Atlanta: Dinner Bell

Old traditions are sometimes the best traditions…some of my good buddies are behind this, and I can tell you that I’m extremely excited…

Join us and be among the first to take in Dinner Bell – a curated culinary and musical journey. Atlanta’s lauded chefs and musicians collaborate to create an intricate and unique sensory experience building upon the traditional underground supper club. This inaugural installment will nod to Atlanta’s southern flair in the 1920s radio era for an unprecedented pairing of food and music. Seating is limited and will sell out quickly.

This is NOT something to miss, folks.  Well worth the price of admission.

RCS Likes: The “Italian Stallion” Oxford

A completely overlooked staple is a navy blue oxford shirt.  To be honest, they are pretty hard to find.  Most darker shirts like this are either flannel or poplin; it’s very rare that you find actual oxford cloth.  I saw this the other day, and immediately added it to the list:

Gitman Vintage has released their version, which may be perfect.  Slim cut, oxford cloth, and white buttons.  It’s available over at East Dane (in white as well).  Here’s the thing with this shirt: it shouldn’t be dry cleaned.  Get it, and wear the hell out of it.  You think regular oxford blue wears in nicely, wait until you see how great the Navy blue looks after a few washes.  Gitman Vintage runs a touch on the small side, so I’d size up and put it in the dryer for 10-15 minutes, then hang dry.

The RCS Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I absolutely love my wife.  I’m not starting this post with that sentence because it’s about Valentine’s Day.  I really do.  I asked her “Honey, what do women want for Valentine’s Day?”.  She looked at me, adoringly, and said: “Easy.  Diamonds and champagne”.  Simple.  Elegant.  She’s a good woman.

It’s a common theme that us guys are hard to buy for.  That’s why I put so many looks and gift guides on this blog.  While V-day is really about the ladies, the guys usually get a little something, too.  Now, this year I’m making a call to all you guys, and couples for that matter – spend less on Valentine’s Day gifts and spend more time together.  Enjoy that day with your significant other.  It doesn’t have to be some elaborate dinner/date/etc. (well, it probably will be if you’ve been dating less than six months, but we’ve all been there).  Otherwise, go find a walk to take.  An old movie to pop in the VHS.  Maybe a card game and a bottle of wine.  Cook an amazing meal together.  Whatever.  Make sure you put the love back where it belongs.

With that said, there may still be some exchanging, and so ladies, here are some 100% sure-thing gifts for the man in your life:

From top left:

1. Hamilton Khaki Field Watch:  What is it about a field watch that is so sharp?  The ultimate utility player in his watch rotation.  It works at the ball game, at the office, on the course, and at church.  And there’s nothing better than seeing him wear it all the time.
2. La Matera Pinamar Belt:  Something spring-y to add to his waist-flare rotation will be much appreciated.  Yes, he is cool enough to pull this off.
3. Vintage Decanter:  A very classy gift.  Give him a reason to show off his goods in something you wouldn’t mind showing it off in.
4. Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Putter:  Every guy says he loves his own putter, until you give him this one.  Scotty’s are the Cadillac.
5. Bialetti 9-cup Moka Express Espresso Maker:  For the more refined gentleman.  This is for the guy who enjoys the morning paper before work.
6. Yeti 30 oz. Rambler:  Great way to keep the hots hot and the colds cold.  Do not get it monogrammed for him.  He’s not going through sorority rush, so no need.
7. Orvis Trout Bum Quilted Snap Sweatshirt:  Yes, he has a couple of these, but there’s always room for one more.  This one from Orvis is washable and soft, so it’ll double has her pillow on road trips.
8. Poler Bear 24-Pack Solar Cooler:  I got one of these at the Atlanta Charity Clays event last year, and absolutely love it.  I have a hard time advising spending more than $100 on a cooler, unless you are doing some sort of science experiment on keeping ice for a month and a half.  I use my freezer for that.
9. Buck X Ball and Buck Folding Hunter Knife:  Maybe a little aggressive, but it’ll get used.  Either in the field (as it’s intended) or as a letter opener.  Whatever, it’s the thought that counts.
10. Col. Littleton Front Pocket Wallet:  The monogram is a nice touch.  He’ll think about you every time he looks at his wallet.  Wait…that probably didn’t come out right…
11. Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA:  Is it weird to put beer on a Valentine’s Day gift guide?  Not if it’s the extremely hard to find Tropicalia from Creature Comforts.  This sweet nectar is harder to find than a needle in a haystack.  Pulling this off is the stuff of legends.
12. Vintage Vinyl:  This may take some digging, but this is the ‘cool’ gift.  Beastie Boys is always an excellent choice.

