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Some things just say summer: sweet tea; old, faded Nantucket Reds; a seersucker suit and Panama hat; and to us, a nice pair of neutral suede correspondent shoes. Also referred to as spectator and co-respondent shoes, these classic warm weather brogues are both a throwback to the golden years of menswear – generally given to be the 1920s through 1940s – and a modern statement on the value of classic style.

A fantastic modern adaptation of this iconic shoe is the new Conard Wingtip from Johnston & Murphy. Available in three colorways, we chose the tone-on-tone grey and off-white suede palette. It’s a more casual combination that can be dressed down or up as desired and, as they become more weathered, will develop a careworn personality that speaks to our Ivy League sensibilities.

We have partnered with Johnston & Murphy to give away a pair Conards to one lucky OTC reader – see the details below.

For a more formal option, the tan calfskin and beige linen model is an on-point example of how to reference classic flair in a modern shoe. It possesses a lawn party sort of glamor, but the contemporary shape and styling read “today” without sacrificing the style and texture that make this a truly classic shoe. Lastly, the Conard comes in a tan, all-calfskin model.

2015-05-18 14.16.37Johnston & Murphy also took the time to modernize the shoe’s interior, making it all-day comfortable. This is not a minor point. While men are becoming more attuned to the style and design of their footwear, they are not women. If the shoes hurt, back in the box they go; it doesn’t matter how cool they look. In addition to a lightly cushioned foot bad, the shoe has good arch support and a firm but flexible fit overall.

We quite literally took the shoes out of the box, put them on, and walked around the city all day. Broken in comfort right from the start.

The full leather lining makes going sock-less an option and, by the way, the suede model looks great with shorts.

Win Your Own Pair of J&M Conard Wingtips

How would like your own pair of summer wingtips? OTC has joined forces with Johnston & Murphy to make it happen for one OTC reader. So, throw your hat in the ring and you may be walking in warm weather style!

Entering is quick and easy:

  1. Leave comment telling us why you need some summer footwear swagger
  2. Like Off the Cuff on Facebook
  3. Follow Off the Cuff on Instagram
  4. Follow Johnston & Murphy on Instragram

That’s it! The giveaway closes on Friday, May 29, 2015.

 

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Norhtern Grade DC 2015

From Friday, May 29 through Sunday, May 31, Northern Grade – the nationally-acclaimed roving marketplace, featuring brands that manufacture their goods in the U.S. – will land in Washington, DC, for the first time. The two-day, free and open-to-the-public retail experience will take place inside of Union Market’s Dock 5 space, located adjacent to the market. Dock 5, home to previous fashion events, including the Gilt Warehouse Sale and Thread, will be transformed once again into a bazaar-like journey, showcasing a variety of local and national Men’s and Women’s fashion creatives, along with music, spirits and fine cuisine.

Northern Grade DC will welcome on-trend brands, including:

  • Filson (Seattle, WA)
  • Chippewa Boots (Fort Worth, TX)
  • The Brooklyn Circus (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Brookes Boswell (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Gamine Workwear (Boston, MA)
  • United by Blue (Philadelphia, PA)
  • HEUCY (New York, NY)
  • Coronado Leather (San Diego, CA)
  • Pierrepont Hicks (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1775 Clothing (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Stock Manufacturing Co (Chicago, IL)
  • Krammer & Stoudt (New York, NY)
  • Shockoe Atelier (Richmond, VA)
  • Lumina (Raleigh, NC)
  • Throne Watches (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 440 Supply (Raleigh, NC)

Several local DC brands will also be part of the fun:

  • Gordy’s Pickle Jar
  • Appointed, Florescent Co.
  • Boldfoot Socks
  • Be Clean
  • Gitli Goods
  • Mallory Shelter Jewelry
  • Kicheko Goods
  • Caryn Cramer
  • Local men’s boutiques Mutiny DC and Federal

Style setters may recognize the exclusively-made in the USA market from cities such as Austin, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis. “After collaborating last year with GQ and Fashionsita for separate men’s and women’s marketplaces last year, we are beyond excited for the launch of our first combined event in Washington DC at Union Market”, says Northern Grade Co-founder Katherine McMillan. “We have produced 21 events all around the country over the last few years, but this will be the most diverse line up of brands we have ever had involved in terms of style and product offerings”.

Northern Grade will set-up-shop adjacent to Union Market, at Dock 5, on Friday, May 29 from 3-8pm; Saturday, May 30 from 11am-7pm;Sunday, May 31 from 11am-5pm.

 

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Whenever we have the opportunity to meet a new brand and examine products carefully crafted by someone obsessed with expressing who they are, what they value, or perhaps how they see the world, we take our time to tell the story. There have been instances when when a few weeks or even a month or two may pass before we render an opinion and share our thoughts. In this case, it still took a little while – but for all the best reasons.

