Signs of Light: A December weekend in Baltimore

Layered up for a pit stop at Artifact Coffee. Wool-Blend Topcoat by Old Navy. Snow Bridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Denim shirt by JackThreads. Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Lockridge Moc Toe Boots by Cole Haan. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

Layered up for a pit stop at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore. Wool-Blend Topcoat by Old Navy. Snow Bridge Cardigan by Eddie Bauer. Denim shirt by JackThreads. Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Lockridge Moc Toe Boots by Cole Haan. Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

As I traveled down the East Coast this past Friday morning, I was able to look back on a heck of a lot of things besides the crisp winter scenery. It was outstanding to reflect on a great year of work, of time with family and friends, of travel and a great year of celebrating some of my passions — including live music and menswear, all rolled into one. And it was as good a time as any for this Style Guide author to catch a great show and bring along some of my favorite men’s style essentials, yet again. My travels this time around took me to the unique and ever-changing city of Baltimore to see joyous indie folk rockers The Head and The Heart — that’s a definite recipe for success. I’ve been really lucky to be able to travel in style (of course) so frequently to see great bands, from an upstate trip to see Lucius to a weekend trip to Providence to see (perhaps) my favorite band, West Coast indie rockers Local Natives. So it was fitting that on one of the last weekends of the year, I took to the trail again. What did I bring with me? Only the best gear I could pack into my Owen & Fred weekender bag — you knew that bag was sturdy as heck and travel-friendly, right?

Rugged layers for a chilly weekend. Wool Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Yosemite Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Donegal Trousers by JackThreads. Red Wing Leather Waterbury Chrono by Timex _ Todd Snyder. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

Rugged layers for a chilly weekend. Wool Shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch. Yosemite Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Donegal Trousers by JackThreads. Red Wing Leather Waterbury Chrono by Timex _ Todd Snyder. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Glasses by Frameri. Cashmere hat by Club Monaco.

As seems to be the case with the weather across much of the country, the weekend was an especially frigid one in Baltimore — and NYC. For my train ride down the coast and a day exploring Baltimore, I layered up accordingly as seen at the top of the page, starting with my trusty JackThreads denim shirt. Of course, a stylish shawl cardigan proved a crucial layering piece given the chill, and I prepared accordingly with the durable, thick-knit and unique Eddie Bauer Snow Bridge Cardigan. I topped those layers off with the slim, warm Old Navy Wool-Blend Topcoat, an unexpected offering from a brand that keeps improving its apparel and outerwear game. For a blend of flexibility, comfort and style — crucial when sitting on a train for a few hours, then moving about the city — my trusty Bonobos Travel Jeans in Allegheny Oak fit the bill perfectly, and played nicely in terms of color off my sturdy, tough-wearing Cole Haan Lockridge Moc Toe Boots. You might recognize those boots from this site’s piece on how to dress for the first snowfall, and they’ve got plenty of weather-ready bells and whistles — they’re waterproof and feature the brand’s Grand.OS technology, for starters. When paired up with my reliable-as-ever MVMT Watches Calypso Watch and tough accessories like my Grifter Company Ranger Gloves, I was more than set to battle the chill.

I also brought along my trusty Brothers Leather 810 Wallet .It’s a beautiful, handmade and essential wallet — and you can get 15% off that wallet, or any Brothers Leather item, using the code ‘BrotherBeau15’! Seriously, look into upgrading your everyday carry ASAP. Know that the next time you hit the road to a chilly locale, you should pack as many durable winter accessories as you can, too.

The everyday carry for a quick road trip. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Wallet by Brothers Leather (Get 15% off with the code 'BrotherBeau15'! Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Pen by Owen & Fred.

The everyday carry for a quick road trip. Ranger Gloves by Grifter Company. Wallet by Brothers Leather (Get 15% off with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’! Calypso Watch by MVMT Watches. Pen by Owen & Fred.

Stop number one on my trip? Of course, a stellar coffee shop — that’d be Artifact Coffee, and I’d absolutely recommend a trip of your own if ever you get to Baltimore. It’s a rustic backdrop for a tasty egg-and-bacon English muffin and a rich cup of coffee, plus some quiet writing and reflection. Properly caffeinated following an early train ride, a stop at one of the city’s neat menswear shops was in order. 16Tons — not a far walk from Artifact — is packed to the gills with vintage menswear, including sturdy tweed blazers, stonewashed denim jackets and a fair selection of tough moto boots. With my fill of menswear shopping, it was time for a much-needed burger at the lauded Abbey Burger Bistro — add the Guinness cheddar to your burger and top it off with a local Union Red Foxy IPA. I walked off the burger with a stroll through the neat Inner Harbor and Federal Hill areas of Baltimore, filled with beautiful red brick historic homes.

