The Friday Read: Frank and Oak, Stylish Men’s Home Goods and The xx

Editor’s note: Expect these posts once a week on Fridays — consider this a jumpstart on reading for your weekend downtime. Expect a mix of style and non-style content. For more entries, click here.

If you’ve had to check your calendar to confirm that it really is Friday again, you’re not alone. Between attending some excellent menswear trade shows — including Capsule Show and Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs — holding down the day job and working on this here blog, it’s positively flown by. It’s always refreshing to get out “in the field,” meet new brands and make new connections — good things in store ahead, I assure you. With those shows in the books, I’m truly looking forward to the weekend because, well, it’s my birthday! OK, that’s out of the way. But with any luck, I’ll get a few great #menswear gifts to feature on The Style Guide (‘cuz men’s style never sleeps). In classic fashion, I certainly intend on kicking back with a few craft brews — oh, and brunch. Absolutely, brunch. I’m particularly excited to partner with Frank and Oak on some content on behalf of the brand this weekend, too. You’ll be able to look for a full personal style post in that regard on Monday, of course! In the meantime, sit back and tuck in– this week, we talked the best men’s home goods to buy now, and we also filled you in on potentially your new favorite leather weekender bag. A lot happened in the men’s style world, too — read on below, join me on Instagram  and see what’s cooking over on Twitter. Cheers!

  • Regardless of how you feel about President Trump, it’s clear that some of his economic and trade, err, policies could directly impact the fashion industry. Specifically, American-made menswear. Esquire takes a deep dive into the issue this week; for what’s it worth, we here at The Style Guide — by we, I mean myself — will continue to cover and support brands that do high-quality work, anywhere and everywhere, but especially in the U.S.A.
  • We’re switching off of #menswear for the time being and diving into an album that’s been in my headphones — and perhaps yours, too — since it came out earlier this month. Esquire (those guys again) put together a beautifully composed feature on The xx and the band’s beautifully composed new album, “I See You.” I’d urge a listen if you want to lift your mood and your day, folks.
  • If stylish, technical and functional outerwear is your thing, read up on my latest GearMoose feature covering the sleek Sentinel Field Jacket — and maybe complement that purchase with a pair of the best men’s gloves for winter?
  • Last but not least — if you, like myself, will be fumbling around this weekend for your wallet, grab the Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet and solve that problem handsomely (it’s a bit of a throwback post, but useful in its own right).

As always — thank you for reading, and join us tomorrow for what I think you’ll find is a very winter-centric Style Pick of the Week. Fist bumps all around, and you can keep my tab open (wink, wink).

-Beau

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Style Q+A: Buck Mason

Editor’s note: For more in our Style Q+A series, click here. The following post is not sponsored in any way by Buck Mason, although affiliate banners may appear in other select posts.

An American lifestyle brand that's, well, inspired by and built in America. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

An American lifestyle brand that’s, well, inspired by and built in America. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

There are some brands that do one thing, and do it so well, that you can’t help but appreciate them. For yours truly over here, that’s been the case with Buck Mason, purveyors of, among other great #menswear, possibly the best T-shirt on the market. That’s certainly saying something, but it’s the approach and the end result that makes them a brand worth knowing — that goes for other classic style staples they produce, like sturdy raw indigo denim, essential chambray shirting, cotton linen shorts and critically, Buck Mason’s famous slim chinos. Across the board, the attention to detail that goes into something as seemingly simple as one of the brand’s slim slub tees is pretty remarkable, right down to details like the curved hem and the textured fabric. It’s that approach that’s won over your humble author, as I’ve followed the brand for a few years now and covered their essential tees for The Manual. It makes sense that with such a reliable, classic and well-made product assortment, they were bound to be a Style Guide favorite. And learning more about the brand only reinforces that notion. Co-founders Sasha Koehn and Erik Schnakenberg were kind enough to answer some essential questions about the brand for this site’s ongoing Style Q+A series , which delves into the minds of Style Guide friends like Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend and Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent. So sit back, read on and perhaps swing over to the Buck Mason site to shop more great menswear.

