Signs of Light: A December weekend in Baltimore

Layered up for a pit stop at Artifact Coffee. Wool-Blend Topcoat by Old Navy. Snow Bridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Denim shirt by JackThreads. Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Lockridge Moc Toe Boots by Cole Haan. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

Layered up for a pit stop at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore. Wool-Blend Topcoat by Old Navy. Snow Bridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Denim shirt by JackThreads. Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Lockridge Moc Toe Boots by Cole Haan. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

As I traveled down the East Coast this past Friday morning, I was able to look back on a heck of a lot of things besides the crisp winter scenery. It was outstanding to reflect on a great year of work, of time with family and friends, of travel and a great year of celebrating some of my passions — including live music and menswear, all rolled into one. And it was as good a time as any for this Style Guide author to catch a great show and bring along some of my favorite men’s style essentials, yet again. My travels this time around took me to the unique and ever-changing city of Baltimore to see joyous indie folk rockers The Head and The Heart — that’s a definite recipe for success. I’ve been really lucky to be able to travel in style (of course) so frequently to see great bands, from an upstate trip to see Lucius to a weekend trip to Providence to see (perhaps) my favorite band, West Coast indie rockers Local Natives. So it was fitting that on one of the last weekends of the year, I took to the trail again. What did I bring with me? Only the best gear I could pack into my Owen & Fred weekender bag — you knew that bag was sturdy as heck and travel-friendly, right?

Rugged layers for a chilly weekend. Wool Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Yosemite Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Donegal Trousers by JackThreads. Red Wing Leather Waterbury Chrono by Timex _ Todd Snyder. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

Rugged layers for a chilly weekend. Wool Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Yosemite Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Donegal Trousers by JackThreads. Red Wing Leather Waterbury Chrono by Timex _ Todd Snyder. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

As seems to be the case with the weather across much of the country, the weekend was an especially frigid one in Baltimore — and NYC. For my train ride down the coast and a day exploring Baltimore, I layered up accordingly as seen at the top of the page, starting with my trusty JackThreads denim shirt. Of course, a stylish shawl cardigan proved a crucial layering piece given the chill, and I prepared accordingly with the durable, thick-knit and unique Eddie Bauer Snow Bridge Cardigan. I topped those layers off with the slim, warm Old Navy Wool-Blend Topcoat, an unexpected offering from a brand that keeps improving its apparel and outerwear game. For a blend of flexibility, comfort and style — crucial when sitting on a train for a few hours, then moving about the city — my trusty Bonobos Travel Jeans in Allegheny Oak fit the bill perfectly, and played nicely in terms of color off my sturdy, tough-wearing Cole Haan Lockridge Moc Toe Boots. You might recognize those boots from this site’s piece on how to dress for the first snowfall, and they’ve got plenty of weather-ready bells and whistles — they’re waterproof and feature the brand’s Grand.OS technology, for starters. When paired up with my reliable-as-ever MVMT Watches Calypso Watch and tough accessories like my Grifter Company Ranger Gloves, I was more than set to battle the chill.

I also brought along my trusty Brothers Leather 810 Wallet .It’s a beautiful, handmade and essential wallet — and you can get 15% off that wallet, or any Brothers Leather item, using the code ‘BrotherBeau15’! Seriously, look into upgrading your everyday carry ASAP. Know that the next time you hit the road to a chilly locale, you should pack as many durable winter accessories as you can, too.

The everyday carry for a quick road trip. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Wallet by Brothers Leather (Get 15% off with the code 'BrotherBeau15'! Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Pen by Owen & Fred.

The everyday carry for a quick road trip. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Wallet by Brothers Leather (Get 15% off with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’! Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Pen by Owen & Fred.

Stop number one on my trip? Of course, a stellar coffee shop — that’d be Artifact Coffee, and I’d absolutely recommend a trip of your own if ever you get to Baltimore. It’s a rustic backdrop for a tasty egg-and-bacon English muffin and a rich cup of coffee, plus some quiet writing and reflection. Properly caffeinated following an early train ride, a stop at one of the city’s neat menswear shops was in order. 16Tons — not a far walk from Artifact — is packed to the gills with vintage menswear, including sturdy tweed blazers, stonewashed denim jackets and a fair selection of tough moto boots. With my fill of menswear shopping, it was time for a much-needed burger at the lauded Abbey Burger Bistro — add the Guinness cheddar to your burger and top it off with a local Union Red Foxy IPA. I walked off the burger with a stroll through the neat Inner Harbor and Federal Hill areas of Baltimore, filled with beautiful red brick historic homes.

