Sand & sun, Part 2: Celebrating Christmas in Florida

Editor’s note: Click this link for more posts on how to travel in style.

Exploring J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge near my parents' home in Fort Myers, Fla.

Exploring the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge near my parents’ home in Fort Myers, Fla.

In the midst of planning ahead for 2016 on both the work and blogging fronts, I was really grateful and glad to be able to get to Florida for a bright and sunny Christmas. It was a rather hectic travel day on Wednesday between wrapping up some work for my day job representing Timberland, and travel delays out of New York City didn’t help the situation  — the chaos at the airport was pretty unimaginable! But that gave way to warm evenings and long, sunny  (but all-too-brief!) days in Fort Myers with great family and friends — for that, I’m definitely thankful. And making the style transition from the in-between weather in NYC to the record-high temperatures in Florida proved more than doable with the gear I brought along for the trip.

Sturdy waxed canvas made this bag a great travel companion. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred

Sturdy waxed canvas made this bag a great travel companion. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred

To get from Point A to Point B, I brought along my trusty Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag and my new but still-reliable United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle — I would definitely recommend picking up a trusty weekender bag crafted from a durable waxed canvas, particularly if you only find yourself on the road for a weekend or a few days at a time. It proved more than accommodating for the gear I brought with me, and the extra gifts I brought back! And it’s a good thing I packed relatively light, as temperatures throughout the Fort Myers area were in the 80s throughout the duration of the trip! That made it extra-refreshing to check out a sure-to-be-favorite spot — the nearby Point Ybel Brewing, a relatively recent addition to the burgeoning craft beer scene in southwest Florida. Myself and my family sampled some great brews, including the delicious Captiva Cream Ale seen below — if you can get your hands on it, I’d recommend you bring home some fresh-canned beer from the brewery itself. For that excursion and much of the rest of the trip, I found a comfortable tee (in this case, a rugged-yet-stylish Pistol Lake short-sleeve henley) and some tailored shorts worked just fine.

Sipping on a great brew at the nice Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers. Olive short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Classic Bristol leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Sipping on a great brew at Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers. Olive short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Classic Bristol leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Glasses by Warby Parker.

The laidback outfit also worked well to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and MAN, what a movie. We capped off Christmas Eve with some more family traditions, including watching “Love Actually“, playing a few games and enjoying a delicious meal before awaiting Santa… And my sister and I were certainly very lucky and blessed this year — Santa definitely fulfilled some of my #menswear wish list! I’m extremely excited and grateful for the incredible gifts I received, including the stellar Hemingway Elbow Patch Shirt from Todd Snyder and an amazing pair of Tom Ford Snowdon sunglasses (as worn by James Bond — WOW.). Those will definitely be accompanying me on future trips!

A look at some of the gifts Santa left for me. Brooklyn Field Guide by Wildsam. Beard Balm by Brooklyn Grooming. Beard & Face Brick by Clifford Originals. Notebook by Public Supply. Beer tasting book by 33 Books Co. Chocolate by (who else?) Toblerone.

A look at some of the gifts Santa left for me. Brooklyn Field Guide by Wildsam. Beard Balm by Brooklyn Grooming. Beard & Face Brick by Cliff Original. Notebook by Public Supply. Beer tasting book by 33 Books Co. Chocolate by (who else?) Toblerone.

It was an amazing Christmas Day, and I’ll now have even more new style gear to add to my wardrobe, including an eco-friendly watch from Sprout and a pair of lovely Americano Dress Cords from Bonobos. But perhaps the best part of the day was relaxing with my family and enjoying a traditional turkey dinner – it’s a good thing I went with casual style, as I was plenty stuffed with Christmas cookies. There’s perhaps no better way in my mind to cap off a great holiday than by spending it with the ones you love, so that made things even better.

Dressed casually for a hot Florida day. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Olive sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Dressed casually for a hot Florida day. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Olive sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Glasses by Warby Parker.

