The Road Back Home: A Winter Trip to Grand Rapids

Hitting the road to catch up with old family and friends is assuredly of my favorite things to do — although I do appreciate the hustle and bustle of NYC, it’s always nice to get back home. That’s the case whether it’s my adopted home state of Florida, the site of my last #menswear trip, or my native state of Michigan, which still plays host to plenty of beloved family and friends. Yes indeed, just as with a February 2017 trip back to Grand Rapids, I packed up my favorite winter style essentials this past weekend and got ready to see my brother and his family (hi, guys!), plus my lifelong friend (and groom-to-be), Mr. Chris Spyke. There was great craft beer to be had in Beer City U.S.A., to go along with rugged layering of pieces like my Grayers Edgeware Coated Cotton Moto Jacket and classic suede chukkas from Astorflex. It was certainly an early Friday morning getting out of NYC, but it was well worth it — and I did my best to travel in style, of course.

Getting there was quite easy, all thanks to my dependable Voyager Waxed Weekender — packed with plenty of travel style essentials — from Boarding Pass NYC (always a road trip favorite).  The classic, comfortable Langdon Slim Denim from Abercrombie & Fitch helped me stay comfortable and yet stylish through my flight, while Astorflex came through once again with comfortable suede chukka boots that managed to go from airport to airport and the Grand Rapids beer scene quite easily. To fight the cold (and stay on point in terms of style) the Grayers Edgeware Coated Cotton Moto Jacket proved a handy travel jacket — gotta love those handy front snap pockets — and teamed nicely with an easygoing-yet-sharp, classic men’s shirt from my pals at Todd Snyder. Seriously, you can’t top a tailored weekend shirt in a soft fabric — it works for travel, the office and yes, happy hour brews.  And on the watch front, my Timex x Todd Snyder MS1 Maritime Sport Watch was durable, versatile and travel-ready. When traveling on quick weekend trips, find pieces you love wearing — like classic slim denim and dependable chukka boots — and wear them time and again. Oh, and don’t forget the accessories — my reliable-as-always Huckberry Explorer’s Cap rounded out my ensemble for a laidback day hanging with my nieces and nephews (four in total!), plus catching up with Mr. Spyke and company  later in the day for the first weekend of the incredible (and well-timed) Grand Rapids Beer Month! An absolutely tremendous occasion, and a perfect way to kick off the weekend, complete with stops at spots like Mitten Brewing Co. to get Friday going.

As one might expect, Saturday proved an ideal occasion to break out some of my favorite winter style essentials, pieces that layer up nicely and work for on-the-go brewery-hopping (and some shopping). I layered up with my durable-as-ever Taylor Stitch Yosemite Shirt, a highly coveted piece that I’d recommend you snap up before it’s gone. I also simply had to break out the Taylor Stitch Slim Chinos for style that was polished and able to work all day long.  Again, Taylor Stitch consistently proves its value as a brand, whether grabbing brews in Beer City, U.S.A or hopping from the bar to a show in NYC. And on the watch front, it was easy to reach for the Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono, a consistent favorite that I find myself wearing more days than not — it can be tough to find a stylish leather watch at an affordable price, and Timex consistently delivers.

When you want to make it easy to pack your favorite accessories on the road, reach for a stylish timepiece (and other essentials) that you already love wearing.  Oh, and when it comes to getting around Grand Rapids, even in the snow? My CAT Footwear Abe Canvas Boots (as seen above) got the job done, blending durability with crucial style points. And we certainly had a busy day — there are absolutely some stellar spots you simply have to hit in Grand Rapids on a Saturday, from new brewery City Built Brewing to the Nordic-inspired Sovengard, an excellent spot for cocktails.

