Summer came to a close and you’re wishing you would have made that last trip to the lake. Alas, the time was cut short and the end of the season crept up on your sooner than you hoped.
Fall is here. Well, for some of us. Some of you are heading back to campus and swapping around your schedule so you can have Tuesday and Thursday off. For others, that’s just a fond memory in the rearview mirror. Get ready, man.
You’ve already started to remember your favorite sweaters and beloved boots from the last year. Some, you forgot about; others you purchased at the end of the season for a killer deal, and you’re antsy to break them in. While only one of us is actually taking a semester this season, we’re all still excited about the back to school season. Here’s a quick recap of what’s new:
- Seth is taking inventory of his gin stash and vowing not to repeat the mistake he made last year: not buying summer clothes on sale at the end of the season. Priorities, bro.
- Cam is conspiring to eBay snipe some luxe Ralph Lauren sweaters, rationing his beer and pizza stash on an espresso-slinger’s budget, and juggling his senior year plans because, “What the hell am I supposed to do now that I’m graduating this year?” Good luck, man.
- I’m kicking myself right now for not selling more clothing, because my new closet is the size of a bookshelf in my new apartment…in a new city. Yeah, I hopped in a big, ugly Penske truck a month ago and trekked to the East Coast. Betrayal, indeed. More to come on that.
We rounded up a few things we either own that are new favorites or things that are sitting in our shopping. Take a peek and give us your thoughts.
- Corter Bottlehook in copper: If you’re like me you’ve been using a carabiner to carry your keys around ever since you can remember. Or ever since you’ve had keys. Whichever, the point is that it’s officially the future. Step up your game with this little guy from Corter. Rustic, functional, and even more rustic. Plus, the most awkward thing on all of our key rings is a bottle opener, right? So why not just make the bottle opener the main apparatus. Do you follow? Be better than the carabiner.
- Baldwin Camo Ryan Trousers: How do you blend in and stand out at the same time? Camouflage. The fit and details on these are perfect: a trim, straight leg, a perfectly scaled print, made in the States. Plus nobody will be able to see the degree of pastiness your legs progressed to this summer because you had an inside job and couldn’t sit at the pool all day every day like you have the past, oh, 20 summers of you life.
- Filson Zip Tote: Get this tote, grab some Otter Wax, and set this thing up for all-weather badassery. It has a zipper so rain, snow, and your girlfriends hands can’t get inside (to steal your money). Plus all the street style photographers will get that great bag handle/leather gloves/watch/wrist accessories shot that they all kill for. We all love those.
- Black Thorogood 6″ Moc-Toe Boot: Real talk, this is the best bang for your buck in the boot department. Thorogoods are made in the USA, have a perfect silhouette and don’t break the bank ($130–160 depending on your website of choice). These come in a few other color ways, but I’m most attracted to black.
- Trident barspoon: I’m smitten with this combination. Use one end for stirring, the other for spearing olives and cherries out of the jar for your boozy concoctions.
- Hoof-pick belt: The hoof-pick belt we’ve been going crazy for? (Cam’s got one, and we featured Blake’s last year.) Well here it is for $37.95 from an actual equine-outfitter store. Better than its more-than-reasonable price? Made in the U.S., baby.
- Shorts: End of summer. In other words, the best time to get deals on cut-offs for next year’s dog days. Like these linen boys for $40 at J.Crew.
- Blazer: I need some Fair Isle in my life this year. Like this badass blazer from Lands’ End Canvas.
- Beer bike: I like bikes. I like beer. I like carrying beer on bikes without crashing and burning like last year.
- Stubbs & Wootten Earl Crest embroidered slippers: I’m not tired of thrifting loafers and slippers in every shade of brown, black and burgundy with various tassels, weaves and fringe details from dead men in Kansas City. But I am tired of not finding brightly colored, velvet smoking slippers. Probably because if you had a pair, you were probably buried in them. Made in Italy, obnoxious and I’ll just say it’s my family crest on the top if you ask.
- Alexander McQueen skull print silk scarf: I’m typically touch and go with scarves. Ain’t so with this bad boy. It’s gorgeous, McQueen and was given to me as a gift from a former coworker. I throw it on with a T-shirt, jean jacket, well-worn denim and sneakers. The color is a little off, yet it goes with blue denim rather nicely.
- Moncler camouflage hooded down vest: I want to tell you not to even ask about this, beceause I thought I’d be wearing this nearly everyday this fall with a jean jacket or a blazer. Yet, it’s sitting in my closet wit the tags still on it. I’m debating whether or not I’m keeping this. It’s about as much as my rent, yet I paid a fraction of the cost because I snagged at the right time during a sale. Judgement is welcome. Please forward it to my spam address.
We’re excited to announce that we’re hosting a little shindig for Jack Spade’s Barbour capsule collection at the Oak Street store in Chicago this Thursday.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of both companies. We’ve featured them on The Midwestyle
before (below, you’ll see the Barbour Jeff was lucky enough to score at a shop in London, and we posted a roundup of Jack Spade totes
we were hungry for last year.)
On Jeff: Waxed “Bedale” jacket by Barbour, bought in London. Photo by Grant Heinlein.
The Jack Spade + Barbour collection.
The Jack Spade team visited Barbour’s headquarters on the English coast of the North Sea and thumbed through the archives to inspire this new collaboration, which includes two incredible jackets, a tote, a duffle, a briefcase, and a pocket messenger.
