Style Suggestion: What to Wear on Valentine’s Day

Editor’s note: For a bevy of style suggestions covering how to suit or dress down, click here.

So just as we talked about in last week’s Valentine’s Day gift guide post, the big is almost here — and our Style Suggestion series is back! Now, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so perhaps that makes things a bit different for you — maybe you’ll be away and traveling for the weekend perhaps? Or staying at home to catch a sharp Sunday dinner? At any rate, it’s a day where you’ll want to look your best for your significant other. Even if you go the less formal route, it’s worth it to still look into some style upgrades — like throwing on a slim pair of denim or even just an crisp pair of leather sneakers. The below Style Suggestion however, like last year’s Valentine’s Day Style Suggestion, goes the more formal route — it’s a classic look (hopefully) with some modern touches. Read on, suit up and let me know how you’re dressing for the day or the weekend!

The Suit: Combatant Gentleman Charcoal Slim Fit Herringbone Suit — $200

A reliably classic color and cold-weather fabric make this suit a winner.

A reliably classic color and cold-weather fabric make this suit a winner.

It seems that in tailored situations here at the ol’ Style Guide, Combatant Gentleman has been the suiting pick of choice, from New Year’s Eve to holiday parties and beyond. And for good reason, too — there’s hardly a better suiting deal out there that brings solid quality, a reliable fit and a plethora of suiting options to chose from. This Charcoal Slim Fit Herringbone Suit is a solid pick in this case, however, because it’s versatile, sharp color that can work in plenty of other situations besides Valentine’s Day — a great budget pick-up. The Italian wool herringbone weave is a seasonally appropriate touch in this cold weather, too (if it’s warm where you are, you could always rock a chino suit). Don’t forget that overcoat, either.

The Shirt: J. Crew Factory Voyager Dress Shirt in End-on-End — $41.50

Another well-priced staple from J. Crew Factory at a great price.

Another well-priced staple from J. Crew Factory at a great price.

Just as with Combatant Gentleman, it’s tough to find a better deal for the quality than J. Crew Factory (although the folks at Combat Gent do a nice job with shirting, too). But if you’ve been looking to check out the Factory line and haven’t gotten to it, here’s your chance. This end-on-end shirt mixes in some subtle texture, a slim fit and a great price. The wrinkle-free aspect is another nice touch that should make it easier for travel, too. And the light blue is going to stand out nicely under the darker charcoal suit — it’s another piece that can work in many other situations outside of this one. On another note, if you should find yourself in need of a great undershirt to keep you cool throughout the night, head to Tommy John.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie — $19

Does this tie look familiar? If you read this blog regularly, it should!

Does this tie look familiar? If you read this blog regularly, it should!

If you happened to catch this blog’s holiday party Style Suggestion, perhaps you recognize this tie. The Tie Bar’s Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie is quickly becoming a Style Guide favorite — it’s not often you talk about a tie being reliable (trust me), but this number is crisp, visually interesting and a solid contrast to the lighter blue shirt. It being Valentine’s Day and all, it’s never a bad thing to draw some color palette inspiration from James Bond, either. The price is remarkably solid, and you could wear this tie with a crisp white dress shirt in place of the J. Crew Factory end-on-end shirt if you wanted.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Owen Plaid Pocket Square — $10

A unique pattern and color scheme help this pocket square stand out nicely.

A unique pattern and color scheme help this pocket square stand out nicely.

When on the hunt for great accessories in a pinch, it pays off to turn to a trusted retailer time and again — in this case, our friends at The Tie Bar. This Owen Plaid Pocket Square is an excellent bit of contrast to the dark charcoal suit and multiple shades of blue in the top half of this ensemble; the rich burgundy is also a change of pace from more standard pocket squares (although a classic white pocket square could work here, too).

The Shoes: Jack Erwin Adam Wingtip Oxford — $195

Great color, a great price and terrific styling potential from Jack Erwin.

Great color, a great price and terrific styling potential from Jack Erwin.

The Jack Erwin Adam Wingtip Oxford  was first seen back in this blog’s round-up of stylish men’s dress shoes, and they make a return here as yet another example of why it pays to invest in high-quality, versatile footwear. Jack Erwin has made a name for itself in the digital style game thanks to its pricing and quality, and the Blake construction and reinforced stacked heel add even more durability to this particular pair. If you go the more casual route, they’d be equally at home with some dark denim and a navy blazer.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Reversible Leather Belt in Brown — $22.50

Two belts for the price of one, plus a color that matches nicely with the rest of the outfit.

Two belts for the price of one, plus a color that matches nicely with the rest of the outfit.

