Thursday, November 27, 2014

Where To Shop This Black Friday

Easy answer: nowhere.

At least, nowhere in person. Black Friday is for crazy people, who don't give a damn about the workers who are forced to abandon their families on a holiday to stock the shelves, and really don't give a damn about the complete loss of dignity that is inherent to elbowing someone in the face just to grab that last big screen TV.

Instead, be a decent human bean and wait for Cyber Monday, at which point we give you free reign to shop 'til you drop from the comfort of your keyboard.

Meanwhile, enjoy some quality time with your friends, family, and loved ones. Maybe peruse some online Black Friday sales while you're at it (bonus: most companies these days aren't limiting their sales to just Black Friday itself, and instead offer week-long, or sometimes even month-long sales, just widening your shopping window).

To be honest, the pressure of both managing a budget and snagging all the great deals is a bit much for myself, so instead of going all-out, I just keep my eye on a few stores, and maybe have a few pieces in mind that I'd like to pick up.

This year, I'll be browsing the deals from Frank and Oak and Bonobos, keeping an eye out for some tasty sneakers from the likes of Adidas, New Balance and Nike, and hoping to find a nice pair of gloves from a department store like Nordstrom or Bloomingdales - but my priority is going to be quality time (and food) with my darling puggle and lovely girlfriend!

All that said, here's a list of some great online sales to check out over the next few days. I'll be doing my best to keep this updated, so check back for new additions, and let me know in the comments if I'm missing anything good!

2(X)IST: 30% off sitewide (Fri-Sun)
Alternative Apparel: 30% off $75 or more - code THANKFUL (through Sun)
American Eagle Outfitters: 40% off, free shipping (through Sun)
Bonobos: Up to 30% off (through Sun)
Brooks Brothers: 15% off sitewide (Fri & Sat)
Club Monaco: Up to 30% off (Fri-Mon)
Dockers: Up to 50% off (Thurs-Mon)
East Dane: Up to 25% off (through Mon)
Florsheim: 20% off sitewide - code TGIVING (through Fri)
Frank & Oak: Up to 50% off select items (through Sun) Get $25 credit when signing up with our referral link.
Gap: 50% off sitewide (Thurs-Fri)
Grayers: 25% off sitewide (through Mon)
Haberdash: 25% off sitewide (starting Fri, 8AM)
J.Crew: 30% off full-price styles, extra 40% off sale styles - code HOLIDAY (through Fri)
J.Crew Factory: 50% off sitewide, free shipping over $50 - code THANKS (through Sun)
Levi's: Up to 40% off (through Sun)
Mr. Porter: 30% off Fall/Winter items (through Mon)
NeedSupply: Extra 30% off sale items - code EXTRA30 (through Sun)
New Balance: 15% off sitewide, free shipping (Fri-Sun)
PACT: 40% off sitewide - code OHWHATFUN (through Mon)
Tie Society: $150 valued Holiday Pack for just $100


50% off sitewide, free shipping
Frank and Oak: Extra 25% off discounted sweaters and sweatshirts - code EXTRAGRAVY25
Hickoree's: 30% off sitewide - code BLACKFRIDAY (through Sun)
The Knottery: 25% off sitewide - code GOBBLE (through Mon)
Modern Tailor: Up to 45% off select fabrics - enter code BLACK7 in upper right corner to view savings (through 12/4)
Nordstrom: Up to 40% off select styles
Original Penguin: 40% off sitewide, code OPSITE40 (through Sun)
Zara: 30% off sitewide

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Go eat some Turkey!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Your Thanksgiving Cocktail

We're not ashamed at all to admit we're fans of alcohol - but not vodka-cranberries or Bud Light. No sirree, we stick to the classy stuff, as indicated by our previous posts on boozy Egg Nog and Old-Fashioned cocktails. This holiday, we're on to another classic (and delicious) winter beverage - the Hot Toddy.
Photo via Andrea Beaman
As you can guess from the name, this is a hot beverage, which is perfect for these cold temps that are hitting us in NYC just in time for Thanksgiving. Alongside good old hot cider with whiskey, a Hot Toddy is probably one of my favorite steamy drinks.

