Thursday, May 29, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 5/30/2014

Alright, folks, we've made it through another one! So here we go:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you're biting on any of these hooks, I'd love to hear about it!"

Nothing to ramble about today, so right to the deals:

Extra 15% Off at Brooks Brothers (code EXTRA15):
Brooks Brothers is running a nice 15% discount, which isn't huge, but when you apply it to some already-marked-down clearance items, you can snag some really good finds. My first pick is this OCBD:
Solid Oxford Donegal Sport Shirt | Brooks Brothers
Yeah, I know, you guys are probably getting tired of seeing OCBD's here, but this one is a bit different, with a donegal fleck to the solid white pattern that I don't think I've seen anywhere else. To me, it's a great way to add some variety to your shirts without losing the versatility of a classic white button-down. At just under $30 with the discount (originally $70), it' not hard on your wallet either.

I also spotted this raglan-sleeve pullover, discounted to around $50 from $120:
Raglan Crewneck | Brooks Brothers
First off, this thing just looks damn comfortable. Like, I wish I had one on right now. On top of that, I'm digging the cream color and the contrast ribbing and stitching. The whole combo shouts 'beach layering' to me - a perfect way to warm up on a cool summer night.

Last, take a look at their selection of slim chinos. Nothing mindblowing here, but I've noticed that brands tend to only put their wacky, go-to-hell pants in the clearance section, so it's really nice to see a lot of great staple colors like khaki, mid-brown, grey and dark green. 
Slim Fit Chinos | Brooks Brothers
These are part of their 'Red Fleece' line, which ensures a slimmer, more modern fit - really don't think you can go wrong with these, especially marked down from $90 to just $38.

Up to 40% off Select Styles and Gap:
Gap, like J.Crew, seems to constantly have some sort of sale going on, but this round really seems to focus on spring/summer styles - and with the great weather we've been having (finally), I've got my eye on a few pieces. First up is this oxford popover in a horizontal stripe:
Modern Oxford Popover Shirt | Gap
I'm honestly loving everything about this - the popover shirt is my latest obsession, and a perfect alternative to the polo (slightly less sporty, more preppy, bingo). Horizontal stripes shake things up and add a kind of beachy vibe, and the modern tailored cut ties it all together. Currently $36, this normally runs $45.

Next, I pretty much always include a pair of lived-in chinos when I recommend picks from Gap - they are just so comfortable and the fit is spot on. This time around, they've got a pair in this color they are calling 'gale green' running $42 (down from $60):
Lived-In Slim Khaki | Gap
It's a bit earthier than mint, but greener than a forest or olive, so it has a nice seasonal flair without standing out like a sore thumb (you'd be perfectly fine wearing these to the office). 

Last, I'm thinking of picking up a pair of white jeans - I wanted white chinos for the summer, but every pair I try on is see-through, so I'm leaning towards opting for denim instead: 
1969 Slim Fit Jeans | Gap
It's not a look I usually rock, so I don't want to spend a ton of money, just in case I don't put it to much use. $46, down from $70, is certainly do-able, plus I have a pair of slim jeans from Gap and was really happy with the fit, whichI found to be between Levi's 511's and 513's. 

Jack Spade via HauteLook:
HauteLook is Nordstrom's flash sale site, very similar to Gilt or MyHabit. This week, they've got Jack Spade on sale, which is pretty awesome cuz Jack Spade makes some great stuff, but is generally pretty far out of my price range. Their line puts a heavy emphasis on luggage and bags, and while there's a decent selection on Haute, I was actually drawn instead to a few really fantastic looking ties. The first one that caught my eye was this silk tie with a small houndstooth check:
Alain Houndstooth Silk Tie | Jack Spade via HauteLook
I love a good houndstooth pattern, and while you see it more often on suiting materials, I think it looks great on a tie. The scale on this one is small enough to look almost solid from a distance, but get up close and you see the mix of red white and blue (a nice touch for 4th of July, perhaps?). Grab this one for $55, down from $130.

Keeping on scrolling, I was also caught by this pastel-striped tie in 100% linen:
Peele Stripe Linen Tie | Jack Spade via HauteLook
The colors and the fabric come together perfectly to make an incredibly summery tie and an effortless way to really embrace the season. The washed out blues and reds remind me of an oxford cloth, which I think gives the whole thing a very preppy vibe, which is right up my alley. The linen option is even cheaper than the silk, at $41 (originally $100).

