Ledbury Pops into Georgetown

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Richmond, Virginia, based shirt-maker extraordinaire, Ledbury, is back in the national capitol for the 2014 holiday season.

The brand, best known for its e-commerce approach to Jermyn Street quality shirting, opened up a seasonal pop-up shop at 1254 Wisconsin Avenue. Situated in the historic retail heart of DC’s menswear shops, it will run from November 15, 2014 through January 25, 2015. The shop also boasts a sharp new design concept that’s a minimalist take on its annual Ledbury Quail Hunt. It’s the living room-cum-wardrobe you’ve always wanted.

Another exciting feature is that they are debuting the limited run Georgetown Collection. Ledbury designed four limited-edition shirt styles that will be sold exclusively in the pop-up shop – along with the rest of the Ledbury range – and are inspired by the notion of a winter weekend in the District. The collection features flannels and brushed twills.

Although we, very regretfully, had to miss the big opening shindig last week, the Ledbury crew sent along the first shirt available from the Georgetown Collection (pictured above). It’s an incredibly soft flannel, with an awesome blue, white and pink plaid. This slim-fit shirt is casually sharp and sports a natty short point collar.

Do yourself a favor and make time to visit America’s Capitol city this holiday season, and don’t forget swing by Georgetown and pick up a limited edition shirt from an equally capital brand.

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JPLC Aviator: A Bag for all Seasons

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J. Panther Luggage Company makes really cool bags. We have reviewed several of their pieces, including the Courier Ruc, which is essentially the company’s flagship bag. What makes JPLC bags so special is the combination of innovative design, tough-as-nails construction, and use of exceptionally fine materials.

JPLC bags can easily hold their own against better known brands costing thousands more. Construction is impeccable and attention to detail is near obsessive. Testament to this fixation on quality is the fact that Japan is a big market for JPLC, where detail is scrutinized to an exacting degree.

The Aviator is a unique bag because it defies easy description. It’s a day bag, but also a type of document case. It looks purpose-built but also has a flexible functionality to its design that makes the Aviator a companion carry-all for your day-to-day necessities. Our bag came in a highly engineered, lightly-waxed 21 ounce sand canvas with tan leather trim. The Aviator is also offered in a beautiful all-leather version.

It has two removable straps; one a multifunctional wrist strap and the other, a military grade web cross-body strap. the Aviator also comes equipped with a beautifully crafted removable leather passport envelope pocket.

We have found the bag to be well-suited as an everyday companion that can pair well with a business bag when needed. As with all JPLC bags, it is designed to be carried in a variety of modes. Another signature JPLC touch is that the bag’s well-designed pockets actually work no matter the carry configurations.

This review project is particularly exciting for us as it is a long-term commitment to document the breaking-in of this superb bag. We’ll be updating you over the coming months and even years, showing you how the Aviator ages and gains a world traveled patina of life.

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Shinola Black Blizzard Front Shinola Introduces the Black Blizzard Chronograph

Shinola recently introduced its latest timepiece, the Black Blizzard, named for the dust storms that swept farmers off their land across the Great Plains during the 1930s.

While the Dust Bowl marked a time of desperation and migration across the Midwest, the Black Blizzard was designed to honor the tenacity and ingenuity of those who persevered during that difficult period in American history.

The Black Blizzard is Shinoa’s most technically demanding Detroit-built timepiece to date. Constructed of brushed titanium, with an iconic Shinola black dial and matte black top ring, the watch possesses both traditional appeal and signature Shinola design. This distinctive branding carries through to the case’s engraved back plate.

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The Black Storm is available in a 42mm or 48mm case and in addition to the solid titanium link bracelet, it also comes with an custom-made black rubber strap. The watch is driven by the Argonite 5050 high-accuracy quartz chronograph movement and has a 20ATM depth rating.

What’s particularly cool about this new release is that each timepiece comes with a leather-bound coffee table book about the dust storms for which it is named. This historically significant book features rare photos, newspaper clippings, and a concise history of the era.

The deluxe packaging also includes a custom outer gift box, certificate of authenticity, leather card wallet, leather timepiece carrying case, and a hickory presentation watch box.

The Black Storm retails for US $1,500.00 and is now available for purchase through Shinola.com and at Shinola retail stores.

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Triple Aught Design’s FAST Pack Litespeed

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We love a good bag, and we are always on the lookout for a great backpack. Backpacks are versatile, practical, convenient, and leave your hands free to do other stuff. However, in the rarefied air of men’s fashion discourse, “backpack” can be a fightin’ word.

To be sure, OTC is a men’s style and lifestyle resource that focuses on bring together classic style and modern life. And, while it is undeniably classic in form and function, the backpack debate can quickly lead to heated sartorial words. So, to head that imbroglio off at the proverbial pass, let’s clarify a few points.

Backpacks are a fact of modern life, especially for those who commute by public transit on a daily basis. They are also a tool for those among us who need to regularly port more than a wallet and smart phone. They are perfectly designed for casual use; hiking, strolling, shopping, trekking, and dragging around your child’s many supplies.

All that being said, don’t wear a backpack with a suit. Just don’t.

Indeed, there are many sharp, expensive, and finely crafted backpacks that nicely bridge the divide between practical and formal, but that’s besides the point. As a category, they are inherently informal and wearing one with dress or business clothing with cause you to look like a little kid trying to be a grown-up, or a grown-up with little understanding of style and personal presentation.

A backpack will not only ruin the lines and look of a suit coat or blazer, it can ruin them literally as well.  Again, just don’t do it. Messenger bags are a better option on a case-by-case basis, totes and briefcases are fine.

With those caveats out of the way, we present the FAST Pack Litespeed from Triple Aught design. To be sure, no one is going to confuse it with a business bag, which is just fine.  Regardless, this backpack can handle pretty much handle anything you toss its way and look darn cool doing it.

The Litespeed is an everyday backpack for those who like the idea of a one-stop-shop and that looks simultaneously tough and modern. While rugged, it actually has a very low profile and is easy to carry. It’s obvious tactical design and special operator credentials encompass a sensible and well thought out collection of pockets and dividers that make sorting your stuff easy and convenient.

Since it is military-inspired, the Litespeed can be configured and added to so that you can create a truly customized carry design that works best for you. We have tested this bag in a variety of environments, including day hikes, road trips, city excursions, and even Disney World. In each scenario, it met or exceeded our needs.

In terms of construction, the Litespeed is made of MIL-SPEC 1000 Denier Invista Cordura fabric and tough webbing that’s nearly impossible to rip or tear. Hypalon, the same material found on Zodiac boats, is used to reinforce stress points, including the handle and shoulder strap connections.

The pack is also laced with Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing and it’s also compatible with Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) pouches so that you can customize the layout of your gear to suit your changing needs.

The upshot is that this is one handy, cool, functional, and durable backpack for both everyday use and urban or (let’s be honest here) suburban, adventures.

One last but exciting note; Triple Aught just redesigned the Litespeed in several important areas to make it even better. So, take a look and check it out for yourself.

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DSCF9086 Paul Stuart Made to Order Footwear   The Fitting
“It all begins with the fit.” Peter Agati, Paul Stuart’s shoe buyer, is a shoe guy through and through.

He knows shoes and he knows that what matters most is fit. If the fit is off, nothing else matters. If the fit is right, everything else falls into place. His first trip to a shoe factory is what sealed the deal for Peter. Walking the floor and watching in amazement how many people’s hands touched each shoe hooked him. “Most people have no idea how much handwork goes into shoes, and how much well-made shoes matter.”

The main thing to understand about Paul Stuart’s shoe department is that is it a fully integrated component of Paul Stuart. It is not merely a licensed space operated by an outside brand. No, Peter has spent several years building up a service on par with their brand’s larger reputation. It’s a luxury service department that can fit you properly and provide a degree of customization that results in a pair of shoes that are truly made to order.

Chris Hogan Madison Avenue 10.21.14 735x1024 Paul Stuart Made to Order Footwear   The FittingOTC had been invited to participate in a special brand influencer Made to Order footwear event at Paul Stuart’s Madison Avenue flagship store. OTC’s founder and editor-in-chief, Chris Hogan, spent the day being fitted from their Italian Classic collection. These shoes are not inexpensive, but neither are they overly expensive. In fact, the quality, construction, fit, and materials are equal to most custom labels.

In addition to Peter Agati, Ron Rider, agent for some of the world’s leading shoe makers, was also on hand to ensure that Chris’ fit was spot one and help to create a unique pair of Paul Stuart shoes.

After testing out a variety of lasts, we settled on the one that indeed fit like a glove. As Peter noted, his main job was now done. The fit was right. Now, it was a matter of style, design, details, and finishes.

What did we come up with? We’ll get into that in the coming weeks as we share with you pictures of our Made to Order Paul Stuart shoes as they come to life.

As an added bonus, we also got to catch up with our old friend Mark Rykken, who runs Paul Stuart’s custom clothing department. Much as Peter has done with the company’s footwear department, Mark has created a custom clothing haven for the most discerning clotheshorse. We even met the lady who sews all the buttonholes by hand, no easy task.

Thanks goes out to our pals at Deo Veritas custom shirting and Bull + Moose for the fantastic dead stock tartan tie. Lumina Clothing Company provided the Cone selvage denim jeans, Beltcraft sent along a bespoke suede belt, and Dapper Classics is the source for those killer socks that everyone noticed. As always, those are Eye Buy Direct glasses.

The navy blazer is actually a family heirloom. It’s a vintage J. Press jacket that belonged to Chris’ father and still has his dad’s monogrammed brass buttons. The pocket square was a gift from Alan Flusser.

It’s all about things that last.

In the meantime, below are some more images of the day, captured by our talented – and stylish – photographer Sean Pressley. Many thanks to Sean for spending the day knee deep in shoes.

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