The Art of Layering

Spring is the season of layers. Seventy degrees and sunny one day, 30 degrees and sleeting the next. Ya never know what you’re going to get – especially in this city. Which is why layering your look is vital to transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring.

Men – I’m sure this idea of ‘layering’ your outfit is rather bewildering. And I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “What’s the point?” I’ll give you two reasons, my friends: practicality and style.

On an average day, you usually see only one visible layer on a male: a shirt, pants, and if it’s cold, a jacket….

Sorry that outfit combo was so dull I dozed off. But really, why does a majority of our gender refuse to be anything more than “basic”? Because gentlemen, we are far from basic. Mastering the art of layering isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. It’s all about combining functionality and aesthetic. Basically, you want to be warm and comfortable without looking like a hobo.

Start with a breathable fabric – a cotton graphic tee or long sleeve shirt – then add thicker pieces. Throw on a denim button up or zip-up hoodie, then slip on a cool leather jacket. Not only will you be warm, but you’ll look cool too (no one can resist the temptations of a leather jacket).

Jacob Neminarz of Well-Tailored Life

Or take some advice straight from the NYFW runways: lightweight trench coats, denim jackets, and technical outerwear, to name a few. But my favorite layering advice for this season? Fabric blocking. Rather than color blocking, fabric blocking has so much more dimension. Plus it looks sick. Corduroy, velvet, shearling, suede, and innovative tech gear are fabrics that should be in your closet.

Most importantly, layering helps to add a little color or pattern to your look. The rich monochrome colors of winter are over. While it’s not quite time for the bright neon colors of summer, it is a good chance to start slowly working your wardrobe up to that. And if you’re not into the whole color thing, I am happy to report to that this spring is all about earthy tones. Shades of green and stone were huge on and off the runway. Paisley is the perfect pattern to transition into spring. Pick up some cropped trousers to let those ankles see a little sunlight and a beanie to keep warm. And of course, pair everything with a cool pair of sneakers.

I gravitate towards bomber jackets, trendy raincoats, and denim jackets – these are ideal for layering! Shop some of my picks:

Men’s Scotch & Soda Bonded Trench Coat • Scotch & Soda • $245

Men’s Barbour Holton Quilted Bomber Jacket • Barbour • $249

Todd Snyder + Champion Cotton Bomber Jacket in White • $348

Diesel Indigo Denim Nhill Jacket • Diesel • $200

Ami Alexandre Mattiussi Shearling-collar denim jacket • Ami Alexandre Mattiussi • $310

Wallace & Barnes MA-1 bomber jacket • J.Crew • $178

Sophnet Roadmaster 4-Pocket Jacket Black • Belstaff • $750

Ornamental Conifer Limits Leather Jacket • Lucky Brand • $950

Comfort is key in Spring 2017. If you incorporate functional fits, mixing fabrics and warm neutrals, you’ll be ready for the sunny days to come.

Keep It Brief: Underwear You Want To Show

Underwear is undoubtedly a very personal choice for any man. But gentlemen, if our boxers or briefs are going to show, we might as well make them something to look at. Regardless if you are a boxer or brief kind of guy, whatever you choose to wear should be comfortable and add to your confidence. If you look good, you’ll always feel good, that’s my motto.

I know all of my readers have impeccable taste, but are your skivvies as on trend as the rest of your look? You’re in luck because I’m sharing some of the sickest underwear lines.

Check out these 3 brands below – I promise, you’ll thank me later.

2(X)IST

This is the most underrated underwear brand of all time. 2(X)IST has been around for nearly 25 years and is an essential in my closet. The styles are meant for men who actively live their lives by pushing the boundaries with confidence. But more importantly, the comfort level is phenomenal. It’s like wearing your birthday suit. Don’t believe me? Then try them for yourselves. Shop here –> a few of my favorites.

