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.



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.

Mack Weldon: Underwear Upgraded

Telling you what you need to know about Mack Weldon. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Telling you what you need to know about Mack Weldon. Photo courtesy of the brand.

The more you learn about improving your style — heck, improving your lifestyle in general — the more important it is to realize the little details make a big difference. That’s what we talk about all the time at The Style Guide, and it’s always nice to get a reminder. That goes right down to what you’re wearing beneath your jeans or chinos — your underwear. Yes, that’s right. A great pair of underwear fits, feels and performs better — that’s what Mack Weldon has set out to perfect. It’s also why you should set out to upgrade your top drawer as soon as you can, as I’ve learned in testing out the brand over the past several months.

An array of colors and quality fabrics set 'em apart. Photo courtesy of the brand.

An array of colors and quality fabrics set ’em apart. Photo courtesy of the brand.

The E-commerce basics brand, a previous participant in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series, mixes the approach of a nimble start-up with the quality and attention to detail of a much larger brand — and the results show. Seriously, Mack Weldon underwear is what your top drawer needs, as soon as possible. The brand was founded on the process of simplifying basics shopping, and one look at the site makes it easy — pick your color, pick your size, a  few clicks and boom… new underwear. Much easier than the department store experience rifling through bin after bin.

And if retooling your underwear drawer feels daunting, fear not — the brand’s Try-on Guarantee implores you to just test it out. If the fit, fabric or feel isn’t right, the brand will issue you a refund or send you a different size, color or style — it’s that easy. You can even keep the pair you tried on. That’s how confident they are that you’ll love it. Not a bad deal, ehh?

Deconstructing the 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Brief.

Deconstructing what makes the brand’s product so useful. Photo courtesy of Mack Weldon.

Not that you can necessarily go wrong with something like the reliably made, comfortable 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Briefs. If you’re going to start with one purchase, make it these. Having tested them out myself through spring, summer, fall and winter in New York City, the fabric is durable yet extremely comfortable, the fit is great (particularly the Stay-Put Legs to prevent ‘em riding up) and touches like mesh cool zones help out immensely. I’ve worn Mack Weldon in the heat at Panorama NYC, I’ve worn ‘em tromping through the snow with a naval-inspired jacket, and the brand doesn’t let me down — that goes for pieces like its Merino Long-Sleeve Tee, too.

Unlike other underwear, the waistband is sturdy and doesn’t curl over — again, it’s the little details that make a difference. And it should come as no surprise  that the brand engineers its own fabrics — and generates great customer feedback along the way. It’s almost too easy to list out the things they do so well — quality, great comfort, top-notch fabric, excellent fit, an array of styles for every taste … that’s a win all around for stylish guys, and I’d bet you’ll be among those happy customers soon enough.

Consider adding a tee to go with your Mack Weldon underwear -- seriously. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Consider adding a tee to go with your Mack Weldon underwear — seriously. Photo courtesy of the brand.

They’ve taken the same nuanced technical and quality-oriented approach and put it to practice throughout the whole line. The brand’s Silver line of boxer briefs in particular makes use of another crucial and oft-overlooked design factor —  handy antimicrobial and anti-odor performance fabric in the way of Silver XT2. Yes, it’s made with a bit of actual pure silver woven into the fabric. Sound fancy? In short, you still get the same great fit and the ability to stay cool in the heat — or comfortable in the winter.

So from A to Z, Mack Weldon underwear gets it right — fit, reliability, comfort, performance and the brand’s word that you’ll love what you buy. Take my word for it and get shopping — will ya?

Editor’s note: Thanks to Mack Weldon for providing product for the purposes of this review. Thank you for supporting brands that support The Style Guide!

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Home Goods to Upgrade Your Space

Seeing as we’re getting into 2017 now, how are your men’s style resolutions coming along?  Hopefully, pretty swimmingly. Whether you’ve resolved to suit up more, buy that new winter jacket or upgrade your winter boots rotation, I wish you the best of luck.  And in the event that your resolutions are less about style and more about your lifestyle, today’s set of online shopping picks will have you more than set when it comes to matters outside of what’s on your feet. Yes, upgrading your living space is a sometimes-overlooked part of the men’s lifestyle equation — as you dress better, that can lead to an interest in new books, new music, art … the whole nine yards. Now, this is coming from a guy with a habit of hanging old concert posters on his walls … but it’s a work in progress. And as it turns out, brands and sites like Huckberry and Apolis, among others,  offer everything from gorgeous books to excellent art and neat, more refined touches for a guy’s home. That’s what we’re getting into today — not all of these pieces are full-on essentials, but many of them can go a long way toward making your home, office, apartment or work space a little more stylish and enjoyable. Weigh in over on The Style Guide Facebook page, and to see some behind-the-scenes menswear action, hit up yours truly on Instagram.  Shop away!
Beckett Simonon

The Candle: Farmhouse Pottery Pine Candle — $29.98

A masculine, but not overpowering, scent for your home or office.

