Men’s Winter Style Do’s and Don’ts | Men’s Winter Style Tips

Winter can be a tough time for your personal style. Cold weather and the elements can lull you into just giving up, but don’t do it! These few simple tips can keep you looking sharp and feeling great, no matter how cold it gets! For more tips, make sure to check out our Fall/Winter Essentials Series!

Here are our Winter Style Do’s and Don’ts!

Winter Style Do’s

Do Add Some Colorful Jewel-toned Accessories

The right hats, scarves, and gloves are crucial for warmth and style. They’re also a great opportunity to add some color and pattern to brighten up your look. Colors like emerald green, a mustardy yellow, dark purples, reds, and blues are all easy to incorporate into your winter wardrobe and pack a stylish punch of color.

Picks:

Scarf 1

Scarf 2

Scarf 3

Hat 1

Hat 2

Hat 3

Gloves 1

Gloves 2

Gloves 3

 

Do Invest In Quality Outerwear

We talk a lot about where and when to invest, and outside of dress shoes & boots, outerwear is the other major area we really recommend investing in. You get what you pay for and with the right investment, a high-quality coat, peacoat, or jacket will last for years to come, keep you warm, and have you looking stylish.

Picks:

Overcoat

Overcoat 2

Parka

Puffer Parka

Parka 2

Peacoat

Peacoat 2

 

Do Get The Right thermals

There are many great brands offering very thin/lightweight thermals that’ll layer comfortably underneath your clothes and keep you warm. The key is to get a trim fit, that way they’ll lay flat and layer easily under everything from jeans to suits. Our pick below is light, warm and you can wear these as a base layer underneath your clothes or on their own as a long sleeve shirt.

Thermals Pick

 

Winter Style Don’ts

Don’t Neglect Your Skin

You may not think so, but cold-weather skincare is just as important as warm weather skincare. The cold, dry weather can be incredibly harsh on your skin and strip away it’s protection, so it’s super important to cleanse and moisturize properly and stay hydrated. There’s nothing more distracting and unattractive than dry, dull skin.

Luckily, our friends at Geologie have you covered. Geologie puts together a simple routine formulated for daily use. The products are personalized to your skin’s needs and work great for every skin type. We tested out their set that comes with 4 different products:  Everyday Face Wash, Vital Morning Face Cream w/ SPF, Repairing Night Cream & Nourishing Eye Cream. It even includes 2 bottles of face wash, one for your sink and one for your shower or to take with you to the gym. Plus, just for our readers and viewers, you can get 30% off your purchase with code Ashley30! Shop here and enter the code at checkout.

 

Don’t Forget To Layer

We talked about it for Fall, and it’s just as applicable in Winter.  Proper layering can help you regulate your temperature and look stylish no matter how cold it is, making sure you’re comfortable going from the cold outside to warm inside (subway, office, etc.).

 

Don’t Forget To Winterize your boots

Boots are essential footwear for Winter (our go-to picks for this year are right here) and the right pair can look amazing and last a long time. But, you’ve got to prepare them with the right leather treatments to keep them from getting ruined in the inclement weather.

Boot Treatment Kit

Men’s Wardrobe Essentials: Lightweight Jackets

You know that confusing time when it’s still jacket weather but the temperatures are fluctuating from warm to cold and you’re chilly one minute and sweating the next? Yeah, it’s not easy to dress for that, is it? You’ve probably seen the word “transitional” used in and around this time relative to your wardrobe, but really it’s just a fancy word for “versatile”. With versatility and changing seasons in mind, let’s discuss a major key to a solid “transitional” wardrobe, the right lightweight jacket.

Whether you’re in bomb cyclone territory or more temperate parts of the country, the ideal lightweight jacket (or two!) is an important element because you can layer up or down depending on temperatures, all while maintaining style and a comfortable temperature. There are a million different versions in all manner of materials, but until you’ve completely nailed all the essentials, I recommend sticking to the classics for versatility, style and ease of wearing. No matter which one you choose or what the weather app on your phone is telling you, you can layer up confidently (t-shirt, collared shirt, sweater, whatever) for anything from work to a night out.

