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

Filtering by Tag: j crew

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.

 

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Summer Getaway Outfits

Mark Kwak

It's been a while since the last simpler woman post, and I want to make sure we don't fully lose sight of the female perspective here at Simpler Man. Thus, I bring to you the next edition of Simpler Woman, written by my very fashion-forward friend Sarah. Also, this post comes just in time for summer. It's all about dressing the part of being on vacation, but still looking stylish as ever.

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Summer Getaway Outfits

With summer travel around the corner, it's time to check out the best outfits to pack for your beach or resort vacation.

First things first: you can't have a beach vacation without swim shorts. I recommend ditching the board and surf shorts to modernize your look. Show me some leg, gentlemen! The Curtis from Saturdays Surf NYC is a favorite of mine. With a 15" outseam, it won't feel too short, but at the same time its length will move you away from that beach bum look. Plus, they have pockets, so they can double as shorts to wear into town after a day on the beach.

Once you have your swimwear, think about how you can stylishly double your beach wear into an outfit that will extend through the day. You can look effortlessly chic by pairing a soft, high-quality solid color tee with your new swim shorts. Put your plastic flip flops away and throw on a pair of Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes. Now you'll be ready to hop aboard your yacht:

Also, make sure you've got your eyes protected in this hot weather! I always fancy a vintage Ray Ban aviator; it'll give you an edgy allure and you can try a different type of Ray Ban than the Wayfarers.

Heading to a waterfront restaurant for a mai tai this evening? For casual dinners or nights out on the beach, I recommend a linen button down. I love the Mediterranean feel of linen shirts, especially in white. Perhaps these really attractive Brooks Brothers ones?

You can pair the shirt with a pair of jeans or chinos from Bonobos. Their Summer Weight Chinos are a lovely material. Or, try the Travel Jeans that can double up as both your airplane pants and your going out pants! If it's too hot, you can still rock shorts at night, just make sure to keep away from cargos and other casual styles. Instead, spice it up with some patterns or colorblocking, like these Club Monaco shorts!

Hope this gets your suitcase packed! I better start working on mine next...

sarah maldives

Sarah is an avid traveler, wine lover, and fashion enthusiast. Today, she can be found in either San Francisco or Chicago, daydreaming about her next summer vacation.

 

The denim jacket, a perfect spring piece

Mark Kwak

denimjacket2Glasses: Warby Parker | Jacket: Gap | Shirt: Vince | Chinos: Dockers

It's Spring.

Not quite hot enough for you to wear just a T-shirt and shorts, but not so cold that you need to bust out the wool peacoat. You need something that can protect you from a cool breeze, but not have you sweating in direct sunlight.

Well, I never thought I'd be saying this, but I've found that the perfect medium piece for springtime is... the denim jacket.

To be honest, I've never really had a liking for denim jackets up till the very recent past. Generally all denim jackets I had seen prior to last year were fitted awkwardly, wildly distressed, and of course, paired incorrectly (think light wash denim on light wash denim). The types of people wearing them were also usually in their fifties, and looking like they were going through some sort of midlife crisis.

Well, the good news is that things have changed, as they often do in the fashion world. The denim jacket is back and looking great, especially when incorporated into the appropriate outfit.

Source: Esquire

There are a couple things that you should know when looking for the right denim jacket:

1. A denim jacket should feel snug. It can even be used for layering, so you want to minimize bulk as much as possible.

2. The color of your denim jacket should not match most of your denim pants. If you do somehow end up pairing denims, you want to at least make sure they aren't of similar color. Just FYI, I would recommend chinos or cords to be safe.

3. Make sure the shoulders fit perfectly on the jacket, as that measurement will be the most important in determining whether the jacket fits you or not. Alterations can be made elsewhere, but not on the shoulders.

4. I don't think you necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get a good denim jacket. I've found that the Gap one I bought for $50 is rock solid in construction, and feels like it won't be falling apart anytime soon. My Levi's one from ten years ago is also going on strong, with no indication of slowing down.

5. Start with a less-distressed jacket, and give the jacket some of your own character. Like denim jeans, you'll start noticing whiskering, distressing, and other marks on your jacket as you wear them in. You'll probably find that you enjoy distress marks more when you're actually the one contributing.

Here are a couple denim jackets at different price points that I would recommend:

~$50 : Gap

~$75: Levi's

~$100: J.Crew

~$125+: BLK DNM

Keep it simple, find one that fits well, and you'll be getting compliments in no time. Give it a try, it might be worth the effort and money! Good luck fellas.

Signature Style: Dandy Dapper

Mark Kwak

Source: Thatgrapejuice.net

Last week, I launched a series called Signature Style, where the goal was to showcase some very particular looks that might help you discover, or at least think about, your own signature style.

Today, we're checking out a look that is very common to the world of "dandyism."  A world of colorful tweeds, suspenders, paisley, fedoras, and lapel flowers. Again, like the Thom Browne look we discussed last week, this one probably isn't for the conservative or risk-averse.

