Antique Wrist Watches Meet Gross Grain Straps

I think that the wristwatch needs a revival; I remember during an interview where Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, was asked about ‘wearables’ he said something to the capacity of ‘if you were to ask the audience what time it is, the vast majority of them will pull out their phones; future generations are just not wearing watches.’ It is a sad truth that people just rant wearing watches anymore; I think they add both elegance and convince to ones life. I was lucky enough to find a vintage 24k gold Lord Elgin (don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of that brand before either) at an antique shop in upstate NY; the watch was pretty battered, a little rusty, and didn’t keep good time when I found it, they were selling it for something like $50. The next time I was in New York City’s Greenwich Village I found a small hole-in-the-wall clock repair shop; I handed them off the watch, and after a few weeks and another $70 I had a beautifully cleaned, antique gold, wind-up watch that kept perfect time. For the grosgrain (a sort of cloth) watch band check out Smart Turnout – it is the same company that J. Press buys their straps from, but if you buy directly they are cheeper and the selection is a lot better than what J. Press keeps in stock. So, go antiquing or dig up your grandfather to find that perfect watch face and then choose a complementray gross grain strap, I can guarantee complements for bringing back something that cellphones are attempting to kill.

Cornelius Applejack

The first time I came across this stuff it was in Hudson Valley, NY while I was attending Bard College. The local liquor store, ‘Sipperley’s Grog Shop,’ was managed by a husky fellow with an affinity for ripped t-shirts and seemed to always carry with him a foul disposition. One day, however, his mood seemed light as so I asked about the bottle of Cornelius Applejack I saw behind the counter; he said it was distilled in the Hudson Valley by Harvest Spirits, and resembled calvados (a liquor distilled from apples). I took the plunge and purchased a bottle and WOW! I can’t even begin to describe how good it is. The labels claim that each bottle is distilled from over 60lb of apples, I’m inclined to believe it because you can really taste them. Now that I’m living in LA, where I’ve found it very difficult to find anything local or different than the typical run-of-the-mill spirits, I can’t help but have my mind wonder back to the Hudson Valley, the disgruntled liquor store manager, and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

First Official Day of Summer: G&Ts Anyone?

With summer finally here, it is a prime time to brush up on your knowledge of the history of the Gin and Tonics via BBC.co.ok:

Gin and Tonics were -like Gin itself- originally developed as a medicine. In this case to help fight malaria. When the British were in the East they became susceptible to malaria and eventually found out that quinine (an ingredient in Tonic Water) was useful for getting rid of the disease. Well, as you would probably expect, drinking Tonic Water by itself is pretty nasty (unless you’ve acquired a taste for it) and they had problems getting the British in the East to drink it. Along comes our friend Gin to be mixed with the Tonic Water, which not only made drinking it much more pleasant, but also created an excellent drink that would be remembered from then on, even if its relationship to the disease was forgotten. So, as you can see, Gin and Tonic Water came about due to medicinal reasons, then caught on later for thier more pleasurable aspects.On a minor note, the Lime or Lemon (served in any GOOD Gin and Tonic) being a citrus fruit (and therefore containing Vitamin C) helps to prevent scurvy. Usually the limes are not the dominant ingredient of Gin and Tonic, so they won’t actually get rid of scurvy if you’ve already got it – unless you drink A LOT of Gin and Tonics of course.

As my own addition to the history of the best drink on earth, the first ever tonic water was invented by Dr. Schweppes in Sweden. Aside from supporting the outfit that invented the recipe, Schweppes is the best tasting, and I find it to be the only tonic water worth purchasing.

As another note worth mentioning, “G&T” was President George Bush Jr’s nickname in college.

Fjällräven Kanken 15″ Laptop Bags

I love Fjällräven; the company can be credited in many ways to the evolution of the modern book bag and how it distributes weight. The Kanken bags are made from “Vinylon-F” which is a, largely waterproof, synthetic material developed in the 40s. I’ve purchased one of these bags but I’m so far on my second with their stellar warrantee; the first one sat too close to an old gas heater and disintegrated, but Fjällräven was quick to replace it with a brand new bag after I informed them of what happened. I think the traditional look of these coupled with their (relatively decent) durability make them an obvious go-to for everything from school to casual business meetings.

J. Press Emblematic Elephant Bow Tie

J Press Elephant Bow Tie NavyGotta love J. Press’ bow tie selection – I own two of these bow ties (as well as a tie with the same embroidery), and I have to say they are among the most distinctive and unusual I’ve come across. While I will admit that J Press and I have had somewhat of a love/hate relationship since they opened their terrible York St store and decided to go with a different designer after my bid to redesign their site, I will always admit that they have one of the best tie/bow tie collections in America. Check here for the elephant tie

Kitsune’s Understanding of Classic Style

The only fashion books I really read are from the 1950s and the 1980s; most of them remark more on how to combine and maintain items of clothing than how to shop for the latest trends. That is something I truly appreciate. I believe that if you run around purchasing whatever is displayed each season in the Madison Avenue window displays, you will have an outfit for a month; if you carefully find companies and labels that produce timeless components to a well-rounded wardrobe, you will have an outfit for the rest of your life.
It’s hard to find a small, independent, clothing label that is producing classic, timeless style. From American brands, J. Press will always stand tantamount. As far as the global climate goes, Kitsune has proved itself to be a timeless label that uses gorgeous materials and has a true understanding of how to modernize a look without turning that look into a fad.

Essencial Shaving/Toiletry Kit

In the never ending battle to achieve a comfortable enjoyable shave, I have experimented with countless products. I think this combination is the ideal:

Merkur Futur style Safety Razor – This is pretty much the standard in brand, they have various models available but I do like the adjustability of this safety razor. Well made, and will last more than a decade with proper care.

Feather Double Edge Razor Blades – Another standard, but they are a standard for a reason. These things are sharp as any blade you might find and do an amazing job working for you. While the duration of these specific blades is not fantastic (maybe three shaves per blade), that can be rationalized with the low price-point (five to ten cents a blade).

Geo F. Trumper Violet Shaving Cream – Lathers wonderfully. I’ve tried everything from Truefitt & Hill to the Art of Shaving to countless others and Geo F. Trumper produces the best lather, has the most unobtrusive smell, and is very gentle on all skin types.

Geo F. Trumper Coral Skin Food – This stuff is way better than any aftershave imaginable; if you knick yourself, it heals within seconds of application; it feels great, tingly, and nourishing on your skin; you end up smelling like roses (or lime, or sandalwood, depending on which you choose) for a few minutes after your shave, which is a really nice end to the whole experience.

Pure Badger Shaving Brush – Just make sure it’s silver-tipped badger, there are a ton of brands out there with relatively identical products. Pick one that looks nice.

Also pictured are:

Aramis “24 Hour” Deodorant – I’ve used this stuff for about a decade now. I think it’s scent is unobtrusive and it’s results are very effective. I don’t think there is more to look for.

Eau Sauvage By Christian Dior – I’ve used this for nearly a decade too, I have a more complete write-up on it here.

Lüchow’s German Cookbook

I was just able to procure a copy of this little gem on eBay. Easily one of the coolest cookbooks I have ever found. While some of the recipes are going to be hard to pull off (one calls for simmering a cow’s head and pig head for hours to form a broth), others (potato dumplings, veal with paprika sauce, lobster bisque) sound AMAZING and not overly complicated. What adds to the enjoyment behind this book is the notoriety of Lüchow’s itself (formerly an NYC staple with folks like J.P. Morgan, Roosevelt, and H.L. Mencken as regulars).