Bags Every Guy Should Own | Best Bags & Luggage For Men in 2020

Any self-respecting, modern gentleman understands that he needs to use the right tool for the right job. And that definitely extends to the bags and luggage he carries. Today we’re going to discuss the essential bags and luggage depending on where you’re going and what you’re wearing.

 

Backpack

The backpack is the most versatile of the items on this list and depending on your lifestyle, it could be a smart business-casual accessory, a daily go-anywhere bag for trips to the coffee shop, grocery store or gym or a piece of luggage.

While you can technically use a backpack for everything, you don’t want to because if you’re traveling for an extended period of time, that may not be enough space for your belongs and it can get heavy, which can negatively affect your back or shoulders. And if you need to wear suits for work, even a well-designed leather backpack looks unprofessional and will ruin the shoulders of a suit while wearing it.

You can find virtually any level of design and price for backpacks these days, so much so that they’re officially a staple bag now. There is one caveat, if you need to wear suits for work, no matter how classy the backpack is, there are still better options for you that won’t ruin the shoulders of your suit jackets.

Best Options
Budget Options: here and here

Rolling Luggage

For trips away, whether on a plane or via a car or train, when you need to carry more stuff with you, nothing beats rolling luggage.

We didn’t have one of these for a while and as soon as we got one it quickly dawned on us that this was superior to using non-roller luggage. It’s too convenient not having to lug around your luggage on your back or by carrying it by the handles when this bag can be gliding effortlessly next to you.

The Carry-on by Carl Friedrik is our favorite for a number of reasons:

(get 15% off until March 15th with code: AW-15)

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Personalization options – monogramming and colored leather detailing and handles.
  • Durable Polycarbonate shell
  • Rigid aluminium frame with TSA approved side locks
  • Smooth and silent gliding Japanese wheels
  • Option for integrated power bank
  • Available in: Cognac, Black, Chocolate

Briefcase w/ Shoulder Strap

If you prefer more of a classic piece with versatility or just can’t see yourself wearing a backpack, then look no further than a briefcase with a detachable shoulder strap.

The shoulder strap provides versatility (as long as you’re not wearing a suit jacket). Technically, you can call this a messenger bag, but where messenger bags tend to be less structured and sporty-looking, the briefcase is a little more rigid and sophisticated. You can get a messenger bag, but we’d prefer a backpack in 99% of scenarios when a messenger would be appropriate because it just looks better and frankly, is more comfortable to use.

Best Options

Budget Options

Weekender or Duffel Bag

These are great for short trips or if you’re a light packer. While we’re big fans of the classic styling, admittedly, they’re not as nice to use as a piece of roller luggage if you pack it to the gills. These come in all shapes, sizes and materials and are very sophisticated looking.

Best Options

Budget Options

Dopp or Toiletry Kit

The final bag or piece of luggage you need is a Dopp kit for all your toiletries and grooming essentials. These are great for gym trips or for any sort of travel. They keep your stuff organized, are sophisticated-looking and are just a joy to use.

This is our absolute favorite one by a longshot.

19 Men’s Accessories in 2020 (Must-have Essentials)

Accessories are just as important as your clothing, so definitely don’t neglect this part of your style! Below are your favorite accessories every man should have in 2020.

Backpack/Rucksack or Briefcase

We’ve done articles and videos about both of these items a few times. But definitely grab a backpack/rucksack if you don’t work in a more formal environment and grab a briefcase with a detachable shoulder strap for versatility if you need it for more formal occasions.
Favorites: Backpacks – here, here and here
Briefcases – here and here

Casual or dress Watch

We went over the details and different watches you should own in great depth here. Ideally, you want to have both, but if you had to choose one, let your lifestyle determine which you should get. A casual watch with a metal bracelet or perlon, canvas or other straps goes with everything but suiting, and a dress watch can also work in your casual outfits, but some guys may find a leather-strapped watch too formal, so go with whatever fits your style and lifestyle best.

Favorites: Straps

Luggage

If you’re going to be going on any trips, whether a quick, getaway weekend or something more extended, you definitely want a nice piece of luggage to go with it. Whether it’s a carry-on, roller style or more of a weekender bag is up to you. We can make a case for both, but it will mostly depend on your needs.

Favorites: Roller Luggage, Weekender Bag options here, here and here

Headphones

In this day and age headphones are almost a necessity. Especially if you do a lot of traveling since the noise-canceling features of modern headphones is exceptional and helps reduce the stress associated with travel.