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With a great lunch and a great day of exploration around Baltimore behind me, I was more than ready for a long-awaited show from The Head and The Heart — seeing as I missed the band’s NYC tour stop in October after years of listening, it was high time I got around to seeing them. Looking back on 2016, the group’s stellar third album, “Signs of Light,” was one of my favorites for its joyous, uplifting message, powerful harmonies, subtle pop influences and soaring guitars. It’s the kind of music we need a bit — or a lot — more of, and it resulted in a stunning live show that was a joy to watch.With a full day to look ahead to the show, I was beyond excited — and because I packed light and relied on style staples like the tough-yet-comfortable Cole Haan Lockridge Moc Toe Boots and the durable MVMT Watches Calypso Watch I was able to transition from day to night and fully enjoy the concert.

Checking out a new music venue in a new city is always a neat endeavor, and a packed Ram’s Head Live didn’t disappoint. The buzzing,  multi-level venue also drew a nice crowd for folk rock trio Joseph, themselves a group quickly on the rise and capable of producing some powerful songs in the vein of Lucius or HAIM — yes, they’re that good.  And they nicely complemented a beautiful performance from The Head and The Heart, who absolutely didn’t disappoint. I’d recommend you see them as soon as you can — the band’s beautiful vocals and soaring songs — soaring is the only way to describe it — were incredible. From the opener “All We Ever Knew” to a huge rendition of “Rivers and Roads” and stirring, fun versions of “Lost in My Mind” and “Shake,” it was among the better shows I’ve seen this year — and that’s saying something!

With an amazing live show in the books, I looked ahead to an excellent Saturday of Baltimore, including an amazing brunch & Bloody Mary at Baltimore institution Miss Shirley’s. Of course, a delicious, rich Nutella latte from 3 Bean Coffee was also in order. With chilly temperatures in the forecast yet again, I went with sturdy layers to fight the cold.. Namely, my slim and refined JackThreads Donegal Trousers provided a bit of a high-low style complement to my heritage-inspired Abercrombie & Fitch Wool Shirt. Given the blustery, frigid weather, I also threw on my much-loved Taylor Stitch Yosemite Shirt, as seen at the top of the post. It’s a soft, warm and essential layering piece. And on the watch front, it doesn’t get any better than my rugged and durable Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph, all of which helped me navigate Baltimore in warmth and good time — seriously!


Unique, versatile layers for a blustery Brooklyn day. Wool-Blend Henley Sweater and Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Kinzie Jeans by Mugsy Jeans. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Red Wing Leather Chronograph by Timex + Todd Snyder. Socks by To Boot New York. Wallet by Brothers Leather (get 15 percent off Brothers Leather goods with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’!

Unfortunately, my trip was over much too soon, and it was time to head back to  NYC. The ceaseless cold weather showed no signs of relenting on Sunday, so I again reached for critical layers, starting with a brand-new, rugged-and-refined Abercrombie & Fitch Wool-Blend Henley Sweater. It’s a rich addition to any wardrobe, affordably priced and featuring a neat blend of sport and heritage-inspired style. For an afternoon spent exploring Williamsburg, I accented the sweater with a distinctive Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan — you can expect to see a lot more of this unique, comfortable layering piece soon. On the footwear front, I found myself reaching once again for my durable, tough CAT Footwear Sutter Boots — the brown burnishing is a handsome and classic design touch. And whether in cold weather or on a warm, sunny day, you really can’t go wrong with the ridiculously comfortable Kinzie Jeans from Mugsy Jeans, made with a ton of stretch for ease of movement. I complemented the ensemble with the Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph yet again — it’s a tough watch to pass up wearing!

As I bundled up heading back through Brooklyn, it was great to be able to reflect on a stellar weekend. It featured some of my favorite things — live music, menswear, travel and a requisite helping of craft beer and great burgers! It doesn’t really get any better, especially packed into the span of a few days. And any time I get to spend at my favorite spots in Brooklyn is also time well-spent. It’s been a whirlwind month of December — and a whirlwind year — but I’m really thankful to get the chance to travel, see great shows and bring along stylish menswear in the process. If you’ve got your own holiday travel coming up, I hope it goes well — and if you’ve still got gifts to buy, check out our men’s holiday gift guide, along with the women’s holiday gift guide. Happy shopping!

Thanks as always for reading — stay stylish!


Style Pick of the Week: Taylor Stitch Rover Jacket

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.

A one-of-a-kind jacket from a one-of-a-kind brand.

A one-of-a-kind jacket from a one-of-a-kind brand.

