As winter turns to spring we find our preppy seafaring heroes blasting “Billie Jean” in striped crewneck sweaters, polos fully popped, no socks, no problems. Who wouldn’t take such an opportunity to hit ‘em with that Blue Steel?
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The forecast is getting ominous, but our favorite fall sweaters are quite the opposite.
Our snapshot of witty sweaters is all about not taking yourself too seriously. The weather might have its teeth bared, but you can still have a good time out there.
Shop Editor’s Picks:
SHOP ALL: Sweaters
If you’re still in need of a Christmas gift for your wife or girlfriend (hey, stranger things have happened), the surest bet of all is a cozy sweater she can pull on immediately to watch Christmas movies and sip cocoa in—and then wear all winter long for years to come. Swing by your nearest Nordstrom today to pick one out—maybe toss a diamond watch or a Darth Vader Pez dispenser in the gift box with it—and suddenly you look like a pro at this whole Christmas thing.
Keep reading for seven sweater picks from our catalog stylist Stacey Cunningham, plus tips on matching them perfectly to your lady-friend’s winning personality.
With Christmas right around the corner, we asked three male colleagues here at Nordstrom HQ to share what’s on their gift radar this year. Today we have David Coyle from our Men’s Buying Team—a man who knows how to take a hit, and has a killer sock game (which includes knowing when to wear none, as seen above). If this sounds like someone on your own holiday shopping list, continue reading to find the perfect gift.
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.
Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, cool-under-pressure chef Shaun McCrain.
Every man should know his way around the kitchen: how to take over the tongs at a friend’s barbecue, pull off your grandma’s family-secret marinara, whip up a chivalrous morning-after omelette…you know—the basics.
Professional chefs like Shaun McCrain, on the other hand, can turn the simple act of eating food into a mind-altering experience. Visit McCrain’s Seattle restaurant, Book Bindery, and although the humble maestro insists his MO is simplicity, the five-way flavor combinations in his modern twists on comfort food are enough to induce a quadruple take—and general feelings of astonished well-being.
We spoke to chef McCrain about paying dues in Paris and New York, design principles as applied to plating, and real-life kitchen tips that every man can use.
FARM TO TABLE. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We lived on a small farm, raised our own meat, had a lot of vegetables. I was always around food without realizing it. My dad doesn’t cook. He was like, ‘I’ll just let Shaun do it, and if he messes up, we have more we can go pick.’”
TRIAL & ERROR. “Book smarts help you understand what you’re doing. Street smarts get your hands and body moving in the right direction. It’s hard to be able to physically do what you’ve read. You’ve gotta burn some things before you figure out how to cook them right.”
AMERICAN IN PARIS. “I sent my résumé to what I thought were the top 20 restaurants in Paris and got four responses. Three of them being, ‘Sorry, we don’t have room,’ and one being, ‘Sure, show up, work for free.’ That was my foot in the door.”
LIVE AND LEARN. “I left Seattle thinking I knew everything. I was 19 or 20 years old. I went to a bigger city, a nicer restaurant, and realized how much I didn’t know. It was very humbling…but I decided that if I really want to progress and learn, that I need to constantly be humbled—so I can learn from the best.”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. “Plating and presentation are important, because they’re the first thing a person sees. I like to do bright colors, clean lines, something that’s very appealing to the eye. And then, when you do take that first bite—it should taste even better than it looks.”
CONTRAST AND COMPLEMENT. “I think items should complement each other. It’s a lot about textures, so if you have one thing that’s soft, then I want something else that’s gonna bring some crunch…a little burst of pickled onion, or a crispy crouton.”
WHY I LOVE MY JOB. “The craziness of it. Every day is different. You don’t know if the truck carrying your lamb up from Oregon broke down, and you’re scrambling to find a replacement, or your dishwasher breaks, or you have a high-profile guest coming in who you know likes to eat certain things. So it sparks that fuel, that drive of always keeping busy, always trying to stay on top. It’s easy to fall behind in the kitchen unless you have that ‘stay on top of it’ kind of attitude.”
THE BEST THING I EVER ATE. “It was at a Japanese restaurant in New York, called Masa. Simple sushi rice, rolled in shaved Italian white truffle, with just a pinch of fresh-grated yuzu and a little salt. Just simplicity at its best, but the ingredients were prepared perfectly.”
