The Friday Read: New Abercrombie & Fitch, Need Supply Co. and Spring Outerwear

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

While I’ve really been looking forward to warm-weather style for quite a while now (get a look at my spring style wish list, for starters), I’ve been lucky enough to get an even earlier dose of warm weather this weekend. Why is that, you ask? Well, I’m lucky enough to be back in Florida visiting my family this weekend and celebrating my dad’s birthday. Now, the fine print is that part of our weekend plans — seeing the legendary AC/DC — were derailed when the band announced they were rescheduling 10 tour dates. Definitely a big blow to this lifetime fan. At any rate, it really still is lovely to be here — we’ve got some excellent back-up plans lined up, including some much-needed beach time and a trip to the excellent Point Ybel Brewing Company.  You can look for a full trip recap post coming on Monday — for now though, let’s get on with our weekly Friday Read and all the #menswear news that’s fit to type.

  • Perhaps most importantly, we’ve been seeing more and more news hit about the new and improved Abercrombie & Fitch — the new line is definitely worth a look, and Maxim offered its take, too. (Editor’s note: There’s more from the folks at Abercrombie & Fitch coming in tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week).
  • Go shopping (now, if possible) through the well-curated digital shelves at Need Supply Co. with the team at Style Girlfriend — you won’t be disappointed.
  • Prep for the forthcoming rain with key spring outerwear picks from Get Kempt — it’ll be here before you know it.
  • Long Read of the Week: Is fashion weird? Should it be weird? Is it art? And lastly… why does it matter? This introspective piece from the Washington Post (centered around women’s fashion, admittedly) brings new meaning to thinking of runway shows as art, and attempts to answer those questions quite well.

Get ready for the weekend with a dash more men’s style:

Shop the latest in Men's styles Under $50 + get FREE Shipping on orders over $100 at Frank & Oak!

Florsheim

Brand Profile: Ace Rivington

Editor’s note: For a wide array of brand profiles covering companies big and small, click here.

Aviation, as you might guess, figures strongly into the backstory of this brand. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Aviation, as you might guess, figures strongly into the backstory of this brand. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

At a special media preview sponsored by ethical lifestyle brand Apolis earlier this summer, I ran into a situation that rarely, if ever, happens. I was chatting briefly with Apolis co-founder Raan Parton when he introduced his companion — another Beau, in fact. It just happened to be Beau Lawrence, founder of up-and-coming menswear brand Ace Rivington. What he had to say about his brand and the backstory behind it immediately caught my attention, and discerning consumers would do wise to listen up, too.

The sweater that started it all --a colorblocked crewneck made out of high-quality fabric.

The sweater that started it all –a colorblocked crewneck made out of high-quality fabric. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Ace Rivington first made a name for itself with a wildly successful Kickstarter (to the tune of $60,990 raised) for its Homespun Sweatshirt, a crisp upgrade to the once-casual crewneck sweater. The fact that the crewneck sweater is now an accepted menswear staple definitely contributed to the brand’s initial success, but in the time since then, they’ve moved beyond just sweatshirts. That staple item was borne out of a simple set of perfect fabric, though. Once he’d found the right knit, Lawrence quit his job in November 2013 and got to work — bringing with him more than 18 years of experience in the denim industry. Add in the fact that the brand focuses on American manufacturing and you’ve got the makings of #menswear success.

A playful historical narrative accompanies many of the brand's products. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

A playful historical narrative accompanies many of the brand’s products. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

What’s even more compelling about the brand is the playful, heritage-filled story woven into its products. Consumers can follow along with the daring Ace Rivington and his family through the brand’s blog. Ace is a fictional pilot who provides the sartorial inspiration for the brand’s rugged staples — and spirit of adventure. The concept is something that few, if any brands, have tried. Sure, plenty tie back to the ideals of heritage quality, history and pieces  built for decades — but Ace Rivington is the only one that provides quite literally an inspired story to back it up. Some might find it too much, but the ways in which the product is designed and the creative is presented definitely help build the narrative into a cohesive brand identity.

