Style Q+A: Theo and Harris Vintage Watches

A Rolex Datejust is just one of the many terrific vintage options on rotation from Theo & Harris. Photo courtesy of the brand.

A Rolex Datejust is just one of the many terrific vintage options on rotation from Theo & Harris. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Editor’s note: For more Style Q&A entries featuring everyone from Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend to Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent, click here.
If you read this blog, you know I have a passion for watches.  While I have a list of “holy grail” watches I hope to own one day (a Shinola Runwell and an Omega Seamaster among them), I also appreciate simple, uncluttered, solid everyday watches. That means timepieces like an Invicta Pro Diver , which I’m wearing as I write this post, and a great leather dress watch from Daniel Wellington. But there’s a certain breed of watches that up until earlier this year, I wasn’t too familiar with — vintage timepieces.

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My friend Christian Zeron, co-founder of start-up vintage watch collector Theo and Harris, first brought his fresh-out-of-the-gates company to my attention earlier this year. I covered them for VOUCH Mag this past summer, and here’s where it gets interesting — Theo & Harris sources, authenticates and sells all manner of vintage mechanical wristwatches, offering a plethora of coveted and rare timepieces along the way (seriously, prepare to be amazed by the company’s archive). That they’ve built such an archive since launching in February of this year is quite impressive, to say the least. Specifically, we’re looking at 200 watches (and counting) sold to 10 different countries in about 9 months, and their current collection is only growing. And if you want to experience even more watch envy, check out the Theo and Harris Instagram. Vintage watches are, of course, expensive by nature. And if you’re fortunate enough to own a vintage watch as a family heirloom, that’s a special story that only you have. However, there is an argument for investing in a beautiful vintage watch. So while you mull on that (and perhaps peruse the Theo and Harris site), I do hope you peel your eyes away long enough to read what Christian had to say on his interest in vintage watches and most importantly, why you (yes, you) should own a vintage watch. Again, I’ll only stick around to ask the questions.
The Style Guide: Tell me about how you got into vintage watch collecting?
Theo & Harris: Initially, my interest in watches was purely aesthetic. I was, and still am, very into watches that have a unique look and style; but as the interest became an addiction I began studying history, mechanics and technical design- being an enthusiast is a full time job on its own. I never owned many watches for myself though. Actually, the only watch I consider mine is the first one I ever bought — a Rolex Datejust reference 1601 with a brilliant blue dial.
TSG: During your time scouting out vintage timepieces, what have you noticed that separates these watches from their modern-day counterparts?
T&H: Value. There are some makers out there … that turn out some tremendously well-valued watches comparable to their equally priced counterparts. However, as a whole, modern watches are built in factories, by machine and without heart and then become, for some reason, painfully expensive. In vintage, I work everyday with watches under $800 that were designed by industry legends, assembled by hand and made to last.
Vintage watches go well with all sorts of outfits if you pick the right timepiece, according to the brand.

Vintage watches go well with all sorts of outfits if you pick the right timepiece, according to the brand.

TSG: How can a vintage watch set one apart stylistically?
T&H: The whole point of developing a style is to most accurately depict yourself through colors, textures, patterns (and) fits. With a modern watch shop selling only 5 brands, maybe  50 watches total, it’s impossible for everyone to actually be choosing what they want.
If 1,000 people are wearing the same 50 watches, they’re settling. Imagine if the whole world had to pick from 50 T-shirts to wear.
In vintage, you’re dealing with hundreds of brands and over 100 years of production. I can guarantee that there is, somewhere out there, the perfect watch for everyone. Luckily, finding them is my job.
TSG: What’s one vintage watch brand those looking to get into the vintage watch game should look for, if any?
T&H: Omega. Don’t get me wrong, there are dozens of other makers that I couldn’t live without but Omega is, at least to me, king. Foremost, they were all built with great attention to detail and obvious care. The movements are absolutely beautiful to look at and rather easy to service when needed. As far as design, Omega has drawn up some of the most classic watches ever to hit the wrist. Lastly, their product line is so incredibly vast that it caters to suits, soccer fields, boardrooms and the moon.

A vintage watch can work in many of the same situations as a regular timepiece -- just don't be afraid to rock. Photo courtesy of Theo & Harris.

A vintage watch can work in many of the same situations as a regular timepiece — just don’t be afraid to rock. Photo courtesy of Theo & Harris.