MY MORNING ROUTINE. “A cup of coffee…and maybe a Pop-Tart. Strawberry. Frosted. I spend all day walking around tasting things; it kind of curbs your appetite. [The staff and I] don’t sit down and eat a family meal until about 4:00. So in the morning, I just need to put something in me, whether it’s sugar or coffee or whatnot.”
WHAT TO PACK FOR LUNCH. “When I think of lunch, I always think of sandwiches. They don’t need to be boring. Go to the store, and buy some great charcuterie and good bread. Most of the time, those items are sold in portions that are more than one sandwich worth, so you’ll have enough for a couple days—or a very large sandwich.”
THE SECRET TO A GOOD SANDWICH. “The bread. The crust…whether it’s more of a rustic style with pieces of grain, or if it’s just a nice, crisp baguette that kind of snaps in your mouth when you eat it.”
HOW TO IMPRESS A DINNER DATE. “First, find out what they like. Nowadays, there are so many dietary restrictions, food allergies. Subtly figure out. Ask questions. Have an idea, rather than going in like, ‘Hey, I like steak, so I’m gonna cook steak’—and then finding out she’s pescatarian. That’s a date that’s not gonna end well.”
AND IF YOU BLOW IT… “Part of learning and growing with someone is making those mistakes. It could be the best meal they’ve ever had, or it could be terrible—but the whole experience of going through the process of doing something for someone is what it should be about.”
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[Food photos courtesy of bookbinderyrestaurant.com.]
Yin and yang. Light and shade. Concrete and jungle. Life is a study in contrasts—and your Fall wardrobe should be, too.
To fully meditate on Fall’s dense tweeds, intricate knits, revved-up leather, and sturdy workwear, we took our favorite Designer Collections to Seattle’s historical, 20-acre wooded oasis, Kubota Garden—as well as the surrounding urban sprawl. The conclusion is clear: Fall’s best clothes feel calm, cool and collected, whether you’re in nature’s domain or the wilds of the city.
Has your wife or girlfriend ever borrowed your coat or wandered the house in your favorite hoodie? If not, you might need better clothes. ‘Let Her Borrow’ is a new series in which Kristina Zias, a menswear expert at our Grove store in LA, shows off her favorite new items from the Nordstrom Men’s Shop.
“With spring around the corner but indecisive weather now, I’m eyeing a few of the new sweaters in our Men’s Designer department. Beware though, guys: They’re made for you, but if your girlfriend gives you one as a gift, she might have ulterior motives. [maniacal laugh.] Here are my three key sweaters for the season: The hoodie, crewneck and quarter-zip.”
—Kristina Zias, Nordstrom at The Grove, Los Angeles
1. The Hoodie: U Clothing. “One of our newest Men’s Designer labels, this London-based brand took a basic zip-front hoodie and did it right, leaving no detail unnoticed. The cotton/terry blend has a really impressive, luxurious feel to it, and the metal hardware detailing adds some edge. It’s lightweight and perfect to throw on without thinking twice.”
[Shop: U Clothing Hoodie | All Men's Hoodies]
2. The Crewneck: Jack Spade. “This sweater’s bold, red-and-pink stripes are perfect for spring—but you can wear it all year. Pair with shorts and Chucks for day-time weekend wear, then switch it up with a collared shirt, jeans and loafers for a dinner date. I’d even like to see it grunged-up with some camo pants and chukka boots.”
[Shop: Jack Spade Crewneck | All Men's Crewneck Sweaters]
3. The Quarter-Zip: Gant by Michael Bastian. “This cotton pullover sweater is extremely cozy, with intricate stitching that has a serious preppy vibe that I love. It’s a classic sweater to throw on over any outfit when the sea breeze kicks up this summer.”
[Shop: Gant by Michael Bastian Quarter-Zip | All Men's Zip-Up Sweaters]
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The countdown to Christmas is in its final stages, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and our hard-working shipping center), you have UNTIL FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 AT 3PM EST to order gifts online, get FREE SHIPPING, and have them to your doorstep by Christmas Eve. (Just make sure your wrapping paper and scotch tape is at the ready when the time comes.)
Here’s a further breakdown of the key dates. As you can see, there’s still hope even after this Friday. Click here for more details.
And, since we’re on the subject, here are some selections from our ‘Favorite Gifts For Him’ categories that caught our eye. Happy hunting: