February 04, 2013

Get Cruised - A Guide to Cruise Wear Fashion

Take it from this Washingtonian, the changing of seasons isn't always a good thing. Sure, we all love the change of Spring to Summer but this Winter into Spring is nonsense! As I sit here clutching my Sugar Free Vanilla Latte with my space heater on full blast, I can't help but randomly price check cruises to the Caribbean or a vaca in Mexico. (Shh don't tell my boss, I'm still on the clock!) And you know, if this weather doesn't shape up I may take a weekend get away to someplace much warmer, a place where they serve you drinks with little umbrellas, a place where I can work on my tan!

That's Right, you guessed it! It's Cruise Season! This is a time where we northerners are sick and tired of Mother Natures icy embrace and take a cue from our fine feathered friends and head south! From Miami to Rio de Janeiro sometimes a guy just needs to hope on a boat and get cruised! (See what I did there...did you like my lil play on words?)

When packing for a cruise you have to be prepared for any event, Dinner, Dancing and then what to wear when your get to your port of call?! Decisions Decisions...well, you're in luck! I've been dressing fashionable men for over a decade and I am here to help you with all your styling needs!

Most importantly we need to pick out your swimwear, this sets the tone for your entire trip! There are 3 types of swimwear every man must have, Family Friendly, Dare to Bare & Scandalous!

Family Friendly:
This what you wear either when you are in mixed company or as your cover up for the reveal (See Dare to Bare & Scandalous) Board Shorts and cropped Board Shorts are the place to go here. Hugo Boss and Park & Ronan are great brands for this look.

Dare to Bare: This is the stage where you can show a little skin but your still being modest (for now). These cuts tend to be mid thigh and a little more low cut. Penguin, Sauvage & Zanarobe have great mid-length styles!

Scandalous: I think we all know where this category is going... face it, Sex sells. and what better way to sell your own personal brand then to give them the WOW factor. Designers such as Andrew Christian have perfected to art of sensual swimwear, Look no further than this LA based brand! But be prepared, you will turn heads!


Are you a little pale? No worries, you can always bump up your base tan with three easy trips to your local Tanning Booth. What? Opposed to tanning beds? Not a problem, try a self tanner (just make sure you follow the directions or you may ruin your favorite pair of white linen shorts...yes, I'm still bitter!) Take my advise and you will be sure to make a splash!


November 21, 2012

Outer Wear - Seasonal Trends

Outer Wear - Seasonal Trends

Retro is in full swing this season for outer wear! Diesel, G-Star, Antony Morato & Scotch & Soda are all showcasing fun retro looks that are sure to not only keep you warm but turn heads.

Color POP
These down ski jackets from Antony Marato have bold color pops that brighten up the cold winter!
pt-MC005-600008-70!AMO.jpg pt-MC005-600008-90!AMO.jpg

The Classic Rebel
James Dean had it right! The classic moto-jacket is a must have for every man, this year G-Star and Projek Raw both have clean classic looks with a badass twist.

Light Layers
Puff Vests are a great way to bundle up without overheating! Scotch & Soda and DSL55 have your back in this arena.

Bundle Up!

August 26, 2012

Fall Trends to Get Now: The Outdoor Vest

Of all the fall fashion trends for men, the outdoor vest is one not to be ignored. If worn correctly, a vest will promote a cool style that comes off as effortless, while making a strong fashion statement at the same time! Pair an outdoor vest with a graphic t-shirt or long-sleeved button-down--even if your undershirt is one primarily worn during the spring or summer, the heavier material will create a timeless autumn look.


Best of all, outdoor vests are meant to keep you insulated as the weather cools off. If you're a person who spends a considerable amount of time outside, vests are a great fall piece that will help you look stylish while staying warm at the same time. Without a doubt, vests are a staple part of any man's fall wardrobe!


A warning: don't abuse the greatness of the vest--as easily as it can be a fashion victory, it can also be a fashion crime. Never, under any circumstances, wear a vest without an a shirt underneath. Doing so will make your outfit look disheveled and give off an impression that your life is disorganized as well. (Universal Gear begs you, don't be that guy!)

Secondly, do your best to avoid leather, synthetic, or plastic material when picking out the right vest for you. The idea for your outfit is to look cool and classy, not cheap and costume-like! Avoid this major fashion mistake by opting for vests in wool, cotton, linen, or jersey fabrics. Not only do these materials work well on nearly every body-type, but they'll last longer and look sleeker as well.

Trust us, in-"vesting" in vests is a fashion choice you won't regret!

August 23, 2012

Men: Easily Transition Your Closet from Summer to Fall

Just like the weather changes in the blink of an eye, so does one's wardrobe! Generally, clothing choices are pretty cut-and-dry, heavily limited based upon the current season--it'd be especially difficult to make a pair or shorts or tank work during the dead of winter!

The transitional period between summer and fall however, gives one far more fashion wiggle room. Because the weather is a mixed bag of hot and cold temperatures, clothes worn during this time are certainly not seasonally-exclusive. The key during these "in-between" months is to find pieces that are not only comfortable, but versatile as well.

The process is simple: take a main piece with a bold pattern (such as this button-down from Scotch and Soda, for example) and pair it with a weather-appropriate bottom.


For hot afternoons that turn into colder evenings, pairing this long-sleeved shirt with khaki shorts will maintain a classically comfortable look that will easily transcend from day to night. (Without requiring you to sweat through your clothes in the process!) When the temperature is slightly chillier, take the same top and place it with long pants or jeans. Eliminating the need to wear (or carry) a bulky jacket, you'll look cool and stay warm all at the same time!


At Universal Gear, we know that fashion is all about making your clothes work, regardless of the elements. By changing something as simple as the bottoms you wear, you can get two completely different looks from very similar clothing. After all, killing two birds with one (stylish) stone is never a bad thing, right?

December 29, 2011

NEW YEARS EVE: a style guide

NEW YEARS EVE: a style guide

A night of celebration and memories, New Year's Eve is a time when we look at the past year and reflect upon what we have accomplished and what we have learned. It's also a time to Party like there is no tomorrow! NYE is your absolute last chance to dress up and do it big in 2011, so leave the tee shirts and cargo pants at home boys! Break out your finest, grab a bottle of bubbly and raise your glass to say good bye to 2011 and shout hello to 2012!

Shirt by Stone Rose, Pants by Life After Denim, Vest by Antony Morato



Shirt by Stone Rose, Jeans by G-Star Raw, Vest by Antony Morato

Auld Lang Syne
--Dustin Schaad

November 03, 2011

Fall Boots


Check out the new fun fall boots from GBX! Now only $79.95



July 07, 2011


Retro tanks are a Summer must for 2011. This year we are seeing a lot of fun prints and designs on tanks. Brands like Topo Ranch & O'Quinn have produced some really fun retro designs with a sort of early 90's aesthetic. With the 90's in mind we are also seeing the return of the razor back tank. Razor back tanks are great for showing off a little muscle or your latest tat! Another Summer fav is the striped tank ! Life After Denim and L.A. Sporting Club have come out with a few hot styles this season for striped tanks. Check out Universal Gears Tank collection Online.


June 24, 2011

As Seen on TV: True Blood

Well well well Everyone's favorite Werewolf from HBO's True Blood, Joe Manganiello, has been spotted working out in the 2(x)ist All Star Racerback Tank. Check out the Lycan workout as featured in Details (view workout)


Shop the look: 2(x)ist All Star Racerback Tank - RED

April 27, 2011


Finally! Mother Nature has decided to shed her icy cloak and let the sun shine down! And you know what that means? It's SHORT SEASON! So, grab a spray tan, do a few extra lunges and take in the new shorts available this season at Universal Gear!

Throw a little texture into your summer wardrobe with these plaid pieces.
Shop these styles: Short 1 - Short 2 - Short 3 - Short 4


If Spring has sprung' then why not POP your outfit with a little color?!
Shop these styles: Short 1 - Short 2 - Short 3

Everyone loves a little extra storage space for their cell phone, iPod, Keys, Map, Flask...well, you get the idea!
Shop these styles: Short 1 - Short 2 - Short 3 - Short 4

--Dustin Schaad

January 28, 2011

Get Cruised


San Tropez - Maui - South Beach?
It is the season to escape Mother Natures cold clutches and cruise on down to some warm sunny paradise! And who better to outfit you for your journey than the style mavens at Universal Gear!

We have a plethora of men's swimwear to suit your every needs (and more coming in almost daily!) Check out a sensational new styles here at Universal Gear!

December 22, 2010


Blazer by Penguin, Wovens by Stone Rose, V-Neck Sweater by Penguin

New Year's Eve is around the corner. . .what will you be wearing at the stroke of midnight? Traditionally the colors for NYE are Black and Silver, classic and cute but I say let's break with tradition this year! Be BOLD in 2011, strike up your own party by wearing a pop of fresh jewel tones! Purples and Teals look marvelous next to sleek Jet Blacks and Steely Greys. After all, in a sea of black and silver you will be a beacon a sophistication & style!

Have a Happy New Year Fashionistas and remember everyday is a new runway!

--Dustin Schaad

December 03, 2010

Holiday Style Guide

Do you feel it? Winter has arrived, and along with the chill of the season comes one of my favorite holiday traditions . . . the Holiday Party! From Thanksgiving to the New Year there will be an overabundance of get-togethers & cocktail parties. Universal Gear is here to see to it that you are dressed for the occasion.

