Men's Style

Behind the Scenes: Two New Before and Afters

If you've been hanging around here for a while, you've likely seen the before/after pictures of my work. What you may not know, though, is that it's quite challenging to get these pictures together, and the ones that I have posted only reflect a small portion of the results I've gotten with my clients. Many of them (understandably) are private and don't want their pictures included.For those clients who are open to being featured, getting an accurate before picture that's also high enough quality for web use, is often difficult, not to mention planning a professional shoot for the after shot. But when it does all come together, and the client is up for it, the results are thrilling! I love being able to feature my clients and show off the hard work that they've done to overhaul their image. Even though I'm the image consultant, much of the work is done on the client's part: showing up for appointments, trying on all the clothes, implementing my advice, etc. Image consulting is like a 12-step program: it works if you work it.So now that you've gotten that behind the scenes, you can appreciate how big a deal it is when the stars align, and I'm able to pull together a before/after I can use. Below are two new before and afters I'm proud to be able to share.Men's Image Consulting: Before and AfterThe first one is a tech CEO and father of 3 who lives in the midwest. We started working together in Spring of 2014 (when the before pic was taken), and we've been traveling back and forth to see one another several times a year since. At first it was a complete overhaul; now we're in maintenance, where we touch things up seasonally and depending on what events, talks, etc., he needs to attend or present at. This client is an absolutely fantastic guy, and I've loved every second of working with him (and incidentally, I've now worked with his wife and niece too -- it's a family affair!).The after shot was taken exactly 2 years after we started working together. The first three things we worked on that were the keys to our success off the bat were: 1) getting him into trimmer and better-fitting pants and jackets, 2) convincing him that tucking in his dress shirts would actually be more flattering to his build than wearing them out, and 3) getting him an improved haircut that would be more flattering to his face shape and hair type.

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 Men's Image Consulting: Before and AfterThe second before and after is one that my awesome client Michael H. sent me out of the blue one day. Michael is a busy attorney and father of two from the west coast. We started working together in April of 2014, coincidentally about two years ago as well. Even though the pix weren't professionally done, and I wasn't there to style him for the after shot, I was thrilled to get the email from him with the images and thanking me for my help. I don't get all the credit here though -- as you can see, Michael has not only been hard at work transforming his image and style, but he's also lost a ton of weight and gained muscle. He dropped 4 inches in waist size. Michael told me in his email that he laughs now recalling that he had told me his before picture was his best outfit.The top three elements that paved the way for Michael's success were: 1) demonstrating to him that he had been buying shirts and pants in sizes that were too large for him, 2) upgrading his haircut and showing him how to style it and with what product, and 3) teaching him how to dress in a way that was flattering to his height and newly trim build.Getting results and feedback like this is a true rush for me, and it's the exact reason why I fell in love with the work that I do. I'm a Fixer (with a capital "F") through and through, and I love being able to use my skills to help my clients become their best selves. I always like to say, "it's you, only better."Thanks so much for reading, and if you're thinking about making a major (or even minor) transformation, don't hesitate to reach out to me.Cheers,Julie 

Pro Tips: Jean Tailoring FTW

Men's Image Consultant: How to Tailor Your Jeans

There very few things like a perfectly-fitting pair of jeans on a man (the above British GQ spread of Matthew McConaughey-hey-hey is pretty good proof). And the way you have them tailored -- or not -- can make or break them. I recently did a jean overhaul with a client, and as we were having them tailored, I realized that even though I’ve already written about how to find a great-fitting pair of jeans, it’s also important to talk about the tailoring. 

1. When shortening jeans that have any kind of distressing or detailing along the hemline, ask the tailor to re-use the original hem. That means he or she will remove the hem that’s already there, cut the jeans shorter, and then reattach the hem higher up. And you get to avoid that my-mom-hemmed-my-jeans look that distressed jeans get when they're just folded under and hemmed normally. If your tailor doesn't know how to do this, find another tailor.2. Check the waist — if it gaps when you put a belt on but fits well through the seat and thighs, the waist needs to be taken in. Ideally, though, your jeans should fit well everywhere, so I'd only suggest this for jeans you already own or that are on super sale. 3. During tailoring, wear the shoes you plan on wearing most often with the jeans. That way, you and the tailor can choose the length based on that. Keep in mind that once you’ve chosen a length based on heel height, you’ll be limited to shoes with the same or similar heel height. If you have a broad range of shoe types (which hopefully you do — if not, here’s my post on the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet), then not every pair of jeans is going to work with every shoe — i.e, you’ll have some that will work with flip flops and flat loafers but not with your dress shoes. So it makes sense to think ahead when having your jeans hemmed as to which shoes you’ll be wearing them most frequently with. And once you’ve decided, make sure you actually bring those shoes to the tailor when you go.Men's Image Consultant: How to Tailor Your Jeans4. Taper jeans that are excessively wide-legged. Elephant leg, as we’ve discussed, is not a good look. It can make your legs look short and stumpy — not recommended! This often happens unintentionally when jeans get shortened — the tailor brings them up without realizing that the new bottom of the jeans is unflatteringly wide. So take a good look at the width of the jeans around the new hemline to see if it needs tapering. Some jeans only need a slight taper to just above the ankles, and others need it almost as high as the knee.Do you have any tips or tricks for how you get your jeans tailored perfectly? Please share in the comments!Cheers,Julie

What to Wear for the Kentucky Derby

Even if you're not going to the Derby itself, but rather watching at home or a party, I highly recommend dressing for the occasion. There are plenty of options for Derby gear, suitable for everyone from the most conservative guys to those with a little more style aplomb. Here are a three outfits to consider, from least to most dialed:Men's Personal Shopper: Kentucky Derby Style

  1. Navy blazer, chinos or shorts, light colored dress shirt, and bright or pastel colored tie or bowtie (extra points for coordinating pocket square).
  2. Men's Personal Shopper: Kentucky Derby StyleSeersucker suit or jacket, white shirt, open collar, pocket square (in either a traditional/neutral color like navy or a bright/pastel).
  3. Men's Image Consultant: Kentucky Derby StyleBrightly colored pants, light colored shirt and sportcoat, pastel tie and pocket square.

