Style Q+A: Designing Your Space with Oxford Pennant

It’s an oft-repeated adage here at The Style Guide — small style upgrades really can make a big difference.  Whether that means stepping up your grooming game or upgrading your casual shirt, there are lots of little areas where the end results are self-evident if you focus on the little steps along the way. Be it looking for a better-fitting shirt or refined suede Chelsea boots, it’s all in the details. That’s particularly true when it comes to areas outside the realm of #menswear — namely, upgrading your home goods or upgrading your office. It really is underrated. Working and living in a pleasing environment surrounded by things you enjoy is one of the small pleasures of life — look at the home of ex-J. Crew menswear head Frank Muytjens. And so, it makes sense that we’re talking upgraded home goods (and an upgraded life!) with the subjects of today’s Style Q+A, the fine folks at Oxford Pennant.

It was after a fine, stylish Sunday brunch (and requisite menswear blogging) that I strolled into one of my favorite Brooklyn menswear shops, the crisply designed and handsomely outfitted Modern Anthology. And what did I happen upon but a cabinet and wall adorned with unique pennants? Hard-to-place, at once masculine and modern, yet vintage. Those pennants, folks, were from Oxford Pennant. That leads us nicely into our latest Q+A, as it were. I’ve been mighty pleased with the pennant I picked up that day, which you might recognize from my Instagram. Hanging on my wall, it serves as a daily reminder to work harder, think forward and push myself — and it looks cool, too. Know that in addition to vintage-inspired pennants, the brand also makes handsome championship banners that add color and instant style to any blank wall. It’s certainly very likely that you’ll want more than one piece from the assortment — and that’s a great thing. With the spirit of home upgrades in mind, I caught up with  Oxford Pennant co-founder Dave Horesh to talk why you need a pennant (or championship flag) in your home or office, why it looks great, and what you can do to instantly upgrade your space. Again, folks — the small style upgrades matter, and Oxford Pennant can help you make more than a few.

The Style Guide: What spurred your moment of inspiration to start the brand?
Oxford Pennant: We never set out to start a brand. We’re from Buffalo, which is a city that looks back in time as much as it looks forward. There’s a fixation on the past that’s inescapable here. Brett (my business partner) and I would go to estate sales and pick through huge collections of old pennants from the early 20th century. To us, it always seemed like a piece of Americana that had lost its popularity. One day, we decided to make a batch of “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennants for friends and family. We posted them on Instagram, the photo caught on and people began reaching out to us to have their own pennants made. We filled those orders and folks began posting photos of their custom pennants on Instagram. Then their friends started asking where they could have pennants made, and a company was born.

Sutro Footwear

A close-up of one of the brand’s championship banners.

TSG: A pennant or a flag might not be the first thing a guy thinks of when decorating — what do you think those pieces can add to a space in terms of design?

OP: You know, a flag is something that’s always used as a symbol of pride and identity. Pennants are essentially a small, house-sized flag. I think they’re a pretty clear opportunity for self-expression. We started using the tagline “Celebrate Everything” when it became clear to us that we were making pennants to commemorate the things that bring people joy in their lives. Their hometown, a wedding, a concert or even a feeling. I think pennants are the ultimate souvenir to chronicle and commemorate one’s life.
Oxford Pennant

A daily reminder from Oxford Pennant to “hustle” — get it?

TSG: For the guy who’s just starting out decorating his space — be it a desk or a dorm room or an apartment — what are some tips you’d share?

    • Start with the classics. Estate sales are a great place to find quality items.
    • A space is always a work in progress. You’ll never be done.
    • Get as many plants as you can. Learn how to take care of them.
    • If you care about something, frame it.
    • Put back the Christmas lights, bro.

Greats

 

TSG: You’ve got some great-looking pieces in your assortment — what’s your favorite product from the line?

OP: I’ll always love our “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennant. I’m proud of my city and that item will always be the first chapter of our story. As we reach company milestones (like attending our first trade show or buying our first piece of equipment), I snap a photo with my “Let’s Go Buffalo” pennant. 
TSG: Just for fun (aside from an Oxford Pennant piece), what’s one style essential every guy should own?
OP: A Vespa.
And, well … there you have it, folks. Oxford Pennant does work that’s consistently great, consistently stylish and definitely worth it in terms of your time and dollars. I’d urge you to shop the brand’s line and follow Oxford Pennant on Instagram for plenty of style and décor inspiration.
In the meantime … stay stylish.
-Beau


Style Q+A: Redefining Sneakers with Brooks Heritage

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a great pair of stylish sneakers. Now, I’m by no means what you would call a sneakerheard, but there’s no question that the footwear preferences of The Style Guide venture far beyond rugged leather boots and the like. Be it a pair of white canvas sneakers or perhaps a more adventurous pair of basketball-inspired high-tops, there’s room for every style  in a well-rounded sneaker rotation. That’s what first intrigued me about the footwear innovations going on at Brooks Heritage (led by the subject of today’s Style Guide Q+A, Global Heritage Director Shane Downey). I guarantee you, even if you’re not that into sneakers, you’ll enjoy this — and if you’ve ever wanted more insight into footwear design … you got it.
Frank & Oak
Brooks as a brand is lauded for its quality among those who pound the pavement as racers and casual runners, and they’ve supplemented that approach with the lifestyle-focused Heritage line (which you might recognize from my December trip to Baltimore). Think classic retro runners inspired by past Brooks designs and injected with some modern cool, plus versatile styling potential. That’s certainly the case with the Brooks Heritage Grand Slam Collection. Featuring two silhouettes inspired by classic Brooks tennis shoes, it’s a modern revamp done right — and it proves that a brand can surprise you with what they stock beyond just, say, running shoes.  Yes indeed, I took a pair from the Grand Slam Collection — the Brooks Heritage Renshaw — for a spin on a spring break trip to Florida and was more than impressed with the comfort and style of these soon-to-be essential kicks. All of which is to say, if you’d like to learn more about the design inspo behind the Grand Slam Collection, read on for more insight from Mr. Downey. In the meantime, check out your neighborhood menswear guy (that’s me) on Instagram for spring sneaker styling tips and a look inside my footwear collection. Now, onto the questions!
Greats

The Renshaw is a clean update of a classic — the next sneaker to add to your spring rotation? Perhaps.

TSG:  Tell me about the design and research process that went into the new collection?

SD: The process to bring to life the Brooks Grand Slam Collection took about 16 months in total (Editor’s note: 16 months!) with the first 4 months just researching the past, looking through old tennis magazines and publications and then purchasing products off of eBay. We bought multiple samples and secured old catalogs that we didn’t have in our collection as a way to really educate ourselves on our previous position and what we wanted to accomplish in the re-launch of this collection. Getting the midsole and outsole right was the biggest priority and obstacle—we wanted an outsole that could be executed in both gum and solid rubber, which are staples of the sport while being soft in fit and feel (Editor’s note: The Renshaw is shown above — the Doherty features an all-rubber outsole and equally stylish looks). We had to create this new construction through old photos and similar outsoles, as we were working on a modern interpretation of what we had done in the past.

