The Custom Needlepoint Belt Option

The Smathers and Branson needlepoint belts are really works of art.  The designs are crisp, the colors are bright, and the leather backing is really nice for a $165 belt.  I love the look…I have a TON of (let’s call them) emblematic belts, but I’m being drawn to these S&B belts more than the others.  These are my collection of Smathers & Branson belts (I have a few other non-S&B belts).  I have four belts more in the works, and I’m pumped to add them to the rotation.

Now, while I love the normal S&B catalog, and am looking forward to sharing their new designs with all of you readers, I have really enjoyed their custom belts.  As I’m sure you’ve all seen, S&B does belts that aren’t available on their website, and require some digging on the Internet or a visit to the golf club/resort/etc.  The exclusivity gives them a bit of a unicorn feel, and they draw quite a few comments and questions:

The first custom S&B I got was the Masters belt back in 2012.  My friend Emmie got this for me while she was down in Augusta, and really had to dig to find it.  I posted about it, and my social media exploded.  Over the next couple years, the S&B presence at The Masters has exponentially expanded…you can get just about any size and color you need on Ebay (for a nice premium).  My others are from some private clubs, Charleston, the Fine Swine, and the Shotgun belt from Onward Reserve.

So, let’s make this post the definitive Smathers & Branson custom belt resource.  I found all these online, and I know there are a TON more.  Do you have a custom S&B belt?  Send a picture and a description to jrs@redclaysoul.com and I’ll update this post.  This should be fun:

Sea Island needlepoint belt

Southern Proper lifestyle belt

“Eat a Peach” belt from Miller Brothers in Atlanta (this one is on the way)

Merion Golf Club

Pappy & Co Belts (available in blue and khaki)

Red’s Outfitters belt

Plainswear (WDE)

Bandon Dunes Golf Club

Locksicker (much more on these folks later..)

Kiawah – I couldn’t find the belt online, but if they have a keychain, they should have a belt.

Keeneland

Grateful Dead options

Alright, folks – let’s hear it!  What custom Smathers & Branson belt do you have?  Send me a picture and a description and I’ll post it here.

Ready To Rumble: Mullet Toss Weekend

Y’all ready to rock?  It’s Mullet Toss weekend in Orange Beach, AL.  Head on down to Flora-Bama and partake…  If you’ve never done it, it’s worth the trip.  What is Mullet Toss?  It’s simple, really: you throw a fish as far as you can.  If you’ve been before, you probably aren’t reading this, because you’re already there and cell service sucks on the beach…

Highlights:

 

Have fun, folks. And act like you were raised right…or make sure there are no camera phones around.

The Social Primer Charleston Blazer Collection (Behind the Scenes)

My friend Cooper…what can I say.  I’ve been reading his blog Social Primer for as long as I can remember.  I met Cooper about three years ago right after he launched his bow tie collection with Brooks Brothers, and we became fast friends.  Cooper has a style all his own, but one that is not rooted in ‘fashion’, but historical, traditional, genteel style that is timeless.  Now, Cooper does put his twist on things, but they are incremental additions, not weird velcro-like chachkies that detract from what is important.

Cooper recently started a Kickstarter project to fund his new concept: blazers.  We talked about his blazer concept about six months ago on a visit to Charleston, his hometown.  I can tell you that no detail has gone overlooked.  The blazers below are exactly what he was going for.  This is NOT your navy blazer folk.  This is another level.  His blazers look incredible, but starting a line like this takes a lot of capital.  A lot.  It’s a huge risk for him, but in the end, the only regrets we have are the risks we didn’t take.  I reached out to Cooper to get some background on his blazer collection.  I’ll let y’all hear it from the man himself:

Why does the world need another blazer?  No way, no how does the world need another blazer. every Tom, Dick and Uniglo can make a blazer. And off-shore Chinese cheap! Buuuuuuuut, The Charleston Blazer is the extra piece, the last dance, the cherry on top of a man-who-gives-a-damn’ wardrobe. I think of TCB as a party blazer. You start with it fresh and spiffy at Memorial Day, all upright and bow-tied. It makes a few more “special occasion” appearances (church, weddings, derbys, tailgates) before arriving at Independence Day. It’s beginning to rumple, maybe there’s a liquor spill or two but it’s still appropriate for most casual occasions. I want guys to wear the hell out of it because it’s comfortable, light and breathes. And then by Labor Day, for the last hurrah, it’s beginning to fray at the sleeves. There are many more spills and a grass stain or two. Then it’s cleaned and put away until next summer. THEN it will be broken in and become a supremely awesome classic.

These aren’t just any blazers…from a style perspective, what sets them apart?  I’m an out and proud bi-blazer. I appreciate the finer points of British style (peak lapels, Savile Row vents) but I also demand the American comfort (softer shoulder, looser sleeves). This is the same pattern as my Evening Wear jacket with an extra button added.

For those outside your city limits, describe the importance of Charleston in the Social Primer ecosystem?  Ha. Charleston is the center of the Southern universe. It is Dixieland mecca for Southerners. We come here to pay hommage to our mother church. Peacock style here is real. Men dress for each other and women swoon. It is expected that a man wears a blazer to most every public event. For those of us who love to dress, this is the stage. Hence, my inspiration and my creative mission: Dress that Charleston man, and those who want to emulate him.

