The Friday Read: Jack Black Grooming, Sustainable Sneakers & The American Trench Sale

GREATS Royale Eco Canvas

The most sustainable sneakers for your weekend and the season ahead? It sure seems like it.

Let’s step right on into the weekend with some of the most sustainable sneakers on the market, shall we? The pair you see above are perfectly ready for one of the last true weekends of summer: We’re talking, of course, about the GREATS Royale Eco Canvas, a recent addition to the Brooklyn-based sneaker brand‘s line of classic, subtly minimal sneakers for guys.  I’ve been a big fan of GREATS for years, and to power your weekend, I’d surely recommend you snap up some of, well, the best sneakers for men (and they also make women’s sneakers, naturally). Recycled cotton canvas uppers and a custom lining highlighting the brand’s commitment to sustainability set these stylish sneakers apart, too. Seriously, how about that to start your weekend? Low Cost. High Quality. Classic wardrobe essentials for less!

My own weekend is off to a pretty swimming start, if I do say so myself — literally, in fact. Since early last week, I’ve been with my parents and sister in quiet, laidback Fort Myers, Florida. Quiet and laidback given the ongoing pandemic, and also quiet and laidback given the remote beaches we’ve been able to safely visit. We’ve also managed to pick up to-go craft beer from Point Ybel Brewing, a personal favorite of any trip. All along the way, I’ve managed to get some quality time with family while working on the blog (there’s a new Style Pick  of the Week coming up tomorrow!), plus my ongoing writing work at and GearMoose.

Freemans Sporting Club

To start your weekend right, I’ve assembled the below men’s style deals and picks. What’s more, I know exactly how to soundtrack your weekendthe just-released, propulsive, emotional, joyous “Imploding The Mirage” by Las Vegas rock legends The Killers. How’s that for a weekend kick-off, ehh?? I’ll have it on rotation for days to come. Back to a bit of menswear, though — check it all out below.

Everlane Sweatpants

The coolest new sweatpants to wear from summer into fall.

  • For these casual days at home and beyond, I’m going to point you toward a brand I’ve long admired: San Francisco-based Everlane, a subject on the blog here dating back to 2015. Here in the present, they’ve just launched the excellent-looking, affordably priced Everlane French Terry Sweatpants, part of the made-to-be-mixed-and-matched Everlane Uniform Collection. Think daily style staples that look great and are made with radical transparency in mind. The best men’s sweatpants to wear at home? You decide. 
20th Anniversary

20 years of the best men’s grooming gear from Jack Black, done up in a limited-edition capsule collection.

American Trench Summer Sale

Plenty of stylish menswear and gear here for the taking here from American Trench.

Paige Men

OK, so we’re almost wrapped up here today. But again, before I let you loose on the weekend, I’ve got one last suggested bit of shopping and reading. If it’s a rugged base layer or a stylish T-shirt to wear all on its own that you seek, you’re going to want to check out my post on the best pocket T-shirt for men (from NYC’s Freemans Sporting Club, of course). Enjoy, gear up, get out there — and make sure you subscribe to my newsletter, The Style Guide In Brief (a new edition drops tomorrow!). Alright, it’s time for me to get some more coffee. Cheers to the weekend!


#OOTD: The Best Way to Wear White Sneakers This Spring

Let’s start things off on the right foot (pun intended) — if you don’t have a pair of the best white leather sneakers for spring, you’re not doing it right. Well, at least you’re not doing it right … yet. The great news is, the  best white sneakers can in fact be found in the below ensemble, and they’re from a brand you know and love: Brooklyn’s own GREATS Brand, makers of fine sneakers that feature Italian leathers and plenty more bells and whistles. GREATS Brand has been a style staple on the blog going way, way back — case in point, this 2015 post on the GREATS Royale Court Sneakers, for starters! And the sneakers you’ll see on display today — the GREATS Royale Blanco — are both dressy and casual, every bit as versatile as you make them. Because breezy spring days are upon us (and because you’re hopefully able to get out of the house a little bit), the right accessories for casual and weekend-oriented style are coming along for the ride. A stylish spring windbreaker gives you protection from the elements and of course, one of the best denim shirts makes an appearance, too. See? These are pieces you know and love, and they all work in harmony together. Think of these sneakers like a nice go-between from dressy loafers to more casual unlined chukka boots — they bridge the gap, and the look great doing it. Wear this to grill at home, wear this on a solo weekend walk — just make sure you’re clear that white sneakers are a new spring style staple. Let’s get to the full look, shall we?