This particular style fascinates me, and I actually love it, even if I don't sport it myself. I see it occasionally on the streets, but it's in fashion magazines or albums of Pitti Uomo that I really see it in action.

I always wonder what brings people to wear this type of attire. Celebrity figures like Andre 3000, Common, or Sean Combs regularly sport these types of outfits, and I'm finding that more and more people are following suit.  Maybe it's in order to exercise freedom of expression, letting everyone know that anything and everything is fair game. Or perhaps it's to push the envelope in menswear a bit, giving a forceful middle finger to the casual T-shirt and jeans look that we're all so familiar (and bored) with.

Either way, I wanted to at least bring it to your attention so that you can decide for yourself whether it's a style you'd like to emulate or not. Here's my buddy Ron sporting the look with ease:

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 I wanted to make this outfit pop by incorporating many patterns. Some might say it's too much, but in many ways, that's kind of the point. 

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Accessories galore. This is where a man can really show his individuality. Bracelets, colorful socks, hats, pocket squares, bow ties. All fair game.

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The key to making an outfit like this look good is largely about fit. It's still #1.

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If you look closely, you'll see there's a lot of strategy employed in the accessory colors. Blues, reds, and yellows are carefully matched from shirt to bowtie to jacket. 

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More than anything, a look like this really boils down to confidence. Simply know that you're looking good, and you're a majority of the way there.

 Hat: Nordstrom | Shirt: J.Crew | Jacket: J.Crew | Bowtie: Bloomingdales

Pocket Square: Turnbull & Asser | Watch: Timex | Trousers: J.Crew

Socks: Merona | Shoes: Allen Edmonds

Some of you may dislike the outfit, some of you may be fascinated with it. To provoke that type of polar reaction is actually kind of my point, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to style it for you. Personally, I think the guy looks pretty dapper.

One thing to remember is that even when wearing this type of clothing, you should pay attention to the way patterns & colors work with each other. In this particular outfit, each piece was carefully chosen to either complement, or purposely contrast other pieces in the outfit. The pocket square has hints of red that work with the bow tie, the bow tie has hints of blue that work with the gingham, the belt and shoes have a red tint that complement the bow tie, etc.

Anyhow, there's my second look for this series. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Cheers.

 

What am I wearing 2.13.12

Mark Kwak

A couple months ago, I wrote a post about wearing sport coats casually, and I wanted to put everything I said in there into practice today. This brown, all-cotton herringbone jacket by RRL does the trick perfectly, its design and fabric giving off a very casual vibe. Kept my shoes, belt, and bag in the same color family as the jacket for consistency, and combined those elements with a very versatile white shirt and dark blue selvedge jean.

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By the way, if you have the opportunity to get a Filson bag, I highly recommend it. Durable, rugged, stylish, and carries a lifetime warranty. You can see mine gets used quite a bit, as my raw denim has rubbed off on the side of the bag.

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I'm a fan of this jacket because of its herringbone design, which is usually found on wools, but in this case, on cotton.

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Some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. These suede chukka boots weren't cheap, but I think they were worth the extra money.

Jacket: RRL | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Shirt: Thomas Mason for J.Crew | Watch: Omega

Bag: Filson | Jeans: J.Crew | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Alden

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: 3 Men's Wardrobe Basics

Mark Kwak

Let's be real. About half of you visit this site, as well as other menswear blogs, to learn how you can impress the ladies with your impeccable style. There's no shame in admitting this, we all know dressing better can garner more attention from the opposite sex. For this reason, I've decided to start a guest-blogging series where you can hear from women directly, on how to dress better. Today, it's all about 3 staple pieces that every man should have in their wardrobe. All brought to you by my very stylish, San Francisco living, dog-loving friend, Kristin. Read on:

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3 Men’s Wardrobe Basics That Will Make This Happily Married Woman Turn Her Head for a Second Look

It does not take an extravagant show of style, the latest fashion runway look, or an expensive designer brand to make me to elbow my husband and say, "See, you need a basic (insert clothing item here) just like he has, that looks so good!" Because actually, in the vein of the mantra of this blog, it really is quite simple.  The simpler the fashion, the simpler the man, the simpler it is to get the approval of the ladies.

I have faith that as a reader of this blog you are already doing a lot of things right.  You aren’t wearing denim with patterns or embellishments on the pocket, you definitely aren’t pairing a suit jacket with a pair of jeans in an effort to look ‘casual yet important’, and the absolute only time you wear a hoodie to dinner is when you are grabbing something to go on a weeknight.  Right?  Right.  But enough about what I know you are already doing, and on to the wardrobe basics you should most definitely own:

1)  Dark jeans.

Buy a pair & wear them every single time you are even slightly unsure of what to wear.  As a solid base to the rest of the outfit, I believe a guy almost can’t go wrong no matter what other fashion decisions he makes.  No stone wash, no holes, no embellishments, no fancy colors.  Just a pair of straight fit, dark blue jeans.

Such as these always stylish APC New Standards.