Last, I picked out this orange and blue striped tie. Remember our article on how to work trendy-yet-abrasive orange into your wardrobe? Here's another great way to do it:
Graham Striped Silk Tie | Jack Spade via HauteLook
The blue stripes tone down the orange, making it less in-your-face and much easier to match with the rest of your closet. I'm also really digging the raw silk and the slubby neps peppered through the fabric, which really adds another layer of visual depth. This one is also priced at $55, originally $130.

Uniqlo Weekly Promotions:
I'll wrap things up with just a quick shoutout to these chinos from Uniqlo:
Slim Fit Chinos | Uniqlo
I picked up this exact pair when I was in San Francisco last month, and they've become one of my favorite pairs. The dusty blue (kind of like those green ones above from Gap) is a great balance between bold and subtle, the fabric is very comfortable, and the slim fit has just the right taper below the knee. They are always damn affordable, but are knocked down by an extra $5 to just $25. Just do it. Wait, that's Nike...oh well.

That's all folks! Unless you have some deals to share in the comments...hint hint...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

'Know Your Patterns' - Glen Plaid

So I took some time over the long weekend to lay out the publishing schedule for the next few months, and am happy to announce that we will be introducing two ongoing series this summer: 'Know Your Patterns' and 'Know Your Fabrics.' Obviously, these are pretty self-explanatory - here at Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets, we firmly believe that knowledge is power. By being well informed, you can make stylish purchases, avoid regrettable ones, and make sure your hard-earned money is well-spent.

This week, we're kicking off the 'Know Your Patterns' series. First, let me point out that we've previously covered seersucker, madras plaid and gingham checks, and while we may revisit these later, for the sake of freeing up some space on the blog calendar, we'll just refer you back to those original posts. 

Which brings us to today's featured pattern: Glen Plaid. Obviously, this is a plaid pattern, and therefore incorporates bi-directional stripes and lines to create alternating checks and blocks. Where other plaids (like tartan or blackwatch) use stripes of different colors, which overlap to create even more tones, glen plain is more of a series of tonal lines, usually of one or more muted colors on a neutral background. Even more distinctive, the lines come together to create houndstooth checks, rather than plain right angles and boxes. It's honestly a bit hard to describe by word, but once you see it in action you'll know exactly what we're talking about:

A typical glen plaid pattern.
The pattern gets its name from the Glenurquhart region of Scotland where the textile was first produced. Interesting tidbit - during the Duke of Windsor's time as the Prince of Wales, he became such a big fan of the pattern that Prince of Wales Check became synonymous with the pattern as well. Since then, it's been rocked by everyone from Pee Wee Herman to James Bond to Ronald Reagan:

Surprisingly, of the celebrities mentioned here,
Pee Wee's suit bears the most conservative glen plaid pattern.
Roger Moore, as James Bond, rocks his glen plaid with an injection of color.
Reagan, on the other hand, goes all out with a deep aquamarine
glen plaid suit that deemed him 'unpresidential' to many.
Honestly, I usually associate glen plaid patterned pieces with fall and winter - something about the pattern looks fantastic on a heavy tweed jacket or a toothy wool tie. However, I've been seeing it pop up on some summer pieces and have been loving the way it comes out. Where winter glen plaid tends to feature a grey background, with some small color occasionally being injected through the plaid lines, these warm-weather pieces do the opposite, with a bright background and more muted plaid lines.

Take this shirt by J.Crew for example - the berry red is a perfect punch of seasonal color. If used in a more standard, multi-color plaid, it might be too bold, but by using a monochromatic glen plaid pattern instead, the look is grounded and business-acceptable while maintaining it's brightness:

Ludlow Spread Collar Shirt in Glen Plaid | J.Crew

Similarly, these chinos from Club Monaco - featured in last week's Deals and Steals - display a bright blue hue that could easily become garish with an inadequate pattern, yet the glen plaid, instead of amping up the boldness, serves instead as a stylish accent that will be surprisingly versatile: 

Plaid Davis Chino | Club Monaco

Who else is rocking Glen Plaid this summer? How do you incorporate into your daily wardrobe?

