Randolph Sportsman Aviator Sunglasses

In mens style, some things change, and some things remain the same.  Aviator sunglasses have been popular since way before Tom Cruise played Maverick.  Aviators have been a consistent ‘must have’ for any guy (and girl for that matter).  They go with everything, and there are enough variations to fit any style of face.

I’ve been on the Randolph train for quite some time.  I really like their company – they are great to work with, and they make killer glasses.  Their glasses aren’t part of the ‘mainstream’ like another brand of easily accessible aviators.  Instead, you have to sort of ‘know’ about them.  They are like Persol about three or four years ago, and are heading on the same trajectory.

I was in need of a new pair of aviators for my upcoming nuptials in an undisclosed Caribbean location…enter the Randolph Sportsmans:

These are outstanding.  They have a really sturdy feel at all the joints.  They aren’t heavy, but they are substantial.  I like the sweat bar, as it adds a bit of panache to a relatively bland world of aviators.

The other important part to me was polarized lenses.  Check.  98-100% of the UVs will be blocked from my Lasik-ly corrected eyeballs.

And they are made in the USA.  Yep.  Thumbs up from this homeboy.

Getting Floral, Guys

Looking to expand your Spring and Summer wardrobe verticals?  Get on board with some florals, guys.

The general perception in the US is that floral designs lean towards a feminine palate, but in fact it’s just the opposite – as long as it’s the right floral designs.  I’ll argue that 95% of Lilly designs worn by men are GTH, therefore more ‘costume-y’ than anything else.  Now, it takes a bit of attitude to pull off some floral designs, and it’s safe to say that you need to be confident in your style before dipping your toe into the floral end of the pool.  When done right, it looks great.  Really great.   Here’s the stuff that I like:

From top left:

1. Double-faced Floral Tie from Bloomingdales:  An excellent option for Easter.  There is a good texture feel to this that gives it some depth.
2. Floral Linen Sport Shirt from Saks:  Linen shirts are a go-to for Spring and Summer, as if they are the warm weather replacements for chambray.  Linen doesn’t have to be solid, and this one with small white flowers is very versatile.
3. General Knot Vintage Flame Rose & Indigo Tie: This great looking tie will make a statement under a blue blazer.
4. Tommy Hilfiger Duncan Floral Shorts:  A muted version of the GTH pants, these shorts would be perfect on the course or at the pool with a white polo or oxford and bit loafers.  Of course – after they are shortened just a bit.
5. The Knottery Patterned Nato Watch Strap:  Because solid watch straps get boring.
6. Strong Boalt Royal Blue Urchins Board Shorts:  Strong Boalt makes some very legit Palm Beach-ish swim trunks.  Get ‘em now on Five Mile for under $70 a pair.
7. ASOS Floral Chambray Pocket Square: There is no such thing as too many pocket squares.  Oh – and this one only costs $11.
8. Sid Mashburn X Liberty Pink Peppers Button down:  Liberty of London is the de-facto floral pattern designer for men.  They do work with some of the greats, including Sid Mashburn.  Since these button downs were released, they can’t keep them in stock.
9. J. Crew X Liberty “Chatham Bay” Floral English Cotton Tie:  Another bold tie option, this one in blue and white tones has a vintage feel that can be dressed up or down.
10. Vans X Liberty of London Canvas Sneakers:  Yeah, Vans.  I know.
11. General Knot 1960s Royal and Red Bandana Print and Tan Leather Belt:  Bandanas usually have some sort of floral pattern, so this made the list.  Not to mention that it’s a pretty badass belt.