Favorites: Over-The-Ear, In-Ear – iPhones, Android

Slim wallet

You want either a bi-fold or card wallet so it’s not so bulky – unless you’ll be carrying it in a bag or jacket pocket exclusively. In which case, you can go for something bigger. As for materials, leather is more hearty and robust, but you can definitely use alternative leathers, as well.

Favorites: Here and here

Slim Phone Case

Just like your wallet, you want something slim and classy to show off your modern, sophisticated personality. Unless you have a specific need for a big, bulletproof case, it’s best to avoid those.
Favorites: iPhone and Android

Fun Socks

As Ashley has been saying for years: Go crazy with your socks! It’s one of the few menswear items where you can wear anything and everything you want because it will mostly be hidden and the little peek of sock showing when you sit down can actually turn into a conversation starter.
Favorites: Here

Fabric watch straps

Perlon, Nato, Canvas, even rubber, are all great ways to add your personality to an outfit as well as to freshen up the look of your watch(es).
Our favorite place for straps. 


Water bottle & coffee thermos

We’ve been signing the praises of these for years now, and they’re still amazing! Not only are they crazy functional, but they also look great and help cut down on environmental waste.

Mini Keychain tool

Having a keychain multi-tool comes in handy way more than we’d like to admit. It has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion, so you should definitely pick one up!

Favorites: Here

 

 

Sunglasses

A classy pair of sunglasses can really elevate an outfit, so definitely grab a pair or two. If you want to cover all bases, grab a black and tortoise shell pair. They’ll go with literally anything you’ll wear.

Favorites: Here, Here and Here

Boxer Briefs

Underwear are one of the few things that will have an immediate impact on your well-being because if you’ve never worn bad vs good underwear, you may be dealing with issues you never realized didn’t need to happen.

Favorites: Here

Tie, Tie Bar & Pocket Square

For the tie, you should at least have a solid navy and/or black one. Make sure it has some texture, as a simple, silk tie looks too conservative and dated. For the tie bar, go with something silver or matte silver to start and then you can play with colors after that. For a pocket square, start with a white cotton one with some colored tipping for just a little added touch of class and personality.
Favorites: Ties, Tie Bars, Pocket Squares

Wool and/or cashmere scarf

Like socks, you definitely want a black or blue one, and then just like your socks have fun with them and grab some with colors or patterns.

Favorites: here

watch travel case

It looks like a hockey puck but protects a single watch like a champ! It’s actually a hard shell and is large enough to handle almost any watch size.
Favorites: Here


Dopp Kit

We’ve talked about dopp kits and their importance before. Not a single thing has changed and if you don’t have one yet. Now is the time! Whether you use it for going to the gym or for traveling, a dopp kit comes in is essential for keeping your toiletries organized and orderly.
Favorites: Here

Men’s Shoes (7 Ways To Up Your Shoe Game)

Hopefully, you’ve already got the wardrobe, grooming and other accessories locked down, so now its time to give your shoes some much-needed attention. 

Use shoe trees

They keep your shoes odor and moisture free and also help maintain their shape when you’re not wearing them. They’re a great investment that you’ll use for the next few decades, promise. In a pinch, you can also use the original paper inserts.
Favorites: These, or These

Use a shoe horn

When putting on your shoes, if you’re stomping your foot in, or tearing some of the skin off your fingers while using them as a shoe horn, you’re ruining the backs of your shoes, you fingers, or both. Whether they’re sneakers, dress shoes or boots, there’s nothing worse than the backs of your shoes getting wrinkled and faded because you’re not using a shoe horn.
Favorites: Choice #1, Choice #2

Tie your shoes properly

It may sound trivial, but where you separate the men from the boys is by paying attention to the details like how you tie your shoes. So you should definitely learn how to tie your shoes so the laces lay flat, at least, but frankly, there’s an even better solution in the next point.

Hide the laces

Nothing ruins a great outfit more than long, floppy and/or ill-tied shoelaces. What you really should do is hide them and the best possible way to do this ever is by using these special laces we found a few weeks ago that makes laces that are meant to be hidden. You only have to tie them once and suddenly all your sneakers and dress shoes are now slip ons with amazing looking laces. Seriously, they’re game-changers.

Keep them clean

Give them a quick rub down about once a week with a moist rag, sponge or paper towel, or as they get dirty. Then once a month, do a little deeper cleaning with a proper shoe cleaning kit for about 5 minutes once a month. If you’ve got dress shoes, you can also polish them, but typically, a little cleaning every few days goes a long way.