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Memorial Day Style

In a follow up to last week's post on staying sharp during your Memorial Day festivities, here's what I rocked this weekend. Granted, we weren't headed for the beach or a cookout, but we did spend the afternoon in the sun on the patio at a local bar, getting boozy on Bloody Mary's and IPA's and enjoying the company of good friends. Pretty much all you can ask for. My outfit was a slight variation on one of my recommendations, and came out like this (shop the look after the post):

It was actually one of the first really warm days here in Chicago...maybe not hot (that word will take on new perspective when we break 100 degrees), but definitely warm enough to take the heat into consideration, so I kept things easy breezy head to toe. Started with a pair of chambray shorts that I picked up from J.Crew last year. These things cover all the bases, and though they are a tad longer than I'd prefer, I like the range that gives me, length-wise, just by giving the cuff a quick roll or two. Super light, super comfortable, these are a go-to all summer.

For shoes, I swapped out my requisite boat shoes for these newer Converse Jack Purcell sneakers. Just picked these up a few weeks ago and they've quickly become a summer favorite. They're lightweight and casual, but the all-white adds a level of sharpness, as does the Jack Purcell cut over say, the Chuck Taylor.

Finally, topped things off with this vintage shirt that I actually stole from  my dad's closet maybe a decade ago. I've been wearing it since - through good style and bad, and don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to get rid of it.

It's a bit baggy through the body, and the sleeves are kinda short, so I'm thinking of doing some 'construction' on it this year - maybe cut the sleeves down to short sleeves? Get some darts or have the whole thing take in at the sides? Or make it super summer (it's already light as a feather) and take the collar off, rock the mao collar? Open to suggestions, for sure!

The Outfit:
Shirt - Vintage
Shorts - J.Crew Factory
Shoes - Converse Jack Purcell
Socks (unseen, as they should be) - PACT
Glasses - Penn Avenue Eyewear

How were you stylin' on the holiday? Share descriptions or pics below!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 5/24/2014

Holy cow, got behind for this week's Deals and Steals - but it's a long weekend so, you still have plenty of time to get your shopping in! So here we go:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you're biting on any of these hooks, I'd love to hear about it!"

And for the deals - this is gonna be one of those weeks where we really focus on one retailer, cuz they have a killer sale going on:

30% Off Sale Items and 50% Off Clearance Items at Club Monaco:
The real killer deal here is of course the 50% off option for items specifically in the clearance section. One word of caution, these are all final sale, so make sure you're confident in your sizing choices before you purchase. My first pick is this plaid shirt, in bright madras-y colors, button-down collar and slim fit:
Slim-Fit Owen Plaid Shirt | Club Monaco
Madras is a staple in most stylish gents summer wardrobes, and for a good reason. It's comfortable as heck, and although the colors are characteristically bold, the fabric somehow never seems too garish or in-your-face. At $35 after the discount (regularly $80), the price is hard to beat.

This one is way off-season, but I've often talked up the versatility of a layering vest through the cooler seasons. Normally, I reach for my J.Crew Factory vest, but their colors are pretty limited, and this option from Club Monaco would be a nice way to inject some color into a winter outfit:
Hacking Vest | Club Monaco
Normally $150, the quality is sure to be a step up from JCF as well, and the sale brings the price down to $40, right around the lowest you'll see that JCF option for anyway.

Last from the clearance section are these lightweight Chinos:

Lightweight Davis Color Chino | Club Monaco
Club Monaco almost always has some of these in the sale section, but normally only the crazy bright colors. This time, they've got a bunch of more neutral options, including these in a light olive that I'm really liking. Normally $70, these will only set you back $25.

Moving on to the regular sale section (which is not final sale). While the 30% added discount isn't quite as impressive, there are still some great deals here. Among these are plenty of great staple items, like OCBD's, white Poplin dress shirts, blue blazers, you name it - but I keep finding myself drawn to some of the funky patterns that pop up here and there. First thing to grab my attention was this slim-fit shirt in a foulard pattern:
Slim-Fit Foulard Shirt | Club Monaco
I love the vintage-y feel of this, and while I can't see myself really matching it with a tie (I guess it could be done, but I wouldn't love it), I think it would make a shard addition to my casual wardrobe - and I'm all about keeping things sharp, even when off-duty. Regularly $90, this clocks in at $42 after the discount.