Sunday once again called for more citywide exploration, and a terrific brunch at soccer-themed bar SpeakEZ. I also loved the quiet tranquility of the city’s Grand Rapids Art Museum, always a pleasant weekend stop (and a nice way to relax on Sunday after a busy night out and about in GRA). We also grabbed coffee at the excellent Madcap Coffee, followed by beers at the always-tremendous (and continually growing!) Founders Brewing, a Michigan favorite. For a final day braving the G.R. chill, I again turned to CAT Footwear and the brand’s Chronicle Boots, featuring tough plain-toe construction and stylish brown leather that gets better with age. They worked more than admirably on a cold Grand Rapids day — I’d recommend similarly stylish winter boots enough for the remaining weeks (or months) of winter.

I had to complement my outfit yet again with a travel-friendly timepiece, the absolutely fantastic Timex x Todd Snyder MS1 Maritime Sport Watch, featuring welcome new design touches like a domed crystal case, INDIGLO lighting and a sporty NATO strap, calling to mind throwback diving timepieces. In short, it provided some nice visual interest when it came time to layer up for the day — I again threw on my Mission Workshop Bridgeman Peacoat atop a rugged crewneck sweater from my friends at Pistol Lake, complemented by my classic Flint and Tinder denim. The combo helped me kick back, relax and enjoy a few more hours in one of my favorite cities (and it’s not just because of the beer!). When you want to get around a favorite city in the cold weather, layer up with a tough jacket, a sporty NATO strap watch and expertly faded denim for comfort on the road. 

It was unfortunately time once again to head back to NYC — all too soon, if you ask me. I’m grateful to be able to hop a quick flight back to Grand Rapids to see my family and friends, all the while exploring and finding out new things about one of my favorite cities. It’s also a plus to be able to pack and dress in winter style essentials, from made-in-America denim to tough leather boots, a stylish casual watch and a warm thermal shirt.  It’s not all about the packing list, though — I also find that Grand Rapids has something for everybody, from excellent coffee to great beer to a cool shopping and museum scene. Add in great company and times with lifelong friends, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

Are you heading to Grand Rapids soon? Let me know via the comments below, and feel free to say “Hi” via E-mail or The Style Guide Facebook page!

Thanks for reading,

-Beau

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The Friday Read: Beer City U.S.A, The Winter Olympics and Neutral Milk Hotel

If you can believe it, we had to call an audible when it came to last week’s Friday Read given the hectic pace and scheduling of New York Fashion Week: Men’s. (Runway shows! Collection previews! Afterparties!). But I’m pleased to report that we’re back this week, and better than ever — well, hopefully. Who else is looking forward to the weekend? Was our guide to what to wear on Valentine’s Day this week helpful? You can be sure we’ll have more #OOTD content — and tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week — on the way very soon. On that note, did you catch last week’s Style Pick of the Week? The Taylor Stitch Winslow Jacket is about as good as it gets when it comes to adventure-ready weekend style. And speaking of weekend adventures… this weekend is an exciting, busy one as well. I’m hitting the road back to Grand Rapids to see childhood friends, enjoy Beer City U.S.A (!) and visit my family (including four nieces and nephews!). It’s going to be a jam-packed, super enjoyable weekend, dovetailing off my trip last February to Grand Rapids (and quickly becoming a tradition for me?). At any rate, you can catch all the action live on Instagram and Instagram Stories (of course). In the meantime, enjoy the weekend — cheers!

  • So, the iconic, much-discussed and much-debated seminal indie album “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel turned 20 last week; can ya believe it? It might have been just a bit before my time, but it’s an album worth studying & appreciating — as Pitchfork noted in its review upon its reissue some years ago … a perfect 10! What’s your take?
  • The Winter Olympics are here — in the spirit of keeping you in the loop on the festivities, our pals at Esquire.com published the lazy person’s guide to the Winter Olympics; good enough, right?
  • Perhaps you’ve seen this news already, but last week, L.L. Bean announced it was changing its return policy, a famously accommodating one at that; will you be taking more care of your Bean Boots from now on?
  • Lastly, let’s talk what you’re drinking this weekend — the Samuel Adams Sam ’76 brew is my latest write-up over at GearMoose, and you might just want to track it down and raise a glass this weekend. Who’s with me?

Hopefully, the above features helped you start your weekend the right way — see you for tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week!

-Beau

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

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.