The Renshaw in action in the Florida sun. Marco Polo by Life/After/Denim. Renshaw Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Calypso Watch and Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

TSG: The brand has all sorts of retro-inspired runners, but what does the introduction of a tennis shoe silhouette mean for Brooks Heritage?

SD: Court silhouettes are a classic in the athletic/lifestyle world. Classic white leather ebbs and flows with trend, but is a mainstay around the world for all generations — representing a timeless aesthetic. For Brooks, the tennis shoe silhouette was the most natural extension beyond just trendS and the vintage element of the sport. This is a category that we’ve participated in the past in a strong way with marquee athletes, signature technology stories and success in the sport. Brooks has a tennis history that dates back to the early 80’s. … From our research and archive exploration, we identified a great history of product and technology innovation. It is the perfect way to celebrate our past and look beyond the run as we explore over 100 years of sport and style.

TSG: For the guy who wears stylish dress shoes or tough leather boots more often than sneakers, how would you style these?

SD: Right now — with the simplicity of street wear and overall fashion —  the basics of white, black and grey are driving the industry as consumers are seeking a simple-yet-refined aesthetic that matches their apparel selections. The starkness of the white shoe along with a simple shirt/pant combo is absolutely on trend right now, as less is more. I personally would pair the pair the white-and-white leather Renshaw with a pair of slim-fit chinos for the spring with a printed button-up that would allow for great diversity from day to night on the weekend. It’s a classic pairing that is timeless in look and relevance.

Beckett Simonon

TSG: Lastly, do you have a favorite shoe in the new collection?

SD: I personally love the White/Navy Blue Renshaw—it has that classic athletic/collegiate aesthetic that I like from a court shoe. I have memories of court shoes as far back as a I can remember, and what stands out is the white leather and subtle color hits like the navy blue on this Renshaw, and what it meant. From young consumers to the old timers, the white leather court shoe is a shoe and a design that stands the test of time.

Well, folks — Shane said it better than I could. For more on the brand, visit the Brooks Heritage site and shop away.

Thanks, as always, for reading — stay stylish!

-Beau

 

Style Q+A: Bridge and Burn

First of all, welcome back to another entry in our ongoing Style Q+A series.  From purveyors of rugged goods like NYC’s Rivay  to the masterminds at Tread for Men Grooming, I hope you’ve enjoyed following along.  And as always seems to be the case, we’re giving you what I think is another great entry worth your time today (and as an aside, it contains perhaps my favorite quote from our Style Q+A series — see if you can spot it). If you peruse the pages of this site — from pieces like how to wear a bomber jacket  to the best men’s denim shirts to buy now, you’ll surely recognize the brand featured here. Yes, today we’re talking about Bridge & Burn, a brand with a heck of a backstory and roots that extend all the way out to Oregon more than a decade ago. With a computer science background and experience starting and running two different brands — each of which  have lent unique qualities to the stylish, functional and timeless aesthetic of Bridge & Burn — founder Erik Prowell is just the guy you want to see if you need to upgrade your outerwear or pick up a heck of a versatile shirt (or learn about the Pacific Northwest, for that matter). From simple-yet-soft graphic tees to refined chinos  and hard-wearing jackets, you’ve got yourself a winning look any time you throw on the brand’s gear. In fact, Bridge & Burn’s recent collaboration with Kiriko is equally stunning, featuring a mix of chinos, overshirts and engineer stripe shirts done up with beautiful patterns and incredible fabrics — in short, amplifying a lot of the great work you see from Bridge and Burn on a daily basis. With all that being said, they’re a brand worth knowing if you value quality construction, well-executed details and timeless wearability. It’s been a treat to learn more about Bridge & Burn and experience their high-quality goods while meeting the team behind the brand across these past few months. With that being said, I hope you’ll enjoy learning more, too. Take it away, Erik!

The original Bridge & Burn graphic.

The original Bridge & Burn graphic.

The Style Guide: Tell me about the start of the Bridge & Burn brand?
 
Erik Prowell: To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I started Bridge & Burn. I studied Computer Science in college and worked as a software developer for a few years. My friend and I started making graphic tees for fun and it snowballed into a pretty decent business where we were selling to over 200 stores nationally including Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. Through that business, I started going to trade shows and was exposed to the wide world of apparel. At the shows, I’d see all these pieces that had great silhouettes but always seemed over-designed. When I started my goal was to make clean, classic pieces that I wanted to wear.
The name Bridge & Burn was inspired by the first t-shirt I ever designed.
It was a burning match under a bridge — because sometimes you have to burn the bridge to past expectations in order to follow your passions into an unknown future.  
A look at the Bridge & Burn x Kiriko collaboration -- read on for more.

A look at the Bridge & Burn x Kiriko collaboration — read on for more.

TSG: The Northwest seems to have played a big role in the brand’s evolution and design — tell me a bit more about that approach?
EP: The Pacific Northwest is known for its quality of life. It’s not about excess. It’s not about the next big thing. It’s about knowing what is good and how to enjoy all that is good to the fullest. I grew up in Oregon, and I chose to start Bridge & Burn in Portland because I love this city. It’s small, it has character, and is full of inspiring, creative people. Our location can be challenging, as most of the apparel world is centered in New York and Los Angeles. It’s more difficult to make connections and I am forced to travel quite a bit. That said, our origin naturally differentiates the brand and gives us unique character. Our designs come from a different point of view and the landscape inspires every aspect of our designs from the colors we choose to each garment’s simple functionality.
TSG: What’s one essential every guy should have in his wardrobe? 
EP: Every guy should have good socks and a great jacket (Editor’s note: Check out American Trench socks in particular, and read our piece on how to wear a bomber jacket for a Bridge and Burn take on the style).
Frank & Oak
TSG: As interest in men’s style specifically has increased, has that benefited the brand?
EP: Definitely. Our approachable designs and moderate price point makes it easy for guys to ease in to the world of fashion. And for those who are already there, we offer new fits and fabrics each season to keep them on trend with new ways to express their own personal sense of style.
TSG: Any exciting upcoming new product launches readers should know about? 
EP: We just launched our most ambitious apparel collaboration ever, with fellow Portland retailer, Kiriko. Bridge & Burn x Kiriko is a limited capsule collection for men & women. The aesthetic was inspired by classic American workwear fused with Japanese minimalism and heritage textiles. The designs are classic Bridge & Burn with a modern japanese twist. For more on the collaboration and the incredible Japanese fabrics we sourced with Kiriko, check out our blog post.
So, there you have it — beautiful fabrication, classic designs and a timeless approach to style. Follow Bridge & Burn on Twitter and Instagram for more — and get shopping!

