Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Messenger Bags to Buy Now

As we always say at The Style Guide, it pays to do your homework when it comes to style upgrades — especially if that homework involves sifting through our Online Shopping Picks series.¬† From stylish dress shoes to the best men’s grooming products, we’ve covered a lot of ground on the blog — yet, today’s entry will be the first-ever attempt at chronicling the best men’s messenger bags. Yes indeed, we’re in this together today. A messenger bag is a sort of secret style weapon for the guy who prefers casual style yet still wants to look sharp. Although brands are indeed making stylish leather backpacks — the Jack + Mulligan Welles Backpack comes to mind¬†— there’s still something that’s a bit too youthful about a backpack. However, a luxurious briefcase, no matter how nice, also might not work — it could be too dressy or hard to lug around (only pesky handles to hold). So, where do you go? I give you … the humble messenger bag. Still a favorite of actual bike messengers here in New York City, there are some durable, handsome and casually stylish options out there — and we’ll show you just the ones to buy today.¬† Pack it up and¬†bring your favorite messenger bag on a spring road trip or fill it with everyday carry essentials on the go. Join in on the fun, shop away and leave any comments for me below or on Twitter, where I tweet about as much #menswear as I can. Enjoy!

#1. Joshu + Vela Zip Briefcase — $234.98

Joshu + Vela

A durable, rugged and gear-friendly zip briefcase — a messenger bag, in my book.

OK, so is the Joshu + Vela Zip Briefcase¬†a briefcase, or a messenger bag? Traditional convention might dictate that a messenger bag fold over the top but hey … we’re not too picky over here. Either way, the durable, handsome and rugged Zip Briefcase¬†is definitely an upgrade over your current backpack situation. Thick canvas and a beautiful bridle leather strap are made to age well and stand up to adventures aplenty, and this particular bag can house a 15-inch MacBook — pretty versatile and durable, ehh?

Sutro Shoes Inc.

An easy-to-carry, easy-to-use leather messenger bag from a great Michigan company.

The makers of the 810 Wallet also do a¬†heck of a nice messenger bag. A personal favorite of yours truly, the Roma Messenger has accompanied me on adventures around Brooklyn and a winter trip back to Michigan, handling each trip with grace and great looks. It’s a surprisingly lightweight, unlined leather messenger bag — designed in the state of Michigan itself, my bag has aged quite well and held up more than alright through a long commute and a frigid New York winter. If you value quality and crisp style, the Roma Messenger is your bag.

Florsheim

Peak Design

The most popular camera bag in the history of Kickstarter — and a heck of a worthy messenger bag purchase.

If you value functional design that considers every detail, consider making the Peak Design Everyday Messenger¬†your next messenger bag purchase. It really does have so much going for it — from the lifetime warranty to the whopping $4.7 million it raised on its initial Kickstarter funding run, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger¬†is unlike any bag you’ve ever bought — from the waterproof waxed shell and seatbelt-style straps to the removable dividers and space for a full-frame DSLR, it’s got the goods to carry, well, your goods. Again, you might want to look into the Peak Design Everyday Messenger.
Filson Original Briefcase

One of the more recognizable everyday bags on the market — and a heck of an option for you to buy right now.

Yet another briefcase that’s not quite your traditional briefcase by any means, the Filson Original Briefcase¬† is an instantly recognizable heritage classic known and used the world over. It’s a favorite of a lot of guys here in New York City (and elsewhere) for its water-repellent exterior, handy two-way zipper and a¬† plethora of interior and exterior pockets. The USA-made construction is legendary — you’ll have this briefcase for years to come, seriously.
Owen and Fred

Yet another terrific upgrade to your daily carry.

Are you sick of reading about bags that are not quite technically messenger bags? Well, fear not — we’re almost done here. Owen and Fred really lives up to the brand’s motto — “men’s goods made great” — and from its Voyager Waxed Weekender¬†to smaller pieces like the brand’s essential brass bottle opener, you need to get Owen and Fred on your radar. The brand’s Flight Brief, made out of stylish midnight waxed canvas and finished with handsome leather accents, is a terrific bag for work or play.
Hopefully, you’ve now filled up your shopping cart with a new everyday bag — ehh? While a piece like the Joshu + Vela Zip Briefcase¬†defies the traditional conventions of a messenger bag, it’s a handsome, durable and reliably stylish upgrade to your everyday carry. And the sleek silhouette and clean lines of the Owen and Fred Flight Brief also make it a worthy addition to this list. In terms of classic, rugged appeal, it’s very tough to top the Filson Original Briefcase¬† — and you’d do well to pick that one up, of course. For the more functionally minded guy, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger¬†fits the bill more than nicely. Last but not least, the Michigan-designed Brothers Leather Supply Roma Messenger¬†could be your new favorite everyday bag. With that being said — are you ready for your next commute or road trip? See you out there.
-Beau

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The Show Goes On: Seeing Local Natives in Pittsburgh

