Style Pick of the Week: Grayers Exmouth Nylon Blazer

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 blazer that's built with the quality and construction of a rain jacket.

A blazer that’s built with the quality and construction of a rain jacket.

So, are you just about set with your spring style wish list? Yes? No? Maybe? The great thing about keeping a diligent eye on the #menswear community is that it’s always neat to see how brands are taking more traditional silhouettes and pieces — like that of the classic navy blazer — and turning them on their head from time to time. Take the Grayers Exmouth Nylon Blazer, part of a solid line of spring outerwear from the brand. It’s the ideal example of the ways in which brands are introducing products that meet the active lifestyles of lots of customers — and this piece looks a heck of a lot better than some other active, athleisure-inspired looks. That’s because it retains the traditional features of the blazer, right down to the flap patch pockets, three-button front and space for your pocket square, and yet, it’s crafted from lightweight nylon. It’s part rain jacket, part blazer and would stylishly complement just any outfit you can think of — including some of the picks on this Spring Style Essentials list. In fact, it’s got something else on other, more classic blazers. It’s practically built for a commute, especially if you need to hop on your bike (and seeing as May 20 was National Bike to Work Day, that just makes sense).

It's got all the touches of the traditional blazer, including the casual flap patch pockets and room for a trusty pocket square.

It’s got all the touches of the traditional blazer, including the casual flap patch pockets and room for a trusty pocket square.

And should it happen to rain or get breezy this spring, you’re more than covered there. Have I mentioned that it can be packed into its own drawstring pouch? Because it can do that, too. It’s especially suited for travel, be it by train, plane or automobile (sorry, had to). The lightweight nylon should prove comfortable for moving inside and outside, and it would smartly finish off even something as simple as a natural pocket tee and slim khaki chinos. Plus, throw in some sharp suede derbys and you’ve got a look that’s both office and commute-ready. And it would look particularly sharp with a classic white Oxford, yet again, it’s got the functionality of a rain jacket. The price is pretty agreeable considering you get two jackets for the price of one, and it’s just the right piece of outerwear to rock through spring, into summer and even into early fall when layered right. That’s not bad for just one jacket, right?

What do you think of the Exmouth Blazer? How would you style it?

Florsheim

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#OOTD: How to Dress Down a Wool 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 series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

With winter weather still in full force for a lot of us, there can be a tendency to get into a bit of a style rut. That is, there are only so many ways you can style a shawl-collar cardigan or a crewneck sweater  before you want to change things up a bit. The good news is that, for so many of us, high-low dressing (that is, mixing and matching casual and formal pieces) is easier to do than ever before, regardless of what you might find yourself doing day-to-day. The below outfit makes use of some staples you likely already have in your closet (like dark denim, for starters) and puts ’em together in a slightly unexpected way. As a matter of fact, you might recognize the blazer from last week’s #OOTD post. Get the lowdown here, and then get those goods in your shopping cart.

Putting it all together -- combining style essentials you might already have in your closet.

Putting it all together — combining style essentials you might already have in your closet.

The Blazer: Frank & Oak Fairmount Deconstructed Blazer in Light Brown, $145 –A slim, soft sportcoat with a tailored fit and minimal padding — ideal for casual wear.

The Henley: JackThreads Daily Henley in Indigo, $34 — A great price for a superb piece that’ll age well over time; the “dressed-down” part of this outfit.

The Denim: Mott & Bow Skinny Mosco Denim, $96 — A classic pair of denim with great color and a nice bit of stretch (full review here). Note that Slim and Straight options are also available.

The Shoes: Frank & Oak Modern Leather Brogues in Dark Tan, $175 — Italian leather and European construction takes this pair to another level, plus  the color stands out remarkably well against the denim. Click here for a full Frank & Oak review.

The Socks: Anonymous Ism Wave Socks, $25 — Definitely a pricey splurge, but worth it for the quality and nice color they provide.

The Watch: Timex Waterbury Watch, $80 — A new Style Guide favorite; very well-priced, clean and classic. The ideal blend of casual and classed-up style.

Oh, and seeing as it is winter and all, finish off your oufit with my picks for the best winter accessories.

So with the above outfit in mind, I’d say give it a try just as soon as you can — when you pick up style staples that fit well and can be mixed and matched with ease, you’ll give yourself plenty of #OOTD options.

Would you rock the above look? How do you dress down your blazer?

The Product Review: Combat Gent Slim-Fit Travel Jacket

An in-person review of Combat Gent's Slim-Fit Khaki Travel Jacket. Size shown: 38L. Spring Plaid shirt by Gustin. Pocket square by Banana Republic. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

An in-person review of Combat Gent’s Slim-Fit Khaki Travel Jacket. Size shown: 38L. Spring Plaid shirt by Gustin. Pocket square by Banana Republic. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

Editor’s note: For a full rundown of product reviews covering everything from polos to watches, click here.

