Style Pick of the Week: Danner Mountain Light Boots

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.

danner-mountain-light-boots

Sturdy, reliable and durable boots with a bit of sleek styling potential thanks to the all-black silhouette.

There’s something about the depths of winter that causes you to take a look at #menswear pieces you might once have rejected. Not normally a fan of winter parkas? Maybe you’re considering getting one to battle the polar vortex. No need for durable winter gloves built for work? Think again. The same could possibly be said for¬†alpine-inspired hikers. Unlike other stylish men’s winter boots, a hiker is quite distinctive in its silhouette — it’s not your average leather chukka boot, that’s for sure. Such is the case with the Danner Mountain Light, a classic pair of footwear that certainly means business when it comes to looking stylish in the snow.¬† It’s this week’s Style Pick of the Week for good reason — and not just because it’s the younger brother to the so-called “Bond Boot” — that would be the Danner Mountain Light II, as worn by none other than James Bond in 2015’s “SPECTRE.” Heck, our man Daniel Craig wore his Danner boots even when not on-camera. Now, the silhouette looks almost identical, but the Internet tells me the weights on these bad boys are different. There you go.¬†So, why go for the Danner Mountain Light¬†if you’re not a fan of hikers? Truly, you’ve got plenty of reason to give them a shot (functionality, toughness, alpine-inspired style)¬†— and not just ‘cuz they’re sold via Huckberry.

Our main man Daniel Craig wearing the Danner Mountain Light II.... slightly different, but nonetheless worth channeling (maybe minus the handgun).

Our main man Daniel Craig wearing the Danner Mountain Light II…. slightly different, but nonetheless worth channeling (maybe minus the handgun).

In particular, the Danner Mountain Light¬†is built with functionality in mind, through and through. Made in Danner’s Portland factory — that’d be Oregon — you’re getting all the hallmarks of quality and toughness you’d expect from a USA-made brand (plus a very Bond-ian silhouette). The stitchdown construction means you can resole ’em when the time comes — although you might not get to that point for a while. The Vibram outsole on the Danner Mountain Light — plus the brand’s custom last — also offer stability and support. That all means¬†the Danner Mountain Light¬†is the real deal — built for more than just strolling around the city. And if you’re not sold on the styling potential, take a cue from Bond — without the high-speed mountain chase. Slim black denim and rugged pieces like a shawl-collar cardigan and a marled henley are simple, effective complements to this rugged pair of boots — it’s practically an outfit tailor-made for getting around during a winter bar crawl. They’re the perfect pair of weekend boots, especially when teamed with simple, easygoing pieces like a classic crewneck sweater¬†and beat-up blue denim. Even a simple piece like a sleek black bomber and black trousers are finished off reliably with the Danner Mountain Light¬†— stealing¬† page from Bond’s playbook there.¬†And of course, more technically inclined looks work just fine with a pair of boots that are tough, functional and yet uniquely stylish — your dad’s retro hiking boots, these are not. So, lace up and get¬†climbing.¬†Any thoughts on the Danner Mountain Light? Are you pro-hiker or anti-hiker? Let’s hear it in the comments below!

Thanks, as always, for reading — enjoy the weekend!

-Beau

Get the Danner Mountain Light now via Huckberry.

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Beckett Simonon

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Style Pick of the Week: Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket

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.

A jacket you'll want to pre-fund now -- and wear as soon as you receive. Cole Bomber Jacket and leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Striped henley by J. Crew. Navy chinos c/o Forever21 Men. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Patterned socks by Effio.

A jacket you’ll want to pre-fund now — and wear as soon as you receive. Cole Bomber Jacket and leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Striped henley by J. Crew. Navy chinos c/o Forever21 Men. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Patterned socks by Effio.

Does the jacket pictured above look familiar? Maybe? Yes? No? If it does, perhaps you joined us for last week’s Style Pick of the Week and got a sneak peek. And if you’re still in the dark — fear not, for the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket is just the jacket to shop now. Or at least, pre-order through the Beckett Simonon¬†site. Why’s that? Heck, have you seen this thing? A suede bomber jacket is a rather unexpected — and underrated — piece in the menswear world. The¬†stylish suede jacket is a silhouette that can be worn plenty of different ways, and it’s both classic and of-the-moment — witness the¬†jacket worn by¬†James Bond in¬†Morocco¬†in “Spectre”,¬†for instance.¬†In a¬†rich color¬†and a slim fit, it’s just as essential. ¬†In particular, the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket¬†is certainly one worth coveting — and buying while it’s still available for pre-order. Made from rich, premium chestnut calfskin leather, the Cole Bomber Jacket is just the latest Beckett Simonon offering to turn some heads. It’s part of the brand’s pre-funding model, with new product — from boots to bomber jackets — put forth for pre-funding each month, then produced. If you’re anything like your author, it’s going to be tough to hold off on pre-funding other items from the brand, too.

