Art of Style Invite Large 1024x699 Join us on May 16: The Art of Style With Samara Shuter

On Friday May 16, 2014, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., join OTC and some of D.C.’s coolest brands and style influencers at The Art of Style Happy Hour celebrating artist Samara Shuter.  Sam is the creator of OTC’s suit logo, and more importantly, a talent whose international reputation continues to grow as more people discover her distinctive, menswear-influenced style.

Our other partners for the event – Bull+Moose, Nice Laundry, Read Wall, and Stubble & Stache – will have their outstanding wares on display.  Share a drink with the brands’ founders and meet up with other menswear enthusiasts.  You’ll be able to meet Sam and take a look at some of her iconic images on display.  We may even raffle off a couple of prints!

We are looking forward to a great crowd and some pretty special guests – Washingtonian Magazine and DC Magazine will both be there to cover the evening.

Our venue for the evening is D.C.’s The Huxley, a seriously cool event space centrally located near DuPont Circle.  The Art of Style Happy Hour is going to be one of the hottest events of the season and a great chance to hang out with some of the most fashionable and interesting folks in the capitol city’s style scene.

We will be updating you on the event as it gets closer, so make sure to check out our Facebook page.  And, of course, make sure to RSVP today and get your free tickets!


Spring Style: Out and About

OTC in DC Spring Style: Out and About

As warmer Spring weather finally begins to settle in, it’s time to head out into the city, take in the cherry blossoms and take care of a few errands.  Here, along Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street, NW, you will find some outstanding furniture, decorating, and accessories stores as well as a growing selection of exciting gastropubs, restaurants, and gelaterias.

For this day’s excursion, we opted for a casually simple and comfortable outfit that worked with the unexpectedly warm, breezy weather.  Remember, every day doesn’t have to be an exercise in Ivy League interpretation.  Sometimes, you just want throw on an easy outfit and head out the door.

Here, the vintage cotton J. Crew button down allows for freedom of movement and long sleeves for when the sun goes down.  The shorts are from Ecoths and while classically neutral in cut and color, they also have some nice urban touches, like a handy smart phone pocket. The ECCO BIOM Walk shoes are incredibly comfortable and lightweight – perfect for extended city roaming.

Athabasca 24 Spring Style: Out and AboutWe also took the opportunity to test out the Athabasca 24 day pack from Granite Gear, a maker of serious outdoor equipment.  Designed for use by both everyday consumers and avid hikers, this bag was just right for hauling purchases, snacks, and personal necessities.

Backpacks are best suited for casual outfits and practical needs.  Regardless of intent, a backpack – certainly a outdoorsy one -  never looks right with a coat and tie.  And, we are daily commuters, so we understand why people opt for them.  Remember to match your bag to your wardrobe and the level of formality, or informality, you are projecting that day.

Luckily, this day’s outfit was decidedly casual and the Athabasca was the right bag for the job.  It sat comfortably on the back and also stayed in place when slung over one shoulder, even filled-up.  The pack actually comes with an integrated hip belt for long day hikes, but we left it at home, opting for a slimmer, urban profile.



Accessories: The Money Clip

Engraved Hallmark Sterling Silver Money Clip Accessories: The Money ClipWe are unabashed fans of the wallet.  An expertly crafted billfold, whether for the back pocket or housed in a jacket’s confines, it is a portable filing cabinet and easy safe-house for your currency, cards, receipts, and notes.

There are times, however, when less is more and leaving your wallet at home is the best choice.  Heading to the beach and going light or attending a black tie gala and seeking an unencumbered evening are but two examples of where the humble money clip plays to its strengths.

Taking the essentials – ID, a card or two, and some cash – is an easy fit for most clips.  And for some, the money clip itself has replaced their wallet altogether.  For those who seek a minimalist approach to life, it’s the perfect alternative to a billfold of any kind.  The options are myriad and depend only on need, taste, and material.

The classic sterling silver money clip is iconic in its own right.  Engine turned, plain, or monogrammed, this timeless accessory is always appropriate and often a prized gift.  And, after a lifetime of dings and scratches have imparted a personal and worn patina, it is also transformed into a cherished heirloom.  One shortcoming can be the potential for loss of grip, especially if it is used as a wallet alternative subject to repetitive overfilling.  Regardless of your cash on hand, keep the contents to a minimum to maintain its proper shape and spring.

RC Fibers Black CF Money Clip Accessories: The Money ClipA modern take on the classic form is opting for a carbon fiber money clip.  These slick clips are light yet incredibly strong and often block RF signals that could potentially snatch credit card data.