Word has it that the Hopper design is inspired by a British Marine Captain who sent in his beat-up Bedale jacket to have it reinforced with cordura nylon to put up with his hardy wearing. And being the anglophile that I am, I’m geeking out over these updated designs from the one of the select companies that outfits the Royal Family.
Jack Spade shares my obsession with goods that are just as sharp as they are usable. If a jacket is tricked out but doesn’t keep you warm and dry, what’s the point? On the other side of the coin, there’s no reason that function shouldn’t have beautiful form. This collection took forethought and creative thinking, and now that it’s finally here, it makes all the sense in the world. (In this gear, I can imagine hunting pheasants in dewy Missouri fields just as well as trudging across soggy British moors.)
So! Come by and have a drink with us. It’ll be an informal affair—and opportunity to connect over damn fine products from two damn fine companies.
6–8 p.m. // Thursday, Sept. 13
See you there!
This summer, an itinerant photographer from Birmingham, AL, found himself in Chicago. His name was Rob Culpepper
, and like good photographers do, he started documenting whatever struck his curiosity in the cityscape. His talent and and thoughtful eye were immediately apparent, and we quickly folded him into our ragtag band of Logan Square rabble-rousers. It goes without saying that we were sad to see him head South at summer’s end like a migrating bird. But before he left, he set up a series of meaningful portrait sessions with those of us who stayed behind.
For now, we’ll let these pictures speak for themselves. But Seth will chime in with more on Rob and his story next week.
One of my finds over in Europe this past year was this “Little People
” shirt by Folk
at their Brick Lane store in London. You know the drill: When you travel and love the city, the people and the beat of the drum, you want to bring back something that reminds you of your time in that place. (Cue collective “awww.”) I really dig Folk
‘s aesthetic in that they make simple clothing with playfully quirky details, like two little tribal people holding hands in random placement.
On Jeff: ”Little People” overshirt by Folk; short-sleeve chambray button-down chambray by Apolis; cargo trousers by Levi’s; watch by Timex; chunky wingtips by Walk-Over Shoes.
Hey, you. Yeah, you.
We’re betting you’ve heard the name by now. But if you haven’t, Indochino is an online company that makes custom suits based on your personal measurements. The result is a garment that fits like a glove. The process works pretty smoothly, but purists have scoffed about the fact that you don’t go in for measurements or fittings. We get that—if you measure incorrectly, alterations (or worse) can be a pain in the ass.
It turns out that Indochino gets this, too. So, they’re coming to town to take all the guesswork out of the equation. If you’ve held off because of unfamiliarity with how to measure, or just plain apprehension, this is your chance to get a closer look.
Here’s how this will work: The Indochino team is setting up shop in Union Station’s Great Hall from August 14 to 20. There, they’ll take your measurements and walk you through a suite of customizations from lapels to lining to monograms.
The Vital Info:
When: Tuesday, August 14 to Monday, August 20. (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
But now, we’d like to hear what your experience is like—and you’ve got the chance to show us.
- You’ve obviously gotta be able to get yourself to Chicago sometime between August 14 and 20.
- Tell us why you need this suit and how you’re going to put it to good use. Do this by tweeting your answer to us @themidwestyle with the hashtags #SuitUpCHI and #MWSgiveaway (so we can get a bird’s-eye view of the entries.) It’s important that we can get a hold of you so we can set you up with an appointment.
- One entry per person. We’ll pick a random winner and get you outfitted.
- Contest ends on Sunday (August 12) at 11:59 p.m.
Few pieces in a man’s arsenal are more divisive than white denim.
There are two sides of the fence—and few people are actually on the fence itself. Dudes either love white denim, or they hate it. I fall on the former side, obviously. That said, I’ve had conversations with guys who tend to stay away from the white for fear of a painful amount of upkeep. But, perhaps there’s a mental shift that needs to be had. Listen…
You guys remember when you got your new kicks at the beginning of the school year, right? As boys, we all feared that if those snow-white Converse All-Stars got a speck of playground dust on or around their perfectly pure uppers, that cute girl who sat at the desk next to you would not shoot you a second glance and all of third grade would be an ultimate failure. But, if you remember correctly, you ended up wearing those pristine kicks to a muddy kickball game a few weeks later and still managed to get playground-married to Elizabeth during recess.
Point being: White stuff was never really meant to stay white.
I tend to treat white denim as a kind of blank canvas that’s supposed to be painted. The more specks they get, the better. In fact, I want them to be pretty disgusting when it’s all said and done. Am I going to try to remove stains? No. Am I even going to try to prevent them in the first place? Probably not. The dingier they get, the more character they’ve got. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going rub myself down with sod or intentionally dump a cup of coffee on them. But life happens.
Yes, if they start to smell bad, I’ll wash them, relax.
Yes, you can wear them after Labor Day. The guy who said you couldn’t was a Communist, and he didn’t even own anything white.
Also, Indys in the summertime is okay, too. Maybe I should be wearing Vans or Tretorns, but I can’t take these things off.
On Cameron: “The Paulie” chambray shirt by Baldwin Denim; tri-blend tank top by American Apparel; double O-ring belt by Narragansett Leathers; “The Henley” in white by Baldwin Denim; Indy boots by Alden; “Preston” eyeglasses by Warby Parker; submariner watch by Military Watch Co.