Friday, October 2, 2015

Men's Fashion: Curated Looks for Fall/Winter 2015, part I

After a long summer vacation, our Men's Curated Looks series is back by popular demand.

Over the coming months, we'll be featuring 3 hand-picked looks put together by our in-house men's stylist, staff member Alex R. Keep watching the blog and Instagram in the weeks ahead to see the full collection and get our expert insight into how to look your best. For now, enjoy Part I:

1. The Forester

Accessories: Timex Expedition Watch and Pocket Knife (in-store only)

2. The First Frost

Shirt: Icebreaker Tech T (under sweater)
Accessories: Timex Weekender (in-store only)

3. The Tradesman

Jacket: Rodd & Gunn Hinckley Jacket (in-store only)
Accessories: Timex Waterbury and "Field Notes" pocket journal (in-store only)


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Nighttime Kiehl's Routine

    After a long day of working, classes, studying and socializing, my favorite part of my day is my night time routine. Before I started using these products nightly, I barely washed my face before I went to sleep, but now everyday I look forward to using this nighttime routine.

    I begin by fully cleansing with the Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash. The wash smells faintly of marigold flowers, the flower that Calendula is extracted from. It is soap free, so it does not dry out my face like other cleansers have in the past. It also makes a great makeup remover. In addition being soap free, it also contains an ingredient called Glycerin that locks essential moisture into the barriers of the skin.

    I follow up with the other half of the Kiehl's Calendula product range: the toner. The toner is filled with marigold petals that are put in by hand in each bottle, and is every bit as soothing as it looks and smells. Calendula has been trusted in apothecaries for over one hundred years for its healing properties, so this is my favorite part about the toner. Like the cleanser, I can always trust that the toner will not overdry my face. It does not contain any alcohol, a major drying agent. Other ingredients in the toner are Allantoin, an herb known to soothe and reduce inflammation, and Great Burdock, which improves dry skin.

    The combination of these two products helps to clean the skin, restore a barrier of moisture in the skin, and balance the pH of the skin that is unfortunately upset by tap water and other environmental agents. These help prepare the skin to take full advantage of the benefits of the following steps.

    Then I use the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which is my personal favorite. The concentrate helps aid the skin in its naturally recovery functions while you are asleep. I always wake up with a fresh and dewy glow from the concentrate. It is perfect for bedtime because of one of its main ingredients, lavender essential oil. The oil is known for its soothing properties, and you will understand why when you smell a bottle of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. 

    Another key ingredient is Squalane. Squalane is naturally derived from olives and is a silky moisturizer that is extremely compatible with the skin’s natural oils. For those of you with oily skin: oil regulates oil production! One reason for oily skin may be that your skin is stripped of the oils it needs so it overcompensates through oil production. This product helps regulate this issue.

    Next, I use the Midnight Recovery Eye. As the partner of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, this product is exceptionally soothing in combination. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye contains lavender essential oil and Squalane just like the Concentrate. It also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles! I find this is the perfect way to hide tiredness during the day, too, if a big project kept you up too late the night before.

    Finally, I finish off with the Kiehl's Rosa Artica Moisturizing Cream. This cream follows the others with a main ingredient of Squalane. This also contains Haberlea rhodopensis, a rare resurrection flower that stunts the skin’s collagen productions and improves elasticity. This also has a nice cooling effect on the skin when you put it on. The Rosa Arctica is extremely hydrating, perfect for the winter and dry skin. For more oily skin or summer time, they also have a lightweight version of the product!

    As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, feel free to stop by Bivouac any time!

~Bailey J. -Women's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#WellnessWednesday: Goji Berry Rolled Oats

Today on #WellnessWednesday: Goji Berry Oats with Sarah W. (@oatsandwoes)

Recipe: Rolled oats made with vanilla almond milk, topped with coconut, blueberries, raspberries, Justin's almond butter and Navitas Naturals goji berries.

Goji berries are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth, containing all essential amino acids, the highest protein content of any fruit and 15 X the iron of spinach."


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brand History: Hunter Boots

Founded: 1856
Country of Origin: Scotland
Famous for: The Wellington Boot

    Originally founded under the name of the North British Rubber Company in 1856, the company transformed what was once (and arguably still is) a practical work boot into a timeless fashion piece.

    The feature that really set these boots apart at the time was the use of vulcanization – a chemical process where sulfur is added to natural rubber to add superior protection from the elements and longevity to the material. The developers of this process had good timing, as vulcanized boots became the staple for the British army in World War I where over one million pairs of various styles (see below) were supplied to the soldiers in flooded trenches and swampy habitats. A similar trend was seen throughout the period of World War II.

    So, did everyone just want to look like the soldiers? How did a work boot become an icon for men, women, and children alike all the way into the 21st century? After WWI and WWII, the boots sought out a new audience – labor workers. Now that they were seen more on the city streets and areas more accessible than a battle field, people began to notice their implications as a piece of practical and comfortable rain gear.

