The Friday Read: Star Wars Day, Spring Menswear and The Best Suede Boots for Spring

From yet another #menswear-related work event to plenty of oher action on the men’s style front, it was a busy week — to say the least — here at The Style Guide. How was your week? Happy Cinco de Mayo, by the way — put one on my tab, will ya? In other matters: If spring style is what you seek, we’ve got plenty going on that front for you. Prepare to dress for Sunday brunch with our latest style suggestion, layer up for spring showers with the best gear for the rain and of course, stick around for tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week.  Outside of menswear, it’s been great to take in all that Brooklyn has to offer in terms of exploring the borough recently. These past few weeks, that’s meant checking out some excellent live shows at the newly opened Brooklyn Steel, now the largest venue in BK! This week in particular, I danced my way through a high-energy show from Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club — that’s a bucket-list band that was worth the wait to see! Of course, I stayed busy on the writing front aside from just having fun at live shows — and you’ll get a look at a few of those articles below. Follow along on Instagram, keep up with my escapades via Twitter and join the conversation over at The Style Guide Facebook page. See you out there!

  • In keeping with the idea of spring style essentials, the fine folks at REEF have teamed up once again with menswear designer Masafumi Watanabe on a surf-inspired collection of lightweight, easygoing pieces that draw on the brand’s California roots. Yes indeed, the REEF x MW line has everything from ringer tees to utility shorts to cool sneakers that would work perfectly for your next spring road trip — and nothing in the collection tops $110. That’s affordable, unique style that can’t be beat.

  • As you might or might not have seen, May 4th was what we call #StarWarsDay — as in, “May the Fourth be with you.” Get it? And fittingly enough, you can mark the occasion — if belatedly — in style with eye-catching, retro-inspired runners from Brooks Heritage as part of the Brooks Heritage Galactic Collection. For more sneaker talk, check out my Style Guide Q+A with Brooks Heritage, too.

  • It might seem counterintuitive to keep wearing boots when it warms up, but I certainly have a tough time shelving my favorite leather boots — and to that end, I recently took my Viberg Service Boots throughout a bit of Brooklyn weekend exploration. What’s more, Esquire.com tells you all about the best suede boots to wear for spring — seriously, folks. Hop to it!

One last thing …

  • If a new swim suit is what you seek, check out my roundup of 25 — yep, 25 — of the best board shorts to buy now over at GearMoose. You really can’t go wrong with any of those picks — trust me.

OK, y’all — that’s it for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and don’t forget your stylish Sunday brunch gear.

-Beau

The Friday Read: The Masters, Coachella and Stylish Dress Watches

If you can believe it, we’re back at it with another Friday Read here on the ole Style Guide. What have you been up to this week? It’s been a busy one that promises plenty of excitement around these parts to end the week — namely, we’re talking the official release of some excellent albums and a lovely spring weekend in Brooklyn. Yes indeed, I’m very much looking forward to listening to the full-length debut of infectious New York pop-punk rockers Diet Cig, along with what promises to be a very fun record release show tonight at fun Brooklyn rock club Baby’s All Right! And of course, who else is pumped about the new Cold War Kids record!? How great will that be? Very great. In other menswear matters, we’re fully into transitional spring style now — if you’re curious about how to dress for spring break, we have some helpful tips for you. And if you want to know about the investment-worthy leather jacket you need in your closet now, well, we’ve got you covered there. Oh, and it’s Masters weekend for all you golf fans out there — with that in mind, this week’s Friday Read covers a fun style move to make for the occasion.

A fun way to inject a little golf-inspired style into a warm-weather look.

  • OK, so as I said — it’s Masters weekend. And particularly if you’re a golf fan, you should be looking to dress in style and stay hydrated (cheers!). And what better way to do it than with some unique, head-turning flip-flops? Flip-flops aren’t for everyone, but if you’re hanging out at a beachfront patio bar or a pool — perhaps sipping on a Corona and watching the tournament — you should strongly consider picking up the Reef Mulligan II golf sandals. Your purchase gets you a neat pair of flip-flops, plus a Reef tee and tee holder. The upper mimics a textured golf ball, while the footbed plays off putting green grass — oh, and did I mention there’s a bottle opener in the sole? Bottoms up indeed!

Beckett Simonon

  • NYC cyclists or casual bikers, listen up — this weekend only, Timbuk2 (makers of stylish commuter gear) are offering a combo bag-and-bike deal at the brand’s NoHo shop (that’s at 325 Lafayette Street) with Pure Cycles. What does that mean exactly? The donation of any bag or bike via the “Break Up with Your Bag and Bike” event gets you 30 percent off the purchase of gear from both brands — and your donated gear goes toward Recycle-A-Bicycle, an organization focused on uplifting NYC through community engagement, youth development and healthy living. That’s a win all around!