Men's Image Consultant: Kentucky Derby StyleHats, of course, an optional bonus ;)Cheers,Julieimages via kentuckyderby.com, GQ.com, vineyardvines.com

The One Shoe Type That Works with Almost Any Outfit

Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to WearWhat would you say if I told you there was one shoe you could wear with just about anything on a daily basis? You'd be all over that, right? It's true. A medium brown lace-up dress shoe can be worn with any outfit except for a tuxedo, a black suit (which you shouldn't be wearing anyway), and shorts. Wear them with jeans, chinos, suits and dress pants.One of the places I always recommend investing in wardrobe-wise is shoes -- you're better off buying one pair of quality shoes and replacing them as needed every 5 years or so, than a crappy quality shoe that you have to replace every year. When it comes to making the most of your footwear investment, another key to keep in mind is not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you rotate your shoes, they'll last a whole lot longer.So if you're going to make an investment shoe purchase, I highly recommend a medium-brown lace-up. They can have a cap toe, no cap toe (see above), or you can do a wingtip (see below).Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to WearCheers,Julie

How to Wear Man Jewelry

Men's Image Consulting: How to Wear Man JewelryMan jewelry is one of those things that a lot of guys are curious about but are not sure how to (or if they even can) pull off. I get it -- it's so easy to do it wrong, that it's almost too intimidating to try. Take my long-time client "A," for example, who works for a management consulting firm. When we first started working together several years ago, every Friday when he came home from the office, he'd put on a colorful beaded necklace. This was his way of marking that the weekend had begun and he was transitioning into hip and relaxed dad mode. Only issue was the necklace looked like one of those candy necklaces kids wear (that's actually what I thought it was the first time I saw it -- oops). Not exactly cool dad material. Even though A didn't quite execute, I give him props for trying. Fortunately this problem had an easy solution -- we ditched the necklace in favor of a more masculine-feeling and subdued combination of bracelets that he looked forward to putting on every weekend and that didn't make him look like he shopped for accessories at the candy store.How can you avoid looking like a casualty when it comes to wearing man jewelry? I've put together the following 8 basic rules for you to follow so you can get it right the first time, plus a few pix from around the web for inspiration. [Note: for the purposes of this post, I'll only be addressing casual jewelry -- necklaces, bracelets and non-wedding band rings -- as that's what I see guys struggling the most with].Men's Image Consulting: How to Wear Man Jewelry

  1. The less shiny the better. Shiny jewelry can come off as cheesy, so if you're thinking of incorporating metal into your jewelry repertoire, go for darker tones and matte finish. Texture within a piece can also reduce shine and make it more wearable. Bottega Veneta and David Yurman make great textured metal pieces (woven, grooved, etc.).
  2. Man jewelry doesn't have to be metal. Consider pieces made of materials like rope, leather, wood and beads for a durable, earthy look. Think masculine shapes -- things like bars, nail heads, hooks, spikes, arrows, anchors, shapes with strong lines and hard angles, and antlers all give off a manly vibe that works well in jewelry.
  3. Bracelets > necklaces. If you're just dipping your toes in, I highly recommend starting with a bracelet or two, as opposed to a necklace. It's a more subdued statement that won't completely take over your look the way a necklace does. You can wear one bracelet next to your watch, or a few on their own. And don't be afraid to mix a couple colors or textures, while keeping the overall look tasteful. Once you're wearing it, try not to fiddle. Put it on, then forget about it.
  4. But if you're already a style renegade, go ahead and jump in with a necklace. A good length is somewhere between your collarbone and the middle of your chest. And one or two at a time is your max.
  5. If you're going to try rings, the most in my opinion a man can safely pull off is 2 or sometimes 3 per hand, and keep in mind the masculine shape element in #2 above.
  6. Try vintage. Vintage pieces often have a patina that give wonderful character to man jewelry. Bonus: they can also be good conversation starters. Things that are interesting and look like they have a story to them pique peoples' interest.
  7. Keep your build in mind. If you're smaller-boned, go for smaller-scale pieces. Similarly, if you're a big guy, you don't want to dwarf overly-delicate pieces.
  8. Don't match...complement. If your watch is black leather with silver-tone metal, then don't pick a black and silver bracelet to wear with it. Try a royal blue instead, something that will work with the cool tones. In general, warm tones (gold, mustard yellow, forest green, eggplant, maroon) work together, and cool tones (purple, royal blue, blue-based red) work together. If you're curious about how to combine colors for the best possible effect, you may want to check out my online style course, Next Level Style, which has a full section on color.
images via GQ, Giles and Brother Instagram

The 5 Worst Style Offenses of 2015

People ask me if when I'm out in public I mentally critique what other people are wearing. While unflattering outfits do register on a subconscious level, I'm actually not always scoping folks out. But every now and then I come across a particularly egregious style snafu that makes me stop and scratch my head.Below are 5 of the worst style offenses I came across in 2015, and because I like to keep things positive around here, I also put together 5 easy actions you can take to improve your image in 2016.

The Worst of 2015

1. Pants so tight we can see the full curvature of your rear end. Let's keep some of that badonkadonk a mystery, shall we?Men's Image Consultant: Tie Length2. Tie point hitting in the middle of your belly. When this happens, because the tie point often lands on the widest part of your stomach, this can actually make you look like you have more of a belly than you actually do. The bottom of your tie should instead hit at the top or center of your belt buckle, so tie your knot accordingly.3. a) Poorly-fitting rented tuxedos.b) Known associate of offender #3a: tuxedo vests.4. Excessive amounts of cologne and/or aftershave. If your smell stays in the elevator for more than 5 seconds after you exit, I implore you to tone it down. And I know I said this last year and the year before that, but my nasal passages are still being assaulted more often than they should be by awful-smelling aftershaves. If the kind you use rhymes with Schmold Schpice, find something less offensive to wear. Men's Image Consultant: how jeans should fit

5. Jean pant legs that run like a straight column from knee to ankle (above, left). I call this "elephant leg." Some tapering above and around your ankle will make you look longer and leaner (above, right).

