Scott Brown – Modern Gentleman https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com Style, manners and taste never go out of fashion. Mon, 05 Aug 2019 13:01:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 48172422 Spotlight on: Barbour https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/spotlight-on-barbour/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/spotlight-on-barbour/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2019 15:01:27 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1840 At Modern Gentleman Magazine we take great enjoyment in items that are well made and of high quality. We appreciate the passion exhibited by the men and women behind these types of products. There is often a direct relationship between high-quality products that have been produced for a long time, and a work force that is passionate and proud about what they design and produce. The “Spotlight On” series will highlight these brands, and the products they make. The items covered as part of this series will be a great addition to the life of the modern gentleman.

We start the series looking at a brand that has been in operation since 1894, and produces clothing and outerwear that has stood the test of time, Barbour of England.

Spotlight on: Barbour

Barbour Logo

 

Background

 

Originally founded by John Barber in 1894 in South Shields, England, “J. Barbour and Sons” began as an importer of oil-cloth (a fabric traditionally coated with boiled linseed oil to make it waterproof). Under John’s grandson Duncan (an avid motorcyclist), the company transitioned to producing waterproof outerwear including motorcycle jackets. In the time since, Barbour has become famous around the world for producing high-quality outdoor clothing. Barbour has since branched out from simple outerwear to a full clothing line, including footwear.

After a temporary relocation to Wimbledon in 1916, Barbour opened their first clothing manufacturing plant (the Simonside Factory) in 1981. Barbour continues to produce items, most notably their classic waxed jackets, at the Simonside factory today. Barbour has received three Royal Warrants from Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. The three warrants are proudly displayed as part of the labels on Barbour’s classic jackets today.

Barbour Factory Floor

Hard at work at Barbour’s Simonside factory

Barbour jackets, with their unique look and style, have been worn by many important figures around the world. The visibility Barbour has enjoyed in the media continues to add to Barbour’s popularity worldwide. Most recently, Daniel Craig wore one of Barbour’s more contemporary jackets in the James Bond film Skyfall (tip: read the article on how to dress like you starred in SkyFall over at Esquire, which brought the brand back into the spotlight in the meanswear community.

Products

Although Barbour does produce a full line of clothing, the focus of this article is to spotlight the outerwear collection, which has made Barbour a household name around the world. Barbour’s classic waxed jackets typically include a soft corduroy collar that can be turned up to provide the wearer protection from the elements. They include chest level hand warmers that are made of soft moleskin, which is luxurious to the touch. The jackets are typically lined in one of Barbour’s class tartan plaids.

Barbour’s “Lifestyle” Line is the heart of their collection and includes (but is not limited to) the following iconic jackets:

Barbour Beaufort

Barbour’s Classic Beaufort Jacket (courtesy: Styleforum)

Beaufort Waxed Jacket: One of Barbour’s most iconic waxed jackets, the Beaufort was originally created in 1983. The Beaufort was inspired by French shooting jackets, and contains a useful rear full-width lined game pocket. It’s literally where the hunter would store the game he killed, so he didn’t have to carry it in his hands.

Barbour Bedale

Barbour’s Classic Bedale (courtesy: Pinterest)

Bedale Waxed Jacket: Styled very similarly to the Beaufort, the Bedale is a shorter length jacket and was originally introduced for horseback riding. The Bedale has a split vent rear that provides the wearer with additional room and comfort when on horseback.

Barbour Liddesdale

Barbour Liddesdale (courtesy: Orvis)

Liddesdale Quilted Jacket: Probably the most iconic of Barbour’s quilted jackets, the Liddesdale is cut generously to fit over layered clothing including knitwear. Barbour’s quilted jackets offer lightweight protection from the elements, and a slimmer silhouette.

Barbour’s International Line was created in 1936, as their website quotes to “represent the thrill of motorcycling”. This line includes Barbour’s extremely popular “Steve McQueen” collection. The collection was inspired by an American team competing in the International Six Day Trials (that included Steve McQueen himself of course). The International Line includes the following  popular jackets:

Barbour International

Barbour International (courtesy: Orvis)

International Original Waxed Jacket: Barbour’s iconic motorcycle jacket, originally made in 1936. Constructed of heavyweight 8oz. waxed cotton, to protect riders from the elements and the roadway itself. Interesting to note, most of Barbour’s International line of jackets contains one slanted chest pocket, designed to provide a rider easy to access while on his bike.

