Shoes

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

The Six Shoes Every Guy Should Own

In a perfect world, you would have something in your closet to wear for every occasion. Part of that is having the right footwear. After all, having the WRONG shoes can completely throw off an otherwise great outfit (we've all seen that guy looking smooth in his well-fitting suit but massacring the look with his 90's square-toed dress shoes). If you only focus on how you look ankle up, you miss the mark. Below is my list of the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet.Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Finsbury Oxford1. Brown Laceups -- A lot of new styling clients resist this one thinking there's no need for it, but truly it's the most versatile shoe in your wardrobe -- you can wear it with everything from jeans to a suit. Go for a medium shade of brown that can be worn with the widest variety of pant shades.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Alex Laceups2. Black Laceups -- This is your dressiest shoe, to be worn with suits and on formal occasions. Choose one with a clean toe, i.e., no seaming or broguing, so you can wear it with a tuxedo (after polishing it up).

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Men's Personal Shopper: John Varvatos Loafer3. Loafer -- There are lots of variations on loafers, so you should go with what appeals to you visually. And avoid the pitfall of buying a "hybrid" shoe (anything with a very sporty sole). As I've said before, the place where the sneaker meets any other kind of shoe is like a dark alley late at night — nowhere you’d want to be.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Common Projects Sneakers4. Social Sneaks -- This is my term for a clean and classic non-athletic sneaker (i.e., one you wouldn't work out in). It's for casual walking around.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Chelsea Boot5. Dress Boot -- A dress boot adds wonderful versatility to your wardrobe. It's the perfect answer to the question of what to wear out on weekends. And with a dressy enough boot and in the right environment, you can also wear it with dress clothes like a suit or pants and sportcoat. For more on the different types of boots to choose from, go here.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Rain/Snow Boots6. Rain/Snow Boot -- Depending on what type of inclement weather you get, this is either a rain or snow boot (or both). It should have a rubber sole for gripping and be waterproof or water resistant.

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Once you have these essentials, you can build from there, getting variations within each category. Think variations on toe detail and broguing for the black/brown laceup, and different varieties of boots.Do you have everything on this list? If not, what are you missing?Cheers,Julie

How to Look Good in the Rain

Few things are worse than getting caught in the rain in your dress clothes. Especially if you’re on the way to work, and you know you're going to spend much of the day in wet clothes until your outfit dries. My suggestion: check the weather before you get dressed, and make sure your wardrobe includes rainy weather gear. Below is my list of must-haves for soggy days:Men's Personal Shopper: Dressing for the RainRaincoat – I spend a lot of time in peoples' closets, and I've seen some pretty awful windbreakers masquerading as rain gear. Bad weather is no excuse to look drab and unstylish. Pull it together with a sharp raincoat. Two great options are a classic trench, or a more modern mac (above left and right). If you wear suits or sportcoats everyday, buy in a size that will fit over them.

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High Quality Umbrella – Don’t be that guy whose umbrella turns inside out and flies across the street poking someone’s eye out. Cheap umbrellas break easily, leading to wasted time and money (not to mention adding to pollution in landfills). Why not spare yourself the headache by investing in a high quality umbrella? Blunt and Davek are two of the toughest umbrellas out there, and they come in various sizes. Just make sure you don’t leave it behind in a taxi.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Rain ShoesOvershoes – There's a whole new generation of good-looking overshoes that are nothing like your father's black rubber rain shoes. If you have nice shoes, it makes sense to protect them. I'm a big fan of Swims which come in a variety of colors including navy and olive green (which are nice if you only want to get one pair; if not, black goes over black shoes and brown over brown).

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One of the most important components of being well-dressed and having a well-rounded wardrobe is dressing appropriately in all situations, including bad weather. Fortunately, dressing to dominate the rain only requires three items. Does your wardrobe include these three things?

