One Shirt, Six Looks

Denim may have gotten its start as workwear, but over the decades, the material has gone through a metamorphose that can work for a special occasion... or six! Today, we're excited to feature our friend Avery and his journey transforming his beloved denim shirt from beachwear to suit&tie, and everything in-between.

#1 Beach Ready

When I leave my Mission apartment on weekends, I always have a change of clothes either in my car or backpack. Not because the weather will subsequently change at the drop of a hat, (which it can, leaving you freezing your butt off) but rather, there is so much going on in the city on any given weekend. I find myself going from a picnic in Chrissy Field or Golden Gate Park, to an early dinner with friends all in one day. So I’ve learned to adjust and carry with me a few pieces I make suitable for both.

I picked up this denim shirt from Levis ($70) a month ago. Since then, I have mixed it together with 10-20 looks, never seemingly self-conscious about the overused look I’m giving it.  Most men I see rock the same gear, the same way, over an entire year.  With just a few pieces (NOT COSTING A LOT OF MONEY), you can freshen up your work or weekend attire. (The boxer in the picture just happened to be running around during the shoot, but a doggie of my own is in my near future.)

I’m not going to lie: like everyone, I love compliments from the opposite sex. Did I think a side project of putting some buttons on a string and wrapping it around my wrist would be something women would dig? No, I didn’t - but man do I get complimented on this bracelet more than anything I’ve worn in the past 10 years. I’m even thinking about selling these because of all the attention they’ve gotten. Would you buy one for your boyfriend?

I’m a guy who actually enjoys shopping, but hate, HATE overspending on things I know I won’t wear a year or two from now.  You can say I’ve learned my lesson in buying clothing that sits in my closet for “the occasion”, which happens once a year... maybe. So I’m constantly looking for a few staple items from iconic brands, mixed in with cheaper (cost effective) H&M and Urban Outfitters pieces, then scouring thrift stores for items that end up costing about 15% of the garment’s initial price.

Bathing suits are another item I can’t understand why any man would pay over $50 for. Again, it’s an item you’ll rarely wear, and by waiting until after the Summer season, you’ll never pay over $35 bucks for nice trunks you’ll have in the rotation for years to come. This paisley swimmer was a discount special that has followed me on vacation for over 5 years now. Would I have spent the $95 original retail price for it? Hell no. But for $40, I scooped it up and have gotten my money’s worth. I also love bright colors, and frequently push the limit with the color pink, purple, and yellow. And, without being too stereotypical, I find mainly gay men are taking chances with these colors. Personally, I think bathing suits, the yellow Izod cardigan below, and accessories work with bright colors. I tend to steer friends toward a hint of color in an accessory only, as most dudes can’t pull it off.  

Having my “beach” attire (including my vintage boat shoes above) is something I always make sure I have in my trunk. 

#2 Urban Casual

#3 Double Denin

One of my favorite looks has always been denim on denim. I wish more men knew how dope it looked, because I rarely see men outside of NYC, and the random hairstylist or hipster barista, pairing the two together. I feel like people think two different washes of denim might not work together, but it’s quite the opposite. In my opinion, it looks volumes better than trying to match denim like an Abercrombie matching outfit. Do yourself a favor and grab a second-hand vest to throw over a denim shirt, and pair them with a pair of jeans that you know (trust me here) don’t match. One extra layer of denim is the difference-maker in an outfit that stands out, to one that looks like the rest of the guys in the room who just picked up an outfit from the Gap.
Never pay full price for a tie. Why pay $70-$120 for a tie you’ll barely wear? And with a tie that has a busy pattern, there’s only so much you can wear it with anyway. So do your self a favor, visit a second-hand store. Even the Salvation Army has turned up Ralph Lauren ties that I frequently wear.  Nordstrom Rack is also a great place I get ties for under $50 if you’re going to buy brand spanking new. I recently found this Paul Smith tie for $15 and it’s brand spanking new! What one man doesn’t want, I pick up routinely in thrift shops like I just hit the lottery.

#4 Classy Vest

The vest and shoes are both from a company called Hawkings Mcgill. The vest has been one of my staple garments in my wardrobe, costing me under $100. I picked it up three years ago at Urban Outfitters and still rotate it with multiple outfits, with and without ties. It gives me the option of “looking” dressed up when I don’t feel like wearing dress slacks to an event. The vest and tie subtly disguise that I’m wearing jeans, but still let me show up to business meetings feeling like I’m dressed in an appropriate manner.
Hawkings Mcgill consistently make really great products at the right price. Items they sell are almost too cheap, in my opinion. Urban Outfitters is their main retailer, so garments won’t be too expensive. Still, buying snazzy shoes and button down shirts for under a hundred bucks made me a return shopper from the get-go.  I hate (selfishly) that I’m divulging this information for the reason of not seeing the masses catching onto their clothing. They still have a small boutique vibe about them that’s made me a return customer.

#5 Splash of Color

I own two Izod cardigans that I purchased for under $10 over 8 years ago and still wear them both consistently. The yellow stands out more than the white one does, but they both have stood the test of time in my wardrobe. It goes back to picking items from brands that have a track record of simple, clean lines in their clothing.  You can always tailor an item you find in a thrift shop and still save money in the long run. I do this all the time with Ralph Lauren shirts and jackets I find and people think I paid hundreds of dollars when I usually get out the door spending less than what a movie and popcorn would cost.

#6 Suit & Tie

Since I’m single (double wink, ladies), I don’t wear a tie much. When I do, I get comments about San Francisco being a “casual” city, and that people don’t wear ties. If I had to give single men one piece of advice, it would be to WEAR A TIE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. Ladies love a man that dresses smart, and who stands out from the casual Marina bro or Mission hipster. Sport the tie. Rock it. Be bold. You’ll be surprised by the outcome.

About Our Friend Avery:
Italian. Philadelphia born and raised. I currently live in the Mission district of San Francisco and am working on a mobile app called The Love of Sports. Outside of memorizing sports box scores, food, fashion, and running all keep me alive and well. You can follow my ramblings on Twitter @AveryTLOS, or find me at Four Barrel Coffee where I spend most of my mornings getting (caffeinated) energized.

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