Formal or Informal? Dressy or casual? What do I wear? Don't panic. Here are a few helpful outfits ideas that will not only help you blend into the scene, but maybe even steal you a bit of the spotlight. Pair a classic button up with either a pair of flat front chino pants (chino's are a dressier choice but not super formal) or nice pair of clean cut denim or corduroy pants . If you go with denim, there are a few rules to follow: dark solid wash denim only, and clean (no rips and no abrasions). You should top the look off with a v-neck sweater, cardigan or sweater vest. This will add a touch of sophistication and dress up the denim combo. Complete the look with a classic belt. As for footwear, dress shoes or boots are a must!. If you follow these guidelines, you'll have a look that will work with any occasion from an office party, cocktails after work, to an intimate social gathering with friends.

In need of a Party Perfect Outfit? Take a look at Universal Gear's Holiday Selections
Shop Wovens
Shop Pants
Shop Sweaters
Shop Shoes


--Dustin Schaad

October 15, 2010


A brief rundown of your favorite Underwear styles.

BRIEF This is your traditional men's underwear. Your basic brief has a full coverage, meaning it covers the body from the waist to the top of the thigh. Briefs have either an overlap fly or a contour pouch (or enhanced).

TRUNK Resembling men's swim trunks from the 1950's, the trunk silhouette made a comeback in the mid 2000’s. (A trunk is similar to a boxer brief but with shorter legs.)

JOCKSTRAP A jock strap consists of an elastic waistband with a support pouch. (Jockstraps are no longer just for athletic support)

This style has an elastic waistband and a front pouch. The front cup panel is kept in place by a tape that goes through the legs and attaches in the center back on the waistband. (good for when minimal coverage is needed)

*Be sure to take advantage of Universal Gear's 25% OFF Underwear Sale!

SALE ENDS 10/20/10

October 08, 2010

Accessorize for the Season

Pack away the flip flops and sunscreen, Fall is here! Autumn is my favorite season, for a man fall can be your best friend in the wardrobe department. Layering is so much easier when it's 55 degrees outside. Cashmere scarves, leather gloves & non leather gloves (we got the people over at PETA covered) sweaters & jackets so many combination options! Below are some of my Fall Favorites from Universal Gear. Trendy looks that are sure to turn a few heads.

Shop Outerwear - Shop Sweaters - Shop Jackets - Shop Accessories


--Dustin Schaad

October 05, 2010

Fab Fall Finds

New Fall Styles available at Universal Gear

Shop Outerwear - Shop Sweaters - Shop Pants - Shop Shoes

September 17, 2010

Fashionista Pick of the Week


Shop These Looks: Denim 1 - Denim 2 - Denim 3 - Denim 4

I love str8 leg denim! Check out these hot new styles... A must have for the Season! Brands like G-Star, Levi's, Scotch & Soda as well as Diesel offer an amazing collection of straight leg denim, above are my favs! (plus it doesn't hurt that they are 25% Off til' September 28th!) Click here to shop other hot Straight Leg styles.

--Dustin Schaad

August 19, 2010

Tonal Trends

Every so often we see a color that dominates a season. The Color du jour is Turquoise... well, Turquoise, Teal, Lapis, Cerulean and many other incarnations of blue. These cool colors can lead to interesting wardrobe options.

Your task today, kids, is to challenge your fashion sense by choosing one of the colors above and putting together your best look. Take a photo of your styling, post it on our revamped Facebook page, and tag Universal Gear (we have a Facebook profile, too!). The person with the best outfit will be featured on Unzipped in our upcoming "Who Wore It Best" post!



Look 1 (left)
Tank by B2G, Jeans by Diesel, Shoes by G-Star

Look 2 (center)
Overshirt by Ben Sherman, V-Neck by Alternative Apparel, Pants by Levi's, Boots by G-Star

Look 3 (right)
Shirt by Ben Sherman, Pants by Life After Denim, Flip Flops by Havaianas

June 09, 2010

Pride 2010 Fashion Survival Guide

That's right, June is finally here! It's time for Pride: remembering the past, celebrating the present and planning for the future. Major Pride festivals and parades are happening in New York, Seattle, Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and DC throughout the month of June, and Universal Gear has all of your Pride needs covered! In order to survive any Pride weekend, there are four fashion essentials that you should keep in mind. Let me break them down for you.


Let's start with the basics. For those of you who choose to showcase your underwear at all of your favorite Pride events (I don't judge), now is the time to get creative and colorful! After all, Pride is a celebration of diversity! Brands like Andrew Christian, Baskit, Clever, Ed Hardy, Ginch Gonch, Papi, Diesel, Piss & Vinegar and 2(x)ist offer assortments of vibrant prints and cuts.



Comfort and style are very important considerations when it comes to choosing the correct footwear for Pride. Let's face it: between the parades, bars and festivals, you end up spending a lot of time on your feet. Flip-flops from Havaianas and Sundek are perfect for a casual daytime look, while brands like Replay and Converse will cater to your nightlife needs.


The tank is always a hit during Pride because it allows you to show off - without completely compromising modesty - the body you've worked so hard on! Universal Gear has a plethora of tank styles from a variety of popular brands. Check out some of our amazing G-Star, Andrew Christian, B2G, LASC and Zodiak tanks.



No Pride celebration would be complete without an assortment of bottoms... like shorts and denim. Selecting the right pair of shorts for your daytime activities is very important: a well-fitted pair with adequate pocket space is ideal. Your best bets from Universal Gear are our lines from Diesel, Jet Lag, G-Star, Paperback, John Varvatos, Ben Sherman and Union. Of course, when you're living it up at night you'll probably want to make the switch to denim. With our sexy and lightweight summer styles from Diesel, Levi's, Seven and Adriano Goldschmeid, we've got you covered!


Take care and play safe! Happy Pride!

--Dustin Schaad

May 06, 2010

Fashionista Pick(s) of the Week


Casual Trend - When mixing style and comfort it's all about fabric, fit and function. Light weight cottons like the Necker Island Tee and G-Star Luke Knit Zip Jacket are both versatile and breathe well. Making these tops perfect for a day out and about or a laid back night with the boys. I'm also a huge fan of the Threads For Thoughts Destroyed Pique Polo, it's simple but has an amazing fit and comes in several hot colors for the summer (pink, green, red). When it comes to versatile bottoms look no further than Universal Gear, check out some easy going shorts like the Paper Back Newport, a new twist on the cargo short, or the classic preppy style of the Union Dalton Tan Chino. But if you're looking for the ultimate in comfort with a touch of style, look no further than the G-Star Hopkins Sweat Short (available in Black & Green) perfect for the gym or basic lounge wear.

--Dustin Schaad

April 14, 2010

What's New for the Hot New You


That's right gents, the weather is finally turning and the temperatures are starting to rise. After a long, long winter we here at Universal Gear are ready to heat things up with some sizzling new looks that just came in. Start packing up your turtle necks and pea coats cuz it 's about to get hot hot hot!

Polo's Please -
Sporty and casual, this is a summer must! I'm not talking about your daddies Izod either. These new polo's are sporty and playful with a touch or retro cool. My current favs in this department include the G-Star Hopkins Polo and the Scotch & Soda 4Sure Polo, which combine laid back cool and a hint of varsity style old school. I also enjoy the distressed Pique Polo's from Threads for Thoughts. They are a great twist to the basic polo.


Crazy For Cargo - Perfect for a day out and about, the cargo short is a great
way to travel light and still have enough pockets to hold your wallet, cell, camera, and
keys. Scotch & Soda have a great range of cargo shorts right now, which range anywhere from basics to camo to paradise prints.


Plaid Me Down - Plaid! Yes this trendy fabric is no longer just for lumberjacks. From shorts to swimwear, this playful pattern is showing up everywhere in the fashion world. Which brings me to my next summer must: the simple Short Sleeved Plaid Button Up. This sexy summer style looks great, especially when worn over a tank top with the short sleeve slightly cuffed up. When it comes to sexy plaid perfection my favs from Universal's What's New section are the G-Star New Gould Check Woven Shirt, Scotch And Soda Plaid Snap Woven, and the Monarchy Red Woven.


*Until next time kids, work on your base tan, put in those summer highlights
and make sure to schedule your a pedicure. . . flip flop season is finally here!

--Dustin Schaad

March 31, 2010

!Fashionista Pick of the Week!


Retro with a Twist! Fun and ultra casual (but always with a hint of style) The Faces Tee and the Plaisown track jacket; these two pieces from Ben Sherman are a perfect breezy-laid back spring day combo. Match with a simple light wash denim like the Levi's 514 Slim Straight Sky Wash Jean and paired with a basic Converse or a sport Havianas flip flop.

--Dustin Schaad

January 06, 2010

Fashionista Pick Of The Week!


OMG, these are a total must have, new from Diesel (just in time to update my
spring wardrobe) the Deco-Impression midtop and the Upward patient leather
are the "it" shoes when you want to make a statement. To quote a fellow
fashion enthusiast... "I DIE"

--Dustin Schaad

December 06, 2009

Tis' the Season - A Holiday Gift Guide


Maybe it's the frost in the air or the warm Cocoa in my cup but this time of the year always gets me in the mood for giving. I'm not sure if it's the gratification of seeing that special someone's face light up when they open my gift or the laugh I get out of watching that special someone's face as they struggle to open my intricately wrapped gift (the trick is double sided tape and tons of ribbon)! Thought and humor are amazing tools during the holidays especially when it comes to gifting. Welcome to Gift Guide 09' a quick crash course in how to be the best gift giver this holiday season!