Free Your Feet: Summer Shoes

Even naked isn’t naked enough in the ridiculous heat and humidity we've been having on the east coast. In my last article, I listed hot weather survival measures for clothing and grooming, but this time shoes are on my mind. If you’ve never switched up your footwear when the temperature rises and your dogs start barking, I urge you to consider it. You’ll look more seasonally appropriate, and your feet will thank you. Read on for Rath-approved picks in 8 categories of summer footwear.Men's Stylist: Espadrilles1) EspadrillesThese stylishly nonchalant espadrilles from Castañer ($150) are an excellent alternative to flip-flops for those wanting more toe coverage.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Summer Shoes2) Leisure ShoesOk, so this category is totally made-up. But the name fits these Riviera shoes ($80), doesn’t it? Don’t wear for anything other than leisure.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Sandals3) The Mandal (if you dare)If you’re a Rath & Co. client, you know I’m big into the messages that one’s appearance gives off. In the case of mandals, most of what I see around says, “I’m sensitive and I recycle.” While these are no doubt virtues, there's no need to express them via your footwear. My suggestion: ditch the Velcro and bungee cords, and dial it back with a simpler, more classic version of the mandal, like the pair above from Alvaro ($295). When buying mandals, I highly recommend trying on in the store before committing. You need to see them on your feet in order to know if they’re going work for you.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Leather Flip Flops4) Flip-FlopsNot ready to go full-mandal but still want to give those dogs some breathing room? Try a leather flip-flop like these from Olukai ($85). It’s classier than the rubber or fabric versions. Just promise you’ll only wear it for beach and pool.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: J. Crew Bucks5) BucksMore office-friendly than the other options above, bucks work for casual to moderately dressy places of work like advertising agencies or web development firms. Wear a pair like the ones above from J. Crew ($198) with summery chino and seersucker suits or with button-up shirts and chinos.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Crockett & Jones Newquays6) Buck AlternativesIf bucks are too much for you, try a casual lace-up sans rubber sole for a similar, but less statement-y look. I have my eye on these from Crockett & Jones ($505) for a couple of clients. They're unlined and light weight which = summer perfection in my book.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Summer Shoes7) Slip-OnsExcellent with everything from a summer suit to shorts, these leather slip-ons ($150) are modeled after a traditional Indian sailing vessel, the Kishtee. Think of them as the cooler, older brother to your traditional deck shoe. They're also great for travel because they're so lightweight.____________________________________________________________________________________Men's Stylist: Casual Sneaker8) Social SneaksThese are the sneakers you don't wear to the gym. I like the clean lines of Fred Perry's Seabrights ($125) for a timeless look.____________________________________________________________________________________What's your footwear of choice this summer? As always, I love hearing from you. Leave me a comment below, or if you'd like more tailored help with your summer footwear game, contact me.Cheers,Julie 

Try a New Hide: Stingray

Men's Style: StingrayA lot of what I hear from new clients is a desire for what I call “Next Level Style”. Next Level Style is the development of a look that is uniquely one’s own, one that will make others sit up and take notice (but only to the degree wanted, of course!). One of my favorite things to do as a stylist is to seek out clothing and accessory items that will create that affect. No more walking into your office and seeing another guy in the same exact Brooks Brothers shirt and Ferragamo tie. With that goal in mind, today I’m shining the spotlight on stingray, a material you’ve possibly never heard of in relation to style.Stingray leather (also known as "shagreen") is extremely durable and has been used throughout history for everything from swanky armored clothing to sword handle wraps. Today in the fashion world, stingray is used on items ranging from wallets to shoes. One of the nice things about this skin is that stingrays aren't threatened by extinction, so its leather can be sourced easily, which also contributes to its relatively low pricing. In fact, stingrays are found in abundance in the shallow, warm waters of the Pacific Rim and are fished commercially as a primary food source.Here are my 6 favorite stingray items currently available that I hope will inspire you to get some new hides into your rotation.Men's Style: Stingray Wallets1. These wallets above from Adam Unlimited ($80, left), and Bottega Veneta ($560, right) are sure to catch peoples' eyes when you pull one out of your pocket.

