Spring Kicks

 *This post was sponsored by Zappos

Hints of spring are on the horizon which means it’s time to get my shoe game ready. One of my go-to looks this season is a rolled up pair of chinos styled with a low-rise sneaker. But not just any sneaker will do. It has to have character and personality, and yes, we’re still talking about your footwear. I’ve teamed up with my friends over at Zappos to check out the new collection from ECCO in search of the perfect pair of spring kicks. 

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Not all sneakers are created the same. Living in New York and walking for miles around the city means I need a comfortable shoe. ECCO has a special technology in their shoe — something they call the Comfort Fibre System™, which makes the sole flexible, light and hardwearing. I saw this baby blue color and instantly snatched it up. You know I love a pop of color! Even if you wear more neutral colors, you can still incorporate a pop of brightness with your footwear. It’s perfect for spring and takes your outfit to an entire new level. I also love the simplicity of this sneaker because you can dress it up or down. Pair it with denim, chinos, or even a sports jacket and dress pants. 

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While browsing the shoes, this backpack also caught my eye. I love adventuring in the spring and summer, but I sometimes struggle to find a day bag thats stylish and functional. This backpack is both. It has a padded compartment for your laptop, two front zip pockets, and an interior full of zip-up and slip-in sections. There’s plenty of storage to keep all of your important items protected. I love the blue tones of this bag. The dyed leather gives an elegant yet cool feeling to keep you looking all sorts of GQ while on your adventures.

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I’ve been a fan of Zappos.com for a while now, because the shopping experience is so easy. I find myself having less time to go to physical stores, so any company that offers a fast and reliable service is one that I will keep using. With so many brands offered, I’m excited to cut down some of the searching for you, and share ECCO. Remember that this is the season to have some fun with your footwear and accessories, so boldly embrace bright colors and take some spring-worthy risks! 

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Hints of Spring

When the weather is changing, figuring out what to wear can be a challenge. I always say that comfort is just as important as putting together a stylish look. Below are four pieces that will keep you looking and feeling good before the warmer weather rolls in. 

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1. Layered Lightweight Sweater

Sometimes it’s impossible to decide whether or not a coat is needed in between seasons. Have no fear, your favorite lightweight sweater is here to save the day. I like to layer a crisp, button-up shirt underneath a sweater for a preppy feel. The best part? If you get too warm, you can remove the sweater and still present an elevated look with your collared shirt. Make a statement by choosing a sweater that has a pattern. I went for a throwback vibe with this argyle print. Just make sure that you wear a complimenting solid-color button-down underneath your sweater to ensure your outfit doesn’t become too busy.

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2. Mock Turtleneck

I’ll admit, turtlenecks were never my favorite because I often found them itchy, frumpy and uncomfortable. Then I discovered the mock turtleneck, a piece that has a shorter neck (so you don’t feel suffocated) and tighter fit. There isn’t as much fabric with this style which makes it ideal for tucking in to create a sleek silhouette. It’s a great choice for cooler days and if you get too chilly, throw a blazer on over this for a bolder look. The mock turtleneck brings an element of high fashion into your wardrobe which will definitely turn a few heads.

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3. Henley

If there are days when you have no idea what to wear, throw on a cotton Henley, dark denim, boots and sunglasses, and you will instantly look effortlessly cool. Everyone should have a small collection of Henleys. I sometimes even wear them on cool nights by the beach because they’re so comfortable. Henleys are fitted around the shoulders and arms, accentuating the parts of your body that you want to show. They also have buttons going down the neck that when warmer, can and should be unbuttoned to give you a more rugged feel.

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4. Khaki Jacket

One of the most useful layering pieces in between seasons is a khaki jacket. If you’re wondering what to wear underneath this jacket, the answer is anything and everything in your closet. Whether it’s a tee-shirt, Henley, sweater, or even tank top, this jacket will work to create any vibe you’re going for. The shearling collar is a great way to add a touch of insulation to your jacket to ensure you’re not too cold, but don’t worry, the khaki color still screams spring so its seasonally relevant. Once it officially becomes warmer, remove the shearling collar. If yours doesn’t detach, swap the jacket out for one with a regular collar.

4 Winter Staples

This winter feels so long, doesn’t it?! That’s why I find myself constantly reinventing looks to keep my style fresh. Here are four items this season that I recommend keeping in your winter rotation.

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Double-Breasted Jacket 

Old Hollywood glamour. That’s the feeling I get when wearing a double-breasted jacket. If you’re looking to shake up the traditional sports coat, I highly recommend exploring this dapper style. You’ll instantly be transported into a world of sophistication. These types of jackets traditionally run a bit looser, so for a more modern look, find one with a tapered waist. Also, play with patterns to give the jacket a more current feel. The jacket I’m wearing has a checkered pattern in different shade of navy, which gives it a more playful vibe. If an entire double-breasted suit seems a bit dated for you, create a more modern version of this popular 1930s style by pairing the jacket with dark denim, a bright turtleneck and lace-up boots.

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Cable-Knit Cardigan

Textured cardigans are one of my favorite layering pieces in the fall, winter and even early spring. The versatility of the cardigan makes it so valuable! You can wear it with many different types of dress shirts, flannels, v-neck tees and Henleys. Sometimes thin, cotton cardigans can fall a little flat and make you look frumpy instead of accentuating the lines of your body. That’s why a fitted, textured, cable-knit cardigan is always a great choice to layer with. It adds dimension to your outfit while dressing up any shirt you wear underneath. Here’s a tip for you: look for cardigans that have modern shawl collars. They frame the lines of your body nicely and add an extra level of elevation to your entire outfit.