Armani

While they’re mostly known for suits and evening wear, Armani carries some of my favorite briefs. From fit and pattern to style and color, they are seriously amazing. Although a pair is a little pricey, the quality + comfort 100% justifies the purchase. Treat yourself, men. Shop here –> best pair.

Calvin Klein

Alright so everyone knows about Calvins – and if you don’t you have some serious catching up to do. But they’re my favorite so I couldn’t resist. When it comes to underwear, no one does it quite like Calvin can. The Calvin Klein brand has become a statement. And one that I am happy to make. Shop here –> SHOP

NY Men’s Fashion Week: Street Style

Alright guys – fashion may not be your forte, but it is most certainly mine. And New York Men’s Fashion Week 2017 did not disappoint. Top designer collections made their way down the runway, while influencers and industry icons rocked the Manhattan streets in style. Social media has revolutionized a new aspect of fashion week. The streets have become nearly as influential as what’s walking down the runway. If not even more.

If you want the low down on what fashion trends are cool right now, just look to the streets. Street style allows consumers to see the current trends of the moment, while the runway shows forecast future fashion movements. The sidewalk is where the real style derives from.

Layering, bold prints, and muted colors defined this year’s street style. These looks showcased a ton of cool graphic tees, sneakers, camouflage prints, and loose fitting pieces layered together to create a laidback and casual look. Over sized coats and bomber jackets were everywhere. Several men accessorized with bandanas that gave off Western, all American, workman vibes.

On the street and runway there were a ton of looks that paired sport coats with shorts. The mixing of tailored wear with casual, vacation pieces was a huge style trend this year. Which I am a huge fan of. Refreshing “resort wear” that is relaxed yet chic definitely set the tone on the streets as well.

I rounded up some of my favorite looks from NY Men’s Fashion Week street style. I hope you can pull inspiration from these looks – I know I did.

Tieless: How To Wear a Suit With No Tie

A suit and tie go together like cookies and milk. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or like Kim and Kanye. Ok so we’re still not sure about that last one, but you get the idea. It’s a combo that’s just works. But that doesn’t mean a suit can’t go solo every once in a while. Sometimes a guy needs a suit without the pomp and circumstance of a tie – loosen it up a bit.

Here are some tips to keep in mind next time you decide to go tie-less. Remember: sometimes going solo is for the best. Justin Timberlake did it, and look at him now.

How To Wear a Suit With No Tie

Shirt is Key.

The shirt you choose to wear underneath is the key to rocking this look. Make sure the shirt portrays the look you’re going for. If you’re going the more casual route, opt for a chambray button down. Looking for something a little nicer – you can never go wrong with a pressed white oxford. Per usual, I wanted to make a subtle statement, so I went with a The Kooples shirt with a black trimmed collar. Which leads me to number 2….

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Pay Attention to the Collar

While it’s really all about the shirt, don’t overlook the collar. The collar will be another indication of the look you’re going for. You would never wear a button down collar to a black tie, but you would if you were getting cocktails with a date. Just like you would never wear a stiff collar to a bar.

jacob-neminarz-of-well-tailored-life-wearing-the-kooples-jacket-and-the-kooples-shirt

One or Two Button Drop?

How much you unbutton your sport coat or shirt is a direct correlation to how casual you’re trying to be. For the shirt, never go more than 3 buttons. It’s just common knowledge, dude. Button up all the way for a button-upped look. The more chest you show – the more laid back you’re trying to be. Or the more you’re trying to charm. Kidding. Kind of. Regardless – keep your undershirt hidden. Please.

Same goes with your suit jacket. Except unlike your shirt, it is socially acceptable to have it completely unbuttoned. This is the definition of casually cool.

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Pant Color

If you’re trying to look trendy and easy-going, mixing it up with your pants is the way to go. Try out different colors to see which combos you like best. I’m always a big fan of the navy jacket / grey pants combo (or vice versa). It’s really personal preference.