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Men's Style: Stingray Cufflinks2. Why not incorporate stingray into your dressier attire? These cufflinks ($275) would pop nicely against a grey suit, white dress shirt and a black and white or grey tie.

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Men's Style: Business Card Holder3. I recently got this business card holder ($75) from a store called Unearthed on Etsy. I love the strong contrast of black with white. Each piece is customized, so you can tell them your color preference, and they'll select a hide to suit that.

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Men's Style: Stingray Belt4. Interesting belts are an excellent way to mix things up from the usual black or brown leather. I like this one from Scunzani in dark (above), or light brown ($515).

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Men's Style: Stingray Bracelets5. A piece of men's jewelry (a.k.a. "mewlery") can be one of the most rewarding items to add to your wardrobe when done right. I am very much into this bracelet ($175, above left), which would work well with most silver-toned watches. And if you want to throw some color into the mix, try this turquoise stingray and braided leather combo ($150, above right).

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Men's Personal Shopper: Stingray Shoes6. Stingray shoes are not for the faint-hearted. These balmorals ($1195) from Harris (which I've highlighted previously) are so unique and interesting that they will surely be conversation starters. With this price tag though, you must be absolutely sure you love them before taking the leap!

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How do you like to up the style quotient? And would you wear stingray?Cheers to Next Level Style,Julie

Go Big or Go Home: Stingray Shoes

Men's Personal Shopper: Stingray ShoesI am always in hot pursuit of outside-the-box items. That's what my clients hire me for as we construct looks that are uniquely their own. These shoes are not for everyone, but if they appeal to you, and you're looking to take an outfit from standard to stylish, I say get after it!

Give 'Em the Boot

Are you ever stuck with what to wear on your feet when the weather turns foul? Today the sun's shining in NYC, but recent events prove the need for protective footwear. Below are my top 6 picks in a range of styles.Men's Style: Grenson Spike Boots1) Grenson Spike ($485) -- For the sharp-dressed man, these Grensons are an update on the traditional LL Bean duck boot (another solid option if you're a more of a traditionalist). Don't be afraid to rock them with a suit.

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Men's Style Blundstone 500 Boots2) Blundstone 500 ($150) -- These boots were originally made for ranchers in the Australian outback, so they should be able to handle a trek through midtown Manhattan. The water-resistant leather keeps you dry without sacrificing style, and the front and back pulls and elastic side panels make them easy to pull on and off.

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Men's Style Concepts x Sorel Boots

3) Concepts x Sorel ($250) -- I am very much into the handsomely quirky combination of materials on these boots: leather + herringbone + rubber = perfection. On top of that, they're seam-sealed waterproof and have a removable washable liner for when your dogs bark.

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Men's Style: Diemme Roccia Vet

4) Diemme Roccia Vet ($373) --This medium blue packs the perfect punch of color when you want to think outside the box -- but not too far outside it. It also comes in a number of other color combinations (many of them not for the faint-hearted), which you can view here. The flexible, no-slip vibram sole will keep you upright even during an arctic blast.

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Men's Style: DVS Yodeler Snow Boots

5) DVS Shoe Company Yodeler Snow ($130) -- Another completely waterproof option, the Yodelers were designed by pro snowboarder John Jackson. Though they're undeniably sporty, they also have a sleek vibe that works for city life just as well as mountainside.

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Men's Style: Brunello Cucinelli Cashmere Lined Winter Boot

6) Brunello Cucinelli Cashmere Lined Winter Boot ($1120) -- Definitely an investment, these high-performance babies are lined with the brand's signature premium cashmere. They're elegance meets functionality at its best. And if you take care of them, they'll last a lifetime.

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Designers and stores alike have been putting increased emphasis on stylish, weather-friendly boots over the past few seasons. And that's good news because you no longer have to rely on frumpy footwear to get you through the muck. Even if you don't consider yourself a boot guy, or have never owned anything like this, I encourage you to try it out. It's a great way to mix things up with your wardrobe. Don't forget, if you're going to be in an office all day, it's perfectly fine to carry your dress shoes and change into them once you arrive. And if you're wondering about the tucking question, I wrote an entire article on that: click. But whatever you do, promise me you won't brave the cold without a solid pair of boots this winter.Do you have a favorite boot from this list -- or otherwise? Leave me a comment below.

