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

Filtering by Tag: ray ban

A simple case for better sunglasses

Mark Kwak

On the left are my tried and true Oliver Peoples sunglasses; the one you've seen on this blog probably far too much. On the right is a pair of free sunglasses that I think I got from a swag day at my company. They look similar, but let me tell you why I think it's worth it to go with the sunglasses on the left over the ones on the right. DSC_0083

Okay, I'm going to throw a little bit of a curveball at you. Instead of focusing on style, quality, longevity, durability, and other very important benefits to having premium sunglasses, I'm going to focus instead on a reason that people often overlook when deciding between crappy sunglasses, and a pair of, let's say, Ray-Bans.

Generally when you pay the extra buck or two for sunglasses, and this doesn't have to be some outrageous amount (like $450 for Prada glasses), you will end up caring about your sunglasses exponentially more than if they were some cheap $15 glasses you found at a flea market in Brooklyn.

Before I started spending more than $25 for a pair of sunglasses, I probably replaced about 20-30 pairs, and each had a maximum lifespan of about 5-6 months. I may have left them on a table somewhere, or accidentally crushed them in my pocket, but in either case, I didn't really pay attention to the glasses because they were so cheap and replaceable.

Then I bought a pair of Ray-Ban wayfarers on sale for $75. The moment I got those, not only did the glasses look and feel much better than my previous pairs, but I also cared about them far more. I took care of them when I could, I made 100% sure not to lose them or put them in some compromising situation, and also incorporated them into my outfits much more thoughtfully. I would assume this all happened because psychologically, I just couldn't accept losing a pair of $75 Ray-Bans due to some in-the-moment stupidity on my part.

So my recommendation is to try a nice pair of sunglasses out sometime if you don't already own a pair. You'll find that the fear you have about losing them or crushing them and wasting your money will actually help you do just the opposite.

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Summer Getaway Outfits

Mark Kwak

It's been a while since the last simpler woman post, and I want to make sure we don't fully lose sight of the female perspective here at Simpler Man. Thus, I bring to you the next edition of Simpler Woman, written by my very fashion-forward friend Sarah. Also, this post comes just in time for summer. It's all about dressing the part of being on vacation, but still looking stylish as ever.

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Summer Getaway Outfits

With summer travel around the corner, it's time to check out the best outfits to pack for your beach or resort vacation.

First things first: you can't have a beach vacation without swim shorts. I recommend ditching the board and surf shorts to modernize your look. Show me some leg, gentlemen! The Curtis from Saturdays Surf NYC is a favorite of mine. With a 15" outseam, it won't feel too short, but at the same time its length will move you away from that beach bum look. Plus, they have pockets, so they can double as shorts to wear into town after a day on the beach.

Once you have your swimwear, think about how you can stylishly double your beach wear into an outfit that will extend through the day. You can look effortlessly chic by pairing a soft, high-quality solid color tee with your new swim shorts. Put your plastic flip flops away and throw on a pair of Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes. Now you'll be ready to hop aboard your yacht:

Also, make sure you've got your eyes protected in this hot weather! I always fancy a vintage Ray Ban aviator; it'll give you an edgy allure and you can try a different type of Ray Ban than the Wayfarers.

Heading to a waterfront restaurant for a mai tai this evening? For casual dinners or nights out on the beach, I recommend a linen button down. I love the Mediterranean feel of linen shirts, especially in white. Perhaps these really attractive Brooks Brothers ones?

You can pair the shirt with a pair of jeans or chinos from Bonobos. Their Summer Weight Chinos are a lovely material. Or, try the Travel Jeans that can double up as both your airplane pants and your going out pants! If it's too hot, you can still rock shorts at night, just make sure to keep away from cargos and other casual styles. Instead, spice it up with some patterns or colorblocking, like these Club Monaco shorts!

Hope this gets your suitcase packed! I better start working on mine next...

sarah maldives

Sarah is an avid traveler, wine lover, and fashion enthusiast. Today, she can be found in either San Francisco or Chicago, daydreaming about her next summer vacation.

