Style Pick of the Week: Shinola + Golden Bear Wool Bomber

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.

The popular watch brand tapped the equally iconic team at Golden Bear for this bomber.

The popular watch brand tapped the equally iconic team at Golden Bear for this bomber.

If you swung through this very small piece of the blogosphere pie a few weeks back, you might recall the jacket you see here from the Best Men’s Fall Jackets feature — but we’re back again. And that’s simple — both in-person and even online, it’s pretty neat to see how Shinola is evolving its product selection, which now includes some sweatshirts. The American brand probably better known for its crisp, classic watches prides itself on its commitment to homegrown partnerships, so it was a smart move to tap the expert jacket makers at Golden Bear for this wool bomber. Beyond this viewpoint, it’s simply a great (and yes, expensive) piece of outerwear if you find yourself frequently trekking through the snow and slush. It plays off a classic masculine silhouette, the A-2 bomber, and features premium details like leather trim and a sturdy brass zipper. It’s these little details — plus the overall excellent look — that make it worth that price tag. On the less expensive end of things, you could always snap up another shearling bomber via JackThreads.

It's also available in Black, although the Grey color still works plenty well for fall & winter.

It’s also available in Black, although the Grey color still works plenty well for fall & winter.

But back to this Shinola number. On top of those other details, the authentic sheepskin shearling collar buttons at the throat too, in case it gets insanely cold. The Melton wool should also keep you extra warm. There’s no word yet on how these jackets fit, but from the looks of it, they’ll feature a modern, contemporary fit that still leaves room for layering. Keep in mind that once you get past all the bells and whistles, this jacket can be styled like even a more basic light grey peacoat would. It’ll add a terrific amount of texture to dark denim and some crisp leather sneakers, and you can certainly dress it up with some navy trousers, brown leather wingtip boots and a light blue dress shirt.  And with a long-sleeve henley and some corduroys, you’ll have the perfect high-low combination for weekend adventures. Given the investment-worthy nature of the price, you’ll certainly want to wear it as much as possible.

Are you a fan of this bomber jacket? Would you invest in this piece?

Florsheim

Cross-country: Heading West for a weekend in L.A.

Polka dots popping out. Taking my favorite Saturdays Surf NYC shirt and my trusty Navali Stowaway Weekender Bag. Luggage tag by Frank & Oak.

Polka dots popping out. Taking my favorite Saturdays Surf NYC shirt and my trusty Navali Stowaway Weekender Bag. Luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

Editor’s note: For more travel style dispatches, head here.

Out of the major American (and international) cities I’ve visited, I have perhaps the fondest memories of Los Angeles — and I only spent about twelve hours there. The last time I was in the L.A. area was, without question, one of the best weekends of my life — a trip West as part of a graduation gift to watch my beloved Michigan State Spartans take down Stanford in a legendary Rose Bowl game. I slept on a hotel room floor, edited stories from my phone as part of my work at The State News (MSU’s student newspaper) and basked in the glow of a historic school moment. Spending the next day driving around L.A. with my newspaper colleagues was particularly momentous after such a great win. But I quickly realized the city had more to offer — and when one of my best high school & college friends headed West earlier this year, I knew I had to make it back. So that’s where this weekend is set to take me — and as always, I resolved to travel in style despite the promise of pretty sweltering Los Angeles weather. (Let’s call this trip #StyleGuideLosAngeles, shall we?)

Three options for hot weather, pictured top to bottom -- lightweight JACHS NY grey chinos, flexible Mott & Bow dark denim and lightweight linen shorts from Frank & Oak.

Three options for hot weather, pictured top to bottom — lightweight JACHS NY grey chinos, flexible Mott & Bow dark denim and lightweight linen shorts from Frank & Oak.

I’m bringing along a good mix of product to combat the heat, starting with some linen shorts from Frank & Oak (as pictured above and detailed in this April post). I’m also bringing along a pair of Banana Republic khaki shorts and my Pistol Lake French Terry Sweatshorts, a seasonally-appropriate pickup from a brand that just happens to be based in L.A. They should pair nicely with one of my Pistol Lake V-neck tees. And that get-up should in turn go well with my ever-reliable GREATS Brand Rosen sneakers, a pair I’ve come to rely on in all sorts of situations. They’re exceptionally comfortable and work to dress down a blazer and T-shirt (a combination I’ll likely be wearing on the plane, as I’m heading to the airport after a half-day at work — #WheelsUp!). And should those sneakers need some time out of the rotation, I’m sure my GREATS Brand Wilson sneakers in White will definitely get the job done with multiple pant options.

Travel essentials for a cross-country trip. Russel Baseball Jacket by Grayers. Navy sneakers by GREATS Brand. Socks by American Trench. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Dopp kit by Baxter of California.

