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

Filtering by Tag: land's end

Couple Sales

Mark Kwak

Turns out that in preparation for Black Friday, there's already a couple sales going on! Just wanted to let you know about them in case you're looking for some new clothes at decent prices. 1. Land's End

The value king Land's End is having a 40% off of one item sale. Again, I stand behind the quality of this company (for the price). Great for basics and staples. Some items I recommend are the Stormer Parka, Tartan Shirts, and my recent obsession: Fair Isle Sweaters. Good stuff, good prices, go for it.

2. J. Crew

I'm not too much a fan of J. Crew at retail price, but when items go on sale, my eyes usually light up. Right now they're taking 30% off of their sale items with the promotional code MUSTHAVE. I would recommend checking out some of their Thomas Mason shirts (I own a couple and love them), New Balance sneakers, Timex watches, and Billy Reid sneakers. Damn does this company have some great partnerships or what?

3. Steven Alan

Steven Alan is another company that I don't really care for at retail price. However, on sale, my mood changes drastically. Quality is pretty good, and design can be great. Today is the last day of their sample sale, where products are marked off up to 70%. Check out their blazers and jackets, as I think those might be the best value during their sale.

4. Gitman Vintage

One of my favorite sites on the internet is MyHabit.com. It's owned by Amazon, and here's a link for them you can use. This site is very similar to Gilt.com, where they host daily deals, but oftentimes they have some amazing brands up there at amazing prices. Today, they're advertising for Gitman Brothers Vintage, and I stand by their products big time. Love their shirts, I definitely recommend them.

So there you go! Have at it gentlemen, it's time to look dapper.

Two prices, one outfit

Mark Kwak

At the end of the day, you are really the only one who knows what you're wearing. That is, unless you're going around obnoxiously shouting what brands of clothing you wear and the prices you paid. If you're doing that, please stop; no one likes a showoff. Anyhow, because of this, sometimes it might make sense to skip the designer stuff and pay a bit more reasonable prices for your clothing. Note: remember that I do always encourage quality > quantity, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

I got the idea for the picture above off of a guy named jdbee on reddit, where he posted one outfit at two different price points. The aesthetic outcome of the outfit may be comparable, but the prices are astronomically different.  Without watches considered (since the Rolex price is a numerical outlier), you could pay a total of $315 for the outfit above or a whopping $3480.

You may be wondering which side I chose from? Well, let's just say there's a bit of mix and match going on, and I'll let you guess.

Affordable designer clothing

Mark Kwak

You want to look sleek... You want to buy designer.... You have no money. My friends, I understand this sentiment all too well. I'm a frugal man myself. I instinctively look at price tags before anything else, I thrift for second-hand whenever I can, and I go to the sales rack before knowing what store I'm even in. Sure, I may be recommending Black Fleece and Paul Smith on this blog, but that doesn't mean that there aren't more affordable options out there with amazing fit & quality.

Here are some outfits I quickly put together with affordable pieces. Please excuse the awful picture quality:

Here are the pieces, and their prices -

Outfit 1 (Left): Kenneth Cole Reaction Jacket $29 :: American Rag Flannel Shirt $20 :: Calvin Klein Jeans $25 :: Simple Shoes $9

Outfit 2: Alfani Dress Shirt $18 :: Ben Sherman Tie $15 :: Perry Ellis Leather Belt $18 :: Louis Raphael Slacks $39 :: Calvin Klein Dress Shoes $49 :: Gap Double Breasted Jacket $25

Outfit 3: Marc Edwards Casual Shirt $14 :: Brooks Brothers Chinos $49 :: Converse All Stars $32

Outfit 4 (Right): Old Navy Hoodie Jacket $15 :: Calvin Klein Shirt $6 :: Levi's Sneakers $21 :: Levi's 513 Jeans $39 :: Gap Belt $12

In the land of affordable, I would recommend several go-to brands.

1. Uniqlo - If you have a Uniqlo close by (NYC, SF, NJ), I would definitely recommend heading to the store immediately. This place is amazing, as their selection and quality is better than most clothing companies at double the price. I have some of their shirts and pants, and they are stylish and durable. Good news is Uniqlo just tweeted that their online store will be opening this fall as well. Just to give you an idea of prices: dress shirts $29.90, chinos $39.90, henleys $19.90. The Japanese know their stuff.

2. Land's End - This company makes some great clothes at very reasonable prices. You will find that a lot of their clothing is a bit old-school and not contemporary enough for today's standards. It's okay though, since they make some great basics (like white shirts or grey pants) that never go out of style at wonderful prices. Stick with their tailored fit

3. Zara Man - I don't have first hand experience with this brand, but some of my more stylish friends swear by it. They make some great looking clothes, albeit a bit more "fashion-centric" than, say a Brooks Brothers. Quality will be much better than an H&M, and Zaras are fairly widespread, so you won't have trouble finding one. Here a cool jacket, gingham shirt, and casual shirt by them.