Here at your trusty neighborhood Style Guide, we love ourselves a dash of rugged, tough and versatile menswear. It’s handy to be able to dress in business casual style — and it’s even better to look great for your holiday party —  but there are definitely times where you want to step out in something a little more functional and perhaps … heritage-inspired? The fine folks at Taylor Stitch get lots of love on this blog because, well, they simply don’t seem to strike out when it comes  to the gear that you — and me — know and love and wear … a lot.  They really check a lot of boxes when it comes to essential pieces like the Everyday Chambray Shirt, and dressier fare like the sharp, versatile Telegraph Suit  — and if you need another sturdy, durable-as-heck and ultra-reliable piece of outerwear to add to your rotation? That’s what’s on the agenda today. Yes sir, the Taylor Stitch Rover Jacket is a piece of work, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s workwear-inspired and calls to mind the kind of jacket your grandfather might have worn (or still wears). Made with a tightly spun cotton canvas that’s impregnated with a natural wax, it’s the perfect alternative for those situations when you need something a bit more functional and longer in cut than, say, the Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker Jacket. It’s cut to hit below the hip, and features three front button pockets for functionality you can’t beat — and yes, one of the pockets on the Rover Jacket  can even hold your iPhone 6. Oh, and in the style department, this jacket is an A-plus, surefire winner.

Small, considered details -- right down to the leather pull tab on the zipper.

Small, considered details — right down to the leather pull tab on the zipper.

The Field Tan Waxed Canvas is handsome and unique, a worthy complement to inky blue slim dark denim and even a pair of cognac leather boots. In fact, the Rover Jacket  is also the perfect jacket to toss on over a slim grey crewneck sweater and navy chinos for a more a laidback — yet functional-as-heck — ensemble for your commute and a casual work day. Of course, it’ll ensure that when you do dress up a bit — think pairing a blue chambray shirt with a navy knit tie — you’ll stay warm and dry. The water-repellent, wind-repellent functionality means the Rover Jacket  is heck of a piece to wear in nearly any condition — yes, even as you dress for the first snowfall. Since it’s fully in stock via the great folks at Huckberry, I’d recommend you snag the Rover Jacket  as quickly as you can. For under $300, you get the kind of stylish looks and durable toughness that only Taylor Stitch can provide — seriously, if you don’t own any of the brand’s gear … take the plunge. It nearly goes without mentioning that the moleskin lining throughout various portions of  the jacket– also wind-repellent — will keep you warm and comfortable whether your weekend pursuits involve chopping wood or fighting crowds for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Wearing this thing to shop? For sure. Heck he Rover Jacket is so stellar, stylish and functional, you’ll wear it everywhere — even to the mall.

Get the Taylor Stitch Rover Jacket  in time for Christmas via Huckberry.

Happy shopping, good luck out there and stay stylish!

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Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Winter Boots

Editor’s note: Click this link to read the 2016 edition of this site’s best men’s winter boots.

So these past few weeks in NYC have delivered some of the coldest weather on record — not only in the city itself, but across much of the rest of Eastern U.S. and Midwest. That really puts things in perspective style-wise, because in cold weather like this, function is just as important as fashion, particularly in the footwear department when trekking through feet of snow (or even just walking through blustery, chilly winds). There are several options on the market that serve only functional purposes (like the famous Bean boot from L.L. Bean), but the best boots serve both stylish and utilitarian means — like the 5 picks below. Read on and leave your picks for your favorite pair at the bottom!

#1. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots in Brown — $360

An all-American original with rugged details.

An all-American original with rugged details.

Wolverine’s 1000 Mile line of boots is an all-time classic — revered for their durability and toughness, the brand has slowly built up a fashion following across the past five or so years as workwear and Americana themes have come back into vogue in men’s fashion. While this pair is particularly pricey compared to options you might pick up on a budget, the price is well worth it —the 1000 Mile collection combines toughness and dependability with beautiful leather styling and lots of attention to detail (read more on a pair from the line here). In a rich brown color like the pair above, they’ll work at the office with more rugged outfits as well as marching through the cold to get there. Note that these boots are also on-sale through Nordstrom for a bit less than the above price.

#2. Thursday Boots Captain Boot in Brown — $199

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

A slimmed-down silhouette compared to the 1000 Mile boot, for far less cash.

The second pick on this list drops the price down significantly from the Wolverine boots above, without losing too much quality. In fact, for being a very new startup courtesy of Kickstarter, these boots provide just as much top-notch styling potential as any other boot from the heritage brands on this list — and they do it for a greatly reduced price.  They offer a slightly sleeker-looking silhouette, a more office-friendly captoe and that same rich brown leather that should pair well with all kinds of outfits throughout the winter. And even more importantly, the company’s garnered some positive reviews around their initial collections, meaning it’d be more than safe to take the plunge on this pair.

