The Onward Reserve X Steve Penley CURE T-Shirt

The good folks over at Onward Reserve have teamed up with Atlanta artist Steve Penley to create a limited edition t-shirt.  Proceeds from the sale of this limited edition Penley tee directly benefit CURE Childhood Cancer.  Through the month of September, 100% of proceeds will benefit CURE.

Get yours here

[…] The Onward Reserve X Steve Penley CURE T-Shirt – The good folks over at Onward Reserve have teamed up with Atlanta artist Steve Penley to create a limited edition t-shirt. Proceeds from the sale of this limited edition Penley tee directly benefit CURE Childhood Cancer. Through the month of … […]

All Smiles: The Bit Loafer

The Bit Loafer.  Back in 1953, Gucci decided to adorn their loafers with a horse bit and the preppy universe ate it up like T-bone night at the Wagon Wheel Dinner Buffet.  Being that the style was preferred by elites (who wouldn’t be caught dead eating T-bones, or anything from the Wagon Wheel restaurant), it trickled down to the masses in Kardashian fashion.

Bit loafers are still popular today, in both black leather, the more formal choice, and the more recent brown leather option.  We’ll touch on the former in a later post, and focus on the later now: brown leather options.  For those that own bit loafers (actual loafers – not the drivers), you know what we’re saying.  If you haven’t pulled the trigger, keep this in mind: bit loafers are the type of shoes that you may hesitate buying, you’ll be glad you did.

Bit loafers are a step up from the typical penny loafers or beef-roll loafers.  They are considered ‘dress’ loafers, so these loafers should always be kept clean and polished.  These are versatile shoes, being very wearable with a suit, with wool pants, well-tailored chinos, and jeans.  The key is that the pants need not be longer than a slight break.  If the pants are too long, then the loafers get lost in the proverbial shuffle.  Socks are optional, as is the case with most footwear.  Cedar shoe trees are not optional – they are a must.  Also, the vamp should be a little higher.  Gucci did that right, as it gives the loafers a buttoned-up look.  That’s what it’s all about.

There are quite a few options in various price points.  Let’s go over a half-dozen recommended bit loafer options:

Gucci ($$$):  Essentially the mothership of bit loafers.  Outstanding look from the tried and true founder of the look.  Definitely an investment, but one that should pay off in the long run.

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Alden ($$):  A part of the Cape Cod collection, these are made in America.  The Alden name speaks for itself.  These will last as long as you’ll let them.

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Ferragamo ($$$):  These may lean ‘flashy’, but I think they deserve to be included.  I’ve tried these on and almost pulled the trigger…  The non-strap-under-the-bit look is sharp.

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Cole Haan ($):  The most friendly price point, and a smart look.  The natural sole gives these a more casual look, so I would recommend darkening when you polish.

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Allen Edmonds ($$):  Allen Edmonds have to be included.  Full disclosure: I have these in black and love them.  For those of you that are into the silver bit, these are for you.

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Oak Street Bootmakers ($$):  Another American-made option from the Windy City.  These hit on all the right notes.  They are made with Chromexcel leather, so they will shine very well, and last forever.

While all of these are outstanding options, for my money, I recommend the Oak Street Bootmakers bit loafer option.  The value proposition is right on.  For those in Atlanta, head over to Thomas Wages to try them on for yourself.  I put in an order for a pair of these Oak Street’s today, and I’m looking forward to posting a full review once they arrive.

NEG - August 2, 2016 - 10:06 AM

Ordered a pair of the Oak Street’s on Monday as well. Value Prop is just too good, can’t pass up.

GLH - August 2, 2016 - 11:25 AM

Every seen the Jay Butler bit loafers? Made in Mexico, but the price is right. I’d be interested to read some reviews of these.

http://jaybutler.com/collections/mens-casual-leather-loafers-shoes/products/mens-bit-loafer-leather?variant=860214069

chaz - August 2, 2016 - 3:05 PM

Anyone know when Gucci is coming out with new Horsebit Grained-Leather Loafers? They’re sold out everywhere.

