The Mailbag Lightning Round – April 2013

<div class='at-above-post addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide' data-title='The Mailbag Lightning Round – April 2013' data-url=''></div><div class='at-above-post-recommended addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide'></div>From affordable selvage to pattern mixing.<div class='at-below-post addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide' data-title='The Mailbag Lightning Round – April 2013' data-url=''></div><div class='at-below-post-recommended addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide'></div>

Some questions are better answered publicly since others might be asking the same thing, or, one of you has the perfect answer.  If you’ve got a style tip, question, or anything else you’d like to pass along, you can send those in here. If you’d rather your question not be featured in a future mailbag, just go ahead and say so in your email.  Feel free to hit the comments with other options for answers to this most recent batch of questions.  Top Photo Credit:  Tracy O.

Q:  Thoughts on Miro Watches?
Mailbag Miro

Skagen’s competition?

I came across this website and thought that these watches might be up your alley.  I think that they look great but would be interested in reading your thoughts on these.   They cost around $200 – Ben

Well then.  Looks like Skagen has some Scandanavian competition.  This new Swedish brand has only been around since November, and they’ve got the looks-thing down pat.  Appears they’re Miyota Quartz (CoolHunting claims the quartz over here).  40mm case size, 20mm lugs, and a water resistance of 50m. Hardened mineral crystal that’s slightly domed.  The alternative would be to spend $85 more and get a Miyota Automatic movement in this Steve Alan watch which happens to come with a Horween cordovan strap.  Or, get a Bulova or simple Skagen (maybe even in blue) and buy a high quality band from FormFunctionForm or Wood & Faulk for it.  Miro says they’ll ship internationally for free, but what about returns?  Depending on your bank/credit card, you might get hit with an international purchase charge.  That can happen when you’re buying in krona.


Q:  Very Slim Pants for a Business Casual Office?
My sperm count drops just thinking about these.

Skinny pants, with a polished work look.  Via the GAP.

I’m going to be spending the next 6 months or so in North Carolina for work, and really need some new work pants. It’s a business casual environment, and I seem to be pretty set on shirts. I am very slim, so finding inexpensive slim fitting pants can be a challenge. – Jeremy

Even though fits have gotten slimmer over the last decade, very-trim fellas like Jeremy still have limited options when it comes to pants that fit close to their thin frames.  Give the GAP’s Skinny Fit Tailored Khaki a shot.  100% cotton, smooth enough for work, and they’ve got a couple of shades with character (like avocado and that more intense blue on the right).  Codes will be available.  Two pairs tip the $50 free shipping balance, and they return free in store.  For those of us with more meat on our legs… just thinking about trying to squeeze into a pair of these will lower the sperm count.  Other options: maybe the Dockers Alpha Khaki?  The Stafford Prep Chino and get them tapered by a tailor?  And for breezier options, keep an eye on the J. Crew sale section for pants in their Urban Slim Fit.


Q:  Toss Up:  Allen Edmonds Strand or Fifth Ave.?
Hard not to be happy either way.

Hard not to be happy either way.

I’m on the hunt for some oxfords and I’m looking at the AE Strand and Fifth Avenue, both in brown. I wear mostly slim khakis at work and would like your take on versatility. You have any experience with either shoes?

Fifth.  Traditionally, the more brogueing  you have going on with the shoe, the more casual it’s supposed to be.  But the Strand?  That’s a LOT of shoe.  So while yes, it’s more casual than a whole-cut super sleek number, all that detailing draws the eye down to the feet.  The Fifth blends in a little more.  You can ignore em’ just a touch.  They stand out quietly.  They’re a true oxford with closed lacing, yet they’re in the ballpark of the Kenilworth which looks great with jeans.  And now, let me channel the ebay crowd:  “Y’know, you can get both pairs for the price of one used on ebay.”  Sometimes.  And shop carefully.


Q:  Have you heard of Gustin Jeans?  Made in the USA Selvedge for under $100!

I don’t know if you saw Gustin Jeans Kickstarter project, but it was tremendously successful selling made in SF selvage jeans for $81.  They’re now selling through their website in a variety of denims. I missed out on the kickstarter project, but fully intend to pick up a pair now that they’re online. – Matt

It’s always good to see a massively successful Kickstarter project, and this one absolutely falls into that category. They’ve now carried that model (waiting to reach a certain level of support before production) into independent e-commerce.  Looks like they’ve got just a bit under two weeks left on two pairs of jeans with some availability to support.  But full honesty?  I, personally, still don’t “get” selvage.  And I think there are plenty like me out there.  I mean, I know what it is, but… Levi’s 514s or 501s have yet to treat me wrong.  But, to get a made in the USA premium pair for around twice the cost could very well be worth saving up for to see what all the fuss is about.  Thoughts from you denim heads?  Is this one of those things that once a guy tries it, he never goes back?  To Quote M… “impress me“.  (Not meant in a snarky tone, seriously, plenty of us may want to be convinced)


Q: Mixing patterns.  Herringbone and Gingham?
Checks = square.  And a bit bigger than the herringbone.  This works.

These are different enough.

I bought a Banana Republic tailored fit blazer with a herringbone pattern.  But now I’m finding myself hesitant to wear it with patterned shirts (like gingham, plaid… etc.).  Should I be worried about this?  Here’s a picture of one of the shirts I’d like to wear with it. – Harrison

When it comes to mixing patterns, it’s all about maintaining noticeable difference between the patterns that are layered next to each other.  In size, boldness, and the shape of the pattern itself.  Otherwise, it screws with your head.  There should be a clear visual break between your layers.  That way a person’s brain won’t have to hit overdrive attempting to figure out just where your shirt stops and your jacket begins. If those checks on Harrison’s shirt were smaller, then it’d get hairy quick.  Worn with solid pants or jeans?  It’ll look great.  Medium sized squares + small lines making v shapes = good.  More over here, complete with a chart.

Got a question or a style tip?  Send them in here.  Additional answers to the above questions can go in the comments.