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Prepping the Barbour for Fall

October 2nd, 2011

With Fall here and pheasant season quickly approaching I recently brought my Barbour to the store to be patched waxed and trimmed.

The whole process took about 3 weeks.  In all I had my jacket waxed, some holes and tears patched and the cuffs and hem trimmed with leather (they were beginning to fray).  I am very happy with the results.  The jacket looked like new from the waxing.  Patches were very neat and well done.  One of my only disappointments was with the leather trim sewn on the cuffs and hem.  While the functionality and durability of the leather is there (I will never worry about wear of those areas again) the sewing job was not perfect and from Barbour I expect nothing less.  That said, I am very pleased with my decision to have the leather trim installed.

In the future I will not have Barbour wax my jacket and instead will do it myself.  It was $30 for a waxing and doing it myself might cost me $8.  The patching is so well done though that I will always send my jacket in to Barbour for repairs.  They truly did a beautiful job. They list every patch to be a certain price but did mine for less because of the nature of the patches.  In all the repairs modifications and waxing cost around $120.  Much of that was for the the trim, which is a one time thing.  In the future I will only rely on Barbour for patching.

If your jacket needs similar work I would highly recommend going to a store and having a Barbour employee work with you to get what you need done.  If you have the time and don’t like spending money unnecessarily like me, learn how to wax your own jacket.





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Losing the socks as the heat returns

April 14th, 2011

Spring is here and as the temperature continues to rise many will get the urge to break out the Top-Siders or loafers and go sockless to celebrate the return of the sun.  This is all well and good and a valued observance in preparation for the summer but the consequence can be shoes and feet that will peel paint.

So how do we enjoy the weather without repelling those around us?  Here are a few simple things you can do to:

First, wash your feet.  When your in the shower give your feet a good scrub.  This will help keep the bacteria that causes foot odor to a minimum.  Additionally you can rub a little hand sanitizer on your feet to help kill off the stink causing bacteria.

Second, use an antibacterial foot/shoe spray.  Use this on your shoes.  When you take them off at the end of the day give them a good spray and let them sit.  When morning comes and its time to put them back on they will be fresh and ready.

Third, cedar shoe trees.  After giving your shoes a spray insert cedar she trees into your shoes.  The wood will help absorb moisture and the cedar oils will help add a nice scent to the shoes.

If you follow these tips smelly feet won’t be a symptom of your summer because success shouldn’t stink.








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Four Things About Your Man-Cave

March 6th, 2011

By: Brian

In recent years, popular culture indicates it has become fashionable for a man to have a personal dwelling around or within his home beyond the usual living room or bedroom.  Thus we have invented a place dedicated solely to the tastes and comforts of an individual.  A private retreat from chores, everyday stresses, and even the demands of our beloved womenfolk.  The man-cave.

The subject of many an Architectural Digest article, the meat and potatoes of numerous DIY episodes, subject of mystery to the fairer sex, there is a set of principals and basic standards for a man-cave that go largely overlooked.

When I think of a genuine man-cave, I think of my Great-Uncle’s den.  A small doorway just past the kitchen, his was a brick walled, dimly lit room that smelled like pipe tobacco and old paper.  Glass cabinets lined the left wall, holding books, pistols, and trinkets acquired from a lifetime of worldliness.  In front of each was a waist-high sturdy wooden workbench with reloading machines and vices; the tools of a firearm aficionado.

There was plenty of seating, aside from his personal recliner, a small fireplace for comfort, and a large window overlooking the back yard.  Next to his chair was a small end-table covered with stacks of old magazines, pens and pencils, and bits of paper with notes on them.

It was a small, cozy room dominated by the things that meant the most to him.  In this era, especially now, where so many of us just want to get away, there are some finer points we can take from Uncle Mike’s man-cave.

First, make sure your man cave is a place where you do something.  Uncle Mike would clean and work on guns, reload spent rounds, and have Sunday evening discussions with my father and uncles, and now, my cousins and myself.  A bright room with flashy colors and decals designed as a shrine to Superman becomes more of a gallery and less of a personal space.  It’s good to walk through with the rare (if interested) house guest, but it offers little in the way of practicality unless there is some sort of activity that you can do there that you couldn’t do anywhere else.

Secondly; while a man-cave is generally a semi-private place, this does not make it an exclusive place.  It is understandable if you prefer not to have children invading your desk, jumping on your couch, or breaking your something-0r-other from that place with the thing, but prohibiting all others from entry makes you look like a bully on a jungle-gym.  Accept that you will have company beyond your buddies at some point: the fact that you have a man-cave at all will deter those who know better than to intrude.

Third–and this is a difficult line to walk–your man-cave should not be filled with piles of useless garbage.  Clutter and other forms of mildly organized chaos will accumulate on their own over time, but baseline cleaning should never go out the window.  If you’re finding half finished projects with no hope of completion or notes that no longer hold any meaning, discard them.  It is certainly your space and you’re welcome to do with it what you will, but remember that you aren’t guaranteed to be the only visitor.