#3. Frank & Oak Rubber-Soled Italian-Leather Lace-up Boots in Black, $175

From Frank & Oak's new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

From Frank & Oak’s new footwear line — the sharpest pair on the list yet.

The first pair of black boots on this list is also, quite curiously, on-sale through Frank & Oak with plenty of sizes left. On top of that, they’re by far the cheapest pair on the list to date, yet if F&O’s other new footwear offerings are any indication, this pair should deliver in both quality and looks. They’re by far the dressiest pair on the list, given that sharp black color (a slightly resurgent footwear trend), and the brushed black eyelets and waxed cotton laces only add to their sleek styling. These would work best in the same manner that Bond wore his black dress boots in Skyfall — with a sharp grey suit or tailored navy trousers or cords. They’d also work to channel your inner Justin Theroux with slim dark denim. Given the rate of turnover on Frank & Oak’s site, the question remains as to how long these boots will stay in-stock, especially on-sale.

#4. Red Wing Beckman Boot in Black Featherstone — $340

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Red Wing boots combine heritage craftsmanship with rugged styling potential.

Yet another pair of black boots fills spot #4 on this list. Just like their Wolverine brethren, Red Wing has a long heritage of delivering sturdy boots made to last. This pair of Beckman boots knocks down the price compared to the 1000 Mile pair listed above, but that in no way detracts from the quality. These have that same reinforced sole and Goodyear welt construction that should make resoling possible down the line — practically like getting a new pair of boots for far less than full price. And in this case, the bottom sole is stitched to the midsole, meaning these boots can more than stand up to the abuses of winter weather. Notably, the leather on this pair is richer in color than your typical black leather — it has a luxurious, almost burgundy-like tint to it. Throw ’em on with dark denim, a henley and a shawl cardigan or pair them with slim burgundy cords and a crewneck sweater.

#5. Florsheim Gaffney Wingtip Boots — $150

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

A wingtip option that combines tan leather with a grippy-looking sole.

The final pair on this list is the first and only set of wingtip boots on here —mainly because of the fact that while inherently stylish, incredibly nice wingtip boots (like the Allen Edmonds Dalton) don’t always do the best job of beating back the snow and slush. If you have a pair in your closet though, give them a try — after all, $400-plus boots don’t deserve to just sit around! The Florsheim Gaffney is a slightly more upscale replacement to JCP’s much-loved Stafford Camlin and Stafford Deacon wingtip boots, but in a louder “toffee” color. That makes them a little more eye-catching and slightly less versatile than the darker brown options on this list, as tan doesn’t necessarily sit as well under, say, khaki chinos or dark charcoal trousers. They would, however, pair just fine with dark denim and navy chinos, for example. And the sole on these boots looks to have a fair bit of grip as well, which is a definite positive for stepping outside in these chilly temperatures. The leather also looks to have some texture, a nice way of adding a bit of visual interest to fall and winter outfits.

Although many of these boots are up there in price, the benefits are well worth the extra dollars, as a great pair of boots can combat slush, snow and ice without needing a change for working hours — or dinner and drinks out later.

Got a favorite pair of winter boots? What other options would you add to this list? Leave it all below! 

Additional note: Look for a Reader Giveaway Opportunity coming up on the blog! I’ll be giving away a Linjer Leather Goods wallet! Details coming on Wednesday. Thanks for reading! 


The Product Review: Bonobos Travel Jeans

Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, the author interned with Bonobos this past summer. This review is completely impartial and in no way influenced or sponsored by Bonobos. 

Reviewing a much-loved pair of jeans from a much-loved company.

Reviewing a much-loved pair of jeans from a much-loved company.

This time of year, it’s easy to get into a style rut. We’re long into a chilly winter — and most of us are probably jealous of those in warmer climates! The novelty of wearing thicker winter fabrics could very well be getting old, and even reaching for dark denim might not provide enough style inspiration on most days. Fear not, though; plenty of options are out there for changing up how you start your outfit — namely, with your pants. If you’ve had any experience with Bonobos, you know the drill. Renowned for the fit of their chinos and increasingly known for their relatively recent expansion into tailored wear and  other stylish items, Bonobos’ Travel Jeans have generated lots of buzz, too.  

As renowned for their presentation and customer service as the fit of their pants.

As renowned for their presentation and customer service as the fit of their pants.

In fact, they’re about as tough to beat for a pair of versatile jeans as any on the market. And that versatility starts with the huge array of color options they offer — absolutely essential to shaking up a winter wardrobe with some different shades. In particular, their Allegheny Oak Travel Jeans provide great cold-weather color and an outstanding fit. Offered in four different fits (Slim Tailored, Slim Straight, Straight Leg and Boot Cut), the full spectrum offers something for just about everyone. And the colors are completely on-point as far as fall and winter dressing — from a rich burgundy to a slate green color to a nice faded tan (or “sand” color), several options should go well with other shades like charcoal or deep navy this time of year.

