Eyewear for the digital age: Protect your internet-surfing eyes with GUNNARs

Even the name sounds pretty badass. GUNNAR Optics. I've seen these on a couple of guys here at work and wondered why they looked like they were ready to pilot a jet. Make no mistake, they look really good on. And according to the website, their lens technology "is the result of intensive study and research on the human optical system and its interaction with digital devices."

The signature yellow lenses (actually they come in several other colors too) give way to frames that are "designed using advanced computer algorithms," resulting in a sleek, aerodynamic, and distinctive product. Given how much we use our computers, I know what's topping my list this Christmas!

Start-Up Chic: Tony D

Today I asked my friend Tony to join in the outfit photos. I notice that a lot of Garry's start-up friends have darn good style, so I've been wanting to do a new series focusing on stylish men in technology.  Tony just spent a year living in Kuala Lumpur and Montreal developing a mobile game.  Next week he joins a start-up in NYC.  

And he always has the most interesting shoes.

On Tony:

For Men: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's messenger bag from 500 Days of Summer

Last year I posted about the excellent vintage-style fashion in one of the best romantic comedies of the past year, 500 Days of Summer.  We were especially taken by the "old man chic" worn by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's lovesick character, Tom.  Since we've gotten so much interest from that post, including a ton of questions about JGL's messenger bag in the movie, I thought I'd post a follow-up to let people know where they can buy the bag, or something very similar to it:

I'm close to certain that costume designer Hope Hanafin got Tom's canvas messenger bag from a vintage store, but that doesn't mean stylish men everywhere can't get the same look for a lot less than you'd expect.  Contrary to what people were saying on Yahoo Answers, Tom's bag was NOT from Ben Sherman.  More likely it was one of these vintage styles (I especially love the simple army medic shoulder bag from the Army Navy store - so classic, so practical, and so affordable!):

For Men: When you want to look badass, Nicholas K's got (the clothes on) your back.

I was going to cancel this post because it looked as though Spring had finally decided to stay for good.  But then the weather got nasty again this weekend, and I realized people may still be in the market for a spring/fall jacket, that nice in-between bit of outerwear that is not too heavy but still keeps you warm (and relatively dry) when the weather just can't decide what to do with itself.
After Nicholas K answered my prayers by outfitting me with the uttermost perfect black jacket, they've quickly lodged the label among my most favoritest designers ever.  I can't claim I'm quite 'cool' enough to be wearing all the fantastic things they create, but the styles actually make me want to be that 'cool.'
When I received my black jacket and started prancing around in it, I found that my guy was jealous of how 'cool' I suddenly became.  Ah, but you, too, can be as cool as I!  I blithely told him. Because Nicholas K makes menswear that is even more gorgeous than his women's clothing.  
It's almost enough to make you want to get riddled with tattoos and ride a motorcycle, or just saunter down the street in a cloud of cool-itude.  Check out some of the styles from the Spring 2010 collection:

For Men: Loungin' in comfort and style

When it comes to clothing, guys are pickier than you would think. But what we're looking for is not so much color and style per se, but more about comfort. Now that is a loaded term, so let me name three characteristics of comfortable clothing:

  • Low maintenance
  • High quality fabric that feels good next to the skin
  • A good fit, so you don't look sloppy
People assume that comfort is necessarily at odds with words like "stylish" or "fashionable," but that's not the case. It's possible to achieve both if you watch for fit, consider color, and commit to the "casual" look all the way from head to toe (if you don't go 100% casual, you end up looking messy).

I've been on a "loungin'" vibe lately and finally got around to take some shots around the house.  Great for hanging out on a Sunday afternoon, grooving to some lowkey music as you putter around the house.  Simple, understated, comfortable... it's loungin', baby!

