With Hanukkah literally upon us and less than a week until Christmas, your gift giving window is rapidly closing. With that in mind, Off The Cuff has assembled some favorite brands for your consideration.
Some of these names you know, others may be new but each one is an OTC favorite. Some are dedicated to one thing, like Molskine, while others are encompass entire families of brands, as does Ralph Lauren. It takes all kinds of businesses to make the world go ’round.
Since Mr. DelVechhio took over this venerable institution, Brooks has gone from outdated to leading edge. Though some decry it’s apparent loss of quality, I think the redefinition of Brooks Brothers is just what the doctor ordered.
The original Bean store in Freeport, Main, is open 24 hours a day, and nothing is quite a cool as showing up at 3:00 a.m., grabbing a cup of coffee off the front counter and going shopping.
With the kind of copy normally reserved for travelogues from the 1920s, J. Peterman catalogs are cult items among the cognoscenti. But it’s the stuff that gets to you – great stuff. Need a standing brass magnifying glass? Velvet squire’s coat for wandering around your castle? What about a riverboat gambler’s vest? He’s got it and so much more.
Don’t miss one of his original items, the Counterfeit Mailbag. A longtime OTC recommendation, you can read my review here.
Another great company with a great story. From Oxford to Harvard, they have finely crafted enamel and sterling silver cuff links, regimental ties, jumpers (that’s sweaters to us Yanks), and a catalog worth of other gift ideas.
And don’t forget about the ribbon watch straps – Esquire Magazine sure didn’t; it put them in their famous Big Black Book.
Once and a while a company comes along that redefines a genre. To me, that’s what Drakes London has does for the neck wear business. Handmade from start to finish, Drakes ties are indeed made in London by real craftsmen.
Not too wide and not too narrow, the form and quality of a Drakes tie will handsomely carry you through one trend after another.
Ashley Ashoff ties are another handmade neck wear treat. Elegantly simple, restrained designs are rendered with the same silk used by Hermes. The magic here is in the texture; dense wovens and crisp prints get noticed whenever I wear mine. Every tie even comes in its own silk bag.
Tucker Blair finished needlepoint belts are true classics. Though a young company, their belts hearken back to summers on the Cape, hanging out on the dock, watching the sun go down with a cool G&T in your hand. All that from a belt.
An original OTC favorite. Jack Spade makes great bags. In cotton, canvas, nylon or waxwear, Jack Spade bags are industrial and Fifth Avenue all at the same time. In fact, mine is sitting here right next to me, filled with everything I need.
The best notebooks out there. What else can I say? Moleskines come in every shape and size, hard cover or soft. They have a certain something that makes you want to write, draw, scribble or doodle. The very simplicity of its design defines Moleskine’s iconic status. Hey, Molskines even have a fan club.
Heavy and build like two tanks wrapped around your legs, they also possess a kind of softness and comfort that normally takes time to impart. No mistake though, these are not “pre distressed” or “custom aged,” it’s just how they are made.
So there is no confusion allow me to clarify: these are the best khakis ever made.
Have you heard of R. Horns? Unless you are from Vienna, Austria, probably not. But if you ever stop by their little shop or happen by the minimalist web site, you will discover some exceptional leather goods.
My wallet is from Horns, a gift from my dear wife on a visit to Vienna several years ago. It still has that particular leather smell which instantly tells me it’s not from the states. The leather itself is now burnished to a mellow gloss and it looks, if not new, certainly not old.