The Friday Read: The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale, The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts & Home Goods at UNCRATE

The Tie Bar Annual Sale - Shop The Tie Bar's 50% Off Sale 24 Hours Early

The end of another work week looms, and perhaps, a return to the office has you thinking: You need to upgrade your office wardrobe in 2022. How to do that, when you might very well be rusty at dressing up properly? I can’t give you all the tips, but I can direct you towards The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale, a whopping final sale offering with discounts on the best office menswear, from shirts to ties to pocket squares. Now through January 18th, get an extra 25 percent off thousands of sale items, including items already marked down 30-50 percent. So, you’re essentially looking at as much as 75 percent off at The Tie Bar this weekend into next week. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not once you start shopping, that is. It’s time to suit up again, my friends.

Of course, if you’re first looking to take on more athleisure-minded pursuits while refreshing your wardrobe, that’s perfectly acceptable, too (might I point you toward these sustainable quilted sweatpants for weekend errands and even day hikes?). There’s lots to consider when refreshing your wardrobe (and home goods!) for a new year, which I myself have been thinking about through frosty Brooklyn days. I’ll have some laidback time in the borough to consider it all across these next few days, with writing on tap for the Huckberry Journal and an exciting project in the works soon for Bespoke Post. I’m making sure to shake things up from sweats with a pair of the best men’s jeans, too. It’s all happening, and I’d invite you to check out the rest of today’s Friday Read to sort your weekend shopping and style. Cheers!

  • There’s no shortage of occasions to prepare yourself for this winter, right? That goes for office-minded dressing (don’t forget about the The Tie Bar Semi-Annual Sale), but it’s also important to ensure your space at home is in good order, too. Particularly if you want a retreat when you return home, and especially if you’re still working for home, I love the well-curated, thoughtful and rugged-yet-refined offering of home goods at UNCRATE right now, including the handsome D.S. & Durga Portable Fireplace Candle shown above. It’s the little touches that make the difference, and that could be one of the best candles for your home right now.
  • As with outfitting yourself for the office or outfitting your home, I’m all about carefully considered details. If you’ve read the blog, you know that extends to the wristwatch you wear, too. Perhaps you’re familiar with VAER Watches, an acclaimed and fast-growing maker of the best men’s watches specializing in both quartz (battery-powered) watches and a full section of the best automatic watches for men. They focus on casual, rugged field watches and classically elegant, yet hard-wearing, dive watches, all of which are reasonably priced and very well-made. Give them a look the next time your watch collection needs a refresh.
  • It’s just about the right time to start plotting out your Valentine’s Day, right? Or perhaps you’re in search of some *ahem* recommendations to forward on to your partner, yes? You’re in luck, because I wrote all about the coolest, best non-cheesy Valentine’s Day gifts for him over at SPY.com. These picks are anything but ordinary, if I do say so myself. Let me know what you think in the comments.
thumbnail

That’ll wrap up today’s edition of the Friday Read, hopefully, leaving you with enough time to check out The Tie Bar’s Semi-Annual Sale or shop for home goods at UNCRATE — what say you about that, ehh? Speaking of UNCRATE and other outstanding menswear, I’ve got quite the roundup to send you into your weekend. Check out my Monday blog post, if you please, to read all about the best new menswear at UNCRATE. Serious wardrobe upgrades await, my friends. Cheers again and thanks for reading!

The Friday Read: Mack Weldon’s New Gear, The Tie Bar’s Semi-Annual Sale & The Best Sub-$200 Watches

Mack Weldon | Reinventing Men's Basics

Stepping into the weekend with a one-stop shop in mind for your favorite menswear just got a bit easier – at least, it looks that way to me when I check out the Mack Weldon Daily Wear System. Coming from a retailer as excellent as Mack Weldon, it’s a perfect system to consider as we kick off another Friday Read. You see, be it the brand’s excellent boxer briefs, comfortable socks, efficient and performance-minded buttondown shirts or the Mack Weldon Tech Chinos that we talked about earlier this week, the NYC-based brand really is one that can help you do it all. Consider this a recommendation or an endorsement to get your weekend rolling the right way. If you haven’t yet checked out Mack Weldon, now is the perfect time. And as to some other recommendations for the weekend? Well, I’m glad you asked.

HELM Boots

I’m closing out a busy week after an upstate trip with Laphroaig Scotch, so I’m looking forward to catching up on reading and relaxing myself (but not too much – keep on reading!). The trip was a chance to test the brand’s latest offerings, and it was an homage to the fact that the famed distillery hosts a fly fishing festival every year in Scotland. From Tuesday’s “staycation” at the Arlo Midtown to a fly-fishing demo Wednesday morning and a lovely stay at the incredible Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, NY, it was a seriously unique trip the likes of which I’ve never been on. Although I wasn’t all that great at the tricky sport of fly fishing, I really enjoyed myself nonetheless!

HELM Boots

I’ve got another trip coming up sooner than you might think, as well — I’m hitting the road tomorrow for a one-night getaway to try out what should be an excellent bar and hotel combination, the Riggs Hotel Washington, D.C., which is properly reopening after a year and change of the pandemic. Go ahead and give me a follow on Instagram to keep up with the latest and greatest! And in the meantime, the rest of today’s Friday Read is yours for the taking. Cheers, my friends!

Restock Your Whole Wardrobe Via The Tie Bar's Semi-Annual Sale - InsideHook
  • Need a new dress shirt or tie as you head back to the office? Well, I’ve got just the solution for you. The Tie Bar’s Semi-Annual Sale is stocking and selling the best men’s dress shirts, ties and accessories for a return to the office and summer weddings aplenty, and they’re giving you discounts of up to 50 percent off all the while. Sounds like an ideal chance to stock up ASAP.
  • Here’s another reading recommendation for you this weekend. Summer brings with it plenty of opportunities to camp and explore the great outdoors. With that being said, you should certainly keep in mind the fact that you’re going to need a dependable jacket for all those pursuits on and off the trail. Head to The Manual to check out my guide to the best cheap North Face jacket deals this season. Good luck out there, folks.
  • I’ve been a fan of the excellent men’s lifestyle site Primer Magazine since 2012. The site covers everything a guy need to get dressed on the daily, live a fulfilling life, shop in style and decorate your apartment, and that’s why it was such a pleasure to cover the best men’s watches under $200. Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments below.