Sometimes, it can certainly be the right move to invest in an expensive belt — especially if you’ll wear it a lot. Other times, you need a reliable piece to get you from Point A to Point B in style and at a cost-effective price. That’s where this J. Crew Factory Reversible Leather Belt comes into play. You get two belts for the price of one, plus decent quality and a solid dark brown color that’ll match up sharply with your watch and shoes.

The Watch: MVMT Watches The 40 in Blue/Brown Leather — $120

Simple, refined and easy to wear with a suit.

Simple, refined and easy to wear with a suit.

As you put together stylish ensembles that fit in a variety of situations, it pays to look toward style essentials you might already have — like an eyecatching leather watch. This timepiece from MVMT Watches was reviewed just last week on the blog, and it’s a definite winner. The case diameter hits the sweet spot as far as a dress-casual watch, the quality is on-point for the price and the style potential is excellent (the blue dial will again really pop against the darker colors in this outfit). It can even work with a more casual outfit (again, the dark denim and navy blazer combo suggested above).

The Socks: Tommy John Solid Over-the-Calf Dress Socks — $16

Over-the-calf dress socks -- an underrated style hack that makes a difference.

Over-the-calf dress socks — an underrated style hack that makes a difference.

Dress socks, especially ones in a solid color, tend to get overlooked when lots of companies are incorporating pattern and color into so many pairs. But sometimes, you just want (and need) a simple, comfortable set of socks that’ll stay up and mesh nicely with the rest of your outfit. Tommy John socks solve that age-old problem of a pair sliding down throughout the day, and the dark navy color won’t distract from the neutral charcoal suit and solid shirting. Plus, they’re made of a lux Pima cotton blend with a hint of stretch.

The Extras: Tommy John Cool Cotton Trunk — $29

Style's in the details, right?

Style’s in the details, right?

Need I say more?

So that’s your head-to-toe Valentine’s Day look, incorporating some solid, versatile style, neutral colors and  sharp accessories. Pieces like the above can work in lots of different situations while providing a change of pace from style staples you might already own — and when planning for as big of a day as Valentine’s Day, details like the right tie and pocket square can certainly prove essential (look good, feel good, right?). If you’ve now settled on your outfit but still need a Valentine’s Day gift suggestion, we’ve got you covered there, too. And should you have any last-minute questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a tweet.

What ensemble will you be rocking on this Valentine’s Day? What do you think of the above suggestion?

 

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New year, new style: 2016 Men’s Style Resolutions

Just thinking on my 2016 style resolutions. Navy turtleneck by Uniqlo. Custom Glenplaid suit trousers by Combatant Gentleman. Charcoacl socks by American Trench. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Just thinking on my 2016 style resolutions. Navy turtleneck by Uniqlo. Custom Glenplaid suit trousers by Combatant Gentleman. Charcoacl socks by American Trench. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Does it really seem like it’s January 5th already? Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the first few days of the year flew by as fast as the last few days of 2015! I spent the weekend in Detroit checking out some great menswear spots, eating some tasty food and exploring the city — maybe that’s why time has gone so fast? (Of note if you get to Detroit — the Shinola shop is a must-visit!). At any rate, it’s high time to keep buckling down, or getting started on, those New Year’s resolutions — particularly from a style perspective. I’m curious to know — what are your style resolutions?

For some of us, maybe it entails slimming down your wardrobe — that is, focusing on only the style essentials you need to craft great outfits. My friend Barron at Effortless Gent has  a great place to start — called The Lean Wardrobe, it’ll teach you everything you need to know about the in’s and out’s of using versatile, stylish pieces to your advantage. We’re talking taking a few items and mixing and matching them a ton of ways. If, on a similar note, you’re looking to add more mileage to your current wardrobe — but doing so with some fresh takes on old classics — I’d recommend you take a peek at an ongoing series written by yours truly for Effortless Gent: Five Ways to Wear One, showing you how to make the most of style staples like dark denim, a sturdy leather bomber or burgundy cords. It’s actually proven a fun exercise in writing and styling for me, as I’ve had to push myself to think of new outfit combinations, styles and products (the rest is a secret though, I swear).
Florsheim
And as I look toward 2016 myself, I’m looking back on 2015 and setting out a few goals for myself (in addition to continuing to discover and share new brands and products for The Style Guide, that is). To perhaps get you thinking — or keep you on the right track — here are a few of my style resolutions outlined below.

One of my goals in 2016 -- dress up a bit more! Blue Double Windowpane Shirt, Floral & Dot Brown Tie and custom Glenplaid Suit all by Combatant Gentleman. Pocket square by Banana Republic.

One of my goals in 2016 — dress up a bit more! Blue Double Windowpane Shirt, Floral & Dot Brown Tie and custom Glenplaid Suit all by Combatant Gentleman. Pocket square by Banana Republic.

