Style Q+A: Redefining Sneakers with Brooks Heritage

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a great pair of stylish sneakers. Now, I’m by no means what you would call a sneakerheard, but there’s no question that the footwear preferences of The Style Guide venture far beyond rugged leather boots and the like. Be it a pair of white canvas sneakers or perhaps a more adventurous pair of basketball-inspired high-tops, there’s room for every style  in a well-rounded sneaker rotation. That’s what first intrigued me about the footwear innovations going on at Brooks Heritage (led by the subject of today’s Style Guide Q+A, Global Heritage Director Shane Downey). I guarantee you, even if you’re not that into sneakers, you’ll enjoy this — and if you’ve ever wanted more insight into footwear design … you got it.
Frank & Oak
Brooks as a brand is lauded for its quality among those who pound the pavement as racers and casual runners, and they’ve supplemented that approach with the lifestyle-focused Heritage line (which you might recognize from my December trip to Baltimore). Think classic retro runners inspired by past Brooks designs and injected with some modern cool, plus versatile styling potential. That’s certainly the case with the Brooks Heritage Grand Slam Collection. Featuring two silhouettes inspired by classic Brooks tennis shoes, it’s a modern revamp done right — and it proves that a brand can surprise you with what they stock beyond just, say, running shoes.  Yes indeed, I took a pair from the Grand Slam Collection — the Brooks Heritage Renshaw — for a spin on a spring break trip to Florida and was more than impressed with the comfort and style of these soon-to-be essential kicks. All of which is to say, if you’d like to learn more about the design inspo behind the Grand Slam Collection, read on for more insight from Mr. Downey. In the meantime, check out your neighborhood menswear guy (that’s me) on Instagram for spring sneaker styling tips and a look inside my footwear collection. Now, onto the questions!
Greats

The Renshaw is a clean update of a classic — the next sneaker to add to your spring rotation? Perhaps.

TSG:  Tell me about the design and research process that went into the new collection?

SD: The process to bring to life the Brooks Grand Slam Collection took about 16 months in total (Editor’s note: 16 months!) with the first 4 months just researching the past, looking through old tennis magazines and publications and then purchasing products off of eBay. We bought multiple samples and secured old catalogs that we didn’t have in our collection as a way to really educate ourselves on our previous position and what we wanted to accomplish in the re-launch of this collection. Getting the midsole and outsole right was the biggest priority and obstacle—we wanted an outsole that could be executed in both gum and solid rubber, which are staples of the sport while being soft in fit and feel (Editor’s note: The Renshaw is shown above — the Doherty features an all-rubber outsole and equally stylish looks). We had to create this new construction through old photos and similar outsoles, as we were working on a modern interpretation of what we had done in the past.

The Renshaw in action in the Florida sun. Marco Polo by Life/After/Denim. Renshaw Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Calypso Watch and Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

TSG: The brand has all sorts of retro-inspired runners, but what does the introduction of a tennis shoe silhouette mean for Brooks Heritage?

SD: Court silhouettes are a classic in the athletic/lifestyle world. Classic white leather ebbs and flows with trend, but is a mainstay around the world for all generations — representing a timeless aesthetic. For Brooks, the tennis shoe silhouette was the most natural extension beyond just trendS and the vintage element of the sport. This is a category that we’ve participated in the past in a strong way with marquee athletes, signature technology stories and success in the sport. Brooks has a tennis history that dates back to the early 80’s. … From our research and archive exploration, we identified a great history of product and technology innovation. It is the perfect way to celebrate our past and look beyond the run as we explore over 100 years of sport and style.

TSG: For the guy who wears stylish dress shoes or tough leather boots more often than sneakers, how would you style these?

SD: Right now — with the simplicity of street wear and overall fashion —  the basics of white, black and grey are driving the industry as consumers are seeking a simple-yet-refined aesthetic that matches their apparel selections. The starkness of the white shoe along with a simple shirt/pant combo is absolutely on trend right now, as less is more. I personally would pair the pair the white-and-white leather Renshaw with a pair of slim-fit chinos for the spring with a printed button-up that would allow for great diversity from day to night on the weekend. It’s a classic pairing that is timeless in look and relevance.

Beckett Simonon

TSG: Lastly, do you have a favorite shoe in the new collection?

SD: I personally love the White/Navy Blue Renshaw—it has that classic athletic/collegiate aesthetic that I like from a court shoe. I have memories of court shoes as far back as a I can remember, and what stands out is the white leather and subtle color hits like the navy blue on this Renshaw, and what it meant. From young consumers to the old timers, the white leather court shoe is a shoe and a design that stands the test of time.

Well, folks — Shane said it better than I could. For more on the brand, visit the Brooks Heritage site and shop away.

Thanks, as always, for reading — stay stylish!

