Catching Up: Aviate

I’ve been friends with Aviate for well over a year now.  To say that they have blown up is an understatement.  Their airport code hats are everywhere, and those of us that got on board a while back are already on to hat number 2, or 3, or 4.  This sort of growth for a small company forces a crash course in running a business, which is always interesting.  Owner and founder Ben Lancaster was nice enough to give us some insight after a very interesting few years in the business…

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned since starting Aviate?   If I think I have bought enough inventory, I haven’t, so buy more. Over the summer (May) we switched manufacturers and before the switch I ordered several thousand to tie me over the summer.. Well, that was about the time we experience our first boom. We sold out of that entire order in a week or two leaving us without our top sellers form June until mid-September. While some people would say that is Economics 101 because of the demand we created (accidentally), I say it was the most nerve racking 3 months dealing with angry customers and retailers.

Why do you think the hats are so popular?   I tell people all the time, Aviate is more than airport codes on hats. We strive to bring a sense of community to people through the design of our hats and other airport code products. People love to take pride in their hometowns or cities where they were raised and our products help that person connect with the place they love the most.

What is it like being in the apparel business?   Being in the apparel business is fast pace. Recently we have streamlined things a bit by moving all of our shipping to a distributor center to free up our time and concentrate on growing the brand. We have to always be willing to innovate and create new products to survive, yet also creating and maintaining relationships with our customers. I think we are more than just an apparel business, we strive to create a culture that people want to be apart of. We want our customers to connect with and have a love affair with our brand, so attention to detail and a personal, hands on approach to the relationships with our customers and retailers are critical. I make sure my team knows that I want every email answered, every question someone asks us on any social media platform is not only answered but answered in a timely fashion. Details like that are very important to me and important to our brand.

Describe a day at Aviate…   Every day is different, but we have certain things that must be done every day. We have over 300 sku’s that we sell under the Aviate name so keeping tabs on inventory is a daily battle which makes forecasting and ordering a daily battle for us as well. Because of our massive amounts of sku’s and inventory we are constantly putting out fires and tending to customers needs on a minute by minute basis. I now have four employees, one intern and looking to add one more intern and a couple sales positions and because we are in such a high foot traffic area friends and strangers alike are always stopping by to hang out and see what we are up to, which we enjoy the most… connecting with people, so our office is in constant motion. FUN is on the top of the list here at Aviate so there are always pranks, events being put on and people wanting to be a part of our brand.

What do we have to look forward to from Aviate in the future?   I mentioned being innovative earlier. Our wheels are constantly turning with what products we want to release down the road. Spring of 2017 we look to have a light release of different products with Fall of 2017 being our first huge launch with a wide array of options. While airport codes on products will always be our staple we are positioning ourselves to be a premium travel brand with travel based products to better entrench us as a long term brand.

Shop the full Aviate collection here, and follow them on Instagram.  Great stuff…  Now, on to convincing them to create a hat for Rochester Airport in the United Kingdom…

A Goodwill Trick: Buttons

I can’t stand brown buttons on button-up shirts.  They give shirts a very casual look, which I don’t like at all.  Call it a pet peeve.  I prefer white buttons on all sport shirts, and especially on all dress shirts.

Today’s Goodwill trick: Don’t let brown buttons deter a really nice Goodwill find.  If you come across a shirt with a nice set of Mother of Pearl (MOP) buttons, it is worth spending $5 on the shirt just to salvage the buttons.  You will usually see these buttons on older, out of date luxury dress shirts (the one above is Zegna), or from mens stores.  The best part: it doesn’t matter what size, style, or condition.  As long as the buttons are good, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Keep the button sets in separate plastic bags and upgrade when necessary.

1000 Words: Sid Mashburn Fall 2016

Fall is the sweet spot.  It’s with great anticipation that we await to see what #menswear maestro Sid Mashburn has up his sleeve…  The feeling this fall is bold basics.  Great pieces like a cashmere sweater that you may have in a more muted charcoal, but in a super cool teal green.  A work shirt in a deep orange. Or crepe sole brogues in dark green suede.  A tweed sport coat with a dash of Air Force blue…  You get it.