Likewise, check out these plaid chinos, in the slim Davis fit, knocked down to $35 from $80:
Plaid Davis Chino | Club Monaco
I keep going back and forth as to whether these are too loud, but something about them is just irresistible to me, and I think these will look awesome dressed down with a crisp white T-shirt or polo and some white bucs or canvas sneaks. Of all the items I've thrown up in this section, these are already in my shopping cart.

Moving on from Club Monaco, here are a few more that caught our eye:

15% Off from the Cool Material Shop:
Not a lot of apparel on here, but Cool Material is an awesome site for, well, cool material - gadgets, gear, supplies, you name it (plus, they were awesome enough to feature yours truly in a 'Wear This' feature a little while back). There are just tons and tons of cool things here, and all knocked down by 15% for the holiday weekend. The one thing I always come to Cool Material for are these notepads from Word. Notebooks:

Word. Notebooks | Cool Material
They have this funky to-do list system that I'm absolutely hooked on - honestly, if I leave mine at home, productivity is just out the window, it's an addiction! They are never expensive at $10 for a 3-pack, but the sale brings them down to an even more affordable $8.50. Browse the rest of the store and check out the watches, the pens, the flasks, yeesh, so much good stuff!

40% Off Regular Items at Gap:
Finishing things up with one pick from the Gap Memorial day sale - I've pretty consistently recommended the Gap lived-in slim khakis, but as the temps are finally rising and the summer heat is really coming, I've had my mind on some more lightweight options. These lightweight 'casual pants' are clocking in at just $33, making them a good contender for my summer shopping list:

Lightweight Casual Pant | Gap

We'll wrap up with that, but there are a boatload of Memorial Day sales going on. Honestly, it's a pretty safe bet that pretty much any brand will be offering some sort of discount, but you can also check out these lists from Well-Spent and Valet that round up some of the best!

Happy Memorial Day! Share any fun plans or great buys you've got in store this holiday in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

All Things Seersucker (in time for National Seersucker Day)

Every so often, I get pitch letters from PR agencies sharing the latest news from whichever brand. Since I try to stick to practical advice and reviews here on the blog, rather than sharing upcoming news that every menswear blogger is getting, I usually read these with some amusement and file them away. However, the most recent letter, sent on behalf of Southern trad clothiers, Haspel, caught me eye.

Apparently, 'National Seersucker Day' used to be a thing - centered on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., but shared by menswear enthusiasts across the country, the day is a celebration of 'a simpler time when there was more charm and playfulness in Washington Attire.' During the recession, the tradition was ditched (I guess the D.C. vibe just wasn't so charming and playful as our economy tanked), but this year, they're bringing it back.

The day comes on June 11th, so you have plenty of time to stock up on some of the summer fabric. To help you out, we've picked out a few of our favorite options currently available across the web.

First, though, what is seersucker? Until I really became interested in style, it was a word I heard relatively often but really didn't know what it meant. Traditional seersucker is a cotton fabric easily recognized by its light blue and white stripes, but the identity of the fabric goes beyond the pattern to the material itself. Seersucker is uniquely puckered along the lines of the stripes (and these days, you can find alternatives like seersucker gingham, which puckers with the checks, or solid navy seersucker which shares the puckered lines of traditional seersucker, but over a solid background). This kind-of-rumpled effect helps lend the classic southern look - similar to the wrinkles in linen, but also serves a practical purpose by keeping the fabric off of your skin, and therefore allowing better airflow to keep you cool in hot summer weather or southern climates.

