August 21, 2014
Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 8/22/2014

Man, it feels like it’s been forever since we had a proper Deals and Steals post up! Been so. Damn. Busy. It’s exhausting, but big moves in the works - I’ll keep y’all posted! Meanwhile, here we go:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you’re biting on any of these hooks, I’d love to hear about it!" 

This week, I honestly couldn’t find that many sales - not sure if maybe brands are holding back in preparation to release some big Labor Day sales next weekend, but pickin’s were a tad slim. However, what I did find is pretty damn good:

 

Extra 40% Off Final Sale Items at Bonobos (code BONVOYAGE):

Right off the bat, this is a crazy good sale, so we’re going to keep our focus here for more than the standard two (or so) picks. Granted, the ‘final sale’ aspect is a bit of a bummer, especially since I love the Bonobos return policy so much. That said, if you know your sizes and your tastes, you can get some awesome deals. First pick in my book is some all-white seersucker: 

Sea Island Seersucker Shirt | Bonobos

I’m all for the traditional blue and white striped seersucker, but getting a solid, crisp white seersucker shirt has an extra sharp edge to it, and will dress up much nicer. Also available in a navy blue (or that aforementioned standard stripe), all three styles are running just $28.80 after the discount (regularly $88). Dayum. 

 

Since it can be hard to stay sharp and tailored in the heat, here’s another hot-weather pick that will easily take the place of your sharpest dress shirt:

Irish Linen Shirt | Bonobos

Linen can be tough to find in slim-fits, or in a tie-worthy spread collar, so this is a double-bonus in my book. A bit more expensive than the seersucker, but still very affordable at just around $41 (regularly $98). 

 

Sticking with summer picks, check out this Tee in a bright and sunny multi-color stripe:

Yarn Spun Tee | Bonobos

 

I picked up a few Bonobos Tees in another recent sale and was pretty impressed. Lightweight enough to be cool, but solid enough to feel well-constructed, and cut in a nice, flattering (but not tight) fit, and marked down from $38 to $15.

 

Moving on to pants (which is really what Bonobos is known for, after all), I had to throw in these olive chinos:

Palmetto Washed Chinos | Bonobos

At a discounted price of just $40.80 (from $88), there are actually some cheaper chinos to be found. However, most of those are brighter, less versatile colors, and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard looking for some nice olive chinos. It’s the perfect color, easily bridging both summer and fall styles. These also might be the first pants I’ve seen in the sale section cut in the ‘Slim Tailored’ fit (as opposed to ‘Slim Straight’), which I hear is pretty close to J.Crew’s 484 (and very flattering, as well). 

 

Ok, ok, I’ll wrap it up with one more pick. Last on my list is a pair of Oxley’s - quite possibly the most comfortable pants in the (affordable) world:

Oxleys | Bonobos

I have a pair in light blue that I love, but for my second-go-around I’d probably pick up some in white. The lightweight oxford-cloth fabric is inherently limited to warm-weather wear anyway, and I’ve recently gotten hooked on white trousers. If you prefer a different color, they have a pretty wide selection, all marked down from $98 to a mere $35.

 

Alright, check out the rest of the sale section, and if you plan to spend more than $75, use our referral link to score an extra $25 off.

 

 

Extra 20% Off Final Sale Items at York Street by J.Press (code ENJOYSUMMER):

Looks like an end of summer sale? Something along those lines. Anyway, a lot of already heavily discounted duds getting marked down even more. Normally, I love J.Press (and York Street) for their classically preppy attire, but the standouts to me this time are some decidedly vintage-y pieces. First up is this ‘boating’ henley:

Henley Boating Tee | York Street

I love the rounded edges on the collar, the sharp contrast with the blue piping - something about it is just dying to be worn to a baseball game, or a rooftop brunch. Plus, while a lot of York Street tees can be overpriced in my eyes (look at that $95 original price-tag), the discount leaves this one at a more reasonable $38.

 

Second, is this funky floral polo shirt that screams 70’s summer to me:

Match Point Printed Polo | York Street

Funky might even be putting it mildly, but my eye keeps coming back to it! Pair it with some more neutral, solid bottoms (maybe even those white Oxleys above), and you’ve got a distinct and unique summer look - and at a tasty $25 (originally $125). 

 

 

Levi’s Commuter Series On Sale at The Clymb:

I’m a huge fan of alternate forms of transportation (think green), especially biking, so I’ve always had my eye on Levi’s commuter line - specifically designed with the biker in mind. Normally, items from the collection are pretty expensive, but via the outdoorsy flash-sale site, The Clymb, there’s a lot that’s well within my price range (and if you use our referral, you’ll get an extra $10 off). Fans of the Levi’s 511 fit should check out these green pants, marked down to $45 from $88:

Commuter Series 511 | Levi’s via The Clymb

While it looks like they are cut from a chino fabric, the five-pocket styling is going to force these into a bit more casual territory, but that’s ok - how often do you bike to a formal event? I love the green color, which will transition well from summer to fall.

