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

Go Green: An October weekend at Michigan State

Editor’s note: To check out my last travel style post, click here.

From NYC to East Lansing in a matter of hours. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Slim denim by Dickies. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred.

From NYC to East Lansing in a matter of hours. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Slim denim by Dickies. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred.

First of all — Happy Halloween, Style Guide readers! I spent this past weekend not in New York, but on the road in my home state of Michigan. There’s no question that your author loves to travel. It’s been a big theme this year, from menswear trips to Las Vegas to a fall weekend in Providence. Of course, when the leaves start to turn and college football season kicks off, there’s hardly a place I’d rather be for a fall weekend than on the campus of my alma mater, Michigan State University. It’s a place that holds many special memories, without a doubt. It’s been a down year for my Michigan State Spartans, but this past weekend also brought forth a rivalry that runs deep in my blood — the Michigan-Michigan State college football showdown. From my days growing up 15 minutes down the road from East Lansing to my time at Michigan State’s student newspaper — and the resulting “friendly” football game versus Michigan’s own paper — it always got me excited about my school, and infinitely proud to be a Spartan. It was with that in mind that I hit the road early on Friday morning — and brought along #menswear that was fit for a chilly, casual Michigan weekend, of course.

friday-grid-edited

Just the right mix of casual pieces for a chilly travel day to Michigan. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. X-Series Slim-Fit Tapered Leg Denim by Dickies. Leather chukka boots by Beckett Simonon. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Ranger Gloves by Grifter.

Just as with my fall weekend in Providence, I brought along classic, transitional pieces that could work for long travel days and active time in the Lansing area. Given temperatures in the 50s in both Michigan and NYC on Friday, I grabbed the Alpine Guide Sweater courtesy of the premium outdoor lifestyle and snow gear brand Alps & Meters. With a blend of lambswool and waxed cotton, the Guide Sweater was a neat, easily wearable piece that layered comfortably over my Old Navy chambray shirt for simple travel style. My Beckett Simonon chukka boots proved similarly versatile for catching a flight, then enjoying lunch and some very high-quality brews at East Lansing’s HopCat (along with the travel-ready Dickies X-Series Slim-Fit Tapered Leg Jean). Sometimes, you just need pieces that get you where you need to go while looking great, and that’s where the durable Grifter Ranger Gloves also came in handy — literally — throughout the weekend.  I also packed my ever-dependable Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono for weekend wear– tough, durable pieces make for a stylish outfit whether you’re heading back to campus as an alumni or getting around in style as a student.

Collegiate gear from Tailgate Clothing and a team watch from Jack Mason, blended with the Forever21 Button Denim Jacket and Grounder Hi-Tops from Todd Snyder & P.F. Flyers.

Collegiate gear from Tailgate Clothing and a team watch from Jack Mason, blended with the Forever21 Button Denim Jacket and Grounder Hi-Tops from Todd Snyder & P.F. Flyers. Don’t forget that Owen & Fred bottle opener…

The trip back to East Lansing and a much-anticipated Saturday football game presented a challenge — it’s not been until recently that college team gear could be functional, spirited and stylish, so what’s a guy to do? Given the challenge of navigating a campus tailgate in style, I packed away my trusty Tailgate Clothing team tee and Jack Mason team watch, both fairly priced pieces that are a step up from standard college athletic gear  (unfortunately, both places also stock Michigan Wolverines apparel). You can definitely still break out regular team athletic gear if you’ve got it, but when you can snag a Tailgate Clothing tee for just over $30, I say go for that style upgrade. The Jack Mason watch, too, is durable, low-key and subtly stylish thanks to the black dial, sleek dark green logo and black rubber strap — all great things when you might be more focused on grilling or snagging a beer at your tailgate. The breezy Michigan weather meant I could layer up stylishly with the Button Denim Jacket courtesy of Forever21 Men, which proved to be a nice midweight layer and a sharp complement to my durable, comfortable Todd Snyder + P.F. Flyers Grounder Hi-Top sneakers. The sneakers, with their hard-wearing black rubber sole and lined toe cap, were more than ready for time spent on foot reacquainting myself with the beautiful Michigan State campus and downtown East Lansing.

Regardless of the score — admittedly closer than expected — I was definitely still happy to come back given the chance to re-connect with great friends and explore a campus that really does hold a lot of memories for me. And with every trip back, I remember why I love classic East Lansing spots like the Peanut Barrel and Crunchys — if there’s a college-town combo better than a Long Island and a burger from the Peanut Barrel, or a brew at Crunchys, I’m listening.  So it nearly goes without saying that I was happy to visit some of those spots, if only briefly — and in spite of a Michigan State loss. Another chilly day on Sunday brought with it a final brunch at the new, refined Capital Vine in Lansing — swing through if you’re in need of a Bloody Mary and an excellent omelette.

Casual Sunday brunch gear, anyone? Slim-Fit Chambray Shirt by Forever21 Men. Pocket Sweatshirt by Todd Snyder x Champion. Royale Court Sneakers by GREATS Brand. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage.