Practical Gifts

Whether it's your best friend or your little brother, there are just some gifts that are just... well practical. Socks and underwear are always a welcomed/needed gift. Especially when they bare the name, Calvin Klein or Ed Hardy. Depending on your relationship with your intended giftee have a little fun with some novelty styles from Andrew Christian, Sexy Bastard, or Ginch Gonch. Novelty underwear always goes over well (unless you give it to your boss, awkward) Other practical gifts include scented candles like the Archipelago Blackberry Sage votive (a personal favorite of mine), Scarves, Hats. When all else fails go with a gift card, they are very practical and an assured way for the recipient to get exactly what he or she wants.

Grooming Gifts

Let's face it most men are hairy beasts, so why not give them a little hand in the maintenance department. Grooming products are often the perfect gift for any man. Whether it's your boss or your brother-in-law, Grooming and Skincare are a great safe gift. Universal Gear carries an excellent assortment from brands like Art of Shaving, Malin & Goetz, and Molten Brown. The Art of Shaving Kits are great for Dads, Bosses, and Boyfriends and the Molton Brown Atlantic Trail gifts set is perfect for Roomies, Friends, and Coeds.

Fashion Friendly Gifts

Whether you consider yourself a Carrie or a Samantha, bonding over fashion, sex and gossip is a universal thing. Give your favorite fashionista a new addition to their wardrobe this holiday season. Gifts like the Knomo Tokyo Wet Slim Briefcase and Bed Stu Steven Duffle Bag are fierce day bags that give so much attitude that any true fashionista would die over them! (JUST IN! Check out the new Christian Audigier Machine Studded Duffle!)

Accessorizing Gifts

Whether it be a sleek brief case or a fresh trucker cap, accessories make great gifting items. A personal holiday favorite of mine is to give a time piece. Watches are traditional gifts that can have a very significant meaning to them. A time piece is a perfect gift for someone special like your father or your long time boyfriend. This is a gift they will truly cherish for years. For a classic design go with the Android Vortex, it's sleek and traditional or if you want something edgier try the Diesel Face watch. Both are handsome time pieces.

Splurge Worthy Gifts

There are just some people we go that extra mile for. This holiday season there are a few things that are on your giftee wish list that are splurge worthy, kinda like my wish for a MacBook Pro (hint hint, mom...) These are items that are a little above the average price range but are well worth the smile that is sure to radiate from opening this "gift of gifts". Here is a list a few fashionable gifts to splurge on this season; the Ben Sherman Popular Blazer, the D&G Sheriff Dog tag, the Diesel Reyan 8SS, the Knomo Tokyo Wet Slim Briefcase and the Diesel Face Watch... just to name a few.

I hope that you learned a little from this crash course. Remember that it is good to give... not just in the month of December but year round. Happy Holidays from the all of us here at UG.

--Dustin Schaad

November 17, 2009

The Life of the Party - A Holiday Party Style Guide

Can you feel it? Winter is creeping up on us, and with the onset of a winter wonderland comes one of my favorite holiday traditions …the Holiday Party. From the week of Thanksgiving to the ringing in of the New Year there will be an overabundance of get-togethers, cocktail parties, and sit- down dinners. My job is to see to it that you are dressed for the occasion.

The Informal-Formal Look

holidaypartydil1.jpg copy.jpg
Don't know how formal the party is? Is it dressy or casual? What do I wear? Don't panic. Here are a few helpful outfits ideas that will not only help you blend into the scene, but maybe even steal you a bit of the spotlight. Pair a classic button up with either a pair of flat front chino pants (chino's are a dressier choice but not super formal) or nice pair of clean cut denim. If you go with denim, there are a few rules to follow: dark solid wash denim only, and clean (no rips and no abrasions). The Diesel Zatiny 88Z & Diesel Viker 88Z jean s are great choices. You should top the look off with a v-neck sweater, cardigan or sweater vest. This will add a touch of sophistication and dress up the denim combo. Complete the look with a classic belt . As for footwear, dress shoes or boots are a must (sorry boys no sneakers here). If you follow these guidelines, you'll have a look that will work with any occasion from an office party, cocktails after work, to an intimate gathering with friends.

Shaken not Stirred

When attending a holiday party that calls for a cocktail attire, go with the classics. A crisp, bold color, solid button up (go with strong colors like Crimson Red, Forest Green, Deep Purple, Charcoal, Rich Black or White) tucked into a classic black pant (no cargos or pleats please). In general , your look should be clean, crisp, and put together. If you want to have some fun with your outfit, choose a sleek black or gray vest and accent it with a skinny tie (or bow tie if you're in the mood for something a tad more fashion forward). If vests are not your thing, you can pair this look with a jewel toned v-neck sweater; try playfully tucking your tie into the sweater. This is a smart, witty ensemble that is sure to turn a few heads. If it's really cold outside, complete the look with a classic blazer (a velvet or cord blazer works as well) that you can take off when you reach your destination. Finish the look with a black dress shoe or Chelsea boot, black belt and cuff links.

Pass the Gravy

Whether with family or friends, the holidays bring about endless banquets and feasts. These gatherings tend to be informal and call for more relaxed attire. This year, we are seeing an insurgence of chunky sweaters like the Ben Sherman Rumble Shawl Collar Sweater and Twice Gold Fisherman Sweater. These are good finds because they are both ultra-comfortable and stylish, and pair perfectly with medium wash denim like the Levi's 514 Slim Straight Sky Wash Jean or the Diesel Zathan 8TA . Other feast-friendly choices are fun sweaters like the Diesel 55 Kamazzotti Neck Sweater and Twice Gold Military Detail Zip Sweater, or the cozy Dorsia Nelson Cardigan, Dorisa Fredrick Double Breasted Cardigan , and Ben Sherman Araneta Button Cardigan. Layer them over a light basic tee or thermal; Or, create a fun look by layering over a plaid button up. The key is to be comfortable yet fashionable. Complete this look with a boot or sneaker for that down-home feel. Good eats, great company and amazing style!

I wish all of you a blessed holiday season and want to leave you all with my favorite recipe for holiday cheer!

--Dustin Schaad

November 11, 2009


Men's Accessories Update

It's been a while since we checked in on the ins and outs of the Men's Accessories world. Let's see what's on the scene:

Bags: More and more, you see dudes, bros, guys, and other variations of men-folk rocking a " man-bag." Most typical is the bowling ball style or messenger bag. These are great because fellas can transport anything from gym clothes to laptops in them. The braver style mavens will sport a classic gentlemen's tote or over the shoulder bag.

Hats: While fedoras still reign supreme, we are seeing a wide resurgence of bucket caps and baseball style hats. A good number of these up-and-comers are ornately designed with embellishments, embroidery, studs, and grommets.

Footwear: Boots are in, and chunky heels are back! With pants and denim styles slimming up in shape, big chunky boots almost become an exclamation point for your look.

Ties & Bow Ties: Nerd chic is in boys, the skinny tie and poindexter bow tie have crept back en vogue. These guys can be spotted everywhere from the punk/emo movement to the ultra trendy hipster scene (often paired with skinny jeans or slacks and suspenders).

Cozy Scarfs: No longer are these only a means to keep you warm, scarfs for men have evolved into a powerful fashion statement. I'm constantly seeing new and inventive ways to wear, fold and drape these bad boys. Depending on the style and way you choose to rock this look, you can add a tone of androgyny or give yourself some serious street cred. Steven Tyler was truly a head of his time.

Jewelry: We have come a long way from the customary gold chain nestled in a thick thatch of chest hair. Guys have tons of options here, right now leather necklaces and unique one of a kind pendants are very popular as trends go. Cuff links have made their way back to the twenty something crowd (they tie in with the Nerd Chic look). Watches are always in style, but the trend has veered away from the ultra modern designs and focused more on the classic sleek look. Men who run in fashion forward circles have also been spotted sporting broaches (Not your grandmother cameo, these are more like embellished crests to be worn on jacket lapels or on a lapel of a vest).


--Dustin Schaad

October 23, 2009

Fall 09 Trend Watch

Fall is officially in full swing and it's time to pull out all your sweaters, jackets and long sleeves. While summer is all about t-shirts and shorts, fall is about the fashion. If you're finding last year's wardrobe a bit drab and in need of an update, try picking up on some of these key trends.


Plaid shirts are no longer just for lumberjacks and librarians- they're everywhere this fall and in a good way. Pair with straight leg jeans and sneakers or high tops for a laid back look. Wear a plaid accessory such as a scarf or hat to an otherwise boring outfit for an instant update.

Double Breasted Jackets

THE hot look of the season. Double breasted coats and jackets are sophisticated, sharp, and most importantly, flattering. Choose a style with exaggerated lapels for the illusion of broader shoulders and chest. This year's styles are tailored to the body and full of interesting details.

Motorcycle Jeans

Prepare yourselves, fashionistas, motorcycle jeans are pretty badass. Stitching and seam detail across the knees give you an authentic look Steve McQueen himself would be jealous of. Wear with a simple t-shirt and scarf, or really drive it home with a fitted leather jacket and cool belt.

Fitted Cargo Pants

Ditch the baggy and embrace the new generation of cargos I like to call the "city fit." These are a great denim alternative for when jeans just won't do. Look for a straight leg style with a low rise for a flattering fit. Some styles even have stretch, for ease of movement. Unlike their baggy counterparts, these pants will take you from day to night and you won't miss a beat.

