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.
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.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions and emails from you about what to wear when going to the gym or airport so you’re still stylish, yet comfortable.
Thus, my POTW are John Elliott’s grey sweatpants because they’re the only item you need to add to your closet in order to create this sharp outfit below. You should already have three out of the four items if you’ve been following my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series for any length of time.
Here’s why this outfit is great:
I love John Elliott’s clothes because he always does such a great job with creating high quality basics and these sweatpants are no exception. The construction and fabric choices are a cut above the rest, so if you’re able to swing it, I highly recommend these.
You already should own a navy, black, and/or white t-shirt. These colors are perfect for the gym because they won’t show your sweat prominently like a grey tee will. Also, they look great with this outfit outside of the gym as well.
Next, you should also already have a bomber jacket, whether it be navy or black, in your closet because as I’ve said before, bombers look great on every man, regardless of your age or body type. You can easily switch out the bomber for a zip-up hoodie if you want, but I wouldn’t change a single thing in this outfit.
Because of all the rain that’s been happening here in LA and the East Coast, I’ve been trying to find stylish yet practical jackets for some of my clients who are doing press right now along the soggy coasts. I found this awesome snokel jacket that fit the bill perfectly.
I was so excited to find a lightweight snorkel jacket that fit the bill perfectly. A snorkel jacket is basically a parka. It’s a 3/4 length jacket hitting mid-thigh and has a drawstring hood that can tighten so your entire face is covered except a small breathing hole, hence the name snorkel. A lightweight jacket, like the one in the image, will also take you through Spring and is easy to layer under.
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.
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:
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Andrew Snavely from PrimerMagazine.com joined me to compare our lists of the Top 10 Men’s Summer Essentials – with a disgusting twist.
If you don’t know the Bean Boozled Challenge, it’s a game where you have a 50/50 chance of getting a delicious jelly bean or one that’s flavored something like vomit, skunk, rotten eggs and a whole host of really vile flavors.
If our items didn’t match up, we had to spin the wheel of doom and see what flavors we got. I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve played this game, but unfortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of playing it before.
Chino pants should be a staple in every man’s wardrobe. They are among the most versatile of men’s pants—they look great with a t-shirt, a sweater and button-down, or can be dressed up for a business casual event. They’re the perfect alternative to jeans since they are more comfortable and breathe easier. This is especially true in warmer weather due to the soft, worn-in cotton twill fabric that breathes easier than denim. And when you want to inject some color into your wardrobe, chinos provide an excellent avenue for this.
The Chino Pants Rules Most Guys Break
I see a boatload of guys making the following mistakes, so I want you to be aware of them:
Do not wear or own black chino pants. You’ll look like a waiter or valet guy.
Chinos are not dress pants or trousers. They’re the middle ground between casual and formal and should not be worn for anything above a business casual event.
Chinos should be worn with a quarter or no break. They can even be worn at ankle length in some cases, but never, ever longer than a quarter break.
Chino pants do not have extra pockets on the legs, hammer loops, stitching, etc. Those aren’t chinos, no matter what their name says.
Don’t wear pleated chinos. See the pleats section below for an explanation of why you should never wear them.
Pressed creases on the legs are the devil’s work. Don’t ever buy them like this or add them yourself.
The same goes for pre-cuffed hems. Don’t wear them, please. You can roll the cuff later on, but don’t buy the ones that come pre-cuffed.
To see more style mistakes that men make and how to fix them, click here.
What are Chinos?
The word “chino” means “toasted” and is derived from Latin American Spanish. Chino pants are named after the cotton twill fabric they’re constructed from, often called Chino Cloth. Another distinguishing characteristic is that chino pants will also usually have side-loading pockets, which are different than the traditional front or top-loading pockets as traditionally found on jeans.
Khaki vs Chino
In the most simple terms possible: Khaki is a shade of brown. Chino is a type of pants and called this because they’re usually made from Chino cloth.
