A wise man once asked: “What the hell just happened?” And for good reason. There is value in looking back. It gives us all a good gauge as to what is good, and more importantly, what is not good, going forward. Sure, the “clip show” is mostly a cheap (affordable?) device to create new content out of already published stuff. But they’re also a good way to catch up in case you missed something. So cue the flashback music. Here’s the very best from the month that just was…
Best Sale: Nordy Black Fri., BR Cyber Mon., J. Crew 30% off Few Exclusions
A tough call being that November had both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But all three of these deserve the nod for different reasons. First, Nordstrom really seemed to go for it on Black Friday & Cyber Monday this year. They’re not really known for bowing to the pressures of the traditional retail calendar, but this year they knocked an extra 25% off many of their already marked down Black Friday/Cyber Monday items. Fingers crossed they do that again next year. For Banana Republic, their Black Fri offer was a dud, but 40% off & no exclusions on Cyber Monday = fantastic. And J. Crew, after holding out on much of their Fall inventory for much of the autumn, got off the sidelines with a 30% off, with few exclusions offer. Even fall suiting and their legacy blazers got the cut.
Best Expansion on an Old Tradition: How to Wear It: $1500 Wardrobe
Been doing the $1500 wardrobe for five friggin’ years now, but it took us until this year to figure out that maybe it’d be useful to visualize what you could make out of that hypothetical expenditure. (I know, sometimes we’re not the quickest.) Thanks to all of those who sent in really solid feedback about this year’s $1500 wardrobe series. We’ll be doing it again next year for sure.
Best Way to Dress Down a Sportcoat: Wear a Small Print Shirt
So you’re headed somewhere that perhaps a sportcoat would look a bit overdressed. But, you really want to wear a sportcoat (it has its advantages). One way to dress a sportcoat or blazer down, way down, while still looking good, is to put it on over a shirt with a small print to it. Not stiff checks or stripes, but a micro print. This trend might die a fiery death soon, but for now? It’s a real easy way to de-stuff the jacket and jeans look (which yes, in some situations can look a little stuffy, even w/ jeans).
Best post to revisit next year: Helping the Host on Thanksgiving
For those of us who don’t do a damn thing in terms of getting the meal on the table, make a real effort to show your appreciation by assisting in other ways. It makes a world of difference. Beth’s hour by hour plan to help, but not get in the way, is frankly, genius. Serve drinks to guests. Set the table. And remember, if they cook, you do the dishes.
Best modern interpretation of a classic: W&B Shetland Cable Sweater
Strong, but not overly weighty shetland wool. Classic cable pattern. It’s J. Crew, so cut a little closer than a traditional fisherman’s style sweater, but not tight either. Also available in navy, but it’s that “ivory” that really hits all the heritage look buttons. Often on sale.
Biggest Surprise? UNIQLO struggles in the States
They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but plenty of guys seem to source some of their basics (if not more) from UNIQLO. But they’re not having an easy time breaking through. The Economist states: “In the ’burbs, no one has heard of the company.” Meanwhile, some dudes are up in arms over the changing of dimensions to their OCBDs. Is UNIQLO quickly heading into a realm where they’re trying to please everyone, but no one here in America is pleased? (Photo Credit)
Best use of red in outwear: Topman Wool Blend Topcoat in “Rust”
A red coat? Actually… yeah. That de-saturated, brown/red “rust” color from Topman is actually a decent way to inject a little color into the otherwise expected, drab days of winter. Down to just larges on Nordstrom’s site, and doesn’t seem to be available direct through Topman? More on this coat in the annual best outerwear round up.
Most “mneh” end to an awesome era: SPECTRE
It just… wasn’t. Far from this silly website to criticize the resurrection of a money printing film franchise… but when we all look back, will we see the opening scene of Quantum of Solace as the peak of Daniel Craig’s run? Casino Royale was fantastic. Everyone’s expectations for the next film were soaring. And… after that scene in QoS… it was just not quite the same afterward. But man it was fun all the same. And credit to Craig for not taking his promotional tour too seriously.
Best proof that pursuing perfection is dumb: Daniel Craig’s Running Shoes
A wrinkle here. A shoulder divot there. The internet is littered with menswear snobs who are waiting in breathless anticipation to jump down the throat of anyone who DARE post a picture that doesn’t show the smoothest, best fitting, most exquisitely put together outfit they’ve ever seen. And it’s ridiculous. Put something in a frame, and all the “flaws” stand out. Look at a shot in a magazine, and the model almost certainly can’t move comfortably due to extreme tailoring. See an outfit haul ass through a scene in a movie, and chances are there’s something you can’t see making it more comfortable. The vast majority of you get this, but for those that don’t, remember that having an overdeveloped critical eye is almost always worse than having no sense of style at all.
Most unlikely to catch on Men’s outerwear trend: Capes
Headline: “Antonio Banderas Is Going to Fashion School So He Can Bring Capes Back to Menswear.” And believe it or not, some brands & retailers started carrying a few cape designs this season. Look, Zorro’s gonna Zorro, but for the rest of us? Probably not.
Most Anticipated New Arrivals: Orient Polaris & H&M Suede Boots
This one’s a tie. H&M had a hard time getting some orders shipped out after Black Friday / Cyber Monday, so, still awaiting the arrival of those dirt cheap suede chelseas here at the home offices. Meanwhile, Orient’s new Polaris follows up on the themes of the already extremely attractive “Adventurer” automatic, but in a more subtle look. Currently 40% off during their holiday sale with the code HLDY2015. Got one on the way for an in-person review and giveaway. So hang tight.