Music City Menswear: Exploring Nashville in Style

Taking in a relaxing Nashville Saturday at Barista Parlor. Wearing my new Original Penguin Bedford Cord 5-Pocket Pants and a special pair of 125th Anniversary Wingtip Boots from Florsheim!

There are certain places that I’ve put on my growing personal travel bucket list in recent years — places that constantly pull me away from New York as much as I love it. And if you read The Style Guide regularly, you know that I love to get out and about in style, from exploring Brooklyn to hopping on a flight to Chicago and Lollapalooza 2017 recently. When the chance came up to take a weekend trip to Nashville, a city that’s as hyped as any for any its blend of live music, culinary delights and a cool atmosphere, I jumped on it. My parents have loved Nashville for years, so it’s ¬†definitely been on my radar — but as I started planning out my fall travel style earlier this year, I knew I wanted to pack in as much as possible when it came to seeing the Music City. That meant this weekend was filled with #menswear, craft beer and of course, live music — namely, a high-energy, passion-packed show from Young the Giant, supported by Cold War Kids and Joywave! Of course, if you follow me on Instagram you’re familiar with my trip — and if not, come along for the ride.

The right mix of sharp, versatile travel gear for getting from NYC to Nashville.

Getting to Nashville is no easy feat — as it were, I had to catch a¬†very¬†early flight out of NYC, but that left me with nearly a full day in the Music City. How did I dress to go from the plane to my airBNB and beyond? Funny you should ask. I did my best at dressing to travel in style, while also keeping in mind the fact that I had to dress for a rock concert later — a tricky balance. For versatile layering and crisp style, ¬†I threw on a classic navy Oxford from Mott and Bow, a recent introduction to the brand’s line. The classic Oxford shirt meshed well with my new Abercrombie and Fitch denim, built with stretch for comfort and finished in a slightly faded shade of black. On the footwear front, my¬†Florsheim Forward Lo Sneakers in a handsome shade of brown leather offset the combo nicely — I’ve found these sneakers work quite well for concerts and travel alike, as I also wore them trekking to see The Killers in New Jersey earlier this year. Of course, I had to take along other handy everyday carry essentials, including the always-essential Bespoke Post Vibes Box, featuring my LSTN Sound Co. Fillmore Headphones.

And for a full day of exploring Nashville — including a post-flight stop at the famed (and aptly named) Mas Tacos Por Favor — these sneakers proved similarly stylish. With striking yet subtly stylish design and durable construction, my Electric California Carroway Leather Watch¬†worked for day-to-night style. Of course, I prepped for the show by plugging into my reliable Bespoke Post Vibes Box, featuring the eye-catching LSTN Sound Co. Fillmore Headphones. So, that was the gear I brought with me — and it helped me navigate Nashville stylishly and effectively. For what it’s worth, if you’ve got your own Nashville trip coming up, I can’t recommend the crisply designed, jam-packed Nashville Field Guide from Wildsam, full of interesting tidbits and useful information on hidden gems throughout the city.

Hanging out at the well-appointed imogene + willie on a lovely Nashville Friday. My Florsheim Forward Lo Lace-up Sneakers and Abercrombie & Fitch denim were perfect for getting around!

Nashville really is a city packed with something for everyone — it’s revered for its vibrant music scene, and it’s also full of craftsmen and women who put serious care into everything from excellent food to craft beer; my Wildsam Field Guide helped me figure that out in a hurry. With rugged dark denim, workwear-inspired basics and plenty of attention to detail throughout, imogene + willie is a terrific Nashville example of simple goods made very well — and the handsomely appointed storefront is a joy to explore in its own right. ¬†And equally important — it’s close by to 12 South Taproom, a down-home bar with a great selection of tasty, refreshing beer. Speaking of craft beer: Hops and Crafts also stood out for its mix of industrial style and premium craft brews, plus gourmet bites. In short, it was a worthwhile pre-show stop!

Even with a full day exploring Nashville in the rearview mirror, I still had an amazing Friday night ahead. With its prime riverfront location and excellent sight lines, Ascend Amphitheater proved a stellar venue for a night of live music — it’s certainly not as revered as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, but it was still a treat to see three excellent bands throughout the night. Cold War Kids have long been a favorite, and I had the chance to see them debut their rollicking new album, “Love Is Mystical,” earlier this year in Brooklyn. It was absolutely a treat to see them play a longer show — recent classics like the joyous “Miracle Mile” mesh nicely with fresh hits like the album’s title track and of course, throwback cuts off 2006’s still-excellent “Robbers and Cowards.” They’re a band that’s worth seeing just for that album alone, and they certainly made their mark opening for Young the Giant (alongside Rochester, New York-based five-piece Joywave).

