Frank Clegg Launches New Web Presence

President Obama Frank Clegg Bag Frank Clegg Launches New Web Presence
Today, we are excited to announce that master leather craftsman Frank Clegg has launched a completely new website.  With a clean new look that highlights his exceptional collection of handcrafted leather goods, Frank’s new site is a study in focus and clarity.

Frank Clegg has been in the luxury goods business for more than 40 years and makes some of the best leather travel bags, briefcases, and classic totes, and accessories on the market.  While Frank and his small team of craftsmen design and build elegant leather goods under the Frank Clegg name, the workshop also produces outstanding products for some of the most revered of American luxury labels.

Frank is an artist of the old school; he learned craft over time and understands that when true luxury is involved, less is definitely more.  What makes Frank particularly unique is that he is both a designer and a craftsman.  Everything sold by Frank Clegg was designed by him and made in-house.

Black Ziptop Frank Clegg Frank Clegg Launches New Web PresenceIn fact, he is held in such high esteem that when the White House went looking for a made-in-America personal briefcase for President Obama, they turned to Frank.  That Zip-Top Briefcase next to the Resolute Desk in the photo above, Frank made that himself.

You only need to examine a Frank Clegg product to know that he doesn’t just make leather bags; he crafts heirlooms, one at a time, by hand.  Luxury leather work is a deceivingly complex craft. Even the modern conveniences of machines and computerized design must bow to the master of time, because it still takes time to create such durable beauty.

Indeed, Frank may practice an age-old craft, but this creative innovator is very much on the pulse of today’s luxury goods market.

To that end, the new website also showcases a few new bags, including the moderne Diablo Briefcase and a Suede Shield Duffle Bag that is part of his collection with designer Michael Bastain, both below:

Frank Clegg Diablo Briefcase Frank Clegg Launches New Web Presence

Frank Clegg Michael Bastian Suede Duffle Frank Clegg Launches New Web Presence

 

One Good Suit: Indochino

Indochino 1 a One Good Suit: Indochino
Indochino has been one of the single most important influences in the business of made-to-measure suiting.  The company was a first mover when it created the first truly viable online customized clothing model, a market that continues to expand everyday.

While ubiquitous today, when Indochino launched in 2007 the idea of actually spending real money for a custom suit bought over the internet and manufactured somewhere in China was at best, iffy.  But Indochino focused on a core message of customization at a fair price, speed, and the potential ease of reorders, allowing a customer to expand his custom clothing wardrobe.  A website that acts design and retail home base backed up by their innovative Traveling Tailor pop-up shops has kept Indichino at the front of the online custom suit pack.

Indochino Labels One Good Suit: IndochinoThis suit was actually selected during a 2013 Traveling Tailor event in Washington, D.C.  It is the Premium Gray Three-Piece Suit in Reda fabric, which was a special run and not always available.  The super 140 weight is just right for a three-season suit and the classic cut and color is appropriate for almost any situation.  We opted for two-button, notch lapel, side vents, working sleeve buttons, ticket pocket, and no cuffs on the trousers.

The quality of construction and design as quit impressive and frankly better than expected, given the business model.  As with all Indochino products, it arrived in purpose-designed packing, slickly branded, and ready to wear.  Except that it wasn’t.  Even though measurements were taken in person by an Indochino staffer, the suit coat and vest were both too tight.  To their credit, the company unquestioningly held to their satisfaction guarantee, fixed the issue, and quickly replaced both pieces, updating the online profile as well.

While certainly frustrating, such a situation is also to be expected with this kind of business model.  It’s part of the price when removing ongoing personal attention from a very personal craft.  In the end, mattered was how the problem was resolved, in this case very well.

The goal for this suit was to be the one go-to suit that works for most situations.  We feel the effort was a success; it’s a great suit of cloths that fits well, has comfortably slim cut that works dressed up with a tie or toned down with an open collar.  The trouser break is slight, so depending on the shoes chosen the look can be ankle flash mod or meeting-ready sober.

While having a big suit wardrobe may work for CEOs, lawyers, and other boardroom dwellers, the fact is that most men do not need more than two or three.

Wanting more is another thing, and a desire that Indochino is more than happy to satisfy.

Indochino 2 a One Good Suit: Indochino

Indochino 3 a One Good Suit: Indochino

Suit: Indochino
Shirt: Thomas Pink
Tie: Andrew’s Ties
Pochet: Alan Flusser
Shoes: Paul Evans

 

BirchBox Grooming 1 Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming Goods

Birchbox is an innovative and creative brand that has helped to create the curated product discovery market.  Founded in 2010, Birchbox helps consumers discover beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products through monthly deliveries of curated, deluxe samples that are tailored to their personal profile.

Updated Birchbox Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming GoodsAn important trend in the evolution of retail for both brands and consumers lies in the discovery experience.  Birchbox brings the excitement of product discovery online and its innovative approach allows brands and consumers to connect in a unique and intimate way.

Each new box includes a mix of products across categories – haircare to skincare and body, plus lifestyle extras.  Their distinct product offerings cater to both men and women via dedicated website sections and individual marketing outreach.  Special seasonal and holiday boxes also provide unique opportunities to sample new items and introduce new brands and products.

Recently, Birchbox Man sent us some new grooming samples from Gentleman’s Brand Co., Mr. Natty, and Sachajuan.  From hair gel to Bay Rum aftershave to daily moisturizer, our Birchbox samples are all outstanding and unique.

