Online Shopping Picks: The Most Stylish Gear to Upgrade Your Everyday Carry

We always say here at The Style Guide that the little details count. And that’s no more true than when it comes to your everyday carry. We’re talking about all the little things you can’t leave the house without — from a slim wallet to a leather lanyard to versatile sunglasses and a small-yet-effective daypack. And in the summer season, that list likely grows a little bit longer. Between fighting the summer sun with a vintage ballcap and toting along a trusty, durable bottle opener to a tailgate or backyard BBQ, it pays to be prepared for every situation. And you’d be surprised at just how affordable it can be to upgrade your everyday carry — whether it’s easygoing essentials from Bespoke Post or a durable daypack, plenty of brands stock handy gear for travel and daily use at low prices. Hopefully, today’s rundown hits the sweet spot for you. We’re covering those unexpected — and unexpectedly useful — items that everyone seems to need. The next time you head to a backyard barbecue, hit the beach or even stroll to your post-work happy hour, you’ll be more than prepared with reliable ways to upgrade your everyday carry.

Timex

The Bag: Topo Designs Daypack, $168

With enough room for a 15-inch laptop, the Daypack is your essential summer bag.

If we’re talking your everyday carry, might as well start with a reliable bag — right? Whether you’re hitting the road for a hike or simply gearing up for a stroll to the farmer’s market, take the effective Topo Designs Daypack with you. Featuring a neat blue exterior accented with rich leather and touches of red, the  Topo Designs Daypack is a smart-looking, high-performing pack made with enough room for a 15-inch laptop. That makes it a winner in my book.

The Ballcap: Huckberry Explorer’s Cap, $39.98

Throw this Huckberry cap in your bag and throw it on whenever you might need extra sun protection.

A Style Guide favorite no matter the season, it’s always helpful to have an easy-to-wear, stylish and vintage-inspired ballcap in your bag for situations that pop up unexpectedly. Yes, a ballcap can — and should — serve a functional purpose. From shielding your eyes in outfield seats that got caught in an unexpected glare to keeping your face free from sunburn during an hours-long cookout, the Explorer’s Cap — available in a plethora of colors — is an everyday carry essential.
Greats

The Watch: Timex Weekender Chronograph, $77 OR Deep Blue NATO Diver 300 Automatic, $220

Two options that were made for rugged adventure — and then some.

Wherever your casual summer adventures take you, a durable, stylish watch is an absolute must. If you’re bringing along something like the Topo Designs Daypack, then let’s assume you’re going somewhere off the beaten path. In that case, the crisp, classic and well-designed Timex Weekender Chronograph can hang every step of the way — doubly so thanks to the summer-friendly NATO strap.  And if your adventures call for soaking up some rays and spending some time in the water, the handsome Deep Blue NATO Diver 300 Automatic is as up for anything as you are.

Save up to 25% each month by joining Style Plan at Frank + Oak! *Free Shipping & Returns. No code necessary. Monthly membership for men & women.

The Bottle Opener: Areaware Bottle Axe, $17.50

An effective — and effectively cool — way to open your favorite beer.

First seen in our new Style Guide series The List,  the Areaware Bottle Axe is quite the upgrade from your standard combo bottle opener. It’s sleek, well-designed and well-made, for one. It’s also a neat conversation piece of sorts — it’s inspired by Norse mythology and medieval history. A regular, cheap bottle opener doesn’t have that going for it. Grab the Bottle Axe, toss it in your beach bag and get ready for an afternoon enjoying laidback brews.

Florsheim

The Everyday Carry Essential: Swiss Advance Crono Camp Multi-Tool, $35

More tools than you can possibly believe — at an accessible price, too.

Perhaps the true definition of an everyday carry piece, the Swiss Advance Crono Camp Multi-Tool really can do it all. The brand says it’s designed to be ultra-slim and lightweight, and it seriously packs a ton of punch. It features, in short order, everything from a bottle opener to a wire stripper to a fork AND knife. And it does all of that for just $35. For your next beach bonfire or hiking trip, you need the Crono Camp Multi-Tool.

The Sunglasses: Knockaround Mile High Polarized Sunglasses, $24.98
Knockaround

A sharp, simple and very affordable silhouette for summer style.

Great sunglasses at an accessible price with quality construction? Nearly impossible to come by. Yet, Knockaround seems to consistently solve that conundrum, making the Mile High Polarized Sunglasses quite the reliable option to add to your everyday carry. For a price that low, you needn’t worry about beating them up too much — take them to the office and out on a long weekend of adventures thereafter (at least, that’s what I’d do if I were you).

Nautica
The Headphones: JAYS u-JAYS On-Ear Headphones, $120

A sleek take on your average headphones, with excellent sound quality.

A seriously underrated part of your everyday carry? The headphones you’re wearing to listen to your favorite podcast (I’d recommend 99% Invisible) or your favorite tunes (I favor a healthy daily dose of The National).  And for unexpectedly sleek and stylish looks — at a great price — the JAYS u-JAYS On-Ear Headphones reliably offer excellent sound quality and a cool silhouette.

Save up to 25% each month by joining Style Plan at Frank + Oak! *Free Shipping & Returns. No code necessary. Monthly membership for men & women.

I say this to you, Style Guide readers: Leave no stone unturned in your pursuit of the best everyday carry gear. If you’re in need of a new grab-and-go bag, the Topo Designs Daypack is the one to buy, with plenty of functionality for your summer adventures. Everything from a  vintage-inspired ballcap to a durable summer watch should also be included in your everyday carry — these are seemingly small-yet-useful touches you shouldn’t leave the house without. And whether you’re heading to the beach or to a barbecue, I think you’d be surprised how handy the  Crono Camp Multi-Tool can be. Last but certainly not least: Don’t leave your house without an affordable pair of shades — the Mile High Polarized Sunglasses just might be your new favorite pair. That’s all the tips I’ve got when it comes to how to upgrade your everyday carry this summer. Have questions? Shoot me a note on Twitter.
Thanks for reading — stay stylish!
-Beau

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



Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Winter Accessories to Buy Right Now

Editor’s note: To check out  more Online Shopping Picks posts, click this link.