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With a great lunch and a great day of exploration around Baltimore behind me, I was more than ready for a long-awaited show from The Head and The Heart — seeing as I missed the band’s NYC tour stop in October after years of listening, it was high time I got around to seeing them. Looking back on 2016, the group’s stellar third album, “Signs of Light,” was one of my favorites for its joyous, uplifting message, powerful harmonies, subtle pop influences and soaring guitars. It’s the kind of music we need a bit — or a lot — more of, and it resulted in a stunning live show that was a joy to watch.With a full day to look ahead to the show, I was beyond excited — and because I packed light and relied on style staples like the tough-yet-comfortable Cole Haan Lockridge Moc Toe Boots and the durable MVMT Watches Calypso Watch I was able to transition from day to night and fully enjoy the concert.

Checking out a new music venue in a new city is always a neat endeavor, and a packed Ram’s Head Live didn’t disappoint. The buzzing,  multi-level venue also drew a nice crowd for folk rock trio Joseph, themselves a group quickly on the rise and capable of producing some powerful songs in the vein of Lucius or HAIM — yes, they’re that good.  And they nicely complemented a beautiful performance from The Head and The Heart, who absolutely didn’t disappoint. I’d recommend you see them as soon as you can — the band’s beautiful vocals and soaring songs — soaring is the only way to describe it — were incredible. From the opener “All We Ever Knew” to a huge rendition of “Rivers and Roads” and stirring, fun versions of “Lost in My Mind” and “Shake,” it was among the better shows I’ve seen this year — and that’s saying something!
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With an amazing live show in the books, I looked ahead to an excellent Saturday of Baltimore, including an amazing brunch & Bloody Mary at Baltimore institution Miss Shirley’s. Of course, a delicious, rich Nutella latte from 3 Bean Coffee was also in order. With chilly temperatures in the forecast yet again, I went with sturdy layers to fight the cold.. Namely, my slim and refined JackThreads Donegal Trousers provided a bit of a high-low style complement to my heritage-inspired Abercrombie & Fitch Wool Shirt. Given the blustery, frigid weather, I also threw on my much-loved Taylor Stitch Yosemite Shirt, as seen at the top of the post. It’s a soft, warm and essential layering piece. And on the watch front, it doesn’t get any better than my rugged and durable Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph, all of which helped me navigate Baltimore in warmth and good time — seriously!

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Unique, versatile layers for a blustery Brooklyn day. Wool-Blend Henley Sweater and Belted Shawl Cardigan by Abercrombie & Fitch. Kinzie Jeans by Mugsy Jeans. Sutter Boots by CAT Footwear. Red Wing Leather Chronograph by Timex + Todd Snyder. Socks by To Boot New York. Wallet by Brothers Leather (get 15 percent off Brothers Leather goods with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’!

Unfortunately, my trip was over much too soon, and it was time to head back to  NYC. The ceaseless cold weather showed no signs of relenting on Sunday, so I again reached for critical layers, starting with a brand-new, rugged-and-refined Abercrombie & Fitch Wool-Blend Henley Sweater. It’s a rich addition to any wardrobe, affordably priced and featuring a neat blend of sport and heritage-inspired style. For an afternoon spent exploring Williamsburg, I accented the sweater with a distinctive Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan — you can expect to see a lot more of this unique, comfortable layering piece soon. On the footwear front, I found myself reaching once again for my durable, tough CAT Footwear Sutter Boots — the brown burnishing is a handsome and classic design touch. And whether in cold weather or on a warm, sunny day, you really can’t go wrong with the ridiculously comfortable Kinzie Jeans from Mugsy Jeans, made with a ton of stretch for ease of movement. I complemented the ensemble with the Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph yet again — it’s a tough watch to pass up wearing!

Huckberry
As I bundled up heading back through Brooklyn, it was great to be able to reflect on a stellar weekend. It featured some of my favorite things — live music, menswear, travel and a requisite helping of craft beer and great burgers! It doesn’t really get any better, especially packed into the span of a few days. And any time I get to spend at my favorite spots in Brooklyn is also time well-spent. It’s been a whirlwind month of December — and a whirlwind year — but I’m really thankful to get the chance to travel, see great shows and bring along stylish menswear in the process. If you’ve got your own holiday travel coming up, I hope it goes well — and if you’ve still got gifts to buy, check out our men’s holiday gift guide, along with the women’s holiday gift guide. Happy shopping!

Thanks as always for reading — stay stylish!

