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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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Win a Bull+Moose Bow Tie

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It’s no secret that we are big fans of tie-maker extraordinaire, Bull+Moose.

One of the things that makes this brand noteworthy is that its exceptional ties are truly affordable and even include free shipping.  And, B+M ties, with material and construction quality at least equal to the likes of Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren, could go for a whole lot more. The company is able to make high quality hand-made ties at such a disruptive price point because they cut out the middleman.

Bull + Moose is a small, veteran run operation that is fixated on making great products and has fashion heavyweight like GQ and Esquire singing its praises. Without the overhead or licensing fees of large fashion labels or wholesale companies, B+M can pass cost savings directly to customers while still being able to support to great causes like Got Your 6 – an important company goal right from the beginning.

Now, you can win your very own B+M bow tie – the same tweed one shown here on their brand ambassador-in-chief, polo star Brandon Phillips. Entering is easy as 1-2-3:

1. Like B+M and OTC on Facebook

2. Follow B+M and OTC on Instagram

3. Leave a comment here and tell us how you’d wear it!

The contest closes at midnight on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. So, hurry up and enter!

*While we have no doubt this tie will make you look extra dapper and even natty, OTC cannot guarantee you will transform into an international polo champion with perfectly rugged stubble and a smoldering stare.

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Dream Space: A Study of Your Own

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When the innovative technology company Dyson approached us and asked that we write about what a dream space means to OTC, we quickly agreed. Often, “dream space” is associated with the ideal female getaway, but men often want the same thing too. It can be described as an office, library, retreat, man cave, workshop, or even just “my room.” However, we prefer the the more refined and light-filled description of a “study.”

The label of study reflects a place of thoughtfulness and meaningful introspection.  It is not where you go to retreat from the world so much as a place to explore it; recharge and reflect on important ideas, thoughts, issues, topics, and pastimes. A study is not simply where you keep your stuff. It is akin to a library, yet not all libraries are studies. Where a library can sometimes be a mere repository of ideas and information, a study is a living, breathing place that feeds your creativity and curiosity.

No wonder then that the heart of OTC is a small, book- and sample-filled study.

DSC_0530To us, a study is not simply a work space; it is a living place, a thinking place, a writing place, and a home base for ideas. Even though every study is personal and unique, they all tend to have some things in common.

Collections: One of the key purposes of a study is to serve as a physical repository for your ideas and passions. It is a home for important collections such as books, papers, pens, watches, or pictures – whatever they may be. Some studies are a study in precise order and control. Others are an explosion of color and stuff; a cacophony of objects that to an outsider have no meaning or cohesion. Yet, to the owner, everything has a purpose and a role. Every item is cherished.

To us, the study is very much a home for ideas and personal expression. It’s a place to keep your thoughts and materials together. The OTC study is home to hundreds of books, art, and a ton of collateral from brand that span the globe.  We have an extensive menswear library and piles of publications covering the menswear, luxury goods, and lifestyle markets. Our wall of books cover all sorts of subjects and disciplines, and many of them have been in the family for close on 100 years.

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Art: Pictures and sculptures are something else that make a study more personal and interesting. Art is a true expression of personal interest, and each piece often has a story and meaning. For us, art is what makes a space and it is a physical way to express the things you value in life. The OTC study is chock full of old water colors and oil paintings, classic equestrian prints, family photos from the 1920s, historic keepsakes, trophies, globes, and even a cherished portrait of Napoleon.

Work Space: You need a place to write, stack, organize, and sort. A traditional desk, of course makes sense, but if you have the space, we also like the  idea of a large open work table. Position your work space near the natural light of a window or ensure that your task and indirect lighting provides proper illumination. Think about storage and shelving too, as organization is key to keeping your space clean and orderly.

