#OOTD: The New Way to Wear a Cardigan This Winter

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.

OK, folks — back at it with another handy, helpful #OOTD entry today on The Style Guide.  As we deal with a strangely up-and-down winter — at least in my neck of the woods — perhaps you’re wondering about ways you can maximize your layering skills and versatility with staples you’ve already got. You know, like your favorite cold-weather cardigan or a trusty pair of classic dark blue denim.  That’s the starting point for our latest #OOTD — it’s taking crisp, casual pieces and shaking them up just a little bit (as you’ll see between the shirting and denim combination). It’s a good way to make your wardrobe work for you and last longer, without feeling like you’re in a style rut (wearing the same thing over and over … and over again). Plus, you’ll recognize a few picks — like the Grayers Montana Waxed and Quilted Parka — from past #menswear entries on this site. So with all that being said … check out the goods below and follow along for real-time men’s style looks via Instagram.

Shaking up the typical cardigan combo just enough to make it interesting this winter.

Shaking up the typical cardigan combo just enough to make it interesting this winter.

The Cardigan: J. Crew Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater, $89.50 — Perhaps this very cardigan is one you’ve already got in your closet? Tailored and made from great fabric, it’s refined enough to dress down — if that makes sense.

The Shirt: Abercrombie and Fitch Two-Pocket Chambray Shirt, $68 — Yes, you can definitely take that light chambray shirt and make it work for you in winter. Trust me.

The Parka: Grayers Montana Waxed and Quilted Parka, $140.98 — You can pick up a versatile, tough parka and use it as a prime outer layer all season long — the Montana Waxed and Quilted Parka is the one to buy.

The Denim: Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Jeans in Bay Blue, $136.98 — One of the prime ways we’re mixing up this outfit? Injecting some casual, faded denim in the mix — they stand out just enough from the chambray shirt, and they’re offset nicely by the grey cardigan.
Huckberry

The Boots: Nisolo Emilio Chukka Boot, $149.98 — Reliable leather chukka boots are absolutely the way to go in nearly any style situation — especially a casual one. Luckily, the Emilio Chukka Boot does it all.

The Belt: J. Crew Classic Leather Dress Belt, $29.50 — If you’re already picking up a classic J. Crew cardigan, why not pick up a simple, effective leather belt to go with it?

The Socks: American Trench Pima Cotton Houndstooth Socks, $17.98 — We all recognize these socks, right? Right. They’re solid, reliable, comfortable and a nice match for the hues of blue in this outfit.
The Watch: Seiko Dive Watch, $319.98 — Since we’re mixing high-low style in this outfit — the rugged chambray shirt + the faded Nudie Jeans denim in particular — a dive watch on a durable NATO strap is smart and sharp.
 Although there’s nothing too fancy or utterly eye-catching about this outfit, it’s grounded in classic staples mixed a bit unexpectedly. From the lighter shades of the chambray shirt to the light wash denim and the slightly dressier Emilio Chukka Boot, it takes advantage of twists on tried-and-true staples. It’s a combination that would work in the spring sans the Montana Waxed and Quilted Parka, and you’d always do well to pick up a handsome, rugged timepiece like the Seiko Dive Watch. With that being said, chime in via the comments below if you have alternate picks or styling suggestions — always looking forward to hearing from everyone, and many thanks for reading!
-Beau

Beckett Simonon

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Heading Back Home: A winter weekend in Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank & Oak

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

Beckett Simonon

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

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

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

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

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

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

To all you Style Guide readers ….

Stay stylish,

-Beau

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Cardigans for Cold Weather

Editor’s note: Click through for a full set of menswear shopping picks.

In recent weeks, things have really picked up in terms of fall style preparations in my neck of the woods — if you’re into menswear, that probably means it’s been much the same for you. A late September weekend in New York City really brought with it the first slight hints of fall, and slight seasonal changes should remind us of all of gear we need for the chillier months ahead. In the case of today’s latest Online Shopping Picks post, that means we’re talking about a valuable sweater style to keep on-hand — and wear plenty — during fall and winter. What’s that style, you ask? It’s the ever-versatile modern man’s sweater — the cardigan. Whether cut in soft cotton-cashmere or premium merino, or with a more substantial shawl collar, a stylish cardigan is a nice hybrid style that fits in seamlessly with more tailored or more casual looks. Want to go more dressed up? Throw on a slim cotton-cashmere cardigan in place of your blazer with a wool tie and crisp dress shirt. Want to stay casual? Take that same cardigan and pair it with a long-sleeve henley and a durable, essential pair of sturdy selvedge denim for your off-duty hours. The picks below come in at price points low and high, and feature style that’s minimal and tailored — as well as casual and rugged. If you haven’t bought a cardigan for fall and winter, consider this the perfect starting point.

