Top 5 Men’s Fall Essentials 2017

Since Fall is upon us, I wanted to do an update and supplement to my Men’s Fall & Winter Essentials series. So don’t think of this as a replacement for the series, think of it as a next-tier type of video and article. Enjoy!
 

1 & 2. Denim Jacket + Chino Pants

My first pick for the season is a denim jacket. It’s perfect for this time of year and works equally well during Springtime, too. Not only does it look good on every body type, but you can layer the heck out of them depending on how cool or warm the weather is. I recommend my go-to styling formula for denim jackets: wear with a t-shirt or crewneck sweater and a pair of chinos and boots.

My second choice are olive, tan and burgandy chino pants. Some of my favorite colors for the season are olive green, brown, and burgundy, which you can easily wear with your other casual jackets and sportcoats.

Outfit Details & Notes

$230 – Allsaints denim jacket – One of my favorite denim jackets currently available. I love the lighter wash and distressed touches and the slim fit is incredibly flattering, which is really hard to find in denim jackets.
$20 – Topman striped t-shirt
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pant in green and brown (click here for their straight leg chinos) – I’m shocked at how spot on the fits and material are. The color choices and friendly price have me stocking up on a handful of these for Dorian this Fall (Seriously, I’ve already added the green and brown ones to his closet!).
$128 – Brooks Brothers suede belt in brown
$295 – Allen Edmonds plain-toe chukka boots
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$5 – Perlon Watch Strap

Alternate Denim Jacket & Chinos

$70 – Levi’s trucker jacket – You can never go wrong with the brand’s iconic denim jacket.
$225 – Rag & Bone slim fit chinos – I’m a huge fan of their chinos because they use a stiffer fabric that’s lays really nicely along the ankles and is super flattering on all shapes and sizes, especially if you’re a hefty fella.

3 & 4. Patterned Sweater & Boots

My third Fall Essential is a patterned sweater. Hopefully, you’ve already got the basic, plain sweaters, so now it’s time to add one that has a subtle pattern because it’s an easy way to add a visually interesting element to your outfits. Also, a pattern helps draw attention away from the torso which is especially beneficial if you’re a slim or husky guy.

My fourth Fall Essential is a pair of boots. You can go with leather or suede, dress or casual boots, but for me, I’m all about the taupe suede boots featured below. These are my hands-down favorite for the season because the color is the perfect dark brownish-grey so they can be used in place of brown or black boots.

Outfit Details & Notes

$100 – Topman acid wash bomber jacket
$148 – Brooks Brothers cotton cashmere birds-eye sweater – The softness, color and subtle pattern instantly caught my eye. No matter your shape or size, this sweater is flattering on everyone. They run slightly larger, so you should size down for the best fit possible.
$10 – Topman slim fit t-shirt in white
$118 – Banana Republic slim fit jeans
$350 – Allen Edmonds suede boots in dark taupe
$98 – Brooks Brothers silver buckle leather belt in brown 
$125 – Ray-Ban black sunglasses
$25 – Brown Leather Watch Strap

Alternate Patterned Sweater & Boots

$89 – Banana Republic wool birdseye sweater – I’m so impressed with not only the fit, but by the superior wool you can get for under $100. The brand sourced the wool from Zegna’s factory, which is always high quality and can easily set you back $600+.
$178 – Banana Republic suede work boot

5. Chambray Shirt

My final pick for the season is a chambray shirt. It looks great on its own or layered underneath a cardigan or jacket. I recommend wearing yours with chinos or wool trousers.

Outfit Details & Notes

$55 – Topman chambray shirt – I’m a huge fan of the lighter wash, but it’s worth mentioning that this shirt runs pretty slim, so if you’re a bigger guy, see my alternate choice below.
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pants in green and brown (click here for straight leg chino)
$98 – Brooks Brothers silver buckle leather belt in brown
$179 – Johnston & Murphy chukka boots in mahogany 
$625 – This Is Ground briefcase
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$25 – Brown Leather Watch Strap

Alternate Chambray Shirt

$55 – The Tie Bar chambray shirt – If you don’t want a super slim fit and/or you’re a larger man, then get this shirt instead.

 

Thanks for reading!