-Beau

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Style Suggestion: How to Dress for Football Season

Editor’s note: Click here to check out past #menswear style suggestions.

Sometimes, you can feel it in the air before you actually see it — maybe you bolt out of bed on a Saturday morning thinking it’s game day (just me?), or get your old (or current) school fight song stuck in your head one day. It’s nearly back … football season, folks. The fall and the start of football season has always been one of my favorite times of year — growing up about fifteen minutes from the campus of Michigan State University turned me into a football fanatic at a very young age. That dedication only continued through college; heck, you could hear the roar of the crowd at Spartan Stadium from my college house. So as the calendar rolls toward fall once again, I’m focused on getting back to see my beloved Spartans — and I’m focused a little bit more on upping my #menswear game for the occasion than when I was in school. Now, that goes for you pro football fans, too — but sadly, the Detroit Lions were never anything to write home about. As we always talk about at ye olde Style Guide, there are plenty of ways to get dressed with style upgrades in mind, and that goes for situations that might seem more casual or mundane. Just as with watching the Olympics or heading to a bar crawl, dressing for a football game is definitely there. From your garb up top to your everyday carry, you might be surprised at how many brands are approaching sports-related activities with neat stylistic touches in mind. Of course, the below post is written from a Midwesterner’s perspective — wearing blazers to games doesn’t quite fly (but all the more power to you if that’s how you do it!). If you think I missed anything in the below #menswear rundown, hit me up on Twitter or shoot me an email. In the meantime — Go Green!

The Base Layer: Flint & Tinder Marled Long-Sleeve Henley — $62

Easy to layer, easy to wear on its own and ready for football season or the work week.

Easy to layer, easy to wear on its own and ready for football season or the work week.

First things first — it’s probably not all that cold for any of us at the moment, so this layer might stay in the closet for a while. But should you splurge a little on this Flint & Tinder Henley, know that you’re getting a brand-new offering from a brand that’s refined the art of making excellent basics in America. Oh, and another plus: It’ll keep you just as warm as a long-sleeve athletic base layer, yet you get bonus style point and no logos in sight. Lastly, you can wear this piece on its own under a wool blazer during the work week this fall, and no one will be any the wiser when you re-wear it on Saturday.

The T-Shirt: Tailgate Clothing Team Tee — From $19.99

Cheer on your alma mater in style -- trust me, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the student section (or that alumni tailgate) with a tee like this.

Cheer on your alma mater in style — trust me, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the student section (or that alumni tailgate) with a tee like this.

Fancy yourself a college football fan (like yours truly), but tired of wearing standard team fare? Add a dash of vintage style to gameday with a tee that might feel a bit familiar. How’s that? If you recognize the mix of classic heritage and American sportswear in the tee you see above (and the brand’s other styles), you’re onto something — Tailgate Clothing was co-founded by none other than lauded menswear designer Todd Snyder. And with a positively huge range of collegiate T-shirts, plus a handful of jerseys and hoodies, I’d bet you can find your team — no sweat. *Insert obligatory ‘Go Green’ chant here*

The Denim: Mott & Bow Norfolk Raw Denim — $79.98

Sharp, simple and easily wearable on a football Saturday.

Sharp, simple and easily wearable on a football Saturday.

Looking for yet another way to differentiate yourself from the pack? Whereas some other folks might reach for baggy, distressed denim — maybe featuring a bootcut — a pair of crisp, clean and simple dark denim is the way to go here. Mott & Bow’s Norfolk Raw Denim was launched late last year as the brand’s first foray into raw denim, and this writer’s pair has broken in very nicely. Contrary to what you might think, this denim isn’t overly heavy, and doesn’t wear too stiff right out of the box. That means they’d be a solid pick to wear now, and keep on wearing if (or when) it gets cold out. Like the above henley, they can also function during your 9-to-5. Not bad at all, yeah?

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
The Boots: SWIMS Barry Chukka in Taupe/Biscuit — $230

Wear these to tailgate, wear these to class, wear these to the office -- there's no wrong way to wear 'em!

Wear these to tailgate, wear these to class, wear these to the office — there’s no wrong way to wear ’em!

If that price catches you by surprise initially, not to worry — the Barry Chukka is nearly a four-season pair of footwear that packs in waterproof protection with a versatile  silhouette. As far as chukka boots go, they’ve got the potential to be worn in the heat of September (thanks to the lightweight crepe sole) and deep into tailgating season this November. Then, you can break them back out in the spring. Think of these stylish chukka boots as a decided upgrade over athletic sneakers — they’re sleeker, cleaner, more versatile and ready for just about anything (including post-victory bar-hopping).

