The List: Here are the Best Men’s Style Upgrades to Start the New Year

Faherty Brand

Roll up your sleeves and get to work with this timeless Faherty Brand shirt.

Can you believe we’re already diving right into the first edition of The List for 2019? If you’re not familiar, we cover off on the best menswear essentials for every occasion you can think of. Whether you need menswear to wear to the office or a casual ensemble to wear to your favorite brewery, you’re going to find gear to help you do it in style. And as we look toward a new year, it’s worth reconsidering your style staples and upgrading them accordingly — starting with your new favorite flannel shirt from Faherty Brand. OK, let’s start the year right.

Faherty Brand Brushed Alpine Flannel Shirt — $148
Faherty Brand Review

No frills and no added bells & whistles — just a mighty fine shirt.

Simply put, it’s easy to look great when wearing gear from the likes of Faherty Brand. These West Coast-based menswear purveyors can seemingly do no wrong The Brushed Alpine Flannel Shirt is a no-nonsense addition to your wardrobe, as easily wearable with slim denim and chukka boots as it is with classic chinos and brown leather dress shoes to start 2019.
Flint and Tinder Waxed Ridge Parka — $398

An exceptional parka to keep you warm all winter.

Searching for a truly badass, tough winter parka to pair with your new favorite shirt (that shirt being the Brushed Alpine Flannel Shirt from Faherty Brand)? Well, here you go. An incredible effort from Flint and Tinder.
Peregrine Waffle Crew Neck Jumper — $144

A beautifully crafted sweater for cold winter mornings.

There are the type of rugged men’s sweaters you’re going to want to reach for on chilly winter mornings — the Peregrine Waffle Crew Neck might just take the cake, seeing as it’s that rugged and that stylish.
Buffalo Jackson Dakota Waxed Weekender — $294.98

A tough waxed canvas weekender bag for all your winter adventures.

You might know Buffalo Jackson for the brand’s stylish shirt jackets, but the Dakota Waxed Weekender has the potential to become your new favorite travel bag. The perfect bag to bring for any winter travel plans.
Taylor Stitch Primrose Jacket — $328
Taylor Stitch

Sleek, functional and ready for rainy days aplenty.

Blending the functionality of a trench coat and the sleek style akin to that of a fishtail parka, the Primrose Jacket from Taylor Stitch is simply uncompromising — just the coat to buy for the new year.
Bellroy Classic Set Slim Leather Wallet$109

Slim, sleek and functional — the perfect leather wallet.

Let’s be honest, you’re going to want to upgrade your wallet to start this year off right. The Bellroy Classic Set is a combination stylish leather wallet and key cover with RFID protection — pretty sweet, if you ask me.
 Flint and Tinder 10-Year Sweatpants — $88
Flint and Tinder

Perhaps the best men’s sweatpants — and certainly very comfortable.

Just because it’s now 2019 — with style resolutions abound — doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your sweatpants. Just upgrade your old pair with these stylish sweatpants from Flint and Tinder, ya dig?
About Vintage 1969 Special Edition Watch — $269

A striking and sharp timepeice to upgrade your watch collection for the new year.

From talking about casual sweatpants to talking about a classic leather dress watch? That’s how we do it here on the blog — this handsome About Vintage timepiece is a looker.
 Buck Mason Port Pima Curved Hem Henley — $48

A new classic — Buck Mason makes some of the best men’s henleys on the market.

From the rich color to the fine detailing to the neat curved hem, this Buck Mason henley is easily one of the best men’s henleys money can buy. Wear it with a rugged denim shirt from the same brand, or try it under a durable winter jacket with perfectly faded jeans.
Levi’s Trucker Jacket — $69.99 (When On-Sale from Levi’s)
Levi's

A rugged, timeless denim jacket from Levi’s.

Want to refresh your outerwear in a big way? There’s one way to do it, and that involves picking up a classic jean jacket from Levi’s, an iconic brand that makes the best men’s denim jacket around.
Billy Reid Denim Shirt — $195

A denim shirt that’s going to get better and better every time you wear it.