They are nice enough to ask me to come by and shoot their Atlanta store, and I apologize in advance for the way-too-many picture display below.  We usually shoot for a dozen or so.  Sorry.  Well, maybe I’m not.  Enjoy:


James - October 24, 2016 - 8:20 AM

Yup! They did it again. Not surprised but still wowed!

cam - October 24, 2016 - 1:51 PM

What else can be said about SMashburn? Just stunning

Cory - October 24, 2016 - 3:49 PM

Never a misstep. Great store. Great stuff.

MRS - October 25, 2016 - 10:38 AM

Terrific stuff. Here’s a question for the bartender – a good portion of Sid’s stuff is described as “imported” on the website . I’m not a purist over made in the USA but at those price points, I’d like to know where the garment is sourced. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Quick Hitter: Dallas from my iPhone

Mrs. RCS and I had a chance to spend a little time in Dallas.  What a great town…there is so much to love, as my iPhone camera will prove:

Beretta Store:

Filson Store:

Sid Mashburn:



BCM - October 21, 2016 - 8:42 AM

Dallas is truly a great city. Lived there for four years as an undergrad at SMU. Hope you made it to Pecan Lodge for lunch.

JPD - October 21, 2016 - 9:11 AM

Glad to see you enjoyed the city! Would love to meet up and discuss menswear next time you come through.

Nem - October 21, 2016 - 11:49 AM

You need to get those Lucchese caiman shit kickers, don’t let Mrs. RCS tell you no!

Shopping Fall with Ball and Buck

With Fall arriving, and the temperatures (finally) starting to drop, it’s time to transition closets to more weather-friendly options.  For me, Fall is my favorite time of year.  Not only is it college football season, but the humidity disappears, and ‘outdoor life’ becomes much more conducive.

Fall is the sweet spot for Ball and Buck.  They have a focus on colder weather gear that is conducive to being outside, hunting, and campfires.  Their catalogs have a feel of cold morning dew, a brisk breeze, and early morning gunpowder.  The good thing about the Ball and Buck value proposition is that their pieces are transitional.  Of course it all works well for outdoor life, but it is transitional.  The majority can be worn in a business casual environment, on a date, or hanging out on the weekend.  Here are my picks this Fall:

From top Left:

1 The Striped Hunter’s Shirt: The Hunter’s Shirt is what got Ball and Buck going.  They knock this one out of the park, with the special attention given to the shooter’s shoulder.  Wash, hang dry, and iron.  Never dry clean.
2. The Navy Blue Commando Sweater:  One of the coolest pieces offered from Ball and Buck, this is the go-to sweater for Fall and Winter.  It’s an adult version of a Patagonia Snap-T that can be worn in the field, or at the office.
3. Original Camo Duck Cotton Hat:  Let’s not over complicate things – this is a cool camo hat.
4. The Upland Jacket 2.0:
5. Unlined Deerskin Gloves:  The glove market is either a heavy pair of work gloves, or an expensive pair of custom fit dress/driving gloves.  These deerskin gloves are right in the middle.
6. 6-point Duck Cotton Pants: I have a pair of these and love them.  The fit is straight, allowing room to fit over boots, but not so baggy that they don’t work with loafers.
7. Randolph USA X Ball and Buck Hunter’s Sunglasses:  American made sunglasses that work when lining up a shot, or commuting to the office.
8. Premium 1″ Leather Belt:  Your basic belt, made with good leather.  Snap closure so you can add a buckle if you like.
9. Buck X Ball and Buck Folding Pocket Knife:  The old Buck knife with a combo blade.  A must for any EDC, just leave it at home if you are heading to the airport.
10. Rancourt X Ball and Buck Bit Loafers:  Another great collaboration with Rancourt yields a GREAT pair of bit loafers that have the quality and build you know from Rancourt, and the flare from Ball and Buck.
11. The Blind Bag:  You can never have too many tote bags.
12: Russell Moccasin Co X Ball and Buck Signature PH Boots:  These boots are made for walkin’…

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the American Field event in Atlanta November 12-13 at Ponce City Market…more on this later…

**This is the first of a few ‘Shopping Fall’ pieces you’ll see over the next few weeks.

Clarence Anthony Jr. - October 19, 2016 - 2:57 PM

Good call on the gloves. I was also looking at the elkskins as an option. Thoughts?