-- Natalie

September 08, 2009

Seasonal Preview: FALL 09

There is definitely something in the air, fall is here my friends (or at least slowly creeping our way). With the onset of golden leaves and Chai lattes comes a whole new look for a whole new season. Take an early look at what's to come this season, we have a fall preview from brands like John Varvatos Converse, Ben Sherman, G-Star Raw, Monarchy, Alkemy, Project Raw and many others that are available now at Universal Gear and .
FALLSP09_0001_Layer 3.jpg
Above: Entire outfit by Ben Sherman


Hot brands like Alkemy, John Varvatos & Ben Sherman have spun out some awesome sweaters this year. Your classic crew neck is available but I suggest that you play with their v-necked brethren. The Plus side about v-necks is that one, they are a great way to stay warm but still show off your chest and two, they lend well to layering. The Alkemy ribbed sweaters are a great match for layering with button down wovens. This is a great way to dress for the office or, depending on the print of the woven, create a fun fashion forward look.
FALLSP09_0002_Layer 2.jpg
Above: Top and pants by Projek Raw, Shoes by Ben Sherman

Jackets, Coats & Cardigans ( oh my )

Men, listen up! The devil may be in the details but so is great fashion sense. Buckled, zipped, grommeted, and lined, fall outer wear selections from Ben Sherman, G-Star Raw & Alkemy have been detailed better than a Cadillac on MTV's Pimp My Ride. When choosing outer wear I always like to have three distinct pieces, one "Everyday Basic", one "Dressed Up" and one "Fashion Piece". The everyday coat is something you grab on your way out the door, it's a basic black or grey and goes with most anything. Its main function is to keep you warm and comfortable. The dress up jacket or coat is one that could be taken to a business lunch or on date at an upscale restaurant. The Fashion piece is that coat or jacket that has a little something extra, it's that one piece that no matter how many times your friends see you in it they always give you a compliment (begrudgingly, if they secretly covet it).
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Above: Cardigan by Energie, Jeans by Diesel
You may have noticed a reacuring color combo, Greys, Navys, Olives and Khakis are very strong for Fall. Personaly I love the look of an all black outfit with the pop being a clean Khaki coat, but that's just me. Play with the color combos to work with your own personal style, the weather might be chilly but chic fashion is always hot! Until next time, Love Peace and All things Fashion.

--Dustin Schaad
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Above: Outfit by John Varvatos

July 06, 2009

Summer Style Trend

It's Summer 2009 boys, are you still sporting last year's look? Don't be caught off guard, here's one summer style trend that is easy to capture; This season is all about relaxing and going with the flow. We are seeing a lot of collegiate tees and cut off shorts. Grays, Whites, & Khakis are all over, as well as burnout tees and light weight fabrics.

To achieve this laid-back look, shop around for great styles that are smart and versatile. Save Khaki has a great line of cut off corduroy shorts that are very in this season. These styles showcase a unique, quirky feel that's perfect for summer. Note the detailing, length and cut of the shorts as well as the raw edge finish (a must have in my book). Compliment this look by adding a vintage collegiate inspired top by Chip & Pepper, Chaser, Diesel, or our own private label UGT. Tie the look together with a canvas belt and you have a new hip look.

If you want to accessorize this look, keep it simple; A comfortable pair of sandals (might I suggest Bed Stu), and casual watch are all you need (try a funky Diesel watch). If you need a bag, go with a messenger style or a fun fashion tote. This trend is all about having a laid-back attitude and enjoying the moment. Until next, love, peace and all things fashion.

--Dustin Schaad

June 09, 2009

The Deeper The Better

Plunging necklines are in, from the Fashionista scene in trendy New York to the Hipster nation of Los Angeles you can see the V-Neck trend spreading across the U.S.

V-Necks have been making their way onto the scene for the last few years and in 2009 it's plain as day that if you want to have the look you might want to show a little chest. For those of you who love to show off some Man-Cleavage Universal Gear has an armada of V-Neck shirts for every walk of life. For those of you who are into the classic preppy style check the new V-Necks from 24 Standard, Ben Sherman & Cold Method. These tees pair well khaki shorts or a clean pair of denim. If you are the artsy creative type take a look at the styles provided by Wet Cement, Cabral, Diesel & Tank Farm. The designs featured here are imaginative and unique and are paired well with a skinny jean or a classic 3 quarters short. For those just looking for a great club tee might I suggest you take a chance on a few of these summer designs by Howe, Hard 8, Diesel & G-Star. When out on the town its ok to show off a little glitz, try a low hanging jewelry piece and match it with a smart edgy denim. Take the plunge and rock your best V-Neck, it's hip, it's now it's you.


May 27, 2009

The "Stache" Is Back!

Vintage trends are in, with a revisit of shoulder pads (thanks Gaga ), plaid button downs and the return of the higher waist lines, it's no surprise that facial hair has made its way back to the scene. Facial hair has slowly been making a comeback with stars of young Hollywood sporting a little fuzz here and there. It all started innocently enough with Hollywood hunks like Ryan Reynolds and Justin Timberlake rocking the scruff and then all of a sudden you couldn't turn the corner without seeing some guy showcasing his "3-day" look. Pretty soon various styles of the "stache" started springing up in the hipster scene and in gay bars across the metropolitan Meccas of America. Well, it's 2009 and sporting facial hair is in full trend, for those of you who dig this retro resurgence you can look no further than Universal Gear to help you with all of you manly grooming needs.

Our stores carry a full array of shaving and skin care products from top brands like Kiehls, Molton Brown, Art of Shaving and Malin & Goetz. For those of you in the cyber realm check out our online armada of grooming aids for the everyday man. Below is my top 5 must haves to maintain your best "Burt Reynolds".

Facial Hair Must Haves!
1: Art Of Shaving Unscented Shave Kit Full Size
Start your arsenal off right with the full Shaving skit from the master at the Art Of Shaving.
2: Art of Shaving Shaving Cream - Sandalwood
We are going retro here folks, this cream softens and lifts the beard for a close and comfortable shave, and protects the skin from irritation and razor burn.
3: Malin+Goetz 4oz Jojoba Face Scrub
Malin + Goetz cleansing scrub synthesizes calming cilantro with amino acid, hydrating exfoliation to gently and effectively purify and ph balance all skin types, especially sensitive and fragile. Keeping your skin looking its best.
4: Art of Shaving Shaving Cream - Unscented
Rich with glycerin, coconut oil and essential oils it leaves your skin smooth and moisturized. It can be lathered up with a shaving brush or with fingers. Hypoallergenic.
5: Art Of Shaving The Perfect Shave - Lavender
The starter kit offers 2 weeks worth of our essentials for achieving a close and comfortable shave. Perfect for Travel!


May 19, 2009

Let's Get Soak'n Wet!

Holla! If you're wondering why I'm in such a good mood it's because it's almost Summer! As a native Floridian some of my fondest memories of my teen years are of me and my friends just chilling on the beach, catching rays and talking 'til dusk. Summer always has me longing for the sea, sun, and serenity. To leave the hustle of the city and forget everything. This year, I will be spending Memorial Day weekend back home in Florida with my crew, as always laying out at beach and doing absolutely nothing! (Isn't it great!)

My upcoming vacation brings me to our latest installment of Unzipped. Whether going to the local pool or on beach vacation, you should always look your best. No worries, we can help; Universal Gear has always prided itself on having a wide range of styles and selection in our swimwear department. For 16 years, we have helped the community look its best and this year is no different..Follow me along for the 2009 Swim Wear Guide.

getsoakdbikini.jpg A fan favorite and always sure to grab a look, this cut is suited for the daring. Guys who are slim, well toned, or have a tight compact body wear this style the best. We have a great assortment of the Bikini cut from Andrew Christian, Diesel, Blueman, Hugo Boss, LASC, & Pistol Pete.

Army Cut
getsoakedarmy.jpgThe Army Cut (or brief) is the slightly more modest cousin of the Bikini. With a little more fabric to cover the front and back, the Army cut is great match for men who are lean, slightly muscular, or well toned. The Army Cut is great for highlighting muscular legs. Look for amazing styles from Blueman, Diesel, Thomas Christopher, LASC, & Pistol Pete.

Square Cut
getsoakedsquare.jpgWhile the Square Cut is still a head turner, it covers more skin then our previously mentioned styles. This is a good beginner style for those who want to try riskier swim wear. The Square Cut is great for guys who are well toned, lean, slim, muscular, or have an average build. You can find the hottest Square Cut styles from Andrew Christian, Blueman, Thomas Christopher, Diesel, Hugo Boss, & Pistol Pete.

Short Board Short
getsoakedshortbrd.jpg Slightly shorter that the classic version, this style still has a conservative feel while showing a little leg. This cut is great for all body types (although, for guys who are very slim this style can look a bit baggy, if it doesn't look right try the Square Cut). You can find Short Board Short styles at UG from Andrew Christian, Thomas Christopher, G-Star, Hugo Boss, Penguin, & of course, Universal Swim.

Board Short
getsoakdboardsr.jpg The Board Short is classic and great for any body type. Its a swim wear staple. Here at Universal Gear, you can find great Board Short styles from Thomas Christopher, G-Star, Hugo Boss, Penguin, & Universal Swim.

