Fort Myers Festivities: Celebrating a Florida Christmas

Dressed for Christmas the Florida way. Printed shirt by Quiksilver. Chambray shorts by Canvas by Lands' End. Ripper Sneakers by Reef. Nautical 3-Hand Watch by Jack Mason. Glasses by Frameri.

Dressed for Christmas the Florida way. Printed shirt by Quiksilver. Chambray shorts by Canvas by Lands’ End. Ripper Sneakers by Reef. Nautical 3-Hand Watch by Jack Mason. Glasses by Frameri.

When the holiday season hits, I tend to think back to Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons spent in Michigan — who doesn’t love traditions of years gone by? With those memories in mind, it’s been a fun process the past three years to start new traditions in my parents’ adopted home of Fort Myers, and I always welcome the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City for a warm and sunny Florida vacation. I traveled to Fort Myers last Christmas, and I get back every few months — including a recent visit for Thanksgiving — but it never gets old spending time in the sand and sun (especially when the alternative is dealing with a polar vortex in New York City).  Yes, the holiday season in Florida is always a treat, an adventure and a bit of a sight to behold — palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights looks a bit different. But it was great to be with family and friends, and I brought along as much stylish travel gear as I could pack.

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Gear fit for Florida and NYC. Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Kinzie Jeans by Mugsy Jeans. Academia Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Watch by Timex for J. Crew. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Wallet by Brothers Leather.

Surviving a frigid day in New York City and capping that off with a flight to breezy Florida is no joke, so I wore gear that could stand up to both challenges (the rest, I packed in my trusty, durable Owen & Fred weekender bag — but you knew that, right?). Of course, my packing list looked a lot different than my winter weekend in Baltimore, but I stuck with the ever-versatile Taylor Stitch Jack in Indigo Star Shirt,for starters. It’s as reliable and well-fitting of a casual shirt you can buy, and it provided a nice bit of contrast to my light wash Kinzie Jeans — they’re the perfect travel denim from Mugsy Jeans.
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For the day in NYC, I layered up with the heritage-inspired, ultra-comfortable Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt, and accented the sporty sweatshirt with my comfortable and casual Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers. They proved easy to slip on and off at the airport, and I’d wager they’ll work just as well for you the next time you travel. On the accessories front, I found my simple, effective (and unfortunately sold out!) Timex for J. Crew watch provided easygoing-yet-crisp travel style. And throughout my trip, I loved throwing on my vintage-inspired Huckberry Explorer’s Cap, a one-of-a-kind grey cotton flannel baseball cap with a navy felt “H” — for Huckberry, of course. So, that gear helped me make it to Florida in style — and it’s a good thing, as we had lots in store for Christmas weekend.

Looking out on a lovely day at Cayo Costa. Brando T-Shirt by Barking Irons. Swim Trunks by JackThreads. Gratton Sneakers by Fronteer. Expedition watch by Timex. Explorer's Cap by Huckberry. Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

Looking out on a lovely day at Cayo Costa. Brando T-Shirt by Barking Irons. Swim Trunks by JackThreads. Gratton Sneakers by Fronteer. Expedition watch by Timex. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

Getting some quality time out and about on the Florida water was in order for an early Friday boat excursion through the waterways of Fort Myers, from Cayo Costa State Park to Cabbage Key — both scenic islands with ample beach space. I stuck with a combination of gear both new and old, starting with my durable-as-heck FRONTEER Super Gratton high-top sneakers. I wore them on my last Florida trip and found they provided comfort and serious durability. A breathable, vintage-inspired Barking Irons Brando G.I. T-Shirt, courtesy of the New York-based design and apparel company, helped me stay cool on the water. Inspired by infantry T-shirts from the Vietnam era, the little details — like the scalloped hem and raised sleeves — make it a great pick-up. Of course, my JackThreads Swim Trunks were just as needed for the day, with their trim fit and neutral navy color. And my crisp, classic Timex Expedition field watch  on a tough black NATO strap held up more than fine, as did my MVMT Watches Runaway Aviators and my stylish — yet adventure-ready — Huckberry Explorer’s Cap.

