5 Best Budget-Friendly Spring Essentials

Finding the right budget-friendly Spring essentials is all about choosing the right affordable brands and focusing on the right accessories you can add to your outfit to really elevate your look and supplement your Essential Wardrobe.

Here are our picks for the 5 Best Budget-Friendly Spring Essentials for 2019!

 

  

1. Polo Shirts

We’ve always been huge fans H&M polos, the fit is great and they offer awesome bang for the buck. Get a range of basic colors (navy, black, grey, light grey) and wear them until Fall.

Picks:

Polos

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

 

2. Braided Leather Belt

A low-key way to mix up your belt style without doing anything crazy. These belts are best for casual looks and we recommend options in dark brown, light brown, or black.

Picks:

Belt 1

Belt 2

Belt 3

3. Silk Knit Ties

An easy, affordable way to mix up your tie routine. Silk knit ties add texture and a bit of casual flair that’s perfect for spring occasions (weddings/parties) or the office.

Picks:

My Favorite Knit Ties

Alternative Knit Ties

 

4. Chino Pants

Obviously, we love chino pants for Spring and Uniqlo chinos are the cream of the crop for budget-friendly options.  The fit and price are excellent and they even offer in-store hemming for free.  They come in slim and straight fits.

Picks:

My Favorite Budget-Friendly Chinos

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

 

5. Canvas Sneakers

A classic casual sneaker option that’s both stylish and affordable.  Solid colors like white and navy are super versatile but don’t be afraid to mix it up with a fun checkerboard pattern or some color.

Picks:

Sneakers 1

Sneakers 2

Sneakers 3

Sneakers 4

Sneakers 5

Are Smartwatches Stylish or Fashionable?

In this week’s 2 Minute Tuesday, we’re talking about smartwatches. Now a pretty common men’s accessory, there are a bunch of different styles and brands. But, are they stylish? What’s the right way to wear them?

Don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide about men’s watches for all of our watch style tips and picks.

Smartwatch Style Tips

  1. Only wear with casual and business casual – The look and style of a smartwatch is really only suited to your casual wardrobe. So, if you’re going to be dressing more formally in a suit or blazer look, opt for a more formal style of watch.
  2. Mix up your look – The interchangeable bands offer you a great opportunity to mix up the look and style of your smartwatch, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and leathers.

7 Accessories You Should Get Rid Of Now

We’ve talked about how important it is to regularly clean out your wardrobe of items that are old, out of style, and no longer worth it. This goes for your accessories too. Accessories are a key part of your overall style, and a few wrong choices or out of date items can easily ruin an otherwise great look.

1. Wide bracelets

My position on this is well known, it’s time to ditch the stacked bracelets and wide leather straps. Their time has come and gone.

2. Too-wide ties

It’s important to keep an eye on your tie’s width. Not everyone should wear a skinny tie (it should be proportionate to your body type and suit style) but anything wider than 3” is just going to look out of date and out of style.

3. Belts with big buckles or large logos

Another item I’ve talked about before, get rid of ‘em! Belts should be minimal. The same goes for super-wide belt widths and contrasting stitching, definitely a big no.

4. Lapel flowers/pins

I don’t mind a bit of flair, like a thoughtfully chosen pocket square or tie bar, but at a certain point, less is more. You don’t need to add on a lapel pin/flower in addition to all the other accessories you’re wearing, it’s too much.

5. Extra-wide tie bars

If your tie bar goes past your tie, you’re in trouble. Additionally, anything more than 2 inches wide, (unless you’re a broader guy with a 44” chest or larger), is just too long.

6. Colored shoelaces

Another trend that had its day, simple and understated is the way to go with shoelaces. You want that nice pair of shoes to do the talking, not the brightly-colored laces.

7. Big, chunky metal rings

A simple band or signet ring is just fine, but large bulky rings just look dated and over the top.

The 5 Best Men’s Backpacks Under $100

We’ve talked about how indispensable the right backpack is before and there are a ton of great options out there for every budget. Whether you’re hauling books to school or commuting to work, you want to make sure you look for something streamlined but also offers adequate protection for your laptop or tablet.

Also, if you work in an office, you want to make sure your pack is clean and professional-looking. You don’t want to come off looking like a teenager. Here are our picks for the 5 best men’s backpacks under $100.

Picks

Incase

Herschel #1

Herschel #2

Knomo

Everlane

3 Loafers Every Man Should Own

When you’re talking about versatile, stylish footwear, there are few styles I like better than loafers. I love that they can be dressed up or dressed down, and work for pretty much every season. There are many varieties out there these days, from simple to complicated, but I’d like to focus on three primary types that deserve a place in your closet, plus a few that maybe don’t.  Get ready, it’s loafer season for a reason.

 

Penny Loafers

A classic style that has stood the test of time, penny loafers are perhaps my favorite out of all the loafers. I love how versatile penny loafers are, they can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with everything from jeans and a buttondown to chinos and a polo shirt. Brown and black are the two ideal colors here. For a secondary choice, a classic burgundy or oxblood color is an excellent option.