That’ll wrap up today’s rather quick-hit Friday Read. Want something else to kick off your weekend with energy and spirit in mind? Head over to my twice-weekly newsletter, The Style Guide In Brief — a play off the title of this blog! — where I talk about my favorite new (and old) music, menswear, craft beer and more. If you like indie rock and indie pop, with the classics thrown in, then this is the right way to go (in my humble opinion!). Enjoy the weekend, stay safe and shop & read with style in mind, my friends!

#OOTD: The Best Way to Suit Up This Winter

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.

Maybe as we enter 2017, one of your New Year’s resolutions has been to suit up more  — but if you don’t quite have the right gear to do so in winter weather, that can be a difficult endeavor. So, if you need a sharp tailored suit and durable winter accessories for the season, today’s Style Guide post you all set. It’s a bit different than wearing a summer blazer  — the need for added layers, for one — but you’re also going to want to start out with a more textured shirt and tie, plus tougher shoes. Lest we forget, you’ll still need to stay warm with a  crisp topcoat, too. So there are certainly more variables at play than when dressing up in the spring, summer or fall. If some of the below pieces look familiar, well, that’s the point of a versatile wardrobe — right?? Bear with me as we step into winter with serious tailored style, and I’d love to get your thoughts via Twitter on this look. Happy shopping!

Winter textures and accessories make a fine cold-weather suiting combo.

Winter textures and accessories make a fine cold-weather suiting combo.

The Suit: Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket and Trousers in Grey Wool, $456 — The ever-reliable, durable and winter-appropriate Telegraph Suit is just the right mix of crisp and casual when it comes to suiting — the grey wool fabric is classic, the patch pockets are casual and the fit is on-point throughout. Oh, and don’t forget a crisp dress belt.

The Topcoat: JackThreads Tieman Topcoat in Charcoal Houndstooth, $104.30 — Told you a sharp topcoat would be of particular importance, right? This charcoal houndstooth number is all old-school cool.

NOV CAMPAIGN: Horizontal banner with shoes and logo (border)

The Tie: The Tie Bar Scramble Knit Stripe Tie, $25 — Want to shake up your normal tie rotation? Try a textured knit with seasonally appropriate burgundy stripes.
 
The Pocket Square: Ties.com Galveston Pocket Square, $10 — Are we breaking out a cotton pocket square in the dead of winter? We sure are, because this pocket square breathes a bit of life into the blue, red and charcoal combo on your top half.
The Boots: Nisolo Emilio LE Chukka Boot, $149.98 — This limited-edition, five-eye chukka boot lends some hearty visual interest to the wool suit, and is fit for stepping through the occasional snowdrift (occasional being the operative word).

The Socks: American Trench Superfine Merino Herringbone Socks, $28.98 — Want a pair of sharp socks that’ll still keep you warm? American Trench is the way to go — this pair is dressy, sharp and comfortable.

The Watch: Orient Bambino 2nd Generation Watch, $198.98 — Is it possible to get a quality dress watch for under $200? It certainly is, particularly when you reach for something as sharp, simple and classic as the Orient Bambino.

 OK, are you all ready to suit up for winter? When you start with a spread-collar chambray shirt and build up with key accessories like a classic knit tie and textured pocket square, a suit as handsome as the Taylor Stitch Telegraph Suit  is really going to shine. Meanwhile, sturdy Nisolo leather chukka boots should be tough and durable, while American Trench socks won’t let you down in the comfort or looks department. And every man should own a simple, crisp black leather dress watch like the Orient Bambino 2nd Generation.  How will you be suiting up this winter? Let’s hear it in the comments below — thanks, as always, for reading!
-Beau

Style Suggestion: How to Dress for A Summer Wedding

Editor’s note: For a range of style suggestions covering everything up to and including Sunday brunch, click here.

Perhaps you walked out to your mailbox one day and found it waiting for you. Or, it popped up on your fridge in the winter, and you forgot about it. Or it was buried under a pile of paperwork until now. What might that be? The summer wedding invitation, of course. Always fun, always an adventure — and always a concern as to what to wear. Lest you scramble to find an outfit (or dash out to rent a suit that might be poor-fitting), rest assured that we’ve got you covered here today. Preparing to both travel in style while also bringing along a proper suit to deal with a (likely) hot climate is a tricky endeavor — and it might be here sooner than you think. While we’ll cover travel style upgrades in the coming weeks, perhaps the most pressing part of things is covering what you’ll wear on the day itself. If you’re in the wedding party, hopefully the groom took some wedding style tips seriously. If you’re just focused on the bachelor party… I wish you luck. The below scenario covers what to wear if you find yourself merely along for the ride in a hot environment. If you’re not ready yet, hopefully you’ll be in tip-top shape by the end of this post.

The Suit: Canvas by Lands’ End Chambray Suit Jacket — $289 AND Chambray Suit Pant — $99

The ideal summer suit from an unexpected brand.

The ideal summer suit from an unexpected brand.

If you haven’t heard the name Lands’ End in a while, or given the site that much thought, think again. The newly revamped Canvas by Lands’ End line plays off the more contemporary, style-forward look and feel of the old Lands’ End Canvas line, and in this case, that’s a very good thing. For just about $400, you’re getting a slim, modern chambray suit that should be lightweight, breathable and ready for warm weather. The color is a nice alternative to a standard navy (although that would also work), and you can choose either hemmed or unhemmed pants in a range of sizes. When layered right, the jacket could even work into early fall with paired with a slim crewneck sweater.

The Shirt: Lawrence Hunt Standard Dress Shirt in White — $65

This is no ordinary dress shirt -- performance fabric is built-in under the arms.

