Ties Mens Accessory Essentials Wordpress Ashley Weston2

The Best Men’s Ties

Just like all the other essential accessory pieces, you want your ties to work perfectly with all the items in your essential wardrobe. If you own a suit or blazer, then you absolutely need ties! Unfortunately, I see a lot of guys also completely crapping the bed with their ties.

A lot of men are wearing ties that are:

  • too wide or skinny, which completely throws off their proportions
  • tied with the wrong knots
  • not matching their outfits
  • really odd textured or patterned ties
  • the wrong material or fabric weights for the outfit

A big mistake most men make, whether they’re just starting out or have a little better handle on their personal style, is thinking they need to go overboard and have their accessories be these big statement pieces. That’s when men get into trouble.

Some men think it’s “boring” to stick to the basics, but they’re basics because they work for everybody and look timeless and sharp. And with the right accessories to round out your outfit, you’ll look well-dressed throughout your entire life. If you never own another type of tie in your life, my suggestions will cover you for every situation you’ll ever need.

How to Match Ties To An Outfit

The most common question I get about ties is how do you match them to and outfit. And it’s pretty simple:

The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to have a similar color in your tie (not exact, just a similar shade) to any other color you’re wearing in your outfit – outside of your dress shirt.

So if you’re wearing a gray suit, white dress shirt and black dress shoes, wear a tie that has black or charcoal/gray in it. If you’re wearing a navy suit with brown dress shoes and charcoal socks, wear a blue or charcoal tie. If you’re wearing a gray blazer with dark wash jeans and brown boots, wear a tie that has some blue or charcoal in it. Brown leather jacket and boots, wear a tie with some brown in it.

That’s it.

Anything outside of that is next level stuff and can go wrong quickly if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You can go your entire life only following this rule and you’ll never go wrong – I promise.

What materials should your ties be?

You really only need ties in two materials to cover you for the whole year.

  1. Silk Ties
    Silk ties work year-round with every kind of outfit where a tie can be worn – dress, business and casual.
  2. Knitted/Woven Ties
    For the Spring and Summer months only – Check out Summer Essentials Ebook for details about those specific ties, but since they’re not for year-round wear, I won’t cover them in this article.

Any other types of materials, like pure wool or linen, have pretty small use cases and definitely won’t be as versatile as the above options and you should wait to get them until you’re much further on your style journey.

What color ties should you own?

Like all the items I recommend in the essential wardrobe series, you want to stick to black, charcoal, and navy, with one exception – which you can throw in there, if you like, and that’s silver or light gray.

These colors will go with 99% of the outfits you’ll wear. Just like with tie materials, any other colors will have specific use cases and are outside the scope of this series.

Once you’ve gotten those basic colors, then and only then can you start expanding to lighter shades or darker or brighter colors like burgundy, brown and other pastel or jewel tones. Again, that’s once you get more comfortable and really understand how to add them to an outfit.

But if choosing tie colors is still tough for you, then those default colors go with pretty much everything and you’ll never have to worry about not looking sharp and put together.

What patterns of ties should I own?

First, stick with plain, solid colored ties in the colors I discussed in the previous section. Then, you can move onto some striped ties with no more than 3 colors in them (ensuring at least the major color in the tie is one the colors I discussed above) and you can also throw in some smaller polka dotted ties in there, too. Also in the same colors I discussed previously.

What Size Tie Shoud You Own?

Follow these rules for your tie widths based on your height and body type so your proportions will always be balanced. Trust me, I deal with clients of all shapes and sizes all day long and these tie widths will work for you.

These sizes are to be used irregardless of the lapel width of your jacket.

Tie lengths really don’t come into play because most places you’ll go don’t make tall or short versions anyways and they’re not entirely necessary unless you’re ridiculously tall (over 6’5″) or short (under 4’10”).

To take your tie width measurements, just use the widest part of the tie near the bottom.

Under 5ft 8in and very thin

You need to get a 2″ width tie. If you’re not sure if you’re very thin, then you probably have an average build. Under no circumstance should you ever wear this width of tie unless you’re very thin and under 5’8” because it will look silly on you. I’d say that at least half the men I see wearing skinny ties shouldn’t be. Don’t fall into that group!

Under 5ft 8in & average/broad Build

Wear a tie that is 2.5″ wide.

5’8” to 6’3″ tall

thin to average Build

Wear a 2.5″ wide tie.

Large/Broad Build

You need a 3″ wide tie.

6’4″ tall and above (no matter your build)

You need a 3″ wide tie no matter what. This will help balance your proportions.

