June 20, 2014
It’s On Sale: 14% Off at Self Edge (in-store and online)
Self Edge, one of the best denim and workwear stores around,is having a rare sale this weekend to celebrate the much-anticipated launch of their new website. The sale runs from today until Sunday in stores and until Monday online (code JeanFinder will get you 14% off and free shipping worldwide). Self Edge has retail locations in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland.
Of course, 14% off doesn’t sound like much of a discount (and hardly covers sales tax here in San Francisco), but the items that Self Edge carries are extremely difficult to find on sale, so this is about as low as things go. If you’ve been thinking about picking up a high-end pair of selvage denim, this is a good opportunity to do so. The sale starts at 9am online - if you’re interested in getting something I’d scope it out now since sizes can go quickly.
(Photo via edwinzee)

It’s On Sale: 14% Off at Self Edge (in-store and online)

Self Edge, one of the best denim and workwear stores around,is having a rare sale this weekend to celebrate the much-anticipated launch of their new website. The sale runs from today until Sunday in stores and until Monday online (code JeanFinder will get you 14% off and free shipping worldwide). Self Edge has retail locations in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Of course, 14% off doesn’t sound like much of a discount (and hardly covers sales tax here in San Francisco), but the items that Self Edge carries are extremely difficult to find on sale, so this is about as low as things go. If you’ve been thinking about picking up a high-end pair of selvage denim, this is a good opportunity to do so. The sale starts at 9am online - if you’re interested in getting something I’d scope it out now since sizes can go quickly.

(Photo via edwinzee)

June 19, 2014
It’s On Sale: 40% Off Eidos Napoli at Bloomindales
This one is for the SF and NYC locals only and involves getting out of your chair and going outside. Eidos Napoli, the newest menswear darling, will be discounted in those two Bloomingdales by 40% from today until Sunday (they are the only Bloomingdales stores that stock Eidos). This puts sportcoats around $570+ and suits somewhere around $770. [[MORE]]
If you are unfamiliar with this brand, here’s what you need to know: the brand is now led by creative director Antonio Ciongoli, who was formerly at Michael Bastian and Ralph Lauren. The brand is under the umbrella of the esteemed company Isaia Napoli; that said, it is not so much meant to be a diffusion brand as it is a standalone line that brings high-end Neapolitan tailoring to a younger audience. All the tailored clothing is full-canvassed and made in the same facilities as Isaia - the main difference is less handwork on the Eidos stuff. Essentially, it’s great stuff priced much more aggressively than its luxury brand counterparts. And when you add this sale on top, the prices are exceptional for what you’re getting. 
Since the brand is still small, their stuff can only be found at a few locations. The two Bloomingdales mentioned above and Carson St. Clothiers are the most notable purveyors at the moment, but expect that to change in the coming year. 
I have tried on most of Eidos’ Spring/Summer line, and was impressed with how reasonable the fit was. Some similar brands opt for overly skinny and cropped silhouettes, but the Eidos jackets are not that at all. They are a reasonably slim-fitting shape with fairly classic proportions, and the overall silhouette is masculine and attractive. This seems in line with Ciongoli’s vision - in his words:

One of my goals for this collection was not to design a super fashion forward suit and sell it in uninspiring fabrics….The way I see it, the value proposition is that we’re making a timelessly beautiful cut, fully canvassed garment that is made in Italy accessible to a much broader spectrum of guys.

All in all, I like what Ciongoli is going for here and I think it is well executed. My one reservation on the models I tried (the “Tipo” model) is that the lapel gorge  is rather high. This isn’t “wrong”, given the Neapolitan flavor of the jacket, but it is a bit aggressive. However, this is balanced by the lapels’ reasonable width, and the overall effect is still nice (and the “Lorenzo” model coming soon will have a wider lapel with a lower gorge). Here’s an unflattering picture of me in a 36R (46IT), which is my usual size (for reference, I’m around 150 lbs and 5’10” on a good day):

As you can see, it hits all the main points I would look for - good shoulder width, jacket length, sleeves, chest, etc. The jacket sleeves come unfinished, which will be a relief to the long and short-armed folks among us. Add in the full canvas construction, the high end fabric (I saw VBC, Loro Piana, Zegna, etc), and the made in Italy stamp, and these are a great value (especially at the sale price). If you’re looking for Italian-inspired tailored clothing for the warmer months and live in SF or NYC, I don’t think you could do much better. 