A very dapper seersucker getup.
Photo courtesy of Haspel
Seersucker can definitely be seen as a bit of a 'statement' fabric or pattern, bolder than your every-day neutrals. Depending on your own sartorial tenacity, you may embrace the southern-swag full-on, or might just be interested in sprucing up your summer duds with a dash of the fabric. Here are our recommendations, in order from the most subtle to the most bold:

A tie is easily the simplest way to pop some seersucker into your rotation, and you can find them practically anywhere this time of year. The Tie Bar has an absolutely fantastic-looking option for only $15:
Cotton Seersucker in Midnight Navy | The Tie Bar

One of the big risks with seersucker suits and trousers is that you may end up looking too summery and casual for the occasion, which is why I love a pair of seersucker shorts. Shorts are already pretty darn summery and casual, so pretty much any occasion that calls for a pair of shorts will be just fine to wear seersucker. I just got turned onto Jomers, who are selling made-in-NYC shorts for $35. Hot damn, on my shopping list for sure:
Midwoods Shorts in Navy Seersucker | Jomers

While not quite as widespread, seersucker shirts are a great way to stay cool in the summer heat. Plus, the look plays off of more year-round styles, like a striped oxford, or a Bengal-stripe dress shirt, which will keep the piece from standing out like a sore thumb. This number from J.Crew is a bit pricey at full retail, but wait for one of their many sales and snag it at a discount:
Slim Seersucker Shirt | J.Crew

From there, things take a much bolder turn. If you aren't ready for a full seersucker suit, start off with the trousers. It's still a strong style move, but isn't quite was overwhelming as a full seersucker suit can be. Try these Thompson suit pants from J.Crew Factory, currently on sale at $88:
Thompson Suit Pant in Seersucker | J.Crew Factory

Of course, you can always say 'hell-with-it' and go all-out in your southern swag. In order to avoid a frumpy boozehound look (I guess that's the best way to describe it?), do your seersucker suit like any other suit - keep the profile slim, get that bad boy tailored, and rock it with confidence. While still probably not appropriate for a day at the office, a seersucker suit is a great choice for a summer wedding, a cocktail party, a day at the races, and numerous other warm-weather occasions. Here's the jacket to match the above pants (and the whole suit clocks in at around $225, not too shabby at all):
Thompson Suit Jacket in Seersucker | J.Crew Factory

To bring things back to Haspel real quick, while I don't have any personal experience with the brand, they are well known as a staple of southern gent style, and this year are trying to bring some modernity and youth to their line (slimmer suits, brighter colors, you get the gist). Check them out, not only for some nice duds (although a bit expensive for my budget), but also for some upcoming #seersuckerday giveaways. Free stuff is always worth a look!

Who's got seersucker in their wardrobe? What's your favorite way to rock it?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Memorial Day Style Suggestions

Holy cow, this year is just flying by. Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas, and now Memorial Day is less than a week away! Hopefully everyone is in for some nice weather, which should mean only one thing: BBQ time! And while a nice summer cookout is a great time to relax and let loose, that doesn't mean it's a time to slack on your style - whether you're trying to attract the other singles, or are already coupled-up but trying to impress your friends and family, the key is to balance sharp and casual and make it look effortless. Here are a few good looks that we put together (chock full of discounts, too) in case you're in need of some inspiration:

Hot-Weather Grillin':
First up is an ensemble for all of you lucky enough to be basking in some really steamy weather this weekend - I'm talking just too darn hot for pants or sleeves:

Braided Leather Belt - L.L. Bean

Shorts are a tricky beast for guys over the age of 20. The trick to keeping your look grown-up is to find shorts that hit above the knee and are fitted close to the body. Nothing skintight, of course, but similar to your slim chinos. We love a good pair of chambray shorts for something a little different from the rest of the pack without being wacky. Cap the darker shorts with a light-colored polo up top (we love the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo collab for some stylish and slim polos - try 5offUNIQLO for a $5 discount through 5/22) and some breathable canvas sneak's on the bottom. Keeping the belt leather holds the whole 'fit back from the uber-casual edge, but going for a braided option maintains the laid-back nature.

The Rest of America:
Most of us probably won't be sweating in the sun, considering we just had a day that didn't break 50 here in Chicago. This combo will keep you from shivering if it gets a little chillier, but still embraces the summery vibe:

Something about Memorial Day and grilling screams classic American prep to me, so we went ahead and embraced it with this outfit - from the classic khaki chinos to a casual OCBD (bonus: Everlane has free shipping this entire month) to the (preferably) kinda-beat-up boat shoes. Use the ribbon belt to inject a little youth and color into the look, or shake things up with some non-traditional boat shoes or an OCBD in a brighter or more saturated color.