The Best Men’s Ties

I’ve been a customer and user of TheTieBar.com for years now, and they continually prove to me that they are, by far, the best place to get quality, affordable ties. I have never taken a dime from them to promote their products because they deserve all the praise and business in the world. Unless a designer has specifically made a tie for a client, I use them every time.

 

Black Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Black Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Black Knit Tie
The Tie Bar Black Delta Stripe Tie
The Tie Bar Black Satin Dot Tie

Navy Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Navy Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Navy Textured Solid Knit Tie
The Tie Bar Navy Trad Stripe
The Tie Bar Navy Satin Dot Tie

Charcoal/Gray Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Charcoal Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Pencil Pinstripes Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Shock Dots Tie

Silver (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Silver Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Trainer Stripe Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Satin Dot Tie

 

Men’s Ties Outfit Inspiration

AskAW9 Wordpress

THE #ASKAW SHOW: EPISODE 09 W/ Andrew Snavely FROM PrimerMagazine.com

In this episode, my special guest – Andrew Snavely from PrimerMagazine.com answer some of the most scintillating questions for the readers/viewers.

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask in the comments of the above youtube video or send me an email.

In this episode, we answer:

Q: I’ve lost a significant amount of weight and now all of my clothes are clownishly large on me. Can a tailor make my clothes fit again or should I just buy all new ones?

A: See the video above for the answer and my men’s clothing fit guide for how your clothes should fit.

Q: I watched your T-Shirt video and if I have a nice looking tee with a pretty minimalist design, does that hinder a look the same way a straight up graphic tee would?

A: Short answer – sort of. See the video for the longer answer.

Q: As a shorter man (5’6″), I find it difficult to find stuff that fits me and looks good. I was hoping you can provide some general style tips for shorter men.

A: See TheModestMan.com for a great site for shorter men style. But in our experience, as long as your clothing fits properly, there’s not much else to worry about.

Q: I recently picked up a Briefcase in a navy/ tan leather color way, would I match my wallet/watch/belt/etc. To the bag? What would you do in my situation?

A: Don’t think about it too much. Andrew is less of a stickler here, but I am more of a stickler. See video for details.

Seasonal Survey & Giveaway Wordpresss

1 Week Giveaway + Seasonal Essentials Survey

Enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 pairs of these amazing swim trunks by Everest Isles (my top choice in the Summer Essentials Ebook),

To enter, do these 2 steps:

  1. Download the Men’s Summer Essentials Ebook. 
    a. Then read the damn thing.
  2. Fill out this brief survey.

Once those two steps are completed, you’ll automatically be entered into the giveaway.

Giveaway is open to everyone worldwide. Winners are responsible for all duties/taxes. I’ll cover shipping to you and am not responsible for lost shipments, etc.

Entries must be submitted no later than 12am Pacific Standard Time August 17, 2016.

Winners will be announced via the email list you joined by downloading the ebook.

 

 

Best Mens Socks Ashley Weston Wordpress

The Best Men’s Socks

If you’ve downloaded any of my Free Ebooks, then you already know I’ve got some pretty strong opinions about socks – especially white ones. Most of my clients come to me with a drawer full of white, mid-calf length socks, possibly some ankle socks thrown in there, and a ratty pair or two of dress socks they pull out from time to time. This is unacceptable and frankly… gross. Before I took my nephew George under my wing, his sock drawer looked like this, but he had an excuse – he’s a little kid!

Socks area one of the few items in menswear when it’s perfectly acceptable to go absolutely crazy without looking ridiculous. You can use them to show off some of your personality and have fun with them. I’ve got clients who wear their favorite sports teams, crazy patterns, super heroes, etc. People will only really see them when you’re seated and they’re great conversation pieces, so I say go bonkers with them!

The Cardinal Sin of Socks

The only rule you cannot break from this day forward is: NO WHITE SOCKS – EVER. That’s it. They’re the cancer of the sock world. There’s no excuse or reason for owning any white socks anymore.

How many Socks Should I Own?

How many plain & patterned dress socks to have depends on what you wear and how often. I would say have enough to get you through a week, so about 7 pairs.

Best Material For Socks

Socks come in all sorts of fabrics/materials – wool, cotton, cashmere, silk, nylon or blends of each. In my experience, merino wool and cotton blends are best, because they’re more forgiving and comfortable than the other fabrics. They also look great and can be worn with both casual and dress outfits, and they’re just the right thickness. My choices at the bottom of this page will come in either fabric or one or the other. Silk, silk-blended or nylon-blended socks can only be worn with suits and dress shoes and will wear out quicker than other fabrics.

The types of socks to own

Plain & Patterned Dress Socks

Patterned Colored Dress Socks Mens AshleyWeston

I say dress socks, which are usually thinner than regular white socks, but I really just mean colored socks of any material. Think of these as your replacements for your white socks.

