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

Filtering by Tag: hugo boss

My essentials

Mark Kwak

Though my outfits change from day to day, some key items always stay the same. You can call them my everyday carries, or perhaps my essentials. I almost never leave the house without them, and in case you're curious, here they are. Geez, didn't realize I always carry so much. edc1

1. iPhone 5

2. Hugo Boss bi-fold leather wallet

3. Oliver Peoples Daddy-B sunglasses

4. Vaseline Lip Therapy

5. Apolis transit issue key chain + keys + bottle opener

6. Klipsch X10 earphones

7. Omega Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean

My sunglasses and watch will change out from time to time, but this is basically it! I'm also considering swapping out the wallet as well since it's a bit bigger than I'd ideally prefer.

I'm curious, what are your everyday essentials? Do you carry more or less than me?

Quick looks & pleasing everybody

Mark Kwak

I was tossing and turning in bed the other day, unable to fall sleep. In situations like this, most normal people would read a book, count sheep, or just idly lay in their beds till the inevitable sleep haze engulfed their conscience.

Well, I'm a bit weird, and probably not very normal. Thus, as a sleep remedy, I decided to go into my closet and start randomly taking pieces out, just to put them together in different combinations that I thought might work out. Also, I felt compelled to add ties to the mix as well.

It kind of worked, as I was so tired of putting on and taking off clothes that I eventually plopped on my bed and immediately fell asleep.

The outcome is below. And yes, I am actually wearing pants.

The hunter's look.

Jacket: Barbour | Vest: Barbour | Tie: Ovadia & Sons | Shirt: Brooks Brothers

The formal look.

Jacket: Black Fleece | Pocket Square: Nordstrom | Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie Bar: Thetiebar | Tie: Theory

The ultra-hyperextended neck look.

Jacket: John Varvatos Collection | Shirt: Black Fleece | Tie: Drake's

The cold day layering look.

Coat: Hugo Boss | Knitwear: Banana Republic | Shirt: Black Fleece | Tie: Theory

The overcoat with suit look... or as I like to call it: blue steel look.

Coat: Banana Republic | Jacket: John Varvatos Collection | Shirt: Ben Sherman | Tie: Ben Sherman

The Looper-ish look.

Jacket: Theory | Shirt: Armani Collezioni | Tie: Thetiebar

The blue, blue, blue, and blue layer look.

Coat: Black Fleece | Jacket: Levi's | Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie: Ovadia & Sons

My first thought was to put these photos on reddit, mainly because I was curious to see which outfits vibed well with the huge crowd over there, and which didn't. I put the album up on reddit in the morning, walked away from the computer for about an hour, and then revisited its status shortly afterward.

Apparently the album became quite popular in that hour, ultimately hitting the first spot on /r/malefashionadvice, receiving thousands of up-votes, and getting more comments than I could read.

Turns out that pretty much every single look was simultaneously criticized and praised, showing how incredibly different peoples' tastes are. Some people said my Barbour look was the best, while others thought it was the worst. Some argued that leather jackets should never go with ties, others said leather jackets looked best with ties. Let's just say there was a lot of noise, and it taught me a valuable lesson.

The lesson is that you aren't going to please everybody with your look, no matter how great it is. Sure there are rules that you should follow to look better overall (for example, getting things that are more fitted to your body), but even then, you just aren't going to win everyone's approval, as everyone's tastes are different.

I put together 7 very different outfits, and for each outfit I got hundreds of different reactions. At first, I took each comment constructively, learning from what people had to say. Later on though, all I ended up really caring about was my own opinion, especially after seeing how much contradiction there was about what people thought was right and what people thought was wrong.

I think the best thing is for you to feel confident in the clothes that you wear, and present your unique style to the world expecting nothing in return. Sure, positive reinforcement may help you feel better, but ultimately, I think the most attractive thing about someone's style is how they own their look. The swagger and confidence they have in wearing what they are wearing. The great thing is that no one can help you own your look, only you can.

