Better Dressed Butch: Belts

I think one of the easiest ways to start dressing better is to put on a belt.  Wearing a belt immediately pulls your outfit together. It shows how you put thought and intention into your clothes. And, honestly, I just think it makes one look more like a grownup. Kids don’t wear belts; grownups do.

I started wearing belts way back in college for the sole purpose of keeping my oversized baggy jeans from ending up around my knees. Before the end of my first semester, I felt incomplete without one.

As my style evolved, my choice in belts changed from that first 2-inch wide, double-holed warhorse. Now picking out a belt is a part of getting dressed every day. I truly enjoy choosing just the right belt to complete my outfit.

Some tips for choosing a belt:

Match the style of your outfit.

If you are wearing shorts, don’t put on a dress belt. Choose a casual belt. If you are in dress slacks, don’t throw on a thick rugged leather belt and call it good.

Match the color of your leathers.

The rule of thumb here is leathers should match. Brown shoes = brown belt. Black shoes = black belt. Match your watch band as well, if possible. This gives your outfit a cohesive look. Try and keep the shade as close as possible. For example, tan and chocolate are both brown, but your outfit won’t look as polished if you have a light tan belt and dark brown shoes. If you’re rocking your classic sneakers, don’t worry about matching the color. This rule applies most to dress and business casual situations.

Not too long.

Does anyone else remember the late 90’s when cool teenage boys wore super long belts and let the extra tail hang down their legs? Don’t do that. Keywords in that first sentence: teenage boys. You do not want to look like a teenage boy. From the 90s. You should be able to use one of the middle holes and have the tail reach the first belt loop on your pants. If the tail of your belt extends more than an inch or so past the first belt loop, cut it off or buy a new belt.

Don’t worry about matching metals.

This used to be one of the rules for belt wearing. Gold belt buckle meant wearing a gold watch. Silver buckle = silver watch. This rule seems to have died. The matching metals police are off duty. No one notices if your ring is silver, your watch is rose gold and your belt buckle is brushed nickel. Take a look at the picture above about matching your leathers – did you notice the silver buckle/gold watch in the bottom left or the black metal watch with the brushed gray metal buckle in the top right?

Skip the clunky/witty buckle.

Unless you have recently won a rodeo, please do not use your belt as a showcase for a giant hunk of shiny metal. Do not give in to the (strong) temptation to display your wit to the world with a clever or ironic buckle. Do not, for the love of all that’s stylish, wear a seat belt buckle for a belt buckle. If you want to wear a seat belt, get in your damn truck.

If you want to start dressing better, wearing a belt is an easy first step. It immediately makes your look more mature and put together. Matching the leathers you wear gives a polished look even to casual outfits. Belts are easy and inexpensive accessories that upgrade every outfit you wear so you can be a better dressed butch.

Featured image by Keegan Everitt.

Outfits: Sharp Casual Monday

Croft & Barrow® Spread-Collar Dress Shirt ($45 but BOGO). NATO Racing Strap ($5). Signature Gold by GOLDTOE Striped Crew Socks ($10 – 3 pack). Dockers® Slim Fit Original Khaki All Seasons Tech Pants D1 ($40). G.H. Bass & Co. Men’s Parker Oxford Shoe ($39). Casio Anti Reverse Bezel Dive Watch ($48).

A Monday after a weekend full of adventure calls for simple clothes that still look sharp. Roll those sleeves up to your elbows to show you’re ready to work. Only you will know that your pants are as comfy as sweatpants. Keep an eye on the days’ important milestones (lunchtime and quitting time!) with your dive watch styled on a summer-worthy NATO. Striped socks and saddle shoes keep things firmly on the casual side of sharp casual.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe: A Week at the Shore

Old Navy Blue Dot Print Shirt ($24). Old Navy Teal Floral Shirt (similar)($19). Old Navy Red Orange Striped Shirt (similar)($25). NIKE SB Team Classic ($65). Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes ($40). Birkenstock Mayari Sandals ($100). Levi’s Web Belt ($15 for 3). Navy & White Canvas Woven belt (similar)($12). Dockers Slim Fit Original Khaki All Seasons Tech Pants D1 ($58). Chubbies Shorts The Neon Lights ($65). Goodthreads 5″ Inseam Lightweight Comfort Stretch Oxford Short Gunmetal Gray ($24). Goodthreads 5″ Inseam Flat-Front Comfort Stretch Chino Navy Short ($25). Chubbies Shorts The Staples 5.5″ (Stretch)($50). Topo Designs Quick Pack ($69). LOYALLOOK Bracelets ($12). LUENX Aviator Sunglasses ($18). and watch Outplay Flatsea Swim Tank ($55). Abercrombie & Fitch Linen Shirt (Pink) ($23). Abercrombie & Fitch Icon Linen Shirt ($29).

Many of us are headed for a vacation at the beach this summer.  I almost always over pack when heading on long trips because I want to have options with my outfits.  This year, I decided to create a capsule wardrobe that would help me to focus on bringing the right clothes (you know, instead of bringing ALL the clothes).

