Xmas Gift Guide: The Cordial Churchman

December 16, 2010

Today, we embark on our too-late non-denominational holiday (Christmas) gift guide.  I will present you with a few gift options at multiple price-points.  Some may chose view this as a cheap way for me to generate multiple posts in a short time-frame or a transparent attempt to tell loved ones what to buy me.  You know what I call those people?  My wife.  Anyway…

Wool Glen Plaid Bow-tie $26

If you know a man who wears bow-ties, this is a fantastic gift at an absurdly low price.  You will not find any piece of clothing, hand-made in America at a better price.  According to their website, orders must be placed TODAY to be received by Christmas.

On Sale Now: American Apparel

November 18, 2010

American Apparel has always posed a slight moral quandary for me.  On one hand, the company prides itself for manufacturing all of its clothes in the USA.  Believe it or not, AA is actually the country’s largest clothing manufacturer.  On the other hand you have Dov Charney.  I would prefer to buy affordable clothing, made by fairly compensated workers, but few CEOs are as synonymous with their companies, as Dov, and haven’t exactly been itching to give that guy my money

That’s where Groupon comes into play.  Right now, Groupon is selling $50 American Apparel gift certificates for $25.  If you’re the rationalizing type (and aren’t we all), you can tell yourself that AA has already sold these gift certificates, and that you’re actually giving your money to the people at Groupon.

Pinpoint OCBD $58 (29 real dollars)

I’m not a big proponent of S/M/L/XL sizing for dress shirts, but whatever.  I’d probably pick up a flannel or hoodie.

Buy Groupon here.  Sale ends Sunday, November 21st.

On Sale Now: LE Canvas

October 28, 2010

Right now, all Lands’ End Canvas sale items are an additional 20% off meaning, you can pick up a pair of these:

Allen Edmonds MacNeil $208 reduced from $325

That’s an American made, Goodyear welted, full-grain calf shoe, for two bills. 

Promo code: CANVASPLUS20  PIN :2050

Fake it or Make it: Bridge Coat

October 11, 2010

Everyone knows that the world’s armed forces are the source of some of the most classic menswear looks.  For cold-weather wear, the navy reigns supreme with its watch caps, submariner sweaters and ubiquitous pea coats.  Often neglected is the pea coat’s big brother, the bridge coat.

Traditionally worn by officers, the bridge  coat is considered more formal than the pea coat.  It is essentially longer pea coat, usually with gold buttons and epaulets.  If the gold buttons are a bit much for you, your tailor can swap them out for something more subtle for a few bucks.

Fake It:



Fidelity Naval Bridge Coat $159.95



Fake it is sort of a misnomer in this case.  I don’t know if these are still being issued to Naval officers, but this one is the real deal.  It has a slim fit, and is made in the USA.


Make It:



Barbour Bridge Coat $475



I’ve previously expressed my love for Barbour’s products.  Their outerwear is actually made for the outdoors.  This isn’t a designer coat.  It’s also three times as expensive.


The Verdict:

You can’t really go wrong wither way, but the lack of epaulets makes the Barbour the most versatile option.

WSJ on the Heritage Revival

September 27, 2010

While skinny ties and pointy shoes come in and out of style, the nostalgia-driven look isn’t showing any signs of flagging. There’s comfort to be found in the familiar. “During uneasy times, consumers are naturally drawn to items that are well-constructed and built to last,” said Carl Chiara, director of brand concepts for Levi’s. An abundance of clothing made in China and India and the United Arab Emirates has paved the way for a new fascination with clothes that are created in American factories. And everyone was bound to get a bit tired of that effete, tailored Italian designer “uniform” that the Pradas of the world have been pushing on men for the past decade.


F Rock Bags

May 16, 2010

Every weekend in the summer, Boston’s South End plays host to an amazing open air market with stalls from local farmers and artisans.  Yesterday was opening day of the new season, so I decided to head down and take in the sights.  As expected the local bread/soap/cheese makers were out in full force, as was America’s best vintage menswear store.  Conspicuously absent (or at least well hidden), however, was F Rock Bags.  Maybe they were missing because they’re spreading their wings.  I did notice that Bonobos is selling some F Rock bags alongside their Jack Spade offerings.

I discovered F Rock last summer, and was amazed.  All of the bags are hand-made in the US, using reclaimed menswear textiles and leather from factory scraps.  100% original.  100% sustainable.  With mens fashion’s current bag obsession, F Rock should be poised to blow up.

Franklin Bag $250

Brattle Bag $235

There are two more models available from their website.  All models allow for customization of leather, fabric and hardware.  If you’re in the market, F Rock is a good way to differentiate yourself from the horde of Filson bags and man-purses on the train.

Fake it or Make it: Madras Tie

May 12, 2010


LE Canvas' Cotton Madras Tie $39.50

For those of you who don’t know, Canvas is Lands’ End’s (the apostrophe after the “s” in “lands” is their typographical error, not mine) new modern line.  It, along with LL Bean’s Signature line, is meant to compete with the likes of J Crew.  The looks are not exactly what one would consider fashion forward.  Expect modern takes on classic looks.  Cuts are slimmer and rises are lower than those in the main line, but not quite in Uniqlo territory.


Pierrepont Hicks' Skinny Dipper $82

Seeing this tie on Kempt this morning inspired this post.  Both ties are cotton madras.  Both are hand-made in the USA.  The quality between the two is probably damn close   That said, I’d probably recommend the Pierrepont Hicks. 

Yes, it costs over twice as much, but the price isn’t that high for a “make it”.  It’s somewhat expensive, but not aspirational.  The color pops more than the Canvas tie, but the deciding factor is width.  The Canvas tie is a very of-the-moment 2.75 inches wide, whereas the Pierrepont Hicks measures out to 3 inches.  Make no mistake, both ties are skinnier than the norm, but the extra quarter inch on the Pierrepont Hicks means that it will be wearable after the trend dies.

Full disclosure:  I’m currently wearing the Canvas tie.


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