A masculine, but not overpowering, scent for your home or office.

If there’s one thing that can go a long way to upgrading a guy’s study, office, etc. — we don’t say man cave around here — it’s scent. And something with a clean, masculine aroma, like this Farmhouse Pottery Pine Candle, is the way to go. The price is right, the candle container itself is no-fuss and the overall package should blend in handsomely with your bookshelf or desk. Is there anything better than putting on a nice candle and a good book — or the latest issue of Esquire? It really is the little things, folks.

The Wall Art: Meridian Line Comfort Zone Canvas Print — $43.98

A rugged, unique finishing touch to a workspace.

A rugged, unique finishing touch to a workspace.

While a candle might be a smaller detail, what’s hanging on your wall is much more noticeable — and carries with it even more potential to upgrade your space. And while we all love a good neon beer sign (I do wish I had one), a piece of simple, well-made and unique wall art can work wonders for a small space. Enter the justly named Comfort Zone Canvas Print as sold by our pals at Huckberry — from the leather hanging rope to the wooden dowels, it’s as masculine and yet versatile a piece of wall art as you can get. And it looks classier than that PBR poster — right?

The Planter: Friday and River Leather-Wrapped Planter — $50

An eye-catching addition to any small space -- when filled with an air plant, that is.

An eye-catching addition to any small space — when filled with an air plant, that is.

If you perused our last Style Guide Q&A, you know the home goods and lifestyle visionaries behind Friday & River. They focus on essential, well-made pieces for your everyday carry and your home — from slim wallets to smartly made candles and coasters — and they do it by blending a design ethos that’s part minimalist, part rugged and very essential. Even if you’re not a guy who goes crazy for gardening or plants, a leather-wrapped planter with a small air plant adds some color and a bit of a personal, brighter touch to any space.

The Fan: Stadler Form Otto Fan — $199.99

Do you need a stylish fan? Yes, yes I'd say you do.

Do you need a stylish fan? Yes, yes I’d say you do.

OK, so here’s the argument for upgrading your fan — if you’re going to need to have one anyway (say, if your office or apartment gets toasty in the summer), why not grab a fan that’s uniquely … stylish? Made from African saeple wood and designed with the sort of sharp minimalism one would expect from the Swiss (seriously), the Form Otto Fan could just be the last fan you need to buy — and that’s saying something.

The Unique Touch: PILLBOX Bat Co. Pinstripes Bat — $159.98
A visually interesting way to add some sports flair to your wall or bookshelf.

A visually interesting way to add some sports flair to your wall or bookshelf.

If you’re shopping for style on a budget — and who isn’t after the holidays — then dropping some dough on this cool-looking, yet not truly essential Pinstripes Bat  probably shouldn’t be your first priority. But if in fact you or someone you know is a big sports fan and wouldn’t mind seeing an upgraded take on the baseball bat hanging in their office or resting on their shelf, then by all means — swing for the fences (Bingo!).


The Magazine: Gear Patrol — $39 per Subscription

A supremely well-edited magazine done up for the modern man.

A supremely well-edited magazine done up for the modern man.

Among the essential tomes that should line a guy’s bookshelf, I’d humbly submit the beautifully designed, expertly crafted and just plain neat-to-read Gear Patrol. Everyone’s favorite purveyors of rugged-refined gear and sweet gadgets do a truly remarkable job producing biannual print issues that span the globe and feature relatable, well-executed content on everything from spirits and adventure to gourmet dining. It’s the type of magazine you really can pick up repeatedly and find something different each time — get out there, read and explore.

Are you ready to upgrade your living room or office as of yet? Or have you already started? Getting things going with a few small touches — a nice coffee-table magazine or a smart, masculine candle —  can lead to bigger changes, like hanging some rugged wall art or buying a better fan or even … *gasp* picking up a plant for your office or study. Like building great style, it’s all a process — and it can be fun to explore, add on and see how your tastes change over time.  But with that being said, you’ve got to start somewhere — and I hope the picks above help you out.

Start shopping, keep shopping and stay stylish!


Editor’s note: Portions of this post use affiliate links, from which a small commission on purchases might be earned.


Reader Giveaway Opportunity: Friday and River

Editor’s note: Read to the end of this post to learn how to win a new set of home goods from Friday and River!


A new Friday and River candle could be a handsome addition to your home. Matches via Modern Anthology.