The Style Guide: Take me into the background of Buck Mason and the “A-ha” moment that launched the brand and the brand’s ideals?

Sasha Koehn: A few years back, I was visiting my family in Cleveland when I stumbled upon these old, abandoned factories, and it dawned on me how few American companies actually make stuff here. I looked into it, and discovered that 97% of the clothing purchased in America is made overseas and that almost all of it is sold at a retail mark up of over 600%. That was really my call to action, and I knew I could build something around that.

Erik Schakenberg: At the same time, we didn’t want to be putting more filler out into the world. We wanted to create a brand that manufactures domestically, but that also produces value; garments that are timeless, and mean something.

SK: We wanted to simplify the male wardrobe to a clean, effortless style that we felt could stand the test of time. Our designs are derived from classic American staples that men feel comfortable in.

ES: We thought, “Let’s make high quality, affordable goods, and let’s make them here.” Because Sasha and I were both coming at this from a more creative – possibly even idealistic ­- place, the usual roadblocks like margin didn’t apply. The bottom line was irrelevant, we just decided we were going to do it and make it work. Sometimes not knowing exactly what you’re getting into allows you to see things a little differently, and to go down paths everyone else thinks are dead ends.

Once we figured out the concept, we shifted to thinking about the execution. How can we make our products accessible, while still taking care of the people who make them? We decided on a consumer direct model­ instead of wholesaling our products to a traditional retailer, who would have to mark them up in order to make a profit, we sell directly to the customers ourselves. This way we can keep the prices low, while still paying everyone in our supply chain a fair wage.

TSG: The brand’s product categories have expanded over time, but take me into the process of starting out with basics like tees?

SK: If we had a motto, it would be design through reduction, which is completely unusual. My father’s a sculptor, works in stone, chips away at massive blocks; we’re doing the same thing. It’s subtractive, you take your raw material and you cut away the noise, the nonsense, the excess, until you’re left with something simple and refined and perfect. We aggregate, and subtract, and what’s left? The cut, the fabric, and the construction.

Distillation, that’s how you make the best t­shirts, jeans, button­-ups and chinos in the world.

SK: Whether you’re shopping online, going to the mall, or at a department store, there is a good chance you are sifting and sorting through hundreds of irrelevant styles, colors, and patterns before you actually find what you want.

ES: We don’t focus much on fashion or the pantone color of the month, and trend forecasting isn’t really our thing. We take the staples, your oxford, chino, jean and tee, and we strip it. No unnecessary branding, no filler. Then we rebuild it with incredible fabrics in cuts and colors guys look great in. The classics made better than the classics, that’s what we do.

SK: We want to completely reduce the overwhelming shopping experience. There’s so much detritus, so much junk out there ­ culling the line was essential. We really try to stick to what we’re good at, and what our guy needs. It harkens back to that subtractive approach. Our stuff is so pared down and smart, you’d be hard pressed to put together an outfit that looked bad. Seriously.

Just a plain T-shirt? Think again -- made in America construction, slubby fabric and small style details make this one a big-time winner. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

Just a plain T-shirt? Think again — made in America construction, slubby fabric and small style details make this one a big-time winner. Photo courtesy of Buck Mason.

TSG: What would you say sets Buck Mason T-shirts apart from others on the market?

ES: There’s been an incredible reaction to Buck Mason tees. Thousands of customers have waited months on a waiting list for us to restock our signature shirttail hem t­-shirt. One reason it’s such a hit is the rounded hem in the back hides a little extra weight if you happen to carry it. It’s a $60 by any other brand. … Affordable pricing allows us to serve more customers, and not be limited to a small demographic like most of our peers in the luxury space.

SK: We’ve totally bypassed the archaic wholesale model by selling directly to consumers online, and through our brick-and-mortar shops in Venice and Silver Lake. That way, we can offer well-­crafted garments at competitive prices, with the added benefit of stateside job growth.

Frank & Oak
TSG: What are some styling tips you would give the guy who wants to try out one of your tees but isn’t sure how to wear it?