TSG: What are the qualities or characteristics that set apart a really “good” vintage watch, or at least one that’s still in good shape?
T&H: First, I work with, and wear, vintage watches all day of every day and my taste, although acknowledges, doesn’t prefer “good” from “fair” condition across the board. If I’m looking for a military watch from the Vietnam War, I want one that looks like it’s been beaten to hell. Every detail of wear, every nick or scuff is a piece of an inconceivably long story of this time traveler’s life. However, on all watches, the important elements to look out for are an unpolished or lightly polished case, a clean and properly functioning movement and an original dial. Those characteristics are always important, regardless of the style or period of the watch you’re looking at.
TSG: What are some ways to make sure you’re getting a fairly priced, authentic timepiece?
T&H: Remember, with watches comes more than 100 years of history, design, mechanics and an evil industry profiting off of the replication of all of it. Sure, anyone can try their hand at this tricky slope but to really be able to discern for yourself, there’s a whole lot of studying ahead. If that’s you’re thing, then you’ll never stop reading and loving every second of it. The reality, however, is that not everyone wants to be a full-time expert in everything they enjoy. For those people, they’ll have to find someone they can trust. A shop that’ll do all of the sourcing and sifting for them, a shop that will take all of the risk.
TSG: What’s one thing you’ve learned since getting into the watch business that people might  not expect?
T&H: In the past seven months I’ve learned, more than anything else, how to listen ever so carefully to my audience. For example, since we’ve started, we’ve redesigned our website from head to toe three separate times and we don’t go a week without minor alterations. That’s not to say I didn’t love each iteration of our virtual home base but I’ve learned how to read customer feedback, whether thats an email or a huge analytic, and tailor our services accordingly. With our website design, it not only has to be pleasing to view but also interactive to the point that it dynamically presents each of our products to our viewers just as well as I could in person over a drink. Getting into this, I really thought it would be 100% about our watches but with time, I’ve come to realize that, besides our excellent collection, there needs to be an equal experience.
What are your thoughts on vintage watches? Have you ever considered owning one, or do you own one already? What’s the story behind it?
As always folks — thanks for reading and stay stylish,

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The Friday Read: Mother’s Day, Pop-Up Flea and Expensive Watches

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.

This past week flew by, didn’t it? Maybe that’s just me? At any rate, it’s an exciting weekend coming up (it’s Mother’s Day, remember!? Last-minute gift guide here, fellas). It’s also an exciting time to be in New York City (or at least following the menswear community in general). Pop-Up Flea, a quarterly pop-up shop/traveling roadshow extravaganza of sorts devoted to mixing excellent heritage-type brands with quirky wares from new upstarts, is running from May 8 — May 10 here in NYC. Let me know if you’ll be there or if you’ll be following along — and in the meantime, peruse through the below articles just in time for the weekend.

  • The folks behind excellent menswear and lifestyle site Get Kempt offer up five cultural phenomena that have shaped their outlook this week — what they’ve been reading, watching, listening to … you get the idea.
  • Michael Williams of heritage-focused blog A Continuous Lean dishes on much-loved and much-coveted watch brand IWC and its 75th anniversary collection. For watches that won’t induce so much sticker shock, head here.
  • Speaking of telling time … this technically ran late last year, but the team behind upscale fashion & accessories site Need Supply Co. takes you through everything you need to know about watches.
  • Long Read of the Week: Narratively offers up a positively fascinating account about the lengths to which one man went in his love of the NYC transit system (yes, you read that right).

Still have a hankering for something to read?

  • If you’re interested in learning about Apolis and the brand’s mission of global advocacy merged with excellent clothing, I wrote a profile on the brand this week.
  • Thinking of buying something from this month’s Hunt Club offering via Frank & Oak? Check out a review last month’s crate here.

And a final note for you — looking to get in on the ground floor of a luxury leather goods project? Issara launches a premium line of accessories and bags later this weekend — sign up for early access here


Online Shopping Picks: Versatile Men’s Watches On A Budget

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a recent addition to the personal collection.

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a recent addition to the personal collection.

Across the past few weeks, I’ve gotten questions from some of y’all out there (thanks for reaching out, by the way!) on stylish budget picks for all manner of things, from weekender bags to blazers. That area also includes watches — and watch shopping can be a bit tricky. If you’re like me and really into watches but don’t want to drop, oh, nearly $20,000 on one watch, there’s actually quite a lot you can do.  The picks below encompass watch styles that would work with lots of different outfits, although they skew towards varieties that don’t require matching the leather of your watch strap to your belt and shoes, conversely. There’s also not necessarily preference given to automatic versus quartz watches – leave that to the watch snobs. Check out them out below and let me know your thoughts!

