The Friday Read: Tommy John Undershirts, Michigan State and The Hill-Side

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.

Last week on The Style Guide, I wrote about hitting the road to head to Providence to see Local Natives – what a trip it was, and what a concert to experience. This weekend, I’m again prepped to hit the road for an equally special trip back to my home state of Michigan! I’ve jetted back and forth a fair amount for everything from a Grand Rapids bachelor party weekend to a Detroit-area wedding (dressed in style the whole way, of course). However, I’ll be dressed for a Midwest fall this time around. Yes indeed, this weekend’s trip brings me back to maybe my favorite place in the world – the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. For as many great experiences as one can have in a big city like New York, it’s always refreshing and rejuvenating to return to a place that holds so many memories. Of course, in addition to hitting up renowned East Lansing locales like HopCat (and snapping some #menswear photos), it’s a big weekend in another respect. We’re talking Michigan –Michigan State, a football rivalry with an off-the-field intensity that matches the competition between the sidelines. From my days at the student newspaper taking on Michigan’s student newspaper in what could lightly be called “two-hand touch” football through to now, it’s a rivalry that’s a heck of a lot of fun to be a part of – particularly when plays like this one happen. My beloved Spartans have struggled a heck of a lot this year, but it’ll be interesting to see which team shows up on Saturday – to say the least.  But enough football, right? It’s time to recap a few choice items in the week in #menswear, including how to wear an undershirt this season (check it out below). Oh, and stay tuned for our Style Pick of the Week tomorrow. For now, I’ll leave you to it.

Wondering how to buy and wear an undershirt? The right way? Check out this graphic courtesy of Tommy John.

Wondering how to buy and wear an undershirt? The right way? Check out this graphic courtesy of Tommy John.

  • Alright, so it’s Friday. And it’s fall – it’s getting colder bit by bit out there. We could all use an extra layer from time to time – that starts with something like a stylish cardigan, and that carries through to durable socks and of course, an equally durable undershirt. Some guys are anti-undershirt, but you certainly need something made from quality fabric and featuring a proper fit. That’s where the folks at Tommy John come in – they were kind enough to share this solid infographic covering all the in’s and out’s of how to wear an undershirt and what to look for in the right one; by the way, you can pick up a Tommy John undershirt while we’re here. Very handy to have when it gets chilly this winter – after all, you might need another layer underneath your slim chambray shirt to stay warm, ehh?
  • If you haven’t yet completed shopping for your fall style wish list — mine keeps getting longer and longer — you might want to check out the latest from The Hill-Side; I covered the launch of the brand’s autumn collection for The Manual, and it’s chock-full of durable outerwear, premium shirting and tough sneakers, all done in the excellent fabrics for which the Brooklyn-based brand is known. Get on it, will ya?
  • We’re all about the basics at The Style Guide, and well-designed basics that help you live your life better are to be applauded. That same mindset can extend to the technology you carry with you every day — yes, your phone. The Killspencer iPhone 7 Veil is a slim, durable cover that adheres quickly and easily to the back of your phone. Again, it’s a small upgrade that’ll extend the life of your device — and you can read more by yours truly at GearMoose.

We’re keeping it shorter than usual this week at The Style Guide — it’s time to hit the road! Follow along with this weekend’s menswear and football-related action on Instagram and Twitter, and check out a full travel style recap on Monday.

As always — stay stylish, and thanks for reading!

-Beau

Huckberry

The Friday Read: New York Fashion Week: Men’s Edition

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.  

While there have been plenty of busy weeks as of late, this week was among the busiest … perhaps ever? It was the second summer iteration (and third iteration overall) of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, the most recent addition to a fashion calendar that sends top menswear editors, retail buyers, designers, models,  bloggers and photographers on a globetrotting marathon that stretches from London to Milan, Florence, Paris and NYC. Pretty wild, right? While runway shows and high fashion can often get pretty intimidating and overwhelming, there are still reasons to pay attention — particularly as a #menswear fan (that’s why we’re here, right?). For one, the trends that are seen on the runway — for example, the influence of sportswear on the men’s style market — trickle down all the way to brands like Old Navy (take those bomber jackets seen everywhere).

For another, they draw quite the crowd and build buzz & support for the industry. And thankfully and luckily, I had the chance as part of my freelance style writing with The Manual and this here blog to do some pretty neat things, to say the least.  For one, I was able to attend three excellent trade shows (think row upon row of brands displaying their upcoming and current wares in merchandised spaces for buyers and press). From Capsule Show to Liberty  to the more internationally focused MAN Show — featuring The Hill-Side, among others —  I caught with some of my favorite brands. Among them were brands you frequently see here — that would be folks from places like American Trench, Tanner Goods and Owen & Fred. Perhaps most importantly, I was humbled and honored to interview Mr. Todd Snyder for a piece covering his stellar new collaboration with Timex; he’s my menswear hero and a true gentleman — a fine example of the great people that work in the menswear industry overall. With all that being said, it was a busy and exhausting week, yet one that was very fulfilling and enjoyable! And it’s not done yet. I’m looking forward to heading back to Michigan for my good friend Matt Sheehan’s wedding — as a former State News colleague and a proud Spartan, it should be a tremendous occasion! And we’ll have a full men’s style weekend recap  coming along on Monday. For now, check out a few choice men’s style stories from this week!