Now that we’re fully in step with one another — right? — it would seem that you’ve simply got to snag a pair of the best white leather sneakers for supreme spring versatility and great looks. The pairings are even more key, and geared toward laidback-yet-polished style (as always here on the blog). Layers make the difference from the outset when dealing with spring breezes, so the Grayers Montreaux Windbreaker is your new go-to spring jacket, layered up with ease atop the Wellen Hemp Tee and naturally, a rugged Buck Mason denim shirt. That combo works for situations where you’ve got to put some effort into it, but still want to feel comfortable. The same goes for the Olivers Apparel Passage Pants, which deliver stretch, mobility and yet tailored style in equal measure. For accessorizing down to a T, why not throw on one of the coolest men’s casual watches… and then check the seconds as you wait for the compliments to roll in? But the versatility and style of this look doesn’t stop there — keep either your stylish sunglasses or the essential pocket knife close at hand for little odds and ends that might come up. All along the way, of course, haul your gear in a rugged, American-made tote for that crucial finishing touch. Can you keep up? With the best white leather sneakers in tow, now you can. Cheers, my friends!


The Friday Read: A Billykirk Sale, Your New Spring Jacket & GREATS Sneakers

OK, folks. It’s Friday. It’s been another week filled with plenty of change — and not always in the best way. But, like the “Change Is Good” stamped on the stylish leather valet tray from Billykirk shown above, maybe you’re using the time to contribute toward positive changes. That could be anything and everything from making donations, supporting your favorite local businesses, being more mindful of your purchases as you shop for the best new men’s gear … and at the same time, being mindful of your family and friends. It’s a heck of a lot to balance at once, so I thank you again for taking some time out of your day and weekend to join me here for another Friday Read. A word: Today’s post is a bit of an extended version of the Friday Read: Lots of ground to cover. Before we go any further, though: You can shop and give back to a good cause with Billykirk right now: The American-made leather goods brand is offering 25 percent off sitewide through its Spring Sale, with 10 percent going toward Feeding America — just use the code SALE25 at checkout, folks. OK back to business.


As far as being mindful goes … heck, maybe you’ve found that with all this time at home, you need to organize your everyday carry essentials — and you need a new valet tray with which to do it. Whatever brings you here today, I hope you find what you’re looking for. If you’re a first responder or a medical professional, thank you for your work and your service — hopefully, this provides some respite (and yes, a few men’s style deals to shop, because that’s what we do here). Just as with last week, I’ve got some reading suggestions, some ongoing menswear sales and quite a few ways to shop and give back at the same time. As for my weekend plans? I’m going to be kicked back with some coffee from the excellent FourTillFour x Taylor Stitch partnership, and I plan on playing one of my favorite records this weekend, too (at least one, that is to say). What about you? To keep up with how I’m passing my time, and to get some spring style suggestions of your own, head to my Instagram. OK, let’s get into it. Thanks for reading!

    • I’ve talked quite a bit in these past few weeks about the importance of finding one of the best spring jackets for men — it’s still something that can come in handy on solitary hikes or even a quick jaunt to fill up that growler (hopefully, your favorite brewery is still pouring). On that note, I wrote for GearMoose about the Finisterre Aeris Jacket, a durable piece of spring outerwear that could become a new favorite. Head to the site to read more.
  • But one of the many men’s style essentials you can buy from Faherty Brand this weekend.

    • How about another look at how you  can shop and give back? It’s a theme of today’s post, to be sure, and you can continue to do so through Faherty Brand yet again. Now through Monday (the 13th), Faherty is offering select bestsellers for 40 to 70 percent off, folks. From the Knit Seasons Shirt to the brand’s stylish long-sleeve polo, the picks are plentiful. That’s not all: Faherty Brand is also donating 2 percent of sales through the month of April to those impacted by COVID-19, and on top of that, they’ve banded up with a collective of like-minded brands called Brands x Better — this is great work that we should all support (and look great while doing so!)
    • Let’s keep looking at brands making a difference.  Ably Apparel has launched a pretty neat one-for-one program called Get One, Give One to honor first responders. To wit: Ably is offering 25 percent off the entire website and with every purchase, donating an item in support of frontline first responders. That’s a pretty great effort, right? On top of that, Ably is also calling on their social followers to tag a first responder — or for first responders to tag themselves — in Ably’s comments and in return they’ll gift them an item from their website. Again a terrific effort. Check this brand out.