Style Q+A: Rivay Menswear

Editor’s note: To read up on a host of great menswear brands & personalities, check out the rest of the Style Q+A series.

If tough menswear that blends vintage inspiration with timeless functionality is what you need ... you just found your new favorite brand.

If tough menswear that blends vintage inspiration with timeless functionality is what you need … you just found your new favorite brand.

I must say, the first Style Q+A of 2017 is a pretty exciting one here on the blog. Investment-worthy and incredible to shop, yes — but also very exciting. The opportunities the menswear world provides to so many people — both as a career and a creative outlet — are pretty cool and often unexpected. That’s the case with Rivay, a relatively young new menswear brand based out of NYC that I’ve had the chance to learn more about this winter season. It sprang from unexpected beginnings (stick around for the Q+A), and I’d wager it’s here to stay. Certainly, if it’s sturdy, handsome winter style essentials that you seek, you’re in luck — lots of luck. I won’t give everything away here, but Rivay gets plenty of things right on multiple #menswear fronts. From a ridiculously beautiful hand-knit cable sweater to everyday pieces that blend functionality and style — like the Keats Hooded Parka — the collection feels of a different, more rustic and rugged age … yet it would be easy to wear in the streets of NYC and well beyond this winter. I caught up with founder Jon Ruti, who provided some excellent insight into the brand’s unlikely beginnings and how the streets of the Big Apple shape the design, technicality and yes, truly great style of his menswear line. So as you take stock of your 2017 menswear resolutions — be they upgrading your closet itself or upgrading your home goods — you’d be wise to look into Rivay to help you with a few choice menswear pieces. You really won’t regret it. For now, I’ll let founder Jon Ruti fill you in on a brand that’s making big waves in the NYC menswear scene.

TSG: Tell me about the start of the Rivay brand, in your own words?

 JR: The idea for Rivay began when I was still working as an Assistant District Attorney here in New York City. Prosecution is a tough job. The long hours and subject matter can wear a person down. To maintain balance, I made a point to dedicate weekends to pursuing my hobbies. Vintage cars, travel – anything that took my mind off the job.

When it came time to leave the office, I couldn’t find a brand for the transition from profession to off-duty. Existing brands were either too technical or too fashion. I wanted a clean, modern, well edited collection that looked natural going to and from my weekend passions. That’s when Rivay took shape.

TSG: NYC-centric design is a big focus for Rivay – how does the city shape the clothing you produce?

JR: NYC informs our designs in several ways. Living and working here gives us insight into how our styles should function. Crowded subway cars, freak downpours, cracked sidewalks – daily life here can be tough on a man’s wardrobe. To combat this, we source the best fabrics, those that can handle the daily commute as well as a weekend of adventure. Our silhouettes are clean, modern and made to stand up to daily life. So no matter if you’re using our parka for a rainy commute or a weekend drive, you can be sure it’s going to perform, look good and last.

In the more general sense, NYC is a place where classic and modern exist in harmony. It’s a characteristic that informs our designs. Using modern, clean silhouettes and constructing them with classic, time-tested fabrics is a cornerstone of our design philosophy.

The Kipling Wool Overshirt and Hopper Selvedge Oxford Workshirt are excellent examples of perfect pieces from the brand.

The Kipling Wool Overshirt and Japanese Cotton Chambray Popover are excellent examples of perfect pieces from the brand.

TSG: What’s your favorite item in the current line? Any plans to expand into different product categories in future seasons?

 JR: I love our Keats Parka. It’s unlined, paired down to the absolute essentials and looks just as good over a suit on the way to the office or over a t-shirt on the way to a Saturday cars & coffee. Pair it with one of our lightweight and ultra-soft Japanese wool shirt jackets and you’ve got yourself a warm & seriously stylish alternative to the typical Barbour or Patagonia setup.

For Spring-Summer 2017, we have some exciting developments in pants, shorts and printed shirting. Some of the hardest things for a man to find are flattering pants and masculine, restrained prints. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the fit of our pants and sourcing fabrics and prints that will have you looking stylish for the warmer months.

TSG: On a style-related note, what’s one essential (either from your brand, or a style classic) that every guy should own?

 From Rivay, our Hopper Selvedge Oxford Work Shirt is an excellent alternative to the typical oxford. Just as soft and durable as the classic, but in an updated silhouette that is both rugged and refined.

For items outside of Rivay, a vintage timepiece or a car with some character. On the pricier spectrum, a Rolex Submariner 5513 and a Defender 90 look good with anything, anytime, anywhere. For something a little more approachable, a vintage Smiths W10 Military watch and late 1960s all-original Ford pickup are timeless. So long as you invest in good design, it will never go out of style.

Shop the beautiful Rivay collection just as soon as you can, and follow Rivay on Instagram for quite the dash of visual inspiration.

Beckett Simonon

Style Q+A: Friday & River

A neat array of home goods from Friday & River on display, including excellent candle and planter options for your home. Photo courtesy of Friday & River.

A neat array of home goods from Friday & River on display, including excellent candle and planter options for your home. Photo courtesy of Friday & River.

Editor’s note: Stick around to catch up on the last entry in our Style Q+A series.

Here at your favorite neighborhood menswear blog — The Style Guide, c’mon guys — there’s inspiration to be found everywhere in terms of men’s style. And as we’ve often talked about when it comes to style upgrades, there are a lot of different things, some small and some large, that go into developing and refining great personal style. From how you buy and wear your favorite chambray shirt to the type of classic leather boots you put on every day, style is certainly an ongoing process — and that includes the things that surround you in your daily home life. Whether we’re talking a refined-yet-rugged candle or a neat planter, there are chances to put a bit more thought into nearly every aspect of your routine and the design of the spaces in which you live and work. Not to get all philosophical but… it makes a difference! And the small team at Friday & River approaches its work with all those small details and the process of excellent design in mind — that’s great news for you and me both. And when you learn more about the San Diego-based husband-and-wife brand, you realize that yes, even the unexpected items — like your leather wallet or your everyday belt — can make a big difference in the way you live your life. In discovering the brand and trying out its “Yuzu and the Sea” candle and a lovely white, leather-wrapped planter over the past few weeks, I found that I appreciate having subtly stylish goods around my Brooklyn apartment (small as it might be). And hopefully, you’ll give the brand a try for yourself — shop around at Friday & River, and learn more about what makes co-founder Joe Freitag tick. Without much further ado, check out the latest Style Q+A .

TSG: Tell about the start of the brand and your initial idea for it?

