Monday, June 30, 2014

4th of July - Simply Patriotic

Alrighty, since the 4th of July is right around the corner, and we had to take a day off last week due to technical difficulties, we’re throwing out an extra post this week with a quick and simple recommendation for a classy but patriotic outfit.

Part of developing your style is learning from your mistakes. In an effort to be patriotic last year, I donned this outfit. Now, I still think the styling itself was pretty on point for the holiday, but to be honest, I basically wore this on the train to our friend’s house and then immediately changed to go hang out and grill on the beach.

This year, I’m going to be a bit smarter and wear something a little more versatile. I mulled over a few options, but settled on really what I think are the perfect two pieces to wear.

Up top, I’m gonna rock a nautical-themed blue and white striped tee - I picked mine up from Bonobos on a great sale for something like $15, but these shirts are everywhere and you should easily be able to find one to fit any budget. This one from J.Crew Factory is right on point and clocks in at $17:

Slim Stripe Pocket Tee | J.Crew Factory

Right there I’ve got the blue and white, and I’ll add the red with a pair of red chinos. I don’t wear these too often, as I tend to go for slightly more subtle colors, but honestly, of all the bright colors to wear, red can be surprisingly versatile. Bonobos makes some of the best chinos in town, and this slightly faded red style will be perfect.

Washed Chinos | Bonobos
Like I said, the combo is beautifully simple, and made even better by just how easy it is to dress this combo up or down. As it is, this is perfectly appropriate for the beach, the bar, a casual restaurant, or a backyard barbecue, but just one or two substitutions will adjust the formality with ease.

Quickly make it more casual by swapping out the chinos for shorts, or picking a more casual shoe (I’ll probably be kicking it in either my white Jack Purcell’s or brown Sperry boat shoes, depending on my mood).

9" Gramercy Shorts | J.Crew Factory - $25

Jack Purcell Canvas Sneakers | Converse via MR PORTER - $60

Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe | Sperry Topsider - $85

Likewise, all you need to do to dress this up is throw on a navy blazer, or even just trade the tee for a light blue OCBD., and maybe some more formal shoes like a blue suede loafer:

Ludlow Sportcoat in Navy Lightweight Cotton | J.Crew - $168

Oxford Slim Fit Long Sleeve Shirt | Uniqlo
Ellington Moc Toe Tassel Loafer | Johnston Murphy - $100

How are you planning to show your patriotic spirit this Friday?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trashness - An Updated Review

You may remember back in the fall, I reviewed a few shirts from the up-and-coming brand, Trashness. While my review was generally positive, there were a few aspects I thought they could improve upon, especially regarding the OCBD I tested out.

A few weeks ago, co-founder Amin got back in touch with me to let me know they had made some of those very improvements, and sent me a new oxford cloth shirt for an update. This time, I requested a spread collar version, just for some variety:

Product image via the Trashness online store.
You can see the much cleaner finishing on the shirt on the right, from the button-holes to the edge of the fabric itself.
The logo on the right, from the new shirt, is much cleaner. The tonal stitching helps it stick out a bit less as well.
Just another shot of clean stitching along the placket.
Fantastic spread collar.

First, I have to say how much I appreciate Amin reaching back out to me. You hear me praise good customer service left and right, but another (not-as-often examined) aspect of client/customer relationship that I think is just as important is the ability and willingness to take feedback and criticism and grow from it. So right off the bat, Trashness moved up a notch in my book as a brand, regardless of their products.

That said, the new shirt is pretty sharp too! My previous complaints had mainly centered around some sloppy construction - there were a lot of frayed stitches along the seams and placket, as well as some sloppy needlework on the logo at the hip. This update is much cleaner, and compares much better with the denim shirt they sent (that I was much happier with). Check out the comparisons below:

I’m also loving the soft spread collar - normally I’d be a bit peeved at the lack of collar stays or slots, but I honestly think a stiffer/more structured collar would kill the kind of Neapolitan, relaxed-but-sharp-as-a-tack look that I’m really enjoying. While I didn't get to shoot any pics of the full fit of the new shirt, I've worn it a few times, and you can see how it looks in this #WIWT Instagram picture (follow @WideEyesTWBlog, I'm sure you'll see me in it again):

As for the fabric itself, it’s not mind-blowing, but hell, their shirts only run about $40, so I honestly have very little complaint. It’s as hefty as an oxford should be, not flimsy in any way, and the fit remains nice and slim. Granted, I may have mine taken in a tad at the waist, but I’m definitely skinnier than average, so I don’t think they are going wrong with the fit at all. The hand-feel is a tad rough, and I wouldn’t mind it a bit softer, but if previous oxford-cloth experience tells me anything, this will break in just fine over a few washes.

