Worth It? Cashmere Sweaters

Now that we’re headed into Fall it’s about time you start thinking about your sweater rotation. While cashmere is expensive, it’s no longer just a true luxury item, and you can now find cashmere sweaters at multiple different price points. We get asked about cashmere sweaters a ton so we thought it was time we gave you our opinion on whether or not cashmere was worth it.

Pros:

-Very light, soft, and warm.  Cashmere is the ideal material for sweaters.

-They are extremely comfortable and layer easily.

-Have a nice finish that can be dressy or casual.

Cons:

-Expensive to very expensive.

-Delicate and require extra care. Not as durable as merino wool or cotton versions.

-Cashmere sweaters now come at a huge range of price points so it can be tough to know the quality.

Verdict:

Ashley: Worth It
Dorian: Not Worth It

Picks

Designer:

Rag & Bone

Burberry

Theory

Brooks Brothers 

Budget Friendly:

Nordstrom

J.Crew

Naadam

Uniqlo 

3 Boot Styles Every Man Should Own For Fall/Winter 2018

Boots are a fall/winter staple and the right pair (or two) should be versatile enough for a variety of outfits and occasions. I think Chelsea boots are more of a spring/summer style so we’re focusing on shoes that will get you through the colder, wetter months of the year and work better with heavier clothing.

One thing to remember, look at boots as an investment, good ones aren’t cheap, but properly taken care of they can last you many years. There are a ton of options out there and we’ll include our picks, but we’ve narrowed it down to three basic styles that you should have in your closet.

Desert/Chukka Boots

The most versatile and least seasonal, you can wear these nearly year round. They’re light and comfortable and work well with both casual looks (jeans, chinos) and more dressy looks (with sweaters and blazers).

Picks

Zegna

Allen Edmonds

Clark’s

Budget-Friendly Clarks

Johnston Murphy #1

Johnston Murphy #2

Work Boots

What you probably think of when you think of boots, these are more rugged and have thicker/chunkier soles. The look great with jeans and chinos and will get you through the colder months and weather with ease. They can come in a variety of styles, some very casual, others a bit more dressy.

Picks

O’Keefe

Red Wing Beckman

Allen Edmonds #1

Allen Edmonds #2

Wolverine 1000 Mile

Danner Jack

Dress Boots

Yes, you can and should dress up your boots. Just make sure you’ve got the right styles. Think of these like the hightop versions of your dress shoes. They should have a thinner, dressier sole and nice leather. Look for them in cap toe or wingtip versions. Formality note: some dressier styles come with a bit more tread (called a lug sole) which can still look good with dressier clothes, but it will make them slightly less formal.

Picks

Edward Green

Brooks Brothers Peal & Co.

Grenson

Mezlan

Allen Edmonds #1

Allen Edmonds #1

Aldo 

Calvin Klein

How To Wear Patterned Shirts

Whether you want to level up your business casual and weekend wardrobe or complement dressy looks, the right patterned shirt can do wonders. No matter if I’m dressing my clients formally or casually, I rely on patterned dress shirts to add both style and visual interest to whatever they’re wearing, and I’m going to show you how to do it so you look great – every time.

First, a quick word on formality.  While it’s not a hard and fast rule, in a basic sense, the bigger or bolder the pattern, the less formal the shirt is. For most of you dressing casually or in business casual, you’re home free, most patterns will definitely work. But, for some of you guys that work in more formal office environments or if you’re dressing up for a fancy wedding or evening event, keep in mind that the more subtle patterns will be much more appropriate. So now that we’ve got that established, let’s get some patterns in your life.

Stripes

Stripes can come in all manner of widths, from wide (sometimes known as Bengal stripes), to medium (pencil stripe), to thin (pinstripes) and since they tend to lean a bit more conservative, they’re also an easy place to start if you’re new to the game.

How Best To Wear Striped Shirts

As a general rule, the wider the stripe, the bolder the statement, and just like matching colors, the bolder the choice, the more simply you should approach the rest of your look. For casual and business casual looks, a simple pair of chinos or dark denim is a great option.  I also like stripes when worn with solid-colored or textured suiting and under a solid v-neck sweater with dress pants, denim, or chinos.

Checks

The world of checks is a wide one, but there’s no better way to add some instant personality to your shirt arsenal than with a few carefully chosen checked shirts.  There are many different options available, but, in my opinion, the three with the most versatility and style are windowpane, tattersall, and gingham. Both windowpane and tattersall feature types of graph patterns that can range in size and thickness and gingham goes one step further with a bolder, thicker check pattern that often combines a base color like white and one other color.

How Best To Wear Checked Shirts

As with stripes, the level of statement can vary, but my go-to rule remains, keep the rest of your look simple.  Dark-colored denim, chinos, and dress pants are the ticket, and if you’re going to dress them up, I recommend solid-colored suits and solid or subtle ties. On the tie front, I think geometrically patterned ties can look a bit too matchy-matchy with checked shirts, so be wary. Protip: for a less formal tie option, try a knit tie in a solid, complementing color. The texture and slightly less formal nature of a knit tie work really well with blazers, chinos, and denim for a dressy hybrid that’s great for business casual or a dressed-down Friday.

Geometric and Floral Prints

Now more popular than ever, print shirts are a great way to add a cool, modern edge to your casual looks and even suiting and dress clothes. Small-scale geometric prints are a great place to start if you want to keep it subtle but, I definitely recommend trying a bolder floral print too, it’s an easy, fun way to add a bit of stylish personality to your vibe.

How Best To Wear Geometric and Floral Prints

The printed shirt is all about letting the shirt do the talking, so I highly recommend denim or dark chinos in navy, tan or gray, especially if you’re going with a floral print, and finish with sneakers or loafers (I like driving mocs). Don’t be afraid to dress up a printed shirt too, pair it with a slim dark suit and some penny loafers or dressy leather sneakers for formal-but-not-stuffy settings like a cocktail party, fun summer wedding or night out. For a black belt-level move, try rocking the air tie (top button buttoned, no tie).

Plaids

When you’re talking plaid shirts, usually the pattern involves multiple colors and lines/boxes and the more things happening with the pattern (color, width, etc) the better suited the plaid will be to casual dressing. Be warned, though, it’s a slippery slope to full lumberjack hipster, so chop firewood at your own risk!

How Best To Wear Plaids

Ultimately these patterns are busy, and I recommend keeping plaids casual and subtle, so try them with denim, chinos, and shorts in solid colors, and finish them with shoes like sneakers or chukka boots. You can always “turn down the volume” of a plaid by layering it under a solid-colored sweater, lightweight jacket or pairing it with a dark-colored blazer in dressier situations.

Now that you’ve got some know-how and a few tips in your pocket, have confidence and make these patterns work for you! Your shirt rotation (and your wardrobe in general) are about to get an upgrade.

Men’s Denim/Jean Jackets & How To Wear Them

After I released my Top 5 Fall Essentials article/video, I received a lot of questions about how to style different washes of denim jackets. I heard you loud and clear, so here’s some of my favorite ways to style them.

Light Wash

To avoid looking like you’re wearing a Canadian tuxedo, wear light wash denim jackets with chinos. You can pretty much get away with any color, but my favorites are navy, green, brown, and burgundy. My classic go-to formula is a t-shirt, chinos, and chukka boots. Crewneck sweaters or oxford button-downs are also good options as well.

$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. It fits true to size.
$20 – Topman striped t-shirt
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pant in green and brown (click here for their straight leg chinos)
$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 

$90 – Levi’s denim jacket (in Queen) – You can never go wrong with this iconic denim jacket. Go with the next size down for this one because it’s not as fitted as the AllSaints one above and you always want a snug fit in the arms and body for all your denim jackets.

Dark Wash

If you only have the budget for one denim jacket, a dark washed one is what I’d choose. I love how dark the wash is because it’s easier to dress it up or down and it also has a slimming effect. I would avoid wearing jeans with a dark wash jacket unless they’re black because I don’t think it looks great and typically most men don’t know how to pair different washes of denim well. You can never go wrong with a pair of chinos and a crewneck t-shirt or sweater. If you want to dress the jacket up more, than pair it with some wool trousers and a collared shirt like I did in my fall accessory essentials article/video.

$118 – J.Crew denim jacket – Definitely go a size down than normal because you want a snug fit. Otherwise, the fit will be boxy which looks unflattering on every man regardless of your body type.
$24 – J.Crew t-shirt
$225 – J.Crew striped sweater
$40 – Uniqlo chinos in navy
$179 – Johnston & Murphy chukka boots
$415 – Tom Ford sunglasses 52mm

Alternate Denim Jacket 

$90 – Levi’s denim jacket (in Rinse) – Go with the next size down because you want a snug fit.

Grey Or Black Wash

Tall, dark, and handsome is how I describe the outfit you’ll be wearing with a grey (or black) denim jacket. Keep it all black – t-shirt, jeans, and boots. You can also go with a white t-shirt but I love how sharp an all black outfit looks with a gray denim jacket adding that perfect pop of monochrome color – it’s especially perfect for a night out.