    Then, in 1956, the Wellington Boot was born; a below-the-knee, clean cut boot that continues to be hand made from 28 separate parts. Even Hunter itself admits that the "Original" Boot had a slow start. The style was first picked up by upper class individuals dwelling in the countryside areas in the UK; yet, slowly but surely, the boots became exponentially more popular and are now distributed in over 30 countries worldwide.

    As their market expanded, so did their range of styles. The tall and short Original Boot can be spotted by a mile away by most – especially those familiar with Ann Arbor’s post-winter apocalypse snow melt in the spring. They are both great styles, but if you’re looking for something a little different, Hunter now produces boots and shoes with many different finishes, buckle placements, heel heights, thicknesses, and more. In 2009, Hunter even partnered with Jimmy Choo, another famous shoe designer, to make a limited edition black Wellington Boot.

    Interesting product history aside, Hunter boots boil down to being a dependable and comfortable raingear staple. My two pair of Original Tall boots have been used from work at a farm with horses to walking around downtown Chicago with no need to pause in consideration of sore feet or water leakage. 

    And if my recommendation isn’t enough, Hunter was awarded a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, for their exceptional work. You can’t say no to royalty.

~Liz L. -Women's Tech


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion

Friday, September 25, 2015

Denim. pt I: The Fit.


    Denim is as American as apple pie and, well, blue jeans. Jeans are inseparable from the mythos of the rugged modern man, from James Dean to “Born to Run”. The U.S. denim market accounts for nearly $20b of yearly sales with no signs of slowing down. If you live north of the tropics, there’s a good chance you own denim in some form – if you live in Michigan, there’s a good chance you’re reading this in your favorite pair right now.

    Jeans are a cultural phenomenon close to 200 years in the making. It’s no surprise that not every pair sold over those two long centuries is created equal: even Levi’s 501 “Original” has gone through numerous era-specific modifications and is now available in dozens of washes. Riveted cotton denim trousers are as varied as they are prolific, and if you want to up your style game, you’ll need to know a thing or two past “I like the blue ones”. 

(photo source:

    The following series will break down everything you’ve ever wanted to know about jeans (fits, washes, fabrics, terms, brands). Every two weeks, we'll dive deep into all things jeans in order to help you find your new favorite pair – or at least understand why you love the ones you already have. Sound good? We're glad you're here. Welcome to Denim.


PART I: The Fit.

    A pair of jeans consists of two distinct components (the top block and the legs) whose lengths and tapers vary to create the dozens of fits available on the market. The top block refers to the area from the top opening to the bottom of the pelvis. The legs are, well, everything else. These two components, when stitched together, make up every pair of jeans ever produced. 
   Consider the following four fits your best friends - no matter what you wear (or where you shop), they'll be there and you'll love 'em for it.

Slim fit.
Slim fit jeans are tapered throughout the leg. The top block will fit tight, and the legs will taper all the way through to a relatively-tight leg opening at the bottom. Slim fit jeans are not the “skinny jeans” of mall stores past – when sized correctly, there is ample room to move. Slim jeans just have the least excess fabric (read: less volume between your jeans and your skin, but not skin-tight) around your leg and therefore create a more flattering silhouette, regardless of body type.

Straight Fit.
Straight fit jeans are best described as rulers: take the outside and inside of your hips, draw a line straight down, and straight fit jeans will follow. The top block is usually unstructured (but not relaxed), and the legs have little to no taper with a leg opening ~1.5-2” wider than slim fit jeans. Straight fit jeans are the top of the bell curve: they look pretty darn good on everyone.

Tapered Fit.
Tapered fit jeans combine the top block of straight fit jeans with the tapered legs of the slim fit. The transition between the two is far from instantaneous – the taper begins gradually, but ends in a leg opening of equivalent width to the slims. Tapered fit jeans are the best option for athletically-built guys who still like the clean lines and silhouette of the slim fit, but who have legs too large for slim. If the phrase “3 plate squats to fail” means anything to you, you’ll be at home in tapered fit.

Relaxed Fit.
Relaxed fit jeans are the least constructed jeans available. They are roomy, they are comfortable, they are forgiving, and they are loose. Relaxed fit jeans are often constructed of lighter or more thoroughly-washed denim, aiding their “unbound” character and making them a great choice for the warmer months. The top block is as unsupported as can still stay on, and the legs are the widest that you’ll find on any pair. The female equivalent of the relaxed fit is the Boyfriend jean.


That's all for Part One. Next time: we talk washes and fabrics. 


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Daily Kiehl's Essentials


    Everyone has their morning routine: wash face, make breakfast, then leave feeling ready to take on the day. I start my skincare routine the same way every morning and always leave my apartment with a fresh, clean face. How? I start every morning with My Daily Kiehl's Essentials. With this routine, I can skip the powders and foundations because of how smooth and even my skin is when I’m done!

