There are certain places that I’ve put on my growing personal travel bucket list in recent years — places that constantly pull me away from New York as much as I love it. And if you read The Style Guide regularly, you know that I love to get out and about in style, from exploring Brooklyn to hopping on a flight to Chicago and Lollapalooza 2017 recently. When the chance came up to take a weekend trip to Nashville, a city that’s as hyped as any for any its blend of live music, culinary delights and a cool atmosphere, I jumped on it. My parents have loved Nashville for years, so it’s definitely been on my radar — but as I started planning out my fall travel style earlier this year, I knew I wanted to pack in as much as possible when it came to seeing the Music City. That meant this weekend was filled with #menswear, craft beer and of course, live music — namely, a high-energy, passion-packed show from Young the Giant, supported by Cold War Kids and Joywave! Of course, if you follow me on Instagram you’re familiar with my trip — and if not, come along for the ride.
Getting to Nashville is no easy feat — as it were, I had to catch a very early flight out of NYC, but that left me with nearly a full day in the Music City. How did I dress to go from the plane to my airBNB and beyond? Funny you should ask. I did my best at dressing to travel in style, while also keeping in mind the fact that I had to dress for a rock concert later — a tricky balance. For versatile layering and crisp style, I threw on a classic navy Oxford from Mott and Bow, a recent introduction to the brand’s line. The classic Oxford shirt meshed well with my new Abercrombie and Fitch denim, built with stretch for comfort and finished in a slightly faded shade of black. On the footwear front, my Florsheim Forward Lo Sneakers in a handsome shade of brown leather offset the combo nicely — I’ve found these sneakers work quite well for concerts and travel alike, as I also wore them trekking to see The Killers in New Jersey earlier this year. Of course, I had to take along other handy everyday carry essentials, including the always-essential Bespoke Post Vibes Box, featuring my LSTN Sound Co. Fillmore Headphones.
And for a full day of exploring Nashville — including a post-flight stop at the famed (and aptly named) Mas Tacos Por Favor — these sneakers proved similarly stylish. With striking yet subtly stylish design and durable construction, my Electric California Carroway Leather Watch worked for day-to-night style. Of course, I prepped for the show by plugging into my reliable Bespoke Post Vibes Box, featuring the eye-catching LSTN Sound Co. Fillmore Headphones. So, that was the gear I brought with me — and it helped me navigate Nashville stylishly and effectively. For what it’s worth, if you’ve got your own Nashville trip coming up, I can’t recommend the crisply designed, jam-packed Nashville Field Guide from Wildsam, full of interesting tidbits and useful information on hidden gems throughout the city.
Nashville really is a city packed with something for everyone — it’s revered for its vibrant music scene, and it’s also full of craftsmen and women who put serious care into everything from excellent food to craft beer; my Wildsam Field Guide helped me figure that out in a hurry. With rugged dark denim, workwear-inspired basics and plenty of attention to detail throughout, imogene + willie is a terrific Nashville example of simple goods made very well — and the handsomely appointed storefront is a joy to explore in its own right. And equally important — it’s close by to 12 South Taproom, a down-home bar with a great selection of tasty, refreshing beer. Speaking of craft beer: Hops and Crafts also stood out for its mix of industrial style and premium craft brews, plus gourmet bites. In short, it was a worthwhile pre-show stop!
Even with a full day exploring Nashville in the rearview mirror, I still had an amazing Friday night ahead. With its prime riverfront location and excellent sight lines, Ascend Amphitheater proved a stellar venue for a night of live music — it’s certainly not as revered as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, but it was still a treat to see three excellent bands throughout the night. Cold War Kids have long been a favorite, and I had the chance to see them debut their rollicking new album, “Love Is Mystical,” earlier this year in Brooklyn. It was absolutely a treat to see them play a longer show — recent classics like the joyous “Miracle Mile” mesh nicely with fresh hits like the album’s title track and of course, throwback cuts off 2006’s still-excellent “Robbers and Cowards.” They’re a band that’s worth seeing just for that album alone, and they certainly made their mark opening for Young the Giant (alongside Rochester, New York-based five-piece Joywave).