Travel essentials for a cross-country trip. Russel Baseball Jacket by Grayers. Navy sneakers by GREATS Brand. Socks by American Trench. Leather chukka boots by Timberland. Leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Dopp kit by Baxter of California.

On that front, I’m anticipating the weather to be quite hot — so my Mott & Bow dark denim should pair well with my Rust V-neck from Pistol Lake (check out that shirt here) and my navy GREATS sneakers. However, I’m ready to sub in my JACHS NY grey chinos, which are about the same weight as a Bonobos Washed Chino, should the situation call for it. I think the dark denim in particular will also team up nicely with two shirting options I’m bringing — my polka-dot Saturdays Surf NYC Esquina Oxford (from the Spring 2014 line), and my Michael Bastian x Uniqlo polo, featuring a nice royal blue color and a thin striped collar The polo in particular (seen more closely here) has a nice bit of stretch and a breathable fabric, key in the heat. My Mott & Bow denim should also do well in that regard. In case the weather does turn cooler, I’m bringing my trusty Russel Baseball Jacket from Grayers (as seen above), which should provide a crisp, versatile outerwear option. On my head, I’ll be throwing on my Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap — a favorite from a brand that really does know how to make great hats. To round out my apparel, some standout socks from American Trench (as discussed in this week’s Style Q&A) will definitely prove breathable and comfortable. Of course, no trip would be complete with a great timepiece — I’m expecting my stainless steel Invicta Pro Diver 8926 and my Classic Bristol Leather Watch from Daniel Wellington to work interchangeably with footwear I’m bringing (particularly my well-worn brown leather Coulter Chukkas — courtesy of my day job repping Timberland).

Grooming gear fit for the road ahead. Featuring Beard Oil & Pure Pomade from Doc Elliott, Shampoo from Baxter of Californina and the Wahl Grooming Stainless Steel Trimmer.

Grooming gear fit for the road ahead. Featuring Beard Oil & Pure Pomade from Doc Elliott, Shampoo from Baxter of Californina and the Wahl Grooming Stainless Steel Trimmer.

To round out my luggage and grooming situation, I’m hauling everything in, as ever, my Navali Stowaway Weeekender Bag and my hard-wearing Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag, both of which have provided formidable and tough options for carrying luggage across the globe. And as toiletries are just as key when traveling as at home, I’m rounding up some essentials to bring with me (in travel sizes, of course). My haul will include the Travel Essentials Kit from grooming giant Baxter of California, as well as some Pure Pomade from Doc Elliott and my Wahl Grooming Stainless Steel Trimmer. I’ll be lugging it all in the Baxter Quilted Dopp Kit, which should make things easy to access throughout the trip. While I’m looking forward to sampling the finest food & drink *namely beer, can’t forget about the beer* that L.A. has to offer, I’m also hoping to meet with a brand I admire and whom I’ve interacted with a bit in the past — the fine folks at Apolis. After seeing a press preview of a neat industrial design project they’re working on, plus profiling  them for VOUCH Mag and GearHungry, it’s a definitely a cool opportunity.
Florsheim
As always, look for the regularly scheduled Friday Read post before I jet-set, along with a new Style Pick of the Week. Follow me during the trip via Instagram and Twitter, if that catches your fancy! And look for more from out West next week.

And do let me know — what’s on your must-see list in L.A.? Best restaurants or spots to check out? Drop me a line via Twitter or give me a shout in the comments!

Ben Sherman US

Brand Profile: Ace Rivington

Editor’s note: For a wide array of brand profiles covering companies big and small, click here.

Aviation, as you might guess, figures strongly into the backstory of this brand. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Aviation, as you might guess, figures strongly into the backstory of this brand. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

At a special media preview sponsored by ethical lifestyle brand Apolis earlier this summer, I ran into a situation that rarely, if ever, happens. I was chatting briefly with Apolis co-founder Raan Parton when he introduced his companion — another Beau, in fact. It just happened to be Beau Lawrence, founder of up-and-coming menswear brand Ace Rivington. What he had to say about his brand and the backstory behind it immediately caught my attention, and discerning consumers would do wise to listen up, too.

The sweater that started it all --a colorblocked crewneck made out of high-quality fabric.

The sweater that started it all –a colorblocked crewneck made out of high-quality fabric. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Ace Rivington first made a name for itself with a wildly successful Kickstarter (to the tune of $60,990 raised) for its Homespun Sweatshirt, a crisp upgrade to the once-casual crewneck sweater. The fact that the crewneck sweater is now an accepted menswear staple definitely contributed to the brand’s initial success, but in the time since then, they’ve moved beyond just sweatshirts. That staple item was borne out of a simple set of perfect fabric, though. Once he’d found the right knit, Lawrence quit his job in November 2013 and got to work — bringing with him more than 18 years of experience in the denim industry. Add in the fact that the brand focuses on American manufacturing and you’ve got the makings of #menswear success.

