Tennis Turns To Fashion Week

OTC’s trip to New York City, with the plan of covering back stage access to the US Open Women’s Final hit its first bump before the plane even left.

We sat on the runway for more than two and a half hours because of “weather issues” at LaGuardia.  Typically, these assertions can mean anything – or, to often, nothing.  But this time, I had an inside line to LGA.  My seat-mate, a youngish looking ex-military guy, had a friend in the tower who kept him abreast of the actual weather problem: tornadoes.

When we finally did make it to New York, I was whisked into the city and deposited at my hotel.  After freshening up, it was off to lunch at The Smith Midtown and meeting up with my fellow bloggers.  Then, we learned that the women’s final match had been postponed until late Sunday afternoon.  So, what to do?

Without missing a beat, our host had a new itinerary lined up in a flash: American Express’ private New York Fashion Week sky box.  So, off to Lincoln Center and through the back door into the tents.  We passed by the Mercedes Benz pavilion and turned down an unremarkable corridor, stopped at an unmarked door and, after appeasing security, passed through and entered the land of Amex.

Luckily, the outfit I had pulled together for the US Open also worked for Fashion Week (I had a little Fred Castleberry going on with the shirt).

Shirt:    J. Crew Washed Adler Tattersall
Pants:   Alpha Khakis by Dockers in navy blue
Belt:      Kiel James Patrick Hortock’s Compass Rose
Socks:  Dahlgren Metro Argyle
Shoes:  Remastered Converse Jack Purcell, by J. Crew
Bag:     Frank Clegg Signature Tote

After champagne and Tod English-catered appetizers (this is Fashion Week after all) we started with VLUV’s menswear show, not quite my or OTC’s taste, but exciting to see nonetheless. Then, we took a break to chat with Mimi Lombardo, style and fashion editor for Travel+Leisure magazine.

After that came the major show of the evening – Monique Lhuillier.  Anyone who has ever watched TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” should recognize this name.  Obviously not my forte, but the experience was pure New York glitz and glamor and a whole lot of fun for my female counterparts.

One thing I could not help but notice was the audience, above which we were perched, ensconced in luxury, and served by waiters (how many times in life will I get to say that?).  The women were for the most part decked out to the nines; elegant and trendy, no detail left to chance.  Even the more pedestrian attired ladies had a functional, classic feel to their ensembles.

The men, hover, seemed to embrace a “sloppy is cool” approach to their wardrobe with few exceptions.  Tees and jeans with fancy shoes seemed to be the rule.  Some were dressed quite smartly, but for the most part it was surprisingly schlocky for such an elegant affair.

That said, I did see a number of younger hipster dudes with the chunky Clark Kent glasses.  Their just-so college professor-inspired outfits were too often precious and overly scripted.  Cool, in a way, but forced; like they would go home and slip into some D&G black duds to loosen up.

Within the Amex Sky Box, it was a fun mix of people both enjoying the sights and sounds of Fashion Week and, for us at least, missing the US Open a little less.  Tomorrow – brunch with the charming and fascinating Richard Press, former CEO of the iconic J. Press.


Alpha Khakis and the US Open

We are actually combining two things here: a product review and collaboration announcement.  It’s all about Docker’s Alpha Khakis and US Open tennis.

OTC is excited to announce that we will be covering the women’s final match of the US Open this coming Saturday.  OTC is partnering with American Express to give our readers a behind-the-scenes look at Flushing Meadows and one of the biggest matches in the sport of tennis.  So keep an eye on OTC, our Twitter feed, and Facebook page over the next couple of days, because we are gearing up for a really cool time.

As part of this outstanding opportunity, we are pulling together an outfit appropriate for the sporty elegance of an evening tennis match that draws the likes of Jay Z and Ralph Lauren, not to mention the ever dapper Roger Federer – on court or off.  We’ll be looking to mix sport with casual elegance and with some thoughtful assistance from American Express, will be adding a couple of pieces to the OTC wardrobe.  First thing on the list? A pair of navy Alpha Khakis by Dockers.

Dockers has gone through a revival of sorts; from baggy office park casual Friday wear to a refreshed and resurgent brand now on the style radar of anyone looking for a solid pair of pants.  The Alpha is Dockers’ answer to the question of what to wear when you don’t want to wear jeans.  And, they nailed the answer.

Dockers likes to tout that Alphas are where, “jeans end and khakis begin.”  In many ways there are spot on.  The fit and feel of these pants is far more jeans thank khakis and the cotton itself feels dense and durable.  The fit is slim and the pants fit slightly below the waist – definitely a jeans-inspired waist.  The slim silhouette carries through to the seat and thigh, ending with a tapered leg.

For some the fit may be too slim, uncomfortably so.  So, don’t kid yourself; in terms of fit, think khaki jeans.  That said, we love them and get regular compliments for the clearly modern styling and overall neat and contemporary look. While not the best match for dressier occasions, when looking for a jeans-alternative, they are a great option and one we are happy to have.

And don’t forget to check out how we put our navy pair to work for the US Open.