All smiles for Local Natives — and enjoying a neat area of Pittsburgh! Trucker Jacket and 505C Denim¬†by Levi’s. Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Henley by Pistol Lake. Roma Messenger by Brothers Leather Supply. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Glasses by Frameri

There are certain items that pop up in your news feed and make you stop and take notice. Late this past year, a simple Tweet caught my eye and eventually spurred my latest Style Guide road trip.¬†Yes, the¬†announcement that one of my favorite bands, California indie rockers Local Natives, had extended their¬†Sunlit Youth tour¬†into 2017 was enough to shake up my day — and make me pull out my calendar. If you recall, I hit the road to Providence last fall to see them — it was such a stirring show, I knew I had to¬†catch¬†’em¬†again. So, that’s how I ended up on¬†a Pittsburgh-bound Greyhound bus this past weekend with my favorite #menswear in tow and another excellent live show on my mind. From a December¬†trek to¬†Baltimore to this past weekend’s¬†adventure — to name but a couple — I’m truly lucky to be able to take in great music and great cities in style. Now, my packing list was quite different than my recent spring break trip to Florida, but I had my winter packing routine down pat — and luckily, I hauled plenty of late winter travel essentials¬†for a crisp weekend. That¬†all of this gear fit¬†nicely into my Owen¬†and Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender and my Brothers Leather Supply¬†Roma Messenger was just an added bonus (Pro tip: Here’s another stylish weekender bag for your travels).

Beckett Simonon

Rock-inspired gear with cold weather in mind. Trucker Jacket by Levi’s. Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Lawrence Boots by Sutro Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Gloves by Grifter Company.

It was with Local Natives’ excellent third album, “Sunlit Youth,”¬†spinning in my headphones that I hit the road¬†— my last Style Guide¬†trip took me to New Haven to see Young the Giant, and I knew I’d need similar cold-weather gear this time around.¬†For a very early Saturday bus trip down to Pennsylvania, I layered up accordingly, starting with a classic Pistol Lake henley in a unique shade of Antique White. I topped it off with my reliable-as-ever Taylor Stitch Jack in Indigo Star Shirt and a seasonally appropriate Levi’s Trucker Jacket in a spring-friendly light wash. Because temperatures dipped into the high 30s in parts of the day, I still needed my¬† Johnston & Murphy Faux Shearling Aviator (last seen on this blog in a weekend trip to upstate New York).

Greats

On the footwear front, my pick for stomping around Pittsburgh and checking out Stage AE on Saturday night just had to be the cool and crisp Lawrence Boot from Sutro Footwear. The jodhpur style looked sleek beneath my Levi’s 505C denim and proved comfortable for a full day of wear. If you want to dress in rock-inspired style for your next concert, I’d recommend you look into Sutro Footwear men’s boots¬†and other similarly edgy menswear moves.¬†Oh, and if you want more travel style tips for men,¬†peruse this site when you get the chance.

Sharp style essentials for a Pittsburgh Saturday. Trucker Jacket and 505C Denim by Levi’s. Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Henley by Pistol Lake. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Roma Messenger by Brothers Leather Supply.

Of course, staying on time is critical for any road trip — particularly when it came to hitting up Nicholas Coffee & Tea and trekking through downtown Pittsburgh. In this instance, that meant I drafted my vintage-inspired Timex + Todd Snyder Military Watch into duty once again. It’s versatile, it’s subtly stylish and it’s tough enough to stand up to a rock show — perfect for this trip. Fully caffeinated, the real exploration of Pittsburgh rolled on, from trekking across the iconic Roberto Clemente Bridge to checking¬†out the incredibly well-designed, unique Mattress Factory Museum and making a pit stop for excellent craft brews at the rustic, home-y Allegheny City Brewing — it’s a bit of a¬†hole-in-the-wall location with a food truck out front and delicious brews (like the Deutchstown Brown) being poured inside.¬†The early evening also took me to renowned Pittsburgh craft beer bar Beerhead — all the while rocking my comfortable, durable Lawrence Boots from Sutro Footwear¬†and prepping for a stellar show, of course.

Now, to be fair … I’d seen Local Natives three times on this tour previously, but to say that lowered my expectations at all … is¬†quite far from the truth. In fact, it made me look forward to this show even more!¬†When a band brings as much energy and passion to the stage as Local Natives does — from blissful opener “Past Lives” through to classic closing track “Who Knows Who Cares”¬†— ¬†it’s a treat the entire time. Seriously, I can’t recommend this band enough. There’s nothing like their show — from start to finish, majestic lights, great sound and a heck of a set list, The show included¬†deep cut “Mt. Washington” (off of their excellent 2013 album “Hummingbird”)¬†and another crowd-pleaser, “Ceilings” — that one’s a personal favorite.¬†.¬†They harkened back to their¬†first Pittsburgh¬†show with fan favorite “Airplanes,” and broke out¬†a show-stopping rendition of “Breakers” to go along with a rousing version of “Fountain of Youth” — what a band!