Greats

And one more thing before we start the weekend …

  • Last but certainly not least — we’re talking crisp, classic and stylish dress watches via my latest in-depth feature for GearMoose. I’d wager there are some picks that you’ll very much enjoy — and don’t forget to check out The Style Guide’s list of the best men’s leather watches in the meantime.

Greats

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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The Friday Read: Black Friday 2016 Shopping Edition

Ahh, so it’s here again — Black Friday. If you still haven’t recovered from a healthy dose of turkey and football, we’re here to help you at The Style Guide. It’s a bountiful time for shopping — namely, right here from your laptop. And as great as the weekend is, it’s also important to take some time to kick back, enjoy the holiday with loved ones. But make no mistake, there are deals to be had wherever you look. With plenty of retailers opening their doors and starting online sales well in advance of Black Friday, some of the below deals have been going on for a while. But fear not, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on all of your #menswear shopping needs. Yes, make no mistake, there are some excellent sales out there — with a slew of promotions from Huckberry, Shinola, JackThreads and plenty more favorites, it’s the ideal time to knock a few items off your style wish list. Without further ado — bring on the Black Friday deals!

Huckberry: The lauded online retailer is offering tons of deals through Sunday, namely featuring the following brands:

Sword & Plough: The men’s and women’s accessories company — as featured in this stylish fall travel ensemble — is running a Thanksgiving week sale giving you 20 percent off all the way through Tuesday! They support veterans every step of the production process, so the brand is certainly worth a look.

Mott & Bow: Everyone’s favorite denim brand has a nice Black Friday deal going on today. Use the code ‘BLACKFRIDAY’ to get 10 percent off orders of $150 or more, 20 percent off $250 or more, or 30 percent off $350 or more of Mott & Bow gear.

Johnston & Murphy: The heritage footwear maker is offering select shoes and boots for up to 30 percent off.

JackThreads: Another Style Guide favorite has been running a Price Drop & Lock Guarantee  for the past few weeks, meaning low prices. well, drop and stay there; oh, and they’re giving everyone 25-30 percent off site-wide for Black Friday! And on Cyber Monday, they’re offering 30 percent off site-wide, all day.

FOURLAPS: The neat athletic brand upstart is providing some nice deals on stylish workout gear — you can snag the Dash Tank, Bolt Short and Smash Tee $30 through Monday, November 28th. And once Cyber Monday hits,  you can shop the Silver Charge Tee for $20

CHASE54: The performance and style-focused golf brand is serving up a nice deal through Cyber Monday —take 30 percent off any two-piece bundle and 40 percent off any three-piece bundle.

Batch Men’s: Batch is serving up a rare sale deal — makers of rugged-refined staples like the Tactician Utility Shirt, they’re offering 40 percent off a wide selection of shirts; get the deal using the code ‘THANKS’!

johnnie-O: The preppy, sport-inspired clothiers are offering a nice Black Friday deal — use the code ‘Tweener’ to buy one button-down, get another button-down free.

 

GREATS: In addition to launching two new sneakers (the third iteration of its Beast Mode collab with retired NFL star Marshawn Lynch, plus a special “Black Friday” edition of its low-cut Royale sneaker), the Style Guide favorite and is giving y’all 20 percent off and free shipping sitewide for Black Friday. That goes along with a series of tiered deals on Cyber Monday: namely, you’re looking at 20 percent off and free shipping sitewide from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m., then 25 percent off and free shipping from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., capped off by 25 percent off and free shipping on all shoes under $100 from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. Hop to it!

Old Navy: The noted casual retailer — who seems to churn out better and better men’s apparel by the season — is offering 50 percent off through Black Friday. That’s a heck of a deal, y’all.

Shinola: The brand is launching its Special Edition All Black Collection, an assortment of signature all-black Shinola products, debuting today.  It includes the brand-new Shinola Runwell Wall Clock and Shinola Power Supply Cords made in partnership with General Electric, plus an all-black Shinola Runwell Turntable, a 47mm Runwell watch with a PVD black sandblasted case and black dial, a one-of-a-kind black tandem bicycle and the Shinola + Benchmade Titanium 765 Pocket Knife. That’s a heck of a lot of gear! Read more about Shinola on Effortless Gent.

Sunday Somewhere: The eclectic sunglasses brand with an international following is giving you stylish guys up to 50% off storewide through Monday, excluding regular eyeglasses & accessories. No discount code needed!

