Men’s Style: Out & About In Winter White …

I think one of the reasons I have had such a hard time getting into the holiday spirit is because I have not been dressing the part.  It’s hard to be full of Christmas cheer when you are sweating in short sleeves and flip flops. The mild climate is one of the many wonderful things about living in Northern California but the East Coaster in me prefers my Christmas season to be cold, snowy and blanketed in white.  Evidently Mother Nature heard my silent pleas and sent a cold snap across the country.  While this cold front caused a major case of the “bah humbugs” among most people, for me it was a welcome icy kick in the bum to knock me off my grumpy perch.

Inspired, I quickly pulled together a new set of looks for my annual Men’s Style series that celebrated the emergence of wintery holiday season but with my unique (and at times warped) take on dressing.  Kicking things off, I am doing the unthinkable – championing Winter White.  For some reason this hue (or lack thereof) seems to scare almost everyone but one I find incredibly chic.  Winter white is the perfect base upon which to layer a fun coat and pile on the accessories.  Paired with a pair winter boots and you may have the perfect out to run errands or deliver your perfectly wrapped gifts to family and friends who are too afraid to venture into the frigid holiday wonderland…….






[trenchcoat: black fleece for brooks brothers//turtleneck: ralph lauren purple//pants: kenneth cole//boots: coach]

Jonesing for your own winter white outfit?  See below for a modified twist on what I consider to be a holiday [outfit] classic…….

Steal The Look_WinterWhite2[1//2//3//4]

Check back next week for a special edition of Men’s Style: Holiday Edition talking to the point of what to do when the invitation states “black tie”…..

[photo credit:  aubrie pick//styling: courtney lake]

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Loving Out Loud: Muji Cotton Canvas Back

I have hit the age where carrying heavy loads hurt my shoulders.  Between schlepping fabric swatches, design boards, my computer, tile samples and everything in between my neck and back ache for days.

Vainness prevents me from getting a rolly bag, so the only option left is a backpack.  Before you get visions of me in some poly, padded shoulder monster, think again.  This backpack is going to for my off days — where you have too much stuff just to shove in your coat pocket but not enough to warrant a full on “mote” (definition: a “mote” is the male equivalent of a tote bag).

So enter my solution…..

Muji Backpack

The Muji Cotton Canvas backpack is a thing of beauty.  It’s simple design is reinforced with the company’s selection of the material.  It’s machine washable and only gets better with each washing.  It is the perfect size to throw my laptop, a magazine, iPhone and a few other essentials.  Even better that is doesn’t play havoc with my shoulders and neck – success!

At only $35, it is also an economical option for those of us who go through our “motes” faster than Kim Kardashian goes through black men (yup, I went there…).  But now I am curious, what fashion concessions have you made since getting older?

Okay, I am at the Hawthorne building all day today – I am overseeing the install of my 4th project in the building but I am also we are professionally photographing the first project I completed in the building.  I can’t wait to share it with you all….well that is unless some snazzy magazine wants to share it first!

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Motivational Monday: Remembrance…..


Last week I had the opportunity to write a piece for the FOLK Magazine blog about men’s fashion.  It would have been easy to write a breezy piece about some emerging designer or gush over some trendy accessory but  I felt the need to talk about one of my own fashion idols, my Grandfather.  Always stylish, always put together and always a rule breaker, whether it be in fashion or life.  He was a constant source of inspiration on how a gentleman should carry himself in public and I found that his influence molded not only how I dress myself but how I interact with others.


Style, like life, is all about figuring out the pieces of the  puzzle.  Like the picture above, we affix labels  on where things should go,  what goes with what and what is acceptable.  But that is it – aside from those constructs, we get to decide how to fill those blank spaces in.  That is the beauty of the process and the journey we each are on.  We each get to decide how to to fill those spaces with memorable moments – snapshots of a live well lived, well loved and well traveled.