The Bomber Jacket

Also sometimes known as the MA-1 and tracing its lineage back to the uniform jackets designed for military pilots in World War II, the classic style and functionality of a bomber remains just as strong today as it was back then. Featuring a zip front, elastic waist and cuffs, and a low-profile collar, you can find stylish versions of the bomber in every conceivable material, from nylon and wool to cotton and suede. I absolutely love the versatility of a bomber jacket, and as I’ve said before, every man, regardless of age or body type, should have one in his closet.

outfit details here

Who Should Wear It

All body types and ages look great in bomber jackets – as long as it fits well – close to the body with arms and shoulders fitted like the above picture.

How To Wear It

A casual staple that’s infinitely versatile, the Bomber looks right at home with everything from a t-shirt and denim to chinos and a chambray or oxford shirt. Make sure the shoulder seams sit properly, almost exactly like how your suit jacket or blazer should fit and know that a bomber jacket that fits properly should stop right around your waist. Most bomber jackets are slightly shorter in the back, too, so don’t think something is wrong if you notice that. A longer bomber jacket tends to look odd and sloppy, so avoid it if you can.

For outfit ideas, see this article, as well as points 3 & 4 in this article/video.

The Trucker Jacket

Just like it’s close cousin the Bomber, the trucker jacket was born out of utility and remains a classic style piece to this day. Typically of shorter length and hitting around the hip/waist, the workwear-inspired trucker jacket often features a button or zip front, fabric-covered collar, and handy flap pockets on the front. I like all types of materials for trucker jackets but you’ll most commonly find them in sturdy waxed cotton or canvas (to protect against the elements), denim, and nylon.

outfit details here

How To Wear It

Another one my go-to casual recommendations, I love a trucker jacket with denim and desert/work boots. It looks stylishly masculine but still polished enough to be worn over a collared shirt without looking like you’re commuting to work on a horse.

For my favorite trucker jackets and the best ways to wear them, check out this article.

The Field Jacket

Going by many names (M65, Utility Jacket, Safari Jacket), this essential is just another example of how functional military-inspired designs still look sharp and stylish today. It’s slightly longer length should hit just past the hip and it commonly features multiple sets of pockets for extra utility when you’re on the go. The Field Jacket is a great protector against the weather yet light enough for the Spring’s rapidly changing temps, so look for it in cotton and nylon versions. Forest or Olive green colors are more traditional but I’m a big fan of navy (my favorite), darker browns or grays, as well.

Who Should Wear It

Stockier or larger men. The multiple pockets help break up your large top half and give a slimming appearance.

Who Shouldn’t Wear It

If you’re a slimmer guy and not 100% confident in how to wear this, avoid it because it’ll can make you look slimmer and like you’re swimming in pockets and fabric. I see this mistake more often than not. So when in doubt, skip it.

How To Wear It

Layer it over a cashmere sweater and an oxford or even your favorite dress clothes to add a bit of contrasting ruggedness to a polished look. Of course, it’s always perfect for your weekend morning coffee runs with t-shirts, jeans or tailored sweats too. I’d avoid wearing it with chino pants because the fabric weights are too similar and you’ll look like a 70’s action star pretty quickly. Ideally, you want something heavier on the bottom – jeans or wool trousers.

For my favorite field jackets and best ways to wear them, check out this article.

The Harrington Jacket

I’ve talked about my love of the Harrington jacket before, and for good reason, this jacket strikes that perfect sweet spot between casual and sporty and goes with pretty much anything. Look, if it’s good enough for style icons like McQueen, Elvis, and James Dean, it definitely deserves a place in your closet. The Harington blends a slight preppy edge with the functionality of a windbreaker and most often features a light cotton or nylon shell, zip-up front, and barrel button collar. Whether on the links, out and about, or heading to drinks, the Harrington has you covered. 

Who Should Wear It

All body types and ages look absolutely fantastic in a Harrington.

How To Wear It

The Harrington’s preppier look and vibe pairs perfectly with staples like chinos, t-shirts and button-ups, but it just as easily transitions to a casual evening out when layered with a light sweater, dark denim and sneakers or loafers. For more in-depth details, see this article/video.

