3 Loafers Every Man Should Own

When you’re talking about versatile, stylish footwear, there are few styles I like better than loafers. I love that they can be dressed up or dressed down, and work for pretty much every season. There are many varieties out there these days, from simple to complicated, but I’d like to focus on three primary types that deserve a place in your closet, plus a few that maybe don’t.  Get ready, it’s loafer season for a reason.

 

Penny Loafers

A classic style that has stood the test of time, penny loafers are perhaps my favorite out of all the loafers. I love how versatile penny loafers are, they can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with everything from jeans and a buttondown to chinos and a polo shirt. Brown and black are the two ideal colors here. For a secondary choice, a classic burgundy or oxblood color is an excellent option.

My Picks

Designer:

Prada

Ferragamo

Budget -Friendly:

Johnston & Murphy

Bass Weejun

Driving Moccasins

Originally designed for, you guessed it, driving, I love this style because they’re super comfortable and work well in a variety of casual situations.  They come in a few variations but I prefer the versions with a nubbed rubber sole or a full rubber sole for the look and comfort. For colors, the basics like brown and tan are great of course, but I also recommend versions in grey or navy for a pop of color.

My Picks

Designer:

Tods

Budget-Friendly:

Zappos

Boat Shoes

Another shoe that evolved from function – the no-slip rubber sole and lightweight design worked well on boats – boat shoes have become a classic warm-weather staple. I like them best with chinos and shorts for a relaxed alternative to sneakers. On the color front, go with blue, brown and grey for maximum wearability.

My Picks

Sperry Top-Sider

Alternative Loafer Styles

There are a few other loafer styles out there but I don’t generally recommend them because they can lean too specific in their look and style.

Tassel Loafers

This dandy look is popular with a lot of style bloggers out there, and while I don’t hate them, I just don’t think they’re ideal for most men from a style standpoint. Just like your clothes, your shoes should be streamlined, and while the tassels can give them somewhat of a “distinguished” look, I find them to be distracting, like an untucked pair of shoelaces.

Horsebit Loafers

Another type with a dandyish vibe that has become popular again (you may know them as Gucci’s iconic loafer), I am not a fan of them at all. They immediately age you up (and not in a good way), and I always expect a lawyer or Wall Street guy who is trying way, way too hard to wear these.

Venetian Loafers or Smoking Loafers

Both of these have a similar, streamlined shape and a formal look. Venetian loafers are unadorned and usually in leather while smoking loafers are typically velvet and have embroidery or embellishments on top of the shoe. I always view these as super formal, and that’s why I really only recommend wearing the patent leather or velvet versions with a tuxedo if you want to add some flair. I don’t recommend more casual versions in regular leather because it’s a style that’s quite outdated and doesn’t have the versatility I like. 

My Picks

Christian Louboutin

Vince Camuto

So no matter what you’re wearing, casual or formal, get out there and wear some loafers this season, your feet (and style) will thank you.

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!

What To Wear To A Wedding

By now you probably have a stack of summer events you’ve RSVP’d to, from weddings to engagement parties, so now tough part begins, attempting to understanding that dress code and figuring out what the hell to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. But the good news is, I’m here to help you figure it all out and, more importantly, help you out with what to wear.

To begin unraveling what the hell “Beachy Vacation Casual Chic” or “Game Of Thrones-inspired forest semi-formal” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress code: black tie, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.

The Invite Says: Black Tie

The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means tuxedo only.

What To Wear: A tuxedo

This isn’t the place for a suit so embrace your James Bond moment. There are lots of tuxedo options these days, from navy to grey, but if you’re unsure, stick to the classic: black tux, white shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square you can’t go wrong and provided everything fits properly, you’re going to look amazing.

The Invite Says: Black Tie Optional

Also Known As: Formal

This is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and, similarly, formal events. You’ll see some people in tuxes but suits will be most common.

What To Wear: A tuxedo or dark suit

By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, I encourage it. But, a classic dark-colored suit, like charcoal or midnight navy, works equally well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple black, silver, burgundy, or navy tie. I don’t really recommend a ton of patterns or colors here as it’s not really the place.

The Invite Says: Cocktail Attire, Evening Attire or Something with Formal

Also Known As: Semi-Formal

The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings and events in the afternoon or evening.

What To Wear: A suit or blazer with a tie

Depending on the time of the event (day or night) most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp-dressed man. Charcoal, Navy, and patterned suits all work for this dress code. If it’s an afternoon or daytime event and outdoors, you could also wear a lightweight cotton suit or blazer combination, especially if it’s going to be hot. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you’re feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t mandatory, but I always recommend one for events like this.

The Invite Says: Anything with “Resort”, “Beach”, “Garden Party”

Also Known As: Casual

Sure, it’s the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but I always say ‘dress to impress”.

What To Wear: Dressy Casual Shirts and Pants

Simple cotton, chambray, or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For a stylish touch, I recommend throwing on a silk knit tie. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a lightweight cotton or wool blazer and throw on a pair of loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all types of colors and patterns here, provided they’re appropriate for the event.

Don’t forget to check out my favorite picks from The Tie Bar to get you ready for wedding season!

Don’t forget to check out all my picks from the video!

Video Picks

Ties from The Tie Bar

Shirts from The Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got your wedding style game plan set to go, all that’s left is to brush up on a few dance moves.

