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

Filtering by Category: Spring

Denim vs chambray

Mark Kwak

Every now and again, people will ask me what the difference is between denim and chambray, since both seem to look pretty similar. Well my friends, today I shall reveal the difference, and fingers crossed that you don't leave here more confused than when you entered. chambraydenim

Alright, so the picture above shows you a denim jacket and a chambray shirt (though I'm using a bad example of a chambray shirt here since it has a herringbone design). Generally, this is how you'll see denim and chambray used: denim for jackets and pants, chambray for shirts. However, it's important to note that this isn't always the case. Denim can occasionally come in shirt form and chambray can be used for jackets.

Anyhow, the main difference between the two is in the way that they are woven. Denim is woven diagonally, while chambray is plainly woven, meaning that there's more of a traditional criss-cross weaving happening. The best way to tell is actually by looking on the inside of your jeans. Since they're probably made of denim, you'll notice the fabric is woven diagonally. This weave will look very different on chambray.

So in all, clearly not that big of a difference between the two. And perhaps a rather boring difference if anything. Either way, I wanted to at least clear up any confusion.  Alright, getting' out of here, happy day before the 4th!

chambraydenim2

Gap Denim Jacket :: Gitman Vintage Chambray Shirt

The summer sales begin...

Mark Kwak

 

Looks like retailers are looking to shed their summer pieces already. Crazy considering that summer hasn't even really started yet, right? Some sales have begun, and there are more to come. Here are just a few notable ones:

1. Barney's: Up to 60% off.

2. Billy Reid: Up to 50% off.

3. Brooks Brothers Black Fleece: 40% off all.

4. J.Crew : 40% off summer pieces.

5. Paul Smith: 30% off, but 50% with coupon SS13SALE20EUS today and tomorrow.

6. GANT: 40% off a lot of their items.

7. Allen Edmonds: Tent sale, up to 50% off select items like the Strand & Park Ave. Catch is that it's by phone or local only.

8. Nordstrom: The Half-yearly men's sale is on now!

I'll probably post more as the days go on, but get at it while you can! Some of these sales come really only twice a year.

The essential color to wear with bold pieces

Mark Kwak

Source: GQ

Last weekend, I went out to a couple nearby parks to hang out in the sun with my friends. During my time at these parks, I noticed that my eyes were being pulled from place to place by the bright colored pants and shorts everybody was wearing around- men included.

Though I'm personally not much a fan of bright colored pants myself , I think they can look pretty attractive on a lot of people, and if you've been thinking about getting yourself a pair, I say why not? There's no better time than now (it's spring/summertime + bright colored pants are on trend at the moment, just check this article by StyleGirlfriend).

So now, if you've wholly decided that you'll be wearing this somewhat daring piece in the near future, I've got a tip for you: wear white too.

Source: Denimtherapy

Let me explain why. The more outlandish the color of your pants, the more difficult it will be to coordinate other pieces around that color. Ever tried to coordinate your shoes, shirt, and jacket around a pair of neon green pants before? It's doable, but it ain't easy.

Ah, but here's where the color (or shade?) white comes in handy. Luckily, white really does work with everything. It's basically a blank canvas on which you can layer different colors around- no matter how outrageous- and still look fine overall. Also, white is a great color to wear in the summertime anyway, as it's bright and refreshing to look at amidst blue skies and yellow sun rays.

So you have a pair of salmon shorts? Add a white V neck T-shirt.

Got bright red chinos? No problem, a white oxford will do just fine.

Violet pants? White polo to the rescue. 

If you're having a hard time deciding what to match your colorful pants and shorts with, just wear some white and be done with it. I'm not saying other colors don't work- they absolutely do. And, if you have the time and patience, definitely wear other colors as well!

However, sometimes it's kind of nice not to worry about what works and doesn't work with your pastel or colored pants. Knowing that a white shirt will do the job no matter what, is a pretty liberating thing. Besides, a blankness of a white shirt will bring the focus to your pants anyway, and if you're buying bright colored pants, isn't that kind of the point?