Capsule wardrobes are simply a way of collecting a small number of individual items that you can mix and match in a lot of different ways.  This means you can create multiple outfits using just a dozen or so individual items by using mixing the pieces in different ways for different looks.  

This summer capsule wardrobe has 16 items which I’ve turned into 9 outfits that cover scenarios from a beach day to a nice dinner out to playing yard games with the nieces and nephews to a long travel day.  As you can see, because these items are versatile, I could create a ton more outfits by swapping out a single piece of any one single outfit for another piece.

The goal with a capsule wardrobe is not to have infinite variety and to wear something new every day. Instead, we use most of the items more than once in order to maximize our wardrobe with a small number of items. We want to look good every day, not entirely different every day.

Even when we add in a few optional accessories for variety, we have clothes enough for 9 days with less than 20 total items!

Let’s break down how to create outfits from our capsule using the week of Independence Day as our vacation.

_______ Saturday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: Travel Day

Summer butch style, men's summer style

A long day traveling in the car calls for comfort first. A long sleeve shirt makes it easy to keep a comfortable temperature by rolling the sleeves up or down and you can kick off the sandals for full relaxation if you’re playing the co-pilot/DJ role.

Ivan E. Coyote – Missed Her. Klean Kanteen water bottle. Nato band.

_______ Sunday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: Exploring town

For a day exploring town, we keep things simple. The water sneakers will go from morning coffee shop to afternoon surrey biking to a sunset beach walk.

Nato band.

_______ Monday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: playing with the boys (& girls)

A full day with all 9 (!) of my nieces and nephews. The sneakers are comfortable enough for miles of walking and playing and the dark shirt minimizes the crisis level of those inevitable spills of food/drink/ice cream from little hands onto my front. The bag has to be light enough to carry all day, but hold all of the gear to handle a variety of situations. My EDC Dopp Kit easily fits in the Topo Designs Quick Pack which can be carried like a fanny pack, messenger bag, briefcase, or sling backpack. I love giving my old rugged/tough camera to the kids to play with – I don’t worry about them breaking it, and they take incredible pictures showing the secret life of kids that I could never capture.

Camera. Nato band.

_______ Tuesday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: Family cookout

With a cookout on the menu, the closed toe sneakers are a must for me. My clumsy self is all too prone to dropping things, and I never want to risk an errant coal ending up in my sandals. The Oxford cloth shorts are the lightest, coolest shorts I’ve ever worn and are perfect for a day out in the sun. This is the time to have stashes of wipes in your pockets. It’s inevitable a mess will be made. Be prepared with Shout Wipe & Go wipes and Handzies so you can save the day (or at least someone’s shirt).

Cornhole Boards. Nato band.

_______ Wednesday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: day trip into the city

Midweek, the wife and I will treat ourselves with a day trip into the city. We will spend all day walking, so again I want my comfiest shoes. The long sleeve shirt can be rolled up or down to account for the huge range of temperatures from chilly museums to the swelter of urban canyons. The navy shorts are the slimmest and most tailored of our options and keep our outfit on the nicer side of casual. If you’re a bigger body, throw some Megababe Thigh Rescue in your bag to ward off the dreaded chub rub. And take some Oar + Alps Cooling Wipes along – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how refreshed you will feel after using these for a quick pick me up.

Nato band.

_______ Thursday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: independence day – July 4th

Avoid the urge to show your patriotism by wearing our flag as your clothing. Stars and stripes are great and can be fun as shorts or a shirt or a swimsuit. But a more subtle approach carries a bit more maturity and gives our “red, white & blue” a more polished sheen. Be the cool aunt/uncle at the fireworks by bringing along some glow stick necklaces for the kids.

_______ Friday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: Picnic and exploration

I love a floral shirt and again our go everywhere water sneakers will take us from marsh trails to the beach to exploring old ruins. A day of exploring nearby parks is a great chance for some photography. Simplify your gear and leave all the extra lenses behind with this Lumix long zoom camera.

Summer Capsule Beach Style: Bonus outfit – Casual Dinner Out

Dinner out in a beach town is admittedly a very casual affair. We can still take the outfit up one tiny notch by wearing khakis instead of shorts. Once the sun goes down, things cool off quickly, making this Isle Bay Linens linen bomber jacket the perfect light layer for the walk home along the beach.

Nato band.

_______ Saturday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: beach day

A long day at the beach gives us a chance to show off with loud swim trunks. No oversize t-shirt and baggy saggy boardshorts for us when there are so many dapper options for butch swimwear. Taking along one of our shirts makes it easy to transition our swimsuit from the beach to the boardwalk or for a run to our favorite local coffee shop.

The Propeller Dune Tote Bag from Bespoke Post is literally made for the beach; its mesh bottom allows sand to fall out keeping your gear clean. Beach time is prime reading time whether you prefer fiction, non-fiction, or a magazine. Put some 80’s tunes on your waterproof bluetooth speaker and let the ocean breeze blow your cares away.