With a day of exploration behind us and Christmas Eve ahead, it was time to look to the weekend. I did so with a mix of pieces both tropical-inspired — like my Quiksilver Sunset Tunnels Shirt — and my Canvas by Lands’ End shorts. Those pieces worked easily for a nice Christmas Eve dinner and some much-needed time in the sun. It felt slightly odd to not be bundled up on Christmas Eve as in past years, but some subtly stylish, comfortable black canvas Reef Ripper Sneakers helped me navigate the day in style, as did my Jack Mason Nautical 3-Hand Watch on a warm weather-friendly blue perlon strap. The watch, like the black canvas sneakers, proved just as stylish for exploring sunny Fort Myers as it did for grabbing a few brews and enjoy my family’s traditions — a classic Christmas Eve film and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Doesn’t get much better, ehh?

An amazing Christmas featuring some great men's style essentials (of course. Vintage-style cotton sweater by Hillflint. Book by Esquire. Chocolate by Toblerone.

An amazing Christmas featuring some great men’s style essentials (of course. Vintage-style cotton sweater by Hillflint. Book by Esquire. Chocolate by Toblerone.

With a delicious Christmas Eve dinner complete, I went to bed with visions of my #menswear wish list dancing in my head (indulge me, will you?).  I hope you were able to come through with key shopping pick-ups of your own, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed with what Santa left me under the tree this year. I was really lucky to get an amazing vintage Michigan State sweater from Hillflint — it’s a super-premium cotton knit piece that I’ll look forward to wearing on Saturday fall trips back to East Lansing and chilly weekends in NYC alike. I’m also looking forward to breaking out an amazingly high-quality Todd Snyder White Label dress shirt for New Year’s Eve, and I’ll be reminding myself of proper dress etiquette with Esquire’s “New Rules for Men,” a fun, informative and quick-hitting feature from the fantastic pages of the essential Hearst publication. I also snagged a great Ticketmaster gift card from Santa — so you can expect more live music and menswear in the coming year on the blog!  Needless to say, I’m definitely a fan of the Christmas season, and I’m very thankful for such a great day!

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Comfortable, crisp style essentials. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Alpha Stretch Khakis by Dockers. Academia Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing. Explorer’s Cap by Huckberry. 810 Wallet by Brothers Leather.

Given the need to put together a stylish New Year’s Eve outfit — not to mention those crucial menswear resolutions — I’m sure plenty of this gear will more than come in handy in the weeks ahead. Even moreso than those stellar gifts, it was a day that made me feel very lucky and grateful to spend it with my amazing family — that’s my true takeaway from this Florida trip (and of course, the added #menswear goodies will make it a bit hard to pack up for my flight home).  So with an overstuffed duffel bag packed for later this week, I reached for sharp essentials for another day today in Florida, starting with a classic Old Navy chambray shirt — casual but still crisp. And my Flint and Tinder Pocket T-Shirt proved a comfortable base layer. Because great style doesn’t stop with your top half, I reached for my slim-fitting, easily wearable Dockers Alpha Stretch Khakis and my  Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers. When the occasion calls for simple style, I’d wager you’ll do just fine with similarly versatile, do-everything pieces like a classic chambray shirt and chinos.

So, what’s on the docket for the rest of the week? Definitely some rest, some reflection before 2017 and yes, plenty of planning for a stylish New Year’s Eve in New York City. You can stay tuned for business as usual tomorrow, starting with a winter style #OOTD, and continuing right on through to what to wear to ring in the new year via Wednesday’s style suggestion. Oh, and if you didn’t enter last week’s men’s lifestyle giveaway, do so before the 28th to win a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card and get a jump on those fitness goals. At any rate, thanks so much for reading along — I hope you’ve had a stellar holiday season, and I hope you’re ready for lots more menswear on The Style Guide. Thanks, as always, for reading!

-Beau

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Catching some rays: A summer vacation in Florida

Editor’s note: To recap my latest travel style adventures, click that link.

