Category Archive:MANLY MONDAY


ART IN SOLE: meet benjamins

men’s luxury in midtown:
show me the benjamins


Shoes handmade in California. Using the highest quality luxury fabrics and
traditional shoemaking techniques to bring you something incredible.

11057356_680714225371679_7525244411267292590_n Among the masses of cheap disposable fashion choices available from big box stores, an
independent retailer is making bold strides in men’s footwear here in Midtown Sacramento.


Founder & bespoke artisan, Benjamin Schwartz (above) continues to be a student
of his trade, bringing the best of an old world tradesmen’s craft and elevating it
for the modern discerning gentleman.

There is something intense about owning a pair of shoes that are truly handcrafted and custom.


We had a chance to stop by the inaugural retail location this past weekend and we

can’t wait for the grand opening. Every corner of the space is on point, a craftsman’s
workshop, and a sleek cool snapshot of the classic yet modern gentleman.


skip the trashy tabloids & get an education on style and class.

 [formative spaces]

  [ sole’s sanctuary]

BENJAMINS retail is located at
1104 R Street in the WAL retail space.

connect to BENJAMIN’S online:
website  //  on facebook  // IG + twitter: @benjaminsshoes


** top /model images via Benjamins
** additional images by Juniper James

MANLY MONDAY : aged to perfection


This is my good friend Paul. He’s significantly older than my usual Manly Monday subject, but no less stylish or worth getting to know. When telling a friend about him and this post, she asked if Paul and I are related. Nope. “So you just have a friend who’s over 70?” Yep. And quite a good one at that.

photo 1 (2)

I feel like Paul has been an old soul for a long time.
And I always selfishly wish I’d met him years ago so my
life could have had more years with him in it.

photo 3

Paul is practical in his style, without needing to wear things other guys his age do (read: stuffy old man clothes). He’s not out reading fashion magazines or watching E! to see what’s on trend. But in being practical, and fully himself, it has charm and panache.

photo 4

His thrifted jacket has all the little details that make it such a great find for so little.
When buying a thrifted jacket, double check all the details (no ripped seams, proper stiffness in collar, buttons, etc)  to make sure everything is in good shape, buttons especially. If it’s a vintage piece, oftentimes a few buttons are missing, which means you need to replace them all to have them match.

photo 5

photo 2

I honestly wish you could all meet him. My words and images don’t do justice to the joy this man brings to the world. His pragmatic style and almost always neutral palette aren’t a dead give-away to his vibrant and  lively spirit.

A truly wise soul, he has encouraged and inspired me more profoundly than many I’ve known for much longer. I think everyone should know someone who gets to the heart of things and sees the beauty in life and in others. Paul makes me want to be a better person. I hope that same spirit can be said for me someday.

photo 1 (4)

This bag is awesome. And so Paul.

photo 2 (3)

His handmade bag is made of buffalo hide with
clasps and details made of antlers. Yeah, I know.

photo 3 (2)

Do you know a guy with great style and even better personality?
Nominate him to be featured on Manly Monday.

email kari:



A guest post by fellow Sacramento native,
great friend of Juniper James, dad, husband, musician
& avid thrifter: Johnny Cowan

As a manly man one can not be ashamed to craft their personal style. Especially at a thrift store.

Finding sweet jeans at back-alley prices is just smart and we all want to look smart and cool for less. Thrifting is an art, but don’t be intimidated if you don’t fancy yourself an artist. I’m here to help.

As you enter the store be determined to find your perfect fit. Don’t settle for “I kinda like it,” or “It’s so cheap that it doesn’t matter if I wear it very often.” I have fallen for this trap numerous times, and even if it was only fifty cents, it’s not worth it.

Few things are more wasteful than having 1/2 a wardrobe that you only wear once. Even though you try it on every couple of days thinking, hoping…dreaming that somehow the puke orangeish-brown sweater-vest you rescued last week suddenly became bodacious over night, odds are, it probably didn’t. And that’s just lame and bad for the environment. (Anyone in the market for a puke orangeish-brown sweater-vest?)

When creating, or recreating your style,
remember that YOU make what you wear awesome,
it’s NOT the clothes that make YOU awesome.

For J. JAMES — Johnny Cowan





Shop with confidence knowing that even if you decide to wear this crazy star clad western jockey shirt that you found half way off the hanger in the back of the store (true story), YOU made that shirt look darn good, cause you wore it as an extension of your stellar personality. Soon you will discover that your friends are envious of your new found boldness and will never question your authority as a style mogul or your status as part of the male gender of our beloved species. And if they do, it’s only cause they wish they had the guts to wear what you just did.

Try something new. Put yourself out there, and rock it like you own it. –Johnny Cowan





My good friend Michael came by to catch up today and he as always,
was impeccably dressed (and as usual, quite serious.) Thought I’d share.

Pink gingham collared shirt.

Navy tie with pink accents.

Killer structured jacket.

Nice watch. Nerd glasses.

Seriously, more men need to dress like this.

Happy Manly Monday, y’all! <3


The JJ Crew




this is noah. little person with a big lovey personality.