SK: Our collection is really for everyone. Our stuff is so understated that there’s room for interpretation. It’s clothing as a vessel, the guy is what’s important. It’s not about the label, it’s about fit, and fabric and construction. If you appreciate that, you’re our guy.

ES: There is a group of men who want to look great but don’t necessarily care about fashion or trends. They want to invest the least amount of time possible to achieve a sophisticated, cool style. We don’t only design for that guy, but we always consider him, since he really stands for what Sasha and I are all about.

SK:  Aren’t the best-dressed people always the one’s who look like they aren’t trying? That’s what we offer; a line that you can mix and match with stuff you already have, or with our stuff, and you’ll look terrific. It’s about crafting clothes that’ll look great in ten, twenty, thirty years. And with our quality, it’s going to.

TSG: Are there other product categories in which the brand might expand in the future?

ES: We’re going to be releasing our first outerwear piece in the fall: the perfect leather Motorcycle jacket. We don’t want to give too much away – but believe us when we tell you it’s going to be one of the best-made, best-fitting, and best-priced moto jackets out there.

TSG: Is there anything else exciting in the works for the brand?

SK: We just finished converting a full-size 1997 GMC Bluebird school bus into a mobile Buck Mason store. We rebuilt it from the wheels up, and the aesthetic matches that of our retail shops and website – a white, clean, minimal interior filled with textures and elements that embody Buck Mason. When you enter it, you get a sense of who we are right away, and it’s a fun and unique way for customers to shop our product, and much more engaging than the traditional brick and mortar retail experience. And, eventually, we’re actually going to be taking it out on the road. Customers outside of LA don’t get to go hands-on with our stuff, so we’re really looking forward to bringing our American-made products to America. Plus, who doesn’t love a good road trip?

To keep up with the goings-on over at the brand’s HQ, follow Buck Mason on Instagram or Twitter. To keep up with the fella writing this post, hit the ‘Follow’ button on IG.

Florsheim

Huckberry

#OOTD: How to Dress for the 2016 Olympics

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 will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here.

OK, so the title of this post isn’t 100 percent accurate — if you’re really competing in the Olympics, you’re probably not wearing the below ensemble. If you’re watching them, however — here we are. They only come up once every four years, so it’s likely that dressing to watch the 2016 Olympics might not have crossed your mind until now. But, like heading out to a warm-weather bar crawl or grabbing Sunday brunch, it’s a scenario that’s an opportunity to look your best when others might not be all that focused on doing so. It’s also a time that can be patriotic and pretty fun — who doesn’t love the Olympics, right? So that’s what this #OOTD is tackling — assuming you’re in a warm-weather area and possibly getting out and trying to recreate some athletic feats of your own in a game of backyard volleyball. With that in mind, this outfit is part sporty, part stylish and filled with a few atypical style upgrades. Those include an upgraded graphic tee and some crisp, classic sneakers — but you can see the full look below. For more daily style inspiration, check out yours truly on Instagram and follow along with my #menswear Twitter.

An ensemble that's sport-inspired yet not packed with athletic gear, finished off with classic footwear and shades.

An ensemble that’s sport-inspired yet not packed with athletic gear, finished off with classic footwear and shades.

The T-Shirt: Todd Snyder Miami Capsule T-shirt, $68 — While you can definitely go with a classic, Olympics-inspired graphic tee, this tee is premium, slim-fitting and still sporty while remaining wearable for other occasions.

The Shorts: Mack Weldon Ace Short, $65 — A pair of shorts that works for both sporty backyard activities and lounging around in style can be tough to find; however, this pair has a more tailored look than one would expect, and still performs well.

The Sneakers: SeaVees Hermosa Plimsoll Standard, $78 — Highly affordable, highly wearable and able to stylishly offset the brighter blue shorts. An American classic.

The Socks: Sock Genius Villa Park Stripe No-show Sock, $10 — If you caught the recent Style Pick of the Week feature on Sock Genius, you know that these no-show socks are durable, breathable and comfortable — that makes ’em  a winner.

The Watch: Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray Watch, $ — You need a durable casual watch in your arsenal for a variety of reasons (particularly if you’re playing some Olympic-inspired backyard games), and the Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray is a personal favorite that’s held up very well over time.