The Denim Jacket

While it’s at home on the range or in a 50’s movie star’s vintage Porsche, the denim jacket can be just as stylish and useful to you on your own city streets. A classic for a reason, the denim jacket has seen a recent resurgence to staple status now that denim is pretty much everyday wear. While this short, button-up jacket doesn’t offer a ton of warmth, it’s vintage throwback style, when paired with a crisp white t-shirt or layered over a light cotton sweater, more than makes up for it.

outfit details here

Who Should Wear It

Everyone! It looks right at home on men of all ages and body types. The only caveat is if you’re an older man (50’s and above) you may want to avoid lighter colors, as it tends to look a little “trying to dress too young”, so stick to darker indigos or black if that’s you.

How To Wear It

Properly pulling off the Canadian Tuxedo is a very dicey (impossible?) move, so keep it simple and pair with chinos and black or dark denim, or opt for colors like grey, black, indigo, or light-washed denim. On the fit side, it needs to be tight in the arms and body and stop at the upper part of your waist, so keep it trim and short to avoid looking boxy or like a 90’s R&B music video backup dancer.

For more details, check out my more in-depth article/video here.

The Essential Business Casual Details & Outfits

To me, business casual for men’s outfits is a loose definition, but it definitely has an upper and lower range of what’s appropriate. The only true way to determine what it means is by looking at it in relation to the current dress code of the company or function you’re dealing with.

Things to avoid in business casual

Ties

There are rare exceptions, but when in doubt, go without.

Shorts

These are too casual no matter how they’re worn and I’d argue that a man shouldn’t wear shorts in 95% of situations, anyways.

T-Shirts

While I love them, they have no place in a business casual outfit.

Not Tucking In Your Shirt

The sin of all sins for a business casual outfit, no matter your body type, is not tucking in your collared shirts. Polo shirts should only be worn untucked, but the exact opposite is true for collared shirts. It just looks sloppy.

Now let’s go over the typical outfits and when they’re appropriate to wear.

Standard Business Casual

For most companies, whether they require a suit (maybe no tie) or a blazer or collared shirt everyday, there are two types of business casual outfits. How close the dress code is to a full suit will determine whether you should wear a jacket or not. Also, depending on the time of year, you may go for lighter or heavier weighted fabrics for your jackets and pants. Hotter = lighter.

With A Jacket

If you are required to wear a suit and tie everyday, definitely go with this one.

Sport Coat/Blazer

Here’s another article I wrote about heavier sport coats/blazers for the Fall & Winter months. Please, whatever you do, don’t wear a suit jacket in place of this. The fabric is too thin and it won’t match the fabric weight of the pants you’ll be wearing.

Oxford Button Down Shirt or Semi-Spread Collared Shirt

Make sure either of these are tucked in to your pants. Definitely wear a belt that matches your shoe color, as well.

Wool trousers, Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

The more formal the dress code, the more likely you should wear wool trousers. Chinos are a little less formal or more used during spring and summer, while jeans a little less so than chinos and typically used year-round. Never, ever – unless the suit pants are a very thick wool (similar to wool trouser weight) – should you wear suit pants without the accompanying jacket.

Oxford Dress Shoes, Monk straps, Brogues, WingtipsBoots (Dress or Chukka) or Loafers

The second you’re not wearing a full suit and tie, you can basically wear anything but sneakers with your business casual outfit. I’d default to Oxfords, Monk Straps or Loafers – either in suede or leather, but any of the options above are acceptable.

Without a jacket

If the dress code or occasion is slightly more casual, you can forgo the jacket and wear this business casual outfit, instead. There’s a few small points to consider.

V-neck sweater

If the weather is too warm, then definitely swap out the sweater for a blazer from the previous section, or, if it can be more casual, go to the next outfit, instead.

Shirt

Same as the previous outfit. You can wear a tie, like in the above picture, but it’s not necessary at all.

Pants

Wool trousers or dark wash jeans. Chino pants have a fabric weight that is too light to go well with v-neck sweaters.

Shoes

Same as previous outfit.

 

Casual Business Casual

This type of business casual outfit is appropriate if there’s a pretty casual dress code normally, or the event is very informal. If you see “business casual” as a requirement anywhere, this is the least formal outfit you can wear that is still appropriate for the dress code. Anything less than this is not business casual.

