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.
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.
When you were a kid, summer vacation was synonymous with the act of piling the entire family into the station wagon (with snacks, cassette tapes, ill-fated coloring books, the family dog) and heading off to some unknown location. You never even bothered to question why this ritual existed, or paused to wonder if all families observed this compulsory migration every time school let out. Each vacation spot would yield something different, in the end, but your young mind only knew not to expect, not to spoil the unknown with ideas of what would await you when the car finally rolled to a stop. This summer, though it’s certainly been many years since you listened to a cassette tape, travel like that again. Travel without the grown-up’s affectation of knowing what you’ll see before you see it. Toss your camera into this hard-wearing wax canvas bag by Property Of… and resolve to carry it everywhere, not only when you “know” you’ll be seeing something worth photographing. Every part of the vacation is the vacation. You knew that, once. Get it here.
Let’s get something thing straight once and for all— colors are good. We’re not anti-color. But black will always—always—have a special place in our hearts. No matter what bright madras we’re gazing at on the glossy pages of the whichever summer issue, no matter whether brights or jewel-tones or pastels are “having their moment” or “making a comeback” or any number of other phrases that we tend to hear time and time again as the temperatures creep up, we just love black. Black just is. And, sure, it’s not always the most practical thing to don a whole mess of black clothing in 95-degree weather, but that doesn’t mean we’re going down without a fight. Take, for instance, this gorgeous all-black edition of the boat tote from Joshu + Vela. U.S.A.-tanned leather, sturdy canvas and striking copper rivets come together to form an all-black item you won’t mind taking beachside, poolside, or even to the countryside. It’s classic meets badass, and it’s ready to hit the road whenever you are— no color-coordinating necessary. We’d say “black is back”, but really, the whole point is that it never goes away. Get it here.
Finesse— now that’s a word you don’t see much anymore. Webster defines it as “refinement or delicacy of workmanship or structure”. Maybe the reason we don’t see that word very often is that few products these days elicit this descriptor. “New”— we see that word a lot. But whereas “finesse” tells you something about the product itself, “new” only tells you something about its position in time— something is “new” only until something else is “newer”. Finesse, on the other hand…finesse is forever. Finesse is to New what Style is to Fashion. And if there’s one thing we can say about this artfully simple carryall from Materials + Process, it’s that it has finesse. It lacks both complication and gimmick, replacing these with an understanding of classic, purposeful understatement. In other words? Finesse. C’mon, folks. Let’s bring it back. Get it here.
So, it’s spring. Time to re-inject some color into your closet, shy away from the blacks and navys, hit up some light grays, some blues, some reds. In other words, it’s the time of year when things are re-born, and your wardrobe is no exception. But what if you’re just not that guy? What if brights remind you of kindergarten and pastels make you feel like an easter egg? What are your options? Are you damned to remain in mourning-clothes for the entire season, until summer eventually forces you out? We say nay. And so, too, do the folks at Stalward Ltd. Sure, we’ve been enamored with them before, but we feel the need to say bravo yet again for this subtle yet decidedly springy color-flecked tie. It has enough playfulness and color to make it stand out among a closetful of neutrals, yet it won’t make you feel like you’ve joined the peacocking crew. An added bonus? It sort of reminds us of those “fun-fetti” cakes of our youth, the ones that everybody who was anybody brought in for their birthdays back in grade school. But, y’know, decidedly more mature. Ehem. Get it here.
What’s up with this crazy weather, right? One minute we’re barricading ourselves in against the storm of the century, and the next, the smell of hot pavement is permeating the air on clear, warm evenings. It doesn’t take much to get us to start fantasizing about spring and so, against our better judgment, we’ve already begun. But before you start digging out all your warm-weather goods only to further tempt fate and ensure disappointment, cast your eyes downward for a second— that’s right, look at your ankles. Those trusty socks that got you through winter’s worst are looking, well, a little worse for wear. Our suggestion? Usher in the return of the visible ankle (bye-bye, boots) with these socks by Richer Poorer x Del Toro— they’re both a practical enough purchase to help you avoid buyer’s remorse when the temperatures once again take a nosedive and a colorful little reminder that, yes, there is a springy light at the end of this tunnel. Still not convinced? Buy ‘em before midnight tonight to get 30% off your purchase with code “LOVE”. You know, love— the other thing that’s in the air, besides spring. Get them here.
It’s one of the worst-kept secrets of all time that life often requires us to be (how shall we say it?) less than truthful. From white lies to those downright indistinguishable gray areas, sometimes we’re put to the test and the only way to pass is to be crafty. One sneaky maneuver you won’t ever feel bad for deploying? The Smuggler’s Belt from Barrett Alley. With a hidden pocket secured behind the buckle, it’s the perfect place to stash whatever type of contraband your rakish lifestyle requires. And the best part? It’s absolutely perfect for concealing things from the person in your life you need to the most— yourself. Need to keep cab fare handy for after a night at the bars, but don’t want to spend it on the third (fourth? fifth? sixth?) round of drinks by mistake? This belt is foolproof. Unlike your latest web of lies… Get it here.
Back in 1996 when Nick Hornby first published High Fidelity, dropping beloved character Rob Fleming into our hearts and forever lodging his snarky internal monologues into our minds, the world was a different place. Computers were, by current standards, inept; Napster hadn’t even happened yet; the most advanced thing you could do with your cell phone regarding music probably involved five pre-loaded ringtones. If Rob was around today, he’d probably live in Portland and grumpily ride a fixie to work every day. But his taste would remain impeccable (that’s the nice thing about characters in books) and that’s why, of course, he’d carry this incredible record tote from Tanner Goods x ACE Hotel. Made of hefty waxed canvas (tough enough to withstand any sympathetic weather you may encounter) with bridle leather accents, it shows that you know your stuff without blatantly exposing you as a snob. Use it to carry around your top five records, your cigs, and the mix tape you’re making for that girl you may be sorta interested in. Get it here.