Like I said, it’s perfectly acceptable to go crazy here, but you should also at least have the standard colors of Black, Gray/Charcoal, and Navy in your sock drawer. That way, if you’re going to something where maybe it’s not appropriate – like a funeral or when it’s best to be more conservative.

As for material, like I said in the materials section, stick with merino wool or cotton blends because they’re most comfortable and can be worn with casual and dressy outfits. Just beware: Thick cotton or wool socks looks horrible with suits because they’re just too thick and informal. So if you need socks like that, wear them with casual outfits only.

Ankle Socks

DarnToughMensAnkleSocksAshleyWeston

These are to be worn when working out ONLY.

These are sometimes called low or short socks, depending on the company. Either way, they should have a little lip at the top. Anything higher, is to be avoided.

As for color, stick with black. White or other colors will get dirty and look gross very quickly.

For materials, merino wool or cotton blends are best.

No show socks

UniqloNoShowMensSocksAshleyWeston

These are appropriate for when you’re wearing shorts or cuffing your pants with any type of shoes – loafers, boat shoes, dress shoes, sneakers, etc.

You want to go with black because it’ll look the best the longest. You can also go with patterns and other colors, but no one will really see it, so it’s a bit of a waste. If you’re wearing white shoes, you can wear white ones, but they tend to get gross and nasty pretty quickly so I just avoid them. Whatever you do, don’t get nude-colored ones. It’s really gross looking.

How to match socks to an outfit

Patterned Or Colored Socks

(Any colors or patterns outside of the standard colors I listed above – black, charcoal & navy.)

The best thing to do, and what I do with my clients, is have a color in the socks, regardless of whether they’re plain or patterned, that is similar to a shade of any item in an outfit – whether it be your shoes, pants, shirts or accessories.

So if your tie or pocket square has a bit of blue in it, wear some socks with blue in them.

Just don’t match your socks to your shirt color if it’s white. Again – NO WHITE SOCKS!

Standard Plain Colored Socks

(Black, Charcoal & Navy)

Jeans and any color sneakers = any of the 3 standard colors.

Black suit (you better be wearing black shoes only!) = black socks

Navy suit (shoe color doesn’t matter) = navy or charcoal socks

Gray suit w/ black shoes = charcoal or black socks

Gray suit w/ brown shoes = charcoal socks

 

With that said, though, you shouldn’t worry about matching 99% of the time, though, because socks are one of the few places in menswear when you can (and should) go absolutely bananas.

When should you replace your socks?

When they’re worn thin in certain areas – usually around the heel or toes.

WornOutThinMensSocksAshleyWeston

When they’re faded, stretched out or stained.

WornOutFadedStainedMensSocksAshleyWeston

When they’re severely pilled (those weird little balls of fabric usually around worn areas are called pills). Pilling is usually the beginnings of them starting to get worn out in that area.

PilledMensSocksAshleyWeston

The Best Men’s Socks

Plain & Patterned Dress Socks

Darn Tough

DarnToughSocksMensAshleyWeston

They’re some of my client’s favorites – and mine, of course. They’re soft, super comfortable and about as durable as any socks I’ve encountered.

The kicker is that they come with a lifetime warranty, so if anything happens to them, send the company an email and they’ll replace them free of charge, for life. Obviously, this comes at a price, because they’re not cheap, but I don’t find the price too offensive compared to other brands that don’t offer a lifetime guarantee.

They’re a merino blend, so they wick sweat and moisture away from your feet, keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They’re also seamless on the toes, so you’ll never have to deal with the discomfort of excess fabric around your toes.

Their cushion versions are the best, but even their non-cushioned socked are great. I found the other sizes, like their micro crew, to be too short and you’ll be flashing some shin when crossing your legs – which is to be avoided – so stick to the crew length or mid-calf lengths.

The only annoying thing is that they don’t sell socks directly, so you have to get them via third parties, like Amazon, REI or GearX

Uniqlo

UniqloMensCrewPatternPlainSocksAshleyWeston

If you want a great budget-friendly cotton options with LOTS of different colors and patterns, look no further than Uniqlo’s Crew Socks.

Kirkland & Gold Toe

These are good for plain/traditional colored socks. Unless you’re a member of Costco, you won’t be able to get the Kirkland Signature Cushioned socks.

Gold Toe’s are the old standby and are great for their price, but you’ll be replacing them once ever six to 12 months.

Ankle Socks

Just like with their dress socks, I really love Darn Tough Ankle Socks. They’re comfortable as hell and come with that amazing lifetime guarantee.

DarnToughMensAnkleSocksAshleyWeston

 

For budget-friendly and variety, almost nowhere beats Uniqlo. They call their ankle socks “short” socks.

