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Big news: Neal designed a shirt with our favorite Chicago brand!

May 9, 2018

stock MFG The Better Half Collection

Shirt: Stock MFG (designed by Neal! On presale right now for $45!) Run TTS, Neal is wearing Medium, his normal size.  Jeans: Levi’s 511 jeans  (Neal also has the 512’s in a dark wash which he usually wears to go out!) The only two pairs of jeans he ever wears and he loves them. Both run TTS. Sneakers: Cole Haan GrandPro sneakers (they are SO lightweight and comfortable, and are the perfect shoe if your guy loves the comfort of sneakers, but you’d rather him look a little more polished!) They come in lot’s of other colors, too! Also TTS. The best part: they’re easy to keep clean! Sunnies: Ray Ban “General” Aviators –Neal loves these because the lenses are distinct but not overwhelming on the face, and they can be dressed up or down (he wears these with a suit most sunny work days).  Perfectly at home at the beach or at spring wedding.  He also has the classic aviators which we both love as well.

Hi Guys!  It’s Neal.  I hope you are all having a great week!  If the title of this post did not give it away enough, we have been working on a cool collaboration that we are so excited to share!! 

So If you have been following Jess for any period of time, you know that when it comes to casual clothes I wear, I stick to just a few brands.  If you see me on Instagram stories, there is usually about an 80% chance that I am wearing a Stock MFG shirt. They are my favorite clothing brand based right here in Chicago, and long story short, I got to design a shirt for them–it goes on pre-sale today, and we couldn’t be more excited! (More on that in a second–we’re sharing a special discount code, too, just for you guys!)

First, let’s talk about–who IS Stock MFG?

I was originally introduced to Stock almost 4 years ago. When Jess dragged me (literally kicking and screaming) to ____(*honey I can’t remember the name of that pop up shop they have on Sundays?* Jess’ edit: Dose Market ?) on an NFL Sunday.  The Bears probably lost anyways, and I ended up having a lot of fun and buying what is still my very favorite travel jacket, met a few of the Stock guys who designed what would become said favorite jacket, and since then I have been completely hooked on the brand.

Everything the design is made here in the states. The vast majority of their manufacturing happens here in Chicago too!  If this is your first time hearing about the brand, chances are you’ve already seen some of their work–they design and make uniforms for some of the city’s top restaurants and bars, too – Publican, GT Prime, and Soho House to name a few. 

While a client list of that caliber is super cool, what sets these guys apart is how genuine their story is and how approachable and real they are.

Three Midwestern guys without formal training in apparel who wanted to design and make great clothes here in Chicago.  They learned the business from the ground up, started their own company, and they make badass clothes-their combination of quality, fit, unique fabrics, and fair pricing drives their success. 

The guys (Jim, Mike, and Tim by the way) are fashionable guys, but they aren’t fashion guys. They’re guys just like me, your husband, your boyfriend, your brother, or your best guy friend. You can confidently send (or take) your guys to the Stock shop and expect a cool, approachable vibe, comfortable furniture, and cold beer on tap. 

I like that when I walk in, I find clothes on the rack that are ready to be worn today.  These guys don’t put spring stuff up in February.  The idea is to look great with minimal effort and they nail it.  If I sound too biased, just remember that I’m not being paid for this (granted, we do get a commission on each shirt sold, so, if you care to buy, thank you in advance!) and I was buying Stock shirts when the only reader of the Golden Girl was Jess’ Mom (hi Lynn, love you!!)

The Perfect Henley

Henley Shirt For Men From STOCK MFG

Anyways, let’s get to this collaboration with Stock MFG! 

The short story is Jim came to us with a pretty unique idea. which eventually lead to the launch of the Better Half Collection today! The idea: Stock would team up with three local influencers and their husbands. They would design a few items for their newest collection. Items that their wardrobe was currently lacking. Items that they couldn’t find anywhere else. Jess and I loved it from the beginning. So we looped in (who else?) Mitch and Kelly and Conor and Danielle who designed some awesomely unique, yet classic pieces (which we’ll get to in a second). 