A playful historical narrative accompanies many of the brand's products. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

A playful historical narrative accompanies many of the brand’s products. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

What’s even more compelling about the brand is the playful, heritage-filled story woven into its products. Consumers can follow along with the daring Ace Rivington and his family through the brand’s blog. Ace is a fictional pilot who provides the sartorial inspiration for the brand’s rugged staples — and spirit of adventure. The concept is something that few, if any brands, have tried. Sure, plenty tie back to the ideals of heritage quality, history and pieces  built for decades — but Ace Rivington is the only one that provides quite literally an inspired story to back it up. Some might find it too much, but the ways in which the product is designed and the creative is presented definitely help build the narrative into a cohesive brand identity.

American-made denim in a variety of washes rounds out the brand's pants offering.

American-made denim in a variety of washes rounds out the brand’s pants offering.

The company’s offerings are tight and controlled, particularly its shirting — five models are for sale on the site right now, including a Beach Washed Chambray option that would serve as a fine complement to the brand’s made-in-the-USA selvedge denim. That denim however, does run for a premium price — more than $200. Its chinos also venture into Bonobos-esque pricing territory ($89) but pack classic military styling inspiration into one pair. And while some are against the jogger trend entirely, Ace Rivington does indeed stock an aptly named pair — after having checked out a pair from the brand, the Layover Jogger (made out of a lightweight cotton weave) is actually the type of pant you’d want to be wearing if you found yourself stranded in an airport.

On the shirting front, it does appear as if the brand is planning a broader expansion come next spring, as they teased out a product shot of a neat-looking short-sleeve shirt on the company’s Instagram account recently.

Available in a plethora of colors, the brand's crewneck sweaters helped Ace make his name. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

Available in a plethora of colors, the brand’s crewneck sweaters helped Ace make his name. Photo courtesy of Ace Rivington.

The iconic sweater the brand launched with is also on the site in multiple colors, and colorblocked cuffs plus a ribbed collar help it stand out from your average crewneck. At a 90% cotton/10% polyester blend, it might not be the kind of sweater that shields you from an Arctic chill, but it would be the ideal layering piece for fall, particularly underneath a herringbone blazer. At $129 however, it’s again an investment to give some thought.

Ace Rivington sells, among other footwear offerings, some casual-rugged chukkas from SeaVees.

Ace Rivington sells, among other footwear offerings, some casual-rugged chukkas from SeaVees.

Ace Rivington’s outerwear selection is small but does feature a café racer jacket. Likewise, it keeps its footwear offerings on the small, yet classic, side as well. Two pairs of excellent Wolverine boots, a classic three-eye chukka from SeaVees and two pairs of utilitarian SeaVees sneakers round out the product focus.

The brand’s accessories add a dash of the unexpected to your everyday carry, including a branded Zippo lighter and aviation-themed playing cards that line right up with the brand’s aviation-minded backstory. As to be expected for a brand that built its foundation on a simple sweatshirt, its basics are similarly well-constructed. The brand was kind enough to send along a Home Washed Heathered Crewneck in Oatmeal, and it’s extremely soft with a slim yet comfortable fit — exactly how a T-shirt should feel.
Ben Sherman US
Judging by the brand’s quick rise through Kickstarter, planned product upgrades in the coming seasons and compelling backstory, Ace Rivington seems like the type of brand that can definitely strike a chord with customers looking for crisp basics that incorporate just-different-enough touches and reliable quality. And if you happen to be an aviation enthusiast, there’s perhaps no better brand out there.

Have you bought any product from Ace Rivington? What’s your favorite item from the brand’s site?
Ernest Alexander
Greats

Style Q + A: Barron Cuadro, Effortless Gent

Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent talks style tips, the development of his site and more. He also nails this classic blazer-and-denim combo.

Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent talks style tips, the development of his site and more. He also nails this classic blazer-and-denim combo.

Editor’s note: To check out other Style Q&A pieces, head here. As I’m abroad this week, stay tuned for a Wednesday trip post!

Across the past few years, I’d say my personal style has developed a lot. More specifically, starting in about my sophomore year of college, I began to pay a lot more attention to what I wore, how I got dressed and how it helped me shape my life in terms of organization and focus. What was an outside interest at first turned into hours of reading about style and finding my own sense of style therein. One of the biggest sources in that development was (correction: is) Effortless Gent, an outstanding menswear and lifestyle site focused on helping guys improve their style (and everything that goes with it). What started as me merely perusing (poring over) the site’s pages in my free time led to a writing opportunity that continues to this day — my “Five Ways to Wear One” series — and a friendship with Barron that I’m definitely grateful for, as I think I can safely say that I might not have found my passion, and my career, without his guidance. But enough of the dramatic stuff — I caught up with Barron to talk all things Effortless Gent, the development of his personal style and his transition from San Francisco to NYC, and if you know Barron, I think you’ll like what you read.

