Dressing the Occasion: Spring

A huge part of being stylish while still remaining practical is dressing the occasion. Dressing the occasion goes beyond parties and events, it changes by season. While there are plenty of clothes that work in every season, there are just as much or more that do not. Different seasons call for different styles and colors, as well as temperature adjustments. In the same way you wouldn’t wear a beige suit and a blue tie to a funeral, you shouldn’t wear winter tweeds and hefty boots in the spring.

Spring is about freshness, color, and life. Think brighter colors and lighter fabrics to match the spring atmosphere. Consider trading in those heavy leather boots for some moccasins or plimsolls, and replace your winter coats for a light spring jacket. Use chinos or shorts to try to beat the heat on the warmer days. Now is also the time to start bringing out your brighter colors, and even pastels. This may all seem pretty obvious, but just take a look around one day, you may be surprised.

As always, what we are aiming for is great fit, and stylish clothes that will last a life time.

Spring 2Spring 3  Spring 4 spring 5 Spring 6

There are certain clothes that I will suggest avoiding when it comes to Spring, all of which are pet peeves but nonetheless, take my advice. These are all also great examples as to why you should avoid trends and focus on proper fitting and classic styles.

  • Cargo shorts; we’ve all worn them, sure they are practical, but do you really need those giant extra pockets?
  • Pleated shorts; they kind of work for dress pants, but pleated shorts should have never been a thing. In order to avoid looking like you’re secretly wearing Depends, stay away from these by looking for flat front shorts.
  • Baggy/wide shorts; baggy and wide shorts just look silly, find a straight or slim cut depending on your size, and the length of your shorts should cut off right above the knee. Depending on your height and preference search for shorts with a 7″-10″ inseam.
  • Socks; These are an exception. Sock height has a very unstable position in fashion, but for now, find some no show socks for your plimsolls and low cut sneakers, and in case you were unaware, socks aren’t necessary for loafers and boat shows.

This post was probably pretty intuitive for most of you, but I hope the details are what stand out. Remember to find proper fits and avoid trendy cuts like pleated shorts. Spring style is all about comfort so don’t worry about trying to hard, relax and enjoy the weather and make sure to always dress the occasion.

Images in this post were provided by StayClassicblog, putthison, GAP, J.Crew, & Billy Reid

Looking Good on a Budget, Part 2: Quality Over Quantity

You’ve probably heard of $200 designer jeans, or maybe a $100 shirt. Sounds ridiculous right? Maybe not. When fashion meets function you get what you pay for (most of the time at least). Now when I say look good on a budget, I mean it. Paying $100-$200 for one item may sound crazy, but if you find the right product it could last you a lifetime. Spending more money on quality items may seem expensive up front, but in the long run you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

There are a lot of different clothing articles worth investing in but I’ll stick with the basics for now.

Button Down Shirts. Whether you’re a grease monkey or a wall street stock trader, every guy needs at least two great button down shirts. One to wear with a suite, and one for play. For affordable, yet quality design check out these sites:

J.Crew

Brooks Brothers

Wolf vs Goat

Jeans. Because everyone needs a great pair of jeans. Before I learned how to find clothes that fit properly, I never found jeans that I was truly satisfied with, if it wasn’t the fit that was off, it was the quality. So many people think they need to buy multiple jeans a year, all you really need is one good pair. I own about eight pairs of jeans, but pretty much only wear one pair, and I wear them at least five days a week. That pair is the most expensive pair of jeans that I own, but they fit the best, and are the most durable.

For jeans I recommend:

GAP

Joe’s Jeans

imogene + willie

Naked & Famous

Boots. Construction workers, country boys, and even city slickers all need a pair of boots. Whether you’re remodeling your house, mud bogging, or traveling via subway, a great pair of boots can go a long way. Back in the old days people fixed things instead of replacing them, and that’s why it is worth investing in good boots. Many companies offer repair services, and if you have a local cobbler you can have them resoled when needed. So what may seem expensive, can actually save you money in the long run.

Check out these boots if you want a pair that will last years, or even decades:

Wolverine

Chippewa

Red Wind Shoes

Alden

Oak Street Bootmakers

 

Here’s some inspiration.

boots 2 bw clothes Elvis bootsdenimJean Paul Belmondo Bruce Springsteen

 

Once understanding quality to quantity ratios it’s easier to justify those expensive prices. What may seem pricey often saves money in the long run, the idea is less = more. Figure out what your necessities are and go from there; just remember, all you really need are the basics, and they’re the ones that will be worth it when you’re forking out your hard earned cash.

