#OOTD: Dressing for a Casual Christmas

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.

OK, so we’re coming at you with a Thursday edition of the #OOTD series. Namely, we’re just a few days out from Christmas — that came up quick, yes? Hopefully, you turned to The Style Guide (or another one of your favorite menswear blogs?) to knock out your holiday shopping. Still need a gift for her? Fear not. Or maybe you want to add an item or two to your holiday men’s style wish list? Easy does it. Oh, and that leaves another crucial question — what are you going to wear for the occasion? Whether you’ve got one last holiday party to dress for or if you’re approaching the day with a bit more formality, we’ve got you covered when it comes to dressing for Christmas. And that’s why today’s #OOTD covers another potential holiday style scenario: the casual holiday. Maybe you’ll be spending the day at your house and venturing out later for a movie or a drink with friends, or perhaps you’re taking it easy while on a holiday trip over the river and through the woods– either way, dressing with some polish is key. We’re not talking about going overboard — leave the velvet dressing gown at home. No, we’re talking about a crisp, casual outfit that looks stylish, fits great and is a bit better-suited for venturing out in public than your pajamas. If you choose to stay in your PJs all day — hey, nothing wrong with that. But if you want to look a bit more cleaned up while still feeling comfortable? I’m your guy … or rather, the below #OOTD is the one to shop.  Chime in over on Twitter if you’ve got questions, additions or deletions when it comes to this look. Hit me up on Instagram if you want to see how I’m styling my Christmas Day #menswear picks, while we’re here.

Cozy, casual, comfortable and yet ... quite put-together.

Cozy, casual, comfortable and yet … quite put-together.

The Cardigan: Abercrombie & Fitch Belted Shawl Cardigan, $75 –We’re kicking things off with a really unique, effortlessly stylish sweater from the new and very improved Abercrombie & Fitch — the Camel color is eye-catching and pairs nicely with our other casual picks.

The T-Shirt: Barking Irons Brando Tee, $49 (2-Pack) — You could always reach for a classic chambray shirt if you wanted something a bit more cleaned up, but a textured cotton tee with unique design details — like a scalloped hem and slightly raised sleeves — is a cool, effortless pick.

The Denim: Mugsy Jeans Kinzie Denim, $98 — Who said denim has to be uncomfortable? Mugsy jeans are built with more room in the crotch and a ton of flexibility for a great — plus, the light wash is more casual, and these jeans look a bit more crisp than tailored sweats.

Beckett Simonon

The Watch: Timex + Todd Snyder Red Wing Leather Chronograph in Grey, $158 — Even if you’re just hanging around the house, it can be fun to throw on a stylish casual watch — especially one from Todd Snyder.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Braided Leather Belt, $29.99 — Let’s keep it casual on the accessories front — a trusty braided leather belt is comfortable and mixes in some cold-weather texture.

The Socks: CHUP Churro Socks, $35 — Limited edition, nature-inspired prints on a comfortable pair of CHUP socks? Sign me up. They’re pricey, but very well-made and eye-catching — perfect holiday style, in short.

The Sneakers: SeaVees White Walls Mid-Cut Wintertide Sneaker, $98 — Sneakers in the winter? Yes, sir. You can always grab a pair of durable leather boots if snow is in the mix, but if it’s simply a bit chilly? These casual-yet-crisp mid-top sneakers are made with navy flannel fabric and blend right in with this ensemble.

The Grooming Kit: Harry’s Deluxe Truman Set, $35 — Just because it’s a casual Christmas doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get cleaned up a bit, ehh? This deluxe shaving set has everything you need to look great through the new year.

OK, we’ve got your unique, modern and comfortable belted cardigan, your classic T-shirt and slim stretch denim. Those are the building blocks of a nice cold-weather casual ensemble  in fall or winter, yet they work particularly well for lounging around — yet looking great — this holiday season. When you complement those pieces with a durable leather watch and a pair of premium patterned socks, you’re set with a look that’s versatile and sharp. Navy flannel sneakers are a unique finishing touch, too. Of course, putting in a little extra effort when it comes to winter grooming essentials is a solid move, too — and if you happen to be spending some time with your significant other on Christmas, they’ll appreciate it. How will you be dressing for a casual Christmas? Or do you still have some holiday shopping to finish up before you worry about what you’re wearing? Again, check out our women’s holiday gift guide for quick and easy picks.

Stay stylish and enjoy the season!

-Beau

#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.

Florsheim

Style Pick of the Week: Goorin Brothers Wool Flatcap

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.

A flatcap -- best worn when the weather's cold. Elbow-patch cardigan by JACHS NY. Chambray shirt by GAP. Wool flatcap by Goorin Brothers. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Glasses by Warby Parker.

A flatcap — best worn when the weather’s cold. Elbow-patch cardigan by JACHS NY. Chambray shirt by GAP. Wool flatcap by Goorin Brothers. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Glasses by Warby Parker.