$285 – AllSaints denim jacket
$75 – AllSaints black t-shirt
$168 – Diesel jeans
$750 – Prada chelsea boots
$415 – Tom Ford sunglasses in black

Alternate Denim Jacket 

$98 – Levis denim jacket

Men’s Leather Jackets & How To Wear Them – Bomber + Motorcycle

In this article/video, I wanted to do an update to my (4 year old!) men’s essential leather jacket story. A lot of the information in my previous article is still valid, so think of this as more of a supplement for why you should own a leather jacket instead of completely replacing it. As for the types of leather jackets I’m featuring in this video/article, you’ll likely notice that some are missing and that’s for a specific reason – I just don’t like them and they tend to not look great on most men. See the video below for an explanation of what styles I don’t prefer and why.

For the best ways to wear your leather jacket(s), check out the new video and my previous article and video here.

Biker Jacket

In my previous story, I mentioned that I didn’t like the biker style very much because they have a lot going on and should only be worn if you have a very specific rock and roll style. I still think this is true if you go with the traditional or classic-style biker jacket with the belt, chrome hardware and shiny leather. But, over the years, I discovered a slightly updated version that does away with the belt and replaces the shiny hardware and leather with matte options. Basically, this style of biker jacket removes all the things I disliked about the traditional versions, and now I’ve got to say, I’m much more of a fan.

As for how to wear them, I’d style with a t-shirt or sweater in white, black, or grey, dark wash or black jeans/chinos, and a pair of black boots. If you want to “dress it up” a bit, then pair with a casual collared shirt (leave untucked) in black, green, or burgundy, and some chinos or wool trousers.

$2395 – Burberry leather biker jacket – Burberry consistently makes some of my favorite leather jackets. You’ll pay for it, but if you can swing it, they’re totally worth the price and the fit is incredible. Remember, leather jackets are a BIFL piece.
$420 – AllSaints cargo leather jacket – all the hardware on this jacket is completely blacked out which I always prefer, but is tough to find. AllSaints’ leather jackets are worth the price and for the quality and construction, they’re a steal!
$420 – AllSaints leather biker jacket
$133 – AllSaints dark green shirt – this is the shirt Dorian wore throughout the video. The dark green color and cut of the shirt is super flattering for all shapes and sizes, especially if you’re thin or huskier.

Leather Bomber Jacket

I’ve said it a gazillion times and I’ll continue to say it, over and over again (all these articles feature bomber jackets) – regardless of your age and body type, from super thin to more rotund gentleman, every single man should have at least one bomber jacket in his closet because it’s a super versatile year-round item that can be worn a myriad of ways. Now whether you go with leather, suede or fabric options, that’s up to you. Frankly, I’d have each option, if your budget allows.

As for how to wear a leather bomber jacket, I always like to keep it simple. Pair with a crewneck sweater or t-shirt, dark wash jeans, and sneakers or boots. To make it more formal, I would pair with a white collared shirt, black tie, and wool trousers. The beauty of a bomber is that you can pretty much wear it with any kind of shirt – just pair with chinos, jeans or trousers on the darker side and you’ll never go wrong.

$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket – classic, classic, classic.
$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket in greyish blue – if you already own black, mix it up with this neutral-like color. Wear how you normally would with a black or brown jacket.
$465 – AllSaints leather and wool bomber – Dorian wore this in my Fall Shoes video and it’s such a sleek take on an all leather jacket. Super timeless and stylish.

Fall and Winter Boots & Shoes 2017

In this article and video, I wanted to show you some of my favorite boots and shoes for this Fall & Winter. If you missed my big men’s Fall & Winter Essentials series, you should definitely check that out first, since this is more of a supplement to that instead of the other way around.

Suede Boots

Although you can certainly go with leather boots, I am a huge fan of these suede ones by Allen Edmonds. Everything from the superior construction, to the neutral taupe grey color, which I’ll often use in place of black or brown, easily makes this boot a winner in my eyes.

$350 – Allen Edmonds taupe suede boots
$620 – AllSaints bomber jacket
$24 – J.Crew t-shirt
$118 – Banana Republic slim-fit jeans

Alternate Suede Boots

$285 – AllSaints suede boot

Suede Chukka/Desert Boots

Another favorite of mine are these suede chukkas (aka desert boots) which lend a very Autumn feel to any outfit. Again, just like with the boots I mentioned before, you can certainly go with regular leather Chukka boots, as well. But I love these, specifically because they have a slim profile and a comfortable crepe sole which will feel like you’re wearing sneakers. Pair them with jeans or chinos for a put-together casual look.