Style lessons from a little man:

  • make sure your clothes are ready for rowdy (weather, romp in the woods… whatever.)
  • don’t be afraid to have a little fun with what you wear
  • go for classic pieces with a bit of flair
  • factor in your personality when getting dressed


xo – the jj crew



Mister Lopez, your public is waiting…

As I bustled around backstage at the Sac Fashion Week Runway show, I was busy taking in the glamour of it all, mixed with the behind-the-scenes narrative from our intern Connor (who was also interning for SFW). Models and designers everywhere, all dressed their fashion-y best…

And then I see a burly guy walk through with a backward baseball hat, cut-off sleeves and gym shorts, paired with a scruffy unkempt face.

I wondered why they hadn’t asked the stage-hand guys to be dressed a bit more professional, since after all, it is FASHION week. Maybe just all black? Pants? A shave? Whatever. On with the show…

As we sat in the audience just feet from the runway, Connor and I weighed in on each collection. It was nice. Pretty. Well-constructed. Good music… but we were waiting for something to really reach out and grab us. I wanted to see something fresh, edgy, wearable, inspired. And then, Michael Lopez sent his models down the runway.

It was the first set that was trendy and sharp while still being approachable and feminine. The pastels, the cutouts, the cuts themselves, the collars! Everything pointed to this collection being from an experienced designer. We checked the program again. Michael Lopez… Ok, who is this guy?

The audience had an audible response to his designs on the runway, taking it all in, photographers trying to capture every angle. After the last model walked through, they all lined up waiting for their beloved designer to come take a bow…

And out walks the scruffy guy I mistook for a stagehand earlier, in all of his backward baseball hat, cutoff glory. Wait, WHAT?! The whole place was stunned and applauded. Definitely not what any of us were expecting.


A few weeks later, our busy schedules aligned, and I finally got to sit down with Michael over a burger & fries and ask about everything, namely – how? Turns out, what we all saw on the runway (on his models), although we love it, is a big departure from his usual designs. And what we saw on the runway (on Michael) is TOTALLY him. This self-taught Sacramento native goes with his gut, and creates what he likes, not what anyone else tells him he should.

The fashion world draws a particular crowd to participate in it, as well as to spectate and speculate. It’s a breath of fresh air to talk with Michael and find out it’s not a front – he really is that down to earth, that talented, and that forward-focused. He lets his work speak for him, which is rare. It’s not uncommon for fashion people to be the biggest believer in their own hype and spend so much time promoting the first thing they created that they don’t have time to actually hone their craft.

We’re wanting to see you produce something new and quality. Wow us with your innovation and skill, not your propensity to self-promote. Michael was too busy creating fashion that’s current and interesting, to go around tooting his own horn. He’s basically letting everyone figure it out for themselves.

We are big fans of Heart Boutique, and had no idea Michael was already selling his pieces there (and Heart customers have a serious thing for his work, too!) A designer who can produce pieces that hold their own on a runway, and have ready-to-wear pieces selling out at local shops too? You heard it here – he’s one to watch out for.

Take in the pics below, from the runway and a shoot at the beach:


[ beach photos by: Cait Loper // model on the ground photo by: Nilina Mason-Campbell ]


Michael’s pieces have beautiful movement. Pictures really don’t do it justice…
Here’s a video lookbook to help you  feel it.

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Lookbook from michael lopez.

[ Music by: Still Corners. ]
[ Models: Sonia Antilla & Kristina Esfandari ]


Find Michael Lopez pieces here in Sacramento at:

Heart Boutique & Closet Candy Pop-Up Shop

[ Fauxnel by Michael Lopez @ Heart Boutique ]

[ Check out Clothing by Michael J. Lopez on FB ]
If you’re interested in carrying Michael’s pieces in your shop,
please contact Kari at:



Sounds like a rad video game, the newest innovation from some up & coming company, or an investment bank, right? Well, take your pick of the three, or all together, Sarkis says slick, relevant, and reliable. Funny how fitting that is.

My office is pretty much a hotbed for creatives who are going places. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarkis the other night and “going places” doesn’t even begin to sum it up.

Considering his impressive title, what he’s in charge of, his media presence, and his propensity to perpetually be on a plane to the next place that needs him, I’m just saying, you’d expect a bit more pretense. But turns out, this well-traveled mister not only knows a thing or two about most things, but is stylishly and refreshingly unpretentious.

As someone who embraces personal style, yet happens to often enjoy happy hour on a different coast than he had his morning cereal, how the heck does a guy construct a wardrobe that fits with that lifestyle?



  • [black] well-fitted jeans. casual, comfortable, go with anything.
  • [black] fitted blazer. notice we’ve now said fitted twice? OMG know your measurements!
  • [black] rimmed glasses. a stylish choice, but a functional staple nonetheless.
  • tee shirts. that fit. and don’t have a logo across the front.
  • a couple good watches. this one in particular is a Casio, but there’s something about a man who wears a watch, instead of only relying on his smartphone for the time that just feels dependable and classy.


  • pattern. the blue stripes on the basic tee make it. all black/neutral + a patterned piece: do it.
  • dash of color. these shoes happen to be extra fancy for being so casual. BUT. it’s great to have an unexpected pop. [This particular pair of shoes are limited edition from Sperry’s on 5th Avenue. Swanky chill.]
[polldaddy poll=6099489]

As with any style profile, this is Sarkis’ style, not yours.
But we hope you’re inspired to find those pieces
that can be your convertible basics & polished flair.

Have a marvelous Monday, loves!
XO JJ & the crew