What is your favorite piece from your recent collection?  That’s like asking if I love Tess more than Brother! It’s a daily change of heart. This latest collection came from my experimenting with actual mattress ticking last summer. I wanted to see how the fabric handled tailoring. It was perfect, crisp yet light, I knew I would make that blazer. Then my factory called to say they had some Oxford cloth. I said, whip it up! Madras is a natural. I would wear it everyday in the summer. And most days I do. The DAF style is nuts, even by my twisted standards. It is attention-seeking and clown-like. You have to be ready for eyeballs when you don the DAF. And I am that brave sometimes.

Why should someone donate to your Kickstarter?  I am a one-man show, for the most part. I have generous friends and interns, but the bulk of the work sits on these skinny shoulders. The work is endless but I love what I do. I love thinking of new takes on classic menswear and then presenting it to others, whether through mechandise, styling or photographs. I’m seriously turned on by showing someone a new way of wearing something. Wait, what was the question? Oh, why spend your money on The Charleston Blazer? Social Primer is an American company. Yes, made in the South, by Americans. The production cost is higher, as well as the quality, but it beats the pants off every one of those other, er, competition. I challenge your followers to check the labels of their favorite brands. 9 out of 10 are made by foreign hands. And that is no exageration. My grandmother Emma Sue rose from picking cotton in the hot sun to Vice President of Russell Mills. She would take me school shopping when I visited her in Alexander City, AL. Anything I selected, ANYTHING, she would first check the label. If it didn’t say Made in America, it was not purchased. “Put it back,” she would say sternly but sweetly. That stays with me every day.

After much research of the competion, I found — generally speaking — that they price their blazers at 495.00 retail. There is no way, NO WAY, to make a quality blazer at that price when you have to wholesale it. So in order to create this collection, I am taking much less profit just to get my foot in the door. That is why I went to Kickstarter. It allows entreprenuers to realize their dreams against incredible odds agianst your success. Let’s face it, the apparel business has a high risk of failure. Stores and their buyers are fickle, loyalty must connect to dollar signs and foreign pricing beats the poop out of American factories. But those factories are still here, many of them here in the South. The generation that built them is stil alive, greying and slowing down, but still alive. I cherish the idea of working with — and learning from — this great generation.

Car Shopping: The Holland & Holland Range Rover

Well, I can’t say that I don’t have a wondering eye when it comes to cars…I love my LR3 to death, and have enjoyed driving it over the last few years.  That said, I come across ‘deals’ and options quite a bit.  I came across an option last night that really has me wondering…the 2015 Holland & Holland Range Rover:

I love the green and chrome look.  let’s call it ‘Urban Camo’.

Very handsome interior.  At $285K it should come with a weekly visit from a housekeeper.

Nice little details like this that will be PERFECT for taking Instagram pictures when I’m stuck in Atlanta traffic.

A back seat like this makes me want to hire a driver.  Or my dog(s) will love riding in these…while I drive.

While I don’t know if packing heat on a daily commute would be smiled upon, it is nice to have options.

In all seriousness, this is such a beautiful truck.  I love the green, and I love the interior color.  While it is a bit pricy, it’s nice to see collaborations like this that really highlight these two brands.  What do you think?  Should I take the plunge?

Images: Business Insider

Atlanta: Res Ipsa X Peter Millar Trunk Show TOMORROW

Folks – drop by H. Stockton’s Midtown location tomorrow between noon and 8PM and check out the Res Ipsa and Peter Millar trunk show.  Check out the new summer loafers and bags from Atlanta’s Res Ipsa, and all the Spring goods from Peter Millar.  See you there!

Off-Season Find: The Penfield Landis Toggle Coat

So as most of you readers know, I am a bargain hunter.  I’ve talked about it in the past, and will continue to talk about it in the future.  One of my favorite things to do is find pieces in the off-season, as the prices are generally much lower than rack rate.  The majority of pieces I buy are traditional, and don’t necessarily go ‘out of style’.

We had a nasty winter in Atlanta this year.  It was cold at Thanksgiving, and didn’t warm up until March.  That is rare for Atlanta, as the ‘cold’ portion of our winters are usually only a couple months.  My problem is that I didn’t have a heavy duty winter coat.  The Barbours and Belstaffs are good, but they don’t provide the type of warmth needed for below freezing temperatures.

From this perspective, I was looking for a jacket that is first and foremost a functional, and very warm jacket.  I also wanted a coat that could stand rain and snow, so I didn’t want a wool coat.  Lastly, I wanted something that I can wear in a professional environment.  No ski jacket.

Being a huge Penfield fan, I started looking around online sale racks to see what was out there.  It didn’t take long for me to land on the Landis.  What a great looking jacket…down filled, the great 60/40 fabric that Penfield is known for, and a navy blue toggle style coat.  And the price?  Under $200.  From a sizing perspective, I wear a 40R coat and a size M in Brooks Brothers sweaters, so I went with a size Medium, and it fits perfectly…enough room to wear over a sport coat or over a bulky sweater with out looking like the Michelin Man.

Keep an eye out…I’m on the hunt for some other off-season finds, and I’ll post them as they come in.  What are you looking for?

Boston (Strong) Marathon

Today is the 119th running of the Boston Marathon.  For obvious reasons there is a national sense of pride for all the runners.  Did you know that over a half million spectators watch the race?  It’s the biggest sporting event in New England…  Good luck to all of you today…run well, and know that this corner of Atlanta pulling for you all.

Time did an excellent piece on some historical photos of past Boston Marathons (like the one above from 1983).  Enjoy!