All around, I’d mark Trashness a winner for a solid budget shirt. And again, a solid company run by some good dudes who are really taking the time and effort to listen to their community and put out a quality product.

This was a sponsored review, and the product reviewed was provided to me free of charge. The article, however, remains objective and unbiased and is published without prior editing or review by Trashness. While I love to be given products to review, don't worry, I will never endorse a product I wouldn't wear myself. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 6/27/2014

SO! Today is Friday. Not Thursday. My internal calendar got all of its wires crossed and I thought yesterday was Wednesday, hence Deals and Steals is a bit delayed. Without further ado:

"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!"

Before we start, I'll just say that I'm sure there will be a ton of 4th of July sales starting up on Monday - if we get a chance, we'll take a look at the best, but I definitely recommend taking a look around your favorite shops/brands at the end of the weekend. Anyway, here's what I found today:

Summer Sale at Frank & Oak:
Sales at Frank and Oak only come every so often, so I usually try to grab a piece or two while discounts are to be had. It doesn't look like there's an end date for this one, which most likely means it will keep rolling until stock runs out, but if you dawdle you may find yourself out of luck. As always, use our referral link to score $25 in credit (which makes these deals even harder to pass up). Among my picks are these Valence chino shorts, marked down to $35 from $50:
Valence Chino Shorts in Ivy Green | Frank & Oak
I actually was just recommending these to a fella over on Reddit who was looking for something similar to the J.Crew shorts but with a narrow leg opening. I have a pair of these from F&O and that's my favorite part - the slim fit doesn't end with the thigh, but carries through the leg, which I think just leads to a more flattering fit. There are a few colors available, but this military-ish green is my favorite of the bunch.

I've also got my eye back on the F&O blazers - I was off them for a while, as I found the tails kept getting shorter and shorter and the button stance higher and higher, but I saw some pics lately of Sabir Peele (of Men's Style Pro) looking pretty sharp in their newer Laurier cut, and he confirmed that it seems to be much more classically proportioned. After hearing that, I'm really tempted by the few that landed in the sale section. There are some more traditional options, but this green pique caught my attention:
Laurier Pique Blazer in Pine Green | Frank & Oak
Hunter green is a pretty underrated color, and I think this could stand out in just the right way. I'm curious as to how heavy the fabric is, but the fact that it's only partially lined bodes well for a nice summer blazer. Marked down to $94 (from $125) ain't too shabby either.

Again, feel free to use our referral link for that tasty credit.

Final Clearance up to 50% Off at Nordstrom:
Nordstrom's big sale is coming to an end, but you still have a chance to grab some great discounts. Been thinking of testing the dub-monk waters? Check out these bad boys from Nordstrom's in-house 1901 brand:
'Lynden' Double Monk | 1901 via Nordstrom

Sure, the brick soles limit them to more casual occasions, but if you're looking to test out the trend, it doesn't get much better than $50 for a pair of well-reviewed shoes. The shape is just perfect, which is actually pretty hard to find in a double-monk, and cheap suede is always a safer bet than cheap leather. These may very well end up in my closet this week.

The Nordstrom sale is also a great chance to get a good deal on items from brands that charge stupid high shipping fees and/or rarely offer free shipping through their own stores (which Nordstrom always does) - I'm talking Ralph Lauren, Gant, and especially Brooks Brothers. Unfortunately, these days it's damn hard to find a Brooks Brothers shirt that's not a formaldehyde dipped non-iron cotton (ugh, please), but they do have a few short-sleeved madras options that look to be all-natural. I'd grab this one, from the younger, slimmer Red Fleece line:
'Red Fleece Collection' Modern Fit Madras Plaid Sport Shirt | Brooks Brothers via Nordstrom
I don't have to tell you again how great of a summer fabric/patter madras is (just read about it here). We've been spoiled with pretty cool temperatures so far this summer, but at some point it's bound to get real hot and humid, at which point you'll be happy to have scored a shirt like this - especially at just $37 (originally $55). 