#1. Suit up more — Yes, that’s right. Yours truly, dedicated menswear blogger, hasn’t worn a ton ties as of late. Perhaps it comes from seeing folks  like Matthew Graber  on Instagram put together consistently stunning outfit grids and photos featuring more ties, blazers and stellar shirts than you can shake a tie clip at, but it’s gotten me thinking of ways to maximize my rather large collection of ties — and some rugged style staples I wear quite a bit, like a great chambray shirt.

#2. Mix and match — This partly plays off number one (and probably looks a lot like the image you see at the top of the page), but I don’t often go full suit-and-tie — and that also means I don’t make nearly as much use out of what suit separates I do own outside of formal occasions. I have a classic navy worsted wool J. Crew Factory suit (similar to this one), plus a custom Glenplaid suit from Combatant Gentleman (seen at the photo at the top), but I’d love to experiment more with pairing the suit trousers with an odd blazer or turtleneck and dress boots — or even some sharp leather sneakers — if the occasion calls for it.

Plenty of blue to go around. Chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Charcoal blazer by Uniqlo. Navy suede 1000 Mile boots by Wolverine. Norfolk Raw Denim by Mott & Bow. Red knit tie by 15ties. Leather belt & floral pocket square by J. Crew. Striped socks by American Trench.

Plenty of blue to go around. Chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Charcoal blazer by Uniqlo. Navy suede 1000 Mile boots by Wolverine. Norfolk Raw Denim by Mott & Bow. Red knit tie by 15ties. Leather belt & floral pocket square by J. Crew. Striped socks by American Trench.

#3. Wear … less blue — I’m a huge fan of the color blue, from dark denim to navy suede boots to chambray shirts — often in the same outfit, as you can see above. To me, it’s remarkably versatile and wearable in nearly any sort of situation — there’s a reason why Bond defaults to classics like navy suits, and there’s a reason why a slim pair of dark denim can go just about anywhere these days. As nice as it is to be able to wear something so consistently, I’d like to simply branch out into other colors in shirting and trousers particular — be it a red chambray shirt, or getting more use out of my burgundy cords (sans blue OCBD). It could prove tricky, but I’ll give it a shot!

Those are just a few — as I continue to find style inspiration lots of different places, I hope you’ll do the same, and keep me updated along the way! Drop me a line on Twitter or shoot me an email via the Contact page above — and perhaps leave a comment if you feel so inclined. Best of luck as we go forward in 2016! Let’s all keep it stylish.

Style Suggestion: What to Wear on New Year’s Eve

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions covering situations formal to casual, head here.

"How much do you know about fear?" Bond: "All there is." Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year's Eve.

“How much do you know about fear?” Bond: “All there is.” Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year’s Eve.

While most of us can only hope to be as sharply dressed as Mr. Bond up there (and headed somewhere as debonair as a floating casino), it can still pay off to dress to impress on New Year’s Eve — even if you aren’t swilling martinis or fighting henchmen. The outfit below plays off the tailored-but-tieless look that’s still popping up lots of different places, so it’s more dressed-down than Bond but definitely geared toward the formal end of the spectrum even without the tie. But if your night shakes out more casually (or formally, for that matter), know that the same basic pieces — tailored trousers, a crisp shirt and slick boots — can work just about anywhere. With that in mind, let’s get set to close out the year in style and look forward to a sharp 2016.
Florsheim

The Suit: Combatant Gentleman Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit — $220 OR Combatant Gentleman Blue Slim Fit Suit — $160

One brand, two options for sharp style -- and two great prices.

One brand, two options for sharp style — and two great prices.

Each of the above two options strikes a slightly different tone — the heightened color of the Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit is a vibe that’s all movie star-red carpet, a la Ryan Gosling.  Think of it as a positive style swerve if you have the basics covered. But if you’re not willing to spring for a suit in that shade or feel like saving some money (more for champagne, amirite??), a navy blue suit never fails — whether you go with the reliable Combatant Gentleman option here or with one you already own. If the jacket is too formal, the trousers could even be worn on their own with a great leather jacket or a sharp overcoat and V-neck sweater.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

The Standard Shirt has been profiled on this blog before and also featured prominently in a Holiday Party Style Suggestion, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, breathable and quite crisp for the price. Plus, a white shirt is a great style play in this case because it can either ground that electric blue suit impressively, or keep more in line with the classic style of a crisp navy suit — particularly sans tie. And the Standard Shirt features a tailored cut that would look more than fine when worn without a traditional suit jacket, if needed. On the other hand, a slim knit tie in a simple color — black, a la everyone’s favorite secret agent — would more than up the formality of the look.

