Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leather Goods: Better With Age

Dear Gentlemen,

I've been pretty busy getting ready for my move to China so sorry for the lack of updates. Spending time with my close ones is really all I want to do with my remaining time in the States, but that doesn't simply mean I can just ignore this blog! Just this morning, I was admiring how much my A.P.C. New Standards had faded even more since my post on Raw Denim. (I'll make another denim evolution post on them in the future). Seeing how they completely change its look and become more aesthetically pleasing over time depending on your lifestyle is something I find pretty cool. As I was about to fold them up and place them in my drawer, I removed my leather belt that has been with the A.P.C.'s since the beginning and noticed how well the leather on it aged over the past two or so years. I actually purchased this thick leather belt in somewhat of a "raw" state as well; it was freshly made of horsehide and stiff as a rock when I first received it. I remember I couldn't even get the buckle to fasten to the middle hole without using a little extra strength to do it. What began as a very inflexible and light brown piece of horsehide slowly evolved into a much softer, and a beautiful golden-brown colored belt that has been through just as much beating as any pair of jeans I own.

I was looking for a relatively thick and sturdy leather belt to use for at least a year or so and had heard of an individual by the forum name "Unlucky" who produced leather pieces by hand. I came upon a thread on (A forum I frequent) titled "Horshide Wallets and Belt's" and clicked it and that's when I first saw some pictures of what amazing leather products this guy was making. I messaged him asking if he could make me a belt that was over 2 inches in width out of the thickest leather he owned. He replied the same day with several options of thickness, a cowhide or horsehide option, as well as four unique buckles that I was allowed to choose from. I told him what I wanted and within a week the belt was ready! He sent pictures of the final product to me before accepting payment and by the following week this is what I received:

DSC01190.jpg thick cowhide picture by unlucky62
DSC01188.jpg 1.75 picture by unlucky62

First Thoughts: WOW. The sturdiness and quality of the product was exactly what I had hoped for. I was a little intimidated with how stiff and ungiving it was at first but after a few weeks of wear it became very manageable. I was considering dropping almost $145 on a similar belt by Sugar Cane but thank God I didn't because this belt cost me only $40! I've been using it for so long and it's characteristics have only gotten more interesting since. Here are some detailed shots:

001-1.jpg picture by kidkorea10
002-1.jpg picture by kidkorea10
Excuse the dust.

The edges are are beginning to rough up a bit to give it a bit of character. It kind of reminds me of how some RRL leather goods look except my belt aged like this over time naturally rather than having these characteristics when you first buy it like some RRL goodies. I don't know what it is about me aging my own denim or leather belt that I enjoy so much, I guess it's the fact that nobody else in the world has exactly the same pair or same belt as I do. It's probably just that feeling of exclusivity that I like so much. Here are some other examples of his work:

1.) Amazing Small Messenger - Black Oil Tan w/ Brand 2.) Leather Wallet w/ Leather Braid
004-3.jpg Black oil tan w/brand picture by unlucky62 016.jpg picture by unlucky62

1.) Awesome leather Belt 2.) Leather Messenger (Not oiled)
001-3.jpg picture by unlucky62 001-8.jpg picture by unlucky62

Closing Words: I just really like having things of great quality (Particularly leather, denim, and suede products). Leather goods will surely last you for a while, I'm already on almost my 3rd year with my belt and I still feel like I can use it for another 3 years without a problem. It's also just nice to support an individually owned business very much like buying from your local athletic's store instead of a Modell's, or you're favorite pizzeria instead of the Dominoes, etc. In many cases it also turns out that the equipment or food is actually better than the big chain stores and I really believe that's the case with Unlucky's(His name is Scott by the way) products. If you're interested to see some of his customers reviews/testimonies you can check them out in the original thread I mentioned above here. If you have any questions you can also contact him at: He's gotten pretty popular and very busy since then so if he doesn't answer you right away, give him some time. Or you can email me with any questions and I can Private Message him directly!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti EarthQuake Relief

Dear Gentlemen,

I'm sure most of you have heard about the recent earthquake that has struck the country of Haiti. There are an estimated 100,000 deaths already and some are expecting it to more than triple as the days go on. The earthquake at a 7.0, was the biggest earthquake that struck Haiti in over 200 years. This tragedy may not affect us all the way in the States however I believe everyone in this world does have a responsibility to at least help in some way or another.

You can text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross relief for Haiti. More information can be found at the Newsroom page here.

Pics from

Everything is destroyed.

Devastation  Many homes, such as these shown in the Canape Vert area of Haiti, were completely leveled.

Reports say there are stacks of bodies piled up on every street corner.

Excavation  Rescuers retrieve a corpse from the ruins of a building demolished by the earthquake.
Injured men hop on the back of a pickup truck
Residents sleep in the street after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A woman is covered in rubble in Port-au-Prince.