    • OK, more good news on the ways in which brands are giving back. Through the rest of the month, Brooklyn sneaker brand GREATS — yes, the makers of some of your favorite sneakers — will be donating $15 from every order to City Harvest, New York City’s largest food rescue organization.  That $15 wil help provide food to a family of three for 15 days. All you have to  do is buy some of the best men’s sneakers of the  moment — another great effort from a truly “great” brand, yes
    • How about something ELSE related to … online shopping? The good folks at O.N.S. Clothing are running a Sitewide Sale through Sunday, offering you 20 percent off of purchases of $150 with the code GET20, on up to 30 percent off purchases of $350 or more with the code GET30. Plus, they’ll throw in a free T-shirt with purchases of $250 and up, to go along with free domestic shipping (and free international shipping on orders of $300 and up). They make cozy, rugged-yet-refined sweaters and essential spring layers, so get to it.

OK, it’s time I left you with one last piece of reading here for the weekend. And it’s a style suggestion too, naturally. The next time you want to look great and feel great on a Zoom call, throw on something a little bit more polished beneath your crewneck sweatshirt. I’m talking, of course, about the easygoing and classic Buck Mason Oxford Shirt, which I covered on  the blog here. It’s surely one of the best men’s shirts you can buy for spring — even if your spring involves working from the back patio with a happy hour beer rather than visiting your favorite brewery. OK, that’s all from me today. Enjoy the weekend, stay safe and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you feel so inclined. Cheers!

The Friday Read: Billykirk Leather Goods, New GREATS Sneakers & Banana Republic

A soft, lightweight flannel shirt to layer up with this weekend.

There’s really no time like the present — as we stand on the edge of another winter weekend — for you to pick up your new favorite flannel shirt. The right flannel shirt, as in the soft and dependable Lisboa Porto Shirt, is wearable all weekend long, from coffee to cocktails — and it’s the kind of easygoing, classic flannel shirt you can even wear around the house as you lounge around and click through today’s Friday Read. What exactly do we have going in today’s edition? Plenty, folks, including potentially your new favorite sneakers (if you’re not dealing with absurd amounts of snow right now). We’ll get to the rest in a moment, but it’s pretty wild to be nearing the end of February — on that note, I’m starting to get excited for an early March trek to Seattle (a new city for me!) that I’ve got planned.

5.11 Tactical

I’ll be staying at the always-excellent Ace Hotel, and of course, there’s quite the reason behind the trip: Legendary NYC rockers The Strokes (whom I had the honor of seeing on New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn) are making a triumphant return to the stage in advance of the April release of their new album, fittingly titled “The New Abnormal.” That being said, I’m already starting to prep for the trip, which I plan to continue this weekend as I enjoy some delicious coffee and spin my “Room On Fire” vinyl. Naturally, I’ll also be listening on repeat to the band’s new single, “At The Door,” a slow, synth-driven crooner with moody atmospherics — it’s a change of pace from the classics, and I love it all the same. OK, let’s pivot from indie rock back to menswear, shall we? Here’s today’s Friday Read — enjoy!

Shop Western Rise Now

  • What better way to start the weekend than with some new leather boots? I’m a big fan of FRYE leather boots, and would certainly recommend you check out the brand as winter closes out — consider them an underrated addition (for a great deal, at that) to your wardrobe as we wrap up February.
  • I mentioned above that we’d dig into some new sneakers in advance of early (early) spring, and those sneakers are in fact here — they’re the stylish, minimal and premium GREATS Court Sneakers, and I dug into what makes them so essential for GearMoose, per tradition. They’re affordable given the use of Italian leather, and they’ll wear extremely with everything from slim tan chinos and a rugged henley to a classic Oxford shirt and slim denim.
  • Speaking of slim denim, get a load of this: The good folks at Banana Republic are really changing the denim game, crafting slim blue jeans with 99 percent less water (yes, 99 percent!) thanks to its new Dry Indigo line — and of course, I wrote all about your new favorite denim over at The Manual. It’s all about sustainability and style in 2020, so you can’t go wrong.
  • If you’ve taken the time to curate a collection of thoughtful everyday carry essentials — as every stylish guy should do — then it only makes sense that you pick up the proper place to store them when you’re off the road, yes? A stylish valet tray is the ticket in that regard, and helpfully, I wrote about Billykirk Bronco Valet Tray for GearMoose. Best get to shopping now!

