mens_fallwinter_essentials_sweaters_wordpress_ashley_weston

Men’s Crewneck Sweaters and Cardigans

My favorite sweaters for this time of year are crewnecks and cardigans – either regular or shawl collar styles. They’re great because not only do they keep you warm, but they allow you to create a bunch of new looks depending on how you layer them with the other items you own.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you’ve already seen my v-neck sweater article and video, because:

  • You should already own some v-neck sweaters since they look amazing on every body type and can be worn year-round.
  • You know the do’s and dont’s with sweaters and how they should fit your body type because I’m going to discuss  crewnecks and cardigans as if you already know these guidelines.

Crewneck Sweaters

Brook's Brothers Golden Fleece Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck

$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck Sweater

I like crewnecks because they can be worn over t-shirts, unlike v-neck sweaters which look weird with t-shirts under them, and they look great in casual outfits or can take a more dressy outfit, like a suited look, and dress it down, while still adding a nice, warm layer to your outfit.

The two things you have to do, though, and I’ll say this forever, is:

  1. Really nail the fit
  2. Know how to wear them, based on your body type.

If you are a broader guy, then crewnecks 100% of the time have to be worn as a layering piece only. So underneath a jacket, blazer or suit – never on their own because, otherwise, it’ll create a huge swath of fabric on your torso and accentuate your size. Trust me, you don’t want this. (Watch my video at the top for examples).

Fit

For any body type, you always want to make sure your crewneck sweater fits like a glove. Make sure you can’t pinch more than an inch of fabric on the back of your tricep and no more than 2 inches of fabric on one side of your belly.

As for length, ensure the sleeves generally stop around the bend of your wrist, and make sure it is no longer than just past your belt buckle area.

The thing that drives me nuts is when I see guys wearing crewnecks with big bunchy sleeves and rolled or rippled mid-sections. Bleh!

Budget Friendly

$26 – Zara Basic Fine Knit Sweater
$40 – TopMan Grey Ripple Textured Raglan Slim Fit Sweater 
$50 – H&M Merino Wool Sweater
$55 – TopMan SELECTED HOMME Black And White Woven Long Sleeve T-Shirt
$70 – H&M Textured Knit Cashmere Sweater 
$158 – J.Crew Lightweight Italian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater 

Designer

$190 – A.P.C. Bros Sweatshirt 
$230 – John Smedley Marcus Crew Neck Merino Wool Sweater (3 colors)
$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
$375 – Vince Heathered Cashmere Sweater
$675 – Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewneck Spa Sweatshirt
$950 – Prada Cashmere and Silk Blend Sweater 

Cardigans: Regular and Shawl-Collar

J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Navy Cardigan

$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Navy Sweater

Now let’s move on to cardigans – specifically, regular and shawl collar styles.

Just like crewnecks, they’re great worn over most shirts (even with ties) except v-neck t-shirts (unless it’s a really shallow “V”, otherwise it just looks weird with the double “v”) or polo shirts because the collars never lay or look right with cardigans.

Regular cardigans can pretty much be worn underneath everything up to a suit, while shawl collar cardigans, since they’re usually made of thicker wool or cotton, are typically worn on their own. Think of shawl collar cardigans as knit jackets, basically and wear them in their place.

If you’re a larger guy, regular cardigans are to be worn buttoned up AND only underneath another item as a layering piece. If you were to wear it on it’s own, it’ll make you look super big and wide. (examples shown in the video at the top).

If you have a regular or slim body type, then you can wear regular cardigans on their own, but almost always buttoned up – leave the bottom button undone so it lays nicely and doesn’t look bunched up while you’re sitting. I think when they’re worn unbuttoned, they lose their structure and get really floppy and messy looking.

For shawl collar cardigans, if you’re a broader guy, you should absolutely wear them on their own, but never buttoned up. Leaving it unbuttoned breaks up your width nicely and looks great and hides those problem areas around the midsection and upper body. I really love them for this body type.

If you’re any other body type, you can wear your shawl collar cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned, but remember to leave the bottom button undone, of course.

FIT

As to how your cardigans should fit, the same crewneck rules apply:

Pinch no more than 2 inches on one side of your stomach and no more than an inch on the back of your tricep.

It should hit pretty close to past your belt buckle and the sleeves should end somewhere around the bend of your wrist.

