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November 24, 2014

The Casual Holiday Party: Gents’ 6 Key Looks for 3 Types of Get Togethers

The last couple of weeks we’ve talked about office holiday parties and dressy holiday affairs. As the holiday season officially kicks off this week (remember when that REALLY didn’t start until Thanksgiving??), we start thinking about the true reason to get excited about this time of year…being with our family and friends. Oh, and maybe taking some time off of work. These are the moments we finally get to take a breather and share quality time with our favorite people. And while these are relaxed and easy events, there are still lots of great ways to look good – and be comfortable. What kinds of gatherings are we talking about? Take a look:
Casual Get Together: ‘Tis the season for finding reasons to drink wine and eggnog with our friends and loved ones. Whether you’re going to a tree trimming party, or a good ‘ole sit-around-the-fire get together, casual attire doesn’t mean you can’t still look (and feel) festive. It doesn’t need to be a literal translation – a snowman or Santa sweater is not necessary. Let’s repeat that. A snowman or Santa sweater is NOT necessary. Playing with plaids or color can feel just as season-right. Reds and greens happen to be big this season, so there’s lots of fun in looking dapper and modern.
“Family” Outing: Many families – or circles of friends that consider each other family (Aren’t those sometimes the best? You actually CHOSE them.) – take this time of year to meet somewhere for drinks, dinner, and some quality “catch-up” time. Wherever it is, this isn’t one of those formal affairs – there’s going to be laughter, storytelling, and fun. Dress the part. A casual sport coat with a plaid shirt and wool trousers or dark jeans can be just right. You may even add a festive tie, which let’s be clear, doesn’t mean a tie with candy canes on it – we’re thinking plaids, bold colors, or wooly knits…those perfect little accents that are so easy and do so much.
Hometown Visit: When Christmas draws near, no matter what you celebrate, we all find ourselves gravitating “home” for a few days. That might mean the family gathering at your house, or you packing up the presents and heading to your parent’s, brother’s, or cousin’s house. And there’s bound to be some quality family time just sitting around together, eating, and drinking…and eating…and drinking. It’s the perfect time to break out your favorite jeans, cozy flannel shirts, soft sweaters, and yes, even your “stylish” sweats.
Here are our top picks for some key looks for each fun event –whether you are looking for something a little more classic or something more lighthearted. Let us know what you think in the comments below and on social media. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/michael-kors-marled-trim-wool-cardigan/3759027
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Michael Kors - Marled Trim Wool Cardigan
Marled Trim Wool Cardigan
Michael Kors
Sold by: Nordstrom

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A lot of holiday get togethers call for a polished outfit but a suit or sport coat isn’t necessary. A well-tailored wool cardigan is the ideal replacement to create that finished look without the dressier feel. Michael Kors’ merino wool cardigan has a charcoal marled (a mix of grey shades) trim, which provides the right amount of interest for the solid black body. Wear it with a dark plaid shirt, charcoal wool pants or raw denim jeans. If you’d like to step it up with a tie, wear a white shirt and this soft plaid one in similar colors. This versatile look will work for you in many situations – from a social outing to a more casual day at the office.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tommy-bahama-denim-inverness-island-modern-fit-shawl-collar-cardigan/3784686 Tommy Bahama Denim - Inverness Island Modern Fit Shawl Collar Cardigan
Tommy Bahama Denim - Inverness Island Modern Fit Shawl Collar Cardigan
1. Casual Get Together: A beefy cardigan is a great winter blazer alternative that has that easy feeling, perfect for a casual get together. Tommy Bahama won us over with this classic fitting marled tweed shawl collar cardigan. It’s done in a really cozy wool/alpaca that is a mix of all those perfect grey, tan, and navy neutral colors, making it an easy layer over any shirt all winter long.
http://www.jmclaughlin.com/gramercy-soft-point-collar-in-grey-plaid.html J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
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J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
J. McLaughlin
Sold by: J. McLaughlin

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Of course, for a holiday outing, pop some plaid color under this sweater, from J. McLaughlin. The blue, red and grey colors in the shirt add a rugged holiday feel. This is one of our favorite flannels of the season – the fabric is wonderfully soft, with that easy broken-in hand to it. The classic fit is comfortable for all gents, and will lie smoothly under this sweater.
https://bonobos.com/products/french-corders?color=grey Bonobos - French Corders
Bonobos - French Corders
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Bonobos - French Corders
French Corders
Bonobos
Sold by: Bonobos

