$50 & Under Items That Are Totally Worth It

Sure, we know, $50 may not be a lot, but these days it can go a long way if you’re spending it wisely! In the past we’ve down a few of our go-to essential items that make our lives easier, from apps to entertainment, but what about those must-have tools and services that we can’t live without?

Well, we’re going to give you 10 items that we think are not only worth $50 but will have a huge impact on your life well beyond something fairly inexpensive.

 

1.Leatherman Keychain – $35

We love this handy little number from Leatherman, it’s truly a lifesaver. And while it may not seem like much, you will be blown away by how often you use the super useful combination of tools. One of Dorian’s go-to EDC items.

 

2. Minimal Hard Shell Phone Case – $12

You spent some good money on a great new phone so give it the protection it deserves with a case that’s not only protected but also slim and stylish. Looking for a few more options? Check out our phone case rundown.

 

3. Paperkarma $12-$20 Per Year

An insanely useful service that helps you get rid of obnoxious, unwanted junk mail. Simply download the app, take a few pictures of junk mail as it comes in and you’re good to go. Not only is it easy to use it saves you time, money and help cut down on unwanted paper waste for the environment. Win-win-win.

 

4. Herschel Charlie Wallet – $30

We’re big fans of Herschel’s goods and we reviewed another one of their options in our Best Wallets of 2019 article. This card case is perfect for those who like a slim, pared-down vibe. It’s a great bang for your buck and the leather is very nice. They’ve got a ton of great color options too.

 

5. Zojirushi Thermos – $26

This sleekly designed water bottle/thermos might as well be magic because it keeps your drinks cold or hot for what seems like forever. It comes in 3 different sizes and a bunch of great colors.

 

6. External Phone/Laptop Battery – $46

If you’ve ever known the sweet agony of having your phone or computer die at the wrong moment when traveling or working away from home you know how valuable one of these babies can be. Light and portable, one of two of these is money very well spent.

Picks:

Anker 1

Anker 2

Anker 3

 

7. Vintage Casio Digital Watch – $34

From a style perspective, we love the vintage vibe of these classic digital watches. They’re super affordable and add a great throwback-inspired vibe to your style. You can slap on a perlon strap to add a different look too.

Casio 1

Casio 2

Strap Options

 

8. Slow cooker – $30 – $50

While there is a serious debate in our house as to which slow cooker is best, there’s no debate about how awesome and practical both of our favorite slow cookers are. Drop in some ingredients and some flavorful items, hit the dial or button and you’re good to go. An absolute must for any busy guy who still wants to eat well and healthy.

Ashley’s Favorite: Crock Pot

Dorian’s Favorite: Instapot

 

9. Betterment – No Fees

A great new option for financial services, we love Betterment’s free checking and savings accounts. They both have zero fees and the savings account has one of the highest interest rates anywhere at 2.39%. So, essentially you get paid every month to keep your money in your savings account. Investment and retirement have an annual fee of 0.25% per year on your retirement balance, but since you’re getting paid in your savings account, it will likely cost you nothing.

Sign Up For Betterment Here

 

10. Incase Backpack – $49.95

Yup, we’re huge fans of Incase.  We’ve featured their backpacks and briefcases previously because we absolutely adore their clean, minimal design, functional features, and great price. This version in particular, at $50 is an absolute steal and one of the very best affordable backpacks out there. It comes in a range of colors but our favorites are the light grey and dark grey.

Best Budget-Friendly Backpacks / Rucksacks For Men 2019

Whether you’re gearing up for a new semester at school or headed off to work, a stylish and functional bag is an important accessory. You want to find a bag that has the right features (laptop storage, pockets for organization) but also one that has clean, minimal design. Our favorite bags are also proof that style and functionality don’t have to be expensive, all these bags are under $150.

Here are our picks for the best Budget-Friendly Backpacks for Men 2019!

 

Incase – $100

Sleek and stylish, this bag from Incase has an outstanding design and a ton of integrated features. It’s nice and deep with plenty of storage and a padded laptop sleeve.  We love how Incase uses thoughtful touches in their design like hiding the zippers and plenty of interior organizational pockets for all your accessories and gear.  Dorian is a personal user of their products and we’re definitely big fans.  We also really like the larger version of this style if you’re looking for a bit more room for travel or more gear.