My Picks

Designer:

Prada

Ferragamo

Budget -Friendly:

Johnston & Murphy

Bass Weejun

Driving Moccasins

Originally designed for, you guessed it, driving, I love this style because they’re super comfortable and work well in a variety of casual situations.  They come in a few variations but I prefer the versions with a nubbed rubber sole or a full rubber sole for the look and comfort. For colors, the basics like brown and tan are great of course, but I also recommend versions in grey or navy for a pop of color.

My Picks

Designer:

Tods

Budget-Friendly:

Zappos

Boat Shoes

Another shoe that evolved from function – the no-slip rubber sole and lightweight design worked well on boats – boat shoes have become a classic warm-weather staple. I like them best with chinos and shorts for a relaxed alternative to sneakers. On the color front, go with blue, brown and grey for maximum wearability.

My Picks

Sperry Top-Sider

Alternative Loafer Styles

There are a few other loafer styles out there but I don’t generally recommend them because they can lean too specific in their look and style.

Tassel Loafers

This dandy look is popular with a lot of style bloggers out there, and while I don’t hate them, I just don’t think they’re ideal for most men from a style standpoint. Just like your clothes, your shoes should be streamlined, and while the tassels can give them somewhat of a “distinguished” look, I find them to be distracting, like an untucked pair of shoelaces.

Horsebit Loafers

Another type with a dandyish vibe that has become popular again (you may know them as Gucci’s iconic loafer), I am not a fan of them at all. They immediately age you up (and not in a good way), and I always expect a lawyer or Wall Street guy who is trying way, way too hard to wear these.

Venetian Loafers or Smoking Loafers

Both of these have a similar, streamlined shape and a formal look. Venetian loafers are unadorned and usually in leather while smoking loafers are typically velvet and have embroidery or embellishments on top of the shoe. I always view these as super formal, and that’s why I really only recommend wearing the patent leather or velvet versions with a tuxedo if you want to add some flair. I don’t recommend more casual versions in regular leather because it’s a style that’s quite outdated and doesn’t have the versatility I like. 

My Picks

Christian Louboutin

Vince Camuto

So no matter what you’re wearing, casual or formal, get out there and wear some loafers this season, your feet (and style) will thank you.

Sneakers Every Man Should Own

I talk a lot about what a crucial part of your wardrobe sneakers are and they definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought.  There are many great ones out there, but not all sneakers are created equal. Having a selection of classic, versatile styles will definitely take your casual wardrobe to the next level.  With that, here are my picks for the sneakers that every man should own!

 

Canvas Sneakers

PF Flyers 

These were also my top pick this year for shoes you need to own in 2018, and for good reason, they’re cheap, breathable, comfortable and have a unique take on the classic canvas sneaker.

Vans Classic or Converse All Star

If the PF Flyers aren’t up your alley or you want something other than white, consider one of these super classic, never-go-wrong sneakers. They’re cheap and look awesome with pretty much everything. I love them in white, navy, gray or even black.

Leather Sneakers

Stan Smith or Common Projects Achilles

I’ve talked about white leather sneakers a ton; I love how they’re clean, classic and add a little extra polish to a casual outfit. If you’re not a fan of white, definitely get the gray or blue versions of these.

Running Shoes

New Balance Retro Sneaker

Like I mentioned in my top shoe video, these New Balance retro running sneaker are affordable, look great, and are very comfortable. I love the woven upper, as it makes them extra breathable and very comfortable-just like wearing socks.

Adidas P.O.D. S3.1 or Ultra Boosts

Ultra boost soles are like walking on marshmallows, they’re the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn. Plus these are cool and unique without being crazy loud like other running shoes can be. If you want something less flashy, the classic Ultra Boosts are the way to go.

High Top Sneakers

Converse All-Stars

I like the all-white over all-black because the all black is really heavy-looking on your feet. If you want black, I’d actually suggest getting a version by John Varvatos, they’re a well-designed take on the classic Converse-style high top.

Nike SF Air Force 1

For those of you who really like a sporty high top sneaker, here’s one of my favorites that I’ve styled on a couple of my clients. I like the black and white colorway of these but the all-white ones look great too. I love the clean silhouette and the dual zippers at the heel make these shoes super easy to get on and off.

So those are my top picks for sneakers every man should own, hopefully you’ve got a few of them lined up in your closet!

Best Travel Accessories

Obviously, we all know traveling can be super hectic; between the crazy lines, delayed flights, and packed planes, there’s a reason there’s a bar right by almost every gate.  Outside of finding the right travel bag, being prepared with the right accessories can make your trip smooth and easy.  Both Dorian and I travel a lot for work so we’ve learned a thing or two about what to bring on trips, and we decided to put together a foolproof list that’s suitable for nearly any journey.  Plus, almost all of these items can be found on Amazon so it will make your pre-trip shopping as easy as a few clicks.