-Beau

 

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Fort Myers Festivities: Celebrating a Florida Christmas

Dressed for Christmas the Florida way. Printed shirt by Quiksilver. Chambray shorts by Canvas by Lands' End. Ripper Sneakers by Reef. Nautical 3-Hand Watch by Jack Mason. Glasses by Frameri.

Dressed for Christmas the Florida way. Printed shirt by Quiksilver. Chambray shorts by Canvas by Lands’ End. Ripper Sneakers by Reef. Nautical 3-Hand Watch by Jack Mason. Glasses by Frameri.

When the holiday season hits, I tend to think back to Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons spent in Michigan — who doesn’t love traditions of years gone by? With those memories in mind, it’s been a fun process the past three years to start new traditions in my parents’ adopted home of Fort Myers, and I always welcome the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City for a warm and sunny Florida vacation. I traveled to Fort Myers last Christmas, and I get back every few months — including a recent visit for Thanksgiving — but it never gets old spending time in the sand and sun (especially when the alternative is dealing with a polar vortex in New York City).  Yes, the holiday season in Florida is always a treat, an adventure and a bit of a sight to behold — palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights looks a bit different. But it was great to be with family and friends, and I brought along as much stylish travel gear as I could pack.

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Gear fit for Florida and NYC. Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Kinzie Jeans by Mugsy Jeans. Academia Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Wallet by Brothers Leather.

Surviving a frigid day in New York City and capping that off with a flight to breezy Florida is no joke, so I wore gear that could stand up to both challenges (the rest, I packed in my trusty, durable Owen & Fred weekender bag — but you knew that, right?). Of course, my packing list looked a lot different than my winter weekend in Baltimore, but I stuck with the ever-versatile Taylor Stitch Jack in Indigo Star Shirt,for starters. It’s as reliable and well-fitting of a casual shirt you can buy, and it provided a nice bit of contrast to my light wash Kinzie Jeans — they’re the perfect travel denim from Mugsy Jeans.
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For the day in NYC, I layered up with the heritage-inspired, ultra-comfortable Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt, and accented the sporty sweatshirt with my comfortable and casual Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers. They proved easy to slip on and off at the airport, and I’d wager they’ll work just as well for you the next time you travel. On the accessories front, I found my simple, effective (and unfortunately sold out!) Timex for J. Crew watch provided easygoing-yet-crisp travel style. And throughout my trip, I loved throwing on my vintage-inspired Huckberry Explorer’s Cap, a one-of-a-kind grey cotton flannel baseball cap with a navy felt “H” — for Huckberry, of course. So, that gear helped me make it to Florida in style — and it’s a good thing, as we had lots in store for Christmas weekend.

Looking out on a lovely day at Cayo Costa. Brando T-Shirt by Barking Irons. Swim Trunks by JackThreads. Gratton Sneakers by Fronteer. Expedition watch by Timex. Explorer's Cap by Huckberry. Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

Looking out on a lovely day at Cayo Costa. Brando T-Shirt by Barking Irons. Swim Trunks by JackThreads. Gratton Sneakers by Fronteer. Expedition watch by Timex. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

Getting some quality time out and about on the Florida water was in order for an early Friday boat excursion through the waterways of Fort Myers, from Cayo Costa State Park to Cabbage Key — both scenic islands with ample beach space. I stuck with a combination of gear both new and old, starting with my durable-as-heck FRONTEER Super Gratton high-top sneakers. I wore them on my last Florida trip and found they provided comfort and serious durability. A breathable, vintage-inspired Barking Irons Brando G.I. T-Shirt, courtesy of the New York-based design and apparel company, helped me stay cool on the water. Inspired by infantry T-shirts from the Vietnam era, the little details — like the scalloped hem and raised sleeves — make it a great pick-up. Of course, my JackThreads Swim Trunks were just as needed for the day, with their trim fit and neutral navy color. And my crisp, classic Timex Expedition field watch  on a tough black NATO strap held up more than fine, as did my MVMT Watches Runaway Aviators and my stylish — yet adventure-ready — Huckberry Explorer’s Cap.

With a day of exploration behind us and Christmas Eve ahead, it was time to look to the weekend. I did so with a mix of pieces both tropical-inspired — like my Quiksilver Sunset Tunnels Shirt — and my Canvas by Lands’ End shorts. Those pieces worked easily for a nice Christmas Eve dinner and some much-needed time in the sun. It felt slightly odd to not be bundled up on Christmas Eve as in past years, but some subtly stylish, comfortable black canvas Reef Ripper Sneakers helped me navigate the day in style, as did my Jack Mason Nautical 3-Hand Watch on a warm weather-friendly blue perlon strap. The watch, like the black canvas sneakers, proved just as stylish for exploring sunny Fort Myers as it did for grabbing a few brews and enjoy my family’s traditions — a classic Christmas Eve film and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Doesn’t get much better, ehh?

An amazing Christmas featuring some great men's style essentials (of course. Vintage-style cotton sweater by Hillflint. Book by Esquire. Chocolate by Toblerone.