If you’re joining us today on The Style Guide, then you understand the value of a well-composed ensemble — and even moreso of a great accessory. Whether it’s a sharp leather dress watch or a nice pair of American-made socks, those little touches can go a long way in making an outfit. And that’s certainly the case with a nice hat. As we’ve talked about before on this blog, hats can definitely be divisive. Make the wrong pick and you might look a little more junior than you’d want. But make the right pick — and here you have it. So even though some aren’t partial to hats, its value as a finishing touch is still pretty solid. And that’s the case with this week’s Style Pick, from our friends at Goorin Brothers. The cold weather that whipped its way across the East coast did a pretty good number on all of us — and much of the rest of the country — so it’s high time to fix your hat conundrum and go for something that packs in seasonally appropriate texture and a dash of vintage style. That, my fellow #menswear fans, is where the Sammy Flat Cap comes into play.

A look at the inside of this wool flatcap --- made in America with a black suede underbill.

A look at the inside of this wool flatcap — made in America with a black suede underbill.

Goorin Brothers certainly knows what it’s doing in terms of crafting nice hats to suit every occasion, from standard knit hats to a dapper selection of top hats and bowlers for the adventurous among us. But there’s something a bit more level-headed, workman-like and versatile about a nice flatcap, especially one constructed from high-quality Woolrich wool, like this one. Heck, the newsboy cap style is one that’s long been associated with rough-and-tumble workers — and the lead singer of everyone’s favorite rock band — so you know it can stand up to new style combos you throw at it. The charcoal color of this flatcap is spot-on for wearing with a navy peacoat or even a charcoal topcoat (like this number here), and it even works when worn a bit more dressed-down — say, with a navy crewneck and tan corduroys. So it’s a piece that can at once finish off an outfit for some outdoor exploring, or add a bit of visual interest if you decide to rock it on a coffee date or, more likely, out drinking down by the docks (I kid, I kid).  Note that if you fancy trying one on in-person, Goorin Brothers has shops spread across the country, where they can easily fit you to your liking. And should you not find the one you want in your size, they’ve got a plethora of flatcap options. Plus, here’s the real kicker — they’re one of the few brands making hats like this in America, and this number right here is going for under $100. I’m not saying you should pick one up right now …. but I am saying your commute will be a whole lot more enjoyable wearing one.

Would you pick up a wool flatcap? Or are you in the no-hats camp?

#OOTD: Wool Trousers for Winter Weather

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 these features regularly.

One of the best things about the menswear world these days is the general approach to mixing and matching style staples. White sneakers can be paired with blazers and chinos, sharp wingtips can dress up a slim pocket tee and denim — if you can dream it, it’s likely a combination worth trying. Such is the case with today’s #OOTD offering. Wool dress trousers could feasibly conjure up some not-so-great style memories, especially if you rocked yours with pleats, as I did back in the day. But as with most silhouettes across the board, the approach is now slimmed-down and smartened-up, making a sharp wool trouser easier to pair with staples both rugged and refined — as you’ll see in the outfit below. And sometimes, when the doldrums of winter start to hit, you just need to shake up your typical blazer-and-trousers combo.

A denim jacket + slim wool trousers = a whole new way to view your work wardrobe.

A denim jacket + slim wool trousers = a whole new way to view your work wardrobe.

The Trousers — J. Crew Factory Thompson Slim Suit Pant in Herringbone Wool, $49.99 — The staple of this outfit — slim, versatile and with some subtle pattern.

The Jacket: Taylor Stitch Long Haul Denim Jacket, $188 — The wild card of this outfit, it’s a supremely sturdy investment-worthy piece of four-season outerwear.

The Shirt: Uniqlo Slim-Fit Long-Sleeve Oxford, $29.99 (On-Sale) — Staying on-trend by pairing a deep blue shirt with an indigo jacket. If that’s not dressy enough, throw on a rich wool tie to top things off.

The Boots: Thursday Boot Company Natural Diplomat Boot, $199 — A refined take on the moc toe boot, complete with tough Natural Horween leather.

The Socks: Happy Socks Red Optic Sock, $8.40 — These socks provide a shot of color and pattern, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The Belt: J. Crew Factory Reversible Brown Leather Belt, $26.50 — Two solid belts for an agreeable price — don’t worry too much about matching the shade of brown here exactly to the boots (being in the same color family works).

The Watch: Timex Waterbury Chronograph, $100 — A heck of a bargain for a rugged watch that lends another piece of visual interest to this ensemble.

Keep in mind that with the above outfit, I’d recommend throwing in a few choice winter accessories to fight the chill – and with all that being said, you should be well-set to tackle whatever the day has in store for you, be it some time in the office or time around town. Wear it well!