 

 

Looking Good on a Budget, Part 1: Finding Great Prices

There is something too common and unfortunate in this world, and that is not knowing how to shop. Of course, this applies to all sorts of areas, but obviously I’m talking about clothes. Avoiding being a fashion victim is not only important to prevent future embarrassment, but also to save yourself money. Now I’m not talking about the latest designer clothes, I’m talking about clothes that hold well overtime because of great quality, as well as their looks. You may have seen, or even been someone who bought a trendy shirt, and within a year decided you didn’t like it anymore simply because of its trendy aesthetics. Not only was money wasted, but maybe that shirt was regretfully worn.

Because regretful purchases happen, and money is often an issue, it is important to learn to buy better clothes for less. There are many places you can get great quality clothes for less than you’d pay for a trendy button down that you’ll wear for only a season.

Thrift Shops. This of course, is one of the most obvious options. A good portion of my own wardrobe is from thrift shops, consisting of Banana Republic, GAP, Ralph Lauren, Cole Haan and more. There are a few things to consider when thrifting, but because its cheap you have more room to splurge here. Starting out, stick with the names of the brands you know. Familiarity with brand name is going to stick out the most, but there are other ways to check for quality. Check the tags for fabric types; If a shirt is made with 100% cotton or wool the fabric at least, is good. Pima and Egyptian cottons are high quality, but aren’t as common in thrift stores. Expect to find a lot of tags that show polyester blends. Polyester blends aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they are often used for cheaper clothing. This may sound funny, but buttons are also something to check for quality. You might not have noticed, but thick buttons hold up much better than thin buttons that crack, or snap off easily. Another thing to consider is fit. Because baggy fits were a trend for quite awhile, a lot of thrift shop clothes are cut to hang loose or be worn baggy, so utilize changing rooms when possible. Most importantly, feel comfortable with the purchase. There have been times where I took a risk and bought something that I wasn’t sure I’d pull off, and it worked out, but overall comfort is key.

Sales. Here’s another obvious one, but sales can be tricky, and it is important to have a strategy here as well. Many sale racks offer cheap clothes for a reason, either they didn’t sell well because of aesthetics or quality, or they are last season articles. With that said, there are usually still plenty of good options. When it comes to sales, it is important to know what to buy and when to buy. Take advantage of basic articles that offer versatility like neutral colors (white, brown, grey, navy and some earth tones), and basic clothes like button down shirts, t-shirts, and pants. As spring comes in, winter clothes are going on sale, so this is a great time to buy jeans, long sleeve shirts, and sweaters; and remember to buy stuff that is going to hold well overtime, you don’t want outdated trendy stuff. Another important thing is to know when to buy. For example: if you were planning on buying some t-shirts in the next month or two at retail price, but find them on sale prior, go ahead and buy them even if you don’t plan to wear them yet.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite places for sales:
J.Crew
J.Crew Factory
Nordstrom Rack
GAP
Banana Republic
ASOS
UNIQLO
ClubMonaco

One thing to take into consideration for retail stores, is if you subscribe to their email list, they’ll notify you anytime they have deals. The way most modern retail stores are set up, they are likely to have multiple sales a month, so unless you just have to have something, a lot of stores are worth waiting for the sales.

Ebay. Ebay can be a great source for vintage clothes as well as new brand name stuff. Ebay actually has a large men’s clothing section, but if you have a specific item in mind, typing in the details may help you more quickly find what you want.

One of the last pieces of advice in regards to this post, is to do a LOT of browsing before spending money. Figure out what styles appeal to you and why, and ask yourself if this is something you would consider wearing for the next couple of years or even decades.

Finding Inspiration

When walking on the streets, or around campus, a lot of different clothes and styles catch my eye. Thanks to the internet, we now have access to a variety of clothing and style options beyond our environment. When looking for different styles and outfit inspiration for my own wardrobe, one thing that I love doing is looking back at celebrity style icons throughout history as well as the modern ones. It’s always interesting to see what used to be in style, as well as what comes back. Some of you may already notice characters from films or television because of how they dress, or maybe you have never even considered their wardrobes. With that said, I’ll bet you’d be surprised at how style icons can single-handedly bring something into style, and maybe even be held responsible for something in your closet. Here’s a look at some of my favorites.