Here are some of the style choices that's got me inspired to get dressed these days:
  • Colors: Muted earth tones (browns, beiges, seaweed-ish greens and greys) so you can mix and match easily.  
  • Hats: They embody 'ease' because you don't have to worry about doing your hair! I'm partial to straw fedoras because they hold their shape and don't get too hot when you wear them.  
  • Solid color long-sleeved tees: They are super comfortable and are so easy to layer (wear them by themselves or under short-sleeved tees, vests etc). Club Monaco has some long-sleeved shirts on sale and they are the most comfortable shirts I've ever owned. Alternative Apparel also has great comfortable and affordable stuff (Nordstrom Rack carries their stuff for cheap!)
  • Soft cardigans: Worn unbuttoned, over V-neck tees
  • Pulled-back beanies: Worn sloppily on the back of your head.  I don't know why this is so comfortable -- it looks kind of ridiculous I'll admit, but you get a pass because it's got this interesting balance of capturing some of the warmth from your head, but exposes your ears to let off some of the heat.  I've seen this in a few magazines so I can't claim credit for it, but it's so comfy!
  • Lightweight Hoodies - Spin-off of the long-sleeve T-shirt, with built-in "man caves."  Zip-up hoodies tend to be bulkier and have a more youthful, skater vibe (which is cool if that's the look you're going for).  
My two favorite looks (above): 
  1. Light grey cardigan (7 For All Mankind), white V-neck (good ol' Hanes), vintage striped scarf, dark grey shorts (River Island), grey sweater cap (H&M)
  2. Brown henley (Alternative), striped vest (Ted Baker), black straw fedora (Groovin), dark grey shorts (River Island - but you can substitute this with jeans, chinos, etc.)
Love it?  Hate it?  Leave a comment (and send in your own pics if you've got 'em!)

For Men: When it rains...

...it doesn't mean go for the most functional, waterproof eyesore that you can get from some hipster outdoor brand.

While I know there's a need for the utilitarian buried somewhere in that Y chromosome we men all carry, there's a time and place where North Face/Patagonia gear is appropriate (e.g. literally in Patagonia).

But in every day life, there's little need for such extreme protection from the elements. Very few of us will EVER need a jacket with an electronic avalanche rescue system, but having the option in a jacket will make most men pause (and, in some cases, shiver in technological delight) and think "yea... I think I need that just in case..."

So I don't think that money is the issue, because most men will drop a few hundred dollars on these jackets without blinking. But the sad thing is, the thought never occurs to consider a more stylish option (like a peacoat, or a designed raincoat). So let me make the case that for the same price as a tricked-out piece of performance outerwear, you can equip yourself with a jacket/coat that is both functional and stylish.

I'm incredibly biased here because I love jackets (the way a woman loves bags/shoes, I love me some jackets).  I love them because they are the most architectural and innovative article of clothing that is in a man's closet. Dress shirts, pants, t-shirts and sweaters are relatively constant, but jackets can be long/short/light/heavy/patterned/solid/simple/complex and everything in between.  Plus, a well-fitting jacket helps to give a guy a better shape (for those of us that do not have a Men's Health cover model's discipline/metabolism or Conan-the-Barbarian genes).

Here are my current favorites (NOT including the ski jacket - just threw that in there for comparison):
  • light grey topcoat from Zara
  • vintage dark teal peacoat from no name store in Tokyo
  • faded black cotton twill peacoat from Energie
  • stone grey military jacket from Reiss
  • black water-repellant biker jacket from Charles Jourdan (found this store in last trip to Hong Kong but can't find website)
  • black trenchcoat - the happy conclusion to a previous post on trench coats here
Since it's still winter and winter clearances abound, why not give it a try?  Now is a great time to be in the market for jackets since the retail year end is generally Jan 31st and stores are clearing out for the spring stuff, so keep an eye out for great discounts in the next week.  My personal recommendation is to head for outlets of big name department stores - like Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th, and Neiman Marcus Last Call.  Here you can score deals on authentic name brand pieces for 40-75% off.

And if you're in the Bay Area and don't want to go out alone in search for your jackets - let your friends here at Wearability know and we'll gladly help you find one just for you! =)

For Men: Scarf It Down

With the changing of the season - and Steph's post on her personal fall trend, I've got to throw in my two cents on my personal trend of the moment: scarves!

This often neglected accessory is usually more of a utility item that is saved for particularly cold nights or that ski retreat weekend.  It's usually in some awful crimson wool blend that itches and has reindeer and snowflakes all over - unmistakably the calling card of some crafty relative.

But thanks largely to the bandit/afghan craze in street style in the past few years, scarves are reinstated as a legitimate, fashionable accessory both guys and girls can rock. 

