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

Filtering by Tag: levis

Levi's Made & Crafted Leather Jacket

Mark Kwak

fbI put this image up as my Facebook page cover, but I wanted to share it on the blog as well. This leather jacket, by Levi's Made & Crafted, is slowly becoming one of my favorite closet pieces. It has a buttery feel to the touch, a rich dark brown color, an incredible genuine leather smell...

What I love about it is that it's also the perfect warmth. Not too hot, not too cold. It works just as well in a hot, stuffy night club as it does outside near ocean beach.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a link for this specific jacket, but I really suggest you look into investing in a nice leather jacket yourself. It took me a while to find the right one, and also another while to accept the steep price tag, but now, I wear this thing 3-4 nights a week and have no regrets of shelling out the extra dough.

No fuss outfit

Mark Kwak

It's so interesting, the menswear world.

It's a detail-ridden world, where pocket square colors matter, fancy shoe laces get noticed, and a plain white dress shirt can have fifty different customization options. I personally love it, but have to admit that sometimes, the fuss isn't necessary.

Truth is, some people look damn good in just a plain white T-shirt, some blue jeans, and a pair of clean white sneakers; no extras, no details, no nonsense.

So, for those of you looking for literally the most no-hassle outfit possible, here's looking at you:

1. Calvin Klein white T-shirt.

2. Levi's 511 or 513 slim fit jeans.

3. Converse Jack Purcell sneakers.

Some notes: Levi's lower end jeans can wear out pretty quickly if you're wearing them super often, so remember to take good care of your denim. Converse Jack Purcell sneakers look awesome, but also make sure to maintain them as well, as they can get dirty pretty easily.  And lastly, try some different jackets with this outfit, I guarantee most jackets will work fine with it.

If you can, try wearing a simple outfit like this every now and again. If each piece fits well (remember that this is crucial), you might even get some compliments, which is kind of awesome since it probably took you only 4 seconds to put the entire getup on.


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.

Wish list #5

Mark Kwak

Ever since starting Simpler Man, I've forced myself to be more observant of street style and the attire of others around me. It's astounding how much you can learn about style just from being a little more aware of your surroundings. I started recognizing brands that people were wearing, styles and fits that were more common than others, and trends that were gaining traction in the city. Even the details became noticeable to me, like what color palettes people preferred, or what accessories they took out of their pockets to check the time, unlock the door, or pay the bill.

So today, my wish list is all about these said accessories. Items that I've coveted after seeing them on friends, colleagues, or random people across the street. Here you go:

Apolis Transit Issue Key Chain

Source: Apolis

I usually use a caribeaner to keep my keys in one place. It does the job, looks fine, and is pretty inexpensive. However, I saw one of my friends wearing this keychain from Apolis a couple months ago, and have wanted one ever since. You place it on your belt loop, tuck the keys into your back pocket, and go on your merry way, occasionally getting glances from people like me who wonder where to get one for myself. I may pull the trigger on this soon, but it is also $38 just for a small piece of leather and metal (though likely high quality).

Taylor Money Clip

Source: Taylor Ware

I've always been a fan of decreasing the bulk in my pockets. That's why I opted for a smaller wallet, a slimmer phone, and keychains that hang off of my belt loop. Well, a couple months ago, one of my buddies got this Taylor money clip, and I immediately wanted one for myself. Not only is it slim and hefty (since it's made out of titanium) but it also comes with a pick holder, which I think is the ultimate cherry on top. I play guitar from time to time, so it would actually be pretty handy. The only thing stopping me from getting it is the price... $200.

Filson x Levi's Duffle Bag

Source: Levi's

I love Levi's, I love Filson, and I love duffle bags. Three birds with one stone? Yes. I currently don't have a high quality duffle bag for weekend trips, and this particular bag has been on my eye for quite some time. I saw a guy at the airport sporting one, and immediately knew I had to have one for myself at some point. I love the tan/navy combo, the tweed detailing, and the Filson guarantee that backs it. Been a little trigger shy on it, but who knows what's in store.

There you go, my March Wish List. One thing I've learned while posting these wish lists up is that they never quite seem to end.

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.

What am I wearing 11.18.12

Mark Kwak

As many of you may know, SF is a pretty hip city. A year ago, I lived in the Mission District, and found that my attire stuck out like a sore thumb, mainly because I wasn't wearing handmade scarves, cardigans, plaid, handlebar mustaches, and chrome bags. Well today, I needed to go to the Mission to get some drinks with friends, so I thought it would be fun to put a little hipster flare into my outfit. (IE: cardigan, thick rimmed glasses, no socks, cuffed jeans).

Glasses: Warby Parker | Cardigan: Gap (similar) | Shirt: Thom Browne (similar) | Jeans: Levi's

Belt: Tumi | Shoes: Simple (all organic company, just like them hipsters like it)

A couple quick things. First, I always make sure to show a bit of my shirt cuff when it's underneath a sweater. In my opinion, it's just a bit cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing that way. Second, I want to mention again that subtle color coordination can pay off. I coincidentally matched my jeans to the navy trim on my cardigan (on the pockets and the middle of the cardigan) and got some random compliments around that. Who'da thunk?

Also, some people might ask if my glasses are prescription or not. Well, they are indeed prescription glasses, and I am one of those people who is somewhat against wearing glasses purely for the look. If you don't have a prescription, just thank God for your great eyesight, and keep your face bare. No need to hide parts of your face with lens-less glasses or non-prescription nonsense.

Anyhow, till next time fellas, stay fresh.