Yet another way to wear the Cole Bomber Jacket. Cove Shirt by Life/After/Denim. Flat Black Selvedge by Todd Shelton. miUSA 585 Sneakers by Danner x New Balance. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Glasses by Frameri.

Yet another way to wear the Cole Bomber Jacket. Cove Shirt by Life/After/Denim. Flat Black Selvedge by Todd Shelton. miUSA 585 Sneakers by Danner x New Balance. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Glasses by Frameri.

Oh, and if you do decide to pull the trigger on this bomber jacket? You’re getting a heck of a jacket for a heck of a deal — a little¬†more than¬†50 percent off, in fact. Having tested one out myself, I can vouch for the smooth, soft suede of the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket¬† — it’s got a great feel and quality, and touches like the wool ribbing at the cuffs and collar are stylish accents that add visual interest. It’s lined in acetate,¬† and the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket was nicely¬†breathable on¬†two breezy New York days (particularly when worn on casual Friday with the Danner x New Balance miUSA 585 Sneakers).¬†It’s definitely a sharp piece for all seasons¬†— the Cole Bomber Jacket from Beckett Simonon would team perfectly with a¬†navy Oxford¬†and slim grey denim when it ships out in January, and it worked well to throw on over a striped henley on a recent Brooklyn weekend. The fit is just what you should be looking for in a jacket — trim enough to slide on over a collared shirt and a light sweater, and easily wearable over a long-sleeve¬†merino T-shirt. Given the brand’s¬†sizing, I found a Large in the Cole Bomber Jacket actually worked quite¬†well on my 6’1″, 185-lb. frame, versus my typical Medium. It’s the sort of jacket that would look excellent at the office with a navy knit tie, and it would look even better as a replacement for your old college hoodie on a weekend coffee run — seriously, we’re all about those style upgrades. And the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket¬†is definitely a style upgrade worth making — and wearing a ton when you get it. Hurry, though — that pre-funding price isn’t available long!

Get the Beckett Simonon Cole Bomber Jacket now.

Style Pick of the Week: Mack Weldon Vesper Polo

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.

Easygoing, effortless and still sharp -- that's the Mack Weldon Vesper Polo for you. Photo courtesy of Mack Weldon.

Easygoing, effortless and still sharp — that’s the Mack Weldon Vesper Polo for you. Photo courtesy of Mack Weldon.

So, you sidle up to the bar on a Saturday night — maybe on a first date. What are you wearing? A polo inspired by the crisp, clean, effortlessly cool style of 007, that’s what. My friends, we’re talking today about the Mack Weldon Vesper Polo, a heck of a polo that puts together the favorite style principles of 007 in one shirt. It doesn’t hurt that it’s named for the original (and perhaps best-known) drink downed by everyone’s favorite secret agent. The Vesper Polo nails everything you should look for in a stylish polo for summer¬†— it’s got a clean, modern fit, for starters. And the lightweight micro-mesh knit fabric is exactly what you need to keep you cool and dry in the heat of July (we’ll have an #OOTD styling this exact polo next week, in fact). After checking one out myself during a hot and busy #NYFWM, I’ve got to vouch for that. Plus, this polo is everything great style should be — it’s understated, it’s refined, it’s easily wearable, and the price ain’t half-bad either ($68, for the unitiated). It’s part of Mack Weldon’s effort to expand on basics that work for every guy’s wardrobe — if you’ve shopped the brand or participated in our most recent reader giveaway with these guys, you know that all too well. Add this polo to your other favorites of theirs — like an easily wearable Pima Crew Tee — and you’ll be on your way to building a sharp wardrobe any day of the week.

While the Kentucky Blue option looks great, Bond might go for the Total Eclipse Blue polo. Photo courtesy of Mack Weldon.

While the Kentucky Blue option looks great, Bond might go for the Total Eclipse Blue polo. Photo courtesy of Mack Weldon.