If you need some convincing, I did a little experiment.  I put on a ho-hum pair of Gap jeans and a Hanes white t-shirt and then put on some of my favorite scarves to see how they worked.  The result?  Well, I think that the scarves single-handedly enhanced the look altogether.  Granted, it's a bit of a metro look, but you get the idea right?
So scarves are practical, stylish, and now more than ever, they're at almost every clothing retailer!   I find H&M carries the most economic/trendy options (run between $5-$15) but these will last you about a year before getting a little threadbare.  Club Monaco has consistently amazing scarves, but wait for their end of season sales to score GREAT deals on them (regular retail is $79.50, sale price is usually $19.99 - that's 75% off people!).

If you're comtemplating your first scarf purchase: go to Banana Republic and pick a solid color scarf in a light wool (think of a light wool sweater). I like bright oranges, rich purples, and sporty blues for solid colored scarves.  This adds a fresh pop to any outfit. 

For the more adventurous: try a lightweight, wrinkly scarf in linen or very light cotton (they would be like 24 inches wide if you pulled it out and ironed it, but scrunched together it's actually not that big). You can drape them in a bunch of different ways - play around with it to find which you like the best.  Colors in shades of off-white, beige, brown, and light grey or green are what I gravitate towards these days for these kinds of scarves.

I'm not the biggest fan of the afghan-style scarves, but I think that the afghan print is still "in" for now.  If that's what you're looking for, I'd encourage exploring bolder color combinations (beyond black and white) - I especially like teal+grey and beige+brown color combinations. Diesel has cool on sale now for $30 

As the colder weather comes, thicker fabric scarves in wool/cashmere come in exceptionally handy.  I find that in the bulkier fabrics, colors in the range from l off-white to light grey look super fresh on a cold winter night - so you can look for those as they start stocking up for the winter season.

All in all - I think the scarves are much more than something that white people like - they're an accessory that every guy should own multiple of to take his wardrobe to the next level.

My Personal Fall Trend: Waistcoats for Women

I can't say I understand the nuances of seasonal trends--all I've gathered so far is that over-the-knee boots and red lipstick are supposed to be tres "in" this fall. So I have no idea where menswear-inspired pieces fall in the spectrum of "trendy - dowdy," but something tells me it's the sort of thing that never goes out of style.  And so friends, I give you: waistcoats for women.

Now, I am not talking mere vests, that foul Americanization of the word.  Though people might assume that vests and waistcoats are interchangeable, I beg to differ.  While a vest, to me, is any old thing with no sleeves worn over something else, waistcoats involve some must-haves:
  1. Tailoring: Lapels, darts, seams, interfacing. This means that a waistcoat must never be made of any shapeless sweater-like knit material!
  2. Buttons or some other closure of some kind. Again, it is not something you can just pull over your head like any common vest.  It requires patience!  Class! Preferably of the double-breasted sort!
  3. Some interesting detail: Okay, this is just my personal opinion, but it's one thing to wear something that looks like it belongs as part of a three-piece suit.  It's another thing to wear a stand-alone waistcoat that makes a statement all on its own!
Vests/waistcoats were the kind of accessory that never crossed my mind as a legitimate investment, when I was growing up.  If you had given me a vest in high school I would hardly have known what to do with it.  It just seemed so extraneous, so unnecessary!  But now they're growing on me for that very reason.  So what if they don't keep you warm, or hold something up, or cover up something that needs to be covered?  It sort of hit me the other day when I was at my friend's wedding and saw a (very cute) female server with a a simple, well-tailored black waistcoat over her white uniform, and thought, "I should totally rock that look!"

I think we're on to something here.

List of items above: 1. Heimstone Gilet for acrimony. 2-3. Boy by Band of Outsiders. 4. Candy and Caviar for 80spurple.com. 5. Citizens of Elysium on etsy.com. 6. 17th-century woman's waistcoat. 7. Erik Hart for revolveclothing.com. 8. 17th-century floral embroidered waistcoat.  9-10. Forever 21. 11. Generra at bluefly.com.  12. Heimstone Gilet, in black.  13. MBH Saddlery show halter waistcoat. 14.  Paper Denim Cloth.  15. Play the Odds. 16. Yellow quilted Provencal waistcoat. 17. Roberto Rodriguez at bluefly.com.  18-19. Silence and Noise for urbanoutfitters.com. 20. Vintage textile waistcoat. 21. Alice + Olivia.