Memorial Day Weekend Go-Bag

Men's Style Long Weekend Packing ListMemorial Day weekend is almost here, and with it, the start of the summer. Whether you're making a quick getaway or staycationing, you'll want to kick your season off with a stylish bang. With that in mind, I created a Pinterest board with my summer weekend essentials. Check it out here.What are your must-haves for a long summer weekend?

How to Wear Spring's Statement Shoes (+ Rath & Co. Featured in WSJ)

Spring 2012 Men's Shoe TrendsA big thank you to The Wall Street Journal for including me in the recent article, Spring Shoes for Men Step Brightly. The piece discusses how men's footwear is trending toward colorful uppers or soles and "statement" elements like spikes and wild patterns; my advice on how to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe is included at the end of the article.After speaking with the WSJ reporter, I had an outfit brainstorm, and below I share with you a few specific looks that incorporate Spring 2012's shoe trends.

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T&F Slack Men's Shoes

1) A great Spring combo would include a pair of neutral shoes with a neon sole like the bucks, above, from T&F Slack. Pair them with white straight-leg jeans and a denim shirt for a casual night out.

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Tod's Men's Competition Shoes2) If the shoe itself is brightly colored, like Tods' royal blue Competition Shoe, go with a dark wash, straight-leg jean, a grey henley shirt and a navy vest.

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Esquivel Men's Boots3) If neon shoes are too much of a commitment for you, you might dip your toes in the trend by adding color via your laces, as with the Esquivel shoes above. Because the color pop is not too prominent, you can play around by incorporating other colors into your look. Pair these boots with dressy jeans and a sport shirt that has some yellow in the pattern, like the one below from Polo Ralph Lauren. The reason yellow and purple work together is that they are complementary colors, meaning that they live opposite from each other on the color wheel. When used together, complementary colors intensify each other and create a harmonious color scheme.

Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Shirt

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Jimmy Choo Men's Provocative Paisley Slipper4) For a shoe where the detail (as opposed to the color) is the statement, like Jimmy Choo's "provocative paisley" slippers above, you want to keep the rest of your look tailored and simple. Wear these with a midnight three-piece suit for a posh night out, or for a more casual event, try a medium grey dress shirt and black or charcoal grey pants. The important thing to keep in mind with shoes like this is that they need to be in line with your personality, and wearing them with confidence is key. (As an aside, check out this fun Bond-style video detailing the Burlesque silhouettes hidden in the print.)

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I hope the post above gives you ideas for your own combinations if you decide to rock Spring 2012's shoe trends. Let me know what outfits you put together!

Fall 2011 Boot Picks

Hard-wearing, versatile, and a step up from sneakers, boots really were made for walking. One of the things I love most about men’s boots is the wide variety of styles. This Fall especially, designers have thrown out a lot of interesting details, giving you the option to go classic, or amp it up with something more fashion forward. Below are my top boot picks for Fall 2011, listed by type of boot. In each category, I’ll give you a classic choice, followed by one with a little more flavor.

Work Boot

Classic: Red Wing for J. Crew Work Boot ($280)Red Wing for J. Crew Men's Work Boots Amped: Diemme Roccia Boot, $395Diemme Roccia Men's Boot

Lace-up

Classic: Alexander McQueen Lace-up Boot, $721Alexander McQueen Lace-up Men's Boot Medium Amped: Rag & Bone Grouse Boot, $450Rag & Bone Men's Grouse Boot Amped: Peal & Co. Leather and Tweed Boots, $598Peal & Co. Leather and Tweed Men's Boot

Chukka

Classic: Mark McNairy Grey Suede Chukka, $355Mark McNairy Grey Suede Men's Chukka Amped: Oliver Spencer for Topman Postman Boots, $298Oliver Spencer for Topman Brown Chukka Men's Boots