Speaking of denim … we’ve got a classic denim shirt from Billy Reid for the taking. We talked about how to wear the light wash iteration of this shirt in this #OOTD, and this indigo denim shirt is every bit as stylish and versatile.
Rhodes Dean Boots — $220
Huckberry

Equal parts sleek and sturdy, these are an excellent addition to the Huckberry brand.

A new entry into the Huckberry arsenal of men’s style essentials last fall,the stunning Rhodes Dean Boots are high-quality and expertly crafted without breaking the bank. Surely, these are some of the best men’s leather boots to wear to upgrade your office ensemble.

Flyte Buckminster Levitating Lamp — $349

A seriously cool way to upgrade your home office or desk.

You know something we haven’t talked about quite yet? Stylish home decor upgrades to start 2019. Well, this eyecatching Flyte Levitating Lamp is one place to kick off your search.
Flint and Tinder Jet Black Jeans — $118

Slim, sharp black jeans — simply perfect.

Every guy arguably needs a pair of slim black jeans in his wardrobe — the Flint and Tinder Jet Black Jeans fit the bill very nicely. Wear them to your next rock concert.

That’ll wrap up our first take on The List for 2019. What sort of shopping must-haves are you looking at this year? For me personally, I can’t get enough of the exceptional Rhodes Dean Boots — and I’d wear them with the Brushed Alpine Flannel Shirt from Faherty Brand.
Alright, happy shopping!
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Style Q+A: Designing Your Space with Oxford Pennant

It’s an oft-repeated adage here at The Style Guide — small style upgrades really can make a big difference.  Whether that means stepping up your grooming game or upgrading your casual shirt, there are lots of little areas where the end results are self-evident if you focus on the little steps along the way. Be it looking for a better-fitting shirt or refined suede Chelsea boots, it’s all in the details. That’s particularly true when it comes to areas outside the realm of #menswear — namely, upgrading your home goods or upgrading your office. It really is underrated. Working and living in a pleasing environment surrounded by things you enjoy is one of the small pleasures of life — look at the home of ex-J. Crew menswear head Frank Muytjens. And so, it makes sense that we’re talking upgraded home goods (and an upgraded life!) with the subjects of today’s Style Q+A, the fine folks at Oxford Pennant.

It was after a fine, stylish Sunday brunch (and requisite menswear blogging) that I strolled into one of my favorite Brooklyn menswear shops, the crisply designed and handsomely outfitted Modern Anthology. And what did I happen upon but a cabinet and wall adorned with unique pennants? Hard-to-place, at once masculine and modern, yet vintage. Those pennants, folks, were from Oxford Pennant. That leads us nicely into our latest Q+A, as it were. I’ve been mighty pleased with the pennant I picked up that day, which you might recognize from my Instagram. Hanging on my wall, it serves as a daily reminder to work harder, think forward and push myself — and it looks cool, too. Know that in addition to vintage-inspired pennants, the brand also makes handsome championship banners that add color and instant style to any blank wall. It’s certainly very likely that you’ll want more than one piece from the assortment — and that’s a great thing. With the spirit of home upgrades in mind, I caught up with  Oxford Pennant co-founder Dave Horesh to talk why you need a pennant (or championship flag) in your home or office, why it looks great, and what you can do to instantly upgrade your space. Again, folks — the small style upgrades matter, and Oxford Pennant can help you make more than a few.

The Style Guide: What spurred your moment of inspiration to start the brand?
Oxford Pennant: We never set out to start a brand. We’re from Buffalo, which is a city that looks back in time as much as it looks forward. There’s a fixation on the past that’s inescapable here. Brett (my business partner) and I would go to estate sales and pick through huge collections of old pennants from the early 20th century. To us, it always seemed like a piece of Americana that had lost its popularity. One day, we decided to make a batch of “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennants for friends and family. We posted them on Instagram, the photo caught on and people began reaching out to us to have their own pennants made. We filled those orders and folks began posting photos of their custom pennants on Instagram. Then their friends started asking where they could have pennants made, and a company was born.

Sutro Footwear

A close-up of one of the brand’s championship banners.

TSG: A pennant or a flag might not be the first thing a guy thinks of when decorating — what do you think those pieces can add to a space in terms of design?

