Bill Dance. Dadgummit.

The man.  Even he gets hooked sometimes…

Spring Picks from Red Clay Soul

1. Traditional South Carolina Hat from State Traditions: Add some flavor to your hat rotation with an off-color version of the classic.
2. Westward Leaning No1.1 Children of California Shades Black with California Redwood:  Eventually all of this rain will stop.  I swear.  When that happens, you’ll need something cool since the future is so bright.
3. Twice Again Black Watch from Swatch:  A good beater for the summer.  It can stand whatever you throw it’s way – the pool, the beach, a music festival, or leaving it in your pocket through the wash cycle.  
4. Sid Mashburn Green/White Bengal Stripe Cotton/Linen Popover Shirt:  The cotton/linen blend will breathe during the hot summer days, the popover style will keep the conversation fresh.
5. Jack Black Sun Guard Sunscreen:  Protect your skin.  Enough said.
6. Boglioli Washed Wool Navy Blue K-Jacket:  Probably the coolest jacket out there.  It’s a lightweight wool, but the washed finish gives it a rich look and feel.
7. Epaulet Slim Walt Trouser in Scarlet Irish Linen:  Wearing linen pants requires responsibility.  Wearing scarlet red, slim cut linen pants requires confidence.  You’ve got it.  Ball out. 
8. Filson Navy Tote:  Do I go on and on about totes?  Yes.  Navy AND Filson?  Do it.
9. G Fore Golf Glove in Azure:  How bored are you with a white golf glove?  Me too.  Try this one and you’ll never go back.
10. “Don’t Bend Over In The Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes” by Lewis Grizzard:  Consider this the first entry in the ‘Red Clay Soul Summer Book Club’.  Oprah has nothing on this.
11. Basil Hayden’s Bourbon:  This is a rich, versatile bourbon that is perfect neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of ginger ale.  A great crowd pleaser.  Cheers.
12 The Freshy P’s Shorts from Chubbies:  Guys – it’s time to stop wearing the man-pris.  These bright blue shorts from Chubbies are cut just right – with a shorter inseam that qualify these as ‘shorts’.  And they are awesome. 
13. “Endless Summer” by the Beach Boys:  This is the summer anthem.  You’ll be surprised that you know all the words.  So will she.
14. A Frisbee:  Sports.  Don’t be bashful.
15. Martin Dingman Beck Belt:  Stylish, and perfect for the warmer weather.  It gives your shorts, your pants, or a pair of jeans a ‘lighter’ look for this time of year.  Pair it with some loafers or oxfords (sans sock, of course) for a spring-casual vibe.
16. Mocassins by The Car Shoe:  Don’t listen to the ‘no suede after Easter’ rule.  Make your own rules.

Friday Jam: ‘Take Me To The River’ by Talking Heads (Live ’80)

 …drop me in the water…

Kentucky Derby Style with Knob Creek

Beautiful Louisville, Kentucky. Churchill Downs. On Saturday, May 4th, the thoroughbreds will thunder around the track on their ‘run for the roses’. While the horse race gets all the TV coverage, the traditions and style are on full display at the track. Mint Juleps, the ladies’ hats, and ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ are long-standing traditions that make the day.

For the guys who know their Derbies, there are standards. Standards in the way we look, the way we carry ourselves, and in what we drink. Whether you are watching the race from the infield or up in the stands, make sure you look good by dressing the part:

  1. Persol 3028 Sunglasses: First and foremost, it’s important to protect your eyes during the day-long tailgating festivities.  Secondly, these are great for doing some incognito people watching.  Staring is rude, unless they can’t tell.
  2. Brooks Brothers Tan Suit: Let’s be honest.  You want to look like a man who knows what you are doing at the Derby.  Wear a suit.  A good suit.  Since it’s springtime, a tan suit is the perfect pallet to add some punch.
  3. Sid Mashburn Pocket Square: Think of this as your napkin for the day.  It’ll start as suit pocket decoration, and eventually serve to wipe the bourbon off your chin, dab the sweat off your forehead, and later on to dry your tears when your pick doesn’t take the top prize.
  4. State Traditions Kentucky Hat: This may spend the first part of the day in your date’s purse, but there is a time and place for all hats at the Kentucky Derby.  Don’t let the ladies be the only ones to join in the fun.
  5. Ledbury McGuire Gingham Shirt: Add some color to that tan suit with a bright Kentucky blue gingham.  The fit is spot on, and the style is timeless.
  6. Smathers & Branson Jockey Silk & Derby Flask: You never know when the line for refills is too long, so prepare accordingly.  Fill this bad boy up with some Knob Creek and share accordingly.  Don’t lose this one though; it may end up being your lucky flask.
  7. Smart Turnout Royal Horse Artillery Socks: Of course, socks are optional, so if you choose to partake, keep with the Kentucky blue theme.
  8. Southern Proper Dixie Dot Neck Tie: A timeless yellow tie that will be the finishing touch to your ensemble.  Tie the right knot, though – stick with the Windsor.
  9. Johnston & Murphy Ellington Saddles: Break out those saddles.  This is as good a time as any.  Remember that there is a good chance these could show some wear after a day at the Derby, but that is no excuse for great style.

Thanks to the great folks over at Knob Creek for asking me to contribute to their ‘Brothers of Bourbon’ series.  