Chelsea

Classic: Ralph Lauren Dinsdale Chelsea Boot, $575Ralph Lauren Dinsdale Men's Chelsea Boot Amped: Bottega Veneta Ankle Strap Boot, $970Bottega Veneta Ankle Strap Men's Boot 

Ankle

Classic: To Boot New York Buckle Ankle Boot, $398To Boot Men's Buckle Ankle BootAmped: Jimmy Choo Rugged Ankle Boot, $850Jimmy Choo Rugged Suede Men's Ankle BootAnd that about covers my Fall 2011 boot picks. As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Happy stomping!

Shopping Excursion: Rehearsal Dinner Options for Grooms

In our search for dashing rehearsal dinner options for grooms, Brian Leahy (founder of The Groom Says blog) and I start the day at Kmart and end up at Michael Andrews Bespoke. Part I of the interview (at Kmart) can be read on Brian's blog here, and Part II (at MAB) here.Kmart Men's Rehearsal Dinner Options Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner Look Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner LookSpecial thanks to our gorgeous models, Alex and Adam, and to Michael Andrews Bespoke.Images courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography

Valentine-Worthy Date Looks

A lot will dictate how well you pull off your Valentine's date look. Success depends on aligning your selection with what you'll be doing, where and with whom. That said, here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to create your own looks for whatever your Valentine's Day plans hold. Keep in mind that the best choice for you is determined by your coloring, body type and personality, so these are meant to be broad suggestions.Casual dinner at your neighborhood joint...Navy blazer + thin grey cardigan (skip the top and bottom buttons) + white v-neck t-shirt + colorful pocket square + dark straight leg jeans + laceup bootsI love the addition of a thin cashmere cardigan beneath a blazer. It adds both warmth and visual interest. The colorful pocket square shows her that despite your decidedly casual look, you recognize the day’s significance.

Casual Dinner

Fancy night out...Navy suit + lavender dress shirt + grey pocket square + brown cap-toesThis year Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which means most likely you're meeting her straight from work. This is the perfect excuse to wear one of your most versatile pieces: the navy suit. Pair it with a lavender shirt (points for thinking outside the white and blue shirt box), and as you leave the office lose the tie and unbutton your top two shirt buttons. 

Fancy Night Out Final

Somewhere in between...White jeans + grey blazer + black and white plaid dress shirt + penny loafersContrary to what you might have been told, white jeans can (and should) be worn year-round. They’re a refreshing and sharp-looking surprise in the dead of winter, and they look terrific with black and grey. Try them without a belt for a leaner look.

Somewhere in between

And all looks are, of course, + flowers.

Boots for Your Suits

These days I often get asked what shoes a guy can wear in the snow that will work with his suit but that won't leave his socks dripping wet or his rear end black and blue by the time he gets to the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:1.// A pair of overshoes from Neos, Sierra Trading Post or Tingley (above, very sophisticated businessman) are a no-fail option that will save both you and your expensive lace-ups from the elements. Nice dress shoes are an investment after all, and there's no shame in protecting that...........2.// Boot up with a pair of waterproofed lace-up ankle boots with rubber soles for traction. Those above left from Lands' End Canvas ($149) are a good option for the days post-storm where the sidewalks are pretty much cleared and your main goal is to make sure you don't do a face plant in black ice on the way to work. Rubber soles are your friend. For those with deeper pockets, I also like the Alden Plain Toe boot in Kudo leather ($425, above right) because the oiled leather holds up great in mucky weather.........3.// Wear something more classically meant for winter conditions like those from Sorel for CONCEPTS (above left, $180) or Tod's (above right, $545) for the commute and simply change into your dress shoes once you get to the office.Nothing like some boots for your suits to help you protect your assets this winter!

Men's Holiday Gift Guide

Few things make me happier than inspired and successful holiday gift shopping. Below are ten holiday presents to consider for your husband, boyfriend, dad, brother...or to pass along to well-meaning gift-givers with a nasty Christmas sweater habit.