This is no ordinary dress shirt — performance fabric is built-in under the arms.

Lawrence Hunt is another brand that sometimes inspires some questions when the name comes up. Whereas other brands stick to traditional dress shirts crafted from heavier fabrics, Lawrence Hunt takes everything you thought you knew about dress shirts and upends it.  That’s right — the brand’s Standard Dress Shirt in White blends 100 percent cotton with moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, 4-way stretch fabric; in fact, it’s even designed based on athletic performance wear. So this is one dress shirt that can truly keep you cool no matter how hot it gets. It also comes with button or cufflink options depending on how dressy you want to go.

The Tie:  The Tie Bar Navy Knit Tie — $25

 

The always-reliable, never-unstylish navy knit tie -- worth the price now and down the line.

The always-reliable, never-unstylish navy knit tie — worth the price now and down the line.

The classic navy knit tie comes into play time and again in outfits across the style spectrum (and particularly this site) with good reason. It’s nearly the perfect four-season tie, what with subtle texture that stands up to a thicker wool blazer in the winter and adds some visual contrast and weight to a textured chambray suit. That’s the goal here, as it’ll stand out subtly against the crisp white dress shirt while also offering a change of pace in terms of color. At $25, it’s pricier than past Tie Bar pick-ups, but all the more worth it if you can get use of it across four seasons.

The Pocket Square: J. Crew Factory Linen Dot Pocket Square — $14.50

Just as reliable as the navy knit tie, and perfect for summer in terms of pattern and texture.

Just as reliable as the navy knit tie, and perfect for summer in terms of pattern and texture.

Just as with the classic navy knit tie, a pindot pocket square like this one  is fail-safe in regards to summer style. The linen fabric falls in line with warmer temperatures, the pindot pattern stands out nicely against the texture of the tie and the suit, and it helps break up your chest visually without being too overpowering. At just under $15, it’s a solid deal for a brand that’s gotten a heck of a lot like J. Crew, its stylish older brethren. This pocket square can even be switched into a khaki blazer when you’re back at work following that wedding.

The Shoes: M.Gemi The Strada Derby in Sand Suede — $248

A terrific visual complement to a chambray suit this summer.

A terrific visual complement to a chambray suit this summer.

Have you heard of M.Gemi? They’ve gained some notable traction in the past few months with the introduction of its men’s line (a feature on Esquire.com will help with that), and they’re continuing to pick up steam. The Strada Derby is just among a set of offerings — including dress shoes and sneakers — being done by the brand, but the Strada perhaps fits best for a summer wedding in a hotter climate. The Derby-style open lacing and the sand suede are both casual yet crisp (for something dressier, you could grab the Tappo Brogue). Sizes can be limited and the price is an investment, yet you’re getting a really versatile shoe that can pull double duty even when traveling to said wedding.

The Socks: Mack Weldon Total Eclipse Stripe Socks — $12.50

A win-win -- stylish socks that are breathable and comfortable.

A win-win — stylish socks that are breathable and comfortable.

While some are partial to rocking no-show socks with a suit (particularly for an outdoor wedding), rocking longer socks might be in the cards for some of us. And if you’re going to be pulling on extra fabric around your ankles, best make it fabric that’s breathable, moisture-wicking and comfortable — that’s where the Total Eclipse Stripe Sock comes into play. The navy stripes play nicely off the tie and the blue chambray, too.

The Belt and Watch: J. Crew Leather Dress Belt — $68 AND Timex Weekender Fairfield Watch — $75

Simple, stylish essentials that mesh with the other colors in this ensemble.

Simple, stylish essentials that mesh with the other colors in this ensemble.

So, we’re going with a belt that’s nearly as expensive as the watch itself? In this case, yes. If, like your author, you find yourself wearing brown shoes frequently, investing in a slim, classic leather belt like this J. Crew option is in the cards. Because those shoes are suede, matching up directly with the belt leather isn’t needed. And because the Timex Weekender Fairfield Watch is in the same color family (generally) as the belt and shoes, it works out. Plus, at a casual outdoor wedding, things are more, well… casual.

The Sunglasses: Warby Parker Batten Sunglasses in Jet Silver — $145

A reliably stylish frame shape and a cool color to pair up with the other shades of blue in the outfit.

A reliably stylish frame shape and a cool color to pair up with the other shades of blue in the outfit.

It wouldn’t truly be a late spring or early summer wedding if we didn’t suggest a pair of sunglasses to combat the intensity of the sun. Warby Parker was among the first innovators in going direct to consumers digitally, and their designs are (for the most part), clean, classic and stylish. The Batten Sunglasses are no different, and the cool  blue shades strike more than a passing resemblance to a certain secret agent’s sunglass of choice.

While the above outfit might at first glance look to have a lot of moving parts (everything from sunglasses to a pocket square to a watch to a tie are up for consideration), it’s all about making refined pieces work for your environment. A crisp white shirt and navy knit tie works across all four seasons, but the upgraded shirting fabric should definitely keep you cool. Reaching for a chambray suit from a brand on the rise also helps maximize budget and style concerns in equal measure. And those suede shoes? Well, if looks are any consideration, they could very well become a go-to pair the rest of the summer. Shop on, and let me know of any pieces you’d consider swapping out!

How are you dressing for any summer weddings you’ve got coming up? Would you switch out any pieces above?

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

#OOTD: Tailored Style for Spring

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.

So we’re slowly but surely creeping towards warmer spring weather, at least in NYC. That’s good news if, like yours truly, you were getting sick of the cold (as much as I love layering with rugged winter style staples). As the weather warms up and gets more breezy, you might run into the temptation to shelve your blazer (or your black dress shoes) in favor of more laidback style combos. But you can definitely still nail a sharp business casual look using pieces that are in play the rest of the year — namely, a classic navy blazer with a subtle pattern, plus a sharp white shirt. The below look should be sharp but not stuffy, featuring just enough personality to set you apart from other, less well-dressed fellas. That’s the goal of these things, right? To leave #OOTD suggestions of your own, head over to The Style Guide Facebook page. Stay stylish!

