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

Filtering by Tag: wish list

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.

My Fall Wish List

Mark Kwak

It's wishlist time. I've started to buy clothing again so there are a ton of fall/winter items on my list that I've been drooling over. Also, the fact that it's getting pretty cold in San Francisco (oh what a wimp I've become...), means that most of these items are actually relevant again. For anyone who has mounds of cash just sitting around, please feel free to buy me any of the pieces below:

John Varvatos Star Topcoat

There is something so incredibly classy about topcoats. They are wonderful complements to a formal or semi-formal getup, and keep you really warm and toasty. I own a topcoat already, but have been thinking about upgrading, since topcoats are very much investment pieces. I came across this one from John Varvatos on the Nordstrom website recently, and really liked the simple design. Can't really attest for the quality just yet, but I may visit the store to see if they have one on the rack to try on. Will report back.

Hey and if you're doubtful about getting a topcoat, if anything, Don Draper wears them.

Bloomingdale's Ribbed Knit Beanie

One of my buddies recently showed me his Prada knit cap, and I was thoroughly impressed with how it looked. It was charcoal in color, made with very fine wool, and extremely simple in design, like the above picture. I checked online to see how much the thing cost, and unfortunately, it was priced at over $200.

I'm all about buying quality but $200 for a hat was quite a stretch for me so I found a suitable substitute at Bloomingdales and am contemplating picking it up. I mean they say the head is where you hold the most heat, so I have to keep that heat in during the colder months, am I right?

Moncler Puffer Jacket

I cheated a bit on this one as I've recently bought a similar model to this particular jacket due to a sale.

To be honest, I used to be kind of against puffer jackets, and still am to some extent, but some of the models that Moncler has been releasing have really caught my eye. You retain the warmth of a puffer jacket, but the fit doesn't make you look like a marshmallow, and the attention to detail is just fantastic.

There are a couple downsides though. First, I live in SF, so it rarely gets cold enough to wear this thing. These jackets don't just keep you warm, they make you melt inside if it's not cold enough outside. Second, Moncler is outrageous with pricing. The cheapest models are barely sub-$1K, and the more expensive ones are ludicrously expensive.

Ralph Lauren Merino Wool Sweater

I tried one of these Polo Ralph Lauren sweaters on last week at Bloomingdales, and absolutely loved the feel and look of it. Not only did it fit snug to my body, but the colors were beautifully vibrant, and there was no annoying polo logo on the front. Again, the only thing stopping me was the price, as each one of these is $125. The sweater is actually quite thin, so it made me wonder if this was something worth investing in.

I may still end up getting it, but it will hurt the wallet.

So there is my wish list this November. God, do I love fall/winter for menswear.

Wish List #6

Mark Kwak

I have a secret to let you guys in on. Since January of this year, I made a solemn vow not buy a single piece of clothing until the end of July. To some extent it was to prove to myself that I can be disciplined in my buying habits, and to some extent it was to see if I could seamlessly work with the pieces I already had in my closet for the coming Spring/Summer season. It hasn't been easy, especially with the style blog and all, but I'm happy to report that I still have not purchased any clothing since January, and have no plans to for the next several months.

Obviously this doesn't mean that I don't get tempted from time to time. Oh trust me, I've caught myself staring a little too long at a few select pieces. Just to give you an idea of what those pieces look like, here's my wish list for June 2013:

Alden Suede Bucks

 Suede bucks look so good in the summertime, that it's almost difficult not to get a pair after the month of May. The good news is that there are plenty of brands that make suede bucks, and at reasonable prices too. The pair above is certainly not one of them, but you can get ones from Bass or Florsheim that have price tags that are easier to swallow.

GANT by Michael Bastian Checkered Shorts

I don't know what it is about checkered shorts, but I love them. Pair them with a solid colored T-shirt, henley, or casual dress shirt, and you got yourself an incredibly stylish outfit, without the fuss. These ones by GANT are pretty expensive, but I'm sure you can get a good substitute at your local J.Crew, Uniqlo, or Club Monaco.

Brooks Brothers Cotton Braided Belt

I've been on the lookout for a braided belt for several months now. Leather or cotton, I don't care. I just think they look great, are easy to wear, and can really up-level an already awesome outfit. Keep them thin in width, and in a fairly neutral color like brown, navy, or  cream.

Miansai Bracelet

Men's bracelets are all the rage these days. And to me, there is no one doing them better than Miansai. This Florida based company is creating some of the most stylish men's bracelets that I've ever seen, and I've been contemplating getting one for quite some time now. I've generally been a wristwatch-only guy, but I feel like I'll make the exception for a Miansai bracelet.

So there's my wish list for June 2013. Still got over a month before I can actually make any purchases, but don't think I won't be drooling over the above items during that whole time period.

Wish list #5

Mark Kwak

Ever since starting Simpler Man, I've forced myself to be more observant of street style and the attire of others around me. It's astounding how much you can learn about style just from being a little more aware of your surroundings. I started recognizing brands that people were wearing, styles and fits that were more common than others, and trends that were gaining traction in the city. Even the details became noticeable to me, like what color palettes people preferred, or what accessories they took out of their pockets to check the time, unlock the door, or pay the bill.

