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

Filtering by Tag: socks

Boat shoes and socks

Mark Kwak

A question I constantly get is this: Can I wear boat shoes with socks?

Up till recently, my advice has always been to wear boat shoes without socks, as that is the "right" way to wear them. I mean, boat shoes were originally designed to be worn on a boat, so wearing socks would be downright absurd when there is water constantly getting on your feet.

Well, today, I'm here to tell you that I've had change of heart when it comes to this particular question. I've begun to realize that indeed, socks look pretty great when paired with boat shoes.

Let me make sure I cover all my bases here. First off, this really applies to when one is wearing pants with boat shoes, not shorts. I say stick to no socks when wearing shorts. Also, this is not to say that boat shoes shouldn't be worn without socks. They most certainly should. However, there has been a situation or two when I've wanted to wear my boat shoes, but opted for another pair of shoes instead because I was wearing socks at the time. Damn first world problems.

What I realized is that as long as I'm not wearing white socks or ankle socks, I could still look pretty good. I especially like it when my sock color complements other parts of my outfit, and the boat shoes help showcase them. Wacky, bold colored socks also look pretty cool, as they add that extra spice to the fairly conservative boat shoe design. Kind of like I paired them here:

DSC_1004

So the next time you put on your cool looking socks and head to your shoe rack, don't dismiss your awesome Quoddys or Sperrys. They might very well look good with your excellent socks.

 

Accessories Part 1: Socks, Pocket Squares, Tie Bars

Mark Kwak

Today, I want to talk to you about my favorite types of socks, pocket squares, and tie bars, three accessories that I believe every man should have at least one of (definitely way more than one for socks). First let's start with socks. I don't intend to talk about plain black socks or athletic white socks because I want to showcase socks that can help step up your style game a notch. Though there's nothing wrong with white or black socks, there is certainly a loss of creativity with them.

Anyway, I've said it time and time again, but I'm a huge fan of bold colored socks. They can be solid in color, like below:

or they can be patterned. We're talking stripes, argyle, dots, etc.

The main thing is that you have to find socks that work well with the rest of the colors in your outfit. When I wear a blue shirt, I like to have my socks have a hint of blue in it somewhere. Or if my tie is red, I like my socks to have some red in it.

If you're really daring, and every other part of your outfit is impeccable, you can also just follow this rule:

Next, pocket squares. I think a pocket square is a wonderful accessory to help you bring out the most of your style knowledge. Pocket squares add a little pizzazz to boring or conservative outfits, and can make a plain navy or charcoal suit stand out in a sea of other navy or charcoal suits.

When it comes to picking out a pocket square, I must admit that it really depends on the situation. You want to coordinate your pocket square with the rest of your outfit, and make sure that it works seamlessly overall. Linen/cotton is a good fabric for more casual outings, while silk is good for formal situations.

I highly recommend getting at least a clean white pocket square first, as that will be your most used. It's classic, easy, and versatile.

After you've gotten that one, venture out into other patterns and colors. Blues, pinks, greys, and creams are good if you want to play it safe, while purples, greens, and reds work to help make a statement. Here's an example of a pocket square I like:

Lastly, tie bars (or tie clips). To be truthful, I don't necessarily think a tie bar is an accessory that you should have a ton of. I personally have two, but think that I might have one too many. Now, I've seen some really cool tie clips out there, and perhaps it's an accessory you can collect, but to me, the only tie clip you'll ever need is a simple plain silver 1 inch (or 1.5 inch) tie clip, kind of like what you see below.

So there you have it, my preferences for socks, pocket squares, and tie bars. Watch out for the next three accessories soon!

 

Socks in the summertime

Mark Kwak

 Source: Black Lapel

I've started to bust out the sunglasses, shorts, and T-shirts once again, as the sun has begun to show its glorious face. Girls are wearing sundresses, dudes are bringing out polos, and all have begun to stop wearing boots in favor of light and breathable shoes.

For guys, I'm talking athletic sneakers, canvas sneakers (Converse, Vans, Toms), bucks, boat shoes, and driving mocs. Yes, yes, I know a lot of guys are also wearing flip flops and sandals, but for today, I'm not going to focus on them, and instead focus on those wearing actual shoes out.

One question you will likely ask when wearing summer shoes is: what type of socks should I wear? Unfortunately, I have to give you the always-dreaded answer of: it depends.

However, the silver lining here is that I'm not going to bog you down with the philosophical and complex reason as to why you should be wearing one type of sock versus another during the summer. Instead, I'm going to address each one of the types of summer shoes I mentioned earlier with a simple answer to each.

 Source: Lifestylefancy

Athletic sneakers: Ankle socks. Athletic shoes look best with an ankle sock that shows slightly above the top of the shoe, indicating you're hygienic, but also stylish. I personally like black/grey better than white.

Canvas sneakers: Canvas sneakers look best in the summer without any signs of sock. For that reason, I would suggest you go with no show socks, like these, or if you're daring, sock-less (but remember to powder up).