F&R: Friday & River is very much a collaboration between my wife Yumi and I. We have both worked in design or branding for brands like Levis, Burton, Luxottica, to name a few, and discovered the world of high-quality handcrafted leather goods while we were living and working in Tokyo. Inspired by the dedication to craftsmanship, minimalism and attention to detail, we learned the craft of leatherwork and started designing and making our own items as gifts for friends and family. Eventually we began selling our goods under the name Friday &River, which is derived from our last names – Freitag meaning “Friday” in German, and Kawamura meaning “Big River Village” in Japanese.

A lineup of items from the brand's very sharp "All-Black" Collection. Photo courtesy of Friday & River.

A lineup of items from the brand’s very sharp “All-Black” Collection. Photo courtesy of Friday & River.

TSG: You feature a wide range of product categories on your site — why is it important for a guy to take an interest in home design and other areas outside of just menswear?

F&R: I think most guys who pay attention to what they wear also consider their living space as an extension of their personality. Increasingly, when people spend their hard-earned money on something they are seeking items with purpose, or add a sense of joy and warmth to their lives. That way of thinking is one of the cornerstones of Friday & River and why we strive to make meaningful items for different aspects of a person’s life.

TSG: If you had to pick out one item from the Friday & River site for a guy to buy, what might it be?

F&R: I think there’s something very personal about a man’s wallet. It’s the one item that he’ll often carry with him every day for years, reminding him of where he’s been and where he’s headed. A well-made leather wallet can be handed down for generations.

TSG: On the style front, what’s an essential every guy should have in his closet?

F&R: Now that cooler weather has settled in, there’s something very satisfying about putting on your favorite watch cap. (Editor’s note: Head here for a few stylish winter accessories picks from 2016).

TSG: You post studio playlists on your blog — how does music inspire your design work, and what have you been spinning lately?

F&R: Music is a constant in the Friday & River workshop. It is the soundtrack to our work-whether it be design, production or day-to-day tasks, so we like to share that soundtrack on our site once in a while. We have a pretty eclectic taste in music, but you’ll typically hear a lot of classic soul and funk because it keeps the energy flowing, especially when we’re in production.

Want more from Friday & River on the daily? Follow along with the brand on Instagram and Twitter.

Join Frank & Oak Elevate - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank + Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!

Style Q+A: Tread for Men Grooming

Editor’s note: To read more pieces in the Style Q&A series, click that link.

All the grooming supplies you need, and then some -- learn more about Tread for Men, and upgrade your grooming game in the process.

All the grooming supplies you need, and then some — learn more about Tread for Men, and upgrade your grooming game in the process.

Up until a few years ago, I didn’t necessarily pay attention to my grooming routine all that much. I’d used skin care products like Proactiv as a teenager, but taking care of my face and skin wasn’t necessarily top of mind as I went through college — perhaps you’ve found yourself in the same boat. When it comes to men’s grooming, the adage might be that you don’t know what you’ve been missing until you find it. That is, in testing out grooming products along the way, you learn what works, what doesn’t and what can significantly upgrade your skincare routine. Such has been the case with yours truly and Tread for Men. I first learned about the brand earlier this summer — you might recognize them from a recent reader giveaway — and after testing out the brand’s wares for a few months, they’re certainly a brand worth knowing. Men’s grooming is an area that’s easy to overlook — after all, it’s easier to get ready and dash off without a few extra steps in the morning or evening, right?

Well, if you want to properly care for your skin and look (and feel!) better in the process, those steps are worth taking =– trust me. The team at Tread for Men epitomizes this — and they live it, too. From the brand’s Basics Kit — which includes an excellent facial wash, a moisturizer, organic soap and sunscreen — to Tread’s handy beard oils, they’ve got a full grooming routine covered — and it requires but a small investment of your time and money. It plays into the idea that upgrading the small details — like your wallet or the fit of your T-shirt — makes a big difference. And who better to talk to than the guys behind Tread? Truly, the brand is doing things the right way — co-founders Eric Verdeyen and Bob Huguelet were great to catch up with, and I’ll let them take it away for now. Enjoy!

The Style Guide: Tell me about the start of Tread and the “A-ha” moment that led to the formation of the brand?

Eric Verdeyen: We had been kicking around business ideas in 2015, but we didn’t quite know what we wanted to dive into. Around the same time our wives (independently) started telling us to take care of our skin — pointing at the new wrinkles, dry skin, dark circles, etc.

Bob Huguelet: My wife was always ambushing me with her products, the bathroom was a warzone (haha). Eric and I got to talking about it — neither of us knew much about skin care or thought it would make much of a difference. But we saw that all the women we know are into it, and we saw the upward trend of grooming among guys as well. We started to do some research, and turns out taking care of your face and skin is not only important to your look but incredibly beneficial to the long-term health of your skin.

EV: Basically, life takes a toll on the skin — stress, weather, bacteria, showering, and especially the sun. You can see it easily in older folks or guys who work outside and don’t pay attention to the effects of the elements. The more we looked into it, the more the science behind it made sense. You need to keep your skin clean and moisturized so it can function well. But we didn’t want to use our wives’ products, and other brands were trying to sell us on too many options or weren’t of great quality, manufactured overseas or wherever. So we saw an opportunity to create a high-quality, reasonably priced, and environmentally friendly product line that is easy to understand and use for guys like us.

TSG: Guys have grown a lot more interested in all things style and lifestyle as of late — how does Tread play into that as a brand?

BH: We take the approach that taking care of your face isn’t just about looking groomed and healthy, but more importantly about long-term, whole body health. Guys are starting to understand that. The overall package — grooming, style, heath, exercise — all play parts in making a good impression, whether it’s at work, going out with friends, or just for your significant other. It’s catching on. We play into the trend by developing quality products and designing them for men. The goal is to help guys get comfortable with a new routine that we know will help them in the long run.

EV: We see it as  an extension of the new grooming wave — We all know that guys are thinking about their faces more with great brands like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, and expect manly products that look and feel great. We are taking it to the next level beyond shaving. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’ve got your clothing style locked in but your face is dried out, discolored, and blemished.

A kit packed with everything you need in terms of men's grooming -- and then some. Find out more about Tread for Men in the latest Style Q+A.

A kit packed with everything you need in terms of men’s grooming — and then some. Find out more about Tread for Men in the latest Style Q+A.

TSG: What are some grooming areas you see guys tend to skip or make “mistakes” in, or areas in which guys should take better care of themselves?

EV:  Believe it or not, a lot of guys don’t wash their face at all.  Or they just use bar soap in the shower.

Guys don’t usually think about how your face accumulates dirt and bacteria throughout the day, and while showering helps, every time you rinse, you’re also washing away the natural oils.