American-made denim in a variety of washes rounds out the brand's pants offering.

American-made denim in a variety of washes rounds out the brand’s pants offering.

The company’s offerings are tight and controlled, particularly its shirting — five models are for sale on the site right now, including a Beach Washed Chambray option that would serve as a fine complement to the brand’s made-in-the-USA selvedge denim. That denim however, does run for a premium price — more than $200. Its chinos also venture into Bonobos-esque pricing territory ($89) but pack classic military styling inspiration into one pair. And while some are against the jogger trend entirely, Ace Rivington does indeed stock an aptly named pair — after having checked out a pair from the brand, the Layover Jogger (made out of a lightweight cotton weave) is actually the type of pant you’d want to be wearing if you found yourself stranded in an airport.

On the shirting front, it does appear as if the brand is planning a broader expansion come next spring, as they teased out a product shot of a neat-looking short-sleeve shirt on the company’s Instagram account recently.

Available in a plethora of colors, the brand's crewneck sweaters helped Ace make his name. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Available in a plethora of colors, the brand’s crewneck sweaters helped Ace make his name. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

The iconic sweater the brand launched with is also on the site in multiple colors, and colorblocked cuffs plus a ribbed collar help it stand out from your average crewneck. At a 90% cotton/10% polyester blend, it might not be the kind of sweater that shields you from an Arctic chill, but it would be the ideal layering piece for fall, particularly underneath a herringbone blazer. At $129 however, it’s again an investment to give some thought.

Ace Rivington sells, among other footwear offerings, some casual-rugged chukkas from SeaVees.

Ace Rivington sells, among other footwear offerings, some casual-rugged chukkas from SeaVees.

Ace Rivington’s outerwear selection is small but does feature a café racer jacket. Likewise, it keeps its footwear offerings on the small, yet classic, side as well. Two pairs of excellent Wolverine boots, a classic three-eye chukka from SeaVees and two pairs of utilitarian SeaVees sneakers round out the product focus.

The brand’s accessories add a dash of the unexpected to your everyday carry, including a branded Zippo lighter and aviation-themed playing cards that line right up with the brand’s aviation-minded backstory. As to be expected for a brand that built its foundation on a simple sweatshirt, its basics are similarly well-constructed. The brand was kind enough to send along a Home Washed Heathered Crewneck in Oatmeal, and it’s extremely soft with a slim yet comfortable fit — exactly how a T-shirt should feel.
Ben Sherman US
Judging by the brand’s quick rise through Kickstarter, planned product upgrades in the coming seasons and compelling backstory, Ace Rivington seems like the type of brand that can definitely strike a chord with customers looking for crisp basics that incorporate just-different-enough touches and reliable quality. And if you happen to be an aviation enthusiast, there’s perhaps no better brand out there.

Have you bought any product from Ace Rivington? What’s your favorite item from the brand’s site?
Ernest Alexander
Greats

Style Q + A: Barron Cuadro, Effortless Gent

Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent talks style tips, the development of his site and more. He also nails this classic blazer-and-denim combo.

Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent talks style tips, the development of his site and more. He also nails this classic blazer-and-denim combo.

Editor’s note: To check out other Style Q&A pieces, head here. As I’m abroad this week, stay tuned for a Wednesday trip post!

Across the past few years, I’d say my personal style has developed a lot. More specifically, starting in about my sophomore year of college, I began to pay a lot more attention to what I wore, how I got dressed and how it helped me shape my life in terms of organization and focus. What was an outside interest at first turned into hours of reading about style and finding my own sense of style therein. One of the biggest sources in that development was (correction: is) Effortless Gent, an outstanding menswear and lifestyle site focused on helping guys improve their style (and everything that goes with it). What started as me merely perusing (poring over) the site’s pages in my free time led to a writing opportunity that continues to this day — my “Five Ways to Wear One” series — and a friendship with Barron that I’m definitely grateful for, as I think I can safely say that I might not have found my passion, and my career, without his guidance. But enough of the dramatic stuff — I caught up with Barron to talk all things Effortless Gent, the development of his personal style and his transition from San Francisco to NYC, and if you know Barron, I think you’ll like what you read.

