I’m normally a big Brooky Bros fan, but this specimen here - lifted from the “New Arrivals” section of their website, is in particularly poor taste. The website describes the shirt as a “graphic crew tee” with “tie one on” oh-so-cleverly screened on the back.
I am at a loss to figure out what segment of the menswear market finds themselves in a Brooks Brothers, and also has a few slots that need filling on their graphic crewneck t-shirt roster.
I know that Brooks Brothers has tried in the past to introduce more casual, youthful and “urban” aspects to their various lines - but I believe this is the low watermark.
I can grudgingly accept Brooks Brothers wading into the plebian, high-traffic world, of polos and hoodies, embossed with generic sports team logos, punctuated with meaningless dates, and faded crests. That sort of stuff is junk, and probably done better by high-street favourites like American Eagle and Banana Republic. But the “tie one on” tee is lower still on the sacred menswear totem. This olive coloured monstrosity is nothing short of a novelty t-shirt, chasing after misplaced irony, or feigned laughter.
Stranger still is that you’d need to spend almost $40 bucks to tie this one on, whereas the classic black & white tuxedo t-shirt can usually be had for a meager $10 in the nearest tourist district.
For as long as I can remember I have been buying coffees “to go”, but for years I was drinking them all wrong.
I wish I could say I’ve been a faithful observer of getting my coffees “to go” in a reusable travel mug. Travel mugs are good for the environment, good for your wallet, and good for the coffee (they keep coffee hotter for longer). However my travel mugs are never with me when I need them, and honestly sometimes I just want to walk somewhere drinking a coffee, and then be done with it. Carrying an empty travel mug around with you all day can be rather inconvenient.
For what its worth if I am going to sit in the cafe and enjoy my coffee, I always ask for it in a “for here” mug.
I also enjoy good coffee. I’ll walk further, and spend a little more to get a cup I am really going to enjoy. But good coffee was not meant to be enjoyed in a waxed paper cup, strained through a thin and disposable plastic lid.
My good friend Douglas Roop brought this to my attention some years ago. He thought it peculiar, and indeed a little offensive, that I would seek out a nice cup of coffee, only to drink it through a plastic hole like an infant.
Wikipedia defines “Sippy Cup” as a spill-proof drinking cup designed for toddlers.
I have since cleaned up my act. Once I have arrived at my destination with my coffee “to go”, I set it down, take off the lid, and sip it like an adult.
This is civilized. This is (closer) to how coffee was meant to be enjoyed. With the lid off you actually smell the coffee before you taste it. You and can see and feel the steam coming off the surface, and see the oily surface of a dark roast swirling around.
This is fundamental.
Left to my own devices on a recent weekend, I decided to re-wax my old Barbour Beaufort. With my girlfriend and roommates out of town I had the apartment to myself, so what better way to pass a sunny Saturday afternoon then with thornproof Barbour waxed dressing and a cask-aged Manhattan?
I bought my first Barbour several years ago, used on eBay for about fifty quid. I’ve since bought another this way. I highly recommend it. Used Barbours, in great shape, can be had on the British eBay at considerable savings - so long as you’re willing to put in the labour re-waxing these aged beauties.
The process is deceivingly simple; as long as you follow a few simple steps it’s hard to screw up.
You can see how faded the jacket looks after a season or two of wear without being properly waxed. While the patina of faded olive may look nice, the light almost-khaki coloured patches are spots where the wax dressing is completely worn off, and thus the durability and waterproofing of the jacket has been compromised. Furthermore a dried-out Barbour will rip and fray, the wax dressing keeps the fabric moist and resilient to things like… thorns.
I’ve read various blogs on how to wax a Barbour, and while most of the information in the blogosphere is good it tends to make the process sound more complex than it really is. The blogs also tend to skim over the fact that your hands will get very waxy undertaking this project, and it takes a little elbow grease.
First and foremost you need an open space, preferably a large table that you can move around easily. Spread the jacket out on newspaper, and give it a quick brush down to remove any chunks of mud or dust. Don’t use soap or water. Ever.
Next you need to pull out your handy tin of Barbour waxed dressing. There may be other brands that do the same job - I don’t really know, but this tin cost me twelve quid a couple years ago, and it does the job properly, so not worth messing around with imitators.
At this point you may want to grab your cocktail or single malt of choice.
To turn the wax into a liquid drop it in a pot of boiling water. Within a couple minutes it will turn clear and runny. Pull it out, throw it on a coaster near your jacket.
I use disposable sponges to apply the waxed dressing. They’re good because they can absorb some wax, but also don’t have too much surface area, and they are disposable.
Now the trick to applying the wax is to dab a little on to the sponge, then one section at a time apply it to your jacket. Map out a plan of attack so you don’t miss any spots. Avoid the temptation to just start painting your jacket all willy-nilly. Go one sleeve at a time, then one front panel at a time, and when you’re content you’ve got the whole front of the jacket coated, stand down for five minutes, refresh your drink, and then start on the back.
You want to do more than just lather the jacket; you need to really rub it in. Pay special attention to seams, and creases, and high friction places. If you wear a backpack, or throw a bag over your shoulder frequently when wearing your jacket the shoulder areas are likely in need of a heavy coating.
Don’t worry too much about getting the wax in the buttons or zippers, it will rub off with everyday wear.
Finally hang the jacket up, not only to let it breathe, but also so you can give it a final 360 degree inspection. The wax should still be relatively soft, especially if you’re in a warm apartment, so you can move around any clumps, or touch-up any spots you missed. If you are looking for a factory quality finish take a blow dryer to the jacket, this will ensure an even and smooth looking sheen to the jacket, and will break up any wax stuck in seems or grooves.
First couple wears will be waxy, so be sure to take it out for a spin when you wont be sitting down on fabric covered seats. Enjoy.
Lagavulin. Port Ellen, Isle of Islay. In the 1980s, during an era of waning Scotch sales, Lagavulin was a part time distillery peddling third-rate Scotch behind the likes of Bowmore and Laphroaig. Today Lagavulin is a seven day a week operation with over 85% of Lagavulin production now bottled as a single malt.
During law school there was a pronounced shortage of Lagavulin 16 year old in Halifax. Fortunately I had a good friend from undergrad, living outside the jurisdiction in Massachusetts, who was able to ship me up a bottle. He took this photo before he shipped me the bottle. He is a good man.
The nose has been described as ” intensely smoky” with the scent of “seaweed” and “iodine”, yet sweet, and of course peaty. If you haven’t yet tried a dram - I highly recommend it.
In 1868 the All England Croquet Club was formed at Wimbledon, a district of London now known best for its affiliation with tennis. Since then croquet has become a summer staple for college kids, and for those of us who aspired to be polo players, but lacked the public school upbringing and requisite stable of ponies.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a relatively flat and grassy yard, warm weather, friends and cold beer, there is simply no better way to pass an afternoon.