But there was no time to rest with a shortened visit – and we had to work off all that food! We made the most of the day after Christmas by heading to the famous J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge for a bit of exploring – – I tackled that part of the trip with a pair of comfortable (but not sloppy) Pistol Lake sweatshorts and my reliable GREATS Brand Rosen Runners. Both picks proved more than adequate for lots of walking – as you may know, I’m a huge fan of GREATS, so I’d recommend you toss a pair in your bag on your next excursion.

Exploring the beaches near Fort Myers. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford (thanks Santa!).

Exploring the beaches near Fort Myers. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford (thanks Santa!).

As to the refuge itself — it’s an incredibly tranquil setting that’s really second-to-none in terms of natural beauty in southwest Florida – if you’re a fan of bird-viewing or fishing, definitely consider exploring the refuge. We also stopped by a local beach for a bit of exploration, which I was more than able to tackle in my Orlebar Brown Setter Swim Trunks and an organic cotton United By Blue pocket tee (similar style here), plus the aforementioned Tom Ford sunglasses. When you hit the road yourself, consider picking up a pair of sunglasses that’ll look sharp with outfits both dressy and casual – some slim Randolph Engineering aviators would be a great start.

Before enjoying some brews at The Lodge, we saw some of the sights around Fort Myers. Vintage 'drinks' shirt. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

Before enjoying some brews at The Lodge, we saw some of the sights around Fort Myers. Vintage ‘drinks’ shirt. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

We finished up our day in Fort Myers by heading to The Lodge, a cavernous downtown bar replete with rustic wood furnishing, delicious barbeque and (my personal favorite), the ability to pour your own beers from their long list of taps (the Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from Fort Myers Brewing is worth a few sips!). We were joined by some old family friends in town for a visit (Hi, O’Brien family!)  — it was a wonderful evening filled with lots of laughter and reminiscing, plus new memories made.

Catching the last of the Florida rays. Ringer Pocket Tee by Tommy John. Khaki shorts by Banana Republic. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. White Wilson sneakers by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

Catching the last of the Florida rays. Ringer Pocket Tee by Tommy John. Khaki shorts by Banana Republic. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. White Wilson sneakers by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

But as with all great trips, the journey home has to start sometime. We had the chance to pick up some locally-famous donuts from Bennett’s Fresh Roast on Sunday morning– once again, this place is a must-visit if ever you find yourself in the Fort Myers area. We finished off that leg of the trip by taking in the last of the nearby ocean views. With walking in the itinerary, I grabbed a comfortable Tommy John Ringer Pocket Tee in Heather Grey, which fits slim and is crafted from remarkably soft fabric. I topped off the look with a vintage ballcap from Goorin Brothers – although the option you see here is sold-out, a stylish, minimal cap never goes wrong when traveling, nor do versatile captoe sneakers.

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With all that activity (and new #menswear gear) in the bag, it was time to hit the road – for travel, I threw on my trusty Mott & Bow denim and some sturdy Thursday Boots suede chukkas. I’d certainly recommend you reach for comfortable, stylish pieces the next time you hop on a flight. Aside from some travel delays on the way down, the trip was about as amazing of a holiday as I could have hoped for, and I can’t wait to visit southwest Florida again. The natural beauty is second-to-none, the local attractions are unique, and the sunshine isn’t a bad way to spend Christmas – or any other time of year! I’ll be looking forward to my next trip, and I hope you’re able to travel & see loved ones as we head into 2016. For now, look for a New Year’s Eve Style Suggestion hitting right here tomorrow.

Until then – stay stylish!

-Beau

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The Friday Read: Christmas Day, 100 Best Tracks of 2015 and The Year in Sneakers

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

First of all: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thanks for sharing a bit of your day with The Style Guide – I appreciate it! What gear are you rocking today? Here’s one casual Christmas style suggestion, and one dressy Christmas style suggestion. And while we’re at it, did you get any items on your menswear wish list? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Santa has in store, and more importantly, I can’t wait to spend the day resting and relaxing with family here in sunny Florida (good thing I brought some stylish travel gear with me!). As always, let’s close out this week with a few good menswear reads. Look for another Style Pick of the Week here tomorrow, and then we’ll keep getting ready for 2016 with a New Year’s Eve style suggestion on Monday, followed by a full recap of my trip to Florida. Make it a great Christmas Day and stay stylish!