Regular Cardigans

Budget Friendly

$30 – Zara Viscose Cardigan 
$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater (3 colors)
$120 – Club Monaco Soft Wool Cardigan

Designer

$230 – Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan
$300 – Vince Mixed Rib Cardigan 
$415 – Boglioli Cotton Cardigan

Shawl Collar Cardigan

Budget Friendly


$30 – Only & Sons Shawl Neck Cardigan with Mix Yarn Detail
$118 – J. Crew Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
$150 – J. Crew Cotton Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater 

Designer

 

$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Navy Shawl Cardigan
$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Army Green Cardigan
$598 – Brooks Brothers Cashmere Shawl Collar Cardigan
$1,590 – Tom Ford Iconic Shawl-Collar Cardigan

Colors

As for colors, I mentioned them in the series intro video, so check that video and article out for details about the colors that will go well with your skin color.

MATERIALS

And lastly, before I show you how I’d style these sweaters, let’s go over the best materials for your sweaters.

If you run warmer, you want your sweaters to be cotton blends, otherwise wool and cashmere are my two favorites.

Best ways to wear your sweater

fallwinteressentialsovercoatcamelsweaterashleyweston

H&M Double Breasted Coat
H&M Merino Wool Sweater
A/X Pima Tee
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Johnston & Murphy Jennings Wingtip
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

MensFallWinterEssentialsSweatersCardiganAshleyWeston

Topman Light Brown Wool Coat
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Webster Medallions Tie
J.Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan
John Varvatos Grand Sunglasses
J.Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in English Donegal Tweed
Johnston & Murphy Nolen Double Monkstrap Shoes

1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Collar Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Decatur Ave Casual Belt
Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka 

5 Shoes Every Man Should Own Ashley Weston

The 5 Shoes Every Man Should Own

In my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series, as well as my Summer Essentials Ebook, I touched on shoes a little bit, but the most-requested video/article for a while has been the number and type of shoes every man should own.

So here it is: These are the quintessential shoes that every man should have in his closet for year-round wear. Anything outside of these are specialty items, like snow boots, so they’re not included in this article.

 

1. Athletic/Running Shoes

Nike Roshe FlyKnit - Grey

Buy the Nike Roshe FlyKnit in gray

There’s nothing better than a sleek pair of athletic shoes. Not only can they function as your gym shoes, but they can  be worn with your casual outfits, as well.

I recommend sticking with a black/white, black/grey/white (like above), or navy/white color to ensure that your sneakers compliment all your outfits. Other crazy colors like neon green or a bright red will only draw attention away from your outfit which is why I’m not recommending those colors. You probably wouldn’t know it, but these shoes are one of my clients and almost a year old.

Since all of the shoes I’m recommending have white soles, I highly recommend Jason Markk’s Essential Shoe Cleaner Kit. Just give the soles a quick scrub with the included brush and soap every few weeks and they’ll look good-as-new for a long time.

Other Options

Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max
Adidas Pureboost LTD Shoe
Nike Roshe Two FlyKnit

 

2. White Sneakers

 

Buy the Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers

The second pair of shoes you should own, is what I’d consider an absolute essential to any well-dressed man’s wardrobe, which is why they were also included in my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.

They’re clean, classy and look great with a lot of your casual, even up to a little more dressy, outfits. Throw on a nice fitted blazer and some dark wash jeans with them and they’ll look amazing. See here for outfit inspiration images.

Under no circumstance should you wear these with a suit, though. That’s a trend that’s been floating around for a few years and I just think you’re not doing a suit justice by dumbing it down with sneakers.

A quick note, because it’s been brought up in the comments of my White Sneaker Video – Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are not the same as these – even if they’re white – because the shape and profile of those shoes are completely different. Notice how sleek and simple the profile of the above shoe is – THAT’S what makes all the difference. Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are chunky looking and have a very specific look that a lot of men can’t pull off.

Designer Options

 

Saint Laurent leather sneakers
Acne Studios leather sneakers
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie leather sneaker
Common Projects BBall leather sneakers

Budget-Friendly Options

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Ox’ Canvas
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker
Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Leather
Vans Authentic Sneakers

 

3. Suede Driving Moccasins

 

Tod's Gommino Driving Shoes in Suede

Tod’s Braided Tie Drivers

The third pair of shoes you should own are suede driving moccasins. I’ve already covered these in my Summer Essentials Ebook, but they’re also great shoes during the other parts of the year, depending on your climate.