  • As I mentioned above, you’d be wise to check out — and drool over, and pre-order — the excellent Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch as I covered for The Manual;  it’s effortlessly wearable and versatile!
  • Even though the rest of the menswear world looked toward Spring/Summer 2017 this week, Saturdays Surf NYC offered us all a sneak peek at what they’ve got coming for this fall — and boy, does the collection look stellar.
  • And in the spirit of all things New York Fashion Week:  Men’s, GQ takes you into the super-exclusive, super-premium Amazon Fashion Prime Lounge, where some of the hottest names in fashion and entertainment kicked back (I think my invite was lost in the mail).

Looking for one last thing to read?

That’s all we’ve got on tap this week here at The Style Guide — for more from my weekend in Michigan and to see the gear I’m rocking, follow along on Instagram and Twitter!

Buy 2 and get an EXTRA 25% off sale items with code CHEAT25 at Frankandoak.com! (Valid 7/14-7/15)

Style in the city: Celebrating the Fourth of July in NYC

Editor’s note: Click here for another look at how to dress for summer in style.

Checking out Upstate Stock, one of my favorite NYC menswear shops, in style. Slim chambray shorts from the Canvas by Lands' End line. Moroccan Tee by Tommy John. Chariot Runners by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Sunglasses by Spine Optics. Denim Tote by JackThreads.

Checking out Upstate Stock, one of my favorite NYC menswear shops, in style. Slim chambray shorts from the Canvas by Lands’ End line. Moroccan Tee by Tommy John. Chariot Runners by Brooks Heritage. Waterbury Chrono from the Timex x Red Wing collab. Sunglasses by Spine Optics. Denim Tote by JackThreads.

The Fourth of July presents a double-edged sword in terms of style and planning (at least for us #menswear fans). It involves travel, it involves hot weather, and it involves a few different style scenarios. Now, I’ve spent the holiday in recent years in both Michigan and in NYC, so this past (or current?) long weekend was a bit of change, as I explored Brooklyn and NYC in style with friends. It can feel strange to stick around town when lots of people hit the road, but hanging around the Big Apple proved to be relaxing, fun and yes, very #menswear-centric (as always).  Plus, it was a great way to test out some patriotic style fit for exploring the city, and the beautiful weather made it all the better — with more menswear activity on the way on this fine July 4th. I’m always up for traveling in style, but this time, that only involved the subway. However, you can put similar tips to use whether you’re hopping around town for coffee or lunch, or catching a flight coast-to-coast.

With the promise of Monday off, I set out to take on the weekend in style with a few warm weather-friendly combos. Saturday was an excellent day to explore Williamsburg, and for that endeavor, I tossed on a brand-new pair of slim chambray shorts from the fine Canvas by Lands’ End line. The terrific Canvas by Lands’ End collection updates several great menswear staples, from chino shorts to henleys, and these particular chambray shorts combine a tailored fit with a textured fabric that’s a nice change of pace from khaki shorts — give them a try if you get the chance. They worked perfectly with another updated style staple, a slim (and very soft) Moroccan Tee from basics maker Tommy John — the notched collar is visually interesting enough to work on its own, or layered under, say, a chambray shirt or even a navy blazer (not that this past weekend got that fancy). The combo was a visually interesting update on a casual T-shirt & shorts, and my colorful Brooks Heritage Chariot Runners offset it perfectly. On the watch front, I reached for a dependable style favorite, my Timex x Red Wing Heritage Waterbury Chrono — it’s the perfect mix of rugged and refined style, and it won’t break the bank. Plus, it works for travel — it’s both a bit dressy and casual — and it’s comfortable to wear for hours on end. I supplemented that with a pair of flexible, durable aviators from Spine Optics; they’re great to grab and go, as the frames and hinges are built to flex and bend, not snap.

Just part of the amazing Upstate Stock shop -- great natural light, a well-curated selection of home goods and even better menswear.

Just part of the amazing Upstate Stock shop — great natural light, a well-curated selection of home goods and even better menswear.

The beautiful Brooklyn weather was just an added bonus to the main focus of my trip to Williamsburg (other than a quick haircut at the Corner Barber). I was able to spend some time and catch up with the staff at the recently opened Upstate Stock shop (as seen above). The shop is a really excellent, well-curated home to tons of lifestyle essentials, and its Web shop is just as well-done. From handmade soaps to refined stationary and men’s grooming goods, everything in the store is sourced domestically or made in New York  state or the city itself (namely, fine leather goods from Slightly Alabama are produced nearby). In fact, picking up a few of the shop’s special-edition postcards (designed by the ridiculously talented Christian Watson of 1924us) is a personal favorite. The store is exceptionally well-appointed and laid-out — it’s a fine example of how to use space and natural light (and the reclaimed wood tables don’t hurt the aesthetic). They also stock pantry essentials  and serve excellent coffee and pastries within the shop. Stop in, shop around, peruse the well-edited selection of obscure craftsmanship & lifestyle magazines, and stay a while — it’s a welcoming, friendly and calming atmosphere. Plus, there’s nothing better than celebrating American-made style for the Fourth of July. Of course, to take some goodies from the shop, I grabbed my JackThreads Daily Tote — made from real denim, it’s an eye-catching and efficient way to lug around a few small items for a day out and about.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.
A busy day of exploring led to a night out and about with some good friends in Manhattan — the great news is, I was able to transition my Moroccan Tee from day to night, and I traded in my chambray shorts for some slim light wash Mott & Bow denim. Made with a hint of stretch, the Mott & Bow Wooster is perhaps more comfortable than any denim I own — in either Skinny, Slim or Straight fits, I’d suggest you snag a pair and rock them as frequently as you can. For city-appropriate style, I stepped out in some leather chukka boots (that’s another versatile style move, as they work for travel & city exploration alike). And if you pack and wear versatile accessories — like a durable leather watch — you can also transition a timepiece from day to night … so, that’s what I did!

