midweSTYLE: Old Watertower, Chicago

Seth and I went looking for a suit with our friend Oliver, who’s visiting from Kansas City. We talked about life and love and happiness—ya know, much like the rest of us who are meandering through this twenty-something phase trying to find purpose. You would think finding a slim-fitting suit would be an easy task. However, we’re trying to find one that isn’t going to break the bank. Student loans and entry-level jobs don’t help the situation, but you need a suit for the interview, son.

Oliver is decked out in all J.Crew except the 1901 saddle shoes by Nordstrom.

But, why ALL J.Crew?
Because J.Crew provides menswear apparel that is affordable, accessible and good-looking. That, and his house burned down a few months ago, forcing him to start his wardrobe over from scratch. J.Crew has played a large part in nailing the essentials.

It’s still cold as hell (that doesn’t make sense) in Chicago even as we are nearing the end of March. I wanted to be warm but still have some compartments to carry my wallet, keys, chapstick and iPhone.

But can’t you just carry those items in your pants like a normal person, Jeff?
You think I can fit a dime in this size 28 selvedge denim, let alone a wallet? Please.

To keep warm, I decided to rock the Patagonia Down Sweater under my thrifted J.Crew utility jacket. A little pop of red under my utility jacket—you know I dig it.

Jeff (left): Khaki utility jacket (thrifted, $6.99) by J.Crew, extra-small; down sweater (retail, sale $150) by Patagonia, small; green and white striped oxford (eBay, $20) by Gitman Bros Vintage; “The Henley” dry selvedge 14-ounce ‘Karabo’ fabric (Standard Style, $198) by Baldwin Denim, size 28; blue and green repp crest tie (thrifted, $1); cheap sunglasses I found in my car one day stole from Seth; blue suede bucks (Nordstrom, sale $44) by 1901.

Oliver (right): Grey utility shirt, small slim; wool University coat, small; Timex vintage field army watch; plaited blue cardigan, medium; Oxbow madras spring tie; 484 raw slim selvedge denim—all by J.Crew. Clubmastersunglasses by Rayban; “Saddle Up” oxfords (Nordstrom, $99) by 1901, size 9.5.

Photography by Seth Putnam.

glenmcmurry - Emily: Transparency Boom.

Seth J. Putnam - Leilani: Thanks so much! Happened to have my camera with me, so I thought I’d snap a few shots…harsh light aside. And we’re pumped Oliver was around to be featured. He’s a stylish guy.

Jena: Agree. The idea that you have to shell out a thousand bucks for shoes in order to look good is flawed. If you can afford it and that’s what you want to spend your money on, good for you. Most of us can’t…or shouldn’t haha.

chicityfashion.com - Ummm I think we need to be best friends…thoughts?

Would never think you guys dressed on a budget based on your photos…I guess that’s always a good thing :)

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) - The photos look kind of like stills from a movie– I also wouldn’t have guessed this was Water Tower Place, I can kind of see a bit of the base in the background of the second picture.

Sadly I can’t afford J Crew (even on sale) but have been lucky enough to thrift a few pieces. Love the saddle shoes on Oliver!

mallory wiegers - NICE EMILY LEWIS NICE

Gregory - Love love love the J. Crew outfit and 1901 shoes are some of my favorites!!


Plain T-Shirt - I have a J.Crew outlet by my house and I absolutely clean the place out every time I’m home. It’s hard not to have numerous items from them in outfits because of the affordability and the good look. Big fan of the blog and the J.Crew mention.


The Common Grounds - I need that utility jacket that Jeff has on! Great work guys. Keep it up!

Best Regards,
Rei Fernandez
The Common Grounds

emilylewis - by “cheap throwaway sunglasses i found in my car one day” do you mean “cheap target womens sunglasses I bought one day with emily when she talked me out of buying both the floral print AND teal varieties”? Because thats how I remember it.

Andrea of House of White - Equally stellar looks, fellas. I’m especially loving the shades!

midweSTYLE: Campustyle

The Midwestyle Boys reunited on Park University’s campus (where none of us went). We mixed up classic looks and pieces with something fresh, new and unexpected:
Chambray pants, Dad’s old jacket and a pair of Red Wing boots.

