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

 

5 Best Budget-Friendly Spring Essentials

Finding the right budget-friendly Spring essentials is all about choosing the right affordable brands and focusing on the right accessories you can add to your outfit to really elevate your look and supplement your Essential Wardrobe.

Here are our picks for the 5 Best Budget-Friendly Spring Essentials for 2019!

 

  

1. Polo Shirts

We’ve always been huge fans H&M polos, the fit is great and they offer awesome bang for the buck. Get a range of basic colors (navy, black, grey, light grey) and wear them until Fall.

Picks:

Polos

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

 

2. Braided Leather Belt

A low-key way to mix up your belt style without doing anything crazy. These belts are best for casual looks and we recommend options in dark brown, light brown, or black.

Picks:

Belt 1

Belt 2

Belt 3

3. Silk Knit Ties

An easy, affordable way to mix up your tie routine. Silk knit ties add texture and a bit of casual flair that’s perfect for spring occasions (weddings/parties) or the office.

Picks:

My Favorite Knit Ties

Alternative Knit Ties

 

4. Chino Pants

Obviously, we love chino pants for Spring and Uniqlo chinos are the cream of the crop for budget-friendly options.  The fit and price are excellent and they even offer in-store hemming for free.  They come in slim and straight fits.

Picks:

My Favorite Budget-Friendly Chinos

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

 

5. Canvas Sneakers

A classic casual sneaker option that’s both stylish and affordable.  Solid colors like white and navy are super versatile but don’t be afraid to mix it up with a fun checkerboard pattern or some color.

Picks:

Sneakers 1

Sneakers 2

Sneakers 3

Sneakers 4

Sneakers 5

Sneakers Every Man Should Own

I talk a lot about what a crucial part of your wardrobe sneakers are and they definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought.  There are many great ones out there, but not all sneakers are created equal. Having a selection of classic, versatile styles will definitely take your casual wardrobe to the next level.  With that, here are my picks for the sneakers that every man should own!

 

Canvas Sneakers

PF Flyers 

These were also my top pick this year for shoes you need to own in 2018, and for good reason, they’re cheap, breathable, comfortable and have a unique take on the classic canvas sneaker.

Vans Classic or Converse All Star

If the PF Flyers aren’t up your alley or you want something other than white, consider one of these super classic, never-go-wrong sneakers. They’re cheap and look awesome with pretty much everything. I love them in white, navy, gray or even black.

Leather Sneakers

Stan Smith or Common Projects Achilles

I’ve talked about white leather sneakers a ton; I love how they’re clean, classic and add a little extra polish to a casual outfit. If you’re not a fan of white, definitely get the gray or blue versions of these.

Running Shoes

New Balance Retro Sneaker

Like I mentioned in my top shoe video, these New Balance retro running sneaker are affordable, look great, and are very comfortable. I love the woven upper, as it makes them extra breathable and very comfortable-just like wearing socks.

Adidas P.O.D. S3.1 or Ultra Boosts

Ultra boost soles are like walking on marshmallows, they’re the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn. Plus these are cool and unique without being crazy loud like other running shoes can be. If you want something less flashy, the classic Ultra Boosts are the way to go.

High Top Sneakers

Converse All-Stars

I like the all-white over all-black because the all black is really heavy-looking on your feet. If you want black, I’d actually suggest getting a version by John Varvatos, they’re a well-designed take on the classic Converse-style high top.

Nike SF Air Force 1

For those of you who really like a sporty high top sneaker, here’s one of my favorites that I’ve styled on a couple of my clients. I like the black and white colorway of these but the all-white ones look great too. I love the clean silhouette and the dual zippers at the heel make these shoes super easy to get on and off.

So those are my top picks for sneakers every man should own, hopefully you’ve got a few of them lined up in your closet!

How To Clean Dirty Sneakers Tutorial

I’ve been getting a lot of emails and requests to do a video and article about how to clean your dirty sneakers so here it is. This method is for your canvas, leather, and knit/woven sneakers (like your Ultraboosts or Flyknits).

Tools Needed

Shoe Cleaning Tutorial Items Ashley WEston

$8 – Oral-B Toothbrush – Medium (2 ct.)
$6 – Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads (8 ct.)
$10 – Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush – you’ll need this softer hog bristle brush if you’re cleaning premium leather or knit/woven surfaces (ex. Flyknits or Ultraboosts)
$7 – Sinland Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (6 ct.)
$16 – Jason Markk Essential Shoe Cleaning Kit (includes cleaning liquid and standard brush) – I personally love using JM’s cleaning solution and brush. I find it work’s perfectl and all his ingredients are specifically targeted to gently remove dirt from sneakers.
$9 – Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid (2 ct.)
Instead of the cleaning liquid, you can use dish soap. Make sure its all-natural, which means it’s free from any dyes, fragrances and toxins so it won’t cause any possible yellowing.