Take me through the process of starting Effortless Gent, and how that dovetailed off your own style journey?

 Effortless Gent: Throughout high school and college, my guy friends would ask me style-related questions. After 8ish years of hearing the same questions over and over, I realized there are probably other guys out there with the same questions but no one to ask. My professional background is in web design / development, so I decided to put together a site and answer these questions for a much larger potential audience than just my friends.

What’s been the most rewarding part of helping guys improve their style?

EG: I love the emails I receive from guys who have quietly put into practice all the things we teach on the site. They realize how big a difference it has made in their lives and they’re just writing to thank me. That never gets old; it just proves that a little attention to detail and a bit of guidance can go a long way.

Even with more low-key, casual ensembles, Barron keeps it crisp and classic.

Even with more low-key, casual ensembles, Barron keeps it crisp and classic.

TSG: You advocate for a Lean Wardrobe and the idea of a personal uniform — tell me a little bit more about those concepts.

EG: The Lean Wardrobe philosophy has become the cornerstone of the site, and it guides everything we teach. The idea of a personal uniform is similar and fits into that philosophy.

We define the Lean Wardrobe (LW) as the minimum number of clothes a man needs to create the most well-rounded, flexible wardrobe that suits his daily life.  Rather than a concrete list of items, LW is a philosophy or a set of principles that guide you when buying. The LW is also super flexible, because not every guy has the same situation, income, or surroundings.
Florsheim
TSG: What’s one initial mistake you see most guys make when it comes to trying to improve their style?

EG: I guess not having a proper plan, or a direction they want to go. That usually leads to premature buying and then eventually being unhappy with those purchases, requiring him to purchase something else. That cycle usually repeats until he finds something that’s truly him. And it can happen with every article of clothing, from shirts, to socks, and everything in between. That trial-and-error process can be time consuming and expensive, but if you follow the LW guidelines, you can generally avoid 95% of that headache.

TSG: If you had to pick one outfit to wear every day, what would it be?

EG: It would have to be a pair of medium-dark denim, white OCBD, unlined, unstructured sport coat in navy, and tan leather loafers. I wear something similar most of the time (unless it’s unbearably hot or cold, and when it is, I adjust by removing or adding layers). 

TSG: Playing off that question, what’s one essential item every guy should own?

 EG: I always say a navy sport coat. It instantly dresses up whatever you have on.

The devil's all in the details when it comes to a great outfit.

The devil’s all in the details when it comes to a great outfit, according to Mr. Cuadro — and I agree!

TSG: You’re new to NYC from San Fran — what’s that transition been like and how has it changed your style? 

EG: SF is much more casual with their style, which personally doesn’t suit me very well. In NYC, people dress up more. It’s not crazy to be in suits and ties, or creative smart casual rigs… It’s just the nature of the city and the people who are here.  Since I enjoy dressing well, NYC has allowed me to be more myself, if that makes sense. In Build A Lean Wardrobe, one of the things we teach is to plan a wardrobe around your surroundings. Not just your physical surroundings, but the way in which people around you dress… Not that you have to dress exactly like everyone around you, but it’s a great way to gauge what’s considered “normal” and “appropriate”, and you can adjust course from there.  Anyway, NYC hasn’t really changed my style much, other than the fact that it allows me to be more… me.

 TSG: Given that the site’s home base has changed, do you think content on the site will continue to evolve in that direction as well? What’s next for EG? 

 EG: I think it will, and only for the better. I’m constantly inspired by the variation in styles I see here, plus the firsthand experience I’m getting by dressing for distinctly different seasons. In SF, we had one season almost all year round, so you don’t always get the opportunity to experiment. As far as what’s next, we’ll be focusing more on our eGuides and courses, especially our upcoming launch for Build A Lean Wardrobe, and hopefully continue to put out articles that help guide and inspire our readers to amp up their style game, no matter where they are.

Head to the Effortless Gent Instagram here for a daily glimpse into the happenings behind EG (and some great outfit shots from Barron), and check out the site here for tons of excellent style content.

Ben Sherman US

The Friday Read: Epaulet Sneakers, GAP Closings and the Most Stylish Men Alive

Florsheim

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.