It’s On Sale: 40% Off Eidos Napoli at Bloomindales

This one is for the SF and NYC locals only and involves getting out of your chair and going outside. Eidos Napoli, the newest menswear darling, will be discounted in those two Bloomingdales by 40% from today until Sunday (they are the only Bloomingdales stores that stock Eidos). This puts sportcoats around $570+ and suits somewhere around $770

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June 18, 2014
What I Wore this Weekend - Black Tie on California St.
I ran around the city with my buddy Majd* and took some photos for my Suitsupply tuxedo review. It’ll be up on Monday. 
*his instagram handle is @m, so you know he’s OG. 
Tuxedo - Suitsupply (more coming soon) | Shirt - Proper Cloth | Grosgrain bowtie - The Tie Bar | Square - Kent Wang | Velvet slippers - Church’s for Brooks Brothers | Cufflinks - gift | Suspenders (not seen) - vintage | Socks - Pantherella 

What I Wore this Weekend - Black Tie on California St.

I ran around the city with my buddy Majd* and took some photos for my Suitsupply tuxedo review. It’ll be up on Monday. 

*his instagram handle is @m, so you know he’s OG. 

Tuxedo - Suitsupply (more coming soon) | Shirt - Proper Cloth | Grosgrain bowtie - The Tie Bar | Square - Kent Wang | Velvet slippers - Church’s for Brooks Brothers | Cufflinks - gift | Suspenders (not seen) - vintage | Socks - Pantherella 

June 15, 2014
Ten Things I Learned From My Father
This is a men’s style blog, but in light of Father’s Day I thought I would expand my usual subject radius to include a few stories from my past. I know that some guys count their father as a style icon; that’s certainly not the case for me, but I have learned many important lessons from the day-to-day actions of my dad. Given blogger’s affinity for lists (and my penchant for grouping things in tens), here is a list of ten things I never would have learned without him.
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1. You’re not defined by the things you own.
When I was in college and preparing to enter the “real world” my dad told me something that really stuck with me:

"There are two ways to get by in life - one is to have plenty of money, and the other is to not need a lot of things."

My father spent a decade of his life isolated from the rest of the world and with almost no posessions - he lived in a tiny cabin (that he built), deep in the forest, while working part-time for the forest service. It’s hard to imagine living like that, but a few good books, firewood, and a 50 lb. bag of lentils was all he really needed. To him, everything else was (and is) a bonus. To this day, when I become frustrated with my inability to afford the coolest menswear toys, the absurd cost of rent in this city, or my inability to keep up with the incredible spending of the people of San Francisco, I remember this and think of how lucky I am to be here in the first place. 
2. There’s no hurry to make up your mind.
My dad didn’t start his career until his mid-forties. Before that, he dabbled in many professions - forest firefighter, mailman, writer, carpenter, engineer, and more. Each of these experiences has added to his complex character and has played a role in preparing him for the next step. As a kid, I assumed this was normal; it wasn’t until later that I realized most people are more direct when it comes to careers. These days, there is a lot of pressure on kids to get into a good college, pick a major, and then get a job; I was lucky to learn early on that less linear career paths were just as viable. 
3. Read and write every day.
My dad has always been a voracious reader and writer. When I was a kid I would sit on his lap while he typed away on an ancient computer; I didn’t have a strong understanding of what exactly he was doing until many years later when I realized he had been writing a book. Although it is unlikely that I will ever become a published author like he has, I’ve still come to appreciate the importance of reading and writing on a regular basis. It’s good for your brain and for your vocabulary (and it’s one of the reasons I started this blog). 
4. Don’t let the sun catch you sleeping. 
As long as I can remember, my father has woken up around 5 am. Sometimes he would work, sometimes he would exercise, sometimes he would just sit in his chair with a cup of tea. Whatever the reason, he always made a point of being awake and spending a bit of time alone before the day inevitably caught up with him. Although it has been a struggle for me to maintain this habit at times, I have long since discovered that time for yourself in the early morning will do wonders for your mood, productivity, and well-being.
5. Be Handy.
Perhaps it is due to my father’s zig-zaggy life story, or perhaps it is just a trait of all dads everywhere, but I am constantly amazed at the amount of things that he can do. Whether it’s repairing a car, roofing a house, cutting down a tree, or carving a turkey, it seems that he is full of crucial life skills. I spent a lot of time in college reading and writing about how things work in the world, but I’ve slowly come to realize that although being book smart is good, being life-smart is better. 
6. Go Outside.
I was lucky enough to grow up in in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where there are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. For a mountain man like my dad, getting out of town and exploring the wilderness was not an optional activity for our family. Because of this, I spent much of my youth running down trails, rafting rivers, and summiting mountains. Looking back, I’ve come to appreciate the huge effect it had on my childhood and on the adult I became. Nature is a beautiful thing - go experience it. Go backpacking, rafting, biking, or whatever it takes to spend some time away from the mayhem of your daily life. 
7. Eat your Vegetables.
Although it sounds like a West Coast stereotype, I actually grew up in a predominantly vegetarian household. I’ve never been a vegetarian myself, but I was lucky to have learned the importance of eating well at a young age, rather than as an unfortunate discovery later in life. Learning to cook for myself and understanding the core concepts of nutrition was one of the best things I learned as a kid. It only took a few months of greasy college dining halls to show me that a good diet and active lifestyle really are the foundation for a strong body and sharp mind. 
8. Travel while you’re young.
When my dad was living in the woods and working for the forest service he would spend part of every year abroad. His trips weren’t glamorous, but they kept his horizons broad even when he was living alone in the Oregon woods. The photos of his globetrotting adventures have continually reminded me that the world is a big place, and that I need to get out there and see as much as possible.
9. Always have a hobby.
It should come as no surprise that I come from a long line of tinkerers, dabblers, and otherwise curious minds that put great value in breadth of knowledge. My dad in particular is a textbook example of a generalist; he  has always had an activity or two on the side that complemented his work, whether it was gardening while he was writing, writing while he was building cabinets, or remodeling the kitchen while working as an engineer. I have taken this type of learning to heart, and always try to balance my life with a variety of activities that keep me well-rounded.
10. Smile. 
Nobody likes a grouch. Add some happiness to the world.