 

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: 3 Men's Wardrobe Basics

Mark Kwak

Let's be real. About half of you visit this site, as well as other menswear blogs, to learn how you can impress the ladies with your impeccable style. There's no shame in admitting this, we all know dressing better can garner more attention from the opposite sex. For this reason, I've decided to start a guest-blogging series where you can hear from women directly, on how to dress better. Today, it's all about 3 staple pieces that every man should have in their wardrobe. All brought to you by my very stylish, San Francisco living, dog-loving friend, Kristin. Read on:

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3 Men’s Wardrobe Basics That Will Make This Happily Married Woman Turn Her Head for a Second Look

It does not take an extravagant show of style, the latest fashion runway look, or an expensive designer brand to make me to elbow my husband and say, "See, you need a basic (insert clothing item here) just like he has, that looks so good!" Because actually, in the vein of the mantra of this blog, it really is quite simple.  The simpler the fashion, the simpler the man, the simpler it is to get the approval of the ladies.

I have faith that as a reader of this blog you are already doing a lot of things right.  You aren’t wearing denim with patterns or embellishments on the pocket, you definitely aren’t pairing a suit jacket with a pair of jeans in an effort to look ‘casual yet important’, and the absolute only time you wear a hoodie to dinner is when you are grabbing something to go on a weeknight.  Right?  Right.  But enough about what I know you are already doing, and on to the wardrobe basics you should most definitely own:

1)  Dark jeans.

Buy a pair & wear them every single time you are even slightly unsure of what to wear.  As a solid base to the rest of the outfit, I believe a guy almost can’t go wrong no matter what other fashion decisions he makes.  No stone wash, no holes, no embellishments, no fancy colors.  Just a pair of straight fit, dark blue jeans.

Such as these always stylish APC New Standards.

If you are intimidated that you might go wrong in your selection, I have witnessed miracles in the Men’s denim department at Nordstrom.  I guarantee they can have you in and out in 20 minutes with your new jeans.  And while you are there, perhaps you can browse for…

2)  A pair of sunglasses that aren’t black Ray-Bans.

Last year after Coachella, the organizers posted on the Coachella website a notice that went something like this, “If you lost your black Ray-Bans during Coachella weekend, be advised that so did everyone else so you are out of luck in getting them back.”  I breathed a sigh of relief knowing so many black Ray-Bans had been cleaned from the sunny California streets.   But it wasn’t quite enough so my advice is that you should too keep your black Ray-Bans where they belong:  music festivals and Men in Black auditions.  And find another pair of every day shades.

I like these by Persol, but really anything other than black Ray-Bans is a great start.

3)  Plain t-shirts.

You’re a guy so there is a high probability you are going to do it anyways, so all this lady asks is that you do it with a bit of class.   Invest in high quality, plain cotton t-shirts in non-neon colors that you cannot see through.  That’s it.  If your t-shirt has something to do with sports, you’ve messed up on this piece of advice.  If you bought your t-shirt on a brewery tour, you’ve messed up.  But your t-shirt has a cute dog on it that says, ‘Pugs not Drugs’?  That is cute, but no.  In fact, if you bought any t-shirt from a display at Urban Outfitters, you’ve probably messed up.

This is so easy to do, and cheap!  Try these from J. Crew.

Hey now, look at you with your dark jeans, your shades, and your nice t-shirt!  I love it!  You can keep it simple just like that, or you can add on virtually any other new item you have acquired based on the fashionable inspiration you have received from Simpler Man.  And when I see you on the street, I’ll take a second look, and elbow my ripped-old-jeans-wearing, RayBan-sporting, Indiana-basketball-t-shirt-styled husband to say, “You need to dress like that!”  To which he will inevitably roll his eyes and respond, “Cool it, honey.  You’re married.”

kristin for blog

Kristin lives in San Francisco with her husband, Chad, and miniature dachshund, Wrigley.

She's also a style guru, so you'll want to take her advice. 

What am I wearing 12.8.12

Mark Kwak

Today is a relatively cold day in San Francisco, even though the sun is blasting like no one's business. Probably not cold enough to wear my winter coat and scarf, but definitely too cold to go jacket or sweater-less. Thus, I thought it would be the perfect time to bust out my shetland sweater.