UniqloMensAnkleShortSocksAshleyWeston

No Show Socks

UniqloMensNoShowSocksAshleyWeston

I honestly say get the cheapest ones you can find because they’re all very similar. Some companies sell cotton blends and others sell more thin, nylon blended socks.

Some clients prefer one type over another, some like to have both and wear the thinner ones with dress shoes and the thicker ones with sneakers. This one is up to you, so try both and see what you prefer!

Again, Uniqlo reigns supreme! They call them “low cut” socks.

Dopp Travel Toiletry Kits Ashley Westion Wordpress Header

Dopp Kit or Toiletry Bag

If you ever travel, even if it’s just across town for the night, or to the gym, then you absolutely need a dopp kit or toiletry bag. No proper gentleman should ever be without one.

 

Why Own a dopp kit or Toiletry Bag?

The reasons you need one are many, but allow me to give a woman’s perspective and reasons for a moment.

In dating and life, we’re always looking at the smaller, subtle details to learn a little more about a person. We’re more sensitive to these subtleties and when a client asks why a dopp kit is important to own, I tell him that when a woman sees a man is organized and respects himself enough to have nice things, it makes us feel validated, like we found “a good one” because this small detail supports a notion that he probably has his life together and is a potentially good mate. It’s a very visceral, biological reaction that we get.

I often say it’s a similar thought to the old saying, “A messy bed equals a messy head” meaning that the way someone’s bed looks gives you some insight into their mental state.

On top of that, it’ll make traveling or going to the gym that much quicker and easier for you by keeping all your toiletries nice and organized. It’ll also help protect your clothing and luggage if you ever have any toiletries leak or spill.

What should a Dopp Kit do?

  • It should carry your toiletries, of course.
  • You also want it to be easy to use. There’s a lot of dopp kits out there, but my favorites are always the zip top style (see my choices below for examples) because the other styles aren’t as easy to pack or access items without having to move other things around. I had a client take a big chunk of out his finger with his razor while carelessly going through his non-top loading Dopp Kit and that’s what started me on the quest to find the perfect one. The next best alternative is the wide-mouth style (see the Shinola example below), but I find these tend to sacrifice some storage space to have the hinge. Even the original Dopp kit does this. My example below is the best I found with a hinge because it takes up less space than similar bags.
  • The last thing your Dopp Kit should do is last for the rest of your life. Unless things change dramatically over the course of your life, this should be the last one you ever buy. So if you’re hesitant because of pricing, don’t be. The cost per year will be so small that it’s absolutely worth it.

What Should it be made of?

Like with all the other bags I recommend in this series, I think there’s just no substitute for leather. It doesn’t stain as easily, and those stains will happen much quicker than your other items since it’s close to a lot of water and toothpaste, etc. Also, leather just looks much classier. Cloth or plastic alternatives are okay, but they just don’t compare, in my eyes.

What color should it be?

Just like all your other accessories, black or brown are my favorites. You can definitely go with other colors since not many people will see it, but I always stick to the classics here. Do you need to match it to your weekender bag? I would default to yes, because why not? But if you really like a brown dopp kitt and own a black weekender bag, then I don’t see an issue with that.

The Best Dopp Kits or Toiletry Bags

Jack Spade Mason Leather Dopp Kit

JackSpadeMasonLeatherDoppKitAshleyWeston

 

Buy the Jack Spade Mason Leather Dopp Kit

It is my absolute favorite and one I’ve gifted to a lot of family and friends over the years. It’s simple, not too big or small, and has my favorite zip top design, so it’s very easy to access your items. I like just the simple pocket on the top, as well as the small side pockets for items that can fit there. Like all dopp kits should have, it of course has a waterproof lining, so if anything spills, it won’t be a total disaster for the items in your luggage.

I’d say that this one is perfect in every way.

 

Shinola Travel Kit

Shinola Dopp Travel Toiletries Kit Ashley Weston

Buy the Shinola Travel Kit

This is one of the few traditional style dopp kits that I could find with a hinge top opening, which allows you to access the entire compartment. Shinola’s leather is really damn good and even though it only comes in black, if you prefer this shape over the zip top style, this one is definitely for you.

 

This Is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

ThisIsGroundTechDoppTravelToiletriesKit Ashley Weston13

Buy a This Is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

While these are not technically a toiletry bag or dopp kit, they call it their “Tech Dopp Kit”, I’ve found the multiple size opens and construction as close to perfect as possible. The only thing it’s missing is the waterproof lining, but as long as you’re relatively careful with packing your liquids, it wouldn’t call this a deal breaker.