The New Traditionalists

The Internets is a great place.  I recently came across custom furniture maker The New Traditionalists, and was blown away.  While I’m not a big interior design guy, I do appreciate fine work, and I knew it as soon as I clicked through their site.  After exchanging a few emails, manager Scott Procops offered some information on his company:

We make sartorially inspired pieces of furniture. Classic silhouettes with contemporary details. Our design team is made up of veterans of Ralph Lauren, which certainly reflects in our furniture. For many of our upholstered goods, we are using fine fabrics typically used in menswear. Savile Row Tweeds, Shearling, Belgian Linen, Italian Leather, etc. Additionally, as everything is bespoke, the buyer can essentially make a piece their own in every way.  Think about those crazy chairs from Wm Lamb & Son.  The possibilities are endless and it can truly inspire the creative process.

The idea behind the aesthetic of the New Traditionalists is one that is vaguely familiar, yet new and unique. The silhouettes are all classic, however the details and touches are contemporary and often fashion inspired. Brady brings his appreciation for fashion and menswear to his designs and often employs details and fabrics reserved for clothing (a d-ring buckle, a tooth closure, pin stripes, shearling, glenplaid and houndstooth, baseball stitching, corduroy and suede, etc.) Additionally, many of the pieces are inspired by certain things or places including the seat of a vintage Porsche 911 and the brogueing on an Alden Wingtip.  We have recently partnered with century old Savile Row textile maker, Holland & Sherry, and have began upholstering pieces in their beautiful fabrics.

We are truly an American brand. We own and operate our own factory in Northwestern CT, the original building is from the turn of the century. All pieces are designed in Soho, NY and built in CT. Each piece is hand made, custom tailored and made to order. This is not furniture that is being shipped to you after sitting in a warehouse for months. When you pick out a piece, it is made for you from scratch using hardwood from the Northeast and Mid Atlantic, picked specifically based on grain.

Here is a run down of our company history. Philip Erdoes, an venture capitalist from Oklahoma, linked up with childhood friend Brady Wilcox (an architect by training, who worked in fashion retail store design for a number a years) and decided to start making furniture. Brady’s resume included Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos and Donna Karan. Brady recruited friend David Harris from RL, and Philip brought on our CFO Rebby Gregg. Those were the 4 founding partners. Their designs began with children’s furniture, a company called ducduc, and eventually they delved into pieces for the rest of the home. ducduc still exists as a sister company and is made in the same factory and designed by the same people.

In addition to having our pieces in the Holland & Sherry locations, we also have tables at Hickey Freeman’s flagship store in Midtown Manhattan as well as a chair in the Christian Louboutin Men’s store in the Meatpacking district.

Additionally, everything that we make is completely customizable. From dimension to wood finish to fabric to hardware, every piece you can truly make your own. Our partnership with H & S gives our customers the opportunity to pick from their extensive library of fabrics. If you can envision something a certain way, we can make it happen.

==

Their pieces are really works of art.  Beyond this Charleston-inspired gun cabinet, check out these pieces:

Bar Cart – look familiar?

Seeing Green

I don’t know.  Call it Masters fever.  Call it ‘happy to see leaves on the trees’.  Whatever.  I’m seeing green…and lots of it:

1. Criquet Players Shirt in ‘Augusta Green’
2. State Traditions Louisiana New Orleans Gameday Hat
3. Chester Mox Bi-fold Wallet
4. Cotton Brothers Green Gingham Buttondown Shirt
5. New Balance Green 998s
6. Martin Dingman Turnberry Belt
7. KP MacLane Polo Shirt in ‘Putting Green’
8. Sid Mashburn Green Canvas Shorts

Spring Baseball Game Date Night

So you’ve got a date.  A good date.  You like this girl…and you scored some tickets to a Braves game.  Since this is a date, don’t break out the cornhole and start shotgunning beers on your lunch break to prepare.  This is a date.  Do it right:

1. 1908 Boston Braves Hat:  Braves, but especially a tip of the hat to Boston.
2. Randolph Engineering Aviators: The sun is setting later, and depending on where your seats are, she may ‘borrow’ them.  Good luck getting them back.
3. Martin Dingman Turnberry Belt: Don’t be afraid of a fabric belt, and don’t be afraid of a woven belt.  It’s a dangerous combination.
4. Southern Proper Club Shorts:  Khaki is overplayed.  Add some better neutrals to your short pants rotation.  The ladies over at Southern Proper did good work with these…complete with the knee-friendly 7″ inseam.
5. Smathers & Branson Atlanta Braves Key Fob:  The baseball season is 162 games long.  Then the playoffs.  This will look perfect toting your keys around through October.
6. Ledbury White Oxford Shirt: AKA the ‘Mustard Catcher’.  It’s endearing.  She’ll love it.
7. Boiled Peanuts: Grab them on your way into the ballpark.  Give ‘em and extra buck for the effort.  They’ll remember you next time.
8. Havaianas Flip Flops:  Keep it casual.  After all, it’s a baseball game.
9. Big Red: There is a slight chance you might catch some lip.  Be prepared.
10. State Traditions Koozie:  Don’t forget to bring two.
11. Cabelas Soft Sided 15-can Blind Cooler: Grab your cooler from the closet.  Make sure it’s clean.  Load it up with ice and a couple beers each so you can people watch together as everyone heads into the game.  It very possibly could be more entertaining that the forthcoming nine innings.

P.S. – The Official Red Clay Soul Braves Prediction: 99 wins.