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

Filtering by Tag: new balance

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.

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.

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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.


Mark Kwak

I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bit of a newb when it comes to social networking. However, I will say, getting familiar with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for the first time, has brought a new element of interest to my life. Particularly Instagram, because it allows me to share some photos that I normally would keep to myself. In case you don't use Instagram, here's some recent pics of mine. I promise they'll get better with time. d1d5217c1d9b11e280ba22000a9f1893_7

This is me getting excited about finally owning a pair of suede New Balances.


A little collar fun- add some spice to your life.


Ovadia & Sons tie that I'm a fan of.


Showcasing my love for tartan, and Barbour.


My thought on what a proper casual pocket square should look like.


Early Christmas.

Also, would love to get feedback on what types of pictures people would want to see. I'm all ears.

One day: outfit for the gym

Mark Kwak

The clock hits 5:30PM and your colleagues are starting to head home. While your coworkers are going home to relax and essentially take the part of human-vegetable for the rest of the night, you decide to be a bit more productive. You decide you want to to get jacked, and go to the gym.

The question now is, what do you wear? You want to look stylish, but you also want to wear something practical. You want to look ripped in front of the ladies, but you also don't want to make a fashion statement. Well, let's talk about it a bit.

In all honesty, I personally don't pay much attention to what I wear when I go to the gym. I don't care all that much about what I wear when I'm sweating like crazy. For that reason, I may not be the best role model when it comes to gym attire. However, I will say that I do notice outfits that look great on others, and believe it can pay off to look good while at the gym. Whether you want to look great in order to attract others (I mean we all know how much we love lululemon on girls), or just want to enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror, it doesn't hurt to make the effort to choose a nice gym outfit.

So let's start with the most important part of your gym attire, your shoes. Why are they the most important? Well, because we are using our footwear for actual protection against injury while working out. Make sure to wear footwear that is appropriate for whatever you are doing. Playing basketball? Wear high top basketball shoes to protect your ankles and support your feet while you're crossing dudes over left and right. Running? Get nice running shoes that fit well, are light, and can help lessen stress on your knees. If you're just going to the gym to lift, I would still stick again with running shoes, as they will likely look the best and be the most versatile in case you decide to go running.

In terms of upping the pure aesthetics of footwear, make sure that your shoes are clean and simple. Thin is usually better than bulky, and laces shouldn't be too long (eg: spilling too far down your shoe). Also make sure to wear socks. My recommendation goes to ankle socks that show just slightly above your shoe line. Just FYI, my favorite sneakers for working out are: Nike Frees, New Balance Sneaks, and Asics Gels.

You'll also notice people wearing neon green, hot pink, light blue, and other poppy colors in their shoes. If you like it, I say go for it. These colors exist not just for aesthetics, but more importantly to help you be more visible when running in the dark. Hey, if it helps you avoid car accidents, then it's all good in my book.

Next, shirts. My favorite type of shirt for working out is a cutoff dry-fit shirt. I'm a fan of the whole dry-fit thing that Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and other sports companies are doing. Not only does it look good, but it also feels good against your skin and helps you when you perspire. Because of the likelihood of getting stains (from your sweat or off of weights and machines), I would stay away from white, but all other colors are fair game. Stick to T-shirts or Tank tops.

Also, please make sure the shirts fit well against your body. I've seen people wear clothing TOO tight, or also others who buy over-sized T-shirts and cut off giant arm holes that come down to the hips, just to show off obliques, peks, and abs from the side. Come on... let's be less tool-ish please.

When it comes to pants, I like to stick with athletic shorts when working out. I think long athletic pants work just fine as well, especially when you'll be out in the cold, but shorts just seem the most versatile to me. Keep length right around the knee area (a little below or slightly above is fine) and again, make sure they fit nicely. If wearing long pants, make sure the length isn't too long, as it will get uber annoying while running or being active. You'll constantly be pulling your pant legs up, and that's no fun.

A quick note: avoid accessories if you can. Unless you need a digital watch to keep track of timing (or those new wristbands that monitor your health), I would take all accessories off as they will get annoying, or get in the way of your workout. Necklace flying inthe face while running? Ring scratching against dumbbells? Not my cup of tea.

Lastly, outerwear. I think track jackets and sweatshirts work fine when in a colder environment. Otherwise, keep outerwear in the locker. I hear a lot of people give flack to hoodies, but I think hoodies look great at the gym on a winter day. I don't want to be a broken record, but again, make sure the outerwear fits you well. Keep jackets and sweaters slim, shoulder seams hitting the right spot on your shoulders, and length ending right around your hip. Baggy is never good.

Finally, remember this is just the gym- wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. I've given some guidelines above for what I think looks best, but going to the gym is all about making yourself feel more healthy and confident, and what makes you feel confident is really up to you. When I go to the gym, I wear free T-shirts that my workplace gives me without shame. Do whatever you're most comfortable with, and you should be just fine.

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 It's owned by Amazon, and here's a link for them you can use. This site is very similar to, 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.

Wish List #1

Mark Kwak

I don't have an unlimited stream of cash coming out of my faucet, so one of my favorite things to do is create wishlists and drool over things I can't get. That sounds really sad, now that I verbalize it. Here's my recent wishlist, in case you were interested. New Balance 1400 for J. Crew

I think New Balance has a home run on their hands with these J Crew collab sneakers. I'm not much a fan of New Balance, but this shoe changes my opinion drastically. This is one of the few running-inspired sneakers that I would say works well with chinos and a casual button down shirt, not just dry fit shirts and shorts. The suede-like texture gives it a hint of class, but it still remains very casual and "I don't care"-like, which is always good.

Thom Browne Oxford Button Down Shirt

I'm a huge fan of Thom Browne Oxford Cloth Button Down shirts. The size 1 fits my body just right, and the material he uses feels like a million bucks against my skin. I particularly like this shirt's design because green and blue are my favorite colors, and they're crossing each other very creatively, especially on the collar. I'd wear this with a pair of dark wash jeans and maybe a navy trench or peacoat to match the blue on the shirt.

Burberry London Cashmere & Wool Peacoat

I'm in dire need of a peacoat, since I gave away my last one (it was too big on me). It's the ultimate winter coat, and can work with just about any outfit, outside of workout clothes. Since peacoats are classic, and never really go out of style, it's worth spending the extra money on one you love. Burberry is my choice here, and I'm tempted. I think they do the back of this jacket especially well. The belt and vent flap = pure class.

Ermenegildo Zegna Formal Jacket

What a classy jacket. I'm a big fan of Ermenegildo Zegna, and have always loved their suits and jackets. This particular jacket is a favorite of mine due to its unique texture.  It has silk shimmer but still remains quite subtle and classic thanks to the cashmere. Lapels are a nice width and the silhouette is slim... too bad it has an astronomical price tag. Well, there's my envy list for today. If only high fashion didn't cost so much money right? Cheers!