New Spring Arrivals

I often talk about the type of style essentials you can consistently wear day in and day out, year in and year out — and there’s perhaps no rugged base layer more suited to right now than a classic henley. With all that being said, I’m going to point you toward my guide on how to wear a henley right now, featuring plenty of gear picks you know and love. If you have questions on how to style it, or how to rock any of your other favorite winter style essentials, you know what to do: Reach out to me on Twitter. Cheers to the weekend!

Elevated Basics. Grounded Price.

The Friday Read: Athleisure, Common Projects Chelsea Boots and the 2016 Olympics

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.  

With so much going on at the (small but well-appointed) Style Guide HQ, it’s becoming tough to keep track of the days. If it’s Friday, that must mean it’s almost time to hit the road again — this Sunday, I’m heading west to Liberty Fairs in Las Vegas, before a day back in New York … and then more travel to my home state of Michigan. But first, Liberty Fairs — it’s a twice-yearly contemporary men’s trade show, and it stopped in the Big Apple about a month ago during New York Fashion Week: Men’s.  It’s another chance for retail buyers, fashion editors and writers and industry pros to get a look at what top menswear brands are slinging for the Spring 2017 season. There’s certainly a lot of hustle and bustle associated with trade shows, but ultimately, they’re about exploring new brands, analyzing key industry trends, and forging strong relationships in the menswear industry — that much I know is true, as I’ve met some great people at large, sometimes overwhelming conferences (take my buddy Jamal of StyleSocietyGuy, for instance).

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

With that in mind, building those relationships is my primary objective, as I’m jetting out there on behalf of Timberland to meet with media and rep the brand as part of my day job. Of course, you can expect a full #menswear blog post coming at the completion of my trip (click through here for more travel style in the meantime).  While my mind’s been fully focused on prepping for the upcoming trip, the Olympics have also captured my attention — maybe yours, too? If you’ve got an Olympics viewing party on the docket this weekend, here’s what you should wear. Or perhaps you just want to check out more of those hilarious Michael Phelps face memes? Go for it. Before you go too far down that rabbit hole, stick around here and check out the week in all things men’s style — everything from stylish boxer briefs to athleisure is up for discussion. To keep up with my travels in real-time, head to Instagram or Twitter — and click through the pieces below to start your weekend in style.

  • Now more than ever, Esquire says you should grab yourself a stylish pair of Chelsea boots — and I tend to agree! In fact, The Style Guide took a look earlier this spring at the best men’s Chelsea boots to buy now.
  • While we’re talking about  Esquire, the publication also reviewed the best boxer briefs for men — if you know me, you know I love me some Mack Weldon boxer briefs, although those didn’t make the aforementioned list.
  • We talk a lot (I mean, a LOT) about style upgrades on this blog, and sandals are one area that’s often overlooked. If that’s a part of your wardrobe you want to look a little better, the footwear purveyors at GREATS have you covered (as always). The brand’s new Amalfi Slide is a luxurious, Italian-made leather slide available in crisp white (Blanco) or black (Nero), including two versions stamped with “BKNY,” a nod to the brand’s #BornInBrooklyn roots. As crazy as it might seem to advocate for leather sandals, designs like these popped up on the runways at Todd Snyder’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s show in July 2016. Crucially, the leather quality and subtle looks mean these might not look that bad at a particularly relaxed barbeque — I’ll let y’all be the judge of that.

Looking for more style content? Look no further.

  • What’s one shirt — not chambray — that you can wear across all four seasons? The essential Oxford shirt. So, here are the 10 best Oxford shirts for men, as rounded up by yours truly at GearMoose this week.
  • Lastly, the balance between looking good at the gym and looking sloppy can be pretty small — and if you want gear that’s versatile outside of slinging weights, it’s even trickier. That’s where athleisure comes into play; the style (or trend) mixes traditional tailored silhouettes with technical fabrics, and I wrote about 5 athleisure lines to know for The Manual.

Follow along with this weekend’s explorations on Instagram, and check back Saturday for another Style Pick of the Week entry.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

#OOTD: How to Wear A Chambray Blazer

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

When the heat waves start to roll in, it can be a tricky time to try and dress well. There’s that ever-difficult balance between keeping your cool and looking cool that requires you mix things up a bit. In the case of today’s post, that means we’re talking how to wear a chambray blazer. It’s the lightweight alternative to the classic navy blazer, what with a rougher, more visually interesting texture and (usually) less internal construction. That means it looks more natural when paired with other casual menswear pieces, such as a simple T-shirt and twill pants. It’s a get-up that nods toward a trend (that would be the menswear world getting more and more casual by the day), yet you still look crisp and put-together. As you’ll see with the below #OOTD, it’s a look you could even pull off as you dress for summer travel.  So with that being said, get to reading below. For more #menswear inspiration, check out yours truly on Instagram, or swing on through Facebook for a daily briefing.
Ben Sherman

An effortless mix of casual and cool --  a chambray blazer plus a simple striped tee.