    First thing's first: the gentle morning shower. I usually don’t recommend products from the men’s lines to women (men’s skin is thicker, so the products don’t always work for both genders), but there’s a few I’ll make an exception for. The Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap is one of those products. One of the great ingredients in this product is Oat Bran, which gently exfoliates while it hydrates skin. I always have the smoothing skin after my shower because of the Scrub - just make sure to not use it on your face.

    After my shower and after I cleanse and tone, I make sure I get my daily dose of Vitamin C with the Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. Celebrating 10 years in the Kiehl's family this fall, the product has been a customer favorite since it launched. No matter the age or skin type, this has benefits for you: the Line Reducing Concentrate contains 10.5% pure Vitamin C, the most you can get without a prescription. It is great for anti-aging, and also at reversing fine lines and wrinkles. A lot of users have even said that it tightens the skin as well. Just don’t forget to pair this product with sunscreen!

    Then, I use the Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. This is another product that is great for all skin types and all ages. If you are looking for a moisturizer for the delicate eye area, the Avocado Eye Treatment is perfect. It is, by the way, so important to use products specifically formulated for the eye! The skin around the orbital zone is much thinner and more susceptible to wrinkles and damage by products that are too harsh. The Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment contains Squalane, an ingredient that is naturally derived from olives and makes a silky moisturizer that is extremely compatible with the skin. When you apply, you literally feel a burst of moisture! Just always remember to pat, not pull, when putting the product on.

    Next up: a facial cream. The Ultra Facial Cream is another product that is great for most skin types and all ages. It's a potent 24-hour moisturizer, and, my favorite Kiehl’s product! A little goes a long way so don’t be surprised if a 1.7 ounce container lasts forever. This product is also formulated with Squalane, so it is very compatible with your skin’s natural oils. This moisturizer will keep your skin looking plump and dewy all day.

    Before I leave for the day, I make sure I rehydrate my skin with the Creme de Corps Body Lotion. The lotion contains Cocoa Butter which makes my skin silky and smooth, especially after dehydrating hot showers. My favorite part about the Creme de Corps? A purse-friendly 2.5oz version - I carry mine with me everywhere I go.

    Questions about skincare or need some help forming your own routine? Leave a comment below, or stop in the store and ask for Bailey! I'm happy to help you love the skin you're in.

~Bailey J. -Women's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#WellnessWednesday: Rekindle Your Fitness Spark! 5 Great Ways to Stay Motivated


This week's Guest Blogger is Sarah B. (@squatsinskirts):

    Motivation is hard to find and harder to keep. Committing to health and wellness is not always easy, and it’s ok for there to be times in your life when you de-prioritize health and fitness. If you miss a workout, eat half a pint of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting, or tailgate with perhaps too much enthusiasm unknown to mankind (guilty), you’re NOT off track. You’re human. There are like seven billion of us. Welcome. However, if you find yourself ‘falling off the wagon’ due to stress and a busy calendar, here are some tips.

1. Remind yourself why you committed to a healthy lifestyle.
    Remember, working out and nourishing your body well come out of self love, not self hate. Take care of yourself because you want to thrive-not because you want to punish your body.

2. Focus on ability, not aesthetics.
    You may not have a visible six-pack or biceps of steel. That’s ok. It’s so much more important to focus on what your body can DO as opposed to how it looks. You CAN run around, and lift heavy things, and walk to class, and hug your friends and family, and hold planks, and dance like no one's watching… the list goes on. 
   In the long run, aesthetics are impacted by a variety of factors including diet, exercise, genetics, and neurotransmitters, some of which you can't even influence no matter how hard you try. But ability? That comes from hard work. Shift your perspective. The motivation will come.

3. Spice up your routine.
    Maybe you’re losing motivation because you’re bored. That means its time to switch it up! Tired of steady-state cardio? Try Tabata or HIIT. Take a spin or Zumba class. Bored of your traditional back/bis-chest/tries-legs split? Add in a plyometrics day or focus in on KILLING a particular muscle group. Do things that challenge and interest you. The gym is your playground - don’t be afraid to experiment with equipment and routines that you’ve never tried before.

4.Find some external motivation.
    Workout buddies are the best. For example, I have a standing 6:30 AM gym date with one of my sorority sisters. She always pushes me to keep going for one more set, 30 more seconds, 10 more pounds. Some mornings, I wouldn’t be able to push through my workout without her support! Friends can act as mirrors and cheerleaders - they encourage and push you to reach your goals. 

5. Think happy thoughts!
    A positive attitude can move mountains. You have to believe that you are worth making this change. Do it for the endorphins! For the #gainz! Above all, for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

~Sarah B. -@squatsinskirts


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.