One of the first things women notice on men is their shoes. No, really. Below I take you through the main categories of boots and explain what to wear with each and address the tuck-or-not question. (Hint: it has nothing to do with whether or not you have nice ankles.)
The Work Boot – Utilitarian and rugged in feel, but handsome nonetheless, the work boot is best worn casually. It’s often water-resistant with a warm lining and therefore great for negotiating snow drifts. And besides, if there’s any falling timber on the Upper East Side, you’ll be ready. Note: this boot looks better when it’s a little beat up.
Tuck? Yep, especially when there’s a layer of slushy muck along the sidewalk. You might need to cuff your pants once or twice for this, and you can also try leaving your boots untied or loosely tied (depending on how long your laces are – you don’t want them dragging through black puddles) and pushing your pants easily into the tops. Don’t worry about making sure each pant leg looks exactly the same. It should be a little undone.
The Chukka – Originally worn by polo players (the name is derived from the word chukker, the playing period of a polo game), the Chukka is now worn by all men, regardless of whether they carry a mallet. This low-style boot can be dressy or casual, dictated by the material it’s made from – usually suede or leather. Wear them with jeans, chinos, dress pants or a suit, depending on how refined the boot material is.
The Lace-up Boot – These boots are your most versatile option and come in a range of heights. Pull them on with jeans and a leather jacket (make sure the shade of the jacket leather is the same as that of your boots). Or wear them with a suit for a sharp-dressy look that also keeps your ankles warm as you power across town during an arctic blast.
The lace-up boot is a candidate for one of my favorite fashion moments: the nonchalant half-tuck. While you’re welcome to play it safe and wear your pants over your boots, why not show a little lace and let the bottoms of your chinos or jeans – cuffing or rolling optional – fall casually into the tops of your boots? Don’t make it too perfect. Note: if you’re feeling noncommittal (or are short on time), lace them halfway, then wrap the laces around the tops of your boots a couple of times and tie them, as in the image below.
Tuck? See above.
The Chelsea Boot – Formerly reserved for riding your scooter around London to visit your favorite Beatle, the Chelsea boot now gets a lot of airplay in mainstream menswear. This style is often characterized by an elasticized side panel that makes it easy to pull on and off – great for zipping through airports. Wear with dark jeans for a night out or with your suit for an effortlessly sleek look.
Tuck? Don’t even think about it.
So that covers my general rundown on boots. For specific boot suggestions, please contact me directly. And, as always, I welcome your suggestions and comments.
December is here, and you know what that means: ’tis the season for presents up the ying yang! Below is my top-ten list for holiday gifting. I hope you’re able to find something on here for whoever is on your list (including yourself), and if you’d like shopping help tailored specifically to you, please contact me.
1.// Lanvin rhodium cufflinks ($335) – Manly in an edgy yet subtle way, these cufflinks will match just about anything in your closet.
2.// Microphone speaker ($24) – This quirky little speaker from MollaSpace comes in gold or silver tone. Perfect for the guy who likes a little extra attention.
3.// Wool hats – It takes a certain who-gives-a-damn attitude to wear a pom-pom hat. I like this one from Gant by Michael Bastian (above left; $85) because it has an old school feel, like something a Royal Tenenbaums character would wear. For a less statement-y but still stylish option, try the Christopher Kane hat (above right; $375). The houndstooth pattern is a nice upgrade from the standard solid skully.
4.// Astrakan ambassador hat ($385) – If the giftee in question is more traditional and appreciates old-world style, I would recommend this luxurious Astrakhan hat from the A Suitable Wardrobe store. It’s great for travel because it packs flat.
5.// Viktor & Rolf patchwork scarf ($388) – A scarf is an easy holiday gift because you don’t have to worry about fit. I’m a big fan of this patchwork number from Viktor and Rolf. All of the different patterns and textures give it a rich and interesting feel.
6.// Hugo pocket square ($8) – There’s no need to sacrifice style if your gift budget is modest. Snap up this gingham flannel pocket square from The Tie Bar. Its blue and black color combo is sharp in an unexpected way.
7.// David Family Wines 2007 Pinot Noir ($62) – Act fast: David Family Wines is about to end sales on their 2007 Pinot Noir, at which point it will go back into the cellar for additional aging (to be re-released in 2 years for $85/bottle). This gift is perfect for the discerning wine-lover: not only is it unbelievably delicious stuff, it also features a smart-looking leather label.
8.// Up Your Manhattan Game - In other booze news, after giving us the right ingredients for a solid Manhattan in last year’s gift guide, this year whiskey enthusiast Josh Wortman shows us what tools to get. He recommends a Japanese glass mixing cup ($53), a bar spoon ($18), and a julep strainer ($11). Josh also likes these very small batch bitters ($18) made by soon-to-open Dutch’s Spirits Distillery in upstate New York. And if you need recipes, grab PDT’s new cocktail book ($16).
9.// Miansai tie bar ($66) – Adding a tie bar is an easy way to take your steez to the next level. Don’t be afraid of the pattern on this one from Miansai. It would work well paired with a solid grey wool or cashmere tie and the blue and black pocket square in #6 above.
10.// Travelteq X Tenue de Nîmes laptop bag (€395) - Time is of the essence if you’re into this handsome limited edition Tenue bag: only 50 pieces were made. The mashup of two traditional materials - Florentine Vacchetta leather and Japanese selvage chambray - gives it a classic-meets-modern style.
There you have Rath & Co.’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! Hopefully there is something on here that nails it for you/your guy, or at the very least it inspires you to come up with your own thoughtful surprises. Happy gifting!