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

 

12 Men’s Summer Style Essentials

Great summer style doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, but given the temperatures, sun, and range of occasions, you’re going to need some summer style essentials to have you looking your best. Don’t worry though, we did the heavy lifting for you and put together a list of go-to items that are going to make this summer your most stylish one yet! If you’re looking for some more summer style tips make sure to check out our in-depth Summer Essentials E-Book (free download) and our Summer Style Do’s and Don’ts.

We’ve got a ton of picks below plus some features on key items we’ve covered before so make sure to check out all of our picks!

 

Polo Shirts

Polos shirts are an absolute summer essential because they’re so versatile and great for the hot weather. Wear them with everything from shorts to chinos to swim trunksH&M polos are a longtime favorite of ours, they’re budget-friendly and come in a ton of colors. We also love Uniqlo’s polos as well. Look for the basic colors like white, grey, black, and navy and wear them with everything from shorts to chinos. We’ve got a few tips to consider in terms of choosing the right fabric and style for your body type too.

Picks:

H&M

Uniqlo

Additional Picks

Chino Pants

A tried and true workhorse for your summer style, chino pants are lightweight and super comfortable. These pants look great with everything and can be dressed up or down for daytime or evening. Our favorites from Uniqlo are stylish, versatile, and budget-friendly. The fit is excellent and they even offer in-store hemming for free. They come in slim and straight fits. For a few other options, check out our Budget-Friendly Chinos rundown.

Picks:

Uniqlo

The Tie Bar

Additional Picks

 

NATO / Perlon Watch Straps

Switching up your watch band is a small, subtle style move that can add a little bit of extra personality. NATO and perlon straps are super affordable, come in a range of colors, and can be worn in and out of the water.

Picks:

Nato Straps

Perlon Straps

 

Stylish Swim Trunks

We recently picked our favorite swim trunks for the summer and the right pair is and an indispensable item for the weekend or any trip. Stick to options that resemble shorts and don’t be afraid to try a fun pattern or bold color.

Our picks for the best swim trunks of 2019

 

Sunglasses

Another must-have item, they’re going to add an extra dose of style while protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays. We’ve talked about finding the right sunglass frame shape for your face in the past, so consider that before making a purchase.

Picks:

Warby Parker

Ray-Ban

Salt

Oliver Peoples

Barton Perreira

Additional Picks

 

Hats

Speaking of sun protection, having a stylish hat is key when you’re spending extra time outdoors or at the beach and pool. We recommend a simple, casual ballcap or something more seasonal like a wide-brimmed Panama-style hat for style and sun protection.

Picks:

Brooks Brothers

Stetson

Scala

J.Crew

Herschel

Espadrilles Or Tennis Shoes

We discussed these shoe styles in our top 3 must-have shoes for the summer in a previous post and for good reason, the right casual shoe option that’s both stylish and affordable is important. Solid colors like white and navy are super versatile but don’t be afraid to mix it up with a fun pattern or some bolder color.

Picks:

Sneakers 1

Sneakers 2

Sneakers 3

Espadrilles 1

Espadrilles 2

 

Long-Sleeve Linen Shirts

One of our favorite summer style essentials, a linen shirt looks as good casually with shorts as it does with something a bit more dressy like chinos or cotton slacks. They’re always a great move during the warm weather and our favorites are very budget-friendly. Stick with the classics like solid white or light blue or try some bolder colors like olive, royal blue, or a fresh striped pattern.

Picks:

Uniqlo

H&M

Brooks Brothers

J.Crew

 

No-Show Socks

A key accessory in the summer, no-show socks can be worn with all types of shoes whether it be casual shoes like sneakers, boat shoes or driving loafers or dressier options like oxfords, monks, or penny loafers.

Picks:

Uniqlo – our favorite!

Bombas

Mack Weldon

H&M

 

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!

Picks:

Anthelios

Neutrogena

Jack Black

Burt’s Bees

Jack Black

 

Weekender Bag

The importance of the right weekender bag for summer travel (and beyond) can’t be overstated. You want something sharp and durable with the right amount of space for a few days worth of clothing. We recently picked all of our favorite weekender bags for 2019, so check them out!