A quality cleanser will help with the daily wash while keeping the skin hydrated like natural oils do. And if you’ve ever experienced razor bumps, acne, blemishes – those can often be solved by proper cleansing (and changing razors and towels) Many of the big brands for men that you find in retailers have a significant amount of salts and inorganic chemicals that dry out the skin. You may be clean, but you’re drying out skin and making yourself more susceptible to signs of aging.

BH: Also, a huge mistake is not wearing an SPF every day. The sun is the #1 cause for damaged skin and long-term signs of aging. And you’re getting hit as soon as you walk out the door. Even if you are in the office all day or, drive to work, your body is exposed to UV rays. Most cases of skin cancer actually start on the left arm, neck, and face — the side that gets hit while driving. So, yeah — wear sunscreen every day!

TSG: Are there any beginner tips you have for the guy just getting into a grooming routine?

EV: Don’t worry about spending a ton of money to get into a full routine right away. Start small, and work your way up. Consistently using a cleanser or moisturizer is the perfect way to get a feel for what you like and get in the habit of paying attention to your face. And you’ll feel and see a clear difference before and after.

BH: We designed a great starter set called “The Basics” which is exactly that — the essentials including cleanser and moisturizer, as well as our organic bar soap and sunscreen. You can always add other products to your routine, or swap in different brands to see what you like best. Once you find a product you like, stick with it!

If you're still on the hunt for beard care supplies, rest assured that Tread for Men stocks beard oil, too. Photo courtesy of the brand.

If you’re still on the hunt for beard care supplies, rest assured that Tread for Men stocks beard oil, too. Photo courtesy of the brand.

TSG: On a style-related note — what’s one essential style item every guy should have in his closet, and what’s one grooming item every guy should have in his medicine cabinet?

BH: A blazer for sure, especially in Chicago in the late summer and fall. Layering up will give you the optional extra protection all day. My go-to is a blue and gray Bonobos wool blazer. Great to dress up jeans or chinos and never gets wrinkled, so you can wear it all day.

EV: A shoe horn (haha) but seriously, a few nice pairs of quality shoes when going to work or going out can make or break a look. Too often I see guys smashing their feet into the back of their shoes, and it can really damage the integrity and make great shoes look old and worn.

And  I always make sure I have moisturizer on hand. Properly hydrating the skin is always going to help in the short and long run. It will help with dry, flaky skin and damage from the sun and, it will keep the firmness in the skin and fight against wrinkles.

BH: I actually keep my eye cream on my desk, it reminds me to use it everyday. But it too is a great product that contributes to your look and style. Unless your style is “High Plains Drifter” a la Clint Eastwood, you’re going to want to minimize the wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes.

TSG: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

EV: We understand that skincare can be confusing and intimidating for guy — it was the same for us. There is a lot of marketing and BS in the skincare game, and it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ve put a lot of work dispelling the myths and educating men on the “what, why, and when” for each of our products.

BH: For sure — all of our products and kits come with easy-to-use instructions, so if you don’t know where to start, we’ll set you up for success with a beginning package. Whether you go with Tread or another line, we definitely recommend putting something on your face sooner rather than later!

To get daily grooming inspiration and tips, keep up with the brand on Facebook or Instagram — and shop the brand’s products just as soon as you can.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Style Q+A: Buck Mason

Editor’s note: For more in our Style Q+A series, click here. The following post is not sponsored in any way by Buck Mason, although affiliate banners may appear in other select posts.

An American lifestyle brand that's, well, inspired by and built in America. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

An American lifestyle brand that’s, well, inspired by and built in America. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

There are some brands that do one thing, and do it so well, that you can’t help but appreciate them. For yours truly over here, that’s been the case with Buck Mason, purveyors of, among other great #menswear, possibly the best T-shirt on the market. That’s certainly saying something, but it’s the approach and the end result that makes them a brand worth knowing — that goes for other classic style staples they produce, like sturdy raw indigo denim, essential chambray shirting, cotton linen shorts and critically, Buck Mason’s famous slim chinos. Across the board, the attention to detail that goes into something as seemingly simple as one of the brand’s slim slub tees is pretty remarkable, right down to details like the curved hem and the textured fabric. It’s that approach that’s won over your humble author, as I’ve followed the brand for a few years now and covered their essential tees for The Manual. It makes sense that with such a reliable, classic and well-made product assortment, they were bound to be a Style Guide favorite. And learning more about the brand only reinforces that notion. Co-founders Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg were kind enough to answer some essential questions about the brand for this site’s ongoing Style Q+A series , which delves into the minds of Style Guide friends like Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend and Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent. So sit back, read on and perhaps swing over to the Buck Mason site to shop more great menswear.

The Style Guide: Take me into the background of Buck Mason and the “A-ha” moment that launched the brand and the brand’s ideals?

Sasha Koehn: A few years back, I was visiting my family in Cleveland when I stumbled upon these old, abandoned factories, and it dawned on me how few American companies actually make stuff here. I looked into it, and discovered that 97% of the clothing purchased in America is made overseas and that almost all of it is sold at a retail mark up of over 600%. That was really my call to action, and I knew I could build something around that.

Erik Schakenberg: At the same time, we didn’t want to be putting more filler out into the world. We wanted to create a brand that manufactures domestically, but that also produces value; garments that are timeless, and mean something.

SK: We wanted to simplify the male wardrobe to a clean, effortless style that we felt could stand the test of time. Our designs are derived from classic American staples that men feel comfortable in.

ES: We thought, “Let’s make high quality, affordable goods, and let’s make them here.” Because Sasha and I were both coming at this from a more creative – possibly even idealistic ­- place, the usual roadblocks like margin didn’t apply. The bottom line was irrelevant, we just decided we were going to do it and make it work. Sometimes not knowing exactly what you’re getting into allows you to see things a little differently, and to go down paths everyone else thinks are dead ends.

Once we figured out the concept, we shifted to thinking about the execution. How can we make our products accessible, while still taking care of the people who make them? We decided on a consumer direct model­ instead of wholesaling our products to a traditional retailer, who would have to mark them up in order to make a profit, we sell directly to the customers ourselves. This way we can keep the prices low, while still paying everyone in our supply chain a fair wage.

TSG: The brand’s product categories have expanded over time, but take me into the process of starting out with basics like tees?

SK: If we had a motto, it would be design through reduction, which is completely unusual. My father’s a sculptor, works in stone, chips away at massive blocks; we’re doing the same thing. It’s subtractive, you take your raw material and you cut away the noise, the nonsense, the excess, until you’re left with something simple and refined and perfect. We aggregate, and subtract, and what’s left? The cut, the fabric, and the construction.

Distillation, that’s how you make the best t­shirts, jeans, button­-ups and chinos in the world.

SK: Whether you’re shopping online, going to the mall, or at a department store, there is a good chance you are sifting and sorting through hundreds of irrelevant styles, colors, and patterns before you actually find what you want.

