Thursday, October 30, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - Unionmade Archive Edition

Howdy folks! Happy to be back with a new Deals and Steals after a few weekends without. That said, we're doing something a little bit different this time, and just focusing on one retailer (largely because their sale is so damn awesome).

Unionmade, one of the finest menswear stores in America (especially if you are in the market for high-ish end work-wear leaning duds), appears to have opened a special sale site for four days only, called 'The Archive.' And those sale prices? Up to 90% off. And we aren't talking lame, or even vageuly lame brands, but highly sought after names like Levi's Vintage Clothing or Gitman Vintage. So you can score some damn nice stuff for as little as a mere 1/10 of the regular price.

Below, we rounded up some of our favorites - now, the stock is rotating, things are selling out, and things are being added, so a) I apologize if any of my picks are sold out, but b) it's definitely worth taking a look through on your own (maybe even more than once) to make sure you don't miss any late additions.

Anyway, my picks (by brand):

New Balance:
Since starting my new job, I've been dressing mostly casual, which is a big change from my prior wardrobe. One of the biggest aspects that has me struggling is footwear, as I just don't have that many casual shoes. Therefore, I've been on the hunt for a variety of nice sneakers, and a pair from New Balance is high on my wishlist. Of the pairs currently available at Unionmade, these are my favorite:

US576ND1 Sneakers | New Balance via Unionmade
Honestly, I've just been a big fan of the black/white look lately (maybe throw some grey in the mix), so these are right up my alley. Regularly $140, these are going for $40, which I can safely say is the cheapest I have ever seen New Balance shoes run.

Gitman Vintage:
Tons of stuff here from the revered shirt makers (and obviously, most of the best picks are shirts (although I did see a tie in the mix as well). My pick here is this vintage madras:

1979 Vintage Madras | Gitman Vintage via Unionmade
Again, a huge discount as these regularly run $145, but are selling for just $45. Sure, madras is more of a spring/summer fabric, but it never hurts to stock up a season ahead!

Levi's Vintage Clothing:
One of Levi's higher-end lines, this stuff, obviously, has a vintage tinge to it (which I'm all about). You could go wild with a crazy-bold shirt like this, but my personal pick is a bit more muted:

White Bay 518's | Levi's Vintage Clothing via Unionmade
Perfect for someone who likes the idea of white denim, but doesn't want to commit to something so bright and stain-able. Regularly almost $200, but now just $45.

Gant Rugger:
A preppy favorite, I'm a big fan of all of the Gant lines, including Rugger. I'd love to take this chance to pick up one of their highly praised shirts, like this popover:

Twill Check Pullover | Gant Rugger via Unionmade
Depending on how heavy this ends up being, you could either rock this around the holidays for a bright, festive look, or throw it on with a pair of off-white jeans (like the ones above) in the spring or summer for something a bit more saturated that your standard warm-weather pastels. And at just $35 (down from $135), it won't break the bank.

We'll end on this one, which may be my favorite pick. I'm a huge proponent of layering vests in the winter - it's an easy way to make even a blazer into a cozy piece of outerwear (I did two winters in Chicago with no winter coat, just blazers and quilted vests). This may well be my next buy:

Mist Liner Vest | Filson via Unionmade
Filson has a stellar rep for outerwear, and this vest has the bonus of looking great by itself for the transition weather before it gets real cold. This one starts at $185, but is going for only $35.

And that's a wrap - happy shopping!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bean Boots - A Ringing Endorsement

I had the great pleasure of heading to friend's very remote (but very comfortably furnished) cabin in the Poconos in PA. I grew up camping all the time, but haven't really gotten away from city life for years, so I wildly enjoyed being out in nature. Admittedly, we spent most of our time hanging around the cabin, playing with the dogs and drinking, but my girlfriend and I did get away for a few walks in the woods. When I took the pup along the stream and let him play in the water, I remembered just how damn much I love my L.L. Bean Boots, hence this enthusiastic endorsement and post:

So what's so great about Bean boots? Sure, I personally love the style that just oozes classic North-Eastern prep, but it really just comes down to how indestructible they are.