#1. Invicta 8926 Pro Diver — $85.27 

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

That’s an up-close look above at an outstanding watch for the price. The Invicta 8926 Pro Diver has more than shades of a Rolex Submariner, yes, but for a vast amount less. Some people aren’t into watches that pay homage to more famous and iconic styles, but there’s no denying that the strong black face and crisp silver numerals around the bezel are a great look. This watch is dressy yet durable, fit for casual wear (think a white henley and jeans) and at the same time sharp.

#2. Orient Black Ray Automatic Dive Watch — $135

$135 for a slightly faster loooking, durable dive watch.

$135 for a slightly faster loooking, durable dive watch.

This second watch keeps things in the stainless steel-silver links-black dial category yet there’s something just a bit different about it. Maybe it’s the shape of the numerals on the bezel or the pointed red arrow on the seconds hand, but it feels a little faster and sleeker. The price jumps up a bit in comparison to Invicta’s diver, but plenty have praised Orient for the quality-to-price ratio. This watch is again, durable-looking but plenty fine for wearing with a suit on one end, and with shorts and a T-shirt on the other.

#3. Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Stainless Steel Watch — $70

The numerals are swapped for slim lines around the dial.

The numerals are swapped for slim lines around the dial.

While the first two options bring a nice dressy-casual combo, the Stuhrling watch pictured here leans a touch more dressy thanks to the absence of numerals on the dial. Stuhrling’s watches are a nice price for the quality, although I don’t have personal experience with any of their dive watches. The diameter is a shade larger than the Orient Black Ray, but at 42 mm, this should still work with everything on up from a chambray shirt to a suit.

#4. Breda Stephen Watch — $39.50

From JackThreads — that brown-black combo just works with watches.

From JackThreads — that brown-black combo just works with watches.

This pick could be one of the more controversial on here — it’s not a stainless steel diver, so that requires going with brown dress shoes when the time calls for it, it’s not from a tremendously well-known brand, and it’s not incredibly dressy either. But let’s say you’re on a budget and don’t have the need or desire to wear a stainless steel diver — well, here you go. It’s more of a business-casual option thanks to the large numbers at 12, 3, 6 and 9, but it could also pair with a blazer-khaki chinos combo in a pinch (Note that the Timex Easy Reader would also be a good pick here).

#5. Timex Weekender with Slip-Thru Strap — $36

The Timex Weekender — customize it any which way you please.

The Timex Weekender — customize it any which way you please.

Again, this is another option that won’t necessarily fit for everybody — it’s a great casual watch and could see lots of duty on the weekends but isn’t nearly as versatile during the week. However, if that’s what your lifestyle calls for and you’d like a watch that’s simple but not sloppy, this is the one. The Timex Weekender can be customized with all different types of strap options, including floral paisley patterns if you’re feeling bold.  And some lovely leather strap options are also available from Form-Function-Form if you need a slightly more polished look.

When putting together a list like this, there are simply too many to go through to include everything — some honorable mention picks include Skagen’s exceptionally clean and modern Steel Mesh Watch, the Classic Ascot Agent from Stuhrling, the Timex Easy Reader mentioned above, and the Men’s 5 Automatic Watch from Seiko (needed some variety in there, ya dig?). You can also Shop New Arrivals Up to 84% off + Free Delivery via The Watchery here!

What are your thoughts on this list? What’s one versatile watch every guy should have?

The Watchery

Style Commentary: Why I Wear A Watch

A look at my watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch.

A look at the author’s watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch. Some new additions pictured below.

Although I’ve written about watches in the past on this site, there hasn’t often been much discussion on why it’s important to me, or why it just makes intrinsic sense (to me, at least!) to wear a watch. There are plenty of other ways to tell time, undoubtedly, from computers to smartphones to other apps on your phone. But each of those, while functional, are utilitarian and not the most stylish — and ambition in matters of style is always good to have!