OP: You know, a flag is something that’s always used as a symbol of pride and identity. Pennants are essentially a small, house-sized flag. I think they’re a pretty clear opportunity for self-expression. We started using the tagline “Celebrate Everything” when it became clear to us that we were making pennants to commemorate the things that bring people joy in their lives. Their hometown, a wedding, a concert or even a feeling. I think pennants are the ultimate souvenir to chronicle and commemorate one’s life.
Oxford Pennant

A daily reminder from Oxford Pennant to “hustle” — get it?

TSG: For the guy who’s just starting out decorating his space — be it a desk or a dorm room or an apartment — what are some tips you’d share?

    • Start with the classics. Estate sales are a great place to find quality items.
    • A space is always a work in progress. You’ll never be done.
    • Get as many plants as you can. Learn how to take care of them.
    • If you care about something, frame it.
    • Put back the Christmas lights, bro.

Greats

 

TSG: You’ve got some great-looking pieces in your assortment — what’s your favorite product from the line?

OP: I’ll always love our “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennant. I’m proud of my city and that item will always be the first chapter of our story. As we reach company milestones (like attending our first trade show or buying our first piece of equipment), I snap a photo with my “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennant. 
TSG: Just for fun (aside from an Oxford Pennant piece), what’s one style essential every guy should own?
OP: A Vespa.
And, well … there you have it, folks. Oxford Pennant does work that’s consistently great, consistently stylish and definitely worth it in terms of your time and dollars. I’d urge you to shop the brand’s line and follow Oxford Pennant on Instagram for plenty of style and décor inspiration.
In the meantime … stay stylish.
-Beau


Reader Giveaway Opportunity: Friday and River

Editor’s note: Read to the end of this post to learn how to win a new set of home goods from Friday and River!

giveaway-photo-edited

A new Friday and River candle could be a handsome addition to your home. Matches via Modern Anthology.

The concept of upgrading your entire lifestyle as you upgrade — and add — to your #menswear wardrobe is one that we take to heart here at The Style Guide. By we, I mean me — but you knew that already. And if you want to complement a stylish wardrobe with stellar home goods, there are certain brands worth knowing — particularly as a new year kicks off. Throughout the past few months, I’ve had the chance to discover and get to know Friday and River, whom you might recognize from a past Style Guide Q+A entry. I also covered the brand’s line of essential home goods for The Manual, and if you haven’t yet acquainted yourself with the ways in which the brand can upgrade your home, office or apartment … you best listen up. Named for the last names of co-founder Joe Freitag (Freitag is German for “Friday) and his wife, Yumi Kawamura (Kawamura means “river” in Japanese), it’s a brand that takes a nuanced approach to home goods for the discerning consumer. This practiced, minimal and versatile approach comes from the design experience of the duo with major brands like Levi’s, plus their time in Tokyo — which is quite the menswear mecca in and of itself. Starting with their natural leather-wrapped candles (as seen at the top of the page) and carrying through to a unique selection of well-crafted leather tote bags and minimal and smart leather card holders, the line encompasses all the small details and nice finishing touches you didn’t know you needed in your life.

For instance — thinking of adding a small plant to your office or apartment? Grab a handsome, minimal leather-wrapped planter; it’s a combination that’s masculine yet smart, perfect for complementing a study or a wooden desk. Are you with me on that? The more you look for style upgrades throughout your life, the easier they are to make — and that pursuit is getting even easier today. Yes, with the latest Style Guide giveaway, we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to win one leather-wrapped planter, one candle and one leather coaster set  of your choice — a pretty darn good value, and a heck of a deal if you ask me! How to win, you ask? Now through midnight Friday night (that’s January 13th), comment below and tell me how you’d use those home goods to upgrade your office, apartment … you name it! Seriously, that’s it. Sound good? Good.

Best of luck out there — thanks for reading!