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

Beckett Simonon

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

One more thing before you log off…

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

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

Have a great one,

-Beau

Heading Back Home: A winter weekend in Michigan

Dressed with brewery-hopping in mind. Indigo Plaid Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch., 505C Denim by Levi's. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Stocking cap by JackThreads. Glasses by Frameri.

Dressed with brewery-hopping in mind. Indigo Plaid Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch., 505C Denim by Levi’s. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Stocking cap by JackThreads. Glasses by Frameri.

It’s not every weekend that I get the chance to head back to my home state of Michigan — and that’s normally not the case during the busy fashion week season in New York City. But as luck would have it, the fashion calendar was on my side this time around, and that presented the perfect opportunity for another Style Guide road trip to the beautiful Mitten State. Coming off a whirlwind four days in New York City checking out the illustrious New York Fashion Week: Men’s, a trip back to Grand Rapids was just what the doctor ordered. It was a fun — if chilly — weekend filled with brewery tours, visits with friends and the birth of my brother’s two daughters (so, my two new nieces!). It was definitely a happy scheduling coincidence that worked out perfectly! Of course, I dressed to meet the cold, and as always, I was more than happy to bring along my favorite #menswear for the trip, too.

Travel essentials fit for hitting the road and fighting the cold. Chamois Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Explorer's Cap by Huckberry. Messenger bag and 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. miUSA 585 Sneakers by New Balance. Magazine by Gear Patrol.

Travel essentials fit for hitting the road and fighting the cold. Chamois Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Messenger bag and 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. miUSA 585 Sneakers by New Balance. Magazine by Gear Patrol.

If you’re a dedicated Style Guide reader, it should come as no surprise that I was more than able to pack up my Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender with all the rugged winter accessories needed for a weekend with temperatures in the teens.  My packing haul included handy pieces like my Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet — fitting given the company’s Grand Rapids headquarters — plus the brand’s durable and effective Roma Messenger. Having recently tested out that gear during my birthday weekend in Brooklyn, each piece proved more than ready for a quick flight out of NYC. I packed up some trusty men’s grooming essentials in my Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit, too. And with travel style and effective cold-weather gear in mind, I layered a comfortable, slim-fitting Abercrombie and Fitch Chamois Shirt with the soft, breathable Flint and Tinder Marled Long-Sleeve Henley – it’s a durable and rugged combo. I finished off that ensemble off with a pair of reliable, warm Abercrombie and Fitch denim. For a mix of versatile style and surprisingly good traction on the icy streets, my  Danner x New Balance miUSA 585 Sneakers proved tough and effective, while my Huckberry Explorer’s Cap is a new travel favorite.

In all, the winter travel ensemble worked like a charm for my afternoon arrival in Beer City, U.S.A. I quickly followed my flight with a few tasty, rich beers with friend and fellow Michigan State alum Jesse O’Brien at the massive, recently opened Knickerbocker Brewpub and Distillery, the new Grand Rapids outpost of New Holland Brewery. Just a tip: The Polish Pepperoni Pizza isn’t a bad match with the bourbon barrel-aged Dragon’s Milk Stout. You can’t go wrong with The Poet, the brewery’s oatmeal stout, either. Given that I needed a bit more sustenance to go along with my craft beer, dinner with my close high school friends was in order at the famed DNKY, a Mexican taqueria known city-wide for its delicious, ample selection of tacos – you can’t go wrong with the Gringo Taco. Crucially, I didn’t even have to change out of my travel outfit – that’s what you call versatility. And the nearby ELK Brewing made for a good, quiet nightcap.

Of course, those Friday night stops were just the tip of the beer-hopping, city-exploring iceberg with my oldest friend, runner extraordinaire and craft beer aficionado Mr. Chris Spyke. For a day around Grand Rapids, I layered up with the warm, vintage-inspired Johnston and Murphy Faux Shearling Aviator – it’s not too dissimilar from wearing a cozy blanket, really. It worked nicely to layer over my new Abercrombie and Fitch Indigo Plaid Shirt, an unexpected offering from a brand that continues to up its menswear game. My reliable-as-ever Levi’s 505C Denim provided a bit of edge that fit right in with the city’s craft beer scene, and I found myself reaching again for my rugged CAT Footwear Sutter Boots. That was I able to finish the look off with some stylish winter accessories from JackThreads was crucial given the cold. The day took us first to Slate Clothing, a new contemporary menswear store breathing some life into the city’s retail sector. With a diverse range of brands – from the minimally inclined VINCE to the rugged Filson and easygoing, classic Life/After/Denim – the selection is worth your time if you’re in Grand Rapids. You can even pick up some essential home goods while you shop for your new favorite casual shirt, too.  Again – put it on your shopping list in Grand Rapids.

Frank & Oak

The same can definitely be said for the great leather goods makers at Brothers Leather Supply Co. Given my Michigan roots, I’m always so pleased to be able to support homegrown brands that make high-quality goods with plenty of versatility and handsome style in mind – Brothers Leather gets it right on multiple fronts. I’ve found that to be true with the gear I’ve tested out – and traveled with – so far, and it’s always a treat to stop in and catch up with the brand. A heads-up: Among the company’s other wares, canvas bags are coming soon. In the meantime, I’d highly recommend you grab a unique leather growler before this fall comes and you need to dress for your next tailgate. Now, all that menswear shopping left us pretty parched – so a stop at Brewery Vivant was in order (after we polished off a Bloody Mary at Grand Rapids Brewing Company first, of course). Stopping at Vivant is always a highlight of any trip to Grand Rapids, and I can’t pass up sipping on an essential, easily drinkable Farm Hand (brewed on-site). The frites and beer cheese are must-haves, as well. Oh, and the reverent vibe – it’s a former funeral home and chapel – adds to the religious aura of the company’s beer (I’d say).

Beckett Simonon

In short, it was a great first stop and got us ready to check out the neat interior of Creston Brewery, a converted furniture showroom with plenty of colorful artwork on its walls. That the brewery does a nice job with unique beers – including one made with Michigan blueberries – is pretty cool, and its empanadas are a great afternoon snack. Because no trip to GR can end with just two breweries, I was glad I bundled up for a quick stop at the industrially appointed Greyline Brewing, followed by some excellent pizza – and a killer double IPA – at Mitten Brewing (seriously …. Order that pizza, folks). And lest we forget the city’s ever-growing beer scene – it builds up seemingly by the day – a stop at the Grand Rapids outpost of Atwater Brewery was in order to end the night. They make a heck of a hot dog, and they can do a spiced IPA (the Car Bomb IPA) with the best of ‘em. Oh, and the most crucial part about the day – I didn’t need to change my rugged leather boots or switch out of my plaid flannel shirt the whole way through.

Tough essentials to fight the cold. Faux Shearling Aviator Jacket by Johnston & Murphy. Snowbridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Buxton Boots by G.H. Bass. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Cap by Everlane. Messenger by Brothers Leather Supply.

Tough essentials to fight the cold. Faux Shearling Aviator Jacket by Johnston & Murphy. Snowbridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Buxton Boots by G.H. Bass. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Cap by Everlane. Messenger by Brothers Leather Supply.

Sunday dawned chilly and cold once again, bringing with it the end of my weekend trip – and a quick stop to see my two new nieces (congrats to my brother Nick and his wife, Chelsea!). It was astounding how well the timing of my trip worked out – doesn’t happen every day, for sure. While my menswear was definitely not the most important part of Sunday, I still layered up with my Eddie Bauer Snow Bridge Cardigan, my trusty Johnston and Murphy Faux Shearling Aviator Jacket and yet another Flint and Tinder Marled Long-Sleeve Henley. Crucially, I accessorized with the durable MVMT Watches Calypso Watch. Plus, a pair of refined-yet-casual Abercrombie and Fitch Flannel-Lined Chinos perfectly complemented my G.H. Bass Buxton Boots. For two flights and some cold-yet-relaxing time beforehand in Grand Rapids, the combo proved warm, stylish and easy to layer for travel. Luckily, I kept busy on the road with the latest edition of Gear Patrol – as we discussed in my roundup of the best men’s home goods, that magazine is packed full of beautiful photography, great writing, excellent stories and the spirit of adventure to which we should all aspire. If you couldn’t tell, I’m quite the fan.

Although this weekend proved a whirlwind, it really was filled with the best things. Between incredible – yet too-brief – time with family and friends to the chance to shop great menswear and enjoy craft beer and outstanding cuisine in one of my favorite cities, it was a total treat! So, the next time you travel from chilly locale to chilly locale, pack your gear in a stylish weekender bag, bring your favorite pair of leather boots and layer up with rugged winter essentials like a henley and a shawl cardigan. Oh, and enjoy a beer or two for me. For now, I’m back in New York City and getting started on a busy week – but I’ll have fond memories of this trip back, and I’m plotting a return soon!

To my friends and family in the Mitten – see you soon!

To all you Style Guide readers ….

Stay stylish,

-Beau

The Friday Read: New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Pocket Watches and Travel Style

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 we’re already into February? With a busy week of menswear trade shows — and crucially, New York Fashion Week: Men’s — in the books, I’m more than ready for a relaxing weekend. That being said, it’s definitely been a treat over the past week or so to catch up with so many great friends in the menswear industry between hopping around to events and checking out runway shows from the likes of Style Guide favorite Todd Snyder. Seriously, there are some very good things in the works for Fall 2017, from beautiful outerwear to next-level tailoring. On top of the great clothes, it’s special to meet outstanding people and see where the industry is headed. From my very first New York Fashion Week: Men’s experience way back in July 2015 until now, it’s been amazing to witness firsthand a changing industry, all the while writing and learning about it along the way.

And with that being said, I’m more than excited to return home to Michigan for what should be an awesome, reflective few days spent with great friends and family — I try to get back as often as I can, and I’m particularly excited to explore Beer City U.S.A. this time around (that’d be Grand Rapids, folks). In fact, I’d say I’ll be dressed in essential winter travel style along the way. Now, if you’re looking to check a few items off your own travel bucket list, I’d say you should start with my summer trip to Grand Rapids,  and then look back to my rugged fall trip to Michigan while we’re here (talk about a throwback!). In the meantime, read a few choice #menswear pieces below, and follow along with my weekend travels on Instagram  and on Twitter.  Know that in the week ahead, we’ve got some exciting things planned —another great Style Pick tomorrow, for starters. Enjoy the weekend and TGIF!

  • Odds are, you don’t own a pocket watch — right? If you’re feeling nostalgic or yearning for a simper time, Luftbery Pocket Watches has you covered in terms of, well, a new pocket watch. It’s a recent launch on Kickstarter, and it just might be something to set you apart from those of us who consistently check our time on our phones.  Get a look at the brand’s site here.
  • Did you see last week’s Style Pick? If not, acquaint yourself as soon as possible with the Danner Mountain Light Boots — they steal some style inspiration from James Bond, and they’re tough, sleek and ready for anything this winter.
  • In addition to his, err, questionable policy-making (to say the least), Donald Trump’s menswear track record is quickly taking a dive — Esquire examines the fact that the man just does not know how to tie a tie (or do much else).
  • Last but certainly not least — it was a real treat this past week to sort through the essential, durable goods produced by Huckberry, especially considering chilly winter weather — yes, take a look at Huckberry’s best winter gear via one of my recent posts for The Manual.

And one more thing…

  • What’s not to love about the retro sportswear inspiration and near-perfect fabrications of the Todd Snyder x Champion collection? The latest release is this stellar Todd Snyder x Champion Baracuta Jacket, as I covered for GearMoose.

OK folks, that’s all we’ve got today — with that being said, I’m off to have some brews in Grand Rapids!

Until tomorrow’s Style Pick…

-Beau

Pure Michigan: A weekend back in the Mitten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next flight boards,

-Beau

Fighting the chill: A November weekend in Michigan

Editor’s note: For more travel-centric blog posts, click here.