Jeff - August 2, 2016 - 3:11 PM
cam - August 2, 2016 - 3:37 PM

am i the only one who does not like the shape of the 1953 Gucci loafers compared to their prior shape? they are a bit wide for me personally. gucci still offers the black with red and green web but not in brown with the web detail. im curious as to why…

Topsider - August 2, 2016 - 4:55 PM

The Dexter 1957 Gilford is another good option, but it appears they’ve been discontinued. You may still be able to pick them up at a discount online. They’re essentially the same shoe as the Alden Cape Cod bit loafer.

Ryan - August 3, 2016 - 9:15 AM

I pulled the trigger on a pair at the Gucci Museum in Florence. I’d been wanting to upgrade from my Cole Haans for a while and they do a gold/silver bit combo that I think looks kind of cool. Was told by the sales associate they were only available like that at the museum, no idea if that is true or not. They were also slightly less expensive than buying state side when you factored in the VAT refund.

The Hudson Sutler Daypack

Smart people executing on good ideas.  That’s what Hudson Sutler does.  They have a great collection of bags that have a high level of quality and a good price point.  HS knows their swim lane, and they don’t deviate.  They recently added another classic to their lineup: the Daypack.

The classic backpack traces its origins back to the 60’s and it hasn’t changed much since. Naturally, they felt it was time for an upgrade.

The Hudson Sutler Daypack is the interpretation of a classic– with some upgrades. They’ve added a dedicated exterior computer sleeve for easy access through airport security. A waterproof vinyl bottom cap, and interior organization to keep your phone, ear buds, pens and notebook tight. The exterior zipper pocket keeps your keys and boarding pass within reach, all tied together with our Signature Zipper.  They aren’t dissing the 1967 classic “School Book Bag”; they’ve simply made it better.

Features:
Material // 1000 Denier Coated Nylon
Bottom // Water Repellant Vinyl
Organization // Dedicated exterior laptop pocket, interior organization, exterior zippered pocket
Webbing // 100% heavy weight nylon
Zipper // Signature oversized Rust Proof Zipper, Nickel Coil
Dimensions – 19.00 x 12.00 x 5.00
Volume – 1140 cu inches / 18.7 L

Available now on Hudson Sutler’s website.

Getting To Work: Jeans Jeans and Jeans

There isn’t much that’s bad about having a big closet.  I do, as does Mrs. RCS, but the problem is that with so much real estate, there’s room to ‘fill’.

On the subject of jeans, it’s definitely possible to have too many (see below), but it’s also inconvenient to have just one or two pairs.  I’m not one of those guys who can wear the same pair of jeans for a year or so without washing.  I have friends.  I’m social.  I live in the South, where 95 degree humid days don’t play well with denim.  There should be a variety, which I’m currently missing.  I like a couple pairs of dark, selvedge ‘dress’ jeans, a couple pairs of 501s that go with loafers, and a longer pair for boots, then maybe a couple pairs of fillers.  Not too many, not too few…just right.

I usually do a purge a year, and I recently went through my jeans.  I was surprised at how the stockpile had, well, started to pile up:

Most of these jeans are essentially new.  As in ‘never worn’ new.  I have a few that are in the rotation, but need to reassess.  Most of these jeans I find on sale or use some sort of store credit, and when they come, they get added to the stack.  That stack that has the ‘yeah, I’ll get to it’ mental sign.  At this point, the stack is too big.  Time to get to work.

Here are the details on the stack(s): On the left, I’ve got a some Naked and Famous selvedge, Telleson X Huckberry selvedge, Locksicker selvedge, and a pair of raw Levis 501 STF jeans.

Here on the right are the more ‘washed’ look.  I’ve got a couple pairs of 501s, and some J. Crew jeans.

I’d also like to focus on some processes that prevent, or at least minimize, bleeding denim.  I get it, but it’s annoying.  It’s what I call a ‘magazine look’.  The dark denim looks great in a magazine, but it doesn’t translate to real life.  That indigo bleeds onto everything.  There are a couple processes I’m going to use to get the desired results.

First, ACL’s Michael Williams’ process he did for Mr. Porter:

 

I’ll also be using the TBTYH Levi’s STF process.  I’ve done this a couple times, and feel comfortable with this.  Here are the details on a pair I did a while back:

I’ll keep you in the loop as to how it goes.  The reality is that I look at most of these as a sunk cost.  If I screw them up, no big deal, since they have been sitting in a stack for so long.  Any other secrets I should know about?  Let’s hear it…

WS - July 29, 2016 - 9:17 AM

You touched on it. Biggest frustration in the denim world is having the loafer pile and the boot pile. No way around it.

