Desert Styles

March 30th, 2015

The team and I just spent most of last week getting lost in the Mojave Desert and sleeping under the stars in Joshua Tree national park.

The desert is a great place to feel small and think big. It’s also a place where your wardrobe can literally save your life. The harsh dry conditions call for lightweight fabrics and wide brimmed hats for skin protection, and of course, a desert boot. This trip was a perfect time to test out some lightweight layering as we get ready for Spring.

Today’s post is inspired by the desert and is a reminder that style should begin with function, and always be appropriated to your surroundings.

    Sandy Linens


    I usually use my surroundings to help determine my color palette for an outfit. In the dusty desert, for example, it seems appropriate to go with faded sandy colors like taupes, off-whites, and light browns.

    The white linen safari jacket was made for similar conditions. It was the perfect lightweight layer to keep my white ass from roasting in the sun. The henley is pure linen, which has become my go-to for knitwear after moving to the West coast.




    I’ve had these desert boots, the classic beeswax by Clarks, since college. The crepe sole provides great cushion for walking and grips well jumping from jumbo rock to jumbo rock – 0r pounding the inner city pavement.

    This is also another example of menswear that gets better with age, per the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi.


    Dusty Blues


    A duster is a long lightweight jacket worn by cowboys to keep the trail dust off their clothes. They come in many shapes, to the point where the term “duster” basically represents any super-lightweight long jacket that is meant to cover-up clothes rather than provide warmth.

    I only have a couple dusters. They are surprisingly hard to find. This one, which is admittedly more of an unlined trench in shirting weight cotton, is a piece that I look forward to pulling out every Spring.

    640-1 640-4   640-3640-7

    Natural Sunblock


    You know I’m all about linen, and greens with browns.

    Here’s another super-lightweight trench for Spring. This one is actually just a shell of a jacket. I found it in a military surplus store and removed all of the lining (body and sleeves) myself. It’s not a quick alteration but it makes a world of difference, especially in the heat. Now it’s just one lightweight layering of cotton to block the sun (or a light rain). Article on “alterations you can do yourself” coming up soon…





    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford.

    • Ike S

      Where would I find a duster similar to the light blue one above? Hard to find a jacket like that…

    • Sabir M. Peele


      You are in #BeastMode with your photograpy. Dan these looks are practical and definitely location appropriate! Good work guys!

      – Sabir

    • Juan Zara

      Breathtaking photos, Alex! May I ask what your setup was on this shoot?

    • Ali Naaseh

      Where’s the leather nato strap from

    • Caboom

      Solid post! ‘Natural Sunblock’ was my favourite outfit.

      AOSome content (sorry bad pun, but I had to)…

    • Stuart

      The inclusion of the duster was great, especially as the warmer weather makes practical layering all the more difficult. Well done guys.

    • Kyle Leon Norville

      I’ve had beeswax Desert Boots on my essential list for a couple of years now. If this is how they will look after a couple of years, I definitely intend to purchase them sooner than later.

      I will definitely be looking for some Linen before I head to California next week.

      P.S: While, Mensweat definitely does get better with age, I imagine the correct term would be Menswear ;)

      • Dan Trepanier

        hah. nice catch

    • TO

      Always been a big fan of desert boots, and the first two pairs are some classics I may have to invest in again (lost my last chocolate brown suede pair years ago)- the beeswax Clarks looks amazing!!

      Really excited about the DIY liner removal idea- I have at least a couple spring jackets I’m on the verge of pitching because the liner traps too much body heat. I did get to see the inside of a topcoat at my tailors and the unfinished seems looked pretty terrible.

      • Dan Trepanier

        TO! Yea, you’ll never get those clean finished seams by ripping out a lining. It’s a lot more work to clean finished those seems.

        In other news, I’m coming to Toronto soon, you trying to shoot some hoops??!

        • TO

          Definitely! Let me know when you are touching down!

    • Mr. Cavaliere

      Great looks Dan. My personal favorite is the “Dusty Blues” ensemble.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Thank you good Sir. I hope all is well in TO!

    • facelessghost

      The right outfit for Joshua Tree is shorts, t-shirt, and a pair climbing shoes :-). I’m looking forward to that article on DIY alterations.

      • Lothar

        I tend to agree. The featured outfits look very nice, but they also look WAY out of place, like you’re a well-dressed city guy who got lost and found himself in Joshua Tree (with a convenient color palette!). Also are you sure about your definition of a duster? Dusters are often made of canvas, and they’re thick because cowboys need them to last a long time. “Thin” and “super lightweight” really don’t fit the bill.

        • Dan Trepanier

          lol That’s basically exactly what’s happening here. I think you go me on the standard duster weight, although I’ve seen warmer climate versions in lighter cloths. The concept remains the same. Thanks for reading Lothar!

      • tommyjohn_45

        I’d last 15 minutes in shorts/t-shirt before being completely fried. And that’s an estimated time WITH the highest SPF off the shelf.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Better bring that SPF 10K!

    • Bryan S

      Love the safari jacket in the first look. Good insight into functional outerwear for warmer weather.

    • tommyjohn_45

      Amazing… Think I may have just figured out what I want to do for my 30th. Great work Alex. Love the balance of functionality and style in this article. Each look is on point, although one stands out to me as being the best for the heat. Solid find on that military jacket too… I’ve actually fell in love with those places. You can find some gems for dirt cheap.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Getting lost in the desert sounds like a great way to reflect on the past 30 years. Happy early bday, it’s a retrospective and introspective age for sure…

    • Jeff McAllister

      There have been plenty of great features on the site lately, but this one is particularly stunning. The change of scenery – particularly the golden desert light – really allows Alex’s photography to shine. I’m sure practicality will limit this, but I’d love to see more ‘location’ shoots like this one.

      • Harrison Krupnick

        Couldn’t agree more. I also love seeing the functionality of clothing choice. Dan, I’m surprised you went with a felt hat instead of a panama type hat for the hot desert.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Agreed. Alex is a beast, and we will be unleashing him plenty in the next few months with our new project ;)

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