The sun sets on a crisp fall Saturday in Grand Rapids.

The sun sets on a crisp fall Saturday in Grand Rapids. View courtesy of my friend Chris’s apartment.

As I explored the lovely city of Grand Rapids this past weekend, I was struck by how lucky I am to have lived and grown up in such a beautiful state, and to have such great friends. The opportunity to travel back is, of course, not lost on me either.While it was tricky to balance working from Brooklyn and hopping on a flight back to Michigan after a whirlwind week of Timberland-centric press work, I did indeed manage to make it in one piece! And it was truly a great time in Grand Rapids, the home of famed festival ArtPrize and also some decent brews (to say the least). This was all in spite of the fact that I was greeted, in characteristic Michigan fashion, by a bit of brisk weather. Luckily though, I had proper style gear on-hand to brave the elements.

Stumbling upon cool murals was a highlight in a city known for its burgeoning art scene. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Down jacket by JACHS NY. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Leather chukkas by Timberland.

Stumbling upon cool murals was a highlight in a city known for its burgeoning art scene. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Grey jacket by JACHS NY. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Leather chukkas by Timberland. Dive watch by Invicta

To get home, my Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag and Navali Weekender were  more than durable, yet that wasn’t my primary concern! Packing gear to beat the cold while also in transit was the bigger ordeal– how to pack light yet layer up and stay comfortable? Answer: A terrific pair of Mott and Bow denim with stretch built in,  plus some solid outerwear. It’s pieces like these that can make your travels a heck of a lot easier in terms of comfort (UNIQLO also offers somed nice stretch denim at a different price point). To complete my travel get-up, I went with a striped J. Crew henley — always a rugged style suggestion for fall — underneath a quilted yet surprisingly lightweight down coat from JACHS NY. The jacket was comfortable to get around the airport and not too hot — it would be a good travel pickup as you look to bundle up and hit the road this holiday season.

Just a look at some of the cold-weather gear I packed, including my Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt, Iron & Resin gloves, American Trench merino watch cap and black Reef chukka sneakers.

Just a look at some of the cold-weather gear I packed, including my Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt, Iron & Resin gloves, American Trench merino watch cap and black Reef chukka sneakers.

Complementing my travel outfit were my trusty Timberland Coulter Chukka Boots — I’d also recommend you pick up a nice pair of leather chukkas for fall. To say they go with everything – even a T-shirt and jeans – is an understatement. To keep things simple packing-wise, I opted just to bring one watch — my ever-reliable Invicta 8926 Pro Diver (still ticking!). However, I loaded up on a few pairs of comfortable and stylish American Trench socks, plus my nice watch cap from the brand. The cap was a huge help, and though I had hoped it would be temperate enough to forgo them, my Iron & Resin gloves also proved invaluable in the cold.

Exploring Beer City U.S.A was a highlight. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merno watch cap by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Jesse O'Brien.

Exploring Beer City U.S.A was a highlight. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merno watch cap by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Jesse O’Brien.

To get around Grand Rapids, I layered up in a nice, insulating ribbed cotton henley via the fine folks at United By Blue (you might remember that piece as this past week’s Style Pick, in fact). I layered that underneath a brushed flannel workshirt from the new Reef x H.D. Lee Shelter Supply Collection Holiday capsule. You might recognize H.D. Lee as Lee Jeans, and the brand teamed up with noted surfwear retailer Reef on a seven-piece offering that you won’t want to miss if you love American heritage style (and who doesn’t??). Look for more on the workshirt this coming week on the blog, as it was a durable-yet-cozy layering piece that’ll quickly become a winter essential.

A superb burger paired with a nice stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

A superb burger paired with a nice stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

And as far as tough style goes, that was definitely in play from location to location. I had the chance to check out the legendary Stella’s, a Grand Rapids icon that serves more whiskey than you can shake a fist at – and oh yeah, their burgers also took home a pretty prestigious prize from GQ in recent years. A stop there for a late dinner Friday night was followed by trips through the tasty Mitten Brewing Company and a stop at Long Road, a great distillery that serves up excellent crafted cocktails (a tip: try The Machine, a coffee-and-vodka combination). To round out the night, we hit up The Winchester, another great bar with an easygoing vibe and plenty of Michigan beer on tap.

