March 1st, 2012
Suits and dress shirts are nice, but they aren’t made for war. So what kind of clothing survives abuse, adventure, and adversity? Here are ten different clothing items — many of which we’ve discussed on this site before — that will outlast you, your children, and even your grandchildren.
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Say what you will about the exorbitant price, Burberry makes phenomenal trenchcoats. Burberry trenches last forever -- and if you're willing to stomach the price, they will last as long as you do. No amount of heavy rain will buckle the knees of a good Burberry trench. Don't be misled by their more stylish and cutting-edge designs -- stick to something classy and the fashion will last just as long as the material.
Pictured: Burberry Buckle Front Trench Coat, $2,495.00.
January 29th, 2011
Chances are, if you live in the United States, you’ve been dealing with snow. According to CNN, 49 out of 50 states have had snow, with some areas experiencing over 20 inches.
For the fashion-savvy person, snow is rather annoying. Snow usually requires not only cold weather gear, but also a good amount of weather-proof gear, as walking through snow and salt can absolutely destroy clothing unready for the abuse. Thus, in order to help the many people dealing with snow right now (and to help those who will do so in the future), here are some ideas and tips in order to stay fashionable in the snow.
Boots and other Footwear
By far, the most important thing to worry about when trudging through snow or ice is what to wear on your feet — the right footwear can make all of the difference.
Boots are by far the best choice for going through snow. Because boots cover the ankle (and in taller varieties the lower calf), boots protect more of your legs from cold and wet, which can make a lot of difference when walking outdoors for extended periods of time. Boots also tend to have sturdier soles and construction, allowing them to take much more abuse in bad weather than other shoes. Moreover, boots can also be remarkably fashionable, making them pretty much the ideal winter weather choice. Thankfully, if there was any time to invest in a good pair of boots, it is now — boots are trendy now, meaning there’s a huge variety on the market.
It should be noted, however, that few people actually need legitimate snow boots. Snow boots — lined rubber, leather, or heavy cloth boots with fairly strong soles — are invaluable in bad conditions, but are overkill for most commuters. Because such boots are intentionally large and clunky, they also look rather unattractive. Thus, unless you live in an area where snow and/or ice conditions are truly horrible, snow boots are generally unnecessary.
So what should you look for in a good pair of fashionable but utilitarian winter boots? Here are some ideas:
- A heavy-duty sole. Soles on shoes take a beating, so don’t skimp on the brand or style. Rubber (or other non-leather) soles are a must. Most legitimate boot makers (Red Wing, Wolverine, etc) have phenomenal soles, but fashion brands (or dressier brands, like Alden) are not made for the abuse snow brings, so keep them in the closet for the winter. Under no circumstances should you wear leather or wooden soled shoes in the snow.
- Solid, ideally waterproof construction. Cloth boots are pretty useless in the snow, so look for a pair of real leather boots with a well-made upper. True waterproofing is rare, but look for boots that will do their best.
- Construction made to last. Many good boot manufacturers construct their shoes to last, and typically offer re-soling plans and other maintenance plans for free or for a small charge. If the manufacturer can’t fix their boots, this indicates a lack of craftsmanship that will almost guarantee a short lifespan.
- An easy-to-clean and easy-to-polish design. Don’t buy anything with an odd or fake design, such as slouch boots or odd colors. Stick with something you can clean off and polish easily — at minimum, you will have to do this every so often in order to clean off water and salt residue.
- A boot you don’t mind messing up a bit. Under no circumstances should you take $300+ Allen Edmonds boots into the snow. Buy a pair of boots that look nice and are made well (which generally means they will cost more than $100), but boots you won’t feel negligent in abusing. Remember, most boots are made to be worn and abused, not coddled.
Incidentally, if you can’t buy boots for whatever reason, the same rules noted above apply to normal shoes — look for something leather and reasonably waterproof with a sturdy sole.
Footwear alone won’t save you from the ravages of winter — clothing is incredibly important.
As is the case with snow boots, it’s very unlikely that most people reading this article have a need for legitimate snow gear. While athletic ski brands like The North Face have developed some (inexplicable) popularity, the cold weather gear these brands sell is best suited to sporting and actual athletic use. In most cases, even in heavy snow, “normal” clothing and fabrics will do just fine. In other words, stylish outfits can still be made in order to survive the cold — it’s all about layering and choice.
