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

Filtering by Tag: jcrew

Curated shops I like

Mark Kwak

Source: Need Supply

Source: Need Supply

We are utterly inundated with choice. Too many websites, too many stores, too many brands. Sometimes it's nice for a website to help curate only the best stuff for you.

I think there are several sites that do an excellent job of curating clothing/accessories/goods, and have become my go-to's as a result. I try my best to buy from these companies directly to support them, but I will admit, I do also take some items and plug them into Google or Amazon to find a better price.

Source: Of a Kind

Source: Of a Kind

Here's a small list for you to check out:

1. Need-Supply: This is one slick e-store. They have a fairly particular style, but even if it's not your cup of tea, they seem to only carry quality goods. Good news is that for every two items they carry that are fairly expensive, they carry one that is reasonable in price (for example, Filson & Carhartt vs Herschel).

I would take a good look at their accessories section as well. I've bought a thing or two from there, and have never been disappointed.

2. J.Crew in Good Company: As a company, J.Crew is hit or miss. I feel like two and a half years ago, they had their heyday, but today, they're potentially on a downswing. Either way, one part of their website that is rarely miss is a part called J.Crew in Good Company. This is their collaboration section, wherein J.Crew curates high quality pieces from other brands, while maintaining their excellent sensibility in style.

Some of my favorite brands like Alden, Barbour, Red Wing, and Drake's are represented in this section, and I have to say... J.Crew is one excellent curator. Unfortunately these items are generally not eligible for sale, but there's always a small subsection that seem to go on clearance. Sometimes you can find a pretty great grab if you browse at the right time.

3. Of a Kind: This site I'm not quite as familiar with, but recently I've been checking up on it quite a bit. I could be wrong, but I believe this site was originally made to help women discover emerging fashion designers. As it turns out, the staff at Of a Kind have pretty good taste, even in the menswear world.

They sell only a small number of items on their site, but I'm a fan of almost all of them. Seems like they have limited quantities of everything too, which makes each item that much more special.

Source: Of a Kind

Source: Of a Kind

Hey, sometimes you don't want to do all the research to find things you like. Let someone else curate, and you can just choose from a more limited selection. Makes your life a bit simpler.

Alright, and now I'm off.

Wishlist December 2014

Mark Kwak

Every time the Holidays roll around, my wishlist starts to extend longer than Stretch Armstrong's limbs (oh boy, remember those toys?). Alongside cool gadgets, auto equipment, alcohol, and other goodies, clothing usually sits atop of the list. Today, I share with you some of my wishes for December.

Leather / wool rifle coat

I don't know what it is about wool coats with leather sleeves, but I've become a die hard fan. A bit on the trendy side, I know, but damn the combination looks good. I particularly like this Theory one above. It's expensive, but I saw it on sale at Macy's (yeah we have a legit Macy's that carries Theory) for almost half off, and was about a millimeter away from pulling the trigger.

New Balance high tops

Oh man, I am going to lobby hard to get these shoes under my Christmas tree this year. I've always been a fan of suede New Balances and these high tops are no exception, even though I think they're a JCrew collab exclusive. The color scheme, streamlined silhouette, and material all look wonderful to me. They even look comfy to boot!

Alden scotch grain bluchers

Whoo wee! What beauties. As many of you know, Alden is one of my favorite shoe brands in the world. One of the few remaining American shoemakers making quality product through the generations.

One thing you'll notice is that these are not made of your normal calfskin leather. After looking at some Thom Browne samples the other day, I realized I really like the use of scotch grain leather on shoes, and they add a bit of pop to what would normally be a very conservative shoe design. The Unionmade ones on the link above are sold out, but I think JCrew sells something similar here.

GQ x GAP leather backpack

It looks like GQ is partnering with GAP once again to deliver some really unique pieces, designed by some of the top designers, to the general public. The collection isn't set to be out until December 15th, but GQ offered a sneak peak into some of their favorite pieces. I really like this backpack by En Noir. I felt like there was a time when leather backpacks were a bit gaudy, but that time is no more. This slim, simple, elegant design just works, and I'll definitely take a look to verify quality when the collection comes out.

Anyhow, there's my December wishlist. Even though I'm trying not to buy any clothing, I will certainly be looking out for ways to get some of these things come January. Hoping that sales roll around by then! Stay warm out there, fellas.