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Style Do's for 2016

Men's Image Consultant: Undershirts1. Get undershirts that fit trimly. This will make a world of difference in terms of how your dress shirts look on you.2. Replace your worn-out jeans. I get it, they've been with you through all your ups and downs. But trust me when I say the holes and shredded bottoms are not cute.Men's Image Consultant: Boots3. Incorporate a great pair of boots into your wardrobe. If boots aren't a regular in your casual wardrobe routine, it's time to change that. Get yourself a go-to pair of leather or suede boots, and your wardrobe will be elevated instantly.4. Update your loungewear. Just because you're hanging out at home doesn't mean you need to be sitting around in a pair of old mesh shorts or your boxers. Get a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts that are specifically for just chilling (bonus: if there's a fire alarm and you have to run outside, you're set). James Perse and Derek Rose are two brands in particular that I like for this.5. Dress situationally. One of the secrets to refined style is to dress in line with whatever situation you find yourself in. This means if you go out at night, you don't wear the same thing you did to work that day. You take it up a notch. Similarly, you wear different colors and fabrics in Fall and Winter than you do in Spring and Summer. Think darker tones and more texture. Once you start learning how to dress situationally, you'll actually radiate a sense of effortlessness through your look.Wishing you a dashing and delightful 2016.Cheers,Julie

The 2016 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the 6th annual Rath & Co. holiday gift guide! This list is one of my favorite posts to create for you. And if your inbox over the past week has been anything like mine, it's filled with a frenzy of sales and offers, some better than others. It's a little overwhelming, even for me. There is so much stuff to weed through. And let's be real, much of what's being touted as good holiday gifts is uninspired and trite. Kind of like just going through the motions of giving someone a gift without putting much thought into it. What's the point of that?

What I've done with this year's gift guide is scouted for Rath-approved items that not everyone else will be getting -- interesting and unique gifts that show some thought was put into choosing them. The list is divided up into ideas for men and ideas for women and cover a range of budgets. The ideas for men may cover the guys on your list -- or maybe they're things you'll ask for yourself.

FOR HIM

Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Cause and Effect bracelet ($50) - This is for a guy who's somewhat advanced in the style dept. Man jewelry is not the easiest thing to pull off (post coming soon on that, I promise), but I love the raw feel of this painted copper cuff. It can be worn alone or in combination with a watch or other bracelets for a full-on arm party.

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Men's Image Consulting: Gift Ideas for Men

Nike + Undercover Court Force High-Top Sneakers ($150) - OK, so he's got a basic non-workout sneaker (hopefully). Now it's time to take it up a notch with something more stylish. This high-top from Nike is a great option for a guy who wants to step up his style but doesn't want to get involved in wacky colors or over-the-top patterns.

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Felisi jeans belt ($175) - If you or the guy on your list doesn't have a solid jeans belt (no, the reversible black to brown one does not count), it's time to remedy that. I like this one from Felisi because each buckle hole is embossed with numbers for a subtle twist on the classic. 

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Wooly Mammoth Tusk Kershaw Knife ($270) - I can't think of many gifts more manly than a badass knife like this one. The handle is made from the tusks of wooly mammoths that lived around 15,000 years ago. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Kingsman + Deakin & Francis rose gold chevron money clip ($395) - Many of my clients use money clips, so I'm always on the lookout for extra cool and different ones. This rose gold chevron one is a great find -- totally unique and eye-catching.

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FOR HER

Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

D.L. & Co snake journal ($35) - There's something so luxurious about pulling a gorgeous journal out of your bag to write in, and this glitter snake journal does not disappoint. If snakes aren't her thing, D.L. & Co. has a number of other lovely options including feathers and butterflies. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Eberjey pajama set ($102) - Nice pajamas are the kind of thing women rarely buy for themselves but make them feel totally pampered when slipping into them at night (I will admit though that I inspired myself with this post and picked up a couple pairs of these for myself). 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

$495 Dana Rebecca earrings - Every woman needs a pair of signature everyday earrings -- ones she can wear to spin class and straight into the shower after -- without having to remember to remove them (who has time for that, really?). Jewelry is also an awesome gift because it's something she can wear but that you don't have to worry about sizing for. Bonus is she'll think of you whenever she looks in the mirror.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Miscere weekender bag with zip on/off appliqués ($650) - I discovered these Miscere weekender bags on Instagram a while back and became obsessed immediately. With interchangeable fabrics/patterns to choose from for the center panel, she can adjust the look seasonally or just according to her mood or outfit. Such a smart idea in this era of "bespoke" everything.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift IdeasLana Jewelry necklace ($980) - If you want to roll a little bigger on the jewelry front than the earrings above, then have at this black mother of pearl and quartz necklace. It has tons of different colors in it and will therefore work with a lot of different outfits. It's unique, sexy, earthy and interesting -- lots going on in one piece!

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Here's to a hip and happy holiday season.Cheers,Julie

Fall Jacket Picks

Fall jackets represent one of the biggest gaps in a man's s wardrobe. And as I've mentioned before, your outerwear sets the tone for your entire look. It's the first thing people see on you when you walk in the door, and the last thing they see when you leave. So even if the outfit you're wearing underneath it is on point, a jacket that's off kills the whole look. Below are my Fall jacket picks for this year in a range of price points.$0-300Men's Image Consultant: Fall JacketAsos Burgundy Peacoat $126 - This one is a little out there with the burgundy color, but the classic peacoat style keeps it grounded. It's for the guy that wants to think outside the box while maintaining a level of convention.

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$300-500Men's Personal Shopper: Bonobos jacketBonobos grey quilted $328- The heather grey on this jacket is universally flattering, and the waist tabs in the back allow for a trim fit around the waist where many jackets balloon out.Men's Style Consultant: Aether Apparel JacketAether Apparel blue zip $395 - This Aether Apparel jacket is perfect for a sporty yet tailored look. I love this brand because their clothing is performance-focused but still manages to look sharp on.

