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... 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! =)

Man of Style: Taylor Lautner

Before you guys groan or feel a bit old and dirty about it, please hear me out.  I mean, yes, I've become something of a Twilight fangirl, or at least I subscribe to and follow its 10+ updates every day with keen interest.  But seriously.  some time in the past year, I think Taylor Lautner--the fresh-faced, way too young, yet so incredibly and delectably chiseled star of the upcoming Twilight firm--must have gotten himself a stylist in addition to growing up a whole lot.

Because really, what 17-year-old boy knows how to dress himself this well? It only occurred to me rather recently that I've been more and more impressed with Taylor Lautner's ability to look absolutely sharp doing everything from getting the groceries to attending the Teen Choice Awards.  For sure, his affinity for black outerwear can't exactly be called "daring" or "bold," but it's always impeccably tailored, with surprisingly tasteful details that scream TASTE and STYLE and ELEGANCE.

The boy must own about 20 black jackets of all cuts and materials, most of all leather.  Leather bomber jackets, leather motorcycle jackets, even a leather jacket that looks like it's made out of lizard skin.  And lots of jeans - perfectly distressed denim, perfectly faded black jeans, etc.
Some of my favorite elements from the pictures, from left to right:
  • The red-striped collar and cuffs
  • Simple black leather over black t-shirt/pants
  • Beautifully tailored pea coat.  Perhaps Taylor is the only straight guy who can pull of a) a peacoat and b) a popped collar without looking like a total douchebag.  Or maybe you think he looks like a douchebag.  In which case you can keep your thoughts to yourself, thankyouverymuch.
  • Black hoodies on black t-shirt for a decidedly un-frumpy look.
  • Lizard-skin jacket.  'Nuff said.
  • Well-fitted gray shirt over beautifully distressed jeans
  • Waistcoat over beautifully distressed jeans
  • Sharp Calvin Klein collection suit that perfectly suits a high-fashion event
  • Black long coat over black skinny jeans!
  • Black hoodie with all-black Chuck Taylors
  • A dose of black-and-white checks
  • Just the right hint of black-and-white stripes
All photos taken from

For Men: In the Trenches

What an honor to be the first male contributor! I'd better make this one memorable then.

So in light of such a momentous occassion, I will put up for consideration perhaps the manliest of all wardrobe items: the trench coat.

Originally designed for the British army during World War 1, the trenchcoat has not only a historical significance but it's become a wardrobe staple to survive the daily battle of what to wear for both men and women.

I'll confess, I don't need a trenchcoat. But I've REALLY wanted one since I graduated college. They have a certain cinematic drama to them and yet they are terrifically practical - a perfect combination if you ask me.

They come in many different styles these days (ah mass market production how I love thee) so the decision process is a bit daunting... but I'm up for the task. And before making any retail purchase, I like to think about what exactly I want so I don't make any hasty decisions.

So the first and easiest decision point for me is length. Off the bat, being 5'6" makes it imperative that I don't go for the full length trench unless I want to look like I'm borrowing my much taller, older brother's jacket to play grown-up. Cross that one off the list. Then There's the cropped option that sits just around hip level - but a trench by definition should have some length in my book. So that leaves me with getting something between the mid thigh to knee. Check.

Now off to color. Ok this one's pretty hard. It's for sure going to be in a fairly basic color, but let's face it, everything in men's collections is in basic colors. There's the classic beige-ish color range, a more cement-y grey, black, olive, and navy on the racks these days. I think I may go for darker colors because light colors dirty easily and I'm a stain magnet. Check.

And lastly on my list of considerations - fabric. Considering the California Bay Area climate isn't that extreme - I'm in no need for a heavy Gabardine (which Thomas Burberry INVENTED. How does one invent a fabric? I know not, but I found that nugget interesting) or much lining for that matter- so something in the poplin/cotton family that's water-repellant enough for a light rain will suffice. Check.

So with those criteria, it's off to scour the interconnected tubes of the world wide web to see what retail offerings that may hit the search criteria and here's what I've been able to find (Pictures of the contenders are below.)

My favorite so far has to be this black Burberry trench... but plunking down the dolla-dolla-bills-y'all for this one jacket isn't exactly my style. I did try it on though while I was passing through the Duty Free shop and very nearly entered into a great deal of debt - the jacket felt that great. sigh.

I'll be hunting around for copycats, but I will say that this Thomas Burberry fellow knew what he's doing.

So - should I resist the urge to splurge?  Or shall I put in the investment?  Ugh.  Decisions.