Ten Things I Learned From My Father

This is a men’s style blog, but in light of Father’s Day I thought I would expand my usual subject radius to include a few stories from my past. I know that some guys count their father as a style icon; that’s certainly not the case for me, but I have learned many important lessons from the day-to-day actions of my dad. Given blogger’s affinity for lists (and my penchant for grouping things in tens), here is a list of ten things I never would have learned without him.

Read More

June 11, 2014
Summer Staples - 10 Items for Hot Weather
I’m writing this post with a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I know that the San Francisco summer will be a cold, foggy disappointment. The mild SF weather is a blessing and a curse, but in the summer it often feels like the latter. Nonetheless, I know that many of you hail from regions that do change in temperature when the months pass; this post is for you guys. I’ll probably be wearing a Shetland sweater, but if the temperature happens to pass 75 I might change into these.
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Madras. This colorful fabric of Indian origin can appear on virtually any garment, and its lightweight and casual vibe is perfect for summer. You can find madras in most men’s stores, but trad staples like Brooks Brothers will have tons of the stuff. Stick to a mardas shirt or tie if you’re just starting with the fabric; madras sportcoats are best left to the advanced players and madras pants are best left to Bill Murray. 
Polo shirt. Polos got a bit of a bad reputation after business casual drones and frat bros took them over, but they can still be a solid summer item if the fit is right (and the collar is un-popped). Like shirts, you can generally find these at any respectable men’s retailer at a wide range of prices. I’ve been perfectly happy with mine from J. Crew, but Uniqlo has some great inexpensive options as well (Kent Wang has a more dressed up version if that’s what you want). Keep an eye on Gestalt Clothing if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious and Continental in style. 
Canvas shorts. My skinny and pale legs just aren’t built for shorts, so I only wear these in summer emergencies. If you have the build to pull them off better than me, feel free to wear them more often. Just keep them slim and don’t let them go past the knee. And if you can’t roll with shorts, just stick with chinos. Pictured: shorts from J. Crew, circa 2010.
Linen. This isn’t exactly an original recommendation for hot weather, but it’s hard to argue with linen’s effectiveness in the heat. You can find easily find linen in shirts, pants, sportcoats and suits; I prefer it in shirts and trousers. One of the best aspects of linen (besides its heat resistance) is its ability to mix well with other fibers. For instance, if the louche linen look is a bit too much for you, consider a linen-cotton blend shirt or a linen-wool sportcoat. These will still carry the benefits of linen, but will show less signs of its telltale wrinkle. The above shirt is an icy blue linen/cotton stripe from Proper Cloth, but Brooks Brothers has some similar off-the-rack options. 
A trim swim(suit). Every guy already has one, but if you’re still sporting 11” board shorts with cargo pockets it might be time to consider upgrading. Try for a 5-9” inseam, depending on your height and physique (I usually opt for 6-7”). I’ve been happy with the above pair from J. Crew, but around that price Bonobos has some with a higher quality tab/zip waistband and traditional waist sizing instead of alpha sizing. I’m not the kind of guy that appreciates high-end trunks, but if you are then consider Orlebar Brown. 
Canvas sneakers. Every summer I buy a new inexpensive pair of canvas sneakers to beat into the ground for the next 12 months. The classic choice would be a simple white sneaker, and it’s hard to go wrong with that; for Summer 2014 I decided to switch it up and go with navy, since it will be a nice complement to all the off-white chinos I tend to wear. The pair above is the Superga 2750.
Sunglasses. They’re good for you and they’ll look good on you. What better reasons do you need? I tend to stick with simple styles like Aviators, P3s, and Wayfarer-esque shapes. Finding well-made eyewear at a reasonable price is difficult, so I often rely on Warby Parker (review here). I also prefer polarized lenses for their increased performance during water sports, at which point I’m also usually wearing…
A breton stripe shirt. I searched long and hard to find one of these nautically-themed classics; I settled on Uniqlo, but Armorlux and Saint James are the traditional choice. You’ll find me wearing it regularly this summer, whether I’m out sailing or just hanging out on the mainland.
Popover. it’s like the polo’s dressed-up cousin; the main difference is that a popover is made from a shirting material like oxford or chambray, while a polo is made form a stretchy knit like pique. Wear it under a navy blazer or on the beach - its power comes from its versatility. This one is from Proper Cloth, but they can also be found at Sid Mashburn, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and more. Expect the fit to be a bit looser in the waist, since shirting fabrics don’t stretch like knits and therefore need more space to get over your shoulders.
Sunscreen. Because burns, wrinkles, and skin cancer won’t help your look, unless you’re really dedicated to that leathery old Italian style. 
For more Seasonal Selections, click here.