An amazing Christmas featuring some great men’s style essentials (of course. Vintage-style cotton sweater by Hillflint. Book by Esquire. Chocolate by Toblerone.

With a delicious Christmas Eve dinner complete, I went to bed with visions of my #menswear wish list dancing in my head (indulge me, will you?).  I hope you were able to come through with key shopping pick-ups of your own, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed with what Santa left me under the tree this year. I was really lucky to get an amazing vintage Michigan State sweater from Hillflint — it’s a super-premium cotton knit piece that I’ll look forward to wearing on Saturday fall trips back to East Lansing and chilly weekends in NYC alike. I’m also looking forward to breaking out an amazingly high-quality Todd Snyder White Label dress shirt for New Year’s Eve, and I’ll be reminding myself of proper dress etiquette with Esquire’s “New Rules for Men,” a fun, informative and quick-hitting feature from the fantastic pages of the essential Hearst publication. I also snagged a great Ticketmaster gift card from Santa — so you can expect more live music and menswear in the coming year on the blog!  Needless to say, I’m definitely a fan of the Christmas season, and I’m very thankful for such a great day!

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Comfortable, crisp style essentials. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Alpha Stretch Khakis by Dockers. Academia Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather.

Given the need to put together a stylish New Year’s Eve outfit — not to mention those crucial menswear resolutions — I’m sure plenty of this gear will more than come in handy in the weeks ahead. Even moreso than those stellar gifts, it was a day that made me feel very lucky and grateful to spend it with my amazing family — that’s my true takeaway from this Florida trip (and of course, the added #menswear goodies will make it a bit hard to pack up for my flight home).  So with an overstuffed duffel bag packed for later this week, I reached for sharp essentials for another day today in Florida, starting with a classic Old Navy chambray shirt — casual but still crisp. And my Flint and Tinder Pocket T-Shirt proved a comfortable base layer. Because great style doesn’t stop with your top half, I reached for my slim-fitting, easily wearable Dockers Alpha Stretch Khakis and my  Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers. When the occasion calls for simple style, I’d wager you’ll do just fine with similarly versatile, do-everything pieces like a classic chambray shirt and chinos.

So, what’s on the docket for the rest of the week? Definitely some rest, some reflection before 2017 and yes, plenty of planning for a stylish New Year’s Eve in New York City. You can stay tuned for business as usual tomorrow, starting with a winter style #OOTD, and continuing right on through to what to wear to ring in the new year via Wednesday’s style suggestion. Oh, and if you didn’t enter last week’s men’s lifestyle giveaway, do so before the 28th to win a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card and get a jump on those fitness goals. At any rate, thanks so much for reading along — I hope you’ve had a stellar holiday season, and I hope you’re ready for lots more menswear on The Style Guide. Thanks, as always, for reading!

-Beau

NOV CAMPAIGN: Photo of multiple shoes on white background with logo (border)

 

#OOTD: How to Dress for Fall Travel

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. Portions of this post use affiliate links, from which a small commission might be earned.

Can you believe we’re talking about fall travel — November travel, even — today on the blog? The year, and this fall season in particular, has really flown by. So, maybe you’re looking ahead toward *cue audible gasp* what to wear for Thanksgiving,  or perhaps you’re just looking ahead to what to wear when you travel next. For most of us, fall travel is a bit of a different animal than dressing for summer travel — while comfort and style are still top of mind, the temperatures are a bit colder (to say the least), and you need layers that move with you as you go. Let’s say you start in a chilly Northern city, but move through to a more temperate climate — the below bomber jacket in this #OOTD can go in your durable weekender bag as you travel. And the rest of the pieces are versatile, classic and easy to wear on the road. If that’s got you wondering what’s next, simply scroll down. If you’d like more menswear inspiration, check out The Style Guide on Facebook or check out yours truly on Twitter.

Mixing the classics - like a chambray shirt & denim -- with a comfortable bomber & travel accessories.

Mixing the classics – like a chambray shirt & denim — with a comfortable bomber & travel accessories.

The Jacket: Public Rec Crosstown Bomber Jacket, $128 — The makers of your favorite pair of everyday pants are back in a big way, namely with a heck of a wearable, comfortable and versatile bomber jacket. It’s the perfect travel layer to get you through a chilly morning and a warmer afternoon — at a very fair price, to boot.

The Shirt: Taylor Stitch Everyday Chambray Shirt in Charcoal Chambray, $118 — If you’re surprised that Taylor Stitch is the pick here, don’t be.  The Everyday Chambray is a slim, well-made four-season essential — so, perfect for fall travel.

The Denim: Flint & Tinder All-American Slim Tapered Jeans, $98 — Why go with dark blue denim here? Well, it’s another four-season essential, and this pair from Flint & Tinder is made in America with a hint of stretch.

The Sneakers: Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers, $79.99 — From summer weekends to fall travel, the Brooks Chariot Heritage series gets it done — and the Academia is a fall-centric update with a pattern inspired by professorial fabrics.