Such a sad, tragic event. If there is anything else you guys can add feel free to email me anything or write in the comment box and I will update the post with any new information regarding ways to help. Pray for Haiti.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Scarves - A Winter Necessity

Dear Gentlemen,

Hope 2010 is going good for all of you guys so far; it's still the beginning but I already know this year will surely be a good one. I didn't get many gifts at all for my birthday/Christmas but I did receive an awesome hand knit scarf from my girlfriend which I really have begun to use as an everyday accessory. I often thought it would be a bit of a hassle to put on, take off, and constantly hold on to a scarf when going places but there are a lot of great things about them that supersede me just being upright lazy. Within the past couple of years scarves have become more abundant in terms of different textures, lengths, and styles. I know it's been cold for a while and a post about scarves may seem a bit late but I feel there are definitely a few more months of cold weather ahead of us. In this post I'm going to talk about some great looking and affordable scarves that should keep you warm and also go over a few different ways to wear them. I've noticed that even when I wear a bunch of layers, a cold gust of wind can enter through the neck hole of my sweater and make my entire body freeze. Wearing a scarf will prevent this from ever happening and not to mention serve as a stylish accessory to highlight to your outfit.

Striped Wool Scarves

I'm seeing a lot of the scarf selections this season utilizing stripes as the main design. The combination of different colors on the scarf can really accent some of the other pieces you are wearing.

Pretty obvious this particular scarf is from Polo Ralph Lauren. The black, grey, and white should be able to go with pretty much anything in your wardrobe. The red Polo logo is also a nice little detail. At $52, I'd consider this a lower mid-range priced scarf. Polo has also made classic pieces with timeless designs, this could be worn for much longer than 1 winter.
Uniqlo University Scarves - These really stood out to me in the accessories section while browsing through the Soho store a few weeks ago. They offer more than 1 combination of different colors, each one could match almost any color you'd ever wear. Priced at $19.50 you could scoop up all of them however I think having 3-4 of the same style could be kind of cheesy. The maroon and navy color combo was easily my favorite one, might have to go back and purchase one the next time I'm there.

Print Knit Scarves

You've probably seen this Cowichan print on winter beanies, sweaters, and even ties. Very Native Americanesque type of design but it is very "in" right now. This particular scarf is offered by GAP and is very moderately priced at $40. GAP has been surprising me with their latest collections and more modern fits, definitely won't be sleeping on what they're going to offer in their Spring/Summer line.

Solid Cashmere Scarves

If you prefer solid colored scarves and the wool is a bit too rough for your skin then you can never go wrong with a simple cashmere scarf. You could find nice ones that are very decently priced at retailers like Macy's, which have their Club Room ones currently on sale for $50.99 (You can get them here). Jos A. Bank, also a a popular brand in men's apparel, is offering their version which is also on sale for $48.00 (Priced down from $120 and available here).

Chunky Knit Scarves

Chunky knit everything seems like the new hype these days. Brands ranging from H & M to Engineered Garments are all offering their own versions of chunky knit items in their past seasons releases. The knit scarf in the pictures above are pretty much what the one I received looks like. I really like the thickness of the knit scarf compared to a cashmere one and getting one with a nice length to it allows you to style your scarf in so many different ways. I also own the very popular Burberry patterned scarf but I haven't even thought of wearing that one anymore. Definitely love how subtle yet stylish my knit one looks on me and it's definitely become my go-to one.

Ways to Tie Your Scarf

Now that you have some sort of idea on what kind of scarf you want to purchase the next step is deciding on how to wear it. I've worn my scarf in different ways depending on what I was wearing each day and all are very easy to do. Here are some different ways(images were borrowed from GQ magazine):

Simple Wrap Around

Scarf : Banana Republic $58

The easiest one to do, the wrap around. Simply place the scarf around your neck. Take one end and throw it over the opposite shoulder and bring it back down. It doesn't have to be perfectly even on each side as pictured above, I think anything too perfect looking is actually a bit weird and unnatural.

Simple One Knot Tie

Scarf: Prada $295

Another simply but great way to tie your scarf. Start off the same was as the wrap around with the scarf around your neck. Loop one end under the other and pull one side through the hole and adjust until you reach your desired length.


This will shorten the length of the tie considerably but it's still a great look especially if you want to show off your other layers. Touch both ends of the scarf before putting it around your neck. Then take both ends and slide it through the loop and pull.

Closing Thoughts: Wearing a scarf is awesome. It really adds something different to your outfit and most importantly it will keep you warm during this brutal weather. As you can see, you don't need to spend a lot these days to get a great quality and stylish scarf. There's definitely going to be at least 2-3 more months of scarf wearing weather so if you don't have a nice one to wear, now is the perfect time to get one. Almost all the online stores I've looked at in the past week had all their winter accessories on sale, some marked down up to 75% (and that includes gloves and winter hats as well). The 3 mentioned above are pretty much the most basic ways to tie a scarf but they definitely look great. I'm sure many of you can think of your own more creative ways, don't be afraid to experiment on your own!