Harrington Jacket 

This is one of my favorite jackets of all time and fits this outfit perfectly. Obviously, only wear this if the weather is requiring a jacket.

Polo Shirt or Oxford Button Down

I’d probably default to a polo shirt unless you knew for a fact you were going to wear the Harrington Jacket or the weather is cooler. Unless you’re a slimmer guy, an Oxford Button Down worn without a jacket on top of it doesn’t look too good. No matter what, though, make sure the polo shirt fits like a glove or you’re going to look like a goofball and if you wear the oxford, please tuck it in.

Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

Chino pants are the default in an outfit like this, but dark wash jeans are just as appropriate. I’d let the time of year or weather dictate whether I went with chinos or dark wash jeans. The colder it is, the more I’d lean toward wearing the jeans over the chinos.

Sneakers, Loafers, Dress Shoes or Chukka Boots

The more classy you want to make this casual outfit, the more I’d learn toward dressy shoes.

 

That’s it! Hope this is helpful!

POTW: The Best Men’s Polo Shirts Ever

I’m quite excited for my pick of the week because I’ve been constantly checking for the last few weeks to see if they’re available. Annnnnnnnd they are!! I’m sure you’ve already read my Essential Polo Shirt article so you know what to look for in a polo – so I present to you, my favorite polo shirt. 

H&M Polo Shirt - Ashley Weston

$10 – H&M Polo Shirt

Here’s a few reasons why I love them:

  • They have a great slim and stretchy fit.
  • The cotton fabric feels like a really soft t-shirt.
  • The collar has just the right amount of structure.
  • The price is very affordable. They’re currently on sale for $10.

Do yourself a favor and pick these up right now because they go in and out of stock constantly, and sometimes for weeks on end. The second I see them come up, I immediately order them because I’ve been burned in the past by waiting.

During this time of year, Dorian lives in these polos. He wears them all the time, but especially during the Spring and Summer months. I do want to point out, though, that the darker colored polos are not the most durable. I baby these by washing them in cold water with detergent, specifically for dark colors, and I let them air dry, but even still, the color for the darker polos will fade so you’ll need to replace them yearly if not sooner.

With all that said, these are still some of the best fitting and best looking polos ever.

Best Ways to Wear

I love polo shirts because they can easily be dressed up or down. If you’re running errands or want a super casual, yet put together look, then pair your polo with some dark wash jeans and white low top sneakers. Check out my Polo Shirt article for lots of other ways to wear a polo shirt, as well.

3-Outfits-Every-Guy-Should-Own-Ashley-Weston-1
$10 – H&M Polo Shirt Slim Fit in black
$168 – Diesel Buster 0607A
$75 – Adidas Originals Stan Smith 
$415 – Tom Ford ‘Snowdon’ Sunglasses
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

You can also throw on a black bomber jacket or navy Harrington jacket as well as some chukka boots or even casual dress shoes for a slightly more dressed up look that’s perfect for going to a party or heading to dinner/drinks.

$200 – Zara Leather Jacket
$250 – Fred Perry Harrington Jacket in black
$390 – Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket in navy
$175 – Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka in black

Fall and Winter Casual Jackets

The best jackets for the Fall (and Winter if you live in a climate like Southern California) are bombers, trucker & flight jackets, as well as utility (aka M65 aka Safari aka Field) jackets. Now, which one you should wear depends on your body type and how you’ll be wearing it. But I’ll get into that shortly.

The goal with your jacket, just like everything else in your wardrobe, should be to create a sharp, polished look and not draw attention away from the rest of your outfit. With that being said, your jacket is a great place to insert those Fall colors ( I specifically like dark green, camel, navy or black for these jackets) I was talking about in the series intro.

If you want something a little more formal or heavier, check out my Men’s Overcoat, Topcoat and Peacoat article and video.

Trucker/Flight Jackets

todd-snyder-x-private-white-pilot-bomber-ashley-weston

$735 – Todd Snyder x Private White V.C. Shearling Melton Wool Bomber Jacket

I love a good wool or suede trucker or flight jacket for the Fall. I’m lumping these together because they look very similar. A trucker is basically a denim jacket but in a different material. I’m not going to discuss denim jackets because those are really a spring/summer item because they’re not very warm.