Clark Gable

Clark Gable 1

Clark Gable 2

You may recognize this man from Gone with the Wind, but Clark Gable almost single-handedly killed the undershirt industry in the movie, It Happened in One Night. His character was shown taking off a dress shirt, only to reveal that he was not wearing an undershirt. Audiences realized that undershirts were no longer a necessity, allowing for one more way to save money during the depression. While wearing plenty of great suits, his accessory use is really making this outfit. A bracelet on top of a watch, with a red pocket square are really bringing that light grey suit to life.

James Dean

james dean

James Dean 3

James Dean is easily one of the most iconic male actors of all time, not just because of the roles be played, but because of the clothes he wore. He helped revive the white t-shirt in the 50s, after all those years it suffered due to It Happened in One Night. One reason James Dean is so highly regarded not only because he made blue jeans and a white-t cool, but he curated a mix of youthful rebellion and effortless sophistication.

John F. Kennedy

jfk

jfk 2

JFK was easily our most stylish President and offers strong competition to any Presidents to come. His go to button up shirts, chinos, sweaters and canvas sneakers are proof that simplicity goes a long way.

Steve McQueen

steve mcqueen

Steve mcqueen 2

Although I have yet to see any Steve McQueen movies, this guy is my favorite style icon. When he wasn’t driving motorcycles, boats, or racing sports cars, he was seen utilizing shawl collar cardigans, chinos and white sneakers. He had such a timeless style, you literally see people wearing the same stuff today.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Speaking at Press Conference

Muhammed Ali 2

Some of you maybe surprised that a boxer would be interested in fashion, but just by the way this man moved in the ring was enough to tell you he had style. His suit game was just as strong as his punch, and with his stature, you know he spent time with the tailors, making sure things fit just right.

Waris Ahluwalia

waris

WARIS 2

If Waris looks familiar, then maybe you’ve seen a Wes Anderson film or two. This guy knows more than just style, he buys his own fabrics then has his favorite designers make his clothes for him. Waris has a great array of button-down shirts, not to mention plenty of suits to choose from. With his own jewelry line, this guy also knows how to wear man jewelery.

Aziz Ansari

aziz-ansari

aziz-ansari-3

Everyone loves Aziz, but beyond his acting and comedy talents, this guy has impeccable style. Aziz is known for his crisp suits and tuxedos, but he’s subtly dressing down that sport coat with a great sweater and button-up combination.

Joseph Gorden-Levitt

JGL 2

Joseph Gordon Levitt style

As you can see JGL has come a long way since his boyhood days. Whats so interesting about him, is that he successfully pulls off a hipster vibe just as well as a James Bond look. JGL was one of the celebrities who brought slim fit clothes into the modern male wardrobe. His trimmed-down suits, and untidy dress clothes set him a part.

LeBron James

Lebron james

Lebron James 2

What can you say? It’s King James. Not only is this guy compared to Michael Jordan, but his sneaker line practically rivals Air Jordans. Off the court he knows how to dress, but he isn’t the only style icon in the NBA. LeBron James style is very sophisticated as well as sporty. Utilizing color combinations, both of these looks are very well put together.

Andre 3000

andre-3000

andre 300 2

Many rappers are known for their style, but Andre 3000 is the definition of dapper. A finely woven straw hat has become his signature, while using bold prints, eye-grabbing color combinations, accessories, and a mix of shoes to pull craziness into unity. Notice he is wearing those outfits, they are not wearing him.

Other icons worth checking out

Bob Dylan
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Mick Jagger
Andy Warhol
Miles Davis
Marvin Gaye
Humphrey Bogart
Robert Redford
Nick Wooster
Roy Halston Frowick
Justin Timberlake
Mboko Ndimba Mobutu
Sam Lambert

As you can see, many successful men know how to dress themselves– it shows that fashion allows us to reflect our lifestyle.  Another thing you’ll notice is that most of these outfits are practical and remain stylish over time (this is why simplicity can be so important). Overall, I had a really tough time narrowing this list down and wish it could have been way longer. Just remember, these men are style icons, use their outfits for inspiration, and try not to go overboard (not everyone can be Andre 3000). Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration and are on the search for your own personal favorites.