Casual Sunday brunch gear, anyone? Pocket-Front Denim Shirt by Forever21 Men. Pocket Sweatshirt by Todd Snyder x Champion. Royale Court Sneakers by GREATS Brand. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

For comfortable, casual travel style, it’s tough to beat gear from the ever-reliable, ever-stylish Todd Snyder x Champion collaboration. In this instance, the Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt, made from soft French terry in a slim fit, was the perfect layering pick atop my Pocket-Front Denim Shirt courtesy of Forever21 Men. My Slim-Fit Cargo Pants, also from Forever21 Men, added a bit of utilitarian style and plenty of comfort, too. And the whole combo was offset by the durable GREATS Royale Court, definitely another seasonally appropriate pick-up. Crucially, the excellent Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt was the ideal fall sweatshirt, particularly when you look at subtle style details like the raglan sleeve stitching and front chest pocket. Yessir, Todd Snyder certainly knows what he’s doing. Again, if you’ve got a chilly fall weekend ahead and want to dress in style, simple-yet-essential pick-ups like the Pocket Sweatshirt from the great folks at Huckberry  are going to get the job done.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Stylish travel gear aside, I was certainly beyond happy to get back to Michigan in style for a fall weekend. It was a classic East Lansing weekend, from time spent roaming campus to time spent inside the hallowed Spartan Stadium — yes, even with the loss. The fall foliage and classic Michigan weather really made it all the more enjoyable — this menswear writer sure does love fall. And of course, the chance to see friends and family topped it all off — along with that Crunchy’s burger, of course. The next time you’ve got to hit the road for a casual fall weekend, I’d recommend you load up with everything from the Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt to a tough, durable set of Beckett Simonon chukka boots. If you’ve got more questions on what to pack for your next trip to Michigan (or elsewhere), join us at The Style Guide Facebook page or on Twitter.

Until the next travel weekend — stay stylish,

-Beau

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The Friday Read: Tommy John Undershirts, Michigan State and The Hill-Side

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

Last week on The Style Guide, I wrote about hitting the road to head to Providence to see Local Natives – what a trip it was, and what a concert to experience. This weekend, I’m again prepped to hit the road for an equally special trip back to my home state of Michigan! I’ve jetted back and forth a fair amount for everything from a Grand Rapids bachelor party weekend to a Detroit-area wedding (dressed in style the whole way, of course). However, I’ll be dressed for a Midwest fall this time around. Yes indeed, this weekend’s trip brings me back to maybe my favorite place in the world – the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. For as many great experiences as one can have in a big city like New York, it’s always refreshing and rejuvenating to return to a place that holds so many memories. Of course, in addition to hitting up renowned East Lansing locales like HopCat (and snapping some #menswear photos), it’s a big weekend in another respect. We’re talking Michigan –Michigan State, a football rivalry with an off-the-field intensity that matches the competition between the sidelines. From my days at the student newspaper taking on Michigan’s student newspaper in what could lightly be called “two-hand touch” football through to now, it’s a rivalry that’s a heck of a lot of fun to be a part of – particularly when plays like this one happen. My beloved Spartans have struggled a heck of a lot this year, but it’ll be interesting to see which team shows up on Saturday – to say the least.  But enough football, right? It’s time to recap a few choice items in the week in #menswear, including how to wear an undershirt this season (check it out below). Oh, and stay tuned for our Style Pick of the Week tomorrow. For now, I’ll leave you to it.

Wondering how to buy and wear an undershirt? The right way? Check out this graphic courtesy of Tommy John.

Wondering how to buy and wear an undershirt? The right way? Check out this graphic courtesy of Tommy John.

  • Alright, so it’s Friday. And it’s fall – it’s getting colder bit by bit out there. We could all use an extra layer from time to time – that starts with something like a stylish cardigan, and that carries through to durable socks and of course, an equally durable undershirt. Some guys are anti-undershirt, but you certainly need something made from quality fabric and featuring a proper fit. That’s where the folks at Tommy John come in – they were kind enough to share this solid infographic covering all the in’s and out’s of how to wear an undershirt and what to look for in the right one; by the way, you can pick up a Tommy John undershirt while we’re here. Very handy to have when it gets chilly this winter – after all, you might need another layer underneath your slim chambray shirt to stay warm, ehh?
  • If you haven’t yet completed shopping for your fall style wish list — mine keeps getting longer and longer — you might want to check out the latest from The Hill-Side; I covered the launch of the brand’s autumn collection for The Manual, and it’s chock-full of durable outerwear, premium shirting and tough sneakers, all done in the excellent fabrics for which the Brooklyn-based brand is known. Get on it, will ya?
  • We’re all about the basics at The Style Guide, and well-designed basics that help you live your life better are to be applauded. That same mindset can extend to the technology you carry with you every day — yes, your phone. The Killspencer iPhone 7 Veil is a slim, durable cover that adheres quickly and easily to the back of your phone. Again, it’s a small upgrade that’ll extend the life of your device — and you can read more by yours truly at GearMoose.

We’re keeping it shorter than usual this week at The Style Guide — it’s time to hit the road! Follow along with this weekend’s menswear and football-related action on Instagram and Twitter, and check out a full travel style recap on Monday.

As always — stay stylish, and thanks for reading!