They also wove in a soul-stirring version of¬†“You and I”¬†— not to mention a¬†beautiful¬†performance of “Colombia,”¬†honoring vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kelcey Ayer’s mother. Of course, “Who Knows Who Cares” brought the house down, too¬†— this is¬†a band that¬†really can do no¬†wrong! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing your favorite songs are coming … and being blown away by them all the same.

Taking on a chilly day on the Pittsburgh waterfront. Anorak by Fisher + Baker. Cable-knit sweater and garment-dyed chinos by Dockers. Flannel shirt by Frank and Oak. Pahoa Chukkas by OluKai. Red Wing Leather Chronograph by Timex x Todd Snyder. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Glasses by Frameri.

As seems to be the case after a great live show, I was plenty tired — but there was no time to waste in terms of getting around Pittsburgh in style. To combat weather that was both chilly and¬† a bit rainy, my functional, well-made and supremely durable Fisher + Baker Anorak proved exceptionally tough. The simple black colorway was sleek and city-ready and the Ventile cotton waterproof shell more than stood up to the elements — the hood was a nice touch on a blustery day, too. It layered easily over both a nautical-inspired Dockers cable-knit sweater. I paired the combo with¬† classic-yet-slim Dockers garment-dyed chinos and a cozy red-and-blue plaid flannel shirt from the master menswear purveyors at Frank and Oak.¬†The next time you need style that can take you from brunch to the park — as I did when checking out Point State Park — I’d recommend you team versatile staples with sturdy footwear. On this particular Sunday, my OluKai Pahoa Chukkas filled¬†that part of the¬†equation¬†quite nicely, blending a bit of Hawaii cool with a sturdy chukka silhouette and burnished black leather. For rugged style that also fit the bill, I had to break out my Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph,With a busy day on tap in Pittsburgh, my menswear picks proved crucial.

It was time to head back to NYC too soon, though¬† — I did so with¬†plenty of amazing memories from a brief-yet-incredible Pittsburgh trip spinning in my head. The chance to see one of my favorite bands really is something I can never pass up — even if it means hopping on a bus to get there. And the opportunity to explore a neat city with a burgeoning arts scene is always welcomed — as is the chance to try out a few local brews and check out a new music venue! But to reiterate — if you want to listen to music that makes you think, try out Local Natives. Oh, and see them live as soon as you can — just be sure to pack your favorite travel essentials for the journey. Join us tomorrow for a new #OOTD series entry, and in the meantime — stay stylish!

-Beau

Frank & Oak

Home of the Strange: New Haven and Young the Giant

Gear for the road, Yale exploration and a rock show. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

Gear for the road, Yale exploration and a rock show. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

First off, don’t let the headline catch you off guard — New Haven isn’t as weird as it might sound; in fact,¬†it was the perfect place to take in the latest stop on the¬†“Home of the Strange” tour by¬†indie rockers Young the Giant this past weekend!¬†On the same page now? Good deal. Yes indeed, this late February weekend presented the perfect opportunity to hit the road again and travel in style to see another live show — it’s a real passion of mine, as you might recall from a fall trip to see Local Natives and my summer trip to see indie folk rockers¬†Lucius, among others. And to be able to hit the road, bring along my favorite #menswear and see an awesome rock show is absolutely icing on the cake. The weather was a bit different than¬†a winter road trip to Michigan, but not quite full-on spring territory — so, earbuds in and volume turned up, I grabbed my Owen and Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender¬† — and the excellent, travel-ready Owen and Fred Flight Brief in Midnight — and set out for New Haven and College Street Music Hall (Editor’s note: For the next time you hit the road, here’s another bag that surely qualifies among the best travel gear for guys).

Gear for a Saturday on the road and a Saturday concert. Sweater by The Knit Project. Dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Field watch by Timex for J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather Supply. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

Gear for a Saturday on the road and a Saturday concert. Sweater by The Knit Project. Dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Field watch by Timex for J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather Supply. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

As has been the case with past East Coast road trips, I knew I’d have to dress for multiple potential scenarios — starting with a nice, temperate Saturday train ride from NYC to New Haven. I chose a light, breathable and innovative Fitted Merino Turtleneck from Bay Area start-up Knit Project. Made from luxurious Italian Merino wool from a company that’s focused on quality materials and a great fit, it was a neat layering touch under the Frank & Oak Marfa Slim-Fit Denim Shirt — yes, that’s right …. a turtleneck under a denim shirt.¬† It’s a move that’s a bit unique (and perhaps academically inspired for exploring Yale’s campus?), but works in this case thanks to the casual washed denim shirt and a well-fitting pair of¬† classic Frank & Oak selvedge denim. Plus, when it got breezier later on in the day, the combo worked well with no outfit change necessary. Given that I spent time on my feet exploring New Haven and drinking copious amounts of coffee from stops like Jojo’s Coffee and Tea, I needed to be able to get around effectively and on-time — that’s where my vintage-inspired Timex for J. Crew watch came in handy, along with helpful everyday carry pieces like my Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet. Of course, I had to reach for a pair of sneakers that’s as comfortable as can be — yet with the functionality of durable boots. In this instance, my Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers Grounder Hi-Tops were comfortable and effective for going from train to town to show.