 

Speaking of fall, it’s time to start getting excited for layering and light outerwear, like this hooded trucker in olive:

Commuter Series Hooded Trucker | Levi’s via The Clymb

Olive is such a versatile color, and looks great paired with dark blue denim. Again, the details are designed for the cyclist, with a longer tail to keep you dry while you’re leaned over your handlebars, and reflective tape built in to make you more visible at night. Regularly almost $150, these are running just $70 (and also available in black).

And that’s a wrap for today! Any of you find any other good deals around the web? Share in the comments on the main site!

August 19, 2014
'Know Your Fabrics' - Worsted Wool

I’m getting back into the swing of regular posts after some hectic weekends/weeks of traveling, so I thought I’d start things off by putting up a new ‘Know Your Fabrics’ post. This time around, we’re taking a look at worsted wool:

Worsted actually refers to a type of yarn, and the name itself (like so many other textile terms) comes from a town in the UK (England, specifically), Worstead, which was one of the first manufacturing centers of the yarn.

Woollen yarn (yep, that’s the term), in contrast to worsted wool, is made from uneven fibers (both long and short), left with their natural crimps, which results in a light and airy yarn that is a great insulator, and is therefore well-suited to knit garments like sweaters and scarfs.

On the other hand, worsted wool uses only long fibers, with the smaller fibers being removed through a variety of processes that make the production of worsted yarn much more complicated and time-consuming that woollen. These long fibers are not carded, like with woollen yarn, but instead combed with long-tooth metal combs until the fibers are running in parallel, after which it is oiled and spun, resulting in a stronger, straighter, and sleeker yarn.

The combination of the less ‘fluffy’ hand-feel and much more involved and expensive manufacturing process, worsted yarns are almost never used for knitwear. Instead, they are most often woven into a shiny and resilient fabric that has become a staple in suiting, but can also be found in carpeting and hosiery, among other less common goods.

Worsted suiting fabric.

In suiting, worsted wool is desirable not only for it’s slight sheen, which creates a more formal or dressy look than non-worsted wools like tweed or flannel, but also for it’s tendency to be less wrinkle-prone, as the slightly stiffer fibers bounce back to their straight form relatively easily. Additionally, the coarser yarn can be woven much more loosely, which is advantageous for tropical-weight fabrics as it results in much greater breathability.

It’s always a goal to end these posts with some recommended products. That said, since worsted wool is used almost exclusively (in menswear at least), for suiting, our picks this time around are a bit limited. That said, we did manage to throw in some variety when it comes to price and seasonality.

First up is this summer suit, made from that looser-woven worsted wool that we mentioned:

"Lotus" Lightweight Worsted Wool Suit | Barneys New York

Tropical-weight wool is actually kind of hard to find outside of bespoke suit-makers (this pick from Barney’s is one of the few ready-to-wear options that we could dig up), and even when you do find that lightweight suit, chances are it’ll be a bit pricey - this pick is quite obviously out of most of our price ranges. Hence, a lot of fellas end up with cotton or linen fabric for their summer suits, even though lightweight worsted wool will actually keep you even cooler.

Next, we’ve got a few all-season worsted wool suits. Since they are fully lined, they won’t be quite breezy enough for the hottest weather. At the same time, they aren’t a heavy, insulating wool, making them relatively versatile.

On the more affordable end of the spectrum, J.Crew Factory offers their worsted Thompson Suit for just over $300 (but much less during their relatively frequent sales):

Thompson Suit Jacket in Worsted Wool | J.Crew Factory (pants here)

At a more middling price range, Suit Supply is a very solid choice. They do have much bolder prints, but we’ll stick with the staples and recommend this navy suit that clocks in at $469:

Blue Plain Havana Suit | SuitSupply

Now, if you want to go all sorts of baller, MR PORTER has this Richard James number, which runs a more significant $980, but is sure to make you the sharpest man in pretty much any room:

 

Prince of Wales Check Worsted-Wool Suit | Richard James via MR PORTER

I’m sure most of you who already own a suit will have something in worsted wool - any thoughts on the pros and cons? Share in the comments on the main site.

August 13, 2014
Word. Notebooks - An Endorsement

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Word. Notebooks, an offshoot of Cool Material, sent us an e-mail this week to promote their newest batch of notebook cover designs (pictured above). I’m a huge fan of Cool Material, and have even put together a ‘Wear This’ post for them a few months back. Even more-so, I am a Word. Notebook addict. Seriously, I can’t live without them. I forgot mine at home today, and I was undoubtedly an unproductive mess.

Anyway, since I love them so much, I wanted to take the opportunity to give an official, whole-hearted endorsement of the notebooks and their simple, but incredibly useful built in to-do list system. At first glance, it’s just your standard small notebook, but the inclusion of a bullet system provides a perfect visual reference that let’s you quickly assess everything you have on your plate. From their website:
"Simply fill in the bullet point when writing an item on that line. Trace the circle around it when it’s important and add a slash when you’ve started work on it. Once the task is complete, simply mark down an “X” and move on to the next item on your list."

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The handy ‘Use Guide’ included inside each book.

