Geek Rock Chic

This post was 100% inspired by listening to my “Steal My Sunshine” Pandora station. I would also 100% recommend that Pandora station.

If you ever want a momentary distraction, may I suggest reading Pandora bios? They are true gems. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a better first line than Van Morrison’s bio. But this post was inspired by Weezer’s bio, in which it points out that River Cuomo does not fit the typical rocker look.

A pretty obvious point, sure, but it got me thinking about geek rock (the look more than the genre, but there is definitely overlap) and immediately the names Ben Folds and Ryan Adams joined Rivers, and after a little more thought I added Forrest Kline (Hellogoodbye) as well.

geek rock

The funny thing is, there is such a uniform, you could build the geek rock look with like six items.

  1. A Graphic Tee – A band tee, an ironic saying, a design, doesn’t matter, just make it faded and lived in. Put it under any of the following three items.
  2. A Jean Jacket – New, faded, or vintage. Add patches and buttons for extra geek and extra rock.
  3. A Cardigan – Nothing else to really say.
  4. A Blazer – Probably neutral, maybe not. Put it over your t-shirt or actual dress clothes (probably rumpled). Add a small flower for geeky boy charm (too big of a flower reads prom or clown, neither of which you want)

geek rock1

5. Thick Rimmed Glasses – Dark and probably in some variation of the Wayfarer shape. You could go rounder if you rough up another part of your look.

6. Button-up Shirt – Plaid or a pale plain shade or denim. Leave it rumpled, if you add a tie make skinny and crooked.

7. Annnd your optional last piece. A wind breaker, a puffy vest, a sweater vest, etc.

geek rock2

And then hair. Rivers and Forrest keep it short and in place. Ben’s is shaggy, but not too out of hand. And then there is Ryan.

I’ve seen Ryan Adams in concert, he’s incredible, but honestly I never saw his face under the mass of hair. He’s had a lot of haircuts, and I’m gonna recommend you keep it a little more reigned in than he has been of late. But he totally rocks the messy rocker look that elevates his whole style from geek to geek rock.

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Thoughts from Terminal E

So I am sitting at the airport right now and it truly is one of the best places to people watch. We can decide a lot about a person just by the way they carry themselves, what luggage they carry, and of course, how they dress.

And it reminds me again, what a difference the right clothes make.

In my immediate vision I can see 4 baseball caps, 2 fleece vests, 1 hoodie with the hood up, 1 set of dreadlocks and 1 pair of flip flops.

There is a guy sitting across from me whose clothes are about two sizes too big. They are nice enough clothes, business-wear, but they look like hand-me-downs from a much larger relative. He might as well be Harry Potter in Dudley’s clothes. He may be fine wearing this in a casual, small town, but it makes it difficult to take him seriously, partially because it makes him look like a kid.

He’d be much better off in something like one of these:

The Non-Hand-me-Down look

While these looks are technically more casual, because they have swapped slacks for jeans and shiny shoes for more worn, casual footwear, they are infinitely more put together. You are a slim man, sir, try a slim cut. Besides, you are traveling, I highly doubt that you will walk directly into a business meeting (it’s 8:30 pm and you are in an airport still).

Now on to those fleece vests and windbreakers. I like layering for travel as much as the next person, but come on guys. Your solid black polar-teck isn’t bad, and I’ll let that one slide, but why wear a fleece when you could wear a cardigan or sweater? I guarantee that a cardigan is actually more comfortable and makes you look less like an old golf pro in the pro shop.

Why not give one of these a try:

Better than a Fleece Vest

Much better, and still cozy.

Happy Travels.

Hello, Professor

While we don’t condone any inappropriate behavior, I think we can all admit that there is something sexy about the professorial look. You can psychoanalyze that all you want, but we think it’s the clothes.

The academic look is basically composed of layers. This makes it great for creating a wardrobe because you can mix and match and even choose how formal you want the outfit to be.

Here are your puzzle parts and pieces:

A variety of button-ups in various shades and patterns. The most classic professorial looks are white, oxford blue, and thin blues and white stripes. Must be slim cut.

The Professor

A few basic cardigans in neutral colors. While I’m all for a variety of cardigans, all you really need are a black, grey, and maybe taupe. These are great toppers for button ups, and can even be layered under other jackets.

Slim-cut pullover sweaters for the same type of layering as cardigans. These are also great in rich jewel tones like hunter green, maroon, and navy. For more info see WAMSW’s Sweaters.

A waistcoat or two that look like they belong to three-piece suits. Waistcoats need to fit properly (aka close to the body) and can easily veer into cheap and sketchy if you aren’t careful. If it comes with a suit, or looks like it does, it won’t be a shiny, tacky mess.

Textured blazers. We’ve already written about tweed, a classic professor look, but any noticeable texture looks like old world money and knowledge. These are great over any combination of the previous tops.

Academia looks good

Every neutral shade of slacks available. Personally, I prefer flat-front, as pleated can easily go 90s, but you should figure out what you like best. Flat-front might be more likely to suit slim men. You can also mix in some dark-wash jeans and still keep it pretty academic.

Be sure to have a selection of ties, pocket squares, and leather accessories on hand to top off your outfit. Also consider scarves and maybe suspenders. Thick rimmed, curved bottom glasses are like icing on the cake for a professorial look. 

Create any combo with these and top it off with a little scruff and you are ready to bestow wisdom from your leather armchair in the library.