If you’ve never worn a pair, then you really should try them because they’re the most comfortable middle ground between a dress shoe and a sneaker and after they’ve been broken in a little bit, they’ll feel like you’re wearing a pair of socks.

I have these ones here by Tod’s that I really love. Stick with dark brown first, then you can add a tan color and then navy which will cover you for any outfit you can wear outside of a suit – which you should never wear driving mocs with. The construction is fantastic and they hug your feet nicely –
which is important because a lot of cheaply made driving mocs tend to look loose around your feet which is to be avoided.

There’s three things to remember about driving moccasins:

Only wear no-show socks with them. I did a whole video about socks so check out the link in the video description.
Before you wear them for the first time, make sure you Scotchguard them in order to protect the suede from dirt & liquids as much as possible.
They’re going to get dirty, it’s inevitable with suede. So buy them knowing they’re going to have a shorter shelf life than the rest of your shoes, but trust me, you won’t care because they’re so damn comfortable.

Designer Options

Tod’s Textured Suede Tie Drivers
Tod’s Braided Tie Drivers
Prada Suede Slip-On Moccasin, Oltremare
Brook’s Brothers Suede Driving Mocs

Budget-Friendly Options

Jack Erwin Parker Driving Loafer 
FRYE Russel Venetian
Johnston & Murphy Perforated Driving Loafer 

4. Oxford Or Derby Dress Shoes

ferragamo-marte-plain-toe-derby-ashley-weston1

Prada Plain Toe Blutchers

The fourth pair of shoes you should own are Oxford or Derby dress shoe with a sleek profile and round toe. I’ve covered these extensively before, but every man needs at least a black and possibly brown pair of dress shoes in his wardrobe. They go well with all outfits outside of a super casual outfit (think: t-shirt and jeans). And since you should at least own one suit, these are necessary because you can’t get away with wearing any other shoes with your suit. Remember: the goal is to have you looking amazing, no matter the scenario or outfit.

I prefer plain toe, but you can also get cap toes, but I will grab a pair of plain toed Oxfords or Derbys over any other kind of dress shoe 99% of the time.

As for brogueing, burnished toes, oxblood or other unique colors, don’t get me wrong, I love them, but that’s like two levels down the road if you’re new to dressing better. They’re very specific and won’t go with a lot of your outfits, so grab them after you’ve invested in a classic black and dark brown oxford.

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

5. Brown Leather Boots

Purdey Brown Men's Grain Leather Boot With Dainite Sole

Crockett & Jones Islay Wingtip Boot

The final pair of shoes – in this case – boots you should own are a pair of brown leather boots.
They’re utilitarian in that you can wear them in a lot of adverse weather situations as well as in more elevated casual outfits. I prefer brown because boots are usually more geared toward the cooler months, and brown is a great fall/winter color and it goes AMAZINGLY well with the dark wash jeans and wool trousers you should already own. But don’t be mistaken, you can also wear these year-round.

It’s been asked this a few times by viewers, so unless you’re going for the lumberjack or American/Japanese worker-style look, don’t wear these boots with a suit because these ARE NOT DRESS BOOTS.

I love the pebbled brown leather and goodyear welting of the Purdey boots above, which is why they’re my top choice. Trust me, I spent a lot of time finding the best boots out there and these are hands down my favorite.

If you want to know how to tie your boots properly like this so don’t have a bunch of excess laces flopping around, check out my video about how to properly tie men’s shoelaces.

Designer Options


O’Keefe Algy Split-Toe Weatherproof Pebble-Grain Leather Boots
Crockett & Jones Islay Wingtip Boot

Frye Jones Lace Up Boots

Budget-Friendly Options

Aldo Acerrassi
Johnston & Murphy Karnes Cap Toe Boot
Aldo Etausen Boots
Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot 

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Overcoats & Peacoats

If you live in a climate where the temperatures drop during the winter, you’re going to need a coat or two. So let’s talk about Overcoats & Peacoats. They’re not to be confused with a jacket or windbreaker or whatever other sorry excuse for a coat I see guys wearing during the winter months. You need a proper coat that’ll look sharp and timeless and last many, many seasons. Your coat is the first thing anyone is going to see (aside from your shoes and a scarf) during the winter months, so let’s make sure you look amazing.

Common Overcoat & Peacoat Mistakes

In my travels, I see a lot of Overcoat blunders, so let me go over the common mistakes I see guys making with their coats before we dig in.