Get Rid Of The Stink

What some people don’t know is that actual smell is bacteria, and it’s living inside your socks, shoes, and on your feet, so it’s imperative that you kill the pesky bacteria before it turns into a foot infection or worse… There’s a spray that is fantastic and kills bacteria in 10 seconds and has a nice citrus smell. When storing your shoes overnight, pop these in them, as needed.

Buy Multiples

If you have a pair of shoes that you love and fear their eventual demise, the best thing to do is buy multiple pairs of them and swap them out to give them some rest. Coupled with using shoetrees and keeping them clean, your shoes will last significantly longer if you give them breaks between wearing.

Winter Accessories Every Man Should Own | Best Men’s Winter Accessories

Winter can be a tough time for your personal style, plus the weather and elements require special attention for your wardrobe and, more importantly, your accessories. That said, the right winter accessories will bring both function and personality to your wardrobe. It doesn’t all have to be about keeping warm (though that’s definitely important), it’s a great opportunity to add some extra style to whatever you’re wearing. For more basic tips, make sure to check out all of our Winter Essentials and our article on Winter Style Do’s and Don’ts

Here are our picks for the Men’s Winter Accessories That Every Man Should Own!

 

Cashmere / Wool Knit Hat

A must when it’s freezing. Go for a thicker rib knit and try cashmere for a luxurious touch that’s soft, light, and warm. Don’t be afraid to try a pop of color here too!

Hat 1

Hat 2

Budget-Friendly

 

A Patterned Scarf

The perfect time to add some color or pattern into the mix. Just a hint of it peeking out from under a coat is a sharp, stylish look. Cashmere is a great option here too, it’s very light and warm.

Picks:

Scarf 1

Scarf 2

Budget-Friendly

 

Gloves

We’re not talking about thick ski-style gloves, but something lighter but still warm. Look for knit versions in wool or cashmere or lined leather options for a sharp touch (especially if you dress up often).

Gloves 1

Gloves 2

Budget-Friendly

 

Slim Dressy Watch

Add in a thin watch that toes the line between dressy and casual so you can dress it up or down. Layered and formal outfits need a watch that’s not big and bulky. Wearing a big, sporty watch with dressier looks can just throw off the proportions. Luckily our friends at Nove watches have the perfect styles.  Their watches are high-quality, Swiss-made, and come in a variety of slim styles that work well with a range of looks. Plus, we’ve got a special deal for you guys. Use offer code AW20 for 20% off your purchase.

Picks (from the video):

Watch 1

Watch 2

 

Merino Wool Socks

Merino wool has incredible technical properties (warm, lightweight and dries quickly) and there are great options out there that are lightweight, warm, and stylish. 

Our Favorite Merino Wool Socks

Another Pick

 

Thermals

We discussed in our Winter Do’s and Don’ts, and the right pair won’t be bulky or too hot and can easily layer underneath both casual and dressy clothes. We really like our go-to pick below because they are very light, warm, and won’t break the bank.

Thermals Pic

 

Extra-moisturizing skincare products

Nobody likes the look of dull, dry skin and the cold, dry air can be brutal on your hands and face so take extra care to moisturize properly. The right products and a solid morning routine and evening grooming routine will really help keep your skin looking great during the winter.

Picks:

Moisturizer 1 – Get 30% Off With Code Ashley30

Moisturizer 2

Moisturizer 3

Moisturizer 4

 

Leather Lace-Up Boots With A Rubber Sole

Proper boots for the winter are crucial and if you’re dealing with a lot of rain and snow you want to make sure your boots are protected and have a rubber sole for traction and durability. Some of our picks below have a Dainite sole which is the gold standard in terms of protection and grip in wet, snowy conditions.

Picks:

Dress Boots 1

Dress Boots 2

Casual Boots 1

Casual Boots 2

 

Dorian’s Outfit Details

Jeans

Boots (similar)

Glasses

Peacoat

Sweater

Gloves (similar)

Scarf (similar)

What NOT To Wear If You’re Over 40 | Style Tips For Older Men

As we discussed in our previous video about Dressing Well When You’re Over 40, style and confidence as you age is all about embracing what you have and presenting a classy, refined look. Now, it’s worth mentioning that nearly all of our style advice, from Essential Wardrobe items to Fit Guides, applies to all age ranges. But, dressing well later on in life is just as much about what NOT to wear as it is the exact items you are wearing.

So, we thought we’d answer a few of the most commonly asked questions about what not wear if you’re over 40.

 

Q: Can an older man wear white sneakers?

