The Friday Read: New Style for a New Year, the Best Cup of Coffee for 2019 and Outerknown

No matter how you take your coffee, the Bespoke Post Coffee Starter Kit can help you brew a better cup. Image courtesy of Bespoke Post.

So, my friends — welcome to the first Friday Read of 2019! Pour yourself a cup of coffee using the Bespoke Post Coffee Starter Kit, kick back & enjoy the start of the weekend. Enjoying a rich cup of craft coffee is a favorite weekend starter for me, and if that’s the case for you, the Bespoke Post Coffee Starter Kit might brew the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. But, you’ll need to try it out for yourself. 
Shop Faherty Brand
Believe you me, that Bespoke Post Coffee Starter Kit is going to come in handy. After all, we’ve got some men’s style essentials to discuss. It’s truly wild to be starting 2019, and with that comes reflection in terms of how you’re dressing and how you’re approaching your wardrobe. We’re in the depths of winter (well, some of us are), and that calls for throwing on warm-yet-stylish layers — take a classic navy peacoat or an elbow patch sweater, then add rugged leather boots to fight snow and slush. Don’t forget stylish leather gloves, either. So, as you can see, there are opportunities aplenty to step your game up in ways big and small. Hopefully, you’ll learn about a few below. Aside from reading about the best men’s style picks, what’s on your weekend to-do list? For me, I’m looking forward to exploring Brooklyn (and the Interboro NYC brewery), plus … yes, enjoying a delicious cup of coffee (or two). Let’s get to the rest of today’s featured style picks in the meantime — thanks for reading!

  • There are certain times where you just need a grab-and-go jacket — maybe you’re late for work, maybe you’ve got to dash out the door with the kids, maybe you’ve got to catch the second half at the bar. Whatever the case might be, the Outerknown Puffer Jacket — a recent GearMoose feature by yours truly — is the jacket for you.
  • Looking for a cozy and minimal winter layer? That’s where the new line of Mott & Bow Cashmere Sweaters comes into play. Wear any of one of them atop a classic T-shirt for a cozy, stylish winter weekend — but first, read all about ’em at The Manual.Shop Faherty Brand
  • OK, so if you read the site or you follow me on Instagram, you assuredly  know I’m a huge fan of great craft beer. In the spirit of looking back to move forward, the excellent craft beer and lifestyle site October published a recap of the best hazy IPAs of 2018. Perhaps there’s a beer on the list you enjoy? You can never go wrong with a standout IPA.

Still in need of something else to read? Check out more of the best rugged winter gear picks to kick off your year the right way. Or, read more about the best shirt jacket to buy now, this one from Faherty Brand. Last but certainly not least … it’s chilly out there. Make sure you know how to dress for a winter weekend with comfort and style in mind. Cheers! 
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See Now, Buy Now: Wear These Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers to Start the New Year

A no-frills pair of casual everyday pants that are a nice change of pace from denim to start 2019.

Can you believe we’re on the cusp of 2019? To me, that’s truly wild — and it also means you’d do well to upgrade your men’s style essentials for the new year from places like Faherty Brand. This trusted, West Coast-based brand makes gear for virtually every guy, from cozy winter cardigans to essential everyday pants like the Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers you see above.The great thing is, the new year is the perfect time to refresh your style — and if that means stepping away from your favorite pair of denim more often in favor of a pair of stylish casual trousers, then Faherty Brand is the way to go. Available in four colors including the handsome British Khaki seen here, the Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers are a unique way to step out of classic blue denim and into something a bit more rugged & casual — yet just as versatile. That’s because the Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers wear like jeans, but have the look of a slim pair of tailored khaki pants — the ideal way to step up your business casual (or weekend) style.

Faherty Brand

A reliably slim fit and pleasing construction make these a winner.

SHOP: The Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers 

So, why exactly these pants, and why now? That’s easy. We talked before about that mix of rugged durability and versatility — it’s the depths of winter after all, and the Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers are what the brand calls its heaviest but most mobile pants. That’s great news for you, because you can (and should!) pair up these slim casual trousers with rugged leather boots, a crisp Oxford shirt and a classic shawl collar cardigan for winter style that’s tough to top. If I were you, I’d wear that ensemble to an evening date or weekend brunch. Even better? These stylish casual pants are going to work at the office or on the weekend. The slim cut of the Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers also makes ’em pleasingly dressy — try them out with a cashmere elbow patch sweater, a classic chambray shirt and brown leather dress shoes for a bit of a refresh to your office style in the new year. It’s a new year, and you need some new pants — now you know the ones to buy.

SHOP: The Faherty Brand Stretch Canvas Trousers 

 

Reader Giveaway Opportunity: SprezzaBox Subscription

Editor’s note: For more great style content, check out our Spring Style Online Shopping Picks. Thanks to everyone who entered!

All of this gear could be yours -- for months on end -- if you enter the giveaway below!

All of this gear could be yours — for months on end — if you enter the giveaway below!

As guys have grown more and more interested in all things #menswear, we’ve seen an explosion in the rise of digital services geared to help guys (like yourself) become more stylish. Be it the Frank & Oak Elevate program (formerly the Hunt Club), or great blogs like Effortless Gent, resources abound for the guy looking to become more stylish on a daily basis. Subscription-based programs that package up stylish gear and deliver it right to your doorstep are also becoming more and more popular (including lifestyle boxes like Bespoke Post). And the folks at SprezzaBox are innovating in this space, too — particularly when it comes to sharp, stylish accessories for those occasions when you need to suit up.

The name plays off the concept of “sprezzatura,” or the art of a carefully nonchalant approach to style (you’ve probably seen this on display in the streets surrounding Pitti Uomo). So, they’ve got a lot to live up to, namewise. And their stylish assortment certainly does that! Although they also offer an online store with everything from ties to pocket squares, they’ve also got a neat program with options to sign up month-by-month (or yearly), and have all the menswear goodness you could possibly want shipped to wherever you choose (your house, your man-cave, the Bat Den, etc.). It’s a great value for the product, too — finishing touches like a simple pocket square  can definitely up your game if you’re not used to trying those sorts of things out. How it works? Their stylists hand-select a mix of product each month (all of which could feasibly be incorporated into one sharp outfit), and then it ships right on out. They’ve got everything covered, right down to the cufflinks. For those of us who need to throw on a tie or a sharp blazer from time to time, it makes getting dressed quite easy. If you find yourself needing to do that on the regular, then you’ll like what we’re giving away: a FREE (yes, FREE) six-month subscription to SprezzaBox. This would normally run you $28/month, but it’s coming to ya at a low cost of … $0 through this giveaway!

But how to win, you say? Simply click on this link and follow the instructions!

Editor’s note: This contest ends at 12 a.m. on April 14.

Thanks as always for reading, and good luck to those entering!

-Beau


Style Upgrade: The Slim Crewneck Sweater

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. For more entries in the series, click here.

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making -- the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making — the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

Andddd…. we’re back! With the Style Upgrade series, that is. It’s been some time since an entry in this series ran (see past entries here), but the time is just right to talk at length about sweaters — something I’ve often said to myself daily this winter. While you can use a merino V-neck sweater as part of a high-low outfit combination — like this #OOTD entry — and you can wear the heck out of nice cashmere cardigan, certain styles are definitely trending in the marketplace and on the torsos of well-dressed guys everywhere. The crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt, in its more casual form) certainly isn’t what it once was — and that goes for its more casual iterations and its dressier counterparts. So with a return to form in mind, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe — or perhaps just pick up another sweater.

A piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks -- Todd Snyder.

A stellar piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks — Todd Snyder.

Most menswear fans probably recognize the crewneck sweatshirt from its sportier beginnings, and the ways in which designers have taken the same idea and slimmed it down. Like the Reigning Champ Crewneck Sweater that was featured as this site’s Style Pick of the Week, there’s a lot that’s been done to a silhouette more commonly associated with Rocky films for years. And as this site has talked about previously, that’s due to a few forward-thinking designers who’ve made the style at once refined and still sport-inspired. If you’re looking to start your search for a crewneck sweatshirt at the top of the (reasonably priced) pyramid, Todd Snyder has exactly what you’re looking for. The designer’s crewneck sweatshirts, while simple at first glance, exemplify the idea of using high-quality fabrics to retool an older style, what with vintage-inspired stitching and added details like that chest pocket. Todd Snyder’s collaboration with Champion  is the stuff of legend (at least for this menswear writer). The pieces are well-crafted, heritage-inspired and timeless — plus, you can wear the heck out of ’em with everything from a chambray shirt and denim to tailored sweats.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads -- one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads — one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

