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Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

Prepping the Barbour for Fall

Sunday, 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

Thursday, 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

Sunday, 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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How to care for your shaving brush

Monday, 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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A good press at home

Thursday, 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.


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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Fortify your defences

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Most readers of Classic Timeless most likely know that I view a man’s wardrobe as an investment in himself.  Just as a man must protect himself he must protect the investments that support him.  All too often items in wardrobes are found with holes, off smells, dust, etc.  These outcomes, while usually only occurring during poorly conceived offseason storage, should also be considered a threat when clothes are in use and stored in a closet.closet

It isn’t necessarily hard to prevent any of these from happening if you just take some simple precautions.

Insects: For most, moths will be the worst of your worries when it comes to protecting your clothes.  They will eat the all too familiar holes out of wool and generally will feed on any natural fibers with animal origins.  Aside from the various types of wool this includes hair/fur and silks.  In order to prevent an attack first keep the area where you store your clothing clean.  Vacuuming regularly will help remove larvae and eggs that may be present and what is collected should be bagged and removed from your home immediately .  You should also incorporate deterrents such as mothballs, cedar, or herbal repellents.  I prefer to use cedar because I find it easy to incorporate into my closet, in hangers for example, and because I find its smell pleasant.  When storing clothes for the offseason, do so in airtight containers and with the addition of a little bit of a repellent.  Keep in mind that insects are attracted to food stains and may target these areas if so have everything cleaned before storage.

Moisture: Depending on where you live you may find that you are dealing with either extreme humidity or dryness.  In a humid climate I recommend purchasing a closet dehumidifier.  Here is a link with reviews of a number of different types of dehumidifiers.

By controlling humidity level you will also prevent the growth of molds and other sources of off odors that can occur in such a musty environment.  Leather is also very susceptible to high levels of moisture and will benefit from a dehumidifier.

For very dry environments make sure that leathers are properly cleaned and conditioned on a regular basis (see: Maintaining your shoes) .  This will prevent these items from drying and cracking.

Further precautions you can take are to store suits, which are not on a constant rotation, in suit bags as well as keep shoes in felt bags.  This has the double effect of keeping them clean of dust and helping to keep them bug free.

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Suede shoes for Fall

Friday, September 25th, 2009

OK not just for Fall but I especially like suede when the temperature begins to dip.  Whether it be a Desert or “Chukka” boot  or a suede wing tip don’t be intimidated by the texture.Clarks Desert Boots Although you can get suede shoes in wide variety of colors they mostly come in shades of brown.  A brown suede shoe is just that, a brown shoe and can be worn with anything that you would wear a brown shoe with.  Suede is more casual by nature than polished leather and should not be paired with the most formal attire.  suede shoes with suit

Many believe that suede will be ruined forever if it even sees a raincloud.  This is a myth.  While you shouldn’t wear suede in a downpour, it wont destroy them if you were to get caught in a shower.  If they do get wet treat them as you would treat your other leather shoes had they gotten wet.

A vital piece of your shoe care tool box should be a suede brush and eraser bar.  Once the shoes dry the brush and eraser bar can be used to remove any spots that may have been caused by water.

If your suede shoes have discoloration that the brush and eraser cannot fix, take it to the cobbler for a professional cleaning.

Investing in a pair of suede shoes will help add character and depth to your wardrobe.

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The Pocket Square

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The pocket square is an item that I feel some men have trouble getting into as they reach the age where they begin to dress more formally.  Reasons for this could be anything from the wearer thinks them to be flamboyant, to they simply don’t know how to fold them.  As for as pocket squares being only for the flamboyant, nothing could be further from the truth.  A pocket square can be as understated and conservative or as loud and exuberant as the wearer wants them to be.

When trying to decide what color pocket square to use remember that you cannot go wrong with white.  A simple white will add another piece to your over all style without taking any risks on putting patterns or colors together.  PocketSquareBy simply folding his white pocket square, creating an thin crisp line above his pocket, this gentleman succeeds in adding interest appropriate for even the most conservative and formal event.

Colors and patterns can also be used with great effect but fight the temptation to buy prefolded or matching  tie and pocket square sets.  These may seem to be ideal but they create a boring look and are best left to the novice dresser.

