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!)

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.

For Men: Check Please!

In general - I like patterned dress shirts more than solid colors. Mostly because they're more visually interesting - especially since the dress shirt generally plays a supporting role in any given ensemble (under a suit, sweater, etc.)

Not to take away from a clean, crisp white shirt but sometimes you want something more fun - like this light blue checkered shirt a la Paul Smith. I wasn't the biggest fan of this pattern at first because it reminded me of a picnic blanket - but it's grown on me with more stores taking hold of this trend and playing with the size and color of the checks.

Paired with a light grey suit it would be dressy enough to wear to work (if you need to wear suits to work). One note of warning - I've seen guys try a bowtie with this pattern and unless you are incredibly British (think Prince Charles) it's really hard to pull off. Stick with a fairly muted (meaning not large print or crazy paisley pattern) or no tie at all.

My favorite look with this shirt - pair it with a darker pair of jeans and a dark chocolate brown tie. Many options if you need to layer for warmth - my personal choice would be a more casual black blazer (but you can go with a grey cardigan or a golf jacket of any color that is gaining in popularity these days).