Half of the charm of a Hot Toddy lies in it's simplicity - at first glance, it's merely liquor and hot water. But, like many things menswear, it's the little touches that make the drink so comforting; the slight sweetness of the sugar cubes, the cinnamon that gives it such a comforting, spicy fragrance, the brightness lent by the lemons, even the traditional glass mugs that say cozy, but refined.

OK, I'll stop waxing poetic. Here's how you make one:


  • 2 sugar cubes
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 quart rye whiskey
  • 2 quarts water
  • cinnamon sticks

I like to follow the directions given by the folks at Esquire, who suggest starting off by rubbing the sugar cubes against the rinds of two of the lemons, infusing the sugar with the citrusy zest and oils. Next, squeeze the other two lemons and combine the juice with the 1 quart of whiskey (NOTE: big bonus here, you can substitute your favorite whiskey varietal, be it bourbon, scotch, etc., or opt for Jamaican rum or brandy for a sweeter flavor and a cocktail custom-made for your tastes). Combine this mixture with two quarts of boiling water. Serve in glass mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick and a clove-studded lemon slice if you're feeling fancy. Serve piping hot!

Obviously, this recipe is written for a large batch, perfect for a holiday get-together (don't try drinking this all on your lonesome). However, Esquire also kindly points out that you can make a single-serving: "Muddle a lemon-rubbed sugar cube in a double-shot of your favorite hooch, toss in a bit of broken-up cinnamon stick, and top off with boiling water to taste."

So have at it - don't drink too much - or do! After all, you hopefully have a few days off to nurse that hangover. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seeking Suede

Didn't have much time to put together anything lengthy this week, but wanted to take a quick look at one of my (recurring) obsessions: suede footwear. To me, suede is a kinda funky deal, in that it feels ridiculously seasonal during two opposite seasons: late spring and late fall. As spring starts to turn to summer, there's something about, say, a pair of off-white suede bucs that's perfect for the rising heat. Come fall, with winter right around the corner, the warm nap of a pair of chocolate suede chukkas is just as perfectly appropriate. And somehow, tan suede loafers fit the bill pretty much year round.

Anyway, the point is, I'm on the hunt for suede in a wide variety of footwear applications. Here's a roundup of some of my favorites right now:

Suede Sneakers:
Pennant Pack 574 | New Balance - $79.99
The most casual of the lot, I've been loving vintage-y running shoes. I have a few pairs without, but the pairs that do have suede are by far my favorite this season. I just picked up this pair of New Balance's the other week - not only is the style on point, at $80 it wasn't a bank-breaking buy.

Suede Loafers:

Unlined Penny Loafer in Snuff Suede | Alden - $512
Stepping up the formality a bit, but still very do-able as a casual shoe, I love a nice tan suede penny loafer. I don't yet have my own, but I know exactly what I want in a pair, and it's essentially a loafer version of these boots I picked up from Polo Ralph Lauren last year. The above pair is by Alden, and would definitely fit the bill, but I'd love to find something with a similar shape and color that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Any suggestions?

Suede Chukkas:
Men's Field Chukka | Brooks Brothers - $298
Just as versatile as a penny loafer, a chukka can be dressed up or dressed down as you will, especially with a sharper pick like this pair Brooks Brothers. While significantly more expensive than a similar pair of Clark's (almost $300 compared to $130), the sleeker profile makes these far more appropriate with dressy clothing and suits. At the same time, they remain just as easy to pull off with a sharp pair of denim. And that warm, hot-chocolate-brown is as good as it gets as the temps continue to dip.

Suede Bomber:
Balderton Bomber | Bonobos - $695
Of course, suede isn't only used in footwear. In my opinion, the best alternative application of suede has got to be a nice suede bomber. It takes a more sporty style and adds a level of elegance that is level, I guess! Of course, like any leather jacket, you won't find these puppies for cheap, but I'm a big fan of the jacket we offer at Bonobos - full disclosure, I do work there, but I'd recommend their iteration anyway! Keep your eye out for a promotion and you might be able to knock the price down to a bit more affordable point.