I've discussed the importance of setting yourself a list of goals, but always in the long term. However, as you work towards those bigger aspirations, you still need to keep your daily grind…well…grinding. Quickly. Effectively. Efficiently. 
Word. Notebooks help you do just that - small enough to fit into a pocked or tuck into a pouch in you bag or briefcase, these little books can follow you everywhere, and become the perfect constant reminder of what you have on deck, and a reference point for keeping yourself productive. 
Personally, I keep an ongoing, long-running list that never really ends. An alternative is to build a new list for each day, and don’t go to sleep until you see X’s the whole way down the page. Whatever your method, if you put these to good use, you’re sure to see both your productivity and reliability improve greatly, which can’t be bad!

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My current, well-worn notebook.

Pick up a 3-pack at the Cool Material Store or directly from the Word. Notebook website for just $10. They’ve also got a few other cool products, like thStandard Memorandum notebook (not currently available, but hopefully returning someday), and some classy leather notebook covers. All very cool…

August 11, 2014
Airport Style

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog, as I’ve been traveling a lot over the past week, and am working on some big (i.e. busy and stressful, but exciting) life changes (more on that later). Anyway, wanted to dive back into things, and while I was jet-setting over the weekend, I jotted some notes down on my advice for travel attire - more specifically, for what to wear to the airport. 

Sometimes, these decisions are dictated by the occasion - if you’re landing for a job interview, or a business meeting, and therefore by necessity have to travel in a suit. Other times, though, it’s completely up to you. Many people take this kind of opportunity to dress purely for comfort, but my recommendation is to really think through each item and go for the most practical and useful pick, and to aim for middle-of-the-road formality, as opposed to something uber-casual (or uber-formal) that will really limit your moves straight off the plane. Here are my thoughts:

Shoes:

My recommendation here is a nice pair of penny loafers, or boat shoes if you want to be a bit more casual. However, what it really comes down to is anything slip-on. It’s just one less thing to do while you’re in line at security. 

Socks:

Even though you’re wearing loafers (or boat shoes) don’t just go sockless. Walking around in your bare-feet on an airport floor? Disgusting, for you and for everyone else. Grab a nice pair of no-show socks and you’ll be all set. 

Belt:

Honestly, this probably won’t make a huge difference, but I tend to reach for a ribbon D-ring belt, as it adds just a little convenience - the belt itself is quick to get on or off, and (rather than stiffer leather), rolls up nice and small (I usually just stuff mine in my shoes).

Pants:

Lots of flexibility here - and speaking of which, pick a flexible fabric! Nothing wrong with traveling in jeans, but if you pick a pair with a little stretch, you’ll probably be much more comfortable on the plane. Really though, chinos, jeans, trousers, whatever you feel comfortable in, as long as it matches the formality of the rest of your ensemble. I do, however, recommend against wearing white or even light khaki. You never know when you’re going to hit turbulence right as your neighbor takes a sip of his red wine (I can speak from personal experience). 

Shirt:

I’ll often go with an OCBD or some other mildly casual button-front shirt, but my real go-to is a Uniqlo x Michael Bastian button-down polo. It’s sharp enough to wear with a blazer, but as comfortable as any Tee, and the pique fabric will hide the wrinkles and rumples(?) of travel much better than a crisper shirting fabric. 

Jacket:

It’s by no means necessary, but I highly recommend wearing a jacket to the airport. First, the airport, or the plane itself, will often have some heavy-duty A/C on blast, and it’s always easier to remove a layer if you’re warm than it is to dig an extra layer out of your carefully packed bags. Even more-so, a blazer (or even a more casual jacket) has the benefit of lots of pockets. I can usually skip fumbling with the little change-trays at security entirely, with all of my loose items in my blazer pockets. Streamlining, folks! I alternate between a more casual, unconstructed blazer, or a light bomber if I know I’m keeping it casual once I hop off the plane.

BONUS: It’s a pain to figure out how to pack a blazer without making it irreparably wrinkled and misshapen. Easiest solution? Just wear the damn thing.

To recap, a quick checklist:

  • No laces!
  • No white pants!
  • Lots of pockets!
  • No bare feet!
  • Avoid stiff and pressed!

And as usual, versatility is the name of the game!

Now, of course going through the airport in sweats and a tee is going to be the most comfortable and carefree, but I think the above outfit has some solid advantages. The biggest and most obvious is that you can step off the plane, and head right to the bar, to your friend’s place, out to dinner, pretty much anything but a formal or business occasion, without having to seriously freshen up and change outfits. 

Beyond that, I just prefer to have the more secure pockets that chinos or a blazer offer, rather than sweatpants and hoodie, where I constantly feel like my most valuable and important possessions and documents are going to fall out and disappear at any moment.

I want to end with one last note (even though this is getting loooong). Someone commented on our post on fest fashion, observing that a lot of aspects of all of these different suggested outfits are the same, or at least very similar. They weren’t wrong at all - in fact, I think it really demonstrates my assertion that versatility is king. Instead of picking up pieces that are only appropriate for air-travel (see some of those compression socks and ‘travel’ or ‘packable’ fabrics), or only appropriate for a music festival (band tees, crazy graphic patterns), stock your closet with things that will keep you sharp, comfortable, and collected for the widest variety of occasions. Once you have that foundation nailed, it’s far easier to branch out without blowing a budget or making big style mistakes. 

