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FAVORITE: Shearling-lined Bean Boots

(I topped the whole thing off with this here waffle henley. Hey, it’s casual day at the office.)
I’ve had these puppies less than a week, but they’re fast becoming a huge favorite. Spring may have gotten here on Sunday, but it’s still colder than a well-digger’s ass in January, so I’m getting everything I can out of these boots. And I’ve been waiting long enough—when I ordered them earlier this winter, there wasn’t a pair to be had until March. (Something about the demand being through the roof…L.L. Bean had to make more pairs.)
I first came across the 10-inch shearling-lined Bean Boot about a year ago in Minnesota when I saw hot-mess-and-theologian-in-training Marta Douglass flouncing around the cold Rochester streets in them. (She’s since fled the country to be with some Englishman, but I have no doubt the boots are serving her well in the London fog.)
At $149, they’re admittedly pricey. But quality is worth a Benjamin to me. In the review section, a guy posted a picture of his 30-year-old boots next to his brand new ones, and the only thing noticeably different was that the old boots had weathered character. Seems like a fair price for kicks that are going to last me three decades.
A word to the wise: Bean Boots run huge. Per the site’s instructions for half-sizes to order down, I selected the 7. When they showed up, they were still about two sizes too big. (My brother, a size 9, fit into them comfortably.) Thing is, the 7 is the smallest men’s size available. Womp, womp.
I’m not one to sacrifice fit, so I called the company and exchanged them for a women’s size 8. Let it be known: L.L. Bean’s customer service is fantastic. They took the order with zero ridicule about my baby-man feet, and shipped them off about a month faster than promised.
Marta wore them rolled down like so:
She totally pulled it off, and L.L. Bean advertises the roll-down as one way to wear them, but I’m not sure it’s for me.
10-inch shearling-lined “Bean Boots” (llbean.com, $149) by L.L. Bean, women’s size 8–I’m over it; “1969″ jeans (retail, sale $44, reg. $64.50) by Gap; grey waffle henley (Walmart, $5) by Fruit of the Loom.

Thrifty Thursday: Varsity jacket

Ever since my friend Daniel told me that he and Ryan Plett picked up the Gant Rugger Homerun jacket, I’ve wanted to get my hands on one. (Red option or blue option, either would do.)

But Jeff, didn’t you have a varsity jacket in high school?
The answer: No, I didn’t. I didn’t take myself seriously in high school athletics to merit awards that could be worn on my jacket at Friday night football games. Womp, womp. When the Jostens mafia came to my school to sell class rings, I opted for a class ring like any other kid who hated the weight room, lacked any athletic finesse or “swagger.”

Moving forward, I finally got my varsity jacket in Lawrence after a tip from Katy of Kansas Couture at Wild Man Vintage. I walked in and went straight to the jacket rack and found this beaut sitting right at the end beckoning my name.

$18 for a size 36, wool and leather varsity jacket. No tag. It fits so damn well, and it’s in fairly good shape. A little short, but hey, I’m 6’2.

I haven’t taken it to the dry cleaner yet, although I probably should before I skip town…
Oh, and get this: It was 50 percent off jackets that day since they are trying to flush through their overstock of winter apparel, so I picked this guy up for 9 bones. That’s just more than a Chipotle burrito, friends. The jacket boasts a slim cut made of wool and leather, much like the Gant Rugger.

I wanted to mix up the look and throw on my chambray pants instead of a chino or denim. I’ve also been trying to find a way to wear these pants differently. My chambray pants are my dress-up sweat pants: They feel comfortable but look sharp. The sizing is a little off since they are from American Apparel with one inseam (31) and have a high rise, which is surprisingly flattering, gentlemen.
Wool and leather varsity jacket (thrifted, $9); White oxford button-down (retail, $50) by American Apparel, size small; Blue and yellow repp tie (thrifted, $1); Chambray Welt Pocket Pant (retail, $69) by American Apparel, size 31; Cap-toe shoes size 11 (thrifted, $5.99) by Bass; Women’s “Boyfriend” gold watch (Target, $30?) by Merona.
Oh yeah, and then there was that one time I came home with a gold watch from Target only to discover that my dear friends Emily and Molly had purchased the same “boyfriend” watch the week before. Whatever.
Photography by Jarred Donalson