Can you believe it’s almost July? Unbelievable, truly! Have you done any traveling yet this summer? I’ve been in the midst of starting a new job this past month while mixing in a family wedding and a music festival; both have made it a great summer to date. Now, we’re almost on the Fourth of July, and on that note, we’ll have a style suggestion coming up for your reading pleasure next Monday. In the meantime, I suggest you check out my weekly roundup below of only the best pieces fit for weekend reading — and let me know what you’ve been reading yourself on Twitter or via the Contact page!

  • Design and style website Selectism details Epaulet’s stunning new line of made-in-America unfinished leather trainers (sneakers, to us common folk)
  • My buddy Joe over at the always-stylish Dappered reflects on the news earlier this week that GAP will close a quarter of its stores by recapping 10 of the best pieces from the brand in recent years (including one item that also appeared in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series)
  • NBA superstar LeBron James made GQ’s list of the 20 Most Stylish Men Alive and talked to the menswear magazine briefly about his style choices and inspiration (on that note, anyone else have some qualms about that list?
  • Long Read of the Week: In a fascinating set of entries, 10 New Yorkers share their most memorable “dusk to dawn” nighttime memories of the city that never sleeps

Need more of The Style Guide?

  • My latest piece for Effortless Gent, covering five ways to wear slim shorts this summer, was published on Thursday; check it out here!
  • Might I also suggest an earlier Style Guide entry this week detailing stylish men’s dress shoes on a budget?
  • Lastly:  If you’re shopping for some new denim, you might want to give Mott & Bow jeans a whirl after you check out this product review

 

Ernest Alexander

Style Pick of the Week: Alberta Watches

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.

Your choice of a lovely blue or deep green dial (with black or brown leather strap), plus a classic field watch design from the newly launched Alberta Watches.

Your choice of a lovely blue or deep green dial (with black or brown leather strap), plus a classic field watch design from the newly launched Alberta Watches.

If you read any of my work over at VOUCH Mag, you might recognize this week’s Style Pick of the Week. While past Style Pick entries have run the gamut from American-made henleys to drool-worthy knit trousers , there’s something that’s simply too good to pass up about an affordably priced watch. And that’s exactly what Alberta Watches is offering with its newly launched Kickstarter campaign. The brand, inspired by the Canadian wilds and launched by former product designer Leo Josephy, is delivering classic field watches starting at just $58. That’s right … $58 (but for a limited time!). Funding spots at the low, low early bird price of $47 already filled up via the Kickstarter campaign, (which has quickly shot past its funding goal), but the standard price of $65 for one watch is stellar, too. Throw in your choice of a black or brown leather strap and either a vibrant blue or deep green dial, and you’ve absolutely got a winning combination.

An up-close look at the handmade Horween leather strap that's also an option through the Kickstarter campaign. Photo courtesy of Alberta Watches.

An up-close look at the handmade Horween leather strap that’s also an option through the Kickstarter campaign. Photo courtesy of Alberta Watches.

Ben Sherman US

Get in on this while it lasts, because these watches feature a just-right 41mm diameter, mineral glass crystal and a Japanese Miyota movement. The option to swap in a Horween leather strap handmade by a master saddlemaker in Calgary, Alberta sweetens the deal, too. Note that the early bird Kickstarter price of $76 gets you the Horween leather strap, with a standard price of $95 thereafter. So at the most, under the century mark for a beautifully produced watch (set for production in the same factory that handles Bulova timepieces).  While it’s essential to match your watch leather to your belt and shoes in dressier situations, this is one watch that could wear just as easily with a crisp pocket T-shirt and shorts as it could with a blazer and khaki chinos. The difficult part about funding this campaign will be the waiting — delivery date is slated for October 2015 — but this is one watch I’ve got on my hot list now.

Would you fund this Kickstarter campaign? What are your thoughts on the design and construction of these watches?

Ernest Alexander

Style Pick of the Week: Buck Mason Oxford Shirt

Ernest Alexander

A versatile shirt ready for all kinds of wear.

A versatile shirt ready for all kinds of wear.

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.

Seeing as it’s Memorial Day weekend,it seems only fitting that this week’s Style Pick of the Week should come from a company making things with a ton of attention to detail and quality right in the U.S. of A. Buck Mason’s T-shirts first made an appearance on this blog earlier this week in fact, and it only makes sense that one of the company’s superb buttondowns would show up shortly thereafter. The light blue Oxford shirt in particular is selling so fast, the company can barely keep it barely stocked — although light grey, white or deep navy would be highly versatile as well.

 

Just one of the five shades in which you could pick up this classic wardrobe staple.

Just one of the five shades in which you could pick up this classic wardrobe staple.