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

The best timepieces have meaningful stories and memories behind them and style that fits in with your day-to-day life — really, that’s the biggest benefit! The first watch I really bought to wear was a Timex Weekender (seen in the case above and in this post here), with a black canvas strap. It was a trusty timepiece that took me through many late nights editing and writing at the student newspaper at Michigan State — classic, minimal in design and style and well set-up for casual wear. I’ve upgraded over time to a larger collection, as you can see in the photos here — a brown-leather watch from Stuhrling, a black-rubber casual watch also from Stuhrling, a Timex Ameritus Sport watch with interchangeable canvas straps (seen in this post on Dappered) and a silver dive watch from Invicta. The black-rubber Stuhrling watch is great for casual outfits — a crewneck sweatshirt, henley and jeans on the weekend, or a pocket T-shirt and khaki shorts in the spring and summer. And the Timex Ameritus watch has tons of versatility, too — it can be worn with a dressier leather strap as pictured above, or with a colorful paisley strap for warmer weather.

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

From the collection: A Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

It’s not essential to have a large collection or even multiple watches, however. When I travel, I take one, maybe two watches at the most (like I did on a recent trip to Michigan). And the most versatile watch in my collection for day-to-day wear is undoubtedly my silver Invicta pro diver watch — the stainless steel links pair with either brown or black leather shoes and belts and everything else from casual sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt in the summer to a navy suit and dress accessories (like this get-up). Although I haven’t gotten to it yet, the links can be swapped out for a canvas or leather strap for even more versatility. The stainless steel style (say that three times fast) is favored by fashion icons on screen and in real life, so that’s an added bonus.

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

An up-close look at a versatile and oft-worn timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

And this particular watch is definitely special for more than its looks — it was a Christmas gift from my parents, so I think of them every time I wear it. It’s a daily reminder of consistency, too — wearing a watch helps me start my day off on the right foot and keep track of appointments and meeting times. The fact that it’s got intrinsic style benefits to it is just an added bonus. While I save up for a bigger purchase (for now, this Shinola watch), my collection will definitely do just fine.

If you’re just starting out looking for great watches, some pointers can be found here on key styles and low prices. And if you want to add some long-term “grail” watch purchases to your list, Invaluable has some drool-worthy men’s watches up for sale right now — and they’ve also got some women’s watches up on the site if you need a gift for that special someone in your life! In the meantime, buying an inexpensive, solid timepiece like the ones above should work well for style purposes and functionality.

Do you wear a watch every day? What’s on your wrist from Monday to Sunday? And what would be your dream watch? Let me know! 

The Product Review: Stuhrling Original “Classic Ascot Agent” Watch

The Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent. With brown leather and a black dial.

The Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent. With brown leather and a black dial.

With smartphones and the like so ubiquitous nowadays, it seems watches have been steadily disappearing from the wrists of men (and even women) for some time now. There’s no mistaking that a smartphone can feasibly do just as well as a watch when telling the time, but a watch — at least from a guy’s perspective — really has the potential to do so much more. It’s one of the only ways a man can express himself in terms of accessories outside of piling on bracelets, something that’s kept hanging on despite reaching a peak last year, it seems. And a watch, as others have noted, is the perfect way to diversify an outfit — be it with a dress watch, a stainless band, or another option.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of wearing a watch – it provides a daily consistency, and can set the tone for an outfit.  A Timex Weekender? Perfect for, you guessed it, casual weekend wear.  A sturdy dive watch, as linked to above? Great for dressing up a casual outfit or keeping a sharp look well-grounded. And even in the summer, it’s tough to go wrong with a minimal, sharp leather dress watch. After a few days of wearing my Stuhrling Original “Classic Ascot Agent” Watch, I’m certain this will become a go-to timepiece (namely, because I personally enjoy wearing brown shoes so much). As a fan of the Stuhrling brand too, the quality seems on-point. Now, pricewise, it’s no Omega, but when you can grab it on Amazon (as I did) for a ridiculously low markup, it’ll act as a great holdover from a reputed brand for the price.

A closer look at the crisp white markings on the black dial.

A closer look at the crisp white markings on the black dial.

Now, there’s definitely something to be said for mixing up different watch bands in the warmer months (read a review of a paisley strap by The Knottery here), but a brown leather strap is hard to beat. This Stuhrling model is a bit out of the norm, as it combines brown and black, but that combo definitely works on a watch. The watch face is incredibly minimalistic, a personal favorite when so many watches try to add a lot of bells and whistles.The white markings stand out crisply against the black background, and the black-and-white combo actually makes the brown leather look more rich. Now the genuine leather strap certainly isn’t like a Horween leather strap from the guys at form-function-form,  but it’ll do the job. The watch itself wears at a not-too-large, not-too-small case diameter of 42 millimeters — a little larger than the traditional dress watch, but with an added bit of beef that makes it more acceptable for casual wear, too. It certainly doesn’t overwhelm my smaller-than-normal wrists, by any means.