Lust: Vintage Ford Broncos

The rumor mill started spinning last week with the possibility of Ford releasing a redesigned Bronco in 2018.  I have always been a Bronco fan – one of my fraternity brothers drove a 1995 Eddie Bauer green model that was awesome.  He was not cool enough to drive that truck.  Anyway, the new concept looks horrible.  It looks like something that Arnold Swharzenegger (or worse Colin Farrell) would drive around on Mars in Total Recall.

What’s wrong with the original model?  The Bronco was introduced in 1966 as a compact SUV, and biggie sized in 1978.  The ’66-’77 models are incredible.  One of our dear friends has one that he has totally restored (it’s that cool gold/mustard color like the last image).  These can be found at a good restoration price, and not have to dump a TON of money (Defender-esque) to get it back to it’s glory.  One day I’ll pull the trigger…for now, enjoy some inspiration.  Which one is your favorite?  Mine is Blue #4, but I wouldn’t complain about any of them.

Images: Google Image Search

MSM - October 17, 2016 - 3:24 PM

If you’re lusting for vintage 911s and Broncos, look into Singer and Icon as they’ve taken those obsessions to the point of brilliant insanity.

Report back with a post on your favorite Singer 911 interior.

mike - October 18, 2016 - 10:54 AM

Thankfully, I believe the concepts that have been swirling around are not from Dearborn. Much like Chrysler’s 2019 release of the Grand Wagoneer, we won’t see true factory concepts for quite some time from Ford.

Jim - October 19, 2016 - 11:45 AM

I really like the dark green with the white top. Has sort of International Scout feel to it. The whitewalls get me every time. They are a little bit of gentleman in an off road vehicle.

Ryan - October 21, 2016 - 5:38 AM

I love the old Broncos, especially after the rear wheel wells have been cut (as is the case on most of the restores you see) and they are given a slight lift.
My personal favorite, and still somewhat affordable if you can find one, are the late 60s – early 70s Nissan Patrols. They look like an FJ40 at about half the cost.

High Five

It’s been a busy couple of weeks…lots of good stuff out there.  Here are five that I want to bring to your attention:

1 Ball and Buck does such a great job with collaborations.  They have done work with New Balance, Abel Reels, Randolph, etc.  They just released their version of a Moto jacket with Schott.  This jacket is awesome – it’s called ‘The Perfecto’.  I’ve never been much of a leather jacket guy, until I saw this.  Very well done.


2. Crown and Caliber (an excellent watch blog) did a really cool piece on the old Abercrombie & Fitch watches.  Jeff Stein (the foremost Heuer expert) has a collection that you wouldn’t believe.  I had no idea…


3. Atlantic Drift has been doing coastal-themed gear for some time now, but they knocked it out of the park this Fall with their long sleeve t-shirt designs.  I’m serious – they are awesome.  “Mullets Runnin’ Wild”, “No Banana Boats”, etc.  Just awesome.


4. Hermes Watch Straps: I saw these on Instagram last night, and am really impressed.  What a great way to take advantage of some of those vintage Hermes ties.  I’m not sure how to get on yet…I’ve inquired, and will let you know as soon as I hear something.


5. Peter Keil art.  Mrs. RCS and I are in the process of accumulating as much as we can (we have five now).  Our decor is in the beige to white spectrum, so having these on the wall give a really nice punch.

Ryan - October 15, 2016 - 6:38 PM

Any word on those Hermes straps? One of the owners of HQ Milton posted them on Instagram, I inquired as well but never heard anything.

Scott Maier - October 15, 2016 - 7:33 PM