Archives: Accessories

Odds and ends – where you should buy boxers, socks and belts

I spend a lot of time talking about suits and shirts and pants and all that good stuff, but what about the smaller accessories? The things that we all own, but rarely put much thought into – the boxers, socks, and belts of our lives?

This week, let’s talk a bit about the three items that don’t get a lot of attention on the BE blog. Here’s my opinion on where you should buy boxers, socks and belts.

Boxers

Brett had a good point recently when he said that one item you never want to save money on is your pair of boxers. The rationale that he provided is that when we go off to college or end up living on our own finally, and we have the freedom to buy our own boxers for the first time, our first instinct is to purchase the cheap ones we find at the big department stores.

We will surely smile at the cash register when we see $2.00 flash on the screen and we’ll pat ourselves on the back for being so frugal and savvy.

But then you wear them.

And very quickly the economics go out the window and instead, all you are focused on now, is taking smaller steps and avoiding stairs altogether. Why? If you really must ask, then let’s just say that cheap cotton (or polyester, yikes!) can be a little rough down there.

On the flip side, it’s very easy these days to find yourself a victim of good marketing and end up paying $45.00 a pair (if not more) for underwear with some guy’s name on it.

So, what’s a guy to do?

In my opinion, you should spend a little more than you think you should, but not so much that it’s outrageous. And just buy one or two pairs at a time. That way you can take them for a test drive before buying more of the same.

Socks

Our advice? Go to Nordstrom’s Rack and check out the ‘sock wall.’ There you will find tons and tons of socks. From the conservative to the liberal, stripes to spots, you name it, you’ll find it. And the best part is that these socks are ridiculously inexpensive. To find something in the neighborhood of $5.00 isn’t uncommon.

The catch is that these socks are probably from last year’s stock at Nordstroms. But who cares? They’re socks! No one, not even me, is going to look at your ankles and point out, “Hmm, those definitely appear to be from 2014, you should really update your look, dude.”

So, save yourself some money and head on over to Nordy’s Rack every few months when your sock drawer needs reinforcement. I think you’re guaranteed to find something you like, and you won’t break the bank doing so.

socks

Belts

When it comes to shopping for belts, you have quite a few options. Obviously, the nicer department stores in the mall will have a huge supply. And if you’re looking for something particularly dressy, you’re probably only going to find it at the mall.

However, if you want something a little more casual and you are open to trying something new, then head over to Bespoke Pedaler and Armitage & McMillan, both in Denver, on Platte Street. These shops seem to have a handful of locally made belts in stock whenever I drop in.

If you’re up in the Fort Collins area, you could try Blackland Clothing.

Wrap up

What did I miss? What is your go-to place for any of the above items. Let’s hear it in the comments below.

By Ryan Wagner

How to know when to wear a pocket square

pocket-square

There are a lot of sources out there on the Internet that show you ways to fold a pocket square, and that very thing seems to be what most guys think of when they see a pocket square in the store or online. But, back up a minute. How do you know when to wear a pocket square in the first place?

This week we want to answer that very question. We’re going to give you some easy guidelines on choosing a pocket square based on the occasion.

In a nutshell…

Here’s how to know when to wear a pocket square

  1. Do you have a chest pocket? Then wear a pocket square!
  2. Pick the right material by matching the fabric to that of your jacket.
  3. Choose something with a pattern for a fun look over something solid.
  4. Your pocket square should refer to and complement the rest of your wardrobe, as opposed to matching it exactly.

Let’s go a little more in depth.

At the office

Pocket square: Conservative (maybe) and not too distracting.

There are many different types of office environments. If you’re in the arts and entertainment industry or work in some other creative field, then you’re probably OK sporting a colorful pocket square.

However, for a more conservative environment, stick to a nice crisp look – a pressed cotton pocket square that extends just a quarter to a half inch above your chest pocket. A silk pocket square is just fine too, but make sure that it’s not too distracting.

For linen and cotton suits, chose a more textured pocket square fabric, like linen or cotton. Stay away from silk because it’s going to look too refined for a more casual suit. This nod to the fabric is an important factor in knowing when to wear a pocket square.

Related article: Dressing for work, how to wear a pocket square in a conservative office

Formal events

Pocket square: White, ironed and crisp.

There’s a reason you always see a white pocket square when men dress for formal events – it helps to frame a guy’s wardrobe. You see, with a white dress shirt (like this one), it will show a little on the cuffs when you’re wearing a dark suit or tuxedo and the white pocket square extending just above your chest pocket will help to frame your overall look.

Of course, if your dress shirt color changes, then you have more room to play with the pocket square. It really just depends how formal the event is that you’re attending

Going out

Pocket square: Colorful and very liberally folded.