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Corduroy just says wintertime and the weighty texture is just the right balance to this chunky wool sweater. The French fabric is lush and comfortable, with just a hint of stretch – so go ahead and enjoy the eggnog. The neutral grey is not too blue or too brown, which isn't always easy to find. Bonobos, known for their fit, offers these cords in a classic or slim straight leg model, and both are an amazing fit.
http://www.zappos.com/frye-bennett-oxford-black Frye - Bennett Oxford Shoe
Frye - Bennett Oxford Shoe
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Frye - Bennett Oxford Shoe
Bennett Oxford Shoe
Frye
Sold by: Zappos

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This classic oxford style from Frye has a casual but polished feel to complete the look. The rubber lugged sole is good for whatever weather awaits you, so you’ll get plenty of use out them throughout the winter…and then some.
http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446701813 Vince - Dip-Dye Crewneck Sweater
Vince - Dip-Dye Crewneck Sweater
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Vince - Dip-Dye Crewneck Sweater
Dip-Dye Crewneck Sweater
Vince
Sold by: Saks Fifth Avenue

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2. Casual Get Together: Bring style AND holiday color to your outfit with the Vince wool/cashmere ombré sweater. Not only is the color amazing, but the detail is also impeccable. The color fade is so well done and you can click through the “shop it” button to see an additional image showing off the fantastic elbow patches. The fit is modern – great for most gents – and an easy, polished look for some equally easy, holiday fun.
http://www.hugoboss.com/us/boss-ronny-slim-fit-cotton-casual-shirt/hbna50232501.html BOSS Hugo Boss - Ronny Cotton Button Down Shirt
BOSS Hugo Boss - Ronny Cotton Button Down Shirt
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BOSS Hugo Boss - Ronny Cotton Button Down Shirt
Ronny Cotton Button Down Shirt
BOSS Hugo Boss
Sold by: Hugo Boss

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This contemporary fitting denim blue cotton shirt from Hugo Boss is the perfect contrast to this burgundy sweater. The spread collar works well unbuttoned under the crewneck of the sweater. But you can even play up the contrasting blue by adding a navy knit tie, too. And of course, you can easily wear this shirt throughout the rest of the season – it looks great under a sport coat.
http://www.eastdane.com/matchbox-slim-straight-jeans-ag/vp/v=1/1545916804.htm AG Jeans - Matchbox Slim Straight Jeans
AG Jeans - Matchbox Slim Straight Jeans
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AG Jeans - Matchbox Slim Straight Jeans
Matchbox Slim Straight Jeans
AG Jeans
Sold by: East Dane

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Since we’ve picked this sweater for a casual holiday get together look, and we’ve got a denim blue colored shirt under it, these AG black wash jeans are a spot-on finish to this outfit. This denim has a hint of comfortable stretch to them; and, the style has a contemporary fitting straight leg, yet has enough overall ease to look great on most gents – which is why it is one of AG’s most popular fits.
http://www.zappos.com/donald-j-pliner-brady-black Donald J Pliner - Brady Boots
Donald J Pliner - Brady Boots
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Donald J Pliner - Brady Boots
Brady Boots
Donald J Pliner
Sold by: Zappos

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These black chukka style boots from Donald J Pliner play on the sophisticated and modern style of this outfit. Made in Italy, the full-grained leather and contrast lugged sole are not only wonderfully constructed, they are seriously comfortable and durable. They’ll look great with all your jeans and cords.
http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Fitzgerald-Fit-Harris-Tweed-Houndstooth-Sport-Coat/MM00381,default,pd.html Brooks Brothers - Fitzgerald Fit Harris Tweed Houndstooth Sport Coat
Brooks Brothers - Fitzgerald Fit Harris Tweed Houndstooth Sport Coat
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Brooks Brothers - Fitzgerald Fit Harris Tweed Houndstooth Sport Coat
Fitzgerald Fit Harris Tweed Houndstooth Sport Coat
Brooks Brothers
Sold by: Brooks Brothers

