The Shorts of Summer: Old Bull Lee

204 laydown The Shorts of Summer: Old Bull Lee

The last time we told you about Old Bull Lee, we made it clear that their shorts were some of our absolute favorites. Lee is committed to make the best shorts possible and approaches his craft as both an artist and technician. They were perfect.

It turns out he’s not done.

Lee sent along some of his new and improved shorts and we have spent the last month checking them out.  They are a bit shorter and trimmer, but still the built-to-last quality we remember. First, some details on the material and build.

The shorts are made from heavy Duck cloth, which is essentially canvas. Sourced from the finest Japanese mill (he won’t divulge exactly which one), the fabric starts out a bit stiff, but eases into a comfortable, personalized fit.

They are dyed and assembled in America using a wet “vat” process that is softer and longer lasting than dry pigment dying. The pocketing and waistband are made from a soft and smooth poplin and the button fly has been replaced with a zipper. Lastly, the shorts are pre-shrunk using water and dryers only, not chemical shrinkage.

205 laydown The Shorts of Summer: Old Bull LeeAs Lee likes to point out, everyone is trying to sell “your favorite pair of shorts,” but the truth is that it doesn’t work that way. The ones that come, “brand new, but lived in,” have actually been beat into that condition by chemicals. As a result, these pre-lived-in garments often start to disintegrate after a season or two; and not eloquently either.

A real favorite pair shorts has been around for a while. They just sort of know your body; it’s a relationship that takes time to develop. Because the Duck fabric lasts so long, they gave the color a little extra pop so that down the road when they are broken in, the short will still carry those fragile tones with which they started.

In fact, to accurately convey the fabric’s eventual color change, the website’s laydown shots are intentionally dull. Lee said, “it’s not to be misleading, but we feel that we are telling the truth by averaging the color out over it’s lifetime.

This guy lives and breaths shorts. They do pretty cool tees as well, but at it’s heart, Old Bull Lee is trying to turn shorts into a science.

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The J. Panther RollTote

 

jplc rolltote all 1024x1024 The J. Panther RollToteJ. Panther Luggage Company is a maker of classically modern American crafted bags. We have been fans of this brand for some time and still consider the original Courier Ruc to be one of the most innovative business bags to hit the boardroom.

The company’s portfolio is deliberately small and thoughtful. the collection represents a true balance among form and function, design and purpose, practicality and aesthetic. It is also a brand that successfully blends hipster cool with heritage sensibility.  It is one of the few bag makers that creates products which are forward-thinking while at the same time beholden to a craftsman’s hand. New but sort of vintage; modern but also timeless. Regardless of the stylistic lens through which you view J. Panther bags, that all built to take excessive abuse and in doing so, get better and better.

J. Panther’s new RollTote is a perfect example of this philosophy.

The signature three-way carry RollTote brings modern functionality, and a touch of refinement, to the classic, utilitarian roll-top backpack. To the standard Ruc Tote mode they have added two additional, flexible carry options.  Removable, adjustable leather shoulder straps attach via an ‘O’ ring for ruc (backpack)carry. Re-attach one of these straps across the top of the bag for tote-style use. A leather side handle offers the third option of hand carry.

J. Panther’s signature 21 ounce lightly waxed, water-resistant canvas works with the RollTote’s design to handle even the heaviest downpour. This heavy cotton canvas ages beautifully and the sturdy leather trim ads a functionally elegant finish to the bag.

Fully rolled down, the twin external pockets are protected from the elements, be it a rain storm or snow flurry.  Within, a single deep pocket neatly separates a laptop or documents from the roomy main compartment.

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DC Sock Collection 1024x468 One Last Fathers Day Find: Dapper Classics Socks

We actually introduced you to Dapper Classics, makers of outstanding men’s socks, back in 2013, but wanted to make a return visit as part of our 2014 Father’s Day series.

So, even though Father’s Day has officially passed, OTC is extending it one more day so that we can show you some of Dapper Classics’ snazzy, colorful, and fun socks that are just right for your spring wardrobe. In fact, most of their new Spring 2014 collection was knitted on a brand new linked-toe machine that produces seamless-toe socks that are more comfortable and stylish than your typical dress sock.

Our friends at Dapper Classics have received great feedback on the linked-toe socks, and OTC can report that our own wear testing was a very comfy experience.  This brand remains at the head of the class and an example of focused craftsmanship done right.  Socks are one of those things that either feel right or wrong, and Dapper Classics socks always feel great to us.