I love rocking nice shoes - Allen Edmond's brogues, suede Ralph Lauren boots, sharp leather sneakers, the like. But I'm always so worried that I'm going to scrape or scuff them, or ruin the suede when it unexpectedly rains, or that I'm even just going to come home with cold, wet feet.

With Bean boots, I just walk through whatever is in front of me, not a care in the world. They are waterproof to an extreme, even up through the leather upper. They are tough as nails and hold up against pretty much any hazard you'll encounter, in the woods or the city. And still, comfortable, relatively lightweight, and better and better as they age.

Anyway, I'm 100% sure my afternoon wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable without these bad boys on my feet, so here's a ringing endorsement for all things Bean boots (they have a number of variations, all pretty equally awesome) from Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets.

A Few Logistical Notes:
As mentioned above, there are several variations available. I personally have the 6 inch, unlined option:

Men's 6" Bean Boots | L.L. Bean - $99.00
While insulated boots (like these, or even these) will be warmer through the winter, I've found that the right socks make mine just as warm, and I can still wear them through the rest of the year in wet conditions. You can opt for a different height as well, but just know that taller boots will be harder/more time consuming to put on. Last, these run pretty damn large - I took a full size down and can still fit them with pretty heavy socks, but they aren't falling off when I wear something thinner when it's not so cold. At the very least, read the sizing guidelines carefully. And don't be afraid to take advantage of their free shipping to find the perfect fit!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Classy in College: Tips for Breaking the College Kid Stereotype

Things have been crazy over here, hence the slow output. As I've been working on figuring out how Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets is going to settle out after the move and the new job, I was thrilled to get an e-mail from Rickey Jones of 'The Mod Prep' expressing interest in putting together a guest article for y'all. We chatted a bit, and I think he's got some great insights - especially for the younger, college-bound crowd - so Rickey's going to walk us through his best tips for undergrad style:

So, the number one stereotype I have seen in college so far is, LAZY FASHION! When we graduate from high school and start college, everyone says, "I'm going to wear sweatpants and t-shirts everyday!" - and the sad thing about that is, many students actually do it!

Acceptable college style? We say no! (Photo via MPR News)
I am sick of it, I couldn't imagine waking up everyday thinking, "Hmm, which color sweats are we going to wear today, Rickey?" Then again, I do care about fashion, and the way I look everyday. 

I've done my research, and it shows that many students don't dress well in college, because they aren't serious about their education. My whole thing is, WE PAY TO GO HERE, so why are you not taking your education seriously? With all that in mind, I'm going to share some tips as to how to be Classy in College with your dress!
  • Get Good Rest: I know this is hard in college, but it is very important! Receiving enough rest during the night almost guarantees you a better day, because you are well rested, and you have a clear focus on the day. Also, getting good rest will help you be more prompt, and help you be more alert and more aware of your outfit decisions.
  • Look for Student Discounts: They are everywhere! Banana Republic gives 15% off of regularly priced items with a student I.D., trust me, I've used it numerous times! Not only do you end up paying less than retail price, but you can keep your closet CURRENT with new trends and pieces.
  • Post an #OOTD: If you don't know what #OOTD stands for, it means Outfit of the Day. I love it because it keeps me on my toes as to what I have and haven't worn in my closet, and let's my showcase my style everyday! I have started a account, so that you guys can keep up with what I wear on a daily basis, that way you can get some style ideas as well. (Editors Note: I love this idea as a way to challenge yourself - if you don't have the confidence yet to publish your looks online, keep them to yourself for now. If you're ready to step out and show off, feel free to use the platform of your choice - Rickey digs LookBook, I personally rock Instagram on an (almost) daily basis. Reddit's Male Fashion Advice is also a great place to share - but don't let the haters get you down.) 
  • Surround Yourself with Successful People: Let's face it, the most successful people in this world have a very keen eye for fashion, whether they express it or not. Steve Jobs had a signature style with a black turtleneck, light-washed jeans, grey New Balance Shoes, and round-framed glasses. While this memorable outfit was not always 'en vogue', it was what Mr. Jobs was known for, and he was a very successful man. My own mentor, Dr. Anthony Robinson, is ALWAYS dressed to the 9-10-11, he is a very successful man, who cares about what he wears, and how he looks, especially since he makes multiple trips to the gym everyday. Similarly, I would like to say that I have had a substantial amount of teenage success, and have developed my own signature style of preppy layers! 
Dressing well isn't just about looking good, it's about feeling good, and knowing that you have confidence to do anything you set your mind to. I have an elevated level of confidence, because I know that when people see me, they see a professional young man who is on the move - I want that to be you, too!