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$500-1000Men's Personal Shopper: Belstaff Fall jacketBelstaff navy quilted and ribbed $650 - Known for well-made and stylish outerwear, Belstaff jackets are an easy win. (David Beckham is a fan -- he has a capsule collection with Belstaff of moto-inspired pieces which I also recommend checking out.) I like the combination of the knit and quilted textures in this one. Men's Style Consultant: Belstaff Fall jacketBelstaff multi-toned wool and nylon $850 - Similar to the navy Belstaff above, the mixture of different colors and textures in this jacket give it a strong visual appeal.

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$1000+Men's Image Consultant: Thomas Maier Fall jacketTomas Maier grey cashmere $1250 - This faux shearling cashmere jacket is understated luxury at its best. The knit texture gives it a relaxed sweater-y feel, and yet it's tailored enough that you could also wear it more dressily.

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Early Fall is the best time to buy because selections are good, and many stores are running sales. Don't delay -- if you wait too long, you run the risk of there being nothing left in your size, and you being stuck jacket-less until next year.What's your Fall outerwear of choice this season?Cheers,Julie 

How to Shop on a Budget

I know how it is. Your wardrobe is missing some key pieces, but you don't have tons of cash to devote to the resolution. Don't worry -- I've got your back! Read on for some of my best budget shopping secrets.

  1. Get on the lists - There are some great flash sale and deal sites out there like Jack Threads and Gilt. These websites have daily drops of curated collections at excellent prices (and yes, you can typically return things that don't work). Also, make sure to check out Dappered, which is a site that shares some of the best deals to be found on the web.
  2. Make friends with the salespeople - Salespeople (naturally) like to make sales. For that reason, a really good salesperson will go out of his or her way to let you know when certain items are going on sale, often in advance. If there's a store with clothing you typically like, look for a friendly salesperson who will add you to their "book" and let you know when the items you're interested in are going on sale before the sale gets announced to the general public. They may even be able to put things on hold for you so that you can snatch the items up before anyone else gets them.
  3. Set up alerts - If you find an item you like online that's out of your budget, you can set up a sale alert so that you're notified of when the price drops. ShoptagrNifti and Rack It Up are three sites that do this for you.
  4. Get the code - Most online stores will give you 10-20% off just for signing up for their list. That allows you to take a good amount right off the top. You can also try googling the store name plus the word "code" or "coupon," and you may be able to get a discount that way too.

Happy Fall, and happy bargain-hunting!Cheers,Julie 

The only swimsuit style you need

Men's Style Advice: SwimwearSummer is over halfway through -- how strong is your swimsuit game? If you're feeling iffy about it, I highly recommend you try a swim short with a side waist adjusters. It might just change your life -- or at least make you feel like a stud when you hit the beach or pool. Below are 3 big reasons why this style swim short is so flattering:1) Flat waistbands -- have you ever noticed that a swimsuit with a bunchy waistband makes you look bunchy? That's no bueno. A waistband that lies flat against your stomach, however, reduces excess fabric which can make you look bulky around the waist. The net net is that the flat waistband you get on a swimsuit with side adjusters can actually make your stomach look flatter.2) Pool panache -- just as they do with dress pants, side adjusters convey a class and sharpness in a way those ballooning board shorts can't dream of. And of course you can tighten or loosen them for the perfect fit.3) Après-swim friendly -- because these have such a smart, tailored look, all you need to do at the end of a successful beach day is throw on a trim-fitting polo, and you can head straight to the beach club for drinks and hors d'oeuvres.I like the brands Orlebar Brown (one of my go-to's for clients), along with Frescobol Carioca and Robinson Les Bains for this style.Now obviously you'll need to adjust the length of the legs based on your body type and comfort level, but I will say that I've tried this style swimsuit with personal styling clients of all different shapes and sizes, and they've only ever given rave reviews.So are you convinced? Let me know why or why not in the comments below.Cheers,Julie

How to Look Attractive in Glasses

Today’s post is a guest piece written by Ruth Domber, owner of 10/10 Optics.Your eyewear just may be one of the most important accessories you wear. This one item can create the image that you’d most like to project. Your specs say as much about you as the clothes on your back. With that in mind, here's how to choose frames that will make you look attractive. [Julie note: many women find glasses super sexy on a man, so it pays to find frames that truly flatter you.]Men's Style Blog: How to Choose GlassesSize matters The best nonverbal tool you have for communication is your eyes. By choosing a frame with the proper proportions, you maximize eye contact and increase possibilities for communication. Here’s how to figure out the right size: pinpoint the widest part of your face as a guide for width, contour the shape of your brows for height and the top of your cheekbone for depth.Quick tips for a great fit*If you have oily skin, stay away from shiny frames and opt for a matte finish instead.*Make sure that your bridge (nose area) is a perfect fit, as that’s the one part of the frame that cannot be easily corrected if the fit is off.*The arms of the glasses should not squeeze or push in on the sides of your face.*How deep should the frames sit on your face? Never past the flare of your nostrils and never resting on your cheeks.*The arms should be enough length to anchor at your temples at least 1/3 way around the back of your ear.Men's Style Blog: How to Choose GlassesMen's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesOther features If your hair is thin, or you’re bald, a bolder look brings the attention back to your eyes. Angles make weak jawline look more defined.Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesColor as your best asset If you want to keep it businesslike, stay with blues, garnets and greens. Think about your favorite tie colors, and go in that direction. Color communicates individuality, creativity and openness to newideas. You can keep it subtle or go big.Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesIf you’re more into neutrals, use your hair or eye color as a simple way to find your best tones. And if you’re not sure about color, try natural materials. Horn, wood and leather are all tactile and elegant choices.Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesLet your glasses be an outward representation of who you are on the inside. If you’re still unsure of what works for you, try on a few styles, take some pictures and compare to figure out which suits you best.If you're in the NYC-area and in need of new glasses or sunglasses, I highly recommend you check out 10/10 Optics. It's one of my favorite local style resources!Cheers,Julie