$295 – Allen Edmonds chukka boots
$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 materials are.
$128 – Brooks Brothers suede belt in brown
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$10 – Perlon Watch Strap

Alternate Chukka Boots

$168 – Banana Republic suede chukkas

Double Monk Strap Dress Shoes

Dress them up with a suit of down with jeans and a blazer. Double monk straps are timeless and will forever be a Fall (and Spring!) favorite of mine.

$120 – Johnston & Murphy double monk straps
$62 – J.Crew merino wool cardigan (currently on sale for 30% off)
$49 – Brooks Brothers navy plaid shirt
$358 – Brooks Brothers green sportcoat
$168 – Diesel slim fit jeans

Alternate Double Monk Straps

$150 – Aldo double monk straps

Grey Sneakers

Outside of white sneakers, grey is a Fall favorite of mine because it’s another neutral color that compliments the darker, more jewel-toned colors you’ll be wearing this season. You can go with suede, leather, or a fabric material, but just make sure to keep the design simple like these ones.

$215 – AllSaints Low Top Sneakers
$80 – J.Crew cardigan bomber (currently on sale for 30% off)
$24 – J.Crew white t-shirt
$118 – Banana Republic slim fit jeans

Alternate Sneakers

$80 – Converse Jack Purcell suede sneakers (or fabric option here) – I also like these suede sneakers as well.

Men’s Fall & Winter Accessories 2017

In this article and video, I wanted to show and discuss some of my favorite accessories for the Fall & Winter Seasons. Also, please be sure to not miss out on my whole series dedicated to the best men’s Fall & Winter Essentials.

 

Watch Straps

Fall and winter is a great time of year to change out the straps of your watches for more appropriate colors for the season. As for materials, I don’t have a preference, but leather, perlon and suede are some of my favorites. The best colors for this time are always going to be:

  • Browns
  • Oranges
  • Burgundy
  • Taupe/Gray/Green

The pictured straps, as well as many others types and styles are available at my favorite site for reasonably-priced straps: CheapestNatoStraps.com

I talked to the owner, Sofie, and she was kind enough to offer you an additional 10% off your purchase if you use offer code: AshleyWeston

Suede Belts

Since you’ll be wearing heavier fabrics during this time of year, it’s time to bring out the suede belts to add a more visual texture to your outfits to compliment them. I prefer a dark brown or gray color this time of year and the below options have these choices available.

$128 – Brooks Brother Suede Belt – the best color for the time of year.
$80 – Torino Suede Belts (Various colors – I like espresso & navy)
$25 – H&M Suede Belt

Wool Ties & Pocket Squares

Wool ties and wool knit ties and pocket squares compliment the textures you’ll be wearing this season. For how to wear them, watch the video at the top. Just know that you’ll never go wrong with the rule: Whatever item has a pattern (tie or pocket square), make sure the other item isn’t patterned. So if you’re wearing a patterned tie, wear a plain pocket square with a similar colored tipping.

The colors I love this time of year are:

  • Browns
  • Oranges
  • Burgundy
  • Grays
  • Greens

 

I’ve talked at length about my favorite pocket squares and how to wear them, so see my wool ties & pocket squares video/article for details.

Wool Knit Caps

They’re great this time of year to keep your head warm and they can look good  but remain functional when paired with some of your  casual jackets or even heavier Winter jackets.

Gray, Blue and Black caps are my favorite colors because they go with everything, but you can certainly mix it up with other colors, if you prefer. There’s one caveat when wearing them, though.

$90 – A.P.C. Wool Knit Cap – Multiple Colors
$10 – H&M Rib-Knit Cap

Leather Gloves

Leather looks great this time of year and help elevate your appearance by adding a sophisticated touch, while keeping your hands warm. Black or brown are easiest to wear, so I say just get one or both of those colors.

$30 to $40 – H&M Leather Gloves
$100 to $600 – Various Quality Brands @ Mr. Porter

Scarves

Keeping your neck warm should be a priority, but why not have your scarf also look good? As far as colors and patterns are concerned, I honestly view them like men’s socks, where you can definitely go crazy with them, so if you think a plain color is boring, go with some patterns. Generally, you want to go with the same general color palette of the season – so blue, gray, black, brown, orange, burgundy and green all look great this time of year.

As for materials, I don’t think it matters much, it just depends on what you prefer. I love a good wool or cashmere scarf, but a cotton one is also good, depending on how thick and warm you want yours to be. But, there may be a reason to avoid certain materials or colors.

I’ve discussed how to tie men’s scarves at length so check that out, too.

$10 to $100 – H&M Scarves – they make some of my favorite budget friendly scarves.
$15 to $50 – Uniqlo Scarves – also great budget-friendly options.
$50 to $500 – Mr. Porter has a great selection of many high quality scarves.

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!