The Friday Read: The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale, The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts & Home Goods at UNCRATE

The Tie Bar Annual Sale - Shop The Tie Bar's 50% Off Sale 24 Hours Early

The end of another work week looms, and perhaps, a return to the office has you thinking: You need to upgrade your office wardrobe in 2022. How to do that, when you might very well be rusty at dressing up properly? I can’t give you all the tips, but I can direct you towards The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale, a whopping final sale offering with discounts on the best office menswear, from shirts to ties to pocket squares. Now through January 18th, get an extra 25 percent off thousands of sale items, including items already marked down 30-50 percent. So, you’re essentially looking at as much as 75 percent off at The Tie Bar this weekend into next week. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not once you start shopping, that is. It’s time to suit up again, my friends.

Of course, if you’re first looking to take on more athleisure-minded pursuits while refreshing your wardrobe, that’s perfectly acceptable, too (might I point you toward these sustainable quilted sweatpants for weekend errands and even day hikes?). There’s lots to consider when refreshing your wardrobe (and home goods!) for a new year, which I myself have been thinking about through frosty Brooklyn days. I’ll have some laidback time in the borough to consider it all across these next few days, with writing on tap for the Huckberry Journal and an exciting project in the works soon for Bespoke Post. I’m making sure to shake things up from sweats with a pair of the best men’s jeans, too. It’s all happening, and I’d invite you to check out the rest of today’s Friday Read to sort your weekend shopping and style. Cheers!

  • There’s no shortage of occasions to prepare yourself for this winter, right? That goes for office-minded dressing (don’t forget about the The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale), but it’s also important to ensure your space at home is in good order, too. Particularly if you want a retreat when you return home, and especially if you’re still working for home, I love the well-curated, thoughtful and rugged-yet-refined offering of home goods at UNCRATE right now, including the handsome D.S. & Durga Portable Fireplace Candle shown above. It’s the little touches that make the difference, and that could be one of the best candles for your home right now.
  • As with outfitting yourself for the office or outfitting your home, I’m all about carefully considered details. If you’ve read the blog, you know that extends to the wristwatch you wear, too. Perhaps you’re familiar with VAER Watches, an acclaimed and fast-growing maker of the best men’s watches specializing in both quartz (battery-powered) watches and a full section of the best automatic watches for men. They focus on casual, rugged field watches and classically elegant, yet hard-wearing, dive watches, all of which are reasonably priced and very well-made. Give them a look the next time your watch collection needs a refresh.
  • It’s just about the right time to start plotting out your Valentine’s Day, right? Or perhaps you’re in search of some *ahem* recommendations to forward on to your partner, yes? You’re in luck, because I wrote all about the coolest, best non-cheesy Valentine’s Day gifts for him over at SPY.com. These picks are anything but ordinary, if I do say so myself. Let me know what you think in the comments.
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That’ll wrap up today’s edition of the Friday Read, hopefully, leaving you with enough time to check out The Tie Bar’s Semi-Annual Sale or shop for home goods at UNCRATE — what say you about that, ehh? Speaking of UNCRATE and other outstanding menswear, I’ve got quite the roundup to send you into your weekend. Check out my Monday blog post, if you please, to read all about the best new menswear at UNCRATE. Serious wardrobe upgrades await, my friends. Cheers again and thanks for reading!

#OOTD: Versatile Suiting with AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole

Editor’s note: Thank you to Men’s Wearhouse and the Men’s Health MVP Network for sponsoring today’s post. Thanks for reading!

On the go with a comfortable, slim-fitting and flexible suit jacket. Denim shirt C/O Forever21 Men. Plaid wool tie and patterned pocket square by Ties.com. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage.

On the go with a comfortable, slim-fitting and flexible suit from the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole line. Denim shirt C/O Forever21 Men. Plaid wool tie and patterned pocket square by Ties.com. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage.

If you follow along with The Style Guide on Instagram or Twitter — or peruse many of this site’s rugged fall style posts, you know that it’s not too often that I suit up. But when I do throw on a shirt, tie and a slim-cut suit, there’s no question that I want that suit to fit, look and feel great. That’s what’s so refreshing about the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole collection, and that’s why it was a treat to partner with them on this post via the Men’s Health MVP Network. Lest you think we’re throwing out all of those rugged, casual menswear tips and starting from scratch, fear not — there’s plenty more where that came from. But I know that I’ll certainly be more inclined to suit up thanks to the comfort, technology and attention to detail in the new AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole line (sold exclusively at Men’s Wearhouse).