Browse the rest of the sale before it's too late!

Extra 20% Off Sale Items at Bonobos (code SALESECRET):
This one came with no fanfare (hence the 'secret' part, I guess), and there are a helluva lot of good deals to be had. Of course, check out all the chinos, which Bonobos is best known for - and I highly recommend taking a look at the Oxley's. They aren't super cheap, but they are super comfortable, and if the 20% off drops them into your budget, definitely get a pair. As far as their standard chinos go, my pick is this 'hickory' color:
Hickory Slicks Chinos in Slim Straight | Bonobos
I actually just picked these up a few weeks ago - to be honest, I don't remember if my price was this good, and I don't want to check in case I get bitter, but 20% off of $48 is a damn steal for any pants, let alone the fantastic Bonobos fit. I love that these clock in a little darker than your standard khaki, which just adds a bit of subtle variation to the lineup.

I've also always had really good luck with Bonobos sweaters. Sure, it's not necessarily sweater season, but a nice cotton knit makes a perfect layering piece for cooler nights. I think this bird's eye pattern helps capture a more summer-y vibe as well:
Sparrowfield Sweater in Heather Grey & White | Bonobos
100% cotton is great for the summer - a little easier to maintain, and a little less insulating. Pick one of these up and stuff it in your beach bag next time you head to the shore.

We have a referral link to Bonobos as well, which will knock $25 off a purchase of $75 or more.

Sample Sale from The Hill-Side:
Last on our list is this small collection from a newer brand, The Hill-Side. While I haven't had the chance to try them out yet, they make some damn nice looking accessories (I think we may have picked out a few before) that make great use of saturated indigo coloring and high quality fabrics. Normally pretty pricey, this sample sale puts a lot of items at much more manageable price points. I picked out two ties, the first of which is this cool 'starburst' pattern:

Starburst Discharge Print "Shwe Shwe" Tie | The Hill-Side
Have you noticed that I like patterns that look solid from afar, with more detail up close? This falls into that category, with only really the bright yellow centers visible at a first glance, but so much more to the pattern when you take a better look.

I'm also digging this overdyed gingham, which I actually passed over at first:

Selvedge Overprinted Gingham Check Tie | The Hill-Side
When I was skimming through, I thought it looked too bold, but when I came back to it, I decided it was a pretty perfect summer casual tie that could really add a pop of brightness against a white OCBD and tan cotton blazer. Both ties are only $30 on sale, regularly priced at $85 and $90, respectively.

And that's all we have for you this week - like I said, I have a feeling there are some good sales on the horizon, which may explain the general lack of wide discounts to be found today. We'll have to see.

Picking up anything special this weekend? Share your own steals in the comments:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Outfit Post - The DIY Band Collar Shirt

Sorry for the brief hiatus there! My computer decided it didn't want to turn on any more, and in fact I'm still on a loaner today. Therefore, just a quick one today: 

This outfit post was spawned out of a few moments of serendipity - I just happened to be wearing this great shirt that I recently re-purposed and wanted to share - we just happened to be passing this really cool mural in Wicker Park and wanted to grab the chance for a photo op - I just happened to like the resulting outfit/photo combo enough to want to slap it right up here for you all to check out:

The big take away from this one is definitely the re-purposed shirt. I’ve been seeing band collar shirts pop up all over the place, most notably as a new staple in Wes’ wardrobe (of TSBmen fame). I dig the look, however, much like pop-over shirts, the surge in popularity of this style doesn’t seem to have really made it into the affordable shopping realm, so I’ve been stuck admiring from afar.