Take me through the process of starting Effortless Gent, and how that dovetailed off your own style journey?

 Effortless Gent: Throughout high school and college, my guy friends would ask me style-related questions. After 8ish years of hearing the same questions over and over, I realized there are probably other guys out there with the same questions but no one to ask. My professional background is in web design / development, so I decided to put together a site and answer these questions for a much larger potential audience than just my friends.

What’s been the most rewarding part of helping guys improve their style?

EG: I love the emails I receive from guys who have quietly put into practice all the things we teach on the site. They realize how big a difference it has made in their lives and they’re just writing to thank me. That never gets old; it just proves that a little attention to detail and a bit of guidance can go a long way.

Even with more low-key, casual ensembles, Barron keeps it crisp and classic.

Even with more low-key, casual ensembles, Barron keeps it crisp and classic.

TSG: You advocate for a Lean Wardrobe and the idea of a personal uniform — tell me a little bit more about those concepts.

EG: The Lean Wardrobe philosophy has become the cornerstone of the site, and it guides everything we teach. The idea of a personal uniform is similar and fits into that philosophy.

We define the Lean Wardrobe (LW) as the minimum number of clothes a man needs to create the most well-rounded, flexible wardrobe that suits his daily life.  Rather than a concrete list of items, LW is a philosophy or a set of principles that guide you when buying. The LW is also super flexible, because not every guy has the same situation, income, or surroundings.
Florsheim
TSG: What’s one initial mistake you see most guys make when it comes to trying to improve their style?

EG: I guess not having a proper plan, or a direction they want to go. That usually leads to premature buying and then eventually being unhappy with those purchases, requiring him to purchase something else. That cycle usually repeats until he finds something that’s truly him. And it can happen with every article of clothing, from shirts, to socks, and everything in between. That trial-and-error process can be time consuming and expensive, but if you follow the LW guidelines, you can generally avoid 95% of that headache.

TSG: If you had to pick one outfit to wear every day, what would it be?

EG: It would have to be a pair of medium-dark denim, white OCBD, unlined, unstructured sport coat in navy, and tan leather loafers. I wear something similar most of the time (unless it’s unbearably hot or cold, and when it is, I adjust by removing or adding layers). 

TSG: Playing off that question, what’s one essential item every guy should own?

 EG: I always say a navy sport coat. It instantly dresses up whatever you have on.

The devil's all in the details when it comes to a great outfit.

The devil’s all in the details when it comes to a great outfit, according to Mr. Cuadro — and I agree!

TSG: You’re new to NYC from San Fran — what’s that transition been like and how has it changed your style? 

EG: SF is much more casual with their style, which personally doesn’t suit me very well. In NYC, people dress up more. It’s not crazy to be in suits and ties, or creative smart casual rigs… It’s just the nature of the city and the people who are here.  Since I enjoy dressing well, NYC has allowed me to be more myself, if that makes sense. In Build A Lean Wardrobe, one of the things we teach is to plan a wardrobe around your surroundings. Not just your physical surroundings, but the way in which people around you dress… Not that you have to dress exactly like everyone around you, but it’s a great way to gauge what’s considered “normal” and “appropriate”, and you can adjust course from there.  Anyway, NYC hasn’t really changed my style much, other than the fact that it allows me to be more… me.

 TSG: Given that the site’s home base has changed, do you think content on the site will continue to evolve in that direction as well? What’s next for EG? 

 EG: I think it will, and only for the better. I’m constantly inspired by the variation in styles I see here, plus the firsthand experience I’m getting by dressing for distinctly different seasons. In SF, we had one season almost all year round, so you don’t always get the opportunity to experiment. As far as what’s next, we’ll be focusing more on our eGuides and courses, especially our upcoming launch for Build A Lean Wardrobe, and hopefully continue to put out articles that help guide and inspire our readers to amp up their style game, no matter where they are.