 

A Man’s (should be) Wish List

I always struggle to find Christmas presents for the men in my family, but I thought I would compile a list of go to gifts that every man can use, even if they aren’t terribly exciting.

Interesting ties and/or tie clips

Interesting ties and tie clips

Textured blazers

Textured blazers

A classic peacoat or other dress outerwear

Peacoats and dressy outerwear

Boots or other high quality footwear

Leather footwear

Something leather

Something leather

Something cozy

something cozyJust make sure that whatever you decide to purchase, it suits your man’s personality. It’s not worth buying something they will never wear.

Timeless

We talk a lot about trends on this blog, for obvious reasons, but more than any of that we wish for you the basics to make a timeless wardrobe. These are staples in men’s clothing that will likely never go out of style, at least not in our lifetimes.

Exhibits A-C:

Harrison, Liam, and Jesse

Exhibit A is a picture of Harrison Ford taken in 1980, that’s 33 years ago. Now let’s be honest, Indie could have worn anything at this age and we would love it. But if you didn’t know who he was or his age, this picture could very well have been taken recently. He’s wearing dark jeans, a navy blazer, and a light button-up. Add some scruff and sunglasses and you have a pretty much no fail outfit, no matter what decade.

Exhibit B is similarly classic, even though it is just from earlier this year. Liam Hemsworth is wearing a well-fitting, crisp white button-up, nice grey slacks, and a black belt. Basically if these items fit and look new/quality, this is a homerun every time.

Exhibit C is another variation of the laidback, but sophisticated. We have long supported the blazer – t-shirt combo here at WAMSW and Jesse Spencer provides a perfect example. Grey is classic and the shades are different enough that it doesn’t look awkward. The jacket also has a nice texture that adds to the overall quality of the look.

Now for Exhibits D-G, moving from dressier to casual:

Daniel, Eoin, Josh, and DylanExhibit D is Daniel Sharman in one of my favorite staples in a man’s wardrobe, the peacoat. Pretty much a good peacoat makes you instantly ten times hotter, like disorientingly so (I’ve done studies). To accompany this already classic piece, he has paired it with a white button-up and tie, black slacks or very dark jeans, nice brown leather shoes, and a smirk. Yes, brown and black can be worn together. Buy this outfit.

Exhibit E is a totally work ready outfit (Bonus: also good for family pictures!). Eoin Macken has layered a patterned button-up under a dark sweater. Pairing this with slacks and simple black shoes make this look perfect for a semi-dressed-up event, maybe even a holiday if your family dresses up for those. He also could have put the top combo with some nice jeans for a more casual look.

Exhibit F is a manly staple: the button-up plaid flannel. Here Josh Hutcherson has it half un-done with a white-tee underneath, but buttoning a couple more buttons and skipping the undershirt would also have been acceptable. Put with jeans and roll up the sleeves if not layering anything over the top. Ray Bans are another classic.

Exhibit G is our most casual of the post and perfect for days off. A well fitting t-shirt and khakis are comfy and relaxed. Long sleeves on the tee can add a little different flavor and jeans would be great with it too. The good fit keeps the look simple and not frumpy.

I’m willing to bet that you can find some variation of these looks anywhere in the last several decades and will keep seeing them for years to come. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your closet or try out some trends, but these are easy go-to’s for almost any day.

Back to school meets Classy casual: an outfit you already own

It’s back to school for some. Usually that means a somewhat newer wardrobe and all sorts of new possibilities. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Luckily we’re here for you and we’ve got an outfit that will pull you through, no matter what (even if you’re not going back to school). It’s how you can look effortlessly classy and still be casual. I mean isn’t that the balance we all want to walk?

While there are a few basic options to achieve this; here is one using a piece of clothing I guarantee you already have in your closet: the plain T. Now if you don’t have one of these, particularly in one of the three basics–white, grey, or black–you and I need to have a serious chat and you need to take a trip to Target. It’s completely unrealistic (and unnecessary) to drop a hundred bucks on a Burberry tee; all we ask is that you make sure your shirt is clean, fits, and doesn’t look like you’ve owned it since the prehistoric age (no holes, unintentional fading, stains or logos from the 1997 tennis tournament). A good, and always safe, t-shirt is a solid color or a fairly geometric pattern in a few colors. Others can look great, but remember this look is classy and understated, so keep it simple. And that’s all we need to start: a basic t-shirt. Such an easy piece that can still turn heads.

The other basic? Plain dark pants. Jeans or slim-cut trousers, it doesn’t matter. The pants, like the shirt, should be understated. The only thing that should be drawing attention is how good you and your body look in them, so make sure they fit!

Now to dress it up. Easy-peasy. Add a jacket, blazer, cardigan or leather jacket, once again in a dark color. And a nice pair of leather shoes. Voila, done, with four very basic pieces of clothing. Or don’t dress it up so much. Sneakers are more casual, but still look classy when clean and intact (think less Nike and more Converse All-Stars). Skip the jacket even, but only if the shirt really fits. Notice John Krasinski in the white and the pretty man in the black T in the picture, sure they are more casual than Blazer dude in the middle, but they sure don’t look sloppy or unkempt.

This look is simple, built with pieces you already own. And it can be accessorized and personalized without losing its draw. Who knew understated could get all the attention in the room; it’s almost like you are too cool for school.

-Amy & Rachel