The concept of upgrading your entire lifestyle as you upgrade — and add — to your #menswear wardrobe is one that we take to heart here at The Style Guide. By we, I mean me — but you knew that already. And if you want to complement a stylish wardrobe with stellar home goods, there are certain brands worth knowing — particularly as a new year kicks off. Throughout the past few months, I’ve had the chance to discover and get to know Friday and River, whom you might recognize from a past Style Guide Q+A entry. I also covered the brand’s line of essential home goods for The Manual, and if you haven’t yet acquainted yourself with the ways in which the brand can upgrade your home, office or apartment … you best listen up. Named for the last names of co-founder Joe Freitag (Freitag is German for “Friday) and his wife, Yumi Kawamura (Kawamura means “river” in Japanese), it’s a brand that takes a nuanced approach to home goods for the discerning consumer. This practiced, minimal and versatile approach comes from the design experience of the duo with major brands like Levi’s, plus their time in Tokyo — which is quite the menswear mecca in and of itself. Starting with their natural leather-wrapped candles (as seen at the top of the page) and carrying through to a unique selection of well-crafted leather tote bags and minimal and smart leather card holders, the line encompasses all the small details and nice finishing touches you didn’t know you needed in your life.

For instance — thinking of adding a small plant to your office or apartment? Grab a handsome, minimal leather-wrapped planter; it’s a combination that’s masculine yet smart, perfect for complementing a study or a wooden desk. Are you with me on that? The more you look for style upgrades throughout your life, the easier they are to make — and that pursuit is getting even easier today. Yes, with the latest Style Guide giveaway, we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to win one leather-wrapped planter, one candle and one leather coaster set  of your choice — a pretty darn good value, and a heck of a deal if you ask me! How to win, you ask? Now through midnight Friday night (that’s January 13th), comment below and tell me how you’d use those home goods to upgrade your office, apartment … you name it! Seriously, that’s it. Sound good? Good.

Best of luck out there — thanks for reading!


Frank & Oak

Style Pick of the Week: Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet

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 durable, well-made wallet from the Michigan-based team at Brothers Leather Supply. Get 15 percent off all Brothers Leather goods with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ until January 6th!

First of all, we’re wishing everyone a lovely Christmas Eve. Now, onto to business, shall we? The concept of small, daily style upgrades that make your life better is one that’s pretty big here at The Style Guide. Be it something more noticeable like the cut of your crewneck sweatshirt or the quality of your favorite waxed trucker jacket, looking to buy the best and use the best menswear out there is a fun — if taxing — pursuit. And that pursuit extends to your everyday carry — after all, building great style is a process that touches every aspect of your life (repeat that again, will ya?) I’m always looking for ways to improve my own style, and that’s why finding brands that make the search easier can be so fulfilling. Take Brothers Leather Supply — this brand first caught my eye during a summer trip back to Grand Rapids, when I had the chance to check out the Michigan company’s well-appointed storefront, as seen below.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to a great leather goods brand.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to the great leather goods brand that is Brothers Leather Supply.

And if you’ve been following me on Instagram, perhaps you’ve seen some of the stunning goods I’ve been testing out — including today’s Style Pick, the slim, useful and effective 810 Wallet.  We’ve talked in the past about upgrading your wallet, and if you’ve yet to do that, the 810 Wallet is an easy and effective way to check that off your list of men’s style resolutions before the new year even starts.  Whether you browse online or have the chance to visit the Brothers Leather Supply shop in Grand Rapids, I’d urge you to get up to speed on a brand that could steadily upgrade your accessories — in fact, you can use the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ to get 15 percent off any item, now through January 6th! Why should you do that? Read on, my fellow #menswear aficionados.

The 810 Wallet is made with full-grain Vechetta leather in a lovely medium tan-brown color — it’s supple, smooth leather that’ll age nicely over time. And for $75, you definitely get your money’s worth — although hey, that 15 percent discount looks pretty good, yes? The brand does you one better by offering your pick of personalized branding and leather conditioner, too. The striped, canvas-lined large back pocket is a neat design touch that’s complemented smartly by three easy-to-access slots on the left side, plus a larger slip pocket on the right side (complete with its own striped tab). Yes my friends, the 810 Wallet  ios a masculine, smart-looking wallet that slides easily in and out of slim dark denim or a trim wool overcoat — a bulky George Costanza wallet, this is not. And it should slide easily into your front suit jacket pocket the next time you suit up on a dressy day at the office. So, what’s not to love about (potentially) your go-to everyday wallet? I’d pick one up as quickly as possible, and I’d wager you’ll be surprised at how much lighter — and more stylish — your everyday carry can be.

Get 15 percent off the 810 Wallet — or any other Brothers Leather Supply good using the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ now through January 6th. Stay stylish!

Style Suggestion: How to Dress for Football Season

Editor’s note: Click here to check out past #menswear style suggestions.

Sometimes, you can feel it in the air before you actually see it — maybe you bolt out of bed on a Saturday morning thinking it’s game day (just me?), or get your old (or current) school fight song stuck in your head one day. It’s nearly back … football season, folks. The fall and the start of football season has always been one of my favorite times of year — growing up about fifteen minutes from the campus of Michigan State University turned me into a football fanatic at a very young age. That dedication only continued through college; heck, you could hear the roar of the crowd at Spartan Stadium from my college house. So as the calendar rolls toward fall once again, I’m focused on getting back to see my beloved Spartans — and I’m focused a little bit more on upping my #menswear game for the occasion than when I was in school. Now, that goes for you pro football fans, too — but sadly, the Detroit Lions were never anything to write home about. As we always talk about at ye olde Style Guide, there are plenty of ways to get dressed with style upgrades in mind, and that goes for situations that might seem more casual or mundane. Just as with watching the Olympics or heading to a bar crawl, dressing for a football game is definitely there. From your garb up top to your everyday carry, you might be surprised at how many brands are approaching sports-related activities with neat stylistic touches in mind. Of course, the below post is written from a Midwesterner’s perspective — wearing blazers to games doesn’t quite fly (but all the more power to you if that’s how you do it!). If you think I missed anything in the below #menswear rundown, hit me up on Twitter or shoot me an email. In the meantime — Go Green!

The Base Layer: Flint & Tinder Marled Long-Sleeve Henley — $62

Easy to layer, easy to wear on its own and ready for football season or the work week.

Easy to layer, easy to wear on its own and ready for football season or the work week.

First things first — it’s probably not all that cold for any of us at the moment, so this layer might stay in the closet for a while. But should you splurge a little on this Flint & Tinder Henley, know that you’re getting a brand-new offering from a brand that’s refined the art of making excellent basics in America. Oh, and another plus: It’ll keep you just as warm as a long-sleeve athletic base layer, yet you get bonus style point and no logos in sight. Lastly, you can wear this piece on its own under a wool blazer during the work week this fall, and no one will be any the wiser when you re-wear it on Saturday.

The T-Shirt: Tailgate Clothing Team Tee — From $19.99

Cheer on your alma mater in style -- trust me, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the student section (or that alumni tailgate) with a tee like this.

Cheer on your alma mater in style — trust me, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the student section (or that alumni tailgate) with a tee like this.

Fancy yourself a college football fan (like yours truly), but tired of wearing standard team fare? Add a dash of vintage style to gameday with a tee that might feel a bit familiar. How’s that? If you recognize the mix of classic heritage and American sportswear in the tee you see above (and the brand’s other styles), you’re onto something — Tailgate Clothing was co-founded by none other than lauded menswear designer Todd Snyder. And with a positively huge range of collegiate T-shirts, plus a handful of jerseys and hoodies, I’d bet you can find your team — no sweat. *Insert obligatory ‘Go Green’ chant here*

The Denim: Mott & Bow Norfolk Raw Denim — $79.98

Sharp, simple and easily wearable on a football Saturday.

Sharp, simple and easily wearable on a football Saturday.

Looking for yet another way to differentiate yourself from the pack? Whereas some other folks might reach for baggy, distressed denim — maybe featuring a bootcut — a pair of crisp, clean and simple dark denim is the way to go here. Mott & Bow’s Norfolk Raw Denim was launched late last year as the brand’s first foray into raw denim, and this writer’s pair has broken in very nicely. Contrary to what you might think, this denim isn’t overly heavy, and doesn’t wear too stiff right out of the box. That means they’d be a solid pick to wear now, and keep on wearing if (or when) it gets cold out. Like the above henley, they can also function during your 9-to-5. Not bad at all, yeah?

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
The Boots: SWIMS Barry Chukka in Taupe/Biscuit — $230

Wear these to tailgate, wear these to class, wear these to the office -- there's no wrong way to wear 'em!

Wear these to tailgate, wear these to class, wear these to the office — there’s no wrong way to wear ’em!

If that price catches you by surprise initially, not to worry — the Barry Chukka is nearly a four-season pair of footwear that packs in waterproof protection with a versatile  silhouette. As far as chukka boots go, they’ve got the potential to be worn in the heat of September (thanks to the lightweight crepe sole) and deep into tailgating season this November. Then, you can break them back out in the spring. Think of these stylish chukka boots as a decided upgrade over athletic sneakers — they’re sleeker, cleaner, more versatile and ready for just about anything (including post-victory bar-hopping).

The Socks: American Trench Mil-Spec Sport Socks with Silver — $11.50

A no-brainer if you want versatile socks that are wearable week after week.

A no-brainer if you want versatile socks that are wearable week after week.