The Socks: American Trench Mil-Spec Sport Socks with Silver — $11.50

A no-brainer if you want versatile socks that are wearable week after week.

A no-brainer if you want versatile socks that are wearable week after week.

Socks aren’t that big of a deal, right? Wrong. If you want a pair that’s high-quality enough to be worn for long periods of time on your feet week after week, you want these socks. And if you’re on the hunt for a pair that’s both affordable and long-lasting? You want these socks. The navy color is simple and straightforward — no zany colors or patterns here, so the socks won’t distract from your T-shirt. Plus, they’re definitely made with more care than a pair of garish team socks, and I’d bet those results will show up on the scoreboard, too (wink, wink).

The Watch: Jack Mason Brand Team Watch — From $95

It's tough to find a watch that merges both your favorite sports team and everyday style potential -- here's one that does.

It’s tough to find a watch that merges both your favorite sports team and everyday style potential — here’s one that does.

Now, if wearing both a team watch and a team T-shirt feels a bit like overkill, you could always reach for a rugged dive watch. But know that the way Jack Mason makes its collegiate watches, these aren’t flimsy or unrefined by any means. Essentially, styles like the Blackout Silicone Strap Watch you see here are just tough watches made for the everyday and spruced up with the logo of your favorite school. When you look at that way, it’s tough not to buy into this unique, well, style upgrade. Even the Striped NATO Strap Watch isn’t too gaudy — heck, the variety of striped NATO straps offered with Jack Mason’s other collegiate watches would work well with other casual timepieces in your rotation.
Frank & Oak
The Belt: J. Crew Suede Belt — $55

The right texture and color to work in other fall style scenarios beyond your tailgate.

The right texture and color to work in other fall style scenarios beyond your tailgate.

If we’re being honest, most folks probably aren’t giving a second thought to what they were to the game besides an athletic jersey, so putting some thought into a good-quality, versatile belt might not mean much at a tailgate. But if you’re on a mission to out-dress that pesky Michigan fan (as we all should be), then a good belt is just the type of thing to spend a little time on. Crucially, this J. Crew suede belt falls in the same color family as the SWIMS chukka boots seen above, and it’s the perfect color and texture to wear with other fall business-casual outfits the rest of the week. It doesn’t exactly match up in terms of color with the watch, but as we’re mixing a rubber watch and a leather belt, matching isn’t of the utmost importance. Now, catching the snap — that’s much more important.

The Hat: Huckberry Explorer’s Cap in Black — $39.98

Another underrated style upgrade -- the grown man's ballcap.

Another underrated style upgrade — the grown man’s ballcap.

Again, a  ballcap is one of those things most of us throw on and don’t think about. And there are certainly ways to support your team and nod toward the ol’ ballgame without throwing on a coach’s headset. A simple, monochrome ballcap with vintage-inspired roots (it’s made by the folks at Ebbets Field Flannels) is a step in the right direction if you can’t part with your old college ballcap. Believe me, this writer loves a good hat as much as the next guy. This one is also the kind of cap you can throw on to run a few errands on a weekend morning — you know, things like picking up a six-pack (or three) before your tailgate.

The Must-Have: Brothers Leather Supply Co. C.W. Growler Bag — $75

The ideal way to haul around your favorite brew.

The ideal way to haul around your favorite brew.

OK, so perhaps a growler bag isn’t a must-have (particularly if you’re not the type to imbibe). But if you enjoy a great craft brew — perhaps from a fine brewery near the Grand Rapids shop of Brothers Leather — then this growler is something you oughta pick up. It’s made from full-grain finished Vachetta tanned leather, which is enough to boggle your fellow tailgate-goer before you even pour them a beer. The 36-inch strap is a functional touch for lugging this thing around — the only thing missing is some stellar craft beer.

Even though it might seem a bit tedious to put that extra bit of effort into your appearance on a weekend day, it definitely pays off. It’s something I still struggle with from time to time, but finding the right pieces can make the experience a heck of a lot better. The search for that perfectly worn vintage tee hopefully is a bit easier now after checking out Tailgate Clothing, and stylish everyday carry pieces like an upgrade team watch and a vintage ballcap are subtle, sporty-yet-stylish ways to prep for the occasion. Crucially, waterproof nubuck chukka boots and slim, dark denim are great building blocks for any outfit. And if you pack well (I.e. Enough beer for your tailgate), you should be set for game day and beyond. To see how this writer takes on the MSU football season in style, head to Instagram. Meanwhile, we’ll see you in the stands!

What’s your take on the above outfit? Would you add or subtract any pieces? Thinking about making any purchases?