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Yet, the great thing about the Vesper Polo is that it’s a great place to start no matter your style level. Seriously, every guy can use reminders about things like proper fit, and this polo makes it easy. It’s wearable with slim shorts or tan chinos, and it doesn’t look out of place when worn in an even more laidback fashion — like atop your favorite swim trunks as you head to the beach or pool. And the self-collar doesn’t flop around like other polo collars — it’ll stay upright through the day (even moreso if you use collar stays),¬†so you can rock it beneath a slim-fit khaki blazer to the office. The trickiest part about the whole endeavor might be picking a favorite color — the Kentucky¬†Blue option seen here is reliable and crisp, yet that Total Eclipse Blue (a dark navy, really) is the same color favored by Bond in Casino Royale¬†(although that option is a bit pricier). So you certainly can’t go wrong with a well-priced, well-performing, effortlessly stylish polo ready for the rest of summer (and even able to be rocked into early fall when layered under a shawl cardigan, for example. The toughest part is going to be putting it away when the weather turns cold — yet if you live in a warm climate, you’ll have the gift that keeps on giving year-round. Keep it handy for that next date in the meantime,¬†yeah?

Have you picked up the Mack Weldon Vesper Polo yet? What’s your favorite style combination when it comes to polos?

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Swimsuits to Buy Now

Editor’s note: For even more seasonal online shopping picks, head this way.

Here to help you pick out your ideal pair of summer swimwear. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

Here to help you pick out your ideal pair of summer swimwear. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

From time to time, nailing the right seasonal style can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, searching for and building off style upgrades isn’t easy. That extends to the little details (as your humble writer so often mentions), and that includes even times when you might feel a bit off-duty. In the case of hot summer weather, that means your swimsuit. Like a slim T-shirt¬†or a nice pair of shorts, it’s a place that you shouldn’t slack off. Luckily, swimwear has come under the spotlight a lot in recent years, thanks to stylish guys like James Bond himself rocking designer swim trunks (007 body not included). However, my fellow #menswear fan, you don’t have to go that fancy — or that expensive — to get yourself set with essential beach gear. There are swim trunks that strike the right vibe between casual and classy, and a lot of them look more like tailored shorts than in years past. For days when you might hop on a boat and then hop off for a round (or two, or three) at the dockside bar, that’s critical. Pick up a top men’s swimsuit below, and chime in over at The Style Guide’s Facebook page if you’ve got other picks I missed. Surf’s up!

#1. JackThreads The Swim Trunk — $39

A solid offering from a consistently great brand, at a great price.

A solid offering from a consistently great brand, at a great price.

If quality, affordability and style are what you seek, JackThreads has you covered. From its innovative new TryOuts program¬†to the fact that it stocks a plethora of style essentials — from a spring field coat to the stylish swim trunks seen here, they consistently get a lot of things right. These are cut slimmer than normal and should¬†hit about mid-thigh for most of us fellas, which provides a nice, tailored look. The Dress Blues color is versatile enough that these look more like shorts than anything else — see the intro paragraph for how versatile that makes ’em.

#2. Bonobos Surfside Board Short in Blue Chambray — $88

A longer inseam for us taller guys, plus a sharp blue chambray color.

A longer inseam for us taller guys, plus a sharp blue chambray color.

Our second pick here is quite the bump up in price, but definitely worth the investment. In fact, investing in a¬†pair of swim trunks cut in a tailored fit is about the best thing you can do if you want to push yourself to upgrade the rest of your outfit. That is to say, good-bye ratty tank top, hello crisp white polo (as seen in this style suggestion). The nice thing about these trunks is that they’re cut with a 9-inch inseam; while that might be too long for some of us, that’ll hit the spot for others. Bonobos also stocks a wide range of other swimwear options, from board shorts to trunks in a range of lengths, so there’s something for everyone.

#3. Sunspel Swim Short in Navy — $210

Recreated based off the swim shorts worn by Sean Connery as James Bond, and as sharp as you would expect.

Recreated based off the swim shorts worn by Sean Connery as James Bond, and as sharp as you would expect.

Ahh, yes. Here we are — a premium swim short that gives you a¬†crisp, tailored look, yet doesn’t break the bank (compared to the Orlebar Brown trunks sported by Daniel Craig’s Bond). It’s fitting, then, that¬†Sunspel was commissioned in 2011 to do up their own recreation of Sean Connery’s swim trunks as James Bond. The result is a sharp, lean and tailored pair of swim shorts with a nifty front button pocket and a super-clean waist (not a drawstring in sight — not that drawstrings are bad). The cost of these Sunspel Swim Shorts will set you back as much as the Bonobos pair above, so why not dive in?

#4. Grayers Batik Print Swim Trunk — $88

Vintage print inspiration makes these fun and functional.