A blazer to dress it up, a varsity jacket to keep cool and a windbreaker for purpose.

WHAT JEFF’S WEARING: A clean varsity jacket matched with chambray pants is an unexpected look I’ve grown to like. Instead of the regular denim, I often try to see how I can incorporate these chambray pants into a look. I think it turned out well, even when blending the textures and patterns.
WHAT SETH’S WEARING: When wearing a lighter jacket, it’s not a a bad idea to create a high contrast. The dark denim suited him well against his Dad’s glorious “Mizzou ’68″ windbreaker. Pair this look with a neutral tie, and you’re looking sharp. Is he breaking the black/brown rule? To that we say, “What rule?”
WHAT CAM’S WEARING: Navy blazer and khaki chinos are a pretty standard go-to outfit, but we mixed it up with some boots. Preppy but practical. That’s what we like.

Jeff (L): Varsity wool & leather jacket (Wild Man Vintage, sale $9) by Butwin; Chambray welt pocket pant ($69) by American Apparel, brown captoe shoes (thrift, $5.99) by Bass; blue and yellow repp tie (thrifted, $1); gold “boyfriend” watch ($12.99) by Target.
Seth (C): “Slim Jim” dry black-coated denim (Standard Style, sale $75) by Nudie Jeans; wool skinny tie (Urban Outfitters, sale $9.99) by BDG; retro “Mizzou ’68′” windbreaker (father’s jacket in college); brown woven-and-stitched tassle loafers (thrifted, $9).

Cam (R): Suede Irish Setter boots by Red Wing Shoes; faded khaki chinos (Urban Outfitters, $50) by Paul Frank; navy “Captain’s Blazer” (thrifted, $10); pink plaid “Sunday’s Best” tie (thrifted, $2).

Photography by Jarred Donalson

Lily - All of you look sharp! Great outfits!

Lily @ http://wearwithchinos.com

Seth J. Putnam - @MalWiegs – You can GET OUT.

@IndiaMorgan – We’re soooo offended. (Recommended reading: The shearling boots post in which I’m forced to buy women’s boots from L.L. Bean.) Naw, it’s all fair game as long as it works for your style.

IndiaMorgan - how do you boys feel about a girl (or girls?) saying “woah i would kill for that lettermen / that windbreaker / those boots”? because, you know, i wouldn’t want to offend you.

Jeff - Mal – We know.

Jarred – #tallfriendproblems

Leilani – Thanks friend!


sophiadiarrhea - Jeff-Jeff, would it kill you to smile? You have such a pleasant grin.

Well done, you’re all beauties.

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) - All of you look sharp! I like how your outfits seem made for the setting, the vintage varsity jackets give the pictures a retro ‘man about campus’ feel. Well done.

Jarred D. - @mallory wiegers he looked so out of place otherwise. It’s the price you pay to have tall friends.

mallory wiegers - in the nicest way possible, i dying that seth is standing up a stair

BADASS TUESDAY: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I know that being a badass is not specific to actors, but… this week, I’m giving you another actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (Editor’s note to Jeff: One more of these, and Cameron’s out.)

When I started to think about badass dudes that were closer to my own age, I struggled a little bit. That badass distinction is often earned through retrospection of someone’s life and career. Honestly, I think JGL has the earned the title. Why? First off, his meditated and careful acceptance of roles has manifested itself in a pretty stellar acting career thus far. He has the forethought to be judicious in selecting his roles, and I respect a guy who turns down millions for big budget films in lieu of smaller budgets and often more difficult roles. Quality over quantity.
Plus, he gets props for being a child actor who actually turned out to be a decent human being. That’s rare enough as it is. You all saw “Inception.” You’ve probably seen “500 Days of Summer.” You might not have seen “Brick,” but you should go see it ASAP. The man is good at what he does. At 30, he has successfully carved out a rather attractive niche in Hollywood. He’s also got that quirky-handsome thing going for him, and he’s sartorially sound. A future icon? Perhaps. A current badass? Absolutely.

ladyemmy - very nice pick! I love him:)

JNRS - Joseph Gordon-Levitt is without a doubt my favorite male fashion go-to. If I were a dude I would totally copy his style. I just found your blog and I’m totally digging!