The line features the brand’s AWEAR-TECH technology, part of a larger line featuring the brand’s patented 37.5 technology. It’s a run of tailored clothing — from dress shirts ($89) to full suits, as seen here ($649) — made to remove moisture when it’s hot, and retain warmth when it’s cold. In fact, technology in the suit is made to remove sweat before it even forms. Sound too good to be true? Well, stay with me. It’s performance sports fabric with a tailored touch, perfect for today’s fast-moving menswear world. Yes, the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole line is definitely made with performance in mind, and that’s what makes it such a great fit for my lifestyle. Between my day job and dashing around town to events in NYC, I value comfort, performance and sharp looks. The AWEARNESS collection nails that balance nicely, as I found out while exploring some of my favorite haunts in Brooklyn, particularly the delicious Fawnker for an essential weekend Bloody Mary. The suit is lightweight, moves easily and is very comfortable — all huge bonuses.

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Just the right combination for a Sunday Bloody Mary at Fawnker in Brooklyn. Denim shirt C/O Forever21 Men. Plaid wool tie and patterned pocket square by Ties.com. Colorblocked socks by Richer Poorer. Leather chukka boots by Beckett Simonon. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Glasses by Frameri.

The AWEAR-Tech Suit in particular is the type of easy-to-wear, versatile suit that pairs crisply with a denim shirt and a wool tie for essential fall style — I’d recommend you add a dash of timeless appeal with classic leather chukka boots and a rugged leather watch. Of course, there’s more than style and performance woven into the collection. One percent of all everyday gross sales will go toward Hire Heroes USA and Help USA, both organizations that benefit military veterans with a variety of services and help them transition back into the workforce. It’s an admirable cause that blends great style with community engagement — and who doesn’t love that?  You can pick up items from the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole line exclusively at Men’s Wearhouse — and I’d suggest you do so before your first holiday party or a big business trip, as there’s no other suiting that can keep you cool under pressure … and support a great cause in the process.

Shop the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole line now. Thanks again for reading!

#OOTD: Dressing for a Laidback Office

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 will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

If you haven’t noticed on the calendar, we’re still in the midst of a pretty hot August. And even if you’ve got other tactics for fighting the heat in style — like rocking lightweight linen pants or a chambray blazer — there are still times where you might feel you’ve run out of ideas. Or rather, where you just want to look sharp and put-together even in a work environment where things are decidedly more casual. That’s where today’s 9-to-5 look comes in. Although you can add a classic blazer if you’d like, we’re ditching the jacket in favor of a well-fitting, lightweight denim shirt. It’s a welcome style swerve from a slim blue Oxford, believe me. And when paired up with style essentials that are crisp but not overly stuffy (like suede chukkas), you’ve got a head-to-toe ensemble that looks just fine, even sans blazer. So get that credit card at the ready, open a few extra browser tabs (online shopping is the best, am I right??) and check out the below #OOTD. For a real-time look at what your author is wearing on the daily, head to Instagram or Twitter.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Taking the standard business casual outfit & updating it with suede chukkas, a floral tie and a casual denim shirt.

Taking the standard business casual outfit & updating it with suede chukkas, a floral tie and a casual denim shirt.

The Pants: J. Crew Bowery Classic Pant in Cotton Twill, $79.50 — J. Crew excels at making style staples that work in multiple situations, and these cotton twill pants featuring a tailored-but-not-tight fit are no exception; you could also style them up with leather sneakers, but they work best in this biz-casual scenario.
Frank & Oak
The Shirt: JackThreads The Denim Shirt, $24.50 — Although this shirt featured prominently in a recent #OOTD on how to dress for a casual summer day, it can also be livened up with a lightweight tie; plus, that price is a fantastic value.

The Tie: Ties.com Blue Cotton Florence Tie, $20 — What’s the ideal complement to a light blue shirt? A navy floral cotton tie, of course. Pick up some no-show socks from Ties.com while you’re shopping, too.

The Shoes: Blu Kicks Tahoe Sand Chukka, $128 — While you could also rock some stylish leather loafers here, unlined suede chukkas are going to provide comfort, a shot of color and the ability to be worn underneath a rolled hem — they tie everything together even more casually — of course, that means you need comfortable no-show socks, too.