-Beau

Huckberry

Back in the Mitten: A wedding weekend in Michigan

Editor’s note: To recap my last trip (earlier this week!), click here.

A wedding weekend -- and a bit of bar crawl action -- to boot. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Italian-made denim by Mott & Bow. Sand Suede Chukkas by Blu Kicks. Watch by MVMT Watches. Backdrop by Lansing Brewing.

A wedding weekend — and a bit of bar crawl action — to boot. Denim Shirt by JackThreads. Slim Italian-made denim by Mott &; Bow. Sand Suede Chukkas by Blu Kicks. Watch by MVMT Watches. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Backdrop by Lansing Brewing.

If it seemed like the last week was fast, it felt like the weekend flew by even faster — boarding your fifth flight in six days (including those pesky connections) will do that to you. But Friday’s early, early morning flight brought me once again back to my home state of Michigan, and my hometown of Mason for my great friend Andy’s wedding weekend (and a tip o’ the cap to my pal Chris for hosting me this weekend). It felt strange yet fitting to be back in the Mitten so soon — I was just in Grand Rapids for the bachelor party at the end of July, after all.  But it was an honor to be in Andy’s wedding, and the trip back also presented the all-too-rare chance for me to spend just a bit of time in a town I really do love. Seeing as I was in Las Vegas for a work conference just a few days before, I also felt pretty confident I could dress, and pack, for the trip with style and attention to detail. Nothing like unpacking, then repacking almost immediately, to teach you about versatile style, ehh?

A casual, comfortable Friday travel outfit. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. T-shirt in Heather Grey and Colorblocked Socks by Richer Poorer. Slim Staple Denim by Mott & Bow. Tan Suede Chukkas by Blu Kicks. Hawker Hunter II Watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Leather lanyard by Tanner Goods. Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

A casual, comfortable Friday travel outfit. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. T-shirt in Heather Grey and Colorblocked Socks by Richer Poorer. Slim Staple Denim by Mott & Bow. Sand Chukkas by Blu Kicks. Hawker Hunter II Watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Leather lanyard by Tanner Goods. Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

As I was in the wedding — held at the picturesque English Inn  in the rolling Michigan countryside — my grey tuxedo was taken care of, other than my shoes; the crisp Johnston & Murphy Duvall Wingtip  more than got the job taken care of there (more to come on the wedding shortly, but it was an amazingly beautiful and fun night!). So with formal wear out of the way, my focus was on packing some casual style essentials into my dependable Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender, along with my sturdy Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag.  As I’ve talked about before on these (digital) pages, great luggage can keep your gear safe and stylish no matter where you go, and those two bags will set you right. To meet the challenge of traveling in comfortable-yet-crisp style, I grabbed one of my favorite tees, the Richer Poorer T-Shirt in Heather Grey, and topped off the look with a personal favorite, a vintage ballcap from Goorin Brothers. Now, we’ll be talking more about stylish pocket T-shirts on the blog on Wednesday *cough, cough* but know that this particular tee fits and breathes well while looking visually different than a plain crewneck. It offset my Mott & Bow Staple Denim in rather classic fashion — the dark wash and significant stretch in this pair of denim is ideal for travel. Comfortable footwear was also a must — for lightweight, casual style and a pop of color, I threw on the Blu Kicks Sand Chukkas, which I’ve been testing out with positive results these past few weeks. The unlined suede upper is ultra-comfortable, particularly with a pair of Richer Poorer cotton socks, and you can feel good about the fact that they’re handmade in Mexico from local materials for a great price.

And on the watch front, I picked a timepiece that’s as dependable and durable as any — I’m talking about the AVI-8 Hawker Hunter, a rugged, aviation-style watch with a case diameter that clocks in (pun intended) at a beefy 45mm. It still manages to come off understated thanks to the neutral beige leather strap, and it was the ideal travel companion as far as watches go — smart, functional and not fussy. The head-to-toe combo of comfort and style worked quite well for an afternoon spent in my hometown of Mason — as I said before, it’s not often I get to go back there, and it’s always a treat when I do. In this case, that meant a stop at Mason institution Bestsellers Cafe for a gourmet coffee. An early start to the day also meant that the afternoon was high time for some extra sustenance — cue up a stop at BAD Brewing Company, a stellar and relatively recent craft beer outpost that’s been drawing rave reviews for its homegrown brews and gourmet bites. Yes, I’d recommend a stop there if you ever pass through Mason — and it was the perfect way to cap off an afternoon stroll around the beautiful campus of my alma mater, Michigan State.

Inside Mason's own BAD Brewing, a definite highlight of the trip.

Inside Mason’s own BAD Brewing, a definite highlight of the trip.

That tasty spot of lunch was the perfect way to tide me over until a post-wedding rehearsal stop at another highly regarded craft beer spot, the Lansing Brewing Company. It’s made major waves in the local craft beer scene for reinvigorating the city’s hops culture, and its three signature brews — including the cleverly named Angry Mayor IPA — do a fine job of holding down the fort alongside a rotating seasonal selection. From the Best Coast Pale Ale to the Ain’t No Drama Imperial Red, it’s representative of the atmosphere and quality of Michigan’s best breweries — and Lansing Brewing is just getting started (if you couldn’t tell, I’m a big craft beer fan). For the rehearsal itself and that much-loved trip to the brewery, I switched out my Richer Poorer pocket tee for a reliable favorite, my JackThreads Denim Shirt — it’s the perfect casual summer outfit topper, and it’s selling fast. It was my own slight variation on how to dress for a warm-weather bar crawl, if you will.