#OOTD: Dressing for a Laidback Office

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

If you haven’t noticed on the calendar, we’re still in the midst of a pretty hot August. And even if you’ve got other tactics for fighting the heat in style — like rocking lightweight linen pants or a chambray blazer — there are still times where you might feel you’ve run out of ideas. Or rather, where you just want to look sharp and put-together even in a work environment where things are decidedly more casual. That’s where today’s 9-to-5 look comes in. Although you can add a classic blazer if you’d like, we’re ditching the jacket in favor of a well-fitting, lightweight denim shirt. It’s a welcome style swerve from a slim blue Oxford, believe me. And when paired up with style essentials that are crisp but not overly stuffy (like suede chukkas), you’ve got a head-to-toe ensemble that looks just fine, even sans blazer. So get that credit card at the ready, open a few extra browser tabs (online shopping is the best, am I right??) and check out the below #OOTD. For a real-time look at what your author is wearing on the daily, head to Instagram or Twitter.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Taking the standard business casual outfit & updating it with suede chukkas, a floral tie and a casual denim shirt.

Taking the standard business casual outfit & updating it with suede chukkas, a floral tie and a casual denim shirt.

The Pants: J. Crew Bowery Classic Pant in Cotton Twill, $79.50 — J. Crew excels at making style staples that work in multiple situations, and these cotton twill pants featuring a tailored-but-not-tight fit are no exception; you could also style them up with leather sneakers, but they work best in this biz-casual scenario.
Frank & Oak
The Shirt: JackThreads The Denim Shirt, $24.50 — Although this shirt featured prominently in a recent #OOTD on how to dress for a casual summer day, it can also be livened up with a lightweight tie; plus, that price is a fantastic value.

The Tie: Ties.com Blue Cotton Florence Tie, $20 — What’s the ideal complement to a light blue shirt? A navy floral cotton tie, of course. Pick up some no-show socks from Ties.com while you’re shopping, too.

The Shoes: Blu Kicks Tahoe Sand Chukka, $128 — While you could also rock some stylish leather loafers here, unlined suede chukkas are going to provide comfort, a shot of color and the ability to be worn underneath a rolled hem — they tie everything together even more casually — of course, that means you need comfortable no-show socks, too.

The Belt: Anderson’s Stretch Woven Leather Belt, $195 — A belt that’s nearly $200? Well, when you can wear it all four seasons and with outfits dressy or casual, you’ll get plenty of use out of it (see this #OOTD for another example).
The Watch: Jack Mason Nautical 3-Hand Watch, $157.98 — The great folks at Huckberry always curate stylish essentials for your everyday, and this unique watch that plays off nautical design inspiration is no exception. It’s dressy and sharp, yet water-resistant up to 100 meters.

The Briefs: Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Briefs in Bossa Nova, $24 — When it comes to finishing touches, the Mack Weldon team has you all set. The brand’s boxer briefs might just be the most comfortable and high-performing on the market.
The Everyday Carry: Field Notes Brand Original Ruled Notebook (3-pack), $9.95 — If you’ve been looking for a low-profile addition to your desk, these notebooks are the way to go — they’re a design lover’s dream, measured and made with precision and accuracy in mind. Not a bad addition to your daily carry, right?
If you find yourself at a bit of a #menswear impasse when it comes to mixing up your summer style, it’s best to stick with what you know. That is, a shirt that’s well-fitting and casual, plus crisp dress pants, for starters. The touches that finish everything off — like suede chukkas, a unique watch and dependable accessories — go a long way in making this look one that’s refined and just a bit different from what you might normally wear on a daily basis. And shoes like those comfortable suede chukkas can rack up a lot of mileage in other situations both casual and refined, so they’re a wise pick-up now. Got questions or suggestions on this #OOTD? Leave it in the comments below, or drop me a note on Facebook.

Reader Giveaway Opportunity: #Menswear Essentials

Editor’s note: The below giveaway is made possible through a partnership with Nakturnal and features prizes from East Dane. Read on to win!

East Dane stocks head-to-toe menswear essentials -- if you're lucky, this guy could be you. Photo courtesy of East Dane.

East Dane stocks head-to-toe menswear essentials — if you’re lucky, this guy could be you. Photo courtesy of East Dane.

Although The Style Guide just ran a reader giveaway earlier this month with the great team at Tread for Men, we’re running another one today, and it’s focused on #menswear essentials — not bad, right? After all, you can never have enough stylish pieces with which to put together outfits. We’re talking menswear essentials that you can, and should, pick up and wear on the daily — things like a slim chambray shirt, dark denim, or suede chukkas. But where to find such essentials? Well, there are certain E-commerce sites that offer up all those pieces at once, with an eye for style that’s continental and classic. East Dane is one such site — if you’ve read this blog, you know that your humble author is definitely a fan. And if you can see that photo above — all East Dane pieces — you best believe they know what they’re talking about.