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3. “Family” Outing: A versatile pattern sport coat is a great wardrobe addition, especially for the holidays. And since it can be a bit of an investment, we recommend choosing something in a great wintery texture that can coordinate with a lot of different colors. This Brooks Brothers style does just that, as it coordinates with reds, greens, and blues, so you can pop it with holiday color for a nicer dinner out - and then opt for something subtler throughout the winter. This jacket is in Brooks Brothers’ Fitzgerald fit, which is a more modern fit for them - closer to the body with narrower lapels and a shorter length. Its up-to-date style looks great on most gents.  
http://www.ledbury.com/products/matthews-check-alden Ledbury - The Matthews Check Shirt
Ledbury - The Matthews Check Shirt
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Ledbury - The Matthews Check Shirt
The Matthews Check Shirt
Ledbury
Sold by: Ledbury

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The oh-so-subtle blue and red grid pattern on this shirt is a nice touch of contrasting pattern under this jacket, that looks effortlessly pulled together. Ledbury, known for their shirt fits, offers it in a classic or modern fit, so everyone can have one in a fit they love.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/robert-talbott-merino-wool-button-front-sweater-vest/3862358 Robert Talbott - Merino Wool Button Front Sweater Vest
Robert Talbott - Merino Wool Button Front Sweater Vest
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Robert Talbott - Merino Wool Button Front Sweater Vest
Merino Wool Button Front Sweater Vest
Robert Talbott
Sold by: Nordstrom

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This finish of red pulls the jacket and shirt together perfectly and adds dapper punctuation to this outfit. The grey trim ties back to the jacket and the merino wool is the perfect texture with the wintery fabric of the sport coat. If the restaurant gets warm, feel free to remove your jacket - this Robert Talbott vest will stand on its own.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/linea-naturale-washed-corduroy-relaxed-fit-pants/3746585 Linea Naturale - Washed Corduroy Relaxed Fit Pants
Linea Naturale - Washed Corduroy Relaxed Fit Pants
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Linea Naturale - Washed Corduroy Relaxed Fit Pants
Washed Corduroy Relaxed Fit Pants
Linea Naturale
Sold by: Nordstrom

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These classic fit flat front corduroy pants from Linea Naturale are our pick for this outfit. In fact, corduroy is always a great fabric match with wool jackets and the enzyme wash (so they don’t look brand spankin’ new) gives even more depth to the look. If you want to go even more casual, these dark wash jeans are a great option. Either way, don’t forget to finish it all off with a festive pair of Paul Smith socks.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/ted-baker-london-zigtop-slim-fit-shawl-collar-zigzag-knit-cardigan/3775896 Ted Baker London - Zigtop Slim Fit Shawl Collar Zigzag Knit Cardigan
Ted Baker London - Zigtop Slim Fit Shawl Collar Zigzag Knit Cardigan
4. “Family” Outing: We are big fans of this Ted Baker London’s cardigan. The contemporary fit, textured zigzag pattern, and shawl collar are so smart looking – a modern alternative to a sport coat for any casually special night out. It’s so versatile though, you will get tons of use out of it all winter long. You can dress it up with wool pants or keep it more casual by wearing jeans. You can wear it open with a pattern shirt or closed with a dressier shirt and tie. See what we mean?
http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306607796&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446704396 Vince - Plaid Cotton Sportshirt
Vince - Plaid Cotton Sportshirt
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Vince - Plaid Cotton Sportshirt
Plaid Cotton Sportshirt
Vince
Sold by: Saks Fifth Avenue

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We’re going to make it holiday right by adding this red check button down collar shirt from Vince. The shirt has a contemporary fit to work with the slimmer silhouette of the cardigan. And the small buffalo plaid gives it a really stylish lift.
https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/tiesandpocketsquares/ties/PRDOVR~B1842/B1842.jsp J. Crew - English Wool Tie
J. Crew - English Wool Tie
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J. Crew - English Wool Tie
English Wool Tie
J. Crew
Sold by: J. Crew

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It’s the holidays, and you may not see this group of people very often – go ahead and wear a tie. The tweedy wool flecks in the English wool of this J. Crew tie add just the right amount of interest without clashing with the check pattern in the shirt. Trust us on this one – it’s really sharp looking.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/hudson-blake-slim-straight-leg-jeans-fracture/3861439 Hudson Jeans - Blake Slim Straight Leg Jeans
Hudson Jeans - Blake Slim Straight Leg Jeans
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Hudson Jeans - Blake Slim Straight Leg Jeans
Blake Slim Straight Leg Jeans
Hudson Jeans
Sold by: Nordstrom