So that’s certainly one place to start. But some brands are taking this style essential and doing just as great of a job at slimming down the fit and changing up the fabrics. Take JackThreads, for example. The brand’s new menswear vertical is doing everything from a quilted indigo crewneck sweatshirt to its aptly named Daily Sweatshirt, all for excellent prices. And something like the Daily Sweatshirt, which strikes both a sporty yet business-casual vibe, can be paired with pieces you already have in your closet (look to stylist and menswear blogger Preston Konrad for some styling tips in this regard). Lest one forget, JackThreads has also amped up its fabric game — the brand’s cashmere crewneck sweaters are the budget alternative to more expensive alternatives. So that gives you two ways to go in terms of rocking a crewneck. However, the more standout style move might be picking up a casual crewneck and giving it a business-casual spin.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

And as with other style staples that come up time and again on this blog — take henleys, for example — brands that are inspired by sportswear itself have turned their attention to this vintage piece. Style Guide favorites Pistol Lake, out of California, are producing a contrast-stitching crewneck sweatshirt in a versatile navy that’s been a hot seller this winter (the Heather Grey option is seen at the top of the page). Fellow made-in-America brands like Taylor Stitch and Buck Mason are also producing solid crewneck sweatshirts that can stand up to a campfire or a casual day at the office (considering that both can be equally treacherous). Reliable menswear stalwarts like J. Crew are also offering up an even more roughed-up take on the crewneck sweatshirt, turning to garment-dying for a lived-in look. They’re also offering a super-refined cashmere crewneck on the opposite end of the style spectrum.

So there are certainly plenty of options out there to go more casual with your crewneck, or a bit more dressy. On the lux end of things, Shinola has expanded its product offering into crewneck sweaters, drawing on perhaps the most vintage inspiration of all — Muhammad Ali’s signature style — for its “Cassius Clay” Sweatshirt. If you find yourself with quite a bit of cash to spend, know that Mr. Porter stocks crewneck sweaters from the likes of Brunello Cucinnelli — and that’s all the proof you need that the silhouette is mainstream! With such a variety of price points, it can be a bit daunting to pick out just one — even if it is just a crewneck sweater. It’s a style that shouldn’t be overlooked, though. The styling potential is on-point (be it over a blue Oxford or a simple tee), and designers have updated the fits and colors in new and unexpected ways. Toss in solid options for every price point, and you’ve got a style upgrade worth making.

Have you upgraded your crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt) yet? What’s your favorite of the options listed here?
Join the Hunt Club - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank & Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!

New year, new style: 2016 Men’s Style Resolutions

Just thinking on my 2016 style resolutions. Navy turtleneck by Uniqlo. Custom Glenplaid suit trousers by Combatant Gentleman. Charcoacl socks by American Trench. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Just thinking on my 2016 style resolutions. Navy turtleneck by Uniqlo. Custom Glenplaid suit trousers by Combatant Gentleman. Charcoacl socks by American Trench. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Does it really seem like it’s January 5th already? Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the first few days of the year flew by as fast as the last few days of 2015! I spent the weekend in Detroit checking out some great menswear spots, eating some tasty food and exploring the city — maybe that’s why time has gone so fast? (Of note if you get to Detroit — the Shinola shop is a must-visit!). At any rate, it’s high time to keep buckling down, or getting started on, those New Year’s resolutions — particularly from a style perspective. I’m curious to know — what are your style resolutions?

For some of us, maybe it entails slimming down your wardrobe — that is, focusing on only the style essentials you need to craft great outfits. My friend Barron at Effortless Gent has  a great place to start — called The Lean Wardrobe, it’ll teach you everything you need to know about the in’s and out’s of using versatile, stylish pieces to your advantage. We’re talking taking a few items and mixing and matching them a ton of ways. If, on a similar note, you’re looking to add more mileage to your current wardrobe — but doing so with some fresh takes on old classics — I’d recommend you take a peek at an ongoing series written by yours truly for Effortless Gent: Five Ways to Wear One, showing you how to make the most of style staples like dark denim, a sturdy leather bomber or burgundy cords. It’s actually proven a fun exercise in writing and styling for me, as I’ve had to push myself to think of new outfit combinations, styles and products (the rest is a secret though, I swear).
Florsheim
And as I look toward 2016 myself, I’m looking back on 2015 and setting out a few goals for myself (in addition to continuing to discover and share new brands and products for The Style Guide, that is). To perhaps get you thinking — or keep you on the right track — here are a few of my style resolutions outlined below.