A trucker usually has buttons on the front and a flight jacket has a zipper front. You want to make sure your jacket stops at hip level, like a bomber would, and is fitted through your shoulders and torso. There are a ton of trucker jackets out there that have shearling or fur collars, which I really love, but I’d recommend choosing a jacket where you have the option of removing the collar, that way, you can get two different looks out of one jacket.

If you’re a broader guy, I wouldn’t recommend this jacket because the combination of the collar and shorter length of the jacket will make you look really top heavy. With your body type, whenever you have a jacket that stops at hip level, you want to make sure it’s as streamlined as possible, like a bomber.

Budget Friendly

$160 – TopMan Charcoal Wool Rich Formal Jacket
$160 – TopMan Khaki Wool Mix Flight Jacket
$150 – TopMan Black Faux Fur Collar Flight Jacket
$90 – Zara Oversized Denim Jacket 
$77 – TopMan Kahki Faux Fur Lined Flight Jacket 

Designer

$900 – Vince Suede Trucker Jacket
$950 – Vince Suede Flight Jacket
$540 – All Saints Sol Jacket 
$285 – All Saints Stram Denim Jacket 

Bomber Jackets

A.P.C. Louis W Suede Bomber Jacket

$1,455 – A.P.C. Louis W Suede Bomber Jacket

Speaking of bomber jackets, I consider them the utility infielder of the jacket world. I use them all the time with clients because they look great on every man, regardless of his body type. They break up your body at the waist nicely, keeping everything proportional.

If you’re a guy with a larger midsection, the one thing to watch out for with bomber jackets is zipping it up. If you do that, you just created a large swath of fabric that’ll actually accentuate your mid-section. So if you’ve got a bit of a belly or are just a bigger guy, do not zip up your bomber jacket, ever. And I’m not joking about that, either.

Budget Friendly

$138 – J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Boiled Wool Bomber Jacket
$100 – TopMan Navy Bomber Jacket Containing Wool
$100 – TopMan Stone Bomber Jacket Containing Wool 
$80 – Zara Faux Suede Bomber Jacket (Stone and Navy Blue)
$80 – Zara Faux Suede Bomber Jacket with Stripe

Designer

$1,495 – Rag & Bone Gallagher Leather Bomber Jacket
$795 – Hugo Boss Embossed Suede Navy Bomber Jacket 
$700 – John Varvatos Burnished Leather Bomber Jacket
$650 – PS by Paul Smith Bouclé-Panelled Wool-Blend Twill Bomber Jacket

Utility Jackets

Parajumpers Genesee Urban Anthracite

$800 – Parajumpers Genesee Urban Anthracite

The last type of jacket I love for Fall and Winter is a utility jacket, aka Safari, Field, or an M65 jacket.

This jacket differs from my other favorites because if it fits well, it’ll hit somewhere between mid to lower crotch – so it’s a great option if you want a longer jacket. But please, nothing longer or shorter than that, otherwise it’ll throw off the proportions of your body.
I really like this style for heavier men, almost more than a bomber or trucker style because the slightly longer jacket length and pockets on the front break up your broader torso and will make you look smaller.

And if you’re a thinner guy – just beware of this style of jacket that has a hood in the collar because it will look too bulky/heavy around your thinner frame, especially the neck area, and will actually make you look skinnier. Instead, you need your jacket to have a standing collar or at least a collar that’s free from any puffiness.

Regardless of your body type, this type of jacket needs to be very fitted throughout so it doesn’t look like you’re swimming in a bunch of pockets and fabric. This is important because it can make a thin guy look skinnier and a broader gentlemen look even heavier than he is.

Budget Friendly

$200 – J. Crew Field Mechanic Olive Jacket
$200 – J. Crew Field Mechanic Navy Jacket
$180 – TopMan Grey Bonded Wool Blend Parka
$130 – Calvin Klein Four-Pocket Utility Jacket (2 colors)

Designer

$7,400 – Tom Ford Suede Military Jacket
$1,600 – Todd Snyder Suede Quad Jacket in Tobacco
$1,500 – Moncler Ampere
$750 – Club Monaco Golden Bear Field Coat 

Materials

I like suede or leather for Fall/Winter because it’s visually heavier, but just be careful about wearing suede in wet or snowy weather. But if you don’t want leather or suede, you can use a cotton or wool bomber or trucker, as well.

