He Spoke Style | Men's Style, Fashion, Grooming, Tips and Advice
He Spoke Style provides Men's Style, Fashion, Grooming, Tips and Advice. He Spoke Style was created as a way to blend men's style inspiration with men's style information, to provide practical style advice, and to offer approachable, honest and relatable content for regular guys interested in menswear.
As the story goes, when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria first married, she presented him with flowers as a token of her love. Prince Albert, reciprocating his love back, cut a hole in the lapel of his coat and inserted a single flower. The boutonnière was born. Today’s adaption of the original boutonnière manifests itself as what we know as a lapel flower. Typically made from a twill or wool fabric, this modern accessory mimics the visual aesthetic of the boutonnière, similarly being placed in the lapel’s button hole.
The resurgence of men dressing their best has allowed the lapel flower to occupy a space as a more acceptable everyday accessory. Therein lies the problem. The once seldom worn adornment is today presumed as a badge of dressing well. What was once worn for special or formal occasions to signify love or to celebrate a momentous occasion, now has become just another proverbial cherry on-top of an often poorly put together ensemble.
Don’t get me wrong, just because I’m not a proponent of wearing a lapel flower doesn’t mean it can’t be worn gracefully. Personally, I find lapel flowers are a distraction, similar to the way hot-dog pattern socks or wood beaded bracelets have invaded the landscape of men’s clothing. When a lapel flower is worn on a regularly basis it in fact loses its true elegance and meaning.
It’s not just about what it symbolizes. Unfortunately, I see that most men start off their sartorial journey too often becoming enamored with putting the cart before the horse. I was certainly one of those people early on. Not yet at a level where you’re willing to spend on foundational necessities, wearing a lapel flower becomes a de facto way of easily flaunting their style without having to invest the time or money.
If you’re insistent on wearing a lapel flower, may I suggest looking to icons like singers, Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra? These men were always impeccably dressed and always had the correct occasion to fashion a boutonnière or in this case, a lapel flower. Another icon of the times, who knew how to wear one correctly was Jackie Gleason. A lauded comedian who famously wore a red carnation with his sharply tailored suit, Gleason optimized what it meant to demand the attention of the room even without the aid of something like a lapel flower.
Now don’t misconstrue my opinion; I believe the lapel flower does have a place in a man’s wardrobe, just not as an everyday accessory. I recently read a very interesting quote, it stated “Accessories can be an unnecessary complication or something that ties everything else together”. Simply said, lapel flowers are meant to enhance your look, not overpower it.
As I’ve grown and developed my style, I always try and look back to a time where I was just learning. A lot has changed. Most of what I lacked back then was confidence. I had no interest in wearing things outside my comfort zone.
Given the option, some men wouldn’t even consider wearing a pink dress shirt outside of a required uniform. The color pink has long had the connotation of being effeminate. At the risk of looking like they don’t chew leather or rub dirt on their cuts, most men stand firmly on the reasoning that wearing pink is reserved for women.
Like most things in men’s style, we typically associate colors with an appropriate season. The pink dress shirt is one of those garments whose popularity rises during the spring and summer months. Though it’s a welcomed change from your typical white or light blue, the pink shirt in a poplin or oxford cloth is as versatile all year round as it is during the warmer months.
Pink is great for any skin tone. Gentlemen with a darker complexion generally look good in lighter shades. Think sun-faded rose or light blush tones. Fairer skinned guys (or if you haven’t gotten that summer tan yet) will fair better with darker shades. Explore a color like a peach or light salmon color. If you’re unsure, a standard university striped oxford will work on just about every man.
I love pairing a pale pink dress shirt with a light tan colored jacket. A jacket like this is so versatile that it can easily be paired with blue or brown trousers as well. In spring, there’s not much a cotton/linen sport coat can’t work with. I particularly love this one for its interesting herringbone texture.
Wearing a tie can feel formal, but not when it’s a summery silk knit. Brian has talked at length about the versatility of the silk knit. This green and pink combination is unexpected, but works well. Don’t be afraid of trying uncommon color pairings when you’re wearing a pink dress shirt. Think of it like you would a blue or white dress shirt.
Rather than your typical loafer, reaching for these tan suede double monk loafers was an easy seasonal choice. Worn with loafer socks of course, it’s great change up to your typical brown leather loafers. The red brick soles keeps them on the casual side, which is perfect for this overall look.