How to Up Your Belt Game

Guest article by Napper Tandy of ntandy beltsA man’s belt is often a missed opportunity to have a little fun by providing a spin to whatever you’ve decided to don and exit your home in. There are no hard and fast fashion rules one should live by other than the fact that it’s dangerous to overly color coordinate. Matching a brightly colored belt with your shirt, shoes or socks can become hazardously close to fast food uniform territory.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltThat said, socks that have some small colored polka dots or stripes, or a nato watch band of the same color, work… but tread lightly.When it comes to adding a shirt, you can never lose with a white oxford and/or a shirt which features a bit of the belt color on display.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltThese thoughts above work for khaki, olive green or other earth-toned pants as well. Just always remember not to get too matchy or clashy. It’s not advised to go with green pants and a green belt.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltHelp a suit take itself less seriously.People often ask if one can wear a suit with a colorful belt? The answer is hell yes, but like everything in life it’s all about context. One shouldn’t wear a red belt with a navy blue suit to a private wealth management meeting with new clients. But, one could wear it to dress down a suit when he still wants to look fearless on the street or while enjoying a cocktail at a bar. A colorful belt with a suit is like a pair of sneakers with a suit -  a dash of cranberry in vodka to ease the bite.Tropical storm?Headed to the Bahamas to recharge your soul? Colorful belts party with tropical flair like Hunter Thompson at a Hell’s Angel kegger. Just remember again, stay away from overly matchy or clashy -- contrast is king. Be bold, but work smarter not harder.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltNapper Tandy is the founder and creative brains behind ntandy belts. Read more about Napper here, and check out his belt designs here.

Is Your Closet a Hot Mess? [Part 2, Guest Post by Korinne Kubena Belock]

Guest post by Korinne Kubena Belock, of Urban SimplicityWhether your closet is a large, roomy walk-in or the standard New York City shoebox of a space, keeping it organized is key to getting out the door as efficiently as possible. Once you’ve followed Julie’s steps from this article to get your closet in order, consider following a few best practices to keep common categories of items organized.Ideally your end result is as dreamy as…Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingClothing – For shirts and jackets, the best bet is hanging items on matching hangers, organized by type, then color. For shirts, I like Real Simple Slimline Hangers and a sturdier hanger for suits and blazers. Sweaters are best folded on open shelving, organized by color, and always use a shelf divider to keep stacks upright. In a dream world, every man’s closet would include a pull-out pant rack.Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingShoes – In some ways organizing men’s shoes is so much easier than ladies – simply because there are generally fewer of them. That said, the best way to keep shoes organized is open shelving so you can see everything you own. Always place your go-to shoes in sight-line with the shoes you wear less often, either up high or down low. And remember to keep casual and work shoes separate for easy access.Accessories – Are your belts piled in a corner and ties balled up with the knots still in them? I hope not! For belts, hooks are the way to go with a pull-out rack or simple hanger. Ties can be hung on a similar hook system or rolled and stored in a shallow drawer – always use drawer organizers and group ties by color. In closets with very limited space, I like to utilize the back of the door, and this valet system from Longstem Organizers is a great option that also keeps items like cuff links, sunglasses, and keys organized.The Basics – The best solution for everyday items like socks, underwear, undershirts and tees is to neatly fold them in drawers. Drawer organizers can be used to keep socks and underwear in order. For undershirts and tees, a good fold is key to make sure items don’t get buried. I always suggest folding tees and “filing” them away.Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingLesser Used Items – Consider storing lesser used items, like swim suits and baseball caps, in coordinated bins on higher shelving. Don’t forget to label the bins.Dirty Laundry and Dry Cleaning – The number one way to wreck a closet space it to leave dirty laundry lying around. Always have an open top bin to quickly throw things into. For clients with lots of dry cleaning, I always suggest a separate smaller bin to toss those items into to make drop-off easy on your way to work.Drop Zone – Men’s closets in particular can quickly become cluttered with everyday items like wallets, keys, change, receipts, and business cards. If there’s space, create a drop zone to organize these items on an open shelf using small catchall trays and bowls.korinne2Korinne Kubena Belock, founder and owner of Urban Simplicity, a professional organizing company based in New York City. Learn more about her company’s services at UrbanSimplicityNYC.com.

Is Your Closet a Hot Mess?

Men's Style: How to Organize Your ClosetYour closet called. It’s time to get organized.

I spend a lot of time in guys’ closets, and let me tell you, I’ve seen it all. From paint cans and bikes to ladies’ underwear, closets can easily become a catch-all for all the stuff we don’t have the time or energy to deal with. So we just toss it in, close the door, and forget about it until we have to get dressed again the next morning. With Spring upon us, now is an excellent time for a closet sweep and organization. Below is my 6-step process for how to whip your closet into shape.1) Go through everything in your closet and assess it for fit, style and function. Refer to this post for the seven questions to ask yourself about each item as you decide whether to keep, donate, or toss. The questions make it crystal clear as to how to handle each item. During a purge, I like to lay out garbage bags flat on the floor and then pile all the giveaway items on top so I can track as I go how much is being removed.2) As you’re going through items in  Step 1, remove the wire dry-cleaning hangers (and plastic dry cleaning bags). They can damage your clothes, which costs you money in the long run because it means you have to replace them sooner. Swap them out for wooden or plastic ones, and if you’re pressed for space, use slim-line hangers. If the majority of the hangers in your closet are uniform, you'll eliminate distraction, and it will be easier for you to find what you're looking for when you need it.3) Turn everything to face in the same direction, and organize by type, and then color. That means, put all your dress shirts together, and within that bucket, all solid white shirts, solid blue shirts, blue patterns, etc., go together. I get that this may be hard for you to maintain, but if you do it now and find that it saves you time when getting ready in the morning, you may be more likely to stick with it in the long run. (I don’t know about you, but anything that helps find what I need to get out the door in the morning faster, thereby affording me more sleep, is priority).4) Keep shoes neatly stacked on a shoe rack or in shoe boxes. Use shoe trees for nice shoes.5) Put belts on a belt rack and ties on a tie rack (or you can roll each neatly and put them in a drawer). Each different "type" of item should be kept together.6) Anything you don’t use on a daily or weekly basis like luggage or sports equipment should be kept outside the main areas of your closet. You want easy access for the things you need frequently; everything else can be out of sight and less accessible.Stay tuned for my next dispatch, a guest post from one of my favorite resources, closet organizer Korinne Kubena Belock. She’s going to get down and dirty with more specifics for how certain items should be stored for easiest access and maximum longevity.In the meantime, you can get started on your Spring cleaning project. Leave me a comment below to let me know how it goes for you.And if you're still feeling lost with how to whip your wardrobe into shape, my Next Level Style course might be for you. In it, I spend a whole section on how to do this, including how to create a "gaps list" to determine what's missing from your closet and how to go about acquiring these items in a strategic and intelligent way. The course also has a bunch of great bonuses, including a $50 Nordstrom gift card. Click here for more info.Cheers,Julie

