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Archive for the ‘Hands On’ Category

Despite having acquired a number of bracelets, watchbands, and other pieces of wrist-ular ephemera over the last few years, I never moved far past my “NATO and those beads I got at Capsule that one time” phase. Nothing much behind it; just never found anything that stuck. Well, luckily enough, round 2 of the Sartorial et Al. worked out pretty well for me. Shawn from Form Function Form hooked me up with a couple of expertly executed, hand crafted pieces that I can safely say I’ll keep in rotation for a good long while.

First up, the bow shackle bracelet. Mine is made from Horween’s natural Essex veggie tanned leather, and finished off with royal blue cord, but you can also go for natural Chromexcel, plus a ton of other cord colors. As for the closure, well, that one’s pretty self-explanatory. (It’s a bow shackle.) It’s drawn its fair share of comments in the last few weeks—with good reason.

And part two? A shell cordovan watchband. “Oh, but that’s been done before,” you declare. Well, not exactly. Cut exactly to size and finished with a one-hole button stud closure, it’s a refreshingly understated take on the style. It’s also fucking awesome. Seriously. I want a backup, just in case some wristwear-obsessed criminal manages to abscond with it at some undetermined point in the future. Or, you know, just to have another color option (the current one’s natural).

Take a leap over to the site to see Form Function Form’s other styles, and hit up A Headlong Dive to check the rest of the coverage by the other guys from the Sartorial et Al. A massive thanks to Jeremiah for putting this all together, and to Shawn for supplying such fine product to work with.

—Jonathan

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The way I see it, a silk knit tie is downright essential. Not in the same sense as food, shelter, or decent bourbon, of course. But in that it’s one of the easiest ways to elevate a casual tailored look without veering too far into dressed-up territory? Yep. Essential.

And if it’s about three inches wide — allowing for an appropriately hefty knot with a healthy dimple below it — well, all the better. Which is why I was damn pleased to hear that The Knottery was coming out with a line of ’em when the news dropped a while back. Ditto that sentiment when Jay let me know he was going to be sending a few my way if I’d like. (Obviously, I was quick with a “yes” on that.)

I got one in brown, one in navy, and one in burgundy, and I’ve been working them into the rotation recently. After a bit of a road test, I’m happy to report that my initial excitement was well-founded. These things are bang-on. In fact, even at twice their modest $25 price, they’d be a steal. The fabric is nice and substantial, the construction is solid, and, like I said, the proportions are pretty much ideal in my book. Oh, and they’ve got about a fuckton (ed’s note: that’s a real measurement) of colors on offer — from blaze orange to blogger blue to my more muted hues. So whatever your inclination, they’ve probably got what you’re looking for.


Head over to The Knottery to take a look at the full collection of ties and myriad other goodies for the style-inclined, and check out the rest of the photos below.

—Jonathan

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Alright first off: I’m back. At least, I’m trying. The day job, she’s been keeping me real busy as of late. So that’s that. Moving on…

I recently got an email from a gentleman named Derek Shaw from Waskerd inquiring about whether I might want to get my mitts on one of his handcrafted card cases in exchange for posting up my thoughts on it for all the Interweb to see. I’m normally a wallet guy, but he caught me at a good time. Thoughts of paring down the back pocket arsenal had already been kicking around my head, and I was looking to try something new. So I took him up on the offer, and ordered up a Studio 2-pocket card case in a rich, rusty hue dubbed “Hereford Red.”


I’ve been using it for a little more than a month, and have been holding off on posting until I put it through a little abuse. Well, abuse it’s taken, and I can honestly say this thing’s a great pickup. The leather is soft but sturdy, the design minimal but functional, and it feels like it’s going to last for ages. There’s a whole range of options available over at the Waskerd site, ranging from the slim to the don’t-fuck-with-me style hefty. He’s even got one, the Broadsheet, designed specifically for use with a topcoat.  I’d recommend any, though with the note that if you opt for the seriously beefy ones, you should be ready for a sincerely thick hunk of leather in your pocket.