Barbour Waxed 9665

Barbour’s Waxed 9665 Jacket Interior-showing Steve McQueen

Wax 9665 Jacket: A medium weight wax jacket inspired by the legendary American racer and actor, Steve McQueen. The jacket contains a really unique image of McQueen himself within.

To remain relevant today, Barbour has done a fantastic job of offering many of their traditional, iconic jackets in a slimmer silhouette, which is often preferred by the younger generation. For example, Barbour produces the Ashby, which is a slimmed down version of their Classic Bedale jacket.

Barbour x Land Rover

An advertisement for Barbour’s collaboration with Land Rover

Another reason Barbour continues to expand their audience is due to their many successful collaborations with other brands from around the world. Barbour has collaborated to create special products for brands ranging from Land Rover and Adidas to smaller ones like Pantone and White Mountaineering. As mentioned earlier, Daniel Craig wore a Barbour jacket in the movie Skyfall, that happened to be a collaboration with Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida.

Barbour Ashby Review

The Ashby was designed to be stylish and practical for winter as well as any other season. It has a tightly tailored design, more so than the Bedale and the Beaufort, yet it allows room for all of the layers needed to stay warm. The front has hardy fastenings and a throat strap to keep everything secure no matter what activity you are engaged in.

You can get it in several colors, increasing the amount of options you have to pair this luxurious jacket with. It is compatible with Barbour zip-in liners, so you can have even more insulation than you originally get with this brand. There are two angled pockets for warming your hands as well as two additional pockets to store essentials.

The Ashby can be used on a daily basis, making it one of the most versatile and well-designed in the Barbour range.

Barbour Bedale Review

This Barbour jacket was made to be lightweight and allow for lots of movement. It is shorter than other jackets and has a more relaxed fit as well as an inner “drip-strip” of Nylon that resists moisture that may seep into the jacket. You can zip liners into the jacket for added insulation, keeping you warm in freezing cold weather.

Every part of a classic Barbour jacket is included in the Bedale. It has a two-way zipper as well as storm protection in the front of it. The pockets are large and lined with moleskin to keep the hands warm and fit a myriad of items you may need. The Bedale also has a corduroy collar with studs.

This look is so classic and popular that is has even inspired a version for women to be designed – the Beadnell. This jacket is for a slimmer frame, allowing women to have the same protection and versatility as men.

Barbour Beaufort Review

The Beaufort is a classic when it comes to waxed jackets. The look is creates is timeless, and the jacket itself is versatile. You can wear it outdoors for protection the elements as well as to add some style to your city look.

The fit is relaxed enough to be thrown over a suit while on the go, and you can wear it throughout the year. The lining features the Barbour tartan print and you have the option of inserting a quilted liner if you are ever in need of extra insulation.

It is functional as well as luxurious, with soft fabric and a corduroy collar. The front uses a two-way zipper and Velcro to fasten it securely in the event of heavy winds. There are two moleskin-lined pockets, so you can keep all of your valuables close to you while keeping your hands warm.

Barbour Ashby vs. Bedale

The Ashby is a winter jacket with a more tailored fit than the Beaufort and the Bedale. It still has the classic lined pocket of the brand’s waxed outerwear but has added layers for protection from the cold.

The matte finish of the Ashby lends itself to a more rugged, outdoors look, while the Bedale does not have the option of a matte finish. It does, however, have the classic Tartan trim on the inside as an homage to the Beaufort.

All Barbour jackets are versatile, as the Bedale was originally designed for riding horses. However, you only get one set of moleskin-lined pockets with this jacket, while the Ashby offers pockets specifically for hand warming.

The Ashby has a lot of innovations that could make it become popular very fast for gentlemen that appreciate the quality and signature look of the brand.

