Category Archives: Other Clothing

Alternative Apparel: Eco-Friendly and Comfortable

While I was ordering my Whites Boots from Animal Traffic in Portland Oregon, I had a look through some of the clothing they offered. One brand that stood out to me: Alternative Apparel. We reached out to the company to learn more, and they sent us a few garments to try out. From their hoodies to shirts, their fabrics had fantastic texture and color, but their label carried an important message:

Make a difference with what you wear.

Continue reading Alternative Apparel: Eco-Friendly and Comfortable

The Billy Reid Shiloh Shawl

One of my favorite stores in Wefty and my home town of Charlotte NC is Taylor, Richard’s & Conger. They have a great selection of menswear from casual to formal, and I don’t think a single item they carry is anything less than top notch. While TRC carries super-premium products including Kiton, they also carry a wide selection of items from designer Billy Reid. The last time I was in the store, I picked up one of them. And after work the other day (pardon the five-o’clock shadow), I thought I’d snap a few photos.

The neckline is the most interesting part of a truly comfortable sweater. Other than the leather fasteners (which I believe are top-grain), the entire garment is made of pure cotton in three textures. A french cotton terry adorns the interior, lending warmth and softness. The exterior is a cotton twill, while the neckline is a cotton yarn knit.

A great aspect about this shawl  is that you can still  show off a shirt underneath it, and contrasting textures are nice. Here I am wearing a one of the very warm Klaxon Howl cotton shirts underneath the shawl. With weather as crazy as it has been here in North Carolina this week, this outfit with a light overcoat definately works great for anywhere between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And shedding layers is easy enough to go even higher.

Laundered properly, I expect this all cotton shawl to last for years– And hopefully look every bit as good then as it does today. Dress up for formal wear or down for casual, it’s a great piece to have in your wardrobe. Check this and other items out over at Billy Reid, but be sure to know where your garment is made. This particular one is from Peru, but other items are made in Italy, the US, and many other locations.


Wool Gloves: a Wintertime necessity by Upstate Stock

Designer Bram Robinson, one of the brothers behind the Klaxon Howl label, has another Kickstarter project up and running right now. Constructed in the United States on old fashioned machines from the mid 20thcentury, Upstate Stock wool gloves will make a great stocking stuffer this holiday season. Bram sent me a couple pairs of the fingerless gloves to check out, and I can confidently say I am impressed. I have rather small hands, but this one-size-fits-all men pair fits comfortably, and can stretch to fit most size hands. Knitting around the wrist is reinforced with extra twine to prevent unraveling, while the finger-holes are knit so they appear “folded back.” Both are secure, and likely to hold up to use and abuse. The gloves themselves are made of a nicely patterned wool fiber that gives the glove a speckled appearance, and they are quite comfortable after the first few minutes of wear. In the few days I have been using them, the wool fibers have softened and become less itchy—I do not notice any itch as I type this review.

Fingerless gloves are an interesting idea that I never understood until the last few years. Keyboard and touchscreen use are at an all time high, and I find that these fingerless gloves makes using them outdoors on a cold day more pleasing. Fingered gloves require special material to work with touchscreens, and no matter how thin they are they will never match the dexterity lent by a naked finger. Fingerless gloves on the other hand do. Yes, your fingertips will get a bit colder, but they warm more quickly in pockets (I expect thanks to bloodflow to the hand being unimpaired) than they would with an ungloved hand.

So whether you are taking a hike or simply an urbanite wanting to make time at the bus stop more productive without sacrificing comfort, you may want to checkout Upstate Stock’s fingerless gloves. And if you are looking for an inexpensive, quality glove made in the USA, look to Upstate Stock for your answer as well.

Upstate Stock gloves are currently available through Kickstarter in a range of options from $19 to $45. With retail prices ranging from $29 to $65, there is a sizeable discount on each item.


Breyburn: Luxury dress shirts, reasonable price tag.

The model is something you are familiar with by now: “X is expensive, and shouldn’t be quite that much. By eliminating the middle-man, we have cut the cost of X by more than 50%, and it’s just as good!” What is amazing is how often this has rung true. Make no mistake: Brick and Mortar stores are not going anywhere. But with companies like Breyburn offering free or inexpensive shipping, easy returns, and a great product, I wouldn’t be surprised if future wardrobes are stocked almost exclusively from middle-men cutting concepts like it.

Breyburn products are assembled in Portugal with fabric coming from Italy, and this blue and white check chambray might win the award for the softest dress shirt I have ever worn. The fabric screams premium at the top of it’s lungs, which is a mixed blessing: On the one hand, it is very nice and would accompany a dressier outfit very nicely. On the other hand, I worry that casual wear with raw denim may put too much stress on the fabric. It would pair perfectly with a suit in charcoal, grey, or navy– Or khakis and a tie. I did test this shirt out with a wash, and found that the fabric does tend to pucker in the plackets and the collar afterwards. This shirt will require ironing between each wear, lest permanant creases form.

Stitching is consistenct and clean throughout the shirt, which uses a fair fine stitching configuration. I will have to get a ruler out and start measuring stitches per inch to be sure, but these ones certainly look tighter. Mother of Pearl buttons add a nice sheen that the trained eye will notice. Although the buttons are thin, they are certainly sturdy enough to fit the shirt well. Any thicker, and they would stick out on a fine shirt like this.

In closing: If you are in the market for luxury dress shirts and trying to escape the $200+ price mark, Breyburn is definately worth giving a shot. Their shirts are slim fitting, although their smallest size was still a little big on my undersized frame. (I am 5’10”, 140 lbs, and tried a 15-inch collar.) I definately recommend checking them out!


Norse Projects Sweater

I’m pretty excited. Yesterday, I went over to the Blackbox Building, and I found out that The Woodlands (@WoodlandsNW) is now right there. Rather than having to walk through Chinatown to get to what’s arguably the best men’s clothing store in Portland, I can just walk down to Burnside. Okay, this might be a problem for my finances, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for extra convenience.

Anyways, I walked in because I was surprised to see them there, and it turns out that they have a great sweater from Norse Projects (@NorseProjects). The Copenhagen-based clothing company does a great job creating simple, functional items. I fully expect that this sweater will continue to mold to my body, even though it fits prettymuch perfectly right now.

As for the design, the sweater is military-inspired. It’s tailoring is trim and classic, staying close to the body while still being comfortable an non-constrictive. The color is a slightly muted green that is rich and subtle at the same time.

The knit is tight, dense and ready for cold weather. I have a feeling that this sweater will be my go-to item to wear under my Filson Tin Cruiser on really cold days. I usually wear a small, but in this sweater, I had to size up to a medium. For anyone out there wondering, if you’re 38 inches at the chest, you’ll need a medium instead of a small.

If you’re looking for a well-constructed, classic sweater with character, I’d recommend checking out Norse Projects. I’m looking forward to a very cold winter that will give me the opportunity to wear the crap out of this thing.