Sure it’s just stuff. But stuff can make life easier, more enjoyable, etc… Every so often we ask one of our favorite, style-appreciating people to rattle off their five favorite things. Sometimes those things will fit into the realm of “affordable,” and sometimes they won’t. We’re going for the favorites here.
Tarek and Justin of The Blue Stones have been reading Dappered for a long time. Like, a really long time. So long that we’ve been able to track their progress from baby band, to a duo with over 10 million Spotify streams (from just two singles!) under their belts. You’ve probably already heard their music. Their songs have been used in everything from shows like Parks and Rec, to bumper music on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
These two from Windsor Canada can make one hell of a lot of sound between them, and they proudly describe their version of rock and roll as “music we want to hear.” I can’t even recall how they connected with us at Dappered. Way back when they got our attention with some style questions (I think?) and we’ve been rooting for them ever since. They have a REALLY bright future, and their new album drops this Friday October 26th.
TAREK’S FIVE: Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Turntable – $99 + Your Favorite Record
If you haven’t hopped on the vinyl train yet, it’s a great time to do so. Many turntable setups and speaker systems are available at inexpensive prices due to the current resurgence in vinyl popularity. There’s nothing like appreciating a beloved album or single in hi-fidelity. Also, record players bring back the experience of listening to music that’s more focused than hopping between random playlists on a streaming platform. Even for casual music listeners, building a collection of your favorite records will give you a reason to sit back and listen again, while also serving as a great conversation point to house-guests.
I know many readers have probably heard this one before, but dark denim is likely the most versatile piece of clothing you can own. As a backbone to many outfits you can wear year round, it’s a must have for the modern man’s wardrobe. If you’re not the skinny fit type, go for the slim taper cut to maintain the fitted look while staying comfortable. Pair them with a comfy T-Shirt and bomber for the weekends, or a tucked collared shirt and blazer for your night’s out, or an untucked, patterned button-up and some boots for a trip into town…the possibilities are (somewhat) endless.
If you’re into live shows, this app is a must-have. Set your location, favourite bands and you’re off. Bandsintown will notify you every time a show has been announced within a customizable radius around your location. Also, it offers the ability to sync with Spotify, Apple Music, and a range of other music platforms to make tracking effortless. Bandsintown will also recommend other shows in your area that you may enjoy based off similar interests, and allow you to RSVP and buy tickets within the app. It’s a no-brainer for any live show fan, and an easy way to get into the scene if you’re not.
For any weird ear anatomy sufferers like myself, finding a pair of headphones that actually stay on—or in—while working out is a journey. Mine ended when I found the Powerbeats. Wireless connectivity to let you focus on your reps rather than where the cables have ended up, as well as ear hooks and in-ear buds to make sure those damn things stay on. Not to mention great sound quality to keep you motivated and sweating. The beats are also great for commutes, or keeping your hands free for housework while on the phone. Yes, at home…don’t be the public loudspeaker guy.
When I first heard of MVMT’s inexpensive but stylish brand of timepieces several years ago, I shot over to their site to see what was in stock. At the time, although simple and clean, most of their watch faces were far too oversized for my taste. However, after learning about there slick new line of 40 mm watch faces—aptly named the “Forty Series”—I became the owner of a “Black Silver” MVMT watch and haven’t stopped wearing it since. It’s just as wearable with a suit as it is with a T-shirt and jeans. Freaky, right? With a wide range of bands, colors, and sizes, MVMT’s Forty Series is an easy favorite for me.
JUSTIN’S FIVE: Herschel Novel Duffle in All Black – $65
Sometimes you feel weird going to the gym with a gorgeous leather duffel. And you (should) always feel weird bringing a giveaway “hey thanks for signing up for a membership!” gym duffel to the office. This bag is stylish enough for the office, but the nylon material makes it an easy fit for the gym, too. The compartmentalized shoe bag is entirely underrated— put your dirty gym clothes in there to keep it away from the stuff in the main compartment of the bag. Tons of space, great construction and fits as carry-on for every flight I’ve been on. Lifetime warranty, and the brand carries a “cool” factor that isn’t too young. Tons of pattern and color combinations if all black is’t your thing.
The “Cute vs. Sexy” post here on Dappered really resonated with me. There was a big disconnect for me, some days I would feel great about what I was wearing and other days not so much… even though I was following all the “rules”. Problem was, the specific combinations sometimes gave too much of a cute/innocent look than I wanted. A denim jacket adds a ton of “badass factor” to practically any outfit. It can even be styled for business casual scenarios (depending on your work environment, of course). Use it in lieu of a blazer with a micro-patterned shirt and chinos for less of a “professor” look and more of a rock ‘n roll vibe. In my opinion, it’s a must-own item for any style-minded dude. Go with black or light wash… contrast is key here, especially if wearing it with dark denim and trying to avoid the Canadian Tuxedo look.
By far the most efficient and useful way to make good coffee on the road. Designed by the same guy who made the Aerobie Flying Disc… weirdly enough. This is the cool secret of the coffee industry, the incredibly versatile toy that baristas love to experiment with. Yes it’s a plastic tube with a plunger, but once you start making coffee with this thing you won’t use your automatic brewer again.
Gets a really bad rap these days from a lot of artists due to low payouts, but I’m choosing to look at the good side. The music industry has just started to see profits climb back again for the first time since Napster brought the house down. Yeah the payouts are low, but in 2010 the payouts were zero. And with everyone in the world paying a small fee to have unlimited access to music, accessing small independent artists has never been easier. You pay just as much to be able to listen to The Rolling Stones as you do to listen to the kids down the street making music in their garage. There’s no more gambling your money on an album that could turn out to suck. The discovery algorithms work really well to dial in your taste and you fall in love with a band you never would otherwise have discovered. It’s the great equalizer, and is launching the careers of tons of artists, The Blue Stones included. More people listening to more music is ultimately a good thing for everybody.
It’s the “lite” version of New York — all the same stuff you love about NYC but cleaner, friendlier, and cheaper. Especially cheaper if your salary is paid in American Greenbacks, thanks to a great exchange rate ($500 USD is about $650 CAD). West Queen West (the Western area of Queen St. W) was recently named one of the top 5 coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue magazine. Fantastic music at all levels from grassroots indie to arena, world-class dining, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer and even professional football. Shopping galore from hip design startups to gigantic malls. Just don’t come in the winter.