For utility jackets, anything but leather goes. They look a little too 70’s pornstar-ish to me.

Best Ways To Wear Your Fall Jackets

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston2

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston

J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Boiled Wool Bomber Jacket
Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots
Rolex Submariner Date Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston3 fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston4Topman Khaki (Green) Wool Flight Jacket
H&M Premium Cotton Shirt
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots
Rolex Submariner Date Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

fallwinteressentialsutility-jacketashleywestonoutfit22

fallwinteressentialsutility-jacketashleywestonoutfit2

Parajumpers Genesee Urban Jacket
H&M Premium Cotton Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Allen Edmonds Long Branch Wingtip Boots
Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

Best Dress and Casual Belts

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.
Every guy only needs 4 belts in his closet, ever. Even though I always say your pants should fit without a belt – they’re still a must-have item because pants will shift as you wear them and belts help break up an outfit. You’d think belts would be simple and this article and video should be one sentence long. Unfortunately, I constantly see guys crapping the bed in the belt department. So let’s fix this. Here’s the best dress and casual belts for men and other tips and tricks you should know about.

Why do you need a belt?

Most guys only wear belts as utility items to keep their loose pants from falling off. Certainly, a belt is for this, but there’s other reasons to wear a belt.

  • You want your pants to hit a certain part of your waist, depending on whether they’re jeans or dress pants. During the course of your day, you’ll be standing, sitting, and moving around – this will tug and pull at your shirt and pants, causing them to move around. A belt ensures they stay in their proper place.
  • A belt is necessary to break up some of your outfits, especially with non-suit outfits. Let’s say you’re wearing a sport coat/blazer with a dress shirt, dark wash jeans, and some oxford dress shoes, you’ll definitely need a belt to help break up the outfit in your midsection. People who go belt-less in these outfits… ugh.
  • To hold up your pants as they loosen, not because they are already loose. Please wear properly fitting pants!

The Be-All, End-All Buckle Type

I have family from Texas (these are actually my relatives) and they take belt buckles very seriously – which is what every guy should do! All you’ll ever need is some variation of the standard belt buckle with a single square frame and prong – no matter if they’re casual or dress belts. There’s absolutely no reason for having anything else – EVER.

Ashley Weston Black Leather Casual Belt

If you have any other type of belt buckle, and you’re not a cowboy, sheriff, rodeo rider or douchebag, replace them immediately. I throw up a little in my mouth when I see guys wearing those horrible box-frame style belt buckles like the guy below. Whatever you do, please, don’t be that guy!

ThisGuyFucks

(“This guy f*cks!“)

The 2 Types of Belts Every Man Needs

1. Dress belt

You need a dark brown and black leather belt with a simple, thin and silver belt buckle. Also, is should absolutely be shiny. A matte belt as a dress belt is a no-no. Look how terrible a matte-finished belt looks as a dress belt in my image below!

Width

You want the width to stay as near to 1.5″ as possible. Anything wider will be more bulky and is considered more casual. Anything slimmer than that is a woman’s or a fashion belt and that’s not what we’re going for here. Even though the width is only slightly smaller than a casual belt, it makes a huge difference in appearance. Compare this picture of a guy wearing a wider belt as a dress belt compared to the image of my model. Night and day, in my eyes even though it’s only about half an inch difference.

Proper Dress Belt Width - Ashley Weston

Material

You only want leather, but if you’re averse to leather, then get a leather substitute belt. You want the luxurious look of leather to match your dressy outfits.

2. Casual belt

Just like the dress belt, you’ll want a black and brown casual leather belt, each with silver buckle. This is where the buckles can be slightly thicker, but not by much. Gold buckles may be allowed if you really, really must have gold, but it may clash with some of your outfits or accessories, so I like to keep it simple and avoid gold all together. Also, in regards to the texture or finish of the belt, you want to avoid super shiny belts. Shiny/Polished-looking belts = dress belts. Most casual leather belts will be pebbled or have a texture or be matte-finished. That and the width of the belt is how you determine whether a belt is dressy or casual.