The Pocket Square: J. Crew Factory Linen Pocket Square — $12

Nothing fancy -- but nothing too trendy -- about a timeless white pocket square.

Nothing fancy — but nothing too trendy — about a timeless white pocket square.

When you go with crisp style essentials like a classic white shirt and a blue suit, sometimes there’s no need to go wild with a pocket square. J. Crew Factory’s linen pocket square gets the job done more than suitably for the price. Beyond New Year’s Eve as well, a white pocket square (even in linen) is going to add a nice finishing touch to many a tailored ensemble — so grab one now before it’s too late!

The Boots: Thursday Boot Company Black Duke Chelsea Boot — $199

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

While Bond himself mainly favors crisp black captoes or dress boots as of late, we’ll forgo the laces with these Chelsea boots in keeping with the slick and sharp vibe of the outfit. Thursday Boot Company makes solid suede chukkas and dependable captoe boots, so it follows that the Duke Chelsea Boot  should be pretty comfortable for the price — plus, the studded rubber outsole should add nice traction on slick streets. Note that if needed in a pinch, H&M also offers a very budget-friendly Chelsea boot option.

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt — $75

Trim and refined -- just like the tailored ensemble.

Trim and refined — just like the tailored ensemble.

While it might seem ludicrous at first to pay more for a belt than for a shirt, it’s a pickup that can pay big, big dividends. The Marlow Belt is a refined dress belt that keeps things super sleek thanks to the dark buckle and slim width, plus the dark black suede. For those who say black and blue can’t be worn together … well, we all know who’s bucked that theory time and again. It’s a combo that’s going to look  super crisp in this instance, especially as it grounds the heightened blue suit or fits in nicely with a navy suit. You could also go with a cheaper black leather dress belt from EXPRESS if needed.

The Watch: Daniel Wellington 40mm Classic Sheffield in Rose Gold — $229

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The importance of timeless accessories — like a great belt or solid shoes — is no more important than when you’re going with an outfit that’s more minimal. The top-to-bottom look is pretty sleek in this case sans tie and traditional lace-up dress shoes, so a refined watch from Daniel Wellington will look right at home. While  the typical play might be to reach for a watch with a silver case here, the rose gold case color should pop nicely against the blue suit and black belt + shoes — or even dark denim and a simple cashmere sweater.

The Socks: American Trench Dress Rib Socks in Cloud Grey – $14.50

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

Last but not least, the ever-important finishing touch. Recognize these dress socks from American Trench? They’ve appeared in this blog as part of a Holiday Party Style Suggestion (among others), and that underscores their wearability and quality. Heck, you might not think about them too much once they’re on, but the dialed-in grey color and sleek  look (no crazy patterns) makes a difference when taken in context with the rest of this outfit. That’s more than worth their price upfront.

As we’ve talked about before, maybe things won’t get overly fancy for you on New Year’s Eve. However, it pays to be prepared and to get some style inspiration heading into a big night, and the new year. And if wanting to look sharper in everyday situations is a style goal for yourself, as it is for yours truly, there’s no better time to start than the present. Because, simply put, we can’t all live twice.
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Reader Giveaway Opportunity: Combatant Gentleman

Sharp tailored wear -- namely, a new shirt and tie -- could be yours to keep this season from Combatant Gentleman. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Sharp tailored wear — namely, a new shirt and tie — could be yours to keep this season from Combatant Gentleman. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Editor’s note: Thanks to everyone who participated! And congrats to the winner, Becca R.! Stay stylish!

It’s been a bit of time since our last Reader Giveaway here at the well-adorned Style Guide HQ, but the holiday season is as good a time as any to give away some great #menswear. With holiday parties upcoming or ongoing and even more opportunities to dress up around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, you might be looking to upgrade your style in a hurry — and on a budget. That’s where Combatant Gentleman can help — as they did for the stylish fella above. In fact, I also rocked a great suit, shirt and tie combo from the brand this past weekend. They’re one of this site’s Approved Brands, and they’ve got plenty of clout to back it up. While some might prefer  more expensive options offered up by brands like J. Crew, Combatant Gentleman nails the affordable suiting game. Whether it’s a Slim-Fit Travel Jacket (as I reviewed earlier this year) or a sharp double-breasted suit (as seen in a trip I took to Italy), the brand definitely delivers — they’re even making overcoats and pea coats, too. Of course, its chinos are worth a look; also worth a mention is its new made-to-measure suiting service — that’s how I was able to get the lovely custom Blue Glenplaid Suit Trousers I wore this weekend. But rest assured, even if you can’t pick up a made-to-measure suit right away, the brand has plenty of great garb to outfit you for the holiday season — after all, few brands can offer $16 ties, $12 pocket squares and versatile shirts starting at $30 (I’m a big fan of this Floral and Dot Brown Tie in particular).
Florsheim
Critically though, that shirt and tie is what’s going to set  you apart from the pack at those holiday parties (and yes, if that shirt’s well-tailored, the tie is slim and the occasion doesn’t call for a suit jacket, you can assuredly wear a shirt and tie sans jacket). That’s why one lucky winner is getting their pick of Combatant Gentleman shirt and tie in time for the holidays — and with the classic options the brand offers, they’ll definitely work during the regular 9-to-5 grind, too.

