Spring

A Personal Lookbook

Hey readers! I’ve recently received several requests to publish a personal lookbook. This isn’t something I’ve really done in the past since the purpose of this publication is to offer advice and help others with their basic menswear woes — not a platform for me to show off and humblebrag, #holdthehumble.

After some consideration though, I figured this might not be such a terribad idea. After all, once I internalized the foundations of basic menswear, the main source of my personal style development came from checking out the looks of my favorite designers and bloggers. Not to copy their outfits verbatim, but to cherrypick elements that would work for me and mash them into a sort of franken-style that I could call my own. Kind of like how Biz Markie sampled Freddie Scott’s “You Got What I Need” and turned a soulful love tune into a thirsty hip hop ballad — It’s slightly jarring when compared to the source material, but hey, it’s pretty creative and why not, because it actually has an identity and legs of its own.

So check out the below photos as I unpack a few of my outfits. I don’t remember what exactly some of the individual pieces are called, but I’ll try my best to at least list the brands. Take what you like, burn what you don’t, and anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

A basic streetwear outfit with classic pieces like a denim jacket and leather/suede sneakers. Shirt: Blend | Jacket: Levi’s | Pants: Bonobos | Shoes: Nike for J.Crew

All black, minimal fit to accent the shoes (which are unfortunately cropped out in this shot, sorry). American Flag Shirt: Ikka | Biker Jacket: ASOS | Pants: Bonobos | Shoes: Visvim Mesa Moc Folk

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Shirt: Ikka | Jacket: Levi’s | Pants: Bonobos | Shoes: Converse

My “Saturday night” outfit. The ones where I’m not binging Netflix. Shirt: Forever 21 | Jacket: Zara | Pants: Bonobos | Boots: Topman

A super relaxed “run around town running errands”. Shirt: Wolf vs Goat | Noragi Kimono Shirt: Naked & Famous | Pants: Bonobos | Shoes: Visvim FBT

“9-5” look. Shirt: Band of Outsiders | Jacket: H&M | Tie: The Tie Bar | Pants: Bonobos

By the by, I want to remind you that Father’s Day is coming up right around the corner! It really just sneaks up on you, huh? Well I wanted to give you a rad gift idea by giving a shoutout to Social Print Studio. With their collection of digital photo books and metal prints, it’s a great way to bring your digital favorites to life. You can create a lookbook or collection of all of your dad’s goofy selfies and it’s much more unique and personal than a gift card or Hallmark card. Check them out!

Statement Socks

Hey Gents,

Everyone loves the guy who can successfully pull off a pair of statement socks. Says GQ about the often overlooked accessory: “Statement socks are like a stylish man’s best kept secret; they represent a level of personal care and sartorial interest that deserves nothing but respect. And the other dudes in the know? They’ll notice, and be jealous of your game,” which is absolutely true.

A few choice combos. Mind the break of your pants and don’t be afraid to show off!

This privilege is easy to abuse, so don’t be that oblivious tryhard that contrives ugly, loud patterns and tries to pass it off as being “dapper.” There’s a certain level of tact required when going down this path so just be mindful of where you stand on a scale from Bobo the Clown to Dwayne Wade. If you find yourself thinking twice about any of your choices, go ahead and stop — the choices should come naturally. If you want to go conservatively, stick with Navy — it’s the universally neutral sock color. Avoid black.

An example of a trainwreck. Jesus Christ. I would need a full leap year to sit this guy down and explain everything that's wrong with this sock pairing.

An example of a trainwreck. Jesus Christ. I could dedicate a full leap year to sit this guy down and explain everything that’s wrong with this pairing and still not have enough time.

In case you’re in the market for some sprezza socks but don’t know where to start, keep in mind these few rules-of-thumb for sock buying and care:

-First and foremost: Don’t buy cotton. Either buy wool or a synthetic blend. Cotton is moisture-absorbant, which dampens the socks and increases the rate of wear (Not to mention the inevitable foot odor).

-Wool has the advantage of being moisture-wicking. Also, throw the notion of wool being a “winter-only” material out the window, it’s dated thinking. Modern advances in the textile industry provides us with high-quality, fine/ultrafine wool that won’t choke your feet. Itchy wool is just cheap wool.

-Despite popular belief, socks aren’t actually one size fits all. They are typically 1 or 2 sizes larger than your shoe size. Poor fit will wreck your socks so mind the fit. Additionally, poor shoe fit can actually ruin your socks quicker as well.