  • Too Boxy
    This makes stocky men look really wide and/or short and thin guys look even thinner.
  • Too Long
    This would technically fall under fit, but it’s such a big problem that it deserves it’s own section. Your overcoat is designed to go over your clothing, not be a blanket you threw over yourself! The worst is when I see guy’s sleeves going past the beginnings of their palms or their coats hitting mid-shin. If a coat goes past your knees, it’s going to collect dirt, mud and salt stains on the bottom – gross!
  • Too Complicated
    Some of my male friends suffer from this: They just have too much stuff going on with their coats. As I mentioned in my first #AskAW episode, you don’t need epaulettes/shoulder straps, sewn in sweaters or hoodies or a bunch of pockets or zippers or… things hanging off your coat. It looks cheap and tacky.
  • Too Trendy
    Even though I work in the fashion industry and attend the various Fashion Weeks around the world, good lord, there’s some jackets I see guys wearing on the street and I just wonder what happens once it goes out of style in a few weeks. I would never recommend something trendy as a Men’s Wardrobe Essential because you’ll probably only get one winter’s worth of wear out of it.
  • Not Appropriate For the Climate
    If you live in a warmer climate and are wearing a long overcoat without a suit, you look silly. There’s a time and a place for everything and it’s important to understand this in all things, but definitely in regards to coats. See below for details on when it is or isn’t appropriate to wear your coat.
  • For more style mistakes, check out my free “10 Most Overlooked Men’s Style Mistakes” and how to fix them ebook.

What Coat(s) Should Men Own?

A man should own at least one of these two coats, maybe both. See below to determine whether you need one or both coats in your closet.

Overcoat

There’s two factors to determine whether you should own an overcoat:

  1. Does it snow where you live?
    An overcoat is an essential if it snows where you live because it’ll cover more of your body and be a great coat to layer clothing under to keep warm on the colder days.
  2. Do you wear suits often?
    If you wear suits (like a gray suit), regardless of your climate, you need an overcoat because this is the only coat that compliments a suit. A Peacoat won’t work with a suit because (if it fits properly) it’s too short to cover a blazer or suit jacket as well as too casual for this type of outfit.

Peacoat

Every guy, regardless of his climate or whether he wears suits regularly or not, should own a Peacoat because it’s great for casual outfits in your Essential Wardrobe. If you live in a colder climate, it’s also great for warmer winter days and through the early parts of Spring. Notice I’m leaving out Fall. This is because that’s when a Blazer, Leather Jacket and Harrington Jacket really shine. For moderate/warmer climates, like Southern California, a Peacoat will be your “winter” coat.

Double-Breasted or Single-Breasted Coats?

A proper Peacoat is always double-breasted, so that’s not an issue.

As for Overcoats, stick to a single breasted coat because a double breasted Overcoat would require you to wear it buttoned 24/7 since it looks really big and floppy when it’s left unbuttoned. Single breasted gives you the option to wear it buttoned or unbuttoned while still looking sharp and form-fitting.

The Best Overcoat & Peacoat Colors For Men

For Peacoats, you want to go with the classic Navy color. For Overcoats, you can go with Navy, Camel (tan), Black or Dark Gray. If this is your first Overcoat, go with Dark Gray or Black. If it’s your second, get a Camel Overcoat to inject some color into your wardrobe, as it’s still a neutral color that will go with the rest of the Men’s Wardrobe Essentials.

How Should An Overcoat or Peacoat fit?

Check out my Overcoat & Peacoat fit guide for how a man’s coats should fit.

The Best Men’s Overcoats & Peacoats

Designer Options

I chose these coats because they all have a great tailored fit and the material, coat length, lapel width, buttons and the overall construction of them is impeccable. I love the Brooks Brothers charcoal Overcoat, which I actually used on a recent shoot with Harrison Ford, and I was amazed at how well-designed this coat was. The Burberry and Billy Reid Peacoats are my favorite Peacoats of all time! The details are incredible and they’re flattering on every man. An interesting fact: The Billy Reid coat is named the “Bond” coat because it’s the exact one Daniel Craig wore in “Skyfall.” The Burberry runs on the slimmer and slightly longer side, so if you have a shorter and wider build, then this may not work for you, although my model (below) was wearing it and he was quite “built”, so YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Brooks Brothers Charcoal Saxxon Overcoat

Acne Studios Charcoal Coat

Theory Delancey Double-Faced Cashmere Overcoat

Saint Laurent Camel Coat

Burberry Navy Peacoat

Billy Reid Navy “Bond” Peacoat

Budget-Friendly Options

Each of these coats has a simple and clean design with no unnecessary flourishes, which you’ll usually find with cheaper alternatives. The price point is great for these considering they’re wool and wool-blended coats and will keep you warm and looking sharp. I love the Topman Camel Overcoat a lot, which is why I used it on my model below!