I had seen Young the Giant in New Haven earlier this year, and the band’s packed setlist proved alluring enough to see them again. Recent jams like “Silvertongue” and “Amerika” brought an energetic crowd to their feet just as easily as huge indie radio hits like “Cough Syrup” and “Apartment” — powerful tracks like ¬†“Something to Believe In,” off last year’s “Home of the Strange” also helped set the tone early. This is a band with swagger, confidence and cool, eclectic style — in large part thanks to lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s voice and sharp fashion sense. Young the Giant has been on the road for a while in support of this albun, so they also sounded tight and crisp — a great band to watch in a big live setting, complete with a cold beer or two. That’s perhaps the best way to start a trip — at least, I think so. And the best part? My weekend trip gave me the chance to explore even more of the city Again, if you want to cover a ton of ground quickly and effectively, I’d urge you to pick up the Wildsam Nashville Field Guide.

The best gear for getting around Nashville in style — don’t you agree? The Wildsam Field Guide helped me see the city in style, too!

I always relish the chance to dress in casual weekend style — that’s where my Grayers Montreaux Windbreaker continues to come in handy. ¬†From taking in live music at NYC’s Panorama 2017 to traveling to Chicago last month, this jacket can do it all — so it proved a crisp, classic layer atop my DSTLD Midnight Blue Denim Shirt, done up in a deep midnight blue and crafted from breathable cotton. Fall calls for a transition to more earthen, faded colors in terms of trousers, too. A new pair of tailored Original Penguin Bedford Cord 5-Pocket Pants¬†offered go-anywhere style that helped me bounce from a crucial weekend kickstarter — coffee at the fantastic, industrially appointed CREMA — to a stop at¬†rocker Jack White’s revered Third Man Records outpost. Of course, I kept on time through each stop with an old favorite, the durable Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono¬†— truly, the Timex Waterbury collection is perfect if you want a rugged watch fit for travel and exploration.¬†If your next trip calls for lots of time spent on your feet, reach for versatile trousers in a fall-ready shade, then finish off your look with a pair of comfortable-yet-rugged boots, like Florsheim’s ¬†125th Anniversary Wingtip Boots as seen above.¬†


My Saturday wasn’t done yet, though. Now that we’re into fall, I absolutely had to see my beloved Michigan State Spartans kick off another football Saturday — even away from my home base of Brooklyn, Nashville features quite a few loyal Spartan fans.¬†Bar Louie in the Gulch¬†offers everything you could want when it comes to taking in a game, from a fun crowd to delicious craft beer to monstrously good burgers like the Spiked Bulleit Bourbon Burger. Spartan fan or not, it’s tough to pass up a finely crafted beer and a good burger, right? That’s also where Pinewood Social¬†came into play later on in the night. The cavernous location is a handsomely appointed cocktail bar/gourmet restaurant/work space/game center complete with a bowling alley and an outdoor pool — ideal for taking in the sights and sounds of Nashville after an MSU game. What more could you want on a Saturday night on the road? Not too much, folks.

Rugged picks for a Nashville Sunday, including new slim light wash denim from DSTLD, a rugged leather belt from Saddleback Leather and a handy dopp kit for travel, also from Saddleback Leather.

Sunday brought my Nashville trip to a close, but not before plenty of exploration in and around the city itself. Before leaving town, I absolutely knew I had to stop at a classic spot in the city — that’d be Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. ¬†I turned my attention toward menswear next; that meant a stop at a favorite outpost, Billy Reid. With shops from Chicago to Charleston, Mr. Reid’s handsome, premium menswear embodies cool, versatile and breezy Southern style with a modern look and feel. As it were, that’s what I tried to do when it came to my Sunday travel style. Even casual outfits should start with classic footwear — my all-new CLAE Gregory Mid Sneakers featured a neat monochromatic color scheme and plenty of all-day comfort. They were an easygoing complement to my DSTLD Slim Light Wash Jeans¬†even though we’re getting into fall, there’s still plenty of time to break out your favorite slim light wash jeans, preferably alongside stylish sneakers and rugged accessories — my Saddleback Leather 4-Stitch Leather Belt was a key piece throughout the weekend and should break in quite nicely. Other essentials were in the mix, too — a stylish chambray shirt from JackThreads layered easily over a rugged short-sleeve henley from Abercrombie & Fitch. It was, unfortunately, time to head to the airport all too soon — I’m glad I dressed in comfort, though!¬†When you’ve got a long flight ahead of you but still want to look great, reach for a classic pair of high-top leather sneakers — like the CLAE Gregory Mid seen above.¬†