A little more about Rickey (in his own words): "My name is Rickey Jones! I am a 2nd Year Marketing Student at Georgia Regents University. I started writing on my blog, The Mod Prep in 2013. My obsession for style has stemmed back from as long as I can remember. My grandmother is a professional seamstress, and she was the one who taught me how to sew! My ultimate goal is to create my own international brand.  I love fashion, home decor and all things fun." 

That's all folks - sorry, no 'Deals and Steals' this week...traveling to the Poconos in PA tomorrow for a gloriously tech-free weekend in the woods. I'll be back next week!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Starting With Instagram)

More to come soon, but there will be some big changes coming to Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets. Today was my first official day at the new job (as an assistant stylist with the photography team at Bonobos - more on that later as well), though I've been freelancing with them for a few weeks now. This transition is effing exciting and I've been loving the job, but am quickly realizing that I will have to readjust my approach to the blog. Part of that new approach means starting to wean my social media presence away from blog territory and back to personal territory, so for now, @WideEyesTWBlog becomes @ADumbLameMan (obviously, a play on my name, and obviously, originating from some playful childhood ribbing).

No biggie, just wanted to alert you all to the change, in case you were wondering!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Last-Minute Columbus Day Sales

Gah, so I know I missed out on last week's Deals and Steals post (had some good friends visiting and waaaay too many social obligations on my plate - not complaining!), so I'm dropping some real quick sales on y'all today.

The catch is, these sales all end tonight, so get shopping!
Editors Note - Hoooopefully some of these will get extended, but still, don't hesitate and miss out.

Extra 25% Off Sale Items at NeedSupply (code PICKYOURHEROES):
NeedSupply has an awesome mixture of urban, tailored, and more rugged gear. My big pick here is a pair of the Zanerobe Sureshot Joggers, regularly $99, now $69.50:

Sureshot Chino in Black | Zanerobe via NeedSupply
Been big on joggers lately, and these from Zanerobe are probably one of my favorite pairs - I'm a bigger fan of the khaki color, but would definitely rock these (especially at that low price).

Nothing is cheap at Steven Alan, but it's pretty much all awesome. Even just a 20% discount is much more than you'll find on a lot of these brands, so if you're looking to make a splurge buy, this might be the time. For example, this Barbour waxed cotton jacket gets a $80 drop from $400 to $320:

Ashby Waxed Cotton Jacket | Barbour via Steven Alan
Like I said, still not cheap, but makes a splurge-worthy purchase just a bit less of an investment (and will be a perfect jacket for upcoming fall and winter weather).

Tons of stuff up in this sale, including some great suiting steals, but my first choice would be this dobby oxford shirt, marked down to just $30 (regularly $80):

Slim Fit Dobby Oxford Shirt | Club Monaco
Love the dobby details that take this a step above an everyday blue OCBD, and that price is unbeatable. Also, check out the rest of the (non-clearance) sale section, which is still up for a 30% discount with the same FALLSALE code.

If you're like me and love American prep style and classic penny loafers, you'll be just as eager to jump on this chance for some discounted Weejuns, like these in a more casual, matte dark brown:
Wilton Weejuns | G.H. Bass
Regularly $108, the discount drops these down to just over $75. You can also find some more formal styles in a sleeker, shinier leather, as well as the American-made Fenmore loafer.