Rules and Regulations, Part 1: Fit

No one likes rules and regulations, especially when it comes to being told how to dress, but have no fear, these rules and regulations will help you in the long run. When it comes to having good style, proper fit is key. Not only is proper fit beneficial in so many ways, but it offers a timeless value to your clothes. The reason buying clothes with proper fit is so important, is that whatever the trend may be, tight, loose, skinny, baggy, proper fitting clothes will always look good on you despite trend fluctuations. So in order to develop a classic and substantial wardrobe, it is important to make sure your clothes fit.

I will be featuring http://howclothesshouldfit.com/ today, as its creators have done a tremendous job with the information, graphics, and website. Although, I encourage you to visit this site, I will be providing their images and information to you here.

Shirts.

As you can see, this infographic is very basic and to the point. To add to what is given, notice how the shoulder seam is placed right on the shoulder bone, this is where your shoulder seams should sit as well. Also, make sure your collar is not too tight, it should not move with you as you turn your head, but it should not be too loose either. When it comes to the sleeves, you don’t want them too tight or too loose. Tighter shirts may show off your bulging muscles, but most people don’t care about them as much as you do, and if you’re pencil thin, try finding a slim fitting shirt.

Pants.

It may not look like there is much going on here, but these pants fit perfectly. Notice they are not too long and baggy, nor are they too wide or skinny. The length is great, and this is often an issue. What’s great about dress pants, is that they are easy to tailor. Shortening the length of ill-fitting pants is usually a pretty cheap fix, and tailors are fairly easy to come by. One more thing I must note, when it comes to pants, belts should not be necessary to keep pants on your hips. Pants should fit your waist, this will allow for more comfort. Belts are meant to be a complimentary accessory when it comes to formal occasions.

Suit Coat/Sport Jacket.

Once again, basic and to the point. You’ll notice how the shoulder seam should be in place here, like with the shirts. Another thing to keep in mind is buttons. On coats with two buttons, only button the top button, never the bottom, and with three buttons button the top two buttons, never the bottom. There is also etiquette when wearing a suit coat/sport jacket; you should have the coat buttoned while standing, and unbuttoned while sitting.

Proper fitting clothes is something I can’t stress enough; I can’t count on my hands how many guys I see on a daily basis with over or undersized clothes. Know that great fit is one of the most important factors when shopping, and that a great fit will accentuate and compliment your body. Fit is something that can slim your profile, or add weight, so allow it to work to your benefit.

Where to Begin?

Feminine culture, with its numerous fashion magazines and television, has allowed girls to grow up to be fashion conscious and stylish women, giving them a leg up on men for decades. Although most boys are raised into a masculine culture that isn’t style conscious, the details we put into how we dress should not be ignored. When deciding to start dressing better, most guys end up asking themselves, “Where do I start?” or go out spending too much money on clothes that they think are stylish, but in reality are ill-fitting, too trendy, out-dated, or things they simply just can’t pull off. In reality, the solution to this problem is to start simple.

When looking to be a better dressed man, it is important to keep things simple.  There are certain basics you’re probably familiar with, so let’s stick to what we know has worked well over time. It is essential to start off with basics not only because they look great and stay classic, but because they allow versatility.

The first basic to start off with is the Oxford Cloth Button Down shirt (OCBD). OCBD may sound like a mouthful, but it’s the most basic and recognizable masculine shirt. Start with white, a light blue, and then colors that compliment your skin tone.

Check out Target, Uniqlo, Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic, or Brooks Brothers for great OCBD options.

The plain tee. The plain white tee has been cool and stylish for years now, but it is important to embrace other colors, and do away with all those tacky graphic tees and “funny” ironic tees. Stick with solid colors, navy and white will always look great on any guy, past that use colors that compliment your skin tone.

James Dean White t

For a modern and affordable solid color t-shirt, check out Target, Gap, and J.Crew. In spite of a recent trend, I recommend sticking with crew neck tees instead of V-necks. V-necks already seem to be dying out and don’t hold over time in the same way that a crew neck does.

Pants. Classic slacks are always great of course, but for this post I’ll focus more on chinos. What makes chinos chinos, is the chino (cotton) cloth, but the way they are designed is very similar to blue jeans with the exception of detailing.

Hopefully these look familiar, maybe you even own a pair. As you can see, these offer great versatility, you can dress them up just as much as you can dress them down. They are great for a smart and casual look. For chino options check out H&M, Uniqlo, Gap, and J. Crew.