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Focus on Accessories

If you’re feeling a little bare without the comfort of a tie, try emphasizing other accessories; shoes, cuff links, socks, scarf, etc. Since you’re down an accessory, going for a bolder one is cool.

There you have it, my friends. Now you can master the art of the tie-less look! Like some of my look? Shop this look below.

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Boss Hugo Boss Genesis Slim-Fit Wool Trousers, Light Gray • HUGO BOSS • $195

Men’s To Boot New York ‘Mac’ Wingtip • To Boot • $395

Men’s The Kooples Trim Fit Contrast Collar Poplin Shirt • The Kooples • $97.98

The Kooples – Fitted Suit Jacket w/ Pocket Square Men’s Jacket • The Kooples • $411

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Carry On Essentials

I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to jet off to warmer weather as soon as the frigid Chicago winter hits. Goodbye Chiberia, hellooo Mr. Sun.

When it comes to preparing for a trip, packing is relatively easy. Especially for guys. Whether for business or pleasure, your wardrobe will just come naturally depending on the destination. But when it comes to what to bring on the plane in your carry on, things can get tricky.

You have to follow specific guidelines and make sure all of your products are less than 3.4 fluid oz (how they got that number, I will never know). Lucky for you, I’ve pulled together my go-to carry on checklist to survive your next flight.

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  1. Lightweight jacket | Orvis Travel Jacket, $169 | orvis.com
  2. Face wipes | Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes, $24 | birchbox.com
  3. Portable phone charger | Slim Marble Portable Charger, $24 | urbanoutfitters.com
  4. Dry shampoo | American Crew Boost Powder, $10 | amazon.com
  5. Cordless headphones | Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Earbud Headphones, $140 | bestbuy.com
  6. Neck pillow | Any airport newspaper stand
  7. Lip balm | Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm, $9 | bloomingdales.com
  8. Toothpaste tabs | Lush Miles of Smiles Toothy Tabs, $20 | amazon.com
  9. Sunglasses | Ray-ban Clubmaster Sunglasses, $150 | macys.com
  10. iPad | Apple iPad Pro in Space Gray, starting at $600 | apple.com

Men’s Winter Jackets Under $200

Coat season is upon us, men. And let’s face it – that puffy ski jacket you bought four years ago just isn’t cutting it anymore. Besides, do you really want to show up to the office or a first date looking ready for the slopes? I didn’t think so. It’s time to step up your winter wardrobe and invest in a jacket that keeps you warm while looking cool.

But who said layering up for the winter had to cost a fortune? To make purchasing easier on you, I’ve rounded up my top 8 favorite winter jackets under $200. Trust me, your wallets will thank you when holiday shopping rolls around in a month!

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Marc New York Wool Blend Peacoat, $199 | nordstrom.com

 

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Zara Biker Jacket, $149 | zara.com

 

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Black Rivet Wool Blend Coat, $168 | nordstrom.com

 

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Johnston & Murphy Melange Knit Full-Zip, $128 | johnstonmurphy.com

 

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Patagonia Better Sweater Hybrid Zip, $179 | nordstrom.com

 

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Banana Republic Duval Jacket, $198 | bananarepublic.com

 

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Vince Camuto 3-in-1 Softshell Jacket, $198 | nordstrom.com

Trend Alert: Bomber Jackets

As we all know, much of menswear fashion is accredited to military history – especially the bomber jacket. Haven’t you ever seen Top Gun? No surprise here,  the bomber jacket  – or MA-1 if we’re getting technical – was not always the stylish garment it is today. In fact it was originally a practical piece for military pilots – hence “bomber” jacket. In World War I airplanes did not have an enclosed cockpit so pilots resorted to bomber jackets to keep them warm.

The military piece has been a sartorial choice throughout the years since its introduction. From the 70’s when British punks heavily donned the jacket to the 90’s where it had a heavy influence on the west coast rap scene. What was once a necessity for warmth rather than fashion, is now a wardrobe staple.

