It’s common knowledge that nobody wants to be the kid who gets socks for Christmas. Socks, as a Christmas gift, usually hit that not-so-sweet spot right at the nexus of “practical” and “boring”. And worst of all, when your friends invariably ask what you got in your haul, you’ll have nothing to do but stuff your hands in your pockets and shrug, mumbling something about how Christmas is “like, whatever, man” before deflecting the question back to them, whereupon they will rattle off the bevy of highly-sought-after things they unpacked over the holiday— probably at least one of which is “impossible to find in the U.S.” and/or this season’s hot new electronic device. Well, not this year, pal. Because what you see above is not merely a pair of socks. No, indeed. The above pieces by Henrik Vibskov are nearer to art than footwear. We checked them out in person at The Sock Hop recently and were blown away. Just check the rad, midcentury modernish motifs and perfectly juxtaposed colors. Now imagine how awesome they’d look peeking out of the bottom of trousers, cuffed jeans, really, anything. Now imagine who will be the one feeling high and mighty when the post-Christmas gift break-down conversation goes down: “Oh, yeah, they’re by this really cool Scandinavian designer. Practically impossible to find in the U.S.” Go ahead, embellish if you must. We won’t judge. Get them here.
The holidays, for better or worse, require their own sort of dress code. If visions of “festive” headwear and thematic sweaters are beginning to feverishly dance in your head, along with perhaps a flashy, for-party-use-only blazer, take a deep breath and shut it down: yes, wearing all black to cheery family gatherings will elicit renditions of the Grinch theme song every time you enter the room, but in this season as well as all others, balance is key. The surefire way to hit that happy medium? This robust wool tie from our friends at Stalward Ltd. Charming yet restrained in large-scale glen plaid, it reminds us of something our grandfathers would’ve worn (in a good way). Pair it with your favorite collared shirt and slip on a sweater for a look that’s equal-parts “Can-I-Help-You-With-Your-Bags,-Aunt-Sheryl?” and “I’ve-Got-Some-Whiskey-Out-In-The-Garage”. In other words: seasonally appropriate. Get it here.
Nobody has to tell you that life is full of compromises. Between trying to buy American-made products (go, reinstitution of craft as industry!), trying to buy quality, trying not to go broke, and trying to avoid whatever this is, something’s bound to get tossed. You can’t have it all. This is the idea that the folks at Dyer & Jenkins had in the backs of their heads when they launched their Kickstarter campaign yesterday. You may take one look at their jeans and say “Whoa, yes, that’s all I need to know, take my money!”, but to be honest, the final product is only one-third of D&J’s merit. The fact is that the above jeans are honest-to-goodness, LA-made selvage denim clocking in at about $100 (to say nothing of the accompanying $50 knitwear and $12 tees)— so even if your first reaction was “Yeah, but I’m already eating plain noodles three times a day as penance for my last denim-buying binge”, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Oh, and did we mention it’s all made right here in the USA? We did? Sorry, excuse us. We’re a little excited. We just found out that you actually can have it all. Get in on the Kickstarter here.
We get it— you’re a purist. You like your denim raw and your leather full-grain and natural. You don’t do mixers, and you turn your nose up at ice. Flavored liquors? Don’t even joke. But even you, hardened as you are, can’t help but raise one hopeful eyebrow—skeptical, but intrigued—at Knob Creek’s new Smoked Maple bourbon. Not a bourbon for those who don’t like bourbon, the smoked maple offers a hint of smokey sweetness to round out the Knob Creek we love so well. And with high ratings coming in from bourbonites far and wide, it does indeed seem that it may win over someone as tough as you. So sure, take it for a spin. But skip the ice. What’re you, going soft in your old age? Get it here.