Combat Gent (or  Combatant Gentlemen, if you’re one to go the full name route) has been popping up lots of different places in the digital menswear community as of late, and they’ve been turning heads mainly for the price points at which they provide their products. The consensus has been somewhat mixed, but largely positive, and for those not in the know, the brand offers a range of suiting, shirts, ties, dress pants, denim and even weekender bags at prices far lower than one might expect. They’re also doing tuxedos, which would be a great buy if you’re the type to buy a tux and need to do so on a budget.

And they definitely caught the attention of this menswear writer as I shopped around for my Spring Style Wish List. Combat Gent reached out to me earlier this spring in fact, and offered up the product that you see here (namely, the Slim-Fit Khaki Travel Jacket, along with the Ash Grey Heather Herringbone Shirt and one of the brand’s Endurance Shirts in White ). The khaki travel jacket in particular has proven to be a highly versatile piece — it pairs easily with casual get-ups, like the henley, chinos and sneakers combo you see below, as well as with slightly more business-casual outfits (namely with the Gustin Spring Plaid shirt and some dark denim).

Slim-Fit Khaki Travel Jacket by Combat Gent. Washed red henley by GAP. Light grey chinos by Bonobos. Navy sneakers by GREATS Brand. Striped socks by Richer Poorer. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling.

Slim-Fit Khaki Travel Jacket by Combat Gent. Washed red henley by GAP. Light grey chinos by Bonobos. Navy sneakers by GREATS Brand. Striped socks by Richer Poorer. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling.

Now for the jacket’s specs — this piece is under the brand’s Outerwear section, although at first glance, it’s somewhat tricky to see why. It doesn’t appear to have the springy, wrinkle-resistant bounceback qualities of something like J. Crew’s Traveler suiting line, and the Italian cotton twill fabric doesn’t wear as though it has a tremendous amount of stretch. The twill is peached for softness though, a nice touch that pushes the jacket more into casual territory (although it still doesn’t move or wear as well as a Bonobos Washed Chino blazer, for example). The jacket features a single vent and is half-canvassed with a butterfly lining, although it actually wore a bit stiff at first for being so unstructured.

A very-near custom fit for a low price. Shirt by Gustin Braided leather belt by Merona. Dark denim by Mott and Bow. Glasses by Warby Parker.

A very-near custom fit for a low price. Shirt by Gustin Braided leather belt by Merona. Dark denim by Mott and Bow. Glasses by Warby Parker.

The patch pockets and Corozo buttons are sewn in sturdily enough for the price — there’s no threadbare buttons or extra dangling threads. And the fit itself is definitely to be applauded. A size 38L on my 6’1″, 180-lb. frame fits like a charm — very nearly custom. The jacket is slightly longer in the back and covers a good amount of my backside — it’s not so long that it looks off when worn more casually with denim, though. The sleeves are trim and hit at about the ideal length for showing some shirt cuff, and  the jacket has just a bit of pull when buttoned — those into a more traditional fit might want to size up with this piece.  It does wrinkle slightly easier than one might expect from a “travel” jacket, but it really offers up a tremendous bang for the buck at just $70. The same style is available in a terrific shade of electric blue (Cobalt), along with Olive and Navy.

The Ash Grey Heather Herringbone shirt from Combat Gent being put to good use. Polka dot tie by Express. Slim chinos by Taylor Stitch. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Braided leather belt by Merona. Horween Chromexcel No. 8 leather watch strap by Form-Function-Form and watch by Timex.

The Ash Grey Heather Herringbone shirt from Combat Gent being put to good  use. Polka dot tie by Express. Slim chinos by Taylor Stitch. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Braided leather belt by Merona. Horween Chromexcel No. 8 leather watch strap by Form-Function-Form and watch by Timex.

And as far as other product goes from the brand, Combat Gent’s shirting is definitely worth considering when buying on a budget, too. The Endurance Shirt in White fits similar to an Express 1MX Extra Slim Fit shirt and would definitely be a solid purchase for about half of that price. It’s the type of shirt you could wear with a navy suit or on its own under a V-neck sweater. And the Ash Grey Heather Herringbone shirt as seen above (actually part of the brand’s Fall ’14 line of shirting) features a very soft blend of brushed Italian cotton and mother-of-pearl buttons that actually feel decently sturdy. The fabric itself is quite soft and feels much like a heathered cotton Oxford shirt from J. Crew. The collar on the shirt has a nice roll to it, and the piece fits slim and pairs nicely with a casual blazer, too. Although it’s technically a fall shirt, it’s the right weight to be worn in cooler spring temperatures.