Glendon Lambert is a wonderful Brooklyn-based accessories brand. While it seems like every accessories brand is currently based in Brooklyn, the products on offer from this truly we-composed label are not kitsch or particularly trendy. They are deceptively exquisite items masquerading as potential furnishings for hipsters who are now grown up. Narrow professorial yet iconoclastic ties, artisanal wool pocket squares, and the obligatory bow tie all speak to what you would expect from a Brooklyn borough haberdashery.

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Here’s the thing, though. We love a great bow tie and have been fans of the Ivy League history don look longer than most of our readers have been alive. As for pocket squares, well, they are possibly the most useful piece of male peacockery invented. Those points aside, what shines through in materials, detail, and construction is Glendon Lambert Breismeister’s (yes, that’s really his name) love of his craft.

Classic in form and material, yet fresh and contemporary in execution, his seasonal bright green color-blocked pocket square crafted from worsted Mexican wool is fun yet substantial.  In fact, many of the wools used are made exclusively just for them.

The Chain Link tie rendered in a light natural linen decorated with a mid-century inspired red link pattern is beautifully finished but not at all stuffy or ironic. It’s a clever, sharp tie that will get a lot of use for quite some time.

So, the reason it took us a while to tell their story is that this jewel of a brand has done it right. Glendon has a voice and it’s a clear one. He has a viewpoint and its distinctive. And, he has a standard for his brand and its very high. No surprise then, that Glendaon Lambert will be rolling out shirting and leather bags in the near future. Something tells us they’ll be pretty darn good too.

Reflective of this high standard is the fact that Glendon Lambert is carried through the online retailer Roztayger, home to a wonderfully curated collections of luxury bags, accessories, and apparel for both men and women. In fact, the Roztayger team helped bring the brand to our attention.

We are particular fans of Roztayger because they seek out, as their website puts it, “smaller, independent-minded designers that don’t follow trends or forecasts but rather draw upon ideas that have come before while applying their own vision and innovation… what results is timeless, beautiful and infinitely useful.” We could not have said it better.

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OTC x Honourmark

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Here at Off the Cuff, we have the privilege of meeting some pretty extraordinary craftspeople. The one thing they all have in common is a deep-seated desire to be the best in their chosen field of expertise. Suits, shirts, khakis, denim, leather goods, footwear, handmade bags, ties, and even grooming supplies.

We founded this site with the goal of helping men find a natural balance between classic, East Coast Ivy League style and the modern, contemporary life we all lead in the world today. To us, this is an expression of love and respect for tradition, combined with an appreciation for the realities of our modern lives. We see it as making the classic practical and even new again.

Unique among the many brands we are honored to call friends is a company especially tied to the original intent of OTC. So, in that vein, we are very exited to announce that OTC is the Brand Ambassador for menswear company, Honourmark.

Honourmark is obsessed with creating casually polished executive-level clothing that meets technical, performance level standards. To us, it’s the epitome of OTC’s mantra:“classic style meets modern life.”

We take this sort of relationship very seriously – which is why we are also publicly announcing it.

Honourmark’s goal, to create exceptional made-in-America garments that celebrate the Monday-Friday lives that all men lead, is born out in their dedication to craft the c-suite equivalent of technical adventure clothing. And yes, that’s a quote from our review of the British Motorcycle Jacket post on Honourmark’s homepage. However, we had nothing to do with it’s prominent selection (thrilled regardless).

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What this means for OTC readers is that, as we have been doing for some time, we will test and review various products, support the Honourmark brand through our social media channels, and occasionally promote special events, such as the current Father’s Day special during which you can save 30% on your order.

We also wear their clothes a lot, because we love their stuff, plain and simple. There is the potential for other OTC x Honourmark activations down the road. Should they come to pass, we will of course clearly disclose them.

While we have and will continue to collaborate with other brands that closely match OTC’s mission, this is our first formal Brand Ambassador relationship and we wanted to make sure you know about it.

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Birchbox & Baxter of California


2015-05-07 20.34.23-1Skincare brand Baxter of California has earned a cult-like following, and with good reason. As one of the original men’s grooming brands, created by Baxter Finley in 1965, Baxter of California has stayed true to its mission of nature plus science.

Cutting edge for its time, and way ahead of the men’s grooming trend by decades, the brand started with just one product – Super Shape, a men’s skin conditioner that offered protection from the sun and sea.

Over the years, they pioneered a comprehensive range of products tailored to a man’s needs – and OTC has been a longtime fan and customer. To honor those years of dedication, one of our other favorite brands, Birchbox, is throwing a bit of a party with a special edition box.

Offered in special packaging that celebrates Baxter of California’s surf and sand heritage, the box is available for US$20 through May 9th, 2015, by clicking here and entering the promotion code “BAXTER15″ at checkout.

Included in your box:

  • Daily Face Wash
  • Super Close Shave Formula
  • After Shave Balm
  • Clarifying Clay Mask
  • Surfrider Candle

So, consider your summer dopp kit stocked. But hurry up!