Saturday, February 5, 2011


It just looks better, I think. All previous posts have been migrated over. I will managing my multiple blogs from Posterous from now on. See you there!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Switcharoo: Nau Lightbeam Jacket

I bought my first Marmot Driclime Windshirt in 2006. With a nylon shell and a surprisingly insulating yet thin lining, it was the perfect jacket for 45-60 degree weather. Still is. I'm on my second one now and I also use it extensively for "winter" cycling, boot camp, and pretty much all outdoor activities. You can almost always find a previous season's version on sale for around $50. In terms of functionality and versatility, it is a clear winner. Reviewers online strongly agree. The jacket is at least on its 14th version. However, as you can see above, the women's version is not flattering at all. It's boxy, and has the dreaded puffy sleeve cinched wrists combination. I love the thing. But seeing poorly dressed women/moms around the office reminds me that I don't want to knowingly emulate them.

images from thethoughtkitchen and nau

Enter the Nau Lightbeam. At $175, it is 2-3x pricier than the Marmot Driclime. Modern, truly fitted, made of 100% recyclyed polyester, and highly packable, I favor this as a someday upgrade. The striped pucker weave is a unique distinction. See this post on the Nau blog on the inspiration behind the design.

Handmade? No
Made in: China, fabric from Japan


Friday, January 28, 2011

Tretorn Klipporone Boots

Found these handsome vintage hiking inspired leather boots on sale at Tretorn. Hooray for Swedish love!

Handmade? No
Made in: ??


Marais USA High-top

images from maraisusa

Nearly all white high-top canvas sneaker. It may be what I need to add to my arsenal of footwear. Fits true to size, unlike most other shoes from this smart little webstore.

Handmade? No
Made in: ??


Fence Straddlin'

Here are two pairs of shoes that I am intrigued by, but not completely won over by:

image from zuriik

The Zuriik Shug Low Contusion (W) . Zuriik has reimagined the traditional mens oxford shoe by building a canvas upper and slapping a hard leather dress sole to it. And the laces are waxed, of course. The idea is novel, and thus worthy of attention. This shoe's shape is pretty manly, yet the decidedly feminine colors soften it up. Not many companies do a woman's oxford shoe well. It's either still quite masculine (see Frye's Erin), or way too frou-frou and "of the moment" (see Steve Madden's Trouser). The one from Marais USA is quite plain and understated, which I like, but you probably have to dress super cute and girly up top to achieve a stylistic balance. I really adore the Zuriick mens' two-tone black gray version.
Handmade? No
Made in? Nobody knows

$83.90 - $119

images from shogunstore and highsnobiety

Palladium boots. The first image that comes to my mind when I see these military-lite boots is a bunch of FOBs and their weirdly over-patterned and clunky attire. Yep, I grew up around Asian immigrant kids in high school and church. Some of their stuff I liked, what was copied over from Japanese youth culture, and most of it eventually became trendy. What I didn't like were the bright plaids and Palladium fold-over tongue boots. The Baggy style, as they are called, are really goofy looking. However, seeing them displayed tastefully in a lookbook like the one above does sway me a bit. I think the unfolded Pampa version could look good on a man wearing pants. Maybe. Not sure if I or any other women could really pull these off though.

Handmade? No
Made in: Israel?

$55 - $225

Simple Carport Shoe

images from 6pm and ecostoredirect

Living in Austin brings me in contact with some really chill dudes, guys who don't really ever dress up and who can get away with wearing faded jeans and threadbare t-shirts to work. Recently I sighted 3 pairs of these Simple Carport sneakers in one week worn by said men. Not only do they look like adult versions of little boys' shoes (cute!), they also appear to be extremely comfortable. Reviews confirm this. The woven hemp and cotton blend fabric lends an even refined air to them. And, the shoe is completely vegan, features recycled PET laces, organic cotton lining and footbed, and a sole made from recycled car tires. The next time your laid-back boyfriend needs to replace his torn up Vans, recommend these deceptive slip-ons.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Reminder

From 37Signal's Rework:

"Cool wears off. Useful never does."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover

images from sonnietrotter, utahoutside, thesternscoop, respectively

Outdoor outfitter Patagonia's designs lean towards the conservative, mainstream side, e.g. fitted jackets for women, loose-legged pants for men, and blandish undergarments, while occasionally pandering towards their more stylish and old-school fans with the re-introduction of retro fleece like the boxy Classic Retro-X line. But where did the Nano Puff, introduced in 2009, come from? I recently spotted a college kid wearing this baggy sack while enjoying a burger at Hopdoddy, and thought to myself, "that is one ugly puffy pullover." And my finds (see above) while searching for images in the wild solidifies my opinion. It features elastic at the bottom and creates the illusion of muffin top, even if you are clearly fit. And the women's version has a boxy, faux-feminine cut with its way too roomy sides and arms. Yet the majority of the reviews state that it is amazingly light, warm, waterproof, and is so convenient that it stuffs into its own chest pocket. And did I mention that I have a soft spot for ugly outdoor gear? I really do. I wear my appallingly furry Mountain Hardwear Monkey fleece like the 80's never left. The collar truly does fold down in that unsightly manner, even though you want it to stand up.
image from planetfear

So, I'm very intrigued by the Nano Puff Pullover as a winter staple, and from the looks of the Web Specials section, so are a lot of other people. I smell a future classic in the works.