Vintage print inspiration makes these fun and functional.

Man, $88 sure is a popular price when it comes to swim trunks, right? For those of us who prefer a little more color and pattern in our trunks (yet won’t compromise on fit), here comes the Grayers Batik Print Swim Trunk, playing off a cool, vintage-inspired print that wouldn’t look out of place alongside a vintage ballcap. The 7-inch inseam is a solid length that again lends them a tailored look. Everything from a slim navy polo to a short-sleeve Oxford is going to look just right when matched with these swim trunks — nautical gear should be a bit fun, after all. Just don’t forget stylish sunglasses to top it all off.

#5. Zachary Prell St. Giorgio Swim Trunk — $138¬†

Designer style meets swimwear with these Zachary Prell swim trunks.

Designer style meets swimwear with these Zachary Prell swim trunks.

If you prefer a more premium, minimal take on swimwear, the Zachary Prell St. Giorgio Swim Trunk is the pair for you. Italian fabric means these trunks cost more, but look all the better for it. They’ll again hit above the knee, giving you a bit more coverage if you’re taller. The teal blue color is totally spring and summer-appropriate, and makes them a bit more eye-catching and continental than other swim trunks out there. With a just-right length and versatile color (rock ’em with a white polo to start), they’ll be a reliable workhorse for plenty of trips to the beach.

While it can seem daunting at first to carry over great style principles from on land to in the water, it can definitely be done if you know where to start and you know what you’re looking for. Keep in mind classic, reliable brands like J. Crew for solid swimwear, and make sure you know your fit; not too long, not too short (ideally). If you follow the adage that great style is an investment, take your time picking out the right pair, and then wear them again and again with versatile style staples. Let me know what you pick out over on Twitter or catch my summer beach game over on Instagram.

Thanks for reading, and stay stylish!

-Beau

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt — $75

Trim and refined -- just like the tailored ensemble.

Trim and refined — just like the tailored ensemble.

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

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

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

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

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

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

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

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

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

Editor‚Äôs note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays ‚ÄĒ consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and non-style content. For more entries, click¬†here.

If your plans last night didn’t involve seeing the latest James Bond movie (as mine did), I would highly recommend you get yourself to a theater right this very second. Yes, not even this post should keep you from checking it out. Opinions on the film have actually been mixed from major outlets, but your friendly style expert and massive James Bond fan recommends you go see it, as much for the excellent menswear as for the film itself. It’s also been a busy and exciting week in other areas, too —¬†I had the chance to see the great indie band Mainland on Monday night (recent openers for Atlas Genius), and they’re also a group I’d recommend checking out just as soon as you can. And that little intro brings us, as always, quite comfortably to this week’s edition of the Friday Read. After you, Mr. Bond…

  • Over at GQ, one writer and fan reflects on the moment his opinion of the series changed completely — and what brought him back (hint: It was the terrific last Bond installment, Skyfall).
  • In one of the¬† biggest American menswear business moves in recent memory, American Eagle announced this week that it acquired famed designer Todd Snyder’s¬†offshoot, collegiate-centric company Tailgate Clothing; while Snyder’s brand will continue to operate separately, he’ll join AE as an executive VP — that’s a change of pace from 007 news, ehh?
  • My pal Barron at Effortless Gent covers off on how to choose the right watch for your outfit, a big key when getting dressed every day.
  • Style Notes of the Week: While this small space is normally reserved for a great long read, today we’re calling your attention to new great new collaboration drops — Brooklyn-based sneaker brand GREATS (a favorite of yours truly) is teaming with NYC menswear designers Orley on a three new chukka sneakers. And speaking of sneakers, the folks behind heritage-focused Tanner Goods and P.F. Flyers just released a stunning update to the classic Center Hi silhouette.

Got an extra minute or two?

    • Upgrade your fall outerwear game with a slim-fit, warm and stylish quilted down coat from the terrific folks at JACHS NY — read more on it via my latest post for GearHungry.

Florsheim

Ben Sherman US

What to Wear Today: A Fall-Ready Leather Jacket

Editor’s note: For other What To Wear Today features, head here.

A sold-out style via Taylor Stitch that gets a lot of the details right when it comes to the perfect leather jacket.

A sold-out style via Taylor Stitch that gets a lot of the details right when it comes to the perfect leather jacket.

