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

Filtering by Tag: black fleece

Light blue OCBD

Mark Kwak

I personally think that the light blue oxford cloth button down (OCBD) shirt is one of the most versatile pieces you can own. Just to demonstrate, I've outfitted my personal Brooks Brothers OCDB in two ways. One being more formal, the other being more casual. Check it out. First, a casual OCBD look. I paired my shirt with a pair of shorts and sneakers to keep cool during the summer months.

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Remember that you don't want your shorts to be any longer than seen above. Keeping it right at/above the knee is a great length in my opinion.

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I love a classic white sneaker. So easy to wear.

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Roll the sleeves up and wear the shirt like a short sleeved dress shirt.

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Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Shorts: Uniqlo | Shoes: Converse

Watch: Timex | Belt: Uniqlo

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And now for the more formal look. I wore this outfit to a client dinner the other day actually. Personally thought it worked quite well.

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The grey trousers / navy jacket look is actually one of my favorites.

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Colorful socks per usual.

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Can't forget your accessories (belt/watch).

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Jacket: Black Fleece | Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Belt: J.Crew

Pants: Uniqlo | Watch: Timex | Shoes: Peal & Co | Socks: Paul Smith (similar)

I encourage you all to get yourself an oxford cloth button down shirt, especially in the color light blue. Dress it up, dress it down, dress it all around.  It'll work with more combinations of outfits than you can possibly imagine.

 

A proper hoodie

Mark Kwak

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Hoodie: Banana Republic (similar) | Shirt: Black Fleece | Tie: Theory

You may have noticed, but hoodies get a lot of flak in the menswear world these days. You'll often see warnings saying "Throw away that old hoodie and upgrade to a v neck sweater or cardigan," or  "You've graduated college, it's time to let that hoodie go."

In fact, that last quote is basically straight from a simpler woman post that I put up here several months ago, so I'll admit, I'm guilty of being a contributor.

Nevertheless, I do want to clarify one thing, and pronounce to the world that this doesn't mean that hoodies are bad and should never be worn. On the contrary, some of my favorite closet pieces are actually hoodies!

Just look at that woolen hoodie above (which I've awkwardly overdressed), it's oddly one of my most complimented pieces.  I kid you not, literally every time I've worn that sweater out, someone has either asked me where I got it, or complimented me on it. It's also incredibly comfortable, warm, and easy to wear. It's a beautiful sweater, and is a bit more "serious" or "classy" than your average gray Rocky Balboa hoodie.

hoodie1Oh yeeaah, awkward half face cutoff photo. 

The hoodies that I, as well as my other fellow menswear brethren, are warning you about are not these types of hoodies, but instead the oversized ones with logos and graphics plastered on the front. You know, the sports logo hoodie you got in college, or the heather gray one that looks like you're off to the gym for a sweat session?

So the next time you see you an attractive hoodie on the racks at your local mall, you don't need to dismiss it right away. Hoodies can look awesome, it's just a matter of finding the right one.

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.

Insta-recap #3

Mark Kwak

In case you aren't following me on Instagram, I wanted to share some of my photos here on the blog. I still think I'm a relative newb when it comes to this stuff, but the good news is I'm getting better. Maybe I'll start asking random people whether I can take pictures of them for Simpler Man. San Francisco street style is pretty fascinating, and I bet I can capture some really interesting outfits. But then again, it is a little creepy to ask random people if I can take pictures of them with my phone. I guess we'll have to see.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy:

In case you haven't heard of Loro Piana, this company makes some of the most beautiful and luxurious fabrics known to man. Each piece felt like butter, no joke.

My Redwing Beckman boots. They're damn workhorses.

This is an Isaia sport coat. $3k was it? One day...

My favorite outfit combination for denim jackets.

I wish I had more opportunities to wear these gloves and this storm coat last winter. Damn you San Francisco! Either way, I love Ralph Lauren Black Label.

Rag & Bone cardigan and Ovadia & Sons tie. Some pattern contrast going on here.

Good God, I love red & black combos. Black Fleece shirt, Theory jacket.

These are brown burnished brogue balmorals by big, bad, baller shoe company Santoni.

Great, so there you go for my insta-recap #3. If you have Instagram, follow me @simplerman. My goal is to ultimately be halfway decent at bringing you some awesome menswear photos. Am I there yet? Probably not, but I'll get there, I promise.

