They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, and for anyone who has ever switched laundry detergents and suddenly found their closet smelling unmistakably like a particular ex-girlfriend, it’s hard to argue. The things we remember consciously, by calling them up from our memories, are rarely matched by the extreme visceral evocation caused by scent. Case in point: Alfred Lane's clever solid colognes, in three self-assured scents, may be so damn evocative that you'll start remembering things that never even happened. Like that time you were a celebrated revolutionary (woodsy, sweet Vanguard), that time you were the most charismatic speaker the Academy had ever seen (warm, spicy Brio), or that time you were the most interesting man in the world (leathery, smokeyBravado). And since the colognes are made by hand in Chicago from only natural, wholesome ingredients, you’re sure to be in the mood to remember only the good things, not the bad. Which is more than we can say for that ex-girlfriend situation. Get it here.
It’s strange, really, how emotionally attached we can become to the objects in our lives. While we all know, in the back of our heads, the old mantra that the most important things in life aren’t things at all, it’s hard to ignore the resounding feeling of intimacy toward a well-loved leather bag, scarf, or favorite sweater. These things become, through our continued appreciation of them, greater than the sum of their parts— not just cabled wool or slubby linen, but something much harder to name. That’s why, when we look at such a minimal, blank canvas of an object such as the new natural billfold by Joshu + Vela, we feel that we’re looking at the start of a journey. The natural, veg-tanned leather, free of any unnecessary bells or whistles, is just begging to be personalized by the thumbprints and nicks and other imperfections that so endear us to our favorite objects. This, you might say, is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Get it here.
We all know that beer is good for your mind and soul (right?), but we’d never before considered the possibility that it’s also good for your face. Luckily, there are people in the world more naturally curious than we. For instance, Mary Kearns, the mind behind Herban Lifestyle (we do love us some puns). Using a clever mix of guy-friendly ingredients (read: beer), she’s developed a line of soaps, pomades, and moisturizers aptly entitled MAN that promise to improve the face you show to the world without making you feel like a self-pampering sellout. We’re not saying beer is a magical cure-all handed down to us from the gods…but until we find evidence to the contrary, we’ll be in the back room, drinking. Get it here.
Seems like every time we turn around, there’s someone else telling us what we can or can’t or absolutely must never do with our raw denim. First, rule of thumb was “one wash in a bucket of water after a year of constant wear”; then, the rule became “after two years of constant wear and little more than a moment of silence for the water”; these days, everyone seems to agree that “never wash, wear always” is the best method. Well. We’re not sure how you feel—which is exactly why we’re not telling you what to do. We’re just going to let you know about this specially formulated new denim wash by the gurus at 3x1. We’re not saying you have to use it, or even that you should. We’re not saying anything. We’re just gonna…leave this…here…and slowly back away. Get it here.
We were all geared up to write about Ursa Major's new Fortifying Face Balm—it's got a light, clean texture that makes your skin feel incredible, it smells amazing, and it's an effortless, super-speedy way to take better care of your skin—but then, something happened: we tried all of Ursa Major’s products. And that’s when it hit us: skincare, even skincare as refreshingly simple as it is with Ursa Major, doesn’t happen with just one product. It’s all about the big picture, from the moment you shave to the moment you walk out the door. And it’s clear that Oliver and Emily from Ursa Major really understand this— they’ve designed their products to work together, right down to the citrus-y, spearmint-y scents that each are unique, yet compliment one another. So, don’t try their new face balm— try everything. Get it here.
Muddy Waters once proclaimed, “I’m a man”. Now, Muddy was about as American as they come, but we still believe that, if he had lived today, he would’ve gotten a little help from our French friends in the fragrance department. More specifically, Etat Libre D’Orange's “Je Suis Un Homme”, which translates the same as Muddy's proclaimation. With its smokey scents of leather and cognac, the fragrance is both timeless and intense— much like Mr. Waters himself. Get it here.
We generally don’t get too excited about the whole morning-in-front-of-the-mirror routine. But ever since falling in love with Portland General Store's Whiskey cologne some years ago—it's both a delicious interpretation of the scent and a good way to explain why you smell like booze in the middle of the day—we've been starting to look at it differently. Maybe it's their vintage, apothecary-style bottles. Maybe it's the do-it-yourself attitude that brought PGS to life in the first place. But for whatever reason, we just can't get enough. And their Whiskey After-Shave is no exception. It's chock-full of all kinds of good ingredients to soothe your skin…but you're the only one who has to know that. Everyone else can just marvel at your absolute manliness as you slap the oak-y, ocean-y concoction on your face post-shave and stare yourself down in the mirror while rehearsing a pep talk about bears. Or whatever it is you do in the morning. Get it here.
The scent of lavender will always remind you of one specific afternoon in the summertime of your youth, playing tag with your older cousins in the fields behind your aunt’s home in the country. Sage conjures up dusk in November, shrugging your wool sweater off of your child-sized shoulders and finding your mother in the kitchen. It’s incredible the way we humans experience scent— the way that a disconnected fragrance can somehow evoke not simply a memory but a feeling of an exact moment, long gone. No one knows this better than DS & Durga— these cologne artisans use incredible backstories as a jumping-off point for even more incredible fragrances. Take Burning Barbershop, for instance. The scent is a remarkable combination of smoke and 1890s barbershop tonics. But to get the whole story, you’ll just have to smell it for yourself. Get it here.
In Paris, from where we are currently writing to you, it’s been particularly super-froid for the past two weeks or so. The sun is out, but it has been about as effective as Van Gogh’s therapist; the thought of going outside every morning makes us adopt a posture reminiscent of Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker; and, to be honest, we’ve been guilty of hanging out in cafés for such long stretches of time in order to avoid the cold that we could have written a few volumes of A La Recherche du Temps Perdu by now. While we sit here praying for warmer weather, there’s only one thing that could make us feel better in the meantime. Well, make that two things: absinthe, and lots of moisturizer. Lucky for us, the clever folks at Prospector Co. have created the nexus of these two winter warmers: Wormwood Absinthe Cream. As their site admits, it won’t transform you into a famous belle epoque artist or writer, but on the other hand, it won’t make you go crazy, either. And best of all, it’s available stateside, so you can get a little bit of Paris, France even if you’re in Paris, Texas. Speaking of which, Texas: we’re jealous of your weather, probably. Get it here.
Let’s say that, at the beginning of the summer, you wandered into a tiny vintage shop in a quaint beachside town and came across a treasure— an antique wristwatch, forgotten by time and gone unnoticed in a dusty corner for decades. Let’s say that you purchase said watch for a song and secure its nearly-pristine leather band around your wrist, and then proceed to keep it there for literally the duration of the summer. Your long days lounging in the sun fade its leather, salt and sand pound and wear against the watch face, dirt and grime grinds into its every crevice. Though this watch has lasted years before coming to you, one summer in your “care” has ruined it. Now, imagine that watch is you. Days of direct sunlight are good for a vacation but not good for your skin. Chlorine and salt dry out your hair. Stop the cycle of abuse with this built-for-summer kit from the classy skin-scholars at The Motley. It’s chock full of everything you need to protect yourself from a summer full of outdoors excursions. You wouldn’t do it to a watch— why do it to your skin? Get it here.