How to Choose a Custom Clothier

Have you been wondering about getting a custom suit or shirt but aren't sure where to start? Between the newspaper ads ("3 suits, 2 shirt and a tie for $199!" - what??) and the Hong Kong tailors coming to your office with wheelie bags full of fabrics, the whole thing can be pretty overwhelming. I've been working with custom tailors for my one-on-one clients since starting my business and based on that, I put together the guide below for you on how to choose wisely. Your results, after all, are directly related to who you select to make your clothes.And before you get dollar signs in your eyes at the talk of custom clothing, you should know that you can often save money buy going custom. That's because you're not (typically) paying a premium for a brand name or store overhead.

Men's Style Tips: Custom Clothing
Rath & Co. client dancing his way back into the fitting room. He was happy with the results of our order!

If you have time to devote to the process, 9 times out of 10, guys are better off with custom clothing (particularly for suits, sportcoats, dress shirts and tuxedos) than off-the-rack. Time frames can vary widely, taking anywhere from 4 to 12+ weeks from the time of the order. It’s an up-front investment of time that pays off in the end: when you’re done, the clothier has your measurements and knows how to fit you, so you don’t have to go through major fit adjustments each time. And of course the biggest benefit to going custom is that your clothes will fit you immeasurably (haha) better than off-the-rack. The second biggest benefit is that you get to select the exact fabric and details you want.Once you’ve decided you want to make the move to custom, it’s key to find someone reliable and who does good work. Here’s how to do that:1) Look on local listings like yelp or other user-review sites for well-recommended ones in your area.2) Google “best custom clothier/suits/shirts [where you live].” If you live in a major city, the local magazines often rate area vendors like custom clothiers, so check their websites as well.3) If you come across any men with bang-on style, ask them where they’re doing their shopping. Chances are these guys will have a great custom tailor they can recommend to you.Create a running list as you go and rule out any that are not comfortable for your budget (as I said above, you can save money by going custom, but prices can vary greatly depending on where you go). Take that narrowed-down list and make introductory appointments with your top 2 or 3 choices. Any good custom clothier will allow you to come in to meet with a salesperson and check things out in general without any pressure to buy. Here are some things to find out when you’re there:1) How custom are they? - There are various levels of "custom clothing," and it's a term that's used quite liberally for anything from made-to-measure to full bespoke. So it's best to find out exactly what level of custom you're getting with each clothier. (Try to find someone who actually makes a custom pattern for you, as opposed to made-to-measure. With MTM, they take a base pattern that already exists and alter it to fit you.)2) Canvassing vs fusing - This refers to the construction of a suit jacket or sportcoat. Fully canvassed suits will last longer and drape better on your body than those that are fused (the latter basically means glued together). A canvassed suit has a layer of wool and typically horsehair between the outer and inner layer of the jacket, giving it body and helping it be more durable. A fused suit can develop “bubbling” on the lapel after a few rounds of dry cleaning or if you get caught in the rain. So ideally you’re looking for a custom tailor within your budget who offers fully canvassed suits.3) Selection of fabrics - Look for fabric books from known brands like Zegna, Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis, Thomas Mason and Canclini. If the clothier carries a variety of books from these brands, that is usually a sign of legitimacy. A broader selection will also make it easier for you to choose and get just what you want.4) Details - Do they have a variety of options when it comes to details like buttons and thread color for monogramming/stitching? It's better to have more options than fewer. And do they use real mother of pearl and horn buttons and bemberg linings? Ask. These details are an important sign of quality.

Men's Style Advice: Custom Clothing
Another Rath & Co. client being fitted for a tuxedo at Michael Andrews Bespoke in NYC. Smooth Operator!

5) Fit confirmation - For your first order, the clothier should only put one test for each type of item through first to confirm fit. Then, once fit has been confirmed (and any needed alterations have been made), they can put through the remaining items. Don’t work with a clothier who orders everything up front. In addition, most clothiers will have you pay for all or half of your items upon ordering, so it’s in your best interest to place a small order initially, and once you’ve confirmed you’re happy with the process and results, you can go back and order additional items.6) Fittings - Any good custom tailor will want you to have at least two fittings (the number of fittings you need will depend on how “tricky” your body type is) to make sure the fit is right. If they simply order the clothes and tell you that you can come pick up, that’s a problem.7) The cut - I've worked with a variety of custom tailors, and some have a standard cut (i.e., slim, classic, etc.) which they will automatically give you unless otherwise requested. And others will ask you how you want things to fit. If you want a slim, modern fit, but you choose someone who cuts more traditional, you'll end up in a suit that feels too boxy to you. Go with someone who will deliver the type of fit you want and who will also talk it over with you if necessary to help you decide.8) End result - The tailor you end up with should have a guarantee that you’ll be happy with the fit in the end, and if you aren't that they'll alter and/or redo items as needed until you are.Based on the above, you can make an informed decision as to who your best option is.Do you use a custom clothier? If so, how has your experience been? If not, what's holding you back? Let me know in the comments below.Cheers,Julie