The Allegheny Oak shade would pair up perfectly with other fall & winter shades.

The Allegheny Oak shade would pair up perfectly with other fall & winter colors.

These travel jeans live up to their reputation, as well. The fabric has a nice thickness to it, yet retains more than a hint of stretch — the folks at Bonobos had easy transport in mind, clearly. This specific pair comes in the Slim Tailored cut — after trying a Slim Straight cut in the same size (and in the more summer-appropriate Bering Blue) last year, there was slightly too much room in the waist and thigh for my liking, thus leading to the Slim Tailored option. The fit is exceptionally similar to their Slim Tailored Washed Chinos.

A closer look at the detailed label now sewn into newer Travel Jeans.

A closer look at the detailed label now sewn into newer Travel Jeans.

And this iteration of the Travel Jean is superior in other ways, too. There’s a detailed label sewn into the back pocket, along with white stripes on the interior of the brown pockets. The fit is, of course, more tailored than the Slim Straight option, making it easy to wear and move around in. As far as versatility goes, these strike the ideal balance between being too dressed-up and too dressed-down. The five-pocket construction, while not incredibly formal, would work in business casual settings with a well-tailored blazer in multiple shades — from light gray to a heightened blue. Because these jeans are a lighter brown, they would even coordinate well with darker brown leather — like these sneakers or virtually any of the options discussed here.  These jeans are also made for wearing with a shawl or color-blocked cardigan and, say, a navy henley casually. Last but not least (and perhaps more importantly for those of us on a budget), most of Bonobos’ Travel Jeans are going for $78 on-sale (knocked down to under $50 with a 40% off code). That’s a terrific price for a pair of pants that are more versatile than a standard pair of dark denim — well worth it given Bonobos’ quality.

Own any Bonobos Travel Jeans? Or their Chinos? Thoughts? Leave it all below and thanks for reading! 



What to Wear Today: Braving the Cold

Editor’s note: Occasionally, this site will cover what you should (or could) feasibly wear for specific situations, outside of holidays and other big events — consider this a combination style suggestion and a look into the author’s personal wardrobe.

Ready for the cold weather (hopefully). Scarf by J. Crew Factory. Overcoat by Kenneth Cole. Gloves by Target Merona.

Ready for the cold weather (hopefully). Scarf by J. Crew Factory. Overcoat by Kenneth Cole. Gloves by Target Merona.

Today (at least in New York City and across much of the rest of the country), it’s winter in full force. A huge winter storm hit a large swath of the country earlier this week, and while NYC was lucky to escape major snowfall, we’ve got some snow on the ground here now. Given that, it seemed as perfect a time as any to break out the below boots — a thick, sturdy, dependable pair of Wolverine 1000 Mile Austen boots in a utilitarian black (for a full review of the boots, head here). Combined with some other winter-centric touches as outlined in the above photo, I’m all set for today’s cold weather. Reaching for a similar combination, if you work in an office, should keep you warm from car to office, or subway to office, or from the bus to the office … you get the drill.

As reviewed: Wolverine 1000 Mile Austen boots in black. The perfect shade and style for a winter day like today.

As reviewed in 2013: Wolverine 1000 Mile Austen boots in black. The perfect shade and style for a winter day like today.

A thicker coat (potentially with an added zip-up implement, like this Kenneth Cole option pictured) could add some extra warmth while also maintaining a streamlined silhouette. There are other great ways to stay stylish and warm in the cold weather, too. Thicker textures like chambray stand up well to chilly temperatures, and layering with a shawl cardigan or v-neck sweater (I’m personally wearing a beige J. Crew Factory v-neck sweater today) could also do the trick. If you feel a hat is warranted, there are plenty of cheap options out there from, for example, H&M.

And when wearing sturdy boots like the thick ones above, some slightly heartier ribbed socks would also fulfill two functions — keeping your feet warm and fitting in stylishly with other portions of your outfit. Above all, do your best to stay warm — but keep some style ideas in mind for colder temperatures!

And in other slightly related business, keep your eyes open for an upcoming giveaway opportunity in partnership with East Dane. This post should be hitting on the site within the next two weeks!

What are you wearing in today’s chilly weather? Any further style tips or suggestions? 