Topman Camel Overcoat

J.Crew Charcoal Ludlow Topcoat

Zara Navy Coat

Topman Navy Wool Blend Peacoat Jacket

3 Ways to Wear Overcoats & Peacoats

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Topman Camel Overcoat

Topman Navy Skinny Three Piece Suit

Brooks Brothers – Non-Iron Milano Fit Bengal Stripe Dress Shirt

The Tie Bar Deep Burgandy Silk Knit Tie

The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-toe Oxfords

Best Men's Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Brooks Brothers Charcoal Saxxon Overcoat

Z Zegna Navy Drop 8 Two-Button Blazer

Tommy Hilfiger – Men’s Slim-Fit Poplin Shirt

Topman – Selected Homme Grey Pants

The Tie Bar Grenafaux Midnight Navy tie

The Tie Bar Silver Shot Tie Bar

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

 

Burberry Brit Navy Peacoat

Tommy Hilfiger – Men’s Slim-Fit Poplin Shirt

Topman Selected Homme Grey Pants

The Tie Bar Knit Stripe Tie

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxfords

Men’s Overcoat & Peacoat Outfit Inspiration

Credits

Photographer: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care

White-Sneakers-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-EssentialsHeader

The White Sneaker

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.

White Sneakers AKA Tennis Shoes are like jeans – everyone has them, but not everyone has the right ones or knows what to do with them.

Sneakers look good with any casual outfit (no suits, PLEASE!) and your color choice and how you care for them will have a big impact on whether you’ll look sharp, or just… blah. 

Why White Sneakers?

If you’re reticent about white sneakers, I get it. My clients are a little freaked out by them in the beginning, too. But the reason I prefer white is they look super sharp and literally go with everything you’d wear casually. A pair of white sneakers instantly elevates an outfit to be a little sharper than it would be with other casual shoes. In my book, that’s a good thing.

As a woman, when I see a sharp-looking guy, I want to learn more about him. It’s impressive and intriguing. I’ve been busted for staring a few times because of this 🙂

If you really, really don’t want to get white shoes, go for a navy color then. They’ll still go with a lot of the other essentials on my list, but not as well as white.

High Tops or Low Tops?

For a foundational piece like this, leave the high tops for later. They’re not appropriate in many occasions where low tops are. High tops are definitely more sporty looking and with pants will bunch up around the ankles and can create a lot of stacking.

Canvas vs. Leather

This is when I’ll leave it up to your preference. Either one will work for the same occasions and outfits. Some people prefer natural fibers over leather. I prefer leather because it doesn’t stain as easily and they’re easier to keep clean, but they’re also (slightly) more costly. It’s entirely up to you. I’ll provide both options below.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

I’m always shocked to learn that most guys don’t know that women look at 3 things, in this order, when first meeting a man:

  1. Your face/head (duh!)
  2. Your fingernails
  3. Your shoes

Dirty or worn out shoes are a major turn off. Spend 30 seconds and take wet cloth or a Magic Eraser sponge and give your shoes a quick wipe down. A little effort goes a long way and will keep your shoes looking good for much longer.

The Best White Sneakers For Men

Designer Options



Saint Laurent leather sneakers
Acne Studios leather sneakers
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie leather sneaker
Common Projects BBall leather sneakers

Budget-Friendly Options

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Ox’ Canvas
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker
Vans Authentic Sneakers
Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Leather 

3 Ways To Wear

Topman Bomber Jacket
Armani Exchange Pima Crew Tee
J Brand Tyler Fit Jeans Keckley
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker

H&M Polo Shirt
H&M Chinos Skinny Fit
Vans Authentic Sneakers
True Vintage Revival Glasses

Burberry London  Slim Fit Travel Tailoring Wool Jacket
Brooks Brothers Merino Wool Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
J Brand Tyler Fit Jeans Keckley
Brooks Brothers Silver Buckle Leather Dress Belt
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker

White Sneaker Outfit Inspiration/How To Wear White Sneakers