Style in the city: Celebrating the Fourth of July in NYC

Editor’s note: Click here for another look at how to dress for summer in style.

Checking out Upstate Stock, one of my favorite NYC menswear shops, in style. Slim chambray shorts from the Canvas by Lands' End line. Moroccan Tee by Tommy John. Chariot Runners by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Sunglasses by Spine Optics. Denim Tote by JackThreads.

Checking out Upstate Stock, one of my favorite NYC menswear shops, in style. Slim chambray shorts from the Canvas by Lands’ End line. Moroccan Tee by Tommy John. Chariot Runners by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Sunglasses by Spine Optics. Denim Tote by JackThreads.

The Fourth of July presents a double-edged sword in terms of style and planning (at least for us #menswear fans). It involves travel, it involves hot weather, and it involves a few different style scenarios. Now, I’ve spent the holiday in recent years in both Michigan and in NYC, so this past (or current?) long weekend was a bit of change, as I explored Brooklyn and NYC in style with friends. It can feel strange to stick around town when lots of people hit the road, but hanging around the Big Apple proved to be relaxing, fun and yes, very #menswear-centric (as always).  Plus, it was a great way to test out some patriotic style fit for exploring the city, and the beautiful weather made it all the better — with more menswear activity on the way on this fine July 4th. I’m always up for traveling in style, but this time, that only involved the subway. However, you can put similar tips to use whether you’re hopping around town for coffee or lunch, or catching a flight coast-to-coast.

With the promise of Monday off, I set out to take on the weekend in style with a few warm weather-friendly combos. Saturday was an excellent day to explore Williamsburg, and for that endeavor, I tossed on a brand-new pair of slim chambray shorts from the fine Canvas by Lands’ End line. The terrific Canvas by Lands’ End collection updates several great menswear staples, from chino shorts to henleys, and these particular chambray shorts combine a tailored fit with a textured fabric that’s a nice change of pace from khaki shorts — give them a try if you get the chance. They worked perfectly with another updated style staple, a slim (and very soft) Moroccan Tee from basics maker Tommy John — the notched collar is visually interesting enough to work on its own, or layered under, say, a chambray shirt or even a navy blazer (not that this past weekend got that fancy). The combo was a visually interesting update on a casual T-shirt & shorts, and my colorful Brooks Heritage Chariot Runners offset it perfectly. On the watch front, I reached for a dependable style favorite, my Timex x Red Wing Heritage Waterbury Chrono — it’s the perfect mix of rugged and refined style, and it won’t break the bank. Plus, it works for travel — it’s both a bit dressy and casual — and it’s comfortable to wear for hours on end. I supplemented that with a pair of flexible, durable aviators from Spine Optics; they’re great to grab and go, as the frames and hinges are built to flex and bend, not snap.

Just part of the amazing Upstate Stock shop -- great natural light, a well-curated selection of home goods and even better menswear.

Just part of the amazing Upstate Stock shop — great natural light, a well-curated selection of home goods and even better menswear.

The beautiful Brooklyn weather was just an added bonus to the main focus of my trip to Williamsburg (other than a quick haircut at the Corner Barber). I was able to spend some time and catch up with the staff at the recently opened Upstate Stock shop (as seen above). The shop is a really excellent, well-curated home to tons of lifestyle essentials, and its Web shop is just as well-done. From handmade soaps to refined stationary and men’s grooming goods, everything in the store is sourced domestically or made in New York  state or the city itself (namely, fine leather goods from Slightly Alabama are produced nearby). In fact, picking up a few of the shop’s special-edition postcards (designed by the ridiculously talented Christian Watson of 1924us) is a personal favorite. The store is exceptionally well-appointed and laid-out — it’s a fine example of how to use space and natural light (and the reclaimed wood tables don’t hurt the aesthetic). They also stock pantry essentials  and serve excellent coffee and pastries within the shop. Stop in, shop around, peruse the well-edited selection of obscure craftsmanship & lifestyle magazines, and stay a while — it’s a welcoming, friendly and calming atmosphere. Plus, there’s nothing better than celebrating American-made style for the Fourth of July. Of course, to take some goodies from the shop, I grabbed my JackThreads Daily Tote — made from real denim, it’s an eye-catching and efficient way to lug around a few small items for a day out and about.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
A busy day of exploring led to a night out and about with some good friends in Manhattan — the great news is, I was able to transition my Moroccan Tee from day to night, and I traded in my chambray shorts for some slim light wash Mott & Bow denim. Made with a hint of stretch, the Mott & Bow Wooster is perhaps more comfortable than any denim I own — in either Skinny, Slim or Straight fits, I’d suggest you snag a pair and rock them as frequently as you can. For city-appropriate style, I stepped out in some leather chukka boots (that’s another versatile style move, as they work for travel & city exploration alike). And if you pack and wear versatile accessories — like a durable leather watch — you can also transition a timepiece from day to night … so, that’s what I did!