Alright, how do you all head to the skies? Share in the comments over on the main site!

August 3, 2014
Matching Socks - Taking the Middle Ground

Back in April, I wrote a post explaining in detail how to go about picking out a pair of socks to go with your outfit. Our previous advice was to pick solidly between two distinct options - either match your pants (but never your shoes), or to contrast your pants with something bolder, but compliment some colors elsewhere in your outfit (like your tie). 

However, I’ve recently enjoyed eschewing my own advice (gasp), and instead have been favoring a middle ground. In large part, this has corresponded with a growing tendency in my own style to lean just a bit more classic, and less bold and modern - but I still feel just a little ‘off’ with plain, solid socks. That in mind, I’ve been trying to find monochromatic patterns that allow me to put a little bit of contrast and visual interest into my socks while still matching my trousers. 

My favorite example is this pair of brown socks I recently picked up from The Tie Bar:

Big Tooth Socks in Chocolate/Light Champagne | The Tie Bar

First, I just gotta say The Tie Bar socks are always a pleasant surprise in comfort and style - especially at the price. That aside, though, I love the tan houndstooth pattern laid over a darker brown background. It’s not quite solid, but it’s also not a real attention grabber. Additionally, the light/dark mix makes these work just as well with khaki chinos or darker brown dress trousers: 

On yours truly. What can brown do for you? (UPS - don’t sue me)

Another pair I’ve been enjoying are these light cotton socks from Frank & Oak in marine blue:

Lightweight Cotton Socks in Marine | Frank & Oak

These actually are listed as solid, but in-person the ribbing actually comes across as a lighter, fine stripe that helps separate them  just a bit from a pair of similarly colored chinos or trousers:

Again, on yours truly. No catch-phrase for blue off the top of my head…

The lesson to be learned is that all the lines drawn in the menswear sand can be blurred. Sure, our previous article listed two pretty distinct methods for math info your socks - but is that all there is to it? Of course not - feel free to interpret, bend and blend the guidelines until you find your own go-to methods. Even then, don’t ever be afraid to question those methods and allow them to grow and develop with yourself!

August 1, 2014
Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 8/1/2014

Been a hectic week, so I apologize for the delay getting these deals out to y’all. And just a word of warning, got a very busy schedule coming up through August, so posts might be a tad less frequent. Just a tad! OK, here we go:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you’re biting on any of these hooks, I’d love to hear about it!"

This week I tried to stray away from the go-to’s (J.Crew, Bonobos, Frank & Oak, etc.) and shake things up a bit. Here’s what I found:

Clearance at Land’s End Canvas:

Man, the LEC line from Land’s End (their younger, trimmer line, similar to Brooks Brothers Red Fleece) has some really solid stuff, often significantly marked down. I really gotta get into a store and try some things on, as my only hesitation is in not being 100% of my sizing. That said, there’s plenty I would grab, from simple staples to a few fun pieces. Among the staples, of course, are their OCBD’s:

Oxford Cloth Shirts in Solid, Stripe, and Gingham | Land’s End Canvas

Available in solids, stripes, and one checked pattern, these cover all the bases and clock in at just $25 (on sale from $40) - less than even Uniqlo. Don’t think much more needs to be said - if these fit trim like described, I’d grab one in each color. Easy.

Another fine-looking staple comes in the form of their slim-fit chinos:

Comer 608 Slim Fit Chinos | Land’s End Canvas

These are ranging from $20 to $30 (originally $58), depending on the color. And speaking of color, I love that they have a wide variety of options, yet none are scream-in-your-face bold, and all are versatile. Definitely check out the selection. I’ve heard great things about the fit as well. I also noticed these ‘Jeanos,’ which I’m thinking might be very similar to the Dockers Alpha Khakis - jean-like in texture, but chino-like in fit and details. 

For something more playful and fun, check out this madras short-sleeved popover, which I would be tempted to wear every damn day in the summer:

Short Sleeve Madras Popover | Land’s End Canvas

Just $25 (regularly $40), this may be the most affordable popover I’ve seen yet. I’m digging a few other items as well, like this printed poplin shirt, which is bold, but a bit darker, and may be perfect for fall - or this french terry chore coat, which is a nice reference to the indigo workwear styles coming out of Japan.

Men’s Sale Section at Uniqlo:

Sticking with standard promotions (as opposed to seasonal sales or coded discounts), Uniqlo is always worth checking out as they rotate a ton of discounted items through their sale section on a regular basis. I took a look today and found some gems, including a bunch of the Uniqlo x Michael Bastian polos from earlier this year, like this one in red stripes:

Washed Short Sleeve Polo Shirt | Uniqlo x MB

I love the button-down collars on these things, and the contrasting collar/placket are an interesting detail. This years selection is decidedly more bold than last year’s, so this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth checking out all the available patterns - especially since they are marked down to $15 from an already-affordable $23.

Also in the sale section is this ‘Cord Lane’ blazer:

Cord Lane Slim Fit Blazer | Uniqlo

Not quite seersucker, it definitely has the same vibe - think summer in the south, but in a trim fit that’s more urban than country-dandy. 100% cotton and partially lined = sure to be a winner, and only $30 (down from $70).