The Cover-Up:
Hotter or cooler climate, chances are that in May, temps will drop as the sun goes down, so bringing a lightweight layer to cover up with is never a bad idea. 

A cotton sweater will give you a little more warmth without being quite as cozy as a wool knit. Nautical stripes are perfect for the spring season, and add another preppy edge to an outfit. Very JFK on vacation. On the other hand, a lightweight bomber is sharp and subtle, and maybe a bit more versatile. Our favorites are made by the iconic Barracuda brand, but you can find affordable and nearly-as-stylish alternatives at much lower prices.

Sharper Than Your Average Bear:
The majority of us will probably be keeping things pretty casual over the holiday weekend, but I'm sure there are some gents out there with something a little more dressed-up on their calendar. From a full suit in cotton chino or linen to a sharp summer blazer and chinos, you've got a lot of options. If it were us, here's what we would be wearing: 

So pumped to bust out the Oxley's this season - I talk em up all the time, and they really are the most comfortable dress pants I've ever worn, but they hold a nice crease and stand up great in a more tailored look (if it's your first order, and you plan on breaking $75, use our referral for $25 off). Keep your blazer unlined and even unconstructed - sharp and semi-formal, but not business-like. Since you're adding an extra layer with the blazer, you'll probably want to keep your shirting lightweight, and this may be the perfect chance to rock a linen shirt. Finally, some rich suede loafers and a pelican-hook belt add some subtle, classy flair.

What do you think? How will you be stuntin' this weekend? Chime in below!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 5/16/2014

Okidoke folks, got friends on their way for the weekend, so I'm on a time crunch and will be keeping my commentary to a minimum. Still have some great deals for y'all. First, the spiel:

"Every weekend, check in on the blog for a collection of the best (read: my favorite) deals and steals on the interweb for some quality shopping over the weekend. Have any to add? Share them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you're biting on any of these hooks, I'd love to hear about it!"

And now the deals:

Shirts Only $29.50 at Charles Tyrwhitt:
People who like Charles Tyrwhitt love Charles Tyrwhitt. I have a few of their shirts, and I'm a big fan myself. Best part is, their shirts normally run a whopping $60, but are often discounted down to $40. This time around, they are dropping prices even further to only $30. The other great thing is that, while not custom, they do offer the same patterns with several different options - so if you see a shirt in slim fit with regular buttons, chances are you'll be able to grab it in extra slim fit with french cuffs for the same price, if that's your thing. My first pick is just a classic, white shirt in a twill fabric:
White Twill Dress Shirt | Charles Tyrwhitt
This is just the perfect dress shirt. Again, available in a few fits, and even a few different collar options, but this one in the extra slim fit with a spread collar would be my choice, hands down.

Next is this fella in a blue puppytooth:
Royal Twill Puppytooth Dress Shirt | Charles Tyrwhitt
Puppytooth is just a cool name to being with (logically, it's houndstooth on a much smaller scale). I love the way that it looks solid from a distance, but up close has a lot of visual depth and is an interesting pattern. Grab it while it's hot.

Bespoken at Gilt (plus, $25 off with our referral link):
I haven't had the chance to try them out yet, but Bespoken makes some very stylish stuff - in fact, I believe they were one of GQ's "Best New Designers" or whatever they called it last year, which meant they did a pretty affordable collab featured at Gap - nice, since their regular priced goods are pretty expensive. Gilt has some great pieces knocked down with some serious discounts. Still not cheap, but some of the options are cool enough to be worth a little extra dough. For example, this tie, which is legitimately made from selvedge denim:
Skinny Selvedge Denim Tie | Bespoken via Gilt
I've seen chambray ties all over the place, but never selvedge denim, and I kinda dig it. The dark blue with the dots is a perfect pattern, stylish but versatile, and the peek of the selvedge ID on the bottom is kinda badass. Marked down to $60 (like I said, not cheap, but cool, and originally $130).

I'm gonna leave this one at just that pick, but check out the other options, lots of blue, and lots of summery patterns. Get $25 off is you sign up with our referral link.