Huckberry

The Socks: Anonymous-ism Fair Isle Crew Socks, $25 (Available via East Dane) — The Anonymous-ism brand is a sleeper hit for fans of subtly designed, well-made socks, and the neat pattern here is another fall-centric bonus.

The Watch: Timex for J. Crew Watch, $128 — J. Crew’s third-party efforts are a consistent hit, and this simple, effective and subtly stylish watch is one of ’em — it’s low-key enough to wear on the plane, then to drinks after you land.

The Weekender Bag: Sword and Plough Blue Weekender Bag, $359 — Behind every company is a great story, and behind every guy is a great weekender bag — right? The Sword and Plough team repurposes military material for its products, and does a fine job with this stylish weekender bag.

The Finishing Touch: Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit, $40 (Available via East Dane) — Instead of hauling your toiletries around in a plastic bag, reach for a durable dopp kit — this one has served me well on trips from upstate New York to Washington, D.C.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

So that closes the curtain on another #OOTD — what did ya think? In this author’s opinion, a breathable, slim-fitting bomber jacket that merges athletic inspiration and a versatile color is a can’t-miss win. And when mixed with some of your favorite pieces — we’re talking American-made denim and a slim chambray shirt — it’s a surefire travel success. The grey sneakers add both texture and comfort to the outfit, while those red patterned socks offset the outfit’s darker shades with a slight touch of color. And, you can’t really go wrong with a straightforward, stylish casual watch — that goes for your travel day, and that goes for a nice dinner afterwards. Wherever you’re headed this season and beyond, safe travels — and stay stylish!

-Beau

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Rolling the dice: Heading West for Liberty Fairs Las Vegas

Editor’s note: To recap the last time I hit the road, click here.

A hot and sunny business trip to Las Vegas. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Pocket square by J. Crew. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Stone Chinos by Taylor Stitch. Chukkas by Timberland. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder.

A hot and sunny business trip to Las Vegas. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Pocket square by J. Crew. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Stone Chinos by Taylor Stitch. Chukkas by Timberland. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder.

Out of all the things that excite me about New York City and the chance to work in the menswear industry, there are certain parts of the job that just can’t be beat. Although I certainly hope to do a lot more, I’m pretty thankful and lucky right now that I get the chance to travel for my day job, and blog about that travel, at the same time. Such was the case these past four days , as I headed west to Liberty Fairs in Las Vegas; it’s a twice-yearly men’s fashion trade show that makes stops in NYC and Las Vegas, showcasing what’s new and next in the industry. That means everyone from fashion magazine editors to publishers, bloggers and sales representatives are gathered under one massive roof to scope out seasonal trends, post relentlessly on Instagram and of course, do business — everything from socks to shoes to outerwear is on display by brand. It’s a busy, hectic time, which didn’t leave much opportunity to sight-see. Although I experienced a bit of the bustle during New York Fashion Week: Men’s, hitting the road to travel and check out Liberty Fairs in a city like Las Vegas was another animal entirely. As always, that’s why I hauled my favorite #menswear essentials with me.

Travel essentials fit for Vegas. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. T-shirt by Public Rec Apparel. Capital Shorts by OLIVERS Apparel. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Belt by J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods.

Travel essentials fit for Vegas. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. T-shirt by Public Rec Apparel. Capital Shorts by OLIVERS Apparel. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Belt by J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods.

As I’ve been on the road a lot lately, my durable, rugged Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender has gotten a lot of work — and for good reason. If you don’t have a stylish weekender bag, and you’ve instead been relying on an old suitcase or a gym bag, making the switch is a mighty good investment. Unlike a recent trip to Michigan for a bachelor party, Las Vegas presented quite the different set of challenges — that would be the extreme heat, of course.  Standard, sweat-wicking materials just wouldn’t do, though. With style in mind, I was happy to test out a new T-shirt from Public Rec Apparel. Known for its All Day Every Day Pant, the brand recently launched a super-soft, super-comfortable and super-durable T-shirt. The tee is made with a remarkable sweat-wicking fabric blend in a  silhouette that still looks smart on its own or under a blazer — you can’t say that about your standard gym wear.  And that tee was complemented nicely another staple that merges athletic performance materials with a tailored silhouette. Yes, the OLIVERS Apparel Capital Short was just the right pair to wear from New York and right into the Vegas heat — the shorts feature a nylon-spandex blend & four-way stretch, yet fit and looks like a pair of slim chino shorts. Those two pieces kept me comfortable, which was crucial for a long travel day.

A Monday of meetings and menswear. Pocket Tee by Steven Alan. 505C Jeans by Levi's. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Chukkas by Timberland. Striped socks via the latest SprezzaBox. Notebook by Word Notebooks.

A Monday of meetings and menswear. Pocket Tee by Steven Alan. 505C Jeans by Levi’s. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Chukkas by Timberland. Striped socks via the latest SprezzaBox. Notebook by Word Notebooks.