A: Absolutely they can.  In fact, we did a whole video about it.  White sneakers like Adidas Stan Smiths and are a classic casual item for any man, regardless of age. That said, if you’re not comfortable wearing white sneakers or you feel like they’re a bit too young, we recommend going with a nice, clean leather sneaker in any color of grey or navy blue. Suede versions are excellent too as the added texture is a nice look.

Picks:

Common Projects

Koio

Beckett Simonon

 

Q: Is it really important to wear fitted clothing?

A: Yes, it’s critical to wear well-fitting clothing, no matter how casual or dressy. That said, this doesn’t mean tight! There is a HUGE difference between slim, well-fitting, clothing that’s proportional to your body type and something that’s overly tight. A lot of older men end up skewing overly large or baggy due to comfort or fears that they aren’t dressing their age but having a wardrobe that fits you well is something every man should have, regardless of age. For mode insight, make sure to check out all of our fit guides for in-depth info on all types of clothing items.

 

Q: What can I do to give my wardrobe some personality?

A: The most simple and cost-effective way is the right choice of accessories. So watch bands, ties and pocket squares, a ring, or a fun patterned sock are all great ways to add a bit of personality in an age-appropriate way. Being age-appropriate is the key thing, and over-accessorizing is a quick way to kill your style by making it look like you are trying too hard.

 

Q: What items should I avoid if I’m over 40?

As we mentioned in a previous video, leather jackets are a big one for men over 40 to avoid, with one exception. We do like leather or suede bomber-style jackets for men in this age range, but other types like moto and biker-style jackets just make you look like you’re having a midlife crisis. T-shirts with logos are another huge no-no, they just make you look juvenile. Additional types of t-shirts to avoid include henleys and deep v-neck t-shirts. They just aren’t the right look for an older guy. Stick to polos and well-fitting crewneck t-shirts. On the denim side of things, jeans that are light-wash, or ripped and distressed fall into the same category, they just look too young. Keep your jeans well-fitting and in a dark wash.

 

3 Men’s Boots You Need Right Now | Best Men’s Boots

It’s boot season! As we talked about in our Fall Shoes video, boots take an important place in your wardrobe and the right ones can have you looking stylish and protected from the elements all the way to Spring! If you’re in a part of the country that deals with a lot of rain, snow, or other inclement weather make sure you take the extra steps to protect your boots with proper weather-proofing and care. Great boots are all about versatility and all of these picks can be worn with multiple types of outfits from casual to dressy.  Here are the 3 men’s boots you need right now!

Click here to Get 20% off you ENTIRE Beckett Simonon purchase with code: AW. Thanks to our friends at Beckett Simonon for sponsoring this video!

 

The Dress Boot

Obviously this one goes best with your smart-casual outfits and Fall/Winter suits. If you don’t really wear many suits and wool trousers, then the next type of boot we’ll talk about is definitely more for you. As for these, there’s need to mess with a classic – it’s sleek and sophisticated, like the Porsche of dress boots. A captoe boot will add a bit of polish to everything and we love how the boot silhouette just adds a different vibe to your outfit. If you want something with a little extra flair, you can go with their version featuring broguing details.

Picks:

Captoe Dress Boot

Brogue Dress Boot

Wingtip Brogue Boot

Outfit Details:

Captoe Dress Boot

Jacket (similar)

Sunglasses

Sweater

T-Shirt

Pants

Watch

 

The Casual Boot

If you’re a man, and you don’t live in a tropical climate, you absolutely need a casual boot. There are many different options but like the dress boot, a super-versatile captoe style is sharp enough to dress up or down. You can also go with a plain-toe version too, but we prefer a captoe as our pick as it adds a more interesting touch. As far as broguing, we can go either way but overall we tend to like a cleaner design for this type of boot. This style of boot is outstanding because it is so versatile, wear it with casual denim looks or dress it up a bit with chinos or wool trousers. The sturdy, casual sole is polished but not too dressy.

Picks:

Black Casual Boot

Dark Brown Casual Boot

Wingtip Brogue Casual Boot

Captoe Brogue Casual Boot

Outfit Details:

Boots

Jacket (similar)

Sunglasses

Sweater

T-Shirt

Pants

Boots

Watch Strap

 

The Chelsea Boot

Super-sleek and stylish, the Chelsea boot should be treated as a dressier shoe. We like pairing black leather or dark brown suede Chelsea boots with slim, tapered black jeans or suiting and wool trousers. Protip: the key is to make sure your pants are tapered so they ever so lightly hug the top your boot. Black and dark brown are the key colors here and we like a suede version to mix up the texture a bit.

