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

Filtering by Tag: merona

Signature Style: Dressy Casual

Mark Kwak

So today, I'm bringing back the signature style series I started a while ago. And this time, it's all about the dressy casual look. If you work in an office environment, the term "business casual" is probably one that you're pretty familiar with. Well, dressy casual is kind of the same thing, but arguably a bit more informal. Still, the term is both narrow and wide at the same time, since it basically describes an outfit that lies somewhere between formal and casual, and that middle-ground is always up for debate.

To me, the dressy casual look can range from as casual as an untucked oxford shirt + dark denim + desert boots, to as formal as a navy blazer + white poplin dress shirt + grey slacks + black dress shoes. Suffice it to say, the term is slightly ambiguous.

Well, I've outfitted my buddy Eugene with a fairly versatile dressy casual look that can be a bit more formal or casual based on how you wear it. See below.

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Solid dress shirt, leather belt, dark chinos, and suede boots.

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If you want to go even more casual, untuck your shirt. Just make sure that the length of the shirt fits kind of like what you see above.

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Layer on a light V-neck sweater to change things up every now and again. Plus you can stay warmer if it's cold outside.

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It's summertime. To make things more casual, expose some ankle, and people will know you're a stylish guy.

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Don't like V-neck sweaters? Try a cardigan. Works just as well, if not better.

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I personally like a slim taper to my chinos or slacks. Seems to make a huge difference.

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If you have a leather banded watch, please wear it with an outfit like this. It's an extremely important cherry on top.

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And if you want to be more dressy with an outfit like this, tuck the shirt in and maybe even layer on a sport coat. 

 Shirt: Hucklebury | Belt: J.Crew | Watch: Timex | Cardigan: Etro

V-Neck Sweater: Merona | Pants: J.Crew | Shoes: Clarks

The outfit above is quite easy to reproduce. Just get a pair of well fitted chinos (or dress pants for those who need to be a bit more dressy), tuck in a solid or lightly patterned dress shirt, add some leather shoes, and you're good to go! For the win, my friends.

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

What am I wearing 1.22.12

Mark Kwak

Time for another outfit of the day post. Felt like dressing up a bit (ie: putting on a tie and pocket square), but also wanted to remain casual enough to blend into the city a bit. Here's my solution:

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Coat: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples | Pocket Square: John W. Nordstrom

Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie: Drake's | Cardigan: Black Fleece

Belt: Perry Ellis | Pants: Ian Velardi | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Paul Smith

So as many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Thom Browne's branding (the red, white, and blue, generally on grosgrain). That's exactly why I'm wearing this Black Fleece cardigan along with a relatively conservative outfit. I think a small, but noticeable pop of color can really put some spice into an otherwise "safe" getup, so this cardigan fit the bill for me. I'll certainly be doing a post about adding pops of color to an outfit shortly.

So until then...

Wearing black only

Mark Kwak

I've seen it a million times. Guys wearing all-pitch-black getups. Uniform combination of black shoes, black shirt, black jeans, black jacket, black watch, black scarf and black rimmed glasses. So yes, black is cool, and it's especially appropriate during fall and winter. However, I personally think you can always do better by adding a little extra color to your outfit, even if it's subtle. This actually applies to any color, since a little variety in an outfit can help it from being too boring or uniform. For example, here's an all-black outfit I'm wearing. The difference is that I wanted to add a subtle hint of color (some green and navy gingham on the shirt which together looks like black, and brown lining on the boots), and also distinguish my blacks a bit from each other. Notice my jeans are a lot lighter than the rest of the outfit, while still having that underlying black color to it. My scarf also has grey on the inverse side.

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See? Denim on denim can sometimes work.

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From a closer distance and with ample lighting, you can see that the shirt is actually blue and green, not black. Some red highlights on my watch as well.

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Hmm, my Red Wing boot lining matches my coffee table.

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I like to cuff my pants when wearing boots. Show a bit more of the boot.

Jacket: Ralph Lauren Black Label | Shirt: Black Fleece | Watch: Casio G-Shock

Scarf: Merona (similar) | Belt: Paul Stuart | Jeans: Diesel | Shoes: Red Wing

Now, I still would prefer to wear a lighter shirt with an outfit like this, but if you want to wear all-black, my recommendation is to find some way to make each piece slightly different from one another. Or else it'll just look like you're in a black jumpsuit, since others won't be able to distinguish one piece of your outfit from another.

So go out there and continue to wear black (even though some will tell you it matches with nothing... which I don't believe in the slightest). But also remember it's okay to still have some color or differentiation in your outfit to make it more interesting. Grey can be a great friend in this case, and despite what people will tell you, brown can work marvelously if used properly.

What am I wearing 11.11.12

Mark Kwak

Turns out my first post in the "one day" series is taking a tad longer than I'd hoped, my apologies. In the meanwhile, people have been asking for consistent "what am I wearing" posts, so in case you're curious... here you go. As some of you may know, it's getting a bit chilly here in San Francisco. As long as it doesn't rain, I'm cool with that, as it's the perfect time to bust out some fall-wear.

Coat: Banana Republic | Sweater: POLO Ralph Lauren | Shirt: Black Fleece (similar) | Belt: Perry Ellis

Watch: Omega | Chinos: Brooks Brothers | Socks: Merona | Shoes: Calvin Klein Collection

Sometimes it pays to coordinate. In this particular outfit, the centerpiece for my coordination stems from the Ralph Lauren sweater. The sweater has a subtle, but noticeable red polo logo on it. As a result, I layered a red shirt underneath it, which might help make the outfit a bit better than if I wore any other color.

Likewise, I opted for black shoes and a black checkered coat to go with the sweater as well. In my humble opinion, these types of small details can definitely elevate your style to the next level.

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.