If you’re heading to Nashville soon, well, I just can’t recommend the city enough. It’s packed with hidden gems, neat breweries, cool menswear, a terrific music scene and of course, something for every culinary taste. From live music to menswear to a dash of college football, this past weekend had it all — I’m thankful my¬†Wildsam Nashville Field Guide¬†helped me go off the beaten path a bit, too. It was a great trip to kick off what should be a great fall season — and as always, you can follow along with my travels here on the blog or on Instagram. ¬†Let me know — are you hitting the road soon? Where are you headed?

Until the next trip — thanks for reading!

-Beau

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Home of the Strange: New Haven and Young the Giant

Gear for the road, Yale exploration and a rock show. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

Gear for the road, Yale exploration and a rock show. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

First off, don’t let the headline catch you off guard — New Haven isn’t as weird as it might sound; in fact,¬†it was the perfect place to take in the latest stop on the¬†“Home of the Strange” tour by¬†indie rockers Young the Giant this past weekend!¬†On the same page now? Good deal. Yes indeed, this late February weekend presented the perfect opportunity to hit the road again and travel in style to see another live show — it’s a real passion of mine, as you might recall from a fall trip to see Local Natives and my summer trip to see indie folk rockers¬†Lucius, among others. And to be able to hit the road, bring along my favorite #menswear and see an awesome rock show is absolutely icing on the cake. The weather was a bit different than¬†a winter road trip to Michigan, but not quite full-on spring territory — so, earbuds in and volume turned up, I grabbed my Owen and Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender¬† — and the excellent, travel-ready Owen and Fred Flight Brief in Midnight — and set out for New Haven and College Street Music Hall (Editor’s note: For the next time you hit the road, here’s another bag that surely qualifies among the best travel gear for guys).

Gear for a Saturday on the road and a Saturday concert. Sweater by The Knit Project. Dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Field watch by Timex for J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather Supply. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

Gear for a Saturday on the road and a Saturday concert. Sweater by The Knit Project. Dark denim by Frank & Oak. Grounder Hi-Tops by Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers. Field watch by Timex for J. Crew. Lanyard by Tanner Goods. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather Supply. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

As has been the case with past East Coast road trips, I knew I’d have to dress for multiple potential scenarios — starting with a nice, temperate Saturday train ride from NYC to New Haven. I chose a light, breathable and innovative Fitted Merino Turtleneck from Bay Area start-up Knit Project. Made from luxurious Italian Merino wool from a company that’s focused on quality materials and a great fit, it was a neat layering touch under the Frank & Oak Marfa Slim-Fit Denim Shirt — yes, that’s right …. a turtleneck under a denim shirt.¬† It’s a move that’s a bit unique (and perhaps academically inspired for exploring Yale’s campus?), but works in this case thanks to the casual washed denim shirt and a well-fitting pair of¬† classic Frank & Oak selvedge denim. Plus, when it got breezier later on in the day, the combo worked well with no outfit change necessary. Given that I spent time on my feet exploring New Haven and drinking copious amounts of coffee from stops like Jojo’s Coffee and Tea, I needed to be able to get around effectively and on-time — that’s where my vintage-inspired Timex for J. Crew watch came in handy, along with helpful everyday carry pieces like my Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet. Of course, I had to reach for a pair of sneakers that’s as comfortable as can be — yet with the functionality of durable boots. In this instance, my Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers Grounder Hi-Tops were comfortable and effective for going from train to town to show.

All smiles in advance of Young the Giant. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

All smiles in advance of Young the Giant. Merino Turtleneck by Knit Project. Denim shirt and dark denim by Frank & Oak. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Flight Brief by Owen & Fred. Glasses by Frameri.

Again, these were all pieces that worked just as well for getting around New Haven as they did for a heck of an epic show from Young the Giant. Luckily, I had plenty of time to kill before lining up outside College Street Music Hall. The campus of Yale really is something else — at times medieval and at times modern, it’s filled with great vistas and excellent architecture. It’s quaint, historic and very cool to explore — as is the Yale University Art Gallery (even if you’re not an art buff — I’m certainly not, but hey … menswear’s more my bag).