All smiles in advance of Young the Giant. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

All smiles in advance of Young the Giant. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

Again, these were all pieces that worked just as well for getting around New Haven as they did for a heck of an epic show from Young the Giant. Luckily, I had plenty of time to kill before lining up outside College Street Music Hall. The campus of Yale really is something else — at times medieval and at times modern, it’s filled with great vistas and excellent architecture. It’s quaint, historic and very cool to explore — as is the Yale University Art Gallery (even if you’re not an art buff — I’m certainly not, but hey … menswear’s more my bag).

It’s always wise to take local recommendations into account when traveling — such has been the case as I’ve explored Washington, D.C. ¬†and braved the Grand Rapids winter. So one would be remiss not to stop into the delicious, quirky and renowned Louis’ Lunch for an original cheeseburger, ehh? They still know how to make ’em — considering they’re known for being the inventor of the hamburger, that’s quite the accomplishment. And I can confirm for a fact that there’s no better for fuel for a rock concert — or exploring a neat college town — than a premium stop like Cask Republic, a conveniently located spot near College Street Music Hall with multiple Northeast locations and an excellent selection of burgers and beers. Again, prime rock concert fuel, folks.

Beckett Simonon

And certainly if you’ve listened to Young the Giant or caught them on tour behind any of their three albums (including “Home of the Strange,”) you know what you’re going to get. That is, an energetic, powerful show with great showmanship from Sameer Gadhia, a heck of a lead singer with a great voice and the sort of synergy with his bandmates that comes from lots of time spent honing their craft. Hyperbole? Not when you’ve been at it since 2004, I’d say. They reliably packed their setlist with crowd-pleasers and a healthy dose of standout new material, all delivered with plenty of heart. Seriously, who hasn’t sung along to “My Body” or “Apartment” ….¬†or “I Got” (the list goes on)… while cruising in their car? Ahh, just me? OK, then. But I can tell you this — that band brings great energy, joy and feeling to the stage. What a treat to see that in action — crowd favorites like “Cough Syrup” kicked things off early, while newer hits like “Silvertongue”¬†helped close¬†out the encore. In between, Sameer and Co. lit up the stage with an amazing light show (check out a photo or two on Twitter) and also worked in sleeper hits like “Mr. Know-It-All” and ¬†“Titus Was Born” off¬†of “Home of the Strange.” In short,¬†it was a show I’d absolutely recommend seeing.

Mixing collegiate, comfortable style for a Sunday of exploration at Beinecke Plaza. Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Sashiko Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Cashmere cap by Club Monaco. Glasses by Frameri.

Mixing collegiate, comfortable style for a Sunday of exploration at Beinecke Plaza. Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Sashiko Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Cashmere cap by Club Monaco. Glasses by Frameri.

Without a doubt, it was certainly¬†a treat to see them live. The group’s time on stage at world-famous venues like Radio City Music Hall absolutely shows, and you’d do well to catch them as they tour this summer with Cold War Kids! Tickets for that one will surely go fast– anxious as I might be about getting tickets for that tour, I wasn’t anxious about dressing for the cold in New Haven on Sunday (see what I did there?). Now, there wasn’t the excitement of a show ahead, but I still enjoyed a day around a bustling town, including some lovely time spent¬†exploring the campus of Yale¬†once again¬†— it’s a beautiful institution in all respects. I also can’t recommend the premium, upscale Heirloom for brunch enough¬†— get the Heritage Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich and thank me later. For hitting up spots like Blue State Coffee (again with the coffee), I grabbed unique-yet-functional layers, starting with my Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan . My finely textured, well-made Taylor Stitch Sashiko Shirt also complemented the cardigan nicely for temperatures in the 40s, what with its unique pattern and tailored fit.

Sunday layering, starting with a sharp Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

Sunday layering, starting with a sharp Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

The top half of my rig was offset nicely by casual, comfortable and athletic-inspired Kit Culture stretch twill pants. With roots in Los Angeles, Kit Culture makes gear for the active guy, with fits built for those of us on the go. With 5 percent stretch, these pants were exceptionally comfortable for navigating the city, and yet also proved stylish and crisp alongside my reliable-as-ever CAT Footwear Sutter Boots. The combo definitely merged some high-low style alongside perhaps my new favorite watch, the vintage-inspired, handsome Timex + Todd Snyder Military Watch¬†— it’s¬†a timepiece that’s classic and eye-catching, and ever-so-slightly rugged. In short, the watch was the perfect everyday carry piece alongside my Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet¬†for exploring a bustling college town.

