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 >>
Stalward Ltd. Neckties
It's only been a month since Stalward Ltd. launched its online shop, and a handful of its tie designs are already sold out. That's because owner Matt Gorton hand-sources his dead-stock fabrics at swap meets and flea markets across the country. And once a style's gone, it's really gone.
The ties in his summer collection, available in linen, cotton, and chambray, measure 2.5 inches at their widest point, meaning they're not quite hipster skinny, but not stodgy and thick, either. "They're inspired by blue-collar workers of the sixties, who wore the same classic tie for work or for a drink," says Gorton. All Stalward ties are handcrafted in a family-run Chicago factory, and it's the details that define this newcomer. Take, for example, the backside, where Gorton replaced a typical company label with a red, black, and white loop fashioned from surplus army gas lamp wicks. The packaging is original, too: All Stalward ties are delivered in hand-stamped cardboard boxes wrapped in red and white bakery twine. It's this kind of sophisticated quirk, along with the narrow-but-not-super-skinny width, that takes the routine out of knotting, and throwing one on becomes something you can actually look forward to in the morning.
So how should one best wear one? "They're meant to be casual, knotted in a pretty right half-Windsor atop shorts, or laid-back pants," says Gorton. But that's only if you can get your hands on one. [$64; stalward-ltd.com]