Socks aren’t that big of a deal, right? Wrong. If you want a pair that’s high-quality enough to be worn for long periods of time on your feet week after week, you want these socks. And if you’re on the hunt for a pair that’s both affordable and long-lasting? You want these socks. The navy color is simple and straightforward — no zany colors or patterns here, so the socks won’t distract from your T-shirt. Plus, they’re definitely made with more care than a pair of garish team socks, and I’d bet those results will show up on the scoreboard, too (wink, wink).

The Watch: Jack Mason Brand Team Watch — From $95

It's tough to find a watch that merges both your favorite sports team and everyday style potential -- here's one that does.

It’s tough to find a watch that merges both your favorite sports team and everyday style potential — here’s one that does.

Now, if wearing both a team watch and a team T-shirt feels a bit like overkill, you could always reach for a rugged dive watch. But know that the way Jack Mason makes its collegiate watches, these aren’t flimsy or unrefined by any means. Essentially, styles like the Blackout Silicone Strap Watch you see here are just tough watches made for the everyday and spruced up with the logo of your favorite school. When you look at that way, it’s tough not to buy into this unique, well, style upgrade. Even the Striped NATO Strap Watch isn’t too gaudy — heck, the variety of striped NATO straps offered with Jack Mason’s other collegiate watches would work well with other casual timepieces in your rotation.
Frank & Oak
The Belt: J. Crew Suede Belt — $55

The right texture and color to work in other fall style scenarios beyond your tailgate.

The right texture and color to work in other fall style scenarios beyond your tailgate.

If we’re being honest, most folks probably aren’t giving a second thought to what they were to the game besides an athletic jersey, so putting some thought into a good-quality, versatile belt might not mean much at a tailgate. But if you’re on a mission to out-dress that pesky Michigan fan (as we all should be), then a good belt is just the type of thing to spend a little time on. Crucially, this J. Crew suede belt falls in the same color family as the SWIMS chukka boots seen above, and it’s the perfect color and texture to wear with other fall business-casual outfits the rest of the week. It doesn’t exactly match up in terms of color with the watch, but as we’re mixing a rubber watch and a leather belt, matching isn’t of the utmost importance. Now, catching the snap — that’s much more important.

The Hat: Huckberry Explorer’s Cap in Black — $39.98

Another underrated style upgrade -- the grown man's ballcap.

Another underrated style upgrade — the grown man’s ballcap.

Again, a  ballcap is one of those things most of us throw on and don’t think about. And there are certainly ways to support your team and nod toward the ol’ ballgame without throwing on a coach’s headset. A simple, monochrome ballcap with vintage-inspired roots (it’s made by the folks at Ebbets Field Flannels) is a step in the right direction if you can’t part with your old college ballcap. Believe me, this writer loves a good hat as much as the next guy. This one is also the kind of cap you can throw on to run a few errands on a weekend morning — you know, things like picking up a six-pack (or three) before your tailgate.

The Must-Have: Brothers Leather Supply Co. C.W. Growler Bag — $75

The ideal way to haul around your favorite brew.

The ideal way to haul around your favorite brew.

OK, so perhaps a growler bag isn’t a must-have (particularly if you’re not the type to imbibe). But if you enjoy a great craft brew — perhaps from a fine brewery near the Grand Rapids shop of Brothers Leather — then this growler is something you oughta pick up. It’s made from full-grain finished Vachetta tanned leather, which is enough to boggle your fellow tailgate-goer before you even pour them a beer. The 36-inch strap is a functional touch for lugging this thing around — the only thing missing is some stellar craft beer.

Even though it might seem a bit tedious to put that extra bit of effort into your appearance on a weekend day, it definitely pays off. It’s something I still struggle with from time to time, but finding the right pieces can make the experience a heck of a lot better. The search for that perfectly worn vintage tee hopefully is a bit easier now after checking out Tailgate Clothing, and stylish everyday carry pieces like an upgrade team watch and a vintage ballcap are subtle, sporty-yet-stylish ways to prep for the occasion. Crucially, waterproof nubuck chukka boots and slim, dark denim are great building blocks for any outfit. And if you pack well (I.e. Enough beer for your tailgate), you should be set for game day and beyond. To see how this writer takes on the MSU football season in style, head to Instagram. Meanwhile, we’ll see you in the stands!

What’s your take on the above outfit? Would you add or subtract any pieces? Thinking about making any purchases?

The Friday Read: Athleisure, Common Projects Chelsea Boots and the 2016 Olympics

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.  

With so much going on at the (small but well-appointed) Style Guide HQ, it’s becoming tough to keep track of the days. If it’s Friday, that must mean it’s almost time to hit the road again — this Sunday, I’m heading west to Liberty Fairs in Las Vegas, before a day back in New York … and then more travel to my home state of Michigan. But first, Liberty Fairs — it’s a twice-yearly contemporary men’s trade show, and it stopped in the Big Apple about a month ago during New York Fashion Week: Men’s.  It’s another chance for retail buyers, fashion editors and writers and industry pros to get a look at what top menswear brands are slinging for the Spring 2017 season. There’s certainly a lot of hustle and bustle associated with trade shows, but ultimately, they’re about exploring new brands, analyzing key industry trends, and forging strong relationships in the menswear industry — that much I know is true, as I’ve met some great people at large, sometimes overwhelming conferences (take my buddy Jamal of StyleSocietyGuy, for instance).

