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!

How To Wear A Tie Bar

As I’ve talked about before, details like well-chosen accessories can make a huge impact on your outfit. Whether you call it a tie bar or tie clip, this classic accessory is an easy way to add a bit of extra flair to your dressy outfits.  But, there are a few easy tips you need to know when selecting and wearing one.

The two biggest, and really, only, mistakes you can make with a tie bar are: wearing it too high or low and using a tie bar that is not the proper size for your tie width. So let’s fix those problems once and for all.

 

Choosing The Right Size Tie Bar

The key here is to make sure your tie bar does not exceed the length of your tie width and hang over the edge, definitely not a good look.

For A Slim Tie

If you’re wearing a slimmer  2” – 2.5” wide tie, then you want to choose a 1” or 1.5” tie bar.

For A Standard Tie

If you’re wearing a standard 3” tie, then you want to use a 2” tie bar.

Now that you know how wide your tie bar should be, let me show you how to properly wear one with two different approaches.

How To Wear A Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got the right size tie bar selected, let’s move on to the right way to wear it. I highly recommend sticking to one of these two methods as any other way can throw off your entire look.

The OG Approach

This is the tried and true classic way to wear a tie bar. Your tie bar will be placed lower down on your tie which will prevent your tie from moving as much. It’s a more utilitarian use of your tie bar without it showing much. With your blazer on, attach your tie bar about 2 buttons lower than the breast pocket of your jacket.  There you go, the OG approach.

The Modern Approach

The modern approach is my personal favorite because it shows off the accessory a bit more and whether I’m styling for GQ or my clients for the red carpet, this is what I prefer do. To achieve this attach your tie bar slightly below your breast pocket – about 0.5”. Be careful though, any higher and it’ll look ridiculous.

No matter which way you choose to wear it, the right tie bar is an easy upgrade to your accessory game; try one out today!

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.

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.

POTW: Spring Ties, Pocket Squares and Tie Bars

Happy Spring! This week I wanted to show you some of my favorite Spring ties and pocket squares you can easily (and cheaply!) pick up to add some new life and personality into your current wardrobe. Accessories are a great way to add an element of fun and can help make your year round navy and charcoal suits and sportcoats more seasonally appropriate. 

Look 1

I love playing with color for Spring so I chose this pink polka dot tie which would look fantastic paired with your navy or charcoal suit.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston

$55 – The Tie Bar Chambray Shirt
$19 – The Tie Bar ‘Nirvana Tie’ in Wild Pink
$15 – The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar in Cornflower Blue
$10 – The Tie Bar Outpost Paisley Pocket Square in Royal Blue
$8 – The Tie Bar Wheel and Anchor Sock in Navy

Look 2

This lavender tie and floral pocket square combination instantly injects some fun into your year round suits. Pair with a light blue dress shirt (which you should already have!) and now you have a sharp, Spring outfit.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston 1

$55 – The Tie Bar Pinpoint Solid Shirt in Light Blue
$19 – The Tie Bar Half Moon Floral Tie in Lilac
$10 – The Tie Bar Peninsula Floral Pocket Square in Lilac
$15 – The Tie Bar Brushed Silver Tie Bar

Look 3

If the other two options were too adventurous in terms of color, here are more subtle tie and pocket square combinations that will not only work for your suits, but also for your more casual outfits that involve a sportcoat or brown leather jacket. Complete with a white dress shirt, some dark wash jeans, and a pair of penny loafers.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston 3

$55 – The Tie Bar Herringbone Non-Iron Shirt in White
$19 – The Tie Bar South Padre Geos Tie in Navy
$25 – The Tie Bar Scramble Silk Knit Tie in Light Blue
$19 – The Tie Bar Calico Chambray Tie in Soft Blue
$15 – The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar in Peach
$15 – The Tie Bar Brushed Silver Tie Bar
$10 – The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Border in Silver
$10 – The Tie Bar Chambray Pocket Square with Border in Light Blue

Best Men’s Watches

Watches are one of the few pieces of jewelry that any man can wear that is universally acceptable. Other jewelry like rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets will have their detractors (myself included).

So for that reason alone, a watch is an accessory that every man should have. From a practical perspective, they are also nice for telling the date and time. But obviously not as required now that we’re carrying smartphones around with us all day long.

Just like I discussed in the series intro, there’s something amazing about owning a finely crafted piece of history and engineering perfection.

Whether you’re a watch guy or not, I think any self-respecting man should own a watch or two.

Before I get into the exact watches you should own, let me first answer the most common questions I get from clients, readers and viewers about watches:

What type of watch to wear with what outfits?