With my accommodations all set and a busy slate of trade show appointments locked in, it was time to hit the ground running on Monday. Throughout the course of a busy two days, it was excellent to be able to catch up with some great blogger friends like Leo of Levitate Style and Danielle of She’s A Gent. The duo was among a group participating in The Studios at Liberty Fairs, a partnership giving creatives the chance to create content — everything from photos to videos, portraits and social media posts — with brands and fellow influencers across three very busy days at the trade show. So given the need to look camera-ready, I tried to rise to the occasion while fighting the heat. A soft Steven Alan pocket tee was just the ticket in that regard — especially when paired with my Grayers Ivy Blazer, a casual linen-cotton jacket with unique patch-button pockets and a casual feel. If you’re looking for a way to dress down your summer blazer, you can’t go wrong with a garment-dyed tee. The combo helped me move in style around the trade show, as did a pair of sharp-yet-edgy Levi’s 505C Jeans, made with a hint of stretch and featuring a faded grey-black wash. They’re a slightly cooler take (figuratively and literally) on heavy dark denim and a blazer, particularly when moving around a lot. I finished off the combination with a pair of rugged Timberland leather chukka boots and my ever-dependable Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch, a frequent travel companion and just one of a few stunning watches from the Timex x Todd Snyder partnership.

With Day 1 in the books, it was a quick turnaround for another busy day at Sands Expo at The Venetian scoping out the bustling (and hustling) crowd of #menswear aficionados. Throughout the day, I checked out the wares on display from perennial Style Guide favorites like Red Wing Heritage and (potential) soon-to-be favorites like Hudson Shoes.  It was a great mix of brands, including everyone from accessories companies like Herschel Supply Co. to sock brands like Happy Socks. All the while, I again took on the day — and the heat — in style. I stuck with some of my favorite style essentials, like my JackThreads Denim Shirt (a very wearable shirt no matter the season). I complemented that with my Taylor Stitch Slim Stone Chinos — they’re unbeatable for the price and quality.  And when you’ve got versatile staples like those two pieces, stylish Steven Alan sunglasses and sturdy leather chukka boots are a nice finishing touch (the pair seen here is from Timberland — you can snag a similar style from Thursday Boots for a nice value).  On the accessories front, my ever-reliable Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch was the perfect timepiece for the occasion — it goes with just about everything thanks to the crisp retro dial and grey NATO strap. For being on time to various meetings and catching up with friends (all on the job), it helped keep me in line. That outfit combination worked well for the evening, too — it’s not every day you get the chance to attend a party thrown by the Hearst and Esquire teams (yes, that Esquire). Luckily, my smart-casual combination was able to take me from a day on the trade show floor to enjoying some delicious cocktails without missing a beat (that’s what we’re all about here at The Style Guide).

A comfortable, casual and crisp travel outfit. Polo by Life/After/Denim. Warren Denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Runner Sneakers by Mott & Bow. Steno Book by Field Notes Brand. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page.

A comfortable, casual and crisp travel outfit. Polo by Life/After/Denim. Warren Denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Runner Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Steno Book by Field Notes Brand. Mailbag by Satchel & Page.

Sadly, my time at Liberty Fairs came to an end all too quickly — today called for a flight back to NYC. For one last push through the heat of Vegas, I grabbed the aptly named Marco Polo from Life/After/Denim. It blends a modern fit with a garment-washed look and feel, plus an open collar (one featuring no buttons). The overall effect is breezy and casual, but it’s one that still looks put-together for a cross-country flight when teamed with the ever-stylish Slim Warren Denim from Mott & Bow. For only about $20 more than what the brand normally charges, you’re getting a well-fitting pair of Italian-made denim — they were the perfect complement to my lightweight Brooks Heritage Chariot Runners in color and silhouette. Throughout the day, kept track of my flight time with my Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono and chronicled my adventures with my handy Word Notebooks Adventure Log — both of which you should bring along for a weekend getaway.

As great of a time as it was in Las Vegas, it was even better to reconnect with great friends and fellow bloggers — plus, some terrific brands you’ll (hopefully) see a lot more of here and on my Instagram in the coming months. Forging partnerships and featuring great brands and products is terrific, but meeting great people in a like-minded environment is even better.  Even though it’s been a heck of a busy week so far — and it’s only Wednesday (!) — my travels aren’t quite done yet. We’re looking at one day back in NYC before I hit the road on Friday to head back to my hometown of Mason, Michigan for my great friend Andy’s wedding. Seeing my friends for his bachelor weekend in Grand Rapids was an absolute blast just a few weeks ago, so this upcoming trip is bound to be just as incredible (even if it’ll be powered by lots and lots of coffee). If you’ve got menswear musings or questions on what to wear for your next Las Vegas trip, shoot me a tweet on Twitter or follow along on the daily via Instagram.