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There are so many good pant options for this sweater, it was hard to choose just one. A soft pair of khaki jeans or a modern pair of charcoal wool pants would be great, but our choice is to keep it modern and casual with this pair of dark wash jeans from Hudson in their new Blake model. The Blake is a similar fit to the AG Matchbox or the J Brand Kane, if you are fans of either of those, but with a slightly narrower leg opening. It’s a good fit for most gents looking for a modern update to their jeans, but are still quite comfortable.
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/Psycho-Bunny-Men-s-Large-Polka-Dot-Socks-Navy-Red/prod174370105_cat52390742__/p.prod Psycho Bunny - Men's Large-Polka-Dot Socks
Psycho Bunny - Men's Large-Polka-Dot Socks
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Psycho Bunny - Men's Large-Polka-Dot Socks
Men's Large-Polka-Dot Socks
Psycho Bunny
Sold by: Neiman Marcus

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These navy and red big dot socks from Psycho Bunny will add festive flare without being too literal. The Psycho Bunny logo also brings its own fun to the look.
http://shop.timberland.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4208755 Timberland Boot Company® - Wodehouse Oxfords
Timberland Boot Company® - Wodehouse Oxfords
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Timberland Boot Company® - Wodehouse Oxfords
Wodehouse Oxfords
Timberland Boot Company®
Sold by: Timberland

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These black oxfords from the Timberland Boot Company are a rugged finish to this outfit. The hand finished premium leather has a worn but stylish look that will hold up for years. They don’t just look good, though. The sole is a combination of tan leather with a rubber heal and toe, so you’ll get better traction in bad weather. You are probably familiar with Timberland, but The Timberland Boot Company is actually a separate division, created to merge contemporary design with the best materials and old world craftsmanship. They’ve certainly done that here.
http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Merino-Wool-Fair-Isle-Crewneck-Sweater/MS00568,default,pd.html Brooks Brothers - Merino Wool Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers - Merino Wool Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater
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Brooks Brothers - Merino Wool Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater
Merino Wool Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers
Sold by: Brooks Brothers

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5. “Hometown” Visit: “Can you believe what cousin Charley wore?” You will not run the risk of any snide comments behind your back if you show up in this Fair Isle pattern Italian merino wool sweater from Brooks Brothers. The pattern is seasonal yet oh-so-dapper. The navy color gives multiple options for pants and shirts. And no one will be able to do anything but give you compliments.
http://www.jmclaughlin.com/gramercy-soft-point-collar.html J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
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J. McLaughlin - Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
Gramercy Flannel Soft Point Collar Shirt
J. McLaughlin
Sold by: J. McLaughlin

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Instead of a plaid, J. McLaughlin’s solid flannel shirt is a great compliment to the Fair Isle pattern of the sweater. It’s as soft as it looks, and the classic fit is nothing but pure comfort. The soft, short collar and light blue shade work perfectly with the sweater. It comes in additional colors, like dark grey, that are just as great – you may want to pick up more than one.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/ag-the-lux-tailored-straight-leg-chinos/3642884 AG Jeans - The Lux Tailored Straight Leg Chinos
AG Jeans - The Lux Tailored Straight Leg Chinos
Sure, you can wear jeans with this, but a pair of flat front dark khakis are always a good option, in case you need to look just a little more presentable during your family stay. The modern fit of these AG’s, with a narrower leg, is classic enough for most gents, yet a nice update to what you may already own. The neutral color is a going to go with many things in your wardrobe, beyond this sweater.
http://www.zappos.com/red-wing-heritage-work-chukka-oro-iginal Red Wing Heritage - Work Chukka Boots
Red Wing Heritage - Work Chukka Boots
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Red Wing Heritage - Work Chukka Boots
Work Chukka Boots
Red Wing Heritage
Sold by: Zappos

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Change it up by going with this pair of tan Red Wing Heritage chukka boots, instead of a basic oxford. The outdoor look of these is a little more rugged, keeping the khaki’s casual and playing into the masculine feel of the Fair Isle sweater. The tan both blends and contrasts with all the colors in the outfit. Red Wing Heritage, known for their well made outdoor work shoes, have become a fashion favorite.
http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306556124&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446603878 Canada Goose - Lodge Vest
Canada Goose - Lodge Vest
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Canada Goose - Lodge Vest
Lodge Vest
Canada Goose
Sold by: Saks Fifth Avenue