Harvard Yard: New line from Wearwolf + my alma mater

This sent in from a friend via the NYTimes: Harvard University has entered a 10-year licensing agreement with Wearwolf to produce a line of "preppy clothing" to hit department stores by February of next year.

I'm not sure how I feel about this quite yet.  Part of me is revolted by the idea that Harvard (and other Ivy-league schools) necessarily be associated with privilege, wealth, and social status.  People might watch Gossip Girl and think that everyone who goes to such schools are similarly well-to-do and out-of-touch with reality.  Sure, there is a pretty large contingent of legacy brats, elite from around the world (Manhattan, Hong Kong etc.), and otherwise snobbish young Turks at Harvard.  But I, along with most of my friends, came from backgrounds firmly rooted in the middle and working classes, and we sure as hell didn't wear blazers with the Harvard insignia stitched in crimson thread on the lapels.

In fact, when I went to school there, it was downright shameful to tout the fact of your school.  No one wore Harvard-branded clothing (unlike certain West Coast contemporaries) around campus or anywhere else because we're deathly afraid of dropping the H-bomb.  From what I observed when I went back to visit is that this has changed in the last 5 years, but I should hope the majority of students there are still down-to-earth.

Anyway, the other part of me kind of loves this stuff in the teaser photos.  That blazer, crimson thread and all, is pretty sweet.  And I like that there isn't some tacky Harvard logos emblazoned on them.  And, if nothing else, you could just wear it in a spirit of irony.  What I really want to know is, are they going to release a line of clothing for the ladies?

From the NY Times slideshow: "John Longbrake, a university spokesman, disputed the idea that a preppy, Harvard-branded clothing line would dimish the university's efforts to appeal to students of diverse backgrounds."  Learn more at the Harvard Yard Collection website.

And this is what a more realistic Harvard student wears:

A New Man of Style: Ben!

Everyone - meet Ben.  He's a 20-something software engineer whose uniform generally consists of a punny humor tee and the same trusty pair of jeans that he's been buying from the same store for the last 15 years.

A few months ago, Ben's girlfriend asked me to go clothes shopping with him.  I didn't think much of it at first, but when she brought it up again I knew that she was serious.  I'd never gone shopping solely to help someone else clothe themselves, so I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be doing.  But I thought, what the heck, it sounded like fun!

We hit up Nordstrom Rack on Saturday afternoon.  Ben told me he wanted to upgrade his look, and on his list were shirts (casual, going out and formal/dressy), plus a good pair of jeans. Yup. This was definitely going to be fun.

We took over a dressing room while I kept pulling things off the racks and made him try them on.  The jeans were surprisingly easy to find - Rock and Republic had a great pair of straight jeans that fit Ben like a glove.  The shirts took more time, but we eventually found a sweet spot.  Ben likes interesting patterns, and having an assortment of t-shirts has made him open to colors.  The key with the shirts: not giving up after the initial fit didn't work.  We made friends with the in-house tailor and had him pin the shirts a bit.  We looked at shirts with darts and shirts that took the seam in altogether and...voila!  Shirts that fit color, pattern, and cut criteria, all in one!

My personal favorite out of the shirts Ben bought that day is the bright green-and-black checkered short sleeve shirt from Ben Sherman.  He's even got a skinny black tie to go with it, and black Jack Purcell Converse kicks to boot. 

* Sniff * I think I may shed a sartorial tear or two. And high-five this guy who's embracing his look instead saying that shopping is "girly" or "too much work" or whatever.  So to Ben (and guys like Ben), way to go!  And if and of you readers ever want to go out shopping - just say the word and Wearability will be there!

Here's more detail on the pics above:
  1. 'Before' pic: Ben in his t-shirt and jeans look. He was once told he looked like the turtle on the shirt, and that's why he's sad.
  2. Green-and-black checkered short sleeve shirt - Ben Sherman.  Dark blue straight fit jeans - Rock and Republic.
  3. Rust shirt with blue floral - Hugo Boss Orange Label.
  4. Grey textured long sleeve shirt with white cuffs and collar - Ben Sherman.
  5. Shirt in lavendar/grey plaid - Boss by Hugo Boss.