Look for the Friday Read and Style Pick later this week, and swing back through the blog on Monday for yet another Michigan trip recap — stay stylish!

-Beau
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Style Suggestion: What to Wear on the 4th of July

Editor’s note: Check out the following link to catch last year’s Fourth of July style suggestion.

It seems as if just yesterday we were talking about what to wear on Memorial Day — and here we are, now talking about what to wear on the 4th of July. Time flies, right?? The 4th of July is often a sort of “style perfect storm” of sorts — it’s likely pretty hot out, there’s the potential to be moving from one activity to the next (swimming at the beach followed by patio drinks, anyone?) and  you very well might have to travel just to do all that. So, first things first — cover off on that stylish weekender bag to get you where you’re going. Maybe fill it with some nice men’s grooming products, too? Now that that’s taken care of, we’ll head onto the below outfit suggestion — it’s all about staying cool and stylish, versatile and ready for anything. If you have any other summer style questions or thoughts, let me know via The Style Guide Facebook page. Enjoy the day, and thanks for reading!

The Shirt: American Trench x Good Life Clothing Indigo Dyed Tee — $72

A collab between two brands that emphasize American manufacturing results in one heck of an indigo tee.

A collab between two brands that emphasize American manufacturing results in one heck of an indigo tee.

So, $72 isn’t exactly the cheapest T-shirt on the market. But when you’re going to be rocking a T-shirt in place of a slim polo, you’d better grab one that’s eye-catching, slim-fitting and very well-made. It’s definitely an aspirational sort of purchase, but if you’re able to get your hands one, your wardrobe would be all the better. The indigo dye (a nod to the U.S.A!) is rich and very unique, for one. Plus, it’s actually made in America — something that’s still to be applauded in the menswear manufacturing game. Toss on a lightweight jacket if it gets breezy, but know that this tee has you set in style in the meantime.

The Pants: JackThreads Slim Chino in Khaki — $49

A classic pair of chinos at a tremendous price.

A classic pair of chinos at a tremendous price.

We’re going with the ever-versatile JackThreads Slim Chino here, because it always pays to have a crisp pair of khaki chinos on hand, no matter the style situation. These chinos would work for travel style (whether it’s across the country or just across town), and with a little care, you could probably wear them again in the same weekend — again, watch out as you man the grill. The price is stellar, the fit should be flattering for lots of guys out there, and you can rock that color for months at a time.

The Sneakers: Brooks Heritage Chariot Sneakers — $79.99

Timeless sneakers that work well in terms of color and styling potential.

Timeless sneakers that work well in terms of color and styling potential.

What’s more American than khaki chinos and an indigo tee? A great pair of lifestyle sneakers from an American original, that’s what. Pairing multiple shades of blue might seem like a risky style move at first, but it’s one that pays off when you consider the rich navy’s contrast against the lighter indigo dye. The blue-and-white color is a nice, subtle style nod to the holiday, and having checked out a pair of Brooks Heritage Chariot Sneakers myself, I can tell you they’re every bit as comfortable as the brand’s first-class running shoes — with more style points, too. They work well with the casual chinos, yet you could still class up this combo with a crisp chambray shirt if need be.
Florsheim
The Socks: Pair of Thieves No-show Spelurking Socks — $10

Red-and-blue socks make for a touch of patriotism paired with functionality.

Red-and-blue socks make for a touch of patriotism paired with functionality.

Although these no-show socks are designed to, well, not show, it’s still wise to grab a pair that incorporates seasonal colors and a good deal of comfort. You can read more about these guys in my post on classic no-show socks for summer, but rest assured that Pair of Thieves makes socks that are comfortable, well-fitting and stylish with a bit of an attitude. Even if not many people see your socks, that’s definitely something they’ve got going for them; and at that price, you can pick up a few pairs without straining your bank account too much.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Double-Striped Webbing Belt — $14.50

Just the right weight, color and texture for spring and summer.

Just the right weight, color and texture for spring and summer.

When packing for travel (or dressing everyday), it can be a bit of a practice to take care of things right down to the last detail. In this instance, that means not forgoing a  belt. But we’re not just using any ole’ number to hold up those slim khaki chinos — this J. Crew Factory belt combines some nautical vibes (the D-ring loop and double-striping) with a textured white cotton that looks all kinds of right up against the lighter blue shirt and navy sneakers. It’s simple style touches that make a big difference, and if you’re into that, here’s a spring and summer belt for you.
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The Watch: Form-Function-Form Horween Leather Timex Chronograph — $129

Premium Horween leather meets a tough, dependable watch.

Premium Horween leather meets a tough, dependable watch.

This superb and stylish watch-and-leather strap combo, sold via the great folks at Huckberry, definitely gets a lot of things right on the dual style-and-functionality front. For one, the watch plays off the classic Timex Weekender by adding in a few more bells and whistles (not a ton, though). For another, the combination of a black dial with a rich brown leather Horween strap is a handsome combination that stands out stylishly with a plain pocket tee and dark blue denim during the rest of the summer. That means in this outfit, it’s a downright stunning accessory.