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Quilted Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket seems to be a piece that never goes out of style. Year after year, the bomber is reimagined with different patterns, fabrics, prints and colors. I love quilted bomber jackets because they give you a rugged look to switch up your style. After all, who says we have to only dress one way? As much as I love a well-tailored suit, blazer or crisp button down shirt, I also love fitted denim, a cool bomber jacket and suede boots. I usually pair a henley with this jacket and top it off with some mirror-lens shades. Another perk of wearing bomber jackets? They accentuate your shoulders and give you a trim waistline.

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Plaid Overcoat 

Most people buy overcoats in black and navy because they go with everything. Trust me, I love a multi-purposed piece and think that the more use you can get out of it, the better. But, I also think it’s important to switch it up and make a statement with your outerwear. This plaid charcoal overcoat is one of my newest favorite pieces, and the beauty of it is that it does go with most colors too. Pair it with brown, navy, black or beige pants, and you can rock this coat on multiple occasions. Just make sure you wear this pattern with solid pants. Mixing patterns can make the outfit look too busy and will take away from the beauty of a plaid overcoat. This style will give you a more high-fashion look and is a great way to have some fun during the long (and sometimes seemingly never-ending) season of outerwear.

Chatting with Rachael Ray:  The Fit Of Clothing

Last week, I spoke with Rachael Ray and Bob Harper about something that should never be neglected when it comes to fashion: the fit of your clothing. This can make or break your outfit. Proper fitting clothing should always accentuate your silhouette, not hide it. I always say that clothes shouldn’t be leading you, you should be leading the clothes. Here is a recap of my rules for knowing if your shirts and pants are fitting correctly:

Casual Shirts    

Sweaters, Henleys, polos, tee-shirts, and flannels (any shirt that you would leave untucked) shouldn’t pass the zipper of your pants. If this is happening, you are wearing shirts that are too big for your body. Casual shirts should hit right around the top of your zipper. If they aren’t, try going down a size. Just remember: you want to see clean lines in clothing, otherwise shirts that are too long can distort the proportions of your body and cause folding of fabric in places where it shouldn’t.

Dress Shirts

Whether it’s for work, special events, or formal occasions, you want to make sure the fit is spot on. When you tuck in a dress shirt, there shouldn’t be tons of excess fabric. There should be no more than two inches of fabric on each side of your shirt. If you have anything more than that, it’s just too big for your body.

Also, play with sizing. Many brands have different fits such as athletic, standard, tailored and/or fitted, so see what works best for your body type. One size does not necessarily fit all. Every company has different fits which makes it normal to sometimes be a size up or down from the usual size you wear. That is why I recommend trying on dress shirts in each different store so that you know what fits you best, and then you can just re-order them online to save yourself the trip.

Pants

The easiest way to know if your pants are fitting properly is by looking at your ankles. If you have tons of extra fabric bunching up, then your pants are too big. If you have a lot of creases and loose fabric when looking down at your pants, then you also know you’re wearing a size too large. Here is a great tip: the area around your zipper should have 2-3 inches of fabric. This will prevent you from appearing like you are drowning in fabric. When you’re wearing your pants, you should be able to fit two fingers in your waistline with little room to move them around. If you can fit anything more than that, the waist size is not right. Lastly, belts are meant to provide extra support, not hold your pants up. If you can tug on your pants without a belt and they fall down, then you know it’s too large. Use a belt to accentuate an already well-fitted pair of pants.

Winter Trend: Burgundy

The frigid cold has arrived, and I need as much help as possible to get me through these dark winter days. Aside from wearing multiple layers, I am also counting on my warm and cozy friend: burgundy. Burgundy is a blend of red and blue hues with a touch of purple thrown in, making it a color that everyone looks great in because it compliments all skin types. Even though it’s a darker shade, it gives you an unexpected pop of color - perfect to get you through the winter. I find that most men who wear burgundy incorporate this color into a top, but I want to share three other powerful ways to make this an even bigger part of your winter wardrobe.

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Pants:

Burgundy may not be the most conventional color for pants, but it’s one that opens up your wardrobe to a realm of possibilities. I love buying a piece of clothing that can be worn dozens of different ways because you truly get more bang for your buck. Burgundy pants can be paired with almost every color and every type of top. They instantly make any outfit feel dressier. I love pairing these pants with a fitted sweater layered over a crisp button-down shirt. A lace-up or Chelsea boot is the perfect finishing touch to making a strong statement with your look. I don’t see this color being worn by men as much as I think it should be, and that’s because many people feel intimidated by it. But fear not, with these pants, the options are endless and you will stand out for all the right reasons.

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Suiting:

Whether you wear a suit for work, social gatherings, or special occasions, there is no better time to make a statement. While I love my navy, black and grey suits, I sometimes get tired of wearing the same color palette. This winter, spice up your suiting with burgundy. I gravitate towards textured suits because they add an extra element of style and show that you put thought into your suiting. During the winter months, play with different fabrics and textures like wool, tweed, cashmere, and herringbone. This burgundy suit is made from wool and has a faint speckled pattern. You always want to feel good when wearing a suit and this fashion-forward look will leave you feeling like the most confident one in the room. Just be sure to stick with more neutral shirts colors like white or light blues because the suit already makes such a strong statement on its own, and you want that to be the focus of your look.

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Accessories & Footwear:

Never underestimate the power of footwear and accessories. Burgundy shoes go with dark denim and most colors of chinos or dress pants. You can be wearing the simplest outfit and make it look like a million bucks, just because you have on a show-stopping pair of shoes. By wearing a color outside of the box, you instantly have a fashion-forward look. I always say that if you’re a bit trepidatious about trying out a new color like burgundy, start with the footwear first to break yourself in. If you’re ready to take a bigger plunge, switch out your work bag every once in a while with a different color. This burgundy bag gives a pop to your standard suit and adds a little extra flavor to your look.

I look forward to seeing how you style your burgundy this season!