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

Filtering by Category: Summer

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: My picks

Mark Kwak

I'm a fan of Nordstrom. They exist in almost all major towns within the U.S., usually showcase excellent products, and also offer an almost unbeatable return policy. My only issue with them is that their products are often pretty expensive at retail price.

Also, they rarely hold any sales throughout the year, making it difficult to shop there regularly. I believe they only have 2-3 weeks out of the entire year where they sell items at a discount. The half yearly men's sale and the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Well great news, my friends! The latter sale, which is also their biggest sale of the year, just started today, and there's plenty of stock to choose from.

I've decided to curate some of my favorite pieces from the sale for you to see. Full transparency: some of these are still pretty damn expensive, though oftentimes worth it.

Allen Edmonds Strand: $229.90

I own these, and love them. Great time to pick up these beautiful and classic shoes.

Dockers Alpha Fogwash Chinos: $44.90

I love the fit and quality of Dockers' Alpha Khakis. Definitely worth a try.

Red Wing Beckman Boot: $199.90

I own these boots as well. They're amazing, and definitely worth it at this price. They will be slightly uncomfortable in the beginning just FYI.

Clarisonic Mia 2: $149.90

I use a Clarisonic Mia almost everyday in the shower. TMI? Maybe. Anyhow, yes, even dudes can use this thing, and it's worth a try. It's like a Sonicare toothbrush for your face.

Threads for Thought Varsity Jacket: $49.90

I've been pretty interested in the Varsity jacket look as of late. Here's one that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Magnanni Double Monk: $209.90

If you're in the market for double monks, these might be worth a try. They look great in my opinion, and Magnannis are usually really comfortable from my experience.

Billy Reid Crewneck Sweater: $96.90

I really want this sweater myself. Not sure what's so appealing about it to me, but it seems to be stuck in my mind.

Wolverine Emerson: $294.90

Wolverine is one of my favorite bootmakers. And they don't disappoint with this rugged, high quality model.

Wallin & Bros. Sweater: $45.90

A slightly more affordable sweater than the Billy Reid one above.

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue: $229.90

One of the most classic shoes you'll ever find. If you need a pair of solid brown or black dress shoes, get these.

Billy Reid Leather Jacket: $999.90

I know, I know. It's a lot of money. However, I can't have one of these lists without a solid leather jacket. So here it is.

Allen Edmonds Dalton: $259.90

Yet again, I own these boots too. You've probably seen them on the blog before. Worth every penny.

Jack Spade Briefcase: #249.90

I think my boss owns this bag, and to me, it looks so elegant and simple. If I didn't have enough bags myself, I'd pick it up.

Rag & Bone Colorblock Sweater: $144.90

Love the look of this sweater. Though it is admittedly expensive.

The North Face Apex Jacket: $99.90

A really classic, solid jacket for the fall. Only downside is that everyone has one of these.

Calvin Klein No Show Socks: $12.90

You know how I feel about no-show socks.

Chuck Taylor Low Sneakers: $39.90

Classics.

Burberry London Navy Trench: $864.90

Trench coats are probably my favorite type of clothing. Burberry trench at that? You're in for a classic. And yes, I know it's not cheap by any measure.

There you go! My very long list of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks. Even if none of these appeal to you, check the sale out for yourself. You might find a thing or two that catches your eye.

Cheers, and happy Friday.

A simple case for better sunglasses

Mark Kwak

On the left are my tried and true Oliver Peoples sunglasses; the one you've seen on this blog probably far too much. On the right is a pair of free sunglasses that I think I got from a swag day at my company. They look similar, but let me tell you why I think it's worth it to go with the sunglasses on the left over the ones on the right. DSC_0083

Okay, I'm going to throw a little bit of a curveball at you. Instead of focusing on style, quality, longevity, durability, and other very important benefits to having premium sunglasses, I'm going to focus instead on a reason that people often overlook when deciding between crappy sunglasses, and a pair of, let's say, Ray-Bans.

Generally when you pay the extra buck or two for sunglasses, and this doesn't have to be some outrageous amount (like $450 for Prada glasses), you will end up caring about your sunglasses exponentially more than if they were some cheap $15 glasses you found at a flea market in Brooklyn.

Before I started spending more than $25 for a pair of sunglasses, I probably replaced about 20-30 pairs, and each had a maximum lifespan of about 5-6 months. I may have left them on a table somewhere, or accidentally crushed them in my pocket, but in either case, I didn't really pay attention to the glasses because they were so cheap and replaceable.

Then I bought a pair of Ray-Ban wayfarers on sale for $75. The moment I got those, not only did the glasses look and feel much better than my previous pairs, but I also cared about them far more. I took care of them when I could, I made 100% sure not to lose them or put them in some compromising situation, and also incorporated them into my outfits much more thoughtfully. I would assume this all happened because psychologically, I just couldn't accept losing a pair of $75 Ray-Bans due to some in-the-moment stupidity on my part.

So my recommendation is to try a nice pair of sunglasses out sometime if you don't already own a pair. You'll find that the fear you have about losing them or crushing them and wasting your money will actually help you do just the opposite.

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Summer Getaway Outfits

Mark Kwak

It's been a while since the last simpler woman post, and I want to make sure we don't fully lose sight of the female perspective here at Simpler Man. Thus, I bring to you the next edition of Simpler Woman, written by my very fashion-forward friend Sarah. Also, this post comes just in time for summer. It's all about dressing the part of being on vacation, but still looking stylish as ever.

---

Summer Getaway Outfits

With summer travel around the corner, it's time to check out the best outfits to pack for your beach or resort vacation.

First things first: you can't have a beach vacation without swim shorts. I recommend ditching the board and surf shorts to modernize your look. Show me some leg, gentlemen! The Curtis from Saturdays Surf NYC is a favorite of mine. With a 15" outseam, it won't feel too short, but at the same time its length will move you away from that beach bum look. Plus, they have pockets, so they can double as shorts to wear into town after a day on the beach.

Once you have your swimwear, think about how you can stylishly double your beach wear into an outfit that will extend through the day. You can look effortlessly chic by pairing a soft, high-quality solid color tee with your new swim shorts. Put your plastic flip flops away and throw on a pair of Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes. Now you'll be ready to hop aboard your yacht:

Also, make sure you've got your eyes protected in this hot weather! I always fancy a vintage Ray Ban aviator; it'll give you an edgy allure and you can try a different type of Ray Ban than the Wayfarers.

Heading to a waterfront restaurant for a mai tai this evening? For casual dinners or nights out on the beach, I recommend a linen button down. I love the Mediterranean feel of linen shirts, especially in white. Perhaps these really attractive Brooks Brothers ones?

You can pair the shirt with a pair of jeans or chinos from Bonobos. Their Summer Weight Chinos are a lovely material. Or, try the Travel Jeans that can double up as both your airplane pants and your going out pants! If it's too hot, you can still rock shorts at night, just make sure to keep away from cargos and other casual styles. Instead, spice it up with some patterns or colorblocking, like these Club Monaco shorts!

Hope this gets your suitcase packed! I better start working on mine next...

sarah maldives

Sarah is an avid traveler, wine lover, and fashion enthusiast. Today, she can be found in either San Francisco or Chicago, daydreaming about her next summer vacation.

 

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.