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

Filtering by Tag: gant

Gray crewneck sweatshirt

Mark Kwak

Back when I was in grade school, I always saw gym teachers, or sometimes senior citizens, wearing gray crewneck sweatshirts out on their weekday strolls. It was so fashionably lame to me at the time, that I started to weed crewneck sweatshirts out from my wardrobe entirely. It wasn't until last year that I started to rethink my position.

After seeing blog entry after blog entry of awesome outfits incorporating crewneck sweatshirts, I had no choice but to turn 180 on this particular subject, and in fact, I have started to get a couple of them for my wardrobe once again. Among all of the colors and textures though, I believe the most versatile and dare I say fashionable, is the plain heather gray cotton crewneck sweatshirt.

Yeah, I know, how boring and plain... but hear me out.

The gray crewneck sweatshirt is one of those rare pieces that you can dress down equally as much as you can dress up. I mean let's break it down for a second. You can use a gray crewneck sweatshirt for just about any casual situation out there, we're talking workouts, lounging, even sleeping. However, it can also look  just as great (if not better) with a dress shirt underneath, some dark denim, and a pair of wingtips. Hell, add a tie if you want, like Chris Paul does below:

The simplicity of this piece allows you to wear whatever over or under as needed. If you're feeling a little dressy, pair that tie and jacket with it, and conversely, if you're feeling lazy, just plop it on top of your T shirt and you're good to go. Either way, I think it's a piece that everyone should look into owning for this season, especially since we're heading into fall/winter.

Here are a couple crewneck sweatshirts that I would recommend you take a look at:

$52 J.Crew

$69 American Giant

$115-$130 GANT & Todd Snyder

$220 Rag & Bone

And though I haven't actually seen the fit and quality of these, you can get an uber budget version of the sweater at Target: $8.

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.

Trends of 2012

Mark Kwak

Happy New Year, my stylish friends! I hope 2012 was an excellent year for you, and that you look forward to an even better 2013. Just to reminisce on the year that passed, here are some fashion trends I saw really surge up in 2012.

Knit Ties: Knit ties might have come back before 2012, but 2012 was certainly the year they started to show up everywhere. Love 'em myself, and wish I had more occasions to wear them.

Double Monk Strap Shoes: This is also a trend that came back a couple years ago, but it remained strong in 2012. As you guys know, I like to spend a bit more on shoes than any other pieces of clothing, so I probably won't be investing in a pair of double monks, since I find them a bit trendy. It's probably in the best interest of my wallet.

Bright Colored Chinos: Didn't succumb to a pair of colored chinos, as I feel the trend will disappear soon. I'll leave the colored pants to my female counterparts.

White Pants: Not much a fan of this trend. Don't get me wrong, I think white pants can look good when they are the right fit, and on the right people. However, maintenance must be a pain, and they are also incredibly flashy. Again, I'll leave these to my female counterparts.

Double Breasted Suits: The double breasted suit keeps going away and coming back, from what I've seen. 2012 marked a year that the double breasted suit came back, but with an investment piece like a suit, I'd rather stick with the classic single breasted, two button getup.

Cargo Pants: Got myself a pair of cargo pants from both Gant by Michael Bastian and Uniqlo this year. I've always loved the utilitarian aspect of cargo pants, and I think the fashion world got the fit right this time.

Fair Isle Sweaters: Fair Isle sweaters made a comeback this winter and I admit, I wasn't sold at first. However, the more I saw of them, the more I felt like I needed one. There's something very old school about fair isle sweaters, and I think it's that particular characteristic that makes them desirable to me.

There you go! Some fashion trends I saw in 2012. Pick and choose carefully, as most of these will likely go out of the style in the next few years. Again, happy new year folks!

Ask me: wave #2

Mark Kwak

Time for the second heat of question answering. Thanks for writing in guys! I know there's several more questions that have come to me, so I'll make sure to get to them in a future post. Also, you can leave comments below as well!

Are cargo pants back in? If I wanted to get some, any recommendations? - Andrew You're in luck! Cargo pants are coming back in, but you must know that it's a different breed of cargo pants that are in today, compared to ten years ago (give or take a couple years). Cargo pants today are slimmer, tapered in the leg, and with a little less fabric on the pockets, to keep the slimmer look in tact. I own a pair of Uniqlo Perfect Shape cargo pants and love them. Not only are they great quality, but also relatively inexpensive at $39.90. Uniqlo is only in NYC (and SF, starting Oct 5) so if you can’t get them there, I’d recommend either Ralph Lauren or GANT by Michael Bastian.

Not a question, simply feedback. All I can say is that I love what you're doing, this blog is absolutely wonderful. The blog is simple and easy to follow and your posts are helpful and informative. Please keep posting more! :) - James

Man, you are too kind. Thanks so much for following, and I appreciate the comment. Things like this keep me going!

Is it OK for a dress shirt to be a little baggy when wearing a suit? Also, I like the option of wearing my shirt untucked with jeans or tucked with chinos, so I get 16.5 34/35 slim fit Brook's Brothers button downs that seem to do the trick. The problem, however, is that I can't close the collar without feeling uncomfortable, so dressing up the casual a bit with a tie is out of the question. Do you have any recommendations? I know BB is European cut and thus the better fit, but do I need to sacrifice the collar space for a better-fitting shirt?- Adam

Great questions Adam! To your first question, having a baggy dress shirt is OK, but unfortunately that's about it; you can certainly look better.  We want to make sure to get rid of as much excess baggage as we can with our clothing, since it will only make us look bigger than we are (even if you are already quite a big dude). This is true even when you are wearing a suit. If you notice carefully, you'll find that the suit gets a bit wider on the sides when your dress shirt bags up. Plus, we oftentimes take off our suit jackets, so it pays to have a slimmer shirt. Now, this doesn't mean go and find the slimmest possible shirt on the market. You'll look ridiculous if you're bursting at the seams. I would opt to find a shirt that fits well in the shoulders and chest in a slim / city / tailored / European cut. If they still don't fit, then buy a sizing that is slightly more loose (again with the shoulders and chest fitting well) and then get it taken in from the back by a tailor for $15-20 bucks.

To your second question, the short answer is no, don't sacrifice the collar space for a better fitting shirt. Part of the reason a BB button down is so valuable is its versatility both casually and formally, and you don't want to throw that away. However, there is a way to make this work. If you like BB shirts, I'd say stick to the slim fit in the larger size, (maybe 17 34/35) and again, pay 15 bucks to get the sides taken in by a tailor. This is a really easy job, so I'm sure your local laundromat can do it for you cheap. You'll find that the collar fits fine, and you also have slim sides. As long as the shoulders fit fine, and the sleeves aren't too long/short, you'll have yourself a very nice looking shirt for both casual and dress occasions. I can't stress this enough... just take it to a tailor and your shirts will look 20x better.