More recently, I saw a few mentions of making your own DIY band collars by simply cutting off the collar of one of your button-front shirts. Again, I was pretty enamored with the idea, but was unnerved by stories of crazy fraying and couldn’t muster the courage to take my scissors to one of my dear shirts.

A few weeks ago, however, I was sorting through my closet trying to free up some space and hangers, and came across this shirt that I reviewed for Trashness back in the fall. Back then, I was impressed with the denim shirt they sent me, and more recently was a big fan of their updated oxford cloth, but this first OCBD offering they sent me was just a little rough around the edges. That said, I realized that the things I didn't love about it to being with (kinda rough collar, fraying along the placket, slightly messy logo), made the shirt a perfect candidate for some impromptu surgery. Best part was, I rarely wear the shirt as is, so if it turned into a huge failure, I wouldn't be all full of regret.

Ten minutes of careful snipping later, and voila - band collar OCBD: 

And boy am I glad I took the leap. After a wash or two, the fraying and the collar along with the rough stitching on the placket gave this barely-worn shirt a perfect, beat up and lived-in look. On top of that, the fabric is a bit lighter for an oxford, and along with the band collar makes this a really nice casual summer shirt. I’ll add, too, that the trim fit was an aspect I already loved (good work, Trashness), and the silhouette is pretty sharp - so while casual, I think it comes together very well in a dapper, ‘weekend gent’ look like this one.

Here, I paired it with a pair of Uniqlo chinos in a lighter blue (again, great for the sunny summer day - I believe we were headed to a street fest here in Chicago) that I picked up during my recent trip to SF. I could have definitely played down the formality by wearing sneakers or boat shoes, and maybe a ribbon belt, or my go-to braided brown belt, but I wanted to keep that dapper edge, so I went with my black Everlane belt (similar here) and my favorite (but unfortunately almost worn out) black Allen Edmond’s (similar here) - and of course, I kept it seasonal and breezy by rocking the sockless look with the help of some PACT no-shows.

Moral of the story - I say this is a sartorial jump you should really consider. The benefit (besides what I think is a really stylish look) lies strongly in the whole idea of re-purposing rather than buying new - not only do you get to save money, but you get to recycle on older piece of clothing that might otherwise go to waste. It’s a great move for any clothes-horses who have hit their budget limits early and need to fulfill the urge to add something new and exciting to the rotation before the next payday!

What do you think? How did the look come together? Is the band-collar shirt a strength or a weakness? Does this tempt any of you to undergo some DIY shirt surgery?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 6/20/2014

Welp, folks, my trusty old laptop bit the dust on Wednesday, so I'm vaguely off-line for a few days while I get my warranty figured out. Hopefully I'll have my setup back in order by next week, but beware that posting may be a bit irregular until I do. Fortunately, I'd already put together a pretty good list of Deals and Steals pre-crash, so you won't have to go without (oh, the horrors). 

"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!"

Remember how I said we would return to the Mr. Porter sale? Well, the time has come, and this week's list looks almost exclusively at their e-commerce collection. Prices are now marked down to up to 70% off retail prices, which can get you some pretty incredible deals. To avoid repetition, we won't be featuring any items that we listed the other week, but they may be worth taking another look at for further reduced prices.

For the new deals this week, we divided things up into a few categories that we thought really took the cake as far as variety of great (and now affordable) options. First up:

Yeah, it's still summer, but Fall will be here before you know it. Plus, I don't know about you folks, but where I live (Chicago), it's been a rollercoaster of 95 degree days followed by 60 degree days, so having some options to throw on when it gets chilly is never a bad idea. Plus, shopping ahead leaves you prepared, instead of scrambling. Here are our picks (with just a few notes):

Windproof Lightweight Jacket | Beams Plus via Mr. Porter
Originally $300, this is holy-hell marked down to just $90 (yeah, those 70% drops do damage). Gotta love the details on this one - the not-too-bright red, the contrasting ribbed cuffs, the windbreaker fabric. Stylish, and functional, and affordable!

Cotton Bomber Jacket | Hardy Amies via Mr. Porter
This guy is marked down to a little under $160 (originally $525), and is a helluva great example of a classic bomber jacket. Nothing too funky on this one, which is great - and the color is a bit unique, in a really nice, subtle way. Not a true blue or a navy blue, but lighter with a touch of grey...maybe more....slate? Sharp, regardless.