Suit = Dress Watch – you should never, ever wear a diving/chronograph/sport watch or anything but a leather or other hide strap with a suit. It drives me crazy when I see metal bracelets or nato straps with suits because they’re so casual in nature and they take away from the formality of a suit. It’s a SUPER amateur move.

Business Casual or casual outfits – Dress watch or Sport watch with a metal bracelet, leather/nato/rubber band. You can also wear a dress watch with them, but it depends on how “polished” your casual outfit is. If you’re in shorts and flip flops, that might not look right with a dress watch.

How to Match a Watch To Your Outfit

It’s pretty simple. If you’re wearing:

  • A suit with black dress shoes and belt.
    You should be wearing a dress watch with a black leather strap.
  • A Suit with Brown dress shoes and belt.
    You should be wearing a dress watch with a brown leather strap.
  • Anything outside of a suit, even if you’re wearing dress shoes, you can wear any type of watch you’d like – that includes dress watches as well as any sport, chrono, diver, pilot, etc. type of watches.

What size should your watch be?

If you have a smaller wrist, around 6″, then go with a 40mm or smaller.

If you have average to a wider wrist, around 7″ or bigger, then go with a 40 to 44mm sized watch.

Most older watches, including Rolex’s diving watches, were 38mm or less, but they’ve since shifted to 40mm to follow the trend of larger watches now.

Traditionally, dress watches were made to be smaller and fit under your shirt cuffs, while diving or chronograph watches are bigger so they’re easer to read while doing the activities they were designed for.

It’s really up to your personal preference. I’m a little new school in that I think dress watches don’t need to be tiny – my favorite IWC dress watch (below) is very large for a dress watch, but I still love it. Unless your wrists are extremely small, then any size between 36 and 44mm will be fine. Which is fortunate because almost all watches fall within these sizes anyways. It’s when you get into vintage watches that the sizes tend to be smaller. So if you prefer a smaller watch, then vintage may be right for you.

How Many Watches Should You Own?

To cover all your bases, you should own 2 to 3 watches. You can absolutely get away with owning only one (which I’ll discuss shortly), but 2 or 3 different types of watches will cover you for all the outfits and scenarios you’ll encounter. A lot of my clients who are into watches own usually double or triple that amount, but we’re talking about the barest of essentials right now and anything else would be a speciality or just not used as much.

What Watches Should You Own?

1. Silver Dress Watch with a Black Leather Strap

Here’s the basics of what this watch should be. If you own one watch, this should be it. That way it’ll cover you for the most scenarios. You’ll also need a brown leather band to swap out as your outfit accessories dictate according to the matching rules I discussed earlier. So scroll to the bottom to check out my favorite band/strap site to get your extra straps.

Your black leather strapped watch should have the following features:

Silver Case

You want a silver case because, just like with the hardware on your belts, it’ll match with everything. If you were to get a watch with a gold or black case and black leather band, it won’t match as well or be too sporty to complement the rest of your essential wardrobe items.

As for the size of the case, that’ll depend on your preference and what looks best on you, but a classic dress watch is supposed to be very thin and small (sub 40MM, usually), but I’m a little new school in this regard and don’t mind a taller or larger case, something like the 44mm IWC cases is fine, but right on the edge, for me. Honestly, go smaller if you have a small wrist, and bigger, if you have a wider wrist.

White Dial

The dial of your watch should be white because it’ll match perfectly with everything you could possibly throw at it. Black, blue, skeleton or other dials won’t match as well or will come off as too sporty or gaudy. I just think of all the sleezy salesman guys wearing their Movado watches at the bar after work – bleh.

Black Leather Strap

You can also use a leather alternative or other hide – kangaroo, ostrich, alligator, etc. The one thing you should never do is wear a nato or rubber strap with a suit. If I can be blunt – it looks like shit and is an amateur move. The quickest way to look like a teenager or style blogger is to wear a nato or rubber strap with every outfit. Those should be reserved for casual outfits only.

In regard to the stitching on the strap, I’ll forever dislike contrasting stitching, just like I do on wallets, so ideally, the stitching should match the color of the strap.

Subdials or complications

I’m a little new school in that I don’t believe a dress watch needs to have the cleanest dial possible. I don’t mind a few subdials or complications like a power reserve, subdial seconds, moon phase or month/day date. Just don’t go crazy and use a chronograph with a leather strap as a dress watch, please.

2. Silver or Gold Dress watch with a brown leather strap

The requirements for your brown leather-strapped dress watch are nearly identical to the black leather strapped dress watch above – with one major exception:

This is the one time when a gold case is acceptable because the dominant color of the accessories you’d be matching with would be brown, regardless of the hardware color of your belt. I’d still prefer a silver case if given the choice, but a gold case would work just as well.

