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

Filtering by Tag: bond

Wish List #3

Mark Kwak

So Christmas is coming soon and people are shopping off the hook. As a result, new and shiny things are starting to catch my eye, and it's no good for my crying wallet. Here's my wish list for December.

Filson Harris Tweed Bag

Twill and Tweed Original Briefcase

Filson is my favorite company for durable men's bags/luggage. They make bullet-proof products that are meant to last, and I mean it. Each of their products employs a lifetime warranty, so once you get one, you're set. Also, remember how I told you all that I have a weakness for tweed in an old blog post? Well, Filson has taken advantage of my weakness and released this sexy Harris Tweed version of their uber popular 257 style bag.

This thing is perfect as a daily commuter bag for those who carry a laptop, books, and other large items on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I already own the original 257 myself, so it would be quite a waste to get the above, although I can't say I wasn't tempted.

Crockett & Jones Highbury

Crockett & Jones Highbury, Black Calf

This shoe is amazing. To me, it embodies exquisite craftsmanship and timeless design, two characteristics that are always welcome in my book.

Also, there's more. Not only is this shoe made by one of my favorite shoemakers, Crockett & Jones, but it was also worn by one of my favorite film icons, James Bond, in the movie Skyfall. I'm not going to say anything more about this shoe because it's out of my price range, and the pain of that reality is lame.

Davek Solo Umbrella

I am currently living in gloomy San Francisco without an umbrella. Crazy? Yes. Stupid? Yes.

After being hit by one too many rain storms this past week, I have made a rather obvious decision to buy myself an umbrella, and no one is better in this business than Davek. Like Filson above, Davek also offers a lifetime warranty on all of their umbrellas. That, to me, is ridiculous since I've personally broken too many umbrellas to keep track. Clearly this indicates that Davek knows what they are doing, so I'm sold. I have quite an itch to get their all-black Davek Solo... too bad it's pretty expensive ($99) for just an umbrella.

Rag & Bone Shawl Collared Cardigan

Okay, so I'm cheating a bit here. I already ordered this one (and it's on its way), so it should technically be out of my wishlist, but I thought I would still put it up here. Recently, Target and Neiman Marcus did a collaboration event where they brought together 24 high-fashion designers (think Thom Browne, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta) to create 50 unique holiday items at relatively inexpensive prices. Genius idea. Among all the items, there were only a few targeted towards men, but thankfully, this beautiful cardigan was one of them.

Rag & Bone is actually a company I'm quite a fan of, and I love shawl collared cardigans, so this one was a no-brainer for me. I'll let you know all about it another time, but go and get yourself one if you're in need of a nice sweater for winter.

So there you have it! To all of you who also have Christmas wishlists, let me know what items are on your mind; I'm curious to know!

Peacoats, and Bond... James Bond.

Mark Kwak

The cool breeze of winter is approaching. You're trying to stay warm, but it seems like your trusty old jacket just isn't doing it for you. Guess what? It's time to bust out the classic winter piece... the peacoat.

Many of you probably own a peacoat or have owned one at some point in your life. If you don't or haven't, I would highly recommend going out and getting one before the start of the winter. It's an incredibly functional and timeless piece of clothing that I think every man should own, regardless of age, stature, occupation, etc.

In case you don't actually know what a peacoat is, let me help educate you. A peacoat is a wool (or wool blend) outer coat that was originally worn by sailors in the Navy (but obviously worn by just about anyone now). Peacoats generally have broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, metal, leather, or horn buttons, and go down in length to your upper thigh. They are also most widely available in their original color, navy, but can also come in black, charcoal, mid-grey, tan, etc.

So now that you know what a peacoat is, let me tell you why I think they're awesome. First off, peacoats keep you warm. Real warm. Generally made out of a thick wool or wool blend, peacoats are meant to help you get through the hard winter times. I mean if they worked for naval officers out on the arctic sea, why can't they work for you?

Second, peacoats are extremely classy, and can help elevate your look to the next level. Whether you're wearing a T-shirt or full-blown tuxedo, the moment you put on that peacoat, you'll look more sophisticated and classy than you did before. I know, I know... it's a more casual coat, but as long as the body of the coat is longer than your jacket, I still think it can work well with formal wear.

This brings up my third point. Peacoats are versatile. They can work on top of virtually any outfit, as they can be worn both casually and formally. Layer it on top of your henley, or use it as outerwear for your suit! A peacoat will do just fine in both situations.

Now, just because peacoats are awesome doesn't mean that any peacoat will do. I highly recommend putting a little bit of money behind one of these to ensure quality, as almost all designers will make a peacoat, and some will be of terrible quality. Personally, I think $200-$300 is a sweet spot for a solid peacoat, and I swear it'll be worth it. The Schotts ones below will probably give you the best bang for your buck, quality-wise. Also, I would stick with navy or charcoal grey in terms of color. Lastly, make sure the coat fits nice and slim on you. You want the coat to still flatter your body and fit immaculately. Keep it relatively snug, but also make sure that you can fit a sweater or jacket underneath.

Here are some peacoats that I would recommend at different price points:

~$50-$100: Uniqlo Peacoat , Topman Peacoat

~$100-$200: J. Crew Bayswater Peacoat , Banana Republic Peacoat

~$200-$400: Schotts Peacoat , Diesel Wittory Peacoat

~$400-above: Maison Martin Margiela Peacoat , Burberry London Peacoat

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So you're probably wondering why the title of this post mentions James Bond. Well first off, I think James Bond is an amazing fashion icon, especially with Daniel Craig running the show. If you need some fashion inspiration, just watch a Bond movie and you should be set for a while; I know I always am. Second, the peacoat that I'm wearing in the pictures above is actually the same peacoat Bond wears in his latest movie Skyfall. The makers of the coat, Billy Reid, released a limited supply of them to the public right when the movie was released, and I was lucky enough to get in the first batch. Check out some of the details on this thing:

Just a couple thoughts on this peacoat. First, I do think the quality is great. It's a pretty expensive coat ($695 MSRP) so I fully expect it to be, and thankfully Billy Reid didn't disappoint. The wool is nice and warm, the cut is slim and fashionable, and the leather trimming is beautifully done.

With that being said, I may not end up keeping the coat for a couple reasons. First, I'm not much a fan of the lapels. I think they can look great on a lot of people, but to me they jut out a bit too much. Let's just say that when the collar is popped, my side profile is less than flattering. Second, the coat is a tad big on me. The sleeves are way too long, and instead of ending at my upper thigh, the body of this peacoat goes down to my mid thigh, and I think that might be longer than what I would consider ideal. A slightly taller man would probably love it though. Lastly, the peacoat is unlined. Nothing wrong with unlined coats, but I prefer a layer of thinsulate so that my arms don't itch from the wool.

Anyhow, the next shipment of these babies starts in January so keep a look out in case you're interested. It's an excellent coat and I would highly recommend it if you like the look.

Cardigans

Mark Kwak

Five years ago, I thought cardigans were reserved for old men and hipsters. Think Mr. Rodgers and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The thought of paying money for one left a bad taste in my mouth, and I never really got around to pulling the trigger until about a year and a half ago. Boy did I miss out.

I have to say, cardigans are slowly turning into one of my favorite articles of clothing. They come in so many different shapes and styles, they are incredibly comfortable, and are versatile in many ways. Think about it. You can wear a cardigan casually over a T-shirt, polo, or button down. You can wear it a bit more formally underneath a sports coat or jacket. You can unbutton it, button it, layer it, whatever! With one cardigan, I think I can probably build a thousand different outfits, no exaggeration.

Just a couple tips when wearing cardigans:

1. If wearing casually, do not button the top or bottom button.

2. Make sure the cardigan fits slim and snug on your body. Even if it's a chunky one.

So, here I am with a shawl collar cardigan, which can essentially be used as outerwear. Can be dressed up or dressed down, and I chose to dress it up a bit here. It's a bit chunkier so I wouldn't layer a jacket over it... maybe a coat. It's warm, stylish, and just awesome.

Brooks Brothers cardigan :: Brooks Brothers shirt :: Boss tie :: The Tie Bar tie bar :: Omega watch

See, even Bond approves the shawl collar cardigan.

Here's also a lighter cardigan that can work as a layering piece. I'm wearing it casually just over a V-neck T-shirt, but I believe it can be dressed up just as easily as a shawl collar cardigan.

Etro cardigan :: Calvin Klein T-shirt

Moral of the story? Definitely get yourself a cardigan. They look great, can be extremely versatile, and will keep you warm. No longer reserved for hipsters and grandpas only. Cheers!