An effortless mix of casual and cool — a chambray blazer plus a simple striped tee.


The Blazer: JackThreads Chambray Blazer, $79: A chambray blazer for just $79? Believe it. Slim, stylish and well-made, from a brand that just gets things done.

The T-shirt: Bourbon and Blue Surfcomber Heathered Red Stripe Tee, $55: If you’re going to rock a tee under a blazer, it’s best to pick up one that’s comfortable, well-made and trim-fitting; warm weather stripes don’t hurt, either.

The Pants: Old Navy Ultimate Slim-Fit Khakis, $29: While the color of the chinos in that particular picture is lighter than the pair on Old Navy’s site, the principle remains the same — slim khakis fall in line with that trim blazer and tee, and can be easily rolled to show off those sneakers.

The Sneakers: GREATS Pronto in Cadet, $199: GREATS does, well, a great job at producing versatile, comfortable sneakers that are easy to wear with high-low style combos  like a blazer and tee (Italian manufacturing just does that).

The Socks: J. Crew Anchor No-show Socks, $10: Stylish no-show socks are an absolute summer must, and these add another subtle, nautical touch to the outfit while keeping your feet cool.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Double-striped Webbing Belt, $14.50: As much as it’s popped up in a few recent #OOTD posts (including this post on how to wear a short-sleeve shirt), it’s a highly versatile casual belt that adds some nice color to this ensemble.

The Watch: Timex Weekender Fairfield, $75: Timex watches are as solid as they get, and this particular timepiece is suitably refined enough to heighten that blazer-and-tee combo just a bit.

The Accessory: Cambridge Satchel Oxblood iPhone Case, $32: So not everyone still has an iPhone (just me?), but regardless of what phone you’ve got, it’d be a neat touch to finish off your everyday with a rich leather phone case.

Does that check all the boxes of dressing sharply in warm weather? Well, mostly. If you feel a tee is too casual, you could always swap in an essential chambray shirt or a classic blue Oxford. But the best part about pairing a tee with a chambray blazer is the combination of effortless style and comfort it gives you. It’s an on-the-go style move that meets the warm weather while looking cool and sharp. Plus, it works well when paired with a classic set of navy sneakers — a more comfortable answer to brown leather wingtips, for starters. And crisp accessories, like a lux leather phone case and a dependable watch, are going to be by your side (and on your wrist) for plenty of outfits in the future. Even starting gradually (swapping out denim for twill pants and upgrading to a lighter chambray blazer) can be a step in the right direction. Still unsure? Give it a try –it might become a go-to style combo.

Are you sold on the idea of pairing a blazer with a striped tee? What about sneakers? Let me know in the comments!

Frank & Oak


Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.


Online Shopping Picks: The Best Ways to Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Editor’s note: Click here for more online shopping picks covering seasonal style trends.

We’re now about a week out from the holiday everyone loves to, eh, ‘over-celebrate’ — St. Patrick’s Day. In a bustling metropolis like NYC (and particularly at my alma mater, Michigan State University — Go Green!), things can get a little, er, rowdy. It’s fun to have a nice time, but everything in moderation — yes? Whether you’re taking the day off or heading into the office as per usual, there’s still the tendency to want to go full-on festive for an occasion like this, particularly one that involves so much color. We’ll have a full outfit suggestion coming at ya early next week, but if you’re looking to stand out subtly with one piece o’ green in your wardrobe, start with the below picks.

#1. GREATS Brand Pronto in Cargo — $199

A vintage runner-style silhouette updated with premium Italian materials.

A vintage runner-style silhouette updated with premium Italian materials.

GREATS consistently churns out excellent sneakers for more-than-fair prices given the quality and construction built into them, and the Pronto in Cargo is a silhouette that’s a prime example of this. It’s got classic retro vibes, yet the neutral dark green color keeps it subtle and modern — especially for this occasion. It’s understated enough to the point where it doesn’t scream “Hey, I’m wearing green!” Pair it with dark denim and a lightweight wool blazer for some high-low St. Paddy’s Day style.