Business-ready spring style with sharp black Oxfords and subtle patterns.

Business-ready spring style with sharp black Oxfords and subtle patterns.

The Blazer: J. Crew Factory Thompson Microdot Blazer, $131.50 — Recognize this blazer? It was first featured in this St. Patrick’s Day style feature, but it works plenty of other times of the year thanks to the subtle variation in pattern.

The Shirt: Paul Fredrick Extra Trim Fit Non-Iron Button-down Dress Shirt, $89.50 — The upscale, dressier answer to a more laidback Oxford-cloth shirt, this piece is part of the brand’s new, slimmer offerings.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Corduroy Dots Pocket Square, $10 — Dots on the blazer and … dots on the pocket square? Yes, indeed — the color and scale are just different enough where it works out, plus the corduroy breaks up the dots on your top half, too.

The Pants: J. Crew Factory Slim Bedford Linen-Cotton Pant, $55.50 — While lightweight khaki chinos can also work here, these pants will serve you well in breezier, warm spring and summer days alike. The slim stripes and light grey color are a nice change of pace, too.

The Shoes: Jack Erwin Noah Quarter Brogue Oxford in Black, $195 — Black shoes can still be worn in spring and summer even when everyone else turns to brown; it makes this outfit all the more sharp sans tie.

The Belt: Tanner Goods Classic Belt, $100 — Just the right mix of casual and formal, this is a go-anywhere belt that works in casual and formal situations.

The Socks: Society Socks in Visionary Blue, $9.20 — Lest this outfit miss out on the sudden arrival of color that is spring, these socks add a definite pop to the get-up.

The Watch: Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield in Silver, $229 — Daniel Wellington’s watches, while a step up in price from a Timex or another casual watch, provide sharp, versatile style — and in this case, sufficiently dressy looks.

The above ensemble perhaps isn’t the most groundbreaking offering — it does feature a navy blazer, a white dress shirt and black Oxfords, for instance. But that’s where subtle changes in pattern, better quality (in the case of the shoes) and a bit of color — by way of the pocket square and socks — come into play. The black leather watch and belt shown above are timeless staples that’ll work in any outfit across the rest of the year, too. Plus, the shirt should fit nice and trim if you take off that blazer during the course of the day. Now, roll up those sleeves and get work — this new gear won’t pay for itself!

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

Online Shopping Picks: The Best Ways to Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Editor’s note: Click here for more online shopping picks covering seasonal style trends.

We’re now about a week out from the holiday everyone loves to, eh, ‘over-celebrate’ — St. Patrick’s Day. In a bustling metropolis like NYC (and particularly at my alma mater, Michigan State University — Go Green!), things can get a little, er, rowdy. It’s fun to have a nice time, but everything in moderation — yes? Whether you’re taking the day off or heading into the office as per usual, there’s still the tendency to want to go full-on festive for an occasion like this, particularly one that involves so much color. We’ll have a full outfit suggestion coming at ya early next week, but if you’re looking to stand out subtly with one piece o’ green in your wardrobe, start with the below picks.

#1. GREATS Brand Pronto in Cargo — $199

A vintage runner-style silhouette updated with premium Italian materials.

A vintage runner-style silhouette updated with premium Italian materials.

GREATS consistently churns out excellent sneakers for more-than-fair prices given the quality and construction built into them, and the Pronto in Cargo is a silhouette that’s a prime example of this. It’s got classic retro vibes, yet the neutral dark green color keeps it subtle and modern — especially for this occasion. It’s understated enough to the point where it doesn’t scream “Hey, I’m wearing green!” Pair it with dark denim and a lightweight wool blazer for some high-low St. Paddy’s Day style.

#2. JackThreads The Daily Vee in Olive — $18

A trim fit and understated color make this tee a nice option for the holiday.

A trim fit and understated color make this tee a nice option for the holiday.

When subtly and simple style is the name of the game (and it truly should be on this holiday), JackThreads continually delivers. The value for its basics is excellent when compared to the price point — if you read this blog consistently, you know I’m a fan of the brand. This olive tee is a different take on green — it’s far from the green dye in the Chicago River. And in a slim fit, you can certainly rock this blazer under a charcoal cardigan or a denim jacket if your day leans more casual.

#3. The Tie Bar Checks & Balance Pocket Square — $10

A refined combination of green-and-white to counter those less-than-refined St. Patrick's Day situations.

A refined combination of green-and-white to counter those less-than-refined St. Patrick’s Day situations.

If you’re very into keeping things toned-down on St. Patrick’s Day, a pocket square is perhaps the best way to incorporate some subtle green into your outfit. And the Checks & Balance Pocket Square provides just enough visual interest, what with that white diamond pattern over a silk twill green body. Rock it with a slim khaki blazer, grey chinos and a white Oxford — it’s a stylish combo that’ll turn heads for the right reasons* (*Disclaimer: If you have a few too many at the bar after work, that’s on you).

#4. Richer Poorer London Socks — $12

Part blue, part green and all simple style.

Part blue, part green and all simple style.

Another inexpensive and simple way to take on green for the holiday, Richer Poorer socks provide nice value for the price. This green-and-teal combo swings a little further away from going full-on green but again, if you want some understated color in your outfit — here you go. Heck, you could even wear a work ensemble as you normally might, throw on the socks and call it good (these would sit well under some slim khaki chinos and brown suede chukka boots).

#5. Bonobos Waffle Crewneck in Vine, $78

Easy to wear thanks to the slim fit, textured cotton and subtle shoulder detailing.

Easy to wear thanks to the slim fit, textured cotton and subtle shoulder detailing.