That’s why I’m so pleased today to partner up with Nakturnal and offer up two (yes, TWO!) $100 gift cards to East Dane and the site’s well-curated assortment of men’s lifestyle goods. The site’s slate of brands runs the gamut from venerable institutions like Filson and Converse to up-and-comers like Public School  — truly, they’ve got something for everyone. Particularly if you’re looking for something like a great pair of men’s jeans, they’ve got you. And if you want to get 50% off men’s goods right now — everything from chukkas to shirts to blazers — well, they’ve also got you. Now, note that if you’re based outside the U.S., shipping is free for orders of $100 or more, but you’re on the hook for any potential customs tariffs — we’re all about saving you money here at The Style Guide, see?

But back to the menswear at East Dane: It’s a terrific mix of classic, straightforward-yet-continental pieces, and in all, you could feasibly spend hours zipping around the site — as I’ve done in the past. If you want to dive right in and earn that gift card mentioned above, follow the giveaway details below; best of luck to those entering, and join the menswear conversation at The Style Guide Facebook page in the meantime. And the great thing is, you’ve got a whole week to enter! Good luck!

To win one of two $100 East Dane gift cards, comment below or share a link in the comments detailing your favorite item on the East Dane site.

Editor’s note: This contest ends at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23rd.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

#OOTD: How to Dress Down a Summer Blazer

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

As we’ve talked about in past #OOTD entries here on The Style Guide, summer style — particularly at this point in the season — can be a bit tricky. Perhaps you feel you’ve exhausted all the ways to wear shorts in the summer that you can think of, or maybe you’ve even tired of styling linen pants in the heat. But, that’s where summer also works out well. Since it’s warm, you get a bit of leeway when dressing. And that means you can put together stylish combinations that are also unexpected. Those khaki suit trousers? Break them up from the rest of your suit. Throw in style staples that should already be in rotation — like a classic navy blazer — and you’re set with an #OOTD that works for traveling in warm weather or waltzing to Sunday brunch. Oh, and a great polo is also a must-have. But where to get all this great gear? Look no further than the below ensemble — and follow along on Instagram to get more daily styling tips (if you feel so inclined, that is).

Mashing up your favorite style essentials, from a crisp summer polo to a classic blazer and comfortable slip-on sneakers.

Mashing up your favorite style essentials, from a crisp summer polo to a classic blazer and comfortable slip-on sneakers.

The Polo: Mack Weldon Vesper Polo, $68 — Yes, it’s true: The brand that makes your favorite long-sleeve merino tee is here with a new polo that’s crisp, well-tailored and made from very breathable micro-mesh knit fabric.

The Blazer: Grayers Cayman Blazer, $104.98 — At just more than $100, this blazer is a heck of a deal, made from 100 percent cotton and featuring Bemberg-lined sleeves (that’s the good stuff, FYI).

The Pants: Canvas by Lands’ End Stretch Chino Suit Trousers, $89 — Just when you thought you could only wear suit pants with a suit, along come these versatile chino trousers cut with a hint of stretch.

The Pocket Square: Ties.com White Edged Linen Pocket Square, $10 — A sharp navy blazer deserves a crisp white pocket square cut in a summer-appropriate weight, and at $10, this thing’s a steal.

The Sneakers: SeaVees Hawthorne Slip-on Standard in True Navy, $78 — A pair of classic white sneakers would also work here, but the navy plays nicely off the powder blue polo.

The Socks: Sock Genius Villa Park No-show Stripe Sock, $10 — The same spot you hit up to snag that pocket square can also hook you up with comfortable, stylish no-show socks for a nice deal.

The Watch: Armogan Spirit of St. Louis Chronograph, $225 — A sporty-yet-stylish polo calls for a  slick watch inspired by the world of aviation, and the navy blue strap plays handsomely off the crisp white dial.

The Sunglasses: Sunski Madronas Sunglasses, $39.98 — Simple is sometimes better when it comes to great style, and that’s the case with these durable and very affordably priced shades via Huckberry.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
Putting together an outfit when you’ve been dressing for the warm weather for a few months needn’t be all that difficult, even if at first it sounds taxing — especially when you’ve got pieces that combine subtle style efficiently. The base of the outfit is the same thing you might wear on the weekend — stylish slip-on sneakers — yet the other pieces, like the sharp polo and the navy blazer, are more suited to the work week. Yet in tandem, the combination works because the colors play well off each other and the overall ensemble — slightly sporty yet stylish — is very well-suited to summer. It’s going to be hot, and a breathable polo and cotton blazer work well together. Chime in with an #OOTD suggestion of your own at The Style Guide Facebook page in the meantime.