Extra 25% off Site-Wide at G.H. Bass:

We’ll close out with two pairs of shoes. G.H. Bass’s Weejuns loafers are considered by many to be the original penny loafer, and are my go-to for a classic American-prep shoe. I have a pair in burgundy that I wear all the time, but I’ve been on the hunt for some in tan suede. And voila, G.H. Bass delivers:

Nubuck Weejuns | G.H. Bass

Even at full price ($108), these shoes are very affordable, especially considering the quality and durability compared to other footwear at the same price point. These are marked down to $80 already, and the additional markdown lands them at a uber-cheap $60 a pair. Grab some while they last!

NEW Clearance Section at Sperry:

My go-to for boat shoes has just launched a clearance section! It’s not wildly stocked at the moment, but I like the chances of some of the more classic styles ending up here during the off-season. Meanwhile, you can find some of the funkier color-ways in here now, like these in blue, which are marked down to $60 from an original retail price of $90:

Authentic Original Color Pop 2-Eye Boat Shoe | Sperry Top-Sider

I also like these boat-shoe-style chukkas, in tan with yellow accents, and just $55 (originally $100):

Authentic Original Color Pop Chukka Boot | Sperry Top-Sider

Like I said, not the most traditional colors, but those may end up in there after summer closes out.

Welp, that’s it for the week. Scoring anything sweet this weekend? Share in the comments on the main site!

July 30, 2014
'Know Your Patterns' - Argyle

Here we are with yet another episode of our ‘Know Your Patterns' series. Moving on to another slightly eccentric but no less classic menswear pattern, this week we are taking a look at 'Argyle.'

The argyle pattern is characterized by a diamond shape, occasionally solitaire, but usually in a repeating pattern. Often, argyle patterns will involve two such diamond motifs overlayed, such as one in a windowpane diamond, laid over an offset pattern of solid diamond shapes. For example, the pattern below incorporates a blue/white diamond ‘stencil’ over solid diamonds in blue, grey and white:

Another way that argyle can vary in complexity is in the colors used. The most basic argyle patterns can be made out of just two colors, or even gradients of black and white, while bolder and brighter fabrics can be made using a wide variety of colors in one piece.

As seems to have been the trend for both patterns and fabrics, Argyle is named after a region of Scotland, Argyll, where the tartan patterns of Clan Campbell were transformed into the argyle patterns we know today. After the emergence of the pattern, argyle knitwear became very popular through Europe and America during and after World War I, when the style was embraced by the fashionable Duke of Windsor and mass produced by Pringle of Scotland (who are credited with branding the signature pattern as their own).

Throughout it’s history, argyle has been mainly used for gentlemanly sports attire - namely the high socks and ‘jerseys’ worn by golfers in the early 1900’s. Those jerseys developed over time into the frumpy sweater vests that many of us associate with the pattern, but argyle is still widely used as a sock pattern, and can be a stylish choice for a gentleman looking to inject a bit of pattern without going so bold as stripes or dots.  

Here are some picks to inject some argyle into your life:

For the best bang-for-your-buck, it’s hard to beat Target’s Merona socks, offered here in a nice light blue argyle pattern. These puppies don’t even break $5 a pop, and I’ve had great luck with Target socks holding up and being very comfortable. 

Merona Argyle Socks | Target

 

If you’d rather aim for something a bit more high-end, try finding a pair in luxe cashmere, like these cozy-looking puppies by Pantherella: 

Cashmere Argyle Socks | Pantherella

 

We mentioned that argyle was also a common pattern for golf jerseys. These days, that has translated into polo shirts, and of course sweaters, like this one by Lands End (on sale, bonus). Would I wear it personally? Maybe not (just not my style), but the quality should be solid, the pattern is unobtrusive, and the lambswool will keep you toasty this winter. In all honesty, this could look pretty sharp, in a kinda professorial way, layered under a grey flannel or tweed blazer. Old man style, all the way.

Men’s Lambswool Argyle Crewneck Sweater | Land’s End

Now, we really don’t recommend wearing argyle pants, especially off the golf course (although even on the course they’ll tend to be more garish than classic). However, if the mood really strikes you, or you need to dress up a la Bagger Vance for a costume party, check out the selection at your closest costume store, because chances are no self-respecting menswear store will carry any - although you never know, these trends are hard to predict!

Alright, before we sign off, we gotta be forthright and let you know we’re starting to run out of patterns to cover! We have plenty of fabrics left to run through (and a few more patterns in mind), but would love to start taking requests for anything you might be interested in that we have neglected to explore thus far.

Here is a list of the patterns we’ve covered by now (see all the fabrics here):

…and a short list of the patterns we still have on deck:

  • Tartan Plaid
  • Foulard
…and that’s about it, at this point! 
 
If you’d like to see something added to the list, share it in the comments on the main site, or shoot me an email at WideEyesTightWallets@gmail.com if you’re shy.

July 28, 2014
Music Festival Style (Do’s and Don’ts)

Here in Chicago, all the hype this week is in anticipation of Lollapalooza coming up this weekend. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the smaller fests (with better lineups, IMO) like Riot Fest in September, or Pitchfork a few weeks ago, but there’s no avoiding the hubbub that comes with the Windy City’s biggest annual fest. Appropriately, I’m turning my eyes to festival style, and we’ve got a quick guide to keeping you good-looking while you rock out with your..well…you get the idea. 