Some tips and tricks:
- Layer. Believe it or not, most warm weather clothing can be layered for the winter. For example, while summer weight blazers alone are pretty useless in the winter, when thrown over a sweater they serve as a stylish, slightly warm layer. Certain items, like sweaters, are phenomenal for layering — play around with them as much as possible.
- Invest in a few good coats. If you live in a cold climate, invest in a few good coats. Because wearing a coat is an absolute necessity in cold weather, variety is nice and assists in outfit construction. At minimum, have one good dressy wool coat. Leather is nice too, but can get somewhat chilly. If you live in an area which has a penchant for nasty wet snow (i.e. half-rain half-snow type stuff), you may want to also purchase a rain coat of some kind.
- Thicker sweaters are your friend. As I have noted in previous articles, thinner wool or cashmere sweaters are invaluable for layering with a suit; however, these sweaters do poorly in very cold weather. Purchase thick sweaters — while they may not layer quite as nicely, they make up for their size in the sheer amount of warmth they put out.
- Always have gloves, a scarf, and a hat available. Not only do these articles of clothing keep you warm, but they also can add quite a bit to an otherwise bland outfit. Incidentally, avoid thinner fashion scarves like the thin t-shirt cotton scarves American Apparel sells — buy something substantial.
Some other considerations to keep in mind:
- Lug soles don’t exactly prevent slipping and falling much more than flat-soled shoes do. Nonetheless, avoid wearing skate shoes and flat-soled shoes in the snow as much as possible. Shoes like Chuck Taylors lack traction to the point of being ridiculously dangerous. If you wear flat-soled shoes to the gym (as you should if you do olympic lifts), consider swapping out shoes at the gym.
- Winter weather can easily dry your skin. Even if it’s wet and nasty outside, don’t forget to moisturize — it makes a lot of difference. A humidifier is also a worthy investment.
- Salt can be removed from pants and other clothing with a little bit of water and, if necessary, dish soap.
- Wear good, thick socks. Few boots are lined enough to keep your feet warm.
- Heavy wool and tweed blazers can serve as coats in moderately cold weather.
May 18th, 2010
Are bootcut jeans OK? I have a lot of pairs of boots that just won’t fit into straight leg jeans.
Well, yes, generally. The generally accepted rule is that you try to wear jeans as slim as you can without looking ridiculous, but obviously, if you plan to wear boots, you’ll need jeans that work well.
To be more specific, you probably want to go for something along the lines of Levi’s 507 jeans — that is, slim boot cut jeans. The reason for the seemingly universal hate fashion websites have for boot cut jeans is that they are typically somewhat bulky and baggy, two things you never want in a good pair of jeans. Whatever brand/style you do go for, the best thing you can do is ensure that, independent of the bottom of the jeans, the jeans fit well overall.
Also, while I’m on this topic, let me be clear about the general policy on boots: cowboy boots always stay under jeans, military boots and other mid-thigh boots can be under the jeans or bloused depending on the style, and hiking boots generally stay underneath by virtue of being too short to really be blouse-able. In simpler terms, never ever “tuck in” your jeans on a pair of cowboy boots, no matter how skinny your jeans are — get a pair of bootcut jeans, or at least jeans that will accommodate the boot, or don’t wear them. You will look like a gay pornstar otherwise. That being said, military boots, or other types of boots with high uppers, can sometimes be bloused (meaning you tuck your pants into the boot), just be careful.
Either way, long story short, go for slim bootcut jeans for cowboy boots or certain types of boots, or otherwise go without or blouse your pants. Hope this helps!
October 23rd, 2009
Rough ready-for-battle work boots are unquestionably in this season- so here are 9 different staff picks.
Red Wing (via J.Crew) Iron Ranger in Dark Brown
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With a great work-ready fit and a phenomenal color and faded texture, Red Wing (through J.Crew)'s special Iron Ranger boots are an absolutely phenomenal example of the distressed but stylish desert boot.
Pictured: Red Wing (via J.Crew) Iron Ranger boots in Dark Brown, $298
September 11th, 2009
There are a few new fashion trends emerging this fall as we enter a colder season- here are a few to follow and a few to avoid as you go shopping.
Insanely Bright Skinnies
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One growing trend that is predominantly emerging from hipsters is the whole trend of wearing brightly colored skinnies. This can include jeans, plain chinos, or even, as pictured, cords.
Avoid 'em. Skinny jeans appear to be on their way out quickly, as too many guys are now adopting them in all of the wrong ways. As I've said before, wear pants that fit you- not pants that make you look constrained and top-heavy.
Pictured: Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Corduroy Jean ($98)
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