10 for 10 – The 2014 Preseason College Football Rankings (and 10 hat giveaways)

How refreshing is it to see college football news and reports starting to frequent the Interwebs and the local sports reports?  With Spring practice in full swing, it’s a great sign that we are only a few short months away until kickoff.  With that, I’ve put together the Red Clay Soul pre-season College Football Rankings, sponsored by my friends over at State Traditions.  I’ve picked my top ten, and to commemorate the event, the boys from Birmingham want to give away ten hats and koozies to ten lucky readers:

1. Florida State Seminoles – 8 returning starters on offense including Jameis Winston and 6 on defense…no reason that they won’t be back at the dance this year.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide – They have a machine in Tuscaloosa.  They just reload.
3. Auburn Tigers – Will the 2013 luck continue into 2014?
4. Oklahoma Sooners – Sophomore QB Trevor Knight is the real deal, folks.
5. Oregon Ducks – An easy schedule and Heisman frontrunner QB Mariota.
6. Michigan State Spartans – Wins over Ohio State and Stanford in 2013 will provide some serious momentum.
7. Stanford Cardinals – They’ve played in four straight BCS games, and don’t show any signs of slowing down.
8. UCLA Bruins – Averaging almost 10 wins a year and a strong returning offense.
9. Baylor Bears – They may rack up a million yards on offense this year.
10. Georgia Bulldogs – They have as much talent as anyone in the country.  If they can stay healthy, look out…

As I mentioned, the good folks at State Traditions want to give away a hat and a koozie of their choice to ten lucky readers.  Leave a comment to this post with your thoughts to enter.

For additional entries:

  • +1 (2 Total) ‘Like’ State Traditions on Facebook
  • +1 (3 Total) ‘Like’ Red Clay Soul on Facebook
  • +1 (4 Total) ‘Follow’ State Traditions on Twitter
  • +1 (5 Total) ’Follow’ Red Clay Soul on Twitter
  • +1 (6 Total) Tweet the following about the giveaway ‘The Preseason CFB top 10 from @statetraditions X @redclaysoul and I entered to win a new hat! Go here to enter: http://www.redclaysoul.com/?p=5826’

Entries must be in by midnight on Monday, March 31st.  I’ll announce the ten winners on Tuesday, April 1st around lunchtime, who gets a State Traditions hat and koozie from the school of their choice.

Special thanks to State Traditions for providing the goods for the giveaway…

Friday Jam: Phil Collins – ‘Sussudio’

In honor of my new record player, and stack of insanely awesome vinyl, let’s celebrate with a classic

Onward Reserve Spring Wishlist…Bloggers Unite

I always get excited in the Fall and in the Spring.  Those are the transition times for my favorite season: college football in the Fall, and golf in the Spring.  Wardrobes change as well.  Spring is about rebirth – whether it’s my golf game or my closet.  They both need some work this time of year.

While my usual day-to-day attire is mostly conservative, office appropriate attire, I do like to add a little of my own style into the rather mundane monotony.  I buy classic pieces that are going to last for years.  Whether it’s ‘in-style’ or not, the pieces will work in outfits ten years from now.  Now, since I have to get dressed everyday, I do it right, and focus on style, fit, and quality.  I shop in the right places and don’t take a disposable attitude towards anything I buy.  I want it to work for the long haul.

The good folks over at Onward Reserve reached out and asked what I would pick for my Spring Wish List…there is so much, but here’s what I’ve settled on:

In no particular order…

Martin Dingman Field Jacket in Ticking Weave – A great tan jacket is a must for spring.  It can be worn with jeans, khakis, and even wool slacks in neutrals.  Martin knows what he’s doing, and in his second season of his Countrywear line, he has knocked it out of the park.

Onward Reserve Gingham Button down in Aqua – You can’t have enough gingham.  It goes with everything.  The Onward shirts are great – they have just enough non-iron fabric in them that they don’t need ironing after every wash, but they don’t feel “plastic-y” like a lot of other non-iron shirts.  The aqua color will get a lot of play this time of year

Southern Proper Plaid Shirts – I am so glad to see the ladies bringing those big plaids back.  It has been tight around the plaid shirt jungle over the last few years, and the big plaids actually work better with any non-tie outfit.  Pair these with jeans or khakis, or un-tucked with shorts or over a swimsuit and you are ready to rock.

Barbour Ashby in Navy – It still gets cool at night during the spring, and Mother Nature likes to dump some rain at the most in-opportune times.  The Ashby is a trimmed down version of the Bedale, and the Navy color is much more spring appropriate than Barbour’s typical olive.