Other helpful Aquatic tips:
*If you are going out of town on a vacation or cruise, pack several different styles- I say three for good measure.
* Pack Light. No one likes to lug a mess of baggage to and from the beach. Bring a small satchel and pack a Towel, Sun block, & one personal item.
*Accessorize! This may sound silly, but you have a better chance of being noticed in crowd of 100 plus shirtless men if you have a hemp necklace on or some other small water friendly accessory.


May 12, 2009

Get Burned


getburnedjt.jpg Trend Alert! If you haven't noticed the hottest new trend in tee's, you might have been living under a rock. Burn-Out tee's are the latest thing! They are being spotted in the streets and on the backs of leading men of young Hollywood. An evolution of the vintage tee, burnout tees are made from a fabric that has been put through an extensive process to reveal years of weathering. Each bit of pilling and striation in this sheer garment captures a vintage worn-in feel, this process makes each shirt unique. There are no two shirts that are exactly the same. So unlike true vintage shirts these beauties are fitted and not stretched out or ill fitting. Universal Gear carries a full assortment of burnout tees from brands like Alternative Apparel, Chip & Pepper, and Wet Cement.
getburned3.jpg spacer.jpg Left to right: Mathew McConaughey and Mario Lopez get burned in Chip & Pepper, Ryan Reynolds in Alternative Apparel, Zach Braff and Patrick Dempsey in Alternative Apparel, Jai Rodriguez in Wet Cement, and Lance Bass in Chip & Pepper!

May 06, 2009

Show A Lil Leg


Finally! The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I can work on my tan without paying eleven bucks. You know what time it is...Summer! And what better way to celebrate this phenomenal season than going on a stroll. Come on, you hit the gym all winter, don't waste all of those countless squats chilling indoors. Show a little leg with the hottest short styles from Diesel, G-Star, Ben Sherman, 24 Standard, Cabral and many many more (need I go on ?).

showlegcargosm.jpg This summer is all about the cargo short, and why shouldn't it be. They are fun, versatile, utilitarian (wow, kind of sounds like an ex of mine) and perfect for all your needs. Cargo shorts pair well with most short sleeve shirts, depending on the print of the fabric you can go for a casual or hip look. I prefer to go with a solid or basic v-neck. I think this creates a great silhouette and makes for an overall impressive look. Check out some of the hottest Cargo styles Universal Gear has to offer.



April 28, 2009

Spring Reborn


Spring has arrived! This magical season is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, out with the old and in with the new. Going along with this theme I wanted to talk about different ways to freshen your style by adding key accessories to your current look. (making last seasons outfit this seasons hot new trend)

Starting from the very top, adding a sharp hat to your ensemble is an easy way to take your look to the next level. Straw fedoras are light weight and lend very well to today's fashions. Pair this with a well fitted polo and Diesel Zathan you have a great preppy look or try our black checker fedora with a Wet Cement graphic tee and slim cut pair of Levis and you have a hip young style.

Showing a little chest is great idea when the sun is out, take your favorite V neck tee and accent your style with a unique necklace. I always like jewelry pieces that are a little out of the ordinary.
People always seem to forget that you can really make an outfit pop with the simplest accent. Belts are a great way to update a look. It's spring so rather than going with the classic black leather belt choose a little texture. Try a woven leather or canvas belt, these small details really do change the look, for a little edgier aesthetic try a bright color or studded belt. (hint it's SpringSummer throw a little white in the mix!)

Mix and match old and new pieces from your collection and you will find new possibilities in your wardrobe.


March 03, 2009

Get Cruised

Last night as I sat in my apartment wrapped in a soft cashmere
blanket watching the snow flurry and fall all the while cursing mother
nature. I decided it was time for me to go on a cruise to somewhere warm and
sunny. In other words, anywhere but Washington DC. I fired up my trusty
laptop, Googled winter cruises and suddenly the possibilities where endless,
destinations that were sunny, warm, and without a flake of snow or a sickle
of ice. After a bit of soul searching and bank account checking I decided
the Caribbean looked perfect. I threw off the blanket, pulled out the
luggage and dove into my closet. Like any true fashion friendly man I
started running over outfit selections and what I came up with inspired me
to write this entry.

Going on vacation is no excuse to get lazy in the wardrobe department.
Yes, you want to be comfortable but you still want to look put together (and
yes there is ban on wearing crocs, unless it's in the gym shower. Even then
it's questionable). During the day light hours neutral colors are best.
Light khakis and toned down plaids are where it's at. Alternative Apparel
has great collection of light weight tees and tanks that work perfectly in
the tropics. The best part is that these tees are very versatile. You can
dress them up or down depending on the occasion. Cargo shorts are also a
great companion for a cruise. Besides being handy when you're at port,
passports and currency can easily be stowed away, they complete the look.
Tailor Vintage has a great cargo short that is both comfortable and very
fashionable (you know I packed mine). Also, G-star is a brand known for their
fit and durability, they have a pair of shorts that are certainly a must

Night life is my favorite part of the cruise and not just because I
have a strong affinity for Blood Orange Martinis. Every night is like
fashion show, everyone is decked out in their best. Remember how the day
time was great for light, neutral colors? Well here is when you have the
chance to throw some color in the mix. Now I'm not condoning looking like a
Miami peacock but a bold color every now and again will have you stand apart
from the crowd, "Hey did you see that guy in the red? Hot right!" I always
say a well fitted jean and crisp button down is always the way to go. And
hell, you're on vacation loosen a button or two, it's alright to show a little
chest. It's generally accepted to unbutton the top 3 buttons (going any
further you take the risk of looking cheesy).


If you want to make a splash at the pool or beach swimwear selection
is key! Make sure you wear the swimsuit and the swimsuit doesn't wear you.
Hugo Boss and the Brazilian based Blueman have some really great styles this
cruise season. When buying a swim suit for vacation you want to make sure
your over all look is on point, don't be shy ask the sales associate their
opinion. Remember they are getting the full 360 view and can see angles you
don't (trust them, any sales associate worth their salt knows better than to
lie to client). Another very important rule is bring more than one suit, I
try to bring at least three different styles of swimwear. You don't want
people to say behind your back, "Didn't he wear that yesterday?".

I hope I've helped you steer clear of any cruise wear faux pas, have
fun and remember your passport, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. Later!


September 26, 2008


In order to let you know about our freshest fashions we are introducing our Weekly Wear blog. Every week we will be posting some of our new clothing and brands. We will also be dressing up our models to keep you informed on the latest way to mix, match, and wear your clothing.

This week we got in this great and versatile jacket from Diesel Fifty Five. This piece is a vest and jacket in one. The Vest can actually completely detach from the jacket. I should also mention that the vest has an actual pocket for an ipod with a hole to let the cord come through. It also has utility pockets for a cell phone, Blackberry, or whatever it is you may want to store with you.

We also got in a whole new line of clothing from Howe. Howe never ceases to amaze us with its stunning graphic tees that are like no others.


Be sure to check back for the next Weekly Wear and don't forget to check out all the new arrivals. For more updates about new arrivals, sales, and events sign up for our emails.


September 22, 2008

Fall/Winter 2008 Denim Fit Guide

Hello and welcome to the Fall/Winter 2008 Universal Gear Denim Fit Guide! Allow me to "guide" you through the nasty terrifying trenches of choosing the right denim to fit your body.


Skinny Jeans: Yes,Yes these suckers are everywhere right now, but just because they are "in" doesn't mean they are for you. Thin and average proportioned men can pull this look off with out a hitch but for the guy who has bit more meat on his bones this may not be for you. (No worries if you fall into this category please check boot cut) This tapered cut of denim is great for capturing that edgy raw look, and for a bit of flair cuff the bottom hem slightly, just enough to show a bit of ankle (or a bright, funky sock).

Diesel Slammer, Diesel Safado

Straight Leg: The every man's jean, the great thing about straight leg denim is that it fits just about everyone, with the right wash and paired with a snazzy dress shirt (that's right I just said snazzy) this look is perfect for a casual work day or a first date. Every guy should have at least one straight legged jean in their closet, they are versatile and essential.

Diesel Viker, Diesel Timmen, G-Star Ruger, G-Star Radar Travis, Projek Raw Edgy

Boot Cut: Another essential for every man's wardrobe is the boot cut, while it's every bit as versatile as the straight leg it has a little bit of "umph" that is likely to turn a few heads. As mentioned above the boot cut jean is great for the guy with a little extra meat on his bones, the fit produces a great visual illusion that evens the top and the bottom out. Also depending on the wash this is also another cut that is perfect for the office or a night out.

Diesel Zathan, G-Star Core Custom, Diesel Zathan

Flare: When you want to give a little extra look to your outfit the flare cut is great, while not completely over the top it does add a little extra depth to your look. The flare is essentially just an exaggerated version of the boot cut, it's perfect for going out but I would keep this style out of the workplace. NOTE: For the guy with larger thighs check out the Koffha and Zaf cuts from Diesel.

Diesel Khoffa, Diesel Zaf, William Rast

NEW Hybrid Style:

Diesel has recently designed a denim cut called the Zatiny, this great cut brings the best of both worlds, Skinny and Boot, together. This style fits like a boot cut but the leg of the jean is slightly tapered like a skinny jean. It's the perfect crossover jean for those who have been hesitant to try the skinny look.

Diesel Zatiny

Tips for Body Types

If You Have a Flat Butt

-If you want to add some curves to your body look for stretch denim and slim fits.
-Avoid rigid, loose fit or wide legs jeans.
-Check out denim with a flap or zippered back pockets. Those details tend to add bulk and curvature where you need it most.

