Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Lightwash Denim for Spring

Editor’s note: For online shopping picks primed to get you ready for spring, head here.

Lightwash denim is an ideal spring style move -- if you're feeling adventurous, it can even work with a dark denim jacket. 484 Jeans by J. Crew. Denim jacket by American Apparel. Loafers by G.H. Bass Patterned NATO strap by The Knottery and watch by Timex. Photo credit: Khoa Nguyen.
Lightwash denim is an ideal spring style move — if you’re feeling adventurous, it can even work with a dark denim jacket. 484 Jeans by J. Crew. White henley by Target Merona. Denim jacket by American Apparel. Loafers by G.H. Bass Patterned NATO strap by The Knottery and watch by Timex. Photo credit: Khoa Nguyen.
Guess what, folks? Just like that, it’s almost April! That means that if you haven’t already, it’s high time to incorporate some spring style trends into your wardrobe. Recent #menswear shopping picks on this site have covered broader categories like great spring outerwear and stylish spring sweaters, but today’s post goes a bit more specific. If you read this blog, follow me on Instagram or have checked out some of my other writing work (thanks, by the way!), then you’ll know all too well that I love the styling power of dark, sturdy denim. But lightening up colors, textures and washes is a great way to switch up your wardrobe and get really into spring and summer — all the while wearing denim (trust me, it’s crucial if you find it odd to wear shorts a lot, like this fella). So the below shopping picks are going more relaxed, casual and spring-ready — it’s certainly tougher to dress up lightwash denim, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a solid pick-up for weekends or more casual work or class days. Got all that down? Good. Got a credit card handy? Even better.

#1. Mott & Bow Slim Baxter Jean in Medium Blue — $108

Roll 'em, cuff 'em, wear 'em about any way you please.
Roll ’em, cuff ’em, wear ’em about any way you please.
If you’re a bit wary of shelving your chinos or dark denim, ease into it with a comfortable pair of denim that still retains more than enough dark color to satisfy the selvedge fans among us. These aren’t a classic, super light color, but they’ll do. The Baxter from Mott & Bow makes use of the brand’s 5-month wash, incorporates some comfortable stretch, and comes at a price that’s pretty darn agreeable compared to your typical pair of raw denim. Throw in that home try-on program and that’s an A-plus pair of spring denim for you.

#2. JackThreads Slim Denim in Light Wash — $59

Decidedly lighter and constructed with a slim fit.
Decidedly lighter and constructed with a slim fit.
Whereas pick no. 1 on this list goes for a darker color (and retails at a higher price point), option no. 2 leans decidedly lighter in wash and, one might say, decidedly more retro. This pair of JackThreads denim  might be what you more commonly think of when reaching for a pair of lightwash jeans (see this post here, for example). But the way JT crafts its products, these should be an excellent value — perfect if you don’t feel like dropping $100-plus on a pair of jeans for your rotation.

#3. J. Crew 770 Jean in Leroy Wash — $125

Casual style potential and a more forgiving fit characterize the Leroy.
Casual style potential and a more forgiving fit characterize the Leroy.
For those of us that would prefer to stick with a slightly better-known mainstay, J. Crew’s back at it  this spring with the Leroy Jean in its 770 fit. That means, most importantly, that it’s cut with more room in the thigh and waist for those among us who don’t prefer (or can’t quite fit into) slimmer jeans. This writer’s a fan of the 484 fit from J. Crew, but the 770 has proven itself among the menswear contingent as a solid back-up option. As to the price, well… you could stick around for a sale, but know that the denim is coming from Japan.
Florsheim

#4. Bonobos The Jetsetter Jean — $168

A rough-and-tumble wash gives this denim a unique look.
A rough-and-tumble wash gives this denim a unique look.
Is it just me, or have Bonobos denim prices hopped up a bit in recent years? At any rate, this stretch denim features 2 percent elastane built in (like some pairs of Mott & Bow denim), and should fit as solidly as Bonobos’ famous chinos.  The Medium Blue wash leans decidedly darker than some of its counterparts on this list, so it could more easily be paired with, say, a navy blazer and a white Oxford (although that would be a solid combination with any pair on this list). Rock these guys just as they’re shown on the brand’s Web site — with brown suede chukkas — and you’ve got a casual style combo ready for date nights or days at the office.