What do you think of this look? Will you wear pink this year?
Something exciting today, folks. We hit a small milestone on the YouTube channel over the weekend–going over 50,000 subscribers. We’re very thankful for all who have been tuning in over the past six months or so and wanted to show our appreciation by hosting a massive men’s style giveaway featuring a prize package valued at over $2,000.
To enter, you must use the widget below to certify you’ve done the following:
If you already subscribe to both the channel and the newsletter–awesome! But we still need you to check the box on the widget so we can verify everything. Also, once you’ve completed all three steps, you’ll be able to share the giveaway with your friends on social and earn extra entries for yourself.
What are the prizes? You can see photos of all of them in the video above, but here’s a list:
Over the last decade, I’ve noticed men dressing expressively again. Once held to the parameters of the typical grey or blue, men are now opting for patterned sport coats and unconventionally colored suits.
Admittedly, not for everyone, wearing something out of your comfort zone isn’t justifiable for every man’s wardrobe. Posed with wearing the basic uniform or yielding to the latest trends, some gentlemen prefer to remain with conventional attire.
One of the ways I’ve learn to express myself while maintaining a polished appearance is by introducing a bold vest or waistcoat into my wardrobe. I love a great, bold vest. An easy style upgrade gathers some attention. It’s not that I require the attention, but I’m amazed by how a single piece of clothing can change the look of a suit or plain pair of trousers into something more compelling.
When paired tastefully, the bold vest has an instant impact on your look. I find pairing one with a solid suit is simple, elegant and always garners a compliment. The idea is not to stand out, but to show that you possess a refined level of taste and confidence.
While a lot of men ask, “Is Suitsupply worth the money?” I rarely doubt what the Amsterdam-based brand has produced over the years. As Brian wrote previously, they have their pros and cons. Regardless, I am a huge fan of their bold patterned vests. They work with all the typical European fabric mills and offer a wide range of seasonally appropriate vests. I haven’t found a selection of bold vests anywhere else in the market, aside from having to ordering a custom 3-piece suit.
Focusing on the type of fabric and when to wear it will inevitably be the most important factors. A bold vest in a cotton/linen/silk blend will give you the most versatility when mixing it with your everyday wardrobe.
While the bold vest might only appear reasonable for those who are stylish and poised, its purpose in a man’s wardrobe is hard to deny. Fad or style upgrade, whichever you believe, learning to wear a bold vest can come at a certain age or with the perfect balance of confidence and carefree attitude.
Loafers are a part of the menswear lexicon. With the spring season in full swing, I thought it might be beneficial to look over a list of one the most intriguing styles of men’s footwear over the last decade. Based on classic design elements, each different type of loafers on this list has held its rightful place in history.
Established in 1876 by George Henry Bass of Wilton, Maine, The penny loafer, as it’s called, is an iconic piece of footwear that encapsulates the American ‘prep’ style. The signature details associated with this historic design: a rounded moc toe, “beef roll” bindings on the sides of the shoe and the lip-shaped front slit which was known as a place to store pennies. For as long as this pair of loafers have been produced, it remains a footwear staple in the wardrobe of the classic American man. Worn by the likes of style icon James Dean, Paul Newman and John F. Kennedy, the penny loafer is the perfect balance of smart and casual footwear.
Created in 1953 by designer Gucci, the horse bit loafer was adapted after the success of similar North American style loafers. While observing the daily lives of the English aristocracy, Gucci saw how important horses, racing and polo was to this affluent class. When he launched his leather goods business, he made sure to incorporate this equestrian iconography into the brand. Gucci’s iconic horse bit loafer quickly established itself as quintessential, Italian elegance. Although their comfort and practicality challenged traditional footwear notions, these loafers quickly found favor with the likes of businessmen during the 1970’s who were looking to incorporate that a louche, easy-going and sporty sexiness into their wardrobes. Today the horse bit loafer is synonymous with the Gucci brand and has had a lasting impression on classic man’s wardrobe.
Alden, the famous Massachusetts-based shoemaker, claims to have produced the original tassel loafer in the early 1950’s. When Brooks Brothers introduced the style into their stores a few years later, its status as a prep-inspired, country clubby shoe was cemented into the American wardrobe. Distinct by its tassels or leather laces hanging from the vamp, Tassel loafers are essentially a laceless shoes with decorative ornamentation. Often worn by businessmen or lawyers today, historically the tassel loafer was seen as an older man’s choice of footwear. With the popularity of movies like Wall Street, the tassel loafer has remained a popular choice for men and today, you can find them it in a variety of both formal and informal styles.
