Since Fall is getting close, you are about to see a barrage brand catalogs in the form of emails, social media, and carrier pigeon announcing their new lines. It’s about time…this time of year is the sweet spot for quite a few of my favorite brands. Today we are happy to show off the good work from Drake’s. The London-based company’s lookbook features the British designer, writer and man-about-town Jason Jules and model Eshan Kali, individuals who are both noted for their style. Under the direction of Drake’s Creative Director Michael Hill, the lookbook represents the most complete collection yet; a diverse, confident and refined expression of the brand’s aesthetic.
This season for the first time, Drake’s will be offering their own British-made denim and dress trousers, allowing the brand to complete the ensemble and tell its full story.
The collection draws on Britain’s deep connection to the land and outdoors, pairing it seamlessly with Drake’s everyday wearable design philosophy. Jackets are both rustic and elegant. Ties, scarves and pocket squares focus on texture and handcraft, featuring a broad range of new designs and some reinterpreted classics. The theme of texture continues across the brand’s brushed cotton shirting and beautiful lambswool and Donegal knitwear.
Here’s what I like about Drake’s: They create a handsome, luxurious pop to a traditionally traditional look. They are a British version of Sid Mashburn. There are elements of weekend casual for 007, as well as dressier options for an RSVP’ed Saturday night party. They do such a good job of making high end menswear dressy, rustic, and Earthy. These pieces are built for every man.
See for yourself:
Visit Drakes.com to get down to business.
With Fall just around the corner, I have been taking stock of what’s in my closet, as well as what’s in storage. Over the next couple months, I will begin the transition of bringing all my cold weather stuff out of storage and packing my warm weather stuff so it can hibernate for the winter. This is also when I do a purge. This years’ purge will be biblical.
It’s this time of year that I look for holes in my wardrobe; pieces that I’d like to add to round out not only my closet, but to keep up with my slowly evolving style. Right now I’m really excited about adding texture to my fall and winter wardrobe. Oxford cloth and wool trousers will be a major part of the rotation, but there are a few key pieces I’d like to add. Here’s what I have my eye on:
From top left:
1. Solid Brushed Dress Shirts (Ledbury): I have one brushed cotton shirt from New England Shirt Company and I absolutely love it. Sure, it’s a form of flannel, but it’s cut like a dress shirt. I’d like to add a couple more this year. These are dressy enough to work under a tweed jacket, and thick enough to go without a sweater. No starch…that would defeat the purpose.
2. Natural Cashmere Sweater (Johnstons of Elgin): Mrs. RCS got me a medium grey cashmere v-neck from Sid a couple years ago, and I wear it all the time. It’s a very versatile piece that goes with almost everything. I actually found myself dressing it down with a beat up oxford, jeans, and boots more often than not. I’d like to add a natural colored cashmere sweater this year. Maybe a cable-knot option like this one from Johnstons.
3. Solid Tweed Wool Jacket (Drake’s): I have so many tweed jackets, but they all have some sort of herringbone, windowpane, or funky design. I love all of them, don’t get me wrong, but this year I want a solid wool tweed jacket. Something that I don’t mind wearing over a plaid shirt. This jacket from Drakes may be the perfect option.
4. Green Wool Trousers (Sid Mashburn): I have plenty of grey and blue trousers, but no green. Why? I don’t know, as it’s a great Earthy color that can spruce up a winter wardrobe. Pair these with a blue oxford, #2, and #7 and you are in business. Remember: dark green is a neutral. It goes with almost everything.
5. A 1″ Alligator Belt Strap (Trafalgar): I have the Trafalgar monogrammed buckle, and my current strap has just about had it. I want to upgrade to an alligator strap, but only want a 1″ job. Sure, it can accommodate a 1 3/8″ strap, but I want something a little more streamlined.
6. A Shooting / Commando Sweater (Ball & Buck): I saw this last year at Ball and Buck’s pop up in Atlanta, and am kicking myself for not picking on up. I have plenty normal sweaters, but want to add something a little more rugged. I’m wearing jeans a lot more, and this hunter green option from some of Boston’s best is right up my ally.
7. Chocolate Suede Tassel Loafers (Sid Mashburn): I don’t think there is a better dress shoe for Fall and Winter than a chocolate suede tassel loafer. And I haven’t pulled the trigger on a pair. Big miss. They look great with almost everything, a pair of jeans (blue, tan, cream…), any grey or navy (or green!) trousers, or any well cut chinos. Being that I’m such a tassel loafer guy, these may make it into my closet before long. Don’t forget shoe trees, and a suede brush.