The original khaki (light brown) is the traditional and most popular color, but chinos are come in many shades. See my color preferences for men below.
I don’t care how old or young you are or what your body type is – whether you’re thin or a larger guy, you should NEVER, EVER have pleated chino pants. Honestly, I f*#@%ing hate them because they’re so unnecessary and are unflattering on every guy. I’ll be the first to dance on their grave if they ever completely go away. I’ve never seen a guy look good while wearing them – ever.
To Cuff & Crease or Not
You can, and sometimes should, cuff or roll up chino pants. But don’t ever buy a pair of chinos that are pre-cuffed. It’ll be very hard to get that crease out and the hem will likely be very thick, which won’t look that great.
As for creasing the front the of leg, if you’re looking at a pair of chinos that’s creased like this, run for the hills! They should never be creased like dress pants because… repeat after me: They’re not dress pants.
What colors should you get?
You should at least have two colors of chinos because they’ll pair well with all the other items in your Essential Wardrobe. A quick note about colors: Whatever you do, make sure the colors you choose are not too shiny or glossy looking. You’ll know it when you see it. You want a more matte finish to your chinos.
Sand – I prefer this lighter brown/tan color than the darker, flatter khaki color. Some brands will call sand colored pants khaki, so just go for lighter brown colors regardless of what the brand calls them. The model in the image at the top of this article is wearing, what I’d consider, the perfect sand color. Shoot for something similar.
Navy – Whatever you do, just don’t get such a dark navy that it looks black. That’s a big no-no. The navy in my first “Best Ways To Wear” image below is what I’m talking about.
If you already own these colors and want to add more, then go for gray/charcoal or an olive color. If you want to try other colors, just make sure you understand what colors work best with your skin tone.
The Best Chino Pants For Your Body Type
Slim or Regular Build
You’ll want to get a “Slim” fit chino pant that will hug the thighs, knees, and calves while tapering down from your knee to ankle.
A lot of my slim & regular built clients initially believe this style will make them look too skinny. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that they’re used to wearing super baggier clothes to try and hide their slimness, which, coincidentally, just makes them look slimmer. A proper fitting pair of chino pants just looks right, regardless of your build, and doesn’t make you look one way or another – I promise.
Determining the ideal cut of your chinos depends on your physique.
If you’re a heftier guy or have larger thighs, I recommend a straight leg chino. It will give your body a trim, well-proportioned appearance. Slim fit chinos that taper slightly in the leg will make you look somewhat imbalanced—giving you a top-heavy look with skinny legs. Unless you’re on the shorter side, then a slight taper is OK, but under no other circumstances should your chinos be tapered.
The classic “Straight-Leg” fit is perfect for you. No matter a man’s build, but especially in your case, it’s all about balancing your body’s proportions to make sure your bottom half complements your upper half. So stick to this cut of chinos for your physique and you’ll look fantastic.
If you’re on a budget, all three of these are great. Each brand offers a few color choices, which are usually the typical khaki, navy, and gray. A great thing about Uniqlo is that they offer free hemming service so there’s no excuse to have your chinos be too long 🙂
NOTE: A Navy Blazer looks horrible with a pair of tan chinos/khakis. This is the quintessential older, out-of-touch-guy-who-wants-to-dress-up uniform. Just. don’t – Ever.
Blazer vs Sport Coat
I see some resources online talking about how a Blazer is different from a Sport Coat/Sports Jacket and honestly, in all my years in the industry, the term is used so interchangeably that it doesn’t matter. They’re basically the same garment. If I have a hard time telling the difference, you’ll have an even harder time, so I say don’t worry about it and call it whatever you want.
Blazer vs Suit Jacket
The differences between a Blazer and Suit Jacket are constantly debated. A lot of sources say they’re the same, others say they’re different, but allow me to flex my teeny tiny muscles a bit, as I deal with these items day in and day out.