Can't go wrong with a printed tee and slim shorts in warm weather. Stringer Dune Shorts and Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by The Hill-Side. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Field Guide by Wildsam. Brass bottle opener by Owen & Fred.

Can’t go wrong with a printed tee and slim shorts in warm weather. Stringer Dune Shorts and Flat Wool Cap by Bridge & Burn. Printed T-shirt by J. Crew. Sneakers by The Hill-Side. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches. Field Guide by Wildsam. Brass bottle opener by Owen & Fred. Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

Sunday presented another chance to step out in style, followed by today’s  much-needed holiday. The main Sunday directive? Head to the Festival of Independence at the South Street Seaport for an afternoon of tasty bites, cold beer and live music (capped off by indie rockers Wild Nothing, a personal favorite).  Checking out live music in style is a must, and although skies were cloudy on-and-off throughout the day, I always relish the chance to dress for warm weather (especially given how brutal winter can be — right??).  I grabbed some comfortable, slim-fitting Stringer Dune shorts from Bridge & Burn (they’re sold out in Khaki as seen here, but available in a just-as-versatile Gray). In keeping with the nautical theme of a day spent at the seaport, I tossed on my sailboat print T-shirt from J. Crew — it’s an older style, but I’d offer up a slim pocket T-shirt from the brand as a worthy alternative for concert-going or a casual day around town. Comfortable sneakers are a must-have when exploring or rocking out to live music, and my Pale Indigo Washed Denim Sneakers from The Hill-Side turned out to be a reliable and stylish choice, as always. Plus, they worked well in tandem with a simple-yet-refined brown leather timepiece from MVMT Watches (always a solid decision). And I kept the sun off my face with a Flat Wool Cap, also from Bridge & Burn — I’ve found it to be a sharp style upgrade from a plain athletic-logo ballcap (for a bit of a price, of course).        

  The day was an excellent one, and my style combo worked nicely to transition from the day into the evening. It’s always a treat to see an artist like Wild Nothing capture a crowd — particularly at a free show (as you can see above!).  Jack Tatum and co.’s shimmery, breezy rock played well off the waterfront atmosphere, and tunes from the group’s new album, “Life of Pause,” were definite crowd-pleasers, including the record’s lead single, “TV Queen,”  a wavy, low-key rock track characteristic of the band’s style. The group is jetsetting off to South America for a run of dates, but their new album is one of the better releases of the year to date, and they’re worth a listen in the meantime. Seeing them for free was a great way to cap off two of the weekend’s three days, but there’s more Brooklyn exploration — and fireworks — to come today. I’ll be taking on the day in my slim Mott & Bow denim, and accenting that with a pair of patriotic socks from DivvyUp, plus classic white Seavees sneakers and a reliable blue chambray shirt.

To get of-the-moment style tips and menswear musings in the meantime, check out your humble author on Twitter, and to see style in action, swing on through my Instagram. Any style questions? Shoot me an email anytime via the Contact page.  Lastly — I hope everyone has a great holiday, and takes some time to be thankful for our amazing freedoms here. To be able to write this blog is a privilege, and it’s among the many that I’m thankful to have.

And finally: Thanks, as always, for reading,

-Beau
Huckberry

#OOTD: How to Dress for a Rainy Spring Day

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

If you’ve been keeping up with the #OOTD series here on The Style Guide, you might notice that the outfits as of late have leaned more casual (if a tailored look is what you seek, head here). Perhaps it’s the shifting climate that has this menswear writer more geared toward shorts, perhaps it’s the effects of a stylish trip to Florida, or perhaps it’s the return of semi-chilly weather earlier in April that has me digging the chance to , well, actually wear shorts now that it’s a bit warmer — regardless, that’s where we’re headed today. Just because you go with a more casual vibe (note the drawstring shorts below) doesn’t mean you have to look sloppy. That’s doubly true even if it rains or it’s breezy — you don’t want just any spring jacket. In the case of the below, we’re talking serious protection from the elements, and some neat heritage style thrown in the mix. Work in some new spring sneakers and an easygoing watch, and you’ll be all set no matter how hard the rain comes down. Sound good? Good. Want to see a different #OOTD? Head to The Style Guide’s Facebook page for a chat!


Casual vibes upgraded thanks to some high-quality brands & subtle style details.

Casual vibes upgraded thanks to some high-quality brands & subtle style details.

The Jacket: Taylor Stitch Beach Jacket in Navy, $128: Another standout from a brand that’s chock full of ’em, this piece is currently pre-funding, but the general idea remains the same — tough outerwear can look great and take you very far. You could also grab a classic JackThreads Mac Jacket and perhaps some light wash denim instead if you wanted something similar now.

