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Guy Style // Shells are Swell

Mr. Pepper is back with another great Guy Style post for you today!  Keep reading for his take on Spring-layering for dudes, and as usual – feel free to pass this post along to the stylish men in your life!

Shop for Shells…

If you are anything like me, as the winter months drag on, your outerwear starts to feel a little stale, tired, and heavy.  There are only so many days I can choose between a wool peacoat and a quilted down jacket before I feel like curling up in the fetal position and dreaming of my San Diego days where the temperature is always an infuriating 72 degrees.
From time to time, I like to switch things up by forgoing my heavy overcoats while still aiming to keep warm by layering a lighter shell on top.  Whether it’s a tailored trenchcoat for business meetings or a thin windbreaker for your more casual adventures, the key is to make sure your outer shell is capable of blocking the wind and allowing your sweaterand base-layers to do the heavy lifting.

For the particularly chilly day-trip pictured above, I was headed out to explore the town and campus of Princeton, NJ with my best girl, and paired my light-weight vintage utility jacket with a cable-knit shawl-collar sweater and a warm flannel underneath.  It’s an easy, yet style-centric look, that will keep you warm but won’t cause you to overheat when stepping into a coffee shop for a treat (or waiting while your wife tries on clothes from the local shops).

If you end up trying out for yourself, and let me know what you think!

Top to Bottom:
Aviators – Red Star (similar)
Plaid flannel shirt – J. Crew (similar)
Shawl collar sweater – J. Crew
Tan shell – Vintage, Brooklyn Flea (similar here and shop more options above!)
Tapered skinny jeans – Unbranded Denim
Desert boots – Clarks USA

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Guy Style // Red Wing Boots

Hey all – Mr. Pepper, here.  Given that we’ve been faced with some slightly inclement weather over the past few weeks, I thought it might be time to address the importance of all-weather boots in today’s Guy Style feature.  See below for my tips plus more photos, and feel free to let me know if you have any menswear-focused style questions in the comments at the bottom of this page.

Over the past few posts, we’ve discussed several closet staples for the stylish gentleman in your life, and a decent pair of utility boots is no exception.  Ideally, they’re something that he can wear quite a bit during the colder half of the year, and they especially come in handy for those times of tromping through rain or snow.

While it’s true that a classic pair of Duck Boots will keep your feet warm and dry, they can look a bit silly if you aren’t hunting, doing farmwork or attending an equine sporting event.  I’ve found that something like this pair of Irish Setter Red Wing boots can be the perfect solution, and they fill the gap in nearly any shoe rack quite nicely.  They’re perfect for all types of nasty weather, yet they don’t look out of place if I wear them out with Mrs. Pepper on a chilly evening.

 

The trick in selecting your own pair of all-weather boots is to find a pair that not only suits your style, but that can clean up well when needed.  While I usually wear my boots with denim, I don’t mind pairing them with the occasional wool pant to create an unexpected touch to the outfit.  To ensure I don’t look like I just stepped off the construction site, I also make an effort to add the necessary “third piece” on the top half, and if you’re opting in for the same, be sure to pick something that fits well and elevates the look (think cashmere sweater, not zip-up hoodie).  As you can see here, I’ve kept my shirttails un-tucked for that artfully disheveled look, but you can do whatever you please.

Finally, a well crafted pair of all-weather boots calls for close attention and care.  Make sure to have cans of saddle soap and mink oil on hand (they make great stocking stuffers!) to ensure that the leather on your boots stay clean and healthy throughout the brutal winter.  Taking these simple, yet necessary precautions will mean that they will surely last for years to come.

Top to Bottom:
Shirt – Baltic stripe Thomas Mason, J. Crew
Sweater – Cashmere V-neck in heather toffee, J. Crew
Denim – Garment-dyed 484 Jean, J. Crew 
Boots – Irish Setter Red Wings

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Guy Style // Bright Bow-tie

Hi, Friends!  My sweet Mr Pepper is back with the latest installment of Guy Style, and this time he’s talking about his beloved bow-ties.  I certainly love when a guy gets a little dressed up, and I’d love to hear in the comments section if you feel the same way – Are bow-ties a thing of the past or an added detail that makes you weak in the knees?

Check out his piece below, and if you love it, be sure to pass this extra little bit of style spice along to the stylish men in your life!

I have a very strong affinity for men’s neckwear.  When I feel like my wardrobe needs a pick-me-up, I twist up a four-in-hand knot in the appropriate seasonal fabric and hit the road.  Unfortunately, the traditional necktie has nearly disappeared from workplace attire, and that has led me to (secretly) officially instate something I like to call #TieFridayat my office. While participation is a bit sporadic at best, it’s still been a success because ties are being worn and embraced.
As much as I stand behind that crisp slice of fabric that hangs just above the belt, there are still a few occasions where the regular tie is cliché and the situation calls for something more; something unique; something tied up just like a bow.
I have two rules when it comes to bow-ties: 1) Tie it yourself (you’re an adult, time to act like one), and 2) Wear it like a tie. This means, if you choose a white shirt like I did on this particular evening, a jacket is a must.  Keep these two simple tips front of mind, and I think you’ll be impressing the ladies in your life in no time.
Top to Bottom:
Jacket – Paul Smith (similar on sale here)
Shirt – J Crew
Bow-tie – Urban Outfitters (more here and here)
Jeans – Unbranded (similar)
Shoes – Vintage, thrifted (similar splurge or steal)

Guy Style // Accent Outerwear

Hi, All – Mr. Pepper here!  I’ve got the latest installment of Guy Style to share with you this morning, and as you may have guessed by the blindingly bright shade in the photo above (or the title, for you smarties), today we’re talking about accent outerwear for men.

