Style Suggestion: Here’s What to Wear to Your Next Football Tailgate

Can you feel it in the air? The start of fall — soon enough, anyways — always brings with it excitement anticipation for your Style Guide author. Even as I walk through Brooklyn past changing leaves this time of year, I’m reminded of my home — the beautiful campus of Michigan State University and of course … football season. I night be far away from East Lansing now, but it’s still on my mind — and lucky for you and me, this uniquely all-American pastime is a great chance to break out classic menswear.  Today, we’re going to answer a burning question for all of us #menswear fans — what the heck do I wear to this tailgate? Whether you’re a pro football fan or a college diehard, today’s football tailgate style suggestion has a bit of something for everyone.

We’re talking rugged menswear that’s stylish, durable, weather-ready and absolutely geared toward fitting in at a sporting event. From a stylish hooded sweatshirt to a pair of perhaps the best leather sneakers for men, it’s covered below. The even better part? This fall men’s style suggestion gives you some leeway to add in team colors as you see fit — as long as you’re rooting for the green and white and not those pesky Wolverines in Ann Arbor, we should be all set. What do you think of this fall style suggestion? Let me know in the comments below, and follow me on Instagram for seasonal style tips galore.

The Hooded Sweatshirt: Flint and Tinder 10-Year Hoodie in Gray — $89

A thoughtfully designed, durably made hooded sweatshirt for fall mornings before kickoff.

There’s such a thing as a good-looking hooded sweatshirt out there, trust me. Of course, the 10-Year Hoodie is made with durable style in mind by the fine folks at Flint and Tinder — and that means it’s a wise move to layer up with this collegiate-inspired staple at your next tailgate. Unlike other hooded sweatshirts that potentially feature an oversized fit, the Flint and Tinder 10-Year Hoodie boasts tailored raglan construction, a neutral color and cozy comfort, ideal for a chilly fall morning or afternoon.

The T-shirt: Tailgate Clothing Men’s Team T-shirt — $32

A vintage-inspired team tee pairs well with a stylish hooded sweatshirt — ya dig?

Here’s the good news, folks — this part of the ensemble is really up to you. Tailgate Clothing, founded back in Iowa by famed American menswear designer Todd Snyder before he launched his own line, makes stylish men’s T-shirts emblazoned with graphics of dozens of schools — they fit well, feel great and look even better. This is certainly a stylish graphic tee that’s an upgrade over an athletic jersey. If it gets chilly, you could always layer this tee over a slim striped henley.

The Denim: Flint and Tinder All-American Washed Jeans in Slim or Straight Tapered — $98

Rugged fall style

Pleasingly faded denim for a casual fall football tailgate.

As American as football itself, what better way to nod to rugged fall style than with a classic pair of American-made denim? Because we’re going for casual style here, a pair of expertly faded denim works quite well — leave the inky blue dark denim at home this time around. Plus, the two fit options on these All-American Washed Jeans allow you to customize your look accordingly. Who’s ready for some football now?

The Sneakers: Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers Rambler Hi Leather Sneakers — $160

Richly crafted leather sneakers, fit for a tailgate and the bar afterwards.

In sticking with today’s collegiate — or at least, throwback — theme, let’s throw on some stylish leather sneakers — shall we? The handsome Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers Rambler Hi was a featured entry in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series back in the summer, and these classic leather high-tops will also fit right in at a fall tailgate. That’s because of the rich brown leather and sturdy construction on the Rambler Hi — it’s nearly strong enough to rival your favorite leather boots.

The Belt: Sturdy Brothers Everyday Belt in Chestnut — $80

Sturdy Brothers

A tough belt made for chilly fall days and long hours spent tailgating.

If you were looking for an excuse to upgrade your everyday belt — pun intended — then the Sturdy Brothers Everyday Belt is giving you the chance to do just that … and in time for your next tailgate, too. With tough construction, handsome looks and hardware that can go the distance, this Sturdy Brothers belt is a winner in my book — leave no stone unturned when looking for subtly stylish ways to stand out as you, well, stand around the grill.