POTW: The Best Affordable Dress Shirts For Men

One of my favorite companies for ties, tie bars, and pocket squares – that I’ve been using way before I had this site – recently released a line of affordable dress shirts for men and I was… skeptical, to say the least. Well, I finally had the chance to test them out this past week and I’ve got to say – WOW! These really are the best affordable dress shirts for men that I’ve seen in a long, long time. Let me explain why in the video and below. Now I’m really excited for whenever they start expanding their offerings to include oxford button down dress shirts, too!

 

why I’m a fan

  • Two different fits are offered: Trim or Classic. Dorian tried the Trim fit (he has a lean build) which was the best fit I’ve ever seen in a budget-friendly brand. The sleeves and body of the shirt lightly hugged his body – it was as if the shirt was custom made for him. If you’re in larger man, whether from fat or muscle, then go with the Classic fit.
  • Two different collars: Semi-Spread and Point. I always recommend semi-spread for all body types.
  • The 100% cotton fabric is soft, but has just the right amount of thickness so it wasn’t see-through – which plagues a lot of cheap shirts (especially noticeable with white shirts!).
  • The price: $55. All I have to say is: This is a steal!
  • Sizing Tip: I did notice the sizing for the neck ran a little big, so go down 0.5″ of your regular neck size.

My favorites

$55 – The Tie Bar Pinpoint Solid Shirt in white
$55 – The Tie Bar Textured Solid Shirt in blue
$55 – The Tie Bar Chambray Shirt
$55 – The Tie Bar Multi Tone Gingham Shirt

5 Books Every Man Should Read

I asked Dorian, who is an avid and varied reader, to share some of the books he recommends to his mentoring groups. His 5 books every man should read as well as descriptions and reasons for recommending them are below.

The Magic of Thinking Big

I fought reading this book for a long time because my bullshit sensor is very sensitive and it just seemed like a bunch of weird self-helpy trash. I avoided it for many years until someone I really respected said it was worth reading. I gave it a shot and was surprised at how practical and informative it was. I can credit this book with helping me to see outside and go beyond my current circumstances and expand my horizons in business and life.

How To Win Friends & Influence People

Let’s be honest: nothing happens in a vacuum. Walls, empires and lives are built and destroyed based on interactions between people. So why not be as good as possible in this respect? The book’s title sounds like it’ll teach you how to manipulate people to do your bidding, but that’s not the angle it takes, so don’t let it dissuade you. I credit this book with helping me get over my social anxiety and shyness and, dare I say, has made me a better person overall.

Tao Te Ching

The pitch for this book is tough. It takes at least a few times of goading people to read it before they finally acquiesce and understand how good it is. It was basically written as a manual for emperors about how to be good rulers. But that description, while accurate, is doing this really short and succinct book a huge disservice by implying it’s only for people who oversee countries or large corporations. I read this book at least once a year to keep my life in perspective and use it as a sort-of pep talk during rough times. The book will use some terms that Westerners would interpret as religious in nature, but take those with a huge grain of salt and define them how you want. There is no such thing as an Eastern religion, they are only philosophies, similar to the Golden Rule, that are meant to only be supplements to your personal beliefs – not replace them.

Getting Things Done

When I started my first company, I didn’t know how to manage all the responsibilities and tasks being thrown my way. I would literally go through my to-do list and calendar in my head each night while laying in bed and as the company grew and my responsibilities increased, my sleep went away with it. I was recommended this book to use as a system for managing my life and it delivered on that promise ten-fold. I can credit this book with keeping me, as well as Ashley when she started her first company, sane and in a position to grow and expand our business’ and lives. This book will work for you, no matter where you are in life and make you more productive and happier than you thought possible.

World Religions

Religions are important to understand because they’ve influenced our lives in ways you may not realize. So in order to understand the basis for most laws, societies and people in general, it’s important to understand the foundational elements of everything – which are religions. The only problem with this book is that it’s written by a religious scholar who sees everything through a Christian viewpoint, so his interpretation of Eastern philosophies are not accurate because he looks at them as religions – when they’re not at all. I will include another book in the bonus section below that is much more accurate description of Eastern thought.