Style Suggestion: Suede Chelsea Boots

While there’s nothing wrong with a great pair of lace-up boots, there’s something inherently sleek and stylish about the Chelsea boot. It’s a silhouette that’s garnered a lot of attention across the past year or so in the men’s style arena, and it’s also unique in the fact that it’s a classic style, too. First pioneered in the mainstream style arena by, among others, The Beatles and now worn by current British rockers, they’re an on-trend, continental style with staying power.

Suede Chelsea boots on display in SoHo. Overcoat: Kenneth Cole. Scarf: J. Crew Factory. Gloves: Target Merona. Jeans: Bonobos. Boots: ASOS. Photo credit: Liz Todd

Suede Chelsea boots on display in SoHo. Overcoat: Kenneth Cole. Scarf: J. Crew Factory. Gloves: Target Merona. Jeans: Bonobos. Boots: ASOS. Photo credit: Liz Todd

While Chelsea boots can be incorporated into all kinds of outfits across the seasons (including suggestion #3 in this outfit post), perhaps the best time to wear them is the fall and winter, when temperatures dip. Take a page out of David Beckham’s book and rock them in all different kinds of situations — even at a fashion collaboration launch party. The boot’s higher cut pairs well with sturdier, thicker pants fabrics — think slim flannel, corduroy or garment-dyed jeans. That’s not to say they wouldn’t also look right with a simple pair of dark denim (see the photos here). This particular pair of Chelsea boots was a Christmas gift from Santa, and a great one at that — especially given that sizes are now nearly cleared out through ASOS. However, the same site offers plenty of alternative options in both leather and suede, and H&M makes a particularly noteworthy Chelsea boot, as does Frank & Oak.

For the ultimate in dressy appeal, Frank & Oak's black leather version is sleek.

For the ultimate in dressy appeal, Frank & Oak’s black leather version is sleek.

These ASOS boots check all the boxes of an excellent pair — they have a higher cut, making them ideal for fall and winter treks, and they tie in another cold-weather element, too: the use of suede. The rich tan suede color is extremely versatile, as it contrasts nicely with everything from dark blue denim to navy or olive chinos or charcoal trousers (note that any of those pants would be a terrific purchase even without a pair of Chelsea boots in your closet). And the dark tan color fits in with the equally dark colors of fall and winter (in colder regions of the country, at least), while also standing out in the right way — as you can (hopefully!) see in some of these photos. It’s also worth noting that dark tan suede pairs just as easily with brown or black accessories in terms of your belt color or watch strap — that’s two for the price of one!

Noting the time on an Invicta Pro Diver watch. Not pictured in this casual outfit — Navy crewneck sweater (J. Crew), Pocket T-shirt (American Apparel).

Noting the time on an Invicta Pro Diver watch. Not pictured in this casual outfit — Navy crewneck sweater (J. Crew), Pocket T-shirt (American Apparel).

In this instance, I kept the outfit relatively simple — slim blue denim, a charcoal overcoat (now out of stock but a tremendous value on-sale) and a navy crewneck sweater over a charcoal pocket T-shirt. Of course, winter accessories were also key to have on-hand (while that scarf is out of stock, a similar option can be found here, while those Target gloves were a steal on-sale). And the great thing is that although this is a casual outfit, these Chelsea boots would look just as sharp with some heavier, winter-weight suiting or even the charcoal trousers as linked above, along with a V-neck sweater and chambray shirt.

Have you considered picking up a pair of Chelsea boots? What brand would you recommend? Let me know! 

Winter Style Suggestion: The U.S. Navy Peacoat

One of the great things about menswear is that so many outfits start with simple, classic pieces. These are likely already items you might have hanging around your own closet, and if not, there are definitely affordable ways to make it happen. Something that you would feasibly wear everyday is a good place to start in terms of classic looks, and in the dead of winter, a strong, substantial peacoat won’t leave you out in the cold.

The right peacoat can pass any muster test, particularly when it comes to standing up against snow or rain (and if you’re in peacoat country, those are probably the two types of weather you’re apt to run into most). We’ve seen a trend of dressing up outerwear — and that outerwear actually functioning as a stylish upper layer — but if you’re looking for classic function over form, there’s hardly a better place to start looking than a U.S. navy peacoat. In fact, substantial evidence suggests that these coats are probably out there in droves at surplus stores and Goodwill-type places, making it a downright steal for a coat that’s thick, warm and highly durable.

A classic. The U.S. Navy Peacoat — as authentic as it gets.

A classic. The U.S. Navy Peacoat — as authentic as it gets.

The Siblings With Style Michigan hub was lucky enough to score a substantial upgrade from a beaten-to-shreds Express peacoat (something like this minus the colorblocking), to a coat that’s authentic and incredibly historical. Now, this item wasn’t tracked down at a surplus store, but this time around, it’s the real deal. Worn by my great-grandfather during his time serving in World War II, it has an unbelievable history of being passed down through multiple relatives, and it’s held up incredibly well for a jacket about seven decades old.

