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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Where have I been?

Mark Kwak

That's a Baracuda G9 Harrington jacket in case anyone is curious.

That's a Baracuda G9 Harrington jacket in case anyone is curious.

Hi guys,

It's been a really long time, and I'm so sorry for that! If you're still with me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For the past eight months or so, I've been working on a exciting project that has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I wrote and directed a short film called Rules of Exchange - a suspense/thriller about a negotiation gone bad. Unfortunately, with only so many hours in a day, it was at the cost of updating Simpler Man. Perhaps since the film is now completed, I can get back on the horse!

If you are or have been curious of what I've been up to, here's a way to support! (October 6, 2016 edit: we succeeded with the Kickstarter campaign!) Hopefully it's a piece of work you really enjoy.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Mark Kwak

Source: HypeBeast

Source: HypeBeast

One of my favorite clothing stores in the world is Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers. Why? Because Thom Browne is one of my favorite designers, Brooks Brothers is one of my favorite clothing stores, and the two are married in this collection.

The semi-annual 50%+ sales, the high quality fabrics, wonderful customer service, and classic American design also contribute to my love for this brand. I will admit that most of what they sell in their stores I would never wear in public (I mean the patterns can be downright ridiculous), but their basics - like a white oxford shirt or navy blazer - are sometimes unbeatable at sale prices.

Source: Wearethemarket

Source: Wearethemarket

Unfortunately it was announced late last year that the collection won't be renewing for another season. Seems like Thom Browne and Brooks Brothers couldn't get an agreement going, as outlined by this NYTimes article. The physical stores will also be shutting down after this month, though it's only two stores in total - one in New York and one in San Francisco.

So if you like this brand or want a taste of it before it disappears, check out their online store. Everything is 60% off, and I would recommend you pick up a couple oxford shirts or ties while you can. They won't be restocking.

Man I love suits.

Mark Kwak

I was looking through one of the old Gear Patrol GP100s (take a look at 2015's version here if you haven't checked out the GP100 before) and saw a suit by Jack Space on there called the Benton.

Frankly, I don't know much about this suit, and it seems like the line is already done for, but the search for this suit lead me to a cool video that I wanted to share with you all. Nothing mind-blowing or earth-shattering about it, but it just made me want to buy a suit... See for yourself:

Man, do I love the sound of a crisp suit being put on. Anyhow, on with your days gentlemen. Oh and may the force be with you... Always.

 

Adidas Stan Smith Shoes

Mark Kwak

Ever heard of the tennis player Stan Smith? Well even if you haven't, you've probably seen his shoe:

Source: Wufashion

Source: Wufashion

Yeah, I know I'm late to the game on bringing attention to these iconic white sneakers, but better late than never right? In case you're not up with the trend, the Adidas Stan Smith shoe was/is an icon in the sneaker world since probably 1975, and has enjoyed a rather ridiculous resurgence in the last, say, five years.

How much of a resurgence? Well Kanye owns a bunch of pairs. Derek Rose touts them as his main shoe outside of the court. And oh yeah, I called about 12 stores before I could finally get a pair in my size. No joke.

The classics are the white/green version, but they also sell them in white/red, white/navy, white/black, etc. Turns out some of the most popular high end fashion sneakers out there, made by the likes of Common Projects (~$400), Saint Laurent (~$600), and Prada (~$600) all pay homage to these masterful Adidas shoes. WSJ actually wrote about them in an article a while back and had some nice things to say:

Street Cred: Very high. Smiths are the great chameleon of the sneaker world. They’re classy, they’re cool, they’re this season, they’re old-school. It’s almost too easy.
— Wall Street Journal
Source: Hypebeast

Source: Hypebeast

Anyhow, I'm a fan. If you like white sneakers that work in a multitude of casual situations, have some history behind them, and aren't all that expensive for decent quality leather uppers (~$70), grab a pair... if you can find them that is.

PS: Don't get fooled and end up with the Raf Simons version. Sure it might be higher quality, but it's also 6x the price.

