#OOTD: Styling a Shawl Cardigan for Winter

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

Ahh, the shawl cardigan — that masculine style essential that I find myself turning to time and time again. It simultaneously combines a rugged edge and old-school vibes (in the case of this piece, a cable knit) with new-school cool — in a slim cut, it can definitely be dressed up or down. It’s the type of piece I find myself wanting to wear far too often, simply because it looks great with lots of different pieces — be they slim chinos, dark denim or some colored jeans fit for the office or the weekend. And lucky for the both of us, the fine folks at JackThreads, makers of the cardigan you see below, are stocking a terrific pick-up at a steal of a price (as it seems with most of the brand’s offerings). Here’s but one way in which to wear it! Let’s see if you’d style it in a similar manner, yeah?

Taking a rugged style essential and mixing in rich color and texture.

Taking a rugged style essential and mixing in rich color and texture.

The Shawl Cardigan: JackThreads Cable Cardigan, $51.75 (On-Sale) — A terrific navy color plus that great cable knit texture (and the essential shawl collar) at a winning price.

The Denim: Bonobos Dark Roast Travel Jean, $108 — Pricier than a pair of Levi’s, but Bonobos Travel Jeans bring quality in spades — plus the deep brown color here is excellent.

The Shirt: JackThreads Slim White Oxford Shirt, $49 — Another super-solid JackThreads pickup at a standout price — this is your everyday white Oxford.

The Boots: Dr. Scholl’s Burke Lace-up Boot, $155 — I’ve said the before and I’ll say it again: Who knew Dr. Scholl’s made men’s boots? This pair is lightweight and stylish, and they’re a solid way to mix black and dark brown (which CAN be done).

The Socks: J. Crew Medium-Dot Cotton Socks, $14.50 — A bit more expensive than a standard Wal-Mart pair of socks, but they’re much comfier and offer a solid change of pace in terms of color — even though they’re blue!

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt, $75 — As first seen in this site’s New Year’s Eve Style Suggestion; it’s got texture that falls in line with the watch, and a sleek black color to fit the boots. Again, black and brown can work together in dark shades like this!

The Watch: KOMONO Winston Herringbone Watch, $99.95 — As reviewed here; there’s hardly a better price for a seasonally appropriate watch that adds some great visual interest to this ensemble.

So we mix in lots of texture, from the cable knit of the sweater to the herringbone watch to the suede belt, and ground it with a classic white Oxford and saturated dark brown jeans — good enough for just about anywhere, right? Don’t forget to top it off with a slim topcoat and some warm winter accessories. Have suggestion as to what you want to see in these #OOTD entries? Send me an email or drop me a line on Twitter.


Style Suggestion: What to Wear on New Year’s Eve

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions covering situations formal to casual, head here.

"How much do you know about fear?" Bond: "All there is." Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year's Eve.

“How much do you know about fear?” Bond: “All there is.” Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year’s Eve.

While most of us can only hope to be as sharply dressed as Mr. Bond up there (and headed somewhere as debonair as a floating casino), it can still pay off to dress to impress on New Year’s Eve — even if you aren’t swilling martinis or fighting henchmen. The outfit below plays off the tailored-but-tieless look that’s still popping up lots of different places, so it’s more dressed-down than Bond but definitely geared toward the formal end of the spectrum even without the tie. But if your night shakes out more casually (or formally, for that matter), know that the same basic pieces — tailored trousers, a crisp shirt and slick boots — can work just about anywhere. With that in mind, let’s get set to close out the year in style and look forward to a sharp 2016.

The Suit: Combatant Gentleman Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit — $220 OR Combatant Gentleman Blue Slim Fit Suit — $160

One brand, two options for sharp style -- and two great prices.

One brand, two options for sharp style — and two great prices.

Each of the above two options strikes a slightly different tone — the heightened color of the Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit is a vibe that’s all movie star-red carpet, a la Ryan Gosling.  Think of it as a positive style swerve if you have the basics covered. But if you’re not willing to spring for a suit in that shade or feel like saving some money (more for champagne, amirite??), a navy blue suit never fails — whether you go with the reliable Combatant Gentleman option here or with one you already own. If the jacket is too formal, the trousers could even be worn on their own with a great leather jacket or a sharp overcoat and V-neck sweater.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

The Standard Shirt has been profiled on this blog before and also featured prominently in a Holiday Party Style Suggestion, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, breathable and quite crisp for the price. Plus, a white shirt is a great style play in this case because it can either ground that electric blue suit impressively, or keep more in line with the classic style of a crisp navy suit — particularly sans tie. And the Standard Shirt features a tailored cut that would look more than fine when worn without a traditional suit jacket, if needed. On the other hand, a slim knit tie in a simple color — black, a la everyone’s favorite secret agent — would more than up the formality of the look.

The Pocket Square: J. Crew Factory Linen Pocket Square — $12

Nothing fancy -- but nothing too trendy -- about a timeless white pocket square.

Nothing fancy — but nothing too trendy — about a timeless white pocket square.

When you go with crisp style essentials like a classic white shirt and a blue suit, sometimes there’s no need to go wild with a pocket square. J. Crew Factory’s linen pocket square gets the job done more than suitably for the price. Beyond New Year’s Eve as well, a white pocket square (even in linen) is going to add a nice finishing touch to many a tailored ensemble — so grab one now before it’s too late!

