Messenger Bags, Not Murses

I never really understood why men are expected to be satisfied with a tiny, folding rectangle of leather for carrying their stuff. Because by stuff, I mean the bare necessities: cash, credit, business cards, and handkerchief (which most guys don’t even own, these days). You can’t stick hand sanitizer in a wallet, nor papers you may need for work, Chapstick, a snack, lunch, light groceries, leftovers from that catered HR meeting you had this morning…

Food-stashing dilemmas aside, the era of the bagless man is officially over. Wondering how to protect both your daily necessities and your masculinity? The answer from is most certainly not a murse, and unless you’re already partner or an MD, a briefcase is a bit much. [If you are in the position to carry a briefcase--and make sure you are, or you'll come off poncey--check out my current favorite, a soft leather number by Coach).

Knapsacks were all the rage last year, but they've been replaced by their sportier, hipster-ier cousin: the messenger bag. Designers are dropping beautiful pieces that are hardly recognizable as descendants of the nylon shoulder candy of bike messengers. But, should you feel that your uber refined style palette should eschew all but the upper echelons of messenger bag design…Allow me to return you to the King of Class.

Brave the shave

Yes, yes. You learned how to shave when you were thirteen and have only refined your technique since the days of Dad’s razor. Water, scrape, bleed has evolved into a lofty lather, glide, blot. But listen up, young grasshopper. Even if you consider yourself the Shave Master, purveyor of the finest blades and creams in the land, there’s more to learn. That’s because there’s always more to trim. Gone are the days of limiting the razor to the face. With the rise of the unfortunate term “manscaping”, has come the expectation that all men, not just the metro-inclined or go-go-dancing, keep their hair situation under control. Neck, chest, brows, the list of “things-we-have-to-pay-attention-to-now” goes on. Unless you’re Chandler Bing, you probably didn’t learn how to deal with these areas by watching your dad, so here’s a little list of our own.

1. Face. Wash it. If you want things to go really smoothly, use an exfoliating cleanser. This gets ride of dead skin cells and prevents ingrown hairs. Dry off, and if you have one (you should), apply shaving oil over your beard or stubble. Wait ten seconds or more, then pat with warm water. Then apply shave cream—you’ll want more in the sensitive areas, like your neck—and shave with the grain using short strokes; only venture against the grain for stubborn hairs. Make sure your razor is clean, sharp, and preferably triple-bladed (although there’s much to be said for a good double-edge safety razor), and don’t forget to rinse between strokes. Finally, douse your face with the coldest water you’ve got and apply your aftershave.

2. Ears and Nose. There are tools made specifically for denuding these areas. However, a pair of small scissors (like eyebrow scissors) can also do the trick, for a more natural look. Simply trim carefully and slowly.

3. Chest, Stomach and “Other” Areas. Begin with cleansing and drying, then dust with powder. Trim the area’s hair with scissors or an electric clipper—longer hairs create trouble for razors. You’ll want to do this in front of a mirror, and very carefully. It helps to have an idea of what you’d like the area to look like (hairless? A certain shape? Just shorter in length?). Then wipe off the powder, wet the skin using warm water, and follow the instructions for shaving your face, keeping the oil but subbing a moisturizing cream for the aftershave.

Some final tips. If you have time to use a piping hot wet towel after the initial cleanse, do so. The steam opens your pores, decreasing your chances of razor burn and ingrowns. A good badger-hair shaving brush will also make a huge difference: the brush absorbs hot water and mixes it with the shaving cream as you swirl it over your skin, creating a luxurious lather that mere fingers can’t replicate. The brush also sloughs off dead skin and pushes stubble upright, so your shave will be closer and smoother than ever. Lastly, disposables are a never-never. Unless you’re incarcerated, there’s no excuse for using a scrape-and-throw.

Street Style Inspiration: The Bow Tie

Bow ties aren’t just for your average tuxedo anymore. From your every day casual outfit to even being included in the latest menswear craze for women, bow ties are a great way to accessorize and tie your entire outfit together (see what I did there?).

If you’re really worried about how to tie a bow tie, Tie A Tie has got a really great step by step diagram from demonstrating everything you need to do in order to accomplish and master the bow tie. And if you really can’t figure it out, thank the fashion gods for clip-on’s.

Pair a quirky patterned bow tie with a neutral and plain dress shirt for an added pop effect. If you’re dying to wear your pink striped dress shirt though (c’mon, don’t give me that face, I know you have one), make sure you pick a bow tie that is neutral (if you really want to mix patterns since it’s a big trend this season, I suggest pairing a simpler patterned bow tie with your shirt so the two don’t overwhelm each other).

I’ve got more street style inspiration for you below if you’re still worried about pulling off a bow tie. Remember to make your style your own and rock it with confidence. You’ll thank me later when you’re getting complimented on your rockin’ attire.

