When it comes to bags and the necessities that go into your everyday carry, you have to decide what works for your lifestyle.
You’ve got a big-boy office job: Try a briefcase.
You’re one of those guys that carry a messenger bag: Fine.
You’re a snot-nosed liberal arts undergrad rat (like I was): Give a backpack a go.
You’re not a fan of carrying any of those: Tote along, friends.
Carry what fits with your setting and lifestyle. Bags with top handles are particularly my game. I love a good Filson tote, as well as a Jack Spade dipped-canvas coal tote. Durable, beat up and broken in.
My preference comes from not wanting to carry something across my body. It cramps my style, usually dishevels my blazer, and I don’t want scoliosis. Enter the tote.

Hold up, what is this guy doing with a Louis Vuitton? Hear me out. I got it for a killer deal and it’s a freaking Louis?! Do you know how many middle-aged, Gold Coast housewives armed with LVs, hauling strollers and pumped with Botox have stopped me on the streets of Chicago complimenting this bag? Well, three this week and I don’t know if that’s a really good indicator of “cool” either, but who’s keeping track….Not me. Nope.

Plus, tell us you’d turn down this Louis Vuitton luggage from Darjheeling Limited if you had the chance. No? Neither would we.

I thought you guys were about thrift. It’s in the title. Thrift can be relative. Sure, we generally mean it in the Salvation Army sense, but occasionally a thousand-dollar piece comes along for a couple hundo, and we call that a deal. I snagged this sucker off of eBay from the wonderful ladies over at eDrop-Off. I was Googling leather handbags one day and stumbled across this one on their eBay page. It was very clear in the description as it being “well-loved and worn” which I read as, “generally beat up and perfect.”
With my interest peaked and time ending soon on the auction, I called the store and asked to speak with an associate. They promptly answered my questions, and I went for it.
Bidding ensued, and I had a price point where I was going to stop bidding (It goes without saying, but always have a figure in mind where you’re going to stop. It’s too easy to get sucked in to simply wanting to win. And boom: Immediate and brutal buyer’s remorse.)

I also happened to thrift this oatmeal-flecked wool cardigan by Pendleton a few years ago when I was in undergrad. If you want to burn up, look for anything wool and itchy. You’ll be nice and toasty.

On Jeff: Vintage “Monogram” collection tote (eDrop-Off, $222) made in America by Louis Vuitton; oatmeal-flecked wool cardigan (thrifted, $3) by Pendleton; blue cotton oxford (Legends Shopping Center, $60) by rag & bone; selvedge “Henley” denim ($220) by Baldwin Denim.

carolina - all you guys are so handsome and have such great style! kudos!!


MansMan - Let the bag go. A man should at most carry a wallet and at least a money clip. Sometimes its good to break gender stereotypes…This isn’t one of those times. A man shouldn’t have a need to carry so much that his pockets can’t contain it. On the upside you did great with the rest of the look.

IndiaMorgan - The real star of this blog is not the predictable Louis but the THREE DOLLAR PENDLETON SWEATER. Finding that in Oregon, even in a Goodwill, is going to cost you $50+. Jelly beans.

HOLLA! - love that bag! so jealous that you got such a deal!

Jessica Kleoppel - I work in the Gold Coast and am always surprised when they stop and ask me where i got my clothes. Today i was wearing what i think is a 2x ladies polka dotted night shirt—I just told her it was “vintage.”

I can’t believe the pendleton sweater was thrifted! Good eye. The whole outfit is lovely.

Azalea - You are truly a Midwesterner if you carry all of those things in your bag. I do too, but I’m a mother of three small children.

Anna - homeslice, no disrespect, but your interest was “piqued”, not “peaked”. C’est un homage à Français, s’il vous plaît.
and btw you fellows run a rad blog.

martawillcox - this is a great look, way to go.

Arcieri Keness - Is that Pendleton cardi for sale? Please, say it is!

Danielle - I really REALLY love your speckled cardigan. Finding something of that style and in my size will be a challenge.. but yet I’m still on my mission : ) Love your blog and style.

Jeff - @Myckel S. – I travel everywhere with my laptop, carry a book and a magazine. I tend to also carry various treats and snacks in my bag, such as Poptarts, Clif Bars and fruit snacks, because, well, I’m like a toddler. I also have this irrational fear that I could be somewhere without reading material. Haha. What do you carry?

Myckel S. - What do you carry around that you need a bag that big? What do you carry that requires a bag at all?

I Art Fashion - That is so awesome.
Looks great, just as the raw Coach fellow you posted before.

Look for Less: Cost or Quality

This or that?
Buy designer digs or buy the less expensive option.
You decide. It’s your money that you earned, but let’s look at the options.
  • Designer quality goods generally have, well, a higher quality. Nicer factories, more substantial garment construction techniques, higher quality fabrics and more luxurious blends are used, such as cashmere. Designer brands usually have specialty characteristics, such as seaming and fit, yanno, a little personality. You get the tag with the designer’s name on it. “Hey, this was constructed and dreamed up by the imaginary, or imaginaries, under this brand that saw this as something worth constructing and associating their name with as a part of their intimate collection that fits within the brand’s lifestyle and identity.” I mean, some of my favorite pieces are designer, because they fit so damn well and have a story behind it.
  • Off-brand, or “house” brands, generally use fabrics of lesser quality along with less strict quality control procedures. For example, your sweater may fall apart because a seam wasn’t secured after one wear. You get something mass produced. It’s not as unique or poorly made (see: Forever 21.) What’s interesting is that if you look closely at a clothing line or when you walk into a store, you can tell if the store is pushing a product or a lifestyle. Is this store trying to sell me something? Or is this store trying to sell me a lifestyle, an identity, a sense of community— a story.
Left to right: Speckled jersey sweatpants by 3.1 Phillip Lim, $350; Salt & pepper sweatpants by American Apparel, $38; Shetland Varsity Letterman Jacket by Thom Browne, $1,298; Brown Varsity Jacket by Abel, $110.

$350 is a bit much for sweatpants. I totally agree, but do I want these? Absolutely.
Are they necessary? No way. But here is where the bridge splits and you can decide…

Left to right: Fairisle crewneck by CPO, $60; Fairisle shawl collar cardigan by Burkman Bros, $250; Gameday chinos by Bonobos, $88; Hayden pant by Theory, $195.

Certain designers cut their pieces in particular fits. Huge Boss suiting runs slim, so does Ben Sherman, A.P.C., D&G, Prada, etc. If you need a suit and you’re built like a toothpick, you’ll probably have to fork out the extra dough to get a suit that fits you well… off the rack, if you don’t have time for a tailor. Same goes for chinos, sweatshirts and Lord, don’t get me started on dress shirts.

Hear me out, there is nothing inherently wrong with designer brands, off-brands or mass-produced pieces, although some would argue in relation to relativism, ethnocentricism and ethics. Save it for a family meal.
Ultimately, you’re the consumer and you have the choice.

fashionhippie - Funny thing is, I actually like the look of the cheaper versions more

Jeff - Urkel was a badass, man…

nemajo - You are kidding about the sweatpants right?

I mean come on, 350 buck to look like Urkel..

midweSTYLE: Bridge II

Jeff’s post a few weeks ago got me thinking about my own fall uniform. The ensemble that automatically pops into my mind when I get out of bed in the morning. This is what I came up with. It’s not necessarily limited to these exact pieces, but they do represent the basic formula. It goes something like this: plaid shirt, shawl-collar cardigan, and a lightweight jacket on top of denim and boots. The variations are endless. Nonetheless, this is perhaps my favorite.

If I could, I would be completely content with only wearing Gitman shirting, for the rest of my life. The fit and details are spot on (their mediums are ideal), and every season seems to improve upon the last. There’s a consistently wide array of fabrics and patterns – chambrays, oxfords, tartans. There’s something strangely familiar about a Gitman Vintage shirt, like you’re ninety-five percent sure you saw your dad wearing the same thing back in ’74, but you can’t be sure.
This service blazer by Apolis has been my go-to top layer for fall. I was turned on to Apolis a few summers back when they teamed up with Katin to produce some chambray board shorts. From there, my interest in the brand and their philosophy has only increased. If you’ve got the time, take a moment to read up on their story and check out their new fall arrivals, which happens to include some beautiful Italian-crafted suiting. Truly a brand worth supporting and investing in.


These boots were a gift from my dear friend Travis Craig. And get this, he gave these to me on his birthday. If he ever finds a pair of shoes or boots a size or so too big while thrifting, he grabs them anyway and then tells me hes got something I need to try on. Talk about generosity. It’s thoughtful people like him that I aspire to be like and hope to be lucky enough to surround myself with. Thanks again, Trav. You’re the man.