Sharp Saturday style. Slub Nep Jersey Polo by Grayers. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Daily Classic Nylon Sneakers from the Reebok x JackThreads collab. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Scout Wallet by Andar Wallets. Leather bracelet by Bryer Leather.

Sharp Saturday style. Slub Nep Jersey Polo by Grayers. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Daily Classic Nylon Sneakers from the Reebok x JackThreads collab. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Scout Wallet by Andar Wallets. Leather bracelet by Bryer Leather.

That casual style was similarly needed on Saturday for a bit of pre-wedding time spent around downtown Mason once again. To meet the summertime heat of Michigan in style, I threw on my trusty Grayers Slub Jersey Polo and my tailored-yet-comfortable Bridge & Burn Stringer Dune Shorts (you can grab a similar pair here); I finished the #menswear ensemble off with two everyday carry touches — my MVMT Watches Brown Leather Watch and the Scout Wallet from Andar Wallets. The polo was breathable and soft,  and the blue & khaki colors played nicely off a really standout pair of sneakers — the Reebok x JackThreads Daily Classic Nylon is a heck of a pair of kicks! They’re new as of this week, and they feature a premium blend of pigskin suede in a retro runner silhouette that’s sporty, classic and timeless. Oh, and did I mention they’re comfortable as heck? They were a nice pair of sneakers for a bit of pre-wedding fun (and if I were you, I’d check back on this blog later this week for a full Style Pick of the Week feature).
Huckberry
That casual ensemble played nicely into the wedding, where I put the Johnston & Murphy Duvall Wingtip to good use with a slim grey tuxedo and classic navy tie. Enough about Saturday’s outfit, though — the wedding itself was extraordinary and the atmosphere was second-to-none. It was such a great time to be there for my friends Andy & Courtney (if you made it this far in the post, Hi guys!), and you couldn’t ask for a better venue than the refined English Inn. A beautiful ceremony and an awesome time with close high school friends thereafter were huge highlights and made for memories of a lifetime — the perfect time and reason to be back in Michigan. It’s tough to see everyone in one place at the same time, to be sure, so I’m certainly glad I made the trip back.

Crisp classics for Sunday travel. White Oxford by Todd Shelton. Slim chinos by Old Navy. Duvall Wingtips by Johnston & Murphy. Notebook by Word Notebooks. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder.

Crisp classics for Sunday travel. White Oxford by Todd Shelton. Slim chinos by Old Navy. Duvall Wingtips by Johnston & Murphy. Notebook by Word Notebooks. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder.

With that being said, a quick trip often calls for a quick turnaround, and such was the case after a long night of revelry at the English Inn. To head back to New York — and finish up the blog post — I reached for reliable travel style essentials. My Todd Shelton White Oxford was chief among those picks — there might not be as reliable or high-quality an Oxford on the market, what with customizable fit options, a substantial fabric and a tailored fit. I wore it casually with a pair of Old Navy Slim Khakis, plus the sharp, travel-ready Johnston & Murphy Duvall Wingtip. Of course, my Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch was a necessary finishing touch. Like many recent travels, it was so worth it to be back — long journey, early flight and all. I know I’ll be back in the Mitten for at least one Michigan State football game this fall, but for now, I’m just grateful to have celebrated a great wedding weekend with lifelong friends. And it’s trips like this one that will take me out on the road again. Keep up with those travels here on the blog or at The Style Guide Facebook page, and I hope you pack up your bag with memories (and OK, some style) in mind the next time you travel.

‘Til the next post,

-Beau
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Summer style: Attending a Michigan wedding

Editor’s note: Click here for more tips  how to dress for a summer wedding.

Dressed in style for a summer wedding. Blue shirt by Twillory. Cotton tie by Ties.com Thompson Navy suit by J. Crew Factory. Glasses by Warby Parker. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

Dressed in style for a summer wedding. Blue shirt by Twillory. Cotton tie and navy tipped pocket square by Ties.com Thompson Navy suit by J. Crew Factory. Glasses by Warby Parker. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

It’s a topic that’s come up before here on The Style Guide — that would be, dressing for a summer wedding — but this past weekend presented the perfect opportunity for yours truly to put some of those ideas into practice.  Following a whirlwind, busy New York Fashion Week: Men’s (an exhausting but super-fun week), I hit the road back to Michigan to attend the wedding of my great friend Matt Sheehan, a former State News colleague and another proud & sports-obsessed Spartan (watching games was either very fun — or not so fun, depending on how MSU fared). In fact, Matt & I took in a particularly momentous MSU football game last fall, and caught up during my spring trip to Florida. That being said, it was still great to make the trip back. It was a truly lovely wedding, and so great to reconnect with amazing friends back home in the process. With fashion week done, it was also awesome to get away from the bustle of NYC for a  bit, and even better to do so during a beautiful Michigan summer — as always, even with a humble weekender bag in tow, I tried my best to pack the best #menswear gear I could round up.

