What would you say if I told you there was one shoe you could wear with just about anything on a daily basis? You’d be all over that, right? It’s true. A medium brown lace-up dress shoe can be worn with any outfit except for a tuxedo, a black suit (which you shouldn’t be wearing anyway), and shorts. Wear them with jeans, chinos, suits and dress pants.
One of the places I always recommend investing in wardrobe-wise is shoes — you’re better off buying one pair of quality shoes and replacing them as needed every 5 years or so, than a crappy quality shoe that you have to replace every year. When it comes to making the most of your footwear investment, another key to keep in mind is not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you rotate your shoes, they’ll last a whole lot longer.
So if you’re going to make an investment shoe purchase, I highly recommend a medium-brown lace-up. They can have a cap toe, no cap toe (see above), or you can do a wingtip (see below).
Have you ever been out on the weekend or after work and looked around to see that there are basically 2 or 3 types of outfits every guy is wearing, and no one is standing out from the crowd (in a good way)? Most guys are wearing what they wore earlier that day (jeans and logo’d/giveaway t-shirt, and blue button-down and khakis are two examples), with no effort to step it up for going out.
How incredibly boring! Dressing this way is certainly not going to help you be attractive to new women, much less the one you’re already with if you are in a relationship.
With the above in mind, I put together 2 sharp going out looks that you can recreate easily either using these specific items or a variation on each theme. The first is dressier, for when you truly want to dress to impress. And the second less so.
Also, if you’re looking to try to learn how to put great looks together yourself, I included reasoning behind my the choices.
Grey suit, J. Crew, $650 (Gray reads friendlier and less business than navy.)
Chambray shirt, Theory, $195 (A denim or chambray dress shirt is a nice departure from the everyday dress shirt for business. It shows some thought was put into creating a stylish look.)
Red tie, Billy Reid, $59 (The texture in this tie contrasts well against the smoothness of the chambray shirt above. Texture will also make you look approachable, which is a good thing for when you’re going out and looking to meet people, or on a date.)
Blue tie bar, The Tie Bar, $15 (A tie bar is a small detail that adds visual interest and reflects style prowess. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the perfect way to do so without being loud or obnoxious, a trap many guys fall into when dressing for going out – in effort to be noticed.)
White and gray pocket square, The Tie Bar,$8 (This pocket square is simple and classy yet adds a stylish touch to the outfit.)
Brown shoes, Massimo Matteo, $169 (Double-monk shoes will allow you to look sharp and distinguish you from all the other guys in loafers and laceups.)
Grey socks, J. Crew, $14 (Because there’s a fair amount going on otherwise in the look, I kept the socks quiet and matched them to the suit pants, a stylist trick that elongates your legs.)
Brown belt, Magnianni, $125 (I kept it classy, matching belt to shoes.)
Purple gingham shirt, Proper Cloth, $85 (Women can find it boring when men wear the same color light blue dress shirts day in and day out. Wearing purple shows creativity, and it’s a good conversation starter.)
Jeans, John Varvatos, $228 (The slight wear in the rinse on these jeans lend them a somewhat casual feel, which works well with the tweed fabric of the vest.)
Brown vest, Billy Reid, $159 (It’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing all black when going out, mainly because you don’t know what else to do. But this can make you look remote and unapproachable. The softness of the brown and textured fabric on this vest will lend you a friendly air instead.)
Navy knit tie, J. Crew, $59 (I kept the tie simple so as not to draw away from the patterns in the vest and shirt. The texture in the knit keeps you approachable, as above with the vest.)
Tan belt, John Varvatos, $295 (This belt works with the brown in both the vest and shoes. The subtle details give the outfit more personality than a plain brown belt would, but the statement is not so strong that it draws away from everything else.)
Bracelet, Miansai, $60 (For an element of fun, I’d add this bracelet in. Blue and purple work together because they’re analogous colors, i.e., they sit next to each other on the color wheel.)
Brown chukka boots, H by Hudson, $285 (Brown shoes work best with this outfit due to the brown in the vest. Chukkas are a nice boot option in a look like this, as they’re casual but certainly not boring.)
The playful and stylish elements of these looks clearly distinguish them from typical office garb, making it clear that the wearer knows how to dress for play vs for work.
How do you like to dress for going out? Let me know in the comments below how the outfits above have inspired you!