Links of London: Need a special gift for that special someone? Refined British jewelry makers Links of London are offering 25 percent off for Black Friday, both in stores and online, until the 27th, with that same deal running online only through Cyber Monday. And if you spend $495, you’ll receive the brand’s Limited Edition Timeless Diamond Bracelet, a promo that runs in-store from the 28th, and online from the 29th, until December 11th.

Baxter of CaliforniaThese fine purveyors of high-quality men’s grooming products are offering 25 percent off the entire site now through November 28th.

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes: Until the 27th, you can get  20 percent off sitewide, plus free shipping, with the promo code DRS20FS. Then, on Cyber Monday, you can take 25 percent off sitewide, with free shipping also included, using the code DRSCYBER.

Reef: The surfwear and basics brand is serving up free 2-Day Shipping on all orders until the 28th using the code REE2DAY.

Richer Poorer: The standout basics brand is offering 40 percent off sitewide for Black Friday.

Steven Alan Optical: Until November 29th (that’s next Tuesday), you can receive 25 percent off all Steven Alan Optical eyeglasses and sunglasses with code BFWKNDSALE16.

Well, folks — that’s just a selection of some of the best #menswear deals out there on the market. From places where you can knock out all your shopping at once — like Huckberry — to e-tailers like JackThreads and Shinola who serve up stylish outerwear and accessories, this weekend is one of the best of the year (if not the best). And if you’re a fan of shopping and scoring deals? You’d do well to hop to some shopping. Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving weekend — and we’ll be back tomorrow as scheduled with our Style Pick of the Week.

Stay stylish, my friends!

-Beau
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The Friday Read: Spotlight, The Foo Fighters and the $10,000 Suit

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

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a serious case of spring fever. Last weekend’s weather in NYC was truly amazing (temperatures in the 50s — the 50s!) but this week has been a return to temperatures I’m more used to seeing in my home state of Michigan. So spring’s not fully upon us yet, but that didn’t stop me from planning out my spring style wish list and also looking toward some sharp spring business-casual style with this week’s #OOTD post. There’ve also been some even more exciting spring-centric writing ventures in the works, including an ongoing Style Essentials series I’ve been penning for GearMoose — in fact, this week I featured one of my favorite sets of sneakers, the GREATS Royale in White. Needless to say, I’m definitely in full-on spring mode. Are you in the same boat? Feel free to get a discussion going on over at The Style Guide’s Facebook page, if so. Know that next week, we’re coming in hot with suggestions for how to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day — plus, an exciting reader giveaway opportunity on Monday with the folks from Owen & Fred.  It’s all happening … well, most of it, anyways. Enjoy your weekend downtime and catch up below on the week that flew by. Thanks as always for reading!

  • Did you get around to seeing Spotlight? As a journalism grad and former reporter, the story was an intriguing one, without a doubt — Esquire.com uncovers the editor behind the real-life Boston Globe expose in light of its success at the Oscars?
  • We’ve got another coming at ya from Esquire.com this week — I’m admittedly only a passing fan (sorry I know, I know), but the Foo Fighters addressed break-up rumors with a hilarious comedy sketch video.
  • And lastly, why does a $10,00 suit cost … well, $10,000? GQ lets us know.
  • Style Notes of the Week: With new spring releases are dropping left and right, and GREATS is back with a  set of colorful, quirky spring sneakers with the refined folks at Orley. On that note — are you pining for spring and summer, long days at the beach and warmer temps? Surf and lifestyle brand Reef is tapping into that sentiment with the second entry in its “Just Passing Through” series.

Stay a bit longer with a few more choice reads.

    • If you need an extra reason to get excited for spring, know that denim jacket layering is in full-force. And in that regard, I rounded up the 15 best denim jackets for men over at GearMoose.
    • As it is the weekend and everything, I’d highly suggest you pour yourself a nice drink (if you’re into that sort of thing). You can now upgrade your whiskey drinking with cool gear from Time & Oak — get the scoop in my latest entry at VOUCH Mag.


Florsheim

The Friday Read: Valentine’s Day, Ryan Reynolds and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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

While last week was a big one (for me, at least), with the second iteration of  #NYFWM, perhaps this week has been a big one for you. After all, Valentine’s Day is upon us! What are you set to wear? Here’s your Valentine’s Day style suggestion. And do you have a gift all sorted out? If not, best get to it with these Valentine’s Day gift suggestions for that special someone. And if you have all of that in order, congrats! Enjoy what’s hopefully a three-day weekend! But before you get going on that last-minute shopping and outfit wrangling, catch up on some menswear (and yes, non-menswear) news. I won’t bug you for too much longer — after all, there are gifts to buy! Look for a Monday product review covering the standout Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot from Thursday Boots, followed by another sharp #OOTD entry and of course, the usual weekly content here at The Style Guide. Stay stylish!