So this week I ask you to remember those who inspired you; mentors, teachers or  in my case, family and think about why they motivated you.  Remember where they “broke the rules” because it was during those moments I am sure they showed you a different path and a way to move past the confines you thought existed.

Remembering the past can give you direction for your future……

Have a great week!

Photography by: Photo By Adza

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Men’s Style: Weekend Gear…

I am capping off this week with how I would style the GAP Army jacket (similar)  for a weekend day about town.  I wish I could say I live a jet setting life, but aside from the occasional weekend trip to wine country or Palm Springs, I get my dose of excitement from visiting Trader Joes or a matinée movie.  Mind you, I am not complaining, but sometimes a boy can dream, so that is exactly what I did when I put together my weekend outfit….

CLake Top Army

If you haven’t guessed, I love to layer.  Just like in interior design, the different layers of an outfit bring interest.  For my weekend jaunt, I layered a thin cashmere henley (similar) under the jacket and finished it off with one of my favorite scarves from Alexander McQueen (similar).

CLake Laughing Army Jacket

As for accessories, I have been wearing my bronze metallic watch non-stop since picking it up in France this summer.  I love its chunky qualities and is the perfect unexpected element for a dude.  I am also a sunglass fiend but I am also a near-sighted sunglass fiend, so these are my every day prescription sunglasses in an aviator style from SEE Eyewear.

CourtneyOutLoud Green Army Jacket

And yup, I carry a “murse” (aka man purse).  I don’t know about where you live, but here in Northern California, we get charged for each bag we use at stores, so I have started carrying my own. I love this bag from Banana Republic (similar) – the cognac color, t he stitching and size are spot on for my weekend needs.  I think a leather tote is the perfect compromise – stash your grocery bags inside along with life’s other essentials (lip balm, wallet, iPad, phone, journal, cross bow…hey-you never know when the zombies will attach!)

So there you have it – three different looks to take you from work to night to play using one jacket as inspiration.  Hope this inspires you to go play dress up in your wardrobe and rediscover your closet.    Now get your weekend started!  Have a GREAT ONE!

Photography by: Desi Arnaz Hyter

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Men’s Style: On The Town…

I can only speak for myself, but my blue jeans have become a permanent fixture in my wardrobe.  I wear them to work, on the weekends and sadly there are moments I even wear them out for a night on the town.  I placate myself by saying that jeans at night are part of the “California laid-back” aesthetic.  But deep down, there is a small East Coaster yearning to be free…..that guy who secretly enjoys getting dressed up.  I don’t mean suits, but just taking things up a notch, so when I gave myself the challenge of style my Gap army jacket (similar) three different ways, I knew I had to find a way to work it into my “evening attire”…..


Short on time between engagements?  Forgo the tie!  I know yesterday I was all about skinny ties for work, but that’s just it.  I wear ties all the time to meet clients, so if I am going out, I want to ditch the tie for something else.  In this case a thin wool turtleneck (similar) from Club Monaco is the perfect layering piece for the jacket to take center stage.  It’s thin enough not to be bulky but still dressy enough that I feel completely comfortably going to dinner then the theater.

CLake_GAPArmy Gloves

I gave my beloved jeans a rest and pulled a favorite pair of wool glen plaid Polo trousers (similar) out of hibernation.  The play of a between the dressy trouser in a traditional pattern and the casual fabric of the jacket was the perfect amount of tension the outfit needed to make it look purposefully and not sloppy.  But then you really can’t look that sloppy too when you sport a pair of stitched leather saddle boots (similar).  I felt the outfit needed a pop of color and my orange leather driving gloves (similar) courtesy of Club Monaco was the perfect solution.  I feel debonair and ready for a night on the town in this outfit!  Honestly, I cannot stress enough how much I love play “dress up” in my closet, rediscovering all these forgotten treasures and interpreting them for my new life.

I will be back on Friday to show you the third and final look, as I get ready for the weekend!

Photography by: Desi Arnaz Hyter

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Men’s Style: Off To The Office….