Buffalo Plaid

Mark Kwak

Source: JCrew Ah buffalo plaid. A staple in almost every fall/winter catalog I come across.

Truth is, it took me a while to really embrace this pattern, mainly because I was brainwashed to hate the color red (go UCLA). That being said, the more I saw it on magazines, store windows, and print ads around town, the more I began to fall in love with the aesthetic. As a result, I now have a couple buffalo plaid pieces in my closet that have achieved the status of "go-to" within my wardrobe.

So exactly where did this ubiquitous red and black pattern originate from? Perhaps Paul Bunyan? Some hipster in the Mission District of SF? Nope. Buffalo plaid comes from the genius minds at Woolrich, a company that began producing shirts with this pattern around 1850. That's right, over 150 years ago! Talk about withstanding the ups and downs of fashion, huh?

Here are some of my favorite ways to outfit buffalo plaid.

1. Scarf to add some pop to an otherwise very conservative outfit. (See above)

2. Collared shirt underneath a solid blazer or suit. Adds a ton of complexity to a formal outfit, Timothy Olyphant representing below:

3. A classic buffalo check wool shirt from the OGs who created it. Definitely a more rugged look that can be used on the streets as easily as it can be out in the woods.

All in all, buffalo plaid is versatile, able to be worn as a subtle accent piece or stand out as the main attraction. I suggest looking around to find a piece that works for you. If folks are still wearing this stuff 150 years after it was originally made, it's probably safe to assume you'll be in style for however long you choose to wear it.

PS: To add to that Timothy Olyphant picture above, he had a full shoot with just buffalo plaid in this GQ article. Worth looking at.

J.Crew Ludlow Traveler

Mark Kwak

I think J.Crew has been stepping it up in the menswear game for some time now. When I first became interested in menswear, I wasn't too much a fan of J.Crew, but their partnerships, strategy, and designs have been changing my perception more and more.

Recently they put out this cool little video about the "Ludlow Traveler." Just a quick short about a dude traveling around while in his J.Crew Ludlow suit (a decent looking suit if you're a newcomer to menswear). Yeah, it's marketing, but check it out, perhaps it'll make you want to wear a suit more often.

 

 

White Nikes

Mark Kwak

2013-10-12 11.28.35 Ah white Nikes, so fresh and so clean. I think that a pair of white athletic sneakers are really an essential to every man's wardrobe. There's something about the color white that just does well at the feet (though a pain in terms of maintenance) and usually a pair of Nikes does the trick.

Thought I'd share with you a couple pictures of my new Nikes I bought from J.Crew. Gotta love those J.Crew in Good Company deals; they really curate some awesome stuff from outside companies.

2013-10-12 10.29.59 2013-10-12 11.27.15

Nike Killshot 2 Sneakers

Pair 'em with sweats, shorts, jeans, chinos.... Whatever the case, you'll be styling and comfortable at the same time. Enjoy.

Throwback classic sneakers

Mark Kwak

In the last several years, classic sneakers from Nike, Adidas, and New Balance have been hitting the shelves with high velocity. We're talking throwback sneakers from the 70s and 80s, looking a little something like this:

Cool huh? The moment these things started to show up on peoples' feet around town, I knew that I needed to get myself a pair or two. What I like about them is that they retain the comfort of a running shoe, but still remain fairly appropriate as casual street-wear. They can even be dressed up a bit, maybe worn with an oxford cloth button down, some dark denim, and a jacket. Hell, magazines these days are pairing these types of sneakers with suits (not recommended).

I got myself a couple pairs (New Balance & Nike), both in suede, and I love 'em. They're especially great for me because I recently got a new day job at an office with the slickest floors I've ever walked on. So leather-soled shoes out, fashion sneakers in.

suedeshoes1 suedeshoes2 suedeshoes3 suedeshoes4 suedeshoes5 suedeshoes6 suedeshoes7

Nike Vintage Pre-Montreal :: New Balance 565

I love the suede sneaker look, as I feel the fabric/material really classes up a shoe that we normally would not wear to most places outside of the gym. Now, you can pair these types of sneakers up with some denim, a casual shirt, and a crewneck sweater, and still be styling all fall.

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.