Budget Friendly Accessorizing With The Help of Nook

Let’s face it – looking good doesn’t come cheap. And if you’re fighting the urge to run out and buy an entire new summer wardrobe even though you don’t have the funds quite yet – hold off. Adding key pieces to your existing wardrobe and accessorizing can actually make your outfit look ten times more expensive – especially when it’s done right. Ultra cool accessories and collectibles company Nooka is all about adding some serious swag to your wardrobe – without having to break the bank. I think I just heard you breathe a sigh of relief.

Dress up your wrist with my personal favorite piece of bling – the Zub watch collection. Available on in 8 different styles and a multitude of colors, each watch is made up from a single piece of polyurethane and tells time in their own unique way. Pair with your go-to jeans and casual top to bring emphasis to your insanely cool watch. Retails between $130-$150.

Speaking of ‘budget-friendly’, you’ve got to keep your g’s in something eye-catching right? No, I’m not talking about that old, leather, beat-up thing you call a ‘wallet’ either. Check out the Asset Organizer or AO for short, by Nooka. Designed to be comfortable enough to sit on and expandable in order to get access to your most precious cargo, the AO comes in 7 different colors, one for each day of the week. The phrase ‘I can’t find my wallet’ will never be uttered again. Retails for $35.

And because summer is officially here, you’re going to need some seriously cool shades. Nooka’s Mercury collection of brightly colored specs are just the thing to make you stand out when you’re on the patio downing a cold one. With 11 different colors, a lightweight frame and rubber guards on the nose and ear pieces, how can you possibly resist these creative sunnies? Rock them with your favorite outfit this summer. Retails for $130. Looking good shouldn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – adding the right accessories to any outfit can instantly make your clothes look brand new and more expensive. A word to the wise? Just don’t overdo your accessories in a vain attempt to make your $5 tee look $500…

Bold Colors and iLoveHandles

Worried about how you’re going to rock iLoveHandles’ brightly colored rubber bands? Worry no more – this summer is all about bold colors infused into your wardrobe. And if you really can’t bring yourself to don red pants or you have no intent on wearing something called ‘aquamarine’, start small. No – I don’t mean yellow shoelaces either. Never fear – I’m here to help you get over your color ‘phobia’. Maybe you’re not quite comfortable enough to wear a hot pink shirt, but I promise you that ‘black’ won’t be the only color coming out of your mouth when asking.

Starting small will help you conquer your fear of color. A simple bright tie or a bold colored pocket square will help you gradually move on to that purple dress shirt or even, dare I say, those pink shorts? Wear one piece of bright color at a time – overloading will simply make you look like a rainbow fell out of the sky and landed on your clothing…unless you’re o.k. with that. Cue awkward crickets chirping here.

Vivid accessories are another great way to infuse color into your wardrobe – why not try a rubber band? Available in 7 great colors, you’re bound to find at least one to suit your style and it’s a great way to start off small. If you’re looking for other accessories, try a bold colored belt, colorful cufflinks, bright shoes and as I mentioned before, flashy ties and pocket squares.

And if you’re still worried about even being seen near the color orange, try layering. It’s the easiest of all these tips and probably the least evasive way to infuse color into your wardrobe. Try wearing a bright shirt underneath a neutral colored blazer or v-neck sweater to help to slowly adjust to your new colorful side.

Sticking to simple, smaller details like accessories will help you to overcome your fear of color. Remember that using one bold color in your outfit will help to draw your entire look together – overdoing it can make you look a tad ridiculous. Finally, layering is a great way to help you bring out bright colors that you wouldn’t necessarily wear on your own. Who know you could make ‘fire engine red’ look so good?

Picking the right Watch

Some dudes can pull off trends as effortlessly as they pour themselves into their hipster-huggin’ jeans. Others struggle to make the distinction between the V and the Crew in the world of undershirt necklines. And as delightful as the 2011 Men’s Fashion Week was for my man-hungry eyes, many a fella cringes at the thought of a week devoted to clothes. Enter Junglecents et moi. Whether you’re a style savant, ignorant but eager, or reading this through glazed-over eyes, our men’s fashion guide will have you struttin’ in style faster than you can say “Dries Van Noten”. Let’s kick things off with the king of all accessories.


Nobody needs a timepiece anymore—cell phones pretty much killed them—but every good outfit does need a watch. In the world of outfit power-ups, the watch is The Starman. But don’t grab the first Swatch or Rolex you see: your swag’s gotta match your style.

The Prepster

If you’re poppin’ a collar, for example, you may want a piece with poppin’ color. For the man on a flexible budget, go straight to the source: Lacoste. They’ve got a Mainsail model in green that just screams “I LOVE YACHTS!” Or keep it chic on the cheap with Nixon’s “Mellor” in a navy/brown colorway. It goes perfectly with seersucker. And for the preppy loud-and-proud, just give in already to the BlumLux “Louie Quattro” (right).