#2. JackThreads The Daily Vee in Olive — $18

A trim fit and understated color make this tee a nice option for the holiday.

A trim fit and understated color make this tee a nice option for the holiday.

When subtly and simple style is the name of the game (and it truly should be on this holiday), JackThreads continually delivers. The value for its basics is excellent when compared to the price point — if you read this blog consistently, you know I’m a fan of the brand. This olive tee is a different take on green — it’s far from the green dye in the Chicago River. And in a slim fit, you can certainly rock this blazer under a charcoal cardigan or a denim jacket if your day leans more casual.

#3. The Tie Bar Checks & Balance Pocket Square — $10

A refined combination of green-and-white to counter those less-than-refined St. Patrick's Day situations.

A refined combination of green-and-white to counter those less-than-refined St. Patrick’s Day situations.

If you’re very into keeping things toned-down on St. Patrick’s Day, a pocket square is perhaps the best way to incorporate some subtle green into your outfit. And the Checks & Balance Pocket Square provides just enough visual interest, what with that white diamond pattern over a silk twill green body. Rock it with a slim khaki blazer, grey chinos and a white Oxford — it’s a stylish combo that’ll turn heads for the right reasons* (*Disclaimer: If you have a few too many at the bar after work, that’s on you).

#4. Richer Poorer London Socks — $12

Part blue, part green and all simple style.

Part blue, part green and all simple style.

Another inexpensive and simple way to take on green for the holiday, Richer Poorer socks provide nice value for the price. This green-and-teal combo swings a little further away from going full-on green but again, if you want some understated color in your outfit — here you go. Heck, you could even wear a work ensemble as you normally might, throw on the socks and call it good (these would sit well under some slim khaki chinos and brown suede chukka boots).

#5. Bonobos Waffle Crewneck in Vine, $78

Easy to wear thanks to the slim fit, textured cotton and subtle shoulder detailing.

Easy to wear thanks to the slim fit, textured cotton and subtle shoulder detailing.

Bonobos likes to mix things up when it comes to seasonal knitwear, and this waffle knit made from soft, textured cotton embodies that perfectly. The slim cut is a positive, as is a color that, yet again, doesn’t scream bright green. Interesting details like the left shoulder buttons give this more of a crewneck sweater vibe than a plain thermal might, so feel free to rock it over a blue chambray shirt for a change of pace. Be prepared for some anti-green backlash perhaps (“Someone dressed up for St. Paddy’s Day!”), but know that you’re doing so in style.

As you plan out outfits for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s best, like we talked about before, to exercise some moderation and restraint when others likely won’t. Of course, this is coming from a guy who loves Guinness the 364 other days of the year. But hopefully, the above suggestions get you thinking in the right direction — and stay tuned for a full outfit suggestion coming early next week. Until next time!

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


#OOTD: High-Low Style with Black Denim

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

So after you;ve nailed how to dress up dark blue denim, there comes a tendency to want to look elsewhere as far as styling goes. Sure, you can reliably rock slim blue denim five days of the week and into the weekend, but it’s also fun to take a stab at something a little more unique, something with some edge to it. That’s where slim black denim comes in. They can be styled much the same way as dark blue denim, yet the color and slim silhouette gives them a rocker edge (ideally, not in a Harry Styles-esque way, however). So taking pieces you already have in your wardrobe and changing them up to fit the season and weather is the best way to go about finding your inner rocker (or at least attempting to). Look for something that’s tailored but not too tight (like the pair you see below). Lastly, hit me up on Twitter if you have other suggestions for the #OOTD series — I’ll be listening!

Taking black denim and making it the centerpiece of a high-low style combo.

Taking black denim and making it the centerpiece of a high-low style combo.

The Denim: Levi’s 513 Slim-Straight Jeans in Nightshine, $69.50 — A classic pair from a classic brand in a reliable fit. The price could go even lower when on-sale.

The Henley: J. Crew Slim Broken-in Henley in Heather Chrome, $39.50 — Another tried-and-true classic from a brand that does the basics very well.

The Blazer: Frank & Oak Fairmont Deconstructed Blazer in Light Brown, $145 — A ridiculously soft, slim blazer with casual and formal style potential — use it to dress up this look in a unique way (don’t forget the pocket square — something classic oughta work well here).

The Scarf: J. Crew Factory Plaid Scarf, $15.99 In case it gets cold and you don’t feel like throwing on a slim topcoat, add a warm scarf to finish things off (don’t forget a merino watch cap, either).