If Your Have Fuller/Muscular Thighs

-You can try a flare or a boot cut. Those jeans tend to balance out the curves of your hips and thighs with a slight flare at the bottom of the jeans. But avoid ultra-slim boot cuts like the Diesel Zathan (you won't be able to get those over your thighs). Most True Religion jeans or the Diesel Zaf have more room in the thigh and will better accentuate your body.
- Those looking to play down their curves should try a mid to low rise straight leg. The silhouette of the straight leg will deemphasize your thighs and even out the curves on the lower half of your body.

If you're on the Shorter Side.

-To elongate the leg and body go for a pair of low rise jeans with a longer leg to wear with boots.
-Look for jeans with different inseam lengths. Most jeans without inseams have a 33" or 34" length.
-Avoid wide leg, flares, or anything that will widen your shape.

Note- If you need to hem your jeans, take them to your tailor and ask to keep the original hem -- they’ll look like they are straight from the manufacturer and you'll be able to retain all the worn-in details the brand has added to the hem! But be careful not to go too short, most jeans shrink up to 1/2 an inch if you wash and tumble dry them regularly.

If you're on the Taller Side.

-Check out denim with a low rise and a narrow boot cut or straight leg.
-Stay away from wide legs or flared jeans.

Note -- To add some style and a couple extra inches you can always let out the bottom seam, which usually contains close to 1 extra inch of fabric.

-G-Star jeans are slightly shorter than most brands. If you're normally a 32 length in Diesel and Levi's, you may want to try a 34 length in your G-Stars.


April 23, 2008

It's all in the Bag!


Over the years the man-bag or "murse" has evolved from the controversial "Hey is that dude wearing a purse?" to "Hey, dude where'd you get your bag?" The man-bag has become the corner stone in accessorizing for men with the recent comeback of the brief case, weekender, and camera bag (which rarely ever holds a camera). Men are becoming ever bolder in their selections. Texture and fabric have become important players when it comes to choice. Be it a smooth suede handle, a bold plaid body, or even the occasional hard edgy studded leather messenger comes into play when it comes to diversifying your assortment. When on the go, whether it's on a three day trip to Miami or just down the street to your local gym, it's your responsibility and duty as a fashion conscious male to travel with style and class resting on your shoulder.


February 29, 2008

The Final Touch


Men, the time has come to put your fears aside and accept the term "Accessorize." I know this can seem scary and foreign, what with all of the combination options, but let Universal Gear lead you through this treacherous terrain with our 2008 Accessories Guide!

For the spring and summer months to come you are going to want to keep it light yet colorful. Bright and bold colors can add that extra pop to your daily routine. I'm not encouraging you to leave your house looking like a neon Rainbow Bright but a few flashes of color will pull your outfit together. Fun baseball caps with bright color pallets are the perfect choice to pop your basic denim and tee combo. You can also compliment the outfit by pulling a color out of your hat and choosing a belt with the same hue. The goal with this trick is not to have a look that's too "matchy matchy," but to have a style that flows. Playing with color is what it's all about this year and letting your accessories do the talking is the perfect way to express your creativity.

With sunny days ahead your sunglasses almost become and extension of your personality. Whether your preference be the subtle business aesthetic of John Varvatos or an over the top Fashionista approach, eyewear designers are playing with color and texture this year. Be it a bold red arm, glossy bronze frame, or a gradient purple lens fit for a rock star; it's easy to match your mood from day to day. If you're feeling strong that day go with jet black polarized lens, in a creative mood try a novel azure blue framed aviator, or if you had a bit too much fun the night before a large wrap around will hide you from the world (and the sun that seems to be burning a bit too bright).

To close the 2008 UG Accessories Guide we will go on to my favorite subject the Man-bag or "Murse, " as I like to call it. This once controversial accessory is the key to any mans day to day existence. Briefcase style bags are really in this year along with the travel weekend bag and the ever popular messenger bag. Not only is this an essential but it's fun aswell. Not unlike our female counterparts we have the option to switch out our Murses to coordinate with our outfits and the occasion. Okay so that last step might seem a bit high maintenance but relax it's all in fun. To quote my favorite reality show "Lighten up It's just fashion" Mix and match, be bold, texture and color can be your friend.

January 09, 2008

John Varvatos, Designer of the Year?

GQ recently named John Varvatos Designer of the year and why not! If you haven't seen, worn, heard about, or had someone buy you something from his collection you probably didn't leave your house this year. It's not that Varvatos rocked the solo, its that he blew out every amplifier at the concert doing it. His Converse slip-ons were cool, comfortable, and unexpected; a welcomed take on a standard. Using this as his launching board Varvatos took the Converse name and philosophy and transformed it into a must have, not afraid to buy, for men.

Ok, so what? Big deal. Varvatos made a shoe. So why does he deserve the esteemed title of Designer of the Year? John Varvatos has succeeded in making designer clothes that the everyday man is not afraid to wear. Most of all not only are the clothes he designs universal but they exude the feeling of rockstardom while still making them easy to wear and great to look at. In a world where men dare not risk being called fashionable John Varvatos has stepped forward taken us by the hand, given us a new wardrobe, and assured us that it is ok.

Universal Gear is proud to be carrying John Varvatos as well as the John Varvatos-Converse collaboration. We recently started carrying his amazing eyewear as well. Varvatos eyewear has come to be known for its high quality craftsmanship and sharp look. Some of the eyewear lines spokesmodels have included legendary rock stars Alice Cooper and Slash. Other hot J.V. designs have also been seen sported on celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, Geena Davis, and Scott Baio. So provide your eyes with some shade and accentuate your style with John Varvatos eyewear. Be sure to check out the new collection at Universal Gear stores and at Universal


December 01, 2006

Bringing DRESSY Back

Earlier this season, we learned from Chord that the dressy look is making a comeback for Fall/Winter 06. As someone who’s always been a fan of dressier fashion, I was thrilled to see some of these items arriving in our stores just in time for holiday party season.

One of the first times I noticed this trend was during a Justin Timberlake concert. There we were, surrounded by hundreds (thousands?) of screaming teenage girls, at the 9:30 club in Washington, DC when JT was just launching his new album. The dress code for Justin and his band were a virtual must-have list of all the hot accessories for the season--skinny ties, dress vests, hats and suspenders just to name a few.

According to Details magazine, we should be thankful that style arbriters have put their stamp of approval on this hip look. They said the following about the dress vest, “Long sidelined as the least lovable part of a three-piece suit, the vest is emerging as a solo star--on the runway at John Varvatos, in the windows of J. Crew, and on the backs of Justin Timberlake and Adam Brody.” Just remember: the patterned, baggy vest was abolished in the 80’s so stick to a simple (pinstriped, herringbone or solid) fitted vest.

My personal favorite is the skinny tie. Tied loosely over a white shirt and paired with clean denim, this season’s tie is meant to blur the boundaries between formal and casual. You can also subsitute the tie for suspenders and a driving cap or even a dress vest over a white shirt. Finish off with a pair of boots and you have the perfect recipe for fashionable holiday attire.


November 08, 2006

Mother Nature's Underwear: Part One

Underwear is going back to nature. The leaders in the market are looking back to cotton and ahead to soy, bamboo and Modal. Take a look at what’s top brands are doing for you.

WHAT’S NEW: a soy collection

“It’s wicking. It’s UV protectant. It’s naturally antimicrobial. It’s green. It’s got a bunch of benefits and, let’s face it, we’re living in the age of soy lattes and soy milk,””says 2(x)ist design director Jason Scarlatti about his new favorite fiber, “but the main reason we’re doing soy is that it feels better than cashmere.”

Scarlatti fell for the feel of soy quite a while ago but says, “It took a year of testing to get it right,” including laundry tests, wear tests, and various experiments that led him to add 5 percent Lycra to the fabric for recovery. Then, when he found that soy fabric in its natural state “was a kind of oatmeal color that didn’t seem especially appealing,” he moved the collection to black, sapphire and slate. Last came the promotion: 2(x)ist will put the soy collection in new packaging with a bright green band at the top and a box that’s half an inch taller so it stands slightly above the others. “Then we’ll be explaining the attributes of soy on the back of the box,” says Scarlatti.

(this excerpt from the DNR Textile Report)

October 25, 2006

Premium Blend


This year’s batch of Universal Gear sweaters features an artisan blend of ultra soft cashmere and silk. The result is a refined fabric that exudes comfort, luxury and elegance. Opulence; of course, doesn’t come without work and the journey from fiber to fabric is actually a fascinating one.


Both of these fibers have intriguing histories. Cashmere on the one hand is obtained from the Kashmir goat, which is indigenous to high plateaus of Asia. The ultra soft hair grows on the underbelly of the goat and keeps it warm during the chilly winter season. Cashmere is then trimmed and separated from the rest of the goat’s hair. This process is very costly and time consuming and usually less than half of all the fiber harvested can actually be called pure cashmere. Silk on the other hand comes to us from the humble silkworm. The protein fiber is spun by the worm to create its cocoon. The cocoon is then harvested and slowly unraveled to collect the fiber, a process the Chinese have used since 3000 B.C.


Today you can find the best of both these fabrics combined into one beautiful garment. Whether you are looking for v-neck, crew neck or a scarf - you can rest assured this fascinating fabric will leave you looking flawless.