Can't go wrong with a printed tee and slim shorts in warm weather. Stringer Dune Shorts and Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by The Hill-Side. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Field Guide by Wildsam. Brass bottle opener by Owen & Fred.

Can’t go wrong with a printed tee and slim shorts in warm weather. Stringer Dune Shorts and Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by The Hill-Side. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Field Guide by Wildsam. Brass bottle opener by Owen & Fred. Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

Sunday presented another chance to step out in style, followed by today’s  much-needed holiday. The main Sunday directive? Head to the Festival of Independence at the South Street Seaport for an afternoon of tasty bites, cold beer and live music (capped off by indie rockers Wild Nothing, a personal favorite).  Checking out live music in style is a must, and although skies were cloudy on-and-off throughout the day, I always relish the chance to dress for warm weather (especially given how brutal winter can be — right??).  I grabbed some comfortable, slim-fitting Stringer Dune shorts from Bridge & Burn (they’re sold out in Khaki as seen here, but available in a just-as-versatile Gray). In keeping with the nautical theme of a day spent at the seaport, I tossed on my sailboat print T-shirt from J. Crew — it’s an older style, but I’d offer up a slim pocket T-shirt from the brand as a worthy alternative for concert-going or a casual day around town. Comfortable sneakers are a must-have when exploring or rocking out to live music, and my Pale Indigo Washed Denim Sneakers from The Hill-Side turned out to be a reliable and stylish choice, as always. Plus, they worked well in tandem with a simple-yet-refined brown leather timepiece from MVMT Watches (always a solid decision). And I kept the sun off my face with a Flat Wool Cap, also from Bridge & Burn — I’ve found it to be a sharp style upgrade from a plain athletic-logo ballcap (for a bit of a price, of course).        

  The day was an excellent one, and my style combo worked nicely to transition from the day into the evening. It’s always a treat to see an artist like Wild Nothing capture a crowd — particularly at a free show (as you can see above!).  Jack Tatum and co.’s shimmery, breezy rock played well off the waterfront atmosphere, and tunes from the group’s new album, “Life of Pause,” were definite crowd-pleasers, including the record’s lead single, “TV Queen,”  a wavy, low-key rock track characteristic of the band’s style. The group is jetsetting off to South America for a run of dates, but their new album is one of the better releases of the year to date, and they’re worth a listen in the meantime. Seeing them for free was a great way to cap off two of the weekend’s three days, but there’s more Brooklyn exploration — and fireworks — to come today. I’ll be taking on the day in my slim Mott & Bow denim, and accenting that with a pair of patriotic socks from DivvyUp, plus classic white Seavees sneakers and a reliable blue chambray shirt.

To get of-the-moment style tips and menswear musings in the meantime, check out your humble author on Twitter, and to see style in action, swing on through my Instagram. Any style questions? Shoot me an email anytime via the Contact page.  Lastly — I hope everyone has a great holiday, and takes some time to be thankful for our amazing freedoms here. To be able to write this blog is a privilege, and it’s among the many that I’m thankful to have.

