Holiday Gift? In the J. Panther Bag

JPLC Courier Ruc Tan Canvas Holiday Gift? In the J. Panther Bag

J. Panther Luggage company makes one of our all time favorite brief bags, the Courier Ruc.  With a design based on the classic zip-around form and a build made to handle New York commutes, the Courier Ruc is an elegantly durable hybrid.

J.Panther Logo Holiday Gift? In the J. Panther BagNow, the JPLC folks have added to the Ruc family, rending their flagship bag in 21 ounce military-spec canvas and finished with premium Horween leather trim.  In either sand or olive canvas, the bag is a functional work of art that carries what you need for the day in style.

The water-resistant canvas ages beautifully while fully retaining its durability, and the heavy-duty coil zips keep even the heaviest rain at bay.  An elegantly designed interior opens up in book-like style to offer a perfect fit for a laptop, while a variety of compartments and pockets neatly store daily tools ranging from iPad to iPhone, pens to business cards.

So, even though our 2013 OTC Holiday Wish List is right around the corner, we wanted to give our friends at JPLC a special thumbs up for expanding their core line the right way.  All the well thought-out elements of the Ruc’s design are in place, now wrapped in an elegant, casual, and durable body that we are sure will age fantastically.

JPLC Courier Ruc Olive Canvas Holiday Gift? In the J. Panther Bag


OTC Father’s Day Guide

Looking for some last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas?  OTC has pulled together a few great options that will make it look like you spent days, not minutes, tracking down the best ideas.

From a gift box subscription to the perfect shirt, some sharp watches to an exceptional pen, we’ve got you covered.  Even some amazing headphones made from cherry wood.

Birchbox Men
$20.00 / Month


2013 05 21 16.05.05 1024x768 OTC Fathers Day Guide


Citizen Primo Chronograph

Citizen Primo Chronograph OTC Fathers Day Guide

Timex T2N932 Chronograph


Timex Chronograph T2N932 OTC Fathers Day Guide


LSTN Troubadour Headphones


LSTNCherryTroubadour 1024x640 OTC Fathers Day Guide


Hugh & Crye Firefly Shirt

HughandCrye Firefly Shirt OTC Fathers Day Guide


Baltz Exemplar Pen

Baltz Exemplar1 OTC Fathers Day Guide


2012 OTC Holiday Wish List

This year, OTC went looking for some great classic items that add to your sense of style, fill a real need, and posses the kind of quality that lets them last a good long time.  When we looked for this year’s choices, we turned to some brands yo know and some we hope you’ll get to know.  We also made a point of focusing on the basics, the stuff that sometimes gets lost along the way as well as some uniquely exceptional gifts for your self.

Regardless, a once-in-a-lifetime bespoke suit, a great pen, an exceptional tote, or some killer earphones can each make a big difference in your day-to-day life.

- Happy Holidays from the OTC team!


Birchbox Man

sev birchbox mens de 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListWe have had a chance to check out several gift box subscription services and the one which consistently stands out from the pack is Birchbox.

These folks always seems to find truly unique, useful, and stylish stuff for guys.  Our most recent box contained a set of whiskey stones to keep our Blanton’s Original Single Barrel bourbon chilled, a lovely little flack for a snoot on the go, and a sharp Rumba diver watch on a jaunty nylon strap.  And, for $20 a month, it is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.


A Jon Green Bespoke Suit

Jon Green Bespoke Fitting StyleForum 2012 OTC Holiday Wish List“Bespoke” is a term that every online MTM site seems to throw out with abandon.  You know how many of those “custom tailors” actually turn out anything remotely resembling bespoke? None.

Bespoke is a defined, established code of exacting craftsmanship achievable by only a rarefied few.  The making of a true bespoke suit takes time, money, patience, and a willingness to focus on what works for you and your physique.  In the United States, one of the finest bespoke clothiers around is Jon Green, of New York City.  Jon is both an obsessive craftsman and engaging gentleman.

Starting around $7,500 for a two-piece suit, these are not for everyone.  But, if you demand truly customized perfection in your garments, and you have several months to spare, Jon Green will provide you with the suit of your dreams – and your life.  And, when you look at it the context of your life, that is a fair price to pay for something you will always want to put on, year after year.


Baltz Exemplar+ Writing Instrument

Baltz Exemplar 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListA good pen is a lifelong companion.  With time, it’s useful functionality is gives way to familiarity and comfort.  It becomes part of your kit, your stuff; those things that go with you wherever it is you go.

Baltz Writing instruments are handmade in Raleigh, North Carolina, by former college pals, Bart Creasman and Cass Baltz.  They are dedicated to creating unique pens that stand apart from the masses, perform flawlessly, and through their distinctive design create a sense of expectation. Ranging in price from $175 to $280, they are an affordable luxury, and cost just enough to make sure you never misplace your pen.


Frank Clegg Signature Working Tote

FC Signature Working Tote 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListAnyone who reads OTC knows that we are huge fans of Frank Clegg, and have profiled several of his iconic pieces.  Frank’s commitment to handmade excellence is well-known, and owning a Clegg bag is a lifelong investment.

If there is one Frank Clegg bag that embodies both practical function and timeless style, it’s his Signature Working Tote ($680).  Beautiful and sturdy, this is a tote bag that you can use every day; from the boat to the boardroom.

Frank is more than the name on his bags’ very discrete labels.  If you have any questions, call the workshop and chances are, Frank will be the guy on the other end of the phone.