The T-Shirt: Bridge and Burn Graphic Tee, $36: The tee keeps this outfit casual (so it’s probably more weekend-minded), but it’s part of some style ugprades we’ve talked about — the graphic is subtle and understated, and the fit is on-point.

The Shorts: JACHS NY Indigo Linen Shorts, $89: Another fantastic style upgrade from standard shorts, they’re easygoing yet not frumpy. If it’s a bit breezy or you want to dress this outfit up, sub in a chambray shirt & dark denim.

The Sneakers: The Hill-Side Standard Low-Tops in Natural Duck Canvas, $175: If you haven’t gotten around to checking out a pair of The Hill-Side sneakers, I’d recommend you do so. Sturdy, well-crafted and stylish!

The Socks: Mack Weldon No-Show Socks, $14.50: The same brand that makes your favorite merino T-shirt also makes some handy socks for that “ankles-out” look so common in the warmer months.

The Trunks: Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Trunks, $22: Just as their socks are worth a look, this brand knows how to craft a great pair of underwear (no, really). Again, an investment that’s also a significant style upgrade from standard boxers.

The Watch: Timex Weekender Fairfield, $75: A downright simple watch for a downright excellent price, ideal for all kinds of casual wear.

The Sunglasses: Spine Optics Aviator Sunglasses, $88.99: As with the above Timex watch, sometimes, simple is better. These sunglasses are durable and remarkably flexible, and won’t upstage the rest of your look.

As with other seasonal spring style suggestions, be it how to dress for Sunday brunch or how to prep for a spring bar crawl, your gear should fit where you’re going. That is, if a T-shirt needs to be subbed out for a slim plaid shirt, that’s the move to make. But alongside that, choosing to upgrade your casual basics — like standard sneakers for a sturdier pair, or old boxers for new trunks — should also be top of mind. Wardrobe reinvention doesn’t have to be done all at once, but small steps can pave the way toward great style. Pick up that Taylor Stitch jacket for me while you’re at it, ehh?

Stay stylish,

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

Online Shopping Picks: The 5 Best Spring Sneakers to Buy Now

Editor’s note: For a plethora of pertinent seasonal style picks, head this way.

Sharp white sneakers -- like the GREATS Brand Wilson -- make spring style all the easier. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Short-sleeve gingham shirt and shorts by Banana Republic. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

Sharp white sneakers — like the GREATS Brand Wilson — make spring style all the easier (even with a sunburn). Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Short-sleeve gingham shirt and shorts by Banana Republic. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

We’ve been talking a lot here on The Style Guide about how to transition your style seamlessly between the seasons. That includes the essentials, like a stylish spring jacket or a lightweight spring sweater, and it goes on all the way down to footwear. Be it an especially sharp pair of Jack Erwin loafers (as in a recent Style Pick feature), or something more spring-friendly, don’t leave out that part of the equation. Now, we covered off on great men’s sneakers last spring, but there’s no time like the present to deliver an update on a pair of footwear that’ll be in heavy rotation for the next four or five months  (if we’re lucky). With that being said, let’s dive right into the below #menswear picks — if you see any brands missing, let me know on Facebook!

#1. The Hill-Side Pale Indigo Washed Denim Low-Top Sneakers, $175

The same fabric that goes into your favorite denim makes up these stunning sneakers.

The same fabric that goes into your favorite denim makes up these stunning sneakers.

The Hill-Side has earned its stripes since launching in 2009, what with a dedication to exceptional fabrics, neat takes on classic silhouettes and a stellar GAP Capsule collection as part of the GQ Best New Menswear Designer in America collection. It’s no surprise, then, that these pale indigo washed denim sneakers look extraordinary, crafted from 100 percent Japanese cotton in a heritage sneaker factory and assembled by hand. These are casual enough to rock with dark denim and a slim T-shirt, but they’d add a heck of a lot of cool to a slim khaki blazer and grey chinos.

#2. GREATS Royale Court in Graphite — $199

Back again, and ready for spring.

Back again, and ready for spring.

These sneakers first appeared on this blog way back in October, but lest we forget that spring can be a time of transition, they’re back. The excellent thing about picking up these sneakers now is that they add some visual interest — and a heck of a lot of sturdy high-top construction — to laidback, casual outfits (like lightwash jeans and a rugged short-sleeve henley, for example). Plus, you can safely rock them into fall and winter. Oh, and if you fancy yourself heading to a lot of summer music festivals and want a sturdy sneaker that’s still right for the occasion, the Royale Court would be an outstanding pick.


#3. SeaVees Army Issue Sneaker — $98

An sneaker with military roots, and the specs to prove it.

An sneaker with military roots, and the specs to prove it.

SeaVees is a brand that knows what it does well and sticks to it. In this case, that’s channeling a combination of West Coast vibes and classic East Coast styling — and the resulting SeaVees staple, the Army Issue Sneaker, is a nice result. Crisp white sneakers like these can be styled all kinds of ways, from rocking them with a lightweight sweater and chinos (as in this post) to pairing them with dark denim and an unconstructed navy blazer. For under $100, the full-grain leather, suede toe cap and cotton canvas lining can’t really be beat.

