Only the young can break away

Lost when the wind blows

Journey with me, if you will, back to 2010 and famed singer Brandon Flowers’ solo debut (yes, that Brandon Flowers — as seen above around the time of that record!). That’s where we’re gleaning inspiration from for today’s edition of The Style Guide In Brief. If you’re just joining us, this newsletter is a shorter version of my regular blog, The Style Guide, with a blend of music and menswear throughout. We’re taking a slightly more upbeat tone (musically and somewhat lyrically) from Saturday’s newsletter, which covered the latest from indie singer-songwriter Julien Baker. It just so happens that last Saturday, as I enjoyed my morning coffee, well, a seemingly random song on my Spotify shuffle caught my attention: Today’s featured track, a throwback I played constantly years and years ago. On that note, the synth-driven and deeply moving “Only The Young” from Mr. Brandon Flowers — plus today’s featured menswear — both act as an “oldie-but-goodie”combination of sorts, at least as far as the fast-moving world of solo alternative records and men’s fashion is concerned. It’s best to slow down and look around every once in a while, and this song helps me do that.

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Now, we all assuredly know and love Brandon Flowers’ main concern, a little band from Las Vegas called The Killers (as covered quite frequently in this newsletter), but his solo work across two albums (today’s featured track comes off 2010’s “Flamingo,” a fittingly Vegas-inspired name) is underrated and a bit underappreciated, as far as I’m concerned. If you’re interested, GQ.com dives into it with Mr. Flowers a bit more in this interview. The main point of today’s newsletter is that, whether revisiting an old favorite song or an old favorite piece of menswear you might have set aside, well, sometimes it just takes a little jolt or a memory to set you back on the right track. Let’s keep it moving forward — by looking to the past for inspiration — as we roll forward into a new week today.

What To Listen To This Week: “Only The Young” By Brandon Flowers

As I mentioned above, today’s featured song came up on my Spotify shuffle and instantly reminded of listening to this song non-stop on many a cold winter Saturday back in college — I’d play this song on my iPod in my Ford Taurus as I drove to the local mall and shopped chambray shirts and blue jeans at J. Crew, to paint but one such picture. I forgot how much I enjoyed this song, its pulsing synths and soaring spiritual themes, and it made me fondly remember the early days starting my style blog, The Style Guide, and shopping for Flowers-inspired menswear (more on that later in this newsletter). In fact, I hadn’t listened to Mr. Flowers’ debut solo record in quite some time. It’s an emotional and hopeful album at times, this song in particular (the optimism shines through as Flowers intones, “The sun will shine again”).

For what it’s worth, I also loved his second album, 2015’s “The Desired Effect,”and vividly remember playing it a lot following its release, so I do disagree with reviews like these covering that second record. The Killers are, of course, the ultimate as far as his work goes, but his solo records shouldn't be shelved. That being said, this song was a welcome way to shake up a winter Saturday in the year 2021, a sort of music time machine of sorts that made me very grateful I now get to pursue menswear writing for sites like my blog, olus Maxim and more — it’s funny how a song can do that, isn’t it? And again, it was also a helpful reminder of some menswear inspiration, as seen below …

What To Shop This Week: Bonobos Stretch Denim Jacket

Past newsletters featuring The Killers have focused, and rightfully so, on rock n’roll-inspired menswear that you can wear to a rock show (ideally later this year!), or to a brewery, or to shop for, say a Brandon Flowers solo record. I myself had to go out and get a denim jacket after I saw the version Flowers was rocking as I released his solo record. Let’s keep that menswear inspiration rolling today with a rugged Bonobos denim jacket.

Now, Bonobos menswear is a bit of another throwback for me in its own right, as I interned in the company’s PR department my first summer in New York City (hello, employee discount!), often listening to songs by Flowers and The Killers as I built spreadsheets and archived press clippings. Of course, it’s been pretty neat to watch the NYC-based brand evolve over time, to the point where they now make seriously cool and sharp pieces like this classic men’s denim jacket. It’s the sort of iconic denim jacket that I think Mr. Flowers might wear himself (just check out the photo at the top of this newsletter, after all!), and that’s pretty cool in its own right.

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What To Sip This Week: Bespoke Post Turbo Box

Although past editions of this newsletter have recommended the best craft beer and whiskey on the market, let’s go with something to give your week a nice jumpstart. I’m talking, in this case, about the seriously well-curated Bespoke Post Turbo Box, featuring some of the best single-origin coffee on the market, and all delivered in well-designed packaging at a highly affordable price. That’s what happens when you sign up for Bespoke Post subscription boxes, after all — you certainly get excellent deals on the best menswear and gear around. But back to the Bespoke Post Turbo Box, an incredibly cool way to get some weekday and weekend fuel going (powered by a soaring Brandon Flowers solo song as part of your at-home soundtrack, of course). Naturally, the Bespoke Post Awake Kit also packs quite the punch, but it all comes down to what’s in the kit itself.

The coffee in question comes from Drive Coffee and covers three different sets of roasted coffee beans, plus two cans of nitro cold brew. Yes indeed, the Bespoke Post Turbo Box is a surefire way to kick your day off the right way (and it helps that the packaging is stylish enough to set on your counter without becoming an eye sore). Pour yourself a fresh cup and shop for your new favorite boots. Speaking of …

The Final Pick: Urge Banks Boots in Black Leather

Now, it wouldn’t be a true edition of The Style Guide In Brief if I didn’t recommend some musically inspired footwear to power your week and your daily (or nightly) walks, right? That’s where these rugged black leather boots come into play, and this pair (as sold by Bespoke Post) just so happens to be the sort of pair that a guy like Brandon Flowers might have worn back in the day (he did go through a heavy Western and denim phase, after all). The Urge Banks Boots in Black Leather are tough, durable and affordably priced — in short, they’re everything you need in your next pair of winter boots.

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I’ll leave you with one final thought today: When you listen to a flashback-inspired song, what song are you spinning? What was your life like then, and what is it like now? Deep questions to ponder on a Tuesday, but perhaps a necessary break or distraction in these times. Other recommended distractions are a bit less deep, perhaps, like shopping for the Urge Banks Boots in Black Leather or sipping on cofffee selected from the aptly named Bespoke Post Turbo Box. The soundtrack for the week ahead, of course? Well, let’s start things off with “Only The Young” By Brandon Flowers. If you like what you’ve read, you can always let me know on Twitter, and you should also check out my daily style blog if you haven’t already. Thanks for reading — onward!