Here’s how to win — best of luck and thanks, as always, for reading!

  • Head to my Instagram and follow both myself and the ever-sharp Combatant Gentleman feed.
  • Like either Monday’s Combat Gent-themed photo, and let me know how a shirt-and-tie combo from the brand would help you elevate your holiday look (oh, and use #DressSmarter if you would!).
  • Look for a winner to be picked, announced here and notified via IG on Monday night!

Enjoy the season and stay stylish!

-Beau

Style Suggestion: The Holiday Party

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don't hit 'em too hard at your holiday party).

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don’t hit ’em too hard at your holiday party).

With the arrival of December comes an occasion some of us definitely look forward to, and others tend to dread – the holiday party.  Depending on where you work or where you’re invited, it might be lots of fun
 or decidedly not-so-fun. The same goes for holiday parties with family and friends – although hopefully those are enjoyable. And regardless of the situation, it behooves you (yes, I just used that word) to clean up appropriately. Plus, dressing up smartly can be quite fun – especially when you change up just a few things from your co-workers or friends (like fit and color/texture combos) and end up looking like a  million bucks (or at least deserving of that bonus). What follows is a suggestion that can go either CEO-level dressy for a fancy holiday party, or a bit toned-down for slamming some nog at a friend’s house (people do that, right?).  Stand by for further style suggestions later this month covering both a laidback Christmas and a more dressed-up Yuletide celebration. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
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The Overcoat: Combatant Gentleman Navy Wool Overcoat — $120

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

Before we get into what to wear for the rest of your night, let’s assume it’ll be cold before you get into that party — and let’s assume you’re in need of an outerwear revamp. There’s no denying the style power and versatility of a great topcoat, and this navy wool overcoat from Combatant Gentleman fits the bill perfectly. Its price is more than solid, and for a new introduction to the brand, it would seem that the quality should be on-point from past experience. The fit looks to be trim yet workable over a suit, and the soft Italian wool should also be workable for that pricepoint. The navy color is going to work with all kinds of outfits outside of this particular occasion, as well.

The Suit Or Sweater: Combatant Gentleman Charcoal Birdseye Slim Fit Suit — $200 OR Frank & Oak Merino Cardigan in Bitter Chocolate — $70 And J. Crew Factory Thompson Slim Voyager Suit Pants — $84

Two options, one dressy and one more casual -- but both affordable.

Two options, one dressy and one more casual — but both affordable.

So Combatant Gentleman is the pick for our suiting option as well, but not just for kicks. The brand has made its mark in the affordable tailoring realm, offering up solid picks for more-than-agreeable prices. Its blazers, while not 100% perfect, are also an extremely great value for the price. So picking up one of its charcoal suits can knock out two birds with one stone – if you’re in need of a first-time suit on a budget, or if you want to refresh your suiting game for not a lot of dough. This birdseye suit is a nice visual departure from a flat charcoal color, too. If the occasion doesn’t call for a suit, you can swap in a crisp, slim Frank & Oak cardigan (much sleeker than a thicker shawl number). That can then be paired with some navy wool trousers and accomplish the same goal. Of course, dark denim can be swapped in with your cardigan for an even more toned-down look.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

While it’s worth looking at a site like EXPRESS for its shirt deals, there’s not a shirt that offers a price-quality ratio quite like Standard Shirt; that makes sense given that two styles of white dress shirts are all the company does. And they combine that quality with smaller touches (like a wider, suit-ready collar) in an inexpensive package. I threw on the brand’s spread collar shirt for a rather sweltering Michigan wedding and was also pleasantly surprised with its breathability. The crisp white shirt is definitely going to be a great anchor for either the suit or cardigan any way you look at it.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie — $19

A tie with some visual interest to complement the birdseye weave of the suit.

A tie with some visual interest at a low price.

If you need to ditch the tie in favor of just that slim cardigan or tailored charcoal suit over a crisp shirt, that’s the way to go. But if you do still need that tie, The Tie Bar, as always, has you covered. While a navy knit tie could also be a good, versatile buy in this case, a grenafaux tie brings that same amount of texture and visual interest while looking a bit more suit-ready. And in this case, the texture of the tie will bring a bit more punch than a standard silk number, allowing it to stand up to the birdseye suit nicely.