 

Bonus Books

1984

This book was written almost 75 years ago and it’s scary how accurately it portrays our modern times. This is a fictional-must read and a re-read if you haven’t read it in a while.

The Religion Of No Religion

This is a free youtube video of a lecture by Alan Watts, about the origins and details of Eastern philosophies that are a more accurate depiction than the other book about religions above.

The Naked Ape

If you want to have your head screwed on differently, read this book by a Zoolgist who breaks down the human species like any other animal in nature. It’s an entertaining and perspective-changing read.

Pale Blue Dot

This is a perspective-shifting book that will help you understand the place you inhabit in the literal universe.

 

How To Find Your Skin Type

In order to realize the most benefits from your skincare routine, you’ve got to determine what type of skin you have so you can get products specifically designed for a man’s skin type. Since it’s a very visual set of instructions, please see the video below and enjoy!

How To Shave with a Double Edge Safety Razor

In this part of my Men’s Grooming Essentials series, I want to talk about the best way to shave your face with a safety razor aka double edge razor. It is also commonly called wet shaving. Not only is it cheaper, better for the environment and gives you a much better shave than modern shaving, but frankly, I find it quite sexy watching my man shave with his safety razor and the baby-smooth result speaks for itself, too. Since he’s been shaving with a double edge razor for 10+ years, I asked Dorian to help me with this video/article.

Before we get into it, first of all, if you’re completely happy with your current shaving routine, then definitely stick to it. But I would invite you to see if there’s any ways to make it better or less wasteful, since it isn’t all just about the razor. If you’re unhappy with your current routine, though, then it’s time to change to the best way to shave that’s been around for many decades now.

 

Benefits Of Safety Razor Shaving

Before we go over the steps and best products, when I asked Dorian why he started wet shaving with a double edge (de) razor, he said he found it:

  • Gives the best and closest shave he’s ever had.
  • Is just as convenient as using a modern razor.
  • Is much less wasteful than modern razors.
  • Allows him the opportunity to take a little extra time for himself and enjoy the ritual, as opposed to it just being another thing to check off his to-do list.

Why use a safety razor over…

Cartridge/Disposable Razors

The modern, multi-blade and disposable razors are good if you need a quick shave with slightly less fuss than a safety razor. The major downsides are that they’re really expensive in comparison, don’t give you the best shave possible and they’re really, really wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.

Straight razors or Cut Throats

While these are great for the same reasons as a safety razor, the issue is that they’re not easy to use and upkeep of the blade is time intensive. Dorian has his great grandfather’s straight razors and gave it an honest try for a few months to get the hang of it and he said he now knows why the safety razor was invented – it gives all the same benefits without the hassle of constantly stropping and sharpening the straight blade.

How To Shave With A Double Edge Safety Razor

1. Make a Beard Map

As mentioned in the video, you’ve got to first understand the direction the hair grows on your face. Without this step, you will never realize the full benefits of safety razor shaving. Seriously, it’s that important.

Go to the link below and spend a few minutes in the mirror creating your beard’s map.

http://www.pbjsite.com/shave/whiskarmap/

 

2. Gather Your Tools

While the cost is definitely more than your standard modern razor to start, the razor and brush could last you for many decades, if not the rest of your life. So when you consider the cost on such a long timeline, it’s significantly cheaper than any other form of shaving.

If you don’t want to mix and match options from below and just get all your tools in one shot (minus a shaving bowl or scuttle) – get this Maggard starter kit for $30.

Razor

Dorco PL602 – $7

If you’re wanting to give wet shaving a try, then this plastic razor will give you a really good idea of what you’re dealing with without the larger investment. Don’t let the material fool you, it still gives a great shave and it also comes with some razor blades, too. As a bonus, since it’s made of plastic and lighter, if you want to upgrade to a metal razor later on, it’ll still be great as a travel razor.

Merkur HD 34C – $35

This is the razor Dorian started with that still works great after 10 years of constant use. It’s an excellent razor that could easily last you for the rest of your life.

iKon X3 Slant Razor – $65

When Dorian upgraded from his Merkur last year, this is what he went with. The slanted angle of the head allows for an even closer shave, although some claim that it’s not any better than a standard non-slanted razor, he said it lives up to the hype.

