Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Transitional Footwear for Spring

Join us for the ride today as we kick off another Online Shopping Picks entry  — if you’re looking for the best men’s transitional footwear for spring, you’re in luck.   What exactly do we mean when we say transitional? Well, we — and by we, I mean me — aren’t exactly talking about rugged winter boots or even classic summer sneakers. No, today we’re talking footwear that’s a touch more durable than your average set of kicks — maybe they combine a few different elements, like the cut of a chukka and the materials of a sneaker (see: Exhibit A, the SeaVees Huckberry Chukka).  Or maybe, they’re both slightly dressy and yet suited for casual wear. Better yet, they should be relatively durable and versatile for fighting spring rain and looking great at the same time. So, you’ll see a solid mix below, from sleek suede chukkas to durable sneaker-boots and everything in between. If you agree with these picks — and even if you don’t — join me over on The Style Guide Facebook page to pick up what should be a lively #menswear discussion.

Greats

#1. Beckett Simonon Laval Suede Chukka Boots in Chestnut — $199

Supremely stylish and water-resistant suede chukka boots — perfect.

I’ve been fortunate enough to test out some Beckett Simonon footwear across the past few months, namely during a fall weekend in New York City. And the good news is that the brand’s chukkas are sturdy, sleek and extremely stylish. Such is the case with the Laval Suede Chukka Boot in a handsome shade of Chestnut. Pre-order these now and wait for them to arrive, because I’d wager you’ll want to wear them with everything from slim light wash denim to chinos. Oh, and an even better perk? The water-resistant suede, fit for taking on inclement weather.

#2. SeaVees Mariner Boot in Navy or Olive — $149.98

SeaVees

A collaboration between SeaVees and Taylor Stitch, with very stylish results.

When it comes to talking transitional footwear, the Mariner Boot just might be the ideal pair to buy now — and wear very frequently when spring rains roll through.  The end result of a collaboration between our pals at SeaVees and Taylor Stitch, the Mariner Boot features a British Ventile waterproof duck canvas upper for crucial spring protection. Plus, SeaVees’ signature herringbone tread outsole adds a nice dash of traction on wet streets, and the option to pick up either the Navy Mariner Boot or the Olive option bodes well for those of us who appreciate versatile footwear.
Frank & Oak

#3. AstorFlex Bitflex Chelsea Boot in Dark Khaki — $180

Astorflex Chelsea Boots

The combination of suede and a Chelsea boot silhouette is especially crisp for spring.

As seen in a Style Pick of the Week entry last fall, the Astorflex Bitflex Chelsea Boot has a lot going for it — it’s stylish and sustainably made, for one. And crucially, it combines both a relatively slim profile and a unique crepe rubber sole. Plus, who doesn’t love a great Chelsea boot? It’s an of-the-moment silhouette that’s transcended, well, trends, to become a footwear essential. And if you haven’t tried out a pair, this spring might be a good time to start. While they’re not water-resistant like the Beckett Simonon suede chukkas above, you still get nice quality & sharp looks.

#4.  CLAE Hayward in Mojave Pig Suede — $100

Retro style meets functionality — waterproof suede and a neat silhouette.

The retro-style runner continues to have a moment in the menswear space — in other words, it’s simply an excellent-looking shoe style. If you love a great pair of sneakers, give the CLAE Hayward a look if you’re seeking a new way to shake up your spring footwear rotation.  They’re certainly unique in both looks and functionality, incorporating waterproof suede with nylon side panels atop a crisp runner’s sole. Wear these guys with white jeans and a slim short-sleeve chambray shirt — plus a  stylish denim jacket — on a breezy spring day, and you’re all set.

#5. OluKai Pahoa Boots in Black Seal/Brown — $200

Note the burnished leather, waxed laces and easily wearable design.

If you’re sensing a theme in this post — that of durable footwear that also looks sharp — then you’re right on the money. And the last entry on the list definitely falls underneath that umbrella. Comin’ at ya all the way from Hawaii, the OluKai Pahoa Boots feature some mixed-media design touches — note the contrasting upper and waxed cotton laces. What’s more, the footbed features EquilFit technology for comfort and performance. Not bad for a pair of leather chukka boots, ehh?

Honorable Mention: Thursday Boots Honey Suede Scout Chukka — $149

Crisp, clean and well-made — all for under $150. That’s what you get with Thursday Boots.

We’re bringing back the Honorable Mention category in these Online Shopping Picks posts, namely because it’s mighty tough to pick just five great pairs of stylish spring footwear. And when the final brand on the cut line is Thursday Boots, you can be darn sure we’ll give ’em a second look. Featuring a slick European-inspired silhouette and plenty of traction via a studded rubber outsole, these are dressy enough for the office and more than ready for Sunday brunch.

From start to finish, I hope you enjoyed this essential, excellent, even tremendous rundown of the best men’s transitional footwear for spring. Finding shoes that serve a purpose while providing comfort and functionality can sometimes be tricky — yet, plenty of brands are hitting that sweet spot quite nicely.  From the water-resistant suede of the Laval Suede Chukka Boot to the toughness and on-point styling potential of the Mariner Boot, you’ve surely got options aplenty. If retro-inspired style is more your bag, grab the CLAE Hayward for a change, and I’d urge you not to pass up a pair of dressy-yet-versatile Chelsea boots (like the Astorflex Bitflex Chelsea Boot). Of course, who can resist yet another pair of suede chukkas, like the Thursday Boots Suede Scout Chukka? No one, that’s who.  If you’ve got questions on how to style these boots or heck, if you should buy any of them, drop me a line via Twitter or in the comments below.