A full bag ready to hit the road. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. Beachcomber Chambray Shirt by Bourbon & Blue. Staple Denim made in Italy by Mott & Bow. Brown Scout Chukka Boots by Thursday Boots. Striped socks by American Trench. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Brown leather belt by J. Crew. Chapter Travel Kit by Herschel Supply Co. Moisturizer by Tread for Men. Maximus Sunglasses by Sunday Somewhere.

A full bag ready to hit the road. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. Beachcomber Chambray Shirt by Bourbon & Blue. Staple Denim made in Italy by Mott & Bow. Brown Scout Chukka Boots by Thursday Boots. Striped socks by American Trench. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Brown leather belt by J. Crew. Chapter Travel Kit by Herschel Supply Co. Moisturizer by Tread for Men. Maximus Sunglasses by Sunday Somewhere.

That started with some essential everyday carry accessories that have quickly become personal travel favorites — such as my tough, sturdy Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender Bag. It’s accompanied me on nearly every trip I’ve taken as of late, and with dependable Wickett & Craig leather handles, quality hardware and a surprising amount of room, it’s taken the toils of the road quite well. I packed some key everyday carry accessories, including my Word Notebooks Adventure Log and Herschel Supply Chapter Travel Kit; just as small details finish off an outfit, so too can they upgrade even the things you don’t quite think about when traveling. For the flight to Michigan, I pulled some double-duty, wearing a Bourbon & Blue short-sleeve chambray shirt and pairing it up with my J. Crew Factory Thompson suit jacket and some tailored Savane twill pants (look for more on those pants in a special Tuesday post).  For outfits throughout the weekend, my Thursday Boots Brown Scout Chukka Boots helped me travel in style — always a must! I finished off the look with one of two watches I brought along for the weekend — my personal favorite, the rugged and durable Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chronograph.  If you can only fit in one or two watches as part of your packing list, it’s tough to go wrong with a really well-built watch that works for more casual or slightly more dressed-up ensembles. With any travel, stylish sunglasses are a must — for both tailored wear and my casual ensembles, I’ve found myself consistently reaching for the pricey but sharp Maximus sunglasses from Sunday Somewhere.

While I was excited to hit the road, I ran into some unfortunate travel delays leaving New York that left me stuck at the airport all day — so unfortunately, I missed out on a classic Michigan backyard barbeque. Luckily, I still made it back in time for a nice Saturday and the wedding itself! It goes without saying that I had an incredible time, and was very glad to have made the trip back (CONGRATS, MATT AND SAM!). Of course, I was glad I brought along a trusty suit, as well. Packing the appropriate gear to get you through a warm-weather wedding is a bit tricky. While it might seem at first too hot to rock anything but a lightweight linen suit, if you have to grab one suit for all four seasons, worsted wool in a neutral color like navy is a very solid option. It’s a more breathable and classic fabric, and in a slim, tailored (and affordable) cut like the J. Crew Factory Thompson Suit, it’ll work well with a crisp dress shirt, and with or without a tie even if you don’t have a wedding to attend. In fact, my shirt was a favorite of the outfit in terms of fit and construction — it’s on-sale now, so I’d definitely recommend you pick up the nicely tailored Twillory Non-Iron Blue Twill Shirt which paired up well with the navy suit. The accompanying J. Crew Factory suit pants went along just fine with the jacket, as they feature a nicely tailored fit that isn’t quite as slim as the J. Crew Ludlow, so that works nicely for most body types — having the belt loops removed, as I did, makes for a super-clean and crisp look, too.

This past weekend's wedding outfit laid out and ready to go. Navy Thompson suit by J. Crew Factory. Blue shirt by Twillory. Cotton tie and tipped pocket square by Ties.com. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Wallet from the latest SprezzaBox.

This past weekend’s wedding outfit laid out and ready to go. Navy Thompson suit by J. Crew Factory. Blue shirt by Twillory. Cotton tie and tipped pocket square by Ties.com. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Wallet from the latest SprezzaBox.

And stylish accessories are a must to finish off any suit. In this instance, a cotton tie in a unique, summer-friendly color and a navy tipped pocket square courtesy of the team at Ties.com paired well with one of my favorite suits (Editor’s note: I own approximately one all-season, every-occasion suit — and it’s this one). Seriously, as a competitor and an alternative to The Tie Bar, the selection and pricing at Ties.com is quite on-point (and y’all know that if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have made the cut — right?). For the warm weather, I slid into a refined pair of Sebago Heritage Tassel Loafers, featuring an oily waxed leather (as the site implies) that’s shown age and wear marks beautifully after only a few weeks of wear (check out another way to style them here). Of course, if you don’t have room in your bag for another pair of shoes (and I barely did), I’d recommend reaching for perhaps the above brown chukka boots to pull double-duty. And although my Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono worked suitably well for casual situations, I was too tempted not to reach for one of my favorite everyday watches, the MVMT 40 in Blue/Brown Leather — it’s a watch that’s really a great value for the quality and wearability (although one of my New Year’s style resolutions was to wear less blue, I can’t seem to stop wearing it). Pieces that can work with everything from a tee and shorts to a suit are the best sort of travel style essentials to pack when space is limited.

