Men’s Style Guide by Alex Holderness & John Bourne

Men’s Style Guide by Alex Holderness & John Bourne

Holderness & Bourne co-founders Alex Holderness and John Bourne share their advice for dressing well and always looking sharp in this Q&A, which acts as a comprehensive men’s style guide – from accessories to seasonal golf fashion tips.
“We care how we dress and carry ourselves, but never want to look like we’re trying too hard” - Alex & John 


Q: Do you have any men’s style tips for layering? I always struggle with complementing colors or matching them.

A: Try to pair light color polo shirts and long sleeves under darker layers. A white shirt beneath a Windsor sweater or a light gray long sleeve beneath a navy vest are great looks. The light base layer complements the darker second layer nicely and creates a smooth transition.

Q: What is some good advice on belt colors/style?

A: A great belt can actually tie your whole look together. We always go with our navy stretch belt with light color stone bottoms and a more colorful microstripe option when paired with navy shorts/pants. One of the best fashion tips for men is to please steer clear of white belts in all scenarios, even when it comes to golf fashion. In a more formal setting, the rule of thumb is a black belt with black shoes and a brown belt with brown shoes.

Explore quality accessories for men from Holderness & Bourne to step up your style game.

Q: What men’s accessory is often overlooked?

A: A good umbrella. Walking around the city on date night with your oversized OEM golf branded umbrella is a bit goofy. We would suggest investing in a quality umbrella - you are much less likely to lose something you care about. Same goes for your shades.

Q: What should I do if I have an awkward inseam length and it’s always a struggle to have my pants hemmed correctly?

A: One important piece of men’s fashion advice is to find a local tailor and buddy up with him, especially around the holidays when you need a quick turnaround.

Regarding inseam length, try at all costs to avoid any “pooling” of fabric around the ankles when having your trousers hemmed. Your tailor may push you towards a longer length - be firm! As a general rule, the narrower the leg, the shorter it should be tailored.

Q: Is it acceptable to wear collars popped to protect from the sun?

A: We pop them from time-to-time, especially during peak summer. You might get a few stares, but don’t give it a second thought…you’re protecting your neck from harmful UV rays! 

For further protection, consider sporting a shirt with built-in sun protection! Performance jersey shirts from Holderness & Bourne feature UPF 50+ protection, which blocks up to 98% of the sun’s rays.

Q: I’m looking for a spring refresh of more pop colors, but have always just worn navy, white, and gray. Is there room to wear both brights and basics in a wardrobe?

A: The classic spring refresh. You’re not alone, and this is why we offer a range of seasonal colors as well as tried-and-true classics. Don’t be afraid to sport some brighter fabrics, but we always suggest to anchor your closet with high-quality understated classics.

Q: What’s the one shirt from H&B I should absolutely try?

A: Our pique polo, The Macdonald. It’s the shirt that started it all for us back in the early days. The quintessential warm weather and golf fashion staple that is easily dressed up or down. Day or night.

Q: Is a long-sleeve polo paired with shorts an acceptable look? I’ve seen more guys rocking this setup lately.

A: When it comes to men’s style, this is a great look when the temperature is at that sweet spot between seasons. Perfect pairing for low/mid 60’s at dusk.

Q: What is some high-level men’s fashion advice?

A: When building a wardrobe, start by investing in upscale basics that can be worn more often and layered. Classic styles in simple solid colors - think navy, neutral tones, and white - will be some of your best items and you’ll wear them the most. A great men’s style tip from there is to mix in some more interesting styles and pop colors that express your personality.

Q: What type of “dress” shoes are your go-to?

A: We always gravitate towards a well made pair of brown leather or suede loafers when the occasion calls for it. They pair well with both navy and stone pants and strike a nice balance between formal and casual.

We recommend investing in quality names such as Crockett & Jones or Rancourt as you’ll get more enjoyment out of them, not to mention better durability.

Q: Advice on how to approach transitional weather in the Spring and Fall?

A: In our view, the cooler months are the best time for style. With colder temps come more layers, and with more layers come more options for assembling a great look. Try your best to incorporate some texture - such as corduroy or herringbone - while anchoring around neutral classics, such as a pima cotton shirt which serves as a solid foundation.

Q: Is there a preferred jean wash for different occasions? 

A: As everyone knows, the perception of jeans over the last 20 years has changed with improved quality and wash options. A few pairs of great jeans should absolutely be a mainstay in your wardrobe and can be paired with a number of our shirts/layers.

If we’re going out to dinner at a nice spot we’ll go with a darker wash, our Macdonald shirt, and our Ward or Sargent sweater. A denim, pique, and cotton trifecta! If we’re taking our sons to their Saturday game, then a lighter wash is the play. Lighter denim paired with a long sleeve polo and vest will get the job done.

Q: Are dress tennis shoes cool?

A: We’ve always thought shoes tie everything together and the wrong choice can hurt the overall look. These dress tennis shoes you mention are probably comfortable, but kind of live in no man’s land and don’t provide much value from a style standpoint. One men’s style tip we always follow is to wear a straight tennis shoe, such as Stan Smith’s, with athletic fabric pants and a pair of loafers with any cotton pant. 

Q: Your views on a timepiece? Does a watch really matter?

A: We’ve always respected the watch connoisseurs out there. They understand the value that a good timepiece brings beyond swiftly checking the time. A great watch can definitely help you look put together. Some might argue that wristwatches in particular are slowly becoming obsolete, which may be true, but they are still the easiest and best accessory for men to wear.

Q: What should you wear to a nice country club? 

A: If we’re lucky enough to be invited to a nice club, we like to stick with the closet staples. If we’re talking current spring morning conditions, you will most likely find us rolling up in a White Macdonald Shirt, Gray Ward Sweater, Navy King Vest, and our Stone Warner Pant. Complimenting the look is a lightweight white cotton cap and the Navy Byers Duffel, which provides a home for golf shoes and post-round attire.

Q: What do you wear to dinner? What if you are unsure about the dinner dress code?

A: Again, this is weather dependent but an early spring night out would consist of either chinos or a dark wash of jeans, one of our pima cotton shirts - The Herron, Hunter, or Nagle - and our Sargent cashmerino crewneck sweater layered on top. A pair of Crockett & Jones loafers to complete the look.