What comes to mind when you hear, “Hart Schaffner Marx?” Perhaps you think of your dad’s two-button lawyerly-looking gray suit? You know, the one with the center-vent jacket, pleated trousers and conservative, boxy profile. Well made, yes; but certainly not anything to which you aspired.

The same often holds true for memories of that other built-in-America label, Hickey Freeman; quality, but not too much style. However, that’s all changed due to one very well-known menswear designer.

Yesterday, OTC and a select grouping of other menswear websites, had the chance to spend the evening with Image Granted’s Grant Harris and Cillian Shannon, manager of Streets of Georgetown, and learn more about Streets’ retail concept and the brands of HMX Group.

Under the guidance of legendary clothier Joseph Abboud, president and COO of HMX Group, the Hart Schaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman brands have been thoroughly re-thought, re-designed, and rebuilt. Parent company HMX Group – formed through the 2009 purchase of Hartmarx Corporation by Emerisque Brands UK and its partner SKNL North America – has brought back to life two of America’s most storied menswear labels with a decidedly modern twist.

These are not you dad’s suits.

The Streets retail concept is a way for HMX to bring together its entire collection of brands under one roof. The idea is the brainchild of Mr. Abboud himself, and is designed to showcase the modern, elegant, and quality-driven changes visited upon his family of brands. “Streets” references the high shopping street found in any major city and speaks to the tailoring of offerings that meet local demands.

Georgetown and Beverly Hills play host to the two active stores and more are planned in key markets such as Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.

The store houses both off-the-rack tailored clothing – Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, and Coppley – and sportswear, including the Bobby Jones golf collection and Palm Beach resort wear labels.

Core to the tailored clothing business model is Streets incredibly flexible Made to Measure shop up on the second floor. While they are still working to get an in-house tailoring shop set up, all customization, detail selection, mark-ups , and fittings are done in-store and the options made available, from fabrics to linings, is impressive.

Abboud’s deftly elegantly touch is especially apparent in the Hickey and Hart Schaffner products. Truly exceptional fabrics pair with a suite of suiting fits that subtly move from modern traditional to of-the-moment trim and contemporary. The stores collection of shirts, ties, and accessories are well chosen and compliment the bespoke feel of the space and quality of the tailored goods.

Washington D.C.’s Georgetown is itself in the midst of a retail renaissance. Major brands have moved in and the tone of the neighborhood is less college bar and more SOHO swank. Ralph Lauren, Rugby, Brooks Brothers, Rag and Bone, Jack Spade, Vineyard Vines, and a host of other major players and pricy boutiques are a good fit for the Streets of Georgetown.

Please make sure to stop by 1254 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, next time you are in town.


We here at OTC wish to offer up a big, sincere “Thank You,” to everyone who voted and supported our nomination!  OTC’s founder and editor-in-chief, Chris Hogan, made it to the winner’s circle and was crowned “Dandiest at the Derby” by Brooks Brothers’ fans!

Thanks are also due to our photographer par excellence, Mr. Steven Ritchie, and Mrs. OTC for her invaluable guidance when it comes to ties and choice of image entries (and, frankly, everything else).

Brooks Brothers is an American institution when it comes to classic Ivy League and American preppy styles, but it also leads the way in connecting with a new generation of customers fluent in Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and mobile e-commerce.  While we celebrate and promote the many outstanding start-up and boutique brands helping to redefine the best in menswear and American style, historic and invaluable brands like Brooks Brothers continue to set important benchmarks towards which we all race.

Last year, OTC ran a series of in-depth articles on the history and importance of Brooks Brothers.  Please take a moment and have a read:

Brooks Brothers: American Icon (Part I)
Brooks Brothers: American Icon (Part II)
Brooks Brothers: American Icon (Part III)
Brooks Brothers: American Icon (Part IV)


Mark your menswear calendar for this Saturday, April 28.  Confirmed Stock is hosting it’s debut pop-up retail event at the 2640 Space in Baltimore, Maryland’s Charles Village neighborhood.

OTC is proud to support and promote this outstanding event, conceived, created, and brought to life by Charm City locals.  Chock full of creative and innovative menswear clothing, accessories, and dry goods brands, Confirmed Stock is set to become the Mid-Atlantic’s keystone menswear event.

The mission of Confirmed Stock is to present a well-curated selection of high quality and mostly American-made goods from some of the best brands around.  For more information on this exciting event, including hours and directions, please click here.

The products on offer at Confirmed Stock are things you can feel good about, from businesses and people you’ll feel good about supporting.  In many cases you’ll be able to shake the hand of the person who made your item.

Some outstanding brands are set to be part of this pop-up, (including a few you have seen profiled on OTC): Almanac Industries, Ball and Buck, Blue Claw Co., Cause and Effect, Corter Leather, CXXVI, Federal, Fischer Clothing, Greenwich Vintage Co., Hellbrand Leatherworks, Jack Robie, Lumina Clothing, Mister Crow, Randolph Engineering, Ruell and Ray, Sandtown Millworks, Sixteen Tons, and Two Inch Cuffs.

To learn more about the brands participating in Confirmed Stock, click here.