Just one snap of my time spent in sunny Florida. Pocket tee by Steven Alan. Tropical-print linen shorts by Todd Snyder. Cooper Boat Shoes by Jack Erwin. Sunglasses by Nautica. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge and Burn. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

Just one snap of my time spent in sunny Florida. Pocket tee by Steven Alan. Tropical-print linen shorts by Todd Snyder. Cooper Boat Shoes by Jack Erwin. Sunglasses by Nautica. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge and Burn. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

It might seem hard to believe, but today ends a whirlwind stretch of 12 out of 17 days on the road for me — yes, that’s right! That included a trip West to Liberty Fairs, plus a wedding weekend in Michigan, all fun in their own way, and all involving some stellar #menswear (if I do say so myself). Given that I’ve grown pretty accustomed to hitting the road as of late, it made my next trip all the more enjoyable; it’s not all that often that I get to head South to visit my family in Florida, but it’s always a special occasion. In this case, I was able to celebrate my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and take in a truly epic AC/DC concert with my dad in nearby Fort Lauderdale — but more on that in a second. I was last in Fort Myers in March (a Style Guide spring break, if you will), and this go-round, I was able to bring along a different — yet hopefully just as stylish — set of men’s style essentials for a longer trip (Friday to Wednesday morning, as it were!).

A full bag for a few extra days in Florida. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. Printed swim trunks by JACHS NY. Army Issue Sneakers by SeaVees. Black Henley by Stitchmill. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Facial Crème by Nivea For Men.

A full bag for a few extra days in Florida. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred. Printed swim trunks by JACHS NY. Army Issue Sneakers by SeaVees. Black Henley by Stitchmill. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Facial Crème by Nivea Men. Brass bottle opener by Owen & Fred.

That started, as always, from the ground up. I’ve realized the importance of making sure your small items are both durable and stylish — such is the case with my Herschel Supply Chapter Travel Kit, an easy-to-pack, easy-to-use dopp kit that sheds water (the wide array of colors doesn’t hurt, either). It fit nicely inside my reliable-as-ever Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender, which actually ended up holding about six days worth of gear (see, that’s versatile dressing — wink, wink). I also packed up a durable Stitchmill Henley and other easily wearable pieces. On a side note — if you’re going to grab one henley, you might want to make it a slim-fitting, made-in-America purchase from Stitchmill. But onto the rest of the trip. As I headed right from the office in NYC to the plane, I took advantage of a very casual Friday and threw on my OLIVERS Capital Shorts and the lightweight, comfortable Stio Divide Polo, both of which provided nice freedom of movement and versatility for moving from work to a flight and dinner. Of course, my Jack Erwin Cooper Boat Shoes were also durable and crisp for a half-day in the office and the resulting flight to Florida, which proved to be longer than expected thanks to some travel delays. The time spent in the air was more than recovered thanks to a few tasty brews at Twin Peaks, brewers of four in-house beers and some excellent pub fare, including the Billionaire Bacon Burger. Friday night done right!

Catching some much-needed Florida rays. Dash Tank by Fourlaps. Swim trunks by JackThreads. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Nautica. Sneakers from the MW for Reef collab. 8926 Pro Diver by Invicta. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

Catching some much-needed Florida rays. Dash Tank by Fourlaps. Swim trunks by JackThreads. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Nautica. Sneakers from the MW for Reef collab. 8926 Pro Diver by Invicta. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

With a busy work week and travel day in the books, it made Saturday all the more enjoyable — it was time for a relaxing beach day with fittingly casual apparel. That meant I threw on the Fourlaps Apparel Dash Tank, because everyone could use a little sun now and then.  I covered the brand in a piece on the best athleisure brands for men, and they’re worth checking out if you want performance-minded apparel that’s a little more bold — and a little less logo-heavy — than your average tank top. It was an easygoing complement to my JackThreads Swim Trunks, which were pretty sharp in a deep navy color. Beach-ready footwear is an essential, and a pair of casual grey sneakers from the Masafumi Watanabe x Reef collaboration were just the ticket, able to stand up to sand & the walk through the parking lot after. Perhaps the most versatile timepiece I brought with me was my Invicta 8926 Pro Diver — I’ve had that thing for about three years now (it even nabbed a spot in this site’s roundup of the best dive watches), and it fit right in underneath the sand & sun. Given the need to transition from situation to situation,  I’d suggest you also grab a versatile, casual-yet-refined dive watch for your next waterfront outing.