APC Petit New Standard Denim

Mark Kwak

Source: Steven Alan

Source: Steven Alan

APC Petite New Standard Jeans

APC has always been (and by always, I mean like the last six or seven years... perhaps I use hyperbole too often) one of the leaders in premium raw selvedge denim. One of their iconic styles is the raw Petite New Standard, or PNS for short. This is the pair that has a mid rise fit and tapers fairly narrow through the leg.

I've always wanted a pair, but never pulled the trigger. Well, I feel like it's that time of the year when I need to replace my denim, and there's a large possibility that these are the ones I go to next. One thing I will say is that these are notorious for stretching in the waist, so it's best to size down. So if you're a 32 waist, go with a 31.

Source: totokaelo

Source: totokaelo

There's some chatter out there about how the quality of APC jeans are no longer up to snuff compared to their glory days, but honestly, I can't tell the difference. I've also never owned a pair so what do I know? Either way, I still stand by the fact that these are a classic and I would highly recommend folks take a gander. They're $185, which certainly isn't cheap, but the good news is that stores like Azalea or Steven Alan give out 15% coupons for first time visitors, and you can apply them to these.

Oh, and in case you don't really know what selvedge denim is... check out this cool infographic from Cool Material. Cheers folks.

Source: Cool Material

Source: Cool Material

Levi x Pendleton Wool Blanket

Mark Kwak

Source: Pendleton Blog

Source: Pendleton Blog

Like clockwork, every time the Holiday season starts to peek its head above the table, I build a wishlist of things I want. Maybe it's because winter is my favorite season to go to retail stores, or maybe it's because I just need more clothing as the temperature drops. Either way, the time has clearly come, and over the next few weeks, I want to share with you at least one thing from my wish list in each post.

Levi x Pendleton Wool Blanket

Source: Pendleton Blog

Source: Pendleton Blog

There's definitely a part of me that screams "BLASPHEMOUS" at a $300 price tag on a blanket. There's also a part of me that thinks this Pendleton x Levi's blanket might actually be worth it. Every year, Pendleton, who I believe is the king of wool blankets (Woolrich is also up there), pairs up with Levi's to create a couple collab pieces that have frankly been quite uninspiring for me in the past.

However, this year my eyes have been opened. Together, they've created three top notch pieces that have really piqued my interest. A trucker jacket with wool lining, a denim shirt, and a beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic blanket. Can you guess which piece I like the most?

Unfortunately, it seems like other people like this blanket just as much as I do, because they've sold out online. The good news is that if you have a Levi's store near you, there's a good chance they have this blanket in stock. I saw several of them at the SF store the other day. Take a gander if you've been looking for a nice wool blanket with a sick design.

GQ x GAP

Mark Kwak

Source: FashionBeans

Source: FashionBeans

Every year, Gap collaborates with GQ to showcase new and upcoming menswear designers across their stores. Todd Snyder, Ovadia & Sons and BLK DNM are some of the brands that have participated in the past.

I personally love this collaboration. Sure, the quality of the pieces aren't quite at the levels of the direct brands themselves, but they're not bad, and generally with beautiful design to boot. Plus, it's exciting to see Gap doing things outside of their normal, boring routine (Sorry Gap lovers).

This year, they've partnered with four designers: The Hill Side, David Hart, Stampd, and NSF. I'm already a Hill Side and David Hart fan, so I was definitely excited to hear that lineup when they announced it a couple months back.

These pieces often go on sale a couple months into the fall season and Gap coupons don't apply until that point... and that point is today! Every one of these pieces are on sale and you can apply the coupon code STYLE to get an additional 35% off.

Source: FashionBeans

Source: FashionBeans

Just for reference, some of my favorites from this collection are the David Hart tweed jacket, The Hill Side chambray tie (which at JCrew is more than triple the price), the NSF leather jacket (which is expensive and a bit trendier, but I loved it in person), and the Stampd leather backback. To see more, just type in Stampd, NSF, Hill Side, or David Hart into the search bar at Gap.com.

Also, what's cool about some of these pieces, like the Hill Side wallets, is that there is no Gap branding to be seen. It's almost like you're buying directly from these wonderful designers themselves! Alright folks, go wild and let me know what you think!