How did 2013 go for you style-wise? Were you totally on point, or was there room for improvement? I’ve been traveling over the past month visiting out of town clients and doing some serious people-watching while on the road. I was sitting in LaGuardia Airport at 6AM one day, and I started a list of don’ts, which grew at each of my stops (Minneapolis, Chicago, North Dakota, and Palm Springs), evolving into the New Year’s Bad Style Cleanse below. Read on for 14 habits to purge from your style diet.
1) Don’t wear a crewneck undershirt with your button-up shirt. Showing your undershirt collar is like showing your underwear, something you don’t want to do in public (I hope). This goes for both casual and dress button-ups. I like Tommy John for great undershirts with v-necks that are low enough not to be visible. Here is my review of the brand.
2) Even if you’re traveling, you shouldn’t wear loafers with a suit. Try monk straps instead, as they can slip on and off easily when going through security (tip: packing a travel-size shoe horn will make your life easier).
3) You can leave the top button of your dress shirt undone with a tie, but don’t have the tie hanging down below your collarbone. Your tie knot should be no more than an inch lower than the top of where your shirt collar closes.
4) Never wear a backpack with a suit or sportcoat. It’s terrible for the shoulders. Also, you are going to work, not for a trail run.
5) Don’t wear a striped jacket as though it’s a sportcoat. A striped jacket is only worn as part of a suit, never as a separate.
6) Don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt unless you are going to an actual luau.
7) Avoid those hybrid sneakers-shoes at all costs. It’s a sneaker or a shoe. Not both.
8) While you’re at it, say no to those hiking-type sneakers for anything other than an actual mountain trek.
9) Skip the strong colognes or aftershaves (Old Spice, I’m talking to you) if you know you’re going to be on an airplane. This is a courtesy to those around you!
10) Grab the waistband of your pants (yes, right now) and yank on it. If you can pull it away from your body more than half an inch, your pants are too big. Go down in size until you find the right fit.
12) A t-shirt is too tight if it pulls such that the fabric creates a diagonal crease from your collarbone to your armpit. Go up a size if this happens to you.
13) Don’t be that guy who wears a parka with ski tags dangling from the zips out to a restaurant. Technical/athletic gear is meant for just that – not date night. This includes outerwear and accessories like hats and gloves. One of my favorite brands of outerwear that gets the job done sharply is Aether.
14) Don’t wear ties that are too wide for you. This is true even if you paid a lot for it/wide ties may come back in style someday/your Aunt Edna gave it to you. Either donate or send them to somewhere like Tiecrafters to have it narrowed. Here’s my guide on how to choose the best proportion for you.
Now that you’ve effectively cleansed yourself of bad style habits, check out this list of 8 style resolutions to embrace for the new year. Out with the old and in with the new! What are you adding and removing from your style repertoire this year?
Wishing you happiness, health and success in 2014.
If you’re still rocking that North Face parka over your suit jacket, it’s time for an upgrade.
Nothing ruins a great look faster than a not-so-great coat. For some reason outerwear often seems to be at the end of peoples’ priority lists, but I can’t stress enough how important it is for your coat or jacket to be up to par with the rest of your outfit. Think about it: you walk into a restaurant to meet a date. Before you take your coat off, she’s already formed an impression of you. The same goes for your office elevator. People tell me all the time that they sneak in to their office building in junk clothes/shoes and change once they’re there, but if you’re riding up in the elevator with people in your office, the damage is done. So, have I convinced you of the merits of a good overcoat yet? Good! Here are my suggestions on how to choose one.
Fit: I see too many people around in oversized, too long overcoats – such a disappointing look! It makes me think of a little kid playing dress-up. Ideally, your overcoat should fit comfortably over a suit but still be slim enough to look stylish with just a shirt and pants. The best, most versatile length for a modern but still classic look is around your knee. It should hit anywhere from mid/low-knee to just above it, depending on how modern you want the look to be (the shorter you go, the younger the look). A good-fitting overcoat should make you look taller, leaner and broader across the shoulders.
Sizing: An overcoat is meant to fit on top of your suit, so when buying off-the-rack, start by going up one size from your suit. Try it on with a suit jacket or blazer and be sure it can close. The sleeves should cover your suit and shirt sleeves.
Buttons – Make sure it buttons to a location on your body that you’re comfortable with. I like this houndstooth check coat above from Balenciaga, but notice how low it buttons on the model’s body. If it’s too low, and you get cold easily, you might want to choose a coat that buttons a little higher. Remember that you’ll likely be wearing a scarf with it on very cold days which will give you additional coverage. What about the number of buttons? Most people will need 3 buttons for a classic single-breasted style, but if you’re very tall (over 6’ 3”), you should get 4.