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

Signature Style: American Schoolboy Prep (the Thom Browne look)

Mark Kwak

Source: Camodiaries

I've mentioned this before, but I think everybody has their own signature style. You can probably picture several of your friends right now, wearing what you would consider their signature pieces. The buddy who can't be seen without his blue baseball cap and Ralph Lauren polo. Or your coworker that wears such rugged boots and jackets that it looks like he's ready to go on a hunt at any point in time.

But what about you? Can you identify your own signature style? Is it something you stand by? Personally, I think it's important that we all discover the look we're most comfortable and confident in, and move in the direction of making our signature style embody that look.

To help in this endeavor, I've decided to launch a small series called Signature Style, where I showcase outfits that I believe represent certain signature styles we may encounter on the streets. Hopefully these styles will give you some ideas or inspiration for developing your own signature look.

To accomplish this task, I enlisted the help of some of my buddies, who agreed to model and demonstrate several looks that I have been wanting to put together for quite some time.

To make it clear, these are very particular styles that aren't necessarily what I deem classic or simple. However, I think that the slightly exaggerated nature of these getups can help you identify what works for you and what doesn't. Taking ideas here and there, and then ultimately putting together your own unique look is what really matters to me.

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The first signature style I put together is that of one of my favorite designers, Thom Browne. His style is one I personally like to call:  American Schoolboy Prep.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Thom Browne, he is a very fashion-forward designer from New York, who sort of revolutionized modern menswear tailoring. Have you noticed trousers are getting shorter and shorter these days? Well, in many ways, we have Thom Browne to thank for that. Have you noticed folks wearing dress shoes without any socks? Again, Thom Browne. Red, white, and blue grosgrain trimming? Thom Browne.

Truth is, his look is not one for the insecure or conservative. He starts with seemingly classic American outfits (like a flannel grey suit), but then cuts them in ways that make you wonder if the man wearing them is wearing his son's clothing. Trousers are cut too short, sport coats end closer to the hip rather than the thigh, and knitwear is skin tight. To illustrate, I've put together this look for my buddy Grant:

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As you can see, this outfit is very similar to Thom Browne's one at the top of this post. White oxford button down, gray sport coat and trousers, gray tie, brown bluchers, and a white pocket square.

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I wanted to make sure this outfit was monochromatic, with gray acting as king.

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I also wanted to work with various wool textures and patterns. Got some herringbone and specked designs, all over cashmere and flannel fabric.

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Chunky brown wingtips, no socks, and trousers cut 2 inches too short. Pure Thom Browne.

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Also, I believe using thick, plastic rimmed glasses really finishes off the American schoolboy look.

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Though this look is trendy and on the up-rise, I honestly wouldn't advise going into the office this way.

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Glasses: Warby Parker | Shirt: Jack Spade (in blue) | Jacket: Black Fleece | Tie: Bloomingdales

Pocket Square: Jos A Bank | Cardigan: Gap | Pants: Uniqlo | Shoes: Alden

There you go, the American schoolboy prep look... a look that I'm quite intrigued by these days.

If you live in New York City, you'll probably see these types of outfits donned by avant-garde fashionistas from time to time. It's blowing up in the fashion world, and for good reason.  I think it brings something new to the table, combining a very particular form of modern tailoring with what we've always considered traditional American style.

Anyhow, hope you can take something away from this outfit, whether positive or negative. Oh, and look out for the next part in this series where I go over dandyism.

What am I wearing 1.22.12

Mark Kwak

Time for another outfit of the day post. Felt like dressing up a bit (ie: putting on a tie and pocket square), but also wanted to remain casual enough to blend into the city a bit. Here's my solution:

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Coat: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples | Pocket Square: John W. Nordstrom

Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie: Drake's | Cardigan: Black Fleece

Belt: Perry Ellis | Pants: Ian Velardi | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Paul Smith

So as many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Thom Browne's branding (the red, white, and blue, generally on grosgrain). That's exactly why I'm wearing this Black Fleece cardigan along with a relatively conservative outfit. I think a small, but noticeable pop of color can really put some spice into an otherwise "safe" getup, so this cardigan fit the bill for me. I'll certainly be doing a post about adding pops of color to an outfit shortly.

So until then...