I had seen Young the Giant in New Haven earlier this year, and the band’s packed setlist proved alluring enough to see them again. Recent jams like “Silvertongue” and “Amerika” brought an energetic crowd to their feet just as easily as huge indie radio hits like “Cough Syrup” and “Apartment” — powerful tracks like “Something to Believe In,” off last year’s “Home of the Strange” also helped set the tone early. This is a band with swagger, confidence and cool, eclectic style — in large part thanks to lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s voice and sharp fashion sense. Young the Giant has been on the road for a while in support of this albun, so they also sounded tight and crisp — a great band to watch in a big live setting, complete with a cold beer or two. That’s perhaps the best way to start a trip — at least, I think so. And the best part? My weekend trip gave me the chance to explore even more of the city Again, if you want to cover a ton of ground quickly and effectively, I’d urge you to pick up the Wildsam Nashville Field Guide.
I always relish the chance to dress in casual weekend style — that’s where my Grayers Montreaux Windbreaker continues to come in handy. From taking in live music at NYC’s Panorama 2017 to traveling to Chicago last month, this jacket can do it all — so it proved a crisp, classic layer atop my DSTLD Midnight Blue Denim Shirt, done up in a deep midnight blue and crafted from breathable cotton. Fall calls for a transition to more earthen, faded colors in terms of trousers, too. A new pair of tailored Original Penguin Bedford Cord 5-Pocket Pants offered go-anywhere style that helped me bounce from a crucial weekend kickstarter — coffee at the fantastic, industrially appointed CREMA — to a stop at rocker Jack White’s revered Third Man Records outpost. Of course, I kept on time through each stop with an old favorite, the durable Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono — truly, the Timex Waterbury collection is perfect if you want a rugged watch fit for travel and exploration. If your next trip calls for lots of time spent on your feet, reach for versatile trousers in a fall-ready shade, then finish off your look with a pair of comfortable-yet-rugged boots, like Florsheim’s 125th Anniversary Wingtip Boots as seen above.
My Saturday wasn’t done yet, though. Now that we’re into fall, I absolutely had to see my beloved Michigan State Spartans kick off another football Saturday — even away from my home base of Brooklyn, Nashville features quite a few loyal Spartan fans. Bar Louie in the Gulch offers everything you could want when it comes to taking in a game, from a fun crowd to delicious craft beer to monstrously good burgers like the Spiked Bulleit Bourbon Burger. Spartan fan or not, it’s tough to pass up a finely crafted beer and a good burger, right? That’s also where Pinewood Social came into play later on in the night. The cavernous location is a handsomely appointed cocktail bar/gourmet restaurant/work space/game center complete with a bowling alley and an outdoor pool — ideal for taking in the sights and sounds of Nashville after an MSU game. What more could you want on a Saturday night on the road? Not too much, folks.
Sunday brought my Nashville trip to a close, but not before plenty of exploration in and around the city itself. Before leaving town, I absolutely knew I had to stop at a classic spot in the city — that’d be Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. I turned my attention toward menswear next; that meant a stop at a favorite outpost, Billy Reid. With shops from Chicago to Charleston, Mr. Reid’s handsome, premium menswear embodies cool, versatile and breezy Southern style with a modern look and feel. As it were, that’s what I tried to do when it came to my Sunday travel style. Even casual outfits should start with classic footwear — my all-new CLAE Gregory Mid Sneakers featured a neat monochromatic color scheme and plenty of all-day comfort. They were an easygoing complement to my DSTLD Slim Light Wash Jeans — even though we’re getting into fall, there’s still plenty of time to break out your favorite slim light wash jeans, preferably alongside stylish sneakers and rugged accessories — my Saddleback Leather 4-Stitch Leather Belt was a key piece throughout the weekend and should break in quite nicely. Other essentials were in the mix, too — a stylish chambray shirt from JackThreads layered easily over a rugged short-sleeve henley from Abercrombie & Fitch. It was, unfortunately, time to head to the airport all too soon — I’m glad I dressed in comfort, though! When you’ve got a long flight ahead of you but still want to look great, reach for a classic pair of high-top leather sneakers — like the CLAE Gregory Mid seen above.
If you’re heading to Nashville soon, well, I just can’t recommend the city enough. It’s packed with hidden gems, neat breweries, cool menswear, a terrific music scene and of course, something for every culinary taste. From live music to menswear to a dash of college football, this past weekend had it all — I’m thankful my Wildsam Nashville Field Guide helped me go off the beaten path a bit, too. It was a great trip to kick off what should be a great fall season — and as always, you can follow along with my travels here on the blog or on Instagram. Let me know — are you hitting the road soon? Where are you headed?
Until the next trip — thanks for reading!