Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Must Haves for Men

 The key to a successful casual men's look is to still look put together.  A great fitting pair of jeans should be slim, but not too snug, and in a dark wash.  A black t-shirt is a great basic, but if you wear a v-neck be mindful of the chest hair.  For your feet, anything from an old pair of Converse to driving mocs or low boots.  A simple bag, messenger or back-pack, and aviators complete the look.  Consider a cable knit sweater, rolled-sleeved button down, or twill jacket to top.
Products: J. Crew Broken-In Slim No-Pocket V-Neck Tee in Faded Black, Ray-Ban Aviators, J. Crew Millbrook Leather Driving Mocs, Converse Distressed Jack Purcell sneakers, J. Crew Ruggled Twill Messanger Bag.

 A black wool suit should be in every man's closet.  It should fit well (please see a tailor), be well-crafted, and will last you a lifetime.  The wonderful thing about a black suit is its ability to be dressed around.  Wear the jacket with a sweater and jeans, or the pants with a nice button down for a more casual occasion.  Easy compliments to the black suit are a crisp white button down, black oxfords, and a silk tie.  A note on ties: when in doubt, chose a solid black tie.  Please please please get rid of all of the novelty ties in your closet.  Pinstripes, pindots, stripes, subtle paisley, and small critters are OK.  A Thomas Kinkade painting is not.  Feel free to have fun with color, as seen in the beautiful blue silk tie.  For shoes, a simple pair of oxfords is your best bet.  A nice sheen, simple styling, and leather soles are the way to go.  Don't ruin your great looking suit with an awful pair of shoes.
Products: Ralph Lauren Suit, Thomas Mason Fabric Point-Collar Dress Shirt in White, Cole Haan Alex Plain Ox, J. Crew Solid Repp-Silk Cambridge Tie in Black, J. Crew Pindot Tie, J. CrewWide-Stripe Old-School Tie in Olive Moss, J. Crew Solid Satin Tie in Matisse Blue.

For fall, nothing is better than a great sweater.  Cardigans are the most versatile because, as seen above, they can be dressed up with a button down and tie, or down with a t-shirt and jeans.  Henley and half-zips are great too.  Look for cable-knits, merino wool, cashmere, or marbled knits in basic neutral colors.  I prefer a shawl color, but a v-neck is the next best.
Products: Louis Vuitton, J. Crew Wool-Cashmere Cable Shawl-Collar Cardigan in Heather Flannel, J. Crew Mason Shawl-Collar Henley in Warm Cedar, J. Crew Alpaca Shawl-Collar Cardigan, J. Crew Merino Caridgan in Dark Navy.

I feel like many men overlook outwear.  They continue to wear the same coat their mother bought for them in high-school.  Outerwear is simple and can make a great impact.  The three most loved styles are the pea coat, the trench, and a leather bomber.  Pea coats are great on any man, no matter what his style.  It should be a slim fit, not boxy.  When you try it on, have a sweater on so that you can test the ease of movement when you are layered up for winter.  A trench coat is wonderful and comes in many styles.  A basic, tan twill trench will transition you from season to season for years.  If you can afford a leather bomber jacket, please get one!  They are masculine, stylish, and sexy.  Look for one that doesn't have too many bells and whistles in a dark brown or black.
Products: Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Vintage Leather Bomber.

The right accessories are key and should be thought about.  While the man in the suit looks great, the hat, bag, and pocket squares really give the look more personality.  When looking for a bag, consider your needs as well as style.  A rugged twill or leather bag is going to be tough and also look great.  The cross-body strap of a messenger helps distribute the weight of a laptop and looks good cutting across your put together outfit.  Many see handkerchiefs as old-school, but as the wife of someone who carries one- they are the must-have your didn't realize you needed.  They offer a gentlemanly way to blow your nose, dab your brow, or wipe off a mess.  Your lady will appreciate a clean one when she tears up or needs to clean up her lipstick.  A nice leather wallet is subtle message about style.  Nothing is tackier than a duct-tape wallet and nothing less sexy than a rubber-banded wad.  Speaking of un-sexy, that tumor on your butt isn't.  Keep your wallet clean and slim.  Every man should also own a good black AND brown leather belt.  Be mindful of what shoes you are wearing and match accordingly.  The next accessory is optional, but a nice touch- a hat.  Let's take a look at Mad Men's Don Drapper.  There is an unspoken, easy suave about him, isn't there?  Hint: its the hat.  A fedora, trilby, or drivers cap is a nice touch.
Products: Ralph Lauren, J. Crew Rugged Twill Travel Bag, J. Crew Artisan Leather Messenger Bag, J. Crew White Linen Pocket Square, J. Crew Classic Leather Wallet, J. Crew Leather Roller Buckle Belt in Black and Dark Wood.

 If you really want to be dapper, consider velvet.  A lush velvet blazer in black or a dark jewel tone is instant wealth and class.  Be a bit more daring and consider velvet trousers, either boldly (see far left) or more subtly (see far right).  Its a decedent touch that is perfect for winter and holiday.
Products: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo

For more inspiring men's looks, see the following Fall 2010 runways: Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Hermés, and Tommy Hilfiger.

For great men's products, visit: J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, and Cole Haan.

Coco Birdie


  1. I'm just wondering if the straight black tie with black suit will come across as too overbearing or such? This day isn't supposed to be about me, and I'd rather people be focused on the eulogy rather than my clothes. So like I said, just want to make sure I do this right.Savile Row Tailor