  • This could come in handy in advance of Valentine’s Day, as GQ offers some standout layering tips courtesy of Ryan Reynolds — huge fan of that electric blue cardigan.
  • It might not quite be spring yet, but Apolis still is offering up its Civilian Travel Suiting bundles for a nice deal — within the higher-end market, that is.
  • Get away on a tropical vacation (or at least, start dreaming of one) by checking out the first in a series of global travel and adventure videos from the fine folks behind lifestyle brand Reef.
  • Long(ish) Read of the Week: Harry Potter fans, rejoice! Unless you’ve been living under a rock (apologies if so), Time and others have reported that the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — the play, that is — will be published in book form later this summer, and released, fittingly enough, on Harry Potter’s birthday! So exciting.

Frank & Oak

On the hunt for more to read? Look right here.

    • The newly revamped VOUCH Mag is up-and-running in a big way — check out my latest feature on the best boots to survive winter, and keep an eye out for some brands you might recognize.
    • Here’s a new one, too — never lose your umbrella again with the BLUNT + Tile Traceable Umbrella; it was neat to learn more about it for GearHungry.

Florsheim

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.
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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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Style Pick of the Week: Reef x H.D. Lee Workshirt

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

A herringbone workshirt can become a go-to cold weather layer. Workshirt via Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim brown jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Black sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker.

A herringbone workshirt can become a go-to cold weather layer. Workshirt via Reef x H.D. Lee. Slim brown jeans by Bonobos. Navy henley by United By Blue. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Black sneakers by Reef. Glasses by Warby Parker. Silver dive watch by Invicta.

For those in-between times when it’s chilly — but not too cold — and you feel like incorporating a dash of casual yet rugged style into your fall ensemble, there’s one piece of gear you should reach for. While a crisp fall jacket can provide great styling potential, we all need to switch it up sometimes. And that’s where a great workshirt can fill a hole in your wardrobe. Sure, you might not be in the mood to wear it out to cut wood, but what’s the harm in looking a bit rugged? There are various takes that could fall into this larger category  — you could argue that it’s simply a lined shirt crafted out of a thicker fabric, like this piece from J. Crew’s Wallace & Barnes line. Crucially, it’s a style that’s made for layering, whether over a great fall henley or atop a tough chambray shirt. And while you might not have heard of the brand before now, you’d do well to check out the workshirt being offered up by surfwear brand Reef in collaboration with heritage denim maker H.D. Lee this fall (also known as Lee Jeans). The collaboration itself is a well-edited collection of some staple menswear items mixed in with some more unique pieces (think an essential shawl sweater alongside the surfboard bags for which Reef is known). I was admittedly a bit skeptical at first (a surf brand selling fall apparel?), but after being sent a workshirt to check out on a trip to Michigan, I came around.

One weather-ready way to accessorize the rugged Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Gloves by Iron & Resin. Black sneakers by Reef.

One weather-ready way to accessorize the rugged Reef x H.D. Lee workshirt. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Gloves by Iron & Resin. Black sneakers by Reef.

For those who support American manufacturing (as we all should!), it’s a style that strikes a good balance between quality and price. It’s somewhat cost-prohibitive at $140, but that pales in comparison to similar workshirt/shirt-jacket styles offered by the likes of Saturdays Surf NYC. And this Reef x H.D. Lee piece backs up its price, too. The charcoal color is neutral and versatile, able to be casually paired with some slim brown jeans  and black sneakers, as seen at the top, or worn with black denim and a sturdy pair of roughout leather boots. It would even work more casually with some navy sweatpants and sneakers on the weekend. You could feasibly wear this out for a hike and back, too. The herringbone yarn dye definitely gives it a great fall and winter vibe, too, and the chambray lining provides a bit of extra insulation. That it still manages to fit trim atop a navy henley makes  it a tremendous layering option. It could also be worn unbuttoned over a heather pocket tee with khaki chinos  and a merino watch cap (as I did here) for a quick jaunt around town. Side pockets at the hips are pretty handy, too. It’s available up to every size but XXL at the moment, so the time is ripe to pick it up, throw it on and get out there this fall & winter.

How would you style this workshirt for fall & winter? Would you consider checking out this style? Let me know and thanks for reading!
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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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