Head to the Effortless Gent Instagram here for a daily glimpse into the happenings behind EG (and some great outfit shots from Barron), and check out the site here for tons of excellent style content.

Ben Sherman US

The Friday Read: Epaulet Sneakers, GAP Closings and the Most Stylish Men Alive

Florsheim

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.

Can you believe it’s almost July? Unbelievable, truly! Have you done any traveling yet this summer? I’ve been in the midst of starting a new job this past month while mixing in a family wedding and a music festival; both have made it a great summer to date. Now, we’re almost on the Fourth of July, and on that note, we’ll have a style suggestion coming up for your reading pleasure next Monday. In the meantime, I suggest you check out my weekly roundup below of only the best pieces fit for weekend reading — and let me know what you’ve been reading yourself on Twitter or via the Contact page!

  • Design and style website Selectism details Epaulet’s stunning new line of made-in-America unfinished leather trainers (sneakers, to us common folk)
  • My buddy Joe over at the always-stylish Dappered reflects on the news earlier this week that GAP will close a quarter of its stores by recapping 10 of the best pieces from the brand in recent years (including one item that also appeared in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series)
  • NBA superstar LeBron James made GQ’s list of the 20 Most Stylish Men Alive and talked to the menswear magazine briefly about his style choices and inspiration (on that note, anyone else have some qualms about that list?
  • Long Read of the Week: In a fascinating set of entries, 10 New Yorkers share their most memorable “dusk to dawn” nighttime memories of the city that never sleeps

Need more of The Style Guide?

  • My latest piece for Effortless Gent, covering five ways to wear slim shorts this summer, was published on Thursday; check it out here!
  • Might I also suggest an earlier Style Guide entry this week detailing stylish men’s dress shoes on a budget?
  • Lastly:  If you’re shopping for some new denim, you might want to give Mott & Bow jeans a whirl after you check out this product review

 

Ernest Alexander

Style Pick of the Week: Alberta Watches

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.

Your choice of a lovely blue or deep green dial (with black or brown leather strap), plus a classic field watch design from the newly launched Alberta Watches.

Your choice of a lovely blue or deep green dial (with black or brown leather strap), plus a classic field watch design from the newly launched Alberta Watches.

If you read any of my work over at VOUCH Mag, you might recognize this week’s Style Pick of the Week. While past Style Pick entries have run the gamut from American-made henleys to drool-worthy knit trousers , there’s something that’s simply too good to pass up about an affordably priced watch. And that’s exactly what Alberta Watches is offering with its newly launched Kickstarter campaign. The brand, inspired by the Canadian wilds and launched by former product designer Leo Josephy, is delivering classic field watches starting at just $58. That’s right … $58 (but for a limited time!). Funding spots at the low, low early bird price of $47 already filled up via the Kickstarter campaign, (which has quickly shot past its funding goal), but the standard price of $65 for one watch is stellar, too. Throw in your choice of a black or brown leather strap and either a vibrant blue or deep green dial, and you’ve absolutely got a winning combination.

An up-close look at the handmade Horween leather strap that's also an option through the Kickstarter campaign. Photo courtesy of Alberta Watches.

An up-close look at the handmade Horween leather strap that’s also an option through the Kickstarter campaign. Photo courtesy of Alberta Watches.

Ben Sherman US

Get in on this while it lasts, because these watches feature a just-right 41mm diameter, mineral glass crystal and a Japanese Miyota movement. The option to swap in a Horween leather strap handmade by a master saddlemaker in Calgary, Alberta sweetens the deal, too. Note that the early bird Kickstarter price of $76 gets you the Horween leather strap, with a standard price of $95 thereafter. So at the most, under the century mark for a beautifully produced watch (set for production in the same factory that handles Bulova timepieces).  While it’s essential to match your watch leather to your belt and shoes in dressier situations, this is one watch that could wear just as easily with a crisp pocket T-shirt and shorts as it could with a blazer and khaki chinos. The difficult part about funding this campaign will be the waiting — delivery date is slated for October 2015 — but this is one watch I’ve got on my hot list now.