The Sneakers: GREATS Brand Rosen in Oxblood, $49 — Just $49 for a comfortable, minimal sneaker in a rich color (click here to read a full GREATS Rosen review).

The Socks: The Tie Bar Navy Ombre Stripe Socks, $8 — Who knew The Tie Bar did socks? No word yet on the quality of these things, but the price can’t be beat, and the grey stripes play off the grey Henley.

The Belt: Perry Ellis Webbed Leather Trim Belt, $39 — Pricier than normal for a casual belt, but it’s a nice change of pace texturally from a fancier dress leather belt.

The Watch: Brathwait Slim Steel Wristwatch, $185 — A relatively recent addition to the E-commerce watch business; minimal looks and a pretty solid price. Does anyone have any experience with these guys?

So the above is but one way to style up black denim — it takes pieces you probably already have, like a slim henley, a wool blazer and reliable sneakers, and mashes them up for the winter time. If snow starts to pile up, swap out those sneakers for some tough winter boots and you’re all set. How would you style your black denim? Let me know in the comments below!


Style Pick of the Week: GREATS Brand Royale Court

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.

An updated take on the classic high-top.

An updated take on the classic high-top.

If the brand name above looks a little familiar, that’s understandable. GREATS is a brand that has been featured numerous times here on The Style Guide, and with great reason, as it were. The Brooklyn-based brand is doing things the right way, making high-quality sneakers in a variety of silhouettes at affordable prices. The fact that premium materials and construction to rival that of dress shoes are incorporated into each pair is a definite bonus, too. And the product offering seems to grow each week, as the relatively new GREATS Royale Court release can attest. It joins a lineup that includes the lux Leather Wooster Slip-on and low-profile offerings like the Wilson and the Rosen. Thankfully, there’s really no better time to rock a high-top sneaker than the fall — the cooler temperatures and crisp breezes necessitate footwear that’s functional and stylish, but not as rugged as winter boots.

The Royale Court is also available in a crisp Honey Wheat color, also ideal for fall.

The Royale Court is also available in a crisp Honey Wheat color, also ideal for fall.

And the Royale Court gets a lot of the details you should look for in a high-top sneaker. That means shying away from athletic sneakers and other kicks you might rock at the gym, and instead looking for something exactly like this GREATS pair. They’re retro without going too over the top, and the matte Graphite color (one of four shades, including a nice red Plum)) helps keep things toned down, although the Honey Wheat offering plays off one of the bigger fall color trends, camel. This pair is pricier than a pair of classic Vans or any of a number of essential sneakers you should own, but you definitely get great quality based on my past experiences with the brand. This particular pair is fully lined in veg tan calf skin and features a premium leather upper, too. In the right color, they’re a set of kicks you could rock with some streamlined dark denim and a herringbone blazer for a high-low Casual Friday — and yet, they’d work just as well with some cargo trousers and a rugged henley. And in that neutral color above and with those quality materials, they’re a pair you should feel free to try out anytime, anywhere.

Would you purchase these high-top sneakers? How would you style them?
Ernest Alexander

Ben Sherman US

2015 Fall Style Wish List

Yes, it's almost here. Does it feel like fall yet? Military jacket pictured by Frank & Oak (October '13 edition).

Yes, it’s almost here. Does it feel like fall yet? Military jacket pictured by Frank & Oak (October ’13 edition).

It’s always surprising to see how early fall styles start to hit shelves (and E-commerce sites) every year — and it’s a trend that’s shown no sign of letting up.  Consequently, I’ve found myself putting together mini-wish lists of sorts related to fall since … about July? That makes it tough on the bank account (and my psyche) to hold out that long, of course. It’s exciting looking ahead though — to many, fall is an optimal season for #menswear, what with a plethora of options for incorporating earthier colors as well as richer textures in everything from corduroy pants to chunkier shawl-collar sweaters and blazers. Spring and summer have their style positives too, of course — airy fabrics and all that potential to play with pops of pattern — but fall just feels right when it comes to men’s style. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve got my eye on for fall — the majority of these are new (or new-ish?) releases and certainly worth a look.

#1. Uniqlo Wool Blended Comfort Jacket — $99

Just three of several outstanding color options, including the lovely Wine in the middle.

Just three of several outstanding color options, including the Grey Plaid on the left, a nice Wine shade in the middle and a not-so-dark navy.