So today, my wish list is all about these said accessories. Items that I've coveted after seeing them on friends, colleagues, or random people across the street. Here you go:

Apolis Transit Issue Key Chain

Source: Apolis

I usually use a caribeaner to keep my keys in one place. It does the job, looks fine, and is pretty inexpensive. However, I saw one of my friends wearing this keychain from Apolis a couple months ago, and have wanted one ever since. You place it on your belt loop, tuck the keys into your back pocket, and go on your merry way, occasionally getting glances from people like me who wonder where to get one for myself. I may pull the trigger on this soon, but it is also $38 just for a small piece of leather and metal (though likely high quality).

Taylor Money Clip

Source: Taylor Ware

I've always been a fan of decreasing the bulk in my pockets. That's why I opted for a smaller wallet, a slimmer phone, and keychains that hang off of my belt loop. Well, a couple months ago, one of my buddies got this Taylor money clip, and I immediately wanted one for myself. Not only is it slim and hefty (since it's made out of titanium) but it also comes with a pick holder, which I think is the ultimate cherry on top. I play guitar from time to time, so it would actually be pretty handy. The only thing stopping me from getting it is the price... $200.

Filson x Levi's Duffle Bag

Source: Levi's

I love Levi's, I love Filson, and I love duffle bags. Three birds with one stone? Yes. I currently don't have a high quality duffle bag for weekend trips, and this particular bag has been on my eye for quite some time. I saw a guy at the airport sporting one, and immediately knew I had to have one for myself at some point. I love the tan/navy combo, the tweed detailing, and the Filson guarantee that backs it. Been a little trigger shy on it, but who knows what's in store.

There you go, my March Wish List. One thing I've learned while posting these wish lists up is that they never quite seem to end.

Wish List #4

Mark Kwak

Christmas has come and gone, and massive end-of-the-season sales have begun. Time for another wish list from yours truly.

Saint James Meridien II shirt

Oddly, this shirt has been on my mind for the last three weeks. Really, it's nothing special since all it is, is basically a long sleeve striped T shirt (albeit a high quality one) with a slightly unique neck opening.  To add, I'm not a huge fan of horizontal lines on shirts since I'm a bit shorter, and such patterns don't do any favors for my stature. Still, this shirt keeps popping up in my head. I suppose it might be the shirt's history? Or incredible layering ability?

You can grab one from J.Crew or Unionmade (who is actually having a semi-annual sale right now).

Wolverine 1000 Mile boots

Why do I keep posting boots in my wish lists?

One boot that has particularly caught my attention is the 1000 mile boot by Wolverine. These bad boys are quite acclaimed in the menswear world, and for good reason. I had a chance to try them out recently, and not only do they look great, but you can immediately tell they're built like an ox. Proper Goodyear welting on a leather sole, high quality upper leather & stitching, made in the USA... what's not to like? Plus, I think they are incredibly versatile. They're equally appropriate on a mountain hike as they are at an office event.

I would go out and get them immediately, but I think I'm past my boot quota for 2012-2013. Oh, and if these boots are too expensive for you, I found a great deal on an amazing, less expensive alternative made by Chippewa. You can find them on Amazon for only $86 with coupon "workboot." Yea, seriously.

Drake's navy pin dot tie

I recently saw a Gitman Vintage navy shirt with a subtle pin dot pattern on it at a clothing boutique here in SF. I immediately wanted one in my closet, so I started searching the web to find one in my size. Unfortunately, I failed to find one at a decent price, but the shirt got me to thinking. Hey, wouldn't this pattern look great on a tie or pocket square?

Since having that thought, I've been looking all over the web for a decent tie and pocket square combo in the navy + pin dot pattern. Well it turns out that one of my favorite tie makers, Drake's of London, carries a nice one as shown above. They're also having an end of the year sale right now, so the prices are cut about 25%.

If the price is still too high for you, good news is that you can get both a tie and pocket square in this pattern at thetiebar for a lot cheaper than the Drake's tie above.

J.Crew denim shirt

Grant it, I don't think it needs to be specifically from J.Crew, but I've been looking for a nice dark indigo denim shirt for a while now. I think a denim shirt is a piece that can effortlessly dress a formal outfit down, and still look appropriate in most situations. Definitely a refreshing change from your normal white, blue, or pink dress shirt that you may wear on a daily basis.

The only reservation I have with getting a denim shirt is its versatility. I generally wear jeans everyday and the color of this shirt in particular would be too similar to the color of my jeans, making the outfit look less than ideal. Either way, I'm on the fence, but I must say... J.Crew makes this shirt look damn good.


So there you go, my January wish list. You know, sometimes I wonder if it ever ends...


Holiday Gift Guide for Men

Mark Kwak

So it's time to get your brother, dad, grandfather, husband, buddy, boyfriend, or self some gifts for the holidays. What do you get? Well, here's a list of gift ideas that might help you on your quest to find the perfect present!