While the quality isn’t up to par with J. Crew or another larger menswear retailer, Combat Gent’s blazers and shirts are worth your time and money if you’re on a budget (and who isn’t nowadays, right?). Some aspects of the fabric and construction might leave a little to be desired, but particularly if you need a starter suit, blazer or shirt (or if you feel like taking the plunge on a more fashion-forward suit), Combat Gent would be a great place to start looking.

Do you have any experience with Combat Gent? Thinking about picking up any pieces from the brand? Let me know! 

The Watchery

Florsheim

Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Blazers

Want wear more blazers, especially this spring and summer? Start here. Blazer by J. Crew. Blue dress shirt & floral pocket square by J. Crew Factory.  (Old) glasses by Burberry.

Want to wear more blazers, especially this spring and summer? Start here. Blazer by J. Crew. Blue dress shirt & floral pocket square by J. Crew Factory. (Old) glasses by Burberry.

I received a question from a reader last week who had a New Year’s resolution to start wearing more blazers (way to stick to your guns!), but was having difficulty finding options to beat the Texas heat. This brought to mind two things: #1: Nice! Wearing more blazers is an easy way to add some polish to a look and even bring more variety to outfits you normally wear. And the #2 was this: Wearing a blazer, especially in the heat, is a somewhat tall order — so I rounded up some great warm-weather options (these could also feasibly work in slightly chillier weather with heavier layers, too). Read on and let’s get blaze — blazer-ed? Yep.

#1. J. Crew Factory Thompson Unconstructed Sportcoat in Twill — $118

A lighter blue that's no less versatile than its darker counterparts.

A lighter blue that’s no less versatile than its darker counterparts.

This blazer (or is it a sportcoat?) tops the list by a good amount. The lack of construction and a partial lining makes it breathable & lightweight, for starters. And the color is a unique, more washed-out blue that seems to be all the rage in the sportcoat game. Last year’s version got big ups from my pals over at Dappered, and if this version is just as good, it should be very wearable with everything from grey chinos to dark (and light) denim. The price here is very achievable and could drop even lower on-sale.

#2. Uniqlo Men’s Light Cotton Jacket in Navy or Blue Plaid — $69.90

Either a more striking plaid or a regular navy, take your pick.

Either a more striking plaid or a regular navy, take your pick.

Uniqlo’s blazers seem to stir up some divisiveness as far as fit & quality — some like the lightweight feel, slimmer fit and shorter tail (making them more casual), and others prefer something a little sturdier and with a classic cut. While the plaid option adds a great shot of pattern over a neutral base, the deep navy alternative is about as classic as it gets for a blazer. The price on either of these isn’t too high, so it could be worth taking the plunge on the plaid blazer if you want to throw some variety into a standard white OCBD— dark denim look.

#3. Target Merona Cotton Blazer in Grey— $29.98

Super affordable and super lightweight.

Super affordable and super lightweight.

To start, the price here is eye-poppingly low. Target’s been doing a lot when it comes to men’s style over the past year or so, and the Merona line has been a nice catalyst for that. This all-cotton blazer is unlined and actually fits pretty trim off the rack based on an in-store try-on. It’s available in four color options, but the light grey version could be the most versatile. If you want a blue option with a more workwear-type look, this navy jacket just went up on the site last week. Again, quality won’t be insanely high for a $30 piece, so this is a jacket that can get beat up a bit with little worries.

#4. Combatant Gent Travel Blazer in Khaki — $70

A warm-weather staple from a relatively new online retailer.

A warm-weather staple from a relatively new online retailer.

This blazer first made an appearance on this blog’s Spring Style Wish List, and were it not for an opportunely-priced alternative from H&M, it would likely be in the closet at the moment. Although this is a “travel blazer,” no word on the specific functionality of this particular piece (hopefully, an in-person with one of their jackets is coming soon). The patch pockets and khaki color make this decidedly more casual than any of the blue or grey options above

#5. Banana Republic Tailored Fit Cotton-Linen Blazer — $230

Sharp peak lapels & a ticket pocket on a cotton-linen blazer.

Sharp peak lapels & a ticket pocket on a cotton-linen blazer.

The reason this piece gets bumped so far down this list is the price — that’s a bit spendy, especially when considering the cotton-linen blend doesn’t really work in this. BR’s outerwear and blazers seem to be the brand’s strong points though, especially as of late. This jacket’s got a couple neat features — peak lapels and a ticket pocket, along with some nice depth to the fabric. You could definitely wear this with dark denim, lightwash jeans and olive or khaki chinos. BR is also offering a khaki twill blazer that would presumably be the higher-quality counterpart to option #4 here.

Note: Other options that didn’t quite make the cut here include this cotton chambray blazer from Express and this olive twill number.

What’s your take on the above options? Any additions? And how you would style these pieces? 

 

 

Online Shopping Picks: Cyber Monday

IT’S HERE. CYBER MONDAY.

After the rest and relaxation of Thanksgiving, holiday shopping season really sets in. Even with a slight numbers decline this year, Black Friday is always a huge day in the retail world, and Cyber Monday’s an equally big day as far as shopping goes. And even with sales numbers expected to drop today as well, there’s still plenty of opportunity for the bargain-minded menswear fanatic to grab some great deals, ones that might not be around the rest of year. The following isn’t an exhaustive rundown of all sales and deals running out there (for instance, J. Crew is skipped, even though J. Crew Factory is mentioned), but think of it as a breakdown of what you should (maybe?) look for from select outlets. Enjoy, and happy shopping!

J. Crew Factory — 50% off everything, plus 10% off & free shipping with YOUVEGOTSALE

What To Look For: Casual Shirts

Some easy-wearing picks from J. Crew's younger sibling.

Some easy-wearing picks from J. Crew’s younger sibling.

J. Crew Factory’s a veritable treasure trove for plenty of terrific items, most of which seem like carbon copies in terms of quality and style of its older, more expensive sibling, J. Crew. Today is no different. The site’s 50% off deal has been running the whole weekend, but today’s additional 10% off discount and free shipping code is an even better deal. With J. Crew Factory, the quality is on-par with more expensive offerings, so scooping up a casual shirt or two (like that rugged elbow-patch shirt or a tattersall option) makes a ton of sense. If you have a bit more coin to spend, the code MONDAY gets you 30% off full price styles and 40% off sale styles at J. Crew. A solid bet from there would be a lightweight merino sweater — a neutral staple in a beautiful fabric.

Club Monaco — 20 – 30% off everything & Extra 30% off Sale & Clearance items with CYBERMONDAY 

What To Look For: Luxury Accessories

Accessories with more of a luxury feel than typical brands.

Accessories with more of a luxury feel than typical brands.

So Club Monaco might not be the first place you would think of when looking around for deals (a $2,200 shearling coat in the New Arrivals section? Yikes). However, there are certain items that make this more continental, fashion-forward brand worth a second look.  Now, $20 for a pair of socks at full price is a bit much, but when you tack on a code, you’re getting a much more manageable deal for a soft yet chunky, cotton-blend sock. And if you’re looking for a pair of gloves that’s different from slick black leather, their half-knit leather gloves  or rich brown deerskin gloves would be an upfront investment that definitely pays dividends down the line.

JackThreads — Up to 90% off on their Warehouse and Free Shipping on Orders over $65

What To Look For: Sharp Boots

Slim boots that offer a change of pace from clunkier options.

Slim boots that offer a change of pace from clunkier options.

Unfortunately, JackThreads isn’t running a full-on sale code at the moment (although they were knocking off an automatic 30% on purchases at the end of last week). However, they are offering free shipping on orders over $65, and you can snag up to 65% off full retail on some boots if you play your cards right. Additionally, they’re a site that seems to get lost in the wash of other flash sale sites. They do offer more streetwear-centric items, some of which can be misses, yet they also offer some solid, standby items (namely from their in-house brand Goodale). If you’re in the market for a slim boot with some fall-centric details (like deep black suede), this option might do the trick.  And, their Robert Wayne options (like this brown captoe) are visually interesting when compared to a chunkier wingtip boot.

Frank & Oak — Up to 60% off on Sale Items; New Hunt Club Crate Launch

What To Look For: Casual Shirts and Blazers

Search the sale section for plenty of sizes on most items.

Search the sale section for plenty of sizes on most items.

Like JackThreads, there’s no actual code here, but plenty of items remain up for grabs on the site. The hype surrounding this brand continues to grow, from new additions to their footwear line last week to the popular success of their Hunt Club membership program. This weekend was a pretty active one for the company, with various sale codes running on top of a four-hour flash sale that dropped on Saturday, and today must be equally busy. Given that it’s the first of the month, they also launched new offerings today, which include slim Harris Tweed blazers. The real steals today though come from the sale section, which is still surprisingly well-stocked, from a zany-yet-cool brush print shirt to more straightforward alternatives, like a casual (yet refined) navy pin dot shirt. The corduroy blazer pictured above also has a surprising number of sizes left, as do some other blazers in the sale section. There’s not really a better time to hop on a sale like this — best get to it.

For a more comprehensive rundown of sales, you can also check out Dappered.com’s rundown of Cyber Monday sales. 

Will you be doing any shopping on this Cyber Monday? Have you already picked up some items? Leave your thoughts below!