One of my goals in 2016 -- dress up a bit more! Blue Double Windowpane Shirt, Floral & Dot Brown Tie and custom Glenplaid Suit all by Combatant Gentleman. Pocket square by Banana Republic.

One of my goals in 2016 — dress up a bit more! Blue Double Windowpane Shirt, Floral & Dot Brown Tie and custom Glenplaid Suit all by Combatant Gentleman. Pocket square by Banana Republic.

#1. Suit up more — Yes, that’s right. Yours truly, dedicated menswear blogger, hasn’t worn a ton ties as of late. Perhaps it comes from seeing folks  like Matthew Graber  on Instagram put together consistently stunning outfit grids and photos featuring more ties, blazers and stellar shirts than you can shake a tie clip at, but it’s gotten me thinking of ways to maximize my rather large collection of ties — and some rugged style staples I wear quite a bit, like a great chambray shirt.

#2. Mix and match — This partly plays off number one (and probably looks a lot like the image you see at the top of the page), but I don’t often go full suit-and-tie — and that also means I don’t make nearly as much use out of what suit separates I do own outside of formal occasions. I have a classic navy worsted wool J. Crew Factory suit (similar to this one), plus a custom Glenplaid suit from Combatant Gentleman (seen at the photo at the top), but I’d love to experiment more with pairing the suit trousers with an odd blazer or turtleneck and dress boots — or even some sharp leather sneakers — if the occasion calls for it.

Plenty of blue to go around. Chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Charcoal blazer by Uniqlo. Navy suede 1000 Mile boots by Wolverine. Norfolk Raw Denim by Mott & Bow. Red knit tie by 15ties. Leather belt & floral pocket square by J. Crew. Striped socks by American Trench.

Plenty of blue to go around. Chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Charcoal blazer by Uniqlo. Navy suede 1000 Mile boots by Wolverine. Norfolk Raw Denim by Mott & Bow. Red knit tie by 15ties. Leather belt & floral pocket square by J. Crew. Striped socks by American Trench.

#3. Wear … less blue — I’m a huge fan of the color blue, from dark denim to navy suede boots to chambray shirts — often in the same outfit, as you can see above. To me, it’s remarkably versatile and wearable in nearly any sort of situation — there’s a reason why Bond defaults to classics like navy suits, and there’s a reason why a slim pair of dark denim can go just about anywhere these days. As nice as it is to be able to wear something so consistently, I’d like to simply branch out into other colors in shirting and trousers particular — be it a red chambray shirt, or getting more use out of my burgundy cords (sans blue OCBD). It could prove tricky, but I’ll give it a shot!

Those are just a few — as I continue to find style inspiration lots of different places, I hope you’ll do the same, and keep me updated along the way! Drop me a line on Twitter or shoot me an email via the Contact page above — and perhaps leave a comment if you feel so inclined. Best of luck as we go forward in 2016! Let’s all keep it stylish.

Style Upgrade: Sharp Sneakers

Editor’s note: This is the third in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. For more entries in the series, click here.

There's still a good amount of time for short sleeves -- and a great pair of sneakers. Short-sleeve shirt by H&M. Slim chinos by Frank & Oak. Navy suede sneakers by GREATS Brand.

There’s still a good amount of time for short sleeves — and a great pair of sneakers. Short-sleeve shirt by H&M. Slim chinos by Frank & Oak. Navy suede sneakers by GREATS Brand.

Before you double-check your calendar, we’re definitely diving into sneakers right now on The Style Guide — even as it gets closer to October and boot season. Lest you think that means it’s time to shelve your sneakers, it’s far from it — there are plenty of ways sneakers can be styled sharply (particularly if they’re crafted from nice leather or sturdy canvas — like the pairs you’ll read about below). It seems so many brands are making sneakers now, it’s tough to keep track — from venerable institutions like Rancourt & Co. to newer, digital-focused upstarts like Gustin (more on both of those brands in a bit). That’s precisely why sneakers are such a great style upgrade. When premium brands make sneakers fit for wearing with everything from chinos to dark denim, it’s worth taking notice. My friend Madhav of Wardrobe Domination covered great men’s sneakers in detail earlier this year, so if you’ve need some shopping suggestions, that post is also worth a look.