#1. JackThreads Fair Isle Cardigan — $79

A neutral base livened up with a visually interesting Fair Isle pattern.

A neutral base livened up with a visually interesting Fair Isle pattern.

Quick, what brand makes all manner of essential goods for every season? At nice, low prices? It’s JackThreads — and this cardigan is a big-time winner in that regard. The brand keeps taking steps forward as far as its products go — pieces like this Fair Isle cardigan nod toward trends without being too over-the-top. The fabric quality and fit should be reliable and modern, and the tan base should help it play nicely off navy chinos or grey flannel trousers — yes, it’s almost flannel season!

#2. J. Crew Cotton-Cashmere Cardigan Sweater — $74.50

Nothing too fancy about this sweater -- but with fabric this nice, it doesn't need to overdo it.

Nothing too fancy about this sweater — but with fabric this nice, it doesn’t need to overdo it.

Like JackThreads, J. Crew consistently comes up with fresh takes on wardrobe staples no matter the season. Although some of those creations can lean quite expensive, this cotton-cashmere cardigan is the definition of an everyday sweater at a low price. If you keep a weather eye out for sales and deals, you could snag it even cheaper. As it stands now though, a slim burgundy cardigan from a reputable brand is something every guy can put to good use. Team up this cardigan with a blue Oxford, slim tan chinos and high-top sneakers for a bit of sporty, retro style.

#3. Grayers Shore Club Cotton Cardigan in Navy Heather — $93.75

A cotton cardigan can still work in the fall -- just pair with a slim henley and cold-weather accessories.

A cotton cardigan can still work in the fall — just pair with a slim henley and cold-weather accessories.

Have you had your fill yet of navy sweaters? Hope not. Grayers’ fabric quality is top-notch (which explains the Grayers x SeaVees sneaker collab), and that’s the case with this easygoing navy heather cardigan. With details like a chest pocket and dual hip pockets, plus that heathered fabric, it’s going to wear easily over a slub pocket T-shirt with olive chinos and a pair of durable moc toe boots — like the ones seen in this #OOTD. It’s the perfect cardigan for weekend coffee runs — and you’ll be the sharpest guy in the place.

#4. Todd Snyder Shawl Cardigan — $157.50 (Available via East Dane)

If you're not a Todd Snyder fan, get on board -- this cardigan is but one example of his excellent work.

If you’re not a Todd Snyder fan, get on board — this cardigan is but one example of his excellent work.

It’s tough not to be a huge fan of what Mr. Snyder has done for casual, rugged menswear — right? The designer’s collaborations — from the Timex x Todd Snyder partnership to his work on P.F. Flyers sneakers — merge menswear’s past with modern fits, a dash of Americana and all-around terrific style. So, it should come as no surprise that his knitwear knocks it out of the park. A midweight jersey fabric is complemented by a faded indigo wash — that combo means it’ll stand out stylishly even up against dark blue denim. And while you could style it with an essential chambray shirt and tan chinos, it’s going to be at its best with a vintage team T-shirt during your next football game.

#5. Rag & Bone Standard Issue Avery Shawl Cardigan — $275 (Available via East Dane)

A strong silhouette, neutral color and luxury fabric make this cardigan worth the investment.

A strong silhouette, neutral color and luxury fabric make this cardigan worth the investment.

Did you think we’d make it out of this post without at least one eye-popping splurge? Not a chance. Some of us aren’t necessarily into brands that skew more heavily toward minimal high fashion — Rag & Bone is one such brand, yet they always temper that approach with military styling, classic colors and beautiful fabrics. This navy knit shawl cardigan has a lot going on visually — the shawl collar, front hip patch pockets and textured fabric — but it’s done so in a pleasing way (with a strong silhouette to boot). When teamed with a red plaid shirt, you’re getting a look that’s heritage-inspired and fall-appropriate without going too far overboard.