Width

Have your casual belt somewhere between 1 3/4 – 2″ wide. Anything more than that is too wide and will look out of place. Slimmer than that looks more like a dress belt.

UltimateWarriorBelt cropped

Material

You can go with leather, cloth, or webbed belts. I personally think you should stick to leather until you’re ready to step out and get more adventurous with your belts. That way, your casual belts will work no matter the time of year or outfit.

Be careful not to get a belt that’s too shiny – like a dress belt. They should be more matte-finished. I see guys making this mistake a lot. Look at the differences between my dress and casual belt recommendations below to see the difference between shiny and matte.

What Size Belt to buy?

This is a question more men should be asking! Please check out my fit guide for details about how to choose your belt size.

The Best Dress Belts for Men

A quick note: Allen Edmonds are my absolute favorites because they’re high quality and they match their colors to their dress shoes. A lot of companies don’t do this, but it’s very important to match your belts with your shoes and AE takes the guesswork out of matching them.

Designer Options

Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Brooks Brothers Skinny Chino Calfskin Belt
Brooks Brothers Leather Dress Belt

Budget-Friendly Dress Belt Options

Zara Reversible Belt
Zara Leather Belt

The Best Casual Belts For Men

Designer Options

Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Brooks Brothers Deerskin Leather Belt

Budget-Friendly Options

H&M Leather Belt 
H&M Leather Belt 

3 Ways To Wear

Dress-Belt-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
Levis 511 Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
True Vintage Revival Glasses
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords

*NOTE: You choose the type of lenses (shaded, etc.) during checkout for the sunglasses above.

Casual-Belt-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Rag & Bone Jayden Workwear Jacket
Brooks Brothers Cotton Henley Sweater 
Levis 511 Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic

Outfit Inspirations

 

The Harrington Jacket

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.
Timeless, casual, cool and sexy. It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, running errands, or hitting the links – you need a Harrington jacket. It’s light and pairs well with nearly anything. This iconic jacket will never let you down.

Popular since the ’50s, the Harrington jacket was worn by pretty much every iconic star of yesteryear: Elvis Presley, James Dean, Steve Mcqueen, and most recently, Daniel Craig as James Bond. The Baracuta G9 is the O.G. worn by these stars and is still made today, but there’s a lot of great brands making them.

Lightweight, often teflon-coated cotton, standing collar, zip front, and the tartan lining, I just love the hell out of this jacket. The original Baracuta brand is a bit tough to find, but Fred Perry and Ben Sherman make killer versions that I actually prefer.

Why you need a Harrington Jacket

Lots of guys, my clients included, have a tough time finding a casual jacket that isn’t too sporty or dressy. A Harrington Jacket fills this gap perfectly.  It looks great with jeans and sneakers as well as dressier items like collared shirts and wool pants.

The fit and design is also very flattering on any body type. On top of that, the style hasn’t really change since it’s inception and with proper care, this jacket will last decades – easily. The mileage and value you’ll get from this jacket is some of the best for any menswear item I’ve seen.

Which Harrington Jacket Is Right For You?

Since we’re talking about essential/foundational pieces and the style of these jackets is pretty standard across brands, you really only need to worry about the color, which is simple: get a navy Harrington jacket.

If you’re a regular to slim build, you can pull off other colors, but your first Harrington should be navy. If this is your second Harrington, definitely go for a khaki color.

I don’t recommend other colors, like black or burgundy, because they’ll be much harder to match with other items in your Essential Wardrobe and/or it’s just a big swath of color. So if you went with black, it’s a lot of black and, I think, doesn’t look all that great in person. It looks much better in photos than in real life.

One small note: If you’re a larger build, you may not fit Ben Sherman, even their larger sizes tend to run pretty slim.

The Best Harrington Jackets To Own

Designer Options

My personal favorite is the Fred Perry jacket. It’s what I use for all my clients.