More importantly — stay stylish!

-Beau

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Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Boots for Fall

Editor’s note: To start your seasonal shopping, check out these men’s style picks.

Fall boots? Yes, we're looking in that direction today. Karnes Alpine Hiker by Johnston & Murphy. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Blue Oxford by JackThreads. Silver knit tie by Banana Republic. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Glasses by Frameri.

Fall boots? Yes, we’re looking in that direction today. Karnes Alpine Hiker by Johnston & Murphy. Ivy Blazer by Grayers. Blue Oxford by JackThreads. Silver knit tie by Banana Republic. Mod Watch by Timex x Todd Snyder. Glasses by Frameri.

There are few times of the year I love more than fall — if you’re a devout reader of this blog, you certainly know that. Now, is it too late in the fall season, per se? I think not. We’ve got time before Thanksgiving, certainly. And as far as the weather goes, it’s finally the perfect time to get that fall style wish list in order, and it’s about time to get a full rotation of stylish men’s boots rolling. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sharp pair of leather sneakers, but the crisp breezes of fall lend themselves to staples that get a lot of play on The Style Guide during this time of year — everything from selvedge denim to classic chambray shirts to boots (and boots … and more boots).  So if you aren’t yet satisfied with your boot collection, or you find yourself looking to add another pair (or two, or three), we’ve got your shopping picks below. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily full-on functional boots that you’re going to want to stomp through the snow with  — that comes later this season. They are, however, boots that are equal parts sharp and stylish, casual and a bit more crisp. None of those are bad things to look for when shopping around, ehh? See how to style your boots via Instagram or over on the good ole Twitter-sphere.

#1. Thursday Boots Black Wingtip Boots — $200

The latest introduction from a brand that consistently delivers.

The latest introduction from a brand that consistently delivers.

Yow-za. Right? From durable suede chukka boots  to concert-ready moc toe boots, the team at Thursday Boots keeps expanding its arsenal in stellar fashion. The brand’s latest release — which just dropped last … Thursday (wink, wink) drives the brand forward even further. It’s a heck of a sharp wingtip boot done in sleek black. Even your author — who normally favors brown leather wingtip boots and the like — would consider taking these for a spin. The beauty of a sleek black pair of boots is that they’ll still work with garment-dyed chinos or blue denim  … or heck, sand chinos … no matter the day of the week.
Frank & Oak
#2. Johnston & Murphy Karnes Captoe Boot — $198

A lug sole, brogue captoe detailing and a sharp tan calfskin upper -- all big bonuses.

A lug sole, brogue captoe detailing and a sharp tan calfskin upper — all big bonuses.

The folks at Johnston & Murphy are doing big things as of late, from opening a new menswear-only shop in NYC to continuing to release excellent footwear staples for the season. The Karnes Captoe Boot is among that standout set of durable, style-forward and affordably priced boots, with hand-stained calfskin leather and brogue captoe detailing. Plus the charcoal wool ankle collar is a neat touch that adds comfort and seasonally appropriate texture. Wear these with jeans and a wool blazer or your favorite V-neck sweater and a classic chambray shirt for versatile style.

#3. CAT Footwear Sutter Boot $210

A rich shade of burgundy in oiled full-grain leather -- an excellent fall boot.

A rich shade of burgundy in oiled full-grain leather — an excellent fall boot.

From checking out the brand’s boots at Governor’s Ball this past summer to checking out their current crop of fall footwear offerings, this #menswear writer has been mighty impressed at what he’s seen from CAT Footwear. The Sutter Boot continues that upward streak in handsome fashion, crafted from oiled full-grain leather and featuring a rich burgundy color. The rubber outsole and Goodyear welt add plenty of durability — these are just the right boots to pair with grey flannel trousers and a navy peacoat to head to the office this fall and winter, seriously.

#4. Chippewa Original 6-Inch Service Boot in Crazyhorse — $269.95

Dependable, durable and surprisingly versatile -- that would be the 6-Inch Service Boot, folks.

Dependable, durable and surprisingly versatile — that would be the 6-Inch Service Boot, folks.

Chippewa Original means nothing but business when it comes to rugged, durable boots — picking ’em up through Huckberry means you can throw in some dependable accessories, too. The Service Boot plays off real working man’s boots, with a Goodyear welt and leather laces for both durability and long-lasting style. Yes indeed, these guys are a classic pair of fall boots, one that wouldn’t look out of place with slim selvedge denim as you head to a weekend coffee date. And lest you worry they aren’t quite versatile enough, you can still team with slim charcoal trousers and an elbow-patch cardigan for a bit of old-school office style.

#5. Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots in Black — $360 (Available via East Dane)

All-black everything -- and still highly wearable.

All-black everything — and still highly wearable.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I certainly do love a pair of rich brown leather boots — for their versatility, their sharp looks, you name it. Now, that being said — the above boots aren’t brown. A shock, I know — but crisp black boots (particularly the Original 1000 Mile Boot) are both a nice change of pace and an essential in a guy’s footwear rotation. They’re going to offer a slick contrast to everything from blue selvedge denim to olive chinos, and they’re going to do so while providing long-lasting durability. Even if you find yourself reaching for black boots over brown, that’s an underrated option to have on-hand for everything from crisp fall weekends to busy fall days at the office (or the classroom, or on campus — you get the picture, yeah?).
Huckberry

So, in reviewing the above #menswear picks, you might have noticed something missing. Perhaps Chelsea boots are more your thing? Check out this fall style suggestion, for starters. Maybe you’re a guy who loves stylish chukka boots? Knock yourself out.  The right pair of fall boots should mix durable style with rich seasonal colors and the ability to pair with durable denim, flannel trousers, olive chinos — and that’s just the start, ehh? Buying quality — like those pricey-yet-durable Chippewa Original Service Boots — can definitely pay dividends, too. If you think I missed any picks on this list, let me know over on The Style Guide Facebook page — it was tough to get to just five, I tell you what!

