Hands On: Strong Suit

I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Davidson earlier this Fall when he was in town for his trunk shows at H.Stockton.  Jamie runs Strong Suit, a boutique-esqe suit company based in Little Rock.  They specialize in made-to-measure, but have a few seasonal pieces that are available off-the-rack.  This fall, they offer a few suits in various fabrics, as well as a few sport coats.

Jamie was nice enough to send me this grey plaid jacket for a hands-on review.  My first impression is how nice the fabric feels.  It is extremely soft wool with a subtle brown plaid.  It is a luxurious Fall and Winter neutral that is a nice replacement for the darker solids.  The details in the construction are outstanding:

The pick-stitching is a great touch, which shows off the great construction of the jacket.  Besides that, the additional ticket pocket and the working cuff buttons are a top-shelf option for an off-the-rack jacket.

Inside the jacket is more than what you’d expect from a jacket at this price point.  It looks like a custom piece and includes more pockets that you’ll need.  Your date will appreciate this.  Also, I don’t know what it is about the Ozark boys, but including a quote is an appropriate nod to the heritage lifestyle.  My man Martin Dingman does this as well.

The construction of the jacket is really what sets it apart.  The jacket is fully canvased, so it will form to your shape over time.  The fit is tailored, but not slim.  From a sizing perspective, it is very similar to the J. Crew Ludlow line.  The jacket is very comfortable to wear; the soft shoulders, the high armpits and the higher top button allow a much more functional fit rather than a piece of outerwear.  The Strong Suit jackets retail for $495 off the rack, and the suits retail for $695 – that includes the made-to-measure pieces as well.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a jacket at this level of quality for a lower price.

Strong Suit is popping up at some of the nicest mens stores all over the Southeast:

Atlanta: H. Stockton
Auburn (& Montgomery): The Locker Room
Clemson: M. Frank
Charleston: Grady Ervin & Co.
Charlotte: Taylor Richards Conger
Dallas: Pockets
Greenville: Rush Wilson
Jackson: Great Scott
Knoxville: M.S. McLellan
Memphis: James Davis
New Orleans (& Baton Rouge): George Bass
Raleigh: Liles

Next time you are in the neighborhood, give ‘em a look.  Oh – and they offer tuxedos as well.  In black AND NAVY.

Happy Birthday, Mister Billy Gibbons

Happy Birthday, Billy Gibbons…one of the best guitarists out there.  Keep hammering that thing…have mercy:


Let’s hear it…what’s your favorite ZZ Top song?


Next up in the Red Clay Soul gift guide series is the top of the heap stuff…irreverent stuff that requires a serious financial commitment.  Fun stuff for those that gives gifts at this level don’t think about said financial commitment.  So if you fall into that category, or just want to have a little fun, let’s rock and roll, old sport:

From Top Left:

1. The Monocle Guide to Better Living:  Maybe the gift should include a red pen…so you can make necessary corrections.
2. Panerai Specialties Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Titanium Watch:  Call this a ‘second opinion’ since you don’t trust your iPhone’s clock.
3. Kiton Plaid Cashmere Sport Coat:  Have a fun jacket handy.  You know, for walking the dog…or for the Christmas party.  Green is good.
4. 1965 Aston Martin DB5:  Got a little room in the garage?  Get something small and sporty for Saturday morning trips to Starbucks.  The maybe over to Home Depot.  Whatever.
5. Bottega Venetta Intrecciato Leather Billfold Wallet:  The older you get, the more cash you carry, so that Cheddar clip just isn’t cutting it.  Have something Italian to hold your stacks.
6. Hat From the Investment House:  The minimum barrier of entry to obtain one of these hats is a significant number of zeros.  Only 0.0001% of the population have any idea this didn’t come from some sort of golf tournament gift bag.
7. Box of Cuban Cigars:  It doesn’t matter whether you are a cigar fan, or have any idea how to actually smoke cigars.  What matters is that it took an act of smuggling to get these into the country.  Total power play.
8. Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere Button Neck Jumper:   Because regular wool is like ordering from the value menu.
9. The Bond Mixologist Box:  Even though your idea of making cocktails is pouring gin and tonic over ice, you like to be prepared.  Having the necessary tools to make any drink under the rainbow is considered good form.
10. Club Monoco Cashmere Sweatpants:  I hear it all the time from readers…’what is the best thing to wear when catching up on Red Clay Soul?’  The answer: cashmere sweatpants.
11. Rubinacci Samurai Silk Pocket Square:  Fulfills the dream of having a few Samurai in your pocket.
12. Peacock Backgammon Board by Alexandria Llewellyn:  No idea how to play backgammon, nor any desire to learn.  All you know is that backgammon is the game of kings, and being a king is  your business.
13. Frank Clegg Alligator Duffle:  A great option for a gym bag.  Big enough for your short shorts, New Balance shoes, tank top, headband, and ego.
14. Edward Green for Sid Mashburn Townsend Penny Loafers:  Because when you head to the beach, you can’t wear your go-to black cap toes with shorts…you need something a little more sporty.  These will do the trick.