It’s always wise to take local recommendations into account when traveling — such has been the case as I’ve explored Washington, D.C. ¬†and braved the Grand Rapids winter. So one would be remiss not to stop into the delicious, quirky and renowned Louis’ Lunch for an original cheeseburger, ehh? They still know how to make ’em — considering they’re known for being the inventor of the hamburger, that’s quite the accomplishment. And I can confirm for a fact that there’s no better for fuel for a rock concert — or exploring a neat college town — than a premium stop like Cask Republic, a conveniently located spot near College Street Music Hall with multiple Northeast locations and an excellent selection of burgers and beers. Again, prime rock concert fuel, folks.

Beckett Simonon

And certainly if you’ve listened to Young the Giant or caught them on tour behind any of their three albums (including “Home of the Strange,”) you know what you’re going to get. That is, an energetic, powerful show with great showmanship from Sameer Gadhia, a heck of a lead singer with a great voice and the sort of synergy with his bandmates that comes from lots of time spent honing their craft. Hyperbole? Not when you’ve been at it since 2004, I’d say. They reliably packed their setlist with crowd-pleasers and a healthy dose of standout new material, all delivered with plenty of heart. Seriously, who hasn’t sung along to “My Body” or “Apartment” ….¬†or “I Got” (the list goes on)… while cruising in their car? Ahh, just me? OK, then. But I can tell you this — that band brings great energy, joy and feeling to the stage. What a treat to see that in action — crowd favorites like “Cough Syrup” kicked things off early, while newer hits like “Silvertongue”¬†helped close¬†out the encore. In between, Sameer and Co. lit up the stage with an amazing light show (check out a photo or two on Twitter) and also worked in sleeper hits like “Mr. Know-It-All” and ¬†“Titus Was Born” off¬†of “Home of the Strange.” In short,¬†it was a show I’d absolutely recommend seeing.

Mixing collegiate, comfortable style for a Sunday of exploration at Beinecke Plaza. Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Sashiko Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Cashmere cap by Club Monaco. Glasses by Frameri.

Mixing collegiate, comfortable style for a Sunday of exploration at Beinecke Plaza. Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Sashiko Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Cashmere cap by Club Monaco. Glasses by Frameri.

Without a doubt, it was certainly¬†a treat to see them live. The group’s time on stage at world-famous venues like Radio City Music Hall absolutely shows, and you’d do well to catch them as they tour this summer with Cold War Kids! Tickets for that one will surely go fast– anxious as I might be about getting tickets for that tour, I wasn’t anxious about dressing for the cold in New Haven on Sunday (see what I did there?). Now, there wasn’t the excitement of a show ahead, but I still enjoyed a day around a bustling town, including some lovely time spent¬†exploring the campus of Yale¬†once again¬†— it’s a beautiful institution in all respects. I also can’t recommend the premium, upscale Heirloom for brunch enough¬†— get the Heritage Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich and thank me later. For hitting up spots like Blue State Coffee (again with the coffee), I grabbed unique-yet-functional layers, starting with my Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan . My finely textured, well-made Taylor Stitch Sashiko Shirt also complemented the cardigan nicely for temperatures in the 40s, what with its unique pattern and tailored fit.

Sunday layering, starting with a sharp Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

Sunday layering, starting with a sharp Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan. Stretch twill pants by Kit Culture. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Military Watch by Timex + Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

The top half of my rig was offset nicely by casual, comfortable and athletic-inspired Kit Culture stretch twill pants. With roots in Los Angeles, Kit Culture makes gear for the active guy, with fits built for those of us on the go. With 5 percent stretch, these pants were exceptionally comfortable for navigating the city, and yet also proved stylish and crisp alongside my reliable-as-ever CAT Footwear Sutter Boots. The combo definitely merged some high-low style alongside perhaps my new favorite watch, the vintage-inspired, handsome Timex + Todd Snyder Military Watch¬†— it’s¬†a timepiece that’s classic and eye-catching, and ever-so-slightly rugged. In short, the watch was the perfect everyday carry piece alongside my Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet¬†for exploring a bustling college town.

As is the case with many of my road trips, I feel they seem to go by too fast — and that’s definitely true¬†considering this one packed a ton into¬†a short amount of time! I’m always¬†left feeling very grateful — if a bit tired — for the chance to travel to great cities, see excellent music and yes, pack my favorite menswear. I’d say no trip is too short to put your best foot forward — and who can resist bringing along everyday carry pieces like a stylish casual watch or a great weekender bag, anyways? Oh, and about Young the Giant. There are moments during every live show that get me smiling and singing, and the Saturday night show was definitely filled with them. They have¬†no shortage¬†of tour dates through the rest of the year, so go see ’em — don’t forget to pack some stylish rock concert gear, ehh?

Until the next trip — thanks for reading and stay stylish,

-Beau