Interesting details on the jacket's front buttons.

Interesting details on the jacket’s front buttons.

That certainly means it’s somewhat delicate, and will probably be mixed in with other outerwear options as opposed to extreme degrees of everyday wear. However, the fit is spot-on. It actually fits trim but not tight, leaving room for layering. The buttons are heavy and substantial, the collar is thick enough to stand up to Michigan winters, and the coat has  kept its rich navy color, making it easy to pair with about anything.

Certainly, it’s an item that has more historical value than a typical peacoat found at a surplus store, but it falls in the same ballpark quality and looks-wise. It’s a jacket that’ll do just fine in the Michigan winter and then some. And, although this one was a family-related upgrade, chances are fantastic that a similar option is out there at a surplus store (or thrift shop?) near you. Happy hunting.

Fall Style Suggestion: Military-Inspired Outerwear

Fall is can be a tricky time for those of us interested in menswear. It’s not quite yet cold enough at this stage (at least in my neck of the woods) to wear heavy fabrics like tweed or a nice wool peacoat, yet there’s still the odd, slightly warm day. Transitioning between seasons like summer and fall is probably more difficult than transitioning between spring and summer or even fall and winter. A lot of it comes down to shelving bright summer colors and shifting to more seasonally appropriate hues. An even bigger part of the transition ties in recognizing textural differences and phasing fabrics out of your wardrobe (less lightweight linen or linen-cotton blends, and slightly heavier textures like corduroy, for example).  A great guide to making the transition stylishly can be found here, courtesy the great team at Primer.

Not quite warm enough for a lighter-weight Harrington jacket, but not quite full-on winter yet.

Not quite warm enough for this lighter-weight Harrington jacket, but not quite full-on winter yet.

Now, textural differences are also important in terms of outerwear, as layering multiple pieces in lighter or heavier weights can dress an outfit up or down.  Keep in mind that something like a hooded sweatshirt or standard winter coat just won’t do for a polished option. Looking for a sharper military silhouette in a lighter weight is one way to harness the crisp appeal of a spring-weight Harrington jacket. Military-type jackets might be a bit trendy for some, but it can also bring som serious, slightly rugged appeal. With brands like Barbour, the jacket has surged back into the spotlight across the past year, thanks in no large part to a certain secret agent.

Strong military-inspired details, a trim silhouette, perfect layering weight — the Aurora jacket from F&O.

Strong military-inspired details, a trim silhouette, perfect layering weight — the Aurora jacket from F&O.

Now, that Barbour jacket is…well, on the pricey side, for all its great looks. Other, slightly more affordable options are out there by the dozens, it seems. Personally, the Aurora Military Jacket by Frank & Oak hits the sweet spot. The sleeves and body are trim ( in a size Medium), the armholes are high without being restricting, and the jacket’s lines are clean (there’s not much excess material anywhere). It’s still relatively lightweight and waterproof with a cotton-nylon exterior, but it feels more substantial. That means it can be tossed on over a v-neck sweater and an OCBD while still functioning well. If it gets too hot, strip off a layer under the jacket. Too cold? Add a denim jacket or another layer over a sweater and OCBD — and put that underneath the jacket. The price point is within reach for most (and if you’re a member of the Hunt Club, store credit could apply here, too). And, its military-inspired looks are on-point both stylistically and fashionably. Toeing that line can be tricky, but if there’s any jacket that can crisply and effectively cross the divide between fashion and style (as well as the start of fall and the start of winter), a strong military piece can be a tremendous wardrobe addition.

Fall Style Suggestion: Slim Corduroys

As the weather turns at least a bit colder and the calendar moves closer to October, it’s worth keeping in mind how you might phase out more warm-weather pieces for seasonally appropriate gear. Dark denim is an absolute essential in any season, but for the college-aged guy or younger, there are some nice alternatives worth exploring.

Corduroy is absolutely one of those alternatives. It’s been popping up everywhere as of late on items as varied as blazers, but it arguably works best as a replacement for those jeans or colorful summer shorts. It’s a great textural change-up with a pair of wingtip boots, for example. And in the right shade, it can pair with plenty of different  v-neck sweaters, cardigans and t-shirts alike. Working in some combination of those items — involving, say, an OCBD — is absolutely the ticket to getting a consistent style rotation and personal uniform. They’re also an excellent way to work in some fall color — perhaps a deeper, faded wash would work well here.

A deep, dark brown shade in corduroy is the perfect fall alternative to denim.