The Watch: Timex Waterbury Watch — $95

Tough design, standout looks and classic style — that’s Timex for ya.

If there’s one thing you can be sure of with this rugged, casual #menswear ensemble, it’s that a classic timepiece is absolutely needed. Yes, that’s right — even at a football tailgate, a watch like the Timex Waterbury is going to stand out for its subtle style, sturdy construction and timeless appeal. In short, you’ll stay on time to get from your tailgate to your seats in quick order with the stylish Timex Waterbury Watch — at least, this guy thinks so.
The Socks: Necessary Anywhere Three Sock in Black — $18

Simple socks that blend in with a laidback, football-ready ensemble.

Just as with your rugged leather watch, don’t skimp when it comes to accessories — particularly stylish men’s socks. The Necessary Anywhere  Three Socks are remarkably well-made for a pair of socks, featuring double-needle Jacquard knit construction and the type of simple style that works well with classic leather sneakers at a tailgate.

The Ballcap: Huckberry Explorer’s Cap — $39.98

A vintage ballcap for clean, simple style.

Before you head out the door, six-pack in hand, don’t forget a trusty ballcap — maybe a vintage-inspired ballcap, that is to say? With its classic design and crisp color, the Huckberry Explorer’s Cap in Black is yet another accessory that eschews the traditional logo-heavy approach. Oh, and it’s OK to mix the black of the Explorer’s Cap with the brown leather of your Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers sneakers — it’s a casual affair, after all. You can wear the Explorer’s Cap no matter what team you rep.

The Essential: Orange Vessel Co. Stoneware Growler — $69.98

Don’t forget this durable, tough growler for your next tailgate — seriously.

What’s one more tailgate essential to grab before you head out the door? A durable growler, of course. Bring it filled with your host’s favorite brew or bring a little bit more for yourself — the functional, simple Orange Vessel Co. Stoneware Growler is practically a fall tailgate must-have. Guinness, anyone?
The Bottle Opener: Line of Trade Machined Steel Bottle Opener — $23.20
Line of Trade

A nice-to-have bottle opener can help out any tailgater in need — ehh?

Add one last small — yet equally important — item to your essential tailgating gear.  For all the folks out there who pass on beer out of your Orange Vessel Co. Stoneware Growler, you’ll be at the ready with a handy bottle opener from Line of Trade, ya dig? The Line of Trade Machined Steel Bottle Opener is suitably rugged and tailgate-ready. Bottoms up!

Now, who’s ready to get out there, crack open a cold one and enjoy a fall tailgate? I know I am — and hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to Michigan State to experience a perfect fall Saturday once more. For your own tailgate, I’d urge you to stock up on small but nice-to-have fall essentials, like a must-have growler and a durable bottle opener, and then focus on expert casual style in turn. That means a surprisingly stylish hooded sweatshirt from Flint and Tinder is in play, as is a uniquely vintage-inspired team T-shirt and of course, classic, American-made denim. Complement those easygoing pieces with rugged leather sneakers and a tough leather watch from Timex for tailgate style that’s eye-catching and yet seasonally appropriate. Finish it off with something like the Huckberry Explorer’s Cap, and I’d say your fall tailgate style is all set. What do ya think? Let me know in the comments below — and as always, catch me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

-Beau

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Go Green: An October weekend at Michigan State

Editor’s note: To check out my last travel style post, click here.

From NYC to East Lansing in a matter of hours. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Slim denim by Dickies. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred.

From NYC to East Lansing in a matter of hours. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. Chambray shirt by Old Navy. Slim denim by Dickies. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather chukkas by Beckett Simonon. Slim Mailbag by Satchel & Page. Voyager Waxed Weekender by Owen & Fred.