Cleaning Just The Midsoles

If it’s just the midsoles that need to be cleaned:

  1. Dip a Magic Eraser sponge in water and then start rubbing the midsoles.

  2. For stubborn or textured areas where the dirt won’t budget – use a toothbrush and some Jason Markk cleaning solution or all-natural dish soap and scrub the area. The toothbrush’s tiny bristles should be able to remove most, if not all, of the dirt stuck in the porous areas.

  3. Wipe them down with the microfiber towel.

Cleaning the whole sneaker

1. Gather Supplies

You’re going to need a brush and some cleaning solution. If you’re cleaning premium leather or knit/mesh sneakers, then make sure to use a softer brush, usually made from hog bristles, like Jason Markk’s Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush. It’s important to be gentler on these delicate materials so they don’t get ruined.

2. Wipe Them Down

Give your sneakers a wipe down with a cotton or microfiber towel to remove any loose dirt on the surface. Paper towels also work, but they’re wasteful – hopefully you agree :).

3. Remove & Clean Laces

Remove the shoelaces if they’re dirty and/or the tongue needs to be cleaned. Be sure to wash your white shoelaces with a load of your whites (if you use bleach or not) on the hottest water setting and let them air dry.  For colored laces, you can add them to your colors while washing, preferably in cold water.

4. Scrub The Sneaks (duh)

Dip your brush in water, squirt some cleaning liquid on it, dip back in the water again, and then shake off any excess water. Start scrubbing the sneaker all over – midsole, upper and tongue (if necessary). You really want to work up a lather. You can always use a toothbrush for those hard to reach areas like on the tongue in the video above.

5. Wipe Them Down

Using your cotton or microfiber towel, wipe your sneaker to remove the foam/dirt. If you’re cleaning your Flyknits or Ultraboosts, you’ll want to use a dab and twist motion on the woven/knitted surface to soak up any moisture like I highlighted in the video above. That’ll ensure you don’t fray the material.

6. Let Them Dry

Now let the shoes air dry for a few hours, re-lace them and you’re good to go!

Top 4 Shoes For Spring Men

Top 4 Men’s Shoes for Spring

These are the top 4 men’s shoes for Spring that I really love. You’re probably not going to wear these with your Fall and Winter wardrobe, so it’s time to pull these shoes out of your closet and let them shine! Footwear is a great way to inject new life in your existing wardrobe, and these 4 shoes will make a stylish statement during Spring and Summer. 

Here are my top 4 favorite shoes for Spring:

4. Suede Double Monk Straps

I included these in my Top 10 Essential Items for Spring as well. Suede Monkstraps, whether you get a dark brown, grey, or navy pair, can just take an outfit to another level. It’s such a stylish touch to any outfit and can be worn with a suit, chinos, or jeans. Make sure to Scotch Guard them before you wear them for the first time – always gotta protect your suede items!

 

$685 – Crockett & Jones Lowndes Espresso Calf Suede
$398 – Brooks Brothers Suede Double Monk Strap
$275 – Crosby Square Conley Double Monk Strap (Espresso and Navy)
$80 – H&M Suede Monkstrap Shoes

3. Penny Loafers

I absolutely love penny loafers. They look so good when worn with no-show socks and a little bit of ankle exposed. Whether you cuff your jeans or chinos, or hem your pants so there’s no break or a little ankle showing. A leather loafer looks so chic and luxurious. I love Ferragamo’s loafers (I got a pair for my fiancé Dorian 2 or 3 years ago) and they’re totally worth the price because they definitely hold up and still look great after years and years of wear.

Penny Loafers

$760 – Ferragamo Penny Loafer Shoe
$185 – Johnston & Murphy Stratton Penny

2. Suede Driving Shoes

Think of them as the middle ground between sneakers and penny loafers. They’re just as comfortable as sneakers, yet dressier like a penny loafer. I also included these in my Men’s Summer Essentials ebook because they work during the warmer months in general.

My hands down, favorite suede driving shoe is from Tod’s. Everything about that shoe – construction, design, and color choice – is so damn sexy and incredible. It’s worth every penny, and there is no close second for me.

 

$475 – Tod’s Gommino Driving Shoe (in brown, navy, and grey)
$115 – Jack Erwin Parker Driving Loafer (in navy, chocolate, caramel)

1. Navy or Grey Sneakers (Canvas or Leather)

Outside of your white sneakers, I love a great navy or grey low top sneaker. They’re neutral colors so you can wear them with everything you have and they definitely won’t get dirty quickly.

If you want to splurge, Common Projects makes my favorite sneakers and a close second are by Lanvin.

 

$570 – Lanvin Shiny Cap Toe Sneaker (in navy or grey)
$509 – Common Projects Achilles Low Premium in Grey (or navy suede)
$75 – Converse JP Jack Sneaker (leather)
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Ox Sneaker (canvas)