And finally: Thanks, as always, for reading,


The Friday Read: Fourth of July 2016 Edition

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.  

We’ve reached another great summer long weekend — the Fourth of July! It’s about being thankful for our freedoms above all else, but it’s also a welcome vacation and a chance to get together with family and friends — hopefully in style. So, in true Style Guide fashion, today’s Friday Read is all about the holiday. It was a busy week in preparation for some much-needed time off — I even covered the best gear to wear for the holiday over at The Manual. Perhaps you had a busy week and are also looking forward to hitting the road, or at least enjoying some much-needed downtime. To mark a special occasion like the Fourth of July, it can be nice to kick back with a special cocktail — even if you’re a big craft beer fan, like myself. It’s a treat to enjoy a beverage that’s well-made and nuanced, like a lot of the finer things in life (especially #menswear). So it’s with that in mind that we’re giving you a holiday-centric drink option from the team at Johnnie-O — they sure do know how to make ’em, and if you caught my Masters 2016 cocktail post, you know that quite well. Check out the recipe below, plus a wearing suggestion from the brand, and read on for a few more Fourth of July weekend style tips.

The brand's 9OH2O Swim Shorts are a classic pairing alongside a tasty beverage.

The brand’s 9OH2O Swim Shorts are a classic pairing alongside a tasty beverage.

 The Red Hot American Summer Drink

The Ingredients:

  •  1.5 shots of rum — the folks at Johnnie-O prefer Ballast Point Three Sheets California Small Batch White Rum
  •  1 sliced lime
  • 1/4 ginger beer
  • Cayenne pepper
  •  1 sliced jalapeño
The Process:
  • Place 2 lime wedges in a sturdy glass, using a muddler to crush the lime.
  • Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
  • Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with ginger beer.
  • Sprinkle cayenne to taste, and garnish with jalapeño.
  • Enjoy!

While it requires some ingredient-wrangling, the process of making and enjoying a great drink can be a lot like the pursuit of finding style essentials: Worth the wait. Right? Right. Now, if you’re looking for more menswear to complement your weekend, grab a pair of swim trunks from Johnnie-O, like the 90H20 Surf Shorts pictured above. But wait, there’s more! On the apparel front, the folks at lifestyle brand Kinfolk teamed up with La Paz on a 9-item capsule of light, airy and breezy continental style staples that could work this weekend and the rest of summer, including this excellent printed shirt and other pieces, among them some easygoing linen trousers (they’re a bit out of the ordinary, but if you find yourself hanging out near the water or on the coast this weekend, they could definitely work). Oh, and because we all love a few cold beverages while lounging in the warm weather, snag an item or two from the Herschel Supply x Coca-Cola collab — yes, you read that right. They’ve got an assortment of everyday carry essentials, from a tote to a backpack, all with insulated liners built in to keep drinks cool (and the fact that they’re made from recycled PET materials is another positive).

As to the rest of your Fourth of July style essentials, grabbing one of the best weekender bags out there is definitely in order, and some slim swim trunks or classic men’s sunglasses can’t go wrong, either. And if you need more warm-weather essentials or tips on how to style them, head over to my Instagram. Look out for tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week, and a look at great dive watches coming on Monday.  Whatever you might do this weekend, enjoy the holiday, the time off and celebrating our great freedoms in style.

Enjoy the weekend, and stay stylish!

Frank & Oak

Style Suggestion: Fourth of July

With everyone’s favorite patriotic holiday quickly approaching, I’m sure you’re wondering what to wear (or at least, I assume you’re planning on wearing some form of clothing for the holiday!). Around special events like these, there’s always the option to wear things with a full-on Americana tilt. In situations like this however, there actually isn’t a ton of need to go all out and wear, for example, an actual American flag print pair of pants. Keep things simple, stylish and classic — as well as well-fitting.  American-flag pants aside, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your outfit while still sticking to a patriotic color palette.

The Shirt

Chambray at an affordable price.

Chambray at an affordable price.