I show the different sizes in the video at the top of this page, but I would recommend you get their “regular” size since it’s comparable to your average dopp kit’s size. But if you want something smaller or bigger, I think it’s great that they have those options available, too.

Definitely get it monogramed for that little extra special touch!

 

KILLSPENCER Dopp/Folio 2.0

KillSpencerdoppfolio_34_black_1_12 Ashley Weston

Buy the KILLSPENCER Dopp/Folio 2.0

Like all their products, it has a nice, supple leather with a great, tactical edge. I like it a lot because it has a unique look compared to all the other dopp kits out there and the inside is fully waterproof, so if anything spills, it won’t be a total disaster. While not a requirement, when you’re not using it as a dopp kit, it can also double as a folio by squishing it down a little bit. I thought this was a nice touch, but I don’t know how often it would be used like this. It’s definitely on the larger side of the spectrum, so if you’re looking for a larger dopp, this one is right for you.

MensSunglassesWordpressheaderAshleyWeston

Sunglasses

So we’ve already established (in the series intro video) that the details in your wardrobe & appearance matter, and just like I talked about before, the first thing someone looks at is your face, so the things that sit ON your face, like sunglasses, should add to the overall sharpness of your outfit/appearance, not detract from it.

How many sunglasses should I own?

I’ve been asked this quite a few times and I think you should own 2-3 pairs. This will ensure your sunglasses will look appropriate with whatever outfit you’re wearing – no matter what. While you can use just 1 pair, I would recommend at least two to be safe.

Do I need to match sunglasses to my outfit?

You don’t technically need to match them to your outfit, but there’s an argument to be made for it, which I’ll get into in the next section.

What color sunglasses should I have?

In order to cover you for all outfits and seasons, you should own a black pair and tortoise shell pair. If you want crazier colors then you should definitely get them, but only AFTER you’ve got the basics covered.

Black

You want a black pair because they go very well with more formal outfits and/or they match with your black accessories – i.e. your shoes or watch strap. To me, it’s not ideal if you’re wearing brown accessories – shoes, watch strap, etc, and then throw on a pair of black sunglasses, but it is still perfectly acceptable because it’s far enough away from these other accessories that it won’t ruin the cohesion of the look. If you only have 1 pair of sunglasses, you should go with black because it goes with any outfit you could be wearing.

Brown/Tortoise shell

This color goes very well with casual outfits, but also looks fantastic with a navy suit and brown accessories. Again, you can get away with black sunglasses with a navy suit, but it’s not ideal.

Any Other Color

If you want to have a crazy fun pair, then go nuts here, but just don’t wear it with anything but casual outfits, otherwise you could start look like Bruce Vilanch. Again, a well-dressed man shouldn’t have anything standing out in an outfit, he needs everything to work in perfect harmony to create an amazing whole. This absolutely applies to sunglasses.

Aviators – The Exception

If your face shape allows you to wear Aviators and you want to wear those, always go with a silver/charcoal metal frame and black/grey/green lenses as the default or “black” option, like I talked about above. For your “brown” pair of sunglasses, go with a gold metal frame and brown lenses. You don’t want a black or brown frame because it looks cheesy and deviates too far away the timeless look of Aviators.


What Color Lenses should I have?

This one is simple and the default lenses are usually great, but here’s my preferences:

  1. Gradient – They look amazing and just give the sunglasses a nice, little extra touch of class.
    TomFordSnowdonSunglassesGradientLensesAshleyWeston
  2. Standard shaded/polarized – Most glasses will come with this type of lens that will probably match the color of the frame (black = black lenses, brown = brown lenses, etc.) and it’s perfectly acceptable, but if given the choice, I’d go with a gradient lens every time.
    Warby Parker Madison in Whiskey

Anything outside of these lens colors and types, included mirrored lenses, are a no go. They’ll detract from the polished look of your outfit and this is to be avoided because your accessories should never overshadow anything else you’re wearing.

Don't be like this guy.

Don’t be this guy.

The best sunglasses for your face shape

The type of sunglasses you should own is dependent on you face shape. You generally want the shape of your sunglasses to be the opposite of your face shape, so they’ll help provide balance to your facial features.

A quick note about the below chart, including other resources out there – most of them will be talking about as many as 10 different face shapes and trust me, it’s a waste of time. There’s really only 3 face shapes that every man falls into:

  1. Round
  2. Oval
  3. Square

Everything else is just nit-picking to fill up space on a website or magazine. The one that drives me the craziest is heart-shaped – that’s just an oval face with a wider forehead. If you’re considered heart-shaped according to the charts below, then just go with my oval suggestions.

You’ll notice that, outside of Aviators, I’m not recommending any frame-less style sunglasses and that’s because I think they just don’t look that great and never put my clients in them.