As is the case with many of my road trips, I feel they seem to go by too fast — and that’s definitely true¬†considering this one packed a ton into¬†a short amount of time! I’m always¬†left feeling very grateful — if a bit tired — for the chance to travel to great cities, see excellent music and yes, pack my favorite menswear. I’d say no trip is too short to put your best foot forward — and who can resist bringing along everyday carry pieces like a stylish casual watch or a great weekender bag, anyways? Oh, and about Young the Giant. There are moments during every live show that get me smiling and singing, and the Saturday night show was definitely filled with them. They have¬†no shortage¬†of tour dates through the rest of the year, so go see ’em — don’t forget to pack some stylish rock concert gear, ehh?

Until the next trip — thanks for reading and stay stylish,

-Beau

The Friday Read: Grand Rapids, Basic Outfitters and The Esquire Man

Editor‚Äôs note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays ‚ÄĒ consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and non-style content. For more entries, click here.

Phew — what day is it? Friday? If so, you’re in the right place with another edition of The Style Guide Friday Read. What a couple weeks it’s been — in a good way! Between hitting up menswear trade shows and New York Fashion Week: Men’s, followed by a winter trip to Grand Rapids (more on that in a second), I’m more than ready for this weekend. It was a heck of a start to the week as well, what with a unique¬† and fun spring campaign launch event¬†via my day job drumming up menswear PR¬†for Timberland (A hint: The brand’s sneaker-boots are where it’s at this coming season).¬†With that being said … are you as tired as I am? Even still, there’s plenty of winter style to work — get shopping with the best men’s winter accessories and upgrade your space with¬†stylish men’s home goods.¬† Or maybe you’re traveling this weekend — in that case, get smart with essential winter travel style. Before you close out the work week, I hope you’ll tune into what we’ve got ahead for you — namely, a fascinating look at the ongoing energy and focus that Esquire is bringing to the men’s media landscape in a time of turbulence. It’s a great piece. Oh, and¬†we’ve got a look¬†at a neat brand that’s helping you up your basics game. Yes, it’s all here. For a look at what’s going on in the #menswear world this weekend, join me on Twitter and Instagram. TGIF!

Beckett Simonon

  • A sharp addition to your summer footwear arsenal might have just arrived. What’s that, you say? Well, you can now pre-fund the smart, refined and waterproof footwear offerings from Gambino Alliance, a¬† recently launched Kickstarter that’s combining Italian leathers, liquid-resistant technology and memory foam comfort with versatile silhouettes like a sleek pair of Chelsea boots or a simple-yet-classic Oxford. Check them out — and pre-order them — via the Gambino Alliance site.
  • There’s certainly a lot going on in the menswear world this week, including the release of an unexpected — and unexpectedly awesome — new fragrance line from AXE. The AXE YOU grooming line includes everything from a daily fragrance to a body wash in clean, masculine scents; it’s certainly different from the old days of the brand! And it’s worth a look.
  • What is the mission of a men’s magazine nowadays? To provoke? To explain? To shed light on the world as it ought to be? Maybe a little bit of all of these things — the team at Esquire — and excellent, recently appointed¬†editor-in-chief Jay Fielden — are setting out to answer these questions one issue at a time. So far, I think they’ve done an outstanding job — if you agree, you’ll love this piece from the New York Times on the future of Esquire.
  • As y’all know, we’re all about stylish, durable travel gear for this winter — check out how to dress for winter travel (in real life!) via my latest menswear trip to Grand Rapids. It’s a city with a stellar craft beer scene, some neat menswear shops — like Brothers Leather Supply¬†— and plenty of classic Michigan scenery.

One more thing before you log off…

  • Don’t call it a comeback — call it an upgrade, if you will. It was great to learn more about Basic Outfitters for The Manual recently — here’s why you need to know this brand.
  • Before we close out for the weekend, I’d advise you to upgrade your gym gear — and possibly get ready for spring — with the Myles Apparel Everyday Short, my latest feature for the fine team at GearMoose.

OK, amped for the weekend? Beer at the ready — at least later in the day? Bingo.

Have a great one,

-Beau

The Friday Read: Frank and Oak, Stylish Men’s Home Goods and The xx

Editor‚Äôs note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays ‚ÄĒ consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and non-style content. For more entries, click here.

If you’ve had to check your calendar to confirm that it really is Friday again, you’re not alone. Between attending some excellent menswear trade shows — including Capsule Show and Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs¬†— holding down the day job and working on this here blog, it’s positively flown by. It’s always refreshing to get out “in the field,” meet new brands and make new connections — good things in store ahead, I assure you. With those shows in the books, I’m truly looking forward to the weekend because, well, it’s my birthday! OK, that’s out of the way. But with any luck, I’ll get a few great #menswear¬†gifts to feature on The Style Guide (‘cuz men’s style never sleeps).¬†In classic fashion,¬†I certainly intend on kicking back with a few craft brews — oh, and brunch. Absolutely, brunch.¬†I’m particularly excited to partner with Frank and Oak on some¬†content on behalf of the brand this weekend, too.¬†You’ll be able to look for a full personal style post in that regard on Monday, of course! In the meantime, sit back and tuck in– this week, we talked the best men’s home goods to buy now, and we also filled you in on potentially your new favorite leather weekender bag. A lot happened in the men’s style world, too — read on below, join me on Instagram ¬†and see what’s cooking over on Twitter. Cheers!