Two Easy Outfits to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

Have you ever been out on the weekend or after work and looked around to see that there are basically 2 or 3 types of outfits every guy is wearing, and no one is standing out from the crowd (in a good way)? Most guys are wearing what they wore earlier that day (jeans and logo’d/giveaway t-shirt, and blue button-down and khakis are two examples), with no effort to step it up for going out.How incredibly boring! Dressing this way is certainly not going to help you be attractive to new women, much less the one you’re already with if you are in a relationship.With the above in mind, I put together 2 sharp going out looks that you can recreate easily either using these specific items or a variation on each theme. The first is dressier, for when you truly want to dress to impress. And the second less so.Also, if you're looking to try to learn how to put great looks together yourself, I included reasoning behind my the choices. Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a DateGrey suit, J. Crew, $650 (Gray reads friendlier and less business than navy.)Chambray shirt, Theory, $195 (A denim or chambray dress shirt is a nice departure from the everyday dress shirt for business. It shows some thought was put into creating a stylish look.)Red tie, Billy Reid, $59 (The texture in this tie contrasts well against the smoothness of the chambray shirt above. Texture will also make you look approachable, which is a good thing for when you're going out and looking to meet people, or on a date.)Blue tie bar, The Tie Bar, $15 (A tie bar is a small detail that adds visual interest and reflects style prowess. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the perfect way to do so without being loud or obnoxious, a trap many guys fall into when dressing for going out – in effort to be noticed.)White and gray pocket square, The Tie Bar,$8 (This pocket square is simple and classy yet adds a stylish touch to the outfit.)Brown shoes, Massimo Matteo, $169 (Double-monk shoes will allow you to look sharp and distinguish you from all the other guys in loafers and laceups.)Grey socks, J. Crew, $14 (Because there’s a fair amount going on otherwise in the look, I kept the socks quiet and matched them to the suit pants, a stylist trick that elongates your legs.)Brown belt, Magnianni, $125 (I kept it classy, matching belt to shoes.) Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a DatePurple gingham shirt, Proper Cloth, $85 (Women can find it boring when men wear the same color light blue dress shirts day in and day out. Wearing purple shows creativity, and it’s a good conversation starter.)Jeans, John Varvatos, $228 (The slight wear in the rinse on these jeans lend them a somewhat casual feel, which works well with the tweed fabric of the vest.)Brown vest, Billy Reid, $159 (It's easy to fall into the trap of wearing all black when going out, mainly because you don’t know what else to do. But this can make you look remote and unapproachable. The softness of the brown and textured fabric on this vest will lend you a friendly air instead.)Navy knit tie, J. Crew, $59 (I kept the tie simple so as not to draw away from the patterns in the vest and shirt. The texture in the knit keeps you approachable, as above with the vest.)Tan belt, John Varvatos, $295 (This belt works with the brown in both the vest and shoes. The subtle details give the outfit more personality than a plain brown belt would, but the statement is not so strong that it draws away from everything else.)Bracelet, Miansai, $60 (For an element of fun, I’d add this bracelet in. Blue and purple work together because they’re analogous colors, i.e., they sit next to each other on the color wheel.)Brown chukka boots, H by Hudson, $285 (Brown shoes work best with this outfit due to the brown in the vest. Chukkas are a nice boot option in a look like this, as they’re casual but certainly not boring.)The playful and stylish elements of these looks clearly distinguish them from typical office garb, making it clear that the wearer knows how to dress for play vs for work.How do you like to dress for going out? Let me know in the comments below how the outfits above have inspired you!Cheers,Julie

10 Quick and Painless New Year's Style Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are so cliché, I almost can't stand writing about them. But the truth is, when a new year rolls around, it's nice to take stock and see what you could start doing differently. The usual suspects here are diet and exercise, and often such resolutions are overzealous and set us up or failure. So this year I'm here to help boost you up with some totally doable style-related resolutions that will require very little of your time.Read on for this year's top 10 style resolutions.Men's Style Advice: New Year's Resolutions1) Try one new thing with your wardrobe. It can be easy to find one thing that you're comfortable in and that feels easy to you. But it can also be really boring! Give 2015 a fighting chance and add some sort of new element to your look -- maybe it's starting to wear more color, or swapping out your logo'd/free event t-shirts for something nicer (here's my guide for how your t-shirt should fit).2) Don’t shop without a plan (or on an empty stomach). The last thing you want to do when shopping is make mistake purchases. And shopping without knowing what you're looking for -- or when you're hungry -- will put you on the fast track to a shopping fail.3) Donate anything with holes or stains that won’t come out.  This one really doesn't need explaining. I'll just say that when you wear torn-up, crappy clothes, the message you send is that you feel torn-up and crappy about yourself. This then becomes an unfortunate vicious cycle which causes you actually to start feeling that way. (Confirm with whatever charity you're donating to what condition they will take clothing in.)4) Take your oversized clothes to the tailor. This is an instant, low-cost (at least compared to buying new things) option for upgrading your wardrobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to know what's worth tailoring.5) Think before you stink (a.k.a. avoid strong aftershaves). This one was on last year’s list, but I had to include it again. I did a lot of traveling in 2014, and one of the biggest conclusions I drew is that there's an Old Spice epidemic in the US. Nearly every morning flight I took, I felt as if I might become asphyxiated by the scent of the man sitting next to me. Trust me, just because you can't smell it doesn't mean others can't either. Ask one or two lady friends with good taste to tell you honestly if any of the product smells you're wearing are offensive. And if the initials for any of said products are O.S., drop it like it's hot.Men's Style Tips: New Year's Style Resolutions6) Wear a watch. I get it, watches are no longer necessary since we all use our phones these days. But if you're not wearing a watch, you're missing out on an excellent opportunity to distinguish your look. Above is a serious arm party courtesy of one of my clients. You don't need to break the bank when adding a watch to your look, however. There are plenty of good choices under $200 (including this one for $185 from Miansai). Choose something that resonates with you personally and that you'd feel good wearing -- not what others would expect you to wear.7) Make sure you have one suit that fits you like armor. Chances are, sometime in 2015 there will be a wedding, funeral, or job interview you'll need to attend. And you'll need a great-fitting suit for those situations -- one you don't have to think twice about. Often such events spring up out of nowhere, so it's to your benefit to have a suit ready and waiting in your closet. And if you think you can get by with that old boxy one from ten years ago, think again. There are few things less flattering on a man than an ill-fitting suit, and there's definitely no way to disguise a poor fit.8) Buy flattering jeans. Most new clients I meet are in need of a jeans refresh. Even if you have a pair that was flattering when you bought them two years ago, chances are at this point they've stretched and faded, and it's time to replace them. If you've never had a pair of jeans you feel great in, it's time to add that to your wardrobe. Here's my guide for how to find flattering jeans.Men's Style Advice: Square-Toed Shoes9) Lose the square-toed shoes. These were cool in the 90's. But the 90's is not now. Do yourself a favor and get them out of your closet so you aren't tempted to wear them.10) Take your dress shoes to the shoe guy for a cleanup and to be resoled. This is another low-cost way to refresh things, and in fact a good cobbler can make your shoes look almost new. If you don't already have someone you use, look on Yelp or other user-review sites in your area for one with high ratings, or ask any well-dressed guys you encounter where they take theirs.How many of the tips on this list are you able to implement? I guarantee that even if you do just 3 of them, you'll be in great shape, and you'll feel that much better about yourself.Wishing you a very stylish 2015!Cheers,Julie