8. A Quilted Pullover (Patagonia): I’m a huge fan of the Better Sweater (as is just about everyone else), but this quilted snap-t is a great vintage look for weekend casual. To any owners: how is this cut? Is it wide (like most Snap Ts), or is it a little on the slimmer side?
9. Medium Brown Chelsea Boots (George Brown BILT): I’ve got two pairs of Chelsea boots now, and I wear them both quite a bit. The problem is that they are both dark brown, and look pretty formal. I’d like to add a pair of medium/snuff brown suede chelsea boots to the line up. I like the look with jeans and #6… These George Browns are great, and so are the R.M. Williams option, if I could find them in the states.
That’s my list…what’s caught your eye? Anything good?
Full Disclosure: Mrs. RCS and I are neck-deep in our kitchen renovation. We have been without a kitchen for two months, and this has taken a toll on our livelihood inside the house. Living without a kitchen is tough. With only a few weeks left, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and we can’t wait.
Since we bought the house last Fall, our focus has been on furnishing the house, which can become an expensive venture. Our style isn’t from the typical Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware/Ballard’s-everything look. Of course we have a few pieces from those stores, but the majority was scored at antique stores, flea markets, and, mostly Scott’s Antique Market. It is one of our monthly hobbies – we really enjoy going down together every month.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, Scott’s is a once-a-month event that happens just south of Atlanta at the Exposition Center. The market encompasses two buildings that are roughly the size of four Wal-Marts, each packed with home decor, rugs, art, memorabilia, textiles, chachkies, some junk, and a lot of antique furniture. Think of it as mix between an antique shop, an interior furnishings store, a flea market, and a thrift store.
Over the last 10-11 months, we have spent A LOT of time at Scott’s.
Since it is so big, you have to go with a plan. Showing up to look around is too overwhelming and not much fun. In our new kitchen, we have a spot where we need a piece of furniture with drawers, with very specific size requirements for the space. We are also in the market for art, a new desk for Mrs. RCS, and furniture pieces for our back deck. You have to go with a plan, folks. This is rule #1.
We showed up Sunday in comfortable shoes, with a tape measurer and our checkbook in hand. Here’s how it went:
First, we needed to fill the spot in our kitchen. We found 10 or so pieces we liked, but only a few that were sized appropriately. This first one was an early 20th C. French piece that was very nice, but didn’t really have the ‘umph’ we were going for…
This chest was our second contender, as we both really liked the bowed front, but it was pricy. This one is very old, from England, and in outstanding shape. We have purchased from this dealer before, and they are great.
Funny enough, we turned around and saw this one. Bingo. Big, fat handles for easy access, a beautiful patina, plenty of character, and it is perfectly sized for the niche it will live in. Check and check. Old, English, and in outstanding condition. This one came home with us.
We always look for art when we are at Scott’s. We have had some GREAT luck, finding three Peter Keil paintings at fair prices. Patience is required while hunting for art at Scott’s, but there is plenty of good stuff if you know where to look. Mrs. RCS has excellent taste in art, and she tolerates my style…
We should have bought this one – we have a perfect spot and the price was great. I guarantee we’ll look for this one next month:
The subject of the next painting is somewhat funny, but it was extremely well done. Perfect for a bathroom. You laugh, but the Mrs. was ready to pull the trigger on her immediately.
Lastly, this pheasant was very handsome, but a bit overpriced. There were 100 paintings of pheasants at Scott’s, so we didn’t miss anything. And the Mrs. isn’t into pheasants.
Mrs. RCS really liked this desk. We passed, but I don’t know if we should have… The picture doesn’t do justice…
We are very lucky in that we have a really large back deck. We’ve made a few purchases, be we aren’t the matching-set type. We want our outdoor space to be comfortable and useful, which means we are putting it together as we find pieces. I came across this market table and am kicking myself for not buying it. The table is 70″ long, and could be a perfect coffee table with shortened legs. If this is at Scott’s next month, it will come home with us.
This was another work table that I really liked. It is bar height, and would be great with some stools underneath as an outdoor dining table, it could work as a bar, or as it was originally intended: as a work table. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, so we passed. Not much immediate remorse for this one, but the more I think about it, the more something like this makes sense for our home if Mrs. RCS can be convinced.
