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

Filtering by Tag: ovadia & sons

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.

High Fashion & Affordable Fashion Collaborations

Mark Kwak


How do you feel about these new collaborations that are happening between luxury brands and cheaper stores (ie: Target/Neiman Marcus or H&M/Margiela)? You think it’s worth it for me to get stuff from these collections? – Matthew

I was hoping a question like this would come up, thanks for asking. As many of you know, these days there are a lot of partnerships occurring between high fashion and affordable fashion.  Gap partnered with GQ to bring several higher end designers (Mark McNairy, Ian Velardi, Ovadia & Sons, etc.) to their stores for a limited time. H&M partnered with Versace, and now Maison Martin Margiela to do the same. Even as recent as last week, Target released a collection of items with Neiman Marcus to bring 50 CFDA designer pieces to retail Target stores.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about these new collaborations that keep popping up.

Some part of me is extremely excited to see designer pieces being offered at reasonable prices. For instance, a Maison Martin Margiela coat is over $2k the last time I checked. Barney’s sells them, and I may look, but the likelihood of me buying would be quite low. However, with H&M offering a similar piece still designed by Margiela for $150… who knows?

The other part of me knows it’s all just a marketing tactic to get folks in stores to buy things they don’t want/need, and in ridiculous quantities. Do I have any urge to check out H&M these days? No. Will I walk in and considering buying from there now that they have this collab collection? Probably.


Now I’m all for bringing designer pieces to people for affordable prices. I think it’s a genius idea both for the business and the consumer. However, to me, it really comes down to quality. Will these products even slightly compare to the real deal, and last just as long? Sure they may look good, but that won’t help if they fall apart on me in three months. To me, if the quality is bad, I’m out… even if it looks like an unreal deal from the outside.

Well, from my experience, it’s generally been a bit disappointing.  I checked out Gap for their GQ collab, H&M for their Margiela collab, and Target for their Neiman collab. Walked away with a piece from each, but not much more than that, and for good reason.

First, you need to go in with the right expectations. You’ll definitely find that the quality is inferior to products offered in designers’ main lines. I do hope most people expect that, since it can only be that way considering the prices and the scale of manufacturing. Also, know that the fits will differ slightly from mainline items. This is probably so that the pieces will fit a wider breadth of people, but I wish they would just keep it the same. Lastly, now that the pieces are more available, you'll notice a lot more people wearing the same stuff. Will this be something you're okay with? Probably not for me.

Once you get past these points, sometimes the price can be justifiable for such pieces, but I highly suggest you check the items out for yourself to truly know. Don't compromise in quality just because of the brand. Before you purchase, make sure you're doing it because the item fits well and is of great quality, not just because the label on the back says Thom Browne.


Got myself a Rag & Bone sweater from Target/Neiman and turns out it's actually a great piece quality-wise, and something I would be willing to pay for even if it wasn't Rag & Bone. Also was able to pick up a pair of Margiela H&M boots with leather soles for under $100. Pretty good in my book. Suffice to say, I passed on 99% of the other stuff because they didn't meet the quality & fit : price ratio I was looking for.

Bottom line: I think these collaborations are fun and exciting, and can provide a couple cool items for your wardrobe. However, I wouldn't go jumping on every one of them expecting the same level of detail and quality as mainline items. Choose carefully when looking through these collections, and think quality and fit first. All else should fall by the wayside.

Adding trendy to classic

Mark Kwak

Generally, I prefer a more classic style. To me, nothing beats a navy blazer, grey flannel trousers, grey cotton socks, black oxfords, and a nicely pressed white dress shirt. However, sometimes it's fun to mix the trendy with the classic. What do I mean by that? Well, let's think about some classic looks that everybody knows of. Solid colored suits.  V-neck sweaters with dress shirts, wool pants, and oxfords. Blue jeans and oxford cloth button downs. These are tried and true looks that have stood the test of time, and can be worn by just about anyone. The problem is that some people might argue these looks can get a bit stale and boring.

Then there's the other end of the spectrum. There are lots of weird and sometimes outrageous trends out there. Take for example pairing running shoes with suits. Or puffer vests underneath sports coats. Dress pants ending at the upper ankles, or upper thigh?

I think there can be a very happy medium between the two. Take some fun and cool trends and mix them into your classic outfit. Put a little subtle flair into your otherwise "normal" clothing.

I'll give you a recent outfit I wore as an example of mixing a little trendy into the classic:

A classic man would always wear socks, a trendy man will ditch them from time to time (or wear really short socks like I currently am). I'll go trendy here on this otherwise classic outfit.

A classic man wears wool trousers. A trendy man wears cargo pants. Why not both?

Jacket: Tommy Hilfiger | Shirt: Michael Kors

Pants: Ovadia & Sons, Gap | Shoes: Allen Edmonds

Try it out. Those that know fashion a bit will compliment you on your trendiness, while those who don't will complement you on your classiness. Can be a good combo if I say so myself.

Four levels of work-appropriate casual

Mark Kwak

With new companies these days, the workplace has become a very casual environment. Some say this is bad news for fashion, I respectfully disagree.

I've taken a basic casual outfit (blue gingham oxford cloth button down, dark wash denim, and brown boots) and dressed it up one piece at a time. Here are four levels of casual, plus a debut of the real me. Please excuse the serious face.

Roll up the sleeves, untuck the shirt, and cuff the pants. Super casual, but the outfit is still nice enough to go into the office with.

Tuck the shirt, uncuff the bottoms... the clean generic office look.

Unroll the sleeves and put a sports coat or blazer on. Dapper.

Slap a tie on (casual tie here since we're pairing with denim) and I guarantee you, people will comment on your outfit.

Black Fleece shirt ::  Perry Ellis Belt :: Tellason denim ::  Allen Edmonds boots :: Hickey Freeman jacket :: Ovadia & Sons tie.

My opinion? Dress up your casual outfits once in a while. You'll get some notice, and you'll feel great.