Summer Staples - 10 Items for Hot Weather

I’m writing this post with a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I know that the San Francisco summer will be a cold, foggy disappointment. The mild SF weather is a blessing and a curse, but in the summer it often feels like the latter. Nonetheless, I know that many of you hail from regions that do change in temperature when the months pass; this post is for you guys. I’ll probably be wearing a Shetland sweater, but if the temperature happens to pass 75 I might change into these.

Read More

June 9, 2014

It’s Back On Sale: J. Crew “Bennett” Goodyear-Welted Suede Chukka for $60

If this post looks familiar, it’s because I put it up a couple of months ago when these shoes were on sale for $87.50; I deleted the post when the sale ended, but since they are currently on sale for a mere $60 (code TODAYONLY) I thought it was worth revisiting. It also seemed like a well-timed sale, given my post today about in-between shoes; these are a great example, and are about as cheap as you will ever find for a decent welted shoe. They are also off the Final Sale list (as Aliotsy noted), so you can return a pair if the sizing doesn’t work out.

When these first went on sale I headed down to my neighborhood J. Crew to check them out in person. Here’s what I learned:

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June 9, 2014
The In-Between Wardrobe, Part II: Shoes
The “In-Between Wardrobe” is a series of articles aimed at helping men find items that will play a versatile role in their closet. It is written with the idea that most men don’t wear extremely formal or casual clothing on a regular basis; they usually need items that are somewhere in the middle. See all articles in the series here.
Shoes are a critical element of in-between dressing, and are one area that is constantly being messed up by men that don’t know any better. The core idea behind finding an in-between shoe is balancing casual and formal features to achieve something that can be worn with a large variety of clothes. 
First, it is important to understand what makes a shoe a “good” shoe and how to look for high-quality materials and construction in footwear. If you’re not familiar with these concepts, read my previous post on that topic. Once you’re on board with that, join in below.
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1. Understand what makes a shoe casual or formal. Finding a great in-between shoe is about finding balance; go too far in the formal or casual direction and they will lose their versatility. To gauge a shoe’s formal/informal balance, remember the following principles:
A smooth shine is more formal than texture. In other words, materials like suede, pebble grain, cordovan, and so forth are intrinsically less formal than plain calf leather.
A sleek toe is more formal than a round toe. A shoe’s last determines the shape of a shoe; dressier options will have slimmer profiles or chiseled toes, while others will be rounder and follow the natural shape of a foot more closely. Compare this to this, for example. 
A leather sole is more formal than a rubber (or other synthetic) sole. Each type of sole has its own benefits and disadvantages, but a thin leather sole will appear more formal than a thicker double leather sole, and that will be more formal than a chunky rubber one. 
A dark color is more formal than a light color. Pretty self-explanatory.
Fewer seams are more formal than more seams. Compare a wholecut to a captoe, for instance. 
No brogueing is more formal than brogueing.
Closed lacing is more formal than open lacing. More on that in a minute.
2. Understand what an in-between shoe is not. I’m hesitating writing these because they are not hard-and-fast rules and can all be broken effectively; nonetheless, it’s easiest to avoid shoes with these characteristics if you’re looking for maximum versatility.
With that said, an in-between shoe is not:
Closed laced. Closed lacing is one of the defining characteristics of oxford/balmoral shoes. Shoes with closed lacing are on the most formal tier and don’t look as correct with more casual clothing; they’re great for suits and can be worn with sportcoats, but an open-laced shoe will be more versatile. Don’t be the guy wearing sleek captoe oxfords with denim.
Aggressively shaped. In-between shoes should have rounded toes because a strong point or chisel will evoke a formality that is incongruent with in-between clothing (and they also look best on closed laced shoes). Square-toed shoes are best avoided altogether.
Black. If you’re just beginning then it’s probably best to save the black shoes for formal designs. There is a wide spectrum of browns, tans, and burgundies that look great on in-between shoes. While we’re at it, save the navy, green, and red for later too (if you get them at all).
3. Pick your style. So what designs make great in-between shoes? I’d say that there are four main categories, although options exist outside of these. They all can be found in a myriad of materials, shapes, and styles, so take some time finding what you like. 
Bluchers/Derbys: These are characterized by their open lacing pattern. This family includes variations of longwings, shortwings, plain toe bluchers, and captoes, to name a few. 
Boots: Many boots come in styles similar to bluchers - wingtips, captoes, etc - but there are also some new shapes introduced. For instance, chukka boots are one of the most versatile shoe styles out there, in my opinion. 
Loafers: there are many of styles and configurations to choose from, but the most popular are penny loafers and tassel loafers. I wrote an article on these here. 
Monksraps: Single and double monks can make great in-between shoes because their buckle configuration increases the casual appearance of an otherwise formal shoe. I’ve mentioned my opinion of double monks before, but I won’t deny that they are cool shoes. 
4. Save up and buy something nice. Well-made shoes are expensive; it’s just an unfortunate truth. There is a huge range of prices, but none of them are cheap. If you’re comfortable going secondhand, ebay and thrift stores can be a great option. The list below covers some of my favorite makers, although there are plenty more. 
 “Accessible” ($300 and under at MSRP): Loake (1880 line), Meermin Classic line, Jack Erwin, Markowski, Ed Et Al, Allen Edmonds (on sale/factory seconds), Rancourt
Expensive ($300-$800 at MSRP): Crockett & Jones, Alden, Carmina, Alfred Sargent, Sid Mashburn (most made by Alfred Sargent), Peal & Co. for Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren
Look but don’t touch: John Lobb, Edward Green, Vass, Gaziano Girling, St. Crispin
Shoutout to jacobbockelmann for letting me photograph his grail shoe collection for this post; few people understand the in-between wardrobe as well as he does so follow his blog for continued reading on that topic.
EDIT: for those that want to know the shoes in the picture above (L to R):
Top: Vass, Charles Tyrwhitt, Alden, Allen Edmonds, Alden
Bottom: Carmina, Ralph Lauren, Alden, Alden, Peal & Co. for BB

The In-Between Wardrobe, Part II: Shoes

The “In-Between Wardrobe” is a series of articles aimed at helping men find items that will play a versatile role in their closet. It is written with the idea that most men don’t wear extremely formal or casual clothing on a regular basis; they usually need items that are somewhere in the middle. See all articles in the series here.

Shoes are a critical element of in-between dressing, and are one area that is constantly being messed up by men that don’t know any better. The core idea behind finding an in-between shoe is balancing casual and formal features to achieve something that can be worn with a large variety of clothes. 

First, it is important to understand what makes a shoe a “good” shoe and how to look for high-quality materials and construction in footwear. If you’re not familiar with these concepts, read my previous post on that topic. Once you’re on board with that, join in below.