  • With the year drawing to a close, GQ.com covered the best sneakers of 2015 – did any of your favorites make this list?
  • Strong Italian tailoring isn’t for everyone, and it’s often very pricey – but if that’s your game, the New York Times says it’s worth putting the new Isaia store on your bucket list when you visit NYC.
  • Not to be forgotten in the menswear hubbub, Pitchfork’s editors ranked the 100 best tracks of 2015 – again, any favorites of yours on here? There are some stunners for sure, including “Eventually” by Tame Impala.

Before you unwrap the rest of your presents…

  • Splurge in a big way to start the new year with the incredibly well-designed and incredibly rare Shinola Ali Collection honoring the greatest fighter of all-time; I certainly added some items to my Wish List after covering the release for VOUCH Mag.

Style Suggestion: Christmas Day

Editor’s note: For another Style Suggestion covering a cozy, more casual Christmas, swing your sleigh this way.

Classier than Cousin Eddie, not as bold as Clark Griswold. An in-between Christmas Style Suggestion.

Classier than Cousin Eddie, not as bold as Clark Griswold. An in-between Christmas Style Suggestion.

Just last Wednesday on The Style Guide, we covered what to wear if you found yourself taking it easy on Christmas — casual, but not sloppy (looking at you, Eddie). But the holiday season can go several types of ways — including a bit more dressy, as you might have seen with this holiday party style suggestion. The tricky in-between place is where lots of occasions seem to go nowadays. If you’re in your own home or heading over to someone else’s for the day, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Dress up too much and you stick out a bit — but show up wearing sweatpants and that might just not fly, either. So your humble staff of one at The Style Guide’s Brooklyn HQ pulled together the below outfit for this exact scenario. Keep in mind that if it’s hot where you are, simply swap in a great pair of shorts and perhaps a solid polo in place of the heavier ensemble (the accessories can feasibly work with either get-up, though). In the meantime, get the last of your Christmas shopping in order with my holiday gift guide for the lovely ladies in your life, and stock up on your menswear Christmas Wish List while you’re at it.

The Sweater: JACHS NY Merino Wool Burgundy Crewneck Sweater — $129

A color that fits in for the season -- and beyond. Comfortable fabric is a bonus, too.

A color that fits in for the season — and beyond. Comfortable fabric is a bonus, too.

As with another great JACHS sweater featured earlier this fall on The Style Guide, this piece also has some on-trend and seasonally appropriate elbow patches. The color is rich and the quality of the 100 percent merino wool fabric is definitely breathable and fairly lightweight, unlike other, scratchier wool-blend sweaters. But those touches can come with a premium for some of us — that’s why if you do spring for this sweater, I’d advise you to rock it as many ways as possible throughout the rest of the winter (burgundy doesn’t just fit in at Christmas) — although the crewneck makes it more casual than a V-neck sweater, it can still go over a shirt and tie if needed.. If you fancy a cheaper option instead, give some picks from Frank & Oak a look instead.

The Shirt: Ace Rivington Beach Washed Chambray Pocket Shirt — $84 (Was $67.20)

A simple chambray is the way to go here, especially one that's been pre-washed.

A simple chambray is the way to go here, especially one that’s been pre-washed.

This indigo chambray number from Ace Rivington is a fairly solid price from a brand that takes pride in crafting its gear (although a cheaper option from GAP as seen here wouldn’t go amiss either). It’s pre-washed and lightweight yet it should still be durable — and that pre-washing should allow it to break in even easier. Unlike a stiff white or blue dress shirt, the chambray shirt is the way to go here because it strikes the all-season, all-situation vibe that should play well just about anywhere — particularly when combined with a  nice merino sweater. Plus, if it gets hot and the sweater needs to come off, the chambray shirt will do fine on its own.

