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

Filtering by Tag: coach

Thoughts from a simpler woman: Grow up!

Mark Kwak

It's time for another edition of “Thoughts From a Simpler Woman,” where I bring to you a woman’s perspective on menswear. In case you missed the first couple posts in the series, here they are: 1 and 2. Today's post is all about growing up and upgrading your high school, college, or for some of you, post college wardrobe. My friend and colleague Allison will be taking the reigns on this one, and she's one of the most fashion-conscious people I know. Now that I think of it, she was one of the first people I consulted before starting Simpler Man. It would be wise to listen up!

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Grow Up!

Not everyone out there is as stylish as Mr. Simpler Man.  But even if you aren’t a GQ subscriber, putting a bit of effort into your personal style can make a difference.  Don’t believe me?  According to a joint study by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, first impressions are established in just 250 milliseconds (a quarter of a second).  For those of you looking to nail that interview, charm on a first date, or just come across as a put-together dude, I hope these tips can help.

My first piece of advice: grow up!  If you’ve been wearing the same thing since high school, chances are you need to upgrade.  Not sure where to start?  Here are some of the top offenders I’ve seen as a Simpler Woman:

1. Instead of The Embellished Hoodie … Try a Hooded Jacket

From this:

To this:

I know, I know - they’re comfy.  They’re practical.  And I’m pretty sure everyone I know, including myself, has had one at some point in their life.  But trust me, it’s time to let this one go.  The good news is, you don’t have to go to extremes.  I don’t expect you to go straight from hoodies to a suit.  Instead, try a hooded jacket.  This one from Banana Republic is a good example of taking the major features you love in a hoodie, but done in a tweed-like texture in a neutral color.  Ahh, much better.

2. Instead of Sneakers … Try Desert Boots

From this:

To this:   

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that you can’t ever wear sneakers and be stylish (that being said, there could definitely be a whole separate post about fashionable vs. non-fashionable sneakers).  Sure, there is definitely a time and a place for them in a simpler man’s repertoire.  But they shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for, and certainly not your daily footwear of choice.

If you’re particular about your shoes, and won’t sacrifice comfort for style, take a baby step and try desert boots.  Clarks’ version pictured here is a classic for a reason - they’re extremely versatile, and never really go out of style.  For a plethora of great looks featuring desert boots, check out men’s style blog Street Etiquette (my second favorite, of course):

3. Instead of Velcro … Try a Leather Wallet

From this:

To this:

Okay, okay - this one is a bit of a joke.  Or is it?  Just to be safe, I’ll make myself clear: invest in a nice wallet.  Velcro, chains, and duct tape probably won't get you very far with the ladies. Enough said.

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simplerwoman allisonAllison is a food, tech, and style loving San Franciscan.

You can catch her in the city making Tartine bread, consulting people on their startups, or helping guys dress better. 

Photo Credits: Coach.com, Streetetiquette.com, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Zappos

Ask me: wave #1

Mark Kwak

Some of you have been asking me questions, and I really appreciate you writing in! I wanted to take this opportunity to answer a couple of them: Can you share some pictures of what you wear? I’m just curious, since it might help give me some ideas on what I should wear. – Jim

Absolutely. I’m in the process of getting a DSLR to make personal pictures a regular thing, but until then, I’ll put up a post soon with some camera phone pics of my attire. In fact, here's what I was wore to work the other day:

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Ticket Jacket :: Michael Kors Mainline Dress Shirt :: Diesel Darron Jeans :: Theory Leather Belt :: Coach Briefcase

What’s your favorite brand right now? - Jesse

Great question Jesse. This always changes for me, but right now I'm a huge fan of Thom Browne. His stuff is expensive, but the quality is exceptional, and the style unique. Though he has some great pieces, he also makes some really ridiculous, out of this world stuff, so I make sure to choose carefully. Not looking for anything that will make me look like the Hulk.

I really like the leather jacket you posted up in your jackets post. Like you, I also have a really hard time finding a leather jacket that fits, but wanted to get your recommendation on what types would work on someone like me. I’m 5’8” and 150 lbs, and not looking to spend over $750.  – David

Ah, the leather jacket struggles. I feel your pain brother. The good news is, with a $750 budget, you’ll probably find some really great quality leather jackets. The bad news is, it may take a bit of work and looking to find the right one. I personally think leather jackets are a lifetime investment, so I’d choose wisely. Spend a little extra, keep it simple, and take good care of it.  I’m around the same height and weight as you, so if you have the same problem as me, the main issue might be that the sleeves are too long. You can get sleeves altered on some leather jackets, but it will cost you.

My recommendation would be to stick with black or brown, go with a moto or bomber look in lambskin (much softer), keep zippers and accessories as minimal as possible, and get 100% leather. If you want a jacket from an actual motorcycle leather jacket company, I’d recommend Schotts. They make their jackets in the US, have been doing so for ages, and make quality leather. For more fashion-based jackets, I personally like Ralph Lauren and if you have a little more to splurge, I'd go with their black or purple label stuff. The last brand I would recommend is called Temple of Jawnz, or ToJ. This is more of a made-to-measure leather jacket company that offers their jackets for under $800, so you KNOW it will fit. The only downside is that there is a wait time, but if you're willing to wait, try it out. Lots of buzz and positive feedback about that company on forums out here.

Alright gentlemen, keep sending questions over, love to answer them! Until next time.