midweSTYLE: Logan Square

Seeing as this is my visual debut, I should probably explain a bit about my life as a reporter-at-large. It’s pretty much the best life ever: I’m my own boss, I only work on Pulitzer-worthy stories that I’m passionate about, editors of national magazines are constantly banging down my door, and the money is rolling in. (Pick which one of those things is true). Actually, this article sums it up pretty well, especially the bit about “mostly spending my days watching television, napping, noshing, strolling around, seeing matinees, playing The Sims”…except sub in FIFA for The Sims. Jarred once told me he envisions me sitting around smoking cheap cigarettes and not shaving very much.

Because my office is about 3.281 feet from my bedroom, it can, however, be a struggle sometimes to put pants on in the morning (a confession that once almost got me booted from this site.) Being a freelancer has its perks…namely the flexibility to work from home or pack up the computer and take it to an interview/café/coffee shop/bar/house party. I try to dress accordingly.
Wearing a tie, believe it or not, actually increases my productivity and results in better work. I know, I know—I scoffed, too, when Coach Musgrave made us wear ties on gamedays during high school soccer. But I started wearing them on test days in college, and much to my surprise, I actually did better on exams. So we’ll see how they serve me in my post-collegiate years.
As for the loafers, they’ve pretty much become my go-to slip-ons, so they’ll probably be appearing quite a bit.
Tweed blazer (thrifted, $6) , size “fits-like-a-glove” 36R; grid oxford button-down (gift) by J.CREW; “The Henley” (borrowed from Jeff) by Baldwin Denim, size 30; brown and blue-striped socks (Target, $2.50); woven and stitched loafers (thrifted, $3).

Photography by Jeff Kieslich

midweSTYLE: Springtime catch

It was 81º in Columbia, Mo. yesterday when I passed through on my way back to Chicago. Fitting for it being the first weekday of spring. Also fitting that when I drove by, the gentlemen who live at one of my old East Campus hangouts were out throwing the ball around after class.
When I look at this picture of Cam, I get this iconic, 1950s image of a dad playing catch with the ankle-biters after a tough day at work. An escape from the seriousness of adult life—or in this case, class in a stuffy lecture hall—and a way to return to carefree boyhood distractions. (Not that he has any idea what what the real world is like—he’s still living in a college dreamland. Which reminds me: Cam, you’re kicked off the site.)

Untuck that classic white oxford, roll up the sleeves, and pound the glove.
Spring’s here. And soon, summer. Time to open the windows, air out the house, and let the breeze rustle the curtains.
Vintage, U.S.-made oxford (free, from dad’s closet) by Gant, size 15-33; Broken-in chinos (retail, $65) by J. Crew, size 31; braided belt (thrifted, $3); laceless Top-Siders (retail, $70) by Sperry, size 10.

Photos by Seth Putnam.

FAVORITE: Filson Tote

In my undergraduate years, I often carried a North Face backpack like any public university student. It was practical: It held my Nalgene bottle, protected my laptop and hauled my books. It was “normal” to have one. However, when I was pretending to be important in my liberal arts classes, I often carried a briefcase, tote or leather bag.
 
 Once I graduated, I knew I wasn’t going to carry around my beloved North Face backpack to coffee shops and travel, let alone to job interviews and formal outings. I needed a new bag that spoke to my “not-so-professional-but-I-want-to-be-a-young-professional” stage of life.
 
Filson tote provided that transition. Practical, functional, and it looks sharp. I can carry it to coffee shop and pretend to look important. I can carry it to a less formal job interview to house my portfolio and laptop. Or even throw some clothes in it and jetset. It’s one of my favorites.
 
Small tote bag ($90 retail, $45 on eBay) by Filson; Salmon puff “lifejacket” vest (thrift store, $4); “The Henley” 14-ounce Karabo dry selvedge (Standard Style, $200) by Baldwin Denim;