Proof that style doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s our monthly list of ten picks, each individually costing less than seventy five bucks. Got a tip on something for under $75? Send those in to email@example.com.
Inexpensive, washed cotton blazers are just great. They’re versatile, comfortable, and if you get one that fits and/or take it to a tailor, it’ll be something you reach for consistently. Especially on those dressed-down days in need of a little mental boost. Now, after a few years of NOTHING (thanks to pandemic athleisure)… are we seeing a comeback for inexpensive, mostly cotton blazers? That seems to be the case thanks to this new option from Old Navy and the Target one Ryan reviewed a couple months back. Fingers crossed this doesn’t have functioning sleeve cuff buttons (cost-prohibitive to tailor), overly long arms, and/or a chopped and awkwardly short tail. Those have been the downfalls of many another cheap cotton blazer.
This is the belt that gets mentioned a ton in style scenarios, yet it was realized that we’ve never actually done an in-person look. It’s good. It’s not gonna make leather-snobs drool, but it also doesn’t have some high-shine plastic looking mess either. Dressy enough to wear with a suit, casual enough to wear with chinos or performance pants. Dark brown on one side, black on the other, with one of those spring-loaded pivoting buckles that allows you to easily switch which side of the leather faces out. It’ll be a big help in our upcoming “What to wear when traveling light and in style” post. That should publish next week. Belt ships and returns for free since it’s Nordstrom. Order one size up from your normal pants size. I usually wear a 32 in chinos/jeans, and a 34 fits me just fine. Maybe a little on the shorter side, so do size up if you’re in between.
Before they started making the best bang-for-the-buck half canvas suits in menswear, Spier was a shirt company. And it still shows in how intentional they are about their fabrics and designs. Check out those collars. Substantial. Refined. Not some cheap button down, with the collar flat, lifeless, and looking stapled to the body of the shirt. That might not make a difference to everyone, but it makes a huge difference to plenty. All hail the substantial collar, whether it be a button down with a beautiful roll like this, or a sharp semi-spread when worn without a tie.
One way to brighten up a simple look is to add a splash of color via a pocket square. And this one from BR Factory looks to be the perfect warm-weather addition to a gray, light gray, or blue suit jacket or sportcoat. Fold it so just the cream cotton/linen edges stick out for a real clean look. Stuff it in and pull up a bit of the abstract colorful center for something more bold. Fold it so those blocks of color make up the rectangle that peeks out of your chest pocket. There’s lots of ways to wear this thing. Bottom line: You really don’t need to buy some funky color suit or loud patterned blazer just for the warmer months. Use what you have, and add a splash of color to make a foundational suit look more summery.
From legendary aftermarket bracelet/strap maker “Uncle Seiko.” Because summer means heat, sweat, and probably jumping in a lake or the ocean. Looks especially good on a diver. And since most divers come on stainless steel bracelets, now’s not a bad time to switch out that “shine” for something a little more matte. Summer sun can really make some metal watch bracelets visually overwhelming. Some. Not all.
Manly Indulgence is such a cheesy (or unintentionally sehkzay) name for a candle brand with a male target demo that it sounds like something Artificial Intelligence came up with. The candle smells great though. Not too earthy, not too sweet. Not too anything (read: it’s not overpowering.)
Bonobos Riviera Swim Trunks – $29 – $39 FINAL ($89)
Most would probably agree that Bonobos prices feel pretty high. Maybe too high. Yet their Riviera Swim Trunks, especially now that they’ve moved to a soft, stretchy, mesh boxer-brief style liner, are worth the investment. Which is why it’s remarkable that so many colors and patterns have gone on sale, this early in the season. Problem is they’re final sale. No returns, no exchanges. So best if you have experience with Bonobos sizing already, especially if you’ve bought swim stuff from them before.
Part hard-boiled detective series, part critique of the absurdities of modern society (even if/especially if these books have been around for decades)… John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee detective novels are perfect beach reads for someone who hasn’t had the sun fully go to their head. McGee is a self described beach bum who lives on a houseboat he won in a poker game. When he’s not taking retirement in early installments, he’s out being a “salvage consultant,” hired by people looking to get something (or someone) back. Sometimes he cracks a few skulls. Sometimes his skull is the one that gets cracked. Available on Amazon of course, but if you’re travelling this summer and duck into a used bookshop, you might get lucky and find one (or more) of these on a shelf priced at a few bucks. Buy it. Read it on your trip.
For when you need to dress up a little but lace-ups seem a little too stiff and stuffy, go with sleek loafers. And for fifty bucks with free shipping and free returns, Nordstrom’s on-sale Dino should fit that bill nicely. Expect similar quality to their in-house oxfords, which Adam reviewed over here.
Also shown at the very top of the post in “Grazioso Floral Blue.” Italian Summer Style. Because sometimes you need to wear a tie, and a few of those sometimes crop up each year in the form of warm weather weddings. Summer ties are usually colorful, bold, and a little playful. But a lot of brands (even big name/spendy brands) go overboard with saturation and pattern. These are classy, slightly muted, and still bring a little fun.
For other Best Bets under $75 from previous months, click here.