If you’ve got a style tip, question, or anything else you’d like to pass along, you can send those in to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d rather your question not be featured in a future mailbag, just go ahead and say so in your email. Want more than one average Joe’s (HA!) opinion? Check out our forum, Threads.
Q: Year Round Hopsack Wool Sportcoat: Bonobos or Spier & Mackay?
I saw that Spier & Mackay has a 20% off sale running right now, and they have, in my size, that navy hopsack with patch pockets and 1/4 lined with bemberg. Yet based on your writings lately and my love for all things Bonobos, I’ve been planning to jump on the Bonobos unlined Italian wool jacket. I’ve never tried a sportcoat from either brand, and I’m not too concerned with the price difference if Bonobos is a clear winner, but I’d like to know which one you would pick? I’m 5’7″ / 170 if that helps.
First, if you’ll allow, can we address the above image? Those pics were shot at least 3 years apart. Turns out I haven’t changed much over the years. (Jeans and a sportcoat and an open collared shirt and a bag with a stripe on it. Sorry about the rut my fellas.) Anyway, back to Danny’s dilemma. If you’re going for something other than navy or bright blue, then Bonobos is your answer (they have a TON of colors in their unconstructetd wool sportcoats). But if you’re going for a shade of blue, Spier & Mackay is gonna cost you a hell of a lot less, and deliver 85% – 90% of what the Bonobos does. I’d argue the wool on the Bonobos is better. But, since Spier & Mackay offers free returns on your first suit or sportcoat purchase, and Bonobos is free shipping & returns all the time… I’d get one of each, then send the one you like less back. Oh, and if you’re 5’7″/170, skip the Bonobos “Slim” fit. Go with standard. Their slim is a true slim, and you might be too broad for it.
Q: Collar Assist?
Saw your featured post about the final 5% and how it can make a difference. I agree with you on having a good collar, but I found it interesting that you left out the best invention when it comes to collars. Wurkin stiffs! I use their polo stays and plastic stiffy stays and love em’.
– Dylan S.
First, welcome. Second, I know you’re new-ish to the site because for years and years I sung the praises of wurkin’ stiffs. And I totally understand why so many still use them. That said, I never quite got used to the magnetic buttons being visible, even if ever so slightly, on the inside of my collar. I even invested in those colored, rubber coated buttons. Finally, I one day just got some regular, somewhat bendable alloy stays, and after putting a hockey stick style bend in em, I’ve never looked back. No more magnets, and my collar stays at attention all day (mind you, I also wear sportcoats and blazers a ton, and thus, that helps the points stay in line). Yes, wurkin stiffs are just fine if you like em’, but there is a simpler solution out there (as was mentioned in the post).
Q: Killshot Alternatives
This blog is old.
-Del Y. (via FB)
That’s a fine, fine observation Del. Technically, the post is “old.” But so is this blog (we launched almost 10 years ago). Anyway, it was a “featured post.” And “featured post” sounds better than “old posts that we’re re-distributing through our social media channels in case someone missed it, wasn’t following us when it first launched, or that post has somehow become relevant again due to current circumstances.” And J. Crew re-released the Killshots a few days back. They’re sold out now. They’re still awfully uncomfortable compared to the competition (like Stan Smiths) and I still don’t get the fascination. So. Yeah. It is old. And thanks for the eloquent feedback.
Q: Rolex Explorer I Alternative?
I’m looking to get a watch similar to the Rolex Explorer. I am looking for something no larger than 40 mm. Ideally would be automatic and under $600; although, I would certainly consider quartz. The first brand that comes to mind is Hamilton (Khaki King/Field); however, I know there are several others out there. Any thoughts on a good alternative?
The thing about Rolex is that their designs are so iconic that even those trying to produce “homages” to them… often fall short. And you’re certainly on the right track. The Hamilton Khaki Field on a stainless band and in the 40mm diameter is a fine alternative. The dial is obviously busier, but they (to me) did a real nice job on the re-design. Meanwhile, there’s also Seiko’s popular SARB033 auto, but that lacks those fat, balance-adding Arabic numerals. At least the date window on the Seiko matches the dial. Meanwhile, if one day you want to jump into the luxury watch game, but don’t want to go ALL the way to Rolex? You can get a “baby Rolex,” or, a Tudor, that’s awfully close, for less than half the price of an Explorer.