#4. Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers Nubuck Rambler Low — $199

Just one of several ideal spring sneakers, built with quality and style in mind.

Just one of several ideal spring sneakers, built with quality and style in mind.

When this year’s version of the Todd Snyder x P.F. Flyers collaboration launched in February, it was a welcome addition to one writer’s Style Wish List. And now that spring is creeping its way forward (for some of us), there’s no better time to hop on board with ’em. Todd Snyder’s taken the same classic, heritage-inspired styling principles that have made his own line a hit, and pumped them into a solid take on a versatile sneaker that would look excellent with slim lightwash jeans and a stylish spring polo.

#5. Rancourt & Co. Court Classic Low Sneakers — $260

A low-top in navy leather that changes the pace from regular white sneakers, with a ton of quality built in.

A low-top in navy leather that changes the pace from regular white sneakers, with a ton of quality built in.

By far the most expensive sneaker on this list (for good reason), Rancourt turned its attention last year to sneakers with the same attention to detail as its renowned boots. And that’s a very good thing for all of us #menswear fans. The Court Classic Low features a stunning full-grain navy leather upper that’s a nice change of pace from solid black or white sneakers, and it’s made in the USA — 100 percent! The Vibram sole should be exceedingly comfortable, meaning you can rock ’em with a slim chambray suit for high-low style, or a laidback tee and summer shorts.

It was quite tough to put together this list — after all, even brands that made the cut (like The Hill-Side or GREATS) deliver all sorts of exceptional sneakers for a variety of price points. If you’re looking for a super-simple style that certainly won’t break the bank, the GREATS Wilson is the way to go. Premium retailers like J. Crew also offer a heck of a lot of sneakers picks (as detailed in this site’s Sneaker Style Upgrade piece). And of course, it’s worth checking out Converse for its classic Jack Purcell Sneaker alone. With that being said, the awesome thing about today’s menswear world is that a great pair of sneakers can take you a ton of different places — spring, summer, and beyond. Not a bad deal to me!

What’s your take on the above picks? Are there certain brands you’d add? Let me know!

Style Pick of the Week: The Hill-Side Indigo Denim Sneaker

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

A style swerve from classic white low-tops, crafted from outstanding Japanese indigo cotton denim.

A style swerve from classic white low-tops, crafted from outstanding Japanese indigo cotton denim.

Welcome, gents (and ladies) to another Style Pick of the Week feature. The right footwear for the spring season has definitely been on my mind these past few weeks — it seems like my fall & winter boots have seen far too much use into April, what with some colder-than-normal temperatures. But we’ve got some longer and sunnier days on the docket, and that means we should all hop to finding the perfect pair of spring sneakers (more on that next week). As you anxiously await our next Online Shopping Picks feature, let’s get right to a tremendous pair of kicks for all of us to covet … right now. The Hill-Side continues to (in the opinion of this writer) hit things out of the park with seasonal releases that merge the heritage and modern — whether it’s a striped cotton-linen tie  or any number of pieces from its GQ for Gap capsule collection. Its latest offering of spring sneakers is no exception. The pale indigo washed denim sneaker you see here is a stunner that’s pricier than what you might fork over for a standard low-top pair, but it’s all the more worth it.

Made in Japan at a factory that values ethical construction -- that's not something you'd get from other sneaker brands.

Made in Japan at a factory that values ethical construction — that’s not something you’d get from other sneaker brands.

If there’s one thing The Hill-Side does as well as anybody in the business, it’s the brand’s use of extraordinary fabrics, from chambray pocket squares to  indigo plaid shirts. So, taking 100 percent pale indigo cotton denim and warping it into a sneaker just …. works. Having checked out a pair of these myself, the vulcanized construction feels durable and sturdy, and the textured toe cap and toe guard reinforce that notion. Even the herringbone tread on the bottom is a slight deviation from standard sneaker treads, and it’s another welcome touch from a brand that exemplifies quality. The pale indigo color breaks away from a classic white sneaker, and while that’s still a solid choice, this pair would offer a great shot of color beneath a slim plaid shirt and classic khaki chinos. They’re ethically made in Japan at one of the world’s oldest sneaker factories, so that’s an added bonus that you don’t often find brands delivering. Even if you feel like your sneaker arsenal is all set for the time being, a pair like this might make you think twice but how to cover your feet this spring.

Are you all set with spring sneakers? Or would you pick up this pair?
Florsheim

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

The Friday Read: Michigan State, Fall Colors and The Hill-side

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.

As it’s finally Friday, I almost have all of my voice back following the aftermath of that insane, thrilling and incredible Michigan State-Michigan football game last weekend. If you missed the ending, well, you’re in for a treat there. And the football hysteria is actually set to continue for me this weekend, because as luck would have it, I’m hitting the road back to East Lansing for a weekend spent with friends on the best campus in the country (in my humble opinion). I’m also getting the chance to go back to my hometown of Mason, a lovely place where time really slows down — that’ll be a welcome change of pace from New York City. And it’s always great to get back to your roots. But for matters in the present, we’ll catch you up with some of the best #menswear news of the week. On that note, thanks to all who participated in this week’s Goorin Brothers giveaway! Stay tuned for more giveaways in the coming weeks, and next week, look for a great product review of a nice fall timepiece, and a Q&A with the insightful and talented Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend. For now, enjoy your weekend — and thanks for reading!