The Pocket Square: General Knot & Co. 1940s Crimson Duck Pocket Square — $38 OR The Tie Bar Light Champagne Herringbone Pocket Square — $10

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

So we have two pocket square options here – one that’s flashy and conversation-worthy, made from vintage fabric, and one that’s still conversation-worthy, but mainly for the punch of pattern and color it brings. When your suit and tie both have some texture, throwing in another dash in a contrasting color still works, mainly because of that color difference. Either would add a bit something extra to your suit that a solid white pocket square might not (although that works with this outfit, too). While the price for the General Knot square is a bit of a splurge, keep in mind that if you go cardigan-only, you save that cash.

The Shoes:  Johnston & Murphy McGavock Wingtip Boot — $250

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

Johnston & Murphy can sometimes be a bit overlooked what with a company like Jack Erwin competing right in its wheelhouse, but the brand delivers on seasonal numbers, like these mixed-media boots. They’re the perfect middle ground for stomping through some snow or rain to get into that party, yet they still look crisp, slim and appropriate for tailored wear. There’s a touch of brown in there on the sole, but that won’t look too out of place next to the charcoal suit. If funding is tight, JC Penney’s classic Stafford Wingtip is going for a right steal now. Either way, black shoes can look especially sleek this time of year (and if SPECTRE is any indication, black shoes are going to be the way to go for the months ahead).

The  Belt: EXPRESS 2-in-1 Reversible Buckle Leather Belt in Black — $39.90

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

EXPRESS’ quality might sometimes be suspect, but when you need a belt (or in this case, two belts) at a decent price in a pinch, a reversible option never hurts. They do all kinds of belts, but this is a sharp, sleek pickup that’ll go well with those crisp black shoes and the dialed-in black watch (more on that below). You can always go beltless if you find that’s more sleek, however.

The Watch: KOMONO Winston Regal in Black — $99.95

Super-crisp style for under $100.

Super-crisp style for under $100.

KOMONO’s at it again – this brand flies under the radar occasionally, but its dressier watches are just as solid a value as its more casual, seasonally focused timepieces (like the Winston Herringbone timepiece I reviewed earlier this fall). The Winston Regal in Black is super-sharp, and the thin case and no-nonsense dial fall right in line with the sharp pieces in the rest of this ensemble, from the black boots to the crisp white shirt and black belt. And at under $100, it’s an excellent steal on a budget.

The Socks: American Trench Dress Rib Sock in Cloud Grey — $14.50

High-quality socks that'll be worth more than the price tag.

High-quality socks that’ll be worth more than the price tag.

Whereas we’ve dialed it back with the suit and watch, these socks tip the scales more in terms of price. American Trench is a Style Guide favorite (check out more on its socks here), and there really isn’t a brand doing made-in-America socks as well as they do. So in this instance, it makes sense to splurge on some high-quality dress socks that can stand up to repeated wear with a workhorse charcoal suit; while socks with a pop of color are an option too, you might be pleasantly surprised at how sharp a sock looks when matched with a trouser (especially in a clean charcoal-on-charcoal combo).

While it can be a bit off-putting to see so many dark colors in an outfit, from the suit to the pocket square to the shoes, belt and watch,  it can be refreshing to go sleek, simple and yet still put-together. Plus, other cold-weather occasions leave plenty of time for working in colors, and each of the above pieces can be mixed and matched into those outfits as well. So go sharp this holiday season and see where it takes you. Once again, enjoy and let me know your holiday outfit picks below.

What do you think of the above ensemble? Will you be going dressy or casual this year at your holiday party?

Ben Sherman US

Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Jackets for Fall

Editor’s note: Check out more Online Shopping Picks here.

When we last chatted here at the ol’ Style Guide HQ, we were talking, among other things, about great gear to carry you through fall transitions. There’s a lot that can fall under that umbrella, however — from rugged henleys to crisp blazers and tough boots. But today, we’re talking specifically about outerwear. It’s not quite the weather for a super-refined and heavier topcoat as of yet, but it’s presumably colder than situations where you might just wear a simple long-sleeve tee. And we’re looking for styles that can lend some rugged appeal to dressier outfits, as well as a bit o’ casual cool. So, we’re right in the middle. That means everything from field coats to sweater-jackets are on the table. The picks below encapsulate just a few of the many styles you might find yourself wanting to reach for before it gets incredibly cold — best read up and do some shopping now!

#1. J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Denim Bomber — $298

An in-between jacket that's highly versatile.

An in-between jacket that’s highly versatile.