Re-waxing/Repairs

Re-waxing a Barbour Jacket

Re-waxing a Barbour Jacket (courtesy: Barbour)

As many makers of high quality goods do, Barbour offers an in-house service to repair or re-wax jackets. There are some wonderful videos that are not hard to find online that show the process a used or damaged jacket goes through to be repaired. Taking this into account, along with the overall quality that the jackets are constructed with, it’s not hard to see why Barbour’s jackets truly become a product that you can enjoy for a lifetime, and pass on to others to enjoy after you.

Inspiration

Having owned two Barbour jackets now, a Classic Bedale and currently the slimmer Ashby, I can vouch for how fantastic Barbour’s jackets are. They are very well made, from fantastic materials, and show true attention to detail. Barbour’s jackets are unique in that they look just as good dressed up with tailored clothing underneath, as well as dressed down on the weekend or for work outdoors.

Barbour jackets are generally a true three-season jacket, and I see myself getting a lot of use out mine over my life. Many of the jackets are compatible with zip in liners that can provide additional insulation during colder weather. Another benefit of Barbour’s waxed jackets is that they tend to become more attractive the longer you wear them. They develop a certain patina with use, not unlike a high quality pair of shoes, or broken in pair of raw denim.

If well cared for, a Barbour jacket is an item that you can look forward to passing on to a future generation of gentleman, and I look forward to handing mine to my son someday. I leave you with some images of Barbour’s wonderful products, as inspiration:
Inspiration 6 Inspiration 5 Inspiration 4 Inspiration 2 Inspiration 1international 2

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9 Gentlemen Quotes To Live By https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/gentlemen-quotes/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/gentlemen-quotes/#respond Mon, 21 Jan 2019 09:42:39 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1922 Sometime over the past few decades, the pursuit of being a true “gentleman” fell from the forefront of the typical man’s life. Thankfully, over recent years, man’s pursuit of what it truly means to be a gentlemen has regained momentum. This has been evidenced partly by the interest shown in sites like The Art of Manliness, Gentleman’s Gazette, and yours truly. Although much has changed over the years, there is always wisdom to be found in looking back to gentlemen (and women) of the past. In this article we will present some quotes on gentlemanly living, and how they apply to our lives today.

quote bob marley style

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

– Bob Marley

Many of the gentleman quotes and sayings I came across when researching this article spoke for themselves, this one included. “Money can’t buy everything” is an old adage, and integrity is certainly not a trait that can be purchased. Integrity is something that you develop everyday and through every decision you make, especially in the moments where no one is watching. Will you stay true to your beliefs when there is no one there to catch you otherwise? I encougage you to discover the deep satisfaction that comes with making the important daily decisions that lead to a life of integrity.

Anyone, regardless of wealth or social stature, can positively affect those around them. Even when you are down or don’t have two coins to rub together, I encourage you to try and make the life of someone around you better today. In doing so, you will make the lives of others richer. After all, being rich is only partly about the amount of money in your bank account.

william lyon phelps style quote

“The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”

-William Lyon Phelps

It’s easy to show respect to someone who can directly benefit you. In fact, it takes no personal effort at all when you anticipate receiving something of value in return. If you are honest, you are really doing something for yourself. It takes much more effort, however, to serve or show respect for someone that can do nothing physically, for you in return. Again, I encourage you to make serving these types of folks part of your everyday life. You will find a deep sense of gratitude for what you do have, and the satisfaction that accompanies looking beyond yourself and your own interests.

john locke gentleman quote

“Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and reflection must finish him.”

-John Locke

I enjoyed this piece of wisdom, mainly because it encourages us all to continue our education and self improvement throughout our life. Book learning is certainly valuable. By frequenting sites like this, you are already exhibiting a desire to learn. I encourage you to take it a step further, however. Continuing to strive to be gentlemanly through interacting with others, and reflecting often on your rights and wrongs will keep you growing and effective.

rooselvelt on gentleman

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Common courtesy for others is a true mark of the modern gentleman. Courage is always important, but each day we have many more opportunities to show others common courtesy. It’s easy for us to think and make decisions with our own best interests in mind. I encourage you to start thinking about how your decisions and actions impact others as well. Society as a whole will benefit.

george bernard shaw style quotes

“A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”

-George Bernard Shaw

What a wonderful thought. All gentlemen must be constantly aware of the fact that our time is finite… to live with the end in mind. When I come to the end of my time, I truly hope that I have added more to this world than I took of it from others! This is one statement that I will personally reflect on in the coming weeks, for sure.

confucius best remarks

“A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.”

