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?

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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.
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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?

Style Suggestion: What to Wear When It’s Hot Out

Editor’s note: Click here for other #menswear style suggestions.

While the calendar shows that we’re well into August, the summer heat shows no signs of dissipating — maybe that’s just the unfortunate circumstance of navigating the overcrowded subways, but I think not. And so, that’s what we’re getting into today (if the title wasn’t enough). That crucial-yet-simple question — what to wear when it’s hot out — is still pretty relevant, and it’s a good thought to keep in your back pocket even if it feels like summer’s winding down. Now, the good news is that if you live in an area where it’s ungodly hot all year-round, you’ll have plenty of use for the below style suggestion. It’s partly functional, it’s (hopefully) stylish, and it’s geared toward taking you from Sunday brunch to the park and beyond — you can even repurpose this #menswear look during a casual day at the office. For those who value versatility in style (which should be, well, all of us), that’s a must-have. Got other questions or thoughts on what you’d like to see on The Style Guide? Get at me on Twitter.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
The Shirt: Good Man Brand Slub Stripe Polo — $75.98

A polo that hits the sweet spot in terms of lightweight fabric and solid fit.

A polo that hits the sweet spot in terms of lightweight fabric and solid fit.

If you want to look put-together even on a day off, a crisp-yet-casual polo sold via the fine team at Huckberry will set you right. This particular number features a peached slub jersey fabric that’s going to be breathable and move with you. In fact, it should feel every bit like a slim pocket T-shirt, yet it looks that much more polished thanks to a collar that’s hand-sewn by shirtmakers — your average polo, this is not. The trim fit is to be applauded (even in a larger size like XL), and it’ll stylishly complement your choice of pants (particularly the ones below).

The Pants: OLIVERS Apparel 5-Pocket Pant — $168

A pant that manages to be ultra-stretchy and yet still sharp.

A pant that manages to be ultra-stretchy and yet still sharp.

From stylish-yet-functional essentials like the brand’s Movement Kit to staple pieces like the 5-Pocket Pant, OLIVERS is as solid an option as any if you’re looking for essentials to fight the heat. Although these are, well, pants and not fabric-reducing shorts, this particular pant is made with a nylon-spandex blend for stretch and comfort. Plus, they’ve got the super-crisp look of a classic pair of chinos and comfortable four-way stretch properties built in. Lastly, the folks at OLIVERS make these bad boys in Los Angeles, so you’re supporting American manufacturing while looking great.

The Shoes: Jack Erwin Cooper Boat Shoes — $125

Just the right shoe to complement an outfit made for movement and comfort.

Just the right shoe to complement an outfit made for movement and comfort.

Whether you’re stepping out on a summer holiday or exploring a big city on the weekend, a sharp pair of leather shoes that mix casual and refined style can’t go wrong. With that versatility in mind, Jack Erwin crafted the Cooper Boat Shoe, a favorite set of kicks for yours truly. They feel as comfortable as a pair of sneakers, the Caramel Nubuck is handsome and high-quality, and the elongated loafer last means they have a dressier look and feel than other boat shoes on the market (although you can’t go wrong with something like a refined leather loafer here). An underrated thing about these shoes? You can also rock them with no-show socks for a bit of breezy comfort.

The Socks: Sock Genius Villa Park Stripe No-show Sock — $10

A pair of no-show socks that keeps popping up -- for plenty of reasons.

A pair of no-show socks that keeps popping up — for plenty of reasons.

If you’ve kept up with all things men’s style here on the blog, you’ve seen Sock Genius No-show socks around these parts before — and for great reason. Now, if you’re already well-stocked with other comfortable no-show socks,  you’re probably fine to pass on picking up this pair. But if not, I’d strongly suggest you snag a set to finish off your outfit. A breathable pair of no-shows will help out your feet and your shoes tremendously in the long run, and the neat color & pattern on these is a small bonus when you kick off your shoes at the end of the day.

The Belt: Arcade Belt Co. Crawford Belt — $36

Whereas a leather belt will weigh you down, this number is built with a ton of stretch for lightweight comfort.

Whereas a leather belt will weigh you down, this number is built with a ton of stretch for lightweight comfort.

Sometimes, a leather belt can just feel a bit too cumbersome. Particularly when it’s just too hot out, you want to reduce excess weight as much as possible — and yes, that can even be done by reaching for a lightweight stretch belt. Arcade Belt Co. makes unique-looking belts that blend different materials — in this case, full-grain leather and high-tensile elastic. The result is a stylish belt that, like the polo and chinos above, moves with you as you walk around town or settle in for a relaxing Sunday brunch (also an area where the stretch could help, too). It’s a bit pricey, but it’ll pay off given the potential for mixing and matching with style staples like dark raw denim in the fall, too.