Style: A single-breasted notch lapel creates a more conservative/traditional look, whereas a double-breasted peak lapel is more dressy, and also warmer due to the fuller coverage and double layer of fabric over your chest. Overcoats also come with a wide choice of different pocket options for you to consider: straight/horizontal, flap/slit, ticket/no ticket, breast pocket/no breast pocket. And make sure to consider whether you want a center vent in back or no vent at all. Don’t get locked in to the first coat you see just because it’s convenient. Look around to find the one that resonates best with you. Perhaps you wouldn’t have considered one with a leather collar like the above from Burberry Prorsum until you saw it in person. There’s a world of options!
Color/Patterns – The most classic colors are navy, camel and grey (in that order), but you might also consider getting a pattern if you’re into that sort of thing. If you do go for a pattern, make sure to keep the rest of your outfit subtle. I’m anxiously awaiting this brown herrringbone which I ordered custom as a chesterfield (with a velvet collar) for a client.
Fabrics: There’s a huge range, from camel hair, to wool, to cashmere to blends. Do some research on the different weights that you’re choosing from and figure out how warm you need your overcoat to be before taking the plunge. I’ve seen people buy very heavy overcoats that they never wear because they’re just too warm. Know yourself and the climate you’re in (or that you travel to) and factor that in.
Investment: Remember when you purchase a high quality overcoat that it’s a classic piece which should last you at least 10-15 years. This is one place in your wardrobe where it makes sense to invest.
Where to buy: You can either go off-the-rack or custom. For the former, try department stores like Saks, Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s, along with specific brand boutiques like Hugo Boss or Prada. If you live somewhere without access to a lot of stores, you can look online. Websites like Mr. Porter and Suit Supply are good go-to’s. If you decide to go custom, check Yelp and local listings (like nymag.com here in NYC) for highly-rated clothiers or ask well-dressed friends/acquaintances where they go.
Are you shopping for an overcoat this season? I’d love to know what you’re considering! Leave me a comment below.
Even if you’re still rocking shorts and polo shirts, the time is now to make plans for your cool weather wardrobe. I’ve been pounding the pavement and interwebs hard looking for the best items for my clients as the stores are flush with new merchandise. If you’re planning on doing some Fall shopping yourself, I must warn you that one of the worst things you can do is to go shopping without a plan or, at the very least, a list. Just wandering into a store aimlessly is for sure the easiest way to end up with nothing at all, or worse, to get pushed into buying a pile of clothes you’ll never wear. With that in mind, I created this list of 18 must-haves (or nice-to-haves) to inspire and keep you organized as you craft a smart Fall/Winter wardrobe.
Transitional jacket — think peacoat, car coat, or other medium-weight option
Leather jacket — here’s how it should fit
Overcoat — buy now while the selection is good, and there’s still time to have one custom-made
Outerwear vest — wool/cashmere/down, as in the header image
Lined raincoat — you can also get one with a zip-out lining, which is one of the most versatile garments you can own
Dress boots — yes, you can wear these with your suit!
Bad weather boots — look for options that are waterproof and have rubber soles for traction
Wool/cashmere socks — if you’re tall or have very long legs, get ones that go over your calves so your legs remain covered when you sit
Wool/cashmere ties — perfect for frigid days in combination with a scarf
Hat, gloves and scarf — don’t wait for someone to give these to you as a holiday gift!
Winter-weight casual pants — Incotex makes great corduroys and moleskin pants
Heavier-weight sport shirts — a trim-fitting flannel is a great weekend go-to
Heavier weight dress shirts — in more tightly-woven fabrics like oxford
Fall/Winter suits, dress pants and sportcoats — look for tweeds, flannels and heavier-weight worsteds
Menswear vest — wear with jeans for a stylish going-out look
Sweaters — v-necks, polo-necks, henleys, thin cardigans and thick shawl-collared cardigans are good options
Long sleeve tops — in thick materials like waffle-knit
Hoodie — look for one that’s super soft and trim-fitting
Remember, autumn is all about layering, so even if for example the idea of a thin cardigan or outerwear vest don’t appeal to you, think about them in combination with the rest of your wardrobe. The more you can mix and match pieces, the more versatile what you own will be.
If you’d like more tailored help with your Fall/Winter wardrobe, contact me. I’m currently booking appointments for the first week of October.