-Beau

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 Upgrade: The Slim Crewneck Sweater

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

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making -- the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making — the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

Andddd…. we’re back! With the Style Upgrade series, that is. It’s been some time since an entry in this series ran (see past entries here), but the time is just right to talk at length about sweaters — something I’ve often said to myself daily this winter. While you can use a merino V-neck sweater as part of a high-low outfit combination — like this #OOTD entry — and you can wear the heck out of nice cashmere cardigan, certain styles are definitely trending in the marketplace and on the torsos of well-dressed guys everywhere. The crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt, in its more casual form) certainly isn’t what it once was — and that goes for its more casual iterations and its dressier counterparts. So with a return to form in mind, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe — or perhaps just pick up another sweater.

A piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks -- Todd Snyder.

A stellar piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks — Todd Snyder.

Most menswear fans probably recognize the crewneck sweatshirt from its sportier beginnings, and the ways in which designers have taken the same idea and slimmed it down. Like the Reigning Champ Crewneck Sweater that was featured as this site’s Style Pick of the Week, there’s a lot that’s been done to a silhouette more commonly associated with Rocky films for years. And as this site has talked about previously, that’s due to a few forward-thinking designers who’ve made the style at once refined and still sport-inspired. If you’re looking to start your search for a crewneck sweatshirt at the top of the (reasonably priced) pyramid, Todd Snyder has exactly what you’re looking for. The designer’s crewneck sweatshirts, while simple at first glance, exemplify the idea of using high-quality fabrics to retool an older style, what with vintage-inspired stitching and added details like that chest pocket. Todd Snyder’s collaboration with Champion  is the stuff of legend (at least for this menswear writer). The pieces are well-crafted, heritage-inspired and timeless — plus, you can wear the heck out of ’em with everything from a chambray shirt and denim to tailored sweats.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads -- one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads — one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

So that’s certainly one place to start. But some brands are taking this style essential and doing just as great of a job at slimming down the fit and changing up the fabrics. Take JackThreads, for example. The brand’s new menswear vertical is doing everything from a quilted indigo crewneck sweatshirt to its aptly named Daily Sweatshirt, all for excellent prices. And something like the Daily Sweatshirt, which strikes both a sporty yet business-casual vibe, can be paired with pieces you already have in your closet (look to stylist and menswear blogger Preston Konrad for some styling tips in this regard). Lest one forget, JackThreads has also amped up its fabric game — the brand’s cashmere crewneck sweaters are the budget alternative to more expensive alternatives. So that gives you two ways to go in terms of rocking a crewneck. However, the more standout style move might be picking up a casual crewneck and giving it a business-casual spin.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

And as with other style staples that come up time and again on this blog — take henleys, for example — brands that are inspired by sportswear itself have turned their attention to this vintage piece. Style Guide favorites Pistol Lake, out of California, are producing a contrast-stitching crewneck sweatshirt in a versatile navy that’s been a hot seller this winter (the Heather Grey option is seen at the top of the page). Fellow made-in-America brands like Taylor Stitch and Buck Mason are also producing solid crewneck sweatshirts that can stand up to a campfire or a casual day at the office (considering that both can be equally treacherous). Reliable menswear stalwarts like J. Crew are also offering up an even more roughed-up take on the crewneck sweatshirt, turning to garment-dying for a lived-in look. They’re also offering a super-refined cashmere crewneck on the opposite end of the style spectrum.

So there are certainly plenty of options out there to go more casual with your crewneck, or a bit more dressy. On the lux end of things, Shinola has expanded its product offering into crewneck sweaters, drawing on perhaps the most vintage inspiration of all — Muhammad Ali’s signature style — for its “Cassius Clay” Sweatshirt. If you find yourself with quite a bit of cash to spend, know that Mr. Porter stocks crewneck sweaters from the likes of Brunello Cucinnelli — and that’s all the proof you need that the silhouette is mainstream! With such a variety of price points, it can be a bit daunting to pick out just one — even if it is just a crewneck sweater. It’s a style that shouldn’t be overlooked, though. The styling potential is on-point (be it over a blue Oxford or a simple tee), and designers have updated the fits and colors in new and unexpected ways. Toss in solid options for every price point, and you’ve got a style upgrade worth making.

Have you upgraded your crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt) yet? What’s your favorite of the options listed here?
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