This shirt is the kind of piece that’s more than worth it’s made-in-the-USA price, regardless of the color you go with. The sleeves and chest look to fit trim, making it a classic choice ready for slightly dressier wear instead of a spring and summer T-shirt or even a slim polo. This shirt would also work exceptionally well with black or blue denim, even in the deep navy shade available through Buck Mason.  And slim chinos would absolutely finish off a sharp, versatile outfit, too (you can check out more ways to style the classic Oxford buttondown shirt here). So that’s the pick for this Memorial Day weekend — if you’re traveling, be sure to stay safe and check out these suggestions for the best men’s travel accessories.

Have you bought from Buck Mason before? What’s your experience been like with the company?

Ben Sherman US

Online Shopping Picks: Grayers

Classic prep looks reinterpreted for the modern age.

Classic prep looks reinterpreted for the modern age.

Editor’s note: For more online shopping picks covering everything from great brands, gift guides and the best warm-weather blazers and shorts, head here.

With so many brands competing for limited time and money from consumers (who are ever more discerning with their purchases), the modern menswear company really has to be able to do it all across several different categories — from dressier pieces to casual tees and those in-between items, like versatile chinos.  Grayers, founded by Ralph Lauren veteran Peter Georgiou, fills that niche pretty nicely for a fairly new brand. The company prides itself on classic, prep staples with a slight British edge — Grayers was the name given to gray wool flannel trousers in 1950s Britain, one of the first waves in menswear’s casual renaissance. You may recognize the brand from this site’s roundup of the best spring jackets a few months back, but the company does a lot more than outerwear. Five other pieces worth checking out from the company’s online shop are highlighted below. (Editor’s note: The brand also has some new arrivals in stock over at STAG Provisions’ Web store). Happy shopping!

#1. Belmont Slub Madras Shirt — $85

A summer plaid that uses indigo in a unique way.

A summer plaid that uses indigo in a unique way.

For a casual shirt in a soft wash, that price is a notch above J. Crew prices. But this madras blend incorporates some bright bursts of color over an indigo yarn base, a pretty unique touch when it comes to using that deep shade of blue. It grabs the top spot on this list because it’s the perfect blend of dressy and casual — you could wear this with a lightweight navy or khaki blazer and chinos, or a pair of lightwash denim and white sneakers (sleeves rolled, of course). The lighter weight is also going to come in handy these next few months.

#2. Matthew Plaid Blazer — $131.30 (On Sale)

A sale price that makes this blazer mighty tempting.

A sale price that makes this blazer mighty tempting.

You’d have to round up three dimes if you were paying for that blazer in cash, curiously enough. If the above shirt is a bit pricey, this plaid blazer is practically a steal at that price — we’re talking J. Crew Factory price levels here. But even at that discounted price, you get a heck of a lot of pattern in a warm-weather cotton poplin-lined jacket. It calls to mind other patterned blazers but plays down the scale of the plaid a bit. This is the kind of blazer you’d want to keep in the closet when wearing the above slub madras shirt — but with a crisp white buttondown, it’d look great.

#3. The Newport Chino in Gray — $52.80 (On Sale)

Four-season color and fabric at a manageable price.

Four-season color and fabric at a manageable price.

While some of Grayers’ other chinos are running at full-price right now, this particular pair gets a fairly substantial sale knockdown. A pair of mid-gray chinos like this are often very underrated as a four-season pant — the style and fabric works with everything from a nice lightweight T-shirt in spring to a cardigan or V-neck sweater and winter boots when it gets colder. That mid-gray base would even allow you to wear the Matthew Plaid Blazer shown above, as it can anchor the bolder pattern.

#4. Marlowe Slub Pique Polo — $75

Slubby color and texture differentiate this from the typical pique color.

Slubby color and texture differentiate this from the typical pique color.

At full price, this polo is rather expensive when lined up against cheaper options — that much is true. This is the kind of piece that could really see lots of use in the spring and summer, though. It’s not as dressy as the Luxe-Touch polo from Banana Republic, and it’s got just a bit more character thanks to the slubby weave — but it’s still office-appropriate when paired with some crisp chinos or denim. The fit is listed as Slim, so that’s also promising, and the sand washing process should give it a unique texture.

#5. Blair Cardigan — $67.50

Design details like the shawl collar make this piece masculine and tough.

Design details like the shawl collar make this piece masculine and tough.

Recommending a cardigan? With warm weather on the way? Heck yes, I am — if only for the reason that the sale price here is almost too good to pass up. On top of that, the heather-grey fabric, shawl collar and double-breasted styling give it the feel of a knit blazer that you could style with everything from a T-shirt to a chambray shirt. It’s a cotton-polyester blend, so it’s not the most prime fabric combination, but the site says it’s lined in heritage flannel shirting, an added design detail that should also bring some significant warmth when temperatures start to drop — or if things get a little chiller than expected this spring.