Typically worn oversized due to pilots wearing plenty of gear underneath, the modern day bomber jacket comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. I prefer a tighter fit as I like a more tailored look (pun intended) however, the original oversized fit pairs well with the athleisure trend.

Throw this jacket over a loose t-shirt, some joggers, and a pair of Adidas and you have yourself a casual yet refined ensemble. The bomber jacket has endless stylish options and will surely be a conversation starter.

Check out a few of my favorite styles below for some inspiration!

Hugo Boss Bavot Reversible Bomber Jacket | buy herebloomingdales.com

 

Zara Perforated Bomber Jacket | buy herezara.com

 

Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Waxed Bomber Jacket | buy heremacys.com

A little more inspiration:

 

If The Boot Fits

A man doesn’t have to be on the peak of fashion to have a passion for footwear. While most women would prefer a whole closet dedicated to their red soles, men like to keep it simple with quality over quantity. In my opinion, a man only needs a few essential options to be on the top of his footwear game. Maybe even a brown or black option for safe measure. Spending a few extra bucks on a trendy + quality pair of boots sounds more than reasonable to me!

For those of you still clinging on to your summer loafers: move on, bro. Autumn is in full swing and there is no better time to graduate your shoe style from the boys to the men. A good boot to handle the briskness of the fall and harsh conditions of winter is vital for cold weather survival. But the key is to find a balance between function and fashion. We want to keep our toes warm and ensembles dapper, men.

For a little guidance in the shopping department, I put together a list of the three boots I feel are crucial to any man’s wardrobe.

The Dress Boot

A decent wingtip boot can class up anyone’s act. Pair them with a suit or a pair of your favorite rolled up denim for a classic men’s look.

The Work Boot

The work boot is a must-have. This style has been around for ages almost completely untouched – and for good reason. With such a classic look, these boots are great for keeping you stylish AND warm during below freezing temperatures.

The Chukka

Perfect for city living, Chukkas are an essential casual boot that every guy should own. You could explore the city all day in these bad boys. Comfortable and flexible, chucks keep your feet from blistering.

Let’s Sock About It

Guys I hate to break it to ya, but crazy patterned socks are a thing of the past. Like any trend, vibrant hosiery made a healthy presence in men’s fashion for a few years. But over time it has slowly started to fade away.

Men’s style has been shifting towards a 1920’s vibe with more classic, refined and dapper styles. The footwear couture movement now incorporates solid colors and muted patterns – such as tiny polka dots and softer stripes. Four years ago, expressing your personal style with a funky sock might get you some fashionable praise. But nowadays it will more than likely get you a side eye in the office.

With the evolution of men’s polished fashion, it has become more difficult for them to express their personal style. Unlike women, guys do not have a plethora of options when it comes to their attire. Since kitschy socks are gone with the wind, men have the option to play up their suit with a trendy tie or swanky pocket square. Mixing patterns has been quite the fad the past few years, so pairing a checkered shirt with a floral tie can really stand out.

Just because men’s fashion trends have head in a more mature direction does not mean it should inhibit your self-expression. Let your personality shine through your garments! Do me a favor though – ditch the wacky socks. Like my lovely LA friend John Donahue from states “Say something socks are out!!!”

Check out the sock inspiration I added below, as well as some ideas to deck out your duds!

Fall Fashion Finds | John Varvatos

I think we can all agree that summers in the Windy City aren’t typically all that windy – quite frankly, they can be brutally hot and humid. Don’t get me wrong, nothing can beat summertime Chi. But I’d have to say early fall weather is my favorite: the air is brisk enough to break out the flannel and the sun makes cool sunglasses still a necessity.