Happy shopping, and check back on Friday for our weekly #menswear news recap,

-Beau

Standout style: Rocking out at Panorama 2016

Editor’s note: Start here for personal style #menswear coverage.

The heat didn't stop me from rocking out in style. Linen-blend shirt by Old Navy. Silm Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Millbrook Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab.

The heat didn’t stop me from rocking out in style. Linen-blend shirt by Old Navy. Silm Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Millbrook Sunglasses by Steven Alan Optical. Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab.

Here at The Style Guide, I’m pretty thankful to get to write about what I love every week. But it’s even better when I get to combine my passions into one post, as I did this weekend when I headed to the first-ever Panorama festival in NYC rocking some great men’s style gear and rocking out to excellent tunes along the way. Panorama was a unique merger of music, art and technology, curated by the same team behind Coachella – and Saturday’s lineup, featuring luminaries like Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens and The National, was stellar. The festival blended the buzzing atmosphere with some premium food and beverage curated in part by the great folks at Eater.com, too.And of course, the day presented the perfect opportunity for me to combine those aforementioned passions into one heck of an afternoon (although if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’re aware of that!). Now, attending an outdoor festival in the heat of summer might seem like the opportune time to ditch decorum and dress to stay cool, but yours truly thinks just the opposite — bear with me.

Of note, stepping out on Saturday put me right smack-dab in the middle of some very hot weather — it was sunny, beautiful and in the 90s here in the Big Apple.  Even still, I was glad to be there as Panorama took over Randall’s Island, the site of this summer’s Governors Ball festival, (a similarly spectacular weekend). It was exciting to know that a quick subway trip brought me mere feet from (among others), The National, supremely talented purveyors of emotionally substantive music … but more on that in a second. Just know that for now, if you get the chance to see them, it’s a must. And if you manage to get as close as I somehow did, it’ll be even more astounding (just check out this video here, for one!).

Join Frank & Oak Elevate - Enjoy FREE Shipping, Cashback + more at Frank + Oak! Try it now for 90 days, risk free!To tackle the festival in style, I reached for a new pair of Thursday Boots — they’re a big Style Guide favorite for the way they blend price, quality and styling potential, and I tested out the rugged-refined Natural Diplomat Boot this weekend. It’s made from durable Horween leather that provided just the right amount of toughness, edge and style, plus excellent grip and plenty of durability for playing a little air guitar during a high-voltage afternoon set from British rockers Foals. Of course, they had to be able to fight for a spot in the crowd during a visually stunning show by Sufjan Stevens — and before that, I did plenty of rocking out to The National, one of my all-time favorite bands and the group behind one of my all-time favorite albums (that would be Boxer …. or perhaps it’s Trouble Will Find Me …. or maybe Alligator…). The band’s incredible, emotional show came after a blisteringly hot day out and about, and it’s a good thing I had apparel that stood up to the test. Challenges with the heat started early, even during a high-energy, engaging set from British duo Oh Wonder to kick off the day (note that if you dig what you hear from them, they’re working on a new album!).

Ready for a full day of rocking out. Linen-Blend Shirt by Old Navy. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Troubadour Socks by Richer Poorer. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belts. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Wristband by Panorama NYC.

Ready for a full day of rocking out. Linen-Blend Shirt by Old Navy. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Troubadour Socks by Richer Poorer. Hudson Belt by Arcade Belts. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Wristband by Panorama NYC.

Attending a great music festival often feels like multiple shows within one large, high-energy show — it’s fitting then, that my style blended multiple elements. To fight the heat (and yes, I’m aware I chose boots and denim), a linen-blend short-sleeve shirt courtesy of Old Navy worked quite well. Although the Navy color is now sold out, the white Flax Linen option on the site would be a reliable stand-in at your next music festival, with a much-needed linen blend and utilitarian chest pockets. It really was crucial to have versatile style, as the day shifted from a eclectic, mellow vibes of Oh Wonder  to a high-energy set put on Daughter. The quickly changing scenery called for durable accessories, too — no busted watches or sunglasses left behind here. Plus, my Tread for Men Traveler Sunscreen was a big help in protecting me from the sun.
Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

Chief among the rest of those accessories was a new personal favorite, the outstanding Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch. It reliably updates a vintage style for the modern man. I accentuated that crisp watch with a fun-to-wear pair of Millbrook sunglasses via Steven Alan Optical, which clock in at an agreeable price on top of great looks ($165). Certainly, every cent helps when cooling down with some nice refreshments and powering through a day of great shows.

Keeping track of time during the day with the Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow.

Keeping track of time during the day with the Mod Watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collab. Natural Diplomat Boots by Thursday Boots. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow.

Lest we think the day was all about the big-ticket items (and bands), small touches really do go a long way in completing an outfit, such as the Hudson Belt from Arcade Belt Co. It’s made with stretchy, comfortable and durable navy smartweave fabric, and the color worked well alongside my socks, the lightweight, breathable, teal-and-grey color-blocked Troubadour from the team at Richer Poorer. Those socks paired with my boots for an added touch of comfort, and that was crucial — it felt like a long run-up into the evening, but it really was worth it.