-Always hang dry your nicer socks. The heat from the dryer will wreck the elastic and will unravel the knit. For ultimate longevity, hand wash them as well.

Some additional inspiration for awesome pairings. Says Josh Bearman of Rolling Stone, “Socks are like lingerie for men.” #swoon

Recommendations:

Tourist: If you just want to experiment with some patterns and pairings but aren’t sure if statement socks are your speed, try a few pairs from Richer Poorer. Think of these as the H&M of socks– they look neat and are inexpensive, but are of poor construction and may last you very few wears. But they’re a good introductory brand if you’re just a tourist. Try it out, get some feedback from your family and friends and then reevaluate your needs. Alternatively, you can just match your pants or go a shade darker to make you seem taller. Again, Navy rules supreme.

Step Up: Happy Socks are a decent value for the selection and mixed-bag quality. You can also always check out J.Crew Camping socks & Uniqlo, but always mind the materials in the product details. Compliment your pants color and develop an understanding of how colors and patterns work together.

Top-Tier: My pick for the top brand goes to Pantherella. Check out their “trendy” section and you’ll see great patterns that aren’t overdone. Consisting of pure quality, the artisan-level craftsmanship for this brand that’s been around since 1937 is just unbeatable. Splurge on these and you won’t regret it. Match with other pieces of your ‘fit like pocket square, tie, or shirt. At this point, you don’t need me telling you what to do.

Your Style Consultant,

Jack

 

Regarding Over-branding

Hey Gents,

This’ll be a short one: just my thoughts on some problems we can encounter regarding branding.

You can walk through a high school hallway and immediately recognize the kids that can afford nice clothes and make it a point to shop whatever brands are “in” that season. The phenomena of seeing how many types of birds, moose, and other animals you can cram onto your chest is one I’ve always found pretty fascinating. I suppose it’s a pretty regular occurrence for high school kids seeking to build an identity. The problem I’m talking about actually begins when that type of wear bleeds into your post-juvenile life.

For Hollister/A&F logos emblazoned all over your body? You sure are.

I see college-aged kids and real adults out in public acting as walking advertisements for the brands they mistakenly think they never grew out of after high school. And even within those brands, there are probably some clothes they can choose to wear that mitigates the overtly blatant peacock-ism, but they remain blissfully ignorant to the fact that they look like absolute milk-drinking cozy boys. Don’t be a walking billboard.

Destiny’s Child got paid to wear a gaudy getup like this. Remember, you aren’t.

Brands serve several purposes, including the following:

-Consistent assurance of quality for products (Barbour will last forever, whereas H&M might last a few wears)

-Core competencies for specific pieces (I shop at Lucky Brand for their awesome jeans, but not their overpriced garbage T-shirts)

-Personally identifying with and projecting an image in line with the associated brand-lifestyle (Meat brained mouth-breathers wear Tapout shirts to self-affirm their macho-ness, as well as notify everyone in the vicinity that they can and will beat anyone in a fight, right?)

An example of a rad, brand-discrete ‘fit

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not bashing anyone’s brands– just mind the manner in how selectively you wear them outwardly. Also, I’m not saying brand whoring and loyalty aren’t a thing for me. I absolutely swear by J.Crew, Uniqlo, and Clarks and will wear them into the ground. But there is a balancing act between “Wearing a Ralph Lauren polo because they make decent-value tops” and “Wearing a Ralph Lauren baseball cap, T-shirt, jacket, pants, and sneakers all at once because ‘it’s so me.'”

Your Style Consultant,

Jack

A Guide to Shorts Length

Hey Gents,

Sky’s out, thighs out! Shorts weather is coming very soon and I wanted to discuss the length of your shorts, otherwise known as the inseam. Visualize the upside down “V” created by the outline of your shorts. The inseam is the measure of the peak of the “V” to the bottom hem of your pants. The most prevalent inseams men should be wearing are 7″ and 9″ inseams.

I would advise against any shorts with a longer than 9″ inseam. 7″ is the shortest I’d personally recommend, but there are cases when it works. The 5″ inseam is a finicky beast. To tame it, you should have thighs on par with those of Greek statues depicting the jacked heroes of the “300” time period. I wouldn’t recommend it in most cases, but some people can actually pull it off.

In my opinion, shorts serve 3 purposes:

1. Utility – It’s hot. In 75-100 degree weather, the shorter the better! If you were going to wear long pants, commit to the capris/cropped pants or get out!

