Tag Archives: mens fashion

Trend Alert: Monk Straps for Everyday

The Monk Strap shoe, a classic mens dress shoe featuring a strap and buckle closure once reserved for cocktail parties and formal occasions, is breaking into the casual realm of dressing. GQ published a great article on Monk Straps almost two years ago, and in it suggested that monk straps were already acceptable for every day wear, but, personally, I am just now beginning to see this acceptance in action, and am more frequently noticing stylish men sporting single and even double straps on less than formal occasions.

Here are a few of my favorite monks and how to wear them:

Monks

  1. Rush by Gordon Rush Leather Monk Straps: These monks are versatile for the man who lives in business-casual attire. (So, basically any yuppy) Wear these beautiful brown monks with black, navy, or khaki slacks at work. After work pair them with navy, dark green, or khaki slim cut, cuffed chinos. For an even more casual look you can wear these with a very dark, denim pant as long as you have a nice shirt and even a sports coat to go with it.
  2. Del Toro Suede Monk Strap: These monks are definitely more casual, but equally as stylish as their fancier counterparts. I love the combination of the deep red suede with the bright blue sole. However this color combination limits what colors you can wear with them. For these particular more casual monks, I would pair with them a rich slim cut denim pant, patterned sock, blue or white button down, or a navy and white striped tee. Accessorize with a brown belt, fedora, and or a funky bow tie.
  3. McCarren & Sons Cap-toe Nubuck Double Monk Strap: These monks are probably one of my favorite for the following reasons: the cut of the toe is neither round, square, nor pointy; the colors are classic neutrals that can go with just about everything; the wooden sole makes them appropriate for cocktail hour as well as work, in addition to more casual circumstances.
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Fashion Chameleon or Individual?

Growing up, I envied certain people’s ability to be anybody, any character. You know those people who can go anywhere and look like they’re a part of the scenery; they have a knack for knowing exactly what to wear to blend into any environment or setting. I used to strive to be that way. What I have realized over time is that these people might have an uncanny ability to understand what certain times and places demand from fashion, but they don’t have the ability to understand and cultivate their own sense of style.

So as I have matured and developed my own sense of self and style, I admire and aspire to be the individuals who know exactly who they are in terms of their fashion and personal style. I admire the people who can walk into any room or setting and look like themselves. Sure, they may pick and choose certain outfits or styles to suit the mood of the occasion, but they are always uniquely them. These people remain true to their aesthetic and they are comfortable and confident in their style. They are themselves, not some character or cliche.

In order to be a person whose character is themselves, and is not constantly changing, you must first develop and understand your own personal sense of style. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and can take years to accomplish.  What you wear tells the world who you are, so keep that in mind as you get dressed each morning and in the long term how you develop your style. Part of the reason this is so hard is because until you know who you are, how can you possibly use fashion to represent that? That’s why growing up, throughout middle and high school, people were constantly changing their sense of style; as kids we don’t really know who we are, and even if we did we were too self-conscious to show it, making it impossible to have a true sense of personal style.

Good news is that if you’re reading this, chances are you’re not a tween or teen, and at this point in your life you’re either on the voyage to self-discovery or you already have a good sense of who you are as a person. Use this to your advantage when making choices pertaining to your fashion. Don’t concern yourself so much with other people, or with trying to be something you’re not, even if just for a night. What I mean by this is not to disregard completely that certain venues have dress codes and that certain outfits are inappropriate for certain settings. What I do mean is that what you wear should be a reflection of you, not of your surroundings. Develop a style that makes you feel good about yourself and the image that you’re portraying to others; be confident and comfortable being your own character.

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Shoe Shopping (On a Budget)

I was recently posed the question of what shoes I recommended at under $200, and I was totally struggling to think of suggestions to offer, which is when I realized that so many of the shoes I feature or discuss are pretty pricey and unattainable for most men. So I dedicate this post to the men who want to look like a million bucks without breaking the bank.

For this post, I’ll be pulling from stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, instead of Barneys and Bergdorf’s.

Dress Shoes:

dresshoesonabudget(Ted Baker $185, Cole Haan $198, Cole Haan $210(yes I know, it’s a little over budget, but they’re awesome))

Casual Chic Shoes:

cashshoesonabudget(Cole Haan $198, H by Hudson Houghton $170, LaCoste $170)

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It’s Raining, Men

You all know the saying, ‘April showers bring May flowers.’ You anticipate, at least mentally, that this month of the year will be reliably rainy, but I’ve noticed that mental readiness does not necessarily signify wardrobe readiness.

Dressing for winter and fall weather ailments is much different than dressing for spring and  summer ailments. In the fall and winter seasons, the primary focus in terms of outerwear is warmth, although there is a need to stay dry during winter weather storms. In the spring and summer, however, the focus is to stay dry and cool, so there is an inherent challenge for designers in the creation of, and for consumers in the choice of outwear during the warmer, wet months.