Sunday's outfit grid for a day of travel back from Michigan. The Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Slim grey selvedge denim by Billy Reid. White Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing Heritage collab. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

Sunday’s outfit grid for a day of travel back from Michigan. The Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Slim grey selvedge denim by Billy Reid. White Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing Heritage collab. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

With an incredible wedding and an incredible evening in metro Detroit in the books, it was time to catch a flight back to Michigan that felt a bit earlier than I’d have preferred after a full week of fashion shows and travel. Reaching for grab-and-go pieces that work in a pinch is still a must even if you’re jet-lagged, so my Taylor Stitch Jack in Indigo Star Shirt (very low in stock at the moment, unfortunately) worked out very well — I’d recommend you bring along a solid blue chambray shirt for similarly versatile style.  Although it was hot, a pair of Billy Reid grey selvedge denim did just fine when paired with one of my favorite pairs of sneakers, the SeaVees Legend Sneaker — when in doubt, classic white sneakers are just the way to go. As was the case the rest of the weekend, my stylish Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono worked sufficiently as I hauled my gear to the airport (and it helped me catch my flight on time!).

While it’s always nice to be able to bring along my favorite style essentials when I travel, it’s even better to know that at the end of the road on trips home, there are great friends and great times waiting — truly, it’s something for which I’m very thankful, and it’s got me eagerly awaiting my next trip to Michigan. No matter what’s in my bag, I know I’ll always look forward to going back.

If you have questions on what to pack for your own travels, tweet at me or catch up via The Style Guide’s Facebook page.

‘Til the next trip,

-Beau

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Onward: Packing for a Motor City New Year’s Eve and Recapping 2015

Editor’s note: To see more travel style posts, click here.

Rolling up the ol' (Gustin Spring Plaid) shirt sleeves to get to work on more content for 2016. Thanks for reading!

Rolling up the ol’ (Gustin Spring Plaid) shirt sleeves to get to work on more content for 2016. Thanks for reading!

As I think back on 2015 and the opportunities I received through my day job in fashion PR and through writing on this blog and elsewhere, I’m nothing but extremely grateful. I’m grateful for the amazing people I’ve met, from fellow bloggers to readers, and the excellent brands I’ve gotten to work with on reader giveaways and product reviews. — lots of great businesses run by even better people. I’m equally grateful for the cool ongoing features that have developed (however small) at The Style Guide — including the Style Pick of the Week and Friday Read series — and I’m especially grateful for those that have taken the time to read this blog.  Of course, I’m really grateful for the support of my family and friends above everything, who’ve read these posts, offered their feedback and snapped most of the photos of me you see here — and that’s on top of everything else!
I hope you like what you’ve read, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey along the way, whether you’ve stopped here for a new wardrobe on a budget or just sought out a great style upgrade or two to improve your closet. 2016 will definitely bring more menswear content, from product reviews and style suggestions to brand profiles, along with travel style posts. It’s become one of my favorite things to do, and I’ve immensely enjoyed seeing everywhere from Greece and Italy to Los Angeles and Grand Rapids in the past few months.

Packing a soon-to-be-reliable United By Blue duffle bag once again.

Packing a soon-to-be-reliable United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle bag once again. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

So it’s only fitting that, to cap off 2015, I’ll be in Detroit for the weekend to visit with college friends, watch my alma mater Michigan State play in the College Football Playoff and explore more of an up-and-coming city. That means I might not be as formal as James Bond in this New Year’s Eve Style Suggestion, but maybe one day? Of course, it wouldn’t a true road trip if I didn’t bring some of my favorite picks along with me (sans tuxedo and handgun). As on my Christmas trip to Florida, I’ll be packing great gear in my new favorite bag, the sturdy United By Blue duffle you see above.

Cozy gear for a cold weekender. French Terry Nomad Joggers by Bonobos. White henley by Pistol Lake. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads.

Cozy gear for a cold weekend. French Terry Nomad Joggers by Bonobos. White henley by Pistol Lake. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads.

As the forecast in Michigan calls for lots of chilly weather, I’m definitely packing to stay as warm as possible, from my new Bonobos French Terry Nomad Joggers and a JackThreads Collegiate Bomber, to my ever-reliable Pistol Lake Henley — each should definitely prove suitable for weekend wear and a quick brunch run or two. Accompanying me on the trip will be a few reliable pairs of shoes — notably, my Reef Outhaul Lux Chukka Sneakers, which are quite comfortable and also right at home with the colder climes of the city thanks to the high-top cut. I’m also bringing along my Timberland West Haven Side Zip Boots, and (assuming my bag can fit ’em!) my trusty Thursday Boot Company Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas.

Tried-and-true trip essentials -- a chambray shirt and suede chukka boots. Shirt by Todd Shelton. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company.