 

Herschel -$100

We’re big fans of Herschel’s backpacks, they’re great quality and very reasonably priced. Their standard version is great but we’re even bigger fans of the mountaineering vibe of this version.  It comes in a huge range of colors and patterns and the padded shoulder straps and snapping strap details are nice features.  The interior features a padded laptop sleeve and the exterior zipper pocket has plenty of room for keys and tech accessories.

 

Aer – $135

We love Aer’s lowkey, minimal designs, and futuristic style.  The durable, ballistic nylon is incredibly tough and the overall construction is very high quality. This pack features a very cool central zipper design and a ton of room, much more than you’d think for a small size.  It’s great for lugging around school stuff and can do double duty as a great bag for the gym with its shoe compartment.  Overall, this is an outstanding backpack that will last you a long time. If you’re looking for a slightly more traditional backpack style, Aer’s Day Pack is also an awesome choice.

 

North Face – $69

A classic school or work bag that’s very affordable, this North Face backpack features a technical, outdoorsy vibe and a lean profile.  It features dual pockets and protection for your laptop. The details set this one apart, it has a ton of functional pockets and space for attachments, including space for a water bottle.

 

Bellroy – $95

We love Bellroy’s products and have featured them before, so it’s no surprise that they make a great backpack.  The design is sharp and clean with an integrated front zipper for easy access.  The padded straps are comfortable for long wear and the interior features plenty of space for organization and a padded laptop sleeve.

 

Topo Designs – $129

Like the North Face pack, this backpack from Topo designs has a cool outdoorsy vibe and matching technical features that are tough enough for years of school and adventures. Padding and interior organization options are top-notch and its size is perfect for your daily work or school routine but also is spacious enough for travel.  The backpack comes in a bunch of very cool color options and features stylish color accents mixed in.

 

Everlane – $68

Clean, well-designed, and very affordable, this backpack from Everlane is an awesome choice.  It’s got a modern look but with some traditional strap details which give it a nice overall vibe.  Like with all things Everlane, there’s zero branding and a very nice minimal aesthetic. Like the Herschel, it has a top-loading design, snap straps, and features plenty of space for your gear and a padded laptop sleeve.

How and When Should Men Wear A Tie?

Ties are a fundamental accessory in a man’s essential wardrobe, they can add personality, elegance, and formality to many types of looks, no matter what your personal style is. Rules about style and formality, in both work and social settings, are changing so quickly that it can be tough to know when you should and shouldn’t wear a tie.

So, in this episode of 2 Minute Tuesday we’re discussing when and how men should wear a tie! For a full breakdown on our favorite ties and specific tips, make sure you check out our tie article!

 

With What?

A key thing to remember about ties starts with what you should be wearing them with. Dressier looks like suits and sport coats are definitely options you can and should wear a tie with. For more of a hybrid look, try wearing a tie with a bomber jacket, it can give your casual look a cool dressy vibe. One word of warning though, you don’t want to wear just a tie on its own without a jacket, it just doesn’t look right.

 

With What Types of Dress Codes?

When to wear a tie can also be determined by the dress code or how formal your place of work happens to be. Dress codes like “Formal”, “Cocktail Attire” or “Cocktail Party” often call for a suit and a tie. Business casual tends to lean slightly more casual but a tie can be appropriate given the right scenario. One tip we love, try a knit tie in those less-dressy situations, they’re not as dressy as a silk tie and will give your look a cool vibe.

If you aren’t totally sure about dress codes, ultimately you want to go with the crowd and let that dictate when a tie is appropriate. Always being stylish and a bit more dressed up is a great thing most of the time. But, you don’t want to be significantly overdressing for occasions or workplaces that don’t call for it. It can seem like you’re trying too hard or attempting to stand out, and not in a good way.

