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

Filtering by Tag: menswear

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 I could be wrong, but I believe this site was originally made to help women discover emerging fashion designers.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.

Uniqlo +J is back

Mark Kwak

I think it was 2010 when I walked into a Uniqlo store for the first time. Back then, the only city with a physical Uniqlo store outside of Japan was New York City.

Having made the trek all the way out there from San Francisco, I had pretty high expectations, especially since I had heard so much about Uniqlo from friends who had visited that were re-buying their entire wardrobes from the store.  The good news was that the store didn't disappoint. Even today, I still think of Uniqlo as one of the best companies out there providing stylish clothing at an affordable price.

Admittedly, at the time, I didn't know nearly as much about menswear as I do today. Nonetheless, I remember seeing a really nice line of menswear pieces out in the back of the store marked with a +J logo on the tags. I didn't really know what that meant, but I distinctly remember being impressed with the collection, both in quality and style. I literally ran to a salesman to find out if any of the pieces were in my size (by then the stock was mostly oversized), but it was all to no avail.

Well, it seems as though good things come to those who wait. Uniqlo just recently announced that they will be bringing back their +J line this month.

Now, since I know vastly more about menswear today than I did back then, here's some context for you. The Uniqlo +J line was one of the first collaboration efforts Uniqlo had ever done with an outside fashion designer. This one was with the legendary Jil Sander.

For those of you who don't know, Jil Sander is a very respectable player in the high fashion game, both for men and women. Her stuff is often eclectic, dare I say weird, but you all know how the high fashion game works. Anyhow, one thing that you can be sure of when buying Jil Sander is that most pieces are ludicrously priced. I mean we're talking $700 for a pair of cotton pants.

The good news is that Uniqlo's +J collection won't be anywhere close to that price tag. They're saying pieces will range from $39.90 to $229.90. The official launch will be October 3rd @ their new Philly store, but the rest of us will have to wait till October 10th when it comes out to all the other stores and online. 

Here is the link to check the collection out.

Just in case you're curious, here are some of my favorites from the collection:

Slim Denim Shirt 

Uniqlo J Denim Shirt

Slim White Shirt

Uniqlo J Slim Shirt

Cashmere Sweater

Uniqlo J Cashmere


Uniqlo J Cardigan Puffer Coat

Uniqlo J Down Parka Chesterfield Coat

Uniqlo J Chesterfield

Flannel Jacket

Uniqlo J Jacket

Tapered Flannel Pants

Uniqlo J Flannel Pants So go wild fellas. Yes these pieces are rather basic, but they look great and won't let you down if they fit correctly. It's all about keeping it simple right? Cheerio, happy hump day.

Update to the Minimalism Challenge

Mark Kwak

I've been neglecting this blog for far too long my friends. If you're still with me God bless you- and yes I agree, I am the worst. But let me at least give you guys an explanation on my absence... And I think it's legitimate to some extent.

January of this year, I proposed a challenge to myself. A challenge that I shared with all of you during that time period. If you're not up for reading that entire post, the gist of it was that I decided not to buy anything (outside of the essentials, like toothpaste) for the entirety of 2014. It's now been a healthy 10 months into the year, and I'm happy to report that I'm still somewhat on track with that challenge. The reason "somewhat" is in that last sentence is because I think I might have found a loophole that I violated to some extent (cough, I bought a motorcycle for the "experience," not proud of it).

I'm a little backlogged on the giving away one thing everyday part of that challenge, but for the most part, it's been pretty liberating to depend less on material objects. You almost forget how much your possessions start to own you more than the other way around. True, the hardest part of the year is still ahead of us (the holidays), but I'm confident I can weather the storm.

Now to the main point: why I haven't been writing in this blog as often.

It turns out that when you block yourself off from buying any new clothing for the year, you stop thinking about clothing on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. And when you're not thinking about clothing, oh how much harder it becomes to write about it.

Okay, it's an excuse, but the good news is that I do have some things to report as a result of this experience so far, and I thought it would be a good reason to write a post. In case you're curious, here are a couple things I've learned from not buying any clothing for the year:

1. You are forced to be more creative with your current wardrobe.

So you don't own a leather jacket that would have been perfect for a particular event. So what? Because you're forced to work with what you have, you become a bit more creative in how you choose your outfits. You "shop your closet" more, if you will.

2. You end up discovering your "go-to" outfit far more easily.

I didn't expect this part, but when you don't shop as regularly, you gravitate towards your tried and trues more often than you think. I've realized black jeans, brown boots, blue oxford shirts, and olive green jackets have more usefulness than most of my other pieces.

3. You save a bunch of money / are more generous with it.

As a result of your reduced expenditures, you really do see your bank account gain a little health, but more importantly, you're more generous with how you use the extra money. I don't hesitate as often to pay for another person's dinner or dessert!

4. You don't write in your blog as often.


Anyhow, I'm not finished yet but I think that this challenge is something that everyone should attempt at some point. Maybe it's not for an entire year, but rather for just a couple of months. Or even just one month for the shopaholics out there. I swear it'll make a difference in how you live, even if it's a just a little.

A simpler kid

Mark Kwak

You know, when I was a kid, I wore strictly second-hand clothing. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thriftway, you name it. Our family didn't have much money, and I was going to be growing out of my clothing anyway, so why bother with fashion? Personally, I think it was a good thing. Shopping that way helped me really appreciate buying a new shirt or pair of jeans when I got in high school. I hopefully plan to raise my future kids the same way.

That being said, there IS something awesome about kids who look as fashionable (if not more fashionable) as their adult counterparts. I came across a Buzzfeed article this week where a toddler's mother dresses her kid like a walking GQ advertisement. This kid looks amazing! Check out some of his pictures below. And follow him on Instagram if you want more:

Little guy's making me look like an incompetent dresser. Props to him and his mom for keeping up with the Instagram account. We all know it takes discipline to keep these things going :) Happy Friday folks.