Bonobos likes to mix things up when it comes to seasonal knitwear, and this waffle knit made from soft, textured cotton embodies that perfectly. The slim cut is a positive, as is a color that, yet again, doesn’t scream bright green. Interesting details like the left shoulder buttons give this more of a crewneck sweater vibe than a plain thermal might, so feel free to rock it over a blue chambray shirt for a change of pace. Be prepared for some anti-green backlash perhaps (“Someone dressed up for St. Paddy’s Day!”), but know that you’re doing so in style.

As you plan out outfits for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s best, like we talked about before, to exercise some moderation and restraint when others likely won’t. Of course, this is coming from a guy who loves Guinness the 364 other days of the year. But hopefully, the above suggestions get you thinking in the right direction — and stay tuned for a full outfit suggestion coming early next week. Until next time!

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

Florsheim

#OOTD: Everyday Style with a Classic Blue Oxford

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.

We’re back at it again with the #OOTD series here on The Style Guide, and today’s post keeps looking toward spring, ever so slightly. Colors are a bit brighter, textures are lighter and the weather is, well, a heck of a lot better than on any given winter day. Yes, it’s coming! And the sort of items you wear now — like a classic Oxford shirt or slim navy chinos — can pull just as much of their weight stylistically in the (slightly) warmer months as they can when it’s bitterly cold. The great part about using foundational building blocks in an everyday outfit is that you can afford to take some more risks, however small. As you’ll see in the below outfit, that means a slick pair of Chelsea boots where you might reach for some stylish dress shoes normally. That also means some nice color in the form of a patterned pocket square, and an attention-grabbing blue-dial watch. But enough of my rambling! The outfit’s here below.

OOTD OCBD Collage

A straightforward outfit with relatively simple tweaks — like those Chelsea boots and the patterned pocket square — made all the better by a classic blue Oxford.

 

The Shirt: JackThreads Slim Oxford, $39 — It truly is tough to find a brand producing a better-fitting, more versatile Oxford at such a nice combination of quality and price. This one’s a Style Guide favorite!

The Blazer: H&M Cotton Blazer, $49 — From David Beckham’s newest Modern Essentials collection with H&M, there’s no word on the quality of this blazer, and it’s likely not very high. But hey, think of it as a casual blazer alternative?

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Midway Pane Pocket Square, $10 — When you ditch the tie (or maybe go air-tie?), you can afford to toss some pattern into your outfit. The green windowpane pattern stands out just enough on that dark navy cotton.

The Chinos: Bonobos Jet Blue Washed Chinos, $88 — Bonobos has often staked the fate of its reputation on these chinos, and in three fits and versatile colors like this dark navy shade, they’re a very, very solid pickup for the price.

The Boots: Jack Erwin Ellis Chelsea Boot, $220 — These represent the slight style swerve from the norm within this outfit, and they make the ensemble look all the more sharp.

The Belt: Land’s End Distressed Vintage Jean Belt, $39 — A bit less dressy than a standard belt, this piece also represents a style swerve from the norm.

The Socks: Tommy John Performance Dress Socks, $16 — A simply, if slightly pricey, dress sock that wicks moisture and looks pretty crisp up against slim navy trousers.

The Watch: MVMT Watches The 40 in Blue/Brown Leather, $120 — A remarkably crisp and easy-to-wear watch that plays nicely off the dark navy chinos thanks to that brighter blue dial. Full review here.

With the aforementioned outfit in mind, you’ve got yourself the jumping-off point for all sorts of spring layering — and beyond. With pieces like those slick Chelsea boots, you can navigate rainy streets now — and with pieces like navy chinos and a slim blue Oxford, you’re set for dozens of outfit combos in the coming weeks and months. 

What’s your favorite way to style a blue Oxford? What small changes would you add to this ensemble?


Style Suggestion: What to Wear on Valentine’s Day

Editor’s note: For a bevy of style suggestions covering how to suit or dress down, click here.

So just as we talked about in last week’s Valentine’s Day gift guide post, the big is almost here — and our Style Suggestion series is back! Now, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so perhaps that makes things a bit different for you — maybe you’ll be away and traveling for the weekend perhaps? Or staying at home to catch a sharp Sunday dinner? At any rate, it’s a day where you’ll want to look your best for your significant other. Even if you go the less formal route, it’s worth it to still look into some style upgrades — like throwing on a slim pair of denim or even just an crisp pair of leather sneakers. The below Style Suggestion however, like last year’s Valentine’s Day Style Suggestion, goes the more formal route — it’s a classic look (hopefully) with some modern touches. Read on, suit up and let me know how you’re dressing for the day or the weekend!

The Suit: Combatant Gentleman Charcoal Slim Fit Herringbone Suit — $200

A reliably classic color and cold-weather fabric make this suit a winner.

A reliably classic color and cold-weather fabric make this suit a winner.

It seems that in tailored situations here at the ol’ Style Guide, Combatant Gentleman has been the suiting pick of choice, from New Year’s Eve to holiday parties and beyond. And for good reason, too — there’s hardly a better suiting deal out there that brings solid quality, a reliable fit and a plethora of suiting options to chose from. This Charcoal Slim Fit Herringbone Suit is a solid pick in this case, however, because it’s versatile, sharp color that can work in plenty of other situations besides Valentine’s Day — a great budget pick-up. The Italian wool herringbone weave is a seasonally appropriate touch in this cold weather, too (if it’s warm where you are, you could always rock a chino suit). Don’t forget that overcoat, either.

The Shirt: J. Crew Factory Voyager Dress Shirt in End-on-End — $41.50

Another well-priced staple from J. Crew Factory at a great price.

Another well-priced staple from J. Crew Factory at a great price.

Just as with Combatant Gentleman, it’s tough to find a better deal for the quality than J. Crew Factory (although the folks at Combat Gent do a nice job with shirting, too). But if you’ve been looking to check out the Factory line and haven’t gotten to it, here’s your chance. This end-on-end shirt mixes in some subtle texture, a slim fit and a great price. The wrinkle-free aspect is another nice touch that should make it easier for travel, too. And the light blue is going to stand out nicely under the darker charcoal suit — it’s another piece that can work in many other situations outside of this one. On another note, if you should find yourself in need of a great undershirt to keep you cool throughout the night, head to Tommy John.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie — $19

Does this tie look familiar? If you read this blog regularly, it should!

