If you want to get dressed up a little bit, but you don't want to do that whole suit thing, start with a pair of jeans and work from there. Chances are, you're more comfortable in denim than in a full suit. Plus, nothing has proven to be more American or more versatile (fans have included everyone from Andy Warhol to 19th-century miners). To get started, pick up a pair of classic-fit jeans, which haven't changed in decades and will never go out of style. We recommend these Levi's 501s, one of the most iconic products in history because of their timelessness and versatility. Next, add the everyday staples – brown wingtips, a white oxford, and a slim-fitting navy blazer with thin notched lapels. Then – and here's the fun part – introduce a splash of complementary colors with your socks, belt, and bracelet. The result is a refined yet relaxed look that'll have you closing deals at noon and leading the happy hour charge come sundown. Launch Gallery >>
Kiel James Patrick Croffix Sailing Belt
With his eponymous clothing label, Rhode Islander Kiel James Patrick is on a mission to make his native Ocean State a national fashion hotspot. It started in 2009, when Patrick and longtime girlfriend and design partner, Sarah Vickers, decided to sell their handwoven sailor's bracelets at a local craft show (the duo sold hundreds in one day). With much of his childhood spent in the water and his beloved Boy Scouts, Patrick went on to build a brand that reflected his New England youth – Marine-grade rope belts and canvas bags adorned with nautical insignia. "I wanted to create the look of American lifestyle as I knew it: classic, effortless, elegance," says Patrick.
Many of Patrick's now 25 employees weave Croffix Sailing Belts by hand, dedicating over an hour and a half to sewing and stitching the cotton rope before reinforcing it with a beautiful vegetable-tanned leather strap sourced from fellow New Englander Frank Clegg. "The rope is custom-made for us, then custom-dyed to achieve a weathered look," says Patrick. "Everything else we do right out of our Pawtucket headquarters." Our favorites include the "JFK," a red, white, and blue number best worn with khakis and boat shoes, and the green and blue "Clayton's Canopy Hammocks," which we pair with jeans and a plain white tee. Rhode Island may not become the nation's next fashion's capital, but we'd put our money on Kiel James Patrick becoming the next great American brand. [$88; kieljamespatrick.com]