The obvious key elements to choosing outerwear for the warm, wet seasons is to choose something that is both waterproof and lightweight. Another element to consider that is often overlooked when buying rain gear is pack- or carry-ability. Because of the warmer temperatures, it is unlikely that you will want to keep any type of excess clothing on any longer than is necessary.

raincoats

 

(Steven Alan, Jack Spade, Barbour, Jack Wills)

In terms of jackets, choose items like unlined, waterproof parkas and zip jackets in neutral or cool colors like beige, olive green, mustard yellow, or poppy red. For rain boots (yes, men SHOULD wear rain boots), go for a basic rubber-sole rain boot in a dark color like navy, black, grey, or green as these colors are less likely to show dirt and mud residue.  As for umbrellas, yes. Please, for my sanity and for the sake of everyone around you, use an umbrella!

rainaccessories

(Sperry, Tommy Hilfiger, Hunter, Brooks Brothers, J.Crew)

 

 

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4 Chambray Must-Haves and How to Wear Them

Chambray transcends seasons. In the fall and winter, a chambray button-down perfectly complemented your navy cords or burgundy chinos, and an effortless element of chic. And now in the spring and summer, the light-weight linen finished garments, add style and versatility to both casual wear and sophisticated ensembles.

1. The classic chambray button-down. Pair it with your favorite salmon chino shorts, and a pair of boat shoes and you have the perfect casual, ‘weekend at the beach,’ look.

JWills
Jack Wills $89.50

2. The chambray short. Great for dressing up or down. For a daytime casual look, pair with a light-weight cotton v-neck tee in solid or stripe pattern and a pair of leather sandals. At night pair with a navy or white button-down and nice clean tennis shoes for a causal look, or a pair of leather loafers for a nicer look.

JCrewSHort
J.Crew $75.00

3. The essential chambray blazer. This item takes any casual summertime look and makes it sophisticated. Pair with a tee, shorts, sandals, and a fedora for a super trendy weekend outfit, or put it over a silk blend button-down and your favorite khakis for an outdoor evening party ensemble.

ScotchSoda
Scotch & Soda $215.00

4. The printed chambray tie. I love this tie paired with a white, salmon, or light blue button-down, tucked into a pair of chino style shorts or pants in a complementary color. Nothing says spring like a floral chambray tie.

JCrewTie
J.Crew $69.50

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Weekend Challenge: Mix It Up

If you’re one of those guys who wears basically the same thing everyday, this challenge is directed towards you! Stop wearing some variation on the same tired theme; try something different. Surprise people by failing to do what they expect of you and ultimately you may surprise yourself and find that you actually like looking different from, well, you.

Here are a few ways to mix it up:

1. Go into your closet or wardrobe and pick out something that you either haven’t worn in years, or something that you look at every morning, but think, ‘I have no idea why I bought this(or why someone bought this for me).’ Put it on, and rock it!

2. If you always wear jeans and a T-shirt, ditch the t-shirt and go for a button-down, or if you’re really stuck to your t-shirt, throw on a blazer or sportscoat and a hat to upgrade your style.

3. Find a shirt or pair of pants in a bold color or exciting pattern. Pair it with a totally different, but complimentary, color or pattern. (i.e.Striped shirt with floral shorts, Yellow chinos with a navy, pink, bright blue, or green shirt)

I’m preaching unpredictability this weekend! Break free of the routine and do something out of the ordinary!

 

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The Other Half of the Red Carpet

“Who are you wearing?” are “What was she thinking?!” are probably the two most frequently heard and read statements on the night of and the days that follow a red carpet event, such as the Oscars. All the media and press attention is focused on the women of the red carpet, whether she be a nominee, a popular actress, or a supermodel wife of an actor. The variety of styles, cuts, and colors available make women’s red carpet fashions more interesting and more attractive to those who care about fashion…and selling magazines.The immense variation in the options available to women means that rarely, if ever, do you see two stars wearing the same, or even similar, looks to a red carpet event. This instills a sense of competition among female actors and guests of actors to wow audiences, instill a jaw-dropping response, and ultimately gain the title, “best dressed.”

But, when it comes to men on the red carpet, a tux is just a tux, right? WRONG. While traditionally when looking at the men of the red carpet, it seems like just a sea of the same- everyone wearing a classic black tux, providing little for the eye to digest and the mind to process and ultimately criticize. However, menswear has evolved significantly in recent decades, and there is much more available to men in terms of variation and choice, but the variation isn’t always as apparent as it is for women. For men, the variation is in the details: the fabric choice, level of sheen, lapel style, style and color of the tie, and buttons on the shirt.

From the classic look designed by Tom Ford and worn by Brad Pitt, to the dapper Navy Burberry tux worn by Frank Underwood, I mean Kevin Spacey, to the unusual shorts tux worn by Pharrel, we saw a much wider variety of men’s red carpet looks than what we would traditionally expect and than what has been portrayed by the media publications.