High Five : December 12th

Five things that I’m really into right now, as of December 12th, 2014:

1. Ball & Buck X Randolph Engineering Hunter Sunglasses: Two very solid companies that have collaborated on some really sharp eyewear…  I wear the RE Sportsman glasses all the time, but these Hunters they did with Ball & Buck are out of this world.  They.  Will.  Be.  Mine.


2. @brosbeingbasic Instagram: This lines right up with my hate for #PSLs.  Enjoy…as if you already don’t know.


3. Good Flannel Shirts: The Farmer’s Almanac said that this winter is supposed to be brutal, and subconsciously I’m hoarding flannel shirts.  My favorite so far: this red and grey option from Lumina.  Awesome.


4. Jae Yuk Bok Um, AKA Spicy Pork Bulgogi.  Wifey and I had Korean last night with the guys from Res Ipsa, and they introduced me to this spicy pork goodness.  I could have eaten my weight.  Another reminder of why Buford Highway has the best food in Atlanta.


5. Tartan Loafers: Speaking of Res Ipsa….yeah, my holiday footwear is complete.  Like the Black Watch?  Call my buddies at H. Stockton in Midtown.


What are you digging on these days?

Orvis: Puff Daddy

So I have talked about puffer jackets for quite some time.  I have a few puffer-esque vests from Penfield, Southern Proper, etc., but don’t have any sort of puffy outerwear that includes sleeves.  It’s not for a lack of looking.  I’ve tried on countless jackets, but none of them really fit the way I wanted.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m pretty picky in what I like.  For a puffer, I wanted something that fit well, was versatile, and some sort of color.  I didn’t want a black or grey jacket.  Personal preference, but I didn’t want to look like the captain of a space ship.  I was walking around the Orvis store in Buckhead and came across this beauty – their Targhee Down Jacket.

What first attracted me to the jacket was the color.  It is the perfect shade of Kelly/Emerald/Masters green.  Check.  I tried it on, and noticed how light it was.  Check.  And the fit was just right – a little slimmer than some other puffer jackets, but still enough room in a size Medium to wear it over a an oxford and a sweater.  Orvis was nice enough to send one my way to review.

After wearing it around for a bit, here is what I think:

The logo: understated, just how I like it.  The chest pocket is perfect for a cell phone, gum, and anything small that my wife insists I carry.  I’m growing out out of the logo phase.  Don’t get my wrong, I don’t mind a logo, as long as it is subtle.  I am, however, anti-bill board.

For sizing reference, I wear a size 40R in J. Crew Ludlow stuff, I wear a 15.5 x 34 dress shirt.  The medium Targhee fits me perfectly.  The sleeves are just right.

One of the best features is the higher-cut armholes.  What this does for the jacket is give you a greater range of motion, which in turn keeps your sleeves in place.  Lower cut armholes and/or looser fitting jackets will pull the sleeves, giving it an awkward look.

This is a lightweight 800-fill down, so the jacket packs into this nice little zipped pocket.  Seriously, it’s about the size of a small cantaloupe.  Very convenient.

So far, the jacket has been worn to get a Christmas Tree, spend a weekend in Blue Ridge, and a few mornings in 30-degree commutes to the office.  Of course it is warm, but it keeps the wind out as well.  These nice little clips help keep the wind from sneaking in from down below.