October 09, 2006

Boot - Delicious


boots_02.jpgGo ahead, take a moment. Don’t worry... I won’t look. Take a deep breath and say that final goodbye to your flip flops. That’s right -- pack them way, close the box and put it under your bed - summer is officially over. It is time for you to trade in your sandals for something bit more substantial. Dry your tears, stand up straight and get ready for your introduction to boot camp.

That’s right; the boot is back this season with a fresh new military twist. It follows two of the seasons other hot trends, which include slimmer fitting jeans and the military inspired invasion. Kenneth Coles’ Army Gear is the perfect example of military meets Milan. The tough black boot has a rounded toe, rugged sole, worn in details and laces up to right above the ankle. The boot should be worn with slimmer fitting jeans like the Levi’s Matchstick. Tuck the bottom of the jean into the boot and only lace it up two thirds. Leave the top untied and let the tongue droop down bit. Top the look off with Affliction T over a white thermal. For those who are really looking to leave their mark complete the outfit with a pair of fingerless Andrew Christian gloves.

Now, forget about those flimsy flip flops. Get your chin up, straighten your back and get ready to march into fall the right way. Hooah!

-- Chord

September 19, 2006

Purple Rain


Not since pink has one color dominated a season with such accord as this Fall’s must-have color - purple. From plum to periwinkle; from sweaters to underwear, the majestic color is popping up everywhere. It’s the perfect addition to this year’s dark and somber jewel-toned landscape. It adds a flash of energy while keeping a heavy air of mystery and intrigue. Personally, I could wax rhapsodic about the heavenly hue for days but I think one of the real beauties of this color is its quite pretentious past.

You see, purple dye was - until recently - an extremely hard color to come by. The dye is said to have originated on the island of Crete some 4000 years ago. The brilliantly deep shade was produced from the mucus of various species of marine mollusks. It took about 12,000 shellfish to extract about 1.5 grams of the dye. The expense of creating purple has kept it in the hands of royalty almost exclusively until recently.

While the purple of today is a bit more accessible, the air of prestige has never diminished. The color is bold without being overbearing and It can deftly traverse the color spectrum adding compliment wherever it may land. So whether you’re wearing it as an accent or a statement, be confident that the color purple has a history as pedigreed as you.


Check out the Diesel Kinox Tartan Sweater, Energie Fresbee Sweater, Penguin Hector Sweater or the Pusch Meta Sweater. And stay tuned...there’s more to come.

-- Chord

August 04, 2006

First Look (Part 2)



For denim, another trend we’re seeing for Fall is the move towards cleaner washes. We saw a hint of this during the raw denim craze this past Spring and the trend continues through Fall (if you missed the boat on raw denim, it’s not too late: 2 of our favorite raw Levi’s are now on sale here. Just snag a pair, then follow Chord’s instructions on how to leave your mark on raw denim.)


If you recall, last year was all about making a statement with your denim. Most of our best selling washes had rips, tears, paint splatters or heavy whiskering to give the jean a super worn-in look. This Fall, the look will be a bit dressier (see trend #4) so the denim will follow suit with cleaner washes and more subtle detailing. Good examples include the Levi’s Matchstick Jean, the Diesel Yarik 70Y, G-Star Core Custom Baker Wash and the Diesel Viker 70Z (which, although not dressy, offers a cleaner look in a lighter wash).
-- Ricardo

firstlook3.jpg4 DRESS ME UP

The sun has long set and the city lights seem to grow dimmer by the second. You’re walking home staring at stars in the sky when suddenly the hair on the back of your neck stands tall. You weren’t expecting it but yet you knew it would come sooner or later. The cutting chill of the night breeze signals the impending return of fall and the end of summer. Yes, it is that time again -- time to start thinking less about shorts and swim and more about scarves and sweaters.

Although the crisp autumn season is still months away we here at Universal Gear have long been focusing on what to wear during the colder months. This season continues where last fall left off. Whether it’s off to a charity gala or just to the grocery store the trend is all about dressing up. This look is reminiscent of World War II era soldier meets turn of the century New York school boy. Last years textured fabric story continues with tweeds, herringbones and corduroy still on fire. Wool also makes a big comeback in outwear with tons of pea coats and three quarter length car coats. These fabrics are stylized with military inspired details like gold buttons, double breasting, and epilettes. The tuxedo shirt also makes a gallant return this fall. The versatile shirt can easily be dressed up with a pair herringbone pants or dressed down with your favorite pair of jeans. Finish off the look with a fitted dress vest and driving cap. For the really adventurous add a pair of suspenders worn down.

July 25, 2006

What's hot for fall


Perhaps the biggest trend for Fall is the comeback of the slimmer straight leg jean. Our top brands have featured everything from a basic straight leg (meaning the circumference at the knee stays the same all the way down to the ankle) to tapered legs (remember the 80’s?). From Diesel, look for the Viker jean (a sexy low rise jean similar to the ever-popular Zathan down to the knee, but with a straight leg finish instead of the boot cut opening) or the Yarik (which usually features zippers and amazing embroidery on the back pockets). For die-hard Levi’s aficionados, the Hesher jean will be back this Fall (a slightly relaxed straight leg jean perfect for those of you with muscular thighs). Or, for the more fashion-forward guy, it’s time for Matchstick-a leaner, sexier jean that tapers ever so slightly at the opening (perfect to help you recreate that sexy rocker look with a vintage tee and some boots).



cashmere.jpg2 CASHMERE
More, More, More

You asked for it and like the postman - we always deliver. This year’s line up of cashmere sweaters is all about more. After last year’s success we went back to drawing board to deliver more options, more colors and more of what you love most - cashmere. For this year’s collection, we dove into the archives to bring you a fleet of new colors matched with an updated super-soft cashmere silk blend. The color story this year was inspired by deep gem hues of plum, scarlet and navy all highlighted with softer shades of cream and tan. The feel is one of late 80’s decadence and splendor. The sweaters have a unique contour fit, which excentuates the body you worked out hard for (while still leaving room for you to wear a nice woven shirt underneath). Our favorite? Look for the plum purple v-neck sweater that should hit our stores in late September.



“It all started with an old parachute...”


Last month, Diesel once again graciously invited us to attend the unveiling of their Spring 2007 collection in Greece. And once again, we were sworn to secrecy about the details of the collection (but don’t worry, we’ll throw some hints out there to whet your appetite).

One of the highlights for us was learning more about the design process. For inspiration, Diesel sends the design team to new locations each season. At their destination, the designers find specific locations, objects, people, local customs or even phrases that become the muses for the collection. Each season if you look closely enough, you can uncover the small details the designers sprinkled throughout the collection that go along with the theme. Sometimes, these details are obvious and boldly written across a t-shirt. Other times, they’re subtle--an embroidered symbol inside the collar or the old “For successful living” slogan written in a foreign language.

For Spring 2007, one of the items that inspired the collection was an old parachute they found in an LA vintage store (at least that’s what the slim designer from Denmark told me when we were sipping pina coladas by the pool). While watching the fashion show, I was amazed by how frequently the parachute features he described (the discoloration of the canopy, the hanging adjustable straps and toggles and the military feel) made their way into specific items in the collection.


What else can you expect? Super-soft fabrics (including luxurious cashmere tees), slimmer straight-leg jeans (look for the Safado Jean in a great bleached wash in February/March 2007) and shorter everything (including slightly shorter casual shorts). Photography during the fashion show was strictly prohibited, but we managed to snag one picture for you. Stay tuned here for more updates on Spring trends.

Like last year, the camaraderie of the Diesel family was another highlight. Every year, several hundred Diesel employees from all over the world meet for this event. Their energy and passion for the brand are absolutely contagious. Our meals together were outrageous 3-hour long events full of laughter, Greek wine and a ridiculous amount of eggplant and feta cheese (I’m not kidding, we ate more feta cheese those 3 days than I think I’ve eaten in the past 3 decades).

"Chord and Ricardo bond with their Diesel sales manager Carmela"


June 27, 2006

The Summer's Top 10 Must Haves


and rounding out the summer's top ten







June 15, 2006

Denim Fit Guide

We're all built differently but we all share one common goal: to find the perfect pair of jeans to fit our body type. To help you find the jeans for you, check out our new denim fit guide:

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-If you want to add some curves to your body look for stretch denim and slim fits.
-Avoid rigid, loose fit or wide legs jeans.
-Check out denim with a flap or zippered back pockets. Those details tend to add bulk and curvature where you need it most.

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-You can try a flare or a bootcut. Those jeans tend to balance out the curves of your hips and thighs with a slight flare at the bottom of the jeans. But avoid ultra-slim bootcuts like the Diesel Zathan (you won't be able to get those over your thighs). The True Religion Joey or the Diesel Zaf have more room in the thigh and will better accentuate your body.
- Those looking to play down their curves should try a mid to low rise straight leg. The silhouette of the straight leg will deemphasize your thighs and even out the curves on the lower half of your body. Try the G-Star Low Loose or the Diesel Levan.

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-To elongate the leg and body go for a pair of low rise jeans with a longer leg to wear with boots.
-Look for jeans with different inseam lengths. Most jeans without inseams have a 33” or 34” length.
-Avoid wide leg, flares, or anything that will widen your shape.

TIP -- If you need to hem your jeans, take them to your tailor and ask to keep the original hem -- they’ll look like they are straight from the manufacturer and you'll be able to retain all the worn-in details the brand has added to the hem! But be careful not to go too short...most jeans shrink up to 1/2 an inch if you wash and tumble dry them regularly.

