Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Based in Seattle, Washington, Filson is undergoing a period of what can be called re-appreciation, and have expanded their line of offerings (jackets, vests, sweaters, luggage, hunting wardrobe, etc.). These days, one is as likely to spot Filson jackets on the streets of Manhattan as the North Woods of Maine.
Above is the classic Filson Mackinaw Cruiser, made of 26 oz wool. (Except for the Charcoal, which is 24 oz). They also make the Double Mackinaw Cruiser, which has a one piece cape sewn over the Cruiser to give you a double layer on the top. It is made in the USA of virgin wool - nice long fibers straight from the sheep.
It has a six button front, four front utility pockets with sturdy snaps, and two additional handwarmer pockets. There is a large rear map pocket that covers entire width of back, also with snap flaps.
Shown in the classic Red/Black, it also looks good in Navy, Charcoal, and Forest Green. It offers exceptional protection against the cold wind. It is unbelievably durable, although not a lightweight garment.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
|My Garnet Hill Shadow Stripe Flannel Comforter Cover and Shams|
However, the actual crispness of traditional percale sheets is not always appreciated when one is trying to sleep. An alternative is a set of white flannel sheets. Nothing feels more comforting, especially freshly laundered.
This combination of white and flannel is surprisingly inviting year round. Then, it is hard to beat the cotton flannel from Germany.
Given the somewhat overwhelming array of possibilities one faces when purchasing bedding, it is sometimes nicer to not have to make any decision at all.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Great Sock Hunt Ends with the L.L. Bean Merino Wool Ragg Sock for Men or Women
What they call Grey is the most classic color although they offer them in Brown, Forest, Charcoal and Indigo as well. They are as they claim, itch free. Made is the U.S.A., with wool from Australia. They come in heights of 10 inches (best for wearing with hiking shoes and shorts, or with Birkenstocks) or 12 inches.
L.L. Bean used to offer a 16 inch as well, perfect for wearing with winter boots, which they should bring back. The socks stay up, keep you warm and look fabulous (despite some pilling). And most importantly, they are the only sock to wear with Birkenstocks.
When it comes to jewelry, less is certainly more. The jewelry wardrobe includes:
- Pearl stud earrings
- Pearl necklace
- Wedding band if applicable
Optional (but not really):
- Turk's Head rope bracelets (the best come from Nantucket Knotworks)
- Heirloom jewelry (but not all at one time)
Things to Avoid
Avoid things that dangle (especially giant hoops), costume brooches, lots of gold, anything heart shaped (except from Tiffany), toe rings, ankle bracelets, turquoise, and leather.
Friday, January 22, 2010
|Women's Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoe|
|Men's 3-Eye Billfish in Dark Tan|
|Women's Bluefish Tassel Slip On in Taupe|
|Men's Authentic Original Boat Shoe|
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The lure of synthetics is high. There are some great examples. Patagonia manages to constantly produce top quality items made from synthetics (such as the hearty Synchilla Snap-T, made from 86% recycled materials no less). There are also some high quality and innovative synthetic materials. Polartec, invented by Malden Mills in 1979 and branded Polar Fleece, is just one. And synthetics have many great qualities: they have vibrant colors, are lightweight, are machine washable and dry quickly.
So why do we keep rediscovering wool? One problem is that synthetics have been copied by everyone from high-end to low-end. There are now so many bad examples that pill and fall apart.
But wool itself has so many incredible intrinsic properties. And these have never been copied.
There is natural beauty of wool. Wool just has a better look and feel. Wool sweaters age better and even take to mending better, which makes them less wasteful.
It is breathable. Compare this to the almost rash-inducing and moisture trapping qualities of so many synthetics. Wool also doesn't propagate static electricity. It is fire retardant.
Wool keeps heat in and out. It can absorb roughly one third of its weight in water and still insulate.
Wonderfully, almost magically, it is now more widely available in itch-free and softer garments. Today's high quality ragg sweaters and socks feel more like cotton than the scratchy garments of yesteryear.
Finally, obviously, wool comes from sheep. The more producers there are of wool, the more landscapes we can enjoy dotted with grazing sheep, rather than plastic factories.
See Tom's of Maine's founders Tom and Kate Chappel's new venture at: www.ramblersway.comThis battle between natural and synthetics is being fought on many fronts, from lumber to butter to medicine to cutting boards to fertilizer. There is a small, critical place for synthetics. But when it is close, more of us will be happier for longer with natural.
L.L. Bean (overview here) released a "sneak peak" at their Signature Line which is scheduled to debut in March. Overall, it is about a D+. In a nutshell review, it is L.L. Bean does Hipster Metro Grunge.
The first problem is colors. With the exception of Navy and khaki, most of the color selections are off. For example, while classic Bean tartans are wonderful, these patterns are not.
This color palette ruins some otherwise interesting items. Here are some specifics:
- The nice canvas "pocketbook size" tote is somewhat thrown by the specific shade of yellow.
- There is way too much teal across the board.
- On the highlighted Women's camp shirt, the style is fine, but not in these colors.
Here are some examples:
- Non-classic styles for women (tank tops are always bad).
- Wedge shoes.
- Unattractive dresses for women.
- Too much denim.
- What have they done to the back of the Bean Boots?
- Belts are too skinny.
Finally, if L.L. Bean wants to go after the urban customer, they may be five years too late with this approach. The capricious hip is moving towards the natty (see Dressing for Success, Again in The New York Times). Which means, for example, that while L.L. Bean is leaving their classics, the market they are now pursuing is actually looking for them.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
- Use Times Bold Block Uppercase or Block Uppercase (especially for men)
- Put on: shirt cuffs, shirt pockets, L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bags, etc.
- Classis colors: Navy, Red and Hunter for Men
Navy, Hunter, Pink, Kelly Green for women
- Use Diamond monogram (women only)
- Spell out the name (unless you are a sporting dog with a terrific name like Sport, Yankee, Salty, Tug, Scout, Bear etc.)
- Use any monogram style whose name has the words "Script," "Wave" or "New" in it.
- Combine Uppercase and Lowercase
One tenet is passing on more to the next generation. Composting - simple, effective and inexpensive - is a perfect example of this stewardship. It is accessible to all but the most urban dwellers. It allows for reducing waste, eliminating chemical use, and nourishing the gardens. And it rewards patience.
Throughout the years, Prince Charles has shown that tending the earth is the best venue for wearing a Harris Tweed jacket.
And what could be more satisfying for anyone than taking your kitchen scraps, and not only not sending it to a landfill, but enriching next year's gardens?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
|Delft, The Netherlands|
There are many notable contenders in this category:
- Mercedes (a bit flashy)
- BMW (a bit aggressive)
- Saab (a bit bohemian, better pre-GM)
- Audi (a bit slick)
Here are the top attributes:
- Clean Swedish lines
- Best safety record
- Not "too smooth" ride
- Solid feel
- Ages well (In Maine, the older the better)
- Can last forever
- Environmentally sensitive manufacturing process
- Supremely comfortable seats
- Like a golden retriever, it looks great old, new, muddy or clean
Acceptable colors: Navy Blue, Silver, Hunter Green, the "right" shade of Maroon. Bright Red can sometimes qualify if paired with the correct trim.