The Pants: JackThreads Skinny Stretch Denim — $59.50

Made with a hint of stretch, this pair of denim looks cleaned-up but should wear comfortably.

Made with a hint of stretch, this pair of denim looks cleaned-up but should wear comfortably.

Keep in mind that you could definitely substitute in your favorite pair of denim — be it a heavier pair of Mott & Bow raw denim or something a little more lightweight, like this pair of JackThreads stretch denim. The brand has been getting a lot of play here in recent weeks simply because its new menswear vertical combines what so many guys look for — a digital shopping experience, easygoing but crisp style essentials and very accessible prices, something that’s no more true here (seriously, this price is just above a UNIQLO-type offering). Now, the 14 1/2″ leg opening runs pretty slim, so if you’ve got some leg muscle, you might be better off reaching for something like the 770 jean from J. Crew. Note that if things get a little dressier, you could keep the jeans and simply add a sharp knit tie to your top half.

The Shoes: Thursday Boots Honey Suede Scout Chukka — $149

The rich honey color should complement the other colors in this outfit nicely.

The rich honey color should complement the other colors in this outfit nicely.

Just like a heftier pair of Thursday Boots, these Suede Scout Chukkas live up to solid quality for the price (a review of the Chocolate Suede Scout Chukka is coming on Wednesday on this blog, in fact!). Combine that with a nice shade of honey (dark tan, you might say?) and you’ve got a boot that’s refined yet casual — perfect for this type of dressing situation. They’ll be comfortable should you need to leave them on, and they can easily come off since you’ll be rocking some sharp socks — but more on that in a minute. The color should stand out nicely under the dark denim and burgundy sweater here. If needed, some leather sneakers could fill the same footwear void.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Washed Leather Belt — $19.50

Reach for a casual belt with some texture to complement the rest of this ensemble.

Reach for a casual belt with some texture to complement the rest of this ensemble.

This J. Crew Factory belt is the cheaper alternative to the Land’s End belt featured in the Thanksgiving Style Suggestion a few weeks back, and that’ s all the better for a casual leather belt. It’s not too thick in terms of width, so it could also be worn in business-casual situations outside of this occasion, and that small but noticeable contrast stitching near the buckle should break up the inky blue of the dark denim a bit. Although the boots are honey suede, don’t worry about matching up the color of the belt to those chukkas — simply enjoy your holiday in style.
The Socks: Richer Poorer Poet Socks — $12

Navy on navy -- in the case of the denim and the socks -- definitely works thanks to the pop of pattern.

Navy on navy — in the case of the denim and the socks — definitely works thanks to the pop of pattern.

Richer Poorer also made it into last week’s cozy Christmas Style Suggestion, so keep in mind that those fun polka-dot socks could work with this outfit, too. However, if you’re a fan of colorful, well-designed socks, read on. Although the Poet Socks, the dotted geometric pattern offer up some visual contrast when put right up against the skinny dark denim, and to have just a bit peeking out from atop your suede chukkas isn’t a bad thing. If you’re like me and stocked up on American Trench socks earlier this fall, some stripes from that brand could also do you good with this outfit.

The Watch: MVMT The 40 – Blue/Brown Leather$120  $108 (Take 10% Off Here)

The bright blue dial stands out next to other, darker shades of blue in this outfit.

The bright blue dial stands out next to other, darker shades of blue in this outfit.

MVMT Watches seem to fly under the radar from time to time. That is to say, plenty talk about lower-priced brands on one end and higher-end brands on the other, yet MVMT occupies that nice middle ground. The pricing is just right (and 10% off doesn’t hurt), and the looks are clean and crisp. Particularly in the case of The 40 in Blue/Brown Leather, the styling potential is just as versatile as with a white or black dial. Take the pairing of navy socks and navy denim plus this electric blue dial — it’s a combo that matches up well, as you can absolutely wear multiple shades of blue at once. And since colored watch dials lean a little more casual, it works well with the high-low nature of the outfit.