There are a couple vendors that we know and like always peddling random wares, and we always check out their stuff. This last weekend was no different. Mrs RCS didn’t pick a silver pattern (or china) before our wedding because a) we didn’t have room, and b) we enjoy hunting for sterling sets with these guys. This is one of our favorites:
And the official winner of the ‘I’m kicking myself for not buying’ goes to these vintage French chairs, with kilim upholstery. These are so unique and stole the show. Looking back on it, we really should have gotten these, but Mrs. RCS will have to find a home for them first. These were from another dealer that we’ve bought from before, so we may give them a call and see if they are still available…
Are you a Scott’s person? Ever find anything good? More to come next month…
I had the pleasure of talking to Paul Hendrick about something that we both take seriously: value proposition. Paul runs Tecovas boot company out of Austin, TX, and is starting to get some serious market share.
Tecovas has figured out how to keep the pricing down on high-quality cowboy boots and ropers. They don’t go for flashy boots, instead opting for a traditional look that will never not work for any boot wearer. These are the type of boots that anyone from your son, your dad, or your grandfather could get, wear, and love. These are the middle-80% boots; good for everyone.
They figured out that cutting out the middle man (retailers) cuts down on quite a bit of overhead, which is usually passed along to the customer. This turns out to be a good deal for everyone. Ropers run $225 a pair, and cowboy boots run $235 a pair. The new Ostrich options are available for $295 a pair (for now…)
Paul was nice enough to give a little insight to his burgeoning cowboy boot empire:
What is the history of Tecovas? Why did you decide to start the company? I launched Tecovas in October 2015 after over a year of working on it full-time, solo, but it was really a long time coming. I had known for a while that I was going to start and run a company of my own, and it was only when I had a real problem to solve (that I became more and more confident needed to be solved) that I decided to pull the trigger.
The real history of Tecovas lies in frustration of available options for what I believe to be a staple of the American wardrobe. I’ve loved cowboy boots for a long time, and I was spending significantly more on the individual product than pretty much anything else in my wardrobe, save for a nice occasional suit. Not only that, but even buying $400-600 boots, I always felt like I had to find a ‘diamond in the rough’ just to get something simple, classic, and timeless.
The evolution of boot styles from traditional construction and understated good looks to square toes, weird colors, and questionable quality was pretty frustrating. I had noticed a lot of other categories see this problem solved by smart, modern brands that focused on the important stuff: good-looking, quality product that doesn’t break the bank, sold through digitally-native platform that solved a lot of other customer experience problems along the way.
And while cowboy boots are a bit of a renegade, old-school product that a lot of folks (I knew) would find strange to purchase online, it was time to break that stigma and create the brand that was missing from the category. And it turns out, people are plenty willing to go online if it means they get crazy-good value for an awesome, good-looking pair of boots!
How do you keep the price low? Our business model is actually pretty simple, and the biggest differentiator is that we’ve decided to forgo the option of selling to traditional retailers.
Every other brand in the industry will have a markup for themselves, typically doubling the cost of boots to sell at a ‘wholesale’ price to retailers. The retailers then mark the boots up themselves — usually 2-2.5X but sometimes up to 3-4X.
All we do is take that wholesale price and exclusively sell it directly to customers on our website. We don’t get the benefit of massive retail distribution, but we think the price-value benefits of being a third to half the price of our closest quality competition will eventually bring the folks to us! And we’ve already been able to do so, although we rely a lot on word of mouth to get folks on our website as opposed to heading to their nearest boot store.
We’re committed to our business model even if it makes it harder to spread the word, because we think every guy and gal should have a pair of quality boots in their closet!
Describe Ropers vs. Cowboy-style boots? The roper vs. cowboy question is a great one, and there isn’t a right or wrong answer! Long story short, it usually just boils down to what you’re used to (usually the first boots you had are the style you tend to stick with). Personally, I started wearing boots with cowboy heels, so that’s what I prefer.
The backstory is that the cowboy-style boots — which are marked by their taller, angled heel — are called ‘traditional’ because they’re actually what cowboys would have worn. The angled heel fits nicely in pullstraps, and the traditionally taller shaft was better for protecting the lower leg from getting chafed from riding. Folks from all over the country prefer this style, and it definitely makes a bit more of a western statement!