As for how to determine your face shape, the best resources I’ve found are from good ol’ LensCrafters and FramesDirect:

How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston

How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston1


How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston2

Round Face

Roundfaceshape

If you have a round shaped face, you want to avoid round frames and go for more square/rectangular frames (i.e. Wayfarer style) or teardrop frames like Aviators. These styles will help give your face some dimension and break up the roundness, which is a good thing!

A quick note about why I don’t recommend Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarers: I hate the angle of the lenses on them. Yes, they’re classic, but that still doesn’t mean they’re good. Notice how the frames are resting on the cheeks in the below picture? It’s annoying as hell and just looks bad on everyone.

WayfarersSunglassesAngleAshleyWeston

Designer Options

Oliver Peoples Jack Huston Sun in Black + G15 Polar Glass
Oliver Peoples Jack Huston Sun in Cocobolo + Bourbon Polar Glass
Barton Perreira Hopper in Black 
Barton Perreira Hopper in Raven Tortoise Gradient
Gucci GG2269 in Grey and Brown
Saint Laurent Aviators in Gold

Budget-Friendly Options

Warby Parker Winston in Jet Black
Warby Parker Winston in Old Fashioned Fade
I love the classic, square shape of these sunglasses. For the price point, they don’t feel cheap or heavy.
J. Crew Irving in Black 
J. Crew Irving in Soft Tortoise
Aldo Draude in Silver
J. Crew Jack in Gold

 

Oval Face

Ovalfaceshape

For this face shape, you’re lucky, because you have the most choices for sunglasses. You can wear round, square/rectangular, or rounded square-shaped sunglasses. The one thing you want to do is make sure the frames are as wide as your face – this is very important! Otherwise, it’ll look like you’re wearing kid sunglasses. Also, don’t you ever wear teardrop frames, like what most aviators have, because it’ll also make your face appear long or droopy.

Designer Options

Tom Ford Snowdon in Shiny Black
Fun Fact: Daniel Craig wore these in Spectre. If you have a round or oval face, these Tom Ford sunglasses are one of my all-time favorites! Everything about these square frames – the color, timeless design, and overall weight – couldn’t be better. Also, they’re the perfect width for oval faces which is very important because they’ll look disproportionate if they’re not as wide as your face.
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses in Havana
Oliver Peoples Masek Sunglasses in Matte Black + Grey Mineral Glass
Oliver Peoples Masek Sunglasses in Cocobolo + Cosmik Tone Glass
Think of these Oliver Peoples sunglasses as the rounder version of the Tom Ford frames.
John Varvatos Grand in Black 
John Varvatos Grand in Tortoise

Budget-Friendly Options

AJ Morgan Round Sunglasses in Matte Black
Topman Tortoise Shell 50s Style
Warby Parker Downing in Jet Black 
Warby Parker Downing in Walnut Tortoise
The thinness of these plastic frames compliment its round shape and are great for men with oval or square faces. I also like that they kept the arms thin because some designers would go with wider arms which would make these frames look unbalanced. These aren’t as wide as the Tom Ford and Oliver Peoples frames that I recommend above, so if you do decide to try these out, then make sure they’re the proper width for your face.

Square Face

Squarefaceshape

For this face shape, you should look for round or teardrop frames. This will soften and balance your angular features. Avoid square or rectangle sunglasses because they’ll literally make you look like a block head

MinecraftBlockhead

Designer Options

Persol Sunglasses Suprema PO3007S in Black
Persol Sunglasses Suprema PO3007S In Tortoise
I love how sleek these frames are! The shiny finish and metal detailing on the arms adds to its sharp design. These are the perfect pair of sunglasses for men with square or oval faces.
Oliver Peoples Finley Esq. Sun in SMBK Moss Tortoise + Graphite
Oliver Peoples Finley Esq. Sun in Hickory Tortoise + Cosmik Tone Mineral Glass
Similar looking to the Persol sunglasses, the finish on both colors is matte and they’re slightly smaller in design.
Gucci GG2269 in Grey and Brown
Saint Laurent Aviators in Gold

Budget-Friendly Options

Warby Parker Percey in Charcoal Fade
I LOVE the black to grey coloring of these frames. They look so expensive for what you’re paying for and I appreciate the simple, thin design which softens (in a good way!) the sharper features of a square-faced man. And they’re incredibly lightweight.
Warby Parker Madison in Whiskey
Ray-Ban Aviator at Collection in Gunmetal
Ray-Ban Aviator at Collection in Gold
Ray-Ban aviators are a timeless, iconic design that’s perfect for this face shape because it helps break up your angular features with the teardrop design.