So that wraps up another round of Christmas Style Suggestions — did I cover off on everything you’ll need? Sure hope so! And while style’s definitely important around the holidays, I know I’ll be looking forward the most to spending much-needed time with family and friends on the special holiday. I hope you’ll do the same!

Stay stylish,

-Beau

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Style Suggestion: A Cozy Christmas

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions — including what to wear to that holiday party — swing through here.

Breaking news — Christmas is almost here! If you’re a big fan of the holidays, like me, and appreciate a festive atmosphere in the air and lights all around the cityscape (or your hometown), there’s really no better time to enjoy. But thankfully, the holiday also gives everyone a chance to rest, regroup and ideally, actually get home for some time off. Either way, Christmas and the events surrounding it don’t always have a set dress code — it could be a more casual evening of opening gifts with just the family, or a nice party with friends (hopefully, Ryan Gosling doesn’t drop by). So the style suggestion that follows definitely errs on the side of more casual, whether this is on Christmas Day itself or in the days leading up to. Bear in mind — this is just one suggestion to keep things from getting too sloppy, so mix-and-match (and buy) as you please! Note that we’ll cover a more dressed-up Christmas affair right here next week.

The Shirt: Tommy John Ringer Pocket Tee in Heather Grey — $34

This colorblocked pocket tee is a simple but effective upgrade from the pedestrian crewneck.

This colorblocked pocket tee is a simple but effective upgrade from the pedestrian crewneck.

So right off the bat, that price is a bit much more than most might pay for a T-shirt. BUT, bear with — Tommy John certainly seems to be the real deal as far as quality and comfort goes in the undershirt and T-shirt game. And its Ringer Pocket Tee (available in four colors) is soft, stylish and slim-fitting. Crucially, the color at the neck and pocket sets it apart just so slightly from a regular crewneck tee, even when that might be the cheaper option.  It’s these small style upgrades that can add a little thought to your look, and if comfort is part of the equation, it’s key to still look good. However, if wearing just a tee makes you wary, I’d reach for a great chambray shirt instead.

The Sweater: Old Navy Chunky Shawl-Collar Cardigan — $49.50 (When On-Sale)

A rich color and ribbed knit make this a solid house sweater for a cozy Christmas.

A rich color and ribbed knit make this a solid house sweater for a cozy Christmas.

Because it’s the heart of December, we’ll assume it could be a little bit chilly wherever you might be. That’s exactly the time to reach for a well-priced Old Navy cardigan. The burgundy color is a nice, on-trend nod to the season as a whole (although this cream JackThreads Shawl Cardigan could also be a neat, affordable pickup). But in this instance, the thick burgundy knit brings some nice contrast when paired alongside the lightweight T-shirt. As I’ve said time and again, a shawl-collar cardigan is a great, masculine style move that adds some rugged appeal to any outfit. Plus, who doesn’t love a cozy sweater? If it’s too warm out where you are, ditch it (if you’re lucky enough, that is!).

The Pants: JackThreads The Daily Jogger — $49.50 OR Classic Dark Denim

A dark color and trim cut help these wear less like sweats and more like jeans. Yes, you got that right.

A dark color and trim cut help these wear less like sweats and more like jeans. Yes, you got that right.

As we talked about above, Christmas can go one of two ways — more casual, or dressier. In this case, if you’ve got the option to go more laidback yet want to avoid wearing pajama pants, we’re going out on a limb to recommend a pair of tailored sweatpants in a dark color. JackThreads continues to get a lot of things right with its new menswear line, and stylish essentials at low prices like these are why. Again, if sweatpants still feel too casual, a solid pair of dark denim never fails (I’d recommend Mott & Bow, who makes slim jeans like its Hester model with a comfy hint of stretch). If sweats are too hot, reach for their laidback but just as comfy alternative — the well-crafted sweatshort (like these from my friends at Pistol Lake).

The Sneakers: GREATS Brand Royale Chukka — $152 (On-Sale)

Camel plus black in a chukka silhouette = dressier sneakers than the norm.