Q. Best affordable driving loafers?
I’m looking for a pair of decent quality, but still affordable driving loafers. Thoughts?
I like the Jack Erwin “Parker” myself. Not super cheap at $115, but they are made in Portugal. Then there’s Marc Mcnairy’s New Republic line. Hard to get cheaper than that. The problem with drivers is that most are, by design, not good to be worn for extended periods of time. Why? They’re designed to be worn while sitting (driving a car) and for maximum foot dexterity and touch responsiveness. So, the cushioning ain’t gonna be there. They’re great for around the house, short trips, or… actually driving. But just don’t plan on standing in them for hours and hours at an outdoor concert or anything.
Q. Avoiding “Dad Style”
Just read your 10 Men’s summer style mistakes and it got me thinking about my upcoming child and succumbing to some of the things in your article, but out of necessity. (Clean up on aisle “dad”, if you catch my drift.) Any plans on tackling the “Dad Uniform?” Hoping to find a happy medium.
One of my pals from way back just had a kid, and he even posted to Instagram something about how he was “settling into his new Dad look.” The shot was of him and his newborn son, kid’s head resting against Dad’s chest while on the couch, Dad wearing an unbuttoned madras shirt. Yet he still looked like Jason Statham. Look, I think this is like anything else. Your priorities can shift as new responsibilities crop up, but you also owe it to yourself (and your offspring) to not mail it in/give up on you. Because if you do and use them as an excuse? Your kids are gonna see that, and in the end, it’s resentment all around. (But I’m a physical and social wreck for you! I did it for you!) They’ll hate you for it one day. Promise. Try to balance functionality with fit. You can wear cargo shorts to hold the cheerios and the binkie. Just make sure they’re not enormously oversized, and pair them with some classic canvas or leather sneakers and a well fitting, plain t-shirt. Diaper bags don’t have to look like crap, despite holding nappies for crappin’. It’s the little things, especially when all the other Dads at the pre-school pickup have waved the white flag. Give a damn. Even a little damn, and all the Mom’s will be referring to you as a DILF behind your back in no time.
Q. Winter D.C. Trip Wardobe Prep?
I’m from Houston, and we have a wedding coming up in Washington DC early December. Being from Texas we don’t really have a ton of cold weather gear. I’m going to be putting around DC for 2 days and visiting some customers. Then Saturday/Sunday we’ll be doing wedding stuff and traveling home. Do you have any recommendations for nice stuff to wear while I’m around DC during the day? Probably will be walking quite a bit so comfortable shoes but stylish business casual (and warm!)
Washington D.C., especially the last few years, can be outrageously unpredictable when it comes to winter weather. It can either be somewhat mild, or, it can blizzard. And then there’s the ice storms that can down power lines every so often. So, step 1 would be to keep an eye on the forecast. Step 2 would be to take care of your feet. You’ll want lightweight, merino wool hiking socks and some smart-casual boots with grip on the bottom. If you want to go cheap, I’d give the JC Penney Stafford Deacon a try. I KNOW I KNOW, I can hear the shouts now. Yes, they’ve changed the leather quality and they aren’t as good as they used to be. But for $40, you can get a pair of beater boots you won’t be too upset if you trash (just be sure you wear them in well first, before you head to D.C.). Otherwise, there’s Allen Edmonds Daltons (make sure you get the rubber sole) or Liverpool chelseas (V-tread sole comes standard). But those are darn, darn pretty boots. Comfortable as hell though (break em’ in before you go). For the rest? Layers. Bring layers. An unconstructed wool sportcoat (see the first email in this post) should do you right. And a wool but not overly bulky single breasted top-coat plus a scarf. Something you can shed quickly when necessary. The metro can get steamy. Especially when it’s on fire.
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