Switching out your sneakers doesn't have to mean reaching for something flashy -- a classic pair of white captoes (like the GREATS Wilson) can do the trick. Short-sleeve buttondown by Saturdays Surf NYC. Lightwash jeans by J. Crew. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Switching out your sneakers doesn’t have to mean reaching for something flashy — a classic pair of white captoes (like the GREATS Wilson) can do the trick. Short-sleeve buttondown by Saturdays Surf NYC. Lightwash jeans by J. Crew. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Switching out some tired running sneakers is just one step on the path to better style, and it requires small changes, bit by bit. It doesn’t have to require a lot of money, though. And maybe you’re just looking for a different pair of kicks. That’s why it never hurts to reach for a fail-safe classic in a low-key color if you’re switching out your kicks — that fail-safe classic is, in this case, a revamped style. Yes, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II  release was much-hyped earlier this summer, and with good reason — it’s a functional update to a style that looks right with all kinds of casual (and even business-casual outfits). Other newer brands are also taking on the captoe sneaker silhouette and competing admirably — GREATS and its Wilson sneaker certainly come to mind. And as the weather ramps up for most of us, a trusty leather high-top sneaker can provide nearly as much durability (in some climates) as a leather boot — take, for instance, the Royale High from GREATS as detailed in this site’s recent Fall Style Wish List post.

Two different takes on a sneaker, both sold by J. Crew.

Two different takes on a sneaker, both sold by J. Crew.

Among other high-top sneaker offerings, the Canvas SK8-Hi from Vans is a classic style that many seem to love — that side stripe sets things off just visually enough, too. With so many sneaker options out there, sometimes it’s nice just to have everything in one spot — take J. Crew, for example. The much-maligned retailer really does offer a ridiculous amount of sneaker options , from the decidedly sportier Nike Killshot (still a worthy upgrade from running shoes) to high-top suede sneakers with minimal details crafted in Africa (as seen above). The pair on the right would look particularly killer with some dark denim and a charcoal blazer. And that’s the beauty of a great pair of sneakers — they can be worn just as you would a fine pair of stylish dress shoes if you nail the fit and proportion of the rest of the outfit.

A look at a low-top sneaker that Gustin produced earlier this year. Many of the brand's current high-top options are funding quickly.

A look at a low-top sneaker that Gustin produced earlier this year. Many of the brand’s current high-top options are funding quickly.

If you still find yourself in the market for a more basic, beater-type pair (say, if you happen to live in a warmer-weather area), the SeaVees Army Issue Low should offer what you’re looking for. On that note, places like Urban Outfitters sell standard-yet-sharp styles like low-cut, gum-sole Vans for under $60. But, if you’re in need of a truly durable and higher-cut sneaker, Gustin is definitely worth a look — the brand is pre-funding opportunities for pairs of its Italian-made sneakers (like these stellar Blue Gum Sole High Top Sneakers), although the majority of those styles won’t ship until next year (bummer!). But if it’s a quicker purchasing turnaround you’re in the market for, keep an eye on Frank & Oak and the brand’s monthly collections — its most recent September offering included a full lineup of excellent-looking leather sneakers.
Ernest Alexander
Not to be outdone by classic brands, even luxury companies are getting in on the sneaker game — it’s safe to say the Tom Ford Orford Sneaker is just one of any number of options outside the typical Style Guide budget. Of course, no mention of sneakers in this day and age is complete without paying homage (or at least linking to?) the style that begat a thousand copycats — the Common Projects Achilles Low.  It’s expensive, it’s minimal and it’s one pair that really deserves exceptional care.

Upgrading or switching out your sneakers doesn’t have to be ludicrously expensive or painful though — the key is finding a style that fits your lifestyle, ideally one that can be dressed up or down (that’s where sharp leather sneakers from brands like GREATS or Frank & Oak come in). And sneakers can complement other style upgrades, too — there are few places where slim denim and a nice pair of sneakers can’t go.

What’s your go-to pair of sneakers? And how would you style an upgraded pair of nice kicks? Let me know!

Want more style musings throughout the day (who doesn’t??). Follow me on Twitter @BoKnowsClothes.

Florsheim

Style Upgrade: Dark Denim

A quick and easy style upgrade that only involves knowing your pant size. Dark denim pictured from Mott & Bow. Olive leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt  by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

A quick and easy style upgrade that only involves knowing your pant size. Dark denim pictured from Mott & Bow. Olive leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

Editor’s note: If you read this blog regularly, you might recall this post was supposed to cover Taylor Stitch chinos. However, they’re sold out for right now. Oops! So we move onto the next topic on The Style Guide. This is the second in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. For more entries in the series, click here.

When I first started writing about men’s style for this site about two years ago, one of the first topics I covered was the idea of Style Essentials — basics that can help any guy look good in nearly any situation. That’s a topic that’s still near and dear to my heart, and it’s certainly still relevant when plotting out ways to look one’s best. While I’m still learning a lot about the ever-evolving world of men’s style, I thought it about high time to revisit this topic — from a slightly wiser, slightly older perspective (perhaps?). And there might not be a better style upgrade to make than switching out your pants — maybe from something a bit baggier or faded to something cleaner, trimmer and darker. We’re talking, of course, about the indispensable pair of dark denim you should hopefully have in your closet, folks.

My friend Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent showing off one way to style dark denim.

My friend Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent showing off one way to style dark denim.

No matter what stage you might be at in  your style evolution, something as crisp as dark denim can act as a style catalyst or a rejuvenator from which to build all kinds of outfits. That goes for weekend wear — like with white sneakers and a slub T-shirt, and makes its way to office wear during the week — alongside a crisp blazer and a chambray shirt, for instance. My friend from Barron of Effortless Gent nails this concept perfectly. It’s one of the  only things you can do to change up your wardrobe that just involves knowing your pant size (and maybe what brand you might prefer to wear).

Every discussion about upgrading the denim in your closet should probably start with the originator of the classic blue jean — Levi’s. Although its styles have undergone some changes through the years, there are few style upgrades that can’t be met with a classic like the Levi’s 513 jean — the slim-straight fit flatters lots of body types, while the dark, crisp color looks better year-round than other overly distressed jeans. On a looser but still fitted front, the Levi’s 514 jean is available for under $40 — a heck of a price.

J. Crew's take on the classic blue jean features a tailored fit and crisp color.

J. Crew’s take on the classic blue jean features a tailored fit and crisp color.

Keep in mind that the brand also does tapered fits like the 511 jean, too. Modern-day #menswear mainstay J. Crew has plenty to say about denim upgrades too, and its 484 jean in a deep “Resin Crinkle Wash” fits the bill perfectly. And although it’s been a very hot seller, the 770 jean in that same wash would provide the roomier (yet still somewhat tailored) fit that athletic guys might prefer. Ponying up a pretty penny could also nab you a pair of The Blue Jean from Bonobos, featuring fits ranging from Bootcut (preferably avoided, however!) to Tailored (a trim fit similar to a Levi’s 511). The Slim Crosby Jean from Mott & Bow would also be a particularly agreeable purchase (check out more on the brand here), as would something in a slimmer fit — like the Mosco seen below (Editor’s note: Get 15% your first purchase with the brand using this link).

Dark denim with a hint of stretch, like the Mosco Skinny fit from Mott & Bow, also works well for  this style upgrade. Spring Plaid Shirt by Gustin. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Dark denim with a hint of stretch, like the Mosco Skinny fit from Mott & Bow, also works well for this style upgrade. Spring Plaid Shirt by Gustin. Brown leather watch by Stuhrling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

And to expand the pool of options even further, even Old Navy is now peddling dark denim — this time, for under $30 on sale. While those might not last as long as a hefty pair from iconic denim purveyor Gustin, they’d certainly get the job done. But if you feel like going all out on this particular style upgrade and won’t have anything less than the best, brands like 3Sixteen have developed a cult-ish following for the quality of their denim (and the resulting jean fades).
Ernest Alexander
Whichever option you might decide to go with — whether it’s time for a denim restock or the first purchase — reaching for something with a clean navy color and a trimmer fit won’t lead you astray. Dark denim is the type of pant that works virtually anywhere — unless, of course, it’s presentation time in the boardroom or time to suit up for the red carpet. Other than that though — reach for a great pair or two and see how you style them.

Have you made this Style Upgrade yet? What’s your go-to pair of dark denim?
Ben Sherman US