ES: We don’t focus much on fashion or the pantone color of the month, and trend forecasting isn’t really our thing. We take the staples, your oxford, chino, jean and tee, and we strip it. No unnecessary branding, no filler. Then we rebuild it with incredible fabrics in cuts and colors guys look great in. The classics made better than the classics, that’s what we do.

SK: We want to completely reduce the overwhelming shopping experience. There’s so much detritus, so much junk out there ­ culling the line was essential. We really try to stick to what we’re good at, and what our guy needs. It harkens back to that subtractive approach. Our stuff is so pared down and smart, you’d be hard pressed to put together an outfit that looked bad. Seriously.

Just a plain T-shirt? Think again -- made in America construction, slubby fabric and small style details make this one a big-time winner. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

Just a plain T-shirt? Think again — made in America construction, slubby fabric and small style details make this one a big-time winner. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

TSG: What would you say sets Buck Mason T-shirts apart from others on the market?

ES: There’s been an incredible reaction to Buck Mason tees. Thousands of customers have waited months on a waiting list for us to restock our signature shirttail hem t­-shirt. One reason it’s such a hit is the rounded hem in the back hides a little extra weight if you happen to carry it. It’s a $60 by any other brand. … Affordable pricing allows us to serve more customers, and not be limited to a small demographic like most of our peers in the luxury space.

SK: We’ve totally bypassed the archaic wholesale model by selling directly to consumers online, and through our brick-and-mortar shops in Venice and Silver Lake. That way, we can offer well-­crafted garments at competitive prices, with the added benefit of stateside job growth.

Frank & Oak
TSG: What are some styling tips you would give the guy who wants to try out one of your tees but isn’t sure how to wear it?

SK: Our collection is really for everyone. Our stuff is so understated that there’s room for interpretation. It’s clothing as a vessel, the guy is what’s important. It’s not about the label, it’s about fit, and fabric and construction. If you appreciate that, you’re our guy.

ES: There is a group of men who want to look great but don’t necessarily care about fashion or trends. They want to invest the least amount of time possible to achieve a sophisticated, cool style. We don’t only design for that guy, but we always consider him, since he really stands for what Sasha and I are all about.

SK:  Aren’t the best-dressed people always the one’s who look like they aren’t trying? That’s what we offer; a line that you can mix and match with stuff you already have, or with our stuff, and you’ll look terrific. It’s about crafting clothes that’ll look great in ten, twenty, thirty years. And with our quality, it’s going to.

TSG: Are there other product categories in which the brand might expand in the future?

ES: We’re going to be releasing our first outerwear piece in the fall: the perfect leather Motorcycle jacket. We don’t want to give too much away – but believe us when we tell you it’s going to be one of the best-made, best-fitting, and best-priced moto jackets out there.

TSG: Is there anything else exciting in the works for the brand?

SK: We just finished converting a full-size 1997 GMC Bluebird school bus into a mobile Buck Mason store. We rebuilt it from the wheels up, and the aesthetic matches that of our retail shops and website – a white, clean, minimal interior filled with textures and elements that embody Buck Mason. When you enter it, you get a sense of who we are right away, and it’s a fun and unique way for customers to shop our product, and much more engaging than the traditional brick and mortar retail experience. And, eventually, we’re actually going to be taking it out on the road. Customers outside of LA don’t get to go hands-on with our stuff, so we’re really looking forward to bringing our American-made products to America. Plus, who doesn’t love a good road trip?

To keep up with the goings-on over at the brand’s HQ, follow Buck Mason on Instagram or Twitter. To keep up with the fella writing this post, hit the ‘Follow’ button on IG.

Florsheim

Huckberry

Style Q+A: Leland Grossman

Editor’s note: To catch up on other Style Q+A entries, click here.

Catching up with Leland Grossman, the designer and founder of L.11 and the subject of this Style Q+A entry.

Catching up with Leland Grossman, the designer and founder of L.11 and the subject of this Style Q+A entry.

As I’ve written about in past Style Q&+A entries, the #menswear world seems to get smaller and smaller — in great ways — seemingly by the week. It’s through the online men’s style community that I’ve made some great connections and friendships, and the scope of that continues to grow. Take our latest entry in the Style Q+A series — it’s  quite the story. Through some great mutual friends who happen to play in a kickass rock band (seriously, check out Mainland when you get the chance), I met Leland Grossman, a wickedly talented designer and one of the team behind Liberty Fairs, the traveling contemporary menswear trade show. It’s always refreshing to connect with someone who’s got a unique take on the #menswear industry, particularly when it introduces you to new concepts and design aesthetics — Leland’s own collection, L.11 (or Leland.11), consists of just two items (and a neat logo pin), but both the collection’s tailored hoodie and tailored sweatpant are well-made, refined and stylish in a  way that one might not feel about regular sweats. It stands to reason that if you appreciate a great pair of boots or a rugged pair of denim, you’d also appreciate a high-quality pair of sweatpants — right? Such is the inspiration behind the collection, among other focuses.

It’s a neat approach, and shows that even if your personal tastes might be different, you can always learn more and expand your horizons — that goes for all fronts, from quality fabrication to a new design ethos. The good news is, Leland’s already at work on his second collection. And yes, you can pick up a terrific hooded sweatshirt while you wait — let the style upgrades continue! Enjoy the below Q&A, and let me know who else you’d like to see under the spotlight (kidding) over on The Style Guide Facebook page!

A look at just a few of the details inherent in Leland's well-built and well-edited collection.

A look at just a few of the details inherent in Leland’s well-built and well-edited collection.

TSG: Talk about how you first got interested in the world of style and fashion?
LG: It was around the 6th grade (11 years old). I was getting pretty into breakdancing and was dancing with mostly people I looked up to at least 5 or 6 years older than I was. The hip-hop (dance) community is pretty connected with music, fashion, etc. I think this exposure paired with being in such a melting pot of style really opened my eyes to what was out there. From that point on I started to explore eBay and cool websites and really the internet took it from there.

TSG: In terms of your own line, where do you draw that inspiration from?
LG: My personal line, L.11, was conceived from a very consumer-based stand point in the market. Being passionate about the best brands in the industry for so long, I had built a strong foundation for what I felt was missing. (I’m) not re-inventing the wheel, just doing things differently with the utmost care and attention paid at every step of the way. The L.11 brand is inspired by vintage sports themes, but more importantly, the collection represents the finest details and fabrications at a price point that makes sense, whether or not you love fashion.
TSG: How do you see that evolving in terms of new products or a direction/focus in the coming seasons?
LG: Collection 01 consists of two items, a pullover hoody and tailored sweatpant, done in two beautiful Japanese fabrics. The natural progression is for Collection 02 to expand into additional comfort basics. My take on a full-zip hoodie and a crewneck will be part of the first drop. Also, I’m researching fabrics for a “constructed” T-shirt and long-sleeve thermal done through the L.11 branding ethos. A sweat-short could be on the horizon as well!
Another look at the L.11 line, and what just might be the nicest hoodie you'll ever own.