For a trip to one of my favorite stops in the Fort Myers area (the excellent Point Ybel Brewing), I also kept it casual. The great thing about those OLIVERS Capital Shorts is that, minus repeated gym sessions, they can hold up to darn near anything (including a repeat wear for an easygoing dinner). My situation up top was also breezy and casual, as it was the prime opportunity to feature a fun vintage printed shirt. A regular (read: Non-vintage) printed short-sleeve shirt is the ideal way to have a bit of fun in the warm weather, and my reliable-as-always Jack Erwin Cooper Boat Shoes worked just fine for grabbing a few pints.  We topped off the night with a stellar dinner at legendary local spot Doc Ford’s — my parents would surely recommend the Yucatan Shrimp.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

As one does in Floriday, Sunday provided another lovely opportunity to relax and explore at the same time. That meant a Sunday Funday trip to Punta Gorda and some exploration around the Fishermen’s Village shopping area (complete with a requisite stop at nearby Fat Point Brewing — get the Big Boca Ale to go in a growler, if you get the chance!). We also grabbed a tasty waterfront meal   No trip to a beautiful waterfront locale would be complete without the chance to once again break out those Jack Erwin Cooper Boat Shoes. which are a decidedly sleek upgrade to the typical boat shoe. They offset a new favorite pair of breezy tropical-print linen Todd Snyder shorts (an end-of-season sale pick-up) — they were sufficiently breezy, comfortable and yet stylish. Of course, accessories to fight the sun were also crucial — in this instance, that meant some Nautica sunglasses in a cool, retro-yet-modern (there is such a thing) Clubmaster-style shape. My trusty Tread for Men Traveler Sunscreen helped me fight the sun’s rays — seriously, don’t skip out on that — and although I reached for my Invicta 8926 Pro Diver for some pool time early in the day, my refined Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch — on a NATO strap, no less — was the perfect pick for more time in the Florida heat.

The Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers. Breton Stripe Tee by Grayers. Colter Pants by Stio. Sunglasses by Nautica. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

The Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers. Breton Stripe Tee by Grayers. Colter Pants by Stio. Sunglasses by Nautica. Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Striped webbed belt by J. Crew. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Bracelet by Bryer Leather.

Unlike past trips to Florida, which required a quick turnaround, I had the chance to take a bit more time in and around the city of Fort Myers. That meant some pool time on Monday, and it also meant a chance to hit up downtown Fort Myers outpost The Lodge for a heck of a lunch and some stellar brews. The décor is rustic and alpine-themed, the barbeque is stellar and the selection of regional and national craft beers is on-point (the Cigar City Lager from Tampa is a crisp, easy-drinking upgrade to a Miller Lite, if that’s in your wheelhouse). To meet the occasion in style, I paired my Grayers Breton Stripe Tee (slim-fitting and comfortable) with the Stio Colter Pant, a slightly stretchy chino made from premium Turkish cotton. It moved well, and made it easy to stroll around town post-lunch — particularly when paired up with those trusty Jack Erwin Cooper Boat Shoes and other style essentials, like my Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch. When you talk about pieces that mix crisp, modern style with a retro vibe, that timepiece is one of them — as is my trusty Bridge & Burn Flat Wool Cap, which came in handy shield my face from the sun. Despite some rain showers, it was an excellent day capped off by some delicious fried chicken at Sanibel Island hotspot The Pecking Order and a beautiful sunset on the beach.

