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

Filtering by Tag: summer

The summer sales begin...

Mark Kwak


Looks like retailers are looking to shed their summer pieces already. Crazy considering that summer hasn't even really started yet, right? Some sales have begun, and there are more to come. Here are just a few notable ones:

1. Barney's: Up to 60% off.

2. Billy Reid: Up to 50% off.

3. Brooks Brothers Black Fleece: 40% off all.

4. J.Crew : 40% off summer pieces.

5. Paul Smith: 30% off, but 50% with coupon SS13SALE20EUS today and tomorrow.

6. GANT: 40% off a lot of their items.

7. Allen Edmonds: Tent sale, up to 50% off select items like the Strand & Park Ave. Catch is that it's by phone or local only.

8. Nordstrom: The Half-yearly men's sale is on now!

I'll probably post more as the days go on, but get at it while you can! Some of these sales come really only twice a year.

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.

Inspired by casual summer sport coats

Mark Kwak

Source: Why-youmad

From what I’ve gathered, people are often inspired to dress better by those around them. You might have experienced this yourself. Maybe it’s the best friend who, due to his new job, is starting to wear more dress shirts and wingtip shoes, leaving you in the dust with your ratty T-shirt and ripped jeans. Or perhaps it’s your sister’s new boyfriend, whose modern hipster look makes you feel like you’re constantly missing out on some sort of hip trend.

Whatever the case, I think that observing stylish folks around you and finding the things that you like (and don’t like) about their style, might be an easy way to take cues on building your own personal style.  You’ll notice things that you are fond of, and things you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in.

Recently, I've been inspired by folks wearing casual summer sport coats and blazers. You know, the ones made of seersucker, linen, madras and the like.

To me, a sport coat is one of the most attractive pieces of clothing a man can own. However, the problem with sport coats is that they can come off pretty formal, and will get neglected from regular wear as a result. Well, the good news is that these casual summer sport coats that I'm seeing around are generally unlined, unstructured, and made with breathable fabrics, all of which are characteristics of casual wear. Thus, I'm all aboard, and am going to start wearing casual summer sport coats on a more regular basis.

A few photos to inspire you all as well:

 Source: Dressmeblog

Source: Mensthreads

Source: Union LA

Okay, that last photo is outlandish, to say the least. But either way, it shows us how these types of sport coats don't need to be taken so seriously, and can be worn in pretty casual situations (dare I say, even with a baseball cap?). Get at it fellas, I know I definitely will.

Ask me: wave #5 (black suits & summerwear)

Mark Kwak

In the last couple weeks, I've been getting a pretty heavy load of questions, so I truly apologize if it takes a while before I can answer all of them. I promise though, I will get to your questions eventually! And for the record, I do love getting questions, it makes me feel great to help you out (if I can) in your sartorial journey. I've noticed two particular questions that have been repeated several times, so instead of answering you all separately, here are some good representative questions that may cover yours, more or less. Note: the answers are a bit edited from what I might have written via email, mainly because it's for a broader audience this time around.

Source: ImgFave

How versatile do you think the black suit really is? Is it faux-pas to wear at less formal events than funerals and the like? I come to you with this because there are a lot of conflicting views about this floating around on the interwebs, but you've managed to maintain a down to earth approach to style, I feel. - Panu

Ah, black suits. I'm glad you asked this question.

In the menswear world, as you probably have noticed, you'll hear that black suits should be avoided and that you can only wear them for funerals, blah, blah.

So yes, the truth is that a black suit will be less versatile than a solid navy or charcoal suit. Black is an intense color, and it can come across slightly severe, leading people to avoid it in more casual situations. However, this doesn't mean that black suits aren't wearable or can't look good (or even great).

For just about any evening cocktail/loungey event where the lights are soft or dimmed, I think black suits can look wonderful, and sometimes even more appropriate than suits of other colors. Something about night time and black suits shouts the word "classy" to me. Anyhow, in those cases, I say definitely wear your black suit. Of course, just like any other suit, it should be tailored properly, and worn with confidence... but you've already heard me talk about that part ad nauseum

Also, don't feel the need to stick with the traditional white shirt and black tie, when wearing a black suit. By all means do so if the event is very formal, but otherwise, I would stick to experimenting with other colors with your shirts and ties (violets, pinks, light blues, grays, etc) to decrease your formalness. For the color of your shirt, remember to use colors that are slightly muted/faded, and less intense. You're trying to decrease heavy contrasts, since the whole reason people don't recommend black is because it's already so highly contrasted to everything else.