$298? For a denim jacket? Wallace & Barnes definitely represents the pricier iteration of J. Crew’s classic styles, but it seems the outerwear from this particular line is always quite well-done. And this denim bomber fuses a terrific silhouette with the unique styling touches of dark denim … on your top half. It’s definitely a splurge, but it can be styled over everything from an olive henley to a nice chambray shirt. And it’ll fade over time as it gets broken in, lending a distinctive touch to a piece you can really call your own.

#2. Shinola + Golden Bear Men’s Wool Bomber Jacket — $495

An unexpected take on the bomber jacket from a brand that excels in accessories.

An unexpected take on the bomber jacket from a brand that excels in accessories.

Is that price eye-popping? Yes. Is this an aspirational piece you might pin to a Wish List board? Indeed. But Shinola is a brand that’s really nailed their identity as far as crafting rugged-refined pieces you didn’t know you were missing until now — like the above bomber jacket. Bringing on the team at Golden Bear is perhaps the best way to make an entry into that category, as well. It’s a big-time luxury piece that updates a military silhouette, like its J. Crew brethren up top. It’d be a great jacket to reach for on those windier days closer to winter — and in the months thereafter. The most versatile thing about it is the fact that it can instantly elevate any outfit, from jeans and wingtip boots to some slim corduroys.

#3. Old Navy Quilted Bomber Jacket — $54.94

Simple style at a super-affordable price.

Simple style at a super-affordable price.

Now that cost above is more like it, right? Old Navy has been quietly upping their style credibility these past few years, and they’ve even outsold their loftier counterparts at Banana Republic and the like (witness their president leaving for Ralph Lauren as proof of this evolution). This bomber is a nice example of how they’ve made some waves. It’s not a piece that’ll turn a crazy amount of heads, but it’s affordably priced, versatile and able to handle both rains and fall breezes; the trickiest part about it is that black color, which is less versatile than navy or grey. But if worn casually, it should still fit right in over a henley and some brown chukka boots.

#4. Land’s End Quilted Shirt-Jacket — $89.99

Two shades of blue plus some unique details make this a great go-between.

Two shades of blue plus some unique details make this a great go-between.

Land’s End is another brand that, much like Old Navy, has worked hard as of late to bolster its credibility in the style space. This quilted shirt-jacket is but one of the unexpected ways in which they’re making that effort. It’s a unique piece that’s not quite a full-on jacket, but should still do well layered over everything from a henley  (that’s a style suggestion that won’t quit!) to another chambray shirt. Pair this one with some slim chinos for a transitional look and see how it suits you.

#5. Combatant Gentleman Wool Club Jacket — $120

A moto-inspired style done up in a versatile color.

A moto-inspired style done up in a versatile color.

For a brand that’s normally known for its ridiculously affordable suits and trim blazers, Combatant Gentleman has done a nice job expanding into other product categories. And as far as fall style goes, this wool jacket certainly fits the bill. Like the Old Navy piece above, it’s not a style that’s going to turn an incredible amount of heads, but the color is versatile, the fit looks to be trim and it seems to be a nicely functional piece of outerwear. That dark navy color makes it quite sleek, as well.

Putting together this list was definitely a tricky ordeal, as so many brands have really looked to their fall outerwear to set themselves apart. J. Crew Factory, with its Utility Jacket, has certainly done a nice job filling a budget niche. And the entire outerwear collection at Bonobos has some stunning pieces — pricey, but stunning. Be sure to pick up one of these styles now to bridge that gap — and head to this piece on transitional fall style to get a look at how to wear ’em.

Stay stylish and thanks, as always, for reading.

-Beau

Style abroad: Travels through Greece and Italy, Part 3

The lovely waters on the beach in Mykonos -- just one of the many excellent sights we saw on our trip. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

The lovely waters on the beach in Mykonos — just one of the many excellent sights we saw on our trip. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

The good news is that I made it back to the States in one piece! The bad news is that my family cruise to Greece is now done. It really was an absolutely amazing time though, from hours spent eating and drinking on the beach in Mykonos and Katakolon to days exploring the Acropolis in Athens and the legendary Olympia. Our trip also swung through the lovely and iconic island of Santorini – with its whitewashed houses, narrow cobblestone streets and old-world charm, it was a huge highlight of the trip. And luckily, I found the clothing I packed to be more than adequate, too! [You can check out a packing roundup, plus entries from Part 1 and Part 2 of the trip, here].

Getting out and about in casual style. Slim Mailbag by Satchel and Page. French  Terry Sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Sneakers by Athletic Propulsion Labs.

Getting out and about in casual style. Slim Mailbag by Satchel and Page. French Terry Sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Sneakers by Athletic Propulsion Labs. Guest appearance by a fellow tourist on the right.