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

With that in mind, building those relationships is my primary objective, as I’m jetting out there on behalf of Timberland to meet with media and rep the brand as part of my day job. Of course, you can expect a full #menswear blog post coming at the completion of my trip (click through here for more travel style in the meantime).  While my mind’s been fully focused on prepping for the upcoming trip, the Olympics have also captured my attention — maybe yours, too? If you’ve got an Olympics viewing party on the docket this weekend, here’s what you should wear. Or perhaps you just want to check out more of those hilarious Michael Phelps face memes? Go for it. Before you go too far down that rabbit hole, stick around here and check out the week in all things men’s style — everything from stylish boxer briefs to athleisure is up for discussion. To keep up with my travels in real-time, head to Instagram or Twitter — and click through the pieces below to start your weekend in style.

  • Now more than ever, Esquire says you should grab yourself a stylish pair of Chelsea boots — and I tend to agree! In fact, The Style Guide took a look earlier this spring at the best men’s Chelsea boots to buy now.
  • While we’re talking about  Esquire, the publication also reviewed the best boxer briefs for men — if you know me, you know I love me some Mack Weldon boxer briefs, although those didn’t make the aforementioned list.
  • We talk a lot (I mean, a LOT) about style upgrades on this blog, and sandals are one area that’s often overlooked. If that’s a part of your wardrobe you want to look a little better, the footwear purveyors at GREATS have you covered (as always). The brand’s new Amalfi Slide is a luxurious, Italian-made leather slide available in crisp white (Blanco) or black (Nero), including two versions stamped with “BKNY,” a nod to the brand’s #BornInBrooklyn roots. As crazy as it might seem to advocate for leather sandals, designs like these popped up on the runways at Todd Snyder’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s show in July 2016. Crucially, the leather quality and subtle looks mean these might not look that bad at a particularly relaxed barbeque — I’ll let y’all be the judge of that.

Looking for more style content? Look no further.

  • What’s one shirt — not chambray — that you can wear across all four seasons? The essential Oxford shirt. So, here are the 10 best Oxford shirts for men, as rounded up by yours truly at GearMoose this week.
  • Lastly, the balance between looking good at the gym and looking sloppy can be pretty small — and if you want gear that’s versatile outside of slinging weights, it’s even trickier. That’s where athleisure comes into play; the style (or trend) mixes traditional tailored silhouettes with technical fabrics, and I wrote about 5 athleisure lines to know for The Manual.

Follow along with this weekend’s explorations on Instagram, and check back Saturday for another Style Pick of the Week entry.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Dopp Kits to Buy Now

Editor’s note: Stock up on a full set of #menswear essentials at that link.

We talk often at The Style Guide about holistic style — putting together outfits using the small details and looking to make style upgrades whenever possible. That should carry right on through to things like your everyday carry, and even smaller touches like the no-show socks you should wear this summer. So if those details are important, the gear that you bring along with you when hitting the road is all the more essential (at least in this writer’s mind). And let’s hope you’ve got some more summer travel in the works, in the meantime. Now, prepping in style for that travel starts with the big stuff — think a durable weekender bag — and whether you’re hopping on a train or hopping a flight, you need something that’s just as stylish to carry around the grooming essentials you should be bringing with you. It’s taken a lot of practice for this #menswear writer to get accustomed to planning out all those details, but it certainly pays off — and that’s definitely the feeling you should get when you pick up one of the best dopp kits to buy now.  As for me, I’ll be packing up my own kit this weekend in fact — heading back to my home state of Michigan for a bachelor party should be quite the fun time. And as you’re planning out your next trip, take some time, check out the below picks and get those plane tickets booked.

#1. J. Crew Abingdon Travel Kit — $58

Simple, stylish and effective -- exactly what you want from a great dopp kit.

Simple, stylish and effective — exactly what you want from a great dopp kit.

There’s a reason the fine folks at J. Crew sit so high up on this site’s Approved Brands list — they make a heck of a lot of head-to-toe men’s style essentials, and they do a darn good job at it. The Abingdon Travel Kit is just one of those pieces, made from a fine waxed cotton canvas and featuring details like burnished leather trim and brass-finish hardware. It’s the type of piece that would handsomely complement a rugged waxed weekender bag, and it’ll fit right in if you find yourself a fan of the brand’s classic style pieces — seriously, it’s tough to find a dopp kit that blends seamlessly with what you wear everyday. If that’s what you need, pick up this dopp kit ASAP.