The Watch: Szanto Military Field Watch — $149.98

The right balance of casual, rugged and stylish.

The right balance of casual, rugged and stylish.

Now, there are certainly other casual watches that could work here, but the key here is to reach for a watch that’s going to help you fight the heat (in a small way) is a solid move. Although we all love a rich leather watch, the leather strap isn’t exactly the best option when it’s hot — but a canvas-strap watch, with its lightweight material, is much better (to put it simply). A durable field watch might seem an unusual option, so if that feels too casual, you could grab a stylish dive watch instead. Yet, the charcoal strap and dial shown here are understated, the dial design itself isn’t too loud, and the 42mm diameter is just about the right size — it’s a bit bigger in diameter than  a classic dress watch, but it’s well short of the world’s largest watch, ya dig?

The Sunglasses: Steven Alan Optical Millbrook Sunglasses in Dark Stripe Tortoise — $165

Sunglasses that are dressy yet not overly so.

Sunglasses that are dressy yet not overly so.

You might recognize these Steven Alan Optical sunglasses from this site’s roundup of the best men’s sunglasses for summer, and they’re making another appearance here for good measure. While the military field watch above skews a bit more casual, these sunglasses find that style middle ground nicely — they’re refined and a bit elevated, but they’d still look right at home with a polo and chinos.  Paired with the rich nubuck boat shoes, they make this an outfit that’s equal parts ready for casual Friday and a quick pint at the bar thereafter. And, they can even complement a lightweight suit at your next summer wedding.

It can be tough to gear up for a hot day in style — particularly if it means battling a hot commute, for example. But making the decision to dress stylishly and functionally can definitely be done if you know where to look. Fabrics that are breathable and lightweight, but done up in tailored silhouettes like the ones seen here, are the way to go if you’ve got to head to the office and then to a post-work engagement. And if you just want to look a little snappier on the weekend, chinos and a polo with built-in stretch are the perfect anchor for any look. Got other picks, or items you’d replace? Let me know in the comments!

Stay cool out there,


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The Friday Read: Raf Simons, Red Wing Heritage and Usain Bolt

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.  

This past week was all about reflection and appreciation for me — appreciation for a great weekend spent in Michigan, appreciation for the chance to head back to my home state again in just two weeks for my good friend Andy’s wedding, and appreciation for what’s so far been a great summer in NYC. I’ve had the chance to take in some excellent concerts by my favorite bands, I’ve had the chance to travel, and I’ve also had the chance to explore the Big Apple with amazing friends — seriously, put an NYC trip on your bucket list. With all that being said, it’s still tough to believe we’re already into August. But, that means one of the best times of the year for us #menswear fans isn’t too far off — we’re talking, of course, about fall, and all the great style transitions it brings with it. Looking too far ahead? Perhaps. For now, I’m looking forward to a relaxing, warm weekend in the city before I get ready to travel across the country in the next half of the month (a family visit to Florida and a work trip to Las Vegas are in order). If you’ve got your own summer travel still left on the horizon this weekend, accessorize with a stylish dopp kit or a functional weekender bag. And in the meantime, kick back and enjoy the Friday Read. To keep up with daily style inspiration from the blog, head over to Instagram.

  • Even if you’re not into fashion (that is, fashion with a capital “F,”) shockwaves went through the industry this week when it was announced that Raf Simons is the new creative director at Calvin Klein. The former creative director at Dior, this is his first foray into American fashion; ultimately, it could signal a new direction for the iconic American brand — and it likely means they’ll be back in a big way at next year’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s, among other fashion week happenings.
  • For those who like their athletic performance mixed in with some eye-catching style, check out FOURLAPS — named for the number of laps it takes to run a full mile, the folks at Valet recommend you look at this new athletic brand that’s mixing up the market.
  • Red Wing Heritage is back with a mighty interesting release, partner — the brand just launched its Pecos Collection, featuring two silhouettes inspired by the boots worn by Western ranchers all the way back in the 1930s. It’s a style that’s probably not for everyone, but if you’ve grown weary of your trusty suede chukka boots or even leather chukkas, you might consider grabbing a pair.
  • Long Read of the Week: It’s been a while since this entry made an appearance in the Friday Read, but its return is a fascinating one. The New Yorker looks into (with varying responses) how fast Usain Bolt would run the mile — yes, read on and ponder away.

What else is on your reading list? Make it one of these pieces, will ya?

  • There’s no better time than August to slip your feet into some stylish boat shoes before Labor Day — check out my list of the 10 best boat shoes for men over at GearMoose.
  • For rock-ready style that’s just as modern today as it was in 1970s, turn to the new Levi’s 505C — I had a blast covering the brand’s latest launch for The Manual, and know that these jeans (as seen on my Instagram) really are way comfortable.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.