Need more men’s style coverage to read?

  • You might recognize the subject of my latest VOUCH Mag piece from this blog — JACHS NY produces modern takes on American classics, and the brand’s backstory is just as neat.

Florsheim

Shop Now: The Hill-Side’s GQ for GAP Collection Hits Stores

A shirt-and-pant offering from The Hill-Side's collaboration with GAP, finished off with one of the brand's signature hats.

A shirt-and-pant offering from The Hill-Side’s collaboration with GAP, finished off with one of the brand’s signature hats.

After months of waiting, a building buzz and several tantalizing first looks at the collection, it’s here: the official release date of the GQ for GAP Best New Menswear Designers in America collections. And there’s one brand in particular that’s continually caught my eye, and apparently delivered on a stellar capsule collection effort — The Hill-Side. If you peruse the pages of this blog with regularity, you’ll recall that the brand produces product that runs the gamut as far as menswear essentials go, including standout ties (as featured here), slim blazersgarment-dyed T-shirts and nice denim. And it’s all made with stellar fabrics and an eye for design (as featured here in this brand profile).

An unexpected approach to a fall jacket from the brand, complete with a nice crewneck.

This reversible quilted bomber is but one piece that the brand’s updated for the collaboration.

So the brand’s capsule collection with GAP certainly doesn’t disappoint. Note that some items from David Hart as part of his own GAP collection certainly look stunning, but collaboration pieces from NSF and Stampd, while innovative, fall a little bit outside what we (or rather, I) cover at the ole’ TSG headquarters. A little background if you’re not familiar with the #BNMDA program first, though — menswear stalwart GQ selects and then works with the top up-and-coming brands in the industry, partnering with them to provide mentorship, advice, exposure and a platform for their work, culminating in a capsule collection run in partnership with GAP. Past selections have included now-iconic American brands like Saturdays Surf NYC and Todd Snyder, so The Hill-Side’s selection can only (hopefully) be a sign of good things to come.

A blazer that builds off The Hill-Side's blend of workwear style and classic Americana.

A blazer that builds off The Hill-Side’s blend of workwear style and classic Americana.

And if the brand continues to take pages out of its current playbook, as it looks to have done for this collaboration, things can only build from here. The collaboration features some beautiful-looking pieces, including a patch-pocket herringbone blazer that plays off the brand’s typical fusion of workwear style and modern silhouettes (note the throat tab on the left lapel). At $150, it’s more affordable than a regular blazer from the brand, too. That jacket is complemented by a pair of gray/black herringbone trousers that would look great with a pair of brown wingtip boots (or even navy sneakers and a crewneck sweater) this fall. The offering also includes a nice cotton plaid shirt in a rich indigo color that features a mini-plaid pocket. It would definitely pair well with the blazer from that same collaboration, along with some dark denim.

The Hill-Side's full collection, along with some standout complementary pieces.

The Hill-Side’s full collection, along with some standout complementary pieces.

Lest anyone forget that the brand does more than just excellent blazers & trousers, they’ve also produced some great small goods, including a special run of their navy herringbone card case, along with a blanket stripe wallet. At about $45, each is certainly pricey but definitely brings an added cool factor to your card case situation. That same blanket stripe pattern finds its way onto a pair of wool slip-on sneakers that would actually pair seamlessly with the collection’s herringbone trousers for a unique high-low combo. And in keeping with its use of excellent fabrics, an olive green cotton tote and camo zip pouch both offer pretty unexpected colors on the accessories front — although both pieces are somewhat spendy as far as smaller items go. Both patterns play off the quilted bomber seen above — which is reversible and features both a deep olive color and an eyecatching camo pattern on the other side.

An olive cotton tote bag breathes some life into your everyday carry.

An olive cotton tote bag breathes some life into your everyday carry.

In keeping with updated takes on items that it’s already nailed to a ‘T’, The Hill-Side has also done up one of its classic wool fedoras for the capsule collection. The same goes for its ties, which have drawn the brand critical acclaim — a selvedge chambray number looks pretty promising for pairing with white Oxfords, while an inky blue floral print tie is a somewhat unexpected pattern from a brand that specializes in plaids, stripes and solids.

A snapshot of each designer involved in this year's GQ for GAP capsule collection effort. Left to right: Folks from The Hill-Side, David Hart, NSF and Stampd.

A snapshot of each designer involved in this year’s GQ for GAP capsule collection effort. Left to right: Folks from The Hill-Side, David Hart, NSF and Stampd.

The brand has clearly broadened its vision for what a mass-market collaboration can be, using some unexpected patterns and styles (like that reversible quilted bomber), while keeping with traditional Hill-Side staples. The terrific thing about the GQ for GAP collaboration is that shoppers can find something to fit every taste. Maybe David Hart’s retro tailoring is more your style (and those windowpane wool pants do look great). Or perhaps you find yourself drawn to vintage, lived-in pieces from NSF or affordable takes on streetwear and athleisure looks, like those from Stampd. At any rate (and especially if you’re a fan of modern updates to classic styles), the 2015 #BNMDA lineup has something for everybody — doubly so if you dig The Hill-Side.

What’s your take on this year’s capsule collections? What do you think of The Hill-Side’s offering in particular?

