FRIDAY WRAP-UP: Parties and Giveaways

April 12, 2013

Two things to report today, folks. Regular readers of this site will remember our review of Proper Suit, a Midwestern company that makes exquisite custom suits at affordable price points. They’ve moved into a rad new space in River North, and they’d like you to come help them break it in.

This isn’t a sales event. It’s a welcome-to-the-neighborhood bash. Complementary cocktails, beer from Twisted Hippo and Powell Brew House, and delicious small bites from Chef Won Kim, and a squadron of well-dressed people all together in the same room? Sounds like a winning combination to us, and we’ll see you there.

Thursday, May 9,  6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

358 W. Ontario

Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP now.


Secondly, we have intel that Dockers is in downtown Chicago today handing out free trousers from their badass mobile Airstream HQ as part of their #wearthepants campaign. The first 50 visitors to mention “khaki rules” get a gratis pair of Dockers terrific Alpha Khakis, which we’ve reviewed (and loved) on this very site. Even if if you’re number 51, head down anyway, because the Aistream is stocked with new styles that you’d do well to check out. But you’d better hurry; the event kicks off at 12 p.m. (in one hour)!

One Financial Place

400 S. LaSalle St.

12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Found: The Patterned Blazer

April 9, 2013

By now, my closet has a few blazer options: a thrifted gray herringbone, a cheap brown tweed bought on sale, a threadbare corduroy from American Eagle. (Hey, I was told this website was a safe place for confessions.) It’s to the point where I’m excited by the idea of building a collection—a little more diversity than just a single go-to pick for all occasions.

The next obvious step was something with a little more personality. But as we all know, I’m a reluctant adopter when it comes to clothing experiments. So I thought it might make sense to start with something slow and subtle.

This blazer from Banana Republic’s Mad Men Collection fit the bill. (Or “Madmn,” as Zach Galifianakis would say.) And thanks to the return of everyone’s favorite show about people in their early 60s, with Don Draper’s brooding creative genius dominating our television screens, it felt timely.

It’s technically the top to a suit, but since I don’t have the pants it functions well enough on its own. Blue (my old friendly standby) with a compressed plaid in a darker hue. Usually worn with solids to make the pattern more of a focal point. And I’m digging the tailored fit. It pulls slightly when it’s buttoned, but as an off-the-rack option it ain’t bad for a Lilliputian like me.

A note about the tie: It’s a fairly standard navy knit from the Knottery, until you get to the bottom where it’s enhanced by a white edge. I’m a fan.

Now all that’s left is to have a smoke and a drink while tumbling out of a skyscraper on Madison Avenue.

On Seth: Mad Men Collection plaid suit jacket courtesy of Banana Republic; white button-down shirt from Dillards; knit tie from The Knottery; natural veg leather belt by Cause + Effect; olive Alpha Khaki trousers courtesy of Dockers; thrifted woven loafers.


April 2, 2013

You’ve made it through the winter. And you’re about to tackle a bit of closet cleaning: the spring things you’re deciding to pitch or keep.

I ditched more than I anticipated in hopes of swapping in a new batch of spring digs. I mean, why bother buying all of those shirts that are a hair too tight from the sale section so that when you sit down you’re embarrassed. You’re embarrassed because sitting shirts are now standing only shirts and your standing shirts are those ones you tried to tie around your waist for a catch of cool.

So, I’m skipping the floral shirt train for the moment and focusing on the footwear category for a kick.

My shoe collection has always been pretty weak, particular with the warmer months. I have far too many pairs of Birkenstocks and Chacos from undergrad that have carried themselves into my mid-20s. It’s unclear if this pair of kimono print Soludos ($42) establishes an accurate level of maturity, but they seemed to make me happy enough today. Welcome to the family, Soludos. You’ll set nicely next to the Birks, Chacs and appropriately ignored flip-flops.

Oh! And yeah, I already dragged out my spring clothes from the boxes and closets and bottom drawers that I never open. Cleaned ‘em all out and sent the tributes off to Beacon’s Closet. A great feeling of productivity and a little cleanse.

Do you have a ritual of sorts when it comes to the seasons changing and closets rotating?

THIS THURSDAY: Midwestyle + Apple

January 15, 2013

If you’re in Chicago in the next three days, you should come hang out at the Apple store in Lincoln Park this Thursday (Jan. 17). I’ll be there at 7 p.m. sharp talking about why the Midwest rules, and how technology has blown open the gates to the creative world in a way that gives anyone with an Internet connection the ability to plug their stuff on a (mostly) level playing field. It’s going to be fun as hell, so come by.

And in case you missed it, here’s a sweet winter-style roundup we did on WGN last week!

One more time:

Apple Store – Lincoln Park
801 West North Avenue (map)
Chicago, IL 60642
7 p.m., Thursday (Jan. 17)

See you there!

ROUNDUP: Winter Style for WGN

January 9, 2013

If TVs still had dials, I’d tell you to set yours to WGN this morning around 11. I’ll be on screen presenting a few picks for a winter-style mashup. I’m intrigued by these selections, because they represent a wide range of styles from classic Midwest to trim European. All of these pieces can stand on their own, of course, but I especially like how several of them would work well together in one cohesive outfit. Across of variety of price points, too.

Let’s get moving, from top to bottom.

1.Classic Cap ($40) by Stormy Kromer: This thing exudes upper Midwest style. Made in America, this is Michigan head warmth at its best. Like your dad on a hunting trip.

2. 10,000 Lakes Scarf ($62) by Pierrepont Hicks: A different sort of neckwear from the acclaimed tie brand, there’s something quintessentially Minnesotan about this scarf. As if there weren’t enough praise to be heaped on Mac and Katherine McMillan, we love the cosmopolitan influences blooming from these Midwestern roots. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a damn handsome scarf to boot.

3. Kromer Jack ($179) by Stormy Kromer: What’s going on here? Is it a jacket, a shirt, or neither? In their own words, this jacket was made for “those days when a walk to the woodshed doesn’t require an overcoat, yet calls for more than an undershirt.” Made with fine wool, it’s nice to see a classic brand getting experimental.

4. Holiday tie ($75) by Fresh and Proper: Sure, this isn’t outdoor-oriented like the rest of these items, but you need something ready to go when all that outerwear comes off. And chivalry, after all, ain’t dead.

5. Ragg Wool gloves with deerskin palms ($30) by Buckshot Sonny’s: Once your fingers slide into the polymide lining of these gloves, you’ll know you’re in heaven. Best part is, the leather will patina with character.

6. Donegal tweed trousers ($80) by Topman: Remember when I said we were working with style on a spectrum? While the rest of these picks are pretty Midwestern and classic in nature, these trousers up the ante slightly by promoting a slimmer European cut–all while maintaing a staid respectability thanks to its conventional fabric.

7. 10″ shearling-lined boots (reg. $179, sale $161) by L.L. Bean: Some of my all-time favorite winter boots, these are sure to last for a few decades at least. That’s what we call investment. Plus, does it get more classic than this, slogging around soggy ground in duck boots?

8. U.S. Cavalry Blanket ($120) by Amana Woolen Mills: Who says Pendleton is the only name in American wool? Meet Amana, the Iowa-based textile geniuses who’ve been spinning out fine wool products for the past 150+ years. Trust me; once you run your fingers over this blanket, you’ll at once be electrified by this country’s deep heritage and the warming properties of pure wool.

How about you? What’s on your must-have list for the winter months.

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