white stripes make for one sharp tie.
Japanese navy fabric and white stripes make for one sharp tie.

Out of all the Style Picks featured on this site, from Oxford shirts to slim shorts and tailored trousers, not one tie has made this category yet. That changes this week, with a striped cotton-linen number from The Hill-Side. You might recognize the brand’s name from this very blog (or, more likely, from their recent arrival as one of GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers in America). In short, the brand stocks essentials that have a modern-yet-quirky tilt, and they do so using lots of beautiful fabrics and textures (they even have a fabric shop, and its physical retail space, Hickorees, stocks that as well). But onto the tie itself — as the weather gets warmer, attire from head-to-toe should lighten up and help you beat the heat, including your neckwear.

Collect them all: available in a very narrow square-ended version or two progressively wider pointed versions.
Collect them all: available in a very narrow square-ended version or two progressively wider pointed versions.

The cotton-linen blend, narrow width and diagonal stripes convey a preppy yet modern style — thanks to the Japanese fabric — that would be ideal for wearing to, say, a summer wedding, or to the office. It’s available in a narrow or slightly wider pointed version (either 2 5/8″ or 3 1/4″), along with a square-ended variation that the brand is perhaps most known for. With Father’s Day quickly approaching, don’t forget about this as a (very) last-minute splurge gift for Dad, either, because at $85, that’s exactly what this tie is. But given The Hill-Side’s knack for pumping out quality pieces in stellar fabrics, it’s a tie that should wear well through many seasons to come.

Do you own any product from The Hill-Side? What’s your take on this tie?

(Editor’s note: If you want to knock a discount off some similarly luxurious #menswear, check out  the below promo — running through July 31 — with Ernest Alexander!)

$10 Off a purchase of $100 or more; Free Shipping on orders over $200 at Ernest Alexander Enter promo code: STYLEGUIDE10 at checkout. Valid 06-12-2015 through 07-31-2015

Florsheim

 

The Friday Read: Father’s Day, Street Style and NYC Real Estate

Ernest Alexander

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.

Can you believe we’re three weeks into June already!? Time truly does fly. I’ve been keeping busy as of late with a trip to Charleston, SC for a family wedding (more on how to dress for your next occasion here) and some writing for VOUCH Mag. I’m also going to be penning some pieces for my good friend Pat Evans’ excellent Michigan-based features and lifestyle site Grand Conversations, so be on the lookout for that work as well. In the meantime, if you feel like reading even more, check out some quick hits for your weekend reading perusal.

  • If by chance you STILL haven’t picked up anything for dear old Dad, Gear Patrol compiled a positively massive Father’s Day gift guide filled with 80 options for all you last-minute gifters out there (this site also did the same, earlier this week).
  • Four-Pins broke down all the street style (some good, some bad) you could ever want to feast your eyes on at London Collections: Men, the start of fashion  ‘month’.
  • A very rich someone is about to pay the ungodly sum of $250 million for a prime piece of real estate (in NYC terms) in the city.
  • Long Read of the Week: Not a Long Read in and of itself (but leading to longer reading…get it?), Esquire delivers a list of 21 books fit for every type of dad out there this Father’s Day.

What’s on your reading list this weekend? Let me know via Twitter!

Florsheim

Style Suggestion: The Summer Wedding

Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew.  Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.
Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew. Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

With the passing of Memorial Day weekend and a quick couple weeks into June, summer wedding season is here in earnest. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a summer wedding yet, I would bet you probably have one in the near future. Picking up something sharp, stylish and fitting for the occasion on a budget is a tricky balance to strike. I had the chance to put my packing skills to the test and dress well at the  same time (or try to do so) as I headed to a family wedding in Charleston, South Carolina this weekend (home of my friends at Brothers and Craft, as it were). The evening was lovely  — a wedding and an evening on the water with family is always incredibly special. I myself tried to strike a balance between keeping cool and staying stylish. Ditching the tie and opting for a lightweight blazer and some tailored (but not overly slim) trousers in a super-breathable fabric helped me at least attempt to do that — that’s a tall task when it’s 90-plus degrees out. Some suggestions to help you handle any wedding situation in the months ahead follow below! (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out the bottom of the post for a special discount offer on dressy summer wedding gear from Ernest Alexander for TSG readers!).

