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Woodland: Barbour & burrs

I love outwear pieces. They are some of my favorite to own, collect and swap. It’s what you’re throwing on over your cardigan, bundling up in when winter hits and anxiously waiting to wrap around your shoulders before you dash into the freshly fallen snow. It’s also what most people see in when you bump into one another on the street all decked out to not freeze your ass off. So it doesn’t hurt to own a few different options:
  • If it’s below 20, I’m wearing my down puffy coat and everything that traps heat.
  • If it’s around the 30s, I’m wearing my Barbour Bedale + Patagonia down sweater combo. 
  • It it’s around 40s, I’m wearing my Barbour Liddesdale + blazer. 
  • If it’s around 50s, I’m wearing a tank top.
It’s a wise choice to invest in a nice coat (or two) (or five). I’ve thrifted a handful that I’m pretty stoked about. But you also have to remain open to throwing down the dough for a couple of lifelong pieces. It’s outwear. You wear it a lot. That’s okay. And it’s better than freezing in a thin piece of cotton veiled as a jacket. I’m looking at you, Nathan.


When I was interviewing Jobs in Chicago in March 2011, I thought: “I don’t need a coat.” Seth watched, cackling, as I got off the El and made a fast break for the Patagonia* store to buy a red down sweater jacket. This has been such a staple in layering, traveling and everyday use. It’s windproof, lightweight, packable, and it regulates your body temp so you’re not boiling. When I trekked to Europe a few weeks ago, I knew I was taking this get-up: Patagonia down sweater and my Barbour. Both can be folded up into a tote and stowed upon entering a building, and when used together, they’re an unstoppable combination for winter. 

I also dig these new trousers I picked up from Barney’s this winter by Gant Rugger. Great slim fit, medium rise and trouser pockets. I’m a sucker for those. Also, they are hella long for these lanky legs of mine.

On Jeff: Waxed “Bedale” coat with copper wire hood attachment by Barbour; red down sweater by Patagonia; thrifted red plaid shirt; slim fit grey trousers by Gant Rugger; trusty brown suede “8878″ boots by Red Wing; black framed eyeglasses by Gant Rugger; burgundy beanie from Target; natural leather belt from Urban Outfitters.

*One of my favorite outdoor performance gear brands is Patagonia. As a certified one-time YoungLifer, I’m an expert in outdoor performance gear and have a collection that would make you think I’m outdoorsy. However, dear readers, it’s merely a facade. I like the idea of camping, pooping in the woods and not showering than the actual act of camping, but I’ve got a sufficient amount of equipment that would permit an impromptu weekend getaway. Plus, it’s not like I need to go camping to avoid  maintaining general hygiene practices.

OBSESSION: The FJ40

I am not, by any means, an autophile. I don’t have subscriptions to Car and Driver or Motor Trend. I drive a Dodge Stratus (that’s not just a quote, it’s what I actually drive). As the youngest in my family, I grew up driving a ’97 Chrysler Plymouth minivan, relegated to me after my mother’s years of to-ing and fro-ing with her three kids had at last come to a close. When that finally (finally!) breathed its last breath, we went out and splurged on a… Ford Windstar. That’s also a minivan, for those who don’t know. I understand that I was incredibly blessed to even have a car, don’t get me wrong, I’m just saying that what I was driving was never really a high priority. So, when people always asked me what car I wanted to drive when I reached full-fledged adulthood and got a real job, I never had an answer. I did, rather. It was, “I don’t really care.” For the last 18-20 years of my life, I have lived in apathy toward the automobile industry, waiting for a make and model that would, you know, really spark my interest or something.

My obsession with FJ40′s stemmed from a broad interest in land cruisers and early model SUV’s in general. That began during the season three finale of Lost. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it. But, at one point, Jack Shepherd is shown driving an International Harvester Scout, one of the few founding fathers of the civilian-minded, off-road, sport utility vehicle industry. For maybe the first time I thought, “Damn, it would be really awesome to drive that.” From there, sixties and seventies off-road cruisers have been like a weird drug to me. The aesthetic king of this niche though, in my opinion, is the Toyota FJ40.
This particular vehicle is a build by ICON, a Los Angeles based company who specializes in pairing the high performance with classic aesthetics. You can read more about ICON on their website, or check out Michael’s recent trip to their showroom. You can lust after this 2006 build here.

At least now I definitely have an answer to the old question, “What do you want to drive when you grow up?” Also, one of my roommates, on top of being a great dude, is an incredibly talented mechanic who is quick to help out his friends with their automotive needs. So, when I started gushing to him about buying up an old model cruiser and doing a restoration, he made the ordeal sound like an all-too-achievable possibility. After working as a mechanic under his dad for years and then as he branched out from there, he assured me he has the skills and the contacts to keep the price at a minimum. The thought makes my heart pound. Look out for that… in a few years. A man can dream, right?

#eyecandy

Woodland: Part 2

Over the holidays, we got a chance to catch up with Grant and spin the camera around on him.
Here’s what we dig and appreciate about Grant’s style: nothing flashy, neutral colors and quality digs.



He’s got a sense of style with a classic look with workwear influences. You can still look sharp and put together without drawing excessive attention to yourself with clashing patterns, mixing prints or some obnoxious accessory that screams loudly for attention.

This is coming from me…I know, I know. I’m preaching to myself considering my outfits usually include one of the things listed above, but there are days that I just want to blend in the crowd and fly under the radar. But what’s under the radar is quality shit that’s a long time. You know, cry once. Save your pennies and consider investing in a tough Barbour jacket, sturdy leather boots and some nice pants you won’t regret for the sake of a trend. Give thought to the substantial.

On Grant: Quilted brown moleskin jacket by Barbour; the “Reed” duck canvas pant by Baldwin Denim; brown leather Iron Ranger boots by Red Wing; camp socks by J.Crew.

Photography by Jeffrey Kieslich.

HOLIDAY: The Quiet World

This has nothing to do with the Midwest. Or with style, for that matter—except that it takes a certain amount of it to write and love like this. But there’s no better time to be irrational than on the day devoted to love, and this is my favorite poem about the subject of all time. So we’re going for it.
The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel

Oh, and @calebdann won the bow tie giveaway from Annaruna last week. Don’t worry if you missed out this time; there’s always next. Happy Valentines Day.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: 14 under $40

We asked our favorite ladies what they wanted for Valentine’s Day. 

We trust ‘em, they’ve got great taste and so kindly responded to our desperate tweets.
These ladies are intelligent, talented, quirky, strong-willed, go-getters and all-around-badass women.

The trick to good gift giving is all about picking up on cues. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to keep a running list of gift ideas when you hear her mention something that catches her eye. If your lady’s is like our ladies, these suggestions might help you save that day next week with a last-minute gift.

Ladies, thanks a million. Y’all are amazing.
Gentlemen, good luck.