Read More

June 5, 2014
Out & About: A visit with Hall and Obi of Juniper Ridge
I’ve never been a cologne guy. It sounds ok in concept, but I’m a bit afraid; it seems so much easier to use it incorrectly than it does to achieve the desired effect. After all, I have met plenty of guys that have bad reputations because of poor cologne usage, but never someone who had a good cologne reputation (if there is such a thing - I guess that’s the sign of using it well). 
Don’t get me wrong; I still love nice smells, and I like the idea of wearing a light fragrance. Cologne just didn’t seem to have a good risk/reward ratio to me, so I never bothered. 
That changed quickly when I met the folks at Juniper Ridge. 
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Juniper Ridge is a small company making fragrances and scented grooming products from real plants harvested in the wild. All of their scents are captured and distilled by the small team of professional hikers/foragers on their frequent journeys into the West Coast wilderness. They climb trees, dig holes, and pick wildflowers until they have captured enough fragrance-filled flora to distill into oil. Large steel drums are filled with fresh plants and steam-distilled until the essential oils are extracted. These aren’t chemists in white coats mixing synthetics - these are nature-lovers making something very cool with their bare hands.
Hall Newbegin, a self-titled “plant nerd” and wilderness enthusiast, started Juniper Ridge in 1998, simply because he loved the outdoors and the plant life of the West Coast. He started making soaps and scents in his kitchen and sold them at Bay Area farmer’s markets; that continued for a while, but demand began to increase rapidly and now he leads a team of 15 people that love the outdoors and capturing its scent. I first read about them in a recent Esquire article and was so fascinated by their product that I made a point to track them down and introduce myself. I’ve now had a couple of opportunities to meet members of the Juniper Ridge team and use their products, and I’ve become a huge fan. 
Hall’s team begins their fragrance-creation journey by foraging around to find the scents that best capture a physical area. Once enough plants are gathered and all the noses approve, small amounts of oil are extracted in an old whiskey still. Other processes like infusion, tincture, and enfluerage are used until all the ingredients are in the correct form. These concentrated oils are then compared and combined, an iterative process that continues until that “ah-ha!” moment of discovery. For many of the short-run “field lab” scents, the journey stops here. The small amount of oils collected are turned into a limited run of seasonal scents. This is the case for this Spring’s Topanga Canyon, which is made from many California wildflowers that only bloom for a short time each year. For their core group of scents - my favorites are Siskiyou and Caruther’s Canyon - vegetation is collected in bulk and processed in 500 gallon drums in Oakland. 
The scents are difficult to describe, but at their core they smell extremely real (because they are). This is not a Chanel brand ambassador trying to conjure the idea of a “earthy, woodsy scent;” this is Hall recreating the sensation of a real place by using plants from that exact spot. Just a simple change of location, temperature, or time of year will completely alter the fragrance’s profile. That’s one of the reasons each scent has a harvest number - although Juniper Ridge carries several “stock” fragrance lines, it’s impossible to perfectly replicate them with different harvests. Rainfall, temperature, altitude, and more will have distinct effects on the final product.
I have used Juniper Ridge’s soap, cabin spray, and beard oil (even though I lack a beard), and have sampled most of the other products. They each have their own style of delivering a fragrance, but the best part is that they wear very light. Since they are not filled with “sticky synthetics,” it is almost impossible to overdose and become a walking cologne bomb. The scents last for about two hours before fading into nothingness. To me, this is one of the best aspects of the all-natural ingredient list.
It is often said that smell is the sense most strongly associated with memory; after experiencing Juniper Ridge’s products I’m inclined to agree. When I first smelled their Cascade Glacier and Siskiyou scents, collected near the area I grew up, I was immediately transported back to the outdoor escapades of my youth. I suddenly had strong memories of hiking the Trinity Alps, rafting the Deschutes river, and climbing the Middle Sister mountain. These scents weren’t reminiscent of those places, they were those places. Every time I use them it’s like taking a quick trip home. As Obi told me, “sometimes you just need to get the city out of your head”; a quick dose of this stuff does just that.
Thanks to Hall and Obi for chatting with me and letting me “sample” an inappropriate amount of product from their tester set. You can see all of their products - and read their harvest stories - on their website. You can also use this store locator to find their products in person. 

The scent library catalogs all of the plant oils used to create Juniper Ridge’s signature scents.

Their product line includes liquid cologne, spray fragrance, liquid soaps, beard and face oil, and more.

Pablo shows me how they distilled white sage on the trail for their most recent field lab scent. 

It takes quite a bit of plant matter to fill even a small vial with oil.

Out & About: A visit with Hall and Obi of Juniper Ridge

I’ve never been a cologne guy. It sounds ok in concept, but I’m a bit afraid; it seems so much easier to use it incorrectly than it does to achieve the desired effect. After all, I have met plenty of guys that have bad reputations because of poor cologne usage, but never someone who had a good cologne reputation (if there is such a thing - I guess that’s the sign of using it well). 

Don’t get me wrong; I still love nice smells, and I like the idea of wearing a light fragrance. Cologne just didn’t seem to have a good risk/reward ratio to me, so I never bothered. 

That changed quickly when I met the folks at Juniper Ridge. 