Buzzfeed article: 27 suit rules

Mark Kwak

I've been so MIA these days, I owe you all an apology. Thanks for continuing to show support though. The good news is that one of my 2014 New Year's resolutions is to make sure I post more often, which should help shape my ass back up.

Anyhow, today's topic is about a Buzzfeed article I recently read. Normally, Buzzfeed is a giant time waste for me. I can't tell you the number of times I've clicked through to a Buzzfeed article, and spent the next 15 minutes scrolling down ridiculous GIFs for no apparent reason at all.

Well the good news is that they sometimes have some really good tricks and tips, and in this particular article, it's all about the men's suit.

Don't necessarily agree with points #3, #16, and #22, but the list is pretty solid overall.

Click on the above picture or this link to check it out.

Quick style takeaways from my Euro-trip

Mark Kwak

DSC_0284 DSC_0831 DSC_0749

Sorry I've been away folks. Been traveling around Greece, Italy, and the UK for the last two weeks, and haven't had access to so little internet since 1998. Learned and experienced a ton, but I have to say, with regards to #menswear, I had a couple random takeaways, which are of course completely subjective. Thought I'd share them here:

1. In the UK, if you're dressed well, you'll be called "smart" or "fit."

2. Greece during the summertime = wearing a ton of white. Beach-mode to the max.

3. London is one well-dressed town, wow. Suits, sport coats, and trenches galore.

4. Didn't go to Milan, but the Italians I saw weren't dressed all that well. Well, not the men at least.

5. Leather is everywhere in Florence, good lord. Looking for a leather wallet, jacket, or whatever? Firenze is the place.

6. Being stylish is a good way to distinguish yourself from other tourists. (Aka, not get pick-pocketed, disrespected, etc.)

7. Clothing in the UK is incredibly expensive. It's better in Italy, but probably not enough for me to buy clothes overseas.

8. Euro airports surprisingly have some great sales / deals. In the London Heathrow airport, I saw a ton of Burberry, Paul Smith, and Ted Baker pieces for 50-70% off.

9. Shorts are a must for the hot sun in Greece and Italy.

10. There are so many good looking women in Europe. Yeah that's menswear-related right?

So there you go, my random takeaways. Now goodbye vacation, back to real life.




Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: My picks

Mark Kwak

I'm a fan of Nordstrom. They exist in almost all major towns within the U.S., usually showcase excellent products, and also offer an almost unbeatable return policy. My only issue with them is that their products are often pretty expensive at retail price.

Also, they rarely hold any sales throughout the year, making it difficult to shop there regularly. I believe they only have 2-3 weeks out of the entire year where they sell items at a discount. The half yearly men's sale and the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Well great news, my friends! The latter sale, which is also their biggest sale of the year, just started today, and there's plenty of stock to choose from.

I've decided to curate some of my favorite pieces from the sale for you to see. Full transparency: some of these are still pretty damn expensive, though oftentimes worth it.

Allen Edmonds Strand: $229.90

I own these, and love them. Great time to pick up these beautiful and classic shoes.

Dockers Alpha Fogwash Chinos: $44.90

I love the fit and quality of Dockers' Alpha Khakis. Definitely worth a try.

Red Wing Beckman Boot: $199.90

I own these boots as well. They're amazing, and definitely worth it at this price. They will be slightly uncomfortable in the beginning just FYI.

Clarisonic Mia 2: $149.90

I use a Clarisonic Mia almost everyday in the shower. TMI? Maybe. Anyhow, yes, even dudes can use this thing, and it's worth a try. It's like a Sonicare toothbrush for your face.

Threads for Thought Varsity Jacket: $49.90

I've been pretty interested in the Varsity jacket look as of late. Here's one that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Magnanni Double Monk: $209.90

If you're in the market for double monks, these might be worth a try. They look great in my opinion, and Magnannis are usually really comfortable from my experience.

Billy Reid Crewneck Sweater: $96.90

I really want this sweater myself. Not sure what's so appealing about it to me, but it seems to be stuck in my mind.

Wolverine Emerson: $294.90

Wolverine is one of my favorite bootmakers. And they don't disappoint with this rugged, high quality model.

Wallin & Bros. Sweater: $45.90

A slightly more affordable sweater than the Billy Reid one above.

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue: $229.90

One of the most classic shoes you'll ever find. If you need a pair of solid brown or black dress shoes, get these.

Billy Reid Leather Jacket: $999.90

I know, I know. It's a lot of money. However, I can't have one of these lists without a solid leather jacket. So here it is.

Allen Edmonds Dalton: $259.90

Yet again, I own these boots too. You've probably seen them on the blog before. Worth every penny.

Jack Spade Briefcase: #249.90

I think my boss owns this bag, and to me, it looks so elegant and simple. If I didn't have enough bags myself, I'd pick it up.

Rag & Bone Colorblock Sweater: $144.90

Love the look of this sweater. Though it is admittedly expensive.

The North Face Apex Jacket: $99.90

A really classic, solid jacket for the fall. Only downside is that everyone has one of these.

Calvin Klein No Show Socks: $12.90

You know how I feel about no-show socks.

Chuck Taylor Low Sneakers: $39.90


Burberry London Navy Trench: $864.90

Trench coats are probably my favorite type of clothing. Burberry trench at that? You're in for a classic. And yes, I know it's not cheap by any measure.

There you go! My very long list of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks. Even if none of these appeal to you, check the sale out for yourself. You might find a thing or two that catches your eye.

Cheers, and happy Friday.