_______ Sunday _______

Summer Capsule Beach Style: homeward

A long week ends with a long drive home. Keep things comfortable with a layered outfit. Keep your mind occupied with a great audiobook: I love Thunderball and the tropical setting will help keep the vacation feeling alive on the drive home.

Goodfellow & Co Lyndale V-Neck T-Shirt ($6).

Can’t get enough: June 2019

1. FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019

I love watching the U.S. Women’s National Team with their high powered attacks, but in the game versus Chile this past weekend, I couldn’t stop being amazed at the saves of Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler. The drama and joy that is soccer is new-ish to me as I came late to the game while watching the 2015 World Cup. This time around I’m following every match and enjoying every good story I can find. Women’s soccer embodies everything beautiful about sports: the stories of lives dedicated to becoming great, the underdogs that everyone is rooting for, the personal triumphs, the controversies, and the underlying push for progress. I want it to never end.

2. The United States of Adventure from Outside Magazine

This is just such a cool interactive site. Summer is the perfect time to get out there and have some adventures, and this site provides some great prompts for highlights in all 50 states. I love looking at states I’ve been in and seeing familiar places as well as looking for some new places to add to my future adventures list.

My personal favorites: Hocking Hills (OH); Ohiopyle, Ricketts Glen, Pine Creek Gorge, Presque Isle (PA); William B. Umstead, Jockey’s Ridge (NC); Letchworth (NY).

Future Adventures List: Mount Mitchell (NC); Virginia Creeper Trail, Grayson Highlands, False Cape, Natural Tunnel (VA); Cathedral, Blackwater Falls (WV); Bahia Honda, John Pennekamp Coral Reef (FL); Mackinac Island, Picture Rocks National Lakeshore (MI); Flathead Lake, Bitterroot National Forest (MT); Umbagog Lake (NH)

3. Art of Manliness Podcast

Every time I’ve had a few free minutes this month, I’ve had the AOM Podcast on. This has been in my ears while driving, cleaning & getting ready for work. Some favorite episodes have been #496: What Plato’s Republic Has to Say About Being a Man, #479: Becoming a Digital Minimalist, #480: Hiking With Nietzsche, #493: 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, and #495: Wish You Had More Time? What You Really Want is More Memories. I learn so much from each show and feel inspired by the conversations to learn more about each topic.

4. Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller ($25).

I call this our “Skeeter Beater”. We have tried professional mosquito sprays, mosquito traps, candles, coils, and sprays, but nothing is as effective at keeping mosquitos away as this little gadget. I usually put it outside for about 10 minutes to clear the area of those annoying little disease-carrying drillers before I head out to enjoy my latest book and drink in peace and quiet. We take this camping, to the pool, into the backyard, etc. If I’m going to be outside and sitting, I have this with me. It’s given us our deck and yard back and made our Southern summers a lot more bearable.

5. Song: The Best (Tina Turner)

The wife and I fell in love with Schitt’s Creek over the past several weeks. Between Noah Reid’s beautiful acoustic version, Dan Levy’s “olive branch” dance version and Tina Turner’s incredible original, I just can’t stop playing this song.

20 Butch Swimsuits for 2019

Butches don’t have to sacrifice their dapper style when they head to the beach or the pool. These 20 butch swimsuit options will give you all the swagger you need this summer.

Smoothies in Motion Rash Guard ($30). ASOS DESIGN swim shorts in teal green short length ($19). Body Glove Active Winona Exhale Rash Guard ($31). MaaMgic Swim Trunks ($19). ATTRACO Short-Sleeve Rashguard ($26). Express Stripe Drawstring Swim Trunks ($30). Nike Short Sleeve Hydro Rash Guard ($48). ASOS DESIGN runner swim shorts in black ($23). TYR Mantra Taylor Tank Swimming Top ($33). Batuzon Swim Trunks ($20).

Sundried Triathlon Tri Suit ($44). Beefcake Swimwear The Original ($99).
O’Neill Reactor Wetsuit ($99). Beefcake Swimwear The Dreamboat ($99).
PLAYA by Cressi Shorty Wetsuit ($95).

Tomboy X Swim Tank – Shark Print ($51). Outplay Boi Shorts ($35). Private Island Hawaii Rash Guard Tankini ($29). Topman Swim Trunks ($30). TYR Arvada Lola Tank Swimming Top ($51). Express Palm Tree Drawstring Swim Trunks ($30). AdoreShe Women Racerback Solid Tankini ($24). MaaMgic Swim Trunks ($19). TYR Reilly Top ($40). Abercrombie & Fitch Classic Trunks ($24).

Speedo PowerFLEX Eco High Neck Tankini ($40). Chubbies Shorts The Grand Canyonballs ($65). Nike Rib Racerback Midkini ($33). Topman Runner Swim Shorts ($30). Boden Short Sleeve Rash Guard ($55). Boden Piping Swim Shorts ($45). Patagonia Short-Sleeved Micro Swell Rashguard ($79). Patagonia Wavefarer® Boardshorts ($59). Outplay Flatsea Tank ($55). Chubbies Shorts The Neon Lights ($65).