If color’s not your thing, but luxury is, try Swiss Army Victorinox’s “Infantry Vintage Chrono”. The heavy stitching and muted colors keep it casual yet classy. Alternately, you can stay Swiss but go monochromatic with Yeslam, who offers the “Aviator” as laidback yet stunning piece. Bonus: if you’re a pilot, you can use the mechanical watch to calculate airspeed! (Because most pilots we know can afford a watch that runs as high as $24,000…).

The Mogul

If you’re suiting up, on the other hand, you don’t have to look too hard to find some august accoutrements. Think elegant and timeless. You can’t go wrong with the simple, yet exquisite, Ebel “Classic Hexagon 41mm Large Date”, or Movado’s “SE Extreme” or “Movado Master” collections. The accident-prone and adrenaline-junkie shouldn’t be without the by Swedish brand GoS. Their indestructible pieces are custom-made from Damascus steel by watchmaker Patrik Sjögren and bladesmith Johan Gustafsson. (Yes. Bladesmith.) Finally, the easygoing-with-pockets-overflowing should just say “yeah, why not” to the muted magnificence of Cartier’s Santos 100.

The Hipster / The Nerd

Even if you’re not actually a hipster, you’re probably a hipster. It’s inescapable if you buy clothes…anywhere. Skinnier jeans, flatter shoes, thicker glasses, and plaid-ier shirts have infiltrated even the squarest department store. At the moment, being fashionable requires partaking of the trend.

But there’s no need to go whole hog, if you don’t so desire. There’s a passel of timepieces that will get the job done. Like the Vestal “Rosewood” clock edition, which adds an organic flavor to garments ranging from surfer to business-casual. Bonus: if you get tired of it, simply toss it out the window—it’s biodegradable (below). Got a meeting with potential investors for your Echo Park vintage bike shop? Check back in with Nixon for a grown-up, dressed-down piece. Their “Mellor” watches are sophistication with a dash of quirk (below).

Hipster’s awkward cousin is the nerd, and there ain’t no shame in bein’ a brain. Capitalize off The Big Bang Theory’s glorification of intelligence and go geek chic with your timepiece. After all, there are watches with built-in calculators. ‘Nuff said. Nerd, artist, and hippie all collide in Phosphor’s “E Ink Digital Hour Black Clock Watch” (left), Swiss Army Victorinix’s “Infantry Vintage” (center), and Nixon’s “Newton Digital Watch”.

Your tie, cuff links, and belt must match your garments, but your watch must match you. When choosing a timepiece, you have the opportunity to add your essence, your you-ness, to whatever you’re wearing. Of course, there’s all the boring stuff to consider, as well—lifestyle, activity, budget, longevity, social scene, materials, future trends. But like most things, and style especially, to thine own self be true and the rest will fall into place.

Like beer? Of course you do

As summer kicks into gear people start to favor drinks like beer, mojitos, and white wine spritzers (some people). While the last two may have their place, beer is where we are looking to quench our thirst when things get hot. Here are a few profiles on the beers we’re poppin tops off these days.

Goose Island Summertime

This fresh-tasting Kölsch-style beer would be perfect with a grilled brat or a deli sandwhich. With a yellow-gold color, a slightly citrus nose and a nice creamy mouthfeel. It’s taste is dry and balanced with touches of apricot and peach. We’re big fans of this refreshing brew, ideal for a backyard BBQ.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

While not as famous as its pale ale cousin, this pilsner definitely holds its own. Even with a mild hop nose, it still bursts with pungent, hop flavor, in classic Sierra Nevada style. We tasted a hint of orange/ lemon and were surprised by how crisp this beer was. We are heading to the racetrack with a six pack of these hidden in our jacket.

Stiegl Lager

If you want drinkability, you want Steigl. Hailing from Austria, this lager is backed with a little more malt and hops than we are used to with our watery domestic lagers (looking at you Natural Light). With a light gold color, this beer has a slightly sweet, refreshing flavor profile. A little bit of apple, a nice snap of carbonation, and these beers almost open themselves….but not quite. Get an iphone bottle opener from Be A Headcase which not only helps you pop these, but keeps track of how many you’ve had. Trust us, with this beer, you’re going to need it.

Brooklyn Summer Ale

More flavorful than many other summer options, the Brooklyn Summer is mostly malty, with hints of tartness and a burst carbonation and bittering hops (we tasted lemon, and orange zest). The finish is clean long and clean, just like the barrels you’ll be watching if you hit up the local surf spot with this brew in tow.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

We picked this classic Bavarian style wheat beer because the Germans are the originators of the style and still make some of the best hef’s in the world. It pours cloudy orange with a creamy head that rises to the top of the glass. When smelled, one gets aromas of clove, lemon, and wheat. The malt base is mixed in with flavors of banana and orange. The finish lingers with a nice wheaty tang. Whether you put a lemon or not in your hefe-weizen is up to, but this beer is a can’t miss.

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