‘Til next time,

-Beau

Style Suggestion: A Cozy Christmas

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions — including what to wear to that holiday party — swing through here.

Breaking news — Christmas is almost here! If you’re a big fan of the holidays, like me, and appreciate a festive atmosphere in the air and lights all around the cityscape (or your hometown), there’s really no better time to enjoy. But thankfully, the holiday also gives everyone a chance to rest, regroup and ideally, actually get home for some time off. Either way, Christmas and the events surrounding it don’t always have a set dress code — it could be a more casual evening of opening gifts with just the family, or a nice party with friends (hopefully, Ryan Gosling doesn’t drop by). So the style suggestion that follows definitely errs on the side of more casual, whether this is on Christmas Day itself or in the days leading up to. Bear in mind — this is just one suggestion to keep things from getting too sloppy, so mix-and-match (and buy) as you please! Note that we’ll cover a more dressed-up Christmas affair right here next week.

The Shirt: Tommy John Ringer Pocket Tee in Heather Grey — $34

This colorblocked pocket tee is a simple but effective upgrade from the pedestrian crewneck.

This colorblocked pocket tee is a simple but effective upgrade from the pedestrian crewneck.

So right off the bat, that price is a bit much more than most might pay for a T-shirt. BUT, bear with — Tommy John certainly seems to be the real deal as far as quality and comfort goes in the undershirt and T-shirt game. And its Ringer Pocket Tee (available in four colors) is soft, stylish and slim-fitting. Crucially, the color at the neck and pocket sets it apart just so slightly from a regular crewneck tee, even when that might be the cheaper option.  It’s these small style upgrades that can add a little thought to your look, and if comfort is part of the equation, it’s key to still look good. However, if wearing just a tee makes you wary, I’d reach for a great chambray shirt instead.

The Sweater: Old Navy Chunky Shawl-Collar Cardigan — $49.50 (When On-Sale)

A rich color and ribbed knit make this a solid house sweater for a cozy Christmas.

A rich color and ribbed knit make this a solid house sweater for a cozy Christmas.

Because it’s the heart of December, we’ll assume it could be a little bit chilly wherever you might be. That’s exactly the time to reach for a well-priced Old Navy cardigan. The burgundy color is a nice, on-trend nod to the season as a whole (although this cream JackThreads Shawl Cardigan could also be a neat, affordable pickup). But in this instance, the thick burgundy knit brings some nice contrast when paired alongside the lightweight T-shirt. As I’ve said time and again, a shawl-collar cardigan is a great, masculine style move that adds some rugged appeal to any outfit. Plus, who doesn’t love a cozy sweater? If it’s too warm out where you are, ditch it (if you’re lucky enough, that is!).

The Pants: JackThreads The Daily Jogger — $49.50 OR Classic Dark Denim

A dark color and trim cut help these wear less like sweats and more like jeans. Yes, you got that right.

A dark color and trim cut help these wear less like sweats and more like jeans. Yes, you got that right.

As we talked about above, Christmas can go one of two ways — more casual, or dressier. In this case, if you’ve got the option to go more laidback yet want to avoid wearing pajama pants, we’re going out on a limb to recommend a pair of tailored sweatpants in a dark color. JackThreads continues to get a lot of things right with its new menswear line, and stylish essentials at low prices like these are why. Again, if sweatpants still feel too casual, a solid pair of dark denim never fails (I’d recommend Mott & Bow, who makes slim jeans like its Hester model with a comfy hint of stretch). If sweats are too hot, reach for their laidback but just as comfy alternative — the well-crafted sweatshort (like these from my friends at Pistol Lake).

The Sneakers: GREATS Brand Royale Chukka — $152 (On-Sale)

Camel plus black in a chukka silhouette = dressier sneakers than the norm.

Camel plus black in a chukka silhouette = dressier sneakers than the norm.

If sneakers seem a silly option for the middle of winter (and they very well might be if there’s a ton of snow), I’d urge you to go with a reliable (but cheaper) desert boot instead. If, however, you’re able to rock some chukka sneakers from GREATS, you’ve found a style choice that fits right in with fall & winter yet feels more comfortable than a thicker boot (note that Reef’s Outhaul Lux Chukka does that, too). The Royale Chukka definitely checks all those boxes, and even more crucially, the camel color plus black sole is a combo that feels a little dressier than a plain pair of captoe sneakers. These sneakers can be worn through the rest of winter in the right weather, and into spring with some lightwash jeans, too — that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

The Watch: Timex Weekender 40mm — $46

A black leather strap and that simple Timex dial create the ideal happy medium for the rest of this outfit.

A black leather strap and that simple Timex dial create the ideal happy medium for the rest of this outfit.