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1.// Travel Ashtray: Your guy fancies himself a modern-day Don Draper? It doesn't get any more Mad Men than Phillipi's Black Habana travel ashtray ($88). Its black leather case, magnetic closure and stainless steel details all make me want to go pick up a bad habit.

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2.// Man-Bags: Gorgeous textured leather, intricate stitch detailing, and off-center zipper...this specimen, above left, from Doucal's ($278) is the man-bag to end all man-bags. But lucky for obsessives like me, there will never be an end to man-bags. So if you are looking for something a little more undone, then check this on the right from Will Leather Goods ($289). I like the distressed leather, grommets, contrast handles and of course the buckle closure at the bottom (see here). Very vintage army feel.

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3.// Manhattan Kit: Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey ($25-150), Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth ($25-35), Griottines brandied cherries ($25), Angostura Bitters ($13), and a tray that makes large ice cubes ($10). Side note: some people fear they "might look like a pansy" if they throw an ice cube in their whiskey glass. But Whiskey Expert Josh Wortman says it's perfectly ok to use the ice cube trays above (and in fact as the ice melts, some liquid can open up the flavor -- so it tastes better). Says Josh, "I use these trays all the time at home. The idea is you get good coldness with minimal dilution. You do want some dilution depending on the spirit." So let your man enjoy his Manhattan with minimal watering-down and minimal pansiness with this all-encompassing kit.

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4.// Shot Glasses: Ok, so I'm very a bit partial to bulls. In keeping with the cocktail theme of the previous entry is this bull's head shot glass ($28). It's perfectly calibrated so it balances right-side-up on its horns and nose. So your guy can attend to Important Things sans worry over spillage. (The shot glass also comes in bear, deer, moose, rabbit, ram, rhino.)

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5.// Wool Coat: If your man still wears a fleece jacket or ski parka over his dress clothes, the jig is up. Every guy needs a coat that is both warm and grown-up looking. A great option is this wool driving coat from Rag & Bone ($795) because the style is classy, the length is modern, and the interesting details like double-welt pockets and black shawl collar give it a little extra steez. Buy it in the same size as his suit jackets (those that fit well!).

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6.// Lace-Up Boots: My men's boot obsession is no secret, and this season designers have failed to disappoint with all sorts of options for this style. If your guy is into intricate detailing and statement-making, then I'd recommend these from Roberto Cavalli (top row left, reg. $1150, now on sale for $690). The high shine, dramatic broguing, lug soles and buckle detail are all attention grabbers. A toned down option in the same color and with the same degree of shine are those above from Gucci (top row right, $795). If he prefers to fly even further below the radar, then check out those in the bottom row from Giorgio Armani. The matte finish leather is a much subtler statement. (Pant-tucking not required.)

.7.// Glen Plaid Tie: Christmas ties get a bad rap. Take a pass on those that blink, sing or come with their own greenery, and give him something a little classier. This red and green glen plaid tie ($88) from Engineered Garments will give him that holiday flavor without the nasty aftertaste.

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8.// Man Jewelry: The problem with how many guys wear jewelry is that they take it to extremes (see Seasons 1 and 2 of Jersey Shore). For anything beyond the typical wedding ring/watch/cuff-links/tie clip, there's an art to wearing men's jewelry well. Two key points to keep in mind that will keep him clear of getting all Mr. T on you: keep it simple and not too sparkly and make sure he feels like himself in it, like he's been wearing it for years. With that in mind, here are two options to consider. Nautical is always a big theme in menswear, and along those lines I like this Hooked bracelet from Miansai ($55, above left, comes in other colors). Pair it with a nautical watch and maybe a simple rope bracelet, and you've created a look that's both easygoing and personal to him. If that's too sporty, then consider this necklace from Maison Martin Margiela ($125). It's solid and ruggedly stylish, and best of all, you won't have a Situation on your hands when he wears it.