Would you fund this Kickstarter campaign? What are your thoughts on the design and construction of these watches?

Ernest Alexander

Style Pick of the Week: Buck Mason Oxford Shirt

Ernest Alexander

A versatile shirt ready for all kinds of wear.

A versatile shirt ready for all kinds of wear.

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.

Seeing as it’s Memorial Day weekend,it seems only fitting that this week’s Style Pick of the Week should come from a company making things with a ton of attention to detail and quality right in the U.S. of A. Buck Mason’s T-shirts first made an appearance on this blog earlier this week in fact, and it only makes sense that one of the company’s superb buttondowns would show up shortly thereafter. The light blue Oxford shirt in particular is selling so fast, the company can barely keep it barely stocked — although light grey, white or deep navy would be highly versatile as well.

 

Just one of the five shades in which you could pick up this classic wardrobe staple.

Just one of the five shades in which you could pick up this classic wardrobe staple.

This shirt is the kind of piece that’s more than worth it’s made-in-the-USA price, regardless of the color you go with. The sleeves and chest look to fit trim, making it a classic choice ready for slightly dressier wear instead of a spring and summer T-shirt or even a slim polo. This shirt would also work exceptionally well with black or blue denim, even in the deep navy shade available through Buck Mason.  And slim chinos would absolutely finish off a sharp, versatile outfit, too (you can check out more ways to style the classic Oxford buttondown shirt here). So that’s the pick for this Memorial Day weekend — if you’re traveling, be sure to stay safe and check out these suggestions for the best men’s travel accessories.

Have you bought from Buck Mason before? What’s your experience been like with the company?

Ben Sherman US

Online Shopping Picks: Everlane

Editor’s note: Sometimes, items that project great style are hard to find, especially at good prices. These articles aren’t necessarily a reflection of deals or sales for a particular brand, but noteworthy picks at the moment that can be had for affordable prices. For more Online Shopping Picks, head here.

Diving into a brand that's steadily on the way up.

Diving into a brand that’s steadily on the way up.

In the past two to two-and-a-half years or so, Everlane is a brand that’s raised a lot of eyebrows in the online fashion community. Their model of radical transparency and their desire to disseminate lots of information about how they do what they do has been praised by lots, as much as their clean, crisp aesthetic has also garnered positive reviews. They’re among a rare set of brands (J. Crew would probably be another) that do both men’s and women’s apparel very well, especially when it comes to staple essentials. They’ve been steadily expanding their wares on both sides, and have got a whole slew of releases planned for this spring — among others, they just dropped men’s henleys and a luxurious-looking merino blazer. The brand also has a new sweatshirt release and a spring jacket upcoming. For those of us that can’t wait though, there’s plenty of great goods on the site now. Check out picks below and share your thoughts on Everlane beneath that!

#1. The Henley Tee in Charcoal — $35 

An anticipated drop from Everlane that hopefully lives up to the hype.

A much-anticipated drop from Everlane that hopefully lives up to the hype.

One of Everlane’s latest product launches has easily been one of their most anticipated. When looking at the types of basics they’ve been putting out, this is a move that just makes sense — a henley is a masculine basic that can be layered all kinds of different ways (under a shawl cardigan or a v-neck sweater, to start) and brings to mind a certain rugged, old-time aesthetic. And given all the ways it can be worn in a neutral color like charcoal, this is a key pick — it meshes well with black jeans or dark denim and sturdy boots, in addition to chinos. Plenty of sizes are available right now in charcoal and other colors (almost shockingly so), and the price is excellent — lower than a comparable J. Crew staple, for example.  (Note: Look for an in-person review of one of these in white in the coming weeks). 

