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midweSTYLE: Whiny pants

Colored denim. You’re seeing ‘em on the ladies and some of the more trend-driven men on campus, in the streets, on the runways and in the magazines.

Cool? Sure.
Novelty? Yes.
Wearable? Totally.
Worth spending your money on? Your call.

For me, it is. How do I know?
Run through this checklist of questions. If you answer “no” to a majority of these, then I suggest investing elsewhere:
  • Do you have a well-loved pair of dark wash, selvedge denim you can wear every day?
  • Do you have a sharp pair of dark grey chinos to throw on for a change?
  • Do you have a slick pair of black jeans to pair with a classic desert boot?
  • Do you have a broken-in pair of corduroys you can toss on with a sweater?

If you don’t have any of the items above, I’d consider focusing on those before you stop at the front of the store with the “latest and greatest” trends companies are pushing.

I answered yes, so I found a cheap pair from Uniqlo. In this case, wine-colored denim.

Fresh cut, too. My stylist, Kara of barbara & barbara, threw it down with a master fade.
You also know you’re in good hands when your hair stylisy says,

“I’m going to geek out on your neck line for 15 minutes, cool?”




On Jeff: Slim-fit twill “Wine” denim by Uniqlo; two-button, notch lapel “Marine” cotton blazer by A.P.C.; slim-fit, short-sleeve button-up by rag & bone; leather desert boots by Clarks.

Photos by Haley Hastings.

Labor Day 2011

Happy Labor Day! Enjoy your extended weekend, friends!

So grab your (Boulevard) beer.

Round up your horse.

and kiss your horse summer goodbye.

Photography by Mallory Wiegers

HOW TO: Cargo

Don’t wear cargo pants.*
But if you feel like your daytime activities merit compartments beyond the typical five pocket chinos, go forth.

A brief and personal history on cargo pants:
Cargo pants were notable in my adolescence as candy-smuggling, soda-pop-holstering, hazardous-when-running pants that you wore because you didn’t want to carry a backpack. But let’s be honest, everybody knew you had something in your cargo pocket because it jutted out like mad. As kids, we thought our cargo pockets were like Harry’s invisibility cloak.

We all had our fun with our escapades to the local Barry Wood’s 24 Cinema on a Friday night. You know, you stopped by the nearest Dollar General to stock up on snacks and chocolates and little diabetic comas neatly packaged in “fun-size” labels to hoard in those once floppy compartments fastened on the side of your American Eagle camo shorts.

Zippered, camouflage, frayed, bleached-stained or destroyed. You loved your cargo shorts. They were practical for your Midwestern youth, throwing and stowing loot and plunder from the creek. Many games of capture the flag they had served you well. Even provided that extra place to hide paraphernalia from authorities (parents, duh). Modern technology advanced at such speed that some cargo pants evolved into a hybrid cargo pants/shorts. You knew that kid.

For me, that kid’s name was Jason, and his locker was two down from mine in sixth grade outside of Mrs. Merle’s room. He had a pair of these convertible pants I coveted at the mere age of 12. One day in September, he complained that it was too warm inside in the New Mark Middle School’s make-shift cafeteria, aka lobby of the school.

I thought to myself, “Jason, are you kidding me? They are pumping A.C. in here. I’m about to go to the nurse and ask to use the phone to call my mom to bring me up sweater because I’m so cold.”**

The only logical response to the heat in the obviously temperate “cafeteria” was to show off his new transforming pants with zippers. Behold, the convertible pants into shorts. The middle-school boy’s dream pant that you can wear all year long, enabling you to never shower again, which in turn allowed to you play Halo more. Duh.

Two days later, Jason got beat up and his pants were stolen.
Just kidding.
Actually, his dad bought them for him for camping purposes.

Me, I bought my own pair for candy-hauling, Friday night impish purposes—ya-know, the only kind of purpose a devious middle school boy can rationalize.

I digress with my nostalgic days of cargo pants.
Let’s move on and talk about modern day, though, shall we?

Don’t wear them… unless they are updated with a tailored cut. Examples as follows:

On Jeff: Slim “Trooper”cargo pant courtesy of J.Brand ; cognac “Lexington” wingtip by Florsheim; wool blazer by Billtornade (similiar); crisp white short sleeve button-down by rag & bone.

Levi’s also makes a rad light forest green cargo pant that is fairly tailored as well.