#5. Ace Rivington Italian Comfort Denim in Medium Vintage Wash — $239

A more classic fit and medium vintage wash tie right into the quality one expects from an American-made brand.
A more classic fit and medium vintage wash tie right into the quality one expects from an American-made brand.
While this pair of denim isn’t as light in color as its counterparts here, it’s the way to go if you want an incredibly sturdy (and pricey) pair of washed denim. Ace Rivington takes the quality and construction of its garments as seriously as its unique backstory, and that’s resulted here in a quality pair of more classic-leaning denim. They feature a slim, tapered fit (it won’t be overly skinny) and a medium rise. Note that this pair comes with a 34-inch inseam — so these might need to be rolled, or they can simply be cuffed to your liking. Either way, you’re getting a middle-of-the-road that’s another nice way to ease into lightwash denim.

If you still find yourself scouring the far corners of the Internet for a great pair of lightwash denim, know that there were a few brands that didn’t make the cut here. Specifically, classic retailers like Old Navy are producing lightwash jeans with a hint of stretch, and you can even snap up slim-fit jeans in a lighter wash from Target’s Mossimo line for an excellent price.  When picking up your pair and styling them, pair them with the same style staples as you might a slim pair of dark denim — think rugged short-sleeve henleys, a printed short-sleeve shirt or a classic white Oxford to start. Don’t worry — there’s plenty of time to grab your pair and get on the lightwash denim (which is totally a thing, trust me).

Did I miss any picks? Let me know on Twitter!

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#OOTD: Tailored Style for Spring

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

So we’re slowly but surely creeping towards warmer spring weather, at least in NYC. That’s good news if, like yours truly, you were getting sick of the cold (as much as I love layering with rugged winter style staples). As the weather warms up and gets more breezy, you might run into the temptation to shelve your blazer (or your black dress shoes) in favor of more laidback style combos. But you can definitely still nail a sharp business casual look using pieces that are in play the rest of the year — namely, a classic navy blazer with a subtle pattern, plus a sharp white shirt. The below look should be sharp but not stuffy, featuring just enough personality to set you apart from other, less well-dressed fellas. That’s the goal of these things, right? To leave #OOTD suggestions of your own, head over to The Style Guide Facebook page. Stay stylish!

Business-ready spring style with sharp black Oxfords and subtle patterns.
Business-ready spring style with sharp black Oxfords and subtle patterns.

The Blazer: J. Crew Factory Thompson Microdot Blazer, $131.50 — Recognize this blazer? It was first featured in this St. Patrick’s Day style feature, but it works plenty of other times of the year thanks to the subtle variation in pattern.

The Shirt: Paul Fredrick Extra Trim Fit Non-Iron Button-down Dress Shirt, $89.50 — The upscale, dressier answer to a more laidback Oxford-cloth shirt, this piece is part of the brand’s new, slimmer offerings.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Corduroy Dots Pocket Square, $10 — Dots on the blazer and … dots on the pocket square? Yes, indeed — the color and scale are just different enough where it works out, plus the corduroy breaks up the dots on your top half, too.

The Pants: J. Crew Factory Slim Bedford Linen-Cotton Pant, $55.50 — While lightweight khaki chinos can also work here, these pants will serve you well in breezier, warm spring and summer days alike. The slim stripes and light grey color are a nice change of pace, too.

The Shoes: Jack Erwin Noah Quarter Brogue Oxford in Black, $195 — Black shoes can still be worn in spring and summer even when everyone else turns to brown; it makes this outfit all the more sharp sans tie.

The Belt: Tanner Goods Classic Belt, $100 — Just the right mix of casual and formal, this is a go-anywhere belt that works in casual and formal situations.

The Socks: Society Socks in Visionary Blue, $9.20 — Lest this outfit miss out on the sudden arrival of color that is spring, these socks add a definite pop to the get-up.

The Watch: Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield in Silver, $229 — Daniel Wellington’s watches, while a step up in price from a Timex or another casual watch, provide sharp, versatile style — and in this case, sufficiently dressy looks.

The above ensemble perhaps isn’t the most groundbreaking offering — it does feature a navy blazer, a white dress shirt and black Oxfords, for instance. But that’s where subtle changes in pattern, better quality (in the case of the shoes) and a bit of color — by way of the pocket square and socks — come into play. The black leather watch and belt shown above are timeless staples that’ll work in any outfit across the rest of the year, too. Plus, the shirt should fit nice and trim if you take off that blazer during the course of the day. Now, roll up those sleeves and get work — this new gear won’t pay for itself!

Shop the latest in Men's styles Under $50 + get FREE Shipping on orders over $100 at Frank & Oak!

Style Upgrade: The Casual T-Shirt

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to style dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. For more entries in the series, click here.