  • Regardless of how you feel about President Trump, it’s clear that some of his economic and trade, err, policies could directly impact the fashion industry. Specifically, American-made menswear. Esquire takes a deep dive into the issue this week; for what’s it worth, we here at The Style Guide — by we, I mean myself — will continue to cover and support brands that do high-quality work, anywhere and everywhere, but especially in the U.S.A.
  • We’re switching off of #menswear for the time being and diving into an album that’s been in my headphones — and perhaps yours, too — since it came out earlier this month. Esquire (those guys again) put together a beautifully composed feature on The xx and the band’s beautifully composed new album, “I See You.” I’d urge a listen if you want to lift your mood and your day, folks.
  • If stylish, technical and functional outerwear is your thing, read up on my latest GearMoose feature covering the sleek Sentinel Field Jacket¬†— and maybe complement that purchase with a pair of the best men’s gloves for winter?
  • Last but not least — if you, like myself, will be fumbling around this weekend for your wallet, grab the Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet and solve that problem handsomely (it’s a bit of a throwback post, but useful in its own right).

As always — thank you for reading, and join us tomorrow for what I think you’ll find is a very winter-centric Style Pick of the Week. Fist bumps all around, and you can keep my tab open (wink, wink).

-Beau

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Style Pick of the Week: Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

brothers-leather-wallet

A durable, well-made wallet from the Michigan-based team at Brothers Leather Supply. Get 15 percent off all Brothers Leather goods with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ until January 6th!

First of all, we’re wishing everyone a lovely Christmas Eve. Now, onto to business, shall we? The concept of small, daily style upgrades that make your life better is one that’s pretty big here at¬†The Style Guide. Be it something more noticeable like the cut of your crewneck sweatshirt or the quality of your favorite waxed trucker jacket, looking to buy the best and use the best menswear out there is a fun — if taxing — pursuit. And that pursuit extends to your everyday carry — after all, building great style is a process that touches every aspect of your life (repeat that again, will ya?) I’m always looking for ways to improve my own style, and that’s why finding brands that make the search easier can be so fulfilling. Take Brothers Leather Supply¬†— this brand first caught my eye during a summer trip back to Grand Rapids, when I had the chance to check out the Michigan company’s well-appointed storefront, as seen below.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to a great leather goods brand.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to the great leather goods brand that is Brothers Leather Supply.

And if you’ve been following me on Instagram, perhaps you’ve seen some of the stunning goods I’ve been testing out — including today’s Style Pick, the slim, useful and¬†effective 810 Wallet.¬† We’ve talked in the past about upgrading your wallet, and if you’ve yet to do that, the¬†810 Wallet¬†is an easy and effective way to check that off your list of men’s style resolutions before the new year even starts.¬† Whether you browse online or have the chance to visit the Brothers Leather Supply shop in Grand Rapids, I’d urge you to get up to speed on a brand that could steadily upgrade your accessories — in fact, you can use the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ to get 15 percent off any item, now through January 6th! Why should you do that? Read on, my fellow #menswear aficionados.

The 810 Wallet¬†is made with full-grain Vechetta leather in a lovely medium tan-brown color — it’s supple, smooth leather that’ll age nicely over time. And for $75, you definitely get your money’s worth — although hey, that 15 percent discount looks pretty good, yes?¬†The brand does you¬†one better by offering your pick of personalized branding and leather conditioner, too.¬†The striped, canvas-lined large back pocket is a neat design touch that’s complemented smartly by three easy-to-access slots on the left side, plus a larger slip pocket on the right side (complete with its own striped tab). Yes my friends, the 810 Wallet¬† ios a masculine, smart-looking wallet that slides easily in and out of slim dark denim or a trim wool overcoat — a bulky George Costanza wallet, this is not. And it should slide easily into your front suit jacket pocket the next time you suit up on a dressy day at the office. So, what’s not to love about (potentially) your go-to everyday wallet? I’d pick one up as quickly as possible, and I’d wager you’ll be surprised at how much lighter — and more stylish — your everyday carry can be.

Get 15 percent off the 810 Wallet¬†— or any other Brothers Leather Supply good using the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ now through January 6th. Stay stylish!

Pure Michigan: A weekend back in the Mitten

Editor’s note: Click here for more posts related to traveling in style.