A lot of what I hear from new clients is a desire for what I call “Next Level Style”. Next Level Style is the development of a look that is uniquely one’s own, one that will make others sit up and take notice (but only to the degree wanted, of course!). One of my favorite things to do as a stylist is to seek out clothing and accessory items that will create that affect. No more walking into your office and seeing another guy in the same exact Brooks Brothers shirt and Ferragamo tie. With that goal in mind, today I’m shining the spotlight on stingray, a material you’ve possibly never heard of in relation to style.
Stingray leather (also known as “shagreen”) is extremely durable and has been used throughout history for everything from swanky armored clothing to sword handle wraps. Today in the fashion world, stingray is used on items ranging from wallets to shoes. One of the nice things about this skin is that stingrays aren’t threatened by extinction, so its leather can be sourced easily, which also contributes to its relatively low pricing. In fact, stingrays are found in abundance in the shallow, warm waters of the Pacific Rim and are fished commercially as a primary food source.
Here are my 6 favorite stingray items currently available that I hope will inspire you to get some new hides into your rotation.
2. Why not incorporate stingray into your dressier attire? These cufflinks ($275) would pop nicely against a grey suit, white dress shirt and a black and white or grey tie.
3. I recently got this business card holder ($75) from a store called Unearthed on Etsy. I love the strong contrast of black with white. Each piece is customized, so you can tell them your color preference, and they’ll select a hide to suit that.
5. A piece of men’s jewelry (a.k.a. “mewlery”) can be one of the most rewarding items to add to your wardrobe when done right. I am very much into this bracelet ($175, above left), which would work well with most silver-toned watches. And if you want to throw some color into the mix, try this turquoise stingray and braided leather combo ($150, above right).
6. Stingray shoes are not for the faint-hearted. These balmorals ($1195) from Harris (which I’ve highlighted previously) are so unique and interesting that they will surely be conversation starters. With this price tag though, you must be absolutely sure you love them before taking the leap!
How do you like to up the style quotient? And would you wear stingray?
Cheers to Next Level Style,
I am always in hot pursuit of outside-the-box items. That’s what my clients hire me for as we construct looks that are uniquely their own. These shoes are not for everyone, but if they appeal to you, and you’re looking to take an outfit from standard to stylish, I say get after it!
There are officially 3 shopping days left before Christmas, including today. If you still need a gift idea, get him a tie and pocket square combination. He’ll appreciate knowing up front that they work together, which will make his life easier when choosing his outfit in the morning. Here are five combos I put together for a client’s wife at Bergdorf Goodman to get you started.
There are few things more devastatingly dashing than a man in a beautifully-fitted tuxedo. If you’ve received an invitation for an event calling for “Black Tie Optional” attire, your best option is – you guessed it – Black Tie. Why not take the opportunity to bring out the big guns? I promise, womens’ heads will turn, and the other guys not in tuxes will wish they had opted otherwise. Check out this shot above from a recent photo shoot for my new website (coming soon!). Pretty good, right?
Relatedly, designers have been showing formalwear looks deconstructed with individual items worn as separates (as seen in my Fall style report). This gives you even more reason to invest in a tux as well as some fun and interesting formalwear elements, which will come in handy when you’re faced with a Creative or Festive Black Tie dress code. Below are my top 5 picks for pieces that will help you mix up your evening gear.
1) Acne Velvet Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket — Acne made a splash with their fall lineup of swanky eveningwear separates. This jacket speaks for itself, so keep the rest of the look simple and classic.
2) Acne Jacquard Print Pants – These print pants are next-level style at its best. The trim cut calls for a similarly tailored jacket.
3) Michael Bastian Dinner Jacket – For evening wear with a festive twist, I am very much into this tartan shawl collar dinner jacket. The beauty of this piece is that you can wear it formally as shown above with ivory dress pants, but you can also dress it down with a bowtie, denim dress shirt, boots and cords, as seen in this excellent WSJ article on the topic.
4) Alexander McQueen Black and Gold Stripe-Skull Bowtie – Bring out your inner rebel with this McQueen bowtie. Let it pop against a crisp white shirt, or give it a moodier edge by pairing it with a black or dark grey shirt.
5) Boss Black Contrast-Collar Shirt – Sport this mini-houndstooth shirt with a straight black tie and a shawl collar dinner jacket (bonus points for a lapel with contrasting color).
Even if you don’t have a formal event on the horizon, consider planning ahead with some swanky evening style that will make things easy when that time comes, which it inevitably will. For my full discussion on how to choose a tuxedo, click here.
How do you like to amp up your evening wear?