An outfit that's ready to rock. Authentic band tee and tickets by AC/DC. 505C Denim by Levi's. Chukkas by Timberland. Waterbury Chrono from the TImex x Red Wing Heritage collab. Double IPA by Two Roads Brewing.

An outfit that’s ready to rock. Authentic band tee and tickets by AC/DC. 505C Denim by Levi’s. Chukkas by Timberland. Waterbury Chrono from the TImex x Red Wing Heritage collab. Double IPA by Two Roads Brewing.

So a tremendous day on Monday led to one (big) thing on Tuesday — the concert to end all concerts, an absolutely epic AC/DC show. That explains the authentic  band tee (no knock-off designer band merch here!), my reliable Levi’s 505C Denim, (a rock-inspired jean perfect for the show), and some durable leather chukkas. But onto what truly was an explosive night! Say what you will about their music or their consistent (ahem, stubborn) approach to music, but AC/DC were one of the first bands I ever loved — and I love them to this day, personnel changes and all! The show was worth an entire blog post in and of itself, particularly when you snag prime second-row seats, as my dad and I did (I’m going to pause to try & recover some of my hearing now).

The legendary Angus Young ripping off some blistering riffs in Fort Lauderdale at the BB&T Center.

From the opening chords of “Rock Or Bust” to a blistering take on “Shoot to Thrill,” a ripping rendition of”Sin City” and the classic “High Voltage” — and every single song in between — Angus Young never stopped moving or peeling off insane riffs. And Axl Rose truly did sing his butt off, too — he’s no Brian Johnson, but he channels both Brian & Bon in one heck of a rock n’roll way (on-stage wardrobe choices aside). Even without Brian in the mix, the band is a sight to behold … they’re perhaps the last great “classic” rock band that tours consistently behind original music, and boy, do they put on a show. Chris Slade has proven an admirable fill-in behind the drum kit for Phil Rudd, and Stevie Young is his uncle Malcolm incarnate, holding down the engine room admirably on rhythm guitar.  I could certainly go on, but suffice to say — Bon Scott would be proud of “the boys.” Next up — the band’s stop at Madison Square Garden in just about two weeks. Needless to say, I’m ready.

Travel style essentials

An early flight after an AC/DC concert? No problem. Club V-neck Tee by Life/After/Denim. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Notebook by Word Notebooks. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder.

With all that being said, the trip still seemed to come to an end all too soon — that could’ve been the early wake-up call to get back to NYC on Wednesday, too. My Life/After/Denim Club V-neck Tee (it’s proven quite the quick seller) was the ideal casual way to catch an early-morning flight — luckily, it fits the bill at my laidback office, too. And my Levi’s 505C Denim worked again to travel back — the hint of stretch is key, and the durability made them an easy pick when matched with the simple, stylish Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch. It’s now time to power through the work day, and unpack my bag until I travel next. With Labor Day on the way though, I’ve got some stylish adventures planned — I’ll be exploring the buzzed-about town of Asbury Park (that’s New Jersey, folks), and bringing along some stylish essentials (of course). Keep up with all the #menswear action on Twitter or Instagram, and check back here Friday for a weekly menswear news recap.

In rock we trust — it’s rock or bust,

-Beau

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

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On the road again: Kicking off 2016 in Detroit

Editor’s note: For more details on part 1 of this trip, click here.

Spending time in Midtown near Shinola & Willy's Detroit. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Plaid flannel shirt by Todd Snyder. Skinny Fulton Chinos by Banana Republic. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boots. Patterned socks by Richer Poorer. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta

Spending time in Midtown near Shinola & Willys Detroit. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Hemingway Elbow Patch Shirt by Todd Snyder. Skinny Fulton Chinos by Banana Republic. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukkas by Thursday Boots. Patterned socks by Richer Poorer. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta

When I first got word that a big group of friends was heading to Detroit to ring in the new year (and watch our alma mater Michigan State play in the College Football Playoff), I knew I had to make the trip — even after being on the road in Florida just a few days before. While I was definitely disappointed in Michigan State’s loss in the College Football Playoff, I wasn’t disappointed at all with the rest of my time in Detroit. The city has been the subject of tons of national headlines for its economic woes, and certain parts of the city are definitely still feeling that blight (I’ll leave it to the experts to talk more about that). Even still, there are plenty of cultural and economic bright spots that, at least outwardly, are helping put the city back on the map — and yes, as with any trip, there’s plenty of great menswear to go along with that.