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9.// Leather Belt: I love the non-traditional hardware and leather loops on this Apolis Pelican Belt ($138). Plus the fact that you get to roll it up and stick it in a tin can when you're done wearing it! What guy wouldn't love that?

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10.// Rath & Co. Gift Certificate: But the most effective way to guarantee your man looks his best this holiday season? Give him a gift certificate to Rath & Co. Until February 15, 2011, we're offering $50 off the purchase of all services. We'll tell him his best colors, hair styles, patterns and styles. We'll clear out his closet and even shop for him. We pretty much do everything except clean and cook dinner. Heck, we don't even do that for ourselves.

Rath & Co.'s Back to School Edition

Growing up, whenever a new school year rolled around, the only thing that made me not want to hide in the Indian Burial Ground near my house was the prospect of getting new clothes, particularly that all-important first day outfit. At this point in my life, I don’t really have an excuse to get a new Fall wardrobe every year but the idea persists. For Back to School 2010, I’m making my selections from a male perspective. So here you have what I would choose for back to school if I were a guy…As you may have heard before, you are way TOO COOL to be still wearing a backpack. A messenger bag, on the other hand, is the perfect fit for one’s manly carrying needs. I’ve been lusting over this Moore & Giles beauty ($485) in Nubuck Bison for some time. It would house my laptop perfectly (I measured – I’m good like that). I love the texture on both the bag and the shoulder strap. This bag crush is not going away anytime soon..Next up on my hit list is a pair of jeans from Billy Reid's collection for Levi's. The designer's prize for winning GQ's Best New Designer Award was to collaborate with Levi's and create a collection of tailored workwear denim. The results go on sale September 10, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time..You can never have too many well-fitting shirts, so here again I'm hitting up Billy Reid and his "dressy-casual whiskey-soaked style." The John T. shirt ($195) in blue & green strikes me as a nice way to incorporate some darker Fall colors without looking drab. Very cool how they've matched up the seams in back to create diagonals in the pattern (see below) -- a little extra Southern flavor on that flavor. I like it with these brown pants, but I'd also like to see it with charcoal grey, either on bottom or as a sweater or jacket...It's a little out there, but I could so rock this Barney's printed wool bow tie ($75). The patterned shirt actually tones down the loudness of this piece's message..If you're boot-obsessed like me, then you too hold the belief that no Fall shopping trip would be complete without a new pair of boots. Right now, I'm definitely vibing with the Diemme Roccia Vet boot (€280), which come from a collaboration between Diemme and Japanese retailer Beauty & Youth United Arrows. With the contrast stitching and colored laces and soles, they strike the perfect balance between stylish and masculine. They come in a couple different colorways -- my pick for myself would be the brown with blue laces above. You can get them here..My final picks are this cotton trench coat ($160) and lightweight denim scarf ( $24), both from Topman. Budget-friendly and machine-washable: doesn't get much better than that....school's back in session!

Rathie Spies: J. Crew Sale Alert

I was trolling J. Crew's website today in search of sale items for a client and found all kinds of markdown goodness. Now is the perfect time to scoop up those "nice to haves" -- things that aren't a necessity but would be a useful addition to your wardrobe if the price is right. J. Crew is offering an additional 30% off all sale items until midnight on Thursday, and shipping is free if you spend over $150. I love this grey linen shirt, originally $69.50, on sale for $34.99.J. Crew Mens Grey Linen ShirtFor an end of summer backyard shindig, pair it with these navy shorts (originally $49.50; now $27.99),J. Crew Mens Navy Shortsand these Sperry boat shoes (originally $118; now $69.99),Sperry Mens Top-Siders...roll up your sleeves, and you're good to go!(Sale code is "SHOPNOW".)