Sunglasses Outfit Inspiration

(LOTS of inspiration images are also in my Summer Essentials Ebook)

Best Mens Leather Briefcase Messenger Bag Ashley Weston

Men’s Leather Briefcases & Messenger bags

Okay, so the title is a bit click-baity. I’m sorry, but it’s time we got something straight. There is no scenario when you should be using a messenger bag – unless, of course, you’re a messenger. A messenger bag is the lazy/schlubby version of a briefcase with a removable shoulder strap. Messenger bags look horrible on their best day and any self-respecting man should avoid them. A modern briefcase is much more versatile and works in nearly all casual and dressy situations because of one simple thing: the removable shoulder strap. That little strap instantly turns a briefcase into a classy shoulder/messenger-type bag.

 

So if you’re hoping to see me talk about messenger bags and won’t consider using a briefcase with a shoulder strap instead, then:

ariGTFO

Your briefcase should:

  1. Look classy and timeless as hell – as always
  2. Be free of logos, contrast stitching, flourishes or patterns or needless shine – they’re tacky.
  3. Not be big enough for you to sleep in. – If you need that much stuff, it’s time to sit down and think about your choices in life, or go for a straight up utility item specifically built for this purpose. I’m thinking of those rolling briefcases that lawyers carry.
  4. Carry a 15” laptop easily plus a good amount of items/paperwork, etc.
  5. Have a removable shoulder strap and permanent handles.

Just like your weekender bag and leather backpack, the goal is to have something that shows you’re a man who cares about details and who values the items he chooses to carry with him.

What Material Should A Briefcase Be

In all my testing, the best looking and longest-lasting material is hands down leather. Any other material will stain or wear too easily. I’ve even tested some leather alternative briefcases and they just don’t compare.

What Color Should It Be

You want to stick with black or brown. I’ve looked into blues and gray briefcases and I can assure you that those colors will not age well, both from a style and durability perspective. So please, go conservative with your color choices here. You’ll thank me now and when you realize it’s been 10 years and you’re still carrying the same awesome briefcase.

You may have noticed in my weekender and backpack stories that I said to make sure they’re the same color because they will likely be carried together during trips. This rule can also apply to your briefcase if you’ll be using/carrying it more than a backpack.

When to use the shoulder strap

Just like I said in my backpack story – if you’re wearing a suit, blazer or sport coat, you should never use the shoulder strap. To do so will, at best, wrinkle the shoulder, possibly the lapel, and the back of your jacket. At worst, it’ll ruin the padding in the shoulder. If you’re wearing an unstructured jacket or more casual items, then that’s when to use the shoulder strap.

If you’re not using the shoulder strap, please take it off and keep it in the briefcase or at home.

The Best Leather Briefcases

Frank Clegg Zip Top Leather Briefcase

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Buy the Frank Clegg Zip Top Leather Briefcase

Just like his weekender bag, this is my hands-down favorite briefcase of the bunch. It’s the same, high-quality leather, awesome hardware and a basic but well-thought out design. LIke all his products, it comes with a lifetime guarantee against any defects.

One of the things I really love about this briefcase is the hidden shoulder strap hooks on the sides. So if you remove the  strap, no one would even know that it can be carried over your shoulder. I also love the side pockets on the front and back for slipping things in and out of quickly. It’s just a perfect briefcase in every way.

I have the double gusset version in my video, but the single gusset is also incredibly nice and roomy. I love that there’s options for sizing between single to triple gusset that you usually don’t find with most other brands.

If you pick up this briefcase, please also make sure to get it monogrammed. It just adds that little extra touch of class.

Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief

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Buy the Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief

For a more budget-friendly item, I really, really like this one by Coach. They always do a great job with their leather goods, but I have to say, they knocked it out of the park here. The leather feels great, the shoulder strap hooks aren’t hidden like with Frank Clegg’s bag, but they can be tucked into the front and back pockets to be a little more hidden, which is nice.

The interior pocket lining is very soft, almost like a microfiber. The side pockets are also lined with this material. It’s hard to not keep touching it. The shoulder strap could be all leather, but since it’s cheaper than the Frank Clegg briefcase, I’m fine with using some cloth in the strap.

Also, the logo is simply stamped into the leather, and it’s at the bottom of the bag, so major, major points for this. Normally, Coach (and a lot of other brands) would have it placed a little more prominently near the top, but I’m glad they chose the bottom, otherwise this briefcase might not have made the cut.

The one major knock I can give this briefcase is that it has metal feet on the bottom. If you saw my weekender story, then you know that they tend to get scuffed and pitted, which will scratch anything you set these feet on. But just like with the weekender bag, wrap some electrical tape around the feet and it shouldn’t be too much of an issue or be visible.