Lastly, I wanted to let you guys know about an awesome way to afford some high fashion clothing at a reasonable price. Starting this Thursday 9/27, GAP and GQ are doing a collaboration event where high end fashion designers (Ovadia & Sons, Mark McNairy, etc.) are designing pieces under the GAP brand. Just to give some context, a pair of Mark McNairy shoes cost upwards of $450, and an Ovadia & Sons shirt is over $200. This might be an opportunity to get some designer clothing at very reasonable prices. Hope this help, my fashion-forward friends.

Sweet sales

Mark Kwak

Looks like two companies that I admire, Brooks Brothers & Land's End, are having sales right now! Brooks Brothers: 25% off with code FNFBB1

Land's End: 30% off with code LOVEFALL, pin 2101

@ Brooks, I would recommend getting a couple OCBDs (Oxford Cloth Button Downs). They're made in the USA, the signature piece of Brooks Brothers, and fairly cheap at $49 a piece if you buy 3. They also have some really great sweaters/knits made with high quality wool, and classic sports coats in various styles.

@ Land's, My recommendation is a pair of Flannel Wool Pants at around $40. A classic piece everyone needs. Plenty more great choices available; shirts can be as low as $15 @ surprisingly great quality. Try to find a tailored fit, since their classic fits are baggy.

Happy shopping, go nuts. These two brands are solid at their respective price points, and have very few rivals in my opinion.

Jackets, my favorite

Mark Kwak

I'd have to say my favorite article of clothing is the jacket. Always has been, likely always will be. Why do I have such a fascination with jackets? Because they not only keep me warm, but they also are the most noticeable article of clothing one puts on. I mean seriously, a jacket goes on TOP of everything else, covering any clothes you are already wearing. It's also one of the only articles you can take off or put on multiple times in a day. It allows you to effortlessly change your look whether you're outside or inside. Make sure you have an awesome one in your wardrobe.

Here are some jackets that I personally like, all different styles:

Just quick comments on the photos above.

Trenches make you feel boss, and will never go out of style. This is especially true for Burberry , since they invented trenches. Stick with tans, greys, blacks and navys, and make sure to find the right fit, since they'll last you a lifetime.

Parkas, like the wings + horns one above, are extremely versatile, and can be dressed up or down effortlessly. They protect you from the rain, and are quite utilitarian, with the pockets and all.

Matt Bomer from White Collar pulls this jacket off awesomely (is that a word?). I've always had a hard time finding leather jackets that fit me well, but the day I do, I hope it looks like the one above, simple and slim.

Lastly, I think John Varvatos makes some really creative, and quality jackets in his mainline collection. If you've got some $, or rather, $$$, I would take a peak; you might find one that sings to you.

In terms of brand recommendations for jackets, it really depends on the price range you're looking at. Jackets can get astronomically expensive, because designers know they can charge a hefty fine on them. They usually are constructed with thicker fabrics, have a lot more variance in design, and are bought more sparingly, thus people are willing to splurge more.

I recommend spending a bare minimum of $50 on a jacket. I don't think that's unreasonable, because it will last you a long time if you buy the right one.

At the $50-$100 range, I would probably recommend Land's End or Banana Republic with a coupon (easily accessible). Many snobs will gawk at anything from GAP Co., due to their mass production and inconsistency of quality. However, I think that you can get some great jackets here that are stylish and will last. I have a jacket from BR that looks like the parka above, and I love it. People compliment this jacket all the time, and I got it for around $80 bucks.

At the $100-$200 mark, I like Topman and Diesel. I am going to say that these two recommendations are mainly based on look, rather than quality. Not saying that the quality is bad by any means, but just know that I put a bit of weight towards design. I also have to plug in The North Face & Patagonia, where it's function rather than fashion.

When we get to the $200-$400 range, this is where I think one should spend to get a quality jacket that will last. Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren have very high quality jackets, and have obviously been in the business forever. In this range, my highest rec goes to Barbour since they make a damn solid jacket, and you'll notice the quality is exceptional.

Between $400-$1000, many jackets start to look absolutely amazing. However, you are now heading into brand name snobbery territory, so watch out!  Brooks Brothers Black Fleece and Ralph Lauren Black Label are two of my favorites.

$1000+: My favorite looking jackets come from John Varvatos Collection, Dior Homme, and Paul Smith Main Line. All three make very sleek, trim, European style jackets that I think can elevate your look. Be careful, as clearly you're spending a lot for the brand name, rather than the pure functionality of the jacket. Hey, but if you have the cash, why not right?

I'd recommend picking up a solid jacket for the fall. Whether you buy a parka, trench, leather, or wool jacket, find one that helps identify your image. It will get noticed.