So, allow me to pick up their slack. Here are my favorite looks from the 2014 Oscars…

Oscars2014

1. Joseph Gordon Levitt looked dapper in a Calvin Klein tux with just enough sparkle to stand out.

2. Kevin Spacey rocked a navy blue Burberry tux.

3. Chiwetel Ejiofor wore an amazing classic black Rake tuxedo.

4. Michael B. Jordan embodied the modern gentleman in this sleek tux by Givenchy.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio looked totally handsome in Armani…as per usual.

6. Jared Leto was a stand out on the red carpet, wearing a white tux jacket and black pants by Saint Laurent.

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Post-Grad Preppy

If you are currently enrolled or just graduated from a college or university in the Northeastern or Southern region of the United States, it’s likely that you walked onto campus with a J.Crew button-down, chino shorts, and Sperry’s, and almost guaranteed that regardless of what you wore that first day,  you graduated in a pastel Vineyard Vines ensemble fastened with a bow-tie and a fresh pair or Sperry’s. As a guy it is pretty hard to resist succumbing to the preppy style as a co-ed, especially if you join a fraternity as there is a certain expectation of conformity inherent in joining any sort of brotherhood, and fraternities are notorious for their conservative, preppy attire. Even if you’re not in a fraternity, with the exception of hipsters and metro or European styles, most college guys fall into the preppy spectrum of style.

…but what happens when you walk off the college campus and into the real world…

While the preppy look is done to an extreme on college campuses, the preppy look is something that has been around forever, transcends age, and can be executed in a variety of ways and at a variety of levels.When you’re out and about in your new post-grad life, you probably don’t want people to mistake you for an under-grad or assume you’re one your way to/from a mixer or social. You want to be taken seriously, and not as some caricature dressed like an Easter egg. While your first instinct may be to get rid of your current wardrobe, don’t!  Hold onto your button-downs, polos, chubbies, and boat shoes, because you can easily take these pieces, rearrange them or style them differently, and create a sophisticated post-grad preppy look. By adding a few darker colored pieces, classic patterns, varied shoe types, and styling, you upgrade your current wardrobe to suit the working world while retaining your personal style and preppy taste.

preppy1 preppy2 Preppy3 preppy4Visit my WishClouds board for more “post-grad preppy” inspired looks!

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Sports Coats & Blazers: A Versatile Staple

Sports coats and blazers transcend seasons and can be worn all year long and are suitable for most dress codes. Because of the wide variety of colors, fabrics, and styles available, there is no reason a blazer shouldn’t be your go-to piece year round. In the fall and early spring seasons, a classic cotton-silk blend sports coat is ideal as it provides warmth but also breathes and is not too heavy. In the summer, opt for a linen or unlined cotton blazer as it will be significantly lighter and airier, thus more suitable to warmer temperatures, than the classic lined cotton-blend coat. In the colder winter months, a lined wool blazer or sports coat is most appropriate. In terms of color, you can’t go wrong with Navy or a medium-dark grey- both of these colors are suitable for any season, any occasion. For the spring and summer, it is nice to mix things up and try lighter, cooler colors like salmon, light blue, tan, and ivory.

Here are a few great sports coats from one of my favorite American designers, Billy Reid:

Spring/Summer:

BillyReidBlazers

Fall/Winter:

BillyReidBlazersFW

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Eradicate the Fear & Embrace the Man Bag

When you walk into any department store you can’t help but notice the extremely large section, sometimes floor, dedicated to women’s handbags and purses. There are many, many people who spend their entire lives focused on designing and creating stylish handbags for women, because they know that for women a handbag is an absolute necessity. Any girl (or woman) over the age of 13 wouldn’t dare go anywhere without a purse or bag of some sort; women are reliant on handbags to carry all of their life’s necessities…and then some.

While men typically have less excess “stuff” and have larger pockets to carry things like a wallet, phone, and keys, men should be afforded the same luxury of being able to have one place to carry and store the things they need any given day….oh wait, they are. There are a decent amount of designers producing nice, high quality bags for men intended for everyday use, but the market for these type of bags is small. This begs the question, if there are designers willing to produce bags for men and there is a need for such bags, why aren’t more men seeking out and buying handbags? The lack of popularity among men  is rooted in the extreme popularity among women. Men see mimicking women’s style as making them appear feminine, less masculine, and for a socially conscious straight man, this equates to the fear of appearing gay.

It’s time to eradicate this antiquated way of thinking. There is nothing wrong or weird about a man carrying a handbag, messenger bag, or satchel. There are many handbags designed for men that are functional, extremely stylish, and still masculine, or differentiable from women’s purses and handbags. It’s time that men, gay, straight and everything in between, stop stuffing and stretching their pockets, and embrace the murse (man-purse).

manbag(Thom Browne, Prada, Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana)

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