With baseball’s best taking a break this week to play the Midsummer Classic, now’s as good a time as ever to take a look back at the first half of the year. Unlike the All-Star game, no brand or item will get home field advantage in next year’s Store Wars Competition. Top Photo Credit
The Sportcoats: J. Crew Navy Glenplaid Linen – $130 – $168 | Target Kensington – $44.99
It’s arguably the most important piece in a guy’s wardrobe. Even more than a suit, since most of us don’t spend 5 days a week in a suit anymore. A well fitting three or four season sportcoat that can go just as well with jeans as chinos can make you look unfairly good. Both of these get the job done, at different prices. The J. Crew is long gone and almost immediately sold out when it debuted. Limited sizes made it to the sale section. The Target option didn’t fit everyone the best, but that’s to be expected with mega-cheap blazers. Also worth knowing, the Target blazers now come in a light grey and khaki. Also nominated: Zara’s shirt weight micro check.
The Suit: Banana Republic Wool/Linen Peak Lapel – $266 at 30% off
Long gone and for good reason. Yes, it’s a summer suit so its use is limited to the warmer months, but these separates were nails. 54% wool and 46% linen fabric sourced from an Italian Mill. Light, breathable, and shows just enough of that linen texture without going overboard. Produced in BR’s slimmer “tailored” fit. Not a true khaki, but with some grey tones in there. Shoulder pads minimal, and the peak lapels were subtle enough that even notch addicts could give them a spin. Went on sale every so often since it wasn’t labeled as one of their Monogram Suits. Lucky you if you were able to get one. Other nominees: The $77 cotton Perry Ellis, and the $136 wool Express.
The Shirt: Target Merona’s Continuing “Ultimate Dress Shirt” Expansion
The white is just fine, the addition of the blue and grey chambray was unexpected, and they finally delivered a light blue model. Sure they could be slimmer, but the price is unbeatable if you’re on a tight budget. Also nominated: BR’s poplin stretch slim fit (when on sale of course).
The Pants: GAP 1969 Denim Washed Khakis
Consider this a bone thrown in the direction of team tapered legs. These felt like socks from the knee down on my legs, but plenty love them. The finish and thickness of the fabric is also fantastic. Also nominated: The now sold out straight fit GAP Glen Plaid tailored pant.
The Sweater: Calibrate Trim fit Cotton/Modal/Spandex V-Neck – $33.90 ($69.50)
Despite an initial reaction of: “This is going back…” it was kept, and I’m glad it stuck around. It’s a really smooth, easy to move in sweater, even if it does lay a little funky here and there. The V on the collar doesn’t dip too low, it ships and returns free, and it’s perfect under a lightweight blazer. Sizes and colors are sort of scattered now, but there’s still a decent selection left. Full review here. Other nominees: The quickly sold out Bonobos Cashmere, BR’s super cheap silk/cotton/cashmere crewnecks.
The Watch: Orient Sparta Automatic – $168 w/ code Summer2012
A bit on the larger side for an off-duty field type of watch, but it’s good looking enough that you’ll want to catch a glimpse of it any chance that you get. Sold out in the black dial and leather band. Nice half moon day cutout and awesome hypodermic needle hands. Review here. Other nominees: Citizen’s Orange Aviator, Maratac Pilot.
The Dress Shoes: Johnston & Murphy Letson Medallion – $185.00
Part of the Best Dress Shoes under $200 list, and a real rarity in the world of men’s shoes. It’s a whole cut (meaning: one big piece of leather makes up the upper) with a stand out medallion. The sole is bonded to the upper, but if you’re the type who wants something out of the norm and you don’t beat the hell out of your shoes, then worth a look. Also nominated: The Allen Edmonds Fairfax, and the just reviewed Ciro Lendini Single Monk
The Casual Shoes: Polo Ralph Lauren’s Driver Series – $52.49* – $100
Telly, Terry, and Roderick. The trio make a hell of a solid group of inexpensive and uber comfortable driving moc siblings. Made in China, but the leather is ridiculously soft (at least on the Terry… anybody got the others?). Plenty of variety in style too, with the simple Telly penny strap, the too loud for some Terry, and the boat inspired Roderick. * Use the code RLEXTRA25 to save an extra 25% off on the on sale Telly and Roderick when you order through Ralph Lauren’s website. Code expires today, 7/9/12. Also Nomiated: Allen Edmonds Neumok, Rancourt & Co suede chukka, LEC Jackson Chukka
Came and went quickly. When on sale it dipped under $100 and it was a total bargain at that price. Had enough class to look at home in any workplace, but the nylon exterior kept it inexpensive. Some complained that the flap over portion went to hell on them when it got rain, but I’ve carried this thing for five months now, got caught in a downpour or two, and it’s holding up extremely well. Like many of the items on this list, no longer available.
The Piece of Luggage: Wood & Faulk Weekender – $249
At just 1764 cubic inches of space, it’s not the biggest thing in the world, but hot damn it looks good enough that you can get by without that extra pair of socks. Or pants. Has that throw-back steel frame, incredible looking leather accents, and it’s made in Portland. Also available in Olive. Should have been mentioned over here but somehow got omitted. Also nominated: LEC’s trip bag when it dipped to $56, the USA duffels here, and Frost River’s Bison splurge.
The Grooming Product: Jack Black All Day Oil-Control Lotion – $26.00
Really keeps the shine down. A lot. If you’re the type who somehow develops a sheen by the end of the day, even if you’re just sitting at your desk, look into this stuff. Review here.
The most jarring exit from a movie w/ talked about style: Christina Hendricks in Drive
Don’t know about you, but I was expecting multiple car chases and Christina Hendricks sticking around for awhile. Incredible movie. Better than I expected. Not the lightest fare.
The Drink: The Brooklyn
AKA the winter into spring transitional cocktail. Still drinking them. Don’t care that it’s crazy hot out. A reason to always have real preserved cherries on hand.
The Brewery: 21st Amendment
Yes, there are a million worthwhile amazing craft breweries out there. But these guys put their stuff in cans. Meaning you can bring them almost anywhere with you, they’re easier to recycle, and there’s something awfully satisfying about opening a can of beer while performing some boring manual labor. They’ve also produced one of the best, lower alcohol brews out there. Bitter American Ale is just 4.4% but doesn’t lack in taste, body, or color. Heavier worthwhile brews include their Monk’s Blood belgian dark, the Fireside Chat Winter Warmer, and the crisp, highly drinkable Brew Free or Die IPA.
The Sale: CLADmen.com’s going out of business clearance
Landslide victory (in defeat) here. Remember The Esquire/JCPenny retail collaboration? It was a clear the decks liquidation, so, it’s sort of unfair to compare it to other sales, but still. Fully canvassed suits for $312, Made in the USA sportcoats for $150, Leather jackets for $237, suede Chukkas for $30, Gore-Tex hikers for $52, Hugo Boss Tuxedos under $300, etc… Also nominated: April’s J. Crew Quiet extra 30% off sale.
The Splurge / The Goal: Christopher Ward C60 Automatic – $499 – $570