Tried-and-true trip essentials — a chambray shirt and suede chukka boots. Shirt by Todd Shelton. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boot Company. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

To keep warm the rest of the time, I’m turning to some trusty style staples. Those will include my JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan, some tough Iron & Resin gloves and some comfortable American Trench socks. Throw in a merino watch cap (also from American Trench), and I should be all set. As to your own bag, a few sets of reliable socks– maybe ones with some premium fabric — are going to prove helpful and quite comfortable if you find yourself on the road a lot, too. I also plan to rock my Reef x H.D. Lee Workshirt — it’s a tough seasonal style essential, and I’d recommend you  look to layering pieces that can function as outerwear should you ever find yourself short on packing space. Of course, no trip to a cold-weather climate would be complete without tossing in a rugged shir; my Todd Shelton Chambray Shirt should do just the trick for layering over a henley (yes, I do love me some henleys!). I’m also happy to get to the chance to test out my beautifully crafted Hemingway Elbow Patch Shirt from Todd Snyder, by way of Santa — check back here on Saturday for more on that shirt.

A crisp watch that strikes a dress-casual balance is crucial for weekend trips. Watch by MVMT Watches.

A crisp watch that strikes a dress-casual balance is crucial for weekend trips. Watch by MVMT Watches.

As is proving customary on these trips, I’m looking to round out my bag with some travel-ready denim from Mott & Bow, and I’ll also be bringing a new pair of skinny Fulton chinos from Banana Republic — the caramel color should prove versatile and ready for just about anything, including travel days. To top it off, I’m definitely bringing a dependable pair of watches, including The 40 – Blue/Brown Leather from MVMT and my Invicta Pro Diver. So all of that stellar #menswear should leave just enough room for some everyday carry supplies — namely a new Public Supply notebook and some sweet Woodbuds headphones, plus my reliable BYRD Hairdo x Richer Poorer Dopp Kit. When you next hit the road, I’d say don’t skimp on those small goods- – brands like Richer Poorer and Baxter of California offer terrific travel-friendly toiletries kits, and it never hurts to bring along a notebook and nice headphones.

Now that my bag’s ready to go, I’m just about set to jet off for another fun weekend — and an incredibly fun way to close out 2015! I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store, and I’ll hope you’ll be back! For now, know that I’ll be here with a Detroit edition of the Friday Read to kick off the new year, followed by the first of 2016’s weekly Style Picks on Saturday. Thanks so very much for reading, and as always…

Stay stylish,

-Beau


Fighting the chill: A November weekend in Michigan

Editor’s note: For more travel-centric blog posts, click here.

The sun sets on a crisp fall Saturday in Grand Rapids.

The sun sets on a crisp fall Saturday in Grand Rapids. View courtesy of my friend Chris’s apartment.

As I explored the lovely city of Grand Rapids this past weekend, I was struck by how lucky I am to have lived and grown up in such a beautiful state, and to have such great friends. The opportunity to travel back is, of course, not lost on me either.While it was tricky to balance working from Brooklyn and hopping on a flight back to Michigan after a whirlwind week of Timberland-centric press work, I did indeed manage to make it in one piece! And it was truly a great time in Grand Rapids, the home of famed festival ArtPrize and also some decent brews (to say the least). This was all in spite of the fact that I was greeted, in characteristic Michigan fashion, by a bit of brisk weather. Luckily though, I had proper style gear on-hand to brave the elements.

Stumbling upon cool murals was a highlight in a city known for its burgeoning art scene. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Down jacket by JACHS NY. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Leather chukkas by Timberland.

Stumbling upon cool murals was a highlight in a city known for its burgeoning art scene. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Grey jacket by JACHS NY. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Leather chukkas by Timberland. Dive watch by Invicta

To get home, my Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag and Navali Weekender were  more than durable, yet that wasn’t my primary concern! Packing gear to beat the cold while also in transit was the bigger ordeal– how to pack light yet layer up and stay comfortable? Answer: A terrific pair of Mott and Bow denim with stretch built in,  plus some solid outerwear. It’s pieces like these that can make your travels a heck of a lot easier in terms of comfort (UNIQLO also offers somed nice stretch denim at a different price point). To complete my travel get-up, I went with a striped J. Crew henley — always a rugged style suggestion for fall — underneath a quilted yet surprisingly lightweight down coat from JACHS NY. The jacket was comfortable to get around the airport and not too hot — it would be a good travel pickup as you look to bundle up and hit the road this holiday season.

Just a look at some of the cold-weather gear I packed, including my Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt, Iron & Resin gloves, American Trench merino watch cap and black Reef chukka sneakers.

Just a look at some of the cold-weather gear I packed, including my Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt, Iron & Resin gloves, American Trench merino watch cap and black Reef chukka sneakers.

Complementing my travel outfit were my trusty Timberland Coulter Chukka Boots — I’d also recommend you pick up a nice pair of leather chukkas for fall. To say they go with everything – even a T-shirt and jeans – is an understatement. To keep things simple packing-wise, I opted just to bring one watch — my ever-reliable Invicta 8926 Pro Diver (still ticking!). However, I loaded up on a few pairs of comfortable and stylish American Trench socks, plus my nice watch cap from the brand. The cap was a huge help, and though I had hoped it would be temperate enough to forgo them, my Iron & Resin gloves also proved invaluable in the cold.

Exploring Beer City U.S.A was a highlight. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merno watch cap by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Jesse O'Brien.

