The Puffer Jacket:  A Winter Fashion Favorite

Even though many of us in the North East spent our holidays in short sleeve shirts, we knew that old man winter would eventually make an appearance. With the fresh blanket of snow on the ground, everyone is scrambling to keep warm and one of the favorite outerwear pieces of the season is the puffer jacket. The originator of today’s puffer jacket was one of the foremost creator of outdoor wear: Eddie Bauer. During the 1930’s, Bauer was on a fishing trip in Washington State and he was at real risk for hypothermia when his wool coat was saturated with water and the temperature was dropping with the sunset. He did manage to make his way back to civilization and his goal from that point on was to make a coat that would stay dry and be able to withstand the elements.

classic puffer jacket mens Today, the puffer jacket comes in many fabrics and fashions. Men and women alike have found it a necessary addition to any winter closet. The Classic Puffer is very full, like this jacket in blue, with wide pockets of down feathers that are stitched to keep them in place and cold weather chaser details like a filled detachable hood, a closure that is both zippered and snapped, and deep secured pockets to house your gloves and hats when you are not wearing them.

j crew lightweight puffer jacket

There is also a more lightweight version of the down puffer coat, like this metallic brown one from J. Crew, which has the smaller gussets of down that will keep things more compact, in order to get the same warmth in a less bulky jacket. This allows you to layer other items underneath without looking like the Michelin Man. They even have developed down jackets that are able to be rolled up into a ball or bag for easy packing like these from North Face.


The puffer jacket even has move onto the luxury category for men, like this one with the mixed media of a knit collar, a diamond-quilted navy fabric, vest-like body with leather pockets, trim, and sleeves. The mixed media coupled with the button down placket and bright suit jacket lining elevate this puffer jacket to a modern level.

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Spotlight on Brunswick Park Smarter Apparel

It is always exciting when something totally new and different shows up on the fashion scene.  A Boston based company called Brunswick Park Smarter Apparel decided that since “Ath-leisure wear” has been a hot style of clothing for casual dressing, not just the gym, that performance fabrics should also be available for more formal office-wear.  They developed a fabric that is made of a luxurious Merino Wool blend that is bonded with a layer of cotton to give the fabric substance and durability.  It is a type of material that will be breathable, stretch with your every move, and best of all machine washable!
Brunswick-Park-men and womens jackets Brunswick Park has also taken the basic wardrobe necessities of men’s blazers, hoodies, and women’s suit jacket and given them athletic-style extras like a credit card sized zip-pocket on the inner wrist of every jacket, so that you can carry a card or a little cash without having to have the bulk of a wallet or purse.  Also, in the woman’s collarless jacket, the designers from Brunswick Park had the brilliant idea to have the lower section zip off, so that you can have the option of wearing your jacket with a longer look or cropped.

jacketgraphic brunswick park

Brunswick Park had the idea to launch their clothing products on Kickstarter to see what the interest would be and they were able to triple the original amount of their campaign pledges.  Their prices for their men’s and women’s clothing line range from $159 to $199 because Brunswick Park opted to keep their products out of retail stores and deal strictly on line.  The company owners are able to then pass the savings on to the consumer because they don’t have to participate in the customary retailer mark-up..


So, if you love what ath-leisure wear fabrics bring to the casual world of dressing and want the same comfort in more tailored apparel, then Brunswick Park Smarter Apparel may be for you.

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Conquering Today’s Business Casual

In most of today’s companies, the dress code is “business casual.” The trouble is, what that term means has changed a lot, leaving a lot of guys looking either clueless or just like everyone else with no individuality. These tips can get you back on fashion track.


Get your cut and sizing right.

The general rule of thumb is that your clothes should fit close to your body, creating a natural-looking silhouette without being too tight. Slim cuts achieve this extremely well. You can use the following as a slightly more specific guide for sizing:

  • Make sure the rise of your trousers -the length from the inseam of the crotch to the waistband – doesn’t extend significantly below your actual crotch.
  • The cuff of your pants should rest slightly on top of your shoe without bunching. Jeans can go a touch longer.
  • Your waistband should sit around the narrowest part of your torso. Jeans can go a bit lower.
  • Shirt sleeves should just cover your wrist bone. Jacket sleeves should leave about half an inch of the shirt sleeve cuff exposed.
  • Shoulder seams should sit on your body’s shoulder, not down on the upper arm.
  • Shirts should be long enough to tuck in at least two inches.

Remember, the expense of tailoring is worth having a wardrobe that actually flatters you!

Embrace layers.

Layering provides the opportunity to mix textures and colors, creating more interest. It also is extremely functional–just take off a layer or add it back for temperature comfort. Your three dressier go-to outer layers will be a slim-sleeved blazer (ideally in navy, like this one from The Idle Man), shorter-cut sport coat (ideally in tweed) and a jacket (ideally narrow-waled corduroy in a warm or muted tone). These garments add shape to your torso. They also look great over a polo or shirt and tie. Sweaters over a dress shirt work, too. Just make sure they are thin, slim-cut and solid in color, and let the cuff of the dress shirt show a little.

For a cardigan, get a relaxed feel by leaving a button or two at the bottom undone, and keep the armholes high. If you want a break from layers or it really is too warm, pick a fitted dress shirt with a creative print and dressier collar.