WGU - July 29, 2016 - 11:21 AM

Pretty good article. After being a loyalist to them for years, I quit buying 501’s a little over a year ago due to the quality slip Levi’s began to make. I haven’t tried the STF 501’s. With your pairs, is the quality better?

I now have a few pairs of Raleigh Denim and they’ve definitely earned a lifetime customer. Great jeans and a really cool company that’s proud to be from the south. Even has their denim made by a local cotton mill. Check them out when you get the chance.

http://www.raleighworkshop.com/

BDP - July 29, 2016 - 12:39 PM

Is there a Raleigh style that fits similar to the 501?

WGU - July 29, 2016 - 4:49 PM

The “Jones” cut has been the one I’ve stuck with and they seem to be the closest to the 501’s. I have thicker legs than most, and although they say it’s a “thin” cut, they fit great once they form to you after A good break in period. I have three pairs and I’ve been very pleased with all of them. In my opinion, the craftsmanship is unparalleled for today’s denim market. Not only that, but they’re made in the South from cotton start to handmade jean finish.

Yeti and Me – and Cosmo

So this happened yesterday:

So far, my experience with Yeti has been through tumblers and other people’s coolers.  After working with the team at Yeti over the past few weeks, it only solidifies that these folks know what they are doing.  I’ve got all sorts of ideas of how I’m going to use this Yeti.  Be on the lookout over the last couple of months.

Speaking of using Yetis, please check out this video they posted about some of the most amazing fly fishing in the world:

 

I looked up the trip, which is hosted by Alphonse Fishing Company (their website and social media is outstanding).  They are the creme de la creme of fishing guides, so keep that in mind when losing yourself in their website.  To go out to the Seychelles for a week long fishing trip is roughly $14K, and you have to get yourself to Mahe (SEZ).  From Atlanta (ATL) it’s a ~$3000 flight, and it takes about 27 hours one way.

Add all that up and watch the video again.

Mrs. RCS is in.  We’re starting to save right now.

Nem - July 28, 2016 - 9:38 AM

Yeti coolers are terrific. I’ve had the Yeti 65qt since 2009 and it really has been worth the cost and the weight. The following year I bought a Yeti “Roadie” 20qt for beach duty and it’s been a great addition. I can camp for 5 days with beer and water in the big cooler, and food in the Roadie, and never need to find more ice the whole time. One trick that seriously works is to pre-chill your Yeti prior to loading it up. Use ice from the fridge to get the cooler cold, then dump it out and add your drinks and fresh ice to the top and you’ll be in business.

Just in the last year I’ve received the Yeti tumblers, the tall and short ones, and a can Koozie. Mixed reviews on these items so far. To be honest, I don’t carry around a beer long enough for it to get warm anyway, so the screw top can cooler is a bit of overkill. The tall boy tumbler with the plastic top is nice for use in the car.

MBB - July 29, 2016 - 11:25 PM

I have the same setup as NEM with a 65 and 20. If I could have done it all over again I would have gone with a 50 instead of the 65 due to a smaller footprint and taller cooler. Can’t go wrong with any of them, great coolers. Glad I got mine years ago before the price increase.

Off Season Find: Billy Reid Kentwood Ropers

Seasonality.  Marketing conditions us to need immediately.  However, taking advantage of sales during the off-season can save you some serious coin.

I’ve argued that Billy Reid makes some of the best roper boots out there (and a few of my #menswear compadres agree).  I’ve got the Terrance boots, and wear them quite a bit.  Upon searching the ‘bay, I came across these Kentwood Ropers:

You’ll have to pardon the images, as they are all screenshots from the auction.

From a condition standpoint, I’m satisfied, especially when you see what I paid for them (more on that in a minute).  The leather looks to be essentially in the same condition as a new pair of these boots, and the soles don’t look like they have any wear at all.  I have a feeling these were sitting in storage for a couple years.

These are the distressed Kentwood Ropers that are impossible to find (link one, link two)

They retail for $495, and they look to be in really good shape; maybe worn 5-10 times.  The action complained of sizing, but I know my size, so I’m ready to go.  Want to know what I got them for?