42mm case diameter, a little larger than a normal dress watch, but no less wearable.

42mm case diameter, a little larger than a normal dress watch, but no less wearable.

To boot, the Amazon listing says it’s water-resistant to 165 feet — a nice touch, but this isn’t a dive watch or a sturdier rubber-strap option, so it’s best to keep it away from the water. The crown doesn’t wind too loosely when changing the date or time, but where some might take issue is the fact that it’s a quartz watch, not an automatic — a big debate in the style world. But for $50 on Amazon, there shouldn’t really be any qualms over paying that price for a quartz watch. And that’s really the main point here — for $50 (on some sites), you can get a great-looking, incredibly clean and minimal dress watch that’s also suitable for casual wear. If you’re in the market for something like that, you can’t ask for much more.

Product Review: ‘The Knottery’ Patterned Watch Strap

As the weather warms up, spring brings with it all sorts of opportunities for cool experimentation with colors. With brighter sunshine and (eventually) flowers in bloom, spring’s the perfect time to bust out some alternative styles and try on a different color or two. Although underrated and often overlooked, small pops of color can be a perfect, refreshing accent to an ensemble. And given that guys don’t often get many chances to show off flashy accessories, something like a watch strap can often be the perfect complement to an outfit. NATO straps have military roots (highly functional), but are now a welcome and widely accepted fashion upgrade.Whereas bracelets and rings are often too much when piled on with each other, a simple change of watch strap is an understated style move that can often feel like putting on a whole new watch. Canvas straps also seem more appropriate for spring and summer given the sportier feel and the ability to swap out straps so easily (especially on something standard, like a Timex Weekender).

Use a watch strap to inject some color into a look on sunny days.

Use a watch strap to inject some color into a look on sunny days.

That’s why it’s so great to see what The Knottery has done with their latest round of watch straps, all of which are priced below $20 (a big bonus, especially if you’re looking to cut costs). Released near the end of last year, the canvas straps have plenty of refreshing, bright looks perfect for spring — or any time color needs to be injected into your wardrobe. Picked up recently from the company’s online site, the patterned paisley watch strap certainly fits all the criteria of a refreshing spring style change. The strap itself feels sturdy and somewhat stiff, and could actually use some breaking-in time. It’s just long enough for my wrist, and doesn’t run too long. The mix of colors also means it can go with a white or black-dial watch.

The Knottery's patterned paisley watch strap. Watch by Timex Ameritus.

The Knottery’s patterned paisley watch strap. Watch by Timex Ameritus.

The pattern when seen up close is quite eye-catching when contrasted with a crisp dial. It can also serve as a standout piece on its own when worn with other neutral colors. I took the watch strap for a spin earlier this week with a white henley, grey cardigan and lightwash jeans — all fairly color-neutral pieces. The watch provided just enough of a pop against a neutral palette, and actually served as a cool conversation piece, too. See the result for yourself here.

The full patterned paisley NATO watch strap.

The full patterned paisley NATO watch strap.

The rest of The Knottery’s line is just as unique as the paisley strap — some smaller pindot and plaid offerings, along with a more intricate flower pattern strap. When worn with the right color combinations (could be useful to keep some of these ideas in mind), the strap could be one of the more vital or interesting pieces of an outfit — just be sure to wear it in the right situations. It seems like these straps are more useful for providing some contrast in a neutral-colored, casual outfit, versus rocking it on the red carpet. But with a lighter-weight blazer and some jeans, a casual (yet patterned) watch strap could actually inject a nice dose of cool to your ensemble. Keep this style move in mind for the spring.

Style Suggestion: Thanksgiving Dinner

Before you dive into that turkey on Thanksgiving, step back a moment. Take the time to appreciate being with family and friends, and getting a little time off. And just as importantly, take the time to put a bit of effort into your appearance. Being around family members on a holiday should be some of the best times of the year, and it’s great to be able to reflect that enjoyment through what you wear — it should be appropriate and classy, because dressing up a bit is a nice nod to your family, too.