This Uniqlo blazer has already been a hot seller in some colors, particularly the Wine option pictured above. It’s a wool-blend jacket that perfectly toes the line between casual and crisp — the shorter tail and lack of structure see to that (although that means it might not fit everyone well). It’s available in a wide array of colors, including a grey herringbone, a grey plaid and a classic brown tweed that would look  right at home with some dark denim (a la this post). The patch pockets also mean it’s the kind of blazer you could dress down with a rugged henley. Now if only temperatures would drop a bit…

#2. Grayers Avalon Cardigan — $125

A hybrid cardigan that manages to meld casual details and versatile styling potential.

A hybrid cardigan that manages to meld casual details and versatile styling potential.

 While Grayers has nailed the easygoing prep-casual vibe for spring and summer (as detailed here), it does an equally smart job dishing out fall essentials. This navy marl cardigan features some more unique details that bring it into the casual realm, like kangaroo pockets similar to those on a hooded sweatshirt. The shawl collar and black buttons class it up more, though — it’s definitely a piece that could  pair remarkably well with a chambray shirt and dark navy chinos. And, as always, shawl-collar cardigans remain the ultimate cold-weather layering piece for just about anything else – take a tip from this photo, for starters.

#3. Thursday Boots Roughout President Boot — $249

A sleeker profile than most boots gives this pair an edge for fall.

A sleeker profile than most boots gives this pair an edge for fall.

Thursday Boots burst into the digital menswear community late last year with a Kickstarter campaign that really blew the doors off ($276,610 pledged of just a $30,000 goal), and the brand’s really built something since. The brand’s President Boot (a permanent fixture on the site but still worth a look) boasts a lower profile and slimmer silhouette than something like a Red Wing Iron Ranger , minus the captoe. And as far as fall footwear goes, that’s a very good thing. These boots look like they can take a substantial beating, and yet they’d still sit right at home under some textured grey trousers or black denim.

#4. GREATS Brand Royale High Sneakers — $179

The medium grey color should make this pair fit for all kinds of duty, from work to play.

The medium grey color should make this pair fit for all kinds of outfit duty, from work to play.

There’s something about high-top sneakers and fall that just goes well together, in my humble opinion. A return to colder temperatures bring about a return to sturdier footwear — and that extends to sneakers, as well. It’s time, then, to put away some of my favorite GREATS sneakers and look forward — or rather, wish for — a new pair in the closet. The Brooklyn-based sneaker gurus appear to have brought their trademark reputation for quality to this high-top set as well, merging a Margom sole with full-grain calfskin leather for a supple sneaker that’s the ideal finishing touch to a sporty-casual outfit (say, some rust chinos and maybe that Grayers cardigan above). That grey color also would help ground earthier tones in an outfit — crucial when you’d like to wear sneakers to the office. (Editor’s note: Look for a travel-centric feature focused on GREATS sneakers coming next month on The Style Guide).

#5. Todd Snyder Mercer Sweatpant in Moss — $175

Just sweatpants, right? Think again, because they combine premium materials and a slim cut -- just like your best chinos.

Just sweatpants, right? Think again, because they combine premium materials and a slim cut — just like your best chinos.

There’s no doubt that I’m a fan of crisp, polished looks — be it a sturdy pair of dark denim or some slim chinos with a blazer. But as the temperatures start to fall, I always find myself drawn to sportier, throwback-oriented looks — like nearly every item from Todd Snyder’s always-stunning collections (and these sweatpants specifically). The offerings always seem to meld American sportswear sensibilities with the designer’s eye for lux finishing touches, yet fall is really where this shines through. Keep in mind, we’re still talking about sweatpants here. And at the end of the day, that’s an awful lot of cash to throw at a pair, when some definitely prefer to keep things crisp throughout an ensemble. But there’s something to be said for upgrading even your most basic items, like sweats. And  with a pair this well-made and slim-cut, they’d make for a heck of a casual weekend outfit when paired with a certain set of sneakers on this list (*cough* item number four) and a great cardigan (*cough item number two).
With so much excellent fall gear in stores now, it was definitely tough to sort through this year’s autumn crop (see what I did there?). J. Crew introduced a Ludlow sportcoat in Italian garment-dyed cotton that barely missed the cut, and among highly wearable shirt-jackets, Saturdays NYC looks to again have a winner with its Jeremiah CPO Jacket. Long-term, a classic Shinola leather watch also remains on my wish list (a guy can dream, right?). But with any luck, some of these items will indeed end up in my closet before winter — right?

What’s on your fall style wish list this year? What brands have you been keeping an eye on?
Ben Sherman US
Ernest Alexander