If you are intimidated that you might go wrong in your selection, I have witnessed miracles in the Men’s denim department at Nordstrom.  I guarantee they can have you in and out in 20 minutes with your new jeans.  And while you are there, perhaps you can browse for…

2)  A pair of sunglasses that aren’t black Ray-Bans.

Last year after Coachella, the organizers posted on the Coachella website a notice that went something like this, “If you lost your black Ray-Bans during Coachella weekend, be advised that so did everyone else so you are out of luck in getting them back.”  I breathed a sigh of relief knowing so many black Ray-Bans had been cleaned from the sunny California streets.   But it wasn’t quite enough so my advice is that you should too keep your black Ray-Bans where they belong:  music festivals and Men in Black auditions.  And find another pair of every day shades.

I like these by Persol, but really anything other than black Ray-Bans is a great start.

3)  Plain t-shirts.

You’re a guy so there is a high probability you are going to do it anyways, so all this lady asks is that you do it with a bit of class.   Invest in high quality, plain cotton t-shirts in non-neon colors that you cannot see through.  That’s it.  If your t-shirt has something to do with sports, you’ve messed up on this piece of advice.  If you bought your t-shirt on a brewery tour, you’ve messed up.  But your t-shirt has a cute dog on it that says, ‘Pugs not Drugs’?  That is cute, but no.  In fact, if you bought any t-shirt from a display at Urban Outfitters, you’ve probably messed up.

This is so easy to do, and cheap!  Try these from J. Crew.

Hey now, look at you with your dark jeans, your shades, and your nice t-shirt!  I love it!  You can keep it simple just like that, or you can add on virtually any other new item you have acquired based on the fashionable inspiration you have received from Simpler Man.  And when I see you on the street, I’ll take a second look, and elbow my ripped-old-jeans-wearing, RayBan-sporting, Indiana-basketball-t-shirt-styled husband to say, “You need to dress like that!”  To which he will inevitably roll his eyes and respond, “Cool it, honey.  You’re married.”

kristin for blog

Kristin lives in San Francisco with her husband, Chad, and miniature dachshund, Wrigley.

She's also a style guru, so you'll want to take her advice. 

Wish List #4

Mark Kwak

Christmas has come and gone, and massive end-of-the-season sales have begun. Time for another wish list from yours truly.

Saint James Meridien II shirt

Oddly, this shirt has been on my mind for the last three weeks. Really, it's nothing special since all it is, is basically a long sleeve striped T shirt (albeit a high quality one) with a slightly unique neck opening.  To add, I'm not a huge fan of horizontal lines on shirts since I'm a bit shorter, and such patterns don't do any favors for my stature. Still, this shirt keeps popping up in my head. I suppose it might be the shirt's history? Or incredible layering ability?

You can grab one from J.Crew or Unionmade (who is actually having a semi-annual sale right now).

Wolverine 1000 Mile boots

Why do I keep posting boots in my wish lists?

One boot that has particularly caught my attention is the 1000 mile boot by Wolverine. These bad boys are quite acclaimed in the menswear world, and for good reason. I had a chance to try them out recently, and not only do they look great, but you can immediately tell they're built like an ox. Proper Goodyear welting on a leather sole, high quality upper leather & stitching, made in the USA... what's not to like? Plus, I think they are incredibly versatile. They're equally appropriate on a mountain hike as they are at an office event.

I would go out and get them immediately, but I think I'm past my boot quota for 2012-2013. Oh, and if these boots are too expensive for you, I found a great deal on an amazing, less expensive alternative made by Chippewa. You can find them on Amazon for only $86 with coupon "workboot." Yea, seriously.

Drake's navy pin dot tie

I recently saw a Gitman Vintage navy shirt with a subtle pin dot pattern on it at a clothing boutique here in SF. I immediately wanted one in my closet, so I started searching the web to find one in my size. Unfortunately, I failed to find one at a decent price, but the shirt got me to thinking. Hey, wouldn't this pattern look great on a tie or pocket square?

Since having that thought, I've been looking all over the web for a decent tie and pocket square combo in the navy + pin dot pattern. Well it turns out that one of my favorite tie makers, Drake's of London, carries a nice one as shown above. They're also having an end of the year sale right now, so the prices are cut about 25%.

If the price is still too high for you, good news is that you can get both a tie and pocket square in this pattern at thetiebar for a lot cheaper than the Drake's tie above.

J.Crew denim shirt

Grant it, I don't think it needs to be specifically from J.Crew, but I've been looking for a nice dark indigo denim shirt for a while now. I think a denim shirt is a piece that can effortlessly dress a formal outfit down, and still look appropriate in most situations. Definitely a refreshing change from your normal white, blue, or pink dress shirt that you may wear on a daily basis.

The only reservation I have with getting a denim shirt is its versatility. I generally wear jeans everyday and the color of this shirt in particular would be too similar to the color of my jeans, making the outfit look less than ideal. Either way, I'm on the fence, but I must say... J.Crew makes this shirt look damn good.

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So there you go, my January wish list. You know, sometimes I wonder if it ever ends...

Oh well, TIME TO SPEND MOAR MONEY!