Although this is just a cross section of the site, there are other areas worth perusing, too — including the brand’s knitwear and shorts. They’ve also put together a pretty extensive Sale section that offers up pages and pages of potential shopping picks. In the meantime, shoot me an email via the Contact page if you think I missed any key offerings!

Have you ever bought from Grayers? What are your thoughts on the brand?

 

Style Commentary: Why I Wear A Watch

A look at my watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch.

A look at the author’s watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch. Some new additions pictured below.

Although I’ve written about watches in the past on this site, there hasn’t often been much discussion on why it’s important to me, or why it just makes intrinsic sense (to me, at least!) to wear a watch. There are plenty of other ways to tell time, undoubtedly, from computers to smartphones to other apps on your phone. But each of those, while functional, are utilitarian and not the most stylish — and ambition in matters of style is always good to have!

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

The best timepieces have meaningful stories and memories behind them and style that fits in with your day-to-day life — really, that’s the biggest benefit! The first watch I really bought to wear was a Timex Weekender (seen in the case above and in this post here), with a black canvas strap. It was a trusty timepiece that took me through many late nights editing and writing at the student newspaper at Michigan State — classic, minimal in design and style and well set-up for casual wear. I’ve upgraded over time to a larger collection, as you can see in the photos here — a brown-leather watch from Stuhrling, a black-rubber casual watch also from Stuhrling, a Timex Ameritus Sport watch with interchangeable canvas straps (seen in this post on Dappered) and a silver dive watch from Invicta. The black-rubber Stuhrling watch is great for casual outfits — a crewneck sweatshirt, henley and jeans on the weekend, or a pocket T-shirt and khaki shorts in the spring and summer. And the Timex Ameritus watch has tons of versatility, too — it can be worn with a dressier leather strap as pictured above, or with a colorful paisley strap for warmer weather.

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

From the collection: A Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

It’s not essential to have a large collection or even multiple watches, however. When I travel, I take one, maybe two watches at the most (like I did on a recent trip to Michigan). And the most versatile watch in my collection for day-to-day wear is undoubtedly my silver Invicta pro diver watch — the stainless steel links pair with either brown or black leather shoes and belts and everything else from casual sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt in the summer to a navy suit and dress accessories (like this get-up). Although I haven’t gotten to it yet, the links can be swapped out for a canvas or leather strap for even more versatility. The stainless steel style (say that three times fast) is favored by fashion icons on screen and in real life, so that’s an added bonus.

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

An up-close look at a versatile and oft-worn timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

And this particular watch is definitely special for more than its looks — it was a Christmas gift from my parents, so I think of them every time I wear it. It’s a daily reminder of consistency, too — wearing a watch helps me start my day off on the right foot and keep track of appointments and meeting times. The fact that it’s got intrinsic style benefits to it is just an added bonus. While I save up for a bigger purchase (for now, this Shinola watch), my collection will definitely do just fine.

If you’re just starting out looking for great watches, some pointers can be found here on key styles and low prices. And if you want to add some long-term “grail” watch purchases to your list, Invaluable has some drool-worthy men’s watches up for sale right now — and they’ve also got some women’s watches up on the site if you need a gift for that special someone in your life! In the meantime, buying an inexpensive, solid timepiece like the ones above should work well for style purposes and functionality.

Do you wear a watch every day? What’s on your wrist from Monday to Sunday? And what would be your dream watch? Let me know! 

Online Shopping Picks: Everlane

Editor’s note: Sometimes, items that project great style are hard to find, especially at good prices. These articles aren’t necessarily a reflection of deals or sales for a particular brand, but noteworthy picks at the moment that can be had for affordable prices. For more Online Shopping Picks, head here.

Diving into a brand that's steadily on the way up.

Diving into a brand that’s steadily on the way up.

In the past two to two-and-a-half years or so, Everlane is a brand that’s raised a lot of eyebrows in the online fashion community. Their model of radical transparency and their desire to disseminate lots of information about how they do what they do has been praised by lots, as much as their clean, crisp aesthetic has also garnered positive reviews. They’re among a rare set of brands (J. Crew would probably be another) that do both men’s and women’s apparel very well, especially when it comes to staple essentials. They’ve been steadily expanding their wares on both sides, and have got a whole slew of releases planned for this spring — among others, they just dropped men’s henleys and a luxurious-looking merino blazer. The brand also has a new sweatshirt release and a spring jacket upcoming. For those of us that can’t wait though, there’s plenty of great goods on the site now. Check out picks below and share your thoughts on Everlane beneath that!

#1. The Henley Tee in Charcoal — $35 

An anticipated drop from Everlane that hopefully lives up to the hype.

