Bomber Jackets

Bomber jackets, or flight jackets, got their start keeping fighter pilots warm during World War I, and with a heritage like that, they can’t be anything but cool.

They have, however, come a long way since then. They are now lighter weight, not the heavily insulated jackets of old, and more of a fashion piece than utilitarian. You can find more traditional looking ones, worn leather, with a looser shape, but generally the term “bomber jacket” has come to refer to most collarless jackets, with a loose shape (varsity jackets are similar).

bomber jacket

In recent years bombers have become the staple style of jacket for brighter colors and wilder patterns, but it works in almost any configuration. Solid colors, sleeves that are a different color, varsity stripes on the collar, it pretty much all works.

They also pair with almost all looks, from semi-formal to casual, so they can be thrown over most things.

bomber jackets

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Not Too Hot and Not Too Cold

There is no denying that fall is in full swing. Where I’m from, that means you need heaters on in the morning and evening, and maybe the air conditioning in the middle of the day. In fact, in a lot of places fall isn’t too hot or too cold, it is both.

That’s why fall fashion revolves around layers.

Aim for light layers, these will be more comfortable and look less bulky. A t-shirt and a light sweater fit nicely under a jacket, so does a button-up with or without the sweater. Combinations like this are a great way to adapt your outfit to different levels of dressiness, so chameleon-like, you can adapt to both situation and weather.

fall layers

 

There are a lot of old rules about what you can and cannot wear in fall, most of which don’t apply to the modern man, but there are some things that are quintessentially autumn. Warm colors like rust, reds, and maroons are cozy and especially great in sweaters and plaid flannel. Neutrals like khaki, olive/army green, rich browns, and denim are great for outerwear and go with almost anything.

Also don’t forget to pull out those worn leather boots.

the color of fall

Fall is also a great time to grow out your scruff a little. Don’t go full No-Shave November, but go ahead and keep your chin warm.

 

 

I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired lately (I blame my female-dominated work place), so if you have any themes or people you’d like to see more of on here, go ahead and leave a comment.

Guide to Semi-Formal

I think we’ve all received an invitation that included a dress code and we honestly didn’t know what it meant. The rules for these seem so fluid, but at times they really aren’t, which makes the whole issue more stressful. Some are easy – the ultra formal white tie and formal black tie  have pretty clear rules – but the more common ones are generally more confusing.

This post is inspired by an event I’ve been planning for work that is “semi-formal,” which in my area could mean really anything. The western US is, generally speaking, a pretty casual place, so I did some research.

Searching for semi-formal menswear is basically like typing “clothes” into google. And all of the more specific rules I did find varied from site to site, so here is my synthesis of what you should wear to a semi-formal event.

Evening Events (after 6 pm)

evening semi formal

Do not wear a tux – that is black tie or formal – but you should wear a dark jacket. I would also lean toward dark slacks or a full suit. A tie is probably advisable, although it can be colorful or patterned. Shirts can also maybe be colored, but I would avoid anything too wild.

Be sure to take into account the type of event. Weddings should probably be more formal, whereas cocktail parties allow for a little more play.

Day Events (before 6 pm)

day semi formal

Day events have the same basic rules, although suits do not need to be dark. In fact, it is probably more appropriate to go with khaki/tan or grey (even navy is better than black for a day event). By their nature, day events tend to be a little more casual, so you could forgo the tie or play with colors, but again read the event.

An outdoor wedding is going to be more casual than an indoor, especially during the day. A garden party is usually more casual than a cocktail party (unless the former is with the queen).

In more casual places, like my hometown, you could probably really tone it down and no one would bat an eye, but here I defer to Oscar Wilde’s immortal words “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.”

Oscar Wilde on fashion

And if you are going to trust any author about fashion, let it be Mr. Wilde.

Statement Pieces

Statement pieces are something you hear a lot about in women’s fashion, but not so much in men’s. A statement piece is something you pair with your classic basics to pump up the volume. They are, essentially, what sets you apart from the crowd.

That said, a statement piece can be anything: something brightly colored, an unconventional pattern, a different cut on a traditional piece, a fun accessory, even just your favorite funky socks.

Since these are a section of your wardrobe where you can really express yourself, I’m not going to give you rules, but just show some pieces I really love.

One huge trend right now is pairing a wild print shirt with a suit and I absolutely love it. It is a great way to add a pop of excitement without worrying about going over the top. This is also a great way to punch up work or formal wear.

The Exciting Undershirt

The next on my list comes from a similar vein: the unconventional casual shirt. A lot of times we will tell you to add interest to a shirt by pairing it with a jacket or eye-catching pants, but these shirts need no additions.

I’m a big fan of the “animal” print shown here, especially because it is paired with a dusty teal color that isn’t common in menswear. But I am totally in love with the Renaissance ceiling t-shirt. I think I’ve actually been to the church that this is based on, but the overall print and muted colors make this piece one of a kind.

Statement Casual ShirtsThere are so many exciting, unique pieces out there, but I’m only going to cover one more genre for now. A bright jacket is a welcome surprise amid all of the neutrals. You may not want to wear this every day or with every outfit, but that’s how a statement piece should be.

This patterned turquoise blue blazer is a fantastic piece and looks amazing with an undershirt with similar colors in it.

Bright JacketsOther things great in unexpected colors: pants, socks, ties, even shoes. Find something out there that really speaks to your personal style and that you can put with at least two different outfits.

 

Tweed!

Let’s start with a personal story, shall we? One of my favorite pastimes/hobbies is going to thrift stores and digging out great deals on clothes and shoes (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it…and washed it). Most of what I wear comes from the likes of Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul’s and Deseret Industries. On one of the many occasions that I’ve gone thrifting (we’ll shorten it for today) my father happened to tag along. Now don’t get me wrong, my dad is the most amazing man in the world and the best dad you’ve ever met. Seriously, I firmly believe those things. But my father is not exactly known for his sense of style. He buys his jeans from Costco, tucks in his polo shirts, and wears cargo pants as often as he can. So when he came up to me that day, excitedly asking for my opinion on something he’d picked out, I was a little skeptical. Then he showed me a Tweed Blazer (yes I made it a proper noun, get over it). My father’s sense of style suddenly went up several notches. Somehow, he had sifted through all the crap and found a gem. I was proud. He now wears that jacket whenever he can and I have no complaints. Come on, he looks like a freaking professor. That’s just cool.

So the tweed blazer. What’s so great about a stuffy jacket? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe its the structure. Maybe it’s the reminiscence of intelligence and class. Maybe because Indiana Jones can wear a tweed blazer and a leather jacket and manage to look like a rock star in both. I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it’s working.

If you want to look smart, pull on a tweed blazer. If you want to trick someone into thinking you have style, tweed blazer it up.

Moral of the story: own a blazer, a tweed one. Get to a thrift store and start searching.

-Rachel

P.S. Amy is in no way a proponent of thrifting. I am bad at it and I have seen it go badly many a time. If you must, please use discretion and don’t buy everything just because it is only $3. But yeah, go with the tweed.