The Sunglasses: Knockaround Fort Knox Polarized Sunglasses — $29.98

Downright cheap, simple and stylish -- not bad for under $30.

Downright cheap, simple and stylish — not bad for under $30.

If you couldn’t just by looking at ’em, the Knockaround Fort Knox Polarized Sunglasses pack a heck of a lot of style into one exceptionally well-priced package. It’s perhaps one of the accessories for which Huckberry is so well-known; they’re definitely not your average pair of shades, that’s for sure. The lenses are polarized, and the frames are injection-molded for extra durability — that’s exactly why they’re worth quite a lot more than roughly $30. While they didn’t make this site’s list of the best men’s sunglasses to buy for summer, they’re a very worthy honorable mention, and quite the pair to bring with you for the 4th of July.

Meeting such a patriotic holiday in style is a lot like dressing for any other holiday, be it St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas. That means nodding to the time of year — in this instance, mixing some red and blue — while working in both some more forward moves (like rolled chinos) and timeless classics (like a stylish leather watch). Crisp sneakers and durable shades work to finish it all off, too. Of course, this time of year is about more than what you wear — it’s also about taking time with family and friends and being thankful for this great country we live in. However you do that, I salute you and wish you the best in style.

Join the style discussion over on Twitter, or follow along via Instagram.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Capital Style: A spring weekend in Washington, D.C.

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Just the right staples for a spring weekend in Washington, D.C. The Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Hayden Grey Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Dark blue denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Runner Sneakers by Brooks Heritage.

 As I hinted at in this past Friday’s weekly reading roundup, I had the chance to travel just a few hours south via train to Washington, D.C. visit my great friend and former college roommate Ian Kullgren this weekend — and a lovely weekend it was. As it were, the last time we saw each other was back in East Lansing after graduation (home of our Michigan State Spartans). So, we had a lot to catch up on! Although the forecast threatened rain initially, the skies cleared up throughout the weekend and we were able to see a ton of Washington, D.C. I’d been to our nation’s capital back in November, but this time, the trip it was different – it was thankfully a lot warmer and sunnier, for one. And there was more to see given Ian’s location in the Woodley Park neighborhood of the city. So as the week wrapped up, I planned out what #menswear to pack and hit the road – planning ahead based on the weather and itinerary is something that’s gotten easier for me as time has gone on, (and hopefully, it’s the same for you!).

Easygoing gear for a weekend of adventures. Waxed Voyager Weekender by Owen & Fred. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Navy leather card case by Issara. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

Easygoing gear for a weekend of adventures. Waxed Voyager Weekender by Owen & Fred. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Navy leather card case by Issara. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

Having traveled to some pretty neat places across the past handful of months (including a stylish weekend in Florida and a trip to Detroit), I knew a great bag was definitely needed for this particular trip — we’re talking something that can hold up trip after trip (and you should look for a similarly durable piece). Owen & Fred’s new Voyager Waxed Weekender, as seen above, more than fit the bill. It’s sturdy as heck, made in the USA and finished off with tough 9 oz. leather straps from one of America’s oldest tanneries, Wickett and Craig. Seriously, this bag is a beast, and I could definitely go on — but the rest of the trip calls! (Look for a full feature on the piece in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series soon).

After a quick train ride down to D.C., we still had enough time on Friday to check out some D.C. haunts with our friend and fellow Michigan State Spartan Emily Wilkins. Our mini bar crawl of sorts took us to the always-great Capitol Lounge (an MSU haven) and the renowned Little Miss Whiskey’s, with enough rare beer on tap and in bottles to make your head spin. We grabbed a nightcap (hot dog, that is) at the renowned Ben’s Chili Bowl – that’s a great chili dog right there.

A casual, cool outfit for exploring Washington, D.C. Hayden Gray Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Indigo Denim Jack Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Pilot's watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

A casual, cool outfit for exploring Washington, D.C. Hayden Gray Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Indigo Denim Jack Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Pilot’s watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

Saturday proved a busy day that took us around D.C. on foot for long periods of time – in that respect, I was glad I packed comfortably and with versatility in mind (like the outfit you see at the top of the page!). For exploring everywhere from the National Mall to the bustling 14th and U Street areas, I grabbed some extremely comfortable (and sharp) navy, light blue and red suede sneakers from the Brooks Heritage line — the sport-inspired lifestyle line from Brooks Running. While the pair you see here is now unfortunately sold out, there are plenty of versatile options to be had — and something clean and simple like the GREATS Rosen Runner would also work just as well for travel adventures.

