5 Pieces Every Guy Should Have In Their Closet

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.55.58 PMA wardrobe built on classical, versatile pieces is something you should aim for, even if you sometimes like to dress outside of the box. These items ground your wardrobe and will have you ready or any occasion. Both business casual friendly as well as weekend ready.

A Navy Blue Blazer

When it comes to sport coats, you can’t go wrong with a two-button blazer in a rich navy shade. As far as we’re concerned, you can take or leave the classic gold buttons.

An Oxford Blue Shirt

Every gentleman’s professional wardrobe starts with a shirt that fits. A Blue Oxford is bright without being too loud for its own good, this shade of blue looks great on all skin tones and with every neutral-color suit in your closet. It’s a no brainer.

A Solid Knit Tie

Wear it in summer. Wear it in winter. Wear it with a suit. Wear it with a denim jacket and slim-cut cargo trousers. It’ll will elevate your outfit without becoming the focal point.

Black Oxfords

We are fans of modern sneakers with a suit look but there are times when you just need to keep it classic. For those occasions, a hard-bottom, lace-up shoe in high-shine black leather will serve you right.

Dark, Non-Distressed Denim

If you’re trying to wear jeans with nice shirt or a jacket, 9 times out of 10, they should be dark blue, have a slim cut, and have little to no fading or distressing.

-Stilista Steph

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Designer Spotlight: Katherine Hooker

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In today’s’ mass manufactured retail world, the concept of well made, lasting clothing can seem impractical and unattainable to the common consumer (without paying top dollar department store prices!). British designer Katherine Hooker has carved a unique niche in the … Continue reading

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Store Spotlight: Ball and Buck | Boston Outfitters

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Nestled in the depths of Newbury Street, Ball and Buck, has already made a name for itself. Designed after an old American hunting lodge, Ball and Buck is the ultimate place to be a man. The brick-and-mortar provides a unique shopping experience. The one-stop-shop offers its own clothing line including t-shirts, button-down shirts, jeans, sweaters, chinos, jackets, plus collaborative items with other brands, such as Red Wing shoes. Heritage, American-made brands from other companies compliment the stores branded line. Walk through the store into the back room and you will find a full-service barbershop offering old-fashion shaves, trims, and hot towel facials administered by a master barber. Whether you are looking for a great gift, a clean shave, or want to channel your rugged, manly self, this is the ultimate destination.

-Stilista Stephanie


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Store Spotlight: Kit and Ace

kitace-boston-02-2015Sporty chic brand Kit and Ace is here to stay. After a short stint in Beacon Hill, this luxury fitness apparel brand decided to stay for good. They have moved their pop-up shop from Charles Street to the heart of the Back Bay and have opened a gorgeous brick and mortar on the busiest shopping street in Boston, Newbury Street.

The simple pieces are designed in neutral tones for both men and women in fabrics that combine technical attributes with luxury fibers. The high-end clothing label, unlike most labels, started with a fabric point-of-view rather than a design point-of-view – a cashmere, nylon and elastane blend that founders JJ Wilson and his stepmother, a former head designer at Lululemon, spent a year developing with Asian suppliers.

“We wanted to create and find a way that clothing could be an accompaniment to a progressive lifestyle, in a way that values people’s time,”


Not only can you shop the store while sipping on sparkling water but they have a technical atelier in-house and ready for any alterations needed. In-shop designers, usually young and fresh out of school or new to the industry, also work in-house to take feedback from customers in the shop, sew up samples, or take some direction from designers at the head office. But they’re given full rein to let their creative juices flow.


My favorite pieces included a heathered charcoal grey blazer with rose gold zippers (pictured above), an exposed seam long sleeve and the “long haul” cardigan.

– Stilista Steph



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Cocooned in Wellensteyn




How appropriate that I am writing this as the weather outside is finally at a seasonally-acceptable temperature of about 30 degrees, with a bone chilling wind that’s always a precursor to snow! Here’s the deal: I don’t love winter, but I do love outerwear. There is something about wearing something soft, warm and flattering that makes me feel like I am outsmarting the harsh New England winter season. Like, “Look, I am MASTERING this!”
The last Sunday before Christmas, in the evening, I attended a style blogger event in Wrentham Outlets’ new addition, Wellensteyn. I was immediately charmed by the lovely store staff, and the quaint photos of German city scenes that adorned the walls. In doing a bit of research about the brand, I learned that it originated in Hamburg, Germany as a brand of outerwear for people working in seaside ports, where winter winds make it extra frigid. The selection was more than abundant: men’s and women’s jackets and coats of various sizes, colors and styles lined the walls. I immediately ran into an old friend and ex-Stilista Kacy Karlen, who was checking out the store for her blog, which specializes in style for tall people. I won’t step on Kacy’s toes too much by raving about how amazing it was that the coats fit her AND her extra tall hubby, but let’s just say I was impressed and made a mental note to recommend Wellensteyn to my extra tall clients, as well as others.