Just as in this site’s Thanksgiving Style Suggestion, a Timex is the affordable watch pick once again. In this instance, Timex’s classic weekender dial keeps the watch more casual, but the black face and slip-thru black leather strap makes it ever so slightly put-together. Yet, it’ll still look right at home with this outfit in terms of color and styling potential — it’s just that simple and versatile. Lest we forget, this watch can be mixed and matched with other NATO straps — that’s like getting a new watch for about $10.

The Socks: Richer Poorer Herald Socks — $12

A small way to pump some pattern into an outfit -- for a low price.

A small way to pump some pattern into an outfit — for a low price.

Whereas the rest of this outfit mainly sticks to solid basics, these socks inject some life into the ensemble in a fun way. And assuming you’ll be kicking around without shoes on for a bit, clean, hole-free socks are a must (truly). Throw in a fun polka-dot pattern in a color that complements the rest of the outfit, and you’re set. The oatmeal color of these socks is also just different enough if you go with a heather-grey T-shirt (or even a blue chambray), and the navy dots complement the cardigan and the sneakers, too. Plus, Richer Poorer socks are springy and breathable — not a  heavy wool set.

While the above outfit might not work for everyone, here’s hoping you do get the chance to kick back in a more casual fashion this Christmas — and when that time comes, I hope you’ll keep some of these picks in mind (because who doesn’t love looking their best all the time?). Think I missed anything? Let me know your picks for the holiday season below!

Ben Sherman US

Winter Style Suggestion: Seasonal Fabrics

A huge component of fashion and style is phasing seasonal pieces in and out of one’s wardrobe. What worked for you in the summer (a polo and chinos, perhaps) probably won’t work in colder temperatures, and the same can be said for cold-weather garb. We’ve been working our way toward winter in Michigan for a good while now (remember those wingtip boots? Now’s the perfect time to break them out), and with the first truly cold blast of cold weather comes another reminder about seasonally appropriate style. The great thing about so many fabrics that work in the fall is that … well, they work in the winter, too.

J. Crew's chambray shirt. Nice texture for winter, without a doubt.

J. Crew’s chambray shirt. Nice texture for winter, without a doubt.

One way to transition your wardrobe in small steps from fall to winter revolves around emphasizing chunkier, thicker textures and fabrics, namely in suiting, shirting and neckwear. Of course, layering is important, as well. A heavier fabric that can get great play in both fall and winter is denim — not just on your legs, though. Denim and chambray shirts can break up a typical shirt-and-sweater combo through a thicker weave and rougher texture. Even in the dead of winter, a light chambray shirt is still appropriate — the fabric is like a classic OCBD, but with slubbier texture. Both types of shirts pair well with knit ties or heavier pieces of neckwear, and variations on styling a chambray shirt with dark denim are often used to great effect across the #menswear world. An added benefit of working in rougher textures like chambray and denim is that shirts and other seasonal staples often come in neutral colors, so pairing them together is quite easy.

If you do have the opportunity to dress up on occasion, leave the ultra-shiny silk ties at home at least once or twice. The same fabrics in vogue in suiting for the winter are just as accessible in terms of neckwear — look no further than last month’s Frank and Oak Hunt Club crate for a great example of a heavier wool tie.  What’s more, switching to a heavier tie fabric ultimately makes sense with other textural changes — a wool tie and chambray shirt is a nearly foolproof combination because of the way those two items play off each other. Knit ties, while versatile and usable at any time during the year, are even more appropriate during fall and winter. Again, a knit tie swaps out the sheen of a typical silk tie for something more visually interesting — a thick weave. Because a knit is inherently more casual (square end, more texture, less shine), it can be paired with dark denim and a great pair of shoes quite easily. And if you find yourself in a business casual office this fall or winter, try out a combination like that on a ‘Casual Friday’ — it’s probably instantly more polished than other get-ups out there.

An example of how to tie it all together -- chambray shirt, knit tie & herringbone blazer. Don't forget those boots!

An example of how to tie it all together — chambray shirt, knit tie & herringbone blazer. Don’t forget those boots!

The key to completing an entire outfit (particularly in a business casual situation) is often a good blazer. A blazer can clean up lines in an outfit, emphasizing a man’s torso and shoulders; in the right size (and maybe with some tailoring), nearly anyone looks good. Now for the winter, a good cotton blazer can probably pull just as much duty as in the summer or spring. But leave the linen blazer in the closet for now, and if you do want to switch out fabrics, reach for … you guessed it — something with a thicker weave, like this herringbone number from J. Crew.  H&M also features a much cheaper option in a winter-appropriate fabric, but the tail could be a bit chopped (too short for the taller fellas).

When the cold weather strikes, transition your wardrobe as you would from any other season, rotating out pieces you don’t wear for pieces you will wear. Keep in mind that heavier textures add visual interest and depth to an outfit, and use neutral combinations like chambray and wool ties to pull together seasonally appropriate (and versatile) looks.