10 Best Bets for $75 or Less – May 2012

Ten items worth your attention.

Seventy Five dollars.  That’s a lot of money.  It’ll get you a couple pairs of Levi’s, a nice dinner out, or a couple months at your local gym.  Seventy Five dollars.  It is a lot of money, especially if you spend it right.  Ten picks follow, all for $75 or under, and some of them are much, much less.
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1.  Target’s Merona Kensington Blazer in New Colors – $40 – $45

A spring workhorse, and... Capone?

Credit to Amogh for the style tip on how these are now available in grey or a navy pinstripe.  The pinstripe might be a little tough to pull off, since there’s zero structure to the thing.  Still, might be worth a shot.  The light grey is a hugely welcome addition.  More on the blazer over here.  Some guys didn’t like the fit and some guys did.  Off the rack fit seemed much, much better than average to me.

 

2.  Field Notes National Crop Edition Box Set – $24.00

"The grocery list? Check sorghum..."

Field Notes notebooks are certainly in the upscale-rugged wheelhouse.  These made in the USA notebooks take after the ones that used to go out with seed/agricultural equipment/etc. to American farmers.  Each crop themed notebook has just 48 light tan graph-paper pages, but that’s perfect for those of us who write small and don’t like lugging around one of those bulky, spiral bound “lil’ fat” books.  That, and at 3.5″x5.5″, they slide neatly into a sportcoat’s inside pocket without weighing it down.  And that’s perfect for having something to put ideas in when out and on the run, or out and sitting still.  Averages out to $4 per notebook, and you get the map and triangular patch as a bonus.  Ships free through Maxtonmen.com

 

3.  Aston Grey Textured “Ashland” Lace up – $69.94

The inexpensive odd duck.

The “compare at” $160 is eye-roll-worthy, but a lace up with texture like this is a good alternative to suede bucks.  More dressed up than boat shoes or drivers, and not as stuffy as your office shoes.  Suede bucks?  Sure, that’s the safer play.  More on how to wear a similar shoe, in black, over here.

 

4.  Seiko 5 Roman Numeral Automatic – $54.12

Et tu Seiko.

Credit to LG for the tip on this one.  Under seventy bucks, has a much loved Seiko 5 automatic movement, and has the much dressed up Roman Numerals.  Switching out for a leather strap shouldn’t be too difficult.  For the guys with smaller wrists, since it’s a small 38mm in diameter.  UPDATE:  Going for cheaper through Amazon.  Hat tip to Steve in the comments.

 

5.  Mint for Chewing (not chewing mint gum) – $2.00 – $4.00

Oribt and Trident can take a back seat.

So the Derby Party was a success, but you vastly overestimated how much mint you were going to need for the drinks.  Now what?  Simple answer:  Peel the leaves off the stems, tuck 4-6 of them in your cheek or between your teeth and lower lip, and let em’ sit.  Lots of us like chewing gum, but it can leave you bloated.  Sometimes the artificial flavors can leave an odd funk in your mouth (even the mint flavors).  Real, honest-to-goodness mint leaves don’t do that.  Don’t chomp away on them, just let em’ sit.  Re position from time to time.  It’ll leave you with a light, fresh, minty feel.  Probably has something to do with the fact that it’s actual, fresh mint.  When the flavor runs out, which takes a surprisingly long time, you won’t need to find a garbage can to spit em’ out.  Just chew em’ up.

 

6.  Lorenzo Uomo Gingham Neck & Sleeve Shirt – $28.79* ($39)

Son, lemme tell you about Wurkin Stiffs.

*You’ll need the 20% off code SAVE20MAY9 to get this price.  UPDATE:  Code expired yesterday.  Apologies for that fellas.  Spend another $10 somewhere and you can get $15 off your $50+ purchase with the code 15OFFMAY512.  That one expires 5/31.  Finding a bold gingham dress shirt that’s actually crisp instead of washed ain’t the easiest thing in the world.  This one is even a neck and sleeve measurement.  Substantial looking collar too.  Fit?  Not sure.  But for under $30, tailoring isn’t out of the question.

 

7.  Van Halen Stay Frosty – $0.99

Ice Cream Man Part II.  And friggin’ awesome.  Might even get the cold toes of a music snob tapping.  Eddie doesn’t look dead anymore, Diamond Dave still has the attitude (even if he does have a little less of the vocal chord range) Alex still thumps, and somehow Wolfgang does just fine with the bass and backup vocals.  The new album is much, much better than you’d expect.  “Tattoo” pulls this record with the locomotive on the front out of the station, and even though Dave starts to sound a little like a blue-haired caricature of his own self-made caricature on “She’s the Woman”, it’s forgivable.  The song is that good as a whole.  Rolling Stone gave the CD 3.5/5 stars.  Preview the Album on SoundCloud here.

 

8.  Club Monaco Cotton Naval Sweater – $49.00 ($98.50)

You're on your own for the bandana cowboy.

Thicker cotton sweaters can be anchor heavy and battleship wide.  This one has a chance to provide a little extra beef, without getting too bulky.  Cut in a slimmer fit, with some extras at the cuffs and hem.  $5 flat rate shipping under $175, and you’ll get dinged $5 for return shipping.  Returns free in store.

 

9.  Black Magic Tire Wet – $5.99

Shoe polish for your Goodyears

There’s a few of us who haven’t had our cars washed since, umm… October.  Well the sun is out now.  And if you’re lucky enough to have a car you like to drive, it’s time to get it clean.  Tire shine doesn’t make as big of a difference as a well shined pair of shoes does, but… it still makes a pretty big difference.  (Note:  Follow the instructions on this stuff.  Do NOT spray it on anything other than the sidewalls of your tires.  It’s slippery stuff.  And you don’t want slippery stuff on your tire tread.)

 

10.  Factory Long Sleeve Striped T-shirt – $29.50

Tony Marceau, at your service.

Lots of color.  Lots of stripes.  Throw it on one weekend and you just might feel grrrrrrrrrrrreat.

For other best bets under $75 from previous months, click here.