Seating: Apart from your desk chair, a good lounge chair for sitting, reading, thinking, or researching is always helpful. It also has a way of transforming your room from a spare space to a true intellectual retreat. Here, her have a simple small club chair in a light tartan, but you can opt for something more substantial, like a beefy duck cotton or leather. If you have the space, and the budget, create a separate reading area in your study; a small sofa and coffee table or circle of occasional chairs,  make a nice place to sit and work.

Restoration Hardware Library SofaFor our money, you can’t do much better than Restoration Hardware’s sprawling Kensington Sofa. Part leather couch, part daybed, it’s an ideal place to think and spread out – if you have the room!

Personalizing your space and making it comfortable and productive are essential tasks for creating a study that meets your needs.  Keeping it clean and organized are equally important to ensuring that your study evolves in a positive and useful fashion. To that end, we are running a very cool giveaway contest.

You can win your very own Dyson DC59 Motorhead vacuum. This flexible and efficient cleaning tool is perfect for compact spaces or general cleaning and it’s cordless design makes it that much more versatile. In fact, it’s the latest Dyson Digital Slim™ cordless vacuum and designed for maximum performance, ease of use and versatility, it has a direct-drive motor in the cleaner head.

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We are true fans of Dyson and are long-time users. The cool thing about the Dyson DC59 Motorhead is that it’s designed for floor-to-ceiling cleaning. The center of gravity is located towards the grip for easy handling up top, down low, and in-between. So, with a hand tool like that, there is no excuse for not keeping your study clean and organized.

To enter the giveaway contest, all you have to do is leave a brief comment to this post answering the question: “What is your dream space and what Dyson DC59 Motorhead feature do you enjoy the most?”

Thanks to Dyson for sponsoring today’s discussion.

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Bonobos Sweeps Logo

To celebrate the anticipated opening of its new Guideshop La Brea in Los Angeles on June 20, Bonobos has launched a very cool “LA Giveaway” sweepstakes that includes some great stuff, valued up to $3,500!

If selected, you will win:

So, in addition to the travel perks and fancy hotel, the winner will be able to stock up on Bonobos products perfect for the summer – and of course, L.A. weather – like their outstanding selection of casual shirts or seasonal slim suiting.  We happen to be partial to Bonobos’ famously comfortable chinos, now available in summer weight fabrics.

So, don’t delay, enter your email for a chance to win, now through June 8, 2014!

 

Pro Am Athletes

Hey OTC readers, as most of you already know, we here at Of the Cuff are big fans of Bonobos – both the company and clothing.  Well, for the sports-minded among you, the Bonobos “Pro-Am Bracket Challenge” is giving fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to team up with a sports legend to create their March bracket and win big.

But you need to sign up now!

Through Bonobos’ “Pro-Am Bracket Challenge”, fans have the choice to team up with baseball hall-of-famer Rollie Fingers, six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, national Soccer hall of famer Marceo Balboa, former Guinness world record holder for the longest paper airplane throw Stephen Kreiger, or 800-lb sumo wrestler Emanual Yarbough.

How it Works:

1.     Hurry up, because time is almost up!  Register with Bonobos starting today. You’ll then have until March 20th at noon EST to fill out your bracket.

2.     Once your bracket is selected, without any knowledge of the Pros’ bracket picks, you’ll pick one person to be your partner.

3.     Scores will be accumulated from their partners and their own brackets

4.     The individual with the most points at the end of the tournament wins.

1st Prize

  • Two (2) tickets to the 2015 Final Four Tournament (ARV: $1,500.oo)
  • One Thousand Dollars (ARV:$1,000.00) in Bonobos Store Credit
  • Signed bracket from the Sports Legends (Priceless)
  • Total First Place Prize ARV: $2,500

2nd Prize

  • Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) in Bonobos Store Credit
  • Total Second Place Prize ARV: $500

3rd Prize

  • Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($250.00) in Bonobos Store Credit
  • Total Third Place Prize ARV: $250

Bonobos will host exclusive promotions throughout the tournament for bracket members as well. Everybody wins!

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