First of all — Happy Halloween, Style Guide readers! I spent this past weekend not in New York, but on the road in my home state of Michigan. There’s no question that your author loves to travel. It’s been a big theme this year, from menswear trips to Las Vegas to a fall weekend in Providence. Of course, when the leaves start to turn and college football season kicks off, there’s hardly a place I’d rather be for a fall weekend than on the campus of my alma mater, Michigan State University. It’s a place that holds many special memories, without a doubt. It’s been a down year for my Michigan State Spartans, but this past weekend also brought forth a rivalry that runs deep in my blood — the Michigan-Michigan State college football showdown. From my days growing up 15 minutes down the road from East Lansing to my time at Michigan State’s student newspaper — and the resulting “friendly” football game versus Michigan’s own paper — it always got me excited about my school, and infinitely proud to be a Spartan. It was with that in mind that I hit the road early on Friday morning — and brought along #menswear that was fit for a chilly, casual Michigan weekend, of course.

friday-grid-edited

Just the right mix of casual pieces for a chilly travel day to Michigan. Alpine Guide Sweater by Alps & Meters. X-Series Slim-Fit Tapered Leg Denim by Dickies. Leather chukka boots by Beckett Simonon. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Ranger Gloves by Grifter.

Just as with my fall weekend in Providence, I brought along classic, transitional pieces that could work for long travel days and active time in the Lansing area. Given temperatures in the 50s in both Michigan and NYC on Friday, I grabbed the Alpine Guide Sweater courtesy of the premium outdoor lifestyle and snow gear brand Alps & Meters. With a blend of lambswool and waxed cotton, the Guide Sweater was a neat, easily wearable piece that layered comfortably over my Old Navy chambray shirt for simple travel style. My Beckett Simonon chukka boots proved similarly versatile for catching a flight, then enjoying lunch and some very high-quality brews at East Lansing’s HopCat (along with the travel-ready Dickies X-Series Slim-Fit Tapered Leg Jean). Sometimes, you just need pieces that get you where you need to go while looking great, and that’s where the durable Grifter Ranger Gloves also came in handy — literally — throughout the weekend.  I also packed my ever-dependable Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chrono for weekend wear– tough, durable pieces make for a stylish outfit whether you’re heading back to campus as an alumni or getting around in style as a student.

Collegiate gear from Tailgate Clothing and a team watch from Jack Mason, blended with the Forever21 Button Denim Jacket and Grounder Hi-Tops from Todd Snyder & P.F. Flyers.

Collegiate gear from Tailgate Clothing and a team watch from Jack Mason, blended with the Forever21 Button Denim Jacket and Grounder Hi-Tops from Todd Snyder & P.F. Flyers. Don’t forget that Owen & Fred bottle opener…

The trip back to East Lansing and a much-anticipated Saturday football game presented a challenge — it’s not been until recently that college team gear could be functional, spirited and stylish, so what’s a guy to do? Given the challenge of navigating a campus tailgate in style, I packed away my trusty Tailgate Clothing team tee and Jack Mason team watch, both fairly priced pieces that are a step up from standard college athletic gear  (unfortunately, both places also stock Michigan Wolverines apparel). You can definitely still break out regular team athletic gear if you’ve got it, but when you can snag a Tailgate Clothing tee for just over $30, I say go for that style upgrade. The Jack Mason watch, too, is durable, low-key and subtly stylish thanks to the black dial, sleek dark green logo and black rubber strap — all great things when you might be more focused on grilling or snagging a beer at your tailgate. The breezy Michigan weather meant I could layer up stylishly with the Button Denim Jacket courtesy of Forever21 Men, which proved to be a nice midweight layer and a sharp complement to my durable, comfortable Todd Snyder + P.F. Flyers Grounder Hi-Top sneakers. The sneakers, with their hard-wearing black rubber sole and lined toe cap, were more than ready for time spent on foot reacquainting myself with the beautiful Michigan State campus and downtown East Lansing.

Regardless of the score — admittedly closer than expected — I was definitely still happy to come back given the chance to re-connect with great friends and explore a campus that really does hold a lot of memories for me. And with every trip back, I remember why I love classic East Lansing spots like the Peanut Barrel and Crunchys — if there’s a college-town combo better than a Long Island and a burger from the Peanut Barrel, or a brew at Crunchys, I’m listening.  So it nearly goes without saying that I was happy to visit some of those spots, if only briefly — and in spite of a Michigan State loss. Another chilly day on Sunday brought with it a final brunch at the new, refined Capital Vine in Lansing — swing through if you’re in need of a Bloody Mary and an excellent omelette.