Handmade? No
Made in: Vietnam


Macbook Air

image from mbsreport

I'm giddy to report that this is my first post using my new 11.6" Macbook Air. It's a dreary, chilly Sunday afternoon and I'm bundled up in warm blankets on the couch as I type. My previous computer, a 20" iMac from late 2009, is a beautiful machine. Most of my photo editing was done with ease on it, and the super sharp screen was phenomenal. However, I grew weary of having to plop my bottom down on the frankly uncomfortable plastic IKEA chair for hours. And instead of getting a new computer chair, I got a new 11.6" Macbook Air at Best Buy at 15% off retail. It was quite the deal! I don't usually make brash hefty purchases, yet I haven't regretted this one. It's so very thin and light compared to my husband's relatively ponderous Macbook Pro. Sure, it only has 64 GB of storage, which means I am now using an external hard drive for all my music and photos. I rarely ever need to access all my files anyway, and to me, the weight savings and extreme portability is totally worth it. Also, using Spaces to organize my applications in separate panes is a necessity, and I find that everything is so much more organized from it. Because I shoot 35mm film, I usually develop my film and also order a CD of the scanned images. The Macbook Air has no optical drive, but Apple has made it a cinch to connect to another Apple computer and use its optical drive. Since I won't be doing much heavy lifting on this thing, like working with massive Photoshop files, this computer's specs are more than adequate. And when you open it after shutting the lid, it wakes from sleep almost instantaneously. Pretty much amazing.

Oh, and I couldn't help but fall upon this wool and leather sleeve by (previously featured) Etsy seller, ribandhull.

computer: $999
sleeve: $61

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jack Spade Waxwear Nook Cover

image from

Now I'm not saying go out and buy a Nook. You'd be better off with a Kindle. But if you must, then check out this Waxwear Nook Cover in Chocolate. Handsomest e-reader case BY FAR. By so very far. Browsing through Best Buy's in-store selection always makes me cringe. Go ahead, mash up your technologies!

Handmade? No
Made in: "Imported"


Brooklyn Industries Waxed Canvas Jacket

This is the first I've seen of a heritage waxed jacket for women. A collaboration between Brooklyn Industries, an young urban apparel brand, and British Millerain Co. Ltd, a company that has been producing waxed fabrics since 1980. I'm not crazy about the contemporary stand-up collar- maybe they took the hint from Filson that women prefer modern construction? The mens version looks quite rugged, and I'm so glad they extended the line to women. All in all, they are a terrific deal, as you will probably never again find a waxed canvas jacket of such nice material for under $100.

Handmade? No
Made in: ?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tender Co. Type 200 Oak Bark-Tanned Belt

image from Hickoree's

Strong contender for Belt for Life.

From Hickoree's (it's quickly becoming my favorite online storefront) :

Not so long ago, people relied on horses to travel significant distances. Heavy leather-and-brass horse tack had to be substantial; a broken stirrup was a serious problem. So stirrups were cut from an impenetrably thick section of hide and fitted with solid cast brass hardware.

Tender Co.'s Type 200 belts are cut the same way -- from the stirrup butt, which runs along either side of the cow's spine. The leather there is 1/4 inch thick: a stack of $20 bills that high would add up to $1,160.

The leather's heft is matched by unique "bent-wire" hardware, designed by William,Tender Co.'s founder. The buckle is cast in solid brass by a UK metalsmith, using the time consuming lost-wax method. The pieces are assembled at a Somerset factory where leatherworkers cut each belt by hand, using scalpels -- the leather is too thick for the factory's electric rotary saw.

These belts are substantial in weight and in history. The leather is made at the only oak-bark tannery left in Britain; a tannery that has been turning animal skins into leather since Roman times. Much of the machinery used to de-flesh and polish the raw hides is run by water-wheel. After this cleaning, the skins are soaked in pits of oak-bark liquor for 18 months and then rubbed with a "currying" mixture of mutton tallow and fish oil. The process yields leather of deep nuance and remarkable aroma. The smell is at once animal, vegetable, and mineral; a warm fishy top note is immediately recognizable and surprisingly pleasant.

Bonus: Photo-heavy post (Part 1, Part 2) on how the good folks at Tender Co. make this superfine accessory using old-timey methods. Truly amazing craftsmanship. It is both too long for my waist and too rich for my blood, but a girl can ogle.

Handmade? Yes
Made in: England


Military Watch Company

image from Military Watch Company

Thanks to Hickoree's, I've discovered my next watch: a MWC International GG-W-113. It is modeled after the Vietnam War era Benrus infantry watch. God knows I adore my timeless Swatch watches and would never part with them, but the durability of their plastic bands is laughable. Unlike the trendy vintage (imported) Timex military watches you can get at J. Crew, this shit is real.

Handmade? No
Made in: I'm guessing Europe


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Klean Kanteen Reflect Series

image from global enfant

I am quite satisfied with my Klean Kanteens, with their attractive metal bodies and responsible Chinese manufacturing. But I held off from getting them until I found them on sale at the REI outlet for $9 each. List price was just too much. And now, the company has come up with an upscale, plastic-free, paint-free bottle with a unibody bamboo and stainless steel cap. Taking a huge cue from Apple, I see. As reported in their FAQ, customers have previously complained about the stainless steel caps being squeaky. I wonder if the issue has been resolved with this new line. The press photos are really lovely, yet does anyone see the absurdity of shelling out $33 for a water vessel? It's difficult not to be distracted by the shiny mirror finish... it's so pretty....

Handmade? No
Made in: China


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Striped Tokyo Tote

This affordable tote bag is reminiscent of the Cat in the Hat's zany hat. I dig the full grain leather straps. Made by Etsy seller Rib and Hull.

Handmade? Yes
Made in: Warsaw, Poland


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Leather Utility Pouch

image from forestbound

Humble brown leather pouch with unfinished edges crafted by etsy seller forestbound.

Handmade? Yes
Made in: New England, USA