I'll end with a quick cautionary note: as perfect as suede feels for the fall, you've gotta be careful as we start encountering inclement weather. Personally, I think some suede looks fantastic all beaten up and worn out, but if you're trying to keep your suede fresh, snow and slush can be your worst enemy. Weatherproofing and diligent shoe care can help out immensely, but some days you'll just want to leave em at home.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Deals and Steals for the Weekend - 11/8/2014

Here we go with your regularly-scheduled Deals and Steals for this lovely fall weekend.

"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 this week's deals are...

25% Off Select Fall Styles and 30% Off Clearance at J.Crew (code GETWARM):
J.Crew has been running a pretty constant extra discount off their clearance goods, but the selection is always shifting, and this week they've got some newer, fall-centric items getting knocked down as well. From the clearance section, I spotted these camp pants, and they're already in my shopping cart:

Camp Pant | J.Crew
First, the color is perfect for fall - an almost military green, but just a shade brighter to keep things from getting too dull. Second, I love the patch pockets...just another small detail that sets these apart from your everyday chinos. Last, the price is damn hard to beat, with these coming in at just $24 (normally $100). Jump on em, just don't buy the last pair in my size!

Shifting over to the fall items, my first pick is this cotton fishtail parka:
Cotton Fishtail Parka | J.Crew
It's not going to get you through winter, but will make a great mid-weight jacket for the next month or two. The fishtail style is pretty popular these days, and often hard to find at an affordable price, so it's nice to see it here for just $163.50 (regularly $218).

Another piece of outerwear that caught my eye was this M-65 jacket from J.Crew's Wallace and Barnes line:
Wallace & Barnes M-65 Jacket | J.Crew
I just reviewed the classic Alpha Industries M-65 earlier this week, with the main complaint that the cut was way too large. This version, while more expensive, is sure to be much more slim-fitting and true-to-size (as well as warmer, thanks to the wool lining). The navy color is a nice touch, and the price is knocked down to about $275 from $368.

Last, I'll probably pick up one of these slim lambswool sweaters:
Slim Lambswool Sweater | J.Crew
I've found that you normally have to choose between a slim but lightweight merino sweater, or a warm but boxy lambswool option. Here comes J.Crew to save the day with a combo of the two - slim-fitting, warm lambswool, all wrapped up in one package. Comes in a huge range of colors, at just $52.50 a piece (originally $70).

Weekly Promotions from Uniqlo:
My picks here aren't anything crazy or out of the box, but fit perfectly with my go-to fall style this year: button-down shirts under crew-neck sweaters or sweatshirts. First, Uniqlo's slim OCBD's are an affordable go-to for many budget-conscious fellas, and this week they've been tossed into the sale section:
Oxford Slim Fit Long Sleeve Shirt | Uniqlo
Regularly $30, you can now grab them for a mere $20. Personally, I'm looking at the more saturated colors, like the navy shown above - I think it's a nice seasonal change from the more washed out light blues, greys, and whites.

For the crew-neck, I'm thinking of picking up a grey number from their Pure Blue Japan project:

Pure Blue Japan Sweatshirt | Unqlo
Granted, it's not on sale, and it looks like a pretty standard option, nothing exciting. That said, $40 is far from expensive, and it's got all the details I want: raglan sleeves, off-color accent stitching, and a reinforced V at the neck.

Now, if you want something a bit more interesting (and conveniently, on sale), check out their artsy SPRZ collection. Lots of bold prints and patterns, but my choice is this fella:
SPRZ NY Graphic Sweat (Jean-Michel Basquiat) | Uniqlo
The Basquiat crown is a cool touch, but not too in-your-face or try-hard, and the military green is on-point for the season. Regularly $30, now insanely affordable at just $15.