Over all, I was very impressed though.

Notes about the state of briefcases

So just like with leather backpacks, the pickings are extremely slim in this category, but these are honest-to-goodness the best picks out of the bunch. Everything else was either very cheap or tacky looking or ridiculously expensive for a reason that I couldn’t tell in my testing. Check the Honorable Mentions section below for details about the bags that just missed the cut in case these two don’t meet your requirements.

 

Honorable mentions

Shinola Slim Briefcase

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Buy Shinola’s Slim Briefcase

Love their leather and I like this one a lot, but it’s not as structured as I normally prefer a briefcase to be. So that’s why it wasn’t included.

Uri Minkoff Fulton Brief

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Buy Uri Minkoff’s Fulton Brief

It looks good for the price, but I thought the quality of the leather was a little iffy. I’d spend a little extra and get the Coach bag, if my budget allowed.

Mulberry Heathcliffe Briefcase

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Buy the Heathcliffe Briefcase or the Slim Heathcliffe

I’m a huge fan of Mulberry, but honestly, they’re about the same price as the Frank Clegg briefcase and I would go for the Frank Clegg 100% of the time.

Jack Spade Barrow Leather Slim Briefcase

JackSpaceBarrowLeatherBriefcaseAshleyWeston

Buy Jack Spade’s Barrow Leather Slim Briefcase

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the floppy handles and that extra zipper on the bottom is pretty non-sensical.

Celebrity Style Series - Chiwetel Ejiofor - Wordpress Header

Chiwetel Ejiofor Style – The Martian

This article & video is part of the Celebrity Style Inspiration Series, where Antonio Centeno from RealMenRealStyle.com and I pick out great outfits from movies and tv shows and demonstrate how to recreate and incorporate them into your wardrobe. 
As Antonio and I discussed in our other video about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfits to emulate, I love how unexpected this one was because who would watch a space movie and think they’d have amazing outfits in it? I thought Chiwetel Ejiofor’s style in the film hit the perfect sweet spot between dressy and casual that’ll be great for any man, regardless of his age or body type. I also wanted to include this one, because I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers and viewers about how to wear shades of the same color. So I felt this was the perfect opportunity to show how it works.

Here’s the full outfit I’m going to recreate. I wish the full length images were a little brighter, but these were the best shots I could find. Also, they never fully show his shoes, so I’m having to guess a little bit on this one.

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston4 Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston5

The Cardigan & Shirt

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston8

Chiwetel is wearing a blue knit shawl collar cardigan with an oxford button down dress shirt. I put my model in a sweater by Rag & Bone and a Brooks Brothers Oxford shirt since they’re just so damn good. Check the outfit details at the bottom of this page for images and links.

Now, as I said in the video, you can either go with a white or blue Oxford button down, like I have my model wearing or you can go with a semi-spread collar dress shirt, or if you wanted to dress it down, you can go with a white v-neck or crew neck t-shirt.

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Funny enough, I created a similar look for my t-shirt story.

Pants, Shoes & Accessories

As for the pants, here’s wearing olive chino pants – which are just fine. But I don’t think olive is such a universal color and it’ll be hard to put them into other outfits. Since I’m a huge fan of dark wash jeans, especially for creating a more monochromatic look like I did with my model, I went with those instead. I also did this because it allows me to use some of my favorite shoes ever. Please follow my chino pants fit guide or my jeans fit guide so they’ll look amazing on you, regardless of your body type.

Like I mentioned in the intro, his shoes are never shown with this outfit, but to me this was an easy choice to go with some beautiful brown chukka boots. Blues like this are begging for a nice rich brown leather shoe and accessories, so I had to go with them.

Check my outfit details below to see the chukkas and accessories I’d pair with this outfit.

My Version of this outfit

Here’s my slightly modified version of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfit from The Martian. I hope you enjoy it!

Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston3 1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

 

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
The Frye Company James Chukka Boot


Designer Options

 

Brooks Brothers Shawl Collar Cardigan
Dolce & Gabbana Shawl-Collar Virgin Wool Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Burberry Cotton Oxford Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit Stretch in Tumble
Oliver Peoples Feldman Glasses 
The Frye Company Phillip Chukka
Allen Edmonds Dundee 2.0 Suede Boots

 

Budget Friendly options

 

Club Monaco Shawl-Collar Elbow Patch Merino Sweater
J. Crew Cotton Cardigan Sweater
Uniqlo Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
J. Crew Vintage Oxford Shirt
J. Crew 484 Stretch Jean
Levi’s 511 Slim-Fit Stretch Jeans
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka
Johnston & Murphy Grayson Chukka

Outfit Inspiration For Dark Wash Denim