With any of the above cardigans, you’re checking some key fall #menswear criteria — 1) Warmth and solid layering potential. 2) Visual interest — in the form of a shawl collar or a slim dress cardigan. 3) Plenty of styling versatility — crucial when you want to switch things up from a stylish fall or winter blazer. And while some of the above price points stray upward a bit, it’s worth it to make an investment now — especially when you can wear a nice cardigan all through winter (even the Grayers cotton cardigan can be layered under a winter topcoat when snow hits). If you suspect you might get funny looks or comparisons to everyone’s favorite neighbor, rest assured that the cardigan is a modern style move — take the plunge, y’all! If you have suggestions for other stylish men’s cardigans, check out The Style Guide on Facebook.

#OOTD: Styling a Shawl Cardigan for Winter

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.

Ahh, the shawl cardigan — that masculine style essential that I find myself turning to time and time again. It simultaneously combines a rugged edge and old-school vibes (in the case of this piece, a cable knit) with new-school cool — in a slim cut, it can definitely be dressed up or down. It’s the type of piece I find myself wanting to wear far too often, simply because it looks great with lots of different pieces — be they slim chinos, dark denim or some colored jeans fit for the office or the weekend. And lucky for the both of us, the fine folks at JackThreads, makers of the cardigan you see below, are stocking a terrific pick-up at a steal of a price (as it seems with most of the brand’s offerings). Here’s but one way in which to wear it! Let’s see if you’d style it in a similar manner, yeah?

Taking a rugged style essential and mixing in rich color and texture.

Taking a rugged style essential and mixing in rich color and texture.

The Shawl Cardigan: JackThreads Cable Cardigan, $51.75 (On-Sale) — A terrific navy color plus that great cable knit texture (and the essential shawl collar) at a winning price.

The Denim: Bonobos Dark Roast Travel Jean, $108 — Pricier than a pair of Levi’s, but Bonobos Travel Jeans bring quality in spades — plus the deep brown color here is excellent.

The Shirt: JackThreads Slim White Oxford Shirt, $49 — Another super-solid JackThreads pickup at a standout price — this is your everyday white Oxford.

The Boots: Dr. Scholl’s Burke Lace-up Boot, $155 — I’ve said the before and I’ll say it again: Who knew Dr. Scholl’s made men’s boots? This pair is lightweight and stylish, and they’re a solid way to mix black and dark brown (which CAN be done).

The Socks: J. Crew Medium-Dot Cotton Socks, $14.50 — A bit more expensive than a standard Wal-Mart pair of socks, but they’re much comfier and offer a solid change of pace in terms of color — even though they’re blue!

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt, $75 — As first seen in this site’s New Year’s Eve Style Suggestion; it’s got texture that falls in line with the watch, and a sleek black color to fit the boots. Again, black and brown can work together in dark shades like this!

The Watch: KOMONO Winston Herringbone Watch, $99.95 — As reviewed here; there’s hardly a better price for a seasonally appropriate watch that adds some great visual interest to this ensemble.

So we mix in lots of texture, from the cable knit of the sweater to the herringbone watch to the suede belt, and ground it with a classic white Oxford and saturated dark brown jeans — good enough for just about anywhere, right? Don’t forget to top it off with a slim topcoat and some warm winter accessories. Have suggestion as to what you want to see in these #OOTD entries? Send me an email or drop me a line on Twitter.

Florsheim

Style Pick of the Week: JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan

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.

Thick-knit and ready for all kinds of cold weather -- the JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan.

Thick-knit and ready for all kinds of cold weather — the JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan. Denim tote bag also by JackThreads. Roughout Captain Leather Boots by Thursday Boot Company.

So how was your Christmas? Did you get any snow in your neck of the woods? Things were quite warm here in Florida, and not a snowflake in sight. But that doesn’t mean I’m not prepped for a cold spell once I head back to NYC. As it gets deeper and deeper into winter, you can certainly expect more and more of these weekly Style Pick features to cover cold-weather essentials. That’s where something exceptionally sturdy and durable like the JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan is going to come in handy. It’s yet another item that the site’s new menswear vertical seems to do so well, and at a really solid pricepoint, too. If you’re not familiar, JT relaunched this past fall with a revamped Web site and its own collection of #menswear essentials, ranging from soft tees to affordably priced cashmere sweaters (those are going for an astounding $69 right now — keep an eye out for more later this winter). So given the mission they’ve set out to achieve — outfitting the discerning style aficionado at a great price — I’m a big fan. Throw in the fact that the Fisherman Cardigan is thick-knit, super-warm and way stylish, and you have a surefire winner in my book. Some might not like the fact that it’s 70 percent acrylic to 30 percent wool, but the blend doesn’t feel cheap or scratchy. Besides, what’s important is how it can be styled!

