Many of the product reviews out in the blogosphere seem to center around expensive high-end products or new items from small companies. These can certainly be helpful, but there are still many people that want to find great products that are a bit more accessible (which is why sites like Dappered are so popular). For that reason, I’m going to try and balance my reviews with products that can be easily found anywhere but still provide a good value to me.
In the past I have written about how much I like Howard Yount trousers; I stand by that review, but there are many people out there (including myself) that would prefer to not spend $100-$200 on dress pants. I splurged for some nice wool flannels since those are hard to find at lower prices, but for more traditional cotton and worsted wool pants there is a broader spectrum of prices available.
Having a passion for men’s clothing is a bit of an infectious disease; it begins with trying to understand the basic principles of fit and function, but if left untreated it can spread to an aesthetic affliction that applies to every possible purchase. Before you know it, every piece of furniture or kitchen appliance you acquire must be held to the same stringent criteria that are applied to your shoes and suits. Such is the case with me, and this is why I began looking for a handsome umbrella that would meet the trifecta of aesthetics, quality, and price; the “good deal” that we all strive to find.
San Francisco is heading into several days of wet weather right now, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Not only will the rain help ease the severe drought we’re experiencing (although it’s just a drop in the bucket - sorry, couldn’t resist), but it also gives me an opportunity to put my new Howard Yount umbrella to use. I’ll have a full review up once I get some good use out of it, but so far I’m enjoying the umbrella immensely.
As a native Oregonian I grew up loving the rain, and it’s unfortunate to say that California just hasn’t been getting enough of it. Our state is deep into a drought, but the good news is that we had a day of showers recently, and that gave me the opportunity to wear my rainy day gear.
All told, I’d say that this is a good example of how I like to dress - neutral colors and fairly classic proportions. I’m not much of a risk-taker when it comes to clothes, so I try to stick with simple things that are hard to mess up.
I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of post-Christmas sales, but I can’t deny the fact that there are some good deals to be had. There are many sales going on right now, so if you’ve been eyeing something online it may be worth looking to see if the price has dropped. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some items that caught my eye:
The famous cable-knit cashmere sweater is on a surprisingly deep discount ($158 from $398). Lots of colors and sizes available. I own this one and I can say that in my experience it is higher quality than the similar offerings at J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. Expensive, but a good deal; this is the lowest that I have seen them go.
Also, these suede jodphur boots ($112 from $198) were popular last time they went on sale, and they’re $5 less now. Jodphur boots are definitely an acquired taste, but if you’re into them then this is a great deal.
Stock and available sizes are all over the place, but there are some good finds. Some of the flannel trousers are priced at or below $165, which is as low as they will go. I’m a big fan - you can see my review of Howard Yount flannels here.
Most of Mr. Porter’s offerings are too rich for my blood, but some of their accessories can come down to accessible prices during sales. For instance, this navy/white dot shantung silk tie by Drake’s ($85 from $170) would make a great staple tie.
As I’ve mentioned before, using the multi-buy discounts can be beneficial here; oxford shirts come down to $51 (from $95) if you buy three. Also, check out the sale section for other items with large reductions (like these Supergas at under $50).
As I’ve mentioned before, men’s clothing enthusiasts often tout the importance of buying high-quality products, an ideal that I generally agree with. Of course, few of us have the funds to buy the best of the best of everything, so the process of finding and purchasing clothing and accessories becomes more of a decision of when to save and when to splurge. Even then, cost does not inherently imply quality, so determining where money is well spent can be difficult. This is a series of posts that show some of my purchases (both expensive and affordable) after a year or more of hard wear in order to display how they have held up over time. Only you can decide what is worth spending on and what isn’t, but the more information you have the better-informed your decision will be.
Finding nice trousers can be a challenge. There are endless options for casual chinos, but things get trickier when you’re looking for something a bit more dressed up. Moreover, they can get expensive very quickly - with made-in-China wool trousers from J. Crew going as high as $250, it’s hard to figure out what a reasonable price for a good pair of odd trousers is.
I’m putting the finishing touches on a review of my Howard Yount flannel trousers (expect it tomorrow), and in this review I complain a bit about how hard it can be to find nice wool trousers at a reasonable price. I was doing a bit of research to back up my claim, and in doing so I noticed that J. Crew’s “Bowery” Classic trousers are on sale for $82 +$5 shipping with the code “PRESENTS”. Not cheap, but reasonably affordable, given the alternatives. I have no experience with this exact model, but I’ve found that J. Crew’s pants are a fair deal when on deep discount. Moreover, my good friend La Casuarina is known to be fondofthem, and he has access to some of the best brands in the world.
As of now, almost all sizes are available in all four colors. I appreciate that the color options are shades of gray and navy; J. Crew has a bad habit of taking a nice item and only making it in colors reminicent of sherbet. It should come as no surprise that I recommend gray trousers to start with.
Now, if you can manage to put $150+ down for wool trousers, I strongly recommend Howard Yount. They are much better, but they do have the disadvantage of requiring tailoring for hemming (and possibly waist alterations, since they are only available in even sizes). If you want to keep this purchase under $100, though, J. Crew could be a good deal.
This sale ends at midnight, but these 30% off codes appear almost weekly so there’s no need to rush the decision.
The holiday season is once again upon us, and now that we’re done spending too much on ourselves during Thanksgiving sales it’s time to think about the other people in our lives that deserve our gratitude. This list is for the #menswear among us - maybe it’s a brother, a father, a friend, a husband, or something else entirely; no matter what relation, here’s your unequivocal menswear gift guide for this holiday season.
For this list I tried to select items that add a lot to a complete wardrobe but often get overlooked. I also tried to steer clear of items that rely heavily on sizing, since that can make gift-giving difficult. He may not think of getting these for himself, but he’ll sure be glad that you did.
Last Saturday was a very #menswear day - I spent the day attending trade shows, trying on nice clothes, drinking scotch, talking about the value of handwork in shirts, and so on. This is what I wore - nothing too fancy. These are some of my favorite items to put on so it’s a look that I’m often seen in. Classic FStB.
I’m leaving for NYC tomorrow. I’m counting it as a vacation, but I’ll definitely be doing a lot blog work while there - meeting with vendors, trying on awesome clothes, taking pictures, writing - sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
Oh, and since I always get so many questions about where each item comes from in these posts, I’ve included product links when available. Keep in mind, though, that none of these items were bought at full price and many were bought used.