And the color is perfect.  Listen – I get that black and gray jackets are easy.  In fact, this jacket is offered in both colors.  But this green…it really is great.  I like that it is bright, and wear it with just about anything (see today’s #WIWT Instagram).

I would give this jacket an A.  As a long time Orvis guy, the quality is second to none.  The slimmer cut and higher armholes are a really nice touch, and the perfect shade of green (they call it “Pine”) is spot on.  The price point is a little higher than some of the competitors that I’ve tried on, but Orvis runs sales all the time – just sign up for their emails and you’ll see what I mean.

Well done, Orvis.

Tonight (Atlanta): Get Lit at Shops Around Lenox

Atlanta folks: be there or be square:

MRS Red Clay Soul Gift Guide: For the Woman You Are In Love With

We’ve gone through our guide for women that you love. Now on to the love of your life: you girlfriend, your partner, your wife. While she may seem to be difficult to buy for, all of us have a few pieces that we always covet: lush cashmere, fun new jewels, a thoughtful token of your affection. The guide below speaks to some of my favorite things, and some things I’m hoping ‘Santa’ picks up this year. I’m certain something (more likely, many things) will jump out to you as something that speaks to the woman you are in love with.

From top left:

1. The Bitter Southerner’s ‘South’ T-shirt: Celebrating the fact that our beloved south is truly where it is, in soft, cottony, casual goodness. This is a great graphic for her from the folks making Tuesdays much more better.
2. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in ‘Smoke Red’: A preferred stocking stuffer.
3. Presumer Faith Clutch in Bone: A clutch for every season seems a bit much; this bare python beauty will transition just as easily from winter to spring as it does from day to night. She’ll be impressed.
4. “Barefoot Contessa – How Easy is That?” by Ina Garten: Whether she is an old pro in the kitchen or she sticks to take out, Ina’s wisdom be welcome! This treasure will get a lot of use, and is equally helpful in instilling the confidence she needs for a light supper for two or a dinner party for ten.
5. Bosphorus Diamond Throw Blanket from Loomed NOLA: This lovely throw is so cozy, and big enough for snuggling up together on these chilly southern nights. And who doesn’t like to snuggle?
6. Wide Jigsaw Buckle Stingray Bracelet by Leighelena in Mink: I can’t say enough about stingray guys! This snappy number is sure to be her favorite new circlet, and she’ll think of you each day she rocks it.
7. Ann Mashburn Cashmere Fingerless Gloves: Our hands are cold guys, and these slightly edgy cashmere gloves are just what we need! The cashmere is dreamy and the tip-less fingers make texting or driving a cinch.
8. Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom Home Candle: This is my steady favorite scent for like a decade. It’s bright and calming and it’s gender neutral (no more sugar cookie melon sweet awfulness).
9. Rocket Woman Throw Pillow by Britt Bass: These printed linen pillows offer a touch of art where large paintings don’t fit. You may not understand our love of throw pillows, but please indulge. Perfect for snuggling with the Loomed throw above (5).
10. Labradorite Mondrian Stud Earrings by Julie Vos: Picking out jewelry for her can be tough, so stick to basic but interesting silhouettes. She can dress these pretties up or wear them everyday for a hint of glam. I love the labradorite, but she’ll love any gemstone you choose.
11. 360 Sweater Natalya Drape Front Cashmere Cardigan in Bluebell: This cardigan has a shoulder zip, so she can cape it up til her heart’s content. She can throw this over anything (read: she will throw this over everything) for a look that is effortlessly elegant.
12. White & Copper Tiny Bud Vases by HoneyComb Studio: Each of these little tinies are handmade to imperfect perfection and she will enjoy picking a few of her favorite buds to fill each. Hint: bring home flowers for these… and often!
13. Randolph Engineering Concord Rose Gold Shades: These are functional and amazing! They are pink, so you (probably) won’t steal them, and maybe she will stop ‘borrowing’ yours.
14. Royal Stewart Tartan Merino Scarf by Ann Mashburn: Embrace the Tartan!
15. Facets Citrine Ring by Claudia Lobao: A grown up piece of costume jewelry that’s fun and kinda timeless.
16. White Wishbone Journal: We love notes and lists and even if we just pretend to journal, we love our journals.

Be sure to reference the other gift guides for her here, and for him here, here, and here.