What to Wear to Your Office Holiday Party

Your office holiday party. One of the trickiest sartorial events you may encounter.You basically have 3 choices:1) Be the boring guy who makes no effort and simply wears the same kind of thing he wears to work every other day of the year.2) Be that guy who goes way overboard with a singing santa tie and matching socks.3) Put in just the right amount of effort where actually come off as being effortless with your style.No big shock, my choice for you would be #3. Here’s how to pull off an effortlessly cool holiday party look:1) Start with your everyday office attire, then take that up a notch. So if everyday is:

  • jeans and t-shirt --> wear chinos and a nicer t-shirt, henley or polo (in this case your office is super casual, so make sure that wherever your party is taking place is not fancy; if it is, opt for one of the options below based on whatever you can find out about the venue. If you're at all unsure, it's always better to be overdressed for something work-related like this.)
  • chinos and a button-up shirt --> wear dress pants or chinos and a button-up, and add a sportcoat or nice cardigan/v-neck sweater
  • dress pants and a button-up shirt --> wear dress pants and a button-up, and add a sportcoat
  • dress pants and a sportcoat --> wear a suit open-collar
  • a suit and tie --> wear your sharpest, best-fitting suit and a tie that meets one of the criterion below

2) Add 1-2 tasteful, festive touches in the form of a bright color, luxe/wintery fabric, slight sheen or extra panache from the following list:

Men's Style: What to Wear to Office Holiday Partysocks

What to Wear to Your Office Christmas Party: Tietie (or bowtie, if that's how you roll)

What to Wear to Your Office Christmas Party: Pocket Squarepocket square

Men's Style Tips: Office Christmas Partydress shirt (if you’re wearing one)

Men's Style Advice: Office Holiday Partycuff links

Men's Personal Shopper: Office Christmas Partytie bar

 What are you wearing to your office holiday party this year? Let me know in the comments below!Cheers,Julie

Fall/Winter Style Tip #3: Stop Being a One-Style Wonder

One of my secret weapons for up-leveling a guy's style is to mix in new colors, textures and patterns. With the cold weather upon us, now is an excellent time to do this because there are natural ways to change up your style -- and do it well. Below are some of my best tips for how to do this.How to Turn HeadsTo get the women around you to take a second look, you need to change up how you dress. If others are used to seeing you in solid blue shirts day after day, and you all of a sudden show up in a purple check, it's going to make a real difference. (Now of course, not everyone wants their style upgrade to be immediately noticeable. If that applies to you, go for a subtler change, say a switch to a blue check.) Certain colors, textures and patterns are more seasonably appropriate than others, and that's what I'm going to tell you about today for Fall and Winter clothing. I'll break this down for you into three main categories: color, texture and pattern.Men's Style Tips: Dressing for FallColorFall and Winter is the right time to start incorporating darker, richer colors like olive green, bright red, deep purple, royal blue, chocolate brown and rich navy. Think about these tones for sweaters, pants (like the green AG cords above), shirts and sportcoats. These are the colors we typically associate with cold weather, so it makes sense.Men's Style Tips: How to Wear TextureTextureThicker, heavier textures like in my client's jacket above are also more appropriate as the weather cools down. These include flannels (for dress pants, suits, sport jackets and also shirts) tweed, corduroy, suede, quilted outerwear and thickly-knit sweaters.Men's Fashion Tips: How to Wear PatternsPatternsIn these thicker fabrics, Fall and Winter-friendly would patterns include houndstooth, windowpane, glen plaid, and regular plaid.The beauty of cooler weather is that you get to incorporate more layers as the weather cools down, which in turn means more of these colors, patterns and textures can become part of your outfit. And as a result of that, your outfit becomes much more interesting.How do you plan on mixing up your wardrobe this season?Cheers,Julie

Fall/Winter Style Tip #2: Get a Killer Coat

Men's Style Tips: OuterwearDid you put together a great outfit today? That's all well and good, but I gotta tell you: if your outerwear is bad news, it doesn't matter what you have on under it. Your look is shot.Your coat or jacket sets the tone for your look, so read on for how to bring it up to speed.A lot of times my one-on-one clients know they need outerwear but don't know where to start. There are a multitude of different types of these jackets, and it can be really confusing, especially if you're shopping online (do you know what a "utility jacket" is???) To simplify your options, I've broken them down by length and given you samples for each. Click the links to see the samples.Here's what you have to choose from for Fall and Winter outerwear:Waist lengthIncludes: bomber, vest, leather and suede (usually this length, but they can also go to upper-thigh), denim (good for layering)Upper-thigh length (length hits about where your hip creases when you lift your knee up)Includes: parka, field jacket, utility jacket (has four pockets on the front), shirt jacket, peacoat, sporty shell-type jacketMid-thigh lengthIncludes: raincoat, overcoat (here's my rundown on how to shop for an overcoat)Knee lengthIncludes: overcoat, dressy/traditional raincoatOf these options, it would be great if you owned one from each length category, but if you can't swing that, try for one from each of two categories, preferably one with a dressy feel and one with a sporty feel. That helps add versatility so you aren't wearing the same thing day in and day out.And make sure the jacket or coat fits you properly. The seams should hit right on the edges of your shoulders, the sleeves shouldn't go past your wrists, and it should fit trimly through the torso, but you should be able to button/snap it.Cheers,JulieP.S. Make sure to check out Fall Style Tip #3 which shows you how to break the monotony if you find yourself wearing the same thing day in and day out.