Below is a guest post by Nick, husband of Jean:
Like a lot of guys, I have a very precise clothes shopping strategy: buy one thing and wear the crap out of it for a year, then go shopping again. So when it comes to sales, I try to steer clear of the white leather pants and, instead, look for versatile items I can wear in a variety of situations and seasons. Want to employ the same strategy while shopping for the men in your life? Here are 5 staples that you can sneak into your man’s closet for an instant upgrade:
5 Men’s Wardrobe Pieces That Can Be Worn (Almost) Year-Round
1. TAILORED Blazer
Blue blazers are ubiquitous for a reason. But avoid the traditional navy with brass buttons (unless you’re shopping for a sea captain), and look for a tailored fit in a versatile hue that can work with both chinos and jeans.
Topman Slim Jersey Blazer – They’re calling this a “jersey” blazer, but the material itself is actually structured. The casual texture combined with the more traditional cut makes it an easy blazer to dress up or down (as you see here, with jeans). Size-wise I usually take a 38S or 36S depending on the brand (J.Crew Ludlow Suit Blazers in 36S are my go-to, but are usually excluded from sale). Topman tends to run smaller and snugger, so the 38 regular works for me.
2. SLIM, DARK JEANS
A good pair of dark denim is probably the most versatile piece of clothing there is. But if you buy a guy $200 designer skinny jeans, there is a good chance he blows out the crotch doing burpees during a bar crawl.
Topman Stretch Slim Fit Jeans – These fit similar to the discontinued Levi’s 508 (RIP), which were my preferred cut of denim. High-rise, slim but not skinny, and tapered below the knee. For fit reference, me and my thunder thighs can’t usually fit into anything labeled “skinny.” I once tried on a pair of European cut super skinny jeans and needed the jaws of life to get them off. My condolences to the Zara fitting room attendant.
3. BOAT SHOES
Boat shoes are some kind of magical foot chameleon. I’ve worn them to bars, beaches, and weddings. They work equally well with swim shorts as they do the aforementioned blazer.
Sperry Gold Cup Boat Shoes (3 colors at Nordstrom) – You know what they say, once you go Gold Cup you never go back. Oh, what’s that? No one actually says that? Well they should. Softer, more supple leather. Cushier insoles. Refined details. Is this higher-end line by Sperry worth nearly three times the price of their regular boat shoes? Debatable. But twice as much, like they are right when on sale? Definitely. I have a pair I’ve worn for years. In fact, I’m wearing them as I type this and let’s just say my toes are very, very happy (of the three colors available at Nordstrom, the Sahara Leather looks mighty handsome).
4. CHUKKA BOOTS
Here’s an easy style formula: Take any fall or winter outfit a guy is wearing with sneakers. Replace with chukka boots. Outfit improved.
Clarks Desert Boots – The Clarks Desert Boots in beeswax are an all-time classic. Even at regular price, they’re worth it. These Red Wing Chukka Boots are similar and feel a little sturdier and more durable, especially their version of the crepe sole, but that also seems to be reflected in the higher price.
5. CASUAL JACKET
What should your guy wear when it’s cool out, but a blazer is too fancy and that tattered old hoodie of his is, well, too gross? A casual knit jacket offers the comfort of a sweatshirt, while cooly letting people know, “It’s true, I no longer live in a dorm.”
Billy Reid Quilted Jacket (on sale until Sunday) – Last year, I picked out (ok, fine, Jean picked out) a Ted Baker knit jacket that I’ve worn basically for 365 days straight. I’m giving this Billy Reid one a try, but only time will tell if it also permanently attaches itself to my body. It’s a steep price for an unlined jacket in a sweatshirt material, but the fit is good, and it will layer well under winter coats. Both Ted and Billy are pricier brands, but they both have a knack for making pieces that can be casual yet tailored.
Ted Baker, though, always finds a way to incorporate a little edgy accent into all of their pieces while still feeling grown-up. So check out this Baseball Jacket (on sale until Sunday) or this Quilted Bomber Jacket if you’re okay with spending a little more. Their sizing system is a little funky, but I’m consistently a size 2 there, and a Small in most American brands.