Does this tie look familiar? If you read this blog regularly, it should!

If you happened to catch this blog’s holiday party Style Suggestion, perhaps you recognize this tie. The Tie Bar’s Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie is quickly becoming a Style Guide favorite — it’s not often you talk about a tie being reliable (trust me), but this number is crisp, visually interesting and a solid contrast to the lighter blue shirt. It being Valentine’s Day and all, it’s never a bad thing to draw some color palette inspiration from James Bond, either. The price is remarkably solid, and you could wear this tie with a crisp white dress shirt in place of the J. Crew Factory end-on-end shirt if you wanted.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Owen Plaid Pocket Square — $10

A unique pattern and color scheme help this pocket square stand out nicely.

A unique pattern and color scheme help this pocket square stand out nicely.

When on the hunt for great accessories in a pinch, it pays off to turn to a trusted retailer time and again — in this case, our friends at The Tie Bar. This Owen Plaid Pocket Square is an excellent bit of contrast to the dark charcoal suit and multiple shades of blue in the top half of this ensemble; the rich burgundy is also a change of pace from more standard pocket squares (although a classic white pocket square could work here, too).

The Shoes: Jack Erwin Adam Wingtip Oxford — $195

Great color, a great price and terrific styling potential from Jack Erwin.

Great color, a great price and terrific styling potential from Jack Erwin.

The Jack Erwin Adam Wingtip Oxford  was first seen back in this blog’s round-up of stylish men’s dress shoes, and they make a return here as yet another example of why it pays to invest in high-quality, versatile footwear. Jack Erwin has made a name for itself in the digital style game thanks to its pricing and quality, and the Blake construction and reinforced stacked heel add even more durability to this particular pair. If you go the more casual route, they’d be equally at home with some dark denim and a navy blazer.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Reversible Leather Belt in Brown — $22.50

Two belts for the price of one, plus a color that matches nicely with the rest of the outfit.

Two belts for the price of one, plus a color that matches nicely with the rest of the outfit.

Sometimes, it can certainly be the right move to invest in an expensive belt — especially if you’ll wear it a lot. Other times, you need a reliable piece to get you from Point A to Point B in style and at a cost-effective price. That’s where this J. Crew Factory Reversible Leather Belt comes into play. You get two belts for the price of one, plus decent quality and a solid dark brown color that’ll match up sharply with your watch and shoes.

The Watch: MVMT Watches The 40 in Blue/Brown Leather — $120

Simple, refined and easy to wear with a suit.

Simple, refined and easy to wear with a suit.

As you put together stylish ensembles that fit in a variety of situations, it pays to look toward style essentials you might already have — like an eyecatching leather watch. This timepiece from MVMT Watches was reviewed just last week on the blog, and it’s a definite winner. The case diameter hits the sweet spot as far as a dress-casual watch, the quality is on-point for the price and the style potential is excellent (the blue dial will again really pop against the darker colors in this outfit). It can even work with a more casual outfit (again, the dark denim and navy blazer combo suggested above).

The Socks: Tommy John Solid Over-the-Calf Dress Socks — $16

Over-the-calf dress socks -- an underrated style hack that makes a difference.

Over-the-calf dress socks — an underrated style hack that makes a difference.

Dress socks, especially ones in a solid color, tend to get overlooked when lots of companies are incorporating pattern and color into so many pairs. But sometimes, you just want (and need) a simple, comfortable set of socks that’ll stay up and mesh nicely with the rest of your outfit. Tommy John socks solve that age-old problem of a pair sliding down throughout the day, and the dark navy color won’t distract from the neutral charcoal suit and solid shirting. Plus, they’re made of a lux Pima cotton blend with a hint of stretch.

The Extras: Tommy John Cool Cotton Trunk — $29

Style's in the details, right?

Style’s in the details, right?

Need I say more?

So that’s your head-to-toe Valentine’s Day look, incorporating some solid, versatile style, neutral colors and  sharp accessories. Pieces like the above can work in lots of different situations while providing a change of pace from style staples you might already own — and when planning for as big of a day as Valentine’s Day, details like the right tie and pocket square can certainly prove essential (look good, feel good, right?). If you’ve now settled on your outfit but still need a Valentine’s Day gift suggestion, we’ve got you covered there, too. And should you have any last-minute questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a tweet.

What ensemble will you be rocking on this Valentine’s Day? What do you think of the above suggestion?

 

Style Suggestion: The Holiday Party

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don't hit 'em too hard at your holiday party).

How do you take your martini, Mr. Bond? (Just don’t hit ’em too hard at your holiday party).

With the arrival of December comes an occasion some of us definitely look forward to, and others tend to dread – the holiday party.  Depending on where you work or where you’re invited, it might be lots of fun… or decidedly not-so-fun. The same goes for holiday parties with family and friends – although hopefully those are enjoyable. And regardless of the situation, it behooves you (yes, I just used that word) to clean up appropriately. Plus, dressing up smartly can be quite fun – especially when you change up just a few things from your co-workers or friends (like fit and color/texture combos) and end up looking like a  million bucks (or at least deserving of that bonus). What follows is a suggestion that can go either CEO-level dressy for a fancy holiday party, or a bit toned-down for slamming some nog at a friend’s house (people do that, right?).  Stand by for further style suggestions later this month covering both a laidback Christmas and a more dressed-up Yuletide celebration. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
Join the Hunt Club - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank & Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!
The Overcoat: Combatant Gentleman Navy Wool Overcoat — $120

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

A versatile navy color, a slim fit and a great price make for a terrific top layer.