The Briefs: Flint & Tinder Heritage Boxer Briefs, $28 — Although they’re not pictured above, you can’t forget made-in-America boxer briefs that feature a custom woven waistband and comfortable fabric.

The Hat: Huckberry Explorer’s Cap, $39.98 —  Swapping out your athletic logo ballcap for a more subtle, refined hat is a solid style upgrade that makes a difference — this is the perfect cap to wear for the occasion (note the blue-and-white color) and it can even dress down a classic polo and chino shorts.

The Sunglasses: Randolph Engineering Crew Chief Sunglasses in Gunmetal, $158.98 — To root on America, there’s no better pick than sunglasses that are, well, made right in America. These are durable, premium and wearable with your best suit, too.

The Must-Have: Owen & Fred NFL Leather Coasters, $29.98 — Whether you’re enjoying a cold brew or a plain lemonade, some stylish leather coasters are a nice accessory to have, particularly if you’re hosting.

While you can always go full-on patriotic and rock an official USA jersey (soccer jerseys seem to be a popular and relatively refined pick), working with the pieces in this #OOTD provides you with versatility the rest of the summer and beyond. A subtle graphic tee is a more premium pick than a plan tee, and French terry shorts that fit trim and eschew an athletic logo are a great pick, too. Plus, an upgrade ballcap is a solid style move, and a durable rubber-strap watch should have you set for more outdoor activities beyond the Olympics. Have other #OOTD suggestions or style questions? Head over to The Style Guide Facebook page for more #menswear.

How are you planning on dressing for the Olympics? Leave it all in the comments below!
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Reader Giveaway Opportunity: Iron & Resin

Read on to find out how these stellar Iron & Resin gloves could be yours. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Read on to find out how these stellar Iron & Resin gloves could be yours. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Editor’s note: This giveaway is now closed, but thanks so much to everyone who participated! And congrats to @UberOwen, the winner via Instagram of a great pair of Buffalo Bobber Gloves.

There are certain products you see on store shelves that you’re left thinking about when you walk away. I had the great fortune of attending a fall boot collection launch event at the Wolverine Company Store in NYC back in August, and while there, I stumbled across a stunning pair of gloves sitting on a shelf. How no one snapped them up, I’ll never know. Of course, they fit right in next to the rugged boots on display. And even just picking them up, I could instantly tell the leather was extremely high-quality, and the production value moreso. That night, in short, kickstarted my interest in Iron & Resin. This is one US-focused company that’s doing right by keeping its production and product assortment extremely close to home.  I’ve had the chance to write about them for VOUCH Mag and Effortless Gent, and I’ve been mightily impressed after diving into their Web site and learning more about the brand.

They stock an assortment of stellar third-party lifestyle, apparel and home goods, including accessories from the likes of Owen & Fred, alongside ridiculously sturdy-looking jackets and other gear made by the brand itself. It’s all fit for the open road — literally. It’s that commitment to great journeys, places & people — and to great USA-made goods — that’s helped the brand carve out such a niche. You can find everything from indigo shirts to surfing gear to those famously durable, made-in-America gloves on the brand’s newly revamped Web site.

And with winter on the way for many of us, it’s those incredible gloves that’ll likely come in handy (literally) out there  They’ve got superior abrasion resistance and a rolled cuff for ease of movement, so they’ll certainly stand up to whatever winter brings your way. Heck, you might never need another pair of gloves — they’re made for motorcycle riding, so they’ll stand up to your commute just fine. So without further delay, read on to find out how you can win the excellent Buffalo Bobber Gloves from Iron & Resin.

Best of luck to those entering!

  • Head to my Instagram and be sure to follow myself and Iron & Resin — they have an absolutely beautiful feed, and plenty of followers to prove it!
  • Like either Wednesday or Thursday’s Iron & Resin-themed photo, and in the comments, tell me how you plan to get out and explore in your new gloves this fall & winter! Use #IronAndResin, as well.
  • Be on the lookout for a winner announcement through an IG message on Thursday night!