While we talked fairly recently on The Style Guide about how to transition your style into fall, there’s one key move that can really help you up your fall style game. In addition to looking for items that incorporate more texture into an outfit — like a thicker watch strap or some roughout leather boots — there’s one piece that adds instant style cred to any ensemble. I touched on the importance of a great fall jacket pretty recently, and when you reach for leather outerwear, it’s a gamechanger. There’s a whole host of styles within that leather jacket family that you can reach for, from shearling coats to more classic racer styles, but one thing’s for sure — a leather jacket is no ordinary piece of outerwear. If you do fancy a substantially deeper dive, head on over to my buddy Barron’s Web site Effortless Gent for a fantastic primer on what sets certain leather jackets apart from the rest; know that for now, it’s a piece that’s dressier than a denim jacket, cooler than a blazer and just as ready for tailored gear as casual wear.

A modern update to a classic style via J. Crew. That's exactly how your leather jacket should fit.

A modern update to a classic style via J. Crew. That’s exactly how your leather jacket should fit.

While some might associate leather jackets with poorly fitting versions of old, a great leather jacket nowadays is cut slim and trim, like your aforementioned favorite blazer. While the style shown at the top from Taylor Stitch has unfortunately been pre-funded and isn’t up for sale, it does a nice job of capturing what you want in your leather jacket. It doesn’t feature too many bells and whistles, unlike some styles. While black leather jackets favored by rock stars and the like can actually be pretty cool, it might not be the best pick to reach for if you want to wear a leather jacket in place of a blazer. No, the best leather jackets are slim, trim and clean-cut. The Wallace & Barnes MA-1 Jacket from J. Crew gets it right. It’s prohibitively expensive, to be sure, but it’s a classic silhouette that can be dressed up with some grey wool trousers or dressed down with dark denim and a henley. If you’re looking to closely replicate that style for far less, grab this number from H&M — but be warned, it’s probably not the highest quality. ASOS also stocks a plethora of leather jacket options, but some look pretty questionable as far as quality goes.

Ben Sherman US

Shearling is also having a moment right now when it comes to leather jackets — it’s another classic tough-guy style that’s gotten a modern update thanks to a slimmer silhouette (and a higher price tag). J. Crew again nails this style with this sherpa-collar number from Wallace & Barnes, yet the price of that one piece alone is enough to make most of us turn and run. And therein lies the difficulty if you decide to go the shearling route — there simply aren’t many cheap shearling options out there. It seems that wool-blend jackets with shearling accents represent a more affordable option (particularly this Golden Bear piece for Club Monaco), but that’s not really why we’re here, is it?

While not technically a leather jacket, this wool bomber from Frank & Oak gets the details right.

While not technically a leather jacket, this wool bomber from Frank & Oak gets the details right.

So be prepared to pay more if you throw on additional, pricier accents like shearling. Suede presents another take on the classic leather jacket — but like the J. Crew bomber as featured in my latest Effortless Gent piece, there aren’t exactly all that many cheap suede bomber options out there, either  (take, for example, this $1,800 Club Monaco jacket). And you know when James Bond steps out in a suede bomber, it’s a costly trend worth watching. Yet, the biggest key when searching for (and styling) a leather jacket still revolves around looking for a sustainable investment. For example, Frank & Oak, whose monthly Hunt Club crates are always a hit, produces what looks like to be a nice leather bomber  for about half of what J. Crew charges, although sizes are going very quickly. Some of its wool-and-leather varsity bombers (pictured above) made in partnership with Golden Bear also look to be a very solid bet.

And while a varsity bomber might not be the ideal leather jacket style, it can still be dressed up or down in the same way as a pricier leather piece. Contrasting pieces that add in cold-weather texture, like a knit tie or waffle henley, are going to stand up to the style just fine. The same goes for suede bombers, too.

Stick in the same color family when wearing an edgier moto jacket and you'll be just like Beckham. Well, maybe not just like him...

Stick in the same color family when wearing an edgier moto jacket and you’ll be just like Beckham. Well, maybe not just like him…

And if by some chance you do get your hands on a more classic leather jacket, any number of styling combinations are at your disposal. Try out a crisp moto jacket with  solid tee, a la Mr. Beckham, and consider yourself set for a night out on the town. Conversely, you can pair a classic Harrington-style leather jacket with a white Oxford and navy knit tie — that Club Monaco option is pricey, without a doubt, but you get the idea. Rocking a slightly edgier jacket in place of say, a more traditional fall coat is a style move that can really represent a big forward step — picking up a versatile piece of outerwear and being able to pair it with everything from casual to sharp combos is the mark of a good investment. If you shop right, you might end up looking like Mr. Beckham up there.

Do you own a leather jacket? How do you feel about this fall style move?