#2. Baxter of California Dopp Bag — $25

A navy color that goes with everything, plus durable fabric.

A navy color that goes with everything, plus durable fabric.

For as much as J. Crew has the head-to-toe style game handled, the team at Baxter of California has you all set with everything you might need on the men’s grooming front. The brand’s Dopp Bag is no-fuss, made out of navy blue canvas and featuring a distinctive logo on one side. It looks like it’s about the perfect size to hold several of the brand’s travel toiletries (or else, those little bottles you pick up from hotel rooms and the like. And the navy canvas should be durable and hold up well to getting tossed into a bag. For $25, that’s not a bad deal.

#3. Wood & Faulk Dopp Kit in North Coast Grey — $110

Details like bridle leather accents and a carrying handle contribute to this bag's utility.

Details like bridle leather accents and a carrying handle contribute to this bag’s utility.

Before you balk at that price, know that with the way Wood & Faulk produces their goods, you’re getting a substantial return on your investment. The brand’s wares have popped up here on The Style Guide a few times before (namely in this essential chambray shirt #OOTD), and you’re certainly getting a handsome dopp kit here as well. We’re talking heavy canvas, bridle leather accents and brass hardware, plus a handle that makes it easy to carry. The Grey color of the canvas should age quite well over time, and the nylon interior is easy to clean and ready to stand up to multiple trips. Definitely worth the price.

#4. Byrd x Richer Poorer Light Carry-on — $74

There's a heck of a lot of functionality -- and extra goods -- packed into one dopp kit.

There’s a heck of a lot of functionality — and extra goods — packed into one dopp kit.

The Byrd x Richer Poorer collab is one that’s so much more than a dopp kit — wait ’til you see what’s in this one, in fact. You get a reliable dopp kit from Topo Designs, who certainly knows how to make functional everyday carry gear, and you get a plethora of other menswear goodies, including two pairs of Richer Poorer socks and a comb, “soap on a rope” and a light pomade from the team at Byrd Hairdo Products. You get all this for $74, and you get to keep the dopp kit — a good thing, as you’ll want to use it over and over no matter where your summer travels take you.

#5. Shinola Small Zip Travel Kit — $250

A stylish leather dopp kit that ... comes close to breaking the bank.

A stylish leather dopp kit that … comes close to breaking the bank.

For as splurge-worthy as Shinola tends to be (and in spite of the trouble the brand has found themselves in with the FTC as of late), they’re still a favorite of this site for the approach they bring to manufacturing products in the U.S. The goods really are high-quality, despite what doubters of the brand’s marketing tactics might say, so this dopp kit coming in at north of $200 makes it an investment … but a very solid one. If you do have the chance to check out the brand’s Detroit flagship (as I did on a trip to Detroit earlier this year), stop by if you’re a fan of quality design, display and merchandising.

Hopefully, some of the above picks caught your eye (and perhaps the attention of your wallet, too). It’s certainly an upgrade and a change of thought to think of the case that carries your toothpaste as being part of your everyday style, but it’s thinking in that manner that can pay dividends across the board. Whether you reach for a rugged waxed canvas dopp kit or a more refined leather dopp kit is all a matter of taste — but any of the above should be able to work with (and fit in) everything from a stylish weekender bag to a suitcase fit for business travel. If you see any brands I missed, shoot me a tweet on Twitter or drop us a line at The Style Guide Facebook page.
Frank & Oak


Style Pick of the Week: Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch

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 military NATO strap and a vintage-inspired design help this timepiece stand out in the best possible way. Photo courtesy of Timex.

A military NATO strap and a vintage-inspired design help this timepiece stand out in the best possible way. Photo courtesy of Timex.

Here at The Style Guide, your humble author is a big fan of rugged, tried-and-true classics — that goes for everything from chambray shirts to rugged leather chukka boots. But every now and then, slightly unexpected-yet-modern pieces are welcomed into the fold. That’s certainly the case with the Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch, a one-of-a-kind timepiece available exclusively through the lauded American designer’s Web site. In fact, it’s proven such a hit that it’s only available for backorder as of the time of this post. Yet, you should still seriously consider putting your name on that list (and then waiting anxiously until September, of course). Why is it so essential to get in the game now for us #menswear fans? Well for one, the timepiece itself is a perfect stylish casual watch that updates a vintage Timex design for the modern age. For another, it signals the start of an ongoing partnership between a classic watch brand and one of America’s best menswear designers — the fact that it was shown on the runways at Snyder’s recent New York Fashion Week: Men’s show is icing on the cake. And perhaps most importantly — it means you have a great excuse to pick up a new watch that’s eye-catching, crisp, versatile and available for under $140. Todd Snyder already stocks the elusive and much-loved Timex x Red Wing watch collaboration, featuring rugged watches that utilize tough Red Wing leather in the straps themselves. The Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch is a little more toned-down and refined, yet still very wearable — it’s an example of hitting it right down the middle when it comes to design balance.