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-Check out denim with a low rise and a narrow bootcut or straight leg. Examples: Levi's Offender, Levi's Skinner, Diesel Zathan.
-Stay away from wide legs or flared jeans.

TIP -- To add some style and a couple extra inches you can always let out the bottom seam, which usually contains close to 1 extra inch of fabric.

TIP -- G-Star jeans are slightly shorter than most brands. If you're normally a 32 length in Diesel and Levi's, you may want to try a 34 length in your G-Stars.

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-Stick to low riding jeans. If you're really daring, try the Levi's Offender Jean--it has a 7 inch rise (one of the lowest in men's jeans).
-Avoid jeans with medium or high rise. The length in the rise will narrow the area between your waist and chest.

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-Look for a medium rise denim with a straighter leg to help balance out your proportions.
-Avoid extra low denim.


May 08, 2006

Boxers or briefs?

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We’ve come a long way since this question made its now infamous nationally televised debut. 14 years later the men’s underwear market has gone way beyond boxers and briefs. Oh yes, we have entered into the era of the menifist movement -- a time when men are free to care about what they wear, how it looks and how it makes them feel.

Men’s basics have become anything but. Fits now include the brief, trunk, boxer brief, boxer, thong and every kind of hybrid in-between. Cotton maybe the fabric of our lives but it certainly is not the only option in undergarments. Technical fabrics like 2(x)ist Flash or Calvin Klein Pro Mesh work to wick away moisture while Play’s pima cotton provides ultra soft comfort. And color? Forget about it... brands like DT Underwear and Ginch Gonch have added a plethora of colors and prints to match any personality or outfit.

Still looking for more options? Here is a clip from an interview I did with NBC, outlining some of the other options out there for men’s underwear.

So just say no to the same old, same old. Experiment and try something different. Join the revolution!

-- Chord

April 25, 2006

Trend Alert: Gothic Romanticism

Go ahead and admit it. Deep in your closet there are a couple of things you don’t want people to see. Next to your single white bedazzled glove are a couple of shirts from your not too distant past. You want to throw them out but you just can’t let go of the good old days of big hair bands. Yes’ the days when Guns n’Roses and Poison ruled the rock and roll roost. Well worry no more--you can finally bring the band t-shirts out of the closet and once again wear them with pride (the glove you can throw out).

The style comes out of the Romantic period of 18th century Western Europe, which was originally a response to the stoic nature of the Enlightenment. Romanticism stressed strong emotion and inspired imagination. Big hair bands of the late 80’s borrowed this motif and combined elements of death (guns) with romance and nature (roses) The result was a slightly over the top tribute to emotion and well... big hair.

AfflictionDesigners have tapped into the late 80’s vault to bring this style back. Brands like Affliction and Drifter have combined the look with some great new details like super-soft tissue cotton‚ foil printing and studs. (We recently spotted American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry rocking an Affliction shirt during a performance.) For a complete look combine one of these shirts with a pair of True Religion or Diesel jeans and some Gothic Inspired jewelry from Amigaz or Guess. Go ahead; it’s OK to once again get your gothic on.

-- Chord

April 22, 2006

Leave Your Mark: A Denim Guide

00525-1718!LVI-1255.jpgGo ahead‚ take off your jeans. That’s what I said; take ’em off. Now lay them on the ground‚ and take a good look. What do you see? You should be able to see a story. You should be able to see yourself. If you look at your jeans and all you see is a label or a price tag then you have the wrong pair. You should be able to look at your jeans and see that stain from when you accidentally spilled bleach while washing them‚ or where you ripped a hole in the knee for some ventilation during summer‚ or the worn spot around where you wallet rests. These are true reflections of you and what takes your jeans from simple to a statement about your personality. Don’t be timid‚ there are plenty of ways to put a little more of you into your denim. So pick up a paint brush‚ grab some bleach and get ready to leave your mark.

Wear ’Em Out
0485801-RAW!TRL-1664.jpgThis technique--which we learned from some of our top denim brands--is not for the faint of heart and will take some time. The outcome&sbquo on the other hand‚ is a tribute to distinctiveness. You need to start with a pair of raw denim. As you may or may not know denim is combination of white and indigo dyed threads. Indigo dye‚ however‚ will never fully penetrate the fiber and washes out with time. To give jeans their worn in look factories will wash and treat denim. Raw denim‚ however‚ is usually not washed or treated. This leaves them darker because none of the dye has been washed out. This is where you come in and can create your own wash. So once you buy your raw denim all you need to do is wear them. That’s right‚ just wear them‚ wear them and wear them some more. The hard part is not washing them for at least six months to a year. What? That sounds disgusting! Well‚ no one said looking good was easy. There are‚ however‚ still ways to keep them smelling good. Odor eliminators can help‚ but to really get the smell out just throw your jeans in the dryer with a couple of dryer sheets and put it on high for about 20 minutes. If that doesn’t work try putting them in the freezer. While it may seem odd it really does help. While it’s a little harder on your wallet‚ your last option (if these others all seem too bohemian)‚ is to dry clean them. After six months or so you can finally throw them in that cauldron of magic‚ the washer. The dye should wash out in a pattern consistent with how you wore them and leave you with a one of a kind wash.

-- Chord

August 15, 2005

Jet Set Life: A Twirl Around the Fashion World

So this is how the jet set live. Within a four-week period this Summer, I found myself in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, New York, Paris, Milan and Thessaloniki, Greece in search of the fashion trends for Spring 2006. Okay, fine, so a few of those stops were layovers. But if what I saw during my global jaunt exemplifies next Spring’s look, we’re all in for a season of diverse fabrics, light fabrication, bold prints, and many amazing details.

First stop: Rio
rio.jpgFirst, I was off to Rio Fashion Week. The government-sponsored program targets companies interested in importing fashion from Brazil and I leapt at the invitation. The week is chock-full of fashion shows from the country’s major designers, and as importers of Brazilian swimwear, we were eager to find new vendors and identify trends set to dominate the forthcoming Summer season in the southern hemisphere.

The event focused heavily on women’s fashion but a few bright spots on the men’s side made the trip worthwhile. In swimwear, BlueMan stole the show (they’ve consistently been the top vendor in both men’s and women’s swimwear in Brazil). Their collection celebrated the diversity of the organic combinations alive in the Brazilian landscape. The fits maintained the consistency we’ve come to appreciate over the years (from bikinis and squarecuts to the longer board shorts) in colors both warm and cool. On the cooler side, jewel tones (blues, emerald greens and raspberry reds) stood out, giving the collection a hint of sophistication and subtlety.

blueman.jpgIn contrast, bright floral prints (in vibrant yellows, reds and greens) against light, solid backgrounds the collection back to its original inspiration and celebrated the Hawaiian dream vacation with graphics of pineapples and floral combinations.

Redley’s collection was also a stand-out. The brand--also a staple among Brazilian youth--featured colorful tees (in light pinks and blues) and amazing board shorts that elevated surf fashion to a new level with printed graphics and embroidered detailing.

Next stop: Greece
greece.jpgBack from Rio on a Saturday afternoon, I was on my way to the airport again two hours later. Destination this time: a charming resort town one hour away from Thessaloniki, Greece--Diesel’s chosen site to unveil its Spring 2006 collection. To inspire its designers, Diesel sends its entire design team to a different locale each season to identify the fabrics, graphics, details and overall feel they want to incorporate in the next collection. Designers this year were sent to Japan to explore Japanese Rocker scene and cultural iconography that would eventually inspire the collection (Brazil, Russia and the Norwegian tundra were muses in recent years).

Diesel then gathers its management in a fabulous location (Crete or Berlin, anyone?) for the fashion show and for two to three days of seminars where designers describe their inspiration, fabrication and detailing of each individual piece. My invitation was contingent on my ability to keep my mouth shut as to any specifics, but suffice it to say that it was one of the strongest collections I’ve seen from Diesel. The show--set in a converted soccer stadium--was designed to create a sensory overload with 20 or so stunning Italian models (twins included) and an impressive pyrotechnics display set to a hypnotic drum beat. Highlights of the collection included fantastic pants (perfect for those looking for an alternative to the denim craze) and lightweight shirts--much of it with military-inspired detailing.

But the most memorable part of my week was taking part in the Diesel love fest. These events bring together more than 600 Diesel employees from all over the world (New Zealanders attend seminars alongside their Colombian, Korean and Serbian counterparts). The resulting atmosphere is electrifying--with intense networking, reminiscing with friends from across the globe and, as one would expect, exuberant social gatherings lasting well into the wee hours. The young, loyal staff (most employees I met had been with Diesel for several years) were passionate about the brand, and their excitement was contagious.

Last Stop: New York City
nyc.jpgWith only a few days of office work in between, we were once again packing our bags for the PROJECT Show in New York. The trade show creator--a retailer himself--wanted to create a sophisticated space for menswear directional brands and innovative retailers to work together. It now attracts old favorites (like 7 for All Mankind, Ben Sherman and G-Star) as well as newer brands (like Modern Amusement and True Religion).

At Project as was the case in our other stops, the common thread across the board seemed to be in the rich detailing. With a crowded marketplace--especially in denim--manufacturers are stepping up their game with studs, embroidery, zippers, stitching, washes and treatments to make the garment stand out.

As globalization becomes the norm and as communication barriers tumble, it’s not surprising that fashion has followed suit. The fashion jet set--now more than ever--takes its inspiration from points all over the globe bringing together creative, sexy and ultimately very wearable clothing for the rest of us to enjoy.

-- Ricardo