This article was produced in partnership with Cole Haan.
Pursuing new experiences enriches the way we see the world. It can inspire creativity and foster innovation, break down cultural barriers, and fuel productivity in our everyday lives. Luckily, there’s no need to venture to far-flung destinations to reap the rewards of a traveler’s inquisitive mindset. Often, there’s plenty of adventure awaiting in your own backyard. Maybe you’ve just relocated for a new job, or you want to spend a Saturday discovering up-and-coming pockets of your hometown. No matter the reason for your local odyssey, a stylish and comfy outfit for exploring is a must.
Men’s stylist Seppe Tirabassi knows a thing or two about acclimating to new neighborhoods. Born and raised in Portland, ME, Tirabassi relocated to Los Angeles to launch his career in fashion before eventually settling in New York City in 2010. Over more than a decade in the city, he has lived in five different neighborhoods across three boroughs.
“It’s so important to carve out time to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings,” he tells Men’s Journal. “When I’m out exploring, I always try to put my best foot forward with what I’m wearing, even if it’s comfortable activewear. Sometimes I’m wandering the city for hours, stumbling upon indie coffee shops, discovering new go-to restaurants and bars.”
There’s a good chance you’ll lose track of time with Cole Haan’s lightweight 4.ZERØGRAND Stitchlite™ Oxfords on your feet. The attractive kicks feature dual-layered foam cushioning that’ll give you a plush ride, and they include a molded anatomical footbed for unmatched support as you tackle the pavement. Plus, the Oxford’s rubber flex grooves ensure a more natural feel underfoot, akin to a minimalist sneaker.
“Go for the black pair when there’s a lot of outdoor walking on the agenda,” says Tirabassi. “They’ll show much less scuffing and wear than a white shoe, and they’ll maintain their sharp look over time.”
Built with an innovative Stitchlite™ knit, the 4.ZERØGRAND’s flexible, well ventilated upper will ensure your feet have plenty of room to breathe freely as you go about your day. For maximum comfort, pair them with a matching black set of Cole Haan’s ZERØGRAND Liner Socks, which are made with a stretchy blended fabric and a silicone heel gripper to stay firmly on your foot.
For the rest of his city exploring outfit, Tirabassi prefers athleisure pieces that effortlessly fuse the functionality of activewear with a cosmopolitan fashion sense.
“Hiro Clark makes great quality basics, especially classic-fit tees, for any occasion. I love the ones emblazoned with the names of cities and quirky graphics,” he adds. “Since almost every other part of this look is jet black, a gray crewneck will balance out the monochromatic palette. Why not go for the ‘Destination Unknown’ tee to inspire your sense of curiosity and adventure?”
With warmer weather finally approaching, Tirabassi also gives the green light to finally break out some shorts—but not the pair from your gym bag. Public Rec’s black Flex Shorts are tailored with an athletic fit that skims the upper leg, but they’re made with a stretchy polyester fabric that won’t feel tight on your glutes and thighs.
“They come without a liner, which some guys find uncomfortable,” Tirabassi says. “They’re also water-resistant in case you run into some drizzle while trekking outside the house.”
If you’re in a city with temperamental weather or tricky microclimates (hello, San Francisco), don’t leave the house without a versatile outer layer to shield yourself from the elements. The new Layton Tactical Hybrid Sweater from Nobis gets the job done.
“This isn’t your Dad’s cardigan,” Tirabassi says. “It marries breathable merino knitwear with rugged tech fabric.”
The sweater is also padded with Primaloft Gold Insulation Active+, a warm, water-resistant fill that offers four-way stretch for optimal mobility. It also boasts several pockets with zippered and magnetic closures so you can stash away keys, a face mask, or a pair of sunglasses, like Cole Haan’s sleek Retro Square shades (essential for when the sun peeks out from springtime clouds).
If you’re carrying more than a few palm-sized essentials, bring along a low-profile daypack, like the waterproof ZERØGRAND City Backpack from Cole Haan.
“This is a superb companion for work commutes or running errands around town,” says Tirabassi. He prefers the all-black version. “You can carry along a laptop to catch up on emails from a cool café, and gym clothes in case you end your day with a workout. If the mercury rises and you need to shed layers, you can pack away the hybrid sweater instead of tying it around your waist.”
Here’s another tip: Don’t be afraid to silence your phone’s notifications to feel more present and engaged as you take on the day. (Though don’t leave it at home; you might want to take a photo or check directions from time to time.) Instead, cherish your analog moments by strapping on a simple lightweight watch, which helps you resist the urge to pull out your phone.
“Swatch makes hundreds of styles in different colors—and many of them are priced under a hundred bucks,” says Tirabassi, who singled out the brand’s New Gent Black Rebel as his go-to timepiece. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
[Cole Haan 4.ZERØGRAND Stitchlite™ Oxford: $210; colehaan.com]Get it
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