Camel plus black in a chukka silhouette = dressier sneakers than the norm.

If sneakers seem a silly option for the middle of winter (and they very well might be if there’s a ton of snow), I’d urge you to go with a reliable (but cheaper) desert boot instead. If, however, you’re able to rock some chukka sneakers from GREATS, you’ve found a style choice that fits right in with fall & winter yet feels more comfortable than a thicker boot (note that Reef’s Outhaul Lux Chukka does that, too). The Royale Chukka definitely checks all those boxes, and even more crucially, the camel color plus black sole is a combo that feels a little dressier than a plain pair of captoe sneakers. These sneakers can be worn through the rest of winter in the right weather, and into spring with some lightwash jeans, too — that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

The Watch: Timex Weekender 40mm — $46

A black leather strap and that simple Timex dial create the ideal happy medium for the rest of this outfit.

A black leather strap and that simple Timex dial create the ideal happy medium for the rest of this outfit.

Just as in this site’s Thanksgiving Style Suggestion, a Timex is the affordable watch pick once again. In this instance, Timex’s classic weekender dial keeps the watch more casual, but the black face and slip-thru black leather strap makes it ever so slightly put-together. Yet, it’ll still look right at home with this outfit in terms of color and styling potential — it’s just that simple and versatile. Lest we forget, this watch can be mixed and matched with other NATO straps — that’s like getting a new watch for about $10.

The Socks: Richer Poorer Herald Socks — $12

A small way to pump some pattern into an outfit -- for a low price.

A small way to pump some pattern into an outfit — for a low price.

Whereas the rest of this outfit mainly sticks to solid basics, these socks inject some life into the ensemble in a fun way. And assuming you’ll be kicking around without shoes on for a bit, clean, hole-free socks are a must (truly). Throw in a fun polka-dot pattern in a color that complements the rest of the outfit, and you’re set. The oatmeal color of these socks is also just different enough if you go with a heather-grey T-shirt (or even a blue chambray), and the navy dots complement the cardigan and the sneakers, too. Plus, Richer Poorer socks are springy and breathable — not a  heavy wool set.

While the above outfit might not work for everyone, here’s hoping you do get the chance to kick back in a more casual fashion this Christmas — and when that time comes, I hope you’ll keep some of these picks in mind (because who doesn’t love looking their best all the time?). Think I missed anything? Let me know your picks for the holiday season below!

Ben Sherman US

Style Suggestion: Christmas Time

Dressing up for a special holiday occasion in the winter – be it Thanksgiving or another cold weather-centric affair (for most of us, at least) doesn’t have to be as stuffy as it sounds. After all, Christmas dinner (or Christmas Day) seems to go one of two ways — it either involves lots of family and is dressier, or centers around smaller groups and is more laidback. Whether your travels take you to a large gathering or a small dinner, the outfit below should keep you classy and yet appropriately dressed. Of course, if you’re heading to an area with warm weather, something more appropriate for a summer holiday could fit the bill better. Without further ado, a style suggestion for all you fellas besides St. Nick:

The Shirt: Uniqlo Slim Fit Oxford-cloth Buttondown — $29.90

Probably the most versatile (and affordable) casual shirt on the market in terms of quality.

Probably the most versatile (and affordable) casual shirt on the market in terms of quality.

A white OCBD is an exceptionally versatile shirt that goes with lots of different outfit combinations — from dressier to more casual. Uniqlo’s white Oxford-cloth shirts have gotten great reviews, and they’re a fantastic value. They combine both solid quality and a very nice price, to boot (especially when they drop below $20 on sale), similar to most of what Uniqlo produces. In this case, it’ll act as a neutral, crisp base to a slightly more casual outfit. The great news is that plenty of sizes remain online, as well. If you have another, similar white OCBD or casual white shirt in your closet, that’ll work just fine here as well.

The Sweater: Old Navy Heather Grey Crewneck Sweater — $26.50

An ideal go-between  — not too dressy or too casual.

An ideal go-between — not too dressy or too casual.

The above sweater looks mighty familiar to a decidedly more expensive version from Todd Snyder, making it the perfect piece to mix in some high-low styling. In this case, using an athletically-inspired crewneck sweater and pairing it with a casual collared shirt is a nice merger of two contrasting styles, and it helps dial the outfit down more than a V-neck sweater might. The neutral grey color also makes it easier to add some color to the rest of the outfit  — in your socks, for example. And in the event that you need to throw on a tie to dress up the outfit, a crewneck sweater helps temper the formality of the ensemble (on that note, a navy knit tie would work well here in terms of both texture and color) .

The Pants: Forever21 Classic Corduroy Pants — $19.80

Slightly dressier (and with a more seasonal touch) than dark denim. Just leave the styling touches in the photo to the Internet, though.

Slightly dressier (and with a more seasonal touch) than dark denim. Just leave the styling touches in the photo to the Internet, though.

Forever21 definitely isn’t the first place that most of us would think of when reaching for … well, any men’s clothing. However, the site is worth scouring around for some deals. And in a pinch, these corduroy pants would be a worthwhile purchase — since they’re burgundy, they’re not a workhorse pair of denim that could see everyday wear and thus get worn out quickly. Additionally, they’re a seasonally-appropriate shade that adds some polish to an outfit that would lean decidedly more casual if dark denim were the pants of choice. As far as a belt goes with this outfit, keeping things laid back with a braided weave belt adds texture to the outfit.

The Shoes: Billy Reid x K-Swiss Leather Chukka Sneakers — $81.99

Vintage, sporty sneakers with a rich, distressed leather finish complement this outfit nicely.

Vintage, sporty sneakers with a rich, distressed leather finish complement this outfit nicely.

The sneakers in this collection are admittedly a personal favorite — they strike an excellent balance between slightly luxe touches like rich leather, while also retaining their vintage sport-inspired roots (like rawhide laces and  thick side stripes). That combination makes them a terrific piece of footwear to pair with this outfit — with high-low contrast already going on between the crewneck sweater and the crisp OCBD, a pair of rich leather sneakers completes the combination. While these appear to be sold-out through the Billy Reid website, outlets like 6pm.com appear to have plenty in stock.

The Rest: J. Crew Ribbed Stripe Socks — $14.50

Stuhrling Original Aquadiver Stainless Steel Watch — $59.95

Two options that add to this casual-dressy outfit combo.

Two options that add to this casual-dressy outfit combo.

Each of these two accessories play off high-low styling as well — the ribbed stripe socks add some visual interest, texture and color that some plain navy dress socks might not add, while that stainless steel dive watch pairs just as solidly with this polished-casual ensemble as it might with a suit and tie. Stuhrling’s watches are definitely of reliable quality — check out two other watch reviews here and here — and the price on that piece is less than even an Invicta dive watch. Note that although the dial on the watch is black, since the band is stainless steel, it can be paired with either brown or black shoes.

What’s your take on this outfit? Pieces that you would change or add? What will you be wearing this holiday season? Let me know below! 

Style Suggestion: Christmas Time

If you’re anything like me, the last few days before Christmas are a bit of a scramble to finish wrapping gifts and getting everything set for two special days — Christmas Eve and Christmas. Ideally, since this time is most often spent with family, it’s good to not have to think too much about what to wear on those days. And it’s wise to not overdo it too much, either — but you should still dress to impress (although Christmas is one of those days where it’s OK to wear your pajamas all day). Let’s take it from the top with an outfit that could work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas.

The Sweater

Elbow-patch wool crew (Alternative: Fair isle crewneck sweater)

Different texture, and with elbow patches for variety.

Different texture, and with elbow patches for variety.

In most parts of the country this time of year, it’s pretty cold (including New Hampshire, where the Siblings With Style operation has gone mobile this week). That’s why a sweater will work more than sufficiently to stave off the chill. But, use some more variety here than with a standard v-neck sweater.