Oh, and did I mention that when dude says handcrafted, he means done entirely with hand tools and without the use of electricity? Sounds exhausting, but still pretty awesome.

If you’re at all like me, you’ve put off almost all of your holiday shopping until now. And I’m just puttin’ it out there, but this’d probably make a good present. Derek offers custom branded monograms, too, so you can get all personalized with it.

Many thanks to Derek, and hopefully it’ll be a whole lot less than seven months before my next post.

—Jonathan

Waskerd urban tour photos by me.

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When I first heard about the Americana-gasm of the Levi’s x Pendleton collaboration that hit stores this past Tuesday, I was pretty damn excited. Levi’s recent work with Filson proved (to me at least) that the jeans mega-brand is more than capable of playing nice with others and creating some interesting tweaks on designs using key elements from both parties. Crucially, it also illustrated the fact that Levi’s-proper (not just imprints like LVC) can still make a well-constructed product with quality materials once those dollars tick a bit higher.

That last point is probably the most important to me, as I’ve run into my fair share of issues with fabrics in the main line. It’s especially pertinent because two of the three pieces of actual men’s apparel (there’s also a blanket but I don’t really count that) are takes on the iconic trucker jacket, which I’ve always loved but never purchased due to questionable textiles and sometimes-shoddy construction. But a group of goods made in the US? All featuring Pendleton’s virgin wool in an exclusive jacquard print (using blues, golds, and a bit of red to recall denim, contrast stitching, and red selvage in well-worn jeans) and one with denim from Cone Mills? Salvation at long last! At least, that was the initial reaction.

I was partly right. The rigid Work Shirt ain’t half bad, and the wool-yoked Western Trucker did not fail to impress. The Blanket Lined Trucker though? Not my my cup of tea, not really on par with the other pieces, and pretty disappointing overall.

Let’s break it down one by one.

The Good: The Work Shirt ($118)

Done in a rigid, deep indigo denim with a subtle greycast, it’s a pretty solid example of the breed. The fabric is suitably heavy duty, and the cut is trim in spirit but sized up enough that it can function as an overshirt. In terms of details you’ve got two button-through chest pockets, a box pleat at the back, a tab collar, thick wooden buttons, and of course the iconic red tab on the chest. And then there’s the Pendleton portion: paneling on the back yoke and on the back of the forearms. Nothing flashy, and it works well.

The Bad: The Blanket Lined Trucker ($178)

Considering the fact that there’s a complimentary women’s version, it seems that the Blanket Lined Trucker is supposed to be the shining jewel of the collection. And the Pendleton vest lining, which buttons in and out with some particularly handsome painted buttons, is pretty damn nice. It’s soft, fitted, and warm. But the jacket itself isn’t anything special. The denim itself felt somewhat overprocessed and insubstantial, and the look overall is just “meh.” It’s not a total failing, but it’s not a winner. I suppose you can’t win ’em all…

The Winner: The Western Trucker

But some can be a winner.  And in this bunch, it’s definitely the Western Trucker. Made of rigid Cone denim and featuring Pendletone panels on the yoke and lining the cuffs, it’s a very solid combination on the textile front. The quality of the wool is a given at this point, but it was really nice to see Levi’s step up the game on the denim. Heavy and rigid without being artificially stiff, it feels like it’ll wear like iron. Add the tried and true trucker styling to the mix and that’s really all you need.

As you can see, the Western Trucker wasn’t shot in a Levi’s store like the other two pieces. I decided to pick one up for myself after checking it out, so that backdrop is my apartment.

Whether I’m going to wind up keeping it, though, is another matter. The reason being, it’s kinda tough to work wool jacquard paneling on outerwear into my wardrobe mix, even when it’s a solid and relatively understated one. Despite that tredipidation, it’s still in my place. So we’ll see where that one lands…

All the pieces (as well as the unmentioned-here blanket) are available online through Levi’s and Pendleton’s sites, and in Levi’s stores.

—Jonathan

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