Jessica @ wrinkled dollar

Josh - I think “The Lookout” was maybe his finest piece of work to date for sure Aimee C.!

Amanda - Brick was an UHMAZING movie, one of my favourites along with 500 Days of Summer. His style is pretty sharp too. Definitely loving Baddass Tuesday today!

Gina - Love, love, love him.

Aimee C - Don’t forget “The Lookout.” Great movie!

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.

Seth J. Putnam - @Unknown:

It’s from Walmart. 5 bucks, if I remember correctly.

Unknown - I like the waffle henley, where is it from?

MansMan - Great review, really helpful. I think tucking them is the look. Just straight the Jean and cuff it whilst also loosening up the top 2-4 laces.

Marta - just found this. i love you guys.

it doesn’t really snow in london and i’m living in the leafy suburbs so there’s not a lot of street-kudos for the boots. but inside i know…and my feet are toasty warm.

dick - the reagan country campaign poster is a three chevron’s-on-the-sleeve badge of thrift-store experience. enjoying the blog.

Andrea of House of White - These boots are amazing! As a Toronto gal, I can appreciate a great boot. (And I’m liking the tucked jeans, personally). If I wasn’t so preoccupied with spring shopping I would grab a pair for next winter :)

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) - I understand the tucked in jeans, the bottoms would get wet otherwise, right? Personally I like the boots laced up, the roll down is kind of hard to pull off in the city (maybe would work if you were out hunting in a muddy flat somewhere).

You’re making me feel like I have giant feet, I wear a 9 1/2-10 in women’s! I’ve done the opposite of you and bought men’s cowboy boots before.

Seth J. Putnam - Haha I know, I know. I did it to show the whole boot, but I think the tuck-in works okay in the first picture. The picture where the boots are rolled down, though, not so much. In normal practice, I’m not sure if I’d wear the jeans in or out. To each his own, I suppose.

leadbyexample - noooo! The boots are great, but what is going on with these jeans, why are you tucking them in like that?

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

gcuprogrammingfundamentals - I’m enligtened about something new every time I come here. look into your gorgeous brand name promotion

Charles - just came across this website, http://www.varsityapparel.com.au

there varsity jackets look awesome!!!

Marta - i’ve been noticing a lot of guys and gals in london wearing letterman jackets lately. probably saw it on here first and then followed suit.

mamacita - The jacket makes this guy look so dapper, but the fact you gauge frugality in terms of burritos and not dollars and cents is even better.


James - Obessessed with this jacket! My actual varisty jacket is waaaayyy too big for me now, and I’m looking to find one like that.

What’s on the back? Is it an actual varsity jacket or just stylized?

Think Twice Style - The length of these pants is genius! I love the no socks look too. Dressy, but still keeping it casual.

Seth J. Putnam - Mr. Andy —

Thanks, my friend. That means a lot. Have enjoyed keeping up with your traveling adventures. Hope all’s well.

patton.andy - I think this blog is so cool—love that its for men. Linds and I are reading from Paris and cheering you guys on! -Lindsey and Andy

corkgrips - for some reason every time i find a nice varsity jacket in a thrift/vintage store everything fits perfect but the length, don’t know what it is- i’m only 5’9″!

Cindy - Great jacket. Can you tell us what’s on the back of it? Any sport listed or decals? I also found a great looking one but it had the varsity debate team across the back of it, I decided against it in fear someone might approach me to debate…

David - Awesome, the provenance and price make it about a thousand times better than the Rugger version.

Jeff - 3 Column Grid – Actually, I snagged for 9, but I was planning on paying 18 for it. Good story. The watch is womens, so I’m not above wearing something if it fits well, regardless of the item’s “intended” gender.

Jeff - Clotheshunger – Agreed, I’m pretty stoked about, along with being able to wear it year round hence the Midwest weather changes every 5 minutes.

3 Column Grid - $18! What a find. I bought a vintage varsity jacket a few years back which fit me perfectly. I was ecstatic, you don’t find gems like that too often. It was only a few days later that I noticed the patch on the arm said “Denise”, which to be honest made me love the jacket even more.


clotheshunger - great find with the jacket. it’s good you found one that was fitted, any bigger and it would’ve looked too high school.