Men’s Fall Style Do’s and Don’ts

Fall is here and it’s time to give your wardrobe some consideration as the weather cools down and the season and style challenges change. Temperatures can be unpredictable and you’ve got some new occasions you’re prepping for. Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Dialing in a great Essential Fall Wardrobe doesn’t have to involve a lot of major changes, just some smart choices and a few tweaks.

So, to help you prep your closet and your wardrobe, we’re running down some of our key fall style tips with our Fall Style Do’s and Don’ts.

 

Fall Style Do’s

Continue To Wear Color

Just because it’s fall and its getting colder doesn’t mean you should stop wearing color. Instead of bright or pastel colors that you would typically wear in spring and summer, opt for darker jewel tones and earth tones to mix in with your neutral greys, black, and navy.

 

Layer Your Clothing

The temperatures in Fall can vary a lot, it’s warmer in the day and gets cold at night and it can be tough to deal with sometimes!  So, proper layering is just the skill you need to master as it can help you regulate your temperature and look stylish. Start with a t-shirt or casual button-down as your base layer, then add a sweatshirt or sweater on top, and next, a bomber jacket, wool jacket, or sportcoat layered on top.

 

Invest In A Pair Of Boots

Boots are essential footwear for Fall/Winter and the right pair can look amazing and last a long time. Think of chukkas and casual and dress boots as your go-to base shoe for non-sneaker situations.  We’ve discussed some of our favorite boots before and here are a few of our favorite picks:

Boot Picks

Allen Edmonds #1

Allen Edmonds #2

Allen Edmonds #3

Clark’s

Johnston Murphy

Red Wing

Wolverine

 

Fall Style Don’ts

Just Wear Jeans Exclusively

It can be tempting to only wear jeans during the Fall but we encourage you to branch out to thicker chinos and wool trousers to mix up your rotation.

 

Flash Lots Of Bare Ankle

Obviously, if you’re in a climate where it’s still warm then this doesn’t apply to you. But if your Fall is on the cooler side, then it’s just not seasonally appropriate (or comfortable). If you want to go with a cuff on your pants try doing it with boots or heavier footwear.

 

Wear Lightweight Fabrics

No man should be wearing linen, lightweight chino cloth, or seersucker anything during Fall and Winter months. Put ’em away and store those until Spring. Heavier cotton, denim, wool and wool blends, and leather should be your fabrics of choice.

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.

Back To School Style Mistakes Men Make

You’re headed back to campus and we’ve got some style tips to help you look your best this Fall. We see a lot of these common mistakes young guys make by either trying too hard or not trying enough. You want to find a balance between effort and casual dress, all while staying comfortable.

The good news is a little birt of effort in the style department goes a long way, so all of these back to school style mistakes are easily avoidable.

 

Socks and Slides

There’s no excuse ever. Pick up some Vans slip-ons, they’re just as comfortable and low-maintenance, plus they’re much more stylish.

Slip-On Picks:

Vans

SeeVees

Sperry

 

Too many logo tees

Leave that for all the annoying kids who are decked out in their logo tee, pants, and socks. They look ridiculous, don’t join them. Stick with the basics and go with something from H&M and Uniqlo, they make our favorite t-shirts that Ashley uses all the time with clients.

 

Not Putting In Any Effort

Your wardrobe doesn’t have to be fancy but you should care about what you’re wearing.  That’s why we made it easy on you and put together a list of all the essentials you need for a stylish back to school wardrobe.

 

Basketball Shorts All The Time

Why? Unless you’re on the court or on the couch you shouldn’t be wearing basketball shorts.  Grab some dark joggers instead, they’re just as comfortable and look a lot better.

Jogger Picks:

H&M

PacSun

Gap

Mack Weldon

 

Too much hypebeasting

It reeks of trying too hard. If you want to sprinkle it in here and there, totally fine. But don’t jump in with both feet and wear all the trends at once, all the time. Again, we did a back to school essentials article that sprinkles in just the right amount.

 

Not caring about grooming

Look, there might be days you don’t want to style your hair. Fine, no problem, throw on your favorite baseball cap. But, here’s no excuse to have overgrown, unwashed hair or neglected skin. Your overall appearance, especially when it concerns hygiene, will be a huge make it or break it situation when it comes to people wanting to hang out with you. Check out all of our grooming tips in our grooming section. From haircuts to skincare, we’ve got all the tips you need.

 

Wearing only workout gear

Unless your an athlete and it’s absolutely necessary because of your schedule, then there’s no excuse. It’s lazy and looks like you might be hiding a less than desirable physique. You wanna feel just as comfortable? A pair of some Adidas Ultraboosts, black joggers, a tee or a hooded sweatshirt, and a bomber jacket will look 100 times sharper.  All of our picks are right here.

