Like most essential items in a man’s closet—boots, blazer, button-down, leather jacket—an insulated vest can be admired as much for its looks as for its functional utility in a wide range of settings. Read on for our top-20 vests—plus tips on how to wear them anywhere, from work to weekend.
While we’re still teetering in the fog between fall and winter, a sturdy sportcoat can do double-duty as your 9-to-5 workhorse, as well as your top layer to and from the office—just flip the collar up and throw on a scarf and/or knit cap when you leave the building. Here are a few editor’s picks that will see you through ’til parka season:
1. Thrill of the Hunt. Peak lapels and a coat-like, full-button front set this sportcoat apart from the pack, while a timeless windowpane plaid grounds it firmly in menswear tradition.
Shop: Rag & Bone ‘St. Regis’ Sportcoat
2. Mid-Century Modern. If you read your GQs, you’re well-acquainted with the rise of “geezer style.” Here’s a nubby plaid your dad’s dad might have worn—in a trim fit that’s ready for 2014.
Shop: Vince Wool-Blend Blazer
3. Mixed Media. A literal remix of tailoring traditions, this patchwork of pinstripes and plaids is more than the sum of its parts. Wearing it is easy—just pair with simple solids.
Shop: Junya Watanabe Patchwork Blazer
SHOP ALL: SPORTCOATS & BLAZERS
Dressing for the Season, 101: Cold mornings call for warm clothes—and that goes for everything from your socks to your tie.
On a pristinely fogged-in dawn here at our Seattle HQ, these Yves Saint Laurent ties caught our eye immediately, for several reasons:
1. They’re sturdy. Cut from substantial wool blends, they’ll balance your boots and offset your scarf.
2. They’re sophisticated. Crafted in France and displaying classic patterns like houndstooth and herringbone, you’ll never feel like you’re wearing a bulky flannel shirt around your neck.
3. They’re timeless. Ranging from 2.5 to 3 inches across, they’re the ideal width—not too skinny, not too wide, perfect with anything from a three-piece suit to a slim shirt and dark jeans.
Pro Tip: As always, we recommend tying these on with a basic four-in-hand knot. The fabric is thick enough on its own; keep the slim lines of the rest of your kit consistent with an understated knot.
After a busy couple weeks partnering with our friends at Street Etiquette, we’re finally catching up on care packages from our own street-style sharpshooter, Ms. Crystal Nicodemus.
The arctic forecast at New York Fashion Week earlier this month didn’t stop Crystal from snagging her usual assortment of menswear inspiration, from natty tailoring to avant-garde goth. If anything, the rough weather was an excuse for New York’s finest to break out their best outerwear and creative layering techniques. Click the smaller images to enlarge—and watch for more street style from Crystal coming soon.
Photographing photographers has become an art unto itself.
Here’s one of our favorites: Mr. Karl-Edwin Guerre.
Print-mixing. Pops of color. Produce [click to enlarge her pear sweater, far right].
For more women’s street style, head over to The Thread.
[Photos by Crystal Nicodemus.]
Boots are one of those items in a man’s wardrobe with serious staying power—over the course of a season (we introduced our Boot Guide in September, and have been updating it continuously ever since), as well as year after frigid year…especially when you invest in a solid pair like the waterproof, 5-star-customer-rated UGG® Australia ‘Butte’ above.
Today, we’re focused on the near-indestructible genre of footwear that will carry your feet unfazed through the toe-chilling rain, sleet, snow and slush that January and February are bound to usher in. Any of the specimens below will match up impeccably with your toughest puffers and flannels (see above)—but if you need a dapper way to stay dry en route to work, consider the clean lines and graphic punch of pairs like the Sorel ‘Sentry’ and UGG ‘Hannen’ below, neither of which will look out of place grounding a suit or sportcoat (pull your wingtips out of your briefcase once you’re warm and dry at your desk).
Start with our Editor’s Picks below, then shop our full selection of Weather-Ready Boots. And remember: The best gifts for guys are as practical as they are stylish. A great pair of boots more than fits the bill.
…And browse all 5 boot categories here:
SHOP ALL BOOTS
With the launch of our new Snow Shop, we’ve been investigating the louder side of snow sports lately—from the innovation of ’80s extreme skier Scot Schmidt to the bravado of gold-medal boarder Shaun White.
This week, we chose to take a more cerebral approach by highlighting Vancouver, Canada, outdoor brand Arc’teryx. In fitting with the lofty allegory behind the brand’s prehistoric namesake (Archaeopteryx lithographica, the first reptile to develop feathers for flight, “freeing itself from the constraints of the horizontal world”), Arc’teryx’s latest video series, A Skier’s Journey, uses obscure ski destinations as a context in which to explore nature, culture, and the human condition. The end result is a thought-provoking, heartwarming, visually incapacitating treatise on what it means to play in the snow.
Watch the bite-size trailer version above—and if you’re ready to settle in, heat up some cocoa and get comfortable for the full episodes below. Once you’re done, learn more about Arc’teryx’s technical achievements, charitable efforts…and get inspired (while sweating bullets) watching three guys who are “climbers first, disabled second.”
[Videos courtesy of Arc'teryx and Gore-Tex. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]
If the forecast here in Seattle is any indication, it’s high time to pull that parka, trench or topcoat out from the back of your closet. As important as your outer layer is, once you walk into the office, it’s what’s underneath that really counts. Here are a few of our favorite sportcoats this season (also pictured above), in warm, wintery fabrics and patterns:
From Left: John W. Nordstrom® Italian Cotton/Cashmere Corduroy Blazer (available in 5 colors)
John W. Nordstrom Herringbone Sportcoat in Authentic Harris Tweed
Hart Schaffner Marx Cotton Blazer (Made in USA)
Here’s a dapper-looking infographic (found via BearingsGuide.com, ‘A Southern Lifestyle Guide for Men’ that clearly offers plenty for the Northerly among us as well) which should aid you in navigating the remainder of our vast sportcoat selection. For an even more in-depth pattern analysis, check out a ‘Guide to Fall’s Gutsiest Look’ by our friends at GQ.
Here at Nordstrom, we may prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time—but when it is time to celebrate, we go all out. So, with Thanksgiving officially behind us, we popped over to our flagship store in Downtown Seattle to see how they decked the halls (or aisles, as it were). A couple indications that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
Walls full of festive sketches by our perennial favorite illustrator, Ruben Toledo.
Trees all aglow.
Ornaments the size of a small child (or large elf).
Mannequins prepping for a black-tie holiday soirée.
An interactive snowflake-catching experience.
Santa posted up in the corner window display, awaiting your kid’s wish list. (Or yours.)
Despite the festive decorations, we couldn’t help getting distracted by all the sumptuous winter wares festooning the mannequins in the Men’s Shop. Here’s the best of what we saw at the store—and links to help you get these looks online.
OR, SHOP ALL GIFTS
Whether you’re trying to surprise a holiday-party host with something special (and don’t know your way around a recipe) or simply want to cozy up fireside with your significant other and something stronger than hot cocoa, a cold-weather cold one can be man’s best friend. We tapped brew connoisseur Walker Pruett to present a few favorites. Read on for his top 5—and don’t forget something stylish on which to rest your glass.
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‘Tis the season, now that pumpkin beers are waning, for my favorite beer seasonal of all. Many breweries’ best beers come out in celebration of the winter holidays, and nothing salves the psyche on a dark, cold winter’s night like one of these hearty and luscious brews. Here are my top picks (in no particular order) for seasonally appropriate imbibing:
Sierra Nevada ‘Celebration’
6.8% ABV (alcohol by volume)
An archetype of the special beer for special occasions, ‘Celebration’ is hop-forward and balanced. It is technically superb and eminently satisfying, giving hop-heads something to look forward to among the spiced and malty milieu that dominates the holiday beer landscape.
Anchor ‘Our Special Ale’ (aka Christmas Ale)
This highly anticipated release from one of the progenitors of the American craft-beer movement is fun because it’s a surprise every year. ‘OSA’ features a perennially changing recipe of secret malts, hops and spices, yet it consistently delights. This year’s iteration carries aromas of allspice, with subtle vanilla and wintergreen; flavors are of dark toffee and smoky black pepper. These elements act beautifully in concert to deliver a refreshing winter draught.
New Belguim ‘Frambozen’
Frambozen’s fleeting appearance makes me a little giddy every year. Nowhere else can you find this combination of tart raspberry flavor against a sturdy caramel malt backdrop. Imagine your favorite raspberry pastry baked to perfection, but in spritzy liquid format. Thirsty yet?
Brasserie Dupont ‘Bons Voeux’
It’s no coincidence this seasonal Belgian gem comes in a champagne wrapper, as the quaint farmhouse brewery isn’t much more than spitting-distance from the Champagne region of France. The beer is lively and succulent, with underlying hints of sweets and spices. It makes an excellent stand-in for holiday toasts.
Samuel Smith ‘Oatmeal Stout’
We’re lucky enough to be able to drink this delicious tipple from one of England’s most heralded breweries all year long. Oats in the mash make this beer silky on the palate, while roasted malts contribute pervasive semi-sweet chocolate notes. The result resembles a liquid dark-chocolate ganache, though it’s light enough that a whole pint isn’t too tall an order.
By Walker Pruett, brewer and beer enthusiast living in Portland, Oregon. When in Portland, be sure to check out PDXBEERCALENDAR.COM for a full listing of Portland’s daily beer events.
[Intro illustration via Bearden Beer Market. Beer images: Sierra Nevada via The Full Pint; New Belgium via Better Beer Blog; Anchor, Brasserie Dupont and Samuel Smith's via the breweries' official sites.]