Kiltie or “kilty” refers to any shoe that has a fringe leather panel covering the vamp area of the shoe. Originally, on the feet of early Scottish golfers during 1497, the kiltie was simply a way to keep the laces free from the rain and mud of the British Isles. Over generations, the loafer style hasn’t undergone a huge change in looks, although some kiltie loafers come in a variety of styles. Some have laces, tassels, or even buckles adorned to them. Kilties typically have a reputation as a shoe for older men. While they certainly can be dressed up for more modern times, they’re a shoe that should only be worn once you’ve established a strong base in your footwear collection.
Created out of necessity for a comfortable shoe while driving, the driving moc has made a name for itself throughout the years as comfortable casual footwear. Since its inception in 1963, this casual loafer was seen as a solution to the demand of footwear that could endure the rigors of daily driving. Helping to extend the longevity of your dress shoes, the driving moc is typically made in a soft suede or deerskin covered with rubber pads or nibs to help traction. Its causal nature makes it a great choice for spring/summer attire, particularly chinos and linen.
Once considered a peasant shoe, today’s espadrilles are a staple of fashionable beach-goers worldwide. A simple shoe consisting of a one-piece canvas upper stitched to a coiled rope sole, the espadrille has become the new standard footwear for vacation. Easy to slip on and off, the espadrille‘s of today are now finished with a small layer of rubber to increase the durability.
Certainly a lot more flattering on your feet than the condemned thong sandal. At a reasonable price, the espadrille fills a space in your casual footwear collection as a go-to option for warm-weather travel.
Owned by famous fashion designer Henri Bendel, Belgian Shoes have been in business since 1956. A wardrobe staple to a multitude of famous faces like Andy Warhol and infamous financier, Bernie Madoff, the Belgian loafer is the gold standard for hand-made loafers.
Only produced in small collections of 5 different styles, their tradition and most popular version, called “Mr. Casual”, is a soft soled loafer, topped off with a chic leather bow. It comes in a variety of leathers and wools and is the perfect loafer for the guy looking for a bit of sophisticated elegance. What makes these loafers so special is their simplicity. They start with a hand-sewn insole, over a light filling — a felt like material that is similar to the one under piano keys. Each loafer is hand stitched by women in Belgium due to the delicate nature of the shoes. Each shoe is meticulously inspected and only allowed to be sold after careful construction. It is said that if you want the best, you buy Belgian loafers. Brian is a huge fan of them and swears by them religiously.
Made prominent by the likes of Prince Albert Consort in the late 1800s, slippers have long held a significant place in a man’s wardrobe throughout human history. From the feet of the Pope to those of American Hollywood actors, slippers were once thought of to only be seen inside the home. Today’s slippers are crafted in luxurious velvets and are decorative with elements, like grosgrain silk ribbons, or detailed with embroidered motifs on the vamp. The once comfortable, in-home footwear is now worn as a casual option or even proper as a formal footwear option with black tie. No matter the occasion, the slipper is a style that deserves the royal treatment, whichever way you choose to wear it.
Spring is an exciting time, style wise, for me personally. Packing away all of my heavy wool suits and sweaters, I’m thrilled to start experimenting with more breathable and spring-weight jackets.
Over the last few years, I’ve built a collection of bold pattern blazers to introduce a bit of panache in an otherwise classic wardrobe. Owning this type of jacket is a great way to mix up your style when you want to make a statement. I’ll show you how I go about wearing a bold pattern blazer and why its essential to own at least one.
I love wearing an eye-catching jacket like this one. It’s not a jacket I can wear very often (maybe only one to two times a season) but when I do, I know I’m going to receive a bunch of compliments. Minding the occasion, a jacket like this is a conversation starter so be ready for the added attention.
The key to wearing a blazer with a bold pattern is to dress with subtlety. This is not the time to go full dandy. Forget extras, like gaudy lapel flowers, wooden bracelets, or funky tie bars. Keep it minimal. The focus should be on the well-tailored jacket and your personal demeanor.
Don’t overthink it. A great starched white shirt provides a simple palette for you to build upon. You already own one and it’s an easy choice if you’ve never worn a bold blazer like this. Pairing this jacket with a pair of white chinos or light grey trouser is ideal. I always have several pairs of solid color trousers on hand to mix with different patterned jackets during the spring season.
Wearing a tie isn’t required when donning a blazer like this, but if you do, make it something solid. Wearing cotton, linen or a simple silk knit would be a well-rounded choice. Lastly, loafers or slippers should be a repeat theme this spring. Investing in a great pair of loafer socks should be a priority, unless you would rather go sock-less.
Wearing a bold blazer takes one major factor: confidence. Men are inherently afraid of breaking away from what they know. Owning a bold blazer or sport coat can allow you to freely express and explore your personal style while giving you a much needed break from the expected.
Introduced by Levi’s in 1853, denim has long been a significant part of history in menswear. A blue-collar staple that continues to grow, it’s estimated that every year around 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the US. With so much of today’s denim being mass produced, the focus has shifted from the belief of quality and longevity to one of excess quantity and trend driven, fast-fashion.
The majority of denim today has a completely different look and feel than it once did. More brands than ever (yes, even Levi’s) are introducing synthetic materials for more stretch and laser-etched distressing to look like they are more well-worn pair.
Fortunately for us, the few vestiges of what denim’s greatness used to be still exists in the marketplace. When it comes to the trio of quality, longevity and price, the answer has always pointed to selvedge denim.
What is selvedge denim? Mentioned previously, selvedge denim is often referred to as being a superior quality denim fabric with a distinct “self edge” stripe down each side of the textile’s roll. Due to the limited availability of the looms needed to produce the denim fabric, as well as a smaller amount of material being manufactured, it is increasingly getting harder to find brands that still make denim in a selvedge style.
The few who do charge more for the time and effort that goes into the final product. Undoubtedly the question that everyone always asks: Is selvedge denim worth the extra money?
Yes, and here’s why
100% Cotton – Let’s face it, todays denim is just different. IMHO the stretch aspect in the current denim doesn’t feel the same. Selvedge denim feels like denim used to feel. Tough, bullet proof, and long-lasting.
You Invest in Quality – Typically a higher quality product means it will last longer. If you can buy one pair of denim instead of multiple pairs, why wouldn’t you spend a little more?
Flaunt Your Sartorial Knowledge – For those of us who are denim enthusiasts, showing off that “self edge” regularly is a little badge of honor. It’s the kind of inconsequential thing that no one else will notice or care about, but you’re proud it’s there.
Great Denim is Versatile – While not everyone believes in wearing a pair with a sportcoat, denim is unequivocally versatile. A dark pair will work with almost anything in your wardrobe and can even take you through all four-seasons (yup, even summer).
Whether you need convincing or not, buying selvedge denim is an investment. For those who want the best, selvedge denim offers all the hallmarks of quality similar to that of a well-made suit. Personal preferences aside, I’ve owned several pairs of them over the years. I’ve found that spending a little more has always proved to be the wise decision.
Agree? Let me know if you think selvedge denim is worth it.
British luxury luggage maker, Bennett Winch, has made its introduction into New York City with a 10-week residency located in the famed Turnbull & Asser Townhouse. The HSS team was invited to celebrate the monumental occasion of these two quintessential British brands working together to bring the best luxury goods built on tradition and quality.
Amongst a packed house of supporters, Bennett Winch presented their wide collection of handmade leather totes, briefcases and carry-all’s. Made from the finest raw materials, like leather from Italy and British brass hardware, these bags are assembled by the most experienced hands in England.
As my knowledge of the brand was minimal, I was granted the opportunity to speak with founder, Robin Winch. He was kind enough to walk me through the inception of the brand, explain to me in depth about some of the fine details of their products and talk about all the exciting new projects in the coming year.
I was permitted to handle their products at the event to get a sense of their feel and construction. Their most popular bag, the weekender, is offered in a variety of colors, in either a 24-ounce waterproof cotton canvas or leather. (You’ve seen Brian with the canvas version previously.) It also conceals an interior protective laptop sleeve, waterproof side compartment and 2 footwear storage pockets. Below you can see a few images of this beautiful bag in a full-grain brown leather.
I was also very lucky to get my hands on one of their leather tote bags. I prefer carrying a tote bag with me due to the variety of personal and business items I’m usually carrying with me at all times. This black version is refined, expertly-made, and was designed for the professional who wants the absolute best. I almost didn’t give it back!
If you’re looking to invest in top-notch bags or luggage, Bennett Winch have a nearly flawless and growing collection that’s worth your time. Stop into the Turnbull & Asser townhouse, they’ll be there displaying until June 10th. Lastly, if you haven’t already, check out our review of their briefcase.
The grey suit is a foundational business essential. Like your traditional navy suit, a grey suit is something you will wear over and over again throughout the course of your life. You’d be naïve to believe that you can’t find any occasion where a grey suit would be an appropriate option.
The belief that a grey suit has to look boring or unimaginative is completely false. I’m going to show you how to freshen up your classic grey suit to make it feel like it’s the newest addition to your closet.
So what type of suit is ideal? Spring is the time of year when the weather can be unpredictable. When it’s warm, wet, and windy, finding the perfect lightweight suit that can keep you cool without compromising on style can be tricky.
My recommendation: a grey suit in a fresco fabric. Fresco consists of multiple strands of yarn and high-twisted wool with an open weave, allowing the fabric to be airy, yet durable. It’s designed specifically with summer in mind and although the open weave allows airflow, its crisp feel and look doesn’t lend itself to wrinkle the way linen would. For maximum versatility, choose a partially lined version that can work for multiple seasons.
Brian has featured this type of look on HeSpoke Style a few times and for good reason. Wearing a t-shirt under your suit is one of the simplest ways to update an old suit, yet many men don’t explore it for some reason. Open to your thoughts on why down below in the comments.
There are simple ground rules I like to follow when wearing a t-shirt with a grey suit. First, always wear it tucked. We don’t have to get into why, just trust me. Second, keep it simple. Stick to a solid color. Especially if your suit has a pattern. If it’s a solid color suit, try a horizontal stripe in navy and white for a Parisian feel. Lastly, iron your t-shirt. You heard that correctly. Wrinkles affect all garments, so take the time to iron it so you look sharp.
| WEARING | Suitsupply fresco suit, Uniqlo t-shirt, white low-top sneakers, Eyebuy Direct sunglasses, Orient watch | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Mark Asuncion
The suit with sneakers thing can be a touchy subject, but in my opinion, it works perfectly with this relaxed t-shirt look. White being the most versatile pair to own, stick to something neutral. Also, make sure they’re clean.
Finally, top it off with the right pair of sunglasses. Don’t be that guy who always wears the same pair of sunglasses. Having a variation of different styles shows that you care about the finishing touches.
Tell us, would you wear the suit and t-shirt look?
As I’ve gotten older, there are a few things that I’m constantly watching over. The first is the slow encroachment of grey hairs on the sides of my head and the other is the weather conditions for the day ahead.
Living in the northeast means we’re subject to all types of unpredictable weather. Our wardrobe requires a wide range of garments to combat all the possibilities Mother Nature may throw at us.
My closet holds all your typical menswear cornerstones; a wool pea coat, a black topcoat and a classic tan trench. However, over the last few years, I’ve found myself constantly deferring to a simple navy raincoat.
As Brian has stated, part of “having style” is knowing how to dress appropriately for any situation. In the unpredictable month of April, it’s shocking to watch the crowds of well-dressed gentlemen run around New York City streets without a proper raincoat. A great umbrella is an essential, but most raincoats aren’t just lightweight and functional, they’re timeless.
When I want the flexibility of a waterproof coat with a more modern look and feel, I reach for my navy raincoat. Often referred to as a “Mackintosh” or “Mac” coat, this simple coat was pioneered by Charles Macintosh in 1824. It’s straightforward design doesn’t warrant much fanfare, but I’ve found that effortless garments fit my personal style best.
Few suggestions when finding the perfect raincoat: First, it should be completely waterproof. Second, make sure it hits at or above the knee. Finally, make sure it’s sized for how you intend to use it. If you’re wearing it with a suit, make sure to size up.
I love how effortless this navy raincoat looks. Wear it with brown, grey, tan, olive… It’s the quintessential companion for those awful days when you need to protect your sharply tailored suit.
Bonus tip: Leather soles and heavy rain don’t mix. Instead of bulky boots, I reach for a pair of galoshes. These rubber covers slide over your dress shoes and protect them from getting soaked. Slip them off when you’re inside and you’ll feel like a sartorial pro.
While a tan trench coat might provide all the wet weather protection you need, having other options is never a bad thing. A navy raincoat might not be a priority when building your wardrobe, but It certainly can give you peace of mind when heading out into unfavorable weather conditions.