Exploring Beer City U.S.A was a highlight. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merno watch cap by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker. Photo credit: Jesse O’Brien.

To get around Grand Rapids, I layered up in a nice, insulating ribbed cotton henley via the fine folks at United By Blue (you might remember that piece as this past week’s Style Pick, in fact). I layered that underneath a brushed flannel workshirt from the new Reef x H.D. Lee Shelter Supply Collection Holiday capsule. You might recognize H.D. Lee as Lee Jeans, and the brand teamed up with noted surfwear retailer Reef on a seven-piece offering that you won’t want to miss if you love American heritage style (and who doesn’t??). Look for more on the workshirt this coming week on the blog, as it was a durable-yet-cozy layering piece that’ll quickly become a winter essential.

A superb burger paired with a nice stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

A superb burger paired with a nice stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

And as far as tough style goes, that was definitely in play from location to location. I had the chance to check out the legendary Stella’s, a Grand Rapids icon that serves more whiskey than you can shake a fist at – and oh yeah, their burgers also took home a pretty prestigious prize from GQ in recent years. A stop there for a late dinner Friday night was followed by trips through the tasty Mitten Brewing Company and a stop at Long Road, a great distillery that serves up excellent crafted cocktails (a tip: try The Machine, a coffee-and-vodka combination). To round out the night, we hit up The Winchester, another great bar with an easygoing vibe and plenty of Michigan beer on tap.

After all that, um, activity Friday night, we needed a bit of a pick-me-up on Saturday morning, so clad in my trusty Reef workshirt, we headed to Grand Rapids Brewing Company for an incomparable Bloody Mary bar (can’t beat $4), and a little Saturday college football action featuring our beloved Michigan State Spartans.

Ben Sherman US

I paired the workshirt with my Bonobos Travel Jeans in a fall-appropriate shade of light brown. and the combination worked seamlessly with some new black chukka sneakers, also via Reef. Having the option to take off and add layers while navigating around the city (and namely, from brewery to bar and back) was quite crucial. As to travel style — if you haven’t explored the potential of tossing on a workshirt in place of a jacket, either via Reef or another lower-priced option (like this number from UK clothier ADDICT), I’d advise you do so! Workshirts can be layered over chambray shirts, or worn on their own atop a henley, and the results scream rugged style. When you consider that it can be worn as a jacket or as a true shirt on its own, it’s worth paying a bit more than for your average flannel.

A reverential approach to beer (the brewery is housed in an old funeral home) keeps things classic at Brewery Vivant.

A reverential approach to beer (the brewery is housed in an old funeral home) keeps things classic at Brewery Vivant.

For yet another night out on the town in Grand Rapids on Saturday,  I met up with my best friend Chris, the unfortunate guy who accidentally sat next to me on the bus heading to my first day of kindergarten. So it was awesome to catch up (look for Chris running absurdly fast at your next marathon). The option as to what to do or where to go was pretty easy – being in Beer City U.S.A. makes things rather easy in that regard, so it was excellent to stop into the revered Brewery Vivant. If you want outstanding beer in a beyond-cool environment, I’d recommend you hit up that spot. (Of note: the Farmhand Farmhouse Ale is excellent.).

Stops through a series of Grand Rapids bars followed on Saturday night, including The Meanwhile, an eclectic bar that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn. We also managed to make it for a nice beer at the relaxed Harmony Brewing Company to round out a nice night filled with great times and great friends.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts features a relaxing loft space filled with Herman Miler pieces. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Striped socks by American Trench.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts features a relaxing loft space filled with Herman Miller pieces. It’s the ideal spot to stop and recharge as you explore the city. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Striped socks by American Trench.

Of course, Grand Rapids is about more than beer though – it’s got a bustling arts and culture scene, and if you’re familiar with the massive, citywide art fair and installation that is ArtPrize, you definitely know it’s worth the trip. And the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts fits right in with the city’s cultural scene. My friend Chris and I had the chance to explore it on Sunday, and the tranquil setting, crisp design and engaging artwork definitely made an impact on me.  The city, of course, also has a nice mix of up-and-established large-scale entertainment entities (like the VanAndel Arena), and it’s on the come-up as they say: construction is booming, new apartment complexes are popping up left-and-right and the city is hanging onto its reputation as being family-friendly. Other outposts like Madcap Coffee, a world-class downtown spot, helped make an afternoon spent exploring the city all the more enjoyable.

Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Delicious, creamy Oatmeal Stout by Founders Brewing.

Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Delicious, creamy Oatmeal Stout by Founders Brewing.

To cap off a whirlwind weekend, we made a stop at yet another revered beer institution, Founders Brewing. The space now features heated outdoor seating, and a relaxed vibe plus some excellent beer was a tremendous way to cap off the trip. The beautiful weather and eclectic mix of new and tried-and-true spots made for an awesome weekend reconnecting with some great friends and exploring a bit more of a city I hadn’t seen in a while. When you travel there, I’d of course recommend bringing some cold-weather travel gear – but more than that, I’d recommend you simply enjoy your time in a city that’s a fine example of the Midwest.

What do you think of these cold-weather style picks? More importantly, have you been to Grand Rapids before, or are you traveling there soon?

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