Cotton Twill Lightweight Bomber Jacket | APC via Mr. Porter
This is about as classic as it gets. Read more about twill over here in our 'Know Your Fabrics' series, but with a brand like APC (also known for their great selvedge denim) you should be pretty confident you're getting a solid piece of apparel. And at $188 (down from $470), it's not as hard on the wallet as APC tends to be.

Woven Cotton Bomber Jacket | Hentsch Man via Mr. Porter
A really lightweight bomber, this one comes in a nice off-white shade that looks almost linen-y, and will be perfect for one of those cooler summer nights, or to throw on for a beach bonfire. Pretty classic design, but I enjoy the contrast between the dark ribbing and the lighter body. Now just under $190 from $375.

I'll start this section by saying SHOP FAST - this stuff sells out real quick. I had a whole list of shirts yesterday, today they are gone. Good news, they added more, soooo new list!

Slim Fit Check Brushed-Cotton Shirt | J.Crew via Mr. Porter
I know, we gave you a lot of J.Crew finds already, but this is one of the few left, and I think the only slim fit. It's a nice shirt too, definitely leaning casual with a button-down collar and a Tattersall check, but I could see me throwing it under a casual blazer with a cotton tie. And at $21 (and free shipping, remember), this is the definitely of a steal (regularly $70).

Camouflage-Print Cotton Shirt | J.Crew via Mr. Porter
One more from J.Crew - I'm not sure I'd wear this myself, but if you are looking to try out some camo (or already like the look), I appreciate the way this deviates from the standard camo 'shapes,' if you will, and going for something a bit more swirly and abstract. Just a cool touch, to my eye, and at $30 (originally $100), it's quite affordable. I'd rock it as a lightweight jacket, almost, or contrast it with some bright white jeans.

Esquina Short-Sleeved Cotton Oxford Shirt | Saturdays Surf NYC via Mr. Porter
I've been hearing tons of good things about Saturdays Surf NYC and this might be a good chance to check them out. You know my opinion - can't go wrong with an OCBD, and the short sleeves on this one make it a bit More summer appropriate (as does the slightly more saturated than normal red hue). This one's only 50% off, but that still brings it down to $50 (from $100), which isn't unmanageable. 

Walland Plaid Cotton-Flannel Shirt | Billy Reid via Mr. Porter
Billy Reid is another designer I've heard some good things about but never had the scratch to try. That said, I'm digging this flannel for fall - I love gingham, and the warmer brown checks on this plaid bring to mind a cold-weather gingham. It's got the rugged flannel look, but oozes sophistication rather than shouts 'lumberjack'!

Surprisingly few shorts options, but plenty in the trousers and jeans.

Bowery Straight Fit Wool Trousers | J.Crew via Mr. Porter
Finding a pair of wool trouser (especially sharp ones like these, in navy) for under $100 is a hell of a challenge, so scoring these for just $42 (originally $140), is a great bargain for a pair of pants that will be incredibly versatile come fall and winter. Seriously, you will wear these with everything. If you click through the product images, I like how they styled it a bit more casually.

Simon Slim-Fit Brushed Cotton Twill Chinos | NN.07 via Mr. Porter
A solid pair of slim chinos in a red that's just deep enough to avoid the in-your-face feel that some brighter pants have. The brushed cotton fabric will help tone this down too (as opposed to something with more sheen), and in the end you have a fantastic casual pant, and at just $50 (originally $165), you won't feel bad wearing these to run errands or hit the dive bar.

Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Trousers | Billy Reid via Mr. Porter
These just look like a fantastic summer pant. Described as sharp, but soft and lightweight, I have a feeling this will work equally well on a hot day at the office (showing up to work already sweaty is the worst), or relaxing on the weekend at a BBQ or lake-side picnic lunch with your sweetheart (ugh, I'm daydreaming about what I'd rather be doing right now). Regularly $225, these are marked down to around $68.