Closing out with a three-way doozy from J.Crew. These sales are getting pretty common, but that extra kicker of free shipping might be hard to pass up. I love J.Crew's cozy sweaters, and might use this chance to grab something like this luxe lambswool cardigan:
Lambswool Three-Pocket Cardigan | J.Crew
Sure, even at $103 shipped (down from $148), it ain't cheap, but boy oh boy do I wanna cozy up in this puppy. If over a hundo is rich for your blood, there are plenty of more affordable options as well.

OK, in the interest of getting this post up before it's too late to enjoy these sales, I'll call it quits with that one. Here's a quick roundup of the sales I didn't get to cover in depth:
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Outfit Post: The Building Blocks

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown up an outfit post, and even longer since I’ve featured a more dressed-up look, so I figured it was about time. However, I’m taking a slightly different approach this time, as I was hoping to focus on and share my usual method for building an outfit.

A lot of guys (including myself, at one point), get to a point where they have the sartorial education/know-how to put together a strong wardrobe of well-fitting, stylish pieces, but struggle to put them together into a coherent outfit. One of the most common questions I see is “where do I start?” With that in mind, here’s how I do it.

I try to start every outfit with one piece. This may be a new article of clothing that I’m really excited to wear or an old one that I’ve been meaning to work back into my rotation. It may be a bold, statement piece, or a neutral base. It might be as front-and-center as a blazer, or as behind-the-scenes as a pair of socks or pocket square. The point is, this piece acts as the foundation for the rest of the building blocks that will come together to form my outfit.

For this look, I started with my blue and off-white plaid blazer from Gagliardi. It’s one of my favorite pieces, from the fit to the construction to the style, but I wear it far less than I would like, simply because the bold pattern makes it trickier to match (and a little less office-friendly). This weekend, I dressed up my off-duty look a bit more than I have been this summer, and decided it would be a good chance to have the freedom to rock this bad boy. So boom, foundation piece and starting point:

From there, every decision comes back to this one piece. You could go any direction, but I went to pants next. While I didn’t have the restrictions of an office dress code to work with, the blazer is still pretty in-your-face, as far as style goes. Therefore, I decided right away to tone down the rest of my pieces. I also wanted to dress down the tailored look a bit, since it was still the weekend. Thus, for pants, the easy choice was a pair of dark blue jeans: a subtle and neutral pair of pants that were casual enough for the occasion but sharp enough for the combination, and in a blue that will play well with the colors in the jacket:

When it came to the shirt, the patterned blazer immediately dictated a solid shirt (or at the very least a very subtle pattern). Beyond that, I took the same mindset as I did with my pants, and picked what I consider to be the shirt equivalent of a pair of crisp blue jeans: a white OCBD. Again, weekend-casual, but fitting to wear with a tailored blazer. Where I played off the darker colors in the blazer when picking the jeans, this time around I brought out the lighter contrasting notes and picked a white shirt over blue:

From there, I just kept up those same themes as I picked out accessories and final touches. A knit cotton tie, a chambray pocket square, a brown belt and blue suede brogues with no-show socks. Each seems like (and is) a pretty straightforward choice, but if you look at the path that took me to each piece, it always starts with the blazer.

Of course, there are numerous other techniques and considerations to take into account: color-matching, pattern-matching, balance, seasonality, the list goes on and on (and some are mentioned throughout this article). However, starting with a foundation piece as we suggest here gives you the palette upon which you apply all of those other principles. It’s in no way the only factor in the equation, but it’s a strong and simple place to start.

Outfit Details:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 10/4/2014

Fall is continuing to roll in (as seasons tend to do), so we'll keep rounding up awesome deals on fall style. This week, we're focusing on sweaters and flannel, two of my favorite fall staples. Enjoy:

Frank and Oak Fall Sale (Up to 60% Off):
First, gotta suggest that everyone take a look at the new full-price October collection from Frank & Oak - a lot of great stuff, including their second endeavor into the world of footwear with some sneakers and slip-ons. I just got a pair of the black Park Leather Low Tops delivered today, and though I haven't gotten to wear them yet, I'm pretty impressed with how they look. Don't forget to use our referral link if you're a new customer, hook us both up with $25 free credit!