The History of Drake’s

I’ve been a huge fan of Drake’s for quite some time.  They make the best looking ties out there, and have recently expanded their line to essentially a complete array of mens apparel and accessories.  Their jackets and sweaters are works of art.  For us here in the States, the English company is a refreshing look into top shelf menswear.   Very regal, but wearable.  Here’s a little history on the company:

Founded in 1977 by Michael Drake, the original Drake’s collection was comprised of men’s quality scarves. A range of English handmade ties and pocket squares quickly followed, which swiftly became the ‘heart and soul’ of the business. Over the years the company has won prestigious accolades for design and export achievement, including the Queen’s Award for Export and the UK Fashion Export Gold Award for Outstanding Export Achievement.

Our ties continue to be entirely handmade in London’s East End, on Haberdasher Street. The dedication and constant attention to detail that is given to the product is never compromised and truly sets Drake’s apart in this age of the numbingly ordinary and the quaintly redone.

All Drake’s products are made of only the finest quality materials, designed at Haberdasher Street and manufactured exclusively in the UK and Italy.

The Drake’s style, beginning with a refined English discrimination, has evolved with a touch of consummate French chic and a nod to the Italians for their abundant sense of style and colour. This aesthetic represents a vision of how English style is perceived to be, rather than the reality which today is all too often less inspiring.

Change in Ownership  A change in ownership came about in 2010 when Michael Drake retired and Michael Hill (above), Michael Drake’s previous understudy and lead designer, and Mark Cho, co-founder of The Armoury haberdashers in Hong Kong, acquired Drake’s. The original ethos, quality and brand direction remains the same.

Launch of the Online Shopping Site  In Autumn 2007 we launched the Drake’s online shop. The idea was to introduce a virtual haberdashers for the discerning gentlemen, with the purpose of making our quality wares available worldwide.

Bricks and Mortar  On May 20th 2011, we opened our first retail shop at No. 3 Clifford Street, London. The building itself is something of a landmark in the heart of Mayfair. Formally the home of a prestigious art and antiques gallery, it is agreeably situated just between Savile Row and Bond Street.

The interior of the store features Harris Tweed covered armchairs, natural wood floors and cabinetry from the Natural History Museum.

The No. 3 Clifford Street store has allowed us to fully display what we consider to be the ‘Drake’s look’, featuring our handmade ties, pocket squares, scarves, shirts, knitwear and tailored outerwear, as well as our leather and horn accessories.

Our New Home  In April of 2013, we moved into our brand new home of No. 3 Haberdasher Street. For the first time in our history we have combined all aspects of the business under one roof; the factory, design studio, showroom, warehouse, head office and our Factory Shop.

Acquisition of Rayner and Sturges Shirt Factory in Chard, Somerset  In July 2013 Drake’s acquired the Rayner and Sturges shirt factory in Chard, Somerset. In doing so, Drake’s has inherited a workforce of 35 highly skilled artisans producing handmade bespoke and ready-to-wear shirts.

As well as producing private label, Michael Hill relaunched the historic Cleeve brand, owned by Rayner and Sturges, and introduced the first capsule collection of ready-to-wear shirts into the Drake’s store on No.3 Clifford Street and online.

In the Summer of 2014, Drake’s added a Made to Order service, available through our website and a Bespoke shirting service at our brick and mortar on Clifford Street. Winter 2015 saw us overhaul our website and replace it with a new site that’s both design-driven and more user friendly, with a focus on honing our e-commerce business.