Alexander Regular-Fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans | Raleigh Denim via Mr. Porter
No frills here, just some solid raw selvedge denim, of the type that normally doesn't sell for much under $200. I think all I need to say here is: $85.50, down from $285. Just keep in mind they are regular fit, not slim, so if that doesn't float your boat...well...don't buy them, I guess. 

Not seeing a lot, but check back regularly - last year I got my Sperry's (seen in today's Instagram #WIWT post) for $50 here, there are usually some good options at some point

Again, these things are all flying off the shelves, so don't be surprised when stuff starts selling out, but check back every so often for restocks or newly added items. This sale can be a treasure trove!

OK, OK, I won't leave with JUST Mr. Porter, so here's a list of a few other nice sales going on:

Club Monaco is offering an extra 40% off clearance items.
Charles Tyrwhitt has shirts on sale starting at just $35.
Pact has a summer sale with an extra 20% off already discounted items (great chance to stock up on some no-show loafer socks).
Bonobos is offering an extra 30% off sale casual shirts (code GETSHIRTY).
Nordstrom is in the midst of their semi-annual men's sale.
J.Crew Factory is offering an extra 30% off sitewide.

If I get a chance, I'll update this list as the weekend goes on. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

'Know Your Fabrics' - Poplin

And we’re back with more knowledge for y’all. This time, the ‘Know Your Fabrics’ series takes a look at Poplin, one of the most common shirting fabrics available.

Like twill, poplin refers to the weave of the fabric - while it was originally woven with specific threads (silk weft and worst yarn warp), those standards have largely been abandoned and the fabric can now be found in a wide variety of materials, from silk to cotton to wool and more (cotton tends to be the most common, and likely our favorite). The weaving pattern, however has remained the same.

Where twill was an ‘offset’ weave that resulted in diagonal ribbing, poplin is a square or even weave, which results in a much smoother, flatter finish. The characteristic pattern of poplin involves a thicker thread running one way (usually the warp), with a thinner thread running the other direction (usually the weft). Compared to broadcloth, a similar square-weave fabric that we will look at more closely in an upcoming post, poplin is normally less densely woven, which makes it softer, but also less crisp and therefore a bit more casual.

As poplin can (and often tends to be) a lighter fabric - plus that looser weave is much more breathable than many other options -  it’s a favorite of many for spring and summer shirting (although thicker poplin shirts can definitely be found and worn year round). A few of Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets’ go-to shirting companies offer a great selection through the warmer months, including Everlane, or Uniqlo for more bargain options.

Slim Fit Poplin Shirt | Everlane

Fine Poplin Long Sleeve Shirt | Uniqlo

Whereas we hunt down twill for any number of garments, our use of poplin is a little more limited to shirting. However, you can find some nice, water-resistant poplin jackets that make a perfect lightweight cover-up come cool spring nights or surprise showers.

Poplin Single Breasted Mac | Topman

Last, we have been seeing some poplin ties popping up - it’s not a huge phenomenon, as the fabric’s inherent thinness often doesn’t allow for much structure in a tie, and therefore often a weak knot, but we’ve seen it done very well by a few tie-makers. The results are definitely more casual, but the lightness of the fabric really hits the spring/summer vibe quite well.

Atkinson Irish Poplin Tie | Sid Mashburn

Slub Poplin Irregular Stripe Tie | The Hill-Side via Hickorees

Do you have any poplin pieces in your rotation? Any favorites? Chime in below.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bills Khakis - A Quick Update

Today we wanted to just chime in real quick with an update to last week's look at Bills Khakis (and interview with their founder, Bill himself). A few days after posting, we received our samples in the mail and wanted to give you our in-person evaluation!