This shirt knocks out the blue portion of the outfit right off the bat. Assuming it’ll be hot where you are on the 4th, or at the very least a pleasant temperature, a shirt with short sleeves loses the added bulk of a long-sleeve shirt. And if short sleeves get too chilly when the sun goes down and before the fireworks start, a lightweight cotton sweater or cardigan in a neutral color could be handy to have near you. The above option pictured above from Old Navy is inexpensive and (from personal experience), just the right quality for the price point — not paper-thin, not too heavy either. It’s also available in a lighter-color wash, in case you feel the need to lighten things up a bit.  And perhaps most importantly, in an all-season fabric like chambray, this shirt is highly versatile (for more options on what to pair it with, see a recent post by yours truly on Effortless Gent).

The Shorts

J. Crew's Stanton short.

J. Crew’s Stanton short.

Directly on your lower half, we now see the red portion of the outfit. Without going full-on red, white and blue pants, a nice washed red shade will do the job nicely while losing the extra fabric of pants in the heat. In particular, these shorts from J. Crew have a stellar washed feel to them, without burning your eyes in terms of intense color. As with every other item in your closet, keep an eye on fit — the proper pair for your wardrobe  should hit above the knee and fit trim (stay away from cargo shorts!). If your plans call for something more dressy and you’d like to keep going with red bottoms, reach for a washed chino in a similar color. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a PR intern with Bonobos — I can say without bias that their pants really do fit as well as advertised!). Conversely, if the situation calls for some dark denim, reach for a slim, inky blue pair like these.

The Shoes

An All-American classic.

An All-American classic.

And here we have the white portion of the outfit. The key to keep in mind with this combination is that while it nods to the colors of the holiday, it doesn’t go overboard. Particularly, a subtle, classic canvas sneaker can be worn nearly anytime of the year, and so it just seems like a natural choice — especially in the heat of the summer. Additionally, it pairs equally well with colored shorts because of the stark white color, and it also wouldn’t look out of place with some cuffed denim or rolled chinos. If the bright white is too much, a simple grey pair could work, too. Keep in mind that the collared shirt up top helps you go more casual with your shoe choice. But, if it gets fancier on you and plans change, some polished-yet-casual loafers would be perfectly in order. And when going sockless with these shoes, keep in mind these tips about proper shoe (and foot) care.

The Rest

A simple summer belt.

A simple summer belt.

Although it’s assumed that your pants or shorts could most likely rest just fine without a belt based on proper fit, it’s always a nice fundamental touch to wear a belt (let’s say you get the urge to tuck in your shirt, or attend a gathering that’s a bit more dressed up). In the summer, keep things casual and don’t overdo it — avoid the shiny leather dress belt you might reach for with a suit, and go for something lighter-weight, like a cotton option with a hint of stretch. The above option from Club Monaco  is decently priced, available in most sizes and, more importantly, epitomizes summer casual, especially with the D-ring loops.

A clean and classic Timex.

A clean and classic Timex.

Adding in a watch can go one of two ways — if you stick with the largely casual version of this outfit and go with shorts and sneakers, something like a sturdy yet still-polished rubber strap watch could blend in perfectly with the rest of the casual outfit. And since the outfit and watch are both casual, there’s no need to worry about matching the black rubber strap to the leather on the belt. However, if you go with the dressier version of the outfit (denim or chinos and loafers), a stainless steel dive watch would be an excellent, versatile accent to the ensemble. Given the ability to go either way on this occasion, this Timex Easy Reader watch hits both points of the dressy spectrum. It’s well-made for the price point and can do almost anything, too. The leather strap is a go-between option to both dressy or casual outfits, yet the crisp, white face (with numerals) is sharp without being crazy minimal or too dressy. And although it wears somewhat smaller than some other brown-leather watches, it’s still an extremely valuable pick-up for the price point.

The biggest key with this patriotic (yet simple) outfit is to nail fit on the shirt and shorts and keep the accessories relatively minimal and simple, while nodding to the colors of the holiday. More importantly, these are just clothes — the biggest thing is to enjoy the day and have fun spending time with loved ones!