A NOTE ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: When she’s not petting stray cats, tweeting in all caps, or rocking a quasi-middle part, Mallory Wiegers is busy working on her undergraduate degree in graphic design at the University of Kansas. She’s a longtime friend and compadre. She’s also a huge asset to the blog. That header up there – her doing. We’re lucky enough to have her input and expertise at our disposal when it comes to all things design. She’s currently working on some more projects for the Midwestyle, and considering her 21st was just a few short days ago, I’m sure she’ll be reimbursed with pink champagne. Or kittens. Be sure to check her online portfolio and give her a follow on the Twitter machine.
On Cameron: chambray service blazer by Apolis; green plaid button down by Gitman Vintage; grey shawl collar cardigan by J. Crew, slim-straight selvedge denim by Wings + Horns; watch by Timex for J. Crew; vintage tracker boots; vintage belt.
Photography by Mallory Wiegers.

Hannah - Great style! I love the look. :) And the pictures are great too.

sartoriography - I plan to evangelize this outfit to every dude I know, demanding their allegiance to the religion of dressing like an artsy, trail-climbing badass. You’re a prophet of a great faith, sir.

bungalowbungahigh - Boy, this is great! I was just turned on to your site by Valet. I tend to have a typical fall uniform as well: dark jeans, desert boots, oxford cloth shirt, light cardigan, and a military jacket over it all. I’m in Chicago too and have hit up most of your thrifting haunts (and a few of my favorites too). Anyway, nice work!

Tuuwa - I would agree. The colors (medium) of that shirt is lovely. Just says Autumn.

also, would like to say Im pretty new to this site(first comment) & it is everything I inspire for when on the interwebs. I too am a midwest boy (central IL) and have always had clothes pasted down to me from older cousins, my father and now my grandfather. Keeping it in the family. haha. In high school is when I would see how far my dollar could stretch at recycled clothing centers in my small home town (7Kpop). Before I even found the midwestyle, I would stride to be like you guys. Mostly taking classic or older fitted clothing and giving a more modern-my style kind of twist. Every time I make my nightly clicks to my sites I wish i would be apart of this. ha! So Kudos to all that helps and I can only hope I could buy one of you a drink at a show next time I’m in the city.



I love novelty sweaters.
And by novelty, I mean obnoxious.

This “Duck Hunt” sweater triggers memories. Memories of my brother and I sitting in front of our large, practically furniture-sized television in our basement, non-stop clicking the Nintendo gun for pegging ducks off the screen. We spent hours mastering this game, totally cheating when the other got suckered into to running upstairs to grab the pizza rolls that Mom so kindly prepared for us.

I snagged this sweater at Arizona Trading Company in Kansas City when I flew back to see my baby niece. (Yeah, this guy is an Uncle! Congrats, Brother and Sister-In-Law.) Per usual, I did the rounds in Kansas City in hopes of scoring glorious plunder. I’d call this sweater alone a win in itself. If you wanna shell out the big bucks, Mr. Porter and Need Supply have a few options for the animal at heart.

On Jeff: Thrifted “Duck Hunt” sweater ($6) by Montgomery Ward from Arizona Trading Company; thrifted denim shirt ($1) from Salvation Army; thrifted bomber jacket with faux shearling trim ($12) from Salvation Army; grey slim-fit “Davis” chinos ($70) by Club Monaco.

wreckedstellar - Love me a duck sweater.

Hannah - I love this outfit. It reminds me of a page out of a Land’s End catalog. Great outfit.

ME BUDDHA BANANA - awesome sweater….first photo is a dream!

raneytown - yep. sweater is awesome.

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS - montgomery ward! lol. that sweater is awesome.

Matthew Hranek - my dad owned that sweater and wore it til’ his dying day. thanks for bringing it back into my life

Ashley - Is it just me or does Jeff look like Dr. Who?

fritts - Missouri Goldenrod! I studied that a lot in ecology.

Dillon - That sweater is awesome. Your guys’ blog is awesome as well. Keep up the great work!

Jackietron - Lovely blog! If you’re in Chicago this weekend, be sure to check out CITY SOLES in Wicker Park for the Cushe Trunk show Saturday, October 29th. Shop shoes all weekend long :-)

Azalea - My brothers and i spent HOURs playing Duck Hunt back in the day. Love the sweater.

dani - This sweater is amaaaazinggggg. Truly!

ScoutVintage - I ALSO love novelty sweaters! Great find.

mallory wiegers - seriously can’t wait to swipe this when i visit

two birds - who doesn’t love an obnoxious sweater? not that this is…i truly love it!