Equal parts rock music and menswear -- the John Varvatos shop in downtown Detroit

Equal parts rock music and menswear — the John Varvatos shop in downtown Detroit

For a quick flight to Detroit and a brief afternoon of exploration before kicking off the New Year’s Eve festivities, I layered up with my Todd Shelton chambray shirt, my trusty Pistol Lake henley and some skinny Fulton chinos from Banana Republic (also seen in the photo at the top of the page). The outfit was versatile and comfortable, and it made for some quick walking to the nearby John Varvatos shop, a large installment that pays homage to both the designer’s Detroit roots and the brand’s deep love for the rock music industry. The clothing and the shop itself definitely have a substantial rock n’roll vibe, which suits some but  can be a bit much for my taste. However, the shop is impressively merchandised and also has a great selection of audio and music equipment for sale.
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A walk by some other notable downtown sites (including The Fillmore, Comerica Park and Ford Field), ate up the rest of the afternoon before game time (definitely a different change of pace on New Year’s Eve!). With a few quick changes (namely, throwing on my JackThreads Fisherman Cardigan and swapping out the henley), I was ready for the rest of the night. Detroit’s Greektown district was buzzing with activity and a fitting place to catch the game — that is, until things turned south for our beloved Spartans. Try as we might, that did put a bit of a damper on the new year, but the Firebird Tavern was still a fun spot to check out, and worthy of a trip if you find yourself in Greektown.

Cozy, versatile and stylish. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Nomad French Terry Sweatpants by Bonobos. Striped socks by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef.

Cozy, versatile and stylish. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Nomad French Terry Sweatpants by Bonobos. Striped socks by American Trench. Black chukka sneakers by Reef.

A hearty brunch to kick off the new year was in order, and the Hudson Café definitely delivered in that regard — the rest of the large crowd gathered there thought so, too. Staying cozy and comfortable was also in order to start the new year, and my JackThreads Collegiate Bomber — plus some striped American Trench socks and my Bonobos French Terry Sweatpants— proved more than up to the task. My Reef Outhaul Lux Chukka Sneakers were also minimal, comfortable and stylish — exactly the type of sneaker you should reach for if you decide pair them with tapered sweatpants on a cold day off. New Year’s Day football was definitely a treat (although not as fun as an MSU win would’ve been!), and our dinner plans led us to the Cornerstone Barrel House, a tap house equal parts rugged-and-refined that offers some delicious local beer and tasty bites.

A delicious coffee from Shinola's in-store cafe is crucial. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

A delicious coffee from Shinola’s in-store cafe is crucial. Collegiate Bomber by JackThreads. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

A great dinner and a relaxing night was crucial, as I got out the door to see the rest of Detroit’s #menswear scene on Saturday. That included a stop by the revered Shinola store — coming from someone who loves the brand’s NYC store, it was a real treat to be able to see what the brand can do with more real estate, and in its hometown. Shinola really is continuing to cement its legacy in the Detroit area — the installation of the brand’s own watch dial production facility in its flagship store is nearly complete, and it’s got that Detroit work ethic down pat. It’s great news in the meantime that Shinola offers up other great goods, like American-made journals and an entire assortment of bicycles. Plus, the on-site coffee shop is a key pit stop before exploring other nearby haunts, like Willys Detroit — a sister shop of Shinola that’s packed to the brim with rugged menswear from Filson, Steven Alan and Apolis, plus women’s apparel & accessories. It’s also worth a visit, if only to enjoy the impressive retail experience rather than purchase something.

The impressive, and brand-new, physical outpost of Third Man Records is definitely worth a trip.