That brings us back, once again, to The National. While I certainly looked forward to dressing for the day in style and checking out other great acts, I’d been looking forward even more to seeing the hallowed indie rockers return (relatively close) to their home turf. Seeing them two years ago at Calvin College back in my home state of Michigan was, to be quite honest, a lifechanging show (right up there with seeing Lucius at Daryl’s House Club in upstate New York earlier this year). And this time around, The National absolutely didn’t disappoint. Although the entire set was stellar, early renditions of “Don’t Swallow the Cap” and “Afraid of Everyone” were huge crowd-pleasers, as was an uptempo take on “Sea of Love” off of the acclaimed Trouble Will Find Me. Being that close to the stage for those songs was epic, seriously. The Dessner brothers are one of the tightest guitar duos around, and the Devendorf brothers reliably carry the rhythm section, too. What more can you ask for?

They’ve got a discography that’s so deep and versatile, an hour isn’t nearly enough — even at a festival.  A soul-stirring rendition of “Bloodbuzz Ohio” played well off of two new songs, “The Day I Die” and “Find A Way” fit right in with the rest of the band’s live set, which also managed to work in “England” off of High Violet. The variety in their setlist means you might hear your favorite track at an unexpected time, and it means you might have to wait a bit longer, too. “Fake Empire” was distinctive and well-done, cueing up the crowd for an intense, loud version of the classic “Mr. November” (just ask the folks next to me how much I enjoyed that one). Although Mr. Berninger stayed on stage for that song, he made his way into the crowd for “Terrible Love” — I’m surprised the fans let him go! It was nothing short of emotionally stirring and incredible, probably worthy of a full blog post in its own right. It was a two-year wait to see them, but I can only hope less time goes by before I see them again.

If you get the chance to check them out at one of the many festivals they tend to play during the summer, please do. The same goes for their friend and a top-billed act in his own right, Sufjan Stevens. It was time to put away those sunglasses (and grab another round), as he powered through a visually stunning set — both The National & Sufjan could definitely play for twice as long, what with their deep discographies and high-energy stage shows. Of course, an act like Kendrick Lamar is a huge crowd-pleaser and puts on a high-energy stage show of his own, which drew by far the largest crowds of the day.

It was a heck of a day that really was packed top-to-bottom — bands like Oh Wonder and Foals also rounded out the day nicely with afternoon sets that fit with the festival’s more eclectic vibe. Attendance felt a bit light at times, but it provided the chance to grab some prime real estate during killer sets by some of my favorite acts (particularly, as we all know…. The National). And gear like my durable Thursday Boots Natural Diplomat Boot and the Timex x Todd Snyder Mod Watch was really crucial to taking on such a hot and busy day in style. It was such an honor and privilege to be able to see a renowned act like The National, and the rest of the lineup definitely didn’t disappoint. We’ll see if Panorama sticks around next year, but if they continue to curate an eclectic lineup packed with big names and solid variety, there’s a great chance it will be — and I’ll be there with my best menswear to rock out!

‘Til the next show,

-Beau

Huckberry

#OOTD: How to Style A Henley for Summer

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.

To me, there isn’t a style of shirt (without a collar, that is), that’s more versatile or rugged than a great short-sleeve henley. Although expressions of style and masculinity are changing all the time, there’s no doubt that a stylish henley is a still a reliable go-to if you want to upgrade your game and look a little tougher and stronger — or simply better in general — and that’s certainly true for the below tips on how to style a henley for summer. That goes for long-sleeve henleys with a vintage look, and it goes for fashionable short-sleeve henleys fit for fighting the warm weather. The button placket on well-made henleys adds some nice visual interest to looks both casual and a bit crisper, and in the right fit and color (like the slim-fitting indigo henley) below, you can wear the piece on its own with slim chino shorts or layered up under an unconstructed blazer for unique high-low style that can go to the office on a casual day and out on a date thereafter (I bet you’ll look  better than the fella in the ill-fitting suit — trust me). It can be a bit of a process to switch from a plain white tee to a knit with more texture, color and visual details (even if it is just a simple button placket). But those added small details make it a worthy style upgrade — especially when you ditch the long sleeves in favor of a piece that’s just as trim-fitting, yet a heck of a lot more ready for the warm weather. Invest in one that’s well-crafted and you can rock it under a spring jacket, beneath a fall blazer or as a complement to a warm shawl cardigan in winter. For now though, focus on great chinos, solid suede boots and other accessories just begging to be worn on a warm summer’s day. Chime in on the #OOTD discussion at our very own Style Guide Facebook page, and we’ll see you out shopping.

Pair a short-sleeve henley with staples you might already have in your closet, like stone chinos and suede chukka boots.

Pair a short-sleeve henley with staples you might already have in your closet, like stone chinos and suede chukka boots.

The Henley: Jason Scott Banks Short-Sleeve Henley in Indigo — $96: Nearly $100 is a certainly a steep price to pay, but that price gets you exceptional quality, terrific Peruvian fabric and finishing touches like antique metal buttons on the placket.

The Chinos: Taylor Stitch Slim Chinos in Light Stone — $98: Taylor Stitch chinos have been a Style Guide favorite for some time now, and the reliably ideal fit and excellent fabric quality and color make these a fine match for that indigo henley.