Ropers, on the other hand, were mostly designed to be more practical for everyday use, since cowboy boots became just as popular for non-cowboys in the 70s and 80s. Ropers started to get a bad rap in the 90s since a lot of brands started to make them really, really cheap and not built to last. We see that as a lost opportunity to take a really good-looking profile (it could pass for a sharp Chelsea boot under a nice pair of jeans) and make a quality, traditionally-constructed product. So instead of making our ropers cheaply, we use the same classic bootmaking techniques — from the metal-shanked, fiddleback-waist construction and hand-hammered wooden pegs — to supple calfskin leather through and through. They marry the best of both worlds while offering the non-cowboy crowd a good-looking boot that could walk the streets of NYC just as well as Fort Worth.
What do you like to do outside of making boots? I live in one of the coolest (if not the coolest) cities in the country (Austin), so I try to take advantage of the city as much as possible when I’m not busy slinging boots!
The restaurant and bar scene here is incredible, so I’ll try to hit up live music shows after catching dinner with friends. A day at the lake is also the best non-boot-wearing activity I can think of, so I always try to make time for that if I can. I haven’t done as much as I’d like, but fishing is definitely my favorite vacation activity, so I’ll be testing my Tecovas on some Texas lakes and Colorado rivers soon enough.
Finally, what’s on your Spotify playlist? My Spotify playlist is almost entirely filled with Red Dirt Country (i.e., Texas and Oklahoma country bands) — e.g., Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Pat Green, Randy Rogers, and Josh Abbott. But my favorite go-to artists are Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett. I’d never miss a live show of theirs when they’re coming through town!
I always get excited about opportunities like this. I put my order in for a pair of Dukes, the ostrich ropers for $295(!).
You know how much those would cost from some of the larger brands. They are scheduled to deliver in October, just in time for boot weather. I’ll give a full report once they arrive.
Friday Jams are some of my favorite posts. As we all know, YouTube is a dangerous rabbit hole where you can get lost for hours. I love making the trip…a lot of my searching is for old live music, some of which I share on the blog on Fridays.
Music has been a huge inspiration in my life. A good friend of mine and I often wonder why we spent so much time playing sports when we were growing up rather than starting a band. We’ve decided that it’s because we are idiots.
I recently spent some time with Julian Dorio, the drummer for one of my favorite bands: The Whigs. I asked him a question: ‘What inspired you musically?’. Keep in mind, all the Dorios are incredible musicians. Julian’s brother Michael is the guitarist for the Quiet Hounds, another great Georgia band, and one of the best live shows you’ll ever see. I’m glad I get to call him a friend.
Julian’s answer: ‘The Beatles’. I get it.
It’s hard not to think through this on a personal level. As a classic over thinker, as well as someone who had headphones glued to his ears for his entire childhood (when I wasn’t on the baseball diamond or the football field), there are specific parts of albums that I look at as what I would call my musical inspiration. By no means am I any sort of musician. I know all the guitar chords, but I can do about as much with them as I can with a 64 degree wedge. I can’t play piano, nor can I play drums. I believe that I am an excellent singer, but Mrs. RCS would whole-heartedly disagree.
For today’s Friday Jam, I’m going to go through all the instruments that I wish I could play, and the voices I wish I had, and most importantly: who did it for me. This wasn’t a hard chore, either. I’d be willing to bet you and nail down your inspirations as well. I’d love to hear them in the comments.
First up, from the iconic ‘At Fillmore East’ from the Allman Brothers, the one and only Gregg Allman playing the keys.
While the keys are typically drowned out in a rock band, the Allman Brothers did it just right, especially on their live albums. ‘At Filmore East’ was released in 1992, and was one of the first CDs that I bought (along with ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ by The Black Crowes). I had heard ‘Statesboro Blues’ from some friends’ older brothers, and I wanted to hear more of this Georgia band.
I have listened to this album a thousand times. I know every detail of every song, and with apologies to Duane, Gregg’s organ is just as prominent as any other instrument.
Gregg’s organ work is a thing of beauty. I would argue that along with the slide guitar, the organ gave the Allman Brothers their trademark sound. It put the ‘southern’ in southern rock by giving their songs the feeling that you are listening to hymn (edit: I hate calling things ‘southern’). Even though the Allman Brothers sang the blues, the organ gave their catalog the soul. Need proof? Try ‘Trouble No More’ or ‘Hot’lanta’, or ‘Whipping Post’, and focus on the organ.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to play like Gregg.