A closer look at the red-and-black mod bullseye design, inspired by the Timex archives. Photo courtesy of the brand.

A closer look at the red-and-black mod bullseye design, inspired by the Timex archives. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
Snyder’s savvy eye, combined with the knowledge of the Timex design team, leaves us with a striking watch that’s like none on the market right now. The red-and-black dial combo is unique enough in and of itself, but when paired with the military NATO strap, you’ve got a combination that’s made for rocking with a classic blue Oxford and slim sand chinos at the office, and a slim pocket T-shirt and navy chino shorts on the weekend. The 40mm case diameter hits the sweet spot in terms of size — it’s not too small, and it’s not overly large. That’s the benefit of a watch that manages to be clean and classic yet striking at the same time — it goes with anything. Truly, a sufficiently stylish NATO strap timepiece can even work with a  suit — just steal a style tip from James Bond in Spectre. Of course, the dial designs of each of those watches are different, but the idea remains the same. There are very few casual watches that can transition from being worn with something as casual as slim blue denim and a short-sleeve henley to being worn with a blazer, and that pool is narrowed even further when you look for something under $140.  So, the design is one-of-a-kind, the styling potential is one-of-a-kind and the price is …. well, one-of-a-kind. In fact, you’re really getting multiple watches for the price of one — the easy-to-change NATO strap can be easily switched out with everything from a Horween leather watch strap  to a floral NATO watch strap (truly). If that’s not enough to convince you, just know that this watch won’t stick around for long once it’s re-stocked — so pre-ordering it could be the smartest move you make this weekend.

What’s your take on the design of the Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch? How would you rock this timepiece?

#OOTD: How to Style Casual Spring Basics

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD series will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

Sometimes, you reach a point in your quest to build great style where it’s refreshing to turn back to the basics. After all, style doesn’t always have to be complicated or overly formal, as we’ve talked about in past #OOTD posts here on The Style Guide. Taking well-crafted, well-fitting and versatile pieces is a skill that’s underrated in a #menswear world where $10,000 suits are floated out in the digital style space on the regular. Now while there’s a time and a place for that, today’s #OOTD goes back to basics in a bit of an unexpected way — namely, lots of upgraded products with a premium feel. That approach will pay off no matter the season — and just keep in mind that great style is an evolving process. Know your fundamentals, know ’em well and don’t be afraid to stick to ’em. Shop on, and thanks for reading!

Pieces that you know and love, with some premium upgrades thrown in the mix.

Pieces that you know and love, with some premium upgrades thrown in the mix.

The Oxford: Taylor Stitch The Jack in White Everyday Oxford, $98: The backbone of many an outfit, including this one. Crafted exceptionally well in America, you’d be wise to grab this number while it’s still in stock. (A heads-up that you can also snag it at Spring now, and shipping is free).

The Sweater: JACHS NY Heather French Terry Crewneck, $79: So you’ve got your white Oxford, but what if it gets a bit cold out there? This crewneck sweater combines soft French terry fabric with a rich indigo wash. High-low style at its best.

The Jeans: Raleigh Denim Workshop Jones Original Selvage Raw Denim, $285: So, nearly $300 is a heck of a lot for a pair of denim (it’s still no $10,000 suit, though!). But this could be the first and last pair of selvedge denim you buy.
The Belt: Tanner Goods Classic Belt, $100: Again, this is quite the price for a belt. But it’s a classic piece that’ll age well over time, and look great with casual or formal outfits.
The Sneakers: GREATS Royale Chukka in Oxblood, $169: While oxblood as a color definitely leans more toward colder weather, the suede keeps things texturally in line with spring, and the chukka cut is versatile and stylish.
The Socks: American Trench Rugby Stripe Boot Socks, $18: In keeping with the theme of super-luxe upgrades to style staples, American Trench crafts these solid boot socks in an eye-catching color combo using Italian-spun wool and silk.
The Watch: Daniel Wellington Dapper Reading Watch, $299: Rocking such a crisp, sharp watch with a laidback outfit? Certainly. The black leather combo between the belt and the watch is unexpected (in a good way). Give it a try sometime.
If some of the above prices gave you sticker shock, know that reaching for less, but reaching for better pieces, certainly pays off down the line — and it can add a premium feel to more laidback outfits, too! It’s always refreshing to realize the difference between a great pair of denim, say, and an average pair, for example. So the above #OOTD aims to nail that delicate balance in style.  Do you agree? Disagree? Any picks you’d substitute in instead? Let me know via The Style Guide Facebook page!