Anyway, as they released the new line this month, it looks like they transitioned from 'Summer Sale' to 'Fall Sale,' and appropriately have some nice fall duds at a good discount. To me, the sweaters are some of the real winners here, with picks like this patterned cotton sweater:
Patterned Cotton Sweater | Frank & Oak
True, the description does say spring, but the dark colors make this perfectly appropriate for the transition into colder seasons as well. Also, cotton sweaters won't be quite as warm as wool come winter. However, they can be easier to layer as you won't get as hot-and-sweaty once you're indoors and out of the cold, so we've picked out a few of em today. Normally $65, this one is knocked down to $45.

I also caught my eye on this color-blocked sweater in similarly fall-appropriate grey and blue, discounted to $50 from $75:
Textured Color Block Sweater | Frank & Oak
I've seen a lot of knitwear with the color-blocking, but this might be the first time I've seen a brand change the knitting pattern along with the color, and I think the result could be pretty cool (and definitely unique). This guy is a wool/acrylic blend, promising to be warmer than the cotton, but not quite as itchy or rough as 100% wool (sweaters are one of the few instances where I don't mind some percentage of artificial fibers).

Again, check out the entire the October collection, and rock the referral link if you're just now signing up:

Uniqlo Weekly Promotions and Other Markdowns:
This is one I'm personally really pumped about - lots of great fall style at discounted prices (plus, their impressive Pure Blue Japan collection is on sale). I'm planning on stopping into the SoHo store tomorrow to take a look in-person. Among the items I'll be checking out are their huge stock of flannels, already affordable at $30 each, but now available at a two-for $50 deal. I'm thinking of grabbing one in a blue and black check like this:
Flannel Check Long Sleeve Shirt | Uniqlo
I had a heavier winter coat in a very similar pattern that I used to love, so I'd rock this more as a shirt-jacket or light layering option. It's a great, pretty traditional flannel pattern, but not quite as lumber-jack-y as a red and black option would be.

Also pretty excited about this number in a brushed blue:
Flannel Check Long Sleeve Shirt | Uniqlo
Notice how much it looks like chambray? It's a pretty awesome way to translate the awesome versatility of a light chambray summer shirt into a winter option. Definitely dig the button-down collar too, especially for something I'd wear just as a shirt (rather than light outerwear like the above pick). It's also available in a dark grey, which looks kinda chambray-ish too, and a light grey that doesn't quite bring the same chambray vibe, but is still damn cozy looking.

Uniqlo is also a fantastic place to pick up some surprisingly inexpensive knitwear, like $90 cashmere sweaters, now discounted to an even-better $80. Sure, cheaper cashmere probably won't be quite as thick or warm, and also might wear out a bit quicker, but some of us want that unbeatable softness, without having to pay an arm and a leg. Lots of colors available, but my favorite is this dark burgundy wine:
Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater | Uniqlo
While on the topic of affordable cashmere, I also recommend checking out Everlane's stock of v-necks and crewnecks (scroll below the other fiber options), slightly more expensive at $120, but perhaps just a bit higher quality. I've heard great things!

Extra 30% Off Sale Items at J.Crew (code STYLETIME):
Yep, another of J.Crew's seemingly never-ending extra discounts on sale styles, this time around taking those sale prices down another 30%. Still a lot of summer clothing in that sale section, but also a good (and growing) number of cold-weather pieces. There's a ton in there, actually, so take advantage of the filters to make the selection a bit more manageable. I started off with sweaters, and this is by far my favorite:
Alpaca Shawl Sweater | J.Crew
Sure, even with the discount knocking the price down to $91 (originally $148), this fella ain't cheap, but that alpaca wool is some comfy, cozy stuff. Plus, I love the marled blue color, and you know my propensity for shawl-collars, so this one is a winner in my book.