Men’s Back To School Essentials

You’re headed back to campus and we’ve got some picks to help you look your best this Fall. We know that school can be stressful and the last thing you have time for is thinking about what to wear. However, we can all agree that you still want to look your best which is why picking up these pieces will take the guesswork out of what outfit you should wear because they all can go together easily and stylishly.

The key to solid back to school items are ones that are comfortable, stylish, inexpensive, and versatile, and these back to school style essentials will have you covered for the entire year.

 

 

Sneakers

You need a good everyday sneaker that’s comfortable, stylish, and affordable. We’re huge fans of the Vans Old Skool sneakers which come in a bunch of different colors and patterns, though I love the black and white ones the most. If you’re going to get a pair of white sneakers, I’d opt for leather like the Stan Smiths which are easier to keep clean than canvas kicks.

Picks:

Vans

Stan Smiths

More Sneaker Picks

Jason Markk sneaker cleaning wipes

 

Well-Fitting Jeans

Some well-fitting slim jeans in dark indigo, black or dark grey will get you through the entire year and beyond. Remember you only need to wash them every few months if you let them air out every day on the back of your chair or on a hanger.  Want some fit tips? Check out our jeans fit guide.

Picks:

Levis

Uniqlo

J. Crew

 

Pull-Over Hoodie

A pull-over hoodie is super comfortable and versatile. You can wear it on on its own or you can layer underneath your jacket when it gets cold. Definitely skip the logos here, leave that to the kids who look ridiculous in their all logo fits. One note, we’re not fans of the zip-up hoodies because they tend to look sloppy and have this weird bunching in the front when you sit.

Picks:

Champion

J.Crew

Uniqlo

H&M

 

T-Shirts

Pick up 5 or 6 of these since you’ll pretty much be wearing this every day and stick with basic colors like black, white, navy, and grey. Remember fit is king. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-fitting t-shirt and jeans outfit – it’s unbelievably attractive and that simple knowledge on fit will instantly set you apart from everyone else.

Picks:

Uniqlo

H&M

Amazon Goodthreads

The Best Budget-Friendly T-Shirts

 

A Versatile Jacket

Our favorite being a bomber jacket – whether it’s leather, nylon or cotton. It doesn’t matter what your size or build is, this jacket looks great on every guy and it’s super easy and comfortable.  It’s really easy to add layers, like a hoodie, underneath when it gets cold. Also, it just looks cool-as-hell so wear in and out of school.

Picks:

H&M

Gap

J.Crew

Bonobos

 

A Casual Button-Down Shirt

Versatility is key here and you want one that you can wear untucked or partially tucked in the front. Casual button-downs are shorter in length then dress shirts so they should hit around mid-crotch. Pair this with your jeans and sneakers, maybe throw on your bomber jacket for the ultimate, “Oh this? I just rolled out of bed and threw this on.” It looks cool, stylish, and like you put in zero effort in the best way possible. We recommend solid oxfords and darker, fall plaid casual button-downs.

Picks:

J. Crew

H&M

Uniqlo

5 Shirts Every Man Should Own

 

Crew Neck Sweatshirt

We like sweatshirts because there’s a casualness that compliments your on-campus fits and you can throw them in the wash instead of having to have them dry cleaned.  As with hoodies, skip the logos and keep them clean and simple.

Picks:

Champion

Everlane

Uniqlo

Todd Snyder

 

Backpack

Like everyone, you need something to carry your notebooks, laptop, and gear every day and just like your clothes, it’s important to pick up a backpack that keeps you organized, looks sharp, will last you all year, and won’t break the bank. We’ve discussed the ins and outs of our favorite backpacks before, and the key is finding the right size and style.

Picks:

Incase

Herschel

Aer

Everlane

More Backpack Picks

 

Sunglasses

The right shape can instantly up your style game, but the wrong shape can really work against you. Stick with a classic style that compliments your face shape.  Check out this article for more on how to choose the right sunglasses for your face shape.

Picks:

Ray-Ban

MVMT

Crap

Warby Paker

Additional Picks

 

A Second Pair Of Pants

A man can’t live on denim alone so it’s wise to consider a few more options. We definitely recommend chinos, they’re comfortable, stylish, and affordable. If you go for chinos, go with navy or charcoal grey as that’ll go with everything. If chinos aren’t your style grab some sharp jogger pants for a different option. Go with black or charcoal as they’ll not only look the best but it will keep them from looking too much like your workout gear.

Chinos:

Bonobos

Uniqlo

J.Crew

Gap 

Joggers:

H&M

PacSun

Gap

Mack Weldon

 

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