Hugh & Crye Shirts

HC 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListThe guys who run Hugh & Crye out of their Georgetown, DC, home base – Pranav Vora and Philip Soriano –  are passionate about their shirts, getting guys to to try them on, and developing the perfect fit.  In fact, Pranav and Philip are so passionate about what they do that American Express highlights the company in its small business TV commercials.

Hugh & Crye shirts (around $85) are cut for a generally athletic build, are solidly constructed, and made from outstanding fabrics Pranav and and Philip source themselves.  Their ever-expanding selection of business and casual shirts are work well with your favorite jeans or your best suit.  Hugh & Crye also carries a growing collection of small-batch neckties, pockets squares and other natty accessories.


Austen Heller Loafers

Whalers   Beauty Edited grande 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListAusten Heller loafers bridge the gap between dressy and casual dress shoes. They are decidedly dressy but in a relaxed, deconstructed way; part American boat shoe, part European driving moccasin.

Started by a guy who simply could not find the kind of shoes he wanted, Austen Heller combines old world craftsmanship with distinctive style.  The shoes are handmade in Europe using premium leathers, with a simple design that focus on style, comfort, and quality.  And, with a price tag of $195, picking up some practical footwear flair won’t knock you off your feet.


Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS

Timex Ironman Run Trainer  962x1024 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListOur editor-in-chief has been working pretty hard for the past couple of months to drop about 30 pounds from around his middle, and running has played a big part in the effort.  For the past several weeks, the new Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS ($275) has been a regular companion and helped make all that running count for something.

Ironman is the de facto king of training watches, and with reason.  They are built like tanks, do what they are built to do, and – during down time – speak to one’s athletic predisposition.

The new GPS model has moved the brand in an upscale, more technically polished direction.  It can track your workout progress, monitor your heart rate, and split laps.  But it can also dress up a casual look with sporty flair that says, “yes, in fact I really do work out.”


RHA MA-350 Earphones

RHA Earbuds 1024x682 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListRHA is a small British company that makes some great headphones and ear buds.  In fact, Apple thinks enough of them to carry the brand in its stores.  We had a chance to check out the MA-350 ear buds ($39.95), and are pretty impressed.

The aluminum bodies are light and sturdy and the signature fabric-wrapped cords reduce annoying tangles.  These are just earphones, so there is no microphone or volume control, but we don’t care.  The sound is what matters, they sound great.  They also make excellent in-ear running companions – our preferred test method.  Pick up a pair for yourself.


Mack Weldon Underwear & Tees

Mack Weldon Tee 1024x845 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListWe were recently introduced to Mack Weldon, a new men’s collection ($19.50 to $32) that features tee shirts, undershirts, underwear and socks; fundamental pieces to create the base for any outfit.

This is an undergarment brand that is solely devoted to producing top-notch products that perfectly combine luxury and performance features to create a one-of-a-kind item. And we wholeheartedly agree. Their undershirts are best we’ve ever tested and the tee shirts fit, well, perfectly.


Kiel James Patrick Lanyard Hitch Bracelet

KJP Lanyard Hitch Oliver Hazard 2012 OTC Holiday Wish ListOur friend Kiel James Patrick continues to build on his brand’s preppy, wind-tossed reputation.  And while it may seem his days are spent lounging around scenic photo ops and strolling along deserted beaches, bear in mind that he built KJP with his (and girlfriend Sarah Vicker’s) hands.

The brand has been a success both because of his perpetually photogenic visage and the obsessive amount of energy that goes into creating his made by hand, made-in-Rhode Island accessories.

Case in point is the new Lanyard Hitch collection ($40).  Available in classic solids and preppy patterns, they are simple, manly, and easy to wear; even if you’re not at the beach.

And as we were recently shown by an industrious four year-old, these bracelets can also be used to hang a Christmas stocking off of a ladder, decorate a newel post, and tie together some favorite toys.


marine one white house lawn 300x232 Dressing to Visit Congress (or the White House)One of the great things things about living in Washington, D.C., is that people come here from all over the world to visit. For some, it’s a life’s goal to stand in front of the White House and take in its iconic power and history, regardless of who is living there at the time.

Others simply take in the city, exploring our monuments and parks, famous sites and historic places.  Nothing is quite a beautiful as the city awash in Cherry Blossoms.

Spring and Summer are the big travel seasons here and a chunk of the tourist influx inevitably comes in the form of school trips. While it is great to see all these wide eyed kids gazing upon the Capitol dome for the first time, many of them, with seeming parental approval, express a total lack of decorum. Clumps of high schoolers march off to visit their senator or congressman in baggy shorts, over sized tee shirts and flip flops.  Flip flops.

Girls sport the equivalent of beachwear and guys look like they just rolled out of bed and into last week’s laundry. To be frank, it’s embarrassing and disrespectful. Now, we’re not stuffed shirts, far from it. However, there are times and places for showing sartorial respect. (See mom, we listened.)

washington dc cherry blossom festival 300x202 Dressing to Visit Congress (or the White House)How is it that America’s schools and their DC-bound chaperons can’t even muster up enough backbone to require decent clothes when walking though the Capitol rotunda, the hallowed ground where presidents and luminaries have lain in state. What happened?

My parents would have ground me into the floor if they learned I showed up for a White House tour looking like I was heading out to mow the grass.

Very often, the well-dressed visitors I do see wandering around this city are in fact from other countries.  As Americans, we are embarrassed when we see this total lack of respect for others and for the dignity of our most significant public spaces. Why not require a simple collared shirt and khakis? Dressy shorts are fine if it’s warm out, and girls – no halter tops in the Smithsonian, please.