-Confucius

And with this statement, we circle back to integrity. Do your thoughts, words, and actions all match up? Are you the same when the “lights and cameras are rolling” as when you are on your own in private? Integrity is key in the modern gentleman’s life. We all make mistakes, but I encourage you to “dust yourself off” when you do stumble, and get back on the road of integrity. You are the sum of the individual choices you make everyday. Make choices that increase your integrity! And remember, yesterday is in the past. Everyday we have the chance to learn from the past, but to chart a new course moving forward. That is one of the true gifts of this life.

gentleman quote from luigi pirandello

“Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something you have to be all the time.”

-Luigi Pirandello

gentleman quote from ralph waldo emerson

“We sometimes meet an original gentleman, who, if manners had not existed, would have invented them.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

gentleman quote from srinivas shenoy

“Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.”

-Srinivas Shenoy

Summary

I hope you found some inspiration in the words above from our past. The pursuit of being a gentleman is a lifelong journey, but is one that is absolutely worth the effort. We encourage you to reflect daily on what it means to be a gentleman in today’s society, to always keep a hunger to learn and grow, and that you find the courage to put things into practice. If, one by one, men all around the world made gentlemanly living a pursuit, the world would truly become a better place for all.

As I researched quotes on gentlemen for this article, I was amazed by the vast amount of wisdom available online. I encourage you to do your own search, and plan to include more in a future article. As always, if you have thoughts or additional nuggets of wisdom, please share them in the comments below.

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Men’s Style on a Budget – The MG Guide https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/mens-style-on-a-budget/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/mens-style-on-a-budget/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:58:15 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1930 In recent articles we have made the case as to why the modern gentleman should “buy less but buy better”, as in better quality. Let’s face it, higher quality items are often times much more expensive than similarly styled items sold by the fast-fashion chains and big box stores. The modern gentleman should always live within his means, and so we realize that not every man can afford the very best when it comes to their wardrobe (myself included).

This article will focus on providing advice to the modern gentleman living on a budget. It’s definitely possible to establish a versatile and stylish wardrobe, without breaking the bank. We will look at what items are worth investing more money in up front, which items may not be worth the initial investment if you are on a budget, and overall pieces of advice on developing a stylish wardrobe. In future articles, we will touch on specific recommendations on items to fill out different areas of your wardrobe.

A Stylish Wardrobe – Key Points to Remember

One key point to keep in mind when setting out to establish a stylish wardrobe is that “style” is timeless and enduring. Stylish items may be slightly influenced by trends (think skinny vs. wide lapels, classic vs. slim fit trousers, etc.), however they endure and remain appropriate over time. A good example is a two-button single breasted suit in navy blue. Regardless of trouser fit, lapel width, etc., you could get away with wearing this in just about any decade and look well put together.

On the other hand, there are items that are clearly “trendy”, and these would be described as “fashionable” items. One example is the current “jogger” (trousers with bunched elastic cuffs). While you can go into most popular menswear stores today and buy a pair of joggers, they are clearly only a fad and will likely look out of place in the not too distant future.

This guy's clothes will look outdated soon - buy classic items!

This guy’s clothes will look outdated soon – buy classic items!

The point I want to make is to make wise decisions when purchasing items. Do your best to purchase items that are classically “stylish”, not currently “fashionable”. Most affordable menswear stores today offer both classic and trendy items. It’s not difficult to establish an inexpensive classic wardrobe (suits, sportcoats, trousers, shirts, etc.) by purchasing these items from affordable menswear stores.