Top 5 Men’s Sneakers of 2019

You asked for it and we delivered! As you probably know by now, you can wear sneakers more places than ever these days and that means it’s even more important to give your sneaker purchases extra consideration. That said, this isn’t an excuse to just wear your gym shoes everywhere! Choosing the right pair of sneakers is more than just wearing athletic shoes with jeans or chinos, you’ve got to find the right balance of style and color and also consider the shoe shape.

With that, here are our picks for the Top 5 Men’s Sneakers of 2019 plus a few extra picks we really loved!

Nike Retro Sneaker

We love a good retro sneaker and this version from Nike is a new update on a classic silhouette. It’s got a suede and nylon upper and comes in some very cool bright colorways. A great casual shoe for chinos, jeans, or shorts.

 

Vans

You can never go wrong with a classic skate shoe vibe and this Vans sneaker is a total winner. It’s really well-priced and comes in two basic colorways that will go with everything in your closet.

 

Adidas Ultraboost

One of our absolute favorite running sneakers, this recently updated version of the Adidas Ultraboost is crazy comfortable and comes in a ton of great colorways. We love the bolder versions but the classic triple white, triple black, and grey are always stylish as well.

 

Wolverine High Top

This definitely isn’t a basketball sneaker. As we mentioned earlier, dressy and casual shoes are pretty interchangeable these days, and a nice leather high top can work with a variety of different looks. Wolverine is known for their boots and the leather is really excellent and the shoe is very comfortable. They also come in a sharp low-top version as well.

 

New Balance

Another great retro-inspired sneaker, this one mixes in technical materials and a sleek monochromatic colorway to give it a cool vibe that’s a great middle-ground between retro and modern. It’s definitely got an athletic vibe but it’s still sleek and sporty enough to work with denim, chinos, or shorts.

  

Koio Suede Sneaker

A suede version of a sleek minimal silhouette is a great way to add a bit of extra style and texture to your sneaker rotation. We were fans of their classic white leather sneaker from Koio and this suede version is excellent. We love the monochromatic design and the suede is very soft and high-quality. and there is a range of great earth tone colorways to choose from.

 

Nike Epic React

In a similar vein as the Adidas Ultraboost, the Nike Epic React is a super light and comfortable modern running sneaker that combines technical looks and a versatile silhouette. Like the Adidas, you can go with a simple monochromatic colorway or try a bolder color for extra personality.

 

Beckett Simonon

We reviewed these in a recent video and we absolutely loved them. The clean design, excellent price point, and high-quality leather make them one of our favorite sneakers this year for sure. A sure-fire go-to for casual or more dressy looks.

Nike React Element

Usually, we’re pretty picky about futuristic-looking shoes and tend to avoid streetwear trends, but this version from Nike features a really cool design but isn’t too chunky or odd-looking. It’s versatile enough to wear with denim or joggers and is very lightweight and comfortable. With a unique design like this, you can definitely lean into the bold colorways but also, you can never go wrong with a simple black and white combination.

Beckett Simonon Reid Sneaker Review – Are They Worth It?

By now you probably know how important it is to have a sharp white sneaker in your footwear rotation.  They’re probably the most versatile casual shoe you can own.  We’ve discussed other styles in the past, and in our latest edition of Worth It, we’re reviewing a new entrant in the minimal white sneaker game, the Reid from Beckett Simonon

We’ve been fan’s of their products in the past, namely their leather weekender bag, but how does this sneaker stack up? Tune in and find out if we think the Beckett Simonon Reid sneaker is worth it!

 

Pros

Great Design – We loved the clean, minimal design and sleek profile.  It has a nice shape and zero branding.

Good Materials and Construction – We really liked the high-quality full-grain leather and solid construction.

Multiple Colors – We tested the white version but there are a bunch of other versatile color options too.

Good Price – These are an outstanding value at $149.

 

Cons

While Dorian had a very small issue with the heel, Ashley had zero cons and we both really loved this shoe!

 

Verdict

Ashley and Dorian: Worth It!

We loved the design, quality, and comfort.  These are a great, very well-priced option in the leather sneaker market.

Shop The Beckett Simonon Reid Here

When Should You Wear A Belt?