The Boots: Thursday Boots Honey Suede Scout Boot — $149: Just as with those Taylor Stitch chinos, the Scout Boot from Team Thursday has received positive reviews in this neck of the woods, for comfort and quality as much as looks. This rich Honey Suede pair really does have it all.

The Socks: American Trench Edo Collection Socks — $19.50: Nearly $20 for a pair of socks? You’re darn right, and they’re some of the best (if not the best) ones you can rock that are made in America at family mills. Plus, the color pops just the right amount against the faded indigo henley.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Double-Striped Webbing Belt — $14.50: Again, it’s a little counterintuitive that a belt would cost less than socks, but this piece is a bargain number that can be styled into several looks (see my Instagram for more examples, will ya?)

The Sunglasses: J. Crew Jack Sunglasses in Silver Navy — $98: As first seen on this site’s roundup of the best men’s sunglasses for summer, this pair of aviators is simple yet sleek and stylish (not to mention pretty cost-effective).

The Trunks: Tommy John Second Skin Titanium Trunk — $32: More than $30 sure is a heck of a lot to pay for underwear, but with what Tommy John can deliver in terms of quality, it’s worth it. The Dark Titanium color  shown here has sold fast, but check out their other colorways here.

The Watch: Timex x Red Wing Waterbury Chronograph — $158: Timex and Red Wing really have thrown everything they’ve got at this standout watch, with a  strap crafted from rugged Red Wing boot leather and a sturdy, classic-looking dial that’s super-functional and ready for just about anything (including NYC style adventures).

Sure, chinos and a henley might seem like a simple outfit combination at first glance, but it’s the upgraded, slimmer fits, richer colors and better quality that make this look acceptable for everything from grabbing beers at the bar to leaving early on a casual Friday (perhaps with a light grey blazer, if I do say so myself). And the other pieces in this ensemble, from a warm-weather friendly cotton belt to suede chukkas, can work in multiple seasons. Finally, there’s truly no bad time for a durable leather watch or a subtle-yet-stylish socks or crisp sunglasses. Making these pieces work in your favor by adding a lightweight sweater or swapping in a stainless steel dive watch is definitely going to pay style dvidends. Do we read each other loud and clear? Yes? Excellent.

‘Til next time!

Stay stylish,

-Beau

Frank & Oak

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Capital Style: A spring weekend in Washington, D.C.

washington-dc-edited-photo

Just the right staples for a spring weekend in Washington, D.C. The Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Hayden Grey Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Dark blue denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Runner Sneakers by Brooks Heritage.

 As I hinted at in this past Friday’s weekly reading roundup, I had the chance to travel just a few hours south via train to Washington, D.C. visit my great friend and former college roommate Ian Kullgren this weekend — and a lovely weekend it was. As it were, the last time we saw each other was back in East Lansing after graduation (home of our Michigan State Spartans). So, we had a lot to catch up on! Although the forecast threatened rain initially, the skies cleared up throughout the weekend and we were able to see a ton of Washington, D.C. I’d been to our nation’s capital back in November, but this time, the trip it was different – it was thankfully a lot warmer and sunnier, for one. And there was more to see given Ian’s location in the Woodley Park neighborhood of the city. So as the week wrapped up, I planned out what #menswear to pack and hit the road – planning ahead based on the weather and itinerary is something that’s gotten easier for me as time has gone on, (and hopefully, it’s the same for you!).

Easygoing gear for a weekend of adventures. Waxed Voyager Weekender by Owen & Fred. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Navy leather card case by Issara. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

Easygoing gear for a weekend of adventures. Waxed Voyager Weekender by Owen & Fred. Legend Sneakers by SeaVees. Stringer Dune Shorts by Bridge & Burn. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Navy leather card case by Issara. Brown leather watch by MVMT Watches.

Having traveled to some pretty neat places across the past handful of months (including a stylish weekend in Florida and a trip to Detroit), I knew a great bag was definitely needed for this particular trip — we’re talking something that can hold up trip after trip (and you should look for a similarly durable piece). Owen & Fred’s new Voyager Waxed Weekender, as seen above, more than fit the bill. It’s sturdy as heck, made in the USA and finished off with tough 9 oz. leather straps from one of America’s oldest tanneries, Wickett and Craig. Seriously, this bag is a beast, and I could definitely go on — but the rest of the trip calls! (Look for a full feature on the piece in this site’s Style Pick of the Week series soon).

After a quick train ride down to D.C., we still had enough time on Friday to check out some D.C. haunts with our friend and fellow Michigan State Spartan Emily Wilkins. Our mini bar crawl of sorts took us to the always-great Capitol Lounge (an MSU haven) and the renowned Little Miss Whiskey’s, with enough rare beer on tap and in bottles to make your head spin. We grabbed a nightcap (hot dog, that is) at the renowned Ben’s Chili Bowl – that’s a great chili dog right there.

A casual, cool outfit for exploring Washington, D.C. Hayden Gray Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Indigo Denim Jack Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Pilot's watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

A casual, cool outfit for exploring Washington, D.C. Hayden Gray Jacket by Bridge & Burn. Indigo Denim Jack Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Chariot Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Pilot’s watch by AVI-8. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers.

Saturday proved a busy day that took us around D.C. on foot for long periods of time – in that respect, I was glad I packed comfortably and with versatility in mind (like the outfit you see at the top of the page!). For exploring everywhere from the National Mall to the bustling 14th and U Street areas, I grabbed some extremely comfortable (and sharp) navy, light blue and red suede sneakers from the Brooks Heritage line — the sport-inspired lifestyle line from Brooks Running. While the pair you see here is now unfortunately sold out, there are plenty of versatile options to be had — and something clean and simple like the GREATS Rosen Runner would also work just as well for travel adventures.