Fourth; your space should make a statement about you and not be you trying to make a statement.  Specialized design and extravagance is acceptable only so long as function and purpose are not exceeded by them.  An astro-turf carpet and hundred dollar mural of a hole on St. Andrews might look pretty snazzy, but when you’re looking for a comfortable place to have a drink and watch whatever game you enjoy, spending unnecessary amounts of money on a manufactured atmosphere can cheapen the joy of  a private haven.

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The Art of the Cigar

December 20th, 2010

By: Brian

While smoking is generally considered an undesirable practice, there are times when the occasional cigar is a merited reward or novelty exclusive to no man: provided he knows how to smoke it.

Any quality cigar lounge will have cases upon cases of cigars of every size and color displayed prominently from within their humidors.  Each box will have two numbers on it.  The first is the diameter of the cigar in 64ths of an inch.  The second number, which indicates the length of the cigar, ranges from 1 to (usually) 9 inches, but as with all things there are exceptions.

Cigars range from a light, almost greenish-brown color to a black.  The outer wrapping leaves determine the overall color and shape, while the interior filler leaves determine the flavor.  A good rule of thumb is that the darker the cigar,  the stronger the flavor, and the more blue the smoke.  Likewise, lighter cigars may have a gentler taste and a more white, billowing smoke.

Typically, the smell of the wrapping on a cigar is roughly the flavor one can expect to have on their lips as they smoke it.

Once a selection has been made, there are two options: use a cigar punch and drive a hole in the bottom of the cigar, or invest in a quality guillotine cutter, and remove the cap. To cut a cigar, look to the cap for where the binding leaves connect with the outer wrapping: there should be a narrow ring of leaf where the wrappings change direction.  Slide your cutter to the point that the blades are resting lightly on the ring, then firmly and smoothly, close the cutter and remove the cap.

From there, the rest is rather simple: inhalation is optional.  Use wooden matches to preserve flavor, and turn the cigar when you light it to ensure an even burn.  Leave about 3/4 of an inch of ash on the ember to act as insulation, when the glue on the label starts to melt, remove the label and discard it appropriately.

There is, however, a certain measure of etiquette that goes into cigar smoking.  If at a party or restaurant, check with the host or hostess that smoking a cigar is permissible, after all the goal is to enjoy yourself and not disrupt someone else.  Do not ash more than is necessary, and try dispose of your butt properly: nobody has any desire to see you walking around with a sodden stump of stogie hanging in your mouth.

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A Brief Message on Business Bags

November 29th, 2010

There is a saying…”Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  While many young professionals fresh out of college know this (understanding the importance of investing in their professional attire) there are still those who some how fail to translate it into what they carry.

This gentleman clearly on his commute to or from work seems well put together but something is out of place…

What is wrong with this picture?

The answer is the juvenile backpack he uses to carry his personals too and from work.  From a purely practical perspective it may seem to make sense, leaving both hands free,  less fatigue if carrying much, etc.  But it will leave his suit wrinkled and from an image perspective it leaves him looking like he is on a field trip, an intern or generally out of his league.

The appropriate next step from the backpack would be to the briefcase or messenger bag.  For those who don’t have to carry anything to0 heavy to the office, i.e., a laptop, a briefcase would be the best option.  Small, practical and professional.

I included messenger bags because there are those that need to travel with a laptop or simply a bit more.  While with a messenger bag you can still wrinkle your suit when wearing it on your shoulder it will be more comfortable with heavier loads and still afford you with a professional demeanor.

*Note Below

For higher end briefcases and messenger bags I like both Bosca and Tumi.  While many young professionals may find these out of their range they could be used as guides of what styles of bags will serve them well in all facets.

*Note:  It is not like me to use pictures of celebrities in my posts but I chose the one above of actor Ryan Reynolds because I felt it was a successful depiction for this topic.


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Stocking Stuffers and Small Gift Ideas

November 26th, 2010

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone the gift giving holidays quickly approach.  Today being black Friday I thought it fitting to offer some suggestions for those of you whom may need some small gifts for your fathers, brothers, sons or friends.

It is my feeling that too often stocking stuffers end up being items that do not find much use or purpose after their after initial duties of filling a sock are complete.

These stocking stuffers are intended to compliment a man’s wardrobe by having value in their style and finding frequent use.

Wardrobe:

-A shoe horn is an important item for any man who wears leather dress shoes.  While many men may already have some type of shoe horn it is often a cheap plastic version.  For these men or men without any type I would suggest a fine shoe horn made from horn or brass.

-A suit brush is another addition to a man’s wardrobe that helps him properly care for his investments.  Used to clean a suit by brushing away dirt it also can be used quite effectively as a replacement for the adhesive lint roller which can leave behind a residue.