The Belt: Anderson’s Stretch Woven Leather Belt, $195 — A belt that’s nearly $200? Well, when you can wear it all four seasons and with outfits dressy or casual, you’ll get plenty of use out of it (see this #OOTD for another example).
The Watch: Jack Mason Nautical 3-Hand Watch, $157.98 — The great folks at Huckberry always curate stylish essentials for your everyday, and this unique watch that plays off nautical design inspiration is no exception. It’s dressy and sharp, yet water-resistant up to 100 meters.

The Briefs: Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Briefs in Bossa Nova, $24 — When it comes to finishing touches, the Mack Weldon team has you all set. The brand’s boxer briefs might just be the most comfortable and high-performing on the market.
The Everyday Carry: Field Notes Brand Original Ruled Notebook (3-pack), $9.95 — If you’ve been looking for a low-profile addition to your desk, these notebooks are the way to go — they’re a design lover’s dream, measured and made with precision and accuracy in mind. Not a bad addition to your daily carry, right?
If you find yourself at a bit of a #menswear impasse when it comes to mixing up your summer style, it’s best to stick with what you know. That is, a shirt that’s well-fitting and casual, plus crisp dress pants, for starters. The touches that finish everything off — like suede chukkas, a unique watch and dependable accessories — go a long way in making this look one that’s refined and just a bit different from what you might normally wear on a daily basis. And shoes like those comfortable suede chukkas can rack up a lot of mileage in other situations both casual and refined, so they’re a wise pick-up now. Got questions or suggestions on this #OOTD? Leave it in the comments below, or drop me a note on Facebook.

Style Suggestion: The Holiday Party

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don't hit 'em too hard at your holiday party).

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don’t hit ’em too hard at your holiday party).

With the arrival of December comes an occasion some of us definitely look forward to, and others tend to dread – the holiday party.  Depending on where you work or where you’re invited, it might be lots of fun… or decidedly not-so-fun. The same goes for holiday parties with family and friends – although hopefully those are enjoyable. And regardless of the situation, it behooves you (yes, I just used that word) to clean up appropriately. Plus, dressing up smartly can be quite fun – especially when you change up just a few things from your co-workers or friends (like fit and color/texture combos) and end up looking like a  million bucks (or at least deserving of that bonus). What follows is a suggestion that can go either CEO-level dressy for a fancy holiday party, or a bit toned-down for slamming some nog at a friend’s house (people do that, right?).  Stand by for further style suggestions later this month covering both a laidback Christmas and a more dressed-up Yuletide celebration. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
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The Overcoat: Combatant Gentleman Navy Wool Overcoat — $120

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

Before we get into what to wear for the rest of your night, let’s assume it’ll be cold before you get into that party — and let’s assume you’re in need of an outerwear revamp. There’s no denying the style power and versatility of a great topcoat, and this navy wool overcoat from Combatant Gentleman fits the bill perfectly. Its price is more than solid, and for a new introduction to the brand, it would seem that the quality should be on-point from past experience. The fit looks to be trim yet workable over a suit, and the soft Italian wool should also be workable for that pricepoint. The navy color is going to work with all kinds of outfits outside of this particular occasion, as well.

The Suit Or Sweater: Combatant Gentleman Charcoal Birdseye Slim Fit Suit — $200 OR Frank & Oak Merino Cardigan in Bitter Chocolate — $70 And J. Crew Factory Thompson Slim Voyager Suit Pants — $84

Two options, one dressy and one more casual -- but both affordable.

Two options, one dressy and one more casual — but both affordable.

So Combatant Gentleman is the pick for our suiting option as well, but not just for kicks. The brand has made its mark in the affordable tailoring realm, offering up solid picks for more-than-agreeable prices. Its blazers, while not 100% perfect, are also an extremely great value for the price. So picking up one of its charcoal suits can knock out two birds with one stone – if you’re in need of a first-time suit on a budget, or if you want to refresh your suiting game for not a lot of dough. This birdseye suit is a nice visual departure from a flat charcoal color, too. If the occasion doesn’t call for a suit, you can swap in a crisp, slim Frank & Oak cardigan (much sleeker than a thicker shawl number). That can then be paired with some navy wool trousers and accomplish the same goal. Of course, dark denim can be swapped in with your cardigan for an even more toned-down look.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

While it’s worth looking at a site like EXPRESS for its shirt deals, there’s not a shirt that offers a price-quality ratio quite like Standard Shirt; that makes sense given that two styles of white dress shirts are all the company does. And they combine that quality with smaller touches (like a wider, suit-ready collar) in an inexpensive package. I threw on the brand’s spread collar shirt for a rather sweltering Michigan wedding and was also pleasantly surprised with its breathability. The crisp white shirt is definitely going to be a great anchor for either the suit or cardigan any way you look at it.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie — $19

A tie with some visual interest to complement the birdseye weave of the suit.