The impressive, and brand-new, physical outpost of Third Man Records is definitely worth a trip.

No stop along that stretch is complete without stopping into the brand-new physical outpost of Third Man Records, another offshoot of the record company founded by Detroit rocker Jack White — if you’re a fan of rock music, or just the art of vinyl and music-making in general, it’s a must-visit. We also took the time to swing by Atwater Brewery on Saturday night, an expansive waterfront location serving up delicious staples like its famous Vanilla Java Porter and the equally tasty Pheasant Hog, a rich brown ale. It’s great to be able to see businesses continue to dedicate time and resources to bringing back Detroit, through both retail and music experiences, plus delicious food and drink — all are necessary for travelers and locals alike!

Dependable travel gear to fight the cold and stay stylish. Buffalo Bobber Gloves by Iron & Resin. Mt. Drew Duffle by United By Blue.

Dependable travel gear to fight the cold and stay stylish. Buffalo Bobber Gloves by Iron & Resin. Mt. Drew Duffle by United By Blue. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

A busy end to a busy weekend was capped off on Sunday with a stop by Will Leather Goods, another business with deep, decades-old Detroit roots that’s a new addition to the city’s Midtown neighborhood. The entire store is nearly a work of art, packed with everything from excellent leather messenger bags to vintage finds like barber’s chairs and a massive teepee (yes, a teepee). To explore that part of town, I reached for my sturdy Mott & Bow Norfolk raw denim — it’s one pair of jeans that’s breaking in quite nicely, and the heavier weight made them more than ideal for the chilly weather Detroit threw at us. A striped henley from J. Crew and my ever-reliable Todd Shelton chambray shirt, plus my dependable Invicta Pro Diver, helped me tackle both my final hours in Detroit and travel back to NYC on Monday morning (those flight delays always seem to catch up with me!).

It was tough to say goodbye to great friends and an unexpectedly awesome city filled with some terrific shopping and a steady cultural scene. Were I to visit again (and I’ll be back!), I’d love to check out the Detroit Institute of Art, and some other similar spots. Although some parts of Detroit still leave something to be desired (to say the least), there’s no question that the right businesses and people are around to continue to drive the city forward — and those same businesses would definitely make it worth a trip for you… although might I suggest a stop when it’s warm?

Until I hit the road again — stay stylish!

-Beau
Ben Sherman US

The Product Review: Reef Outhaul Lux Chukka Sneakers

Editor’s note: For a wide range of product reviews on everything from watches to jeans, click here.

Styling black chukka sneakers for travel. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Grey shirt-jacket by Addict UK. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Black rubber strap watch by Stuhrling.

Styling black chukka sneakers for travel. Slim denim by Mott & Bow. Grey shirt-jacket by Addict UK. Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering. Black rubber strap watch by Stuhrling.

The great thing about personal style is that it’s always changing and developing, shifting according to your tastes, your lifestyle and current trends in the marketplace. This has been no more true than for yours truly across the past few weeks – namely, in my footwear preferences. I love a great pair of boots, and I certainly love sporty sneakers, too. But in the midst of that, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to black footwear – be it side zip or moc toe boots or, in the case of this post, black sneakers.

Perhaps it’s NYC starting to rub off on me, but there’s something quite crisp and sleek about black footwear – and it’s a trend that’s been coming back in a big way in recent years. Witness Bond himself rocking several pairs of expensive and sleek black footwear in the latest franchise installment. And in turn, this has brought me to another style crossroads –wearing and styling black chukka sneakers (not as fancy as what 007 wears, admittedly). There’s an unexpected brand that’s doing a nice, comfortable take on the sneaker, and it’s one you should consider when you fill up your shopping cart next time.
Ben Sherman US

Now before a few weeks ago, I wasn’t familiar with Reef as either  a surfwear brand or an apparel brand, period. But when I got the chance to check out a pair of the brand’s sneakers thanks to the brand’s great PR team, I took the opportunity to dive in headfirst. And like the brand’s apparel (particularly a new workshirt from a collaboration with Lee Jeans), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality, comfort and durability of these particular sneakers – the Outhaul Lux in Black, to be specific. It’s a style that’s been a remarkably hot seller from the brand’s fall line, too – Amazon does have a better range of sizes available as of post time, though.