‘Buy it Now’ for $60.  $10 shipping.  How could I say no?

I’ll let you know how they look once they arrive.

jay - July 27, 2016 - 12:03 PM

The uppers look so wide though.

Hand’s On: The Colonel Littleton #1 Grip

Dealing with companies that do it right is such a pleasure.  One of those companies is Colonel Littleton out of Lynnville, Tennessee (Population: 327).  (People).  I’ve used their products for years, specifically their front pocket wallet, which just celebrated it’s tenth year in my possession.  It has only gotten better with age.  I’ve recently started using one of their No. 18 Portfolios, and have a feeling it will have a similar lifespan.

In working with the team at Colonel Littleton, they asked me to try out one of their bags so I could review it.  They were asking for nothing more than an honest review.  I told them I had been looking for a handsome, leather duffle bag for a while, and they offered their No. 1 Grip.  This was about six months ago; I wanted to get some use out of the bag before I wrote a review.

Out of the box, the bag is a work of art.  It is beautiful.  The leather is sturdy, but not so much that it’s stiff, and the construction is on par with the price point.  While there is some tasteful flare on the bag, it’s not overly complicated.  In fact, the decoration is really functional.

The inside of the bag is one large compartment, measuring roughly a half inch less than it’s 11″ x 18.5″ x 10.5″ external measurements.  There is no zipper, as the top flap acts as the top.  And it works well; it actually makes it a lot easier to close.

The front clasp is the showstopper.  It functions as the closing mechanism, and also acts as the bag’s badge.  I have gotten so many compliments on this bag…it really is handsome.

So here’s the six month report.

This bag has been used quite a bit by Mrs. RCS and me, and we’ll continue to do so.  Here is the rundown of each trip:

I brought it to Harbour Island as a briefcase.  I carried my laptop, Mrs. RCS’s and my books for the trip, some magazines, my Nikon D7100 with lens, sunglasses, and a bag with power cords.  This was perfect for the plane rides down, and the shape of the bag is convenient for adding the DSLR camera.  Otherwise, I would have had to carry a briefcase and my camera case.  No fun.

Second, Mrs. RCS has brought it on overnight trips to Nashville and to Tallahassee.  It was a perfect compliment to her garment bag, carrying her personal stuff, makeup, and an extra pair of shoes.  She brought her workout gear in this bag as well.

The bag has gone to Birmingham with me for a long weekend.  It worked well as a weekender – I was able to pack a couple pairs of shorts, some shirts, a couple hats, a book, my personals, and my dopp kit.  It was warm out, and we work flip flops the whole time.

I’ve also used this as an after-work bag quite a bit, carrying a casual change of clothes for either working out, visiting in laws, or other various reasons.

From a functional perspective, the bag works like a champ, and it looks outstanding.  It performs very well, as almost everything is adjustable.  It is a very comfortable bag to carry.

I would say that this bag functions very well as a weekender.  It will fit a couple changes of clothes, some personals, and a pair of loafers no problem.  If you are planning on staying longer than three nights, then make sure you can wear the same pair of shoes the whole time.  It’s not an overly big duffle, as that’s not what it’s built for.  This is the one (maybe two) night special.

Don’t be too intimidated by the price point.  This is a top-shelf leather bag that is comparable to any you’ll find on the market.  Good leather bags cost money.  This bag is built to last, and will be around for 10+ years.  If anything goes wrong with it, just call the folks in Lynnville and they’ll fix it for you.  They are good people at Colonel Littleton.  Just about anyone that has any experience with the Colonel or his products will vouch for them.

Jeffre - July 26, 2016 - 9:05 AM

I have this bag. For me it is definitely just a one nighter. I was stunned to see the video on the website of the Colonel packing so much clothing in it. Maybe I don’t know how to pack as well as other people. I find its best suited to keep things you want close to you while traveling, a type of personal bag.

Bob McClellan - July 27, 2016 - 7:50 AM

I got this bag the first year it came out. It’s a wonderful carry on when flying and it’s a great bag for a weekend get away where you wear one pair of shoes… It can pack plenty. The old school look is killer. It’s a hand me down for sure….