Before we get into what to wear for the rest of your night, let’s assume it’ll be cold before you get into that party — and let’s assume you’re in need of an outerwear revamp. There’s no denying the style power and versatility of a great topcoat, and this navy wool overcoat from Combatant Gentleman fits the bill perfectly. Its price is more than solid, and for a new introduction to the brand, it would seem that the quality should be on-point from past experience. The fit looks to be trim yet workable over a suit, and the soft Italian wool should also be workable for that pricepoint. The navy color is going to work with all kinds of outfits outside of this particular occasion, as well.

The Suit Or Sweater: Combatant Gentleman Charcoal Birdseye Slim Fit Suit — $200 OR Frank & Oak Merino Cardigan in Bitter Chocolate — $70 And J. Crew Factory Thompson Slim Voyager Suit Pants — $84

Two options, one dressy and one more casual -- but both affordable.

Two options, one dressy and one more casual — but both affordable.

So Combatant Gentleman is the pick for our suiting option as well, but not just for kicks. The brand has made its mark in the affordable tailoring realm, offering up solid picks for more-than-agreeable prices. Its blazers, while not 100% perfect, are also an extremely great value for the price. So picking up one of its charcoal suits can knock out two birds with one stone – if you’re in need of a first-time suit on a budget, or if you want to refresh your suiting game for not a lot of dough. This birdseye suit is a nice visual departure from a flat charcoal color, too. If the occasion doesn’t call for a suit, you can swap in a crisp, slim Frank & Oak cardigan (much sleeker than a thicker shawl number). That can then be paired with some navy wool trousers and accomplish the same goal. Of course, dark denim can be swapped in with your cardigan for an even more toned-down look.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

Take your pick of two collar styles, both for a tremendous price from Standard Shirt.

While it’s worth looking at a site like EXPRESS for its shirt deals, there’s not a shirt that offers a price-quality ratio quite like Standard Shirt; that makes sense given that two styles of white dress shirts are all the company does. And they combine that quality with smaller touches (like a wider, suit-ready collar) in an inexpensive package. I threw on the brand’s spread collar shirt for a rather sweltering Michigan wedding and was also pleasantly surprised with its breathability. The crisp white shirt is definitely going to be a great anchor for either the suit or cardigan any way you look at it.

The Tie: The Tie Bar Midnight Navy Grenafaux Tie — $19

A tie with some visual interest to complement the birdseye weave of the suit.

A tie with some visual interest at a low price.

If you need to ditch the tie in favor of just that slim cardigan or tailored charcoal suit over a crisp shirt, that’s the way to go. But if you do still need that tie, The Tie Bar, as always, has you covered. While a navy knit tie could also be a good, versatile buy in this case, a grenafaux tie brings that same amount of texture and visual interest while looking a bit more suit-ready. And in this case, the texture of the tie will bring a bit more punch than a standard silk number, allowing it to stand up to the birdseye suit nicely.

The Pocket Square: General Knot & Co. 1940s Crimson Duck Pocket Square — $38 OR The Tie Bar Light Champagne Herringbone Pocket Square — $10

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

Take your pick of either vintage fabric and a higher price, or an old standby in a nice fabric.

So we have two pocket square options here – one that’s flashy and conversation-worthy, made from vintage fabric, and one that’s still conversation-worthy, but mainly for the punch of pattern and color it brings. When your suit and tie both have some texture, throwing in another dash in a contrasting color still works, mainly because of that color difference. Either would add a bit something extra to your suit that a solid white pocket square might not (although that works with this outfit, too). While the price for the General Knot square is a bit of a splurge, keep in mind that if you go cardigan-only, you save that cash.

The Shoes:  Johnston & Murphy McGavock Wingtip Boot — $250

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

A dressy wingtip boot with seasonal fabric design touches to stand up to the chilly weather.

Johnston & Murphy can sometimes be a bit overlooked what with a company like Jack Erwin competing right in its wheelhouse, but the brand delivers on seasonal numbers, like these mixed-media boots. They’re the perfect middle ground for stomping through some snow or rain to get into that party, yet they still look crisp, slim and appropriate for tailored wear. There’s a touch of brown in there on the sole, but that won’t look too out of place next to the charcoal suit. If funding is tight, JC Penney’s classic Stafford Wingtip is going for a right steal now. Either way, black shoes can look especially sleek this time of year (and if SPECTRE is any indication, black shoes are going to be the way to go for the months ahead).

The  Belt: EXPRESS 2-in-1 Reversible Buckle Leather Belt in Black — $39.90

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

Two for the price of one, with a crisp look to boot.

EXPRESS’ quality might sometimes be suspect, but when you need a belt (or in this case, two belts) at a decent price in a pinch, a reversible option never hurts. They do all kinds of belts, but this is a sharp, sleek pickup that’ll go well with those crisp black shoes and the dialed-in black watch (more on that below). You can always go beltless if you find that’s more sleek, however.

The Watch: KOMONO Winston Regal in Black — $99.95

Super-crisp style for under $100.

Super-crisp style for under $100.

KOMONO’s at it again – this brand flies under the radar occasionally, but its dressier watches are just as solid a value as its more casual, seasonally focused timepieces (like the Winston Herringbone timepiece I reviewed earlier this fall). The Winston Regal in Black is super-sharp, and the thin case and no-nonsense dial fall right in line with the sharp pieces in the rest of this ensemble, from the black boots to the crisp white shirt and black belt. And at under $100, it’s an excellent steal on a budget.

The Socks: American Trench Dress Rib Sock in Cloud Grey — $14.50

High-quality socks that'll be worth more than the price tag.

High-quality socks that’ll be worth more than the price tag.

Whereas we’ve dialed it back with the suit and watch, these socks tip the scales more in terms of price. American Trench is a Style Guide favorite (check out more on its socks here), and there really isn’t a brand doing made-in-America socks as well as they do. So in this instance, it makes sense to splurge on some high-quality dress socks that can stand up to repeated wear with a workhorse charcoal suit; while socks with a pop of color are an option too, you might be pleasantly surprised at how sharp a sock looks when matched with a trouser (especially in a clean charcoal-on-charcoal combo).