Fred Perry Harrington Jacket
Original Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket
Ben Sherman Harrington Jacket
Ben Sherman Harrington Jacket 

Budget Friendly Options

Reclaimed Vintage Harrington Jacket
Topman Peter Werth Sand Coat

3 Ways To Wear

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Fred Perry Reissues Harrington Jacket
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Shetland Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit in Levin
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords

Harrington-Jacket-650-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Fred Perry  Reissues Harrington Jacket Navy
Armani Exchange Pima V-Neck Tee White
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit in Levin
Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic

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Topman Stone Harrington Jacket
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Henley Sweater
Levis 511 Slim Fit Line 8 Jeans
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic

Outfit Inspirations

The Oxford Dress Shoe

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.
These are the best mens dress shoes, no questions asked. Anything else pales in comparison. Every man should have at least 2 pairs of Oxford dress shoes in his closet. Not only are they one of the most versatile shoes a gentleman can own – which will work for nearly all formal occasions from business casual to formal – but they’re the de-facto standard shoes to wear with a suit. On top of that, they’ll also work very well with 99% of the items in your Essential Wardrobe. They’re that good.

When you imagine a well-dressed man in a suit, I guarantee he’s wearing a pair of these.

Black & Leather ≠ Oxford Dress Shoes

Don’t think that if a shoe is black and leather, it’s an Oxford dress shoe. I shudder at the thought of those square-toed and/or slip-on monstrosities I see men wearing in place of a proper, lace up, round-toed dress shoe.

Also, if you can see your reflection in your black leather shoes, those are not a proper dress shoe. Those are tuxedo shoes. As the name implies, they should only be worn with a tuxedo. I’ve seen quite a few guys wearing these shoes with jeans. It’s not a good look. Your Oxfords shouldn’t look like mirrors, they should be a little more matte finished. Go to a department store and ask to see their tuxedo shoes so you can see the difference in person.

The image below from RealMenRealStyle highlights exactly what I see a lot of men wearing in place of Oxford dress shoes:

Wrong-Square-Toe-Shoes

To Cap-Toe or Not?

My opinion about whether you should have a cap toe Oxford or not changes with the wind, so I’ll leave it up to you. There’s not a single scenario when you’d wear a cap-toe over a non-cap toe, so this is entirely up to your preference. 

My clients are split 50/50 on this, too. You won’t go wrong with either, so choose whichever you think looks great and fits your style best.

allenedmonds_shoes_carlyle_blackallenedmonds_shoes_park-avenue_black

Should I go for Quality or Value?

For foundational pieces such as these, I’d say go for quality. However, there is a caveat:

How Often Will You Be Wearing Your Oxford Dress Shoes?

  • If you’ll be wearing them more than a handful of times a month, definitely grab a nice, high quality pair. They’ll give you many good years of use and look great the whole time.
  • If you’ll be wearing them once a month or less, go for value. They’ll definitely get the job done and look “good enough”. What’s the use of having a high quality pair of dress shoes sitting in your closet most of the time? I’d take that money and spend it on other pieces you might wear more often](link).

Which Shoes Should I Get?

Since you’ve decided whether you like cap-toe or non cap-toe shoes, now it just comes down to color.

Every guy should have these two pairs of Oxfords in their wardrobe to cover every outfit choice:

  1. A solid black pair
  2. A brown/cognac pair

Anything outside of those two colors will have more specific uses and occasions and definitely falls outside the domain of an Essential Wardrobe item.

The Best Mens Dress Shoes

These are my go-to Oxfords for clients:

Designer Options

Giorgio Armani Plain-Toe Patent Leather Bluchers
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords
Allen Edmonds Carlyle
Prada Plain Toe Blutchers

Budget-Friendly Options

Aldo Craosa 
Jack Erwin Joe Cap-Toe Oxford
Johnston & Murphy Hyde Park ll Cap-toe

2 Ways to Wear

For other ways to wear your Oxford dress shoes, check out my Gray Notch Lapel Suit article, Dark Wash JeanSemi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt & Leather Jacket articles.

BlackOxfordDressShoeLook1640-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Model: Tommy Mckeown

Fred Perry Reissues Harrington Jacket
Brooks Brothers 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
Burberry Straight Fit Japanese Selvedge Denim Jeans
True Vintage Revival Glasses
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords

BlackOxfordDressShoeLook2640-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Topcoat
Brooks Brothers 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button Down Collar Shirt
Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Wool Dress Trousers 
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt 
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Outfit Inspiration