While less traditional in material, the overall style is still classic.

Carbon fiber clips are practical and pair well with a more urban, contemporary sense of personal style.  We recently tested one from RC Fibers and found it to be a great choice when traveling light.  Nearly indestructible, the clip never lost its spring and kept everything in place.

Another option is the leather money clip.  Typically secured with a magnet, these are best for cash only – particularly in the United States – as it may adversely affect a credit card’s magnetic strip.  This style is inherently more casual and well-suited for daily use.  The magnetized closure also reduces the potential concern about the clip losing its strength.   The money clip shown below is a beautifully crafted example from Frank Clegg, a preeminent leather craftsman based in Massachusetts.

Frank Clegg Shrunken Leather Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Generally speaking, we don’t like the awkward hybrid wallet-money clip creations.  They never seem to be particularly practical and we find them almost always to be lacking aesthetically.  However, as with any personal aspect of style, it’s all about individual taste and preference.  Whatever you choose, find something that speaks to your tastes and needs and hold on to it for a while.

Below are a few more examples of money clip we find particularly attractive, including a remarkable one that belonged to Marilyn Monroe’s make-up artist, Whitey Snyder.

Monogrammed Money Clip 1 Accessories: The Money Clip

Sterling Silver Hallmark Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Modern Sterling Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Marilyn Monroes Gift Tiffany Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip


OTC: What We Carry Everyday

What I Carry Picture OTC: What We Carry Everyday

OTC was recently asked to contribute a photo to the British site Everyday Carry UK showing what our editor-in-chief has in his bag and on his person any given day.  As bags and the stuff of life have always been a big part of OTC, we were happy to oblige.

While the sack may change based on need, style, and mood, what’s inside is fairly consistent.  When we tried to edit all the stuff down to a manageable representation of gear, one item inadvertently left out of the photo was a fantastic Chester Mox wallet that keeps his all-important Metro pass secure.  In addition, although out of view, the bag used that day was the Courier Messenger Bag from Frank Clegg.

This brief exercise reminded us of the many great brands, creative companies, and exceptional individuals we have met over the years.  We have linked to a few of those brands represented here.

Clockwise from top:


Orphan Barrel Whiskey Tasting Notes: Orphan Barrel Bourbon WhiskeysWe were very excited to learn that spirits company Diageo recently unveiled the new Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company, a new project aimed at locating lost and forgotten barrels of whiskey from their extensive holding around the world.

The first two variants to be released from the company include the 20-year-old Barterhouse Whiskey and the 26-year-aged Old Blowhard Whiskey.

With a retail price of US$75.00, the Barterhouse stocks were sourced from warehouses at Diageo’s Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Shuttered back in 1992, the barrels have been aging ever since; orphaned perhaps, but not lost.  Official notes indicate a soft nose reminiscent of warm spice, biscuit and buttercream.  The whiskey’s mellow taste includes notes of roasted grain, charred oak, and a brown sugar finish.  They may be planning a possible second run, but it’s not yet confirmed.

Old Blowhard stocks,  US$150.00, was also found at Stitzel-Weller.  At 26-years-old, the whiskey contains exuberant, rich flavors with undertones of smoke and honey followed by a gentle finish – dry and spicy with a hint of orange peel.  Old Blowhard whiskey is rare enough that the company has only enough for one run, so when it’s fully released and gone from the shelves, it’s gone forever.

1 Blowhard and Barterhouse bottle shot 1024x681 Tasting Notes: Orphan Barrel Bourbon WhiskeysIn an interview with the Herald-Leader, Ewan Morgan, Diageo’s Master of Whisky, said, “Old Blowhard is from old Bernheim, and it’s a 1987 distillate, and Barterhouse is from new Bernheim; it’s 1993 distillate,” Morgan said.  “They were stored on-site at Bernheim in masonry warehouses for a couple of years, then transferred to Stitzel-Weller, where we plucked them out of there.”

The two bourbons were shipped to Tullahoma, Tennessee, for bottling at Diageo’s smallest plant, which normally does about 250 barrels of George Dickel a day.  Since Barterhouse and Old Blowhard were such small runs, both Orphan Barrel releases had to be hand-filled and bottled, Morgan said.

OTC received samples of both and we were definitely impressed.  Rather than try and sound educated about this sort of thing -apart from stating that both Barterhouse and Old Blowhard are quite excellent, easy to drink, and perfectly delicious neat – we’ll defer to an actual expert.  So, for the whiskey geeks out there, John Hansell of the Whiskey Advocate did a very thorough write-up of Diego’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project, complete with his tasking notes.