The Suit: J. Crew Factory Voyager Suit — $376

A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.
A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.

Now, not every wedding will necessarily require or call for a suit (see the above photo as proof). But if you do have to pick up a suit for the occasion, it’s a wise bet to grab something in a versatile color (like the medium grey option seen here) or the dark navy pairing available through the J. Crew Factory site — that way, the suit can be worn year-round. The fact that this fabric is crease-resistant means that you could even wear it while traveling. If only a blazer need be worn at the wedding in question, picking up something in a vibrant color on the cheap (like this Combat Gent Travel Jacket) would be the way to go (pair it with some crisp khaki chinos for style outside the summer, too). And even if things get as laidback as a polo and chinos (for a beach wedding, perhaps), the suit trousers or jacket could act as separates.

Ben Sherman US

The Dress Shirt: Combat Gent Endurance Shirt — $35

A white shirt that performs much like its name would  imply.
A white shirt that performs much like its name would imply.

Take it from someone who test-drove this shirt in temperatures pushing 100 degrees — when it’s hot out, you want something that’ll wick away sweat and still look crisp. Even if the wedding is indoors, a fabric like this will help you out big-time when moving around outside.The collar will stand up amply without a tie if the wedding leans more casual. And similar to the rest of the brand’s offerings,  it’s exceptionally affordable and performs well for the price — a very agreeable one, at that. You could also opt for a similarly polished shirt from Mizzen + Main, who’s picking up steam as of late with performance-minded dress shirts (among other offerings).

The Shoes: JC Penney Logan Wingtip — $49.99

These shoes also made an appearance in last year's budget style series, and for good reason.
These shoes also made an appearance in last year’s budget style series, and for good reason.

For those on an extreme budget (and if you’re having to buy the suit in one go as well), picking up a dirt cheap pair of surprisingly reliable wingtips  is one way to stand out from the crowd of black shoes likely to be there while also saving a good amount of money (loafers could also accomplish this in truly hot weather). Wingtips are the type of shoe that can work with a full suit and tie or a blazer and chinos — plus nearly any other outfit you can think of throughout the year. While this pair might not be exceptionally durable, they should more than do the job in a pinch (as would some simple suede Derbys from a brand like H&M). Don’t forget about brands like Florsheim, who makes one heck of a sharp dress chukka if you want to switch up your style even further.

The Accessories: The Tie Bar White Pocket Square and Navy Knit Tie — $35

Two items that can work anywhere, anytime -- especially in the summer.
Two items that can work anywhere, anytime — especially in the summer.

Keeping the focus on buying for versatility and affordability, The Tie Bar is still one of the best bets for your money out there as far as accessories go. Yes, those prices have increased — but when you consider the fact that some retailers sell pocket squares on their own for more than the price of the ever-versatile navy knit and white cotton combo seen here, it doesn’t seem so bad. Both those pieces will stand on their own, especially with the medium-grey suit seen above, as well as with a navy option (don’t forget about a summertime staple, the khaki suit). As far as other accessories go, this depends on how much you’re willing to push the boundaries of style — but you could pair wingtips or loafers with no-show socks and a rolled cuff for a cooler breeze (particularly appropriate with loafers), or opt for a punchier patterned pair.

The Rest: J. Crew Braided Leather Belt — $49.50 + Timex Easy Reader Brown Leather Watch — $38.96

Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months -- and beyond.
Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months — and beyond.

With the shade of shoes shown above, it’ll be a little trickier to match both your shoe and belt leathers. But because summer weddings overall do tend to be more casual, a braided leather belt fits right in (H&M is among retailers stocking cheaper options, by the way). The belt’s more expensive than the watch, yes, but this timepiece makes up for it with a textured brown leather strap that considerably dresses up the plainer dial while also meshing nicely with the color of the belt and the shoes. It’s the type of leather that would also work with brown leather loafers.