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Be sure to follow Drake’s on Instagram and like their Facebook page.  Their images are essentially inspirations for OOTD posts.

The Ball and Buck Breakfast Sandwich

There’s no better way to fuel up for a day than with the perfect breakfast sandwich. No matter where you are, your cast iron skillet is the key to your success.  The good folks at Ball and Buck have a recipe that bears repeating.  Grab your most seasoned cast iron skillet, some farm fresh eggs, thick-cut bacon, and cheese and get ready for your day.

Recipe Makes 4 Sandwiches
Prep time approx. 5min
Cook time approx. 15min

Ingredients:
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp Rosemary
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves Sliced 1/8in thick
4 English Muffins
4 Strips Thick-Cut Bacon
4 Eggs
4 Slices White American cheese

Preheat oven to 150 degrees F, with oven safe plate inside

Warm cast iron to low

Pour in olive oil

Lay bacon flat, season top side with pepper, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle half of seasoning onto bacon and remaining half around the bacon directly onto pan

Place garlic around edges of pan and in between bacon strips. Once golden brown, remove garlic and place on plate in oven

Flip bacon to brown second side then remove from skillet placing onto plate in warmed oven.

If too much bacon grease accumulates in pan, pour into small dish and use as needed when cooking eggs.

Toast English Muffins, be sure to separate by hand or lightly using fork. Do not use a knife to cut as you will eliminate all the nooks and crannies. When muffins are toasted to desired level place into heated oven directly on rack.

While toasting muffins. Heat pan to high until just beginning to smoke. Crack eggs into the skillet, lightly salt. Flip when edges become brown and bubbly. Continue cooking and add one slice of American cheese 20 seconds before eggs finish cooking to desired consistency.

Place cooked egg and cheese on each English muffin. Rip one bacon strip in half and place side-by-side atop cheese. Sprinkle even amounts of garlic atop bacon on each sandwich.

Place top of muffin on sandwich, serve, and enjoy.

Got a breakfast recipe that is worth sharing?

Melanie Davis Design : Serenbe Showhouse

Remember that post I did on Melanie Davis Design a while back?  This one – that got a TON of great feedback.  Well, she did it again last Fall, this time putting her touches on the Showhouse at Serenbe.

From Melanie: “The overall design inspiration came from graphic shapes and diamonds in a horse jockey’s jersey.  The room is named “Lozenge” for the various diamond patterns in the space.”

Given that Mrs. RCS and I have recently moved into our new home, we are constantly looking for inspiration.  We have been spending quite a bit of time looking for just the right pieces at Scott’s and other unique places around the area.  We are being very intentional, and enjoying every minute of it.  Melanie’s work has been an inspiration for us…I hope it helps you:

Details:

  • Fruitwood & Ebonized Credenza (from ROBUCK)
  • Horse Paintings by F. Bressin, early 20th C. (Spalding Nix Fine Art)

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Details:

  • 2 Wild Horses, Cumberland Island, 2007 by Jack Spencer (Jackson Fine Art)

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Details:

  • Rosewood & Brass Mounted 1-Drawer Trunk (ROBUCK)
  • Elk Skull Mount (ROBUCK)
  • Riding Boots & Hats (Family & Friends)

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Details:

  • Veneer & Ebonized Mirror (ROBUCK)
  • Lucite Quilt Stand (Jim Holmes @ Scott’s Antique Market)
  • Impala Mount (ROBUCK)

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Details:

  • Large Geometrically Verneered 1-Drawer Desk (ROBUCK)
  • Custom Light Fixture (Eloise Pickard of Sandy Springs Galleries)
  • Porky Pine Needles & Vase (Willis Everett of Vintage Lumber & Interiors)

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Details:

  • Small Horse Painting by John Fredrick Herring, Sr., c. 1823

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Details:

  • Impala Mount (ROBUCK)
  • Carved Walnut Table (ROBUCK)
  • Blanton’s Bourbon (Horse lid, get it?)