We already know that Dapper Classics make some of the finest made in America dress socks out there, and now also mid-calf socks for your casual wardrobe.  What we did not realize was that they could make them even better, which is exactly what they did.

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DSC 05561 Fathers Day Find: The Quixotic Pocket Square

Creating a space for yourself in a crowded market is always a tough situation.  The menswear furnishing business is particularly popular right now, with new brands planting their stylishly vintage flags every day. Enter Quixotic, a brand that caught our attention for all the right reasons.

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day, or any day for that matter, with a company dedicated to, as they put it, “inspiring gentlemanly action.”  It’s a rousing thought and reminds us that dressing well does not make you a gentleman; that goal is reached through action.  In fact, they back up those words with action of their own.  If perchance, you somehow lose or sully your Quixotic square in the act of performing a gentlemanly service, the company will send you a new one.

After all, it’s the gentlemanly thing to do.  In addition, they also believe that companies have an obligation to give back to the communities supporting them. So, Quixotic has committed to donating 10% of sales proceeds to U.S. organizations addressing domestic violence.

The pocket squares themselves are classic and casually modern. They are also made in America, each with a discrete red circle stitched into the corner; a visual signal that you do your best to be a stand-up kind of guy.

We tested out the Monday and Wednesday squares and found them to be excellent companions.  In fact, the Monday square joined the party at our recent Art of Style event in Washington, D.C.

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First Take on Summer Style

OTC Spring 2014 2 First Take on Summer Style

What often works best for men’s warm weather fashion is simplicity and classic style.  Basics can make almost any guy look and feel that much more polished, put together, and comfortable. Think of it as updated Ivy League or modern preppy without all the gimmicky noise.

Summer style – even though it’s technically Spring, it sure has felt like July recently – does not have to mean old shorts, a tee shirt, and worn out sneakers.  While all those things all have their place, looking nice when it is hot is actually pretty simple.

Here we have an easy, go-to look that is both straight-forward and sharp, in a casual and comfortable way.  While polished, this outfit is neither too dressy nor overly casual.  Instead, it strikes a nice balance between formal and informal.  It’s the kind of look that works very well when meeting friends for drinks, heading out to a nice brunch or dinner, or just Friday at the office.

To add some easy polish to this look, just toss on a blue blazer or lightweight sweater and swap out the driving loafers for cordovan slip-ins.

The components of this functionally classic ensemble are basics that every guy’s wardrobe should contain.

The checked button down shirt is from Richmond, VA, maker, Ledbury.  It is actually a super lightweight linen/cotton blend that is fantastic in warm weather.  The shirt shown here is a short run from 2013 and may not currently be available.  We are big fans of Ledbury and their decidedly American take on British shirtmaking.  The construction is excellent and their fabric selections are always impressive.  Regardless of where you get yours, a few blue, purple, and red checked button downs are invaluable to your wardrobe.

OTC Spring 2014 3 300x225 First Take on Summer StyleSeveral pair of well-fitting and properly hemmed khakis should also be a core staple of any guy’s closet.  These slim fit Daltons from Jack Donnelly are a great option.  This small brand has created an updated version of the classic tailored khaki.  That does not mean “dress pant,” although they do iron up quite nicely.  They are light, comfortable, nicely finished, and can handle almost any scenario short of needing a suit.  These pants have the construction and detail of dressier trousers, but the fit and feel of classic wear-whenever khakis.  And, they are sourced and handmade in America.

A great pair of driving loafers can serve you well all day long.  While Tod’s iconic Gomminos may have created the driving moccasin/loafer category, we also love these Austen Heller Kingston loafers.  OTC has written about this brand before and their new collection only reinforces our appreciation of their comfortable, fun, and easy to wear footwear.  Opt for classic brown if you want to keep it low key, or try out some of the more adventurous color combinations.

Warm weather dressing is also the time to have some fun with your accessories.  Belts from Tucker Blair are a great way to impart some personality and Ivy League needlepoint into you look.  Other than that, strive to pare down and use more color as the day only get warmer from here.

Ledbury Purple Parker BD First Take on Summer Style

Tucker Blair Nantucket Needlepoint Belt First Take on Summer Style

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Austen Heller Kingstons First Take on Summer Style