 

Picks:

Black Leather Chelsea

Dark Brown Suede Chelsea

Outfit Details:

Boots

Jacket (similar)

Sunglasses

Sweater

T-Shirt

Pants

Why A Man’s Watch Matters To Women

We often talk about how important accessories are to your overall look and wardrobe. When done well, they add that extra 10% that pulls everything together and really lets your personality shine. We don’t recommend a ton of accessories but watches are one of the most important ones. It’s true that the watch you wear says a lot about you, whether you like it or not. That’s especially true when it comes to the opposite sex. Since you’re probably going to ask, no, it doesn’t matter AT ALL how expensive your watch is, let’s just get that straight. But that doesn’t mean watches aren’t something women care about.

Here are the reason why a man’s watch matters to women!

 

SHOWS SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LIFESTYLE

Whether you’re wearing a Timex, Apple Watch, or a Rolex, the watch you wear will give a woman a few clues as to what your lifestyle is like, and that’s important when we are getting to know you. Maybe you’re a sporty guy and you’re into a G-Shock. Or, you’re more of a tech guy and an Apple watch is your vibe. Either way, it lets women know a bit about who you are.

 

SHOWS YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

Like with all of your wardrobe, the details matter and women notice the details.  From the fit of your clothes to your haircut, each small component combines to form an important part of the whole.  Watches are no different. The right watch and style choices on your wrist show you care about the right details.

 

SHOWS HOW CULTURED YOU ARE OR AREN’T

Maybe you think watches are redundant since you have a phone, sure, we get that. But, going that extra step is going to add another layer to your style and show that you’re about more than just the absolute bare minimum, and that’s definitely really sexy. But, it’s important to consider what you’re wearing and when just like your shoe choice. You wouldn’t wear Jordans to a wedding so you should consider what watch choices you’re making too.

 

INDICATES WHERE YOU MIGHT BE IN LIFE

No matter where you are on your journey, personal or style-wise, your watch choice is a big indicator of where you are and where you are going. Like we said before, women (well, the right women anyway) aren’t concerned with how fancy or expensive your watch is, but knowing where you’re at and where you’re going is important.

5 Ways You’re Ruining Your Shoes (And How To Fix Them)

Getting lazy with your shoe care and maintenance can really affect the look and longevity of your shoe collection. But, the fixes are easy and affordable. Just like we talked about in our closet essentials video, having the right care and organizational items are important for keeping your sneakers, dress shoes, and boots all in great shape and looking sharp.

Here are 5 ways you’re ruining your shoes and how to fix them!

 

1. Not maintaining the overall structure

You don’t want to allow the creases to set in as you store your shoes, it ruins the look and fit over time.

The Fix: Get some shoe trees. This simple accessory is critical for the life and overall look of your shoes. Plastic will work but we recommend cedar ones for durability and odor control.

Picks:

Cedar Shoe Trees

Plastic Shoe Trees

 

2. Not taking care of the leather

Unconditioned leather gets brittle, cracked and loses it’s longevity over time if not properly taken care of on a regular basis. This goes for all of your dress shoes, and doubly so for your boots since you might be wearing them in inclement weather.

The Fix: Get a proper shoe care kit and condition your shoes 1 to 2 times per year, more depending on where you live and what kind of weather you deal with.

Picks:

Conditioning Kit

Polish Kit

Deluxe Set With Valet

 

3. Not cleaning your sneakers

Dirty shoes don’t go unnoticed so even your sneakers need a little TLC every once in a while.

The Fix: Bare minimum, take a damp cloth and wipe your sneaks down once a week. About once a month, give then a proper cleaning with a sneaker cleaning kit. We recommend the great sneaker-specific cleaning kits and wipes below to keep your white sneakers looking fresh and clean. Also, a Magic Eraser will do wonders to your white leather sneakers.

Picks:

Sneaker Cleaning Kit

Sneaker Wipes

Magic Eraser

 

4. Ruining the backs of your shoes

When you’re stomping or stuffing your feet into your shoes will result in smashing the backs of your shoes. Over time this can cause irreversible damage to the structure and leather.

The Fix: Get a shoehorn. It will make your life easier and prevent this kind of damage. Pro tip: The longer the better so you don’t have to bend as much. Trust me, you’ll appreciate this.

Picks:

Plastic Shoe Horn (from the video)

Wood Shoe Horn

 

5. Allowing your shoes to get stinky

Do we really need to explain why stinky shoes are a problem? We hope not.

The Fix: Cedar blocks or balls, or, even better, cedar shoe trees all can help control odors and absorb moisture which can ruin the interior lining of your shoes.

Picks:

Cedar Blocks

Cedar Balls

Cedar Shoe Trees