 

Socks in the summertime

Mark Kwak

 Source: Black Lapel

I've started to bust out the sunglasses, shorts, and T-shirts once again, as the sun has begun to show its glorious face. Girls are wearing sundresses, dudes are bringing out polos, and all have begun to stop wearing boots in favor of light and breathable shoes.

For guys, I'm talking athletic sneakers, canvas sneakers (Converse, Vans, Toms), bucks, boat shoes, and driving mocs. Yes, yes, I know a lot of guys are also wearing flip flops and sandals, but for today, I'm not going to focus on them, and instead focus on those wearing actual shoes out.

One question you will likely ask when wearing summer shoes is: what type of socks should I wear? Unfortunately, I have to give you the always-dreaded answer of: it depends.

However, the silver lining here is that I'm not going to bog you down with the philosophical and complex reason as to why you should be wearing one type of sock versus another during the summer. Instead, I'm going to address each one of the types of summer shoes I mentioned earlier with a simple answer to each.

 Source: Lifestylefancy

Athletic sneakers: Ankle socks. Athletic shoes look best with an ankle sock that shows slightly above the top of the shoe, indicating you're hygienic, but also stylish. I personally like black/grey better than white.

Canvas sneakers: Canvas sneakers look best in the summer without any signs of sock. For that reason, I would suggest you go with no show socks, like these, or if you're daring, sock-less (but remember to powder up).

Bucks: Bucks are a wonderful alternative to leather wingtips or cap-toes in the summertime. They're on the line between formal and casual, so they end up being pretty versatile as a shoe overall. If you're wearing shorts with these, I would suggest going no-show socks, but if you're wearing pants, wear whatever socks you'd like (as long as they're not white athletic socks or hot wool socks).

Boat shoes: No socks here. Wait, I take that back a little. If you want to mix it up and add some really colorful socks into the mix, I've found that to be acceptable and kind of fun.

Driving moccasins: I'd say the same rules that apply to boat shoes apply here.

So clearly, I'm suggesting you to go "no-show" quite often here. You may ask why? Well there's two simple reasons.

1. It just looks better. Ankles look good, and from an unofficial poll I recently took, women agree.

2. The less fabric on you, the cooler (in temperature) you will remain. If it's hot, then it's a no brainer.

Stay cool, look cool, and follow the above guidelines. Cheers fellas.

Inspired by casual summer sport coats

Mark Kwak

Source: Why-youmad

From what I’ve gathered, people are often inspired to dress better by those around them. You might have experienced this yourself. Maybe it’s the best friend who, due to his new job, is starting to wear more dress shirts and wingtip shoes, leaving you in the dust with your ratty T-shirt and ripped jeans. Or perhaps it’s your sister’s new boyfriend, whose modern hipster look makes you feel like you’re constantly missing out on some sort of hip trend.

Whatever the case, I think that observing stylish folks around you and finding the things that you like (and don’t like) about their style, might be an easy way to take cues on building your own personal style.  You’ll notice things that you are fond of, and things you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in.

Recently, I've been inspired by folks wearing casual summer sport coats and blazers. You know, the ones made of seersucker, linen, madras and the like.

To me, a sport coat is one of the most attractive pieces of clothing a man can own. However, the problem with sport coats is that they can come off pretty formal, and will get neglected from regular wear as a result. Well, the good news is that these casual summer sport coats that I'm seeing around are generally unlined, unstructured, and made with breathable fabrics, all of which are characteristics of casual wear. Thus, I'm all aboard, and am going to start wearing casual summer sport coats on a more regular basis.

A few photos to inspire you all as well:

 Source: Dressmeblog

Source: Mensthreads

Source: Union LA

Okay, that last photo is outlandish, to say the least. But either way, it shows us how these types of sport coats don't need to be taken so seriously, and can be worn in pretty casual situations (dare I say, even with a baseball cap?). Get at it fellas, I know I definitely will.