The folks at Bills were kind enough to send the following items:

Selvedge Cramerton chinos in M2 Standard Fit (Plain Front)

Poplin Shorts in M2 Standard Fit (Plain Front)

Kingston Plaid Shirt from the Tea Label Collection

Newport Stripe Polo

The samples we all sent in size medium and 32 inch waist, and unfortunately I'm a size small and 30 inch waist, but while I was unable to get a good feel for the fit and sizing of the items, I did get to check out the fabric, construction and design. Here are my thoughts:

Selvedge Cramerton Chinos: 
Right off the bat, my first reaction to these is that they feel tough. And in a good way. The fabric isn't rigid or stiff, but it definitely has some heft and feels like it could take a beating. I'm digging these less for the fit (which seems a bit relaxed to me) or super-fashionable styling, but because I really feel like I get a sense of the origins of Bills Khakis - which was originally inspired by a pair of WWII khakis. Unlike a lot of 'fashion' chinos, which you'll be lucky to maintain through a couple-dozen washes, these are a real pair of work pants, more than up for the challenges and wear of ever day life. I also like that they offer them in finished inseams or an unhemmed length if you want to take them straight to the tailor for a perfect fit.

Poplin Shorts: 
For these, I had an almost opposite reaction as to the chinos. Again, the fit seems more relaxed that something I'd prefer, but the fabric is great. Instead of being a standard twill chino, these come in a poplin fabric - interested in the difference? We've got an article on twill in our 'Know Your Fabrics' series and one coming up on Wednesday diving into poplin, but long story short, the poplin is lighter and breezier - perfect for a pair of summer shorts.

Kingston Plaid Shirt:
Of all the items, this is the one I want to keep the most. While they don't advertise it directly as such, the fabric is very lightweight and breathable, and with the bright plaid pattern it immediately brings to mind an outside-the-box madras (read more about madras here). I could see this easily becoming a go-to casual summer shirt, with a distinctive laid-back rumpliness (is that a word?) and actually one of the slimmer fits of the items sent - maybe indicative of their younger Tea Collection line. Thumbs up.

Newport Stripe Polo:
Big fan of this one as well, which comes in a jersey fabric as opposed to the more traditional pique. Honestly, that's what I like most about this - I'm really not a fan of standard pique polos, something about it just says frat boy to me, and this comes as a great alternative. The navy and orange horizontal stripes are a nice stylish touch as well, with a vaguely nautical vibe, interesting colors, but nothing that will stick out like a sore thumb. Again, can't really get a feel for the fit, but it does look to be a little looser, so keep that in mind.

In conclusion, I think the items really emphasize some of the points that were made in last week's article - each has some decidedly modern and stylish aspects (selvedge detail on the chinos, poplin fabric on the shorts, slimmer fit and bright colors on the shirt, and non-traditional fabric on the polo), but hold onto a more classic relaxed style that dads, older men or more conservative dressers will definitely feel comfortable in. The prices are a bit out of Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets ideal budget, but after getting a feel for the products I think I can confidently say you're paying for quality, so if you have the funds, Bills duds would be a great investment.

This was a sponsored review, and the products reviewed were lent to me free of charge. The article, however, remains objective and unbiased and is published without prior editing or review by Bills Khakis. While I love to be given products to review, don't worry, I will never endorse a product I wouldn't wear myself.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 6/13/2014

"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!"

Happy weekend! That's all I gotta say...enjoy the deals:

$20 off Two Shirts at Frank & Oak (code OHSHIRT20):
Title says it all - buy two shirts and you'll get $20 off. Not too shabby, BUT this one ends Friday at midnight, so hop on it fast. Most of the shirts run $45 each ($55 at most), so with the discount applied, they'll run you just $35 a pop. Sign up for the Hunt Club, and you'll get free shipping, plus if you use our referral link you get $25 credit, SO add it all up and you could end up basically getting half off (two shirts for $45 - $55). I've said a few times that Frank & Oak can be hit or miss, but the one aspect that's always been a 'hit' for me has been their shirts, so I'm loving this discount. They've got a real solid lineup of spring shirts that straddle the casual/dressy line pretty damn well. Here are some favorites:

Jasper Oxford in Ocean | Frank & Oak
I have this exact shirt and wear it all the time. Pretty hard to go wrong with a light blue slim fit oxford. I know a lot of guys will already have one in their wardrobe, so if you're already stocked up, check out the other colors (I'm going to grab one in the 'Rhubarb' color to add to my collection). One of my favorite things about this specific cut is that they get the length just perfect to go tucked-in to work or untucked off-duty.