The best thing about trying to stay stylish at a summer music fest? The competition is darn slim, if any, which makes it easy to pick just a few easy updates and come out looking sharper than your average bear. Below, we walk you through the transition from schlubby festival-goer to presentable young music enthusiast to sophisticated-gent-who-just-happens-to-be-enjoying-the-tunes. Avoid the first, aspire to the third, and be proud and satisfied if you land in the middle. 

Shoes:

          
AVOID   ->   ACCEPT   ->   ASPIRE

People tend to just go for comfort, with no regard to style, and fest footwear is the perfect example of this tendency. Thinking only of the heat, they opt for flip flops (or, thinking only of standing on their feet, go for some sort of running shoe or gym shoe). What a lot of guys don’t realize, is that you can be comfortable and stylish. White canvas sneakers give a laid-back, continental vibe that just gets better as they get beat up (which is never a bad quality to have at a music festival). The breathable fabric keeps your feet cool, while the sneaker sole will be comfortable. Of course, if you want to take things up a notch, you can rock some slick penny loafers and no-show socks, or camp mocs for something a bit (just a bit) more rugged. Just remember that there’s a decent chance you’ll walk through the mud, get your feet stepped on and scuffed, etc., so pick a leather that can take a bit of a beating and leave your luxury leathers and suede at home.

Bottoms:

AVOID   ->   ACCEPT   ->   ASPIRE

I’m not sure where people get the idea that gym clothes or pajamas are appropriate clothing to wear in public, all day long, but they’re wrong. End of story. Not only do your mesh shorts make you look like a 12 year old carpooling home from soccer practice, but they are also actually very impractical, and make for a sure-fire way to lose your ID, cash, and keys along with your dignity. Just as we recommend chinos over sweatpants, here we suggest that you opt for some chino shorts to beat the heat but stay sharp and sophisticated. All the appropriate pockets are included, and a crisp, lightweight cotton will be cooler and more comfortable than nylon athletic shorts anyway. To up your style quotient like a true gentleman, linen trousers are the way to go - the fabric is cool and breezy enough to make you forget you aren’t wearing shorts. Press them sharp in the morning, and then embrace the wrinkles as the day goes on for the perfect air of gentlemanly nonchalance.  

Tops:

AVOID   ->   ACCEPT   ->   ASPIRE

To be perfectly honest, if you’re nailing the shoes and bottoms, your shirt becomes way less important - but notice we didn’t say, ‘your shirt doesn’t matter at all.’ Sure, even a band Tee or tank top will look OK when worn with some chino shorts and white canvas sneaks, but we still don’t recommend it. Rocking a short sleeve OCBD takes just as little effort, keeps you just as cool and unencumbered as you dance your pants off, and yet remains a sharp enough option to wear right to the bar after the show and have no hesitation making moves on that pretty gal (or guy) making eyes at you from across the room. Now, if you’re taking our high-style route, a Tee won’t even come close to cutting it. The SS OCBD won’t fail you, but take the opportunity to be a bit more fashion-forward and grab a popover - find one with a sharp print to embrace two shirting trends at once. 

Shades:

AVOID   ->   ACCEPT   ->   ASPIRE

Accessories are no time to start slacking off, either, although we do understand if you want to avoid bringing $100+ sunnies into an environment where there’s a pretty decent chance of them getting lost, stolen, or demolished. That said, those $5 ‘wayfarers’ you picked up at the convenience store on the way in - the ones with neon arms and mirrored lenses - have the power to negate every other style move you’ve made and leave you firmly planted in ‘obnoxious fist-pumping frat boy’ sartorial territory. If you want to stick with something inexpensive, the same stores that you go to for affordable takes on high fashion will treat you right - we’re talking H&MTopmanZara, etc. Stand out from the crown with some on-trend clear frames, or imitate the classics with a pair of vintage-y aviators. Now, if you actually trust yourself to take care of something a little more valuable, get the real deal - we’d go for a pair of Ray-Ban clubmasters to channel some off-duty Don Draper.

Hat:

AVOID   ->   (ACCEPT)   ->   ASPIRE

Whether it’s to keep the sun and sweat out of your eyes, or to adopt a more outgoing, music-loving vibe, a lot of guys will end up throwing on a hat that they would never wear otherwise. Unfortunately, that ratty baseball cap is far from the most efficient instrument to protect your eyes, and that Backstreet Boys fedora makes you look less like a hipster troubador than you think (if that’s even a look worth aspiring to). Honestly, we think the best middle-ground here is to forgo the hat entirely. Shove a bandana in your back pocket to wipe away the sweat, and let your shades do the heavy lifting when it comes to blocking the sun, and a hat really isn’t necessary. You’ll have one less thing to keep track of, and lose one more chance of throwing off your much-improved festival ‘fit. Of course, though, if you’re looking for top-notch style, a real, grown-up hat can be the touch to tie the whole outfit together. Just don’t shy away from a substantial brim (an easy way to avoid that adolescent Justin Timberlake vibe), and be ready to throw down a few pesos for quality. 