The denim jacket, a perfect spring piece

Mark Kwak

denimjacket2Glasses: Warby Parker | Jacket: Gap | Shirt: Vince | Chinos: Dockers

It's Spring.

Not quite hot enough for you to wear just a T-shirt and shorts, but not so cold that you need to bust out the wool peacoat. You need something that can protect you from a cool breeze, but not have you sweating in direct sunlight.

Well, I never thought I'd be saying this, but I've found that the perfect medium piece for springtime is... the denim jacket.

To be honest, I've never really had a liking for denim jackets up till the very recent past. Generally all denim jackets I had seen prior to last year were fitted awkwardly, wildly distressed, and of course, paired incorrectly (think light wash denim on light wash denim). The types of people wearing them were also usually in their fifties, and looking like they were going through some sort of midlife crisis.

Well, the good news is that things have changed, as they often do in the fashion world. The denim jacket is back and looking great, especially when incorporated into the appropriate outfit.

Source: Esquire

There are a couple things that you should know when looking for the right denim jacket:

1. A denim jacket should feel snug. It can even be used for layering, so you want to minimize bulk as much as possible.

2. The color of your denim jacket should not match most of your denim pants. If you do somehow end up pairing denims, you want to at least make sure they aren't of similar color. Just FYI, I would recommend chinos or cords to be safe.

3. Make sure the shoulders fit perfectly on the jacket, as that measurement will be the most important in determining whether the jacket fits you or not. Alterations can be made elsewhere, but not on the shoulders.

4. I don't think you necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get a good denim jacket. I've found that the Gap one I bought for $50 is rock solid in construction, and feels like it won't be falling apart anytime soon. My Levi's one from ten years ago is also going on strong, with no indication of slowing down.

5. Start with a less-distressed jacket, and give the jacket some of your own character. Like denim jeans, you'll start noticing whiskering, distressing, and other marks on your jacket as you wear them in. You'll probably find that you enjoy distress marks more when you're actually the one contributing.

Here are a couple denim jackets at different price points that I would recommend:

~$50 : Gap

~$75: Levi's

~$100: J.Crew

~$125+: BLK DNM

Keep it simple, find one that fits well, and you'll be getting compliments in no time. Give it a try, it might be worth the effort and money! Good luck fellas.

Naval stripe undershirt

Mark Kwak

naval stripe 2Source: Black Fleece

Sometimes, it's good to wear an undershirt beneath your collared button down. I don't always recommend it, but when you're in the dead heat of summer, it's good to have your perspiration stopped by a layer of cotton instead of soaking through your expensive oxford shirt.

Generally, the usual suspects for summer undershirts are solid-colored white or gray v necks. Classic, abundant, and simple, who can argue?

Well today, for the heck of it, I will. A new trend is on the rise (I think?), and surprisingly, I'm 100% on board this time. It's none other than the naval stripe undershirt.

naval stripeSource: Iseastripes

I believe naval striped crew neck T-shirts, peeking out underneath a collared shirt or jacket, can add some spice and unexpected flare to your outfit. When in neutral colors, like white/blue or blue/gray, naval striped shirts can be quite versatile, and work with tons of different colors and patterns.

Instead of opting for a V-neck like I usually do, I think crew necks work best here, as they will purposely be visible when wearing button ups with the first or second button unbuttoned. Also, they should be lightweight and comfortable, generally 100% cotton. Though quality is always important, let's be real; at the end of the day, these are just T-shirts, and you shouldn't break the bank just to get some.

I'm planning on getting a couple naval stripe shirts myself, and encourage you to get on board too, especially if you're interested in adding some subtle variation to your outfit.

Here are a couple at different price points for you to check out:

~$10: Uniqlo, Club Room

~$20: River Island, Asos

~$40: American Apparel, Wolsey, Ralph Lauren

~$60+ : Black Fleece, Sunspel, St. James