#2. The Cotton Pocket Tee in Slate — $15

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.02.00 AM

An underrated style basic in a unique color.

 

So the second item on this list keeps to the theme of darker-colored neutrals, which Everlane seems to do so well. While this is just a simple pocket tee, that item is fairly underrated as far as a men’s style piece. While short-sleeve henleys are a wise choice as well, sometimes you want something with more structure — that’s where the pocket tee comes in. It looks different than a traditional crewneck because of that chest pocket, and  the unique color helps it stand out from more basic options as well. This T-shirt would pair well with slim dark denim or a pair of navy trousers on the more hi-low spectrum of style; it also acts as a good neutral with some colored shorts. Don’t forget about the terrific price either — if Everlane is to be believed, comparable shirts retail for more than two times as much.

#3. The Slim Fit Denim Shirt — $55

A rugged staple for fall and winter — at a nice price, too.

A rugged staple for fall and winter — at a nice price, too.

There are so many good reasons to keep your closet stocked full of classic essentials like white OCBD’s and chambray shirts, yet in the fall and winter, it’s also handy to have a great denim shirt on-hand. Everlane also makes a deeper indigo denim shirt, and they just started selling a grey denim number, too, but the real gem of their collection is this medium denim option. It’s less overtly trendy than something like a light-wash denim shirt, and it goes with more pairings, too. It would fit perfectly with broken-in khaki chinos in either the fall or winter, and it would add a rugged, dressed-down appeal to charcoal trousers, too. This particular wash would also stand out well with black denim and a rich wool tie.  The price is very favorable when compared to a more expensive option from J. Crew, as well.

#4. The PK Polo in Hunter Green — $35

A color not typically seen on most polos, at a reasonable price.

A color not typically seen on most polos, at a reasonable price.

It might not exactly be polo weather right now for those of us in the north of the U.S. and in other cold climes, but within a couple months, it’ll be more than time for some short-sleeves. The great thing with Everlane is that they seem to keep inventory well-stocked and prices fairly consistent, so you could expect polos like these to stick around for quite a while. The fit on these looks to be solid — trim but not too tight, although one wonders if the photos shot on the model weren’t shot about a size too big (most of us prefer a slimmer-fitting polo at the sleeves and through the body). This particular item also comes in a color not seen tremendously often on polos — the deep hunter green would mesh well with wardrobe staples like tan chinos, and it would even sit right at home with lightwash jeans for the warmer months.

#5. The Twill Weekender Bag in Reverse Denim/Brown Leather — $95

For those who want to travel with style in mind.

For those who want to travel with style in mind.

No mention of Everlane would be complete without examining the brand’s gear — these pieces are what put them on the map for most of us style-conscious guys, and it seems like they’ve built up their apparel from around their bags, curiously enough. The theory would hold that dressing well goes hand-in-hand with what you carry for travel and everyday use, and these bags hold up that end of the deal quite nicely. These pieces, particularly the reverse denim weekender pictured above look crisp, clean and simple — the solid colors and lack of ornamentation or logos mean they’re not overly gaudy. From personal experience, the weekender bag is definitely meant to handle short spurts of usage — mine got used pretty hard across a summer in NYC, and I ended up replacing it with this bag instead. However, for those who need a true weekend bag, these pieces look outstanding and should provide just enough space for travel essentials. Most importantly, the price quite honestly destroys options from comparable brands. This isn’t built like a heritage bag from Filson, to be sure, but it should work just fine for the price.

Most notably with Everlane, an entire outfit, from apparel to accessories, could be built from the Everlane website, down to your wallet  — that’s the sign of a brand catering to the needs of customers while keeping style in mind.

And finally, a quick thought for all of you into Kickstarter clothing projects — be sure to check out Tom Cridland’s ongoing campaign — they’re a British company trying to break into the U.S. market and offer slim chinos in standout colors, including a nice deep navy option. Expect an in-person review of those within the coming days!

Have you bought from Everlane before? What’s on your wishlist from the brand? Let me know and thanks for reading!