Like most folks with a predilection toward the exquisitely handmade, we tend to lament (loudly, after a few drinks) the general lack of DIY know-how these days. Lucky for us, the folks at MAKE TRIBE are on a mission that just might shut us up (quite a feat). Their latest can’t-miss venture features two of our favorite things: leather goods and craft cocktails. Hang out at Readyluck Studios and sip cocktails from Baltimore area artisanal hotspot RYE next Thursday, September 19 while learning to make your own hand-bound leather notebooks. Put another way: get tipsy enough to complain about the state of handmade arts, while picking up the skills to prove yourself wrong. We know, we know— we can’t believe how cool it is, either. Get more info here.
Maybe it’s the decades of “school year” mentality, but for some reason, September 1 always holds a certain ineffable promise. Growing up, for many of us it was autumn, not summer, that was full of possibility— the time to reinvent oneself, to become the person you sorta-almost became last year, to leap the final chasm. Back then we wanted to be rock stars, pioneers, local legends. Figures that exuded an effortless air of cool. It’s fitting, then, that Fall wardrobe-reinventions were such a requisite part of those fall resolutions. This year, though our goals have shifted somewhat, we’re finding ourselves drawn to these (perhaps) optimistic plans of reinvention yet again— and we’ve found just the perfect outfitter. Feast your eyes upon HOWE, a uniquely west-coast brand with its own penchant for pioneering reinvention. Our first recommendation? The richly nubby On The Bamm button down, as seen here, to put you through September and beyond as a better version of whatever Last Year You ended up being. Button yourself in and say those same words you used to say every September: Don’t worry, kid. This will be the year. Get it here.
People frequently walk around saying that the best things in life are free, which is true, mostly, but perhaps a better (and more widely applicable) phrase would be that the best things in life are simple. Exhibit A, a briefcase from Contango— or, more accurately, THE briefcase from Contango, because they only make one, and it’s all they make. It’s available in two colors, but both boast the meticulous attention to quality that you’d expect from a brand that stakes itself on one expertly-crafted item. English bridle leather handles, solid copper rivets, hard-wearing construction meant to last forever. Not much else. You needed a briefcase? This is a briefcase. It’s expertly made, but don’t go expecting it to be something else. The best things in life are simple. Get it here.
Guys, don’t wanna freak you out, but shackets are coming. Although you may currently feel safe and warm (okay, a little too warm) in your summerlong uniform of denim and perfectly rumpled button-downs, autumn is indeed on its way in. Scoff now, but pretty soon you’re going to be spending half of your morning burrowing into your closet trying to figure out where you stuffed that sweater back when your air conditioning broke in mid-July and you felt like you’d literally lost the ability to feel cold ever again. Rather than dwelling on how wrong you were, better instead to get a jump on your shacket (“shirt-jacket”, obviously) game before everyone else does. A stand-out shacket find to put you above the rest? This unexpected twill number by ZANEROBE (because Australians understand the “transitional weather” thing on a whole different plane). Aesthetically somewhere between a varsity jacket and a classic denim jacket, it’s the perfect thing to quell your horror that yes, indeed, the seasons are changing. Get it here.
A week ago today, we did something crazy, something none of us had ever done before or expected to do— we opened up our own pop-up shop right here in Baltimore, Maryland. We kicked it off with a party for all our friends with cocktails, snacks, amazing tunes, and of course, lots of great menswear. The result surprised us all— people showed up, bought things, and enjoyed themselves. And we can’t thank everyone involved enough for making that happen, but oh hell, we’re gonna try anyway. Thanks to The Old Bank Barbers for hosting the whole shebang and being crazy-supportive along the way; thanks to Nick from the Nick Gersh Hour for tending bar for us; thanks to our friends at Art In The Age and Angel’s Envy for providing us with lots of cocktail tips; thanks to Kinderhook for the addictive snacks; MSSL CMMND/DJ Dan for the tuneage; and of course thanks to all our featured brands— Fox & Brie, Don’t Mourn Organize, Fifth & Brannan, Railcar Fine Goods, Old Calgary, John Ruvin, and Stalward Ltd.; most of all, thank you, thank you, thank you, to all those people without web addresses who helped so very much.
We’ll be posting more event wrap-up stuff over the next few days. Until then, if you want to get in touch (or if you missed the event and are hoping for a consolation prize…!), by all means, get in touch.