Exploring Grand Rapids in style on a summer Friday. Plaid Poplin Shirt by JACHS NY. Slim Ludlow Denim by Mott & Bow. Freamon Sneakers by UGG. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Exploring Grand Rapids in style on a summer Friday night. Plaid Poplin Shirt by JACHS NY. Slim Ludlow Denim by Mott & Bow. Freamon Sneakers by UGG. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Although it seems like I was just in Michigan for a summer wedding yesterday, it’s actually been … well, only about two weeks. And yet, this past Friday, I found myself boarding another plane, this time to head to one of my favorite places in the state (that would be Grand Rapids) for my friend Andy’s bachelor weekend (and congrats on the upcoming nuptials, fella!). Now, the last time I was in Grand Rapids, it was for¬† a November road trip — so the temperature, weather and list of activities was just a bit different. Time flies by in New York City, so it’s always great to slow down, get back home and reconnect with … Pure Michigan (got that one out of the way). Of course, as with my other summer¬†trips — including a stop upstate for a concert and a Memorial Day weekend in New York — I loaded up my bag with all the menswear I could possibly carry; in this case, that’s quite a lot.

Packed up to hit the road. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belt Co. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab.

Packed up to hit the road. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Voyager Waxed Weekender & leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belt Co. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Millbrook Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical.

Any great trip — to Michigan or elsewhere — starts with a great bag, one with plenty of room to carry your essentials and more. While I alternate between my trusty Navali Stowaway Weekender and my durable Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender, I chose my O&F bag for this trip. It’s made from premium Martexin waxed canvas and finished off with leather accents from fellow made-in-America purveyors Wickett & Craig. It has interior zipper compartments to hold all your gear, and in my case, that included my always-dependable Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit, which I stocked with handy travel grooming essentials from brands like Tread for Men (their Traveler Sunscreen is a must in the summer) and Baxter of California — the Under Eye Complex is an underrated and handy piece to have when traveling. Elsewhere on the accessories front, I knew a hot Michigan weekend was in order. That meant my Steven Alan Optical Millbrook Sunglasses were just the ticket — seriously, we’ve got more than cold winters back home. I always appreciate the chance to rock a¬†subtle, stylish hat¬†when the sun beats down, and the Flat Wool Cap from Bridge & Burn is a nice upgrade to the typical athletic logo ballcap — it’s slightly refined and yet still casual.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

All of that gear helped me pack & transition in style from an early flight out of NYC to a sunny evening¬†in downtown Grand Rapids. As I always appreciate the chance to look sharp and travel in style, I grabbed the lightweight, casual and comfortable Green and Navy Plaid Poplin Shirt from JACHS NY. A well-fitting, casual basic like that works well when worn untucked (as you can see¬†in the top photo)¬†or when tucked in with a lightweight blazer. In this instance, it paired up well with the Slim Ludlow Denim from Mott & Bow. These jeans are built with a hint of stretch, ideal for a long day of travel.The light blue color also played well off my Hudson Belt from Arcade Belt Co.¬†, ith its navy color and stretchy smartweave fabric.¬†That was also the case with the very lightweight, very comfortable UGG Freamon Sneaker ¬†¬†—¬†they looked great and worked perfectly for getting from the airport and around Grand Rapids. Yes, you read that right. UGG does men’s footwear, and they do it well — more on that later. And my tough, rugged and refined Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono¬†also provided on-point travel style.¬†As far as getting around Grand Rapids, it was an opportune time to catch up with my great friend¬†Andy and his future fianc√©e Courtney for a delicious dinner at Derby Station in East Grand Rapids (hint: Get the Adult Grilled Cheese and finish it off with a Farmhand from Brewery Vivant — it’s a light, crisp and flavorful French farmhouse ale that’s perfect for hot summer nights). With Friday off and running, we also had just enough time to stop into The Meanwhile, an eclectic spot that feels like it would fit well in Brooklyn — with gin-and-tonics¬†available for $4, the prices would stand out back in New York City.

Taking on Saturday in sporty, casual style. Vesper Polo and Ace Short by Mack Weldon. Hayden Gray Linen Jacket & Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Freamon Sneakers by UGG. Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Taking on Saturday in sporty, casual style. Vesper Polo and Ace Short by Mack Weldon. Hayden Gray Linen Jacket & Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Freamon Sneakers by UGG. Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab. Glasses by Warby Parker.