40% Off New Arrivals at J.Crew Factory (prices as marked):
J.Crew Factory doesn't really need an intro. As usual, it's J.Crew's outlet line, so similar styles at lower prices. They just added a slew of great summer duds, and we picked out a few favorites. By far, the top of my list is this unconstructed blazer in 100% linen:
Thompson Unconstructed Sportcoat in Linen | J.Crew Factory
Not only is it just a great-looking summer blazer, but this may very well be the first JCF blazer that doesn't come fully lined! Even their other linen options are lined throughout, so this is perfect, especially if you've had your eye on an unconstructed Ludlow but haven't been able to part with the cash, as this one is currently only $118.

I'm also really digging this Hawaiian shirt in bright blue:
Short Sleeve Washed Shirt in Hawaiian Leaves | J.Crew Factory
Hawaiian shirts are back in style this year, but you have to be careful, and this one hits the right notes. The leaves aren't huge and flowery, the collar is button-down as opposed to wide points, and the colorway is simple. Currently about $39, down from $65. 

We'll throw in one more here, with these red oxford cloth trousers in their slim Bedford cut:
Slim Bedford Pant in Oxford | J.Crew Factory
Oxford cloth pants are no joke the most comfortable things in the world, but still look sharp as hell. I have a pair in blue, and am trying to pick up a pair in red this summer - these may be the ones, and at $45 they are cheaper than most other options out there.

Factory-Second Shoes from Allen Edmonds:
Last, I just want to point you all to the brand spanking new Factory-Seconds site from Allen Edmonds. Previously, you had to jump through some hoops to get the seconds inventory from AE, but they finally caught up with the internet age and have their inventory available online. Keep in mind that these are seconds, which means they have some sort of flaw or blemish that keeps them from being sold at full retail. However, most examples I've seen have been close to perfect, with flaws being very minor and sometimes impossible to find. Definitely worth a look if you're looking to grab some new kicks. I'm not going to recommend anything specific, as the options are numerous and the selection depends heavily on your size, so just check it out yourself!

And that's a wrap - have a great weekend, check back on Monday for more, and share any of your own 'Deals and Steals' in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wearing Orange (and Other 'Uncooperative' Colors)

Struggling today...not enough sleep, early afternoon migraine, it's been rough. Anyway, keeping it short this Wednesday (and pulling pics from Instagram), we're taking a quick look at how to rock the color orange. Earlier this year, when all the designers were busting out their new collections at the fashion weeks, the menswear world was all about orange as the color of the season, which is challenging, because it’s also inherently bright and bold, and therefore kind of hard to work into an everyday outfit. Fortunately, there are some moves to try that will allow you to incorporate the color in your wardrobe without taking any huge style risks.

Editors Note: Since deciding to write this article, I've noted that this trend didn't necessarily take off, and orange isn't the ubiquitous tone of the season that I came to expect - maybe it is yet to come, but regardless, you can adapt these same tips to other bright colors that you may be tempted to experiment with.

The first route we can suggest is to just tone down the brightness and boldness that make orange a tricky color to work with from the get-go. With a lot of other bright colors, we often suggest washing them out or opting for more faded or pastel versions, but with orange we suggest going the opposite direction, instead looking for darker, over-saturated, 'burnt' shades. That rusty orange color actually works a lot like a lighter shade of brown, and plays great with blues (lucky for me, since my wardrobe has a lot of blue in it already). You can get some great chinos or shorts in this color (try these from Bonobos, on sale for just $38 - and $25 off with our referral link - or these from Topman for something a little less bright), but my go-to move has been this vintage tie that I scored off eBay:
Got this bad boy on eBay for something like $3.00. A new favorite!
You can get a similar look with this number from The Tie Bar (at only $15, it makes a relatively low-risk trend-testing option).
Knitted Silk Tie in Rust | The Tie Bar - $15

Our other recommendation is to use orange in very small splashes, and mate it with similar, but more commonplace and classic colors. My girlfriend gifted me a bright orange tie clip last fall, and I've been loving to play it off a slim tan leather belt and tan suede boots:

Not the best pictures, but you get the gist.
The leathers are both bright in their own way, and when worn with a monochrome blue ensemble, they inject this punch of color at regular intervals - shoes, waist, torso. Among other options, I could see this working quite well with red and oxblood or burgundy.

So there you have it - my words of wisdom for the day before I go nurse this clinging headache - migraines, man. 