20% Off Merino Sweaters at Bonobos (code PRIMOMERINO):
In all transparency, yes, I do now work for Bonobos, but if you've been following the blog or my Instagram for long, you'll know I've long been a fan of their merino sweaters. I usually pick one up whenever they land in the sale section, but this discount code sends some of their newer, full-priced options into affordable territory. This season, I'm particular to crew-necks, like this one in charcoal:
Yorkshire Merino Crew Neck | Bonobos
Super easy to match, incredibly soft and comfortable, and marked down to $78 from just under $100.

If you've got some extra bills and want something a little outside the box, try their 'Boston Waler':
Boston Waler | Bonobos
Where most merino sweaters are pretty lightweight, this pick is a bit chunkier. Plus, subtle details like the chest pocket and asymetrical collar will help your layering game stand out from the crown. Regularly $138, the discount puts these at just over $110 each.

Lots of picks to keep you warm as it keeps getting colder! Any other good fall-weather finds out there? Share in the comments, and happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alpha Industries M-65 - An In-Person(ish) Review

Remember a few weeks back, we posted an article on the classic M-65 fatigue jacket? Alpha Industries was kind enough to send me a sample a few weeks back, and I've finally found the time to snap some pics and write up a post!
Fresh outta the box.
First impressions? This thing seems like a beast. As in, it's much heftier and rugged than I was expecting - in a good way. I mean, it is a military-based jacket, so it makes sense that it would be built to take a beating, I just found myself impressed right off the bat. It also seems like it would be pretty darn warm, especially if you opted to add the additional liner.

Comes ready to insulate with buttons for an optional quilted liner.
Now, notice that I said 'seems,' and you'll find the biggest downfall - fit. And it's not even that it fits terribly. It's just super, super large. Using the sizing chart (and sadly, not doing my own research on the web), I started out with a small in the slim fit (for the record, I normally fit well into a 36R blazer). When the jacket came in the mail, I was swimming in it. Probably could have fit a whole second 'me' in the jacket with me. Oops. Ok, time to swap out.

Second time around, I went with an extra-small, crossed my fingers, and hoped I'd be off to a better start. Unfortunately, while not quite so comically large, the extra-small is still much too large for my scrawny self.

Still might be able to fit another smallish human in this bad boy.
So! First lesson: these jackets run big. If you are anywhere near a small guy, you probably want to look elsewhere. If you aren't so tiny, just be sure to order at least one size down.

Second lesson: even sized appropriately, this is definitely not a 'fashion' coat, and is built for a military man to be able to move and operate comfortably. Most significantly, that means very wide sleeves, as well as a less fitted cut throughout the body.
Though the picture doesn't do it justice, you can get an idea of the width through the sleeves.
That said, some tailoring can make these look pretty damn sharp. Check out this entry by The Nordic Fit for some more information on your alterations options.

Now, after all that, I don't want this review to come off entirely negative by any means. Besides the aforementioned durability and warmth, there's still a lot to be admired. Since I haven't gotten to wear the jacket out, I can't comment too much on comfort or break-in, but I did put together a little list of attributes I dig, as I sit here wishing I could grow a few sizes overnight:

Removable Hood: For some reason, I expected this to roll up bulkily in the collar, but instead, the collar pouch extends into the back, and the hood becomes almost unnoticeable when stashed away. Maybe this is par for the course for a jacket of this type, but I'm a newb to the style and I'm impressed.

Durability: Yep, I know I've said that like, twice already, but it really is a huge part of the appeal - for just $150 you're getting a jacket that will withstand the test of time. And even as it does start to break in, it's just going to look better and better, and likely become more and more comfortable in the process.

Pockets Pockets Pockets! 
So many pockets, but well placed - you could find places to store half of your worldly belongings, but it doesn't look like a walking duffle-bag. 

So, not a real in-person review, but hopefully there's some useful information here. If any of you have had the pleasure of rocking an AI M-65 of your own, and would like to give your review, I'd love to hear it and maybe share it with the crowd!

Also, the PR folks who hooked me up with the AI connection are working with me to look into an alternative that will fit better for a more thorough review, so keep your eyes open.