Styling suggestions with your updated cargo pants:

  • Don’t wear boots with your cargo pants.
  • Don’t wear camo with your cargo pants.
  • Don’t wear a bow tie with your cargo pants.
  • Don’t pretend that you’re not wearing cargo pants. Just be cool, okay?
On Jeff: forest-green cargo pants by Levi’s; white “Authentics” courtesy of Vans; orange- and white-striped tee by J.Crew; light heather grey slub cardigan by J.Crew.
Photography by Seth Putnam and Anthony Barlich.

* Unless you’re doing outdoorsy shit that would necessitate multiple pockets for the use of hauling game and bullets. I actually have a pair of cargo pants that’s aren’t tailored. They are for hiking, backpacking or something like that. They are from REI and are worn every summer when camping. I like the “idea of the outdoors” more than I like the actual outdoors, thus why my closet is overflowing with Patagonia synchillas in every color.
**This actually happened. She’s brought me many clothes throughout my elementary and secondary education because I either peed my pants, threw up on them or was near frostbite. I love you, Mom!

Big Star: In Our Blood

Tacos. Almost from south of the border. Food moonlighting as Mexican, moonlighting Texican in Chicago? Sure, but better. It’s more “inspired by” than pretend. And damn, this inspired food is good. See, the thing about Big Star is that it doesn’t fail. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do: brings a piece of the Texas border to the Midwest.
Not the whole thing. Just a little bit.

On Seth: “Stars” button-up by Scotch & Soda, Babe Lincoln.
On Jeff: Linen blend long-sleeve T-shirt from T by Alexander Wang; rolled khaki shorts by J.Crew; desert boots by Clarks; tan circle-frame shades courtesy of Topman; leather croakies gifted by Plett.


How sandy of you.


Which reminds us: Even if we only speak the language instead of having the heritage, “Mexican” food is part of us. Yeah, the place might be crowded. Might be hipster-ish. Might be just a dollar or two more than we want to pay, but once that $3 whiskey and those tacos hit our lips, you’re not going to catch us complaining.
Nope. Just tossing our heads back, sliding our arms around friends, saying salúd and buen provecho in perfect American mimicry.



Tecate with lime, empty shot glasses, bad good decisions.


However, if you’re in Columbia, Missouri, go to Taqueria El Rodeo.
Hands down, the best Mexican food in Columbia at a third of Big Star’s price and three times better service. Such amenities include: using your debit card and being called, unironically, “amigos.”





The only other better thing? Having neighbors who are actually from Mexico turn your backyard into a mirth-filled celebration of carne asada, beisbol and la risa. You may have to move to my neck of Logan Square for that one.


Don’t go, verano.

Thrifty Thursday: Broped

The sign in this photo summarizes many things:

  • The chances of dating Cameron. Sorry ladies, he’s already got a lady.
  • The journey to find the dress shirt that fits perfectly off the rack.
  • Seth’s chance of finding shoes in his size.
  • My hopes of finding a Starbucks that will put whatever I want in a Trenta.

While Seth was playing bridesmaid groomsman this weekend in Glen’s wedding, Cam and I took our high school senior pictures drove around the streets of East Campus on his roommate’s moped.

This shoot embodies our formula for menswear, blogging and style:
A lot of laughing, some Blue Steel and/or Magnum, and a little spooning for dear life on the back of a two-wheeled murdercycle.
Cameron: Jeff and I were trying to play off the classically American motorcycle feel in this shoot. Unfortunately, we didn’t have, say, a Triumph Bonneville on hand. We did, however, have a moped (read: scooter). It tops out at a little over 35 mph… downhill. Masculinity? Stripped. Dignity? Somehow, still intact. Needless to say, Jeff and I underwent a bonding experience unlike any other.

You know what I love about mopeds? You can wear whatever you want because you already look a little out of place riding the damn thing. Riding a moped is a lot like going to Vegas; you can wear whatever you want and everybody nobody judges you for it. Right? Probably not.
You get the point though? Probably not.

Rudd approves of riding doubles. I love you, Cam Man.

Photography by the moped owner himself and roommate, Zach McSpadden.

On Jeff: Confetti white button down ($70 sale in NYC) by rag & bone; indigo striped “Mickey” shorts (sale $30) by Club Monaco; tan circular sunglasses courtesy of Topman; tassel loafers (thrifted, $4) by Allen Edmonds.

On Cam: Plaid button-down (retail, $65) by J. Crew; army-green “Enlisted” chinos (UO, sale $20) by Penny Stock; military “Weekender” watch (online, $40) by Timex; eBay’d black Florsheim PTBs (eBay, $25); copper cuff (eBay, $4).

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