Dark wash jeans. Dark wash jeans have been in style for the last five years now, more or less,  and for good reasons. Dark jeans have a more modern and sleek look in comparison to light wash and overly faded jeans. Overall, they are arguably more aesthetic. Depending on your size, I would recommend opting for a straight leg cut or slim-cut, both of these will be complimentary to your body. In contrast, I will say to avoid skinny jeans or jeans that are much too slim for your size, as well as avoiding boot cut, standard, or carpenter jeans, these are all counter intuitive if you are working towards developing a better wardrobe.

e.
Jeans are often a bit more pricey, but you really get what you pay for with them. Start with Levi’s 511s, American Eagle, or Gap. If you want to fork out the big bucks, go to Imogene + Willie, they’ll make you custom-fit jeans that will last decades.

Coats/jackets. There a lot of different options here, and coats that even deserve their own post. To keep it simple, I’ll start by suggesting using coats according to the situation (although that applies to any form of clothes). Avoid wearing your north face skiing jacket as an everyday coat; save it for when you’re actually skiing, or when it’s unbearably cold and that’s your only option. Another jacket you need to be aware of is the sweatshirt/hoodie. Hoodies are not winter coats, save them for the gym or a spring/fall day, and stick with solid colors and modern fit and design when wearing one. Consider buying a pea coat; although often pricey, these coats are warm and last a long time. They will remain stylish over time, and even James Bond wears one. Because of such a large variety in styles of coats, I will suggest sticking with something that has a sophisticated yet casual look when it comes to coat options.

I love the tweed baseball jacket that Tim, from http://stayclassicblog.com/ is wearing. It’s simple, casual, and looks great in a very subtle manner. The pea coat is featured in the center, and Mark from, http://simplerman.com/ is sporting the timeless leather jacket.

Shoes. Last but not least are shoes. Shoes can say a lot about a person; they can reflect their personality, show off their taste, or give you an idea of what they do for a living. Picking out good shoes is one of the most essential parts of dressing well. For now, we’ll stick with a casual style and something that once again is simple, sleek, and allows versatility in your wardrobe.

Clark’s Desert Boots/(Bushacre). These are laughably over-recommended online, but for the quality to price ratio they are awesome, and have a great minimalistic design. I have had mine for over two years now and love them. With a variety in color, and a suede option, the difference between the Desert Boot, and Bushacre, is that the Desert Boot’s leather quality is slightly better, and it has a crepe sole. There are plenty of great boot options out there, but for starting out these are one of the cheaper options.

Boat Shoes. Here’s a classic that has been worn by men for decades now.  With a resurgence over the last decade, these have a great casual look that work with shorts or pants. Just remember, socks aren’t necessary unless it’s a cold winter day. Sperry’s Top Sider is featured on the right, and to the left we have some from http://www.oakstreetbootmakers.

Canvas sneakers. Vans has successfully brought back canvas sneakers into our everyday wardrobe, although Converse never really went out of style. Canvas shoes often come in a very minimalistic design and look great with wear. It’s not easy to keep canvas sneakers clean, but I love the look of a worn out pair of canvas sneakers.

It will take time, but building a wardrobe starts off best with the basics and versatility. Looking at what the past has shown to be successful, we can start off with familiarity and move on from there into modern fits. With the combination of slick, sleek, sophisticated and casual options, I hope that you have gathered some insight to looking better.

Getting Started

I find personal style to be one of the most important factors affecting how we are perceived by others. We never know what the future holds and who we might run into, whether it may be our future boss, wife, or best friend, so it is important to be dressed appropriately for any occasion. Because our wardrobe has an impact on others opinions I am here to share my knowledge in a simple and practical manner. The Practical Manual for Men’s Style is for the fashion illiterate man, but will not be limited to the avid fashion blogger. My goal is to help you build knowledge on what works and what doesn’t, as well as boosting your confidence, and improving your quality of life through personal style.

Think this:

Image

Not this:

As you can see, what we are aiming for is very simple and wearable. Style develops overtime, but the most important thing is to feel comfortable with your outfit. Once a comfortable look is attained, there are numerous benefits: confidence boost, good first impressions, and positive perceptions, just to name a few. Being well-dressed is not necessarily about having “nice” clothes or following trends, but outfitting yourself in a way that creates unity and fluidity in your wardrobe. It is about using different articles of clothing that come together to create a visually pleasing look that compliments you, your body type, and your lifestyle. Whether or not you consider yourself stylish, being a well-dressed man is a very attainable goal. My hope is for you to develop your own personal style and to successfully dress well.