A fun Friday night led into yet another busy day on Saturday¬†around Grand Rapids — and away from the city — with plenty in the works. To take on the day, I reached for a crucial style move in the heat: We’re talking here about the new, very breathable, lightweight Mack Weldon Vesper Polo. With a name inspired by the original martini sipped by James Bond, it was perfect in a figurative and literal sense for the¬† hot weather — seriously, the micro-mesh fabric and crisp Total Eclipse Blue color¬†proved comfortable¬†and sharp. The same thing goes for the Mack Weldon Ace Short¬†— it’s another piece from the brand’s line of essential basics that fits & performs well, thanks to the French terry fabric¬†and multiple discreet-but-useful zipper pockets. And that comfort¬†proved essential for¬†walking the city and grabbing a¬†morning pick-me-up at the renowned Madcap Coffee, one of the top coffee shops in the country and a great place to catch up with my old MSU friend Pat Evans (he’s a heck of a writer and a beer aficionado to boot — grab his book on the history of Grand Rapids beer while you’re at it). We also had just enough time¬†to swing by one of the city’s best new lifestyle shops, Brothers Leather Supply. They make ridiculously well-crafted bags and leather accessories, and they do it right in Grand Rapids — check out the photo below for a sneak peek, and look for more content on them¬†on the blog¬† soon!¬†Pat and I also took the time to hit up one of my favorite Grand Rapids stops,¬†the renowned HopCat (purveyors of amazing beer and great burgers across the Midwest)¬†before I reconnected with Andy and¬†the crew for a¬†vigorous round of foot golf¬†in the Michigan countryside — it’s a heck of¬†a workout if you’re used to sitting at a desk all day! Of course, all that activity meant that accessories¬†like my Steven Alan Optical Millbrook Sunglasses and the Bridge & Burn Flat Wool Cap also proved quite useful.

One of Grand Rapids' finer menswear establishments, Brothers Leather Supply.

One of Grand Rapids’ finer menswear establishments, Brothers Leather Supply.

And it goes without saying that my Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch (currently on backorder¬†but still a must-buy) was the perfect, sporty watch to meet the dual focuses of outdoor activity and indoor beer-tasting — it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.¬† Truly, there aren’t that many watches that can look great and perform well when traveling, bar-hopping or hitting up the Panorama music festival, but that watch is one of them. Of course, the occasion called for comfortable footwear, too. That’s where the UGG Freamon Sneaker came back into play. Featuring the brand’s traction-focused Treadlite technology and a sharp white sole, the¬† Seal¬†(or light grey) option sent courtesy of the brand (thanks, guys!) provided a dash of unexpected style alongside the blues in my outfit. In fact, you can look for much more from them¬†this fall on the blog. .¬†And to finish off the look, I reached for some comfortable, breathable striped no-show socks from Sock Genius¬†— when you’ve got¬†lightweight summer sneakers along for the ride, grab stylish no-show socks to keep your feet (and your sneakers) in shape.

A busy Saturday out and about led us to a night of sampling brews and bites around Grand Rapids — that included a stop through the renowned and quickly growing Founders Brewing Company, one of my favorite spots in the city. We also carved out time to check out the first-ever distillery in the city, Long Road Distillers — they make a mean gin-and-tonic and a refreshing array of craft cocktails. For those activities, I switched up my footwear and reached for the tough, sturdy and stylish Natural Diplomat Boot from Thursday Boots, and I grabbed my rugged Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collaboration — it’s the ideal mix of casual and smart, and it worked just as well throughout the weekend. If you have to travel with only one watch, that just might be the one to grab. The entire combination worked well for a fun night out celebrating our great friend Andy — and it’s got me even more excited to be back in Michigan in less than three weeks for the wedding! If you’ve still got a summer wedding on your calendar, here’s what you should wear.

Sunday's outfit grid for a day of travel. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Stone Chinos by Taylor Stitch. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belt Co. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Notebook by Word Notebooks.

Sunday’s outfit grid for a day of travel. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Stone Chinos by Taylor Stitch. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belt Co. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Notebook by Word Notebooks.

With a very busy Saturday night in the books, it was time to load up on coffee and hit the road for a relatively easy flight back to New York City (a welcome change from some past travel struggles getting back to Michigan). I still dressed in durable travel gear for the trip — my Thursday Boots Natural Diplomat Boot in particular was the perfect pair of boots to wear to get back to Manhattan; they’re rugged-yet-refined, and went well with my Taylor Stitch Slim Chinos in Light Stone.¬† And my Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch¬†was again up to the challenge of traveling in style — each piece was offset nicely by what just might be my new favorite casual shirt, the JackThreads Denim Shirt. It fits slim, the light wash cotton denim is soft and moves well, and the styling potential is on-point (look for it in an upcoming #OOTD post, in fact). And with all that gear ready to go, it was time to hit the road back.

Yet again, it feels like this past weekend in Michigan was too brief. It was great to explore one of my favorite cities in Michigan, and I’m just as excited to return again. And of course, you really can’t¬†quantify the¬†value of spending¬†time with lifelong friends.¬†On the plus side, there’s another¬†chance for me to get back to Michigan¬†— I’ll be back in just three weeks (again!) for Andy’s wedding near my lovely hometown of Mason. That trip will be just as fun, and with just as many chances for … (wait for it)… Pure Michigan relaxation (yes, I went there again). If you’ve got questions on how to travel in style or just want to chat menswear, check out my Twitter account or hit the ‘Follow’ button over on Instagram.

Until the next flight boards,

-Beau