Another key point to remember is that the way your clothes fit will truly set you apart from others. Most men who do not put a lot of thought into what they wear, will simply buy a piece of clothing “off the rack” and often at least one size too large. While they may look fine, paying extra attention to how your clothes fit can truly set you apart from the masses. This may be as simple as buying a shirt in a “slim fit” vs. a “classic fit”. The best option however is to find a dependable and affordable tailor that can alter “off the rack” clothing to provide you a custom fitting garment. This is especially effective if you purchase items on sale… you can spend a few bucks to have the garment tailored, and still come out better than an ill-fitting garment at retail cost. An inexpensive “off the rack” garment can truly look fantastic if tailored to fit like a bespoke or made-to-measure garment.

A tailor can work wonders on an inexpensive wardrobe

A tailor can work wonders on an inexpensive wardrobe

The third key point that I want to make is to start out buying items that are versatile, and can be worn in a number of outfits. A perfect example of this is a light blue oxford cloth button down (OCBD) shirt. The blue OCBD shirt can be worn dressed down with a pair of jeans, dressed up a bit under a wool sweater with tie, or dressed up even further with a sportcoat and wool trousers. See the following images for proof:

The blue oxford cloth button down shirt - so versatile!

The blue oxford cloth button down shirt – so versatile!

 

Start out purchasing items that you can foresee wearing with a number of different combinations of outfits. Stay away from items that can only be worn in very specific situations, or can only be paired with specific items to look appropriate. Your puchases will go much further this way.

Spend vs. “Skimp”

Something else to consider when building a classic wardrobe on a budget, is what items are worth splurging on vs. “skimping” on. In general, the modern gentleman can build a pretty sharp and versatile wardrobe with inexpensive items. At a quick glance, most people will not be able to tell the difference between an inexpensive button up shirt from an expensive, high quality one. There are a few items that are worth splurging a bit on, and I will focus on those here:

Suit/Sportcoat: If you are smart about your purchases, you can purchase a suit or two and a sportcoat that can be worn in almost any situation (a navy and a charcoal suit, and a navy blazer). Suit jackets and sportcoats are items that can vary greatly in quality, and are worth spending a bit more on. Higher quality jackets will likely be constructed with a canvas interlining that provides structure to the jacket, conforms to the wearer, and allows the jacket to move well with the body. Cheaper jackets are “fused” which means that a paper like interlining is glued (or fused) to the jacket to provide structure. These fused jackets do not form to the shape of the wearer (the fit will never be as good as a canvassed jacket), and it will not move as well when worn.

A well fitting, quality sportscoat can truly set you apart from the masses

A well fitting, quality sportscoat can truly set you apart from the masses

Calfskin Shoes: Shoes that are constructed with a full grain calfskin upper are worth spending a bit more on when compared with a shoe made from a corrected-grain leather upper. Without going into detail on the difference between types of leather, corrected grain leather does not last nearly as long as full-grain calfskin leather. Corrected grain shoes typically develop creases much more quickly, do not hold a shine as well, and do not develop the beautiful patina that full-grain leather shoes do. Cheap suede is also much more difficult to tell apart from high quality suede, so if you are going to skimp on footwear, do so on suede shoes.

Look at the beautiful depth of color on this high qulity calfskin leather

Look at the beautiful depth of color on this high qulity calfskin leather

Fabric: I’m including this here because I encourage you to spend a bit more on natural fiber vs. synthetic or man-made fiber when purchasing clothes. What I mean is, when looking at two comparable items, spend a bit more on a version that is made from a natural fiber (such as wool, cotton, linen, etc.) versus something containing polyester. A garment made from a natural fabric will often drape better, look nicer, and will be much more comfortable (think breathable) to wear.

Conclusion

In conclusion, with a little bit of effort, the modern gentleman can establish a very classically stylish wardrobe without spending a ton of money. This is the approach I have taken myself. I have splurged up front very carefully and only on certain items. On others, I have purchased inexpensive items and had them tailored to look custom. Other inexpensive garments have worked well “off the rack”. I look forward to maintaining this wardrobe, which I believe will continue to look sharp for many years to come. Once you have established a nice basic wardrobe, you can look at adding items that you like and are more “fashionable”, or save up to replace items in your wardrobe with higher quality items on your wish-list.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any additional wisdom to share on this topic, please do so by sharing in the comments!