The lightweight, comfortable Hayden Gray Jacket from Bridge & Burn topped off what’s perhaps my new favorite shirt, the Jack in Indigo Star from the fine folks at Taylor Stitch — versatility is key when traveling for a quick weekend trip, and this shirt (just like a classic chambray shirt) definitely nailed it. And no matter where you go, some crisp and classic dark denim is always a solid bet — particularly if inclement weather is potentially in the picture. I grabbed a pair that’s a personal favorite, my Mott and Bow Skinny Mosco denim (the brand also stocks classic dark denim in other cuts, too). They’re simple, slim-fitting and particularly effective for a casual trip.

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We covered a lot of ground, from strolling through the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art to marveling at the National Archives and the Declaration of Independence – the first time I’d been back there since my 8th grade class field trip (no blog post covering that trip, sadly). We also made time to meet up with two old college friends (Go Green!), Gabby Saldivia and Colin Marshall, both talented folks who work at NPR – being around so many communications pros reminded me why I picked up that degree in the first place! If you fancy gobbling up some gourmet brews and delicious bites, Glen’s Garden Market is the place to do just that.  A post-dinner drink was definitely in order, this time at Smoke N’Barrel. Although we didn’t eat any of the restaurant’s famous barbeque, it looked mighty tempting.

Sunday's outfit grid for D.C adventures -- a Pima Crewneck Tee from Mack Weldon, Slim Light Mercer Denim from Mott & Bow and Brown Scout Chukka Boots from Thursday Boots. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

Sunday’s outfit grid for D.C adventures — a Pima Crewneck Tee from Mack Weldon, Slim Light Mercer Denim from Mott & Bow and Brown Scout Chukka Boots from Thursday Boots. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

For the rest of the trip, I brought along another trusty pair of denim from Mott & Bow, the all-new Light Mercer. Think of these as a step down from chinos and a …. step sideways from dark denim in terms of color and texture. That is, they can be dressed up like chinos or dressed down like denim — but you get a lot of comfort either way. For Sunday explorations, I also threw on a comfortable Mack Weldon Crewneck Tee. It’s admittedly simple and minimal, but the tee is comfortable and a great match for the color of the light denim. Crucially, the combo was also the perfect match for a terrific pair of Brown Scout Boots from the always on-point team at Thursday Boot Company.

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During my last trip to Washington, D.C., I also brought along a pair of chukkas from the brand, but I swapped out the Chocolate Suede Scout Boot for the brown leather boots you see here — and I was just as pleased with the results. They took me seamlessly around the city all throughout Friday night and on Sunday. The sturdy rubber sole of that chukka definitely helped for lots of on-foot trekking (and bar-crawling, if we’re honest with ourselves).I closed out Sunday with a quick stop in the D.C. outpost of Frank & Oak, one of my favorite men’s lifestyle brands — that was a real treat! And it was great to be able to grab a quick afternoon coffee at The Wydown, one of the city’s best coffee shops.

Sunday done right in D.C. Pima Crewneck Tee by @mackweldon. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Customized Fairfield Watch by Mott & Bow.

Sunday done right in D.C. Pima Crewneck Tee by Mack Weldon. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

Packing for any trip also requires some attention to the little things, the same sort of accessories you might wear at home — namely, a stylish casual watch or two. I was definitely pleased with the versatility and durability of my new AVI-8 Flyboy (similar to the model shown in the link), complete with a black leather strap that matched up just fine with my suede sneakers. And whenever I travel, my trusty MVMT Watches 40 Timepiece is also a frequent companion. Plus, my new Timex Weekender Fairfield (seen above) is sharp, stylish and a terrific value. A minimal leather watch can pair with everything from navy sneakers to brown chukkas, and it works with a blazer and khaki chinos if your travels call for something a bit more polished. So given the laidback nature of this trip, it worked more than fine for both travel and exploration.

I also prefer to bring along finishing touches that can make all the difference between traveling in comfort and, well… not traveling in comfort. In this instance, that means my dependable dopp kit from the Byrd x Richer Poorer collaboration, as well as a few everyday grooming essentials from the always-reliable Baxter of California. And additional pieces like a great pair of Mack Weldon boxer briefs and stylish-yet-understated American Trench socks weren’t overlooked in my bag — and they shouldn’t be in yours, either.

As trips like these tend to go, it felt a bit too brief (such is life when trying to coordinate around the schedules of a journalist and a PR guy!). But I really felt like I was able to experience much more of the city than in past trips, from a stop through the National Archives that gave me some great historical perspective, to a walk through the National Gallery of Art and time spent along the bustling, hip U Street area. It’s a city that’s more varied than meets the eye – it’s not all tour groups and national monuments (although seeing those monuments made me feel pretty patriotic). There’s a burgeoning menswear scene, the dining (and local craft beer selection) is on-point, and it’s quite easy to get around – that’s just a handful of the major pluses I experienced in a quick weekend. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a visit – and if you’ve been before or you live there, you already know that! I’ll be back again. Until then, look for more on The Style Guide tomorrow covering a stylish spring outfit suggestion.

Thanks for reading!

-Beau

Florsheim