Upgrading the humble T-shirt today. Rust V-neck by Pistol Lake (more on the brand in a bit!). Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Sunglasses by Randoiph Engineering. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.
Upgrading the humble T-shirt today. Rust V-neck by Pistol Lake (more on the brand in a bit!). Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Sunglasses by Randoiph Engineering. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

It seems we’ve been heralding the start of spring weather here on The Style Guide for a number of weeks (at least if my spring style wish list is any indication), so that means a couple key things. Namely, a solid spring jacket and a stylish spring sweater are going to go far for you in the coming weeks (and on into cooler summer nights). Beyond that, what else is there to know? Quite a bit, actually. For one, plenty of us are going to find ourselves rocking more T-shirts and polos in the coming months than during fall or winter — likely on their own, or else after shedding a jacket or sweateer. For another, there are some definite ways to upgrade that T-shirt from a standard number. Perhaps you know the kind I’m talking about? A bit baggy, maybe a bit dirty, featuring an old logo (think the Abercrombie & Fitch tees of years gone by?). If that’s what you had in mind, know that there are far more wearable, far more stylish casual T-shirt options out there — and not a lot of them break the bank.

A neutral color, a trim fit and a not-too-deep V -- the hallmarks of a good V-neck.
A neutral color, a trim fit and a not-too-deep V — the hallmarks of a good V-neck.

By definition, you could consider a rugged short-sleeve henley part of the T-shirt category. But, we’re talking strictly tees here — things like a slim pocket tee, a heathered crewneck tee, or a reliable V-neck tee. You name a variation on a style within those three iterations, and it’s like that a great designer or brand has taken it upon themselves to perfect it. For you, my fellow T-shirt fan, that’s great news indeed. Take, for example, the surprisingly versatile V-neck tee. Pistol Lake crafts the particular tee you see at the top of the page, and its made-in-America ethos, slim fit and jersey fabric are all great qualities. The “V” itself in the right V-neck doesn’t dip too low (a la American Apparel), yet it still adds some nice visual interest as opposed to a plain crewneck. Mixing in some unexpected color here can be a good thing, too. I Keeping the fit slim is also positive. It’s definitely the most casual option of the bunch, but a good V-neck tee could even be rocked under a lightweight, unlined blazer on a hot (and not-too-dressy) workday. It would be wise to reach for an option that’s a bit more expensive — tees from retailers like H&M are often too flimsy (at least according to this menswear writer).

Just a white T-shirt? Think again. Slub cotton and a modern fit upgrade this Buck Mason number.
Just a white T-shirt? Think again. Slub cotton and a modern fit upgrade this Buck Mason number.

Designers and brands are also crafting variations on the crewneck, and packing in a  ton of simple style points in the process. Take Richer Poorer’s new pocket tees. They feature a workwear-inspired pocket, plus your pick of either a versatile Heather Grey or a just-different-enough Natural color. When you’re rocking a tee on its own (or even under a blazer), subtle changes in fabric and style details go a long way. Buck Mason is also a brand that’s taken on the tall task of upgrading the standard pocket tee — and they’re doing a great job at its. The White Slub Pocket Tee is cut to fit slim and trim, with exceptional-looking fabric. Either pick is a great option that can easily be worn on its own with slim stone chinos, dark denim or tailored sweatshorts. Of course, a heather pocket tee pairs perfectly with a rugged denim jacket, lest we forget.

One retailer, two solid T-shirt upgrades from JackThreads.
One retailer, two solid T-shirt upgrades from JackThreads.

But shelling out for the perfect tee doesn’t have to be expensive — even though some of the picks featured above lean a little pricey. JackThreads, as has seemed to be the case with its two seasonal collections, nails the price-quality equation in terms of knitwear. Namely, pieces like its Daily Vee in Heather Blue run for just $18 (or 2 for $30). Plus, the Daily Pocket Tee (pictured at left), offers the exact same deal and nice styling potential, to boot. If 30 bones strikes you as a lot for a T-shirt compared to a standard 3-pack of tees, know that the investment will pay off — this is a style upgrade we’re talking about, after all. In addition to reaching for deeper colors with some texture, mainstay brands like J. Crew turn out new T-shirt variations season after season. Take its textured pocket T-shirt, for example. Those bold stripes in an appropriately spring-like color make it a perfect tee to rock on its own.

An Affliction T-shirt, this is not. A sublte, stylish and sly effort from Todd Snyder.
An Affliction T-shirt, this is not. A subtle, stylish and sly effort from Todd Snyder.