In late September thru October, Chicago is an autumn paradise. With 70 degree temperate, the heavy humidity is gone and multicolor leaves start shading the city orange + yellow. But what do I love most about fall? Easy – fall fashion. As we transition seasons, this year’s male fashion trends are effortlessly rugged and undoubtedly masculine. Style trends are airing on the softer side versus louder designs and patterns in past years. Prints are rich with content, but with the right combination of fabric + color, they are simply subtle. We are seeing a lot of stripes this season in an array of colors – not just black and white.

This fall season, less is more. Rather than trying to make a statement intricate designs, flashy trends and an overwhelming amount of patterns, make that statement with one piece of clothing. Try to balance it all. If your shirt is black and white plaid, just go with a monochromatic color of jeans or pants. John Varvatos captured this organic ‘less is more’ mantra perfectly with his fall collection. Every piece is classy, subtle and rich in make.

Fall is finally here folks. Happy shopping!

 

Ditch The Sleeves

Over the last two years, the notorious short-sleeved button-down shirt has taken the men’s fashion world by storm. Long gone are the days where short-sleeved dress-shirts and glasses uniformed the 1960s nerd. In fact, button that top button up and tuck in that shirt! With the sleeve length of a polo and the bodice of a fitted dress-shirt, this combo not only exudes an effortlessly polished look, but also gives us guys an excuse to show off our biceps.

However, it wasn’t until this summer that our favorite short-sleeved shirt took a walk on the wild side. From simply blues and reds to big patterns and vibrant colors, it’s safe to say this fashion trend is making a statement. Don’t get me wrong – the classic plaid and solid colors will always be wardrobe essentials, but there’s something to be said about the bold prints that are popping up everywhere.

Still, there are two crucial elements to pulling off the short-sleeved button-up: fit and detail.

FIT
Rule number one: wear it slim, but not skin tight. While this applies to just about anything, it is especially important with the s/s button-up. The seams of the shoulders should hit right above the point of your shoulder. Like any other shirt with buttons, make sure you can comfortably button up over your chest. Contrary to popular belief, you do not want to feel like Clark Kent bulging out of your shirt. And most importantly, the sleeves must fit close to your arms without billowing or cutting off circulation.

DETAIL
The detail rests all in the rest of your look. Roll the sleeves? Button the top button? Jeans? Jorts? It’s really up to you to decide depending on what you’re going for. But there are a few things to remember. Stick to fairly neutral pants. Navy is the color of the summer and pairs nicely with bold patterns.

Masculine Man Bags

Don’t leave the bags to just the ladies, every man needs some sort of sac for when we have to carry more than just our credit cards. Man bags don’t need to be feminine or purse-like, they are best when subdued and masculine with a touch of vintage mystery.

Whether for business, travel or fashion, there are four main types of man bags every gentleman needs in their closet:

THE BACKPACK

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A backpack is a must for overnight trips or a gym bag alternative. Go sporty with a pack like this one from Herschel or stay classy with this leather accented from one Tumi. Just for fun, take a step out of your comfort zone with this modern, roll down pack from Sons of a Trade.

THE MESSENGERfossil-navy-graham-canvas-messenger-bag-blue-product-0-266327878-normal

Convenient, stylish and a must have. The perfect in-between for when you aren’t at the office and you don’t need the capacity of the duffle. The messenger bag is the most underrated of all the man bags. Make sure to not go too bulky and distressed to avoid looking dragged down, just the perfect amount of vintage and wear will work.

THE DUFFLEPhoto Courtesy of Sportique.comThe second must buy man bag is a duffle. Your duffle bag no longer needs to be your D.U.F.F. The most necessary bag for traveling, your duffle must be ready to impress. Look for classic shapes with canvas or leather accents to avoid hiding your beat up duffle bag the next time your at the airport.

THE BRIEFCASE70324-main-001_1The most common man bag, the briefcase, is next on my list. A briefcase can go south fast when you start to value practicality over style. Avoid the synthetic, acrylic and multi-pocketed and go for the leather, classic and well-organized. This grey, canvas one from Tumi is sure to stand out and impress.

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