Somehow, the majority of the guys out there are convinced that all of their coats or jackets have to be a neutral color, which means that when the temps start to drop, we see a whole lot of black, navy, or army-fatigue-green.  Nowhere in the “Stylebook for Men” does it say that all of your coats or jackets has to be boring, and yet I find that outerwear is the most bland area of any man’s wardrobe.
I conducted a non-scientific study recently (read: paid attention on my commute to work), and based on what I observed, have determined that 95% of men own 3 coats and 2.5 of them are black.
Okay – I admit:  I completely fabricated that statistic, but I think you get the point.  Outerwear is usually a such a one-dimensional category in a guy’s closet, and that’s why I’m bringing up the importance and ease of having a little fun with it by injecting some color into the mix.
When I first saw this Baracuta Jacket in tomato red, I was completely intimidated by its garish hue.  First of all, it’s bright.  Really bright.  And second of all, my very own style icon wore a similar red jacket in Rebel Without a Cause, and let’s face it: not everyone can be quite as all-American bad-ass as James Dean. As much as I loved the look of the piece, I was a bit nervous when it finally became a part of my closet, but I quickly figured out that the key to pulling off statement outwear is to let it speak for itself.
On this particularly chilly day of walking around by the water in San Francisco, I purposefully paired it with more muted colors that I knew wouldn’t distract from the jacket but could stand on their own if it got to be too warm.  I styled it almost the same way I would have done for a red (or other bold color of) shirt, and that’s something that is a much simpler and more manageable way of looking at it for most.
So, guys… I’m challenging you to take a chance by branching out from your drab old black or gray fleece zip-ups for the upcoming fall.  Try to find something that won’t make your significant other ask, “Don’t you have something just like that already?” and you’ll be channeling your own inner James Dean in no time at all.
Find more tips from Mr. Pepper here, and don’t forget to share with the stylish dudes in your life!
Top to Bottom: 
Aviators -  Red Star (similar)
T-shirt – J. Crew (similar)
Hoodie – Land’s End Canvas (similar)
Baracuta jacket – J. Crew (khaki version here, red option here)
Jeans – Unbranded, Method in KC
Striped socks – J. Crew
Suede McAlister boots in “Stone” – J. Crew

Guy Style // White Denim

Hey there, Mr. Pepper here.  I’ve got another dose of Guy Style for you today, and as is becoming a bit of a trend for this column, it exposes yet another one of my insecurities for your entertainment, and hopefully a little educational benefit for the style-seeking men in your life, as well.

Check out my take on white denim for dudes in the the rest of the post below, and feel free to let me know if you ever have any specific questions or requests about men’s fashion that I can answer for you here in my column.

I’m going to be totally honest with you: I love wearing white jeans just about as much as I am completely terrified of wearing them.  Though I might appear at least somewhat comfortable in the photos above, every time I look down when I have them on, I suddenly feel the need to wrap myself in a towel.  (A swath of terrycloth would probably garner me less attention than the imaginary neon signs pointing to my legs that I see in my head.)  Never wanting to be held prisoner to a silly insecurity, I’m sometimes able to work up the courage to throw on this pair of white jeans for certain occasions, and am almost always pleased with the results.

My trick for wearing white denim is shamefully simple: I pick the shirt in my wardrobe that I know I’ll feel the absolute best in on that given day.  That’s it.  The key is to avoid the over-thinking, and it really is that easy!
The reason it works is that, choosing a shirt that fits my mood makes it easier to muster a confident attitude, and that really ends up being the most important accessory.  For this particular night out, I went with a standard dark blue work shirt and slipped on some suede driving moccasins to keep it streamlined and casual.
Extra Spice Advice //  If you don’t believe me when I say that wearing white denim is worth it, I’ll let you in on a little secret…  These jeans were almost lost in the horrific crotch-split incident of 2011.  I thought for sure I was going to have to retire them, but my tailor was able to repair them in what was nothing short of a miracle.  Let that be a lesson in the importance of having a strong “style-support system”… Find yourself a great tailor that you love and trust, and if you already have one – don’t forget to give them a big hug of thanks every now and again.
Editor’s Note – If you’re a lady looking for a little white denim inspiration, check out the way I styled a pair up for myself last week!  And rest assured, we DID NOT wear them on the same day/outing. ;)
Top to Bottom:
Watch – Ollech & Wachs (similar & strap here)
Driving moccasins – J. Crew (similar here and here)