Ernest Alexander

Ben Sherman US

Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Blazers for Fall and Winter

Editor’s note: For a plethora of Online Shopping Picks delving into accessories, footwear and knitwear, head right this way.

Ready to take on fall in this "old" photo circa 2014. Blazer & chambray shirt by J. Crew. Slim jeans by Scotch & Soda. Shawl cardigan by GAP. Knit tie by Frank & Oak. Brown wingtip boots by JC Penney. Photo credit: Khoa Nguyen.

Ready to take on fall in this “old” photo circa 2014. Tan herringbone blazer & chambray shirt by J. Crew. Pocket square by Banana Republic. Slim jeans by Scotch & Soda. Shawl cardigan by GAP. Knit tie by Frank & Oak. Brown wingtip boots by JC Penney. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Glasses by Burberry. Photo credit: Khoa Nguyen.

As is often the case in the world of men’s style, it seems that sometimes the seasons change too quickly — on the writing front, that is. Last week, we tackled excellent henleys to transition into fall weather in earnest (for most of us, at least), and now your humble author will gladly take a stab at the best cold-weather blazers out there on the market — because those things have been on shelves far too long now for you not to buy one, right? Keep in mind that a great lighter weight blazer (one from this list) could definitely transition into the slight chill of fall when layered appropriately. Heck, I even have an unconstructed blazer I’ve worn in the Michigan winter, layered up with a V-neck sweater (of course). But let’s say you want something thicker to stand up to chilly weather — a la the trusty J. Crew blazer (sadly, long gone from shelves) at the top of the page. That’s what this edition of Online Shopping Picks will cover — but you’ll have to foot the rest of the bill for a new jacket. [Editor’s note: Some might take issue with the definition of a blazer here — these styles are sometimes called sportcoats — but we’ll stick with blazer terminology for now. To clear up any confusion, head here].

#1. Uniqlo Wool Blended Comfort Jacket — $99.90

As previously seen on this site's Fall Style Wish List, Uniqlo delivers on another great fall & winter blazer.

As previously seen on this site’s Fall Style Wish List, Uniqlo delivers on another great fall & winter blazer.

Does this jacket look familiar at all? Of course it does (at least if you caught it at the top of my Fall Style Wish List). Some might have issues with Uniqlo’s fit, as the tail of its jackets and its sleeves generally run a little shorter and slimmer than most, but the brand does make an outstanding jacket (is it a blazer? a sportcoat) for the price. These jackets certainly lean casual given the lack of construction, but in a deeper, saturated shade like the Grey Plaid on the far left or even the Dark Green option as seen on the site, it’s a jacket that could absolutely be paired with dress trousers and some sharp black shoes for the office.

#2. J. Crew Factory Thompson Elbow-patch Sportcoat in Tweed — $168

A four-season shade of navy merged with suede elbow patches for fall and winter.

A four-season shade of navy merged with suede elbow patches for fall and winter.

Rustic, slightly throwback-focused details like suede elbow patches have been making a comeback in clothing items for the past couple years now, and designers aren’t pulling the plug on this added touch just yet. In the case of this blazer, it works quite well, calling to mind old hunting jackets. And this piece has some other things going for it, too — namely, you get J. Crew-like quality at a lower price than some similar models at the big brother retailer. The slightly flashier touch of those elbow patches is grounded by a nice shade of navy, which should work well over dark denim or grey wool trousers. The patches make it more casual and thus a little less versatile — thus dropping it to spot no. 2 here. Still, it’s a jacket that could see a lot of use in the coming months.  If you’ve got some bulk to you and want a jacket that ditches the elbow patches, the mainline brand is making a blazer in a similar shade in its roomier, more athletic Crosby fit.

#3. Apolis Indigo Wool Blazer — $388

The ideal balance of tradition and modern style, done up in an on-trend color and luxurious fabric.

The ideal balance of tradition and modern style, done up in an on-trend color and luxurious fabric.

Whoa, now. Almost $400 for a blazer? In spot #3? Yes, yes indeed — and here’s why. The argument can definitely be made here for investing in quality pieces that provide a long-term benefit; a terrific wool blazer, sure to be warm, well-made and endlessly versatile, can serve you well for seasons and years to come. And the way Apolis makes ’em, you know you’re getting a quality product. Not everyone has the kind of, er, capital to invest in such a piece, but this option has all the makings of a classic jacket if you do take the plunge. The double vents and deep indigo color make it the closest to a traditional blazer of any of the bunch seen here, yet it leans modern thanks to the slim fit. Wear it with some broken-in denim,  wear it with black corduroy pants for some edge — heck, wear it over a T-shirt.

#4. GAP Herringbone Blazer — $89.95

A nice color combo and casual patch pockets make this one blazer to take business-casual ... or just casual.

A nice color combo and casual patch pockets make this one blazer to take business-casual … or just casual.

Now, that’s more like it. We turn to a reliable standby at an affordable price for option #4. It’s somewhat concerning that the fit looks a bit … off in these photos, so this might be a good pick to try on in store. The price is not so expensive that it’d be too much of a pain to tailor. But note that the sleeves feature functioning cuffs, which can be an absolute mess to get tailored. However, the fabric blend, cool grey color and patch pockets make this an ideal blazer to throw on over, say, a white Oxford, red V-neck and dark jeans in a business casual setting — if the fit is on-point. Since the patch pockets do push it into casual territory, you could even mix it up and toss it over a long-sleeve henley. A word to the wise — keep your eyes open for the launch of The Hill-side’s capsule collection for GAP very soon; there’s likely to be a great blazer or two in there (Editor’s note: Check out the full rundown via GQ as of 9/23). 

