Last week we recognized the Best Affordable Style of 2023, focusing on the top products pumped out by the retail establishment. This week we’re taking a look back at the best (at least what WE consider the best) of what Dappered had to offer in 2023. Not trying to toot our own horn here. Consider this more of an exercise in recognizing what was popular with the Dappered readers, so we continue to create informative content in the New Year. And by the way, to you the Dappered readers: thanks.
A note on methodology: So what makes something a “top” post? It’s a combination of the most viewed and what we felt were the best of the best from this year. So basically, it’s whatever we want it to be.
- In Review: J.Crew Ludlow Cap Toe Leather Oxfords
- In Review: Grant Stone Garrison Cap Toe Boots
- In Review: Thursday Boot Co Scout Chukka Boots
- Nike’s “By You” custom sneakers program
It was another prolific year for shoe reviews, thanks to our man Adam T. He reviewed a wide range of styles, brands, price points, and qualities. Some shoes like Nike’s By You Custom program and J. Crew’s Camp shoes were top of the class. But then there were the dunces. This is why these reviews happen, so we can hopefully all learn which pairs are worth our hard earned dollars.
Congrats to Spier and Mackey on taking the top prize for the Best Affordable Suit of 2023. It’s a major award. Although the Red Label suits from Spier don’t offer all the bells and whistles of their core line, these suits offer enough that the price is pretty unheard of for the quality. The biggest deal is that these are half canvas construction, rather than being fused. The folks at Spier and Mackay pulled off their magic once again.
The Baltic Aquascaphe is the rare social media favorite which actually lives up to the hype. 39mm diameter, a solid brushed stainless steel case, and a simple, classy dial and bezel. Top marks all around. Unfortunately Baltic’s Bicompax 002 Mechanical Chronograph didn’t quite live up to the Aquascaphe’s level, although it’s quite the looker. Baltic continues to make interesting watches at reasonable prices.
The Spier and Mackay Red Label half canvas suits took the Dappy last week for best suit of 2023. But BR received an honorable mention for these suit separates, because when they’re marked down by 40% (rare, but it happens) that’ll drop the price below $400. The all-season Italian wool fabric, ease of movement, and the fact that this suit is sold as separates (so you can start to dial the fit in before tailoring) all make for an excellent choice… when on sale. For a mall brand suit, this is one to consider.
There’s been an uptick (see what we did there) in more expensive watches offered by Timex the last several years, but at $189 the Harborside was a welcome option landing in-between the the uber affordable Weekender and the American Documents series. While it’s a beast at 43mm (and wears like it) that might be best left to bulkier wrists and arms, it’s a fun option for the guy looking to add to his watch collection at the sub $200 price range.
For those that shop at Target, Goodfellow has been a great source of outerwear that fits great, looks great, and yet doesn’t break the bank. Ryan N. took several pieces from Goodfellow’s 2023 fall crop for a spin. As can be the case with Target, there were some misses, but the vast majority ended up on the “hits” side of the list. The majority of the products from the review are still available on Target’s website, and you would think they’d start to hit the clearance rack sometime soon.
If you don’t want to spend more than $200 yet still look like you should be taken seriously (because you should), then the Fossil (yes Fossil) Haskell isn’t a half bad choice. It has a decent leather exterior, top grab handles, an appropriate amount of space, looks professional but not stuffy, and the branding is minimal. Altogether it looks quite lean and mean. Looks and functionality. And it’s even good for travel.
After years of asking for a smaller version of their popular Bambino dress watch series, Orient has come up with the goods. And have they ever. In house automatic movement, sharp design, and a reasonable price.
A brown leather belt. Not the most exciting thing in the world. But what did add a little excitement to this wardrobe staple was the quality-to-price ratio. $44.95 is the asking retail price, but during promos, it can be had for cheaper. And that makes it a contender with GAP’s beloved leather belt. Not a replacement, mind you, but a strong contender. Either will do just fine.
A RARE boot review not done by Adam. Joe (!!) tackled this one. Since J. Crew runs promos that’ll include their footwear from time to time, it seemed appropriate to give these Kenton Pacer Boots a spin to see if they were worth the price, even at a discount. Turns out they are. They delivered on both looks and comfort, and at the time were marked down to $210 (from $298), so they also delivered on value for the price. Short on sizes currently, and we might not see them stocked back up until fall fever hits again?
J. Crew’s Quilted Sussex Jacket could be considered heritage, as far as J. Crew is concerned. It seems to have been part of their catalogue for quite a while now. Ryan reviewed it this past fall, and he sang very high praises except for one gripe about the lack of piping around the seams of the arm attachments. This can cause some gripping when putting the jacket on. A small, but inconvenient detail. All in all though, Ryan was impressed, so we’re glad J. Crew has some anchor items to their lineup that they just don’t mess with.
Gustin is the real deal in a cluttered world of direct-to-consumer brands. The quality is amazing, the materials are great, and you can tell that they truly care about what and how they make their goods. The USA made Deluxe briefcase is prime proof.
So good it almost won this year’s Dappy. But they jacked the price up by twenty bucks shortly after the review ran, so, *snatches little statute out of Invicta’s hands* NO DAPPY FOR YOU. Still a great, versatile, impressive for the $130 price watch, especially considering the fact that Invicta makes some pretty atrocious looking stuff.