A deep, dark brown shade in corduroy is the perfect fall alternative to denim.

On a personal note, a newly-arrived pair of Old Navy corduroys fit decently trim through the thigh and leg, with a nice, not-too-thick weave at a great price (about $35 on sale). The color selection on Old Navy’s website also was extensive at the time of purchase, and it’s possible a few more pairs could be picked up at a low price point.

Brown wingtip boots -- the perfect pairing with corduroy.

Brown wingtip boots — the perfect pairing with corduroy.

Places like Jomers sell a finer pinwale corduroy at a great price — that could work in a pinch, but thicker weaves are available at J. Crew and other outlets. Ideally, the fit of those corduroys should fall between a Levi’s 514 and a 513 — slimmer than a baggy pair of jeans, but not skin-tight.

Looking for a minimal amount of break is also key here. The perfect pair could be cuffed or rolled and sit atop a pair of shoes without showing too much ankle. If that’s the case, some crazy socks could act as a conversation starter.

While it’s not freezing cold outside yet, it’s never to early to start thinking a season ahead in terms of weather and style. Corduroys are a great piece to take you from dark denim and colorful shorts to the crisp days of fall and winter. They add textual interest to an outfit and function in the same way as denim. Experiment with deeper, richer fall colors and you’ve got another style staple in your rotation.

Fall Style Suggestion: JCP Stafford Wingtip Boots

UPDATE: Before you get into the main part of this post, know that the Stafford Camlin boots are going fast. Like, way fast. They might not be around many JCP stores for much longer, in fact, according to this post from But the suggestion they offer there, while different in looks and quality, could work in much the same way as the Stafford Camlins.

As temperatures dip and the sun fades across the horizon (a pretty bleak picture, no?), most of us are heading toward fall and…brace yourself for it… winter. That means snow, cold temperatures and several quite noticeable wardrobe changes. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a place without significant temperature deviation, you might be in luck, and you can keep those summer shorts and polos in rotation for a decent amount of time yet. For those of us who live in other, less forgiving locales though, cold weather is in sight, perhaps even by the start of next month. Fear not, though. In terms of versatility and possibilities, fall is perhaps the best season for menswear. The potential for layering sweaters with button-downs (and pairing those combinations up with slim pants and a crisp pair of shoes) should be exciting for those of us who live in colder climes, even with the possibility of freezing temperatures.

Namely, there’s one item that can take those of us in the cold through the fall and winter with relative ease and extreme versatility. They seem to be dwindling rather fast in stores as of now, but JCP’s Stafford Camlin wingtip boots could just be the snag of the season. Make no mistake, these are definitely a “wear anytime” boot, too, but it seems fall and winter is the particular sweet spot for boots.  This particular pair was picked up on significant clearance about three weeks ago, in the last size available at the local JCP, so beware.

The JCP Stafford wingtip boots in the flesh.

The JCP Stafford wingtip boots in the flesh.

JCP underwent a pretty extensive revamp through Nick Wooster a while ago, and have since been shifting slightly back toward the old ways, but with the upcoming fall line and these boots, they have some winners hanging around. As to the boots, they’ve already received high praise across the board, and the looks really can’t be beat. And for that price, too, you can experiment with their coloration a bit, as well.

For about $75 (or less depending on if you can snag a pair on the cheap before new stock comes in), you get a boot that works with jeans, chinos, cords, you name it. A boot with as solid a color of this also provides a nice bit of texture to an outfit, and something like this boot would go nicely with a  blue-on-blue combination. They’d work well with a darker-colored corduroy pant, as well. And even a crew-neck sweater and jeans tie in with these boots.  With fall, too, comes a richer palette of colors, like those burgundy pants as shown below.

Pants by CPO Provisions, from Urban Outfitters.

Pants by CPO Provisions, from Urban Outfitters.

Furthermore, they’re the perfect answer to the business-casual shoe that’s just different enough. It’s a boot, so it’s not a full-on dress shoe, but it’ll still provide loads of nice looks in the office (or perhaps trekking across campus) as the weather gets cold.

The boot style and perforations help set this shoe apart.

The boot style and perforations help set this shoe apart.

This particular pair has already seen a bit of break-in duty prior to fall, but there’s no question that they’ll be a staple through the fall and well into the winter. Since they’re not the priciest boots on the market, they can take a bit of a beating without too much worry, feasibly. And what’s more, they fit pretty comfortably. As Joe from Dappered notes in the above link, they do run quite large, so sizing down is critical. However, with that in mind, it makes perfect sense to hop on a pair of these boots while they’re still around.

And when cold weather does hit, you can reach for these boots time and again without worry about price tag or scuffs.