Perhaps the most common stigma about the simple T-shirt is that, in this case, graphics should be thrown out entirely. While there’s a time and place for a loud graphic tee, this is …. not that time (sorry to disappoint). Luckily, classic (and classy) American menswear designers are turning instead to athletic inspiration to craft graphic tees that are decidedly more stylish than Ed Hardy tees. In particular, Style Guide favorite Todd Snyder is offering a cheeky take on the graphic tee as part of his collaboration with Champion, which mixes urban cool with vintage sportswear. Those are two very good things.

The biggest part about upgrading your T-shirt, however simple, might simply be checking out retailers (whether in-person or via online ordering) and trying on various styles. In particular, it’s worth a look into classic retailers like Old Navy, who can offer a huge (HUGE) range of options at really affordable prices with solid sizing. After all, you want a tee that fits modern (but not overly tight), and you want to pick up essential items that can be mixed in with other spring style classics. So, spending $170 on a T-shirt might not be the most economical or versatile for any of us. But, $30 for 2 stylish tees in versatile colors, for example? Now we’re talkin’. As we’re just into the start of spring, there’s plenty of time left for you to upgrade your T-shirt game. Let me know how your search goes over at The Style Guide’s Facebook page, or swing on through Twitter.

Stay stylish!

-Beau

Style Pick of the Week: Daniel Wellington Dapper Watch

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.

Devilish details that strike a very dressy (and dapper) tone from Daniel Wellington. Thanks to the brand for this stunning watch!
Devilish details that strike a very dressy (and dapper) tone from Daniel Wellington. Thanks to the brand for this stunning watch!

As it says in the above disclaimer, these Wish List picks cover “expensive splurges” from time to time. And as luck would have it, today’s pick definitely feels splurge-worthy. While the versatility of a great dive watch is something every guy should keep in mind when shopping, there’s another category that can be pretty fulfilling to… well, fill when it comes to your watch game. Specifically, there’s something inherently special about a timepiece that looks, feels and functions like a true dress watch — with a  higher price point, to match. In today’s case, the new Daniel Wellington Dapper Reading Watch fits into that niche perfectly. Daniel Wellington, if you’re not familiar, has  exploded in popularity in the past five years thanks to its understated, minimal watch designs that mix clean lines with a classic aesthetic. They just launched a SoHo pop-up, which I had the great fortune to attend earlier this week. Pop-up shop aside, they’re a favorite of this menswear writer. It always pays off to have a slim, crisp watch in your regular rotation — after all, the Daniel Wellington Sheffield (for example) can be paired with everything from a tee and jeans to a sharp suit.  But the Dapper Reading Watch — part of the brand’s new Dapper Collection — is in a league of its own, built and designed beautifully.

The blue hands and Roman numeral hour markers put this watch firmly in dressy territory. Photo courtesy of the brand.
The blue hands and Roman numeral hour markers put this watch firmly in dressy territory. Photo courtesy of the brand.

After checking out both the collection and this watch earlier this week, I’m happy to report that it’s just as sharp in terms of design and functionality as it is in terms of style. While you can combine your purchase with an additional strap for more versatility, I stuck with the black crocodile-texture version — and man, it’s a beauty. Note that it’s also available for purchase with a vintage Rose Gold case if silver isn’t your thing. The 38mm case diameter feels understated and dressy, yet it’s not too diminutive in size (although a 34mm version is also offered for women).  The crown operates very smoothly, as well. Critically, the black crocodile texture strap is an excellent compliment to sharp tailored wear and crisp black shoes. Although black dress shoes can feel too plain for some, it’s actually a way to set yourself apart from the crowd — look at Bond. That brings us to perhaps the most crucial detail of all — the eye-catching, razor-sharp Roman numeral hour markers (which stand in contrast to the crisp single-line markers on other Daniel Wellington timepieces). The date window at 6 o’clock is a pleasant and understated addition, and the blue hands are yet another lovely design touch. Yes, this watch is certainly worth every penny of the $299 price tag, and there’s no question that it would be an excellent purchase if you’re in the market for a dedicated dress watch — or better yet, if you simply want to treat yourself to something (wait for it) … dapper. Done and done.

Do you own any Daniel Wellington watches? Would you splurge on the Dapper Reading watch?