I'm also feeling this ribbed cotton sweater in a rich, dark red (they're calling it 'Vintage Burgundy'):
Ribbed Cotton Sweater | J.Crew
I don't own a ton in red, but I have a sweater from Frank & Oak that I picked up last year in a similar color, and really enjoyed last winter - especially around holiday season. Again, it's cotton, not wool, so it won't be quite as insulating, but a bit easier to wear.

A few winners in the flannel shirting department as well, with brighter-than-usual colors like this pick in 'Nordic Sea Plaid' for $42 (originally $80):
Flannel Shirt in Nordic Sea Plaid | J.Crew
Where most flannel plaids come in darker, more muted colors, this is almost spring-timey, and could inject some fun color into a winter outfit.

If you want something in slightly more seasonal colors, my personal favorite is probably this blue/yellow/white check:
Flannel Shirt in Classic Herringbone Plaid | J.Crew
I love the color combination from the get-go, but the clincher is the subtle herringbone weave (hard to see in this pic, but much more apparent when you zoom in) that just sets this a step above a flat flannel fabric. This one also gets knocked down to $42 from $80 for almost 50% off when it's all said and done.

Alrighty, I got a way late start on this round, and it's getting laaaate so I'm wrapping it up. Share any good fall finds of your own in the comments!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The M-65 Field Jacket - An Introduction

Lordy, things have been busy! Working on figuring out how to handle a posting schedule with some new personal developments, so bear with me.

Slow start to this week, blog-wise, but I'm excited about this post, in which we are taking an in-depth look at the classic M-65 field jacket:
M-65 Field Coat | Alpha Industries - $150
First, just a little background about that number. When looking at military-based outerwear (like the M-65), you will almost always see it referred to as a letter with a number attached. The letter designates the style of the jacket, but the number refers to the year it was released. In this case, the M-65 was released in 1965, and was a replacement of the M-51, which was - you guessed it - last updated in 1951.

Now, I'm no expert on military gear, but my understanding is that, in comparison to some of the more specialized outerwear like bomber jackets and pilot jackets that were specifically made for, well, pilots, the M-65 was a much more general issue. It was widely released to ground troops, especially in the Vietnam war, where it was highly useful as protection against post-monsoon chills and the generally damp weather and fluctuating temperatures.

Design-wise, the M-65 upgraded from the M-51 with a packable hood (as opposed to a detachable one) that disappears into a pocket in the collar, and velcro fasteners at the cuffs and collar. It also continued the signature four pocket design, olive green shade, upper-thigh length, and heavy canvas construction that became standard through the previous iterations. Also available were an optional heavier quilted lining and button-on fur trim for the hood, both of which up the insulation for soldiers in colder climates.

Originally issued exclusively to the military, the M-65 has since become widely available (and popular) among the general public. The features remain the same, but the color-ways have expanded and you can now find the jacket in a huge range of colors, although military-ish (yep, making that a term) colors like khaki, camo, navy, and the original olive green remain the most common. Likewise, the original jacket was designed and produced by Alpha Industries (see above), but these days most of your favorite brands make their own version, from affordable brands...
Field Jacket | Uniqlo - $79.90
Ripstop Fatigue Jacket | Gap - $98

Lightweight Nylon Military Jacket | Frank & Oak - $125

Garrison Field Jacket | J.Crew - $188 well as a variety of higher-end designers:

Lightweight Combat Jacket | Polo Ralph Lauren - $295
Field Jacket | Paul Smith - $455 (on sale for $318 at time of posting)
Cashmere-Blend Field Jacket | Armani Collezioni - $1,045

I mentioned the popularity of the jacket style among the public, and the demand has only gone up as the military trend has boomed over the past few years, but what I really love about the jacket is the place it has cemented in pop culture. This thing is virtually everywhere, with my personal favorites being Robert Deniro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (arguably the most iconic use of the jacket), and Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir in Freaks and Geeks. You can find a more extensive list of it's appearances on Wikipedia that not only shows the versatility of the jacket across genders and body types, but also across genres (but always with a link back to it's military heritage).

Tune in again soon, as I have a M-65 from Alpha Industries on the way for an in-person review and styling tips, hopefully ready in the next week or two!