Read More

June 4, 2014
Out & About: A Visit with Edwin and Matthew of Steed Tailors
In an airy suite on the 16th floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel, a few hundred fabric samples littered a small table. There was no fanfare, no media release, no press party with free booze to celebrate the arrival of these fabric swatches. Unlike the noise that seems to accompany traveling made-to-measure tailors, Edwin and Matthew DeBoise of Steed visited San Francisco with a bit more subtlety. These bespoke tailors already had plenty of fittings scheduled for their two-day visit, so there was no need to make any more of it.
When I saw that Steed tailors were visiting San Francisco I sheepishly sent them an email, asking if I could stop in and learn more about what they do (even though I have no ability to commission something). Matthew was kind enough to accept, so on Monday I headed over to have my first face-to-face meeting with a bespoke tailor. 
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The world of bespoke clothing is a bit of an elite club; the cost generally makes it prohibitive to most men that don’t have a large income or aren’t willing to invest thousands of dollars into a single garment. That being said, there is still value in understanding the bespoke process, whether you are a potential customer or not. After all, there is no better way to understand what quality looks like in a garment than to see the best there is to offer.
Edwin DeBoise founded Steed in 1995, after spending years under the legendary cutter Edward Sexton and then the famous bespoke house Anderson & Sheppard. Both of these names carry significant gravitas in the world of bespoke clothing and are definitely worth familiarizing yourself with. Edward Sexton joined forces with Tommy Nutter in the late 1960’s, and helped revitalize the Savile Row tailors by injecting a bit of rock n’ roll and celebrity into the old traditions. Familiar names like Mick Jagger, Elton John, and the Beatles were among the elite list of clients that frequented Nutter’s shop. On the other side of the coin, Anderson & Sheppard have been prominent Savile Row tailors for over 100 years, and they have developed a house style that has become almost synonymous with their name. 
Both of these companies, while wildly different in style, have influenced the way that Edwin cuts cloth for his suits; the result is something that is inherently British but also unlike any other tailoring house. The Steed silhouette is often referred to as a “drape cut” - this includes details like a sculpted, fuller chest, softly structured shoulders with trim neck and armholes, and a slim waist. The result of these details is a masculine look that is probably impossible to achieve outside of bespoke tailoring. It’s not for everyone, but it is hard to argue that the silhouette is striking. 
As impressive as the end result is, the bespoke process itself is something to behold; it begins, like any other custom experience, with body measurements, fabric selection, and garment customization decisions. Of course, the difference is already apparent, because these measurements are taken by a Savile Row tailor with decades of experience. After that, Edwin cuts the pattern and cloth himself, and passes it on to a small team of professionals for assembly. After construction and trimming are complete, the second fitting is scheduled and any necessary changes are made. The finishings are then completed, and the garment is sent out for its final round of adjustments. 
Of course, all of this skill, time, and incredible cloth comes at a price; bespoke suits and sportcoats are exceptionally expensive and are not for the faint of heart. Be that as it may, it is worth noting that Steed is now offering a made-to-measure “semi-bespoke” option for their garments. Like with most MTM clothing, the key differences are that a unique pattern is not created (rather, an existing one is adjusted) and there are presumably less fittings completed before the final garment is shipped. Even so, this process has the distinct advantage of being led by a skilled Savile Row tailor. As I have said before, the quality of a MTM commission is only as good as the person measuring you, and in this case you have access to the very best. Prices for bespoke and MTM options are outlined on Steed’s website. 
Edwin and Matthew plan on visiting San Francisco at least three times per year, so if you are interested in setting up a fitting you can send them an email to find out when they will be here next. I snapped a few photos below, but many more examples of finished Steed suits are available on their website. I’d like to thank Edwin and Matthew for putting aside some time to chat with me and show me what they do; they’re charming gents and it was a great way to spend an afternoon. 

Matthew in a MTM Steed suit made from Minnis fresco

A sampling of the many fabric options, mostly from the United Kingdom.

Edwin demonstrates his measuring techniques on his son Matthew

Examining some swatches from Moonbeam

Out & About: A Visit with Edwin and Matthew of Steed Tailors

In an airy suite on the 16th floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel, a few hundred fabric samples littered a small table. There was no fanfare, no media release, no press party with free booze to celebrate the arrival of these fabric swatches. Unlike the noise that seems to accompany traveling made-to-measure tailors, Edwin and Matthew DeBoise of Steed visited San Francisco with a bit more subtlety. These bespoke tailors already had plenty of fittings scheduled for their two-day visit, so there was no need to make any more of it.

When I saw that Steed tailors were visiting San Francisco I sheepishly sent them an email, asking if I could stop in and learn more about what they do (even though I have no ability to commission something). Matthew was kind enough to accept, so on Monday I headed over to have my first face-to-face meeting with a bespoke tailor. 