The Friday Read: The State of #Menswear, Batman v. Superman and Spring Style

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

As things stood going into last week’s Friday Read, I was quite hoping we’d have the chance to talk some Michigan State basketball here on the blog. But. Well. We’ll leave it at that. At any rate, it was still fun to host my great friend Stephen Brooks he covered Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament, and all that activity played into a big week itself. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of catching up with the four brothers behind Brothers & Craft — Zac, Clay, Kirk and Matt –who happened to be in NYC for a whirlwind trip as they launched their next special project (check out their Instagram for more stylish things ahead!). They’re a great group of guys, generous with their time, fun to be around and a real pleasure to know. I was lucky enough to be able to hop down to the opening of the Daniel Wellington SoHo pop-up shop that very same night. And on that note, look for more details on Daniel Wellington’s new line tomorrow on the blog! As the week rolled along, it was even more thrilling (if that’s possible!) to attend the  prestigious WWD Menswear Summit on behalf of my day job at Coyne PR — it was an excellent look at the state of the industry itself, and covered everything from social media to retail trends to designer outlooks for the next few years. What a week — it really is extraordinary to get continually greater opportunities so frequently. It’s busy, to say the least — and given all of that, I need a bit of a nap this weekend. Maybe before you settle down, take a glimpse at the below #menswear reads. Enjoy!

  • Have you been following any other brackets out there besides March Madness? Namely, any style brackets? The one put together by the team at Get Kempt moved into the Style Sweet Sixteen this week.
  • Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill have been hitting the road to promote the upcoming release of the much-hyped Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice flick — but have they been doing it in style? GQ.com investigates.
  • The massive trade show that is Baselworld just wrapped up this week, and Esquire.com offers up its drool-worthy list of the top watches from Baselworld that you should get on your wrist … now.
  • While this is neither a long read nor a style note, Lollapalooza announced a truly epic run of artists to celebrate its 25th anniversary, from LCD Soundsystem headlining to Lana Del Rey, Kurt Vile and stellar folks like DREAMERS and Arkells billed further down.

Is your shopping cart empty? Fill it up with some buying suggestions.

    • Grab a stylish spring sweater to layer up with for those chilly nights, in case you missed our latest Online Shopping Picks piece.
    • Stock up on more spring style essentials via my latest post at GearMoose.com — this one was a ton of fun to write!


Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Sweaters for Spring

Editor’s note: To catch up with other Online Shopping Picks fit for each and every season, head this way.

Is it  just me, or does this seem familiar? Well, we were here on Monday talking about the best men’s outerwear for spring. And now, we’re back with another Online Shopping Picks entry — yet, this isn’t déjà vu. Rather, today we’re tackling another somewhat overlooked but quite crucial facet of spring style — transitional layering outside of spring jackets. So for all those in-between times when it’s not breezy enough for a coat, but you’d feel more comfortable with another top layer. It’s a tricky time of year, yes? And there’s another crucial distinction to make here — while it’s great to wear something like a thick shawl-collar cardigan during the depths of winter, such a sweater is just too overpowering for the spring. We’re lightening things up, mixing in some trends and looking at a plethora of price points in the picks below — stay a while, won’t you? In the meantime, if you’d like to see anything on The Style Guide in particular, hit me up on Twitter.

#1. JackThreads The Reverse Sweatshirt — $59

Definitely a change of pace compared to a standard crewneck -- but perfect for spring.
Definitely a change of pace compared to a standard crewneck — but perfect for spring.

Maybe it’s just me, but yours truly feels that if you’re going to rock a sweater in the spring, it doesn’t hurt to take a bit of a style risk and go for a piece that’s distinctive… yet oddly versatile. JackThreads launched its full menswear line last fall, and the most recent crop of spring offerings nails it again in terms of price, quality and unique styling potential. The Reverse Sweatshirt uses on-trend colorblocking and some unique details, to be sure — but it actually leans more middle-of-the-road thanks to the neutral color palette. It’s not terribly expensive, and it would be a great change of pace when worn with lightwash jeans or tan chinos and white sneakers on weekend outings.

#2. H&M Fine-Knit Cotton Sweater — $24.99

We're talking a very manageable price and a neutral, wearable color.
We’re talking a very manageable price and a neutral, wearable color.

Spring is all about color, right? So why the pick of a heather grey cotton sweater here? Well, versatility is pretty critical, for starters. However, at a price like this H&M sweater here, you very well might be able to get away with grabbing the blue version of this piece as well. But sticking to what’s in the cards — H&M seems to do certain things very well for the price, and if you’re not looking to drop a ton of cash for a piece that might see limited use (particularly if you live in a warm climate), then it’s perfectly acceptable to spring for something a little cheaper — been there, done that. If you’re interested in a higher price point, though…

#3. Bonobos Linen Henley — $98

A switch from heather grey to a lighter blue that should pair quite well with dark denim or khaki shorts.
A switch from heather grey to a lighter blue that should pair quite well with dark denim or khaki shorts.