If you have the budget for only one watch, or only want to own one dress watch, then make sure to get a brown band to swap out with your silver cased watch as your outfit accessories dictate. It’s a little bit of a pain, but not so much that this isn’t an option. Changing watch straps is quite easy and I have a great place to get really nice straps for cheap.

The Best Dress Watches

IWC Portugieser and Patek Philippe

$12,000 – IWC Portugieser Automatic
$20,000 – Patek Philippe Calatrava White Dial

 

A lot of these watches come with black or brown straps.

$65.00 – Stuhrling Original Ascot II
$90.00 – Bulova Classic Dress Watch
$200 – Bulova Dress Watch
$220 – Tissot T-Classic Tradition
$230 – Mondaine Swiss Railways Evo 
$260 – Graf Zeppelin Hindenburg
$300 – Orient 2nd Generation Bambino
$520 – Junkers Bauhaus
$530 – Hamilton Intra-Matic Silver Dial
$650 – Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic
$650 – Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
$1,100 – Junghans Max Bill Chronoschope
$1,600 – Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic
$1,800 – Junghans Max Bill Automatic
$2,500 – Cartier Tank Solo  
$2,500 – Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Automatic
$2,780 – Nomos Tangente 38 Datum
$3,600 – Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial 39.5 MM
$3,700 – Nomos Minimatik
$6,000 – Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier
$7,600 – IWC Portugieser Chronograph
$12,200 – Jaeger Le-Coultre Reverso Classic Large Duo Face
$15,000 – Omega De Ville Trésor Omega Master Co-Axial 40 MM

3. A Chronograph or Diving Watch

These watches are often called Sport watches, as well. You want this type of watch to round out your collection because it goes with any outfit from business casual on down. Unless you’re wearing a very sharp casual outfit, you shouldn’t be wearing a dress watch. That’s when a sport watch comes in to play. And please, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t wear your sport watch with a suit. I immediately know a guy doesn’t know much about looking good when I see a sport watch with a suit.

Here’s the details of what I look for in a good sport watch.

Black or Blue Dial

If I had my choice, I would choose a black or blue dial, with a slight edge to blue, as long as it’s more navy like Omega’s Speedmaster in Titanium (below) and not a royal blue like the Rolex Submariner in 16k white gold. The latter is just way too loud.

Silver Metal Bracelet

There’s nothing better for casual outfits than a diving or chronograph watch with a metal bracelet – in either titanium or stainless steel. Just like in the dress watches above, I prefer these materials and colors over a black or gold bracelet because it goes with everything and all the hardware on your belts, tie bars, etc. I also really love to see the metal bracelets swapped out for leather, rubber, perlon or nato straps, as well, but metal bracelets are a necessity for any sport watch – so you want to make sure it comes with that, first. For different watch straps, scroll down to the bottom of this article for my favorite place to get additional straps.

The Best Sport Watches

omega-rolex-ashley-weston

$11,000 – Omega Speedmaster – Moonwatch Omega Co-Axial Chronograph 44.25 MM
A quick note about the Speedster – the blue is much, much darker in person. The official images do it no justice.
$8,000 – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date

$75.00 – Casio Super Illuminator Diver
$80.00 – Stuhlring Aquadiver
$100 – Parnis p101506 Mechanical
$125 – Fanmis Submariner
$150 – $200 – Seiko 5 Sports Automatic (also in a dark blue version)
$400 – Orient Mako USA II (has blue & black options)
$500 – Steinhart Ocean 1 Black
$450 – Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph
$450 – Borealis Bull Shark
$550 – Seiko Prospex Kinetic Dive Watch
$660 – Certina C024.447.11.081.00
$700 – Hamilton Seaview Day Date Quartz Blue Dial (Also make blue dial & automatic versions)
$700 – Victorinix Maverick Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
$800 – Longines Hydro Conquest
$2,000 – Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5
$4,000 – Tudor Pelagos
$6,000 – Omega Seamaster 300 Omega Master Co-Axial 
$6,000 – Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Omega Co-Axial Chronography
$7,850 – IWC Aquatimer Chronograph
$15,000 – Rolex Daytona

The Best Watch Straps and Bands

First and foremost, there’s no substitute for OEM straps or bands. But a really close second is my favorite aftermarket strap/band site – CheapestNatoStraps.com. Don’t let the name fool you, they’re neither cheap, in terms of quality, and they make a lot more than nato straps.  I’ve been swapping out watch straps and bands for clients for a long time now and this is the only place I go for aftermarket straps.

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

Special Thanks

A big thanks to reader/viewer Travis and the team over at www.Horobox.com for letting me bounce thoughts and ideas off them and providing their expertise and insight for this story. Definitely check them out!