Men’s Shorts

Whether you live in a place with year-round warm weather or are gearing up for the Spring and Summer season, having a well-fitting shorts rotation is key to a well-rounded casual wardrobe. Despite their casualness, the effort you put into how your shorts look and fit shouldn’t be an afterthought.  My Fit Guide is something I always refer back to for a reason, and just like you consider the fit, look, and fabrics of your shirts and pants, your shorts arsenal should get the same type of consideration.

 

Get The Right Fit

Your shorts should be as well-fitting as your favorite pair of chinos or denim, and that starts with getting the right length and taper. The sweet spot for short length is somewhere between the top of your knee up to a max of 2” above your knee, regardless of body type.  This length is going to be both versatile and flattering, no matter what else you’re wearing.  Ultimately you should look for shorts with a 7”-10” inseam, depending on where you are comfortable wearing them.

Avoid overly baggy or tight shorts by choosing a pair that gives you the right taper. A quick and easy way to find the right fit is, you should be able to pinch 1-2” on either side of your thigh.  Much more or less and you’re headed into the shorts danger zone.

Find The Right Style

Now that you’ve got a good idea what the right fit is for you, it’s time to focus on finding the right styles. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up for shorts success.

Stick To Flat Front Styles

Pleats are a no-go here, they’re only going to age you and make you look like you’ve got a pooch.

Cotton Is King

In terms of material, you want to choose cotton or cotton blends like chino cloth, seersucker, or linen, they’re the most versatile and easy to care for.

Go With Classic Colors

In the color department, for your primary shorts you want to go with solid colors like blue, grey, and khaki because they’re timeless and will always look sharp. Once you’ve got the basics on lock, you can always mix in a plaid or a fun pattern, but just know that wearing these on a day-to-day basis, outside of a fun event, can read a little boyish. Use your discretion here but I recommend sticking with solids to start.

My Shorts Picks

Budget-Friendly Shorts:

Uniqlo Shorts

H&M Chino Shorts

H&M Cotton Shorts

Gap Linen Shorts

Gap Embroidered Shorts

Banana Republic Stretch Shorts

Banana Republic Printed Shorts

Surf-Inspired Shorts:

Billabong, Hurley, Quiksilver Shorts

Other Favorites:

Bonobos Shorts

Bonobos Printed Shorts

Vince Shorts

Brooks Brothers Shorts

Brooks Brothers Linen/Cotton Shorts

Brooks Brothers Seersucker Shorts

Vineyard Vines Shorts

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 3 Outfits For Spring & Summer

The warm weather will be here before you know it so it’s time to start thinking about your Spring and Summer wardrobe options. With that in mind, here are my Top 3 Favorite Outfits for Spring & Summer 2018. All of these looks are super versatile and are going to have you looking stylish no matter what’s on your calendar. Don’t forget to check out all the info below for each outfit’s details.

 

 

Outfit #1

For this first outfit, I started with a lightweight blue suit that’s great for summer and paired it with a fun Hawaiian print shirt to add some extra personality. You could also try a floral or botanical print shirt, and it’s a great way to give your suit a whole new vibe. I then added a tipped pocket square that picks up some of the colors in the shirt and finished the look with penny loafers and a cool pair of blue framed sunglasses. For a relaxed suiting look like this, I also like having a slightly shorter hem on the pants to show a bit of ankle.

Outfit Details

Designer Suit: Brooks Brothers Suit

Budget-Friendly Suit: H&M Linen Suit Jacket and Linen Suit Pants

Floral Shirt: J. Crew Shirt 

Shirt Alternative: Topman Shirt

Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Pocket Square 

Designer Loafers: Prada Loafers

Budget-Friendly Loafers: Johnston & Murphy Loafers

Sunglasses: Warby Parker Sunglasses 

 

Outfit #2

For the second look, I went with an everyday monochromatic look that’s relaxed but still well put-together. This light blue shirt in linen very lightweight and breathable and I paired it with another summer staple, a crisp pair of chinos. I finished the look with grey suede driving loafers to bring it all together.

Outfit Details

Shirt: Uniqlo Linen Shirt

Chinos: J.Crew Chinos

Alternative: Uniqlo Chinos

Belt: Brooks Brothers Leather Belt

Shoes: Tod’s Suede Tie Driving Moc Loafers 

Loafer Alternative in Brown: Tod’s Suede Driving Moc Loafers

Budget-Friendly Loafer Options: Zappos

Sunglasses: Warby Parker Sunglasses

 

Outfit #3

For the third and final look, I went with another “elevated casual’ outfit that’s great for both the week or weekend. I started with a lightweight, unlined blazer and paired it with a relaxed mandarin collar button up and some green chinos for a splash of color. As I mentioned in my color matching article, I love pairing blues and greens together and the crisp white shirt is the perfect complement. I finish it with some fresh white sneakers to add a relaxed vibe.

Outfit Details

Blazer: Brooks Brothers Blazer

Budget-Friendly Blazer: H&M Blazer

Button Up Shirt: Topman Shirt

Chinos: J.Crew Chinos

Chinos Alternative: Uniqlo Chinos

Sneakers: P.F. Flyers Sneakers

Sunglasses: Tom Ford Sunglasses