Casual Sunday brunch gear, anyone? Slim-Fit Chambray Shirt by Forever21 Men. Pocket Sweatshirt by Todd Snyder x Champion. Royale Court Sneakers by GREATS Brand. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage.

Casual Sunday brunch gear, anyone? Pocket-Front Denim Shirt by Forever21 Men. Pocket Sweatshirt by Todd Snyder x Champion. Royale Court Sneakers by GREATS Brand. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing Heritage. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

For comfortable, casual travel style, it’s tough to beat gear from the ever-reliable, ever-stylish Todd Snyder x Champion collaboration. In this instance, the Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt, made from soft French terry in a slim fit, was the perfect layering pick atop my Pocket-Front Denim Shirt courtesy of Forever21 Men. My Slim-Fit Cargo Pants, also from Forever21 Men, added a bit of utilitarian style and plenty of comfort, too. And the whole combo was offset by the durable GREATS Royale Court, definitely another seasonally appropriate pick-up. Crucially, the excellent Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt was the ideal fall sweatshirt, particularly when you look at subtle style details like the raglan sleeve stitching and front chest pocket. Yessir, Todd Snyder certainly knows what he’s doing. Again, if you’ve got a chilly fall weekend ahead and want to dress in style, simple-yet-essential pick-ups like the Pocket Sweatshirt from the great folks at Huckberry  are going to get the job done.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Stylish travel gear aside, I was certainly beyond happy to get back to Michigan in style for a fall weekend. It was a classic East Lansing weekend, from time spent roaming campus to time spent inside the hallowed Spartan Stadium — yes, even with the loss. The fall foliage and classic Michigan weather really made it all the more enjoyable — this menswear writer sure does love fall. And of course, the chance to see friends and family topped it all off — along with that Crunchy’s burger, of course. The next time you’ve got to hit the road for a casual fall weekend, I’d recommend you load up with everything from the Todd Snyder x Champion Pocket Sweatshirt to a tough, durable set of Beckett Simonon chukka boots. If you’ve got more questions on what to pack for your next trip to Michigan (or elsewhere), join us at The Style Guide Facebook page or on Twitter.

Until the next travel weekend — stay stylish,

-Beau

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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?

Style Suggestion: What to Wear for the NCAA Tournament

Editor’s note: For more style suggestions covering a boatload of scenarios, head here.

If the headline of this here post is slightly confusing to you, don’t be alarmed. You, regular reader of The Style Guide and avid #menswear lover, have nothing to fear — this isn’t turning into a sports blog (despite my past sports writing chops). Rather today, we’re taking some well-loved and much-discussed Style Guide principles and putting them to use in a very real and very imminent real-world situation — what to wear to cheer on your team during college basketball’s NCAA Tournament. Much of the county seems to obsess over how their bracket is holding up, but that same level of detail can definitely carry over to how you cheer on your team, too — it pays to look good nearly anywhere that you can, in the view of this writer. And heck, the same sort of style you adapt here can be tweaked from season to season if you attend or watch lots of games in person. But right now, it’s all basketball, all the time. Hopefully, you’ll have to refer to this style scenario more than once in the coming weeks.

The Shirt: Tailgate Clothing Team T-Shirt — $34

Just one of dozens of school T-shirts stocked by Tailgate Clothing.

Just one of dozens of school T-shirts stocked by Tailgate Clothing.

If you’re like me and hadn’t really given second thought to Tailgate Clothing, the collegiate-focused sportswear brand operated by menswear designer Todd Snyder, definitely reconsider. While they won’t have T-shirts for each and every team competing in this year’s tourney, there’s a good chance your school is covered. In this case, I’m looking forward to rocking this excellent vintage Michigan State basketball T-shirt  to rep my alma mater– it can easily be worn under something like a quilted field coat or even beneath a slim blue chambray shirt. If you’re worried a graphic tee is too casual, a slim V-neck tee in your team colors would work, too.