Notepad? Check. Great sweater? Check. Gloves? Hat? Nope. Don't be like Mikael Blomkvist (AKA Daniel Craig).

Notepad? Check. Great sweater and scarf? Check. Gloves? Hat? Nope. Don’t be like Mikael Blomkvist (AKA Daniel Craig).

What’s your morning routine like? With me, I’m usually rushing around a bit, firing off some tweets and really looking forward to my first cup of coffee. Right before I rush out the door though, I nearly always forget one thing even in the cold weather — my gloves. Impossible, right? It sometimes seems that the little things are the easiest to forget — and that’s too true when it comes to the matter of cold-weather accessories. Mixing form and function is absolutely critical here — like other style upgrades that I’ve written about, the right pair of gloves or a great hat can still be overlooked unfortunately. There’s certainly a difference between what you should likely aspire to wear and what you might have in your closet. Something like skiing gloves or sturdy work gloves do just fine for those types of activities, for example, but what about less strenuous work? That’s where the picks below come in — we’ll cover some nice gloves, a solid hat and the right scarf to wear, and we’ll do it with enough time left to order ’em on your lunch break.

A Warm Winter Hat: American Trench Merino Watch Cap — $85 OR J. Crew Factory Classic Cuff Knit Hat — $17

Two choices, two equally versatile pieces. Key for fighting the chill.

Two choices, two equally versatile pieces. Key for fighting the chill.

For potentially the  most important piece of clothing you throw on in the winter (cold ears are NO fun), there are two really solid choices up to bat here. It all depends on what you’re willing to spend, or what you can indeed spend. American Trench crafts everything from its equally warm socks to this merino watch cap right in America, and the quality shows. The cap itself is quite warm and stylish, to boot. The J. Crew Factory Classic Cuff Knit Hat, on the other hand, offers style that’s just as versatile, but at a much lower price.

A Stylish Scarf: Frank & Oak Chunky Merino Wool-Blend Scarf — $52

Minimal and classic at the same time for versatile style.

Minimal and classic at the same time for versatile style.

Goods from Frank & Oak really hit it out of the park most months — the brand’s monthly Hunt Club crates always pack a punch, and while the January offering is a bit light on scarves, this Merino Wool-Blend Scarf strikes a minimal balance between being classic and modern. The light grey color should fare well with most stylish topcoats and peacoats, and the color is such that it’ll still stand out up against dark charcoal or navy suiting. If that price is too much, you could reach for a J. Crew Factory plaid scarf for an extra pop of color.

Comfortable Winter Gloves: John W. Nordstrom Leather Tech Gloves — $44.75

With touchscreen functionality and in a crisp color, it's tough to beat this pair from Nordstrom's in-house brand.

With touchscreen functionality and in a crisp color, it’s tough to beat this pair from Nordstrom’s in-house brand.

Normally almost $100, these leather Nordstrom tech gloves come from the brand’s in-house line and feature a few different touches. They have what the brand calls Precise Touch functionality, so no need to take off those gloves to send out a tweet. That should also make it easier to hold onto said phone or iPod. And you’ve got your pick of either black or brown leather. The brown pair is dark enough in color that you shouldn’t necessarily worry about it clashing with black dress boots or similar items. If mixed-media gloves are more your speed, Nordstrom also stocks these Topman Harris Tweed gloves.

An On-Trend Jacket: JackThreads The Topcoat — $229

Back for round two with this JackThreads topcoat.

Back for round two with this JackThreads topcoat.

This camel JackThreads topcoat claimed the second spot in Monday’s roundup of the best men’s winter topcoats, and if you had to go with only one jacket to pair with the rest of these accessories (and use almost daily), it’d be an excellent choice. As far as topcoats go, it’s cost-effective, for starters. The color is eyecatching and on-trend (if that’s something you want to try out), yet it’ll still pair with a range of bottoms, from navy wool trousers to burgundy corduroys. It’s not a super-technical piece, to be sure, so if that’s more your speed, you might want to drop some dough on an insulating (but equally on-trend) duffle coat or a hooded parka.

Thick Winter Socks: American Trench Fair Isle Socks in Merino & Cashmere — $25

More than you'd pay for an average pair of socks -- but warmer and more stylish, too.

More than you’d pay for an average pair of socks — but warmer and more stylish, too.

If you’re not hip to American Trench by now, wait ’til you try out their socks. In addition to the merino watch cap at the top of the page, its variety of warm, well-made socks are enough to make you want to wear only pairs from American Trench — truly. When you consider that the quality and construction is such that you can wear one pair with tough winter boots or stylish dress shoes in a heartbeat, it’s an investment that pays off. While several patterns on their site would work just fine, the Fair Isle pattern is just different enough visually — plus the range of colors gives you some options. Its Wool and Silk Boot Socks are just as lux and a bit more pricey.

Looking to upgrade your winter accessories should be, above all else, a bit of an enjoyable and fun search. Yes, you want to combine functionality, style and price, and you want to do it pretty quickly — but unlike other categories in men’s clothing, there are many avenues on which to turn. Want some tweed gloves? You got ’em. Looking for some eyecatching socks? Shop away. Fancy throwing on a luxurious topcoat? That choice is yours, too. But hopefully the above staple pieces are enough to get you thinking before you shop — and before it gets too cold.

What cold-weather accessories do you find yourself reaching for the most? What pieces on this list do you still need to pick up?