The Best Weekender Bags of 2019

 

A Good Book

Whether you’re relaxing by the pool or beach or on a flight out of town, a great summer read is definitely essential. We’ve picked our top 5 books every man should read previously, and our friends at GQ put together a pretty great list as well.

Dorian’s Current Pick 1

Dorian’s Current Pick 2

Top 5 Books Every Man Should Read

GQ Recommendations

 

Best Men’s Swim Trunks | Swimsuits For 2019

It’s peak swim trunk season and we want to help you look your most stylish at the pool or beach. There are a ton of different styles out there, but generally-speaking we always lean towards swimwear that can also look like you’re wearing shorts. That way you look great in and out of the pool.

Fit-wise, as we talked about in our swim trunk fit guide, you want to look for inseams around 5″ as they will hit around mid-thigh for most men.  We also recommend versions that have fabric on the thicker/stiffer side as they’ll look less clingy and keep their shape.  All our picks are below and Ashley chose her favorites at several different price points.

Here are our picks for the best men’s swim trunks for 2019!

 

H&M – $25

These floral print shorts have a 5″ inseam and come in a cotton blend, The fabric is going to be on the thinner side but that’s okay because the design is of a more runner-style with the elastic waistband and drawstring. Ashley chose this because this is a design that will hide any fabric sticking to you when you get out of the pool.  We love a fun pattern and the price is very affordable. They also come in a range of solid colors too.

 

Hill City – $68

Clean, simple and ready for anything, we love these basic swim trunks from Hill City thanks to their high-quality material and minimal design.  They’ve got a comfortable drawstring waist and handy pockets that will keep them looking sharp enough to be worn outside of the beach or pool.  The 6″ inseam is a nice middle-ground for guys of any height and they come in a range of basic colors.

 

Banana Republic – $98

We love this retro-inspired print and the zip fly and snap closure style. It really does look like a pair of shorts and will have you looking sharp in and out of the water, that’s why this style of trunks are our favorite.  The polyester material is durable and a little bit stiff so they will lay nicely against the body with a trim fit.

 

Saturdays NYC – $95

Another classic, minimal design, these trunks from Saturdays feature a fixed-waist boardshort design and a 6.5″ inseam with a nice trim fit.  We loved the streamlined design and very minimal branding.  The shorts also feature very nice, thick material with a bit of stretch for comfort and movement in and out of the water.

 

Onia – $140

We’re huge fans of the shorts from Onia, a luxury swimwear company from New York. They feature a really sharp and summery blue color with just a hint of pattern.  This pair of shorts comes in a nylon blend that’s nice and thick but with a hint of stretch so it will lay flat against the body. We like this version with a 5″ inseam best but there’s a 7.5″ inseam version for you taller guys too.  It has two front pockets and a handy rear pocket plus a thin mesh lining.  The snap closure and zip fly meet a fixed waistband in the front but the back portion of the waist has some elastic for added comfort, a really cool feature. As with anything you invest in, these shorts will last you a long time.

 

Orlebar Brown – $195

Orelebar Brown is another luxury swimwear brand and they’re known for their retro prints and photo print shorts.  We loved this retro-style version because it’s got a fun pop but it’s not overwhelming.  The quality is really excellent and the material is both durable and stretchy but also very comfortable. They have a snap waist and zip fly and a nice 5.5″ inseam that’s perfect for a range of heights. The design also features adjustable waist tabs, a very cool feature that not only gives you a precise fit but is s a nice detail you don’t normally see on swim trunks.

How Should Men’s Swim Trunks Fit?

Just because swim trunks are a casual item doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider their fit just like you do the rest of the items in your Essential Wardrobe. Like with anything else in our Fit Guide, a few missteps here or there and you could really not be doing your physique any favors.

So, now that you’re probably in the mindset for beach and pool time we thought we’d cover how your swim trunks should fit in our latest episode of 2 Minute Tuesday.

