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

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!

The Old Fashioned

Mark Kwak

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

I would argue that right now is the heyday of craft cocktails. As a result, there are always new and innovative drinks being made across the nation. Despite this, it turns out that my favorite drink (both to drink and make) is actually one of the oldest and most classic of them all, the Old Fashioned. 

Here’s my take on the Old Fashioned. I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I will say that since I’ve been making this drink on my own, I’ve found very little reason to go out and pay $14 for it anymore. Test it yourself and let me know what you think:

Source: Trolleyd

Source: Trolleyd

First, here are the ingredients:

1. Bourbon

2. Demerara (turbinado works too) sugar ß don’t worry, you can find this at a whole foods near you.

3. Angostura bitters

4. Orange

5. Ice

If you don’t have bourbon, you can substitute with rye, but I personally like bourbon in my Old Fashioned’s. Here are three brands I personally like, from least expensive to most expensive.

1. Buffalo Trace

2. Four Roses Small Batch

3. Basil Hayden’s

Source: Busted Wallet

Source: Busted Wallet

Instructions:

First, make some simple syrup. Equal parts demerara sugar, equal parts water. Mix while bringing it to a boil, then take it off heat and get it to cool down.

Second, pour all the ingredients into a stirring glass (or any cup if you don’t have a stirring glass). Here are the portions:

2 oz Bourbon

½ oz Simple Syrup

3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Add some ice to the glass, then start stirring. Stir for a good 15-20 seconds, as diluted water helps enhance this drink more than you’d think.

Get out a whiskey tumbler or old fashioned glass and pour some ice in there. I usually like to use a huge block of ice using these types of molds: cube, sphere, but you can use smaller cubes as well. Outside of aesthetics, the advantage to a huge block is that it’s slower in melting.

Source: Fiveandspice

Source: Fiveandspice

Pour the drink (straining the ice from the stirring glass) into your tumbler. Then peel a 3 inch orange peel (try not to peel too hard, if there’s a ton of white on the bottom of your peel, it is a bit more bitter) and twist the peel over your glass. The oils from this peel actually make a difference.

Wipe the peel around the edge of the glass, and then plop it into the drink. Voila, you have yourself an excellent (and I mean excellent) Old Fashioned.

Now, all you need to do is relax. And maybe pour yourself one, two, or three more as the night goes along. Enjoy fellas.