Do you own a new Mack Weldon polo yet? Would you style it with a navy blazer, or ditch the jacket and keep it casual?

#OOTD: How to Dress for a Spring Bar Crawl

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.

Now that spring is here in earnest (at least a little bit), maybe those invitations to outdoor get-together (the best kind after a long winter) are starting to trickle in. If you’re like this #menswear writer, you might enjoy a cold beverage or two on a patio as things to start to warm up, and those sorts of things just go well with some nice barbecue or a burger. Even if Memorial Day and the true start of summer is a ways off, it never hurts to have gear on hand for these sorts of situations (that goes for beer, as well). We’re taking a scenario that’s more laidback and adding a bit of class through some key style details, like a sturdy jacket and some natural, garment-dyed jeans — both slight upgrades from the athletic windbreaker and baggy denim others might pick in a situation like this (to each their own, though!). Check out this casual, relaxed (but not sloppy!) take on a spring-ready outfit, and let me know how you like it over at The Style Guide Facebook page.

A casual, laidback mix of color and texture -- with a few vintage style touches thrown in.

A casual, laidback mix of color and texture — with a few vintage style touches thrown in.

The Jacket: J. Crew Mechanic Field Jacket in Navy, $198 — While any of a number of spring jackets might also be acceptable here, there’s something rugged and classic about a tough field jacket for tossing back a beer or two (if that’s your thing).

The Shirt: Mack Weldon Pima V-neck in Deep Lichen Green, $32 — Mack Weldon’s tees are slim, soft and well-crafted; in this case, the olive color plays very well off the dark navy of the field coat.

The Jeans: JackThreads Slim Natural Garment-Dyed Denim, $59 — If ever you felt like stepping away from rugged dark denim for something lightweight and spring-inspired, this is the pair for you. The slim fit should be on point, as well.

The Sneakers: GREATS Royale in Graphite Suede, $159 — Just like natural-colored denim, suede is a material that’s particularly at home during spring (especially in crisp sneakers that can be dressed up or down).

The Socks: J. Crew Factory No-Show Socks, $7 — We’re sticking with no-show socks here to really get into the spirit of spring — plus, some slim denim practically begs to be cuffed or rolled to show off those sneakers.

The Belt: Perry Ellis Navy Webbed Belt, $17.99 — So in this instance, does the belt match the shoes? No, sir. But, this is a casual situation — and crucially, the navy color and webbed texture play nicely off the rugged jacket and garment-dyed denim.

The Watch: Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray Watch, $49.99 — For the rugged quality of this watch, there might not be a better value on the market. Also featured in this site’s post on what to wear for the NCAA tourney.

The Cap: Ebbets Field Flannels Bustin’ Babes 1927 Ballcap, $39 — Nearly $40 is quite the splurge for a cap, but this piece is a great conversation starter and it complements the vintage look of the field jacket. Call it a decided upgrade over a plain athletic logo hat. And if you’re not into hats, this outfit should look just fine without it.

We’ve talked a lot (I mean, a lot) about style upgrades on this blog, and for good reason. When you approach a more casual situation like a barbecue or beer (I mean, bar) crawl with an eye toward style, it helps. And coming from a guy who loves menswear, it’s always nice to be able to combine some unexpected colors — navy, olive, charcoal and a natural garment dye — in an unexpected way. Plus, the combination of easygoing layers and durable casual essentials (like that rubber-strap watch or the vintage ballcap) should come in handy throughout tons of other spring style scenarios.

What’s your take? Is this outfit fit for tossing a few back?


Online Shopping Picks: Best Spring & Summer T-Shirts

One of my favorite warm-weather T-shirts. Nautical printed shirt by J. Crew Factory. Navy herringbone shorts by Frank & Oak. White sneakers by GREATS Brand. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

One of my favorite warm-weather T-shirts. Nautical printed shirt by J. Crew Factory. Navy herringbone shorts by Frank & Oak. White sneakers by GREATS Brand. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

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.

A T-shirt’s a pretty simple item of clothing, right? Not too much to think about, certainly? When you look at it that way, any old graphic T-shirt will do. But so many brands and designers are upgrading this simple, iconic item of clothing with richer colors, better fabric and texture, more nuanced details and even wilder patterns that you would typically find on buttondown shirts. And that’s why it’s a better choice in this case to reach for something other than a plain ol’ white crewneck T-shirt or (particularly) a tank top. Some tanks are well-made and definitely work for some guys, but that’s beside the point — a T-shirt or short-sleeve henley just looks a bit better and could even be considered a bit more versatile.  Here are five solid (non-tank) options to round out your warm-weather wardrobe.