I rarely wear dress clothes to work these days.  Let’s be honest, I spend the majority of my time in dank antique and resale shops, dusty job sites or schlepping samples between clients and vendors.  I, like many designers, do not life a glamorous life.  In fact, I would say 75% the the time I have spent as a designer is  pretty mundane – the antithesis of “sexy”.  There are no million dollar deals, just me with my laptop, my RAV 4 and ALOT of fabric swatches and tile samples.

However, just because I play the role of glorified delivery man at times, does it mean I should dress like one.  You never know exactly who will stumble across your path while running errands  or who may be calling asking for an impromptu meeting, so I have appropriated a work style I refer to as “on-the-go chic”.

With this in mind, I used my Army-style jacket as the centerpiece of this work outfit…….


I have never met a skinny tie I didn’t love and I especially loved pairing a tie with what could be a very casual ensemble to elevate it to work-chic appropriate.  This tie from Zara has a subtle checkered pattern that compliments the graphic plaid of the Billy Reid shirt (similar).


Dark-rinsed straight-leg jeans are a staple in my work attire; the dark rinse I find to be more dressy and the slim lines of the straight leg are the perfect foil to the numerous blazers and cardigans I wear on top.  For this outfit, I pulled out my favorite pair of APC jeans and paired it with a pair of camel brogues (similar).  Truth be told, I am in love with these shoes; they are my dressy equivalent of sneaker – all the class of a dress shoe mixed with the supreme comfort of a sneaker.


The Army-style GAP jacket (similar) is the perfect alternative to a blazer or cardigan.  Thick enough to keep me warm on chilly mornings but thin enough to toss in my day bag (aka the “murse”) as the day heats up.  And who cares of it gets dirty as I carry boxes or rub against drywall?  A quick run in the washer and it is as good as new!  This is an outfit I can confidently go from morning to night in and not think twice if it is appropriate.

Tomorrow I show how the jacket goes from work to an evening out on the town.

And I kept my promise of wearing pants……yah for me!

Photography by: Desi Arnaz Hyter

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Motivational Mondays: Appearance…

Mark Twain Quote 2

Hello World!  It’s me in my underwear on the Internet.  As you can see, I have the body of a Greek Adonis  – chiseled, refined and oh so masculine.  But I am nearly naked for a reason….

Some people may call me a clothes horse or a fashionista but honestly, I used clothes as a way to hide in plain sight.  My outfits were a type of armor I put on daily to project an air of confidence.  Board meeting?  Armani suit.  Dinner with clients?  APC Jeans, Theory blazer and Prada loafers.  Brunch with friends?  Black Fleece cardigans and Marc Jacobs pants of course.  I was spending a ton of time, money and energy creating a persona when I could have been expending the same effort investing in my spiritual and emotional well-being.

When I left corporate America and started to freelance, something odd happened.  I found myself some mornings  simply too tired to contemplate an “outfit”.  GAP replaced Armani and Converse Chucks became my shoe of choice.  I was running from meetings with vendors to dusty job sites to the design center with a healthy dose of dog walking thrown in and my old way of dressing seemed forced.  What was once a shield had become a burden, a well-heeled weight around my neck.  But something else happened, something more profound than realizing jeans worked better than dress pants for my new life.  I found that I wanted people to HEAR me rather than SEE my outfit.  When I walked into a meeting, I wanted people to notice my ideas, not my coat.  All my time in corporate America, I doubted I had the skills to do the job I was in, so I used my clothes to project that confidence.  However, doing design, I love what I do and am pretty darn good at it.  My confidence comes from within now – not from a label.

Which brings us back to why I am in my underwear?  I promised myself for 2013, I would edit my closet to  have only those pieces I love and can use for work and play.  I am giving myself free rein to play “dress up” in my closet.  So I tasked myself with a challenge, take one piece from my closet and style it three different ways.

So this week, I am dedicating the blog to styling this jacket…..

GAP Army Jacket

Tomorrow the challenge begins…..( and I promise I will be wearing pants.)

Photography by: Desi Arnaz Hyter

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