-Everyman can use a package of simple white linen pocket squares.  To add a bit of a personalized touch get them monogrammed with their initials.

-An assortment of silk knotted cuff links is a welcome addition to any man’s collection.  Being inexpensive means quite a few can be purchased.

Accessories:

-As I have written before a decent pocket knife is a welcome addition any man’s daily carry.  They can be very simple and find many uses throughout the day.  Some good deals on knives can be found on Ebay.  Case XX knives are quality knives that can be found for reasonable prices with a little searching.  For online retail I suggest Deadwood Knives.

-A great socking stuffer for a cigar smoker would be a leather cigar case.  These come in a range of styles from the number of cigars they hold to the type of leather.  An added advantage is the ability to be monogrammed to add bit of personalized style.  

This list could go on for some length so at the very least it is intended to sparks some inspiration and help you to get the right items for those who will appreciate them.

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How to care for your shaving brush

June 28th, 2010

By: Nick Gibbens

Shaving brushes are experiencing something of a resurgence at the moment. As wet shaving is regaining popularity, many men are rediscovering what a pleasurable experience shaving can be.  Adding to the pleasure of this experience are the quality products available, including the badger shaving brush.

Incorporating a badger brush into your shaving procedure can help you to generate a rich lather, which can raise and relax the hair on your face, improving the quality of the shave. The badger hair is also great for massaging the face and adds to the luxurious nature of wet shaving.

However, when you use a shaving brush it is important to look after it in order to benefit from its fine qualities. There are a wide variety of shaving brushes out there and you can make a choice depending on its firmness, but each kind needs to be maintained well to ensure its longevity.

A badger shaving brush can provide over 10 years of service, if it is used and cared for correctly. When using the brush is important not to allow the brush hairs to splay through excessive force. The brush should also be cleaned every time following use.

To properly clean your brush, rinse with warm water and shake off excess moisture. This natural product should be kept on a drip stand, with the hairs pointing downwards.

Make sure you pay careful attention to how you handle the brush and you will be able to enjoy all it’s benefits for years.

This article was kindly provided by Nick Gibbens from the Shaving Shack, which stocks a great selection of razors, creams and shaving brushes.

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Personal stationary on the cheap

June 24th, 2010

In today’s environment of Blackberries, iPhones, and Email it has become more and more common for individuals to simply send messages though text or email.  This might be all fine and good for most mundane messages but I adamantly believe that anything that is more formal (aside from business correspondence) or shows appreciation should be hand written and on good paper.  Often times this means it must also be expensive,  this is not always the case.

I enjoy the benefits of personalized stationary without the obscene costs of printing that would be charged by a firm such as Crane.  The answer is very simple and I would assume that many of you are already thinking it.  You simply purchase some quality paper (Crane offers packages of 40 sheets and 20 envelopes for under $20) and create your own layout on your computer.

This ultimately offers you more freedom in your stationary than would be afforded by a stationary company.  You can select any font you want and become quite creative in your layout.  Depending on your field of work or the nature of the note or the recipient this offers you the opportunity to finely craft your stationary to have the most impact.  I have a few basic versions saved on my computer and when it comes time to write a letter I slide the paper guide on the printer to to correct position and print out what I need.

Note: Good paper will most likely have a watermark.  I prefer to have mine in the correct position to be read if the recipient were to hold the paper to the light while reading.  In order to have your paper print correctly it is important to understand how your printer feeds and to insert your stock accordingly.


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A quick education on shirts

February 25th, 2010


Some great tips to identify quality and proper fit in shirts.
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A good press at home

February 18th, 2010

Every morning as I go through my routine eventually it comes time to get dressed and this almost always requires me to iron at least one item.  For years I simply used a cheap iron that I had purchased and seemed to do the job just fine.  My only complaints were that it took a while to heat, didn’t hold much water, and that it had only basic shutoff features, in case it was left on.  Eventually this iron stopped working and it was time to purchase a new one.

Having visited friends recently and borrowed their quality iron I had been inspired to trade up as theirs was head and shoulders above mine.  It may seem to many (it did to me) that an iron is an iron and they all produce the same result.  This, as I would learn, is not the case.

Iron

High-end irons are no more equals to low-end irons as Lamborghinis are equals to Toyotas.  Yes both may perform the same basic function i.e. get you from one place to another or flatten out wrinkles, but the experience and the time it takes to perform these basic function is very different.

My new iron, which admittedly cost about three times as much as my old one, is packed with touches that make it perform better contributing to the superior experience. These include:

–       High number of steam holes

–       Large capacity water tank

–       Quick heat time

–       Vertical Steam

–       Tapered point

With my new iron in hand no wrinkle or crease stands a chance in slowing my morning routine.  The quality iron not only produces results faster but it also produces a better result.  For me there was no downside to this investment.

For some reviews on irons Click Here.

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