So that closes the books on this summer wedding style suggestion — making use of items you already own, like a trusty navy blazer or some sturdy chinos can help offset the need to buy all-new gear for a summer wedding. And reaching for affordable style staples makes a lot of sense too and can help ease your wallet through the process. Feel free to let me know what you’ll be packing and wearing at any upcoming summer weddings!

And for those of you who do need some stylish garb for the summer, check out the exclusive promo opportunity below!

$10 Off a purchase of $100 or more; Free Shipping on orders over $200 at Ernest Alexander Enter promo code: STYLEGUIDE10 at checkout. Valid 06-12-2015 through 07-31-2015

Father’s Day Gift Guide

FathersDayTopperBuying for your old man probably isn’t as difficult as it was living under (or continuing to live under) his roof … right? Take the time to thank your dad or the father figure in your life for his hard work, reliability and guidance (good talk, Dad). A gift is certainly a nice way to do that, although a phone call or visit on top of that are ideal. If you do go the gift-giving route, finding something with sentimental and meaningful value can really be one way to convey your love and appreciation. Tailor that gift to suit the recipient’s interests, and you’ve got yourself a winner — particularly on Father’s Day.

For The Traveling Dad: A Huckberry Field Guide ($17.95 for One, $88.98 for the Full Set)

Buy just one, or buy the whole set -- your call. Packed with tons of unique information.
Buy just one, or buy the whole set — your call. Packed with tons of unique information.
Got a dad or father figure in your life who likes to travel? While a sharp weekender bag is certainly one way to go, a Huckberry Field Guide is a memorable change of pace. These things provide a wealth of information in a refreshingly old-school paperback format.These guides are certainly designed to go lots of different places; they’re packed with interviews, local lore and information, memoirs and hand-drawn maps. Featured cities include cool locales like Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York, as well as on-the-rebound Detroit and perennial road trip favorite San Francisco.

Ben Sherman US

For The “Cool Dad”: GREATS Brand Rosen Sneakers, $49

Durable, very comfortable ... and possibly a good gift for Dad this time around? Photo credit: Liz Todd.
Durable, very comfortable … and possibly a good gift for Dad this time around? Photo credit: Liz Todd.
While not everyone’s dad would be a fit for these sneakers, if you’ve got one on your list who appreciates crisp design and retro styling touches, the GREATS Rosen would be a nice buy. The fit on these is comfortable, the color options offer nice variety in terms of versatility, and the price is hard to beat. Wear ’em with chinos or jeans, and perhaps pick up a pair for yourself if you’d like a discount. An upgraded pair of swim trunks (like these striped board shorts from United By Blue) could also be a great buy.

For The Grillmaster: Bespoke Post “Charred” Box, $45

American-made tools, a tasty hot sauce and some nice smoked wood chips -- everything Dad needs to grill out.
American-made tools, a tasty hot sauce and some nice smoked wood chips — everything Dad needs to grill out.
Simpler alternatives like a nice bottle of barbecue sauce could also hit home for the dad who loves to cook, but the Bespoke Post Charred box offers up the complete package. A word to the uninitiated: You need to hand over your email address to access the site, but that knocks $10 off what would be a $55 purchase without a membership. Like the rest of Bespoke Post’s exceptionally well-curated boxes, it really goes above and beyond — a set of high-quality grilling tools, maple wood chips for smoking meats, and a tasty-looking bottle of hot sauce are yours with purchase.

For The Beverage Fiend: Owen & Fred Carving Leather Coasters, $29

Durable leather makes for a very nice coaster from which to enjoy a hearty adult beverage.
Durable leather makes for a very nice coaster from which to enjoy a hearty adult (or regular!) beverage.
Owen & Fred certainly has a number of gifts worth picking up for Dad, from cheeky money clips to neat pens and sharp notebooks. However, if your dad fancies himself a nice beer or glass of wine, a set of four coasters made from lovely yet durable 8 oz. carving leather could be just the thing to buy. Complete that with a value-added accessory, like the brand’s truly sweet “You Earned It” bottle opener or something like a beer variety pack and that’d be one heck of a gift set. On the more expensive side of things, a dad with a love of old-school style and design could also appreciate this kit from Baxter of California.

What’s on tap for your Father’s Day? Any of these gifts catch your eye?

Florsheim

Ernest Alexander