Ahh the guitar…how many of you grew up with guys that got a guitar, and you loathed it when they played. Wow… ‘Comfortably Numb’ again, huh? Pass the bleach…
In 7th grade I severely defied my parents and joined one of those BMG ’13 CDs for a penny’ clubs. I had heard a band play ‘Purple Haze’ in a talent show, and later saw that ‘Band of Gypies’ was offered in the BMG deal. I thought ‘oh – Hendrix…cool’. This is a completely different Hendrix. Even though this album has only six songs, it was like nothing I had ever heard. His guitar playing is at a level that is unattainable. Crisp but smooth. Effortless. It’s bad, but I judge all rock guitarists against Jimi Hendrix.
Later on I came across the full concerts from the Filmore, which includes the selections for the ‘Band of Gypsies’ album, but includes so much more. It isn’t offered on Spotify (yet?), and is the only CD that I still own. See if you can find ‘Power of Soul’ from the second show and you’ll know what I mean. It will stop you in your tracks.
I always thought drummers were the coolest guys in the band. They set the tone. They quarterbacked the band.
I can tell you the exact moment of the specific song when I knew that John Bonham changed my perception of drummers.
3:26 of ‘Heartbreaker’. He comes in hard and hammers the bass and cymbals during Jimmy Page’s solo, right before Plant brings it home.
It was one of those defining moments in life when you remember exactly where you were when it happened. I had borrowed ‘Led Zeppelin II’ from a friend, and was listening to it in my room. After I heard ‘Heartbreaker’ for the first time, I knew that he wasn’t just a quarterback, he was the leader of drummers. It was my first experience with the impact a good drummer can have on a band. Bonham was innovative. He was Ringo with an attitude.
I went to the local music store shortly thereafter and sat at a drum set for the first time. I picked the drum sticks and tried as hard as I could. It was a disaster, but it didn’t matter.
What I mentioned above about singing…I was kidding (not about Mrs. RCS’s opinion). I am horrible. I know it. I own it.
My parents went to college in the late 60’s at two small schools in South Carolina (Mom: Winthrop, Dad: Presbyterian), and they were big into the Carolina Shag. Most of the music they listened to was old Motown, which in turn became all we listened to growing up. I remember the Big Chill soundtrack, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and some other beach tapes that we used to play over and over…. While they weren’t all shag songs, it was, and still is, some of the best music ever made.
THE song that made me wish I could sing was ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye. My folks had a Best of Marvin Gaye album that we used to play on their record player, and it is the first song on ‘The Big Chill’ soundtrack.
It was the first time that I could feel someone singing. My brother and I used to sing that song over and over, must to our parents’ chagrin. There has never been anyone come close. No one can sing it like Marvin Gaye. His music is an emotional experience, so much so that Mrs. RCS and my first dance at our wedding reception was to ‘Come Get to This’. We dance the Carolina Shag. One of my favorite life experiences to date.
One for the road: Stevie Wonder.
Back to my folks: when we were kids, their radio station of choice was the now defunct Fox 97.1, an oldies station. It was on ALL THE TIME. I hated it back then, but I get it now. They played a lot of Stevie Wonder, specifically the song ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’ a lot. I always listened to that song in wonder (no pun). His voice was mesmerizing. I’ve never heard anyone so talented that sounded like he was having such a good time singing as the one and only Stevie Wonder.
So there you have it. My inspirations. It’s interesting to go back and read this and see how these specifics influenced the music I listen to today. While all of these bands’ albums are included in the rotation, adding in everything from Widespread Panic, to Stevie Ray Vaughan, to Jason Isbell, and Alabama Shakes are pretty easy dots to connect, right?
Since I can’t play a lick, I’m going to have to live vicariously through my speakers…and I’m 100% fine with that.
I always like multi-functional shorts. Especially those that I can wear for three seasons. Atlantic Drift released their Southport shorts, which they North Carolina company took quite a bit of time designing. These are quick-dry shorts with a little surprise when they get wet (the fabric shows camo when they are wet – see the action shots here).
I like these because they fit a need. I can wear them casually, wear them as a swimsuit, wear them to run or hike, or wear them to lounge. The inseam is a comfortable 7.5″, so your knees will see the light of day. The half-moon pockets are good for hauling anything and up to a couple beers…
With a couple more months of pool/beach/lake weather, get these in the arsenal. Not only are they good around the water, but for all activities around the water as well. Available in blue and red, they are ready to rock.
Prefontaine was a complete stud. He dominated the 5000m event in the 1972 Olympics, even though he was a heavy underdog. Here’s your chance to relive that piece of Olympic history, from the good folks at Streaker Sports, of course:
Get yours here before it’s gone…