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A red vest is a great layering piece all winter long – and the holiday hometown stay is just the time to kick off wearing it. It looks great over this sweater and you’ll be able to wear it over a flannel or even a sweatshirt. Canada Goose is one of the best when it comes to warmth and function, so this is an investment worth making. Once you click through the “shop it” button, you’ll also see there are neutral color options, too.
https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/accessories/scarvesandhats/PRDOVR~54175/54175.jsp?color_name=brilliant-flame-plaid J. Crew - Cashmere Scarf
J. Crew - Cashmere Scarf
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J. Crew - Cashmere Scarf
Cashmere Scarf
J. Crew
Sold by: J. Crew

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This plaid cashmere scarf is the finishing touch. The classic Aberdeen tartan’s mix of blues and red pull together the colors of this outfit perfectly. It’s just what you’ll need to dash from the car back to the cozy warmth of the house. And, of course, don’t forget your knit hat to stay toasty.
http://www.barneys.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BNY-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=503679268 Gant Rugger - Dot-Pattern Jacquard Pullover Sweater
Gant Rugger - Dot-Pattern Jacquard Pullover Sweater
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Gant Rugger - Dot-Pattern Jacquard Pullover Sweater
Dot-Pattern Jacquard Pullover Sweater
Gant Rugger
Sold by: Barneys New York

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6. “Hometown” Visit: This pattern navy sweater has that “snowflake” look without actually being snowflakes (they're uneven dots)– so much more sophisticated, and a lot easier to wear all winter long. Gant Rugger’s fit is contemporary, another perk to keeping this sweater modern and appropriate for more than just the holidays. But of course, it is the holidays. And for that, this cozy and soft alpaca blend looks great with some holiday color.
https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/shirts/oxford/PRDOVR~27156/27156.jsp J. Crew - Vintage Oxford Shirt
J. Crew - Vintage Oxford Shirt
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J. Crew - Vintage Oxford Shirt
Vintage Oxford Shirt
J. Crew
Sold by: J. Crew

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Let’s start with a simple, and perfectly broken in oxford shirt from J. Crew. The white washed cotton is soft and comfortable – perfect for easy days relaxing with the family. It works under this sweater as easily as it works on its own, or under a casual jacket.
http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/7-for-all-mankind-slimmy-luxe-performance-slim-fit-jeans-crimson/3841817 7 For All Mankind - Slimmy Luxe Performance Slim Fit Jeans
7 For All Mankind - Slimmy Luxe Performance Slim Fit Jeans
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7 For All Mankind - Slimmy Luxe Performance Slim Fit Jeans
Slimmy Luxe Performance Slim Fit Jeans
7 For All Mankind
Sold by: Nordstrom

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Let’s pop in some holiday cheer with these dark crimson red jeans from 7 For All Mankind. The twill is so, so soft (with some stretch for good measure) and the red is definitely deep enough that you will feel appropriate wearing these throughout winter – not just for the holidays. The fit is contemporary but still very comfortable in the waist and thigh. You can do a pair of dark grey jeans, too, that will look just as good with this sweater. But come on, don’t be shy. Oh, and we always advise wearing a belt with your jeans - this saddle brown color one is a great staple for your wardrobe.
http://www.ralphlauren.com/product/index.jsp?productId=46743486 Polo Ralph Lauren - Rag Wool Cuffed Hat
Polo Ralph Lauren - Rag Wool Cuffed Hat
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Polo Ralph Lauren - Rag Wool Cuffed Hat
Rag Wool Cuffed Hat
Polo Ralph Lauren
Sold by: Ralph Lauren

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We’re assuming you don’t live somewhere warm - it’s the Chicago in us - so you’re simply going to need a hat. The shaker knit and dark blue color of this rag wool cuffed Polo Ralph Lauren one is so cool, you’ll want to wear it all day. (We’ll leave that up to you, your mother, and your spouse to fight about.) If you’re like some of us, you may not be a fan of brand labels – you can absolutely snip this one off. Don’t let it deter you.
 

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