I browsed both men’s and women’s selections thoroughly, noting that most had a very dense outer material that was thicker and more upscale than the nylon that puffer jackets are made out of. It was clear that this material would do a great job blocking out wind. Most jackets also had ultra soft inner linings, which were luxurious and plush. The details were outstanding: bright contrast piping on some, hidden pockets, larger pockets than can easily hold a phone and a wallet and inner layers that would seal out the wind. Many of the jackets would serve well as ski jackets, without looking like jackets made exclusively for skiing. It occurred to me that Wellensteyn can fit a very specific niche in the outerwear market: it is not a puffer, nor a wool topcoat and not exclusively a sporty ski jacket. I would recommend Wellensteyn for people that know they need something like a puffer, but really really do not want to wear a puffer. It is also great for anyone that spends time outdoors in the winter, whether you are tailgating, clearing snow or just going for a long, wintry walk. If you like to own your jackets for a long time, these are sure to last.

Here’s the best part: I brought home Wellensteyn’s Siberia coat for my husband. He LOVED it, and he is the pickiest person in the world who does not shop for himself. He said that when he puts it on, he feels enveloped, cocooned, loved and shielded. He is basically in his own warm little world, which is great, because I frequently ask him to run out to my car or take the dog out so I don’t have to.

The next time you decide to visit Wrentham Outlets, park by Saks Off 5th and walk to the back row of stores – Wellensteyn is right there. Whether you need a new jacket or coat or not, it’s a neat store to visit and we’re lucky to have it: the Wrentham location is one of just two US stores. The other one is in Chicago. Logical.

— Maria

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Welcome, Primark!


On a Wednesday evening, the late-night streets of a usually bustling Downtown Crossing were eerily calm, but giant neon-blue signs illuminated the darkness with one word: PRIMARK. On the eve of the highly anticipated Grand Opening, the buzz in the air was palpable as passer-bys stopped and gawked into the windows with curiosity and confusion, “What is this ‘Primark’ and is that sweater REALLY $14.00?!”
Lets go back. In 1912, Retail mogul Filenes opened a flagship location in the Burnham Building located in the heart of Boston’s pulsing Downtown crossing district. Filenes “Automatic Bargain Basement” in particular was a shopping destination for bargainistias worldwide. There was simply no place like it. Before the days of mass manufacturing, coupon clipping, and seasonal sales galore, The Basement was a treasure trove of authentic designer wear at real discount prices. It was a thrill to rummage through heaps and racks of clothing never knowing what you might find; Such a craze that Women didn’t even seem to care that there were no walls in the dressing room!! Sadly, Filenes ultimately succumbed to ongoing financial and economical hardships and closed her doors for good in 2007. The beloved Boston Landmark has remained void since.
8 years and 1 recession later, on Thursday September 10, 2015, Irish retailer Primark (AKA Penneys) opened its first U.S. location in the same space Filenes stood for over 95 years. The newly developed store features 4 floors and 77,000 sq ft of space filled with apparel and accessories for women, men, and children as well as home furnishings. In a city deeply rooted in Irish people and culture, what better a place than Boston?
With it’s high volume inventory of on-trend styles at shockingly low prices, Primark greatly appeals to today’s cost-conscious customer. Although the idea of excess consumption and dispensability throughout today’s “fast-fashion” retail culture raises much debate, Primark has proven itself successful with over 270 stores across Ireland, UK and Europe. As stylists (and clothing junkies in general), we are excited to have something new and fresh on the Boston retail scene for ourselves, as well as our clients. We’re also thrilled to see Downtown Boston come alive again! We can’t wait check out what Primark has in store, but perhaps we’ll wait until the line dies down…
— Lauren

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Your Lynk to Beauty


Last Saturday, I felt like a Real Housewife of Boston. It was 2 hours before I had to attend a waterfront wedding, the first wedding invite in a number of years. I was sitting on my screened porch, sipping water and getting a thorough make-up application from the highly talented Shakeera of BeautyLynk. We were chatting and enjoying the sunshine.

Let me tell you what getting ready for a Saturday early evening wedding would be like ordinarily: I would, of course, mismanage my time until I was on my last 20 minutes, then I’d be applying make-up while standing in the bathroom, sweating and being interrupted by children every 25 seconds. I wouldn’t be feeling relaxed, taken-care of and beautiful, I’d be frustrated and resentful, pondering why I can’t get an effin’ minute to myself.