First and foremost, they’re not the same. A Blazer is made of thicker fabric so it pairs better with other clothing items of different weights, like jeans, for example. A Suit Jacket is made of lighter material and should only be worn as part of a suit.
You may not notice, but fabric weights can influence whether an outfit looks off or not. Blazers are not made of the same weight of fabric that a Suit Jacket is.
If you have a chance, go somewhere that requires a jacket be worn – like a business casual event or restaurant that requires a dinner jacket be worn – and I guarantee you’ll see some guys wearing suit jackets with jeans or khakis. I’m sorry to call them out, but older gentleman are the worst offenders here.
I want you to notice how it just looks… weird. The jacket fabric seems a little too “thin” and “flowy” compared to the pants because it’s too light of a fabric to go with a heavier fabric like denim or khaki. They don’t lay or move the same, so it looks weird.
The problem is that most guys see pictures of other guys wearing suit jackets with denim pants and think it looks great, which it does – in pictures. In person it looks bad due to the differing fabric weights. So trust me on this one – you need separate Blazers and Suit Jackets.
How To Tell A Blazer From A Suit Jacket
Here’s my patented 4-Step process to tell if a jacket is a Blazer or a Suit Jacket:
If the buttons on the sleeves and torso are metal of any kind – that’s a Blazer.
If it has matching pants – that’s a Suit Jacket.
If the jacket is thinner or more delicate feeling – that’s a Suit Jacket.
If it’s heavier, thicker or sturdier feeling – that’s a Blazer.
I recommend you go with a heavier, textured wool fabric because its robust and you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this type of blazer. I like a fabric weight of between 8 to 10 ounces, depending on your climate (hotter climates, I like around 6 ounces). If you go heavier than my recommendations, then you’re getting into Fall/Winter territory and the lighter weight fabric would wrinkle pretty badly. This weight also looks best with the other items a blazer is typically worn with – jeans, wool pants, sweaters, etc. – basically everything else in your Essential Wardrobe. Lighter fabrics have very slim use cases and are a pain in the butt to maintain that they’re usually not worth the hassle.
The Best Colors for A Blazer or Sport Coat
If you read the title, you know I’m going to say navy :). The reason is because it will go with everything else in my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials list. If you already own a navy Blazer – great job! – then go with a Charcoal or Charcoal Herringbone pattern.
Ideally, you’ll want to go with a double vent. This style of vent has been around for quite a while and is flattering on every body type. With that being said, a single vent is not a poor choice, but it’s definitely second in my book. Just make sure that, no matter what, you never go with a blazer without a vent – it’s a horrible look.
I chose these blazers because they’re not only well-constructed, but they’re also made of a nice, textured fabric that has the perfect amount of weight to them. Each of these blazers has the 2-button, notch-lapel features that I love and that work on all body types. The navy Brooks Brothers blazer is only offered with gold buttons online, but they do have non-gold button options available in their stores. Stick with their Milano or Fitzgerald lines as they offer the most tailored fits. Ermenegildo Zegna and Z Zegna make incredible blazers that always makes me stop and touch them whenever I’m at the store pulling clothes for a client. Burberry is fantastic for slimmer men that are 5’10” and above.
Brooks Brothers Charcoal Milano Fit Herringbone Blazer
Brooks Brothers Navy Fitzgerald Fit Two-Button Blazer
Burberry Gray Slim Fit Travel Tailoring Jacket
Emporio Armani Navy Jacket in Textured Wool
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Navy Nigel Wool-Cashmere Blazer
These are my go-to for blazers that look great, sport all the features I want to see on a blazer, and hit a more affordable price poin. J.Crew offers wool blazers for an extremely affordable price and their Ludlow line has a tailored fit that is fantastic and offered in a range of sizes, from Short to Regular to Tall. If you’re a slim to regular build, I love Topman because their cuts are the best! The material is usually a polyester-wool blend so it’s not the best, but it’ll get the job done and still look fantastic.