Best of luck to everyone entering and as always,

Stay stylish,

-Beau

Style Pick of the Week: American Trench Cotton Rugby Stripe Socks

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

Pick one or pick 'em all -- just one of several solid sock options from American Trench.

Pick one or pick ’em all — just one of several solid sock options from American Trench.

The photo and title of this post isn’t a mistake, trust me. We’re just talking about socks, right? Indeed. A great pair of socks is indispensable no matter the time of year, be they a no-show pair for the warm days of summer or something a little thicker — like these Cotton Rugby Stripe Socks from American Trench. You might recognize the brand from a past entry as part of this site’s Style Q&A series, and if you haven’t paid attention to date, it’s best time you start. The brand is all about crisp, clean, understated designs, something that sets them apart from other sockmakers who favor bolder, louder patterns. A pop of color or a great pattern is definitely to be commended, and those are the types of socks I wear myself more often than not  — yet when a knitwear company lets the fabrics and materials speak moreso than the pattern, that’s when you take notice. American Trench manufactures its socks at family-owned mills in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and does so in small quantities — so you definitely get what you pay for. And at $44 for a 4-pack of the socks pictured above, that’s a very good thing.

The medium weight and striped pattern make these socks a great pair to ground complementary colors. Sky-blue chinos by Combatant Gentleman. Waterproof chukka boots by Timberland.

The medium weight and striped pattern make these socks a great pair to ground complementary colors. Sky-blue chinos by Combatant Gentleman. Waterproof chukka boots by Timberland.

That’s one thing to note about the brand’s socks overall — they are indeed pricey compared to your average pair. But you get the choice of some intriguing fabric blends — pima cotton and superfine merino are but two picks — plus a nice swath of colors fit to pair with everything from inky blue denim to grey chinos. And as you can see above, the brand’s Triple Stripe sock offers a solid complement to some sky-blue chinos, too. After testing out some pairs through this fall, these socks are every bit as good as advertised — and priced. They’re comfortable, breathable and stylish. There are small points of reinforcement (or what feels like thicker fabric) at heavier wear areas, and they don’t slide down your calves throughout the day thanks to a spandex-lycra blend. The option to select from some neat designs, like a zany-yet-reserved Fair Isle pattern, is another bonus. The pairs I’ve tried out — including those Fair Isle socks — fit comfortably in some sturdy boots, and they also fit in just fine with a nice pair of leather sneakers. Add all this onto the fact that they’re durable, comfortable and made in America, and you might not want to buy from another sock brand this fall — or any other season.

Do you own any socks from American Trench? How do you like your socks — wild and wacky, or more reserved?

Ben Sherman US

Style Pick of the Week: Gustin Pocket T-Shirt

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

Three colors of this pocket T-shirt available for simple, easygoing style.

Three colors of this pocket T-shirt available for simple, easygoing style. Image courtesy of Gustin.

Gustin’s menswear business model is certainly the first of its kind that’s grown to such a large scale so quickly, and for good reason. Each of the brand’s crowdfunded offerings, from denim to workwear jackets, has been closely and carefully considered, right down to the excellent fabrics they use. That’s why it was great to see them add another simple, well-made, American-manufactured item to their rotation earlier this week: the pocket T-shirt.

The heather grey version up close.

The heather grey version up close (on model). Image courtesy of Gustin.

Gustin’s regular crewneck T-shirts were funded pretty quickly when they first launched earlier this year, and new colors have been successes as well. So a pocket T-shirt was in high demand. When it comes to style, this iteration is actually one step above a regular crewneck — the pocket adds some visual interest on its own, and a heathered fabric can also amp things up slightly.  This first round of pocket tees is available for pre-purchase in a three-pack featuring solid white and black jersey cotton shirts, as well as a versatile heather grey triblend option. The set runs for $42 (an astoundingly low $14 per T-shirt if you’re keeping score), and is 43% funded with 12 days left in the run (as of this post). This is definitely the kind of T-shirt fit for easygoing weekend wear — and at that low price, it’s very attainable.

Does this T-shirt make your wish list? Any previous experience with Gustin or the brand’s T-shirts?