That’s why a donegal wool crew (the above option pictured is from Frank & Oak) does the job nicely. The wool’s texture is subtly different from a classic merino or wool sweater (note the flecks in the fabric), and the crew neck means this can be worn more casually atop a plain t-shirt. The elbow patches break up the outfit by adding another subtle textural difference, and that touch is certainly a modern take on an older classic. The same holds true for the fair isle crewneck alternative. The pattern is perfect for the holidays — it’s certainly ‘of-the-moment’, but it incorporates a cold-weather feel, too. And in slim new iterations from places like J. Crew and even Old Navy, the fair isle sweater fits the mold of a nice modern update. Additionally, because that fair isle pattern is louder, it can easily be dialed down by pairing it with the perfect pair of dark denim.

The Shirt

Chambray shirt

Workwear details and rough cold-weather texture.

Workwear details and rough cold-weather texture.

Assuming you stick with a nice wool crew, it’s wise to keep your shirt in the same casual area. That could mean as something as simple as a charcoal or grey t-shirt, but if you’re stepping out of the house to visit family or heading to a casual party, a collared shirt is probably the more polished way to go. It’s easy here to turn to a simple white or blue Oxford cloth button-down, but the slightly unique texture of the sweater calls for a slightly more unique shirt. Chambray is the ideal in-between medium —a step up from an OCBD in terms of visual interest, and able to be worn in fall and winter with equal ease — the rough, workwear-inspired roots of chambray are the answer to colder temps in the later parts of the year, including around Christmas.

The Pants

Slim chinos

Hawkings McGill chinos from Urban Outfitters.

Hawkings McGill chinos from Urban Outfitters.

Even though Christmas is a decidedly casual holiday when it’s spent at home, the day before and the day itself present a variety of potential style situations. If both days are spent at home, a lighter-washed, more casual denim, kept slim and with some distressing (yes, some) could be your ticket to casual style. But in both instances, slim chinos in a neutral color (as seen above) work perfectly.  Something in a darker fall or winter shade (like burnt orange or burgundy) could definitely work as well. In this instance, chinos allow you to be a bit more polished at home or just as ready to jump up and head out to a movie or dinner, a place where jeans might not go a long way.

The Shoes

‘Classy’ boots

A high-quality boot with years of history behind it.

A high-quality boot with years of history behind it.

As with much of the day, this is one holiday where not a lot might be required of you in terms of errands, chores or, well, much of anything involving leaving the house. But, if the day involves trekking through some snow, a sturdy pair of boots is the way to go when the weather turns frosty.  When you add a different component (like a slightly different color) outside of a standard wingtip or ‘work’ boot, the right pair of shoes can work across multiple seasons and situations. That’s where the Red Wing Beckman boots come in. The cherry shade of this particular pair is beautifully rich in color and extremely high-quality, if reviews and anecdotal history are any indication (46 out of 51 reviews on Amazon were 4 or 5 star ratings). That red cherry color means that the boot could feasibly be worn with either a black or brown leather belt — don’t worry about matching leathers, here. And the boot’s deep color falls in line with the elbow patches of the sweater and the rough texture of the chambray shirt — all subtly different touches from typical items.

The Rest

Camp socks and casual leather watch

Thick and warm socks to stand up to the heat.

Thick and warm socks to stand up to the heat.

Is $16.50 a lot for a pair of socks, like the J. Crew option as shown in the link? Definitely. But, if it’s particularly chilly where you live, a nice, thick pair of socks could see a lot of duty in the fall and winter, so it’s a slight investment in the grand scheme of things. That particular pair has some notes of blue and black that would play off other colors in the outfit, like the sweater, shirt and chinos. That’s a little touch that can go a long way in complementing an outfit, something any good pair of socks should accomplish. Because the outfit is casual overall, leave the stainless steel dive watch in the box this time, and reach for a cheap (yet still polished-looking) watch like a Timex. It’s a leather strap but still maintains a field-ready look, and again, don’t worry about matching leathers with the shoes here.

There you have it. Enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends, and do your best to look your best in the process. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and thanks for reading!

-Beau