In the Birchbox e-shop, they sell full-sized versions of every product they sample, as well as other editor-selected products. With a highly personalized and targeted profile, Birchbox allows consumers to try the best and latest products in their home, including hard-to-find international or niche brands, and then provides a seamless way to purchase the full size versions of the products they love.  Pretty smart.

The Birchbox site also features robust editorial content designed to educated and inspire consumers; from how-to videos to expert interviews, and beauty news roundups.

In just 3 years, the company has experienced rapid organic growth and now boasts more than 400,000 current, active subscribers each month. In April 2012 Birchbox Man was launched for customers in the United States, and in November 2012, Home items were added to the Birchbox Shop. The acquisition of JolieBox in September 2012 expanded Birchbox to the UK, France, and Spain.

BirchboxLogoNew Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming Goods

 

 

 

 

 

TADPraetorianHoodie gunsgear.tumblr.com  OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

Triple Aught Design, based in San Francisco, is a favorite of OTC because they make unique and functional gear that works in the real worlda nd with real wardrobes.

A perfect example of this form-follows-function approach to TAD design is the Preatorian Hoodie.  As with most of TAD’s apparel, there is a decidedly tactical and military-inspired look to this layering piece.  That said, what really shines through with this 100% merino wool hoodie is it’s clean and straightforward design, functional details, and solid construction.

TADPraetorianHoodieFancy Asher OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian HoodieAs with other TAD products, this one received many unsolicited compliments from guys who typically commented on its style, design, and overall wear-ability.

There is something inherently functional in all of their designs that speaks to a masculine aesthetic built on practicality and use.  These are core elements of East Coast style and the preppy ethos; stuff built for work that has been appropriated for everyday use.

Some of the key elements that we like in the Praetorian Hoodie are the trim but comfortable fit, study and smooth zippers, and solid feel of the merino wool construction.  Warming or cooling as needed, the wool has a natural stretch and softness that makes it a perfect, and dressier, sweatshirt stand-in.

The hoodie’s hood is big and deep, almost a cowl-line; but nonetheless practical.  The two hand warmer pockets are well-sized and have an angled shape that creates a safe spot for keys and your phone.  The zippered chest pocket is a great design element that is unexpected in a zippered sweater.  And, even with a smartphone in there, no sagging or pulling.

As with other active life tops, the Praetorian Hoodie’s sleeves end with discreet thumb holes in the even you want to take out for a cool weather run, layer under a shell, or just keep your wrists warm.

Lastly, one feature that really makes us happy, especially with this winter’s spate of cold, windy weather, is the elongated zipper that runs well up the neck to your chin, closing out the cold and keeping you warm.  This feature also explains the wider than average hood design.

When this hoodie arrived at OTC headquarters, it went right on and has been a daily choice ever since.  Part sweater, part workout gear, part travel buddy.  The Praetorian hoodie is another win from Triple Aught Design.

S14 PraetorianHoodie Slate Iso Image OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

S14 PraetorianHoodie Slate Iso Hood Image OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

 

 

Paul Evans Grant 4 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian QualityWe realized there was something special about Paul Evans oxfords the moment we put them on.  OTC tests products in a somewhat unique way, taking longer to assess a brand than most other blogs or websites.  We make the products we review part of our daily lives.

That means we wear the clothes, carry the bags, write with the pens, and use the gadgets.  We also walk miles in the shoes and boots and throw stuff in the wash whenever we can.  In many cases, we continue to use and carry the items you read about here – testament to our long-standing goal of recommending products and brands we ourselves actually use long after the review is posted.  We strive to provide our readers with a comprehensive assessment of the products and brands we recommend.

2014 02 04 17.00.52 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian QualityTo that end, slipping on those Paul Evans Grant oxfords was a departure from the many other shoes we have tried out.

Paul Evans’ Grant is built on a European last that among other things, provides a distinctive and noticeable arch support.  It’s an immediate sensation that signals to the wearer that he is experiencing something different.  Good different.

It holds the foot at a stronger angle and provides greater heel stability.  It prompts the wearer to assume a more formal stance and mature posture.  Not at all uncomfortable, simply different and, in a way, compellingly confident.

Combined with outstanding Italian construction, and beautifully soft calfskin uppers burnished to a soft glow, these shoes are, in a word, exceptional.  Fully leather lined and Blake stitched, they are light, flexible, and sturdy.  These shoes are also simply beautiful to look at; lean and elegant but also firmly masculine and substantial.  Even paired with trim jeans and an odd sport coat, they make you look great.

The Grant is a dress shoe in the best of ways, meaning that its balance of elegance and construction create something that both attracts attention but defies explanation.  We constantly had people comment on and compliment these shoes, often without calling out a particular feature.  Typically, it was something to the effect of, “oh my gosh – what shoes are those? They’re gorgeous.”

What truly impressed us was the fact that the substance lives up to the style.  For the price, this degree of refined style and exceptional construction is simply not found in other dress shoes.  In addition, as a small company, the Paul Evens team is personally committed to maintaining the quality of their products in a way that larger companies cannot.  They are shoes guys obsessed with making world class footwear at a fair price and building a loyal following that appreciates those values.

OTC thinks they are off to a great start.  Oh, the suede loafers and chukkas look killer too.

Paul Evans Grant 1 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality

Paul Evans Grant 5 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality

Paul Evans Grant 2 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality