Accessories: The Money Clip

Engraved Hallmark Sterling Silver Money Clip Accessories: The Money ClipWe are unabashed fans of the wallet.  An expertly crafted billfold, whether for the back pocket or housed in a jacket’s confines, it is a portable filing cabinet and easy safe-house for your currency, cards, receipts, and notes.

There are times, however, when less is more and leaving your wallet at home is the best choice.  Heading to the beach and going light or attending a black tie gala and seeking an unencumbered evening are but two examples of where the humble money clip plays to its strengths.

Taking the essentials – ID, a card or two, and some cash – is an easy fit for most clips.  And for some, the money clip itself has replaced their wallet altogether.  For those who seek a minimalist approach to life, it’s the perfect alternative to a billfold of any kind.  The options are myriad and depend only on need, taste, and material.

The classic sterling silver money clip is iconic in its own right.  Engine turned, plain, or monogrammed, this timeless accessory is always appropriate and often a prized gift.  And, after a lifetime of dings and scratches have imparted a personal and worn patina, it is also transformed into a cherished heirloom.  One shortcoming can be the potential for loss of grip, especially if it is used as a wallet alternative subject to repetitive overfilling.  Regardless of your cash on hand, keep the contents to a minimum to maintain its proper shape and spring.

RC Fibers Black CF Money Clip Accessories: The Money ClipA modern take on the classic form is opting for a carbon fiber money clip.  These slick clips are light yet incredibly strong and often block RF signals that could potentially snatch credit card data.

While less traditional in material, the overall style is still classic.

Carbon fiber clips are practical and pair well with a more urban, contemporary sense of personal style.  We recently tested one from RC Fibers and found it to be a great choice when traveling light.  Nearly indestructible, the clip never lost its spring and kept everything in place.

Another option is the leather money clip.  Typically secured with a magnet, these are best for cash only – particularly in the United States – as it may adversely affect a credit card’s magnetic strip.  This style is inherently more casual and well-suited for daily use.  The magnetized closure also reduces the potential concern about the clip losing its strength.   The money clip shown below is a beautifully crafted example from Frank Clegg, a preeminent leather craftsman based in Massachusetts.

Frank Clegg Shrunken Leather Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Generally speaking, we don’t like the awkward hybrid wallet-money clip creations.  They never seem to be particularly practical and we find them almost always to be lacking aesthetically.  However, as with any personal aspect of style, it’s all about individual taste and preference.  Whatever you choose, find something that speaks to your tastes and needs and hold on to it for a while.

Below are a few more examples of money clip we find particularly attractive, including a remarkable one that belonged to Marilyn Monroe’s make-up artist, Whitey Snyder.

Monogrammed Money Clip 1 Accessories: The Money Clip

Sterling Silver Hallmark Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Modern Sterling Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

Marilyn Monroes Gift Tiffany Money Clip Accessories: The Money Clip

 

Orphan Barrel Whiskey Tasting Notes: Orphan Barrel Bourbon WhiskeysWe were very excited to learn that spirits company Diageo recently unveiled the new Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company, a new project aimed at locating lost and forgotten barrels of whiskey from their extensive holding around the world.

The first two variants to be released from the company include the 20-year-old Barterhouse Whiskey and the 26-year-aged Old Blowhard Whiskey.

With a retail price of US$75.00, the Barterhouse stocks were sourced from warehouses at Diageo’s Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Shuttered back in 1992, the barrels have been aging ever since; orphaned perhaps, but not lost.  Official notes indicate a soft nose reminiscent of warm spice, biscuit and buttercream.  The whiskey’s mellow taste includes notes of roasted grain, charred oak, and a brown sugar finish.  They may be planning a possible second run, but it’s not yet confirmed.

Old Blowhard stocks,  US$150.00, was also found at Stitzel-Weller.  At 26-years-old, the whiskey contains exuberant, rich flavors with undertones of smoke and honey followed by a gentle finish – dry and spicy with a hint of orange peel.  Old Blowhard whiskey is rare enough that the company has only enough for one run, so when it’s fully released and gone from the shelves, it’s gone forever.

1 Blowhard and Barterhouse bottle shot 1024x681 Tasting Notes: Orphan Barrel Bourbon WhiskeysIn an interview with the Herald-Leader, Ewan Morgan, Diageo’s Master of Whisky, said, “Old Blowhard is from old Bernheim, and it’s a 1987 distillate, and Barterhouse is from new Bernheim; it’s 1993 distillate,” Morgan said.  “They were stored on-site at Bernheim in masonry warehouses for a couple of years, then transferred to Stitzel-Weller, where we plucked them out of there.”

The two bourbons were shipped to Tullahoma, Tennessee, for bottling at Diageo’s smallest plant, which normally does about 250 barrels of George Dickel a day.  Since Barterhouse and Old Blowhard were such small runs, both Orphan Barrel releases had to be hand-filled and bottled, Morgan said.

OTC received samples of both and we were definitely impressed.  Rather than try and sound educated about this sort of thing -apart from stating that both Barterhouse and Old Blowhard are quite excellent, easy to drink, and perfectly delicious neat – we’ll defer to an actual expert.  So, for the whiskey geeks out there, John Hansell of the Whiskey Advocate did a very thorough write-up of Diego’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project, complete with his tasking notes.

 

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

 

OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0650 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

OTC is proud to be a brand ambassador for the footwear and lifestyle brand ECCO.  When it comes to everyday life, we often need items that work well, get the job done, and are a comfortable fit.  More often than you might think, ECCO products fit that bill.

Shoes that are incredibly comfortable and versatile, bags that work in the real world, and accessories that fit a casual, European inspired lifestyle, are the hallmarks of ECCO products.  Modern styles and technical functionality are also core attributes of the company and our recent shipment highlights all these elements.

For Spring 2014, we are checking out some classic hand-sewn boat shoes, a pair of hybrid day sneakers, and a leather zip tote that makes for a stylish office alternative.

BIOM Lite 1.1 Sneaker

DSC 0634 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Ellery Boat Shoe

DSC 0632 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Deane Tote Shopper

DSC 0631 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Here are a few additional views:

DSC 0649 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0663 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0651 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 GearDSC 0648 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0658 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

 

BirchBox Grooming 1 Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming Goods

Birchbox is an innovative and creative brand that has helped to create the curated product discovery market.  Founded in 2010, Birchbox helps consumers discover beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products through monthly deliveries of curated, deluxe samples that are tailored to their personal profile.

Updated Birchbox Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming GoodsAn important trend in the evolution of retail for both brands and consumers lies in the discovery experience.  Birchbox brings the excitement of product discovery online and its innovative approach allows brands and consumers to connect in a unique and intimate way.

Each new box includes a mix of products across categories – haircare to skincare and body, plus lifestyle extras.  Their distinct product offerings cater to both men and women via dedicated website sections and individual marketing outreach.  Special seasonal and holiday boxes also provide unique opportunities to sample new items and introduce new brands and products.

Recently, Birchbox Man sent us some new grooming samples from Gentleman’s Brand Co., Mr. Natty, and Sachajuan.  From hair gel to Bay Rum aftershave to daily moisturizer, our Birchbox samples are all outstanding and unique.

In the Birchbox e-shop, they sell full-sized versions of every product they sample, as well as other editor-selected products. With a highly personalized and targeted profile, Birchbox allows consumers to try the best and latest products in their home, including hard-to-find international or niche brands, and then provides a seamless way to purchase the full size versions of the products they love.  Pretty smart.

The Birchbox site also features robust editorial content designed to educated and inspire consumers; from how-to videos to expert interviews, and beauty news roundups.

In just 3 years, the company has experienced rapid organic growth and now boasts more than 400,000 current, active subscribers each month. In April 2012 Birchbox Man was launched for customers in the United States, and in November 2012, Home items were added to the Birchbox Shop. The acquisition of JolieBox in September 2012 expanded Birchbox to the UK, France, and Spain.

BirchboxLogoNew Man up Your Face With Birchbox Grooming Goods