First things right off the bat — is this a henley, or is it a sweater? Both? For being a linen knit, the photos certainly make it look a bit thicker in terms of fabric. It’s certainly a higher price point, but the quality should definitely be there given Bonobos’ history of solidly constructed knitwear. The Cloudy Blue color strikes a different vibe than light grey or even a  darker navy, so it would be a unique pick to pair with chinos and desert boots (know that for now though, it’s only available in the brand’s Slim fit). It could certainly be rocked on its own, but it could also complement a white Oxford for a spring-ready layered look.

#4. J. Crew Factory Textured Cotton Crewneck Sweater — $32

The textured cotton and chest pocket are nice visual touches.
The textured cotton and chest pocket are nice visual touches.

For seasonal staples that pack in quality very similar to J. Crew, there’s just one place to turn — the big brand’s smaller offshoot. Crafted from textured cotton that looks soft and with some nix texture, this cotton crewneck sweater could definitely be a spring go-to, especially in that shade of khaki. It would work as a solid top layer with navy chinos and a blue Oxford for the work day, and it could also be thrown on over a simple white tee with linen shorts similar in styling to one of the outfits here for when you head out to a campfire or a rooftop barbeque. Toss in some white sneakers and you’re practically ready for evening after evening of fun.

#5. Billy Reid Fisher Crew — $145

From the maker of the Bond Peacoat -- a seasonal sweater that's splurge-worthy.
From the maker of the Bond Peacoat — a seasonal sweater that’s splurge-worthy.

It wouldn’t be an Online Shopping Picks entry if we didn’t highlight a splurge-worthy entry from one of this site’s favorite American menswear designers. Billy Reid takes Southern sensibilities and mixes ’em with a dash of heritage style for seasonal offerings like this crewneck sweater, which gets a lot right. The raglan sleeves are cut to make your chest and shoulders look broader without the added bulk of, say, a winter sweater. The cotton-polyester blend should be lightweight and breathable, and the cream contrast cuffs are a nice-looking design touch. This just might be the dressiest sweater of the bunch based on sheer quality alone  (although feasibly any of these pieces could be worn over an Oxford, for example).

So what’s your take on the spring sweater? Worth the hassle (and style points), or no? Keeping the principles of solid fit, versatile color and a price within your reach are all key when hitting the market. If you play your cards right, the above pieces could even be layered under a tough denim jacket  in the fall — that’s definitely two-season style from one sweater (maybe even three if you toss on a great winter peacoat). Don’t forget about other spring style essentials to go along with this guy — to that end, we’ll have features on excellent spring sneakers and jeans coming up in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

And most importantly — stay stylish,

-Beau



#OOTD: Dressing for a Casual Spring Workday

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

As we’ve talked about often on The Style Guide, great style doesn’t always have to mean suiting up — contrary to what it might seem out there in #menswear world. Sure, it’s absolutely fun (let alone necessary) to dress up every now and then — particularly for big occasions — but in some workplaces or on particular days, it’s just not all that functional or comfortable. That doesn’t mean principles of style (like fit, sharp colors and seasonal layering) can’t be put to just as good of use in a more casual outfit — like the #OOTD you see below. That’s particularly the case with a lightweight jacket that can take the place of your favorite blazer. So today, we’re talking transitional layers, slim chinos and some pieces that should hopefully stand out seamlessly at work and on the weekends alike. Have any scenarios you’d like covered in the #OOTD series? Let me know on Facebook!

A versatile outfit suited for the workday or the weekend -- that's the goal, right?
A versatile outfit suited for the workday or the weekend — that’s the goal, right?

The Jacket: Bridge & Burn Hayden Gray Jacket, $188 — Your average H&M windbreaker, this is not. Why is it worth it to pay more for a made-in-America spring jacket? Because in a neutral color, you can wear this guy in plenty of other outfits.

The Polo: Grayers Slub Nep Jersey Polo, $59.50 — Look to Grayers for an updated take on the classic navy polo — the slub texture of this shirt makes it the ideal switch-up from a plain pique number.

The Chinos: Abercrombie & Fitch Skinny Chinos, $68 — More Abercrombie & Fitch? Oh, yes. These skinny chinos in a terrific washed olive colorway are perfecting for pairing alongside understated neutrals like navy & grey.

The Shoes: Florsheim Casey Wingtip, $110 — These are a great casual wingtip thanks to the contrast stitching and ever-so-slightly roughed-up leather. Classic white sneakers could work here, too.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Braided Leather Belt, $20.50 — If ever there was a time to pair a braided belt with wingtips, this is it. The casual texture and color should match up quite well with those shoes — the colors aren’t an exact match, but let’s overthink this.

The Socks: J. Crew Factory No-Show Loafer Socks, $10 — Yes, we’re going with the sockless look here. Some aren’t partial to this look, but since these wingtips shouldn’t be too hard to break in, it should work just fine. If that’s too much, you could always grab some cream-and-black socks for a neutral look.

The Watch: Invicta Pro Diver 8926, $79.99 — Is there a better price for a fairly tough, versatile stainless steel dive watch? It’s tough to beat, that’s for sure.

The above #OOTD plays off some unique color combos, like navy and olive, and brings it all together with a durable, investment-worthy jacket and other classic pieces. A stainless steel diver for under $100 is tough to find, and snagging a pair of casual-yet-sharp wingtips is also something that can be pretty difficult to do. Suffice to say, this outfit is a definite upgrade from the more standard khakis-and-a-navy-polo look (although that can be done well in some cases). Try it out the next time you face a Casual Friday dilemma.

What’s your take on the above ensemble? How would you make it your own?
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Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Spring Jackets

Editor’s note: For a full host of seasonal shopping picks, click here.

Here’s a sneak peek for you at what’s coming this week on The Style Guide — shopping picks, and more shopping picks! With the long-awaited transition to spring currently ongoing all around (hopefully), there’s plenty of shopping to be done if you need to update your wardrobe. I know I’ve certainly been looking to cross some items off my spring style wish list. And while sometimes you can take a look at what you have in your wardrobe and easily assemble a sharp, #OOTD, sometimes you still need a little extra … something. In this case, that something is a great spring jacket, critical for navigating the sometimes quickly changing weather and temperatures of this time of year. After all, it’s not quite warm enough to go forth in a spring sweater  — which we’ll cover Wednesday — yet that winter coat is long gone. The below picks aim to get y’all outfitted at a variety of price points and styles, although versatility and maximum usability is critical in terms of outerwear. Keep in mind that we’re not getting crazy technical here, so if that’s your game … maybe give it a read anyways? And if you have any picks you think I missed, head on over to The Style Guide’s Facebook page and let me know.

#1. Abercrombie & Fitch Genuine Suede Bomber — $600

Abercrombie & Fitch -- not what you'd expected, right? A stunning new spring offering.
Abercrombie & Fitch — not what you’d expected, right? A stunning new spring offering.

If you’re not hip to the scene yet, Abercrombie & Fitch is back in a big way this spring thanks to the already-hyped efforts of former Club Monaco head of menswear Aaron Levine. Its knitwear looks to be in great shape (particularly this indigo popover), and solid, rugged pieces like the above Genuine Suede Jacket are doing lots to sway perception of the brand. $600 might certainly seem like a lot of cash to throw down if you haven’t shopped at A&F in years, but know that this stunning jacket was crafted in partnership with the outerwear experts at Golden Bear.  Worth a second look, huh?

#2. H&M Cotton Shirt Jacket — $34.99

The classic-yet-modern styling potential one expects from David Beckham's H&M partnership -- at a very low price.
The classic-yet-modern styling potential one expects from David Beckham’s H&M partnership — at a very low price.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits H&M with this dark blue Cotton Shirt Jacket from its Modern Essentials collection (well-done, Mr. Beckham). Granted, the quality of the brand can sometimes be suspect, but collections done in partnership with the soccer legend do get quite a few things right in terms of nailing continental, modern style. This shirt jacket is completely different in style than the above suede bomber, but it would function as a nice weekend layering piece over a long-sleeve tee, and you could even rock it on its own for a casual Friday.

#3. Bridge & Burn Hayden Linen Jacket — $188

Lightweight and highly wearable in several situations.
Lightweight and highly wearable in several situations.

There seems to be two ways one can go when selecting outerwear — either slightly less expensive and less versatile, or pricier and more versatile & durable. The Bridge & Burn Hayden Linen Jacket certainly echoes that last one — it’s a nice and lightweight cotton-linen blend in a neutral grey colorway, and it’s designed in the U.S. from a brand that knows how to craft sustainable apparel and outerwear. It should function perfectly over a lightweight cashmere sweater and a simple tee, and you could even sub this jacket in for your more typical khaki blazer.

#4. Todd Snyder Chelsea Varsity Bomber Jacket — $198

An offering that's equal parts city and sport-inspired from Todd Snyder.
An offering that’s equal parts city and sport-inspired from Todd Snyder.