When you’re out on the town you can pretty much wear whatever the heck you want to! If you want a nicely refined look, iron that cotton pocket square and you’re good to go. Alternatively, find yourself a fun and colorful piece of fabric in a really unique print or pattern. You have a lot more freedom here on when to wear a pocket square – it’s entirely up to you!

Stuff it in your chest pocket so that it looks like it is almost falling out or take a more calculated approach and fold it in one of the traditional ways. Regardless, make sure that the colors in the fabric refer to your dress shirt or tie. And please, please don’t match your pocket square to your neck tie exactly.

when to wear a pocket square

 

Wrap up

So, when should you be wearing a pocket square? Well, whenever you have a chest pocket! Remember when you were a little kid? You’d collect all sorts of things and put them in your pocket. Now should be no different – if you have a pocket – fill it! 🙂

But more specifically, it’s important to understand the basic guidelines above for matching your pocket square to the occasion. The more formal the event, the less distracting your pocket square should be.

By Ryan Wagner

Further reading

Business Insider: The underrated suit accessory that no one gets right

GQ: The GQ guide to pocket squares

Bespoke Edge: 4 tricks to dress like a man in 2014

And be sure to check out Episode 52 of the Daily BE — Why cotton pocket squares are best worn in the summer:

Ring in the new year with a classic cocktail

Champagne seems to get all the credit this time of year, and rightfully so. But this year we wanted to offer up a possible alternative, the Manhattan. It’s a classic cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters.

There’s a long list of variations on this recipe, but in an effort to adhere to our somewhat regal brand image, we thought we’d offer up a recipe for the most traditional version.

So, raise a glass gentlemen to a fantastic year and here’s looking forward to 2015!

The Manhattan

You’ll need:

  • 2 parts rye whiskey
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • A dash of Angostura bitters
  • Ice & a mixing glass
  • Cocktail glass

things you'll need

Step 1: Chill the glass

Either put some ice in it for a few minutes or (Ryan’s favorite) wet the glass with water, shake out the excess and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. The latter should provide you a nice frost on the glass.

chill-the-glass

Step 2: Combine ingredients

Combine the rye whiskey and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass. Now add a few dashes of bitters to your liking. Add some orange peel if you want some citrus influence. Add some ice.

Step 3: Mix

Mix ingredients thoroughly until condensation appears on the inside of the mixing glass. Stir, don’t shake.

Step 4: Pour

Strain the ice either with the cocktail shaker (if this was your mixing glass) or by using a strainer.

strain

Step 5: Garnish

For the same reason we add pick stitching to our suits, you need to garnish your Manhattan. Otherwise, it’s just boring!

Add a maraschino cherry and you have yourself a classic Manhattan.

***

And that’s all there is to it!

In case you still want some champagne options, here’s a great article on a range of affordable and tasty options.

Happy New Year everyone, we’ll see you again in 2015!

By Ryan Wagner

PS: If you’re looking for an elegant white shirt to match the sophistication of your drink, look no further than this white pique fabric.

 

Travel with a suit in style

There’s really no way to sugar coat it – having to travel with a suit can be a real pain.

Over the years, we’ve heard all kinds of techniques to help ensure that your suit arrives at its destination in good condition. A simple YouTube search will yield dozens of videos claiming to have the best way to pack a suit. But what you start to realize after watching all these videos is that you still have no idea how your own suit is going to hold up.

Folding your suit neatly in your carry on luggage is one thing, but after you squeeze in a few more last minute items and toss it up in the overhead compartment, who’s to say how many new pressure points and unwanted creases you have in your favorite suit?

However, there’s finally a new product out there that may actually be able to help us guys out. The Suitroller is a great looking piece of luggage that rolls up both your jacket and your pants in one piece. Apparently, the design puts near continuous pressure along the whole suit, thereby mitigating the chance for unexpected pressure points.

What else can you do?

Firstly, you can wear your suit on the plane. But before you sit down, take off your jacket and lay it on your lap. It’s a bit of a pain, and let’s face it, you’re only going to consider doing this for short flights, but this way you can keep a close eye on your jacket and keep it crease free.

Secondly, when you arrive at your destination, the first thing you should do is to take out your suit and hang it up. Fine quality fabrics are more likely to return to their normal lengths. You can also hang your suit up in the shower and give it a bit of a steam. And if you really, really, need some help, call up the concierge and have them give it a proper steam treatment.

But the thing to remember is that even a badly wrinkled suit will normally come back to life overnight. And if you still have problems, then it’s probably time to upgrade and get yourself a finer quality suit!

More information here at the Rollor website.

By Ryan Wagner