A much-anticipated drop from Everlane that hopefully lives up to the hype.

One of Everlane’s latest product launches has easily been one of their most anticipated. When looking at the types of basics they’ve been putting out, this is a move that just makes sense — a henley is a masculine basic that can be layered all kinds of different ways (under a shawl cardigan or a v-neck sweater, to start) and brings to mind a certain rugged, old-time aesthetic. And given all the ways it can be worn in a neutral color like charcoal, this is a key pick — it meshes well with black jeans or dark denim and sturdy boots, in addition to chinos. Plenty of sizes are available right now in charcoal and other colors (almost shockingly so), and the price is excellent — lower than a comparable J. Crew staple, for example.  (Note: Look for an in-person review of one of these in white in the coming weeks). 

#2. The Cotton Pocket Tee in Slate — $15

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An underrated style basic in a unique color.

 

So the second item on this list keeps to the theme of darker-colored neutrals, which Everlane seems to do so well. While this is just a simple pocket tee, that item is fairly underrated as far as a men’s style piece. While short-sleeve henleys are a wise choice as well, sometimes you want something with more structure — that’s where the pocket tee comes in. It looks different than a traditional crewneck because of that chest pocket, and  the unique color helps it stand out from more basic options as well. This T-shirt would pair well with slim dark denim or a pair of navy trousers on the more hi-low spectrum of style; it also acts as a good neutral with some colored shorts. Don’t forget about the terrific price either — if Everlane is to be believed, comparable shirts retail for more than two times as much.

#3. The Slim Fit Denim Shirt — $55

A rugged staple for fall and winter — at a nice price, too.

A rugged staple for fall and winter — at a nice price, too.

There are so many good reasons to keep your closet stocked full of classic essentials like white OCBD’s and chambray shirts, yet in the fall and winter, it’s also handy to have a great denim shirt on-hand. Everlane also makes a deeper indigo denim shirt, and they just started selling a grey denim number, too, but the real gem of their collection is this medium denim option. It’s less overtly trendy than something like a light-wash denim shirt, and it goes with more pairings, too. It would fit perfectly with broken-in khaki chinos in either the fall or winter, and it would add a rugged, dressed-down appeal to charcoal trousers, too. This particular wash would also stand out well with black denim and a rich wool tie.  The price is very favorable when compared to a more expensive option from J. Crew, as well.

#4. The PK Polo in Hunter Green — $35

A color not typically seen on most polos, at a reasonable price.

A color not typically seen on most polos, at a reasonable price.

It might not exactly be polo weather right now for those of us in the north of the U.S. and in other cold climes, but within a couple months, it’ll be more than time for some short-sleeves. The great thing with Everlane is that they seem to keep inventory well-stocked and prices fairly consistent, so you could expect polos like these to stick around for quite a while. The fit on these looks to be solid — trim but not too tight, although one wonders if the photos shot on the model weren’t shot about a size too big (most of us prefer a slimmer-fitting polo at the sleeves and through the body). This particular item also comes in a color not seen tremendously often on polos — the deep hunter green would mesh well with wardrobe staples like tan chinos, and it would even sit right at home with lightwash jeans for the warmer months.

#5. The Twill Weekender Bag in Reverse Denim/Brown Leather — $95

For those who want to travel with style in mind.

For those who want to travel with style in mind.

No mention of Everlane would be complete without examining the brand’s gear — these pieces are what put them on the map for most of us style-conscious guys, and it seems like they’ve built up their apparel from around their bags, curiously enough. The theory would hold that dressing well goes hand-in-hand with what you carry for travel and everyday use, and these bags hold up that end of the deal quite nicely. These pieces, particularly the reverse denim weekender pictured above look crisp, clean and simple — the solid colors and lack of ornamentation or logos mean they’re not overly gaudy. From personal experience, the weekender bag is definitely meant to handle short spurts of usage — mine got used pretty hard across a summer in NYC, and I ended up replacing it with this bag instead. However, for those who need a true weekend bag, these pieces look outstanding and should provide just enough space for travel essentials. Most importantly, the price quite honestly destroys options from comparable brands. This isn’t built like a heritage bag from Filson, to be sure, but it should work just fine for the price.

Most notably with Everlane, an entire outfit, from apparel to accessories, could be built from the Everlane website, down to your wallet  — that’s the sign of a brand catering to the needs of customers while keeping style in mind.

And finally, a quick thought for all of you into Kickstarter clothing projects — be sure to check out Tom Cridland’s ongoing campaign — they’re a British company trying to break into the U.S. market and offer slim chinos in standout colors, including a nice deep navy option. Expect an in-person review of those within the coming days!

Have you bought from Everlane before? What’s on your wishlist from the brand? Let me know and thanks for reading!