Another look at the L.11 line, and what just might be the nicest hoodie you’ll ever own.

TSG: Who’s a great role model for you in the style community, or in general?
LG: My greatest role model and person the brand is dedicated to is my father, Richard Grossman. Eleven was a very special number between us and when he passed away when I was 16, I vowed to harness his spirt and make him proud no matter what I ended up doing. L.11 is about (that), but it’s also intended to connect to everyone’s story. … It’s not about who’s got it worse, but about how we deal in the face of the adversity. That to me is what true style is -not wearing what’s cool or trendy but wearing what makes you happy and confident.

Join Frank & Oak Elevate - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank + Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!

TSG: What’s a major menswear trend you see picking up steam that people might not know about?
LG: As technology has become more advanced, we’ve seen a push from non-traditional fashion companies into this wearable tech sector. In his last show, Junya Watanabe fitted his pieces with solar panels that could charge your iPhone. I don’t think jackets are going to have rocket boosters any time soon, but I’m fascinated by the intersection of technology and fashion. Specifically, there is a style I describe as “Futuristic Explorer,” which is sort of a fusion of Japanese Heritage, technical outdoors brands and pop colors. It’s “athleisure” to the next level. Specific early examples of this would be Nike’s ACG collaboration with Erolson Hugh of ACRONYM or Japanese brand N. Hoolywood’s capsule with Mountain Hardware. My favorite brands right now are in this category, such as White Mountaineering, Stone Island, Ten C and Arc’teryx Veilance.
TSG: What’s one essential item (or outfit) that every guy should have in his wardrobe?

LG: This is a tough question, as most guys have very polarized value systems when it comes to their “things”. That is to say, some feel $100 is too much for sneakers, but can understand $500 for a nice watch. I think the key is finding things that make you happy. A purchase shouldn’t be stressful but rather add value to your every day. For me, that means investing in essential items I feel will give me that happiness and are worth the price. My Shinola watch and Garret Leight sunglasses are great examples of investment pieces that I use every day.

TSG: Similar to that, what’s one item you can’t live without?
LG: My gold “R.A.G” necklace. My mom makes jewelry and when I told her I was contemplating getting my Dad’s initials tattooed, she offered up an alternative. The solid 18K chain and pendant make it easily my most prized possession, and I can’t go anywhere without it around my neck.

To follow along with the rest of the L.11 story and the new collection, check out the brand on Instagram.

Florsheim

Style Q+A: Moore & Giles

Editor’s note: To catch up on other Style Q+A entries, click here.

Built for the road ahead -- it was great to catch up with team at Moore & Giles (makers of the Benedict Weekend Bag) seen here.

Built for the road ahead — it was great to catch up with team at Moore & Giles (makers of the Benedict Weekend Bag) seen here. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Whenever I get the chance to stop by various #menswear events happening around NYC or around the country, I’m always intrigued and curious to see who I might meet, or what brands I might discover. At this past December’s Pop-Up Flea in New York City (a cornucopia of great lifestyle and men’s goods brands all in one spot), it was hard not to discover the stunning leather goods on display at Moore & Giles. I got to chatting with the brand’s Director of Marketing, Daryl Calfee, about some of the stellar product the brand had brought (seriously, it was museum-worthy). He just happens to be good friends with my pals over at Brothers & Craft, so we naturally hit it off talking all things men’s style. I also got to know the brand a bit more, and it’s a worthwhile one to know. In addition to a massive collection of fine leathers,  they also produce their own line of jaw-dropping bags, renowned for their heritage quality and style (in fact, I covered the Benedict Weekend Bag for GearMoose). Throw in a well-curated, stellar assortment of home goods, and you’ve got enough gear to make your head spin (the 33 Chair in particular is Wish List-worthy).

Given the brand’s affinity for quality and nuanced design, it was great to be able to send over a few questions to Thomas Brennan, the brand’s Director of Design for Bags & Accessories. After you get a look into the Moore & Giles process, you very well might want a bag for yourself. Enjoy this one, folks!

(Editor’s note: In the meantime, got a brand or style personality you’d like to see answer some zingers?Let me know via Facebook or Twitter).

The Style Guide: Take me through the background of Moore & Giles and how you approach your work?

Moore and Giles:  The brand was founded in 1933 as a materials supplier to local shoe manufacturers. Donald Graeme Moore traveled around the area sourcing and selling everything from shoelaces and eyelets to nails and leather. Eventually his offerings narrowed to strictly leather   and his regional hunt gradually expanded into the global quest it is today to uncover hidden gems at tanneries in all corners of the world. The company develops, sources and sells millions of square feet of leather a year across a variety of industries including furniture manufacturers, private aviation companies, and high-end homes and hotels.
The bag division developed in 2007 when our president and vice president decided to take advantage of their access to such magnificent material and made a few travel and work bags to bring with them on their travels. The line has grown organically from that point into the extensive, well curated line of bags and accessories that exists today.
Our products are unapologetically traditional. Artisans have been tanning hides for millennia and hand-sewing the resulting leather into useful objects for just as long. Both the material history and the history of our own company add welcome layers of authority, grandeur, and natural beauty to our bags; my job is to simply accentuate the existing beauty of the material with understated designs that will age as well as the leather.
Just one of the exceptionally high-quality bags produced by the brand. Photo courtesy of Moore & Giles.

Just one of the exceptionally high-quality bags produced by the brand. Photo courtesy of Moore & Giles.

TSG:Where do you find your biggest sources of inspiration?
M&G: The leather itself is the primary inspiration. We are fortunate to have close relationships with a 150-year old tannery in Italy, which means that our “product development” begins with prototyping leather colors and experimenting with different finishes, various combinations of waxes and oils, milling times, and ironing treatments. These design decisions affect the finished product long before I ever sit down to sketch a specific silhouette. When I do sit down to design a bag, I tend towards clean exteriors, traditional shapes, discrete details——decisions that keep the natural beauty of the leather front and center.
 Reading books, talking with creative peers, and sifting through vintage stores all provide great creative fodder but for the ultimate design inspiration, nothing beats close observation of day-to-day routines. Take going on a business trip, for instance. As I’m packing, I want to make the job easier, tidier, more secure and I want my shoes kept separate from my shirts; when I’m going through airport security I need a convenient, safe spot to tuck my wallet and cell phone; when I’m putting my bag in the overhead bin I want easy access to my notebook or a magazine but don’t want to rifle through the body of the bag; if I’m meeting with a new manufacturer I want to have my business cards close at hand. I aspire to be more organized than I am and more put together than I often feel. Our bags help me on both fronts.