Altuzarra Whiskey Set


I just wrote about the whole Target/Neiman Marcus collaboration in my last post. Well this is one of the items that I feel might be worth a buy from that collection. Altuzarra is an up and coming designer who generally works with high end clothing, but I think he has a home run with the set above. Not only does it look classy, but all the pieces actually feel quite hefty and high quality. Just lift the tray- it's so heavy you'll feel like you're doing a workout.

For any man who likes to drink whiskey, nice tumblers are always welcome in the household, and these fit the bill in my opinion. The three pieces (glasses, shaker, and tray) all come separate, so I would probably start with the glasses, and get either, neither, or both of the other pieces depending how much you can spend. They might be from Target, but they're not cheap. The tumblers come in at $49.99, the shaker also $49.99, and the tray $79.99.

Clarks Desert Boots


I've praised these shoes on more than one occasion here at simplerman. For good reason, they are rock solid with regards to quality, classically/beautifully designed, and relatively inexpensive ($69 to $139). Everyone can pull these shoes off, and they'll likely be comfortable from the get-go. If the person you want to give a gift to needs shoes, these should be a no brainer in my opinion.

Shaving Set with Stand, Bowl, and Brush

Shaving has become pretty awesome in the last few years. We're going back to the old school times, and I couldn't be happier. There's something about using a shaving brush, shaving bowl, and manual razor that makes me want to wake up in the morning and shave. I know I'm not alone in this either; just check out the rampant popularity of the Art of Shaving. Five years ago, I didn't even know such a business existed, but today, they seem to be in every nook and cranny of the U.S.

Clearly, shaving has become cool again, and with a set like the above, you'll make whoever receives it just as cool. FYI, both Don Draper and James Bond use shaving brushes and bowls (just check out Mad Men and Skyfall), and who wouldn't want to be like them?

Spotify Premium Membership

Spotify is a bit random in comparison to the rest of the list, but definitely something I still wanted to bring up. I personally use Spotify everyday, whether I'm in transit, at work, or at home. In fact, as I type this right now, I'm listening to Christmas carols through Spotify.

Spotify is free to use, but I recommend getting someone a premium membership as a gift, since there are many benefits that come from paying that $9.99 a month. They won't get those annoying ads anymore, they can use the app on mobile and tablet, and most importantly, they can download songs offline, so if they're on an airplane or subway, they can still listen to music.

Just putting it out there, since I feel like it's worth every penny. I generally don't purchase monthly subscriptions, but this is one I had to.


So there you have it. My small gift guide for this 2012 Christmas season. Happy Holidays everybody, and I hope you all get tons of gifts and love. Peace.

Wish List #3

Mark Kwak

So Christmas is coming soon and people are shopping off the hook. As a result, new and shiny things are starting to catch my eye, and it's no good for my crying wallet. Here's my wish list for December.

Filson Harris Tweed Bag

Twill and Tweed Original Briefcase

Filson is my favorite company for durable men's bags/luggage. They make bullet-proof products that are meant to last, and I mean it. Each of their products employs a lifetime warranty, so once you get one, you're set. Also, remember how I told you all that I have a weakness for tweed in an old blog post? Well, Filson has taken advantage of my weakness and released this sexy Harris Tweed version of their uber popular 257 style bag.

This thing is perfect as a daily commuter bag for those who carry a laptop, books, and other large items on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I already own the original 257 myself, so it would be quite a waste to get the above, although I can't say I wasn't tempted.

Crockett & Jones Highbury

Crockett & Jones Highbury, Black Calf

This shoe is amazing. To me, it embodies exquisite craftsmanship and timeless design, two characteristics that are always welcome in my book.

Also, there's more. Not only is this shoe made by one of my favorite shoemakers, Crockett & Jones, but it was also worn by one of my favorite film icons, James Bond, in the movie Skyfall. I'm not going to say anything more about this shoe because it's out of my price range, and the pain of that reality is lame.

Davek Solo Umbrella

I am currently living in gloomy San Francisco without an umbrella. Crazy? Yes. Stupid? Yes.

After being hit by one too many rain storms this past week, I have made a rather obvious decision to buy myself an umbrella, and no one is better in this business than Davek. Like Filson above, Davek also offers a lifetime warranty on all of their umbrellas. That, to me, is ridiculous since I've personally broken too many umbrellas to keep track. Clearly this indicates that Davek knows what they are doing, so I'm sold. I have quite an itch to get their all-black Davek Solo... too bad it's pretty expensive ($99) for just an umbrella.

Rag & Bone Shawl Collared Cardigan

Okay, so I'm cheating a bit here. I already ordered this one (and it's on its way), so it should technically be out of my wishlist, but I thought I would still put it up here. Recently, Target and Neiman Marcus did a collaboration event where they brought together 24 high-fashion designers (think Thom Browne, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta) to create 50 unique holiday items at relatively inexpensive prices. Genius idea. Among all the items, there were only a few targeted towards men, but thankfully, this beautiful cardigan was one of them.

Rag & Bone is actually a company I'm quite a fan of, and I love shawl collared cardigans, so this one was a no-brainer for me. I'll let you know all about it another time, but go and get yourself one if you're in need of a nice sweater for winter.

So there you have it! To all of you who also have Christmas wishlists, let me know what items are on your mind; I'm curious to know!