March 23, 2014

Reader Question: Carrying Keys

If you made a list of accessories that contribute to your style, a key ring is probably nowhere on that list, but maybe it should be. I received an email from a reader a little while ago that touched on just that. Skip writes:
            This may seem like a stupid question, but I wanted your advice on dealing with my keys in a professional atmosphere. I just graduated college and moved into my own place and have a car, so I have a lot of keys and I’m not sure what to do with them. In school I had them on a lanyard, but that doesn’t seem very professional. My new job has a business casual atmosphere so it’s not like I’m wearing a suit or anything, but I still don’t want my pocket bulging with keys. Any advice?

This is actually a really great question, and something that I think a lot of guys struggle with, I know I did. We pay so much attention to our clothes, shoes, and accessories, but keys are oftentimes an afterthought at best.

Obviously where you live and work plays a part in both how many keys you carry and how you carry them, but at some point you are going to need to carry them on your person and that is when this afterthought becomes important. You don’t want to show up to an event in a nicely tailored suit with a lump in your pocket because of your janitor-inspired key ring.

Yorkie Key Chain by Orvis

There is no shortage of options to choose from: generic or souvenir key chains, branded fobs, even leather cases. Personally, I prefer a carabiner for the versatility that it offers. I can clip it onto my belt but its slim profile also makes it easy to tuck into a jacket or pant pocket if needed. I can also easily add or remove things from it, which lets me quickly grab just my apartment key when I go for a run or keep track of the key if I rent a car for a trip out of the city.

Stripe Key Fob by Brooks Brothers

For the most part, I like to keep my key ring light, with just my building keys and a ring of loyalty cards. I also keep a cloth fob on there because it makes them easier to grab when I toss them into a tote, but it doesn’t really affect the profile or weight. Luckily my work keys are all electronic so they don’t need any extra real estate, and I don’t have a car key to deal with on a daily basis. I used to carry an additional ring of miscellaneous keys (lock box, guitar cases, etc) but that got too bulky.

Alpha 6 Hook Key Case by Tumi

If you are stuck with regularly carrying a lot of keys, another option is to carry a bag or briefcase with you. A small internal pocket will keep them off your person, but still within easy reach so you don’t find yourself digging for them.

Whatever you choose to put your keys on, the most important thing is to edit what you carry to keep your keychain from turning into a weight.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

March 15, 2014

Quick Tip: Going Green

March 17th is fast approaching and while you may be preparing to wade through a sea of people obnoxiously dressed head to toe in Kelly green with all sorts of “festive” accoutrements, you don’t have to acquiesce to being an accomplice to it. There are plenty of ways to stay stylish and avoid getting pinched. Here are some things to consider when picking your clothes for St. Patrick’s Day. Please only pick one though, or you run the risk of looking like a well-dressed leprechaun.

One option is to take a page from the prep playbook and go with some bright green pants. Colored chinos are a part of my daily wardrobe so why not for St. Paddy’s? Embrace the color, but keep the rest of the outfit neutral to balance it out.

Chinos by Paige; Jacket by AllSaints; Sweater by Armani Collezioni;
Shirt by Gant by Michael Bastian; Shoes by Paul Smith Jeans;
Scarf by Psycho Bunny

A green shirt is another option, but one that requires more judicious selection. You could go with the more casual option of a plaid, but when everyone else is probably going to be wearing graphic tees with some not-so-clever puns on them, why not set yourself apart with a solid mint oxford?

Shirt by Uniqlo; Tie by Ben Sherman; Jacket by Lanvin

Your tie or pocket square can give you a subtle way to acknowledge the day while still staying business appropriate.

Vintage handkerchief (women's) as pocket square; Jacket by Lanvin

I say tie or pocket square because you should stick to one or the other unless both are very neutral with only hints of green. Remember, you want your accessories to coordinate, not match.

Vintage wool tie (no label); Shirt by Uniqlo

If you want to kick it up a notch without drawing too much attention, colored laces are a good alternative too.

Laces by Allen Edmonds; Shoes by Johnston & Murphy; Socks by Corgi;
Trousers by Nautica

As you can see, there are a plethora of options that allow you to partake in the festivities without resorting to college sports bar attire. Whether you choose to wear green or not, be comfortable and confident in your style. What are you wearing for St. Patrick’s Day? Tweet or email me a picture!

Stay stylish,
- JJ

March 2, 2014

Style Feature: Winter Pic(k)s

Spring may be just around the corner, but you wouldn’t know it from the weather. For this post I wanted to focus on some key pieces that I think should be a part of every winter wardrobe.

1. Sweater

Winter doesn’t have to mean dark and muted colors (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  A good way to introduce brighter colors back into your wardrobe in anticipation of spring is with a light sweater. In the winter, I prefer jewel tones to get that pop without looking too summery.

Extra Tip : I like v-neck sweaters over crew necks because I find them to be more versatile. Just as appropriate under a suit as with jeans.

Extra Tip II : An extra long scarf gives you more options when it comes to staying warm. Wrap it up tight or let it hang loose depending on the weather.

Pea coat by AllSaints; Sweater by Nautica; Shirt by Uniqlo; Denim by PPD;
Sneakers by Penguin; Scarf by Burberry; Gloves by French Connection;
Sunglasses by Alexander McQueen

2. Tailored Separates

I’m all for dressing seasonally. Not only does it add a thoughful touch to your outfit, but seasonal fabrics can also be incredibly practical. Layering tailored wool pieces is not only stylish, it will keep you warm without added bulk.

Extra Tip : Be judicious with mixing patterns. There is a fine line between coordinating and trying too hard, so when in doubt, err on the conservative side.

Extra Tip II : Have fun with your scarves. Colors and patterns are ways to set yourself apart. Personally, I love Psycho Bunny because of the whimsy their logo offers.

Jacket by AllSaints; Vest by Umit Benan; Shirt by Uniqlo;
Trousers by Nautica; Tie and scarf by Psycho Bunny;
Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo; Socks by Corgi

3. Henley

Henleys are great year round, but particularly during the winter as a layering piece. You can wear them as a base, mid, or top layer for completely different looks, and the color, pattern, and texture options are almost endless so you’re sure to find one that works for you.

Extra Tip : A chunky cardigan is another good layering piece. When it’s a little warmer it can replace a wool coat and when it’s bitterly cold it will keep you extra warm.

Sweater by John Varvatos Star USA; Shirt by AllSaints;
Henley by Perry Ellis; Chinos by Ted Baker; Boots by John Varvatos;
Pea coat (in hand) by INC; Scarf by Burberry; Gloves by French Connection

People often write off winter fashion because you spend so much time covered by a coat, but with the right combination of layers and fabrics you can feel warm and stylish no matter how long the winter lasts.

Stay stylish,
- JJ