TSG: What, in your mind, can a great leather accessory do for a guy who might not have given it much thought before?

 M&G: In a lot of ways, having a great leather accessory is like be the owner of the easiest pet ever: It will never cease to amaze you how happy you get when you see it; you’re going to feel more fond of it the longer you have it; strangers will stop you and ask you about it. Added bonus: you don’t have to feed it and it arrives at your door already housebroken.
TSG: Are there new product categories that you want to expand into in the coming seasons?
M&G: What’s proving more interesting than expanding out across new categories is finding new ways to give the existing line more depth and texture. The sheer volume of colors and finishes of leather we have at our fingertips is dizzying. The collection of artisans who tan, stamp, hand-stain, carve, and etch, to whom we have access is incredibly deep. Eight years in, we’ve only scratched the surface of what the bags and accessories can look like. As an example: we introduced a bespoke program during the holiday season last year that has given our customers a chance to participate in the creative process by selecting from a more expansive palette of hides to use on a custom travel or work bag. Seeing the colors that customers gravitated towards——reds and purples and golden tans and cool grays——and the types of leathers they’ve responded to———leathers that are exceptionally rare, have more history, or age in unique ways——informed several recent releases (like our Modern Saddle collection featuring vegetable tanned leather) and inspired a roster of upcoming releases.
TSG: What’s one thing every guy should have in his closet in terms of style?
M&G: Wherever you sit along the style continuum between a tailored suit and leather lace-ups and raw denim and sneakers, our classic Benedict Weekend Bag is a worthy compliment. It’s simple, beautiful, and functional. Unlike some other sartorial decisions, I guarantee you’ll still be proud of yourself for owning one ten years from now.
To keep up with all things Moore & Giles, follow the brand on Instagram or via Twitter.

Shop the latest in Men's styles Under $50 + get FREE Shipping on orders over $100 at Frank & Oak!

Style Q+A: Jamal Jackson, StyleSocietyGuy

Editor’s note: To catch up on other Style Q+A entries, start here.

Jamal Jackson, of StyleSocietyGuy, is a recognizable face with a terrific sense of personal style.

Jamal Jackson, of StyleSocietyGuy, is a recognizable face with a terrific sense of personal style.

The great and exciting thing about living in a place like New York City — or really, finding a community filled with like-minded people anywhere — is how many different people you get the chance to cross paths with, through either personal or professional interaction, or both. I’ve been really lucky to learn a lot from so many great people since getting interested in the menswear world (most of whom have been profiled in Style Q+A pieces!), and that list grows by the day. Through attending events as part of the GQ Insider community, and through some work we’ve done together as part of my day job with Timberland Boots, I’ve had the chance to become close friends with Jamal Jackson, also known as StyleSocietyGuy. As we’re in the midst of New York Fashion Week: Men’s here, you might recognize him from his extremely well-curated Instagram or his Web site , where he offers up a bevy of menswear styling suggestions, new brands to watch and lifestyle content focused on things like home design and music. And of course, there’s the small business of Jamal topping Mr. Wooster (and other well-dressed dudes) on Esquire.com’s rundown of the best-dressed guys at New York Fashion Week: Men’s this past summer. Moreso than that, Jamal is a great guy, a heck of a friend and one of the best in the business at partnering with established and up-and-coming brands and telling cool stories.

And as with every day in the digital style universe, it’s great to be able to look at what someone else is wearing, or how they’ve styled a certain item, and draw inspiration from that — even if their personal style is a bit different than yours.  So with that in mind, I caught up with Jamal to find out about running his site and how he charts — literally — his very busy days. Enjoy!

The Style Guide: How did your personal interest in style and fashion get started?

Style Society Guy: My dad has always been into grooming and style. Mostly, he had grooming and excellent hygiene, so my interest in menswear grew from there. I’d say I really started getting into it in middle school .

 Your Web site and Instagram presence is impressive and seems to grow by the day – what’s that development been like? (Editor’s note: Find Jamal on Instagram here).

SSG: I noticed that I have spurts in my stats …but I’m noticing that it’s mostly organic — just how I wanted it to be. The downside of it is that I don’t know exactly who referred a visitor to my site until someone tells “Oh, (my friend) told me to check out your site.” I wish I could measure those stats more but it makes me want to strategize how I produce my content everyday.

TSG: On that note, what’s a typical day like for you? 

SSG: This might sound kind of crazy, but I work from one Excel sheet. I have several columns in that one sheet — every day of the week and what I should be doing hour by hour. It sounds kind of stressful but it really disciplines me. Although I don’t follow every single task at every hour, it’s a good guideline to … keep me on track.

Right now, I’m working at a work space called Projective in Freemans Restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side. I don’t have a specific office spot except for home at the time, but I’m good at documenting as I travel.

The day consists of meetings, video calls, press previews (whether it’s a market week or not), webinars, nightly events, and usually dinner with potential clients or digital friends.

Jamal also frequently works with top-flight brands during trade shows and manages his own growing social media platforms.

Jamal also frequently works with top-flight brands during trade shows and manages his own growing social media platforms.

TSG: On that note, what’s something that people might not know about running a Web site and digital presence like yours?

I think this is a common answer, but I’m going to say the amount of work it takes to produce one post. From the outside, it seems like what it takes to create a blog post is  to take the photos and write about what you’re wearing. However, it is far more than that. You need to plan to not wear other competitors in one post … speak on details of the clothing, amplify the brand’s voice and speak to the focal point of the product and the brand. Another aspect is how long it takes to shoot photos, gather your photographer and edit 350-450 photos 3 times a week.

Jamal as seen on the street during the first-ever New York Fashion Week: Men's this past summer.

Jamal as seen on the street during the first-ever New York Fashion Week: Men’s this past summer (Esquire.com ranked him #2 in its weekly rundown!).

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen over the past few years as far as the menswear community goes?

I’m seeing a lot of guys being comfortable with showing their personal style and grooming regimens. Its actually ‘a thing’ now. I love that menswear influencers can bring readers to share what they’re are wearing and interaction going, brands are also happy with this as readers give very honest feedback on products ..bascically for free. This is a good time for brands to actually listen up and pay attention to what audiences have to say.

TSG: What’s one item (or perhaps one outfit) every guy should have in his wardrobe?

SSG: A denim or chambray shirt, I swear it works with EVERYTHING.

TSG: What’s one style resolution that you have for 2016 looking toward the rest of the year?

SSG: As of now I don’t have one set in stone. But. I plan to actually start wearing more of what’s buried in my closet, the items that still have tags on them. I tend to wear my favorites because…they’re my favorites.

To see what Jamal’s up to on a daily basis, head to the StyleSocietyGuy Instagram or check out his Web site.

Join the Hunt Club - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank & Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!