Bucks: Bucks are a wonderful alternative to leather wingtips or cap-toes in the summertime. They're on the line between formal and casual, so they end up being pretty versatile as a shoe overall. If you're wearing shorts with these, I would suggest going no-show socks, but if you're wearing pants, wear whatever socks you'd like (as long as they're not white athletic socks or hot wool socks).

Boat shoes: No socks here. Wait, I take that back a little. If you want to mix it up and add some really colorful socks into the mix, I've found that to be acceptable and kind of fun.

Driving moccasins: I'd say the same rules that apply to boat shoes apply here.

So clearly, I'm suggesting you to go "no-show" quite often here. You may ask why? Well there's two simple reasons.

1. It just looks better. Ankles look good, and from an unofficial poll I recently took, women agree.

2. The less fabric on you, the cooler (in temperature) you will remain. If it's hot, then it's a no brainer.

Stay cool, look cool, and follow the above guidelines. Cheers fellas.

Thoughts from a simpler woman: Bold Accessories

Mark Kwak

It's that time again. That time where I disappear for a bit, and bring to you a more important perspective on menswear than my own- a woman's. If you haven't checked out my previous "simpler woman" posts, you should definitely take a look. Here they are for you: 1 , 2 , 3 .

Today, we'll hear from one of my old college friends, Emilie. She's a fashion guru at heart, but also kind of a bonafide genius in pretty much every subject known to man (cough... that one Boston school... cough.... 4.0 galore). Thus, it might be worth it to listen to her advice.

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Bold Accessories

While I cannot quite put my finger on it, there is something about a man who enjoys the simple pleasures in life that catches my gaze.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s that guy at the corner coffee shop who takes his drip coffee in-house, absorbed in a dog-eared copy of the WSJ.  It’s that guy who enjoys a quiet whisky on the rocks after a long night at the office.  There is just something about a man with the confidence to enjoy the small pleasures in life.

Style is no exception. It’s that extra bit of bold execution, shouting adoration for life, that brings a grin to my curious eyes.  What better way to exude this sort of boldness than through tastefully-placed accessories? To me, the unexpected burst of color and whimsy can add so much to any man's outfit.

Audacity

Audacious socks that peek out from beneath an ensemble of dark slacks and a pressed button-up bring a hint of fun to the usual dark getup.  I’ve met my fair share of corporate men and it’s the ones that can make me laugh and bring a little humor that can make or break an evening.  Though you may be fenced behind a corporate lifestyle, a bit of unexpected cotton color hints at your affinity to flirt with life.

BOSS dress socks

boss socks

Simply Bold

A simple, bold watch hints at those nostalgic Calvin and Hobbes days.  Only now, the kid behind that grin is a youthful, twenty-something with a quick wit and an easy laugh.  Not every workday mandates a Patek Philippe dripping from your wrist.  With ease and some confidence, a playful watch will definitely invite a few grins your way.

 

Tic O-Clock Watch  

Foresight

Eyeglasses are a statement piece.  Forget the wire-rimmed spectacles that scream “I was an extra on Office Space.”  The subtle sexiness of a well-read man doesn’t escape us women.  Frame your face with a pair of fun edges.  We won’t be able to stop ourselves from imagining tossing those rims bedside later…if you ever happen to look up from that copy of the WSJ.  Have a little fun with an unconventional pair of specs.

 

Oliver Peoples NDG-1

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Emilie Simpler WomanEmilie, a Bay Area native, and recent convert to whiskey, currently lives in Boston.  In between hitting the books, she loves to get her travel on and restaurant visits in.  She thoroughly misses San Francisco (if anyone is willing to send her some Philz coffee beans, she will forever be delighted).

Dos & Don'ts: white socks

Mark Kwak

There was once a time in my life where I didn't own a pair of socks that weren't white in color. Why? Partly because that's all that my mom bought me, but also because I had the naive impression that my socks would never be seen by anyone but myself. Then I turned 12. Hmm, or was it 21?

Either way, the game has changed since then, and socks have become an important part of my wardrobe, and they should be for you as well. Let me paint a story for you.

You walk into a smoky lounge with your dark wash denim, sports coat, and dress shirt. A pair of shiny black dress shoes also dons your feet, commanding attention as your feet clack authoritatively on the hardwood floor. The woman in the red dress sitting at the bar looks down to check out your shoes, but is instead greeted with flashes of white athletic socks every time you make a step. She immediately dismisses you and your elementary sense of style.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but I do want to convey the point that you should have a decent amount of black, brown and grey socks in your drawers, not just white. Here are some general rules of thumb:

1. When wearing anything apart from athletic shoes, wear socks that come up past your ankles and are not white in color.

2. No need to match socks with your shoes, unless they are black. Otherwise, match your socks to your pants, tie, shirt, eyes, whatever. Socks can be used as an accent piece, and you have some freedom with it.

3. Have a little fun with socks. You've probably noticed guys decked out in charcoal or navy suits with neon green or hot pink socks. Though I wouldn't necessarily recommend going too extreme with sock colors, it's the one part of your outfit that you can be a little playful with, even when wearing something as serious as a suit. I personally have some colorful argyle socks to spice up my outfit once in a while.