While it can be a bit off-putting to see so many dark colors in an outfit, from the suit to the pocket square to the shoes, belt and watch,  it can be refreshing to go sleek, simple and yet still put-together. Plus, other cold-weather occasions leave plenty of time for working in colors, and each of the above pieces can be mixed and matched into those outfits as well. So go sharp this holiday season and see where it takes you. Once again, enjoy and let me know your holiday outfit picks below.

What do you think of the above ensemble? Will you be going dressy or casual this year at your holiday party?

Ben Sherman US

Style Suggestion: The Summer Wedding

Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew.  Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew. Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

With the passing of Memorial Day weekend and a quick couple weeks into June, summer wedding season is here in earnest. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a summer wedding yet, I would bet you probably have one in the near future. Picking up something sharp, stylish and fitting for the occasion on a budget is a tricky balance to strike. I had the chance to put my packing skills to the test and dress well at the  same time (or try to do so) as I headed to a family wedding in Charleston, South Carolina this weekend (home of my friends at Brothers and Craft, as it were). The evening was lovely  — a wedding and an evening on the water with family is always incredibly special. I myself tried to strike a balance between keeping cool and staying stylish. Ditching the tie and opting for a lightweight blazer and some tailored (but not overly slim) trousers in a super-breathable fabric helped me at least attempt to do that — that’s a tall task when it’s 90-plus degrees out. Some suggestions to help you handle any wedding situation in the months ahead follow below! (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out the bottom of the post for a special discount offer on dressy summer wedding gear from Ernest Alexander for TSG readers!).

The Suit: J. Crew Factory Voyager Suit — $376

A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.

A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.

Now, not every wedding will necessarily require or call for a suit (see the above photo as proof). But if you do have to pick up a suit for the occasion, it’s a wise bet to grab something in a versatile color (like the medium grey option seen here) or the dark navy pairing available through the J. Crew Factory site — that way, the suit can be worn year-round. The fact that this fabric is crease-resistant means that you could even wear it while traveling. If only a blazer need be worn at the wedding in question, picking up something in a vibrant color on the cheap (like this Combat Gent Travel Jacket) would be the way to go (pair it with some crisp khaki chinos for style outside the summer, too). And even if things get as laidback as a polo and chinos (for a beach wedding, perhaps), the suit trousers or jacket could act as separates.

Ben Sherman US

The Dress Shirt: Combat Gent Endurance Shirt — $35

A white shirt that performs much like its name would  imply.

A white shirt that performs much like its name would imply.

Take it from someone who test-drove this shirt in temperatures pushing 100 degrees — when it’s hot out, you want something that’ll wick away sweat and still look crisp. Even if the wedding is indoors, a fabric like this will help you out big-time when moving around outside.The collar will stand up amply without a tie if the wedding leans more casual. And similar to the rest of the brand’s offerings,  it’s exceptionally affordable and performs well for the price — a very agreeable one, at that. You could also opt for a similarly polished shirt from Mizzen + Main, who’s picking up steam as of late with performance-minded dress shirts (among other offerings).

The Shoes: JC Penney Logan Wingtip — $49.99

These shoes also made an appearance in last year's budget style series, and for good reason.

These shoes also made an appearance in last year’s budget style series, and for good reason.

For those on an extreme budget (and if you’re having to buy the suit in one go as well), picking up a dirt cheap pair of surprisingly reliable wingtips  is one way to stand out from the crowd of black shoes likely to be there while also saving a good amount of money (loafers could also accomplish this in truly hot weather). Wingtips are the type of shoe that can work with a full suit and tie or a blazer and chinos — plus nearly any other outfit you can think of throughout the year. While this pair might not be exceptionally durable, they should more than do the job in a pinch (as would some simple suede Derbys from a brand like H&M). Don’t forget about brands like Florsheim, who makes one heck of a sharp dress chukka if you want to switch up your style even further.

The Accessories: The Tie Bar White Pocket Square and Navy Knit Tie — $35

Two items that can work anywhere, anytime -- especially in the summer.

Two items that can work anywhere, anytime — especially in the summer.

Keeping the focus on buying for versatility and affordability, The Tie Bar is still one of the best bets for your money out there as far as accessories go. Yes, those prices have increased — but when you consider the fact that some retailers sell pocket squares on their own for more than the price of the ever-versatile navy knit and white cotton combo seen here, it doesn’t seem so bad. Both those pieces will stand on their own, especially with the medium-grey suit seen above, as well as with a navy option (don’t forget about a summertime staple, the khaki suit). As far as other accessories go, this depends on how much you’re willing to push the boundaries of style — but you could pair wingtips or loafers with no-show socks and a rolled cuff for a cooler breeze (particularly appropriate with loafers), or opt for a punchier patterned pair.

The Rest: J. Crew Braided Leather Belt — $49.50 + Timex Easy Reader Brown Leather Watch — $38.96

Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months -- and beyond.

Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months — and beyond.

With the shade of shoes shown above, it’ll be a little trickier to match both your shoe and belt leathers. But because summer weddings overall do tend to be more casual, a braided leather belt fits right in (H&M is among retailers stocking cheaper options, by the way). The belt’s more expensive than the watch, yes, but this timepiece makes up for it with a textured brown leather strap that considerably dresses up the plainer dial while also meshing nicely with the color of the belt and the shoes. It’s the type of leather that would also work with brown leather loafers.

So that closes the books on this summer wedding style suggestion — making use of items you already own, like a trusty navy blazer or some sturdy chinos can help offset the need to buy all-new gear for a summer wedding. And reaching for affordable style staples makes a lot of sense too and can help ease your wallet through the process. Feel free to let me know what you’ll be packing and wearing at any upcoming summer weddings!

And for those of you who do need some stylish garb for the summer, check out the exclusive promo opportunity below!

$10 Off a purchase of $100 or more; Free Shipping on orders over $200 at Ernest Alexander Enter promo code: STYLEGUIDE10 at checkout. Valid 06-12-2015 through 07-31-2015