To belt or not to belt, that’s the question in this week’s edition of 2 Minute Tuesday! It may seem simple but there are actually some key situations and outfits you need to keep in mind when you’re thinking about putting on a belt. Previously we discussed what belt size to buy and our favorite belt picks, but now it’s time to break down exactly when you should and shouldn’t wear a belt!

 

Belts Are An Accessory

First and foremost, belts are an accessory, not a utilitarian piece. As we said in our fit guides, your pants should always fit properly without a bet and you shouldn’t be using a belt solely to keep them up.

 

Don’t Wear A Belt: When Wearing Suits

Even if a suit has belt loops, you don’t want to wear a belt with a suit, it ruins the line as the eye will be drawn directly to your waist and it will break up the overall vertical look.  Like we previously said, your suit pants should fit properly so your pants should sit on you without needing to be held up.

 

Do Wear A Belt: When Your Shirt Is Tucked In

Whether your shirt is fully tucked in or just partially tucked in (aka the French Tuck), you always want to wear a belt, regardless of whether you’re wearing jeans, chinos, or dress trousers.

 

Do Wear A Belt: With Jackets and Blazers

Typically with jackets and blazers, your shirt should be tucked in (unless its a very casual look with a t-shirt) so you’re going to always want to wear a belt with these types of looks.

Summer Travel Essentials And Accessories

Summer travel season is here and hopefully, you’ve got a trip or two on the books. Whether you’re taking a week away to hit somewhere warm and tropical, seeking out nature, or hitting the road for some sightseeing, you’re going to need some essentials to get you through all types of situations. If you’ve seen Ashley’s Instagram you know that we both travel quite a bit, and we’ve found that outside of finding the right travel bag, these small, easily packable items can make all the difference in the world.

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.

 

 

Pain Relievers

Whether you’re nursing a hangover from a few too many poolside cocktails or dealing with aches and pains from hikes or exercise, a few of these can change the game.

 

Band-Aids

If you’ve ever dealt with vacation blisters from a day of walking and sightseeing or accidents in nature you know how handy a pack of these band-aids in your dopp kit can be.

 

Dopp Kit

Speaking of dopp kits, having the right one is not only stylish but helps keep you organized and prepared for any type of trip.

Dopp Kit Picks:

Jack Spade

Jack Spade 2

Filson

Vetelli

Budget Friendly: Herschel

Sunscreen

We can’t stress enough the importance of sunscreen, whether you’re at the pool or beach or just out and about.  Don’t forget proper lip balm with sunscreen too!

Sunscreen/Lip Balm Picks:

Anthelios

Neutrogena

Jack Black

Burt’s Bees

Jack Black

 

Noise Cancelling Headphones

An absolute must when traveling on any kind of plane journey, these can turn a rough flight into a relaxing one.  We’ve tried a bunch and the ones listed below are our favorites.

Headphone Picks:

Bose

Sony

Budget-Friendly: Cowin

Earbud Option

 

Sandals/Flip Flops

Sure, we’ve talked about how a lot of guys wear them too often during summer, but if you’re going to be in/around a body of water they’re definitely a great thing to have.

Flip Flop Picks:

Hurley

Scott

Rainbow

 

Clorox Wipes

For a quick clean up on potentially dirty surfaces that can make you sick, nothing beats the convenience of these Clorox wipes.

 

Emergen-C

Airports and planes can be a virus and bacterial hot zone, so make sure you’re taking proper precautions by downing a few Emergen-Cs and keeping your immune system in check.

 

External Battery Pack

Keep your devices juiced up and ready to go with one of these handy battery packs.  Another item that you’ll be so glad you have when you need it.

Battery Pack Picks:

Power Bank

Belkin

Anker

 

Cable Organizer / Tech Dopp Kit

Keep your carry on or briefcase organized and stress-free with one of these easy-to-use cord organizers.

Organizer Picks:

Grid-It

BagSmart

This Is Ground

 

Lint Roller

A must-have for any dark clothing. We like this handy small version the best for traveling:

Travel Lint Roller

 

Portable Steamer 

Small and easy-to-use, a steamer is well worth the packing space. This is the only one we use and recommend:

Portable Steamer

 

Portable Speaker

A fun, easy way to add some atmosphere to any trip.  We’ve tested and used a bunch and these are our favorites.