Another casual way to wear these sneakers -- with a sturdy workshirt, slim denim in a fall-appropriate shade and a nice watch cap. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Another casual way to wear these sneakers — with a sturdy workshirt, slim denim in a fall-appropriate shade and a nice watch cap. Workshirt by Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim Travel Jeans by Bonobos. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Glasses by Warby Parker.

I definitely love a great pair of sneakers, especially from a brand like Brooklyn’s own GREATS, but now there’s some competition in my closet. Reef has been known more in the past for its surf-focused offerings, but they’ve certainly done a nice job with these sneakers. I’ve worn them to work with a plaid shirt and grey crewneck sweater, and I’ve also thrown them on to do quite a bit of exploring across travels to Grand Rapids and Washington, D.C. these past two weeks. Thankfully, they’ve been up to the challenge.

Crucially for sneakers, the first noticeable thing about these guys is the comfort level – the outsole features solid traction, something tough to get in a black leather sneaker on occasion, and the injected molded insole adds another layer of cushion and durability. For being a chukka sneaker, they’re quite light – that’s another positive that’s made these a solid choice for lots of walking.

One way to style these sneakers -- with a solid baseball jacket (via Grayers), a vintage ballcap (via Goorin Brothers) and a dependable weekender bag (by Navali).

One way to style these sneakers — with a solid baseball jacket (via Grayers), a vintage ballcap (via Goorin Brothers) and a dependable weekender bag (by Navali).

The premium full-grain leather upper makes for a pretty slick look and decent styling potential, too. As you can see from these photos, I opted to style them in two casual, rugged get-ups – notice my love of grey workshirts and henleys, namely. So they’ve been a very solid casual sneaker. Granted, they’re not as dressy or quite as versatile as a shiny black leather sneaker, but the monochrome color still makes them quite sharp. The nubuck leather is of good quality, too – it hasn’t shown that much wear and tear or creasing, a factor that’ll allow them to be worn in more high-low situations (think a navy blazer and slim khaki chinos plus these sneakers).

A closer look at the diagonal stitching that runs up the side of these Reef chukka sneakers.

A slightly closer look at the diagonal stitching that runs up the side of these Reef chukka sneakers, which some might not like.

However, just as they’re not as dressy as a black leather sneaker, the slightly rounded toe makes them less sleek – and thus less versatile. But, they’re definitely still able to function as a business-casual sneaker, albeit in a bit more unique fashion. The chukka-style cut is a nice change of pace from lower-cut sneakers. Those types of kicks definitely have their place in spring and summer, but a chukka sneaker screams fall style to me – perhaps it’s the shifting weather or the switch back to higher-cut boots as the temps drop and leaves fall, but a chukka sneaker is a lighter way to convey a similar style. The padded ankle makes these more comfortable than boots, too (as it should be with sneakers!). Plus, the higher cut aligns well with slimmer pants that have minimal break, creating a nice silhouette. And again, that sleek black color is probably best to wear casually at first — rotate them in as you might a pair of suede chukkas, or regular low-cut sneakers, and more styling options will definitely start to open up.

The one thing some might not like about these sneakers is the diagonal detailing stitched onto the side of the sneakers. It’s an almost tribal-like pattern but as it’s done up in black stitching, it doesn’t detract from the sneaker too much for me. Elsewhere on the shoe, waxed laces that have some nice stretch are a welcome touch.

The price on these is pretty solid, too – at $95, it’s always refreshing to see a good sneaker sold for under $100. GREATS and more classic sneaker brands like Vans might have them beat price-wise, but for a company known for its surfwear offerings, this is a solid sneaker effort that’ll continue to get good wear through fall and into the early part of winter.

Have you picked up sneakers from Reef? What’s your take on the black chukka sneaker in general?

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