BeautyLynk is a local start-up specializing in in-home hair and beauty services. Their prices are reasonable, considering that someone is traveling to you: the value of my very thorough make-up application was $90. My make-up artist was on-time, friendly and efficient. More importantly, I started my evening relaxed and calm, not on-edge and running late, as I normally find myself.

I can see this service being the go-to for weddings, fashion shows, and just for busy people that have bog events to attend. I know I’ll be booking again – look at my “after”:


— Maria

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Keeping a Cool Head

I am going to go ahead and say it – it’s hot as balls out there! As we cruise through this heat wave (last I heard, we have more than a week of this steaminess coming up!), I have gathered a number of great styles to consider to cover your head at the beach, your walk to work or a day trip:

Beach / Summer Hats

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1. Bandana – comes in lots of colors and usually under $5! The beige one seemed chic and original to us, but click to through to the Urban Outfitter website and view all the selections! Tie this in a double knot under your hair / ponytail / bun, and you are good to go!

2. Non-logo baseball cap – going plain is very minimalistic-chic – this contrast stitch darling can be worn just as easily by a 40-year old as a 20-year old.

3. A silk head wrap can keep your hair extra smooth, even during the windiest beach day! This gorge print scarf from Lucky, is a GREAT price for silk!

4. A simple, neutral light colored fedora is a great option if you are afraid of hats in general – the style looks good on [almost] anyone!

5. Wide-brim striped hat from ASOS – feminine and fun, with the added bonus of neck coverage.

6. Elephant / California trucker hats – whimsical, fun, youthful and under $20.

7. White Panama Hat – this style from Madewell is classic and chic, even Ernest Hemingway wore Panama hats!

Much like wearing a hat is detrimental to staying warm in the winter, covering your head in the summer  can help you stay cool. It helps if the hat or scarf / kerchief is a light color and hats like baseball / trucker styles, as well as anything with a brim (fedora, panama or wide-brim, will cool you down by keeping the sum off your face). Shop my picks, or share what style you swear by!

— Maria

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The Shirt Every Guy Should Own


As a fashion stylist for both men and women, I have been in the closets of many male clients. I have also often stepped in to help my male clients shop for a custom shirt from J Hilburn (a fantastic service I blogged about a while back), helping them select all the details (lapel? pocket or no pocket? contrast stitching? standard or European fit?), color / pattern and instruct them on how to wear it. I say it all the time: people are different. Lifestyles are different. There are seldom one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to style. For that reason, I do get pretty excited when I find versatile solutions that can work for many. My current discovery is the Black Performance Stretch Solid fabric custom shirt from J Hilburn. I have seen it on at least 3 male clients in the past year, and have just ordered it for my husband.

Why a black button down? Well, it’s great for an evening look, for starters. It can make many ties really pop against the dark, solid background, or look very sleek and sexy worn slightly unbuttoned. It contrasts really nicely with lighter colored pants, and creates a long, monochromatic look with black / charcoal pants or dark wash jeans. It’s modern, but not inappropriate for a guy in his forties and fifties.

A key element of this shirt fabric is the fact that it has some spandex in the knit that allows the shirt to have a little bit of stretch. This means that it feels fantastic on, and really hugs the body, ensuring a more flattering look. Interested in designing your own custom shirt? Contact Maria Pope Rowley at J Hilburn or book a session with me and I’ll help you choose the most flattering options for your body / style / lifestyle!

One important thing I must note is that since this shirt has some stretch, it does feel like a thinner, somewhat more body conscious fit, so I would advise either skipping the undershirt or utilizing the very cool Sloane invisible undershirt I covered for the blog back in the spring.

— Maria

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Clean Convenience

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Want your dry cleaning or laundry picked up from home and then delivered back to you clean and pressed? There’s an app for that! I know from many, MANY in-home client wardrobe appointments that laundry tends to pile up and dry cleaning is often left in a forgotten basket in the back of the closet to be dropped off “another time”, often staying there long enough to be forgotten. We are busy, and we are getting busier, but luckily, there is now an app that helps you get ahead of your dry cleaning and laundry. My first thought when I heard about Washio (http://www.getwashio.com) is that it’s basically Uber for your clothing.

In addition to loving convenience, I also love a deal, so I was delighted when the darlings at Washio gave me a special offer code for $40 off for all Stilista clients and blog readers (see above)!! Try it out and let me know if it’s as life-changing as it sounds.

— Maria

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