Speaker Picks:

JBL

Anker

Ultimate Ears

The Best Men’s Weekender Bags of 2019

Whether you’re taking a weekend getaway or packing up for a shorter business trip, a stylish, functional weekender bag is the perfect travel companion. We’ve discussed some of our favorite weekender-style bags before, but these bags are so useful and versatile that we decided it was time for an update. All of these bags meet carry-on requirements and are ideal for 1-3 days of travel. Here are our picks for the best weekender bags of 2019.

Check out all our picks below plus a few extra bags that we added for good measure!

 

Stuart & Lau -$385

A truly excellent bag, we love the mix of waterproof nylon and full grain leather, as well as the simple, lined interior and clean design. An added bonus, this bag comes in multiple sharp color options and also comes with a matching, full-grain leather strap. It may seem like a small detail but the two exterior pockets on each end are a really handy design detail that gives you some extra storage flexibility. The navy and tan colorway we tested was great, but we also really like the olive and black combo.

 

Herschel – $90

We’re big fans of Hershel’s backpacks, briefcases, and wallets, so it makes sense that their weekender bag would be excellent as well. This bag boasts a very nice price point that belies it’s sturdy, high-quality construction and materials. It’s constructed with heavy-duty nylon and has an integrated shoe compartment that we thought was a nice feature. While we preferred the basic, monochromatic black and grey colors, the huge range of colors and patterns is a nice bonus if you prefer more colorful options.

 

Everlane – $98

As with all things Everlane, this bag has a great price point and super simple, classy design. In our previous weekender video, we chose this one as well, but it had a rubber bottom. In this newer version, they’ve done away with that and added metal feet instead, which we feel is a downgrade. But overall, it’s still a great bag at a great price.

 

Combatant Gentlemen – $110

We loved the price point and mix of leather and canvas with the shoe handy shoe compartments and this bag is a really excellent value. The bag has a unique garment bag design to it but in the end, we weren’t a fan of this aspect because it could potentially affect the clothes you normally put in a garment bag as they can get smashed on the sides and bottom. But, other than this small part, this bag was really great.

 

Frost River – $215

The Frost River bag is made in the USA and boasts a great mix of affordability and quality.  It’s constructed with heavy-duty materials that will age beautifully and last a long time. The leather accents are very nice and the hardware is sturdy. The top zipper design opens up very wide to make packing easier and the exterior pockets are perfect for stashing books, magazines or an iPad, both nice design touches.

 

Filson – $395

Another made in the USA, heritage brand, Filson builds extremely durable, handsome bags that will literally last you a lifetime.  If you favor the more rugged, woodsy look, this is the bag for you.  It’s constructed of very sturdy canvas, outstanding leather accents, and strong hardware.  It has a very large capacity and features a beautiful all-leather shoulder strap. This bag takes some time to break in but will only get better over time.

 

Want Les Essentials – $450

This stylish weekender bag boasts a sleek, monochromatic design that we really loved. There’s minimal branding and it features very nice cotton canvas accented with Italian leather details. We loved that the entire base was leather, a very nice touch. While the shoulder strap wasn’t all leather, overall this bag is very nice and has exceptional design.

 

Billykirk – $550

Another outstanding American-made bag, Billykirk is known for their leather goods and excellent quality.  This handsome bag is made from heavy waxed canvas and very nice leather accents (including an all-leather shoulder strap!) that will age beautifully. The style is clean and simple but with a bit of a rugged vibe that’s not too over-the-top. It’s really a great mix of modern classic styles. It comes in two great colorways but we especially love the all-black version, it’s really sharp.  This bag also comes in smaller and larger versions, so if you’re looking for more or less space but love the looks you’ve got some options here.

 

Frank Clegg – $925

Dorian has owned this bag personally for 4 years now and it looks brand new. This bag has it all: clean, classic design, buttery soft tumbled leather that just gets softer with age, an all-leather shoulder strap, lined interior and no metal feet on the bottom. Plus the design features just the right amount of structure to it. It’s a pleasure to own and use this bag, it’s the best of the best.