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June 2, 2014
The In-Between Wardrobe, Part I: The Shirt
The “In-Between Wardrobe” is a series of articles aimed at helping men find items that will play a versatile role in their closet. It is written with the idea that most men don’t wear extremely formal or casual clothing on a regular basis; they usually need items that are somewhere in the middle. See all articles in the series here.
The in-between shirt is not necessarily hard to find, but many guys tend to get lost along the way. Perhaps it is because every shirt with a collar and buttons is referred to as a “dress shirt” these days; to understand what we’re looking for in an in-between shirt, it’s important to understand that not all collared shirts are dress shirts. The in-between shirt should be at home with denim and chinos or with a sportcoat; some should be able to be worn with a tie, and all of them should look at home in a business-casual office. Here are the general parameters for finding an in-between shirt:
[[MORE]]1. When it comes to fabric, texture and pattern are your friends.
One of the themes you’ll see in this series is the emphasis on choosing the right material. This holds true for shirts; a material like oxford cloth, chambray, linen, or madras will be easier to wear with a wide variety of clothing when compared to standard dress shirt fabrics like broadcloth, pinpoint, and twill. 
Likewise, pattern can help reduce the formality of a shirt. Having a patterned fabric is certainly not a requirement (and having a few solid shirts is a good starting point), but having some simple stripes and checks can aid in reinforcing the shirt’s informal nature.
2. Color plays a role, but is less important than you think. A while back I spoke about my allegiance to my one color rule, which states (unsuprisingly) that I keep my dress shirts to only one color, or a pattern with one color and white. There is a bit of wiggle room when it comes to more casual shirting fabrics like madras, but when in doubt it’s easiest to stick to this rule. Let your shirt’s casualness be shown with the texture and details like pockets and soft collars. Which reminds me…
3. Respect the collar. One of the clearest indicators of a shirt’s formality (besides the fabric) is the collar. Like I’ve said before, the collar size and shape is a critical part of the shirt, and that remains the case with the more casual options. For casual shirts, it is best to seek out unfused collars. These collars will appear less “stiff” than fused collars and will be more at home with casual clothing. The quintessential unfused collar is the traditional button-down, a la Brooks Brothers (keep in mind that not every button-down collar is unfused, but the traditionally styled ones often are). Other collar styles like spread, semi-spread, and cutaway can work in casual cases as well, if they are soft and unfused. Ideally, the collar points should measure at least 3” so that they don’t look too trendy and can hold a tie well. For the record: although fused collars are often poo-poo-ed by blogger types, they still serve a good purpose; however, they are not of much use in this case. 
4. To tuck or not to tuck? I have no problem with “short” shirts that are intended to be worn untucked. They can be a great casual option to have in the arsenal (and it’s how many men wear their button-up shirts all the time, for better or worse). However, having a shirt that only looks good untucked is not as versatile and therefore against the mantra of the “in-between wardrobe.” Try to shoot for something that is still tuck-able, even if it is on the short side (if you do want a shirt that you only plan on wearing untucked, refer to this guide by Primer Magazine).
5. The devil is in the details. Most in-between shirts should feature casual details like pockets, standard plackets, and button cuffs. These rules can be broken, but it’s usually the safest way to go. Avoid dressier details like french cuffs or contrast collars (actually, just avoid those collars in general).
6. Beyond the Button-Up. Popovers and polos can add a bit of variety to an in-between shirt wardrobe. Keep in mind, though, that these should ideally feature long sleeves to increase their formality (short sleeves are great, but they are less versatile due to their highly casual nature). Also remember that these choices should never be worn with neckwear, unlike the casual shirt.
Looking for some places to find items like these? There are many, but I’ve highlighted some of my favorites below. Feel free to add your favorite in-between shirts in the comments. 
Shirts: Brooks Brothers, Gant, Kamakura, Proper Cloth, Luxire, Land’s End
Polos and Popovers: Uniqlo, J. Crew, Gestalt Clothing, Proper Cloth

The In-Between Wardrobe, Part I: The Shirt

The “In-Between Wardrobe” is a series of articles aimed at helping men find items that will play a versatile role in their closet. It is written with the idea that most men don’t wear extremely formal or casual clothing on a regular basis; they usually need items that are somewhere in the middle. See all articles in the series here.

The in-between shirt is not necessarily hard to find, but many guys tend to get lost along the way. Perhaps it is because every shirt with a collar and buttons is referred to as a “dress shirt” these days; to understand what we’re looking for in an in-between shirt, it’s important to understand that not all collared shirts are dress shirts. The in-between shirt should be at home with denim and chinos or with a sportcoat; some should be able to be worn with a tie, and all of them should look at home in a business-casual office. Here are the general parameters for finding an in-between shirt:

Read More