#5. Everlane Luxe Sweater Blazer — $165

Part blazer, part sweater and all casual style in one high-quality Everlane piece.

Part blazer, part sweater and all casual style in one high-quality Everlane piece.

Is this a sweater? A blazer? A swacket? Whatever you call it, the Luxe Sweater Blazer definitely walks the line between casual and crisp style — exactly the type of versatility a nice blazer (or swacket) should provide in the colder months. It should almost wear like the Uniqlo wool blend jacket seen at the top of the page — easygoing enough over a crewneck sweatshirt (for both warmth and casual style), and high-quality enough to pair with a chambray dress shirt. From personal experience with Everlane, its products fit slim, and jackets like these often feature a nice hint of stretch — key when you still need mobility underneath a topcoat. This is one blazer in particular that would pair especially well with high-low combos — think slim chinos  plus vintage-inspired runners.

The competition across the board as this post was assembled was pretty cutthroat (or as cutthroat as writing about blazers can be). Brands like Bonobos, with its Italian Knit Blazer, are giving more established brethren like J. Crew a run for their money in the looks (and price) department. As was previously alluded to, The Hill-side is also quickly establishing itself as a player in the splurge blazer game — this Selvedge Mini-Houndstooth Tailored Jacket in Indigo has a great workwear vibe to it, not to mention a high price. Stick to affordable (or at the very least, classic) and versatile options when picking up a great blazer or two this season though, and you’ll reap those rewards as soon as the leaves start to turn.
Ben Sherman US
What’s your go-to fall and winter blazer? Are you planning on refreshing your closet with any of the picks here?

Ernest Alexander

Style Upgrade: The Slim Wallet

Editor’s note: This is the first in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to style dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. Check back for more entries in the series.

Does this look like your wallet? Or someone you know? Friends don't let friends stuff their wallets.

Does this look like your wallet? Or someone you know? Friends don’t let friends stuff their wallets.

What’s the one thing you carry with you, likely everywhere, everyday? A wallet, or some way or system of storing credit cards, cash, etc. But the thing with that is … it can be a lot. Sometimes, George Costanza-esque (although hopefully not!). Getting your wallet and valuables in order is but one step that goes hand in hand with bettering your style – and your lifestyle in general.
Ben Sherman US
Swapping out that wallet, of course, requires an evaluation of the goods you’ve got in your current one. Excess or old gift cards or receipts? Unless you’re overly sentimental, those can probably be tossed. That value rewards card for a store you never visit? Ehh, probably to the trash can. So that leaves you with the essentials. Storing those is the next step – and with clothing getting slimmer all the time, what does one reach for? Even if you find yourself leaning toward straight leg pant cuts, a good answer is the card case.

What your wallet and credit cards situation should probably look like instead. Read on to learn more about both of these options.

What your wallet and credit cards situation should probably look like instead. On the left: Land’s End Landmark Newton Cardholder. On the right: Linjer Leather Goods’ Mocha Cardholder. Read on to learn more about both of these options.

In a way, it’s like a Lean Wardrobe for your wallet – making do with less, but using those items more efficiently. Paired with a sturdy money clip (like this clever option from Owen & Fred) for some cash, it’s a combination that truly does look stylish while also serving a nice function. And luckily, designers and brands big and small are making versions that lean either super luxe or quite rugged. New leather goods startup Issara makes a truly sleek version with two exterior slots for cards and one additional interior slot at a price that’s not quite investment-grade (but not exactly cheap, either).

A money clip like this one from Owen & Fred will help you keep track of cash once you slim down that wallet.

A money clip like this one from Owen & Fred will help you keep track of cash once you slim down that wallet.

Another significant upgrade at an affordable price would be the Land’s End Landmark Newton Cardholder. It’s on sale right now for just under $15, a pretty darn good price when you consider it’ll go with you everywhere, and the middle-of-the-road brown or black options work in equal measures. Linjer Leather Goods also makes a nice and slim card case in brown as seen above. If you can’t quite let go of your traditional wallet but want to lose the excess bulk, the Mocha Leather Billfold from Linjer is sleeker yet not quite as toned down as a card case.

The slim silhouette and eyecatching use of fabric make this piece from The Hill-Side a true splurge.

The slim silhouette and eyecatching use of fabric make this piece from The Hill-Side a true splurge.

Skagen’s Torben Card Case also would get the job done quite nicely, although there’s a small branded logo stamp on one side, which some might not like. If you really feel like selling out when it comes to this style upgrade though, The Hill-Side (one of GQ’s best and brightest) makes what looks to be an amazing navy herringbone tweed wallet featuring burnished edges, Italian cowhide leather – and more importantly, a slimmed-down yet still traditional wallet shape. There’s no way that thing’d get bulked down by receipts … right?

That’s all for the first Style Upgrade in this series – have you made the switch yet? What card case and/or money clip are you carrying around these days? Let me know!

Ernest Alexander