Parker Variant Adjustable – $57

An adjustable razor allows you to adjust the angle that the blade cuts the hair to exactly what you like. While it might sound complicated, it really isn’t and will work well for a new wet shaver all the way up to a veteran shaver. For other adjustables, there’s always the Rolls Royce of adjustables – the Rockwell 6s – and if you’re more adventurous, you can go the vintage route and get a Gillette Slim, Fat Boy or Super Adjustable.

Blades

As mentioned in the video, if you’re just starting out or haven’t explored many blades, definitely pick up a sampler pack to see what works best for you and your razor. You’d be amazed at how much a difference changing the razor blade makes. Also, you’ll need to carefully dispose of the razors, so pick up a disposal case for the blades, as well.

Razor Disposal Case – $5

Razor blade sampler pack – $10

Brush

There’s 3 main types of shaving brushes: Badger, Boar, Synthetic. There’s also horse hair, but we’ll skip those since they’re not as popular. They’re all great options for beginners all the way up to more experienced wet shavers.

You will not go wrong with any of these choices, so use whatever fits your budget or your preferences. Dorian said he likes synthetic and badger brushes best.

Maggard 24mm Synthethic Brush – $14

Same as the one on their website, just minus the tax and shipping charges.

Synthetics perform well and have the added benefit of not shedding as much as some of the lower-quality natural brushes.

Omega Professional Boar Brush – $11

Boar brushes tend to be a little stiffer and take some time to break in (up to 12 shaves). But once they’re broken in, they’re great.

Stirling Badger Shave Brush – $40

Badger is the classic shave brush, but a well-made one can last you for many decades. This is a great, reasonably-priced badger brush.

Shaving Creams & Soaps

Dorian said he prefers creams for beginners because they’re much easier to lather and provide more lubrication, but if you’d like, you can also try shaving soaps, which tend to last longer, but can also be a little more drying on your skin and provide a little less lubrication during the shave – but some people swear by them!

Lots of different sampler packs of creams and soaps – $3 to $30

Go nuts and try out as many different soaps and creams as your heart desires.

Taylor of Old Bond Street – Jermyn Street – $17

One of Dorian’s favorite, sporty scented creams.

Nancy Boy Replenishing Shave Cream – $19

Dorian’s favorite shaving cream of all time. They also make a smaller travel size.

Shaving Bowl or scuttle

To make your lather, you’ll need some sort of shaving bowl or a bowl specifically made for wet shaving called a scuttle. Dorian uses a big, ceramic coffee mug that he found for a dollar. You can go any route you prefer, just make sure the bowl has a wide wide enough opening so you can get a good lather going.

Double layered stainless steel shaving bowl – $7

Classic wet shaving bowl – $15

Alum Block

It you nick yourself, you can use an alum block to stop the bleeding almost instantly. Luckily, I recommended a deodorant that’s just a alum block in a different shape in my best men’s deodorants article/video. So you get to save yourself some money and use it for both scenarios.

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick – $12

Gentleman Jon Alum Block – $8

Aftershave or moisturizer

Nancy Boy Replenishing Aftershave Gel – $19

Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Aftershave Lotion – $27

Sisley Sisleyum Anti-Age Global Revitalizer – $142

3. Execute AKA Shave

Instead of writing out what is a very visual thing, check the video at this link below that shows you how to put all your tools together to shave:
https://youtu.be/qAHwE6lSeLE?t=7m10s

4. Clean Your Tools Off

Once you’re done shaving, you’ve got to clean and dry off your razor and brush.

  • Run the brush under warm water while swirling it against your palm until the water runs clear, then shake out as much excess water as possible (it will be a little damp still).
  • Run the razor under warm water and tap the non-razor blade side against a towel to dry. Do not tap the razor’s edge against the towel, as it’ll dull the blade quicker.

5. Apply Aftershaves & Moisturizers

If you’re shaving in the morning, apply your daily SPF moisturizer or moisturizer followed by daily-wear SPF.

If you’re shaving during the night time, then just go about the rest of your night time skincare routine.

 

That’s it! You’re officially wet shaving now using a double edge safety razor!