#1. J. Crew Factory Slim Placed Stripe Tee — $24.50

An upgraded basic thanks to some small design details.

An upgraded basic thanks to some small design details.

So this T-shirt will set you back a bit more than paying for a pack of classic white T-shirts â€” but there’s a reason for that upgraded price tag. J. Crew Factory’s quality is, by some accounts, on par with its elder sibling J. Crew when it comes to basics like this. This tee combines a slim fit with a nice shade of navy perfect for pairing with spring shorts or khaki chinos â€” the white, nautical-leaning stripe and chest pocket are also subtle design touches that differentiate it from a plain crewneck. Note that Old Navy has a nearly identical version of this piece for about half the price, although you lose out a bit on quality.

#2. Pistol Lake Short-Sleeve Henley — $35

Changing up the typical crewneck or pocket T-shirt. Henley by Pistol Lake. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Dark denim by Mott & Bow.

Changing up the typical crewneck or pocket T-shirt. Henley by Pistol Lake. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Dark denim by Mott & Bow.

The second option on this list isn’t a plain pocket T-shirt, to be sure, but everyone needs some diversity in their warm-weather wardrobe (this coming from a guy who’s got about three crewneck pocket tees in his closet). And a henley is a perfectly rugged way to break up the typical short-sleeve shirt rotation. This pick from Pistol Lake is as solid a choice as you’re going to get — made from soft, breathable 6 oz. jersey cotton, it’s sturdy and well-constructed. The price is a tad higher than a  standard pick, but you support American-made ingenuity and attention to detail.

#3. Buck Mason Navy Crew Slub Tee — $24

Slouchier collar, rounded shirttail and a deep navy color — definitely not the standard crewneck.

Slouchier collar, rounded shirttail and a deep navy color — definitely not the standard crewneck.

For all the talk here about breaking things up visually with a solid chest pocket, sometimes there are, in fact, crewneck options sans pocket that work well. In this case, the navy crew slub tee from Buck Mason combines a slightly wider collar with an inky indigo color and slubby texture for some different visual details. The rounded hem is a touch also not seen on other T-shirts, and it’s got the kind of easygoing vibe that just works in the spring and summer. Its price, again, goes toward supporting made-in-America production, which seems to be missing a lot of places these days.

#4. Bonobos Yarn Spun Heather Printed Tee — $45

An eye-popping pattern and a rather eye-popping price, too.

An eye-popping pattern and a rather eye-popping price, too.

A couple of things might catch your eye about this T-shirt — for one, the price is pretty darn high for a basic. And that pattern will absolutely turn some heads (it’s also available in a green floral option). Bonobos is definitely to be applauded for its commitment to breaking away from just making pants; this T-shirt in particular shows that. It’s the kind of pattern that will work for some … and might not work for others. But if you’re heading to the beach or a fun summer party, this is one way to upgrade a plain tee or tank top.

#5. Gustin Pocket T-Shirt 2 or 3-Pack — $28 or $42

Three colors of this pocket T-shirt were available in the first run. Photo courtesy of Gustin.

Three colors of this pocket T-shirt were available in the first run. Photo courtesy of Gustin.

Now this next option here is slightly tricky owing to the nature of Gustin’s business model. The San Franciso-based, US-production-led outfit produces runs of items only when they’re 100 percent funded — so if an item funds quicker than expected (or if it doesn’t fund at all — very rare), you miss out on the chance to buy it. However, new varieties of everything from T-shirts to denim are being added nearly daily, so it shouldn’t be too hard to stock up on a 2 or 3-pack of pocket T-shirts. Currently, the company is offering up a 2-pack of black or white pocket T-shirts — that pocket is the ideal way to break up the plain-ness of a white or black crewneck, although something like heather grey would be more versatile when it’s on tap again for the brand.

In any roundup, and particularly ones involving a basic item made nearly everywhere, there are going to be some left out. Bonobos’ Yarn Spun Striped Pocket Tee in a soft-washed red is a covetable choice thanks to that sunfaded color and subtle stripes, and even Buck Mason’s Army Green Crew Slub Tee was tough to pass up.  The Slub-Knit Pocket Tee from Old Navy was also a close finisher, but just missed the cut — keep in mind that places like GAP also do simple, affordably priced basics.

What’s your go-to summer T-shirt? Will you be picking up (or have you already bought) any of the above picks?