Oakhill Chambray Shirt in Rosewood | Frank & Oak
Boom - another one that I already own and love. I'm a huge fan of F&O chambray, and this is a winner for the warmer months (some of their fabrics are a bit on the thicker side, but this one is nice and lightweight). The red is a great alternative to your standard grey and blue chambrays, letting you stand out from the crowd just a bit.

Linen Utility Shirt in Marine | Frank & Oak
For those really hot days, even a lightweight chambray might be a bit too warm, which makes this linen shirt a fantastic option. I love that it looks like a chambray workshirt, right down to the details, but will be super lightweight and breezy.

Tofino Striped Shirt in Ocean | Frank & Oak
Last, take things up a notch with this striped button-down. This thing can't decide if it's striped or colorblocked, but either way it's a sharp casual shirt that's sure to get you noticed. The teal/blue/white color-way is kinda nautical and very summery - haha, honestly, it's hard for me to put a finger on what I like so much about this, but I do.

Browse the rest of the collection, there are plenty more great options including some bold floral and geometric prints as well as some more neutral business-casual options. Again, use our referral code for $25 credit when you sign up.

Dockers Summer Sale:
Yep, we feature Dockers all the time here in Deals and Steals, but they've got some newer styles that we haven't really seen yet, and I'm really tempted to make a few purchases. Most exciting to me is the addition of some lightweight chinos - I love their Alpha Khakis, but the things are pretty heavy for the summer, and I've been getting worried about what I'll do when (if?) it actually gets hot here in Chicago. Voila, problem solved. If I grab a pair, I'll either go for Ink (a nice darker blue with some grey/slate hues) or 'Green Wax' (a weird name for a summer-perfect mint) color:
Alpha Khakis in Lightweight Ink & Lightweight Green Wax | Dockers
Both are currently down to $40 from their regular retail price of $68, making them very affordable summer picks.

Also in the sale section are these selvedge chinos, and I can't decide if I love them or not - what do you think?
Alpha Khaki in Selvedge Indigo | Dockers
Selvedge is always nice, and these clock in at only $50 (down from $88), much less than most selvedge pants. The color is where I get a little thrown - at first glance it looks like a nice versatile blue, but up close (and per the description), it has a very denim-y look, along with some contrast white stitching, which could put it in no-mans land between business-casual chinos and actual denim. Still, it's the first time I've seen selvedge Alphas, and I'm intrigued!

Last, just gotta point out these plain old Alphas in 'Water Wheel' green:
Alpha Khaki in Water Wheel Green | Dockers
I picked these up a few months back, and was initially thinking they were going to be hard to wear due to the bright green hue, but I end up popping these on pretty much every weekend (check out some of my looks on Instagram here, here, here, and also here on the blog). Right now, they are an unbeatable $15, which is just insane. Buy them now!

Under $35 Sale at J.Crew Factory:
Never seen this type of sale at JCF again, but they've got a bunch of stuff all clocking in at under $35 (makes sense). My first pick is this slim navy card-holder wallet, marked down to just $12.99 from $24.50:
Leather Card Holder | J.Crew Factory
I have the same thing in brown and I can't recommend it highly enough. Just enough storage space for your essentials, but slim enough to slip into your inner blazer pocket or a pair of slim trousers without ending up with an unsightly bulge. My brown one has developed a great patina over the past year, but I honestly would probably get this blue if I had the decision now - navy leather looks great and is just unusual enough to give you a bit of a unique edge.

Next, this madras-y plaid shirt is a no-brainer for a classic summer look:
Slim Washed Shirt in Summer Plaid | J.Crew Factory
Slim fit, and their washed cotton fabric tends to be nice and lightweight. Don't really need to say much more, besides that it's only $28.99 (regularly $62.50).

If you're like me and have been tempted by white denim but are hesitant to a) rock something quite that bold and b) to risk something that easy to stain, these jeans in an off-white, natural hue are the perfect alternative:
Driggs (Slim) Garment-Dyed Jean | J.Crew Factory

Even better, at just $35 (half off from $70), they aren't much of a financial risk at all.

Last, if you haven't already, check out this awesome Father's Day deal from Tie Society. Spend some quality time with your Dad this Sunday, and have a great weekend!