How to Wear Mandals: Tips on Avoiding a Fugly Fashion Mishap

Mandals: the name alone evokes snickers, sneers, and talk of Volvos and wheatgrass. Urban Dictionary defines them as, "An unfortunate fugly fashion mishap involving sandals."  But I'm here to tell you that the wearing of mandals doesn't have to be such a hot mess. If you choose wisely, you can avoid embarrassing questions like "how was your hike?" when all you are doing is riding the cross town bus.When it comes to mandals, less is more. Think fewer straps, buttons and buckles, just say no to velcro, and you’ll be in good shape. As Tim Gunn says, "The more seriously one takes the mandal, the more ridiculous one looks." Here are some of my fav options available now…$100 and underYou can't go wrong with a classic leather thong sandal like these. They're simple, easy and summery but not as informal as your standard beach flip flop. Throw them on with jeans or chinos, and it's a done deal..I'm also very into these Mirage Sandals from J Shoes. The stitching, canvas and rivets give them a cool industrial feel. Originally $148, they're now marked down to $49.99. Check them here..These First by Jeffrey Campbell huaraches caused a stir when they first appeared on the Loden Dager runway last Fall. If you prefer more coverage than other sandals or flip flops provide, huaraches are a great way to achieve that while still letting your feet breathe. Plus you gotta love their handsome Latin American vibe..I like the added detail of the croc stamping on these leather bad boys from Cole Haan. It gives the look some visual interest and dresses them up slightly..$100-$200Still dressier are these babies from Saks. The leather has a rich, luxurious feel. They would work well with a seersucker or linen suit..If flip flops don't do it for you, check out these woven slides from John Varvatos. I like the variation in texture between the different straps. Also on sale now, these were originally $175..$200 and upThese sandals from Ferragamo don't fail to impress with their contrast stitching and subtly-detailed hardware. A little panache goes a long way..For a more lively look -- or, if you're heading to St. Tropez, and you want to make like the locals -- check out these limited edition Barigoule sandals from K. Jacques' first ever collaboration with Opening Ceremony. They're the Jesus sandal on holiday.Of course, it goes without saying that if you're going to bare your toes, make sure they're clean and well-tended to, and whatever you do, don't combo up your mandals with socks:Socks + Mandals = Fugly Fashion Mishap for sure.

Profile in Awesomeness: Neal O.

I was walking up 6th Ave the other day when I came across this cool cat. Meet Neal Ohm (brilliant last name -- a constant reminder to stay chill). This guy knows how to put together an eye-catching ensemble. It's no surprise that fashion is in his blood -- his grandmother started the women's department at Barneys with the Pressman family back in the 70s.Here are the deets on his look: navy windowpane suit from Dolce & Gabbana, French cuff shirt Brooks Brothers, bowtie Robert Talbott, shoes Paul Smith, shades $10 off the street, and pinup girl cuff links vintage from a London flea market (the dreaded iPhone camera did not come through for me on my shots of these, but trust me, they were way cool).

Ready, Aim, Fire: Gieves & Hawkes Buckshot Oxfords on Ebay

Spotted on eBay are these rare, handsome cap toes from Gieves & Hawkes. The randomly scattered perforations are the calculated answer to what happens when you fire rock salt at your shoes from a side-by-side Purdey game gun. A spirited choice, these killer kicks will bring some life to a calm outfit. This pair is a size 13 US and a rich, dark brown leather. Bidding starts at $279 and ends May 9, at 9:35 AM PST. They retail for $435.

Heschung's Gentlemanly Spring Boots

 It was cold and windy here in Manhattan today, and so of course my first thought was boot-related: "what can a guy wear on his feet on a chilly pre-Spring day when the temperature barely makes it over 50 degrees?" He can't bring out the old rugged Red Wing-types (although they are just about my favorite thing in the world), as that would be pessimistic. It's almost May...we should be peeling off layers, not putting them on! There's got to be some middle ground. And that's when I thought of Heschung's Ginko Boot ($575). I spotted them in Barney's about a month ago, and they caught my eye for their unique look. They're elegant and a little less serious than some of the tougher boots I've featured in this space. The contrast between the tan leather and natural canvas makes them stylish in their own quiet way. And I love the how the stitching pops against the canvas background.Oh, P.S., I just added a separate blog category for BOOTS. So now my boot crush is official.