The trickier part is during the day, or at the office. In these cases, I would likely opt for a gray, navy, brown, or tan suit if you have the choice, but if you want to wear your black suit, just make sure the shirt and tie, once again, have more variation. Adding pops of color and different patterns tastefully to the black canvas will do wonders, and decrease the formalness of your attire.

So in all, I think some people take the whole "no black suit" thing a bit too intensely. Yes navy and gray may be more appropriate, but they can also be more vanilla as well! Wear your black suit in confidence and I guarantee you, 99% of the people won't even care about the fact that it's black, but instead will compliment you on your sharp look. After all, you are donning a suit, man.

Source: Hypebeast

I'd love to dress like you, I really like button- up shirts and cardigans, but there's something that makes me doubt I can do this every day: Where I live, summers are hot. And I mean HOT. Around 40 or 45 degrees Celsius, with around 90% humidity. What can I do about that? Sure, I can dress well next winter, but what can I do about spring and summer? Cheers from Argentina - Brian

Because it's currently fall/winter around here, most my posts have been dedicated to wearing more layers, keeping yourself warm, etc. I will certainly get into posts about cooling down with spring/summer clothing in the next few months, but I'm sorry I wasn't able to be of assistance earlier! There's a lot to talk about, but I do have some tips for keeping cool, though I can't pretend that I live in a 90% humid 45 degree place.

Here are tips that come to mind:

1. Wear more breathable fabrics. Linen, madras, chambray, seersucker, other light weight cottons... these are your go-tos. Stay away from wools, furs, and leather. Even if you layer, you'll find that by using a bunch of light, thin, breathable fabrics, you can actually keep pretty cool.

2. Keep things simple. As long as a v-neck t shirt or henley is well-fitted and free of any designs or embellishments, it could potentially be all you need on a hot summer day. Pair it with some chinos, or shorts that end slightly above your knee, and you're good to go. Don't feel the need to add complexity to your outfit just because you want to look dapper. Truth is, you won't look good if you're incredibly uncomfortable.

3. Get jackets that are unlined. More fabric means more warmth, so use very light, unlined jackets if it's cool enough to add a jacket to the mix. Remember again to wear more breathable fabrics. For example, an unstructured, seersucker jacket could be a good addition to your wardrobe during the spring or summer.

4. Wear no-show socks or no socks at all. Keep your calves and ankles cool by wearing shorter socks. Aesthetically, no-show socks are probably best. If you're daring enough, you can also go sockless in the summer to cool off. Some of you may fear that if you forgo socks, you'll stink up your shoes. A great remedy is to use Goldbond or some other powder to suck up the moisture, keeping your feet cool, and your shoes dry.

5. Summer = light colors. Wearing blacks, navys, and charcoals won't do you any good in the summer. Darker colors absorb heat, so keep colors on the lighter end of the spectrum.

6. Canvas sneakers, boat shoes, driving moccasins and are your friends. In the summer, stash away most of your thick, heavy boots. Instead, opt for lighter, more breathable shoes, like canvas sneakers, boat shoes, or driving moccasins.

7. Wear undershirts if you're going to wear a dress shirt. If you're not in the mood to wear polos or t-shirts, you can still pull off button-ups in the summertime as they are usually made of thin, lightweight fabrics. However, donning sweat stains on your button-ups doesn't do anyone any favors. Wear light V-necks (or naval striped crew necks in casual situations, I'm a fan of those) underneath your lightweight dress shirts, roll up the sleeves, and stay sweat-proof.

And lastly, remember that comfort is always important, even when it comes to being stylish. Summertime is when you're likely to be most active, moving around, and interacting with others. If you're not comfortable in your clothing, you're not really helping anyone out, including yourself.

Alright so there you have it, my thoughts on black suits and summer wear. I'm happy to hear your thoughts as well! Just leave a comment below if you'd like, and we'll keep the conversation going.  Till next time...