If Heather Grey isn't your speed, the Fisherman Cardigan also comes in what the brand calls Medium Blue.

If Heather Grey isn’t your speed, the Fisherman Cardigan also comes in what the brand calls Medium Blue.

As I’ve written before and will no doubt write on more in the future, the shawl-collar cardigan strikes the right balance between a style curveball — you’re wearing a cardigan after all — and a rugged style essential. The shawl collar itself adds visual interest, while the thick knit is a great textural play. In the versatile Heather Grey seen here, it can be paired seamlessly with a tough long-sleeve henley, or over a chambray shirt and dark denim — and the Medium Blue as seen above would also be a solid choice. You could even layer it under a brown wool blazer if it gets especially cold. And at the price of this JackThreads cardigan (just a hair over $52), you can wear it again and again without treating it too preciously. I myself have worn this bad boy over a twill CPO shirt and indigo henley for a night exploring Brooklyn, and my only other layer was a scarf — it’s that warm. It’s the exact right kind of style to anchor a sturdy weekend outfit — captoe boots and raw denim definitely come to mind. With the neutral color, a slim fit (a Medium fits my frame just right) and that eyecatching texture, it’s a cardigan that’s more than ready to brave the cold no matter where your adventures take you this winter.

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Style Pick of the Week: JACHS NY Merino Wool Cardigan

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.

The ideal type of sweater to get you through fall, with some on-trend elbow patches, to boot. Short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

The ideal type of sweater to get you through fall, with some on-trend elbow patches, to boot. Short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

Just as we talked about in this very space during last week’s Style Pick, fall weather is quickly approaching for a lot of us. And that brings up my favorite time of the year — when you really get the chance to start layering up. Before it gets excruciatingly cold though, there’s some transition time, calling for pieces that are breathable and comfortable, but just a bit warmer than that unconstructed blazer you might have worn throughout the summer and into September. For me, that means reaching for a nice, lighter-weight cardigan. There’s plenty of time for chunky knit shawl cardigans, but it’s always nice to be able to put on a  comfortable, well-made and feather-light (well, almost) option in the meantime. Thus, enter this week’s Style Pick of the Week. JACHS NY is a hyper-local brand that’s still grabbed the eyeballs of some prominent menswear Instagrammers (like my digital pal Everyday Drew), and they stock a nice product assortment at the brand’s well-curated flagship store. Case in point — one of the brand’s F15 arrivals, the Light Grey Merino Wool Cardigan. For the record, it is a bit much at $129 for what some might view as a simple sweater. But as with most Style Picks here, these are aspirational items worth considering. And this one’s got a rad touch — some old-school elbow patches. Read on to find out why that earns it major style points (and note that it also comes in a darker Charcoal color).

Ben Sherman US

And yes, it’s wool, and it might not be too cold for that yet, right? Wrong. Before you associate wool with some scratchy, heavy  monstrosity, know that this cardigan (which the brand sent me for a variety of fall features) is nothing like that. It’s soft, it’s got a relatively trim and modern fit — that’s key when avoiding the negative style association some people have with cardigans. The trim fit and soft fabric ensure that it wears more like a thermal henley or overshirt than a thick cardigan (you can check out more product details on GearHungry, in fact). The softer fabric has made it comfortable to wear on its own over a henley in a slight fall breeze. And now, onto perhaps the top styling point — those elbow patches! They’re a soft suede, and they’re a pretty neat stylistic feature (in my opinion) that harkens back to real rustic, outdoors-y style — even if you only work in a cubicle. They make the cardigan a little less dressy, yet this is still one sweater you can throw on with slim khaki chinos, a blue Oxford and brown wingtip boots for office wear. Conversely, it’s done just fine over a simple white T-shirt for relaxing around my apartment. It’s the type of cardigan made for fall & into winter with some proper outerwear thrown on over it — best of all, those elbow patches assuredly make it the type of sweater you can put on to go grab some coffee and crunch some leaves in the park, weekend after weekend.

Have you bought from JACHS NY? Are you on-board with cardigans, or elbow-patch cardigans, for that matter?

 

Online Shopping Picks: Grayers

Classic prep looks reinterpreted for the modern age.

Classic prep looks reinterpreted for the modern age.