2. Aesthetics – Clothes should streamline the natural lines of our body and shouldn’t be too loose or flair out. The longer the shorts are, the more likely the chance that there’s too much material involved and the hem will be too loose or god forbid, flair out.

3. Confidence – Be proud of your man-calves! As long as you’re not skipping leg day, there’s no reason you should be ashamed of having scrawny or too-hairy thighs. Feed ’em some Vitamin D!

When it comes to the material, most of them will be cotton. If you can find some lighter materials like seersucker, chambray, linen, or madras, it’ll give your ‘fit more character.

You don't have to be a douche to wear shorts. Be prepared to be mistaken for one though.

You don’t have to be a douche to wear shorter shorts. Don’t be surprised if you’re mistaken for one though.

Per usual, avoid the cargo and rock those shorts! If yours has a pattern (like a monogram or stripes), consider pairing it with a simpler shirt to balance the outfit. If your shorts are plain, I recommend a patterned shirt (fine gingham, stripes) to give your ‘fit some character. As far as footwear goes, consider white bucks, Nike Killshots (or similar style low sneaker) , or you can default to boat shoes (if you’re newer to this style and don’t really know where to start). But I’m starting to derail from the main point so I’ll just leave it at that.

Your Style Consultant,

Jack

Texture Tuesday: Linen

Hey Gents,

In this weekly segment, I will be featuring a specific fabric or material every Tuesday. I’ll discuss its characteristics, utility, and a few recommendations as well.

Spring/Summer is on the horizon and I wanted to discuss my favorite lightweight material: Linen.

A few great linen looks. Courtesy of linenpage

A few grail linen looks. Courtesy of linenpage

Linen initially “began as a textile made from the fibers of a flax plant,” as Wikipedia would have it. Nowadays it’s more of a loose, general umbrella term for a light weave texture that sometimes incorporates other fabrics such as hemp, cotton, or synthetics.

Characteristics

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the appearance of linen is that it wrinkles very easily. That’s a part of the aesthetics that gives linen its charm. Linen wrinkles very easily because it is light and crispy, and consequently has poor elasticity. Learn to embrace the whiskers and creases that naturally occur along the lines of your body. If you can’t deal with it and feel the compulsion to iron out these wrinkles, then you’re probably already late to your mid-week bingo session, old man.

Utility

When it comes to feel, linen lies on the thinner end of the spectrum. It feels crispy and textured but won’t stretch much at all. It is incredibly breathable, which makes it an ideal warm-weather fabric. Linen has the ability to absorb and release humidity incredibly quickly– that’s why many clothiers use linen as a basis for their spring/summer light blazer and button down lines.

Daniel Craig loves linen! That should be reason enough for you to go get some today!

Daniel Craig looks sprezzy as all hell in linen! That should be reason enough for you to #gogetyousome today!

Recommendations

Throw those heavy textures like wool and tweed back into storage! Here are some of my picks for great linen pieces to rock this s/s. Quick Caveat: try to limit your outfit to just one article of linen at a time, otherwise the texture at some point becomes too overwhelming.

Suiting

Wrinkled Linen Blazer. Photo Cred: gentlemansgazette

If you need a blazer for a cooler spring temperature or a more casual office setting, I’d highly recommend the Uniqlo Linen Cotton Slim Fit Jacket. They come in some nice patterns and the lighter colors will make others feel cooler just by looking at you. I personally have two of them and the fit is great OTR (off the rack) for me. Perfect to wear over a button down and chinos in slightly windy, sub-70 degree days.

Shirts

The J.Crew Factory Slim Linen Shirt is an affordable option in very soft greys, blues, and whites so that makes them pretty flexible to build an outfit around. Roll up the sleeves and wear ’em over chino shorts for a classic s/s look.

Pants

H&M has a pair of linen pants in white, off-white, and blue. These would be great if you’re out on a golf course or walking around town. Pair with a waffle polo with some color or a 3/4 sleeve henley shirt and a pair of low profile suede oxfords for a refined casual look!

Your Style Consultant,

Jack

Visual Guide: Choosing the Proper Sunglasses Frames for Your Face Shape

SunglassesFrames

Hey there,

Since Spring/Summer is on the horizon, I made a visual guide on how to choose the trillest of sunglasses frames based on the shape of your mug. I included several brand recommendations to cover a variety of price points, so have at it. Side note: These general rules will apply for regular glasses frames as well. #gogetyousome!

Your Style Consultant,
Jack