A tie with some visual interest at a low price.

If you need to ditch the tie in favor of just that slim cardigan or tailored charcoal suit over a crisp shirt, that’s the way to go. But if you do still need that tie, The Tie Bar, as always, has you covered. While a navy knit tie could also be a good, versatile buy in this case, a grenafaux tie brings that same amount of texture and visual interest while looking a bit more suit-ready. And in this case, the texture of the tie will bring a bit more punch than a standard silk number, allowing it to stand up to the birdseye suit nicely.

The Pocket Square: General Knot & Co. 1940s Crimson Duck Pocket Square — $38 OR The Tie Bar Light Champagne Herringbone Pocket Square — $10

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

So we have two pocket square options here – one that’s flashy and conversation-worthy, made from vintage fabric, and one that’s still conversation-worthy, but mainly for the punch of pattern and color it brings. When your suit and tie both have some texture, throwing in another dash in a contrasting color still works, mainly because of that color difference. Either would add a bit something extra to your suit that a solid white pocket square might not (although that works with this outfit, too). While the price for the General Knot square is a bit of a splurge, keep in mind that if you go cardigan-only, you save that cash.

The Shoes:  Johnston & Murphy McGavock Wingtip Boot — $250

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

Johnston & Murphy can sometimes be a bit overlooked what with a company like Jack Erwin competing right in its wheelhouse, but the brand delivers on seasonal numbers, like these mixed-media boots. They’re the perfect middle ground for stomping through some snow or rain to get into that party, yet they still look crisp, slim and appropriate for tailored wear. There’s a touch of brown in there on the sole, but that won’t look too out of place next to the charcoal suit. If funding is tight, JC Penney’s classic Stafford Wingtip is going for a right steal now. Either way, black shoes can look especially sleek this time of year (and if SPECTRE is any indication, black shoes are going to be the way to go for the months ahead).

The  Belt: EXPRESS 2-in-1 Reversible Buckle Leather Belt in Black — $39.90

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

EXPRESS’ quality might sometimes be suspect, but when you need a belt (or in this case, two belts) at a decent price in a pinch, a reversible option never hurts. They do all kinds of belts, but this is a sharp, sleek pickup that’ll go well with those crisp black shoes and the dialed-in black watch (more on that below). You can always go beltless if you find that’s more sleek, however.

The Watch: KOMONO Winston Regal in Black — $99.95

Super-crisp style for under $100.

Super-crisp style for under $100.

KOMONO’s at it again – this brand flies under the radar occasionally, but its dressier watches are just as solid a value as its more casual, seasonally focused timepieces (like the Winston Herringbone timepiece I reviewed earlier this fall). The Winston Regal in Black is super-sharp, and the thin case and no-nonsense dial fall right in line with the sharp pieces in the rest of this ensemble, from the black boots to the crisp white shirt and black belt. And at under $100, it’s an excellent steal on a budget.

The Socks: American Trench Dress Rib Sock in Cloud Grey — $14.50

High-quality socks that'll be worth more than the price tag.

High-quality socks that’ll be worth more than the price tag.

Whereas we’ve dialed it back with the suit and watch, these socks tip the scales more in terms of price. American Trench is a Style Guide favorite (check out more on its socks here), and there really isn’t a brand doing made-in-America socks as well as they do. So in this instance, it makes sense to splurge on some high-quality dress socks that can stand up to repeated wear with a workhorse charcoal suit; while socks with a pop of color are an option too, you might be pleasantly surprised at how sharp a sock looks when matched with a trouser (especially in a clean charcoal-on-charcoal combo).

While it can be a bit off-putting to see so many dark colors in an outfit, from the suit to the pocket square to the shoes, belt and watch,  it can be refreshing to go sleek, simple and yet still put-together. Plus, other cold-weather occasions leave plenty of time for working in colors, and each of the above pieces can be mixed and matched into those outfits as well. So go sharp this holiday season and see where it takes you. Once again, enjoy and let me know your holiday outfit picks below.

What do you think of the above ensemble? Will you be going dressy or casual this year at your holiday party?

Ben Sherman US