No matter the season, Todd Snyder always seems to deliver some excellent style staples — be it his take on classic white P.F. Flyers sneakers or athletic-inspired outerwear, like the Chelsea Varsity Bomber Jacket from this season’s collaboration with Champion. It certainly has  a slightly edgy, noir-ish style compared to some of the other pieces on this list, but sometimes, sleek black outerwear isn’t a bad thing. The cotton body should be lightweight and comfortable for layering over a classic Oxford shirt, and the leather detailing at the shoulders adds a bit of visual interest. While this jacket is a tad pricey, it’s certainly not as expensive as some of the brand’s other Spring 2016 offerings.

#5. Grayers Reston Quilted Jacket — $165

A hybrid jacket that's ideal for the shifting temps of spring.
A hybrid jacket that’s ideal for the shifting temps of spring.

This jacket was first seen on this blog’s Spring Style Wish List, and the Reston Quilted Jacket is popping back up here for good reason — it’s a versatile piece that takes a mixed approach to seasonal outerwear. That is to say, it combines the silhouette and stand-up collar of a field coat with a quilted exterior, plus the color and relatively slim fit of a navy blazer. That means you can wear it like both a jacket and …well, a blazer. If you’re looking for ways to style it, look toward simple staples like slim stone chinos (say all that five times fast) or lightwash jeans — the color contrast definitely works.

When shopping around (er, I mean researching) for this post, a few brands kept popping up — and if you’re looking to continue your search, I’d say you might do well to supplement the above picks by swinging through Bonobos, who stocks a variety of seasonally appropriate outerwear and unique styles. If your budget is substantially higher, keep in mind that classic, Americana-focused retailers like Billy Reid are also crafting lovely outerwear options. Whether you’ve got money to burn or not so much cash on-hand, scoping out a jacket that’s versatile and appropriate for your lifestyle is going to be goal numero uno — so, pretty important. If there are any brands you think got lost in the shuffle, hit me up on Twitter! In the meantime, happy shopping.



Style Pick of the Week: Mott & Bow Wooster Denim

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.

What's in a name? Just about everything when it comes to the Wooster from Mott & Bow.
What’s in a name? Just about everything when it comes to the Wooster from Mott & Bow.

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m quite the fan of Mott & Bow denim. If you clicked this post and thought “Gee, I’ve seen that brand here before,” it’s because, well … you have. They occupy a fairly unique space in the style world — that of being an E-commerce retailer focused solely on denim — but the great thing about the brand is they do it so well. That is, they look to offer new washes and styles with regularity, they deliver on quality for the price and they throw in some nice added benefits, like a home try-on program that allows you to pick out the perfect size via free shipping. Admittedly, the jeans — particularly the Medium Blue rinse you see above — also made my Spring Style Wish List. Needless to say this writer’s certainly been eyeing them for a while. While Mott & Bow can definitely do raw denim well, and it delivers in terms of straightforward dark-wash denim, the brand also does a nice job with less-common varieties of denim. In the case of the Wooster Jean in Medium Blue, that would be a not-quite-stonewashed, not-quite-dark indigo pair of jeans that come with a truly remarkable amount of stretch — 35 percent, to be exact (35!). For comparison, the Mosco in Dark Blue features 2 percent. So, we’re absolutely talking next-level comfort here. Why should that matter to you, my fellow denim lover? Well, Mott & Bow simply gets the job done.

Black detailing -- like the back patch and rivets -- complements the unique wash of the Wooster from Mott & Bow.
Black detailing — like the back patch and rivets — complements the unique wash of the Wooster from Mott & Bow.

Namely, it’s in the details, some of which can be seen above. Specifically, these jeans (which I was lucky enough to receive for a review), are absurdly, remarkably comfortable (note that they’re available in Straight, Slim and Skinny fits). It’s tough to explain, but it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re wearing jeans. They definitely seem to get better and more comfortable throughout the day, as well.And yet, you still get all the styling potential of your favorite pair of denim, complete with a slightly more unique wash. We’re certainly advocates for the versatility of dark, inky blue jeans here at The Style Guide, but there’s also something to be said for incorporating something a bit more eyecatching and lighter in color (not to mention weight) for the spring and summer months. If you’re the type to wear heavy indigo denim everyday, these would be an excellent change of pace while still giving you the option to pair with several ensembles. These aren’t a decidedly dressy pair of denim (the brand’s dark blue-black Mercer fits that bill), but they can still be rocked with a navy blazer and brown wingtips — check out this visual example here for some style inspiration. They’d perhaps be at their best when worn on casual weekend outings, though — think a pocket tee and some colorful sneakers. Give these Mott & Bow jeans a try with nearly anything you can think of — given the high comfort level of this pair of jeans, you probably won’t want to take them off.

Are you thinking of picking up the Wooster from Mott & Bow? What’s your go-to styling move with lightwash denim?