Now I've had my reservations about shetland sweaters in the past. Not only can they look a little old-school, but they can also be a bit uncomfortable to wear (itchy and scratchy). However, I think if you wear them right, shetland sweaters can be an amazing addition to your wardrobe, both functionally and stylistically. They'll keep you warm and give you a bit of traditional American charm.

purpshetland3

So clearly, I'm wearing a fairly bold color- deep purple. Well, truth is that I'm a huge fan, both of the band and the color. I think a bold color like this can distinguish you from the crowd and provide a bit of uniqueness to your outfit.

However, I also made sure that I didn't have any other bold pieces in this outfit, just so I don't stand out too much. Grey / brown / white can cover the rest.

purpshetland1

Remember boat shoes are generally meant to be worn without socks. Not a hard-fast rule, but I try and follow it.

purpshetland4

Again, I think it's great to show your shirt cuff when wearing long sleeve shirts under sweaters. Also, an oxford cloth button down, like what I'm wearing, is a perfect item to help shield you from the itchiness of a shetland sweater.

purpshetland2

Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Sweater: Ralph Lauren Rugby | Shirt: Jack Spade

Watch: Hamilton | Pants: GQ x Ian Velardi | Shoes: Sebago

It's only going to get colder, so I'm stoked to start busting out some more of my fall and winter clothing to keep myself warm. Who says you can't look legit while doing so? Cheers friends.

Style rules - part 2

Mark Kwak

Welcome to the second installment of simplerman's commentary on Ralph Lauren's Rules of Style. Gentlemen, it looks like today is all about accessories. Let's do this.

You know, it's very strange. I didn't use to be a fan of tie bars. I actually thought they gave off a bit of a pretentious look that I wasn't fond of. Well thank God, because the times have changed and I'm now very much on-board the tie bar train. I want to slap my old self for thinking the way I did.

Anyway, yes, definitely make sure your tie bar is shorter than the width of your tie, as otherwise, it can look ridiculous. I recommend having the tie bar hit at least the middle of the tie, but don't feel the need for it to extend all the way out and match your tie's full width. 1 and 1/2 inches is a good length I'd say. Also FYI, I only shop at one place for tie bars: it's The Tie Bar.

Sigh, I love watches so much. This particular accessory has a special place in my heart, and I promise to you that I'll be writing about them soon enough.

The interesting thing about this rule for me, is that I agree with it wholeheartedly, but think that you can make one exception. I'll get into that exception in just a second, but yes, you shouldn't be wearing digital watches to any formal event (or any event that isn't extremely casual, in my opinion). As a general rule, larger/thicker watches are for more casual events, and slimmer, smaller watches are for more formal events. The ideal dress watch is slim, simple, analog, on a black or brown leather band, and under 38/40mm in diameter. Casio G-Shocks should be left for going hunting or hiking, and blingy/oversized fashion watches should be left for... never.

So the exception I'm talking about is regarding the ability to use a nice diver watch (metal band, a bit thicker and bigger than a normal dress watch) in dressier situations. Big watch snobs will tell you that you should never do it, but I disagree. I think a nice diver watch, as long as it's not too thick or loud-colored, can look amazing underneath the cuff of a nice suit. Just my humble opinion.

So this rule is pretty self explanatory. Just like the rule about watches, this one is about wearing your accessories appropriately. Don't pair a business casual outfit with Nike Wrap Sunglasses. Save that for when you're wearing a track or wet suit. Trendy hipster glasses probably aren't the best fit with a semi-formal/formal outfit either. Use common sense on this one, and remember, the less flashy the eye/sunglasses, the more appropriate they probably are in most situations.

Leave loud colors and patterns for casual-wear, and stick with tortoise, black, or metal-colored frames for formal-wear. I recommend just buying a pair of Ray Ban Aviators or Wayfarers and calling it a day. Those classics work in basically all situations.

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So there you have it- some rules to keep when wearing accessories. Basically the main takeaway is that you should consider how your accessories will work with the rest of your outfit. Matching/pairing appropriately will make a huge difference, and it's important to remember that.

Really quickly, I'm also going to say that I believe less is more in the case of men's accessories. It's definitely cool to "up the game" of your outfit with some nice accessories, but sometimes, I say it's okay to put down the pocket square, eyeglasses, diamond studs, and bracelets. Just put on a wristwatch and call it a day.