 

Here’s our go-to list of travel accessories:

Portable steamer

You never know what the iron situation will be where you’re going and a portable steamer is small, light, easy to pack, and super effective.

Small lint roller

A must-have for keeping dark clothing and suits/blazers looking their best, we love this version because it has an easy-to-use covered design.

Jack Spade dopp kit

In addition to having the right bag, a proper dopp kit is going to keep all your toiletries organized and in good order.  We also like this budget-friendly version from Herschel.

Wireless Bose or Sony Bluetooth headphones

Wireless headphones with noise canceling are ideal for plane trips and will keep your tunes or podcasts sounding crisp and clear.  They also keep you feeling much more refreshed and alert by drowning out the excessive plane noise. We also like this budget-friendly version from Cowin.

Eye mask for sleeping

A necessity if you plan on surviving that redeye, they block out all the light so you can get deeper, more restful sleep. We find that the versions that don’t sit right on your eyes (like the ones linked above) are much, much more comfortable and effective.

Cabeau memory foam neck pillow

Speaking of surviving a red eye, a good neck pillow is a must. Memory foam is the best because it packs up super small and is very comfortable. Plus, this one from Cabeau is Tim Ferris approved!

Portable battery from Belkin or Anker

Never miss another ‘Gram opportunity because of a dead phone again. These small, portable batteries will keep you charged up and ready to go.

The Bagel power strip

If you travel internationally you know the hassles of different wall plug adapters. The Bagel is very small and works worldwide to keeps all your devices charged up.

ExOfficio boxer briefs

These outstanding briefs are super durable and quick-drying so you’ll be cool and comfortable all trip. We’re big fans of ExOfficio and have featured them before.

Tech Dopp Kit from This Is Ground

Just like you keep your toiletries organized, having a handy case will keep your cords, chargers, and devices squared away and easy-to-find. We also love the Bandito from This is Ground and the Grid-it from Cocoon.

The Cord Taco from This is Ground

If you’re traveling light, sometimes a small cord organizer is all you need.

So now that you’re properly prepared for a smooth trip all that’s left is to grab some snacks and a drink at the bar, have a safe flight!

Top Men’s Accessories Under $100

Accessories may seem like a small thing but they’re one of my favorite ways to mix up your look and add some extra personality in a very affordable way. Whether you’re adding a new tie to your rotation, trying out a new watch or piece of jewelry, or bringing in something more utilitarian like a key holder, these extra touches to your personal style will go a long way.

With that in mind, here are my favorite men’s accessories under $100!

Tie Bar – The Tie Bar

A tie bar is great because it’s both utilitarian and stylish. It’s a small touch but you can mix and match with different colors, finishes, and styles to add just a bit of personality to your tie game.

 

Knit Tie – The Tie Bar

Speaking of ties, I love the texture and look of a knit tie because it’s just a bit different from the norm.  Plus, because of look and design, knit ties crossover to more casual looks very easily, so try pairing them with a blazer and denim or an oxford and chinos.

Silver Cuff – Topman

A silver cuff is a great place to start with men’s jewelry because it’s simple and not too over-the-top. Just make sure you keep it low key and only wear one piece of jewelry at a time. 

 

Brown Frame Sunglasses – Warby Parker

I love the colored clear-framed sunglass styles that are happening right now.  They’re definitely different enough to add something new to your look but not so bold as to be distracting. Don’t forget to check out my guide to finding the right frame for your face shape!

 

Blue Frame Sunglasses – Warby Parker

As I mentioned above, clear-framed sunglasses are my favorite type of eyewear right now.  Stick with a classic frame shape and you’ll hit just the right balance of modern and timeless.

 

Key Holder – Bellroy

Since I’m sure some of you have that bulky, disorganized key ring, I recommend this key holder as a simple, smart way to keep your keys organized in a stylish way.

 

Wallet – Bellroy

Just like the key holder above, Bellroy has a knack for making stylish leather goods that are the perfect mix of minimal design and high-quality materials. Their Low Down wallet is a great pared-down choice.

 

Slim Phone Case – Elago

Finding a phone case that’s both classy and protective is tough but Elago really nails it.  They’re remarkably slim and minimal but still offer a great fit and protection, no matter what type of phone you have.

 

Watch – Timex Weekender

Despite its name, the Times Weekender is the perfect budget-friendly watch for any day of the week.  In addition to being both high-quality and very affordable, it’s classic design works well with any wardrobe choice, casual or dressy.

 

Watch Straps – Suede, Perlon, Leather, and NATO-Style

Now that you’ve got a great watch you can further mix up your look by swapping out different watch straps. Add a leather or suede one for a polished look or try nylon and perlon for something more sporty.  Buy a few and switch them up depending on your mood, it’s easy and fun.

Backpack – KNOMO London Holborn Southampton Backpack

Finding a good backpack isn’t easy, and finding an affordable one is even tougher. That’s why I love this one from Knomo so much, it’s versatile and stylish without being too bulky, something that’s really tough to find at such a great price point.