How do you all rock bright, 'uncooperative' colors? Do you have any orange in your wardrobe? What's your favorite way to work it into an outfit? Hit up the comments section!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Outfit Post - Saturday at the Dog Park

We finally had an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Chicago, so Christine and I took advantage of the weather and took a long walk to Wiggly Field (yes, that's the official name) with our puggle, M.C. Hammerpants (yes, that's his real name). As we were walking, it dawned on me that I rarely post really casual outfits on here, and most of what you see of me is in my work or more dressed-up weekend duds, so I figured this would be a good chance to feature a really laid back (but still sharp) look:

If you'll recall from my list of summer style goals, I decided recently that I wanted to start wearing chinos more in a casual setting, as opposed to turning to denim every time I'm off duty. I grabbed these Alpha Khakis from Dockers with just that in mind...the bright color is a little bit much for my law firm day-job, but it's a perfect summery punch of color for a weekend look. I love the fit of Dockers Alphas, but they are just a tad long on me. Since I haven't had the chance to hit up the tailor with these, I rolled the cuffs, which added an extra casual vibe to the look and emphasized the bare ankle (one of my favorite parts of summer).

Up top, I picked this striped tee that I got during the last big Bonobos sale for about $10 (similar here). Not only was it a steal, but the blue and white stripes give a nautical vibe that is very on-trend for spring (and summer, and fall, and pretty much all the time except dead winter). I really like it in this combo as an added bit of color that stays neutral and subtle enough to not come off as clownish in combo with the bright pants.

I also said I wanted to step up my summer footwear game, and I'm in the process of doing so with some Jack Purcell's on the way from Mr. Porter. Meanwhile, though, I really can't go wrong with my Sperry Topsider boat shoes. I picked these up last summer and wear them all the damn time and they just keep getting better and better. In fact, I used to be really OCD about keeping my kicks pristine, but after these got covered in mud at Lollapalooza, I kinda accepted their beat-up-ness and since then have really come to love the personality that some hard wear can give a pair of shoes. I'm also rocking a pair of Pact No-Show loafer socks, which I consider a must-have for the summer, and allow me to kick it sockless without worrying about gross, stinky feet and shoes.

Last, as I was stepping out, I realized it wasn't quite as warm as I thought, especially in the shade. Instead of bringing a light jacket, which honestly would have been a bit much and I would have ended up carrying most of the day, I made a smart choice by throwing on this Frank & Oak OCBD. It's one of my favorite pieces from F&O (you all know my love of an OCBD by now), and I wear it all the time, whether it's to work with a knit tie and a blazer, or on the weekends with jeans and some Chukkas. Here, I took it to new territory by kind of using it as an extra-light jacket. While I normally steer clear of the untucked and unbuttoned look, using this as a jacket let me lighten up on the sartorial 'rules' and embrace the laid-back nature of the look (and the gorgeous day).

For accessories, I topped things off with my brown braided leather belt, which has become my favorite thrift-store find. I literally spent about a dollar on it, and I think it's become a signature part of my style (more on that later). The Form*Function*Form watch that Christine gave me last year was the perfect finishing touch, and was a spot-on match for the brown leather of the belt and shoes. I love that this watch straddles the casual and at least semi-business line very comfortably - I'll wear it with jeans and a Tee one day and with a dress shirt and blazer the next. Versatility is key, my friends.

Anyway, ended up really happy with the 'fit, and had a fantastic day - we hung out at the dog park, took a leisurely stroll home through Lincoln Park, stopped in for cocktails and bacon-wrapped dates (and some treats for the pup) at a neighborhood cafe, and just soaked in the summery Chicago vibes.

How do you relax, sartorially? Do you have a go-to casual look, or are there new trends you are trying to work into your rotation? Share in the comments!

Outfit Details:
T-Shirt: Bonobos (similar) (use our referral link for $25 off)
OCBD: Frank & Oak (use our referral link for $25 off)
Chinos: Dockers Alpha Khaki
Shoes: Sperry Topsider (Editors Note: You can grab these on sale right now at Nordstrom for just $60. Great deal, I'm grabbing a pair if I can).
Socks: PACT No-Show Socks
Watch: Form*Function*Form via Huckberry
Glasses: Grant frames by Penn Avenue Eyewear
Belt: Vintage Thrifted, suckas.