As we may have mentioned before, the exclusive clothing brands our very own, in-house design teams create are nothing short of fantastic. We recently tried some items on for size from Nordstrom-exclusive brand Wallin & Bros.—and found timeless menswear staples boasting quality fabrics, an ideal fit (trim but not tight), and appealing price tags, to boot.
We decided Wallin & Bros. could easily outfit you for a full week at work, so continue reading for five days of office-ready looks featuring our own exclusive brand.
[Special thanks to Mr. Yaroslav Levkiv, a site merchandiser on our men's team, who was game enough to be our guinea pig in test-driving the clothes below. Read Yaro's thoughts on hip-hop, basketball, and growing up in the Ukraine at the bottom of this post.]
Monday. A wool topcoat keeps you properly shielded from the elements on brisk walks into work (and essential runs to “the good coffee shop” down the block)—and just as importantly, adds a level of tailored excellence to whatever else you’re wearing, which your go-to activewear jacket just can’t achieve. With a coat/shirt/sweater combo this smart, you can balance it with more casual elements—like dark denim and work boots—and still remain office-appropriate (and then some).
Tuesday. Once you’re at the office and the coat comes off, make a collared shirt and crewneck sweater your standard 9-5 uniform all fall and winter long. It’s a case where the sum is greater than the parts: You’ll look and feel more dressed up than in a shirt or sweater alone. Plus, you’ll simply stay warmer. We like how a tailored denim shirt toes the line between smart and rugged, and it goes with everything—even more denim. Just vary the shades (like grey with blue) and you’re good to go.
Wednesday. Once you’ve mastered the shirt/sweater combination, consider adding another layer—like a quilted vest, leather jacket, or in this case, a classic navy blazer. In a business-casual setting, try contrasting a crisp blazer with a soft, flannel shirt and an athletic-inspired crewneck sweatshirt. Fit tip: Your blazer should be trim enough that, even when layered up, it fits comfortably under your overcoat or parka.
Thursday. A cardigan, especially of the thick-knit, shawl-collar variety, is essential office-wear during colder months. And, if you read your GQs, it’s also a spot-on example of so-called “geezer style,” a comedic way of saying “embrace the classics,” which we fully support, no matter how old (or old at heart) you might be. A cardigan skews more casual than a blazer, so dress it up with a tie and trousers.
Friday. The truth is, we didn’t pull this look for the office at all. We hereby recommend taking Friday off. Maybe meet your significant other for breakfast (make that brunch). Or better yet, ditch her or him and get zen on your own. Enjoy a cup of coffee without a laptop in your face. Take a drive to nowhere in particular. Hell, do some holiday shopping before the crowds hit, for once. As for this classic, seafarer-inspired peacoat, it’s is one of the most versatile coats you’ll own: as at-ease with dress shirts, ties and sweaters on the way into work as it is with buffalo-check and boots on a day off.
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A bit about our model: As mentioned above, he’s not usually a model at all. We just convinced him to do us a favor. As you might guess, there’s an interesting character or two around Nordstrom’s Seattle HQ; Yaro is one of them. And a nice guy, too—he even put up with a few questions:
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Where were you born and raised? Any favorite memories?
YARO, MEN’S SITE MERCHANDISER: “I was born in the Ukraine during the USSR era, and moved to the US shortly after the collapse in 1990. I lived in the Ukraine until I was 6, and my favorite memories are taking summer vacations to the Black Sea and spending time at my grandparents’ summer house in the village.”
You used to be pretty serious about basketball. Do you still follow it now?
“Growing up, I played basketball every day, and dreamed I would be playing in the NBA someday. I grew up in a really great era of the NBA, watching Jordan in his prime, the Sonics play in the ’96 Finals, and watching my favorite player, Allen Iverson, change the game completely. (I pretty much modeled my entire game after him.) I still follow the NBA now, but I don’t have a favorite team anymore. I just follow Seattle native players like Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, Isaiah Thomas. In college, I was lucky enough to do an internship with the Sonics right before they moved to OKC. I remember Ray Allen was the star of the team, and he would show up three hours before each game and take like 200 shots. Most of the other players would show up closer to game time.”
Rumor has it you’re a huge hip-hop and R&B fan. What are a few of your favorite albums?
“I love all types of music, but I grew up watching the show Rap City: Tha Basement, and my brother and I would listen to this obscure rap show that would play Thursday nights on some AM station. We would call in every week and request “They Don’t Dance No Mo’” by Goodie Mob because KUBE 93 refused to play it, and my parents didn’t let us buy the album. My favorite hip-hop artists/albums are Lord Willin’ by Clipse, Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z, and almost anything by R. Kelly.”
Tell us about your current side project.
“I write and record music. Hip-hop was my first love, but now I’m a huge fan of early rock and roll, folk, and ’70s country music. I have my music posted on my Bandcamp page, and it’s heavily influenced by artists like Buddy Holly and Gram Parsons.”
What exactly do you do here at Nordstrom, and what do you like about it?
“I’m an Assistant Site Merchandiser for Men’s, and I work on Topman and The Rail. My job mostly consists of working closely with our buyers and marketers to create new content, categories, campaigns and manage the online business for the Nordstrom Men’s Shop. What I like about my job is that the Men’s Shop is always looking to keep things fresh (such as working with awesome people like the guys from Street Etiquette), and the people I work with are truly dedicated to making this the best online men’s destination.”
SHOP ALL: WALLIN & BROS.
[Photos by Sean Dutton & Justin Abbott.]