Anyhow, sorry to go on a rant there, but I hope I was able to at least provide you with some ideas for outfits. Oh, and just kidding about the pants comment I made above. Commando all the way.

Menswear Designer Event Highlights

Mark Kwak

Recently, I got invited to a private menswear designer event in downtown San Francisco. It was held at the Macy's men's store in Union Square, and the hosts basically blocked off an entire floor to hold a social mixer. Not my usual scene, but hey, I'm not going to argue with complimentary drinks & hors d'oeuvres, a legit DJ, models, and various fashion designers/merchandisers making appearances. Didn't think there was anything groundbreaking that happened during the event (spent most my time talking to my +1 anyway), but I did want to share some pictures with you guys and let you know how my experience was overall. Sorry if the picture quality is mediocre. Lighting at the venue was interesting to say the least, and an iPhone can only do so well in those situations.

Some new and upcoming menswear fashion designers, like Justin Jamison, held booths at the event.

Models standing on pedestals in highly stiff poses. Fun and interesting, but kind of awkward actually.

Booths to watch fashion week runway shows. Or just to sit down and have a cocktail.

Came home with a really cool goody bag. Hugo Boss wallet, fun socks, and a rock solid wine bottle opener/aerator? Legit.

During the event, I was able to talk to a couple bloggers, clothing merchandisers, fashion designers, and uber VIP Macy's customers. Turns out that most people were there for the free booze, so I kept menswear-talk to a minimum.

However, when it came to designers, I made sure to ask plenty of questions to find out about where their inspiration came from, what the process of designing is like, and what they look to do in the future. I'll likely be connecting with Justin Jamison (one of the upcoming designers in the above picture) in the near future to do an interview with him and give you guys some insight into what a designer is thinking when building out clothing. Will certainly keep you updated.

Anyway, if the real point of the mixer was to get people to purchase items at Macy's, it looks like their tactics worked. I ended up purchasing a BOSS coat that I think looks... well, boss. Thankfully, this coat stopped me from doing any big black Friday shopping, so I guess I'll have to thank them.

Anyhow, big thanks to Macys for the invite, and also hosting the event. Was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the experience quite a bit.

Till next time.

My leather favorites

Mark Kwak

I'm a huge fan of leather... and beef I guess, so maybe I'm a huge fan of cows. Anyhow, I wanted to show you some of my leather items, and why I think that all of them are musts in a man's wardrobe.

1. Leather Jacket

Theory Leather Jacket

Want to feel badass? Get a leather jacket. Not only is it a classic piece that has always been in style, but it's also one of the most standout pieces you can own. What I mean by "standout" is that if you get a nicely fitted leather jacket, it will get noticed, likely leading to loads of compliments. However, the great news is that you can still wear this bad boy quite regularly. You might get compliments on your red pants, but if you wear them 4 times a week, people may start to wonder if you have other pants. The same does NOT apply to your leather jacket, mainly because of its versatility & timelessness.

2. Leather Shoes

Clarks Beeswax Desert Boots

A must, in every way. Black or brown in both dress and casual forms needed. I personally think that wearing leather shoes contributes the most to distinguishing boys from men. Sorry to offend grown men who still wear sneakers and athletic shoes everywhere, but in my life, I felt it was a big step to go from Asics to Johnston & Murphys. Plus, let's be real, leather shoes look great.

3. Leather Belt

Hugo Boss Leather Belt

Gotta have a leather belt. Other material can be used for casual belts, but leather is king here in my opinion. A must for dress belts, and highly recommended for casual belts as well.

4. Leather Watch Strap

Hamilton Leather Watch Strap

I love both stainless steel watches and leather strapped watches, but recently, I've started to favor leather. There's something so classy about leather strap watches, and they can be used both casually and formally. Black leather without contrast stitching is my ultimate preference, but as you can see in the picture, I love me some brown leather (with contrast stitching) as well.

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In all, leather is the way to go with various items in your wardrobe. They'll get better with age, hopefully last a long time, and provide you with that bit of badassery you've constantly longed for. Timeless, slick, and awesome.