The Boots: Thursday Boot Company Black Duke Chelsea Boot — $199

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

While Bond himself mainly favors crisp black captoes or dress boots as of late, we’ll forgo the laces with these Chelsea boots in keeping with the slick and sharp vibe of the outfit. Thursday Boot Company makes solid suede chukkas and dependable captoe boots, so it follows that the Duke Chelsea Boot  should be pretty comfortable for the price — plus, the studded rubber outsole should add nice traction on slick streets. Note that if needed in a pinch, H&M also offers a very budget-friendly Chelsea boot option.

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt — $75

Trim and refined -- just like the tailored ensemble.

Trim and refined — just like the tailored ensemble.

While it might seem ludicrous at first to pay more for a belt than for a shirt, it’s a pickup that can pay big, big dividends. The Marlow Belt is a refined dress belt that keeps things super sleek thanks to the dark buckle and slim width, plus the dark black suede. For those who say black and blue can’t be worn together … well, we all know who’s bucked that theory time and again. It’s a combo that’s going to look  super crisp in this instance, especially as it grounds the heightened blue suit or fits in nicely with a navy suit. You could also go with a cheaper black leather dress belt from EXPRESS if needed.

The Watch: Daniel Wellington 40mm Classic Sheffield in Rose Gold — $229

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The importance of timeless accessories — like a great belt or solid shoes — is no more important than when you’re going with an outfit that’s more minimal. The top-to-bottom look is pretty sleek in this case sans tie and traditional lace-up dress shoes, so a refined watch from Daniel Wellington will look right at home. While  the typical play might be to reach for a watch with a silver case here, the rose gold case color should pop nicely against the blue suit and black belt + shoes — or even dark denim and a simple cashmere sweater.

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

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

Last but not least, the ever-important finishing touch. Recognize these dress socks from American Trench? They’ve appeared in this blog as part of a Holiday Party Style Suggestion (among others), and that underscores their wearability and quality. Heck, you might not think about them too much once they’re on, but the dialed-in grey color and sleek  look (no crazy patterns) makes a difference when taken in context with the rest of this outfit. That’s more than worth their price upfront.

As we’ve talked about before, maybe things won’t get overly fancy for you on New Year’s Eve. However, it pays to be prepared and to get some style inspiration heading into a big night, and the new year. And if wanting to look sharper in everyday situations is a style goal for yourself, as it is for yours truly, there’s no better time to start than the present. Because, simply put, we can’t all live twice.
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The Friday Read: Mott & Bow Denim, Fair Isle Sweaters and Mainland

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. 

Is it just me, or did this week positively fly by? We’ve got lots going on around these here parts, from a fun Men’s Style Christmas Wish List that hit on Wednesday to more importantly, a gift guide for your mom, sister, grandma — you name it, there’s a suggestion for the lovely ladies in your life in that post. And if you’ve got a holiday party coming up soon, The Style Guide also has you covered. Even in the midst of all that holiday prep, I hope you’re taking the time to get out and have some fun. As for me, I had the chance to catch some great live music earlier this week, among quite a few other stops around town.

Ben Sherman US

I was fortunate enough to connect with Brooklyn rockers Mainland after a standout show earlier this fall, and I’ve since had the chance to see them several times (it helps that they’re a really awesome bunch of guys — and big fans of Timberland!). But at any rate, they’re absolutely a band worth checking out — and you can do so right here (hint: start with the catchy tune ‘Outcast’). On the fashion front, I got the opportunity to preview some fantastic new accessories and gear from Will Leather Goods at the brand’s holiday celebration on Wednesday — so if you need to upgrade your bag or wallet, or fancy picking up some old-school sportswear, give ’em another look. As you peruse the Web and listen to some new tunes, read up on everything you might have missed — have a great weekend, and check back here for tomorrow’s Style Pick of the Week.

  • My friend Megan Collins of the excellent site Style Girlfriend covers how to style the Fair Isle sweater — it’s on-trend and definitely seasonally appropriate (be sure to learn more about the site via my Q&A with her earlier this fall).
  • Band of Outsiders, everyone’s favorite nerd-chic brand, is returning sans founder Scott Sternberg, according to the folks  at GQ.
  • The Economist notes that, rather surprisingly, UNIQLO is struggling financially in the American market, namely in suburban areas, and the piece also notes the brand is scaling back its plans to open numerous U.S. stores by 2020.
  • Style Note of the Week: While it’s getting more and more toward boot season, that doesn’t mean you should close up in regards to awesome sneakers just yet — GREATS Brand out of Brooklyn is back with what looks to be another tremendous collaboration, this time with iconic Japanese retailer United Arrows & Sons; the two brands updated GREATS’ classic Wooster silhouette (and you might recognize that particular style from a post earlier this summer on this very site).

Not done reading up on the men’s style universe yet?

    • Get your tailored wear on-point this holiday season with Combatant Gentleman — I went more in-depth on the brand for VOUCH Magazine.
    • Style Guide favorite Mott & Bow just launched a new line of raw denim – I also covered that release for VOUCH, and you can go more in-depth with the new pair very soon (read: tomorrow, in fact!).

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