So, with the stage set for a great holiday, there are some important things to consider when on the go to turkey day celebrations. Namely, if you live in a climate where winter’s on the way, consider layering up. And more importantly, don’t overthink what to wear. Stick to a personal uniform, perhaps with some regionally appropriate touches thrown in — for example, being in Florida is markedly different than in Michigan. With that in mind, here’s a starter template that should work for just about everybody.

The Shirt

A classic blue OCBD from Old Navy.
A classic blue OCBD from Old Navy.

On a classic holiday like Thanksgiving that typically doesn’t involve anything too black-tie official, it’s best to keep it casual. Here, something like a blue or white Oxford cloth button-down is a great asset. It’s the shirt equivalent of “dressed-up, but not “too-dressed up.” In a shade like white, it can provide a great neutral base for any pops of color on the rest of the outfit, and it shouldn’t be too hot or cold to wear in any location.

The Tie

Frank and Oak's knit tie is woven with a thicker gauge and more bulk.

Frank and Oak’s knit tie is woven with a thicker gauge and more bulk.

While wool ties are fine for places where the temperature dips into the 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s, there are certainly more versatile pieces of neckwear out there — some of which you might already have in your closet. Since the days of James Bond, knit ties have been on our collective style radar. Sure, some might argue the knit tie is having a trending moment right now, but there’s a reason Sean Connery’s Bond wore classic black knit ties — a great knit tie will go with just about any outfit, and it’s appropriate for almost any climate, at any time of the year. For those on the heftier and more muscular side, a standard knit tie might be too slim — look for something in about the 2.75″ range (Frank & Oak’s knit ties feature a nice, thicker weave). In this particular instance, a dark knit tie won’t clash too markedly with any of the outfit’s other colors — which should preferably be more neutral anyway.

The Blazer (optional)

If putting on a jacket crosses the formality line at your family Thanksgiving, consider swapping that out for a v-neck or crew-neck sweater (and maybe ditch the tie too). However, throwing on a nice blazer should be an easy choice — a jacket tailored for someone’s body accentuates a man’s chest and shoulders, making almost any guy look instantly better. Here, texture and fabric matters. A heavier tweed blazer is a great pick for cold weather — the tweed’s thick weave provides warmth and doesn’t look out of place trekking through the snow. But for the rest of us, a simple navy blazer (potentially unstructured to stick with the generally casual vibe of Thanksgiving) can work wonders. It can even be thrown on over a crew-neck or v-neck sweater sans collared shirt if things turn that casual.

The Pants

Here too, it’s best to keep in mind the surrounding climate where you’re celebrating the holiday. Linen pants won’t exactly work in winter up north, and heavy wool trousers won’t do you much good in Florida, for example. That’s why sticking with a slim chino in a medium-weight fabric is a sure bet. If you’re in a colder clime, corduroys would work just as well as a substitute. Once again, stick with a nice neutral color (maybe in a richer hue for the fall?). Keeping the proportions slim will hopefully pair well with a tailored shirt.

Frank and Oak's Newport Chinos in Amber.

Frank and Oak’s Newport Chinos in Amber. Wool tie not recommended for warmer climes — see above.

The Shoes

With the rest of the outfit leaning towards polished-casual on the style spectrum, it’s best to keep the shoes in similar territory, too. Black shoes can seem too severe in all but the sharpest of combinations, and it’s likely there could be a sea of black shoes at the table come Thanksgiving. A rich, warm brown falls in line with the colors of the season, and should be much more versatile for other outfits later on. Reaching for a captoe/captoe-brogue combination or even a wingtip also pushes the shoe into the same polished-casual territory as the rest of the outfit. In colder climes, wingtip boots are a stellar option that can stand up to the elements — and the ‘eye test’ of your fellow diners. Of course, a true casual staple like desert boots is never objectionable when the situation calls for classic and polished footwear.

The Rest

Round out the ensemble by sticking to some clear fundamentals. Keeping your watch simple and unadorned (like this Timex Easy Reader) is the best way to go here — just be sure the watch, belt and shoes fall within the same color range in terms of leather. As always, colorful socks are today’s statement piece, an easy way to add personal flair to an outfit that mainly sticks to classic items.

With these essentials in mind, and with some crucial personal touches thrown in, you should be ready to conquer Thanksgiving in style. Until the tryptophan puts you to sleep, of course.