Mix clothing, shoes and accessories from different styles.

Making one new fashion out of several styles is bold, but it works because all the pieces are things others are familiar with. As an example, you might pair a slightly more rugged-looking boot with dress pants rather than jeans. The key is just to make the colors appropriate for the business setting. Even if you stay within one style, little details like choosing an undershirt that’s not white can make a big statement.

Anchor your look with the right shoes.

The best shoes for business casual include oxfords, derbies, loafers and brogues. Ideally, they should be brown, not black. Go for a pointed rather than square toe, and above all else, no sneakers!


Nailing business casual is within your reach. Layers, mixed styles and sharp-looking shoes are key. If you can get all these things with a slim, comfortable fit, you’ve got fashion gold.

A marketing director and contributing writer to The Idle Man, Alex Outlaw always has one foot in men’s music, fashion and contemporary culture. He likes to share whatever he finds by blogging and posting on social media. Keep on top of the latest on Twitter here.

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Stocking Up Your Winter Wardrobe

Protect yourself from the winter chill by stocking up on your cold-weather wardrobe. You don’t have to start from scratch as there are some basic pieces that you can still wear and layer over with a snug coat. Clothing essentials for the season should not only keep you warm but also let you express your personal style as well.


If you find that most of your winter clothes are already worn, you can choose to replace them with store-bought ones. You can also shop for clothes online for more convenience, especially if work or errands keep you busy most of the day.

When stocking up on your winter wardrobe, here are the items you should never face the chill without.

Year-round items

Many clothing pieces are always in season, such as a classic black tank and plain black and white shirts of varying sleeve lengths. You should also have a crisp white blouse and a fitted white button-down shirt that you can wear for any function. You can also buy blouses in dark and light neutrals. Keep the details such as ruffles and buttons minimal but timeless.

Don’t forget the little black dress that you can top off with a cozy coat for winter. Black pencil skirts, jeans, black pants and tights, and khaki pants are also always in season. For shoes, you will never go wrong with basic black pumps, ballet flats in a neutral color, and evening shoes in a versatile color, such as silver.


Winter essentials

Layer those basic tops with a heavy sweater, cashmere hoodie, or leather jacket, and you’re good to go. You can also invest in a comfortable turtleneck sweater in a lightweight fabric such as wool, which can blend in well with any pants you have on without adding bulk. An alternative is a cowl-neck sweater. The best pants for winter include dark-wash, boot-cut or wide-leg jeans, gray flannel pants, and wool trousers. Keep warm in a winter coat, parka, a black cashmere wrap coat, or a down vest of a neutral color such as black, navy, or brown. Keep it classy in a wool overcoat. Pull on a pair of knee-high boots or Wellies to keep your feet warm.


Layering bulky clothes can make you look frumpy in winter, but not if you add pizzazz to your look with various accessories. Your winter wardrobe accessory must-haves should include belts both wide and skinny to accentuate your silhouette. You can also stock up on knit and Pashmina scarves to add interest and color to your basic wardrobe. For jewelry, something that adds color and drama to an otherwise dreary wardrobe is a must. Keep your hands safe from the biting cold with a good pair of wool or knitted gloves. Keep your head warm with berets and knitted beanies!

Textures and fabrics

If your personal style is dictated by textures and fabrics, stock up your winter wardrobe with clothing pieces made from suede, dark denim, wool or tweed, velvet, and leather. You can also have silks, satins, and black lace on standby for something chic and classy!

Happy winter dressing!

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Men’s Fashion Trends – Bring on the Blues for Spring and Summer

When it comes to color in fashion, there is always a yearly trend that is usually set by Pantone, but there are certain colors that that are staples in every closet. Besides the classics of black and white, blue is one of those versatile colors that never seem to go out of style. It is a universally flattering color on most everyone and is “camera-friendly” hue.

streetstyle ocean blue blazer

For this Spring and Summer menswear collections, the color blue has been taken to new levels with the use of more intense blues and mixing them with unexpected colors and patterns. The first example of the prevalence of the color blue in men’s street style is this “ocean blue”, one button blazer that takes center stage over a white button-down shirt and white trousers. The cool colors of the outfit are warmed up with a cognac brown leather satchel and slip-on loafers of the same color.

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Men’s Fashion Trends – Spring Jackets

This year, more than ever, anyone who has had it with the wintery weather has been thinking of shedding a few layers and breaking out the clothes for warmer weather. As winter turns into spring, it will be time to replace our heavier jackets with something lighter and water resistant.


For 2014, there are a few trends that have carried through in fashion when it comes to men’s spring jackets and rainwear. First, color is still dominant when it comes to clothing trends. For example, this shorter pointed collar jacket in “bubble gum” pink, the pullover ¾ zip-front jacket in tangerine, and this longer spring coat that is color-blocked in shades of blue. If you are not into the brighter range of colors, then there are also darker shades of plum and burgundy that will give your look a punch of color, but with riche tones instead. Comfort and color are available with a number of outdoor jackets from Brookes, including Workwear Jackets, 3 in 1 Jackets, and Waterproof Jackets.

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