The lightweight, comfortable Hayden Gray Jacket from Bridge & Burn topped off what’s perhaps my new favorite shirt, the Jack in Indigo Star from the fine folks at Taylor Stitch — versatility is key when traveling for a quick weekend trip, and this shirt (just like a classic chambray shirt) definitely nailed it. And no matter where you go, some crisp and classic dark denim is always a solid bet — particularly if inclement weather is potentially in the picture. I grabbed a pair that’s a personal favorite, my Mott and Bow Skinny Mosco denim (the brand also stocks classic dark denim in other cuts, too). They’re simple, slim-fitting and particularly effective for a casual trip.

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We covered a lot of ground, from strolling through the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art to marveling at the National Archives and the Declaration of Independence – the first time I’d been back there since my 8th grade class field trip (no blog post covering that trip, sadly). We also made time to meet up with two old college friends (Go Green!), Gabby Saldivia and Colin Marshall, both talented folks who work at NPR – being around so many communications pros reminded me why I picked up that degree in the first place! If you fancy gobbling up some gourmet brews and delicious bites, Glen’s Garden Market is the place to do just that.  A post-dinner drink was definitely in order, this time at Smoke N’Barrel. Although we didn’t eat any of the restaurant’s famous barbeque, it looked mighty tempting.

Sunday's outfit grid for D.C adventures -- a Pima Crewneck Tee from Mack Weldon, Slim Light Mercer Denim from Mott & Bow and Brown Scout Chukka Boots from Thursday Boots. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

Sunday’s outfit grid for D.C adventures — a Pima Crewneck Tee from Mack Weldon, Slim Light Mercer Denim from Mott & Bow and Brown Scout Chukka Boots from Thursday Boots. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

For the rest of the trip, I brought along another trusty pair of denim from Mott & Bow, the all-new Light Mercer. Think of these as a step down from chinos and a …. step sideways from dark denim in terms of color and texture. That is, they can be dressed up like chinos or dressed down like denim — but you get a lot of comfort either way. For Sunday explorations, I also threw on a comfortable Mack Weldon Crewneck Tee. It’s admittedly simple and minimal, but the tee is comfortable and a great match for the color of the light denim. Crucially, the combo was also the perfect match for a terrific pair of Brown Scout Boots from the always on-point team at Thursday Boot Company.

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During my last trip to Washington, D.C., I also brought along a pair of chukkas from the brand, but I swapped out the Chocolate Suede Scout Boot for the brown leather boots you see here — and I was just as pleased with the results. They took me seamlessly around the city all throughout Friday night and on Sunday. The sturdy rubber sole of that chukka definitely helped for lots of on-foot trekking (and bar-crawling, if we’re honest with ourselves).I closed out Sunday with a quick stop in the D.C. outpost of Frank & Oak, one of my favorite men’s lifestyle brands — that was a real treat! And it was great to be able to grab a quick afternoon coffee at The Wydown, one of the city’s best coffee shops.

Sunday done right in D.C. Pima Crewneck Tee by @mackweldon. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Customized Fairfield Watch by Mott & Bow.

Sunday done right in D.C. Pima Crewneck Tee by Mack Weldon. Slim Light Mercer Denim by Mott & Bow. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Customized Fairfield Watch by Timex.

Packing for any trip also requires some attention to the little things, the same sort of accessories you might wear at home — namely, a stylish casual watch or two. I was definitely pleased with the versatility and durability of my new AVI-8 Flyboy (similar to the model shown in the link), complete with a black leather strap that matched up just fine with my suede sneakers. And whenever I travel, my trusty MVMT Watches 40 Timepiece is also a frequent companion. Plus, my new Timex Weekender Fairfield (seen above) is sharp, stylish and a terrific value. A minimal leather watch can pair with everything from navy sneakers to brown chukkas, and it works with a blazer and khaki chinos if your travels call for something a bit more polished. So given the laidback nature of this trip, it worked more than fine for both travel and exploration.

I also prefer to bring along finishing touches that can make all the difference between traveling in comfort and, well… not traveling in comfort. In this instance, that means my dependable dopp kit from the Byrd x Richer Poorer collaboration, as well as a few everyday grooming essentials from the always-reliable Baxter of California. And additional pieces like a great pair of Mack Weldon boxer briefs and stylish-yet-understated American Trench socks weren’t overlooked in my bag — and they shouldn’t be in yours, either.

As trips like these tend to go, it felt a bit too brief (such is life when trying to coordinate around the schedules of a journalist and a PR guy!). But I really felt like I was able to experience much more of the city than in past trips, from a stop through the National Archives that gave me some great historical perspective, to a walk through the National Gallery of Art and time spent along the bustling, hip U Street area. It’s a city that’s more varied than meets the eye – it’s not all tour groups and national monuments (although seeing those monuments made me feel pretty patriotic). There’s a burgeoning menswear scene, the dining (and local craft beer selection) is on-point, and it’s quite easy to get around – that’s just a handful of the major pluses I experienced in a quick weekend. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a visit – and if you’ve been before or you live there, you already know that! I’ll be back again. Until then, look for more on The Style Guide tomorrow covering a stylish spring outfit suggestion.

Thanks for reading!