As for me?  Well… you got a white T-shirt.  You may chalk this up to laziness or lack of creativity, but I promise this design idea was much more about filling a void in my wardrobe. Jess assured me that you guys love a good white tee, so we figured this would be right up your guys’ ally too ?

When it comes to my personal fashion, I tend to lean towards super classic basics or loud statement pieces, and I rarely fall in-between. 

Sunny weather calls for soft, breathable white cotton. A crew neck often looks like Hanes underwear and wearing nothing but V-necks makes me feel terribly basic, terribly Jersey Shore family vacation, or both. 

I love long-sleeved Henley shirts in the fall and winter, but have always struggled to find great short-sleeved Henley tees. When I have found them they are generally too nautical for my taste. I have never EVER seen a white Henley tee that I would actually wear.  So guess what?  We made one

[one-half-first]Big news: Neal designed a shirt with our favorite Chicago brand![/one-half-first][one-half]

Neal of the Golden Girl Blog Custom Designed Henley Tee


Stock MFG Better Half Collection

Features of the henley:

While the look is pretty simple, a lot went into this design.  I wanted to make something that was as comfortable as any t-shirt your guy would wear, but also much more fashionable.  Warmer weather means versatility is paramount, so we designed a shirt that can easily transition from a casual office Friday, to sipping drinks along the river after work, to dinner with you or his friends. 

The buttons give the shirt more of an old-school feel. Plus make it classy enough to swap for a polo shirt. The sleeves make it polished enough for any classy but non-formal evening event. 

I absolutely love how the shirt turned out, and I hope you all do too!  You will see it on me often all spring and summer long!


It’s trim, but not overly slim. Fitted enough to make it polished, but not too tight that your guy will awkward wearing it.


$45–but you can save 15% by entering code JESSANDNEAL15 at checkout! It’s a high-quality wardrobe staple that won’t break his (or your!) wallet. So then really it’s $38! ?

How to buy it:

You can purchase my henley, and everything else from the Better Half collection (see more about the other items in the line below!) on their website starting today! These are pre-sale. So the items won’t ship out for a couple more weeks. (Because they’re handmade in the USA, and good things take time!). Still snap them up now because there aren’t too many and we expect them to go fast!

[one-half-first]Stock MFG Better Half Collection[/one-half-first][one-half]


Stock MFG Chicago Henley Tee by Neal Keys

Big news: Neal designed a shirt with our favorite Chicago brand!

I hope you (and your guys) really enjoy what we put together in collaboration with Stock!  The team worked hard to create something unique, comfortable, breathable, and stylish.  I must say that after a lot of back and forth, I think we nailed this tee. 

Thank you to all of you that read my wife’s work each day or each week.  I am proud to play a small role on the GG, and I am super proud of this project–thank you for always being our cheerleaders, and should you decide to ever become Stock customers, thanks for helping support a small Chicago brand that we love! 

Shop the full “Better Half” collection below:


Mitch’s Classic Trench:

Featuring a Japanese weather cloth shell and custom horn buttons, Mitch added a blue striped lining to give the trench a little pop of the prep that Kelly is known for. Make sure to enter code JESSANDNEAL15 for 15% off!

Conor’s Oxford Popover: 

When we all met to kick off this project, became quite clear that Conor had a deep knowledge of menswear (seriously, we were like “Conor, are you a secret menswear designer?!” ? They kicked a lot of ideas around, and actually ended up really resonating with two. First up was Conor’s quest to find a good oxford cloth popover with a spread collar. He was having trouble finding a contemporary garment crafted from a more casual material without a button down collar. The Stock guys loved the idea, and jumped at the chance to develop this popover. They used a super soft, 100% cotton oxford and custom Stock buttons….and not much else. This a clean, classic, simple garment that will look cool with shorts or under a suit (year round, too)- and is extremely comfortable!

Make sure to enter code JESSANDNEAL15 for 15% off!


Conor’s French Chore Coat: 

The second piece designed with Conor and Danielle is another classic – the French Blue Chore Coat. Popularized by famed fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, this jacket is a garment that can be dressed up with a tie and chinos, but makes its bones being put to work. Crafted from a 7 oz sanded twill and unlined, this piece will be a trusty standby on damn near any occasion.

Make sure to enter code JESSANDNEAL15 for 15% off!

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