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Some things just say summer: sweet tea; old, faded Nantucket Reds; a seersucker suit and Panama hat; and to us, a nice pair of neutral suede correspondent shoes. Also referred to as spectator and co-respondent shoes, these classic warm weather brogues are both a throwback to the golden years of menswear – generally given to be the 1920s through 1940s – and a modern statement on the value of classic style.

A fantastic modern adaptation of this iconic shoe is the new Conard Wingtip from Johnston & Murphy. Available in three colorways, we chose the tone-on-tone grey and off-white suede palette. It’s a more casual combination that can be dressed down or up as desired and, as they become more weathered, will develop a careworn personality that speaks to our Ivy League sensibilities.

We have partnered with Johnston & Murphy to give away a pair Conards to one lucky OTC reader – see the details below.

For a more formal option, the tan calfskin and beige linen model is an on-point example of how to reference classic flair in a modern shoe. It possesses a lawn party sort of glamor, but the contemporary shape and styling read “today” without sacrificing the style and texture that make this a truly classic shoe. Lastly, the Conard comes in a tan, all-calfskin model.

2015-05-18 14.16.37Johnston & Murphy also took the time to modernize the shoe’s interior, making it all-day comfortable. This is not a minor point. While men are becoming more attuned to the style and design of their footwear, they are not women. If the shoes hurt, back in the box they go; it doesn’t matter how cool they look. In addition to a lightly cushioned foot bad, the shoe has good arch support and a firm but flexible fit overall.

We quite literally took the shoes out of the box, put them on, and walked around the city all day. Broken in comfort right from the start.

The full leather lining makes going sock-less an option and, by the way, the suede model looks great with shorts.

Win Your Own Pair of J&M Conard Wingtips

How would like your own pair of summer wingtips? OTC has joined forces with Johnston & Murphy to make it happen for one OTC reader. So, throw your hat in the ring and you may be walking in warm weather style!

Entering is quick and easy:

  1. Leave comment telling us why you need some summer footwear swagger
  2. Like Off the Cuff on Facebook
  3. Follow Off the Cuff on Instagram
  4. Follow Johnston & Murphy on Instragram

That’s it! The giveaway closes on Friday, May 29, 2015.

 

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Whenever we have the opportunity to meet a new brand and examine products carefully crafted by someone obsessed with expressing who they are, what they value, or perhaps how they see the world, we take our time to tell the story. There have been instances when when a few weeks or even a month or two may pass before we render an opinion and share our thoughts. In this case, it still took a little while – but for all the best reasons.

Glendon Lambert is a wonderful Brooklyn-based accessories brand. While it seems like every accessories brand is currently based in Brooklyn, the products on offer from this truly we-composed label are not kitsch or particularly trendy. They are deceptively exquisite items masquerading as potential furnishings for hipsters who are now grown up. Narrow professorial yet iconoclastic ties, artisanal wool pocket squares, and the obligatory bow tie all speak to what you would expect from a Brooklyn borough haberdashery.

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Here’s the thing, though. We love a great bow tie and have been fans of the Ivy League history don look longer than most of our readers have been alive. As for pocket squares, well, they are possibly the most useful piece of male peacockery invented. Those points aside, what shines through in materials, detail, and construction is Glendon Lambert Breismeister’s (yes, that’s really his name) love of his craft.

Classic in form and material, yet fresh and contemporary in execution, his seasonal bright green color-blocked pocket square crafted from worsted Mexican wool is fun yet substantial.  In fact, many of the wools used are made exclusively just for them.

The Chain Link tie rendered in a light natural linen decorated with a mid-century inspired red link pattern is beautifully finished but not at all stuffy or ironic. It’s a clever, sharp tie that will get a lot of use for quite some time.

So, the reason it took us a while to tell their story is that this jewel of a brand has done it right. Glendon has a voice and it’s a clear one. He has a viewpoint and its distinctive. And, he has a standard for his brand and its very high. No surprise then, that Glendaon Lambert will be rolling out shirting and leather bags in the near future. Something tells us they’ll be pretty darn good too.

Reflective of this high standard is the fact that Glendon Lambert is carried through the online retailer Roztayger, home to a wonderfully curated collections of luxury bags, accessories, and apparel for both men and women. In fact, the Roztayger team helped bring the brand to our attention.

We are particular fans of Roztayger because they seek out, as their website puts it, “smaller, independent-minded designers that don’t follow trends or forecasts but rather draw upon ideas that have come before while applying their own vision and innovation… what results is timeless, beautiful and infinitely useful.” We could not have said it better.

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Finding a special gift for the holidays can often be a challenge. Mother’s Day doubly so.

Of course, OTC is a site dedicated to menswear and the many facets of everyday style, carryology, and accoutrement. But, we all know that for many men gift giving for something as pressure-filled as Mother’s Day is particularly stressful.

San Fransisco-based Waffles & Honey has decided to help out – which is good, because you are almost out of time. Founder and globe-hopping jewelery designer Karina Harris has created three special one-stop-shopping Mother’s Day boxes that take the guesswork out of shopping for something unique.

Each box (priced at $79.95) has a special theme that captures Waffles & Honey’s signature bohemian chic style and celebrating the idea of enjoying some well-earned down time. Harris’s work has been featured in the likes of Vogue magazine and each box is built around a handcrafted charm necklace decorated with a single initial and small collection of indulgences. The box also includes a hand-written enclosure card with a short message of your choice.

Our box for Mrs. OTC (shhh, it’s still a secret) is really very special. It’s thoughtfully assembled, and the charm necklace is a simple classic piece of jewelry that lasts well beyond one day. So, while it may not exactly appeal to your masculine menswear sensibilities, a Waffles & Honey Mother’s Day gift box may very much appeal to those of the much-deserving mom in your life. Remember, being thoughtful of those you love is very much part of being a stylish guy; clothes get you only so far.

And, in case you were curious, Waffles and Honey were the names of Harris’ beloved childhood pets. Hurry up and get your order in – the countdown has begun!

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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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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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