OTC: What We Carry Everyday

What I Carry Picture OTC: What We Carry Everyday

OTC was recently asked to contribute a photo to the British site Everyday Carry UK showing what our editor-in-chief has in his bag and on his person any given day.  As bags and the stuff of life have always been a big part of OTC, we were happy to oblige.

While the sack may change based on need, style, and mood, what’s inside is fairly consistent.  When we tried to edit all the stuff down to a manageable representation of gear, one item inadvertently left out of the photo was a fantastic Chester Mox wallet that keeps his all-important Metro pass secure.  In addition, although out of view, the bag used that day was the Courier Messenger Bag from Frank Clegg.

This brief exercise reminded us of the many great brands, creative companies, and exceptional individuals we have met over the years.  We have linked to a few of those brands represented here.

Clockwise from top:

 

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

 

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

 

 

Trackline Belt: Casually Sharp

Trackline Belt Trackline Belt: Casually Sharp

Lately, micro-adjust belts seem to be making more and more appearances, and for the most part it’s a nice chance of pace for many men.  Too often we have to deal with a belt that lands exactly between two holes and neither is comfortable.  Either it’s too loose or too tight – usually because we have eaten too much.  For whatever reason, an ill-fitting belt can ruin your day.

Belts that adjust without holes and instead rely on an adjustable track built into the backside of the belt’ strap can be a tricky endeavor.  Even though they are really just an evolutionary step forward from  friction or box frame buckles, their inherent mechanical design dictates a buckle of a certain form and bulk.  Also, they have typically been less than stylish and less than comfortable to actually wear.

We have previously highlighted a more formal version of the adjustable belt, but until now have not found a good casual version worthy of OTC’s readers.  Kore has come up with a great option for casual wear with its Trackline belt.  The simple and low-profile 16 gauge stainless steel buckle is available in a variety of designs and you can choose between brown and black  1 3/8 inch full grain leather straps.

We are particularly partial to the Evolve buckle because of its design reference to a classic engine turned belt buckle.  With clearly marked waist measurement increments on the back of the strap, it’s easy to size and quickly attach the buckle.  The larger size of the buckles pair well with jeans and khakis, and with 40 size positions from which to choose, your belt will fit just right.

While we typically err on the side of classic and timeless, at only $69.00, adding this modern take (and function) on a classic style is something we wholly endorse.

 

Evolve Buckle with Brown Strap Trackline Belt: Casually Sharp

 

OTC Lauded by Refinery 29, Real Men Real Style

431C2357 OTC Lauded by Refinery 29, Real Men Real StyleWe here at OTC are honored and humbled by the fact that two top style websites, Refinery 29 and Real Men Real Style, recently selected Off the Cuff as one of the best style blogs out there.

Both of these websites are serious fashion and lifestyle authorities in their own rights, so being chosen by either as a leading site is pretty darn great.

Refinery 29, a certified style powerhouse and serious influencer, named OTC one of the “Seven Men’s Bloggers Ruling the DMV Style Scene.”  They wrote, “If you’re a fan of classic design, check out OTC, which covers everything from workout gear to suits and briefcases.  Author Chris Hogan curates a healthy mix of general news and D.C.-based fashion info, so all of your bases are covered.”

The hugely popular Real Men Real Style named OTC a Top Ten Style Blog for 2014.  Their review was incredibly thoughtful, noting that our “posts are always detailed and lengthy, and you can count on their writers to dive deep into whatever subjects they handle,” and that “their attention to detail and their exacting standards for men’s attire keep them in this year’s Top Ten.”

Our thanks go out to both websites for their votes of continued confidence and extremely kind words.  We also thank our thousands of readers around the globe – about 40 countries last time we checked.  Without all of you, the world would be a little less dandy.

OTC already has eight years under its belt, and we look forward to the next eight. Cheers.