Onward Reserve Shorts – I make no bones about my distaste for man-pris.  No guy can call anything longer than a 7” inseam “shorts”.  Onward Reserve released their private label shorts and they are spot on.  They are very comfortable, pleat-less, only sport a 7” inseam, and all the colors are the new neutrals.

Criquet Player’s Polo Shirts – I’ve owned Criquet Player’s shirts for years, and the biggest issue with owning a Criquet shirt is this:  you’ll want to own all of them.  They have a style all their own: the updated version of the 70s and 80s Arnold Palmer polo in soft, organic cotton and in a prime choice of colors.

Strong Boalt Geometric Swim Trunks – I prefer my swim trunks to be unique, and Strong Boalt is a great way to stand out from the crowd.  The fit is spot on, and the designs are whimsical without being annoying.

Smathers & Branson Bonefish Needlepoint Belt – Since I’m getting married down in the Bahamas later this year, we are planning on getting some flies in the water after some bonefish on our honeymoon.  Only seems appropriate that my belt fits right in.

Martin Dingman Callahan Suede Loafer in Chestnut – I really like casual loafers this time of year.  Not as formal as a pair of bits and not as casual as a pair of driving loafers.  These Dingman jobs hit the mark.  The knotted detail and the chestnut suede are perfect for church, casual Fridays, or even with a pair of shorts.  Never with socks, though.  Never.

Onward Reserve “On the Rocks” Hat – Now is the time when I start breaking in my hat for gameday this Fall.  The Bulldogs look like they might be on the upswing, even without Murray (think UT after Peyton graduated – yeah, they won the National Championship).  UGA Mascot UGA looks great chilled out on a bag of ice…a red one with a summer’s worth of fade will look mighty fine in Athens this fall.

You can read more about this over on The Gazette.  Oh – and want to see what my good buddy James Farmer picked?  Go check out his selections here.

Happy Spring, folks.

39 x 43 Pop Up Shop – This Weekend

This weekend is the 39×43 Pop Up happening at the Shops Around Lenox.  It’s pretty cool that someone is finally doing this.  There have been various conversations over the last couple of years about getting a bunch of the good Atlanta-ish brands together for some sort of party.  Jess Graves and a couple co-horts found the space and are taking the bull by the horns:

From Jess: “The 39×43 Pop Up Shop is a curated mix of independent Southern style. We had some space at Shops Around Lenox that was going to be empty for a bit before we built out a new shop, so I thought it would be cool to utilize it by offering up high-traffic luxury retail space to a variety of hand-picked brands who maybe don’t have their own brick and mortar or just wanted access to our customer. Brian, Clay and I pulled together a rag tag group ranging from big guys like Billy Reid to startups like Res Ipsa and staples like The Old Try for a weekend-long party complete with good booze and tunes – and then invite everybody to come hang with us. We’re so psyched to see it all come together now that it’s only days away.”

Jess reached out and asked me to put together a pick list of what I’m looking forward to seeing.  While there isn’t enough space to highlight everything, here are a few:

Clockwise from top left:

Red’s Outfitters Newell Sunglasses:  Chrystal Clear.
Leather Belts from Tweeds:  Cool shop here on the Westside that is run by two of the greatest guys you’ll meet.  Their take on the ring belt is the best one out there.
Bird & Trout Knife from Oakleaf & Acorn: Everyone needs a stag-handle knife, whether you use it to open mail or field dress a bird.
39 x 43 print from The Old Try: How appropriate for this event.  Micah rarely misses, and this is truly a symbol of ‘To Dixie With Love’.
#8 Wool Loafers from Res Ipsa: I’m really excited to see the Res Ipsa collection.  I’ve been talking with Josh and Odini for a while, and they have some really great stuff.
Andover Trask Coal Bag: Totes, totes, and more totes.  The coal bag is the perfect size for a beach bag.  Andover Trask doesn’t disappoint.

Be sure to make your way over this weekend.  It is sure to be a good time.

Seeing Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks.

Jacket: Sid Mashburn Green Silk Matka Sport Coat