-Beau

Florsheim

Online Shopping Picks: Stylish Men’s Chelsea Boots to Buy Right Now

Editor’s note: Get the scoop on all the #menswear you could ever need with all The Style Guide’s online shopping picks.

Chelsea boots via ASOS, with a bit of seasonal wear-and-tear. Learn how to style yours below, folks.

Chelsea boots via ASOS, with a bit of seasonal wear-and-tear. Learn how to style yours below, folks.

In case the headline wasn’t enough of an indicator, today we’re talking Chelsea boots on The Style Guide. Like other pieces that once seemed relatively trendy (remember when J. Crew  nearly single-handedly brought back the now-essential chambray shirt?), these guys have practically become a safe bet as far as a great footwear option for stylish guys. They’re not as hearty as a sturdy pair of winter boots, to be sure, but in the right style and color, they can definitely work in three seasons — and maybe four, if the snow holds out. The silhouette is generally sleek and sharp, and that seemingly goes for whether you pick ’em up in brown or black leather, or suede — all picks seen below. A bit of rocker edge never hurt anyone, either. And while at first it might take a while to get used to just slipping into a pair of boots — as it did for me — you might soon find they’re your go-to footwear option when you want to step away from leather sneakers, dress shoes or more military-inspired boots. Check out today’s Style Guide picks, and give us a look on Facebook for all the menswear content you can possibly ‘Like.’

#1. Thursday Boot Company Brown Duke Boot — $199

A reliable and (hopefully) hard-wearing pick from an upstart brand.

A reliable and (hopefully) hard-wearing pick from an upstart brand.

While it was an exceptionally close call between the Duke Boot and the Ellis Boot from Jack Erwin (option numero dos), a slightly lower price and more versatile brown leather swayed this writer (more readily wearable in winter, see?). Thursday Boots continues to be a solid option if you want to up your boot game for not a whole lot o’ dough, and they nearly always deliver. You get better quality than a pair of Chelsea boots from a fast retailer like H&M, yet you’re not ponying up an arm and a leg from a pricier brand. Added details like the studded rubber outsole should ensure a smooth grip no matter the season.

#2. Jack Erwin Ellis Chelsea Boot in Brown Suede — $220

Sleek and sturdy at the same time -- a nice combination.

Sleek and sturdy at the same time — a nice combination.

Perhaps it’s the thought of springtime being (hopefully) not too far off, but these beautiful Jack Erwin brown suede Chelsea boots end up near the top of this list for a few great reasons.  On the comfort end of the equation, these boots feature a rubber sole and full leather lining — both things you’ll be grateful for if you’re out and about a lot. And on the looks end of things, the suede appears rich and high-quality — take ’em for a spin with some white jeans when the time comes. Sure, they’ll require a little extra care and will probably be needed to shelved when heavy snow hits, but the rest of the time, they’re on the money.

#3. Wolverine 1883 Garrick Chelsea Boot — $175

Heritage-quality leather and rugged style details at an approachable price.

Heritage-quality leather and rugged style details at an approachable price.

As sold by East Dane, these boots are part of Wolverine’s 1883 line, which has more than a dozen individual styles on the brand’s Web site. The biggest thing to note here is that, somewhat incredulously, you’re getting the Wolverine brand name for under $200 — no small feat when you look at the brand’s 1000 Mile line (particularly the Camden Chelsea Boot). At any rate, the Garrick is a slightly more rustic-looking Chelsea boot, what with burnishing details on the toe and heel, plus that wrinkled leather. These will still do just fine with dark denim or navy chinos, and they’d even add a nice contrast to spring denim.

#4. ASOS Tan Suede Chelsea Boot — $68.43

Dark tan suede Chelsea boots that combine some unique color with a terrific price.

Dark tan suede Chelsea boots that combine some unique color with a terrific price.

Got an extra two quarters lying around? So these ASOS Chelsea boots are, it goes without saying, a downright steal for the price. And they’re another style that, like the Florsheim boots above, are a very worthy pickup if you’re looking to dip your toes into this trend. They’re cut a little lower on the heel for a slightly more continental look . Note that the suede isn’t the highest-quality, but it’s actually held up decently as part of a rotation and with less winter wear (the pair you see at the top of the page belong to yours truly — thanks Santa!).

#5. Florsheim Indie Gore Boot in Toffee — $99.90

More casual in nature thanks to the color and gore detailing.

More casual in nature thanks to the color and gore detailing.

Florsheim’s Indie Gore Boot has bit more going on visually than the typical Chelsea boot thanks to the side-gore detailing and the textured leather. Those aren’t all bad things, though. You’re getting a more casual pair of Chelsea boots — there is such a thing — for a great price. Feel free to beat these things up a bit; they’re the perfect pair to pick up if you’re just giving the silhouette a try. The Toffee color would sit nicely under some slim wool trousers now, and they’d work equally well under lightwash denim in the spring.

Putting together this list was quite tricky — it’s certainly no small feat to sort through Chelsea boot options when lauded retailers like Common Projects are throwing their (very minimal) hats in the ring. If you find yourself on an extreme budget but really want to go for the style, an option like H&M isn’t all bad for now, and more comfort-minded brands like Dr. Scholls are also producing Chelsea boots with a rugged edge. The biggest key to keep in mind is how you can make them work for you. If you find yourself wearing a lot of slim denim and mixing staples like tees with unconstructed blazers, the Chelsea boot is going to be a similarly slick style option. But if you need a more rugged pair of boots for crossing town, maybe save these guys for special occasions. Either way, it’s one footwear option I’d say you should give some thought to in the coming weeks — before everyone else beats you to the punch!