Editor’s note: For more online shopping picks covering everything from great brands, gift guides and the best warm-weather blazers and shorts, head here.

With so many brands competing for limited time and money from consumers (who are ever more discerning with their purchases), the modern menswear company really has to be able to do it all across several different categories — from dressier pieces to casual tees and those in-between items, like versatile chinos.  Grayers, founded by Ralph Lauren veteran Peter Georgiou, fills that niche pretty nicely for a fairly new brand. The company prides itself on classic, prep staples with a slight British edge — Grayers was the name given to gray wool flannel trousers in 1950s Britain, one of the first waves in menswear’s casual renaissance. You may recognize the brand from this site’s roundup of the best spring jackets a few months back, but the company does a lot more than outerwear. Five other pieces worth checking out from the company’s online shop are highlighted below. (Editor’s note: The brand also has some new arrivals in stock over at STAG Provisions’ Web store). Happy shopping!

#1. Belmont Slub Madras Shirt — $85

A summer plaid that uses indigo in a unique way.

A summer plaid that uses indigo in a unique way.

For a casual shirt in a soft wash, that price is a notch above J. Crew prices. But this madras blend incorporates some bright bursts of color over an indigo yarn base, a pretty unique touch when it comes to using that deep shade of blue. It grabs the top spot on this list because it’s the perfect blend of dressy and casual — you could wear this with a lightweight navy or khaki blazer and chinos, or a pair of lightwash denim and white sneakers (sleeves rolled, of course). The lighter weight is also going to come in handy these next few months.

#2. Matthew Plaid Blazer — $131.30 (On Sale)

A sale price that makes this blazer mighty tempting.

A sale price that makes this blazer mighty tempting.

You’d have to round up three dimes if you were paying for that blazer in cash, curiously enough. If the above shirt is a bit pricey, this plaid blazer is practically a steal at that price — we’re talking J. Crew Factory price levels here. But even at that discounted price, you get a heck of a lot of pattern in a warm-weather cotton poplin-lined jacket. It calls to mind other patterned blazers but plays down the scale of the plaid a bit. This is the kind of blazer you’d want to keep in the closet when wearing the above slub madras shirt — but with a crisp white buttondown, it’d look great.

#3. The Newport Chino in Gray — $52.80 (On Sale)

Four-season color and fabric at a manageable price.

Four-season color and fabric at a manageable price.

While some of Grayers’ other chinos are running at full-price right now, this particular pair gets a fairly substantial sale knockdown. A pair of mid-gray chinos like this are often very underrated as a four-season pant — the style and fabric works with everything from a nice lightweight T-shirt in spring to a cardigan or V-neck sweater and winter boots when it gets colder. That mid-gray base would even allow you to wear the Matthew Plaid Blazer shown above, as it can anchor the bolder pattern.

#4. Marlowe Slub Pique Polo — $75

Slubby color and texture differentiate this from the typical pique color.

Slubby color and texture differentiate this from the typical pique color.

At full price, this polo is rather expensive when lined up against cheaper options — that much is true. This is the kind of piece that could really see lots of use in the spring and summer, though. It’s not as dressy as the Luxe-Touch polo from Banana Republic, and it’s got just a bit more character thanks to the slubby weave — but it’s still office-appropriate when paired with some crisp chinos or denim. The fit is listed as Slim, so that’s also promising, and the sand washing process should give it a unique texture.

#5. Blair Cardigan — $67.50

Design details like the shawl collar make this piece masculine and tough.

Design details like the shawl collar make this piece masculine and tough.

Recommending a cardigan? With warm weather on the way? Heck yes, I am — if only for the reason that the sale price here is almost too good to pass up. On top of that, the heather-grey fabric, shawl collar and double-breasted styling give it the feel of a knit blazer that you could style with everything from a T-shirt to a chambray shirt. It’s a cotton-polyester blend, so it’s not the most prime fabric combination, but the site says it’s lined in heritage flannel shirting, an added design detail that should also bring some significant warmth when temperatures start to drop — or if things get a little chiller than expected this spring.

Although this is just a cross section of the site, there are other areas worth perusing, too — including the brand’s knitwear and shorts. They’ve also put together a pretty extensive Sale section that offers up pages and pages of potential shopping picks. In the meantime, shoot me an email via the Contact page if you think I missed any key offerings!

Have you ever bought from Grayers? What are your thoughts on the brand?