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Details:

  • Steel & Brass Folding Chair, Maison Jansen (ROBUCK)
  • Pinhole Photograph of Horse by Dianne Bos

Photo & Styling credit: MELANIE DAVIS DESIGN (Lacey Sombar and Melanie Davis)

Behind the (Upgraded) Brand: M. Dumas and Sons

There are a few stores out there that I look at as non-negotiable.  If/when I am ever in that town, I stop by.  They all have their own character…  Think of them as the must stop eateries for foodies.  Think Sid Mashburn here in Atlanta, George Bass in New Orleans, Harrison Limited in Mountain Brook…you get it.  One of those stops for me is M. Dumas and Sons in Charleston.  They are a men’s specialty shop that has been around for 99 years.  It’s safe to say they know what they are doing.

I remember the first time I stopped in, and was really blown away.  First by the size of the store, but after the initial shock wore off, it wasn’t such a ‘drink from the firehose’ mentality.  I was introduced to quite a few brands there.  I fell in love with ‘Otter Green’ Filson in their store.  Their belt selection is one that makes even me blush.  All while hanging out with the great staff that mans the fort.

For those of us that don’t live in Charleston, M. Dumas and Sons embarked on a $2 million renovation of their 8,500 square foot iconic Men’s Specialty store. We caught up with David Dumas, the 3rd generation owner of this Charleston Institution to learn more about the business and this major renovation:

Image: Kathy Allen

Tell us about the history of M. Dumas?  M. Dumas and Sons was founded in 1917 by my grandfather, Mendel Dumas. Initially known as a uniform shop for service industry jobs, including the local naval base, we expanded into hunting and outdoor apparel and then in the 1960’s we became known for our fashion denim. It wasn’t until 1993 that we transitioned fully into men’s apparel by introducing a little known (at the time) brand named Tommy Bahama.

When did you know it was time for a renovation?  In 2015, our team decided it was time to renovate our store because after decades of operation and high-traffic, the store was simply beginning to show it’s age. The renovation involved updating the shopping experience, while simultaneously exposing hidden historical and architectural elements, like original brick work that is over 100 years old.

Some renovation ‘down to the studs’ photos:

What was the best and worst thing during the renovation?  With a renovation of this size and complexity, it is easy to image the various ups and downs that occurred through the transition. Remaining open throughout the renovation for our customers was a top priority. This meant that the M. Dumas team had to work long hours resetting the store almost weekly as the construction progressed. The best part of the project was when it ended! We have heard so much positive feedback that looking back we know it was the right thing to do.

The Grand Re-Opening Party:

What was your vision for M. Dumas post-renovation?  Our number 1 goal was to make it easier for our customers to shop at M. Dumas, while maintaining the comfortable, authentic feel of the store. Preserving the “at home” feel that M. Dumas customers expect was a critical part of the plan.

The new digs:

What type of guy is an M. Dumas customer?  We have such a wide range of customers, we cannot describe one ‘guy’ and hit the mark. Often, a grandfather, father and son will come in together. Groups of college students often stop by as do businessmen, those looking for outdoor apparel and even those looking for denim or more contemporary clothing. And when we re-introduce women’s apparel this spring, we expect we will see a lot more women in the store other than those that are buying for the men in their life.

Why is Charleston such a good backdrop for M. Dumas?  M. Dumas is Charleston! Our business has evolved with Charleston, which is why we have such a strong following from Charlestonians and from thousands of customers from around the globe.

And more new digs:

How have you seen Menswear and your customers evolve over the last 10 years?  We have seen men start to define and refine their own personal sense of style which is very exciting for a retailer. We love the classics as much as anyone, but it is exciting to help customers discover new brands and styles!

What is your favorite thing at M. Dumas?  Expert customer service and attention to detail provided by our outstanding team has been a hallmark of this business and continues to be something we are proud of and very focused on providing for years to come.

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M. Dumas and Sons is located at 294 King Street at the corner of King and Society.  Be sure to stop in next time you are in Charleston.  In the meantime, give their Instagram a follow and their Facebook a like.  Their website is worth a look as well.

Images: Caroline Tan Photography (unless noted)