I knew going in that the trip would present lots of options for what to wear – from casual days at the beach (and the cruise bar) to formal dinner nights and a bike ride that actually proved to be quite strenuous. Days spent at the pool also called for a versatile swimsuit, like my Orlebar Brown Setter Swim Trunks as seen above.

For active-casual wear, I found myself consistently reaching for my Pistol Lake French Terry Sweatshorts and my Athletic Propulsion Labs sneakers. The futuristic slant of the sneakers made them feel like less of a running shoe and more of a cool-casual sneaker option, while the sweatshorts (as seen here in a Style Pick of the Week entry) were comfortable and breathable. For those situations where I had to turn to dressier yet cool clothing, my Banana Republic khaki shorts and Michael Bastian x Uniqlo polo were more than adequate, while a pair of linen-blend shorts from Frank & Oak also worked quite well.

Relaxing in casual style leaving Katakolon. Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Leather Wooster Slip-ons by GREATS Brand. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

Chatting with my dad (on the far right) and relaxing in casual style leaving Katakolon. Swim trunks by Orlebar Brown. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Leather Wooster Slip-ons by GREATS Brand. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Beer by Newcastle.

I found my footwear options to be adequate as well – I wore a pair of Timberland Coulter Chukka boots (courtesy of my day job) for travel, which proved comfortable and effective. The two pairs of loafers I brought along, one by Andre Coton and one pair by G.H. Bass, also saw use during casual and formal dinner situations alike, particularly with my Combatant Gentleman Sky Blue Chinos. My trusty GREATS Brand Wilson sneakers also proved durable and comfortable for exploring Athens and the Acropolis, and worked for dinner later in the day, too!

A look at some of the accessories I brought along for the trip. Vintage wool baseball cap by Goorin Bros. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering.

A look at some of the accessories I brought along for the trip, pictured specifically in Olympia.. Vintage wool baseball cap by Goorin Bros. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering.

If anything however, I brought along one too many long-sleeve shirts – while I wore my GAP chambray shirt, I didn’t get the chance to wear my Gustin Spring Plaid Shirt, as I often found myself reaching for more laidback short-sleeve options to pair with white denim or my Taylor Stitch chinos. On the accessories front, my black rubber strap Stuhrling watch was a sporty choice to pair with my sweatshorts and sneakers for strenuous shore excursions, and my Daniel Wellington Classic Bristol leather watch worked well with lots of dinner outfit combinations in particular. My stainless steel Invicta dive watch, a personal favorite, was a solid option with which to hit the beach, and I frequently reached for my Goorin Brothers vintage wool baseball cap (currently sold out online) – it was comfortable and breathable, crucial in the heat of Greece.

For those exploration-filled shore excursions, I took along my Satchel and Page Slim Mailbag – it’s proving to be very durable, sturdy and well-made (plus, who doesn’t love the smell of new leather??).

A formal look for the final night of the cruise. White Poplin Endurance Shirt and Steel Blue Glen Plaid Double-Breasted Suit by Combatant Gentleman. Glasses by Warby Parker. Watch by Daniel Wellington.

A formal look for the final night of the cruise. White Poplin Endurance Shirt and Steel Blue Glen Plaid Double-Breasted Suit by Combatant Gentleman. Glasses by Warby Parker. Watch by Daniel Wellington.

And my Randolph Engineering Concorde Flash Lens sunglasses worked excellent to combat the sun’s rays too. On the toiletries front, my Baxter of California Travel Kit was convenient, easy to pack and of course, very useful! For formal wear, my Combat Gent White Poplin Shirt and Steel Blue Glen Plaid Double-Breasted Suit were sharp, well-fitting and also able to be mixed and matched among the jacket and a separate pair of custom grey suit pants from Black Lapel.

Definitely one of the highlights of the trip -- checking out the amphitheater at the Acropolis in Athens.

Definitely one of the highlights of the trip — checking out the amphitheater at the Acropolis in Athens.

While the process of getting overseas was lengthy (to be expected!) and the time change was a somewhat difficult adjustment at first, I found the whole adventure to be beautiful, serene and highly enjoyable – Royal Caribbean and its staff are friendly, helpful and very gracious, too! It’s certainly a cruise I would take again, and I found several areas I would love to visit again, too.

I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity and the time spent with family as well – and of course, having the chance to work with a few excellent brands on trip gear was pretty neat, too! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled content here on Wednesday (a product review of the aforementioned Taylor Stitch chinos), but if you’d like to check out more trip photos and content, check out #StyleGuideAbroad via my Twitter and Instagram accounts. Until next time, Greece!