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.

 

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.

HMRaincoat

 

There is a common truth among men who wear dress shirts for a living: most undershirts are terrible. Too heavy, loose, baggy, boxy, or ill-fitting. They bunch, and they don’t really fit all that well. Our friends at Underfit have worked long and hard to develop a better undershirt, and by all accounts, they have succeeded.

Underfit developed a technically advanced made-in-America undershirt built to keep you comfortable and stylish all day. Now, building on that achievement, the company is set to add some additional innovations to their signature shirts.

A Kickstarter campaign was recently launched, and although we don’t typically promote these sorts of efforts, we are big fans of Underfit, their product, and their story. Please consider backing this great brand and innovative menswear company.

The updated design will have a deeper v-neck for when you wear open collared dress shirts, an even better quality fabric and additional fit adjustments. And, at about US$25.00, these are still a good deal when it comes to performance underwear.

The new Underfit design incorporates a blend of 95% ProModel and 5% spandex. It’s a lightly stretching material which offers a close and light body-hugging fit. While not compression shirts, they do feel closer than other undershirts we have tested, but in a soft, non-constricting fashion.

Underfit the-fit-no-buttonThe shirts are wider at the shoulders and chest and narrower by the waist, which follows the true shape of most men’s bodies. This design reduces bulk and under-shirt billowing. The shirt also has an extra three inch drop, which helps keep these undershirts stay tucked in all day long.

The fabric used by Underfit is made by Lenzing, a leading specialty fiber manufacturer, and employs modern technology to make your day a comfortable one. It is exceptionally soft, provides temperature regulation, moisture absorption, and due to its particular moisture wicking features, is even odor resistant.

The ProModel fabric also possesses a high tensile strength, which means it is hard to tear, retains its shape, and lasts for years.

We have already tested both the v-neck and crew neck versions and found each to be comfortable and well-fitting. After a couple of months of wearing and laundering, we see no signs of weakness. So, take a look, back the effort, and get some shirts.

 

Thinking Outside the Beltology

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Belts can be the bane of your existence or a signature style element of your daily wardrobe. It all comes down to fit and too often that fit is exactly, just not right. Either too loose or too tight, the traditional belt design based on pre-punched holes can be quite limiting.

Beltology_PackagingEnter Beltology. These clever and stylish belts are build upon the functional foundations of classic woven leather and preppy ribbon belts. They take features inherent to each – minute adjustability and easy expandability – and combine them in something new and interesting.

These pants-holder-uppers are both fun and practical, making Beltology belts a great choice for everyday casual and office casual wear. The basic design of the belts is neutral and timeless, allowing them to fit in well with many wardrobes. And, their variety of material options and ease of fit make them a natural first choice for most everyday needs outside of a jacket and tie.

The hallmark of Beltology belts is of course their stretchability. Each belt is crafted from a flexible, densely woven webbing of waxed cotton, leather, rayon, or polyester. We tried out several version that reflect each of these materials and were impressed not only by the solid construction, very important for accessories like belts, but also the quality of the materials. Each belt we examined was sturdy and flexible, well finished, and well proportioned.

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The core of every strand making up the belt is a strong elastic material that allows it to stretch up to two-to-three inches and return to its original length. The prong simply passes through the belt wherever it feels most comfortable.

We did note that due to the firmness of the belt’s webbing, too much of a stretch with too short a belt resulted in a snug fit that was sometimes uncomfortable. So, just order the next size up if you think it may be a possible issue for you. This strategy is especially helpful for guys who prefer a looser, more relaxed fit; just get a longer belt.

This is very much a local project; all Beltology belts are made in New York City. The belt buckles are constructed from a heavyweight alloy that comes brushed or polished, depending on belt style.  All the trim is full-grain leather. One of things we really like about Beltology is the wide-ranging collection of styles, patterns, and materials. All have the signature red keeper loop lining; a subtle but clever branding touch. And, for a mere US$55.00 to $65.00, that’s a pretty good deal.

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Beltology_BlueEnvy

Beltology_OwenLeeLeather

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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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