The Outfits (In Full):

AVOID   ->   ACCEPT   ->   ASPIRE

Accept:

White Canvas Sneakers by Converse

Chino Shorts by J.Crew Factory

Short-Sleeved OCBD by Frank & Oak

Sunglasses by Topman

 

Aspire:

Penny Loafers by Jack Erwin

Linen Trousers by J.Crew

Print Popover by J.Crew

Sunglasses by Ray-Ban

Hat by Goorin Brothers

To Wrap It Up…

In the end, each style move is small on it’s own, but yields a pretty significant transformation. Instead of wearing a hodge-podge of marginally comfortable —— you can, at the very least, look like a presentable, music-loving young man. Step things up a bit more, and you’ll look like you should be signing the bands, and not just blending in with the rest of the countless screaming fans. 

Got any plans to hit some music festivals this summer? What will you wear? Share in the comments over on the main site!

July 25, 2014
Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 7/25/2014

Hot damn, when I first started writing this up I didn’t think I was going to have much to share, but after a little digging I have a ton of great finds for y’all. First, our usual little spiel:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you’re biting on any of these hooks, I’d love to hear about it!"

And here we go:

 

'Contemporary Collections' up to 90% off at Gilt:

First up, Gilt is running a bunch of non-brand-specific sales with pretty extreme discounts. Brands are wide-ranging, especially if you check out some of the other ‘collections.’ My method was to pick a sale, and then narrow it down by picking out the brands I knew I liked. Whatever your method, I recommend applying some filters, otherwise there’s just too much to see. Anyway, my favorites from this sale were mostly trousers from Gant (either Gant Rugger or Gant by Michael Bastian), like this pair in a very fine grey stripe:

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Striped Cotton-Wool Pant | Gant by Michael Bastian via Gilt

I’m loving the cotton-wool blend on these bad boys - the 62% cotton will keep them light and cool, plus make care a bit easier, while the 38% wool will help them stay wrinkle-free and up the dressiness of the pair. Originally pretty damn pricey at $375, Gilt has these knocked all the way down to $79. Also catching my eye were these chinos with patch pockets ($49) and this rugby shirt with button-cuffs ($49), both from Gant as well. Other brands I checked out included Brooks BrothersBen ShermanJ.Press and more. 

 

When it comes to shirts, though, Gilt has you covered in another umbrella sale:

Button-Ups Under $50 at Gilt:

Again, I filtered by brand to narrow things down. Of course, my favorite picks were the OCBD’s, with solid options from GrayersGitman, and Brooks Brothers, like this option in classic solid white from BB’s younger Red Fleece line:

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Solid Oxford Sport Shirt | Brooks Brothers Red Fleece via Gilt

Crisp, white, and slim-fitting - what more needs to be said? Oh, maybe that it’s marked down from $70 to just $45. Sold.

If you’re looking for something a bit brighter and bolder, Brooks Brothers has you covered there as well with a bunch of options in very seasonal, madras-esque colors. Of course, my favorites are the popovers, and I have my eye on this number, clocking in at just $35 (originally $70):

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Plaid Popover Sport Shirt | Brooks Brothers Red Fleece via Gilt

Like I said, very summery colors, and I’ve been hooked on popovers since picking one up from Frank & Oak a few months ago. Normally, pretty hard to find at affordable prices, so this is a steal worth checking out.

No-Show Socks from PACT:

Moving right along, the good folks at PACT have marked down a few sets of their no-show socks, which are my absolute favorites and must-have for a stylish, sockless summer. I think they’re affordable at full price ($15 for a three-pair set), but discounted to $9, they’re too good to pass up. The two sets available on sale:

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Campground Stripe No See Ums | PACTimage

Zig Zag Picnic Stripe No See Ums | PACT
Even if you aren’t a big fan of the colors/patterns, I still say check them out - the whole point, after all, is that you can’t see them, even in your low-cut loafers and boat shoes.

Up to 75% Off Online and In Stores at Gap:

As usual, my go-to at gap is the lived-in slim khaki, but I’ve hyped that enough so I picked out a few other options. First is a bit outside the box, but very on-trend with the latest reemergence of Hawaiian floral shirts. If you ask me, the trick to not looking like your weir uncle on vacation is to keep it to one color and avoid the huge, big-petaled, stereotypical Hawaiian flowers. This short sleeve shirt hits all the right notes - I even checked it out in-store the other day, and was pretty impressed:

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Botanical Print Shirt | Gap

The big risk with shirting at Gap is that it can be hard to find slim enough cuts, but this is listed as a tailored fit, plus the casual nature means you won’t be wearing it tucked in anyway, which gives you a little more leeway as well. Originally $45, you can pick this up for just $27. 

Next is a pair of skinny white jeans, which I actually just picked up a few weeks ago (see me in them on my Instagram here and here). Normally $70, this style is now just $46:

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1969 Skinny Fit Jeans | Gap

Now, I’ll admit, I’m not positive this was the cut I got, so it might be worth stopping into a store to see if you need slim, skinny, etc., but they have a few different fits on sale so you should be good to go regardless. I think the white denim looks perfect paired with a dark blue chambray shirt and boat shoes - kinda nautical, preppy, and summery.

Alright, last from Gap. I saw this field jacket pop up on From Squalor To Baller (one of my newer blog finds that I’ve been kinda hooked on):

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Fatigue Jacket | Gap

I’ve really been digging the military aesthetic lately, and the cut of this jacket is very classic M-65. At the same time, the navy color keeps it a bit out-of-the-ordinary, and for a guy like me who already rocks a ton of blue, will fit in very well with the rest of my wardrobe. At $70 (originally $98), it’s very reasonably priced as well. 

Alright, it’s getting late so I’m gonna wrap this puppy up. However, there’s still plenty of sales, so here’s a list of honorable mentions:

30% Off Bonobos Sale: Thank the folks at Dappered for this one, they managed to score an early code for Bonobos’ upcoming discount. Link directs you to Dappered.

40% Off Final Sale Items at J.Crew: Plus free shipping if you break $100. As we’ve mentioned, they keep freshening up the selection, so take another look.

50% Off at The Knottery: Haven’t tested this one out myself, and I’m not sure how long it lasts, but supposedly code BURFDAY will get you half-off of these affordable, stylish and well-made ties.

Hugh and Crye Summer Sale: Damn, some really nice prices here. I have yet to try these guys out, but I hear awesome things, and this sale might be a great chance for a first buy. The question is, shirt or blazer? Shirts start at $39, and blazers at $149.

FRIDAY ONLY - Twitter Day at H&M: Never heard of this before, but apparently if you show a cashier that you follow H&M on Twitter, they’ll give you 25% off. Not a big fan of H&M quality, but they have a lot of fashion-forward items and can be a cheap way to test out recent trends.

Picking up anything good this weekend? Share in the comments on the main site!

July 23, 2014
'Know Your Fabrics' - End-on-End

Still churning through our ‘Know Your Fabrics’ series, we’re back at it this week with a look at ‘End-on-End’, another very popular fabric used primarily in shirting.

End-on-end fabric (also called ‘fil-a-fil’ by the French - translates to ‘thread to thread’) is actually very similar to Poplin in that they are made using a one-to-one square weave, resulting in a nice smooth fabric. However, end-on-end gets a characteristic added visual depth by swapping out the horizontal threads with white, similar to the warp and weft threads in denim (although denim is produced in a twill weave).

The result is a shirt fabric that doesn’t appear as flat and even as a poplin or broadcloth, instead taking on a heathered, or even finely checked appearance up close. This adds some versatility as it makes the shirt easier to dress down (although still wholly acceptable as a formal dress shirt). These fabrics also tend to break in well over time, and can even achieve ‘fades’ like you see in denim as the white horizontal threads become more visible through the vertical colored threads.

The hand of the fabric remains very similar to poplin or broadcloth, as the close weave results in a lighter, smoother fabric, and thus it’s tendency to be used as a shirting fabric (rather than heavier fabrics that can be applied to trousers, outerwear, etc.).

End-on-end shirts are almost always woven with a single color (and the white threads), although sometimes textile producers will swap out the white threads for a second color, or will incorporate some stripes into the pattern (usually thin, white stripes).

Perhaps the most popular variation on end-on-end (at least in my wardrobe, and the modern menswear scene), is chambray, which differentiates from standard end-on-end only in the finishing process, which normally involves some type of ‘glazing’ or ‘calendaring’ to give it that characteristic hint of shine.

As we’ve mentioned, this fabric is almost exclusively used for shirting, although with the experimental nature of evolving fashion trends, I’m sure you can find it used in other applications somewhere. For now, though, we’re sticking to shirts, and have picked out a few of our favorites for anyone looking to add some end-on-end to their wardrobes:

First, about as classic as you get, here’s a solid number from Everlane. I’m a big fan of end-on-end shirts in these lighter, spring-timey colors like mint or this peachy red. I think the white threads help give a bit of a worn-and-washed look that keeps you out of ‘easter sunday’ outfit territory:

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Slim Fit End-On-End in Red | Everlane

J.Crew also has some great end-on-end shirts in solid colors, and many are currently significantly marked down. 

We also mentioned that end-on-end shirts often incorporate a fine stripe, like this one from Brooks Brothers:

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Blue End-on-End with White Stripe Sport Shirt | Brooks Brothers

You’ll find stripes in other colors, but we think just a subtle white one is the way to go:

While not as popular or widely available, you can occasionally find end-on-end shirts woven in other patterns as well, like this checked fabric available at Proper Cloth:

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Thomas Mason Pink End on End Check | Proper Cloth

Because of the versatility inherent to an end-on-end fabric, we think it’s a great choice for a #MTM shirt. Beyond the above, Proper Cloth currently has several other options in end-on-end fabric, in stripes, checks and solids.

Last, since we mentioned it’s very close relationship to plain old end-on-end, here’s one our recent favorites in chambray. It’s not cheap by any means, but this popover from J.Crew is high on my wish-list:

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Japanese Chambray Popover | J.Crew

Do you have any end-on-end fabrics in your wardrobe? Any favorite pieces? Share in the comments over on the main site!

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