Choosing a pocket square that you like with your ensemble can be difficult partly because there are no real rules.  Some men will coordinate colors with their tie or shirt but contrast patterns while others will do the opposite.  Some may pull out a minor color in their shirt or tie with a pocket square, while still others may pair it with their socks or cuff links.  Just put some thought behind it experiment a little if you need to.  Before long you will fall into a combination that is all your own.  pocket-square-10This gentleman succeeds in creating an memorable style by contrasting patterns and some color in his shirt, tie and pocket square.  He allows this combination to really stand out, without looking over done, by pairing it with a subdued cream jacket.

Materials can be anything from silk to linen to cotton but its not for wiping your nose.  That is what the handkerchief is for and you keep that in another pocket.

For some basic pattern and color mixing guidelines see Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Here is a great resource for folding pocket squares from Sam Hober.

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Maintaining your Suit

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Suits are one the biggest investments in a man’s wardrobe.  This is especially true for those of us who go the extra mile and have them tailored for us.  There is some discussion about dry cleaning and what kind of damage this can do to the material.  I feel that it is best to avoid any possible damage by simply avoiding the dry cleaners as much as possible (in most cases it is the ironing rather than the cleaning that can damage your suit). Your suits are something that, when worn, rarely come in contact with your bare skin and should not need much cleaning.  All you should need to keep your suits looking nice and weathering time, apart from individual stains, is steam and a brush.

Investing in a small home steamer or iron that can also provide steady jets of steam is a great addition to any mans closet.  This is an item that can be used on many items of clothing that only need slight wrinkle relief.  Many times a jet of steam is more than enough to remove the creases that accumulate from a days wear and it also will help eliminate any faint odors that also may have settled in.  If steam alone is not enough and you feel that you need iron parts of you suit then lay it out carefully and put a damp piece of cloth, preferably an old white undershirt cut to be lain out flat and in one layer, between your suit and the iron.  This will allow flat pressure from the iron and a moist heat to penetrate the cloth without it touching the exceedingly hot face which can cause the suit to get shinny spots.  Your suit can also be steamed in the bathroom while you take a hot shower.

In addition to steaming you also need to brush your suits with a garment brush.  This will aide in removing any dirt that may have adhered to the fabric during the day.  Special care should be given to areas that may accumulate more, such as the cuffs of the trousers and sleeves.  Kent BrushThose who have become regular readers of my posts may have seen a trend in the products I recommend.  These products often have royal warrants endorsing their quality.  The same is true with the brush maker that I recommend for your clothes brush. Kent is a very old brush company that makes high quality brushes for almost every use, which I will get to in another post.  Their brushes may be more that you would expect to pay for a clothes brush but as so many things in your closet it should be though of as an investment that will last  you a lifetime.  This said a brush of lower quality will still do the job, but it may not do it as well.  Also avoid lint rollers on your suits.   These can leave adhesive residue that can damage the fibers.

Finally when you hang your suit it should only be done with a broad coat hanger that fills out the shoulders.  I recommend that this hanger be made of ceder to both absorb moisture and repel insects that may eat the material.  For trousers a clamp type hanger is ideal because it clamps onto the hem of the trousers allowing them to hang naturally, pulling wrinkles out, under their own weight. hanger Top of the line hanger be found though the Hanger Project. These hangers fill their function well but not without a price. It is not necessary to go out and get hangers such as these though.  The most important thing is that they fill out your shoulders and hold properly.

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Maintaining your shoes

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

You’ve spent a lot on your fine leather shoes and if you want them to last for a very long time you need to take care of them.  Here are some guidelines to follow to help get the most out of your footwear.

  • Let them “Rest”. Giving your shoes a day or two between wearing will allow the moisture from your feet to dry out of them naturally.
  • Use cedar  shoe trees. Cedar shoe trees will maintain your shoe’s shape and help avoid creases.  The cedar will absorb moisture and add a fresh cedar aroma to your shoes.
  • Store in shoe bags. Shoe bags will keep your shoes from accumulating dirt and dust while not being worn.
  • Shine your shoes at least once a month. By shining with a cream at least once a month you will maintain the leather’s supple texture and keep it from drying out and cracking.  Here is a great video with some shining tips How to polish shoes.

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