Stay stylish and happy shopping,

-Beau
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The Product Review: Thursday Boot Company Diplomat Boot

Editor’s note: For a full set of product reviews covering everything #menswear — from watches to chinos — click here.

Getting out and about in NYC with the Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot from Thursday Boot Company. Slim tan chinos by Banana Republic. Striped henley by J. Crew Fisherman Cardigan by JackThreads. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Buffalo Bobber Leather Gloves by Iron & Resin.

Getting out and about at the High Line in NYC with the Thursday Boot Company Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot. Slim tan chinos by Banana Republic. Striped henley by J. Crew Fisherman Cardigan by JackThreads. Merino watch cap by American Trench. Buffalo Bobber Leather Gloves by Iron & Resin. Glasses by Warby Parker.

If you peruse the pages of this blog from time to time, certain brands definitely tend to pop up consistently for their mix of affordability, dependability and, in the case of Thursday Boot Company, seasonality. That is to say, in the depths of winter for a lot us, you need sturdy, tough footwear that can carry you through slush and snow to your car (or the subway), and then wherever the heck else you might need to go — be it a concert, a date, you name it.  So that’s what we’re looking at today. The brand’s boots have been featured here prominently before, including a review of the Chocolate Suede Scout Chukka and the dearly departed Roughout Captain Boot. First launched as a Kickstarter project not even two years ago, the brand continues to make splashes with well-timed and well-executed releases — including its more premium Black Label line and unique silhouettes like the hiker-inspired Commander. But one boot in particular is the focus of today’s post — the Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot.

Florsheim

The silhouette definitely calls to mind the classic Red Wing Heritage Moc Toe Boot, yet the Thursday iteration is sleeker and more refined. There’s something to be said for that, despite the fact that it’s a moc toe boot. This pair forgoes the classic yellow laces in favor of sleeker flat-wax laces, just as the Roughout Captain Boot. And the sleekness and quality of this pair for the price is evident as soon as you get them out of the box. Looking for a boot that’s just different enough than a captoe boot or a chukka boot — yet still versatile and sufficiently sharp — is a somewhat tricky endeavor, but these boots fill that void nicely.

Unboxing the Diplomat Boot from Thursday Boot Company. Big fans of these guys.

Unboxing the Diplomat Boot from Thursday Boot Company. Big fans of these guys.

Crucially, they make use of renowned Horween leather in that covetable Color No. 8 shade that’s popped up on everything from boots to watch straps in recent years. The change of pace from a roughout leather or a dark brown or black boot is refreshing, yet it’s not as distinctive as, say, a Dr. Martens Boot. That’s a very good thing — these look sporty thanks to the ridged Vibram Christy sole, yet I still found they paired comfortably with tan chinos and a striped henley for exploring around Manhattan. I did find (and I’ve found with other boots in this style), that the leather breaks in easier than other leathers — and because of the shine of this pair, it shows creases more easily (as you can see below). However, it’s nothing some well-timed leather care can’t fix, and it definitely doesn’t detract from their wearability.

Lining them up after a few weeks of wear. With some care and treatment, the Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot should hold up just fine.

Lining them up after a few weeks of wear. With some care and treatment, the Color No. 8 Diplomat Boot should hold up just fine.

That’s another area in which this pair of boots excels — the versatility, erm, department. I’ve broken them out with a slim chambray shirt and a wool blazer, and I’ve rocked them with the aforementioned tan chinos, too. A trim pair of denim breaks just right on the bend of the boots, making for a pretty sleek look (something that can help everyone out). I could definitely see them working well with some wool trousers and perhaps a navy crewneck sweater on a more casual day at the office. The burgundy color would also pop nicely with some trim black denim (more on that later this week), and they’re going to fit right in with lightwash jeans in the spring, too.

One of two other options in the brand's Diplomat silhouette, this one made out of Natural Horween leather.

One of two other options in the brand’s Diplomat silhouette, this one made out of Natural Horween leather.

The white ripple sole might cause some to shy away from these boots — after all, it’s different than what we’re normally accustomed to seeing in the way of boots. But that again makes it a nice style move. It’s not as if these boots are absurdly priced, so if you’ve been looking to try something different, this is but one way to go. The Diplomat line  also features a pair of Natural Horween leather boots with a Goodyear-welted sole, and a pair in Brown leather. So, the Color No. 8 pair is just one way to make an impression.

And yet, it’s the pair I’ve found myself gravitating toward the most. Thankfully, the other details work out as promised. The eyelets and laces have held up well trekking through the Brooklyn snow, although the lack of extreme traction could be a bit tricky in some instances. However, the Vibram sole is also as comfortable as advertised, even when worn for long periods of time. They run true to size, so there was no slippage (or cramping up of my feet, conversely) with some striped socks. Some have had issues with stitching imperfections or other problems around the sole, but there were no major problems with this pair — again, one reason why it’s worth it to pony up for a pair of these as opposed to something from, say, H&M.

They’re nice enough that if you were feeling adventurous, you could rock them with a slim grey flannel suit and a chambray dress shirt. Make sure you nail the break of those trousers and you’re all set. And that’s about all you can ask for from a sub-$250 pair of boots, especially ones made from Color No. 8 Horween Chromexcel leather. From chinos to jeans to wool trousers, they can do it all. Even on days besides Thursday (see what I did there?).

Have you tried out some boots from Thursday Boot Company yet? How would you style this pair?
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