After all that, um, activity Friday night, we needed a bit of a pick-me-up on Saturday morning, so clad in my trusty Reef workshirt, we headed to Grand Rapids Brewing Company for an incomparable Bloody Mary bar (can’t beat $4), and a little Saturday college football action featuring our beloved Michigan State Spartans.

Ben Sherman US

I paired the workshirt with my Bonobos Travel Jeans in a fall-appropriate shade of light brown. and the combination worked seamlessly with some new black chukka sneakers, also via Reef. Having the option to take off and add layers while navigating around the city (and namely, from brewery to bar and back) was quite crucial. As to travel style — if you haven’t explored the potential of tossing on a workshirt in place of a jacket, either via Reef or another lower-priced option (like this number from UK clothier ADDICT), I’d advise you do so! Workshirts can be layered over chambray shirts, or worn on their own atop a henley, and the results scream rugged style. When you consider that it can be worn as a jacket or as a true shirt on its own, it’s worth paying a bit more than for your average flannel.

A reverential approach to beer (the brewery is housed in an old funeral home) keeps things classic at Brewery Vivant.

A reverential approach to beer (the brewery is housed in an old funeral home) keeps things classic at Brewery Vivant.

For yet another night out on the town in Grand Rapids on Saturday,  I met up with my best friend Chris, the unfortunate guy who accidentally sat next to me on the bus heading to my first day of kindergarten. So it was awesome to catch up (look for Chris running absurdly fast at your next marathon). The option as to what to do or where to go was pretty easy – being in Beer City U.S.A. makes things rather easy in that regard, so it was excellent to stop into the revered Brewery Vivant. If you want outstanding beer in a beyond-cool environment, I’d recommend you hit up that spot. (Of note: the Farmhand Farmhouse Ale is excellent.).

Stops through a series of Grand Rapids bars followed on Saturday night, including The Meanwhile, an eclectic bar that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn. We also managed to make it for a nice beer at the relaxed Harmony Brewing Company to round out a nice night filled with great times and great friends.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts features a relaxing loft space filled with Herman Miler pieces. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Striped socks by American Trench.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts features a relaxing loft space filled with Herman Miller pieces. It’s the ideal spot to stop and recharge as you explore the city. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Striped socks by American Trench.

Of course, Grand Rapids is about more than beer though – it’s got a bustling arts and culture scene, and if you’re familiar with the massive, citywide art fair and installation that is ArtPrize, you definitely know it’s worth the trip. And the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts fits right in with the city’s cultural scene. My friend Chris and I had the chance to explore it on Sunday, and the tranquil setting, crisp design and engaging artwork definitely made an impact on me.  The city, of course, also has a nice mix of up-and-established large-scale entertainment entities (like the VanAndel Arena), and it’s on the come-up as they say: construction is booming, new apartment complexes are popping up left-and-right and the city is hanging onto its reputation as being family-friendly. Other outposts like Madcap Coffee, a world-class downtown spot, helped make an afternoon spent exploring the city all the more enjoyable.

Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Delicious, creamy Oatmeal Stout by Founders Brewing.

Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Delicious, creamy Oatmeal Stout by Founders Brewing.

To cap off a whirlwind weekend, we made a stop at yet another revered beer institution, Founders Brewing. The space now features heated outdoor seating, and a relaxed vibe plus some excellent beer was a tremendous way to cap off the trip. The beautiful weather and eclectic mix of new and tried-and-true spots made for an awesome weekend reconnecting with some great friends and exploring a bit more of a city I hadn’t seen in a while. When you travel there, I’d of course recommend bringing some cold-weather travel gear – but more than that, I’d recommend you simply enjoy your time in a city that’s a fine example of the Midwest.

What do you think of these cold-weather style picks? More importantly, have you been to Grand Rapids before, or are you traveling there soon?

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