The Pants: J. Crew Factory Driggs Broken-in Chino, $41.50

Easy to wear with everything from a sports team to a navy blazer. Dressier than denim, too.

Easy to wear with everything from a sports team jersey to a navy blazer. Dressier than denim, too.

While sweatpants are going to be the pick for some of us at home watching games, if you’re heading out to a restaurant or bar, it always pays to try and go above and beyond just a bit (style upgrades, right?). Now, some slim dark denim would also do the trick here, but these caramel chinos can act as a nice contrast to nearly any team color, especially dark green. Plus, for just over $40, you’ll get a pair of slim tan chinos that are exceptionally versatile the other six days of the week.

The Sneakers: Dr. Martens Baynes Chukka Boot — $109.95

A definite -- but welcome -- change of pace from regular high-top sneakers (or Dr. Martens boots).

A definite — but welcome — change of pace from regular high-top sneakers (or Dr. Martens boots).

Before you’re taken aback here, know that Dr. Martens definitely does more than its classic combat boots. These easygoing high-top chukka sneakers are just one example of that. The price on the cheaper side when compared to other spring sneaker options (like the recent Todd Snyder x PF Flyers collab), and the neutral grey color should pair seamlessly with the slim tan chinos and your team’s chosen shirt. This is definitely one pair of sneakers that can take a beating when out and about.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Woven Cotton Belt — $29.50

A nontraditional belt that brings a dash of spring texture to the ensemble.

A nontraditional belt that brings a dash of spring texture to the ensemble.

When you’re looking to pick up solid accessories that don’t cost a whole lot, don’t sleep on J. Crew Factory. And when you want a belt that’s more casual than a black or brown leather dress belt, yet slightly different than a brown leather braided belt, grab a woven cotton belt like this one. The color is spring-ready, as is the texture (and in this case, the belt color doesn’t have to match the color of your shoes). This is the kind of belt to throw on with ligthwash jeans and navy sneakers even if you’re not heading to a game watch party.

The Watch: Stuhrling Original Aquadiver Manta Ray Watch — $49.99

Tough and ready for anything -- even watching the tourney.

Tough and ready for anything — even watching the tourney.

Picking out a watch that strikes the right balance between being too formal and too casual can be tough sometimes, but this is one instance where it’s definitely OK to go more casual. A rugged rubber-strap watch can survive all sorts of spring and summer activities beyond just watching a ballgame, but in this particular instance, this Stuhrling watch fits with the tone of the outfit. It’s not too dressy or out-of-place, like a brown leather dress watch might be, and it doesn’t detract too much from the ensemble or the casual nature of watching a basketball game. Plus, take it from a guy who’s had this particular watch for more than two years — it’s tremendous quality for the price!

The Socks: Express Black Windowpane Socks — $10.90

A small touch of pattern and another neutral color option make these a safe choice in this casual outfit.

A small touch of pattern and another neutral color option make these a safe choice in this casual outfit.

Lest you think we forgot about the final touch here at The Style Guide, rest assured that we’ve got it covered. While the belt is a cream color, the black watch and the grey sneakers mean it’s OK in this very casual scenario to grab some neutral black socks (the windowpane pattern is a nice touch, however). If you go with a more plain tee or jacket up top, you could use your socks to incorporate some subtle team color, or even reach for a vintage striped pair. It’s a win-win either way.
Florsheim
The crucial factor in this outfit is that it takes what you might normally wear to a game — say, a team T-shirt, jeans and sneakers — and upgrades it a notch with slimmer fits, richer colors and a few tweaks (like the woven belt and the rubber strap watch). The T-shirt could be a cool conversation starter, and the caramel chinos definitely add a bit more substance to the outfit (although again, dark denim would work quite well here). Those high-top sneakers even add some retro basketball flair. At any rate, the most important thing is going to be cheering on your team — hopefully for at least a few rounds … of the tournament, I mean. The beer you buy at the bar is in your court (and on your tab!).

Stay stylish and Go Green!

-Beau
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