 

 

Length

Proportionally and visually, this is what looks best on men and as a basic rule, no matter how tall you are, your trunks should always above the knee by at least 3” above your knee.

Shorter Men

The length should hit at mid-thigh, at the longest. This proper length will make akes you (and your legs) look longer. 

Taller Men

For the right proportions, you can go a little longer between 3” above the knee to mid-thigh, at the shortest. 

Average Height Men

Go with the same guidelines as a taller guy, otherwise, your proportions will look off. 

 

Fit

Ideally, you want to be able to pinch between a 1/2″ to 1” on either side of your thigh. You can go up a little bit if you must but any more and you’re right on the edge of looking a little bit baggy and sloppy.

The waist should fit perfectly around without too much sagging or tightness.

 

Should You Tailor Swim Trunks?

You can shorten them, but we don’t recommend trying to get the legs slimmed, because there’s usually pockets and other things in the way and it can get expensive. There are enough styles out there for every man to be able to find a good fit.

Are Subscription Boxes Worth It?

Subscription boxes are everywhere these days and we always get a ton of inquiries about clothing and grooming versions. We definitely have some opinions on how good they are and whether or not they are worth your time and money.

So, in this episode of 2 Minute Tuesday we’re discussing whether or not subscription boxes are worth it!

 

The Answer: Nope, Not Worth It

Believe us, we see a ton of these, and they just aren’t worth your time or money (with one small caveat below).

Why?

There are a bunch of different types out there but ultimately the amount of stuff you get just is too much and not of good quality. Who needs new socks or skin cleanser every month? Nobody. We get that many of you are super busy, but we promise that the time you invest in learning how and what to shop for is well worth it. Since you’re reading this and watching our channel, your personal style is obviously a priority, and cultivating your own Essential Wardrobe is an important investment that’s worth your time.

That said, we do love and enjoy a bunch of the versions with consumables like snacks, coffee, wine, charcuterie, etc. Those are great as it allows you to try new things and ideally the items don’t pile up and go to waste.

5 Summer Shirts Every Man Should Own

Warm weather is here, it’s time to have a look at your shirt rotation and make some updates. Adding in a few key shirts to your essential wardrobe this summer is an easy, affordable way to bring up your look another notch.  All of these styles we chose are very versatile and will work with everything from shorts to chinos and lightweight denim.  For more tips on all things shirt fit, check out our Fit Guides.

Here are our top choices for the summers shirts you should own! Don’t forget to check out all our picks listed below.

 

 

1. Short sleeve print shirt

A big trend that we’re loving for summer, go for a bold pattern – florals, geometrics, or polka dots- but stay away from jokey/comical patterns.

Picks:

Topman

Uniqlo

Vince

J.Crew

 

2. Linen shirt

A classic warm-weather essential that looks great with chinos or shorts and can even be dressed up with a blazer. Go for long sleeve or short sleeve and look for basic colors like white, blue, grey and simple patterns for maximum versatility.

Picks:

Uniqlo

Vince

Brooks Brothers

J. Crew

 

3. Short sleeve camp collar shirt

Another trend that you’re probably seeing a lot of places, this type of shirt has a relaxed vibe and a flat, laydown-style collar. You can opt for these in a solid color or something with a print or bold pattern. These shirts are a great casual piece, so wear with shorts or denim/chinos.

Picks:

Todd Snyder

Vince

Uniqlo

Mr. Porter

 

4. Striped oxford shirt

Once you have a rotation of solid oxfords in blue and white, you can add in a classic blue striped oxford. This shirt is another staple summer item you can wear dressed up or down.

Picks:

Brooks Brothers

Gap

J.Crew 

Gitman 

 

5. Short sleeved seersucker shirt

Speaking of classics, a short sleeved version in white and blue or a tonal solid is simple and always a good move. Seersucker’s unique texture and weave make it extremely lightweight and breezy, so it’s going to be a great option when it really heats up.

Picks:

J.Crew

Brooks Brothers

Polo Ralph Lauren

Zegna

Dorian’s Outfit

Floral Shirt