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The Ultimate Wet Shave Guide – The Only Resource You’ll Ever Need https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/the-ultimate-wet-shave-guide-the-only-resource-youll-ever-need/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/the-ultimate-wet-shave-guide-the-only-resource-youll-ever-need/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:03:50 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1874  

Cover Picture

It’s no secret that the recent trend for men has been to grow and maintain facial hair of various lengths. Many workplaces have also relaxed in recent years on items like dress codes and expectations for personal grooming (whether written or not). As a result, shaving has gone from a daily ritual for men to occasional at best. Many men do not view shaving as an enjoyable and relaxing process, but instead an inconvenient chore.

Interestingly at the same time, many men who do shave regularly have become tired with the over-priced multi-blade cartridge razors that are sold at big box retailers and pharmacies. If you fall into the later camp, let me suggest that you investigate the traditional wet shave. With a minimal initial investment and some practice, I think you will find a process that is truly enjoyable, effective, and inexpensive in the long run.

In this article I will provide a brief overview of the traditional wet shave process, and a quick look at the “tools of the trade”.

The Process

The process of the traditional wet shave is certainly flexible and can be tailored to suit the individual, however I generally recommend three steps:

(1) Preparation of the Skin

(2) Lather & Shave

(3) Condition the Skin

Step 1: Preparation of the Skin

Preparing your skin to shave is the first step in the traditional wet shave process, and is extremely important. It is easy to think that one could save time by simply lathering up some shave soap or cream, applying to the face, and then starting to shave. While that is certainly an option, I think you will find skipping the preparation stage will leave you with an unpleasantly painful shave, as well as possible irritation.

One option to prepare your skin to shave is simply to shower first with warm water. The warm water will open your pores and will soften the facial hair, preparing it to be reduced during the shave itself. I personally like to shave before I shower, so instead I run a wash cloth under hot tap water, and hold the hot wash cloth over my face and neck for a minute. It’s a wonderful way to start the process, and essentially accomplishes the same thing that a warm shower does.

 

Pre Shave Oil

Imperial’s Pre-Shave Oil, one of many great options

After softening the facial hair, I recommend applying either a pre-shave oil or lotion to the area of the shave. The pre-shave oil or lotion is used to lubricate the hair and skin, and to help prevent tug and pull of facial hair when the blade passes over. My personal experience is that the lighter the pre-shave oil the better, as heavier oils tend to clog the blades and make each pass less effective (assuming you are using a double edge safety razor and not a straight edge). Imperial Barber Products makes a great line of shave products, including a nice, light pre-shave oil.

Step 2: Lather & Shave

Once your skin and facial hair is sufficiently prepared and you are feeling nice and relaxed, it’s time to apply a lathered shaving cream or soap to the skin. Again, there are a number of shaving creams and soaps on the market that you can choose from. I strongly suggest, however, that you pass on the shaving creams that are dispensed from an aerosol can or something similar. These types of products are nice when time is of the essence, and can be convenient while traveling, but they will typically not be as good for your skin in the long run. Aerosol based shaving creams typically contain “surfactants” (the ingredient that causes the cream to foam) that will dry out your skin.

Apothecary Mug

Apothecary mugs make creating a rich lather a breeze

Instead, I recommend finding a higher quality shave soap, or a cream that comes in a jar or tube. To enhance the experience, I recommend lathering the shave soap or cream using a real badger hair shave brush in a small bowl or apothecary mug. Shave brushes made from real badger hair are excellent at absorbing water and creating a rich lather that lubricates your skin and protects it from the razor blade. Real badger hair brushes are also soft to the touch, and should not result in skin irritation.

Lather

A high quality shaving cream should create a rich lather (seen with a  badger hair shaving brush)

Once a rich lather is produced, and the lather is applied to your face, it’s time to shave. There are multiple options when it comes to razors, but again I have to recommend you go with a traditional razor. I personally use a double edge safety razor. It took some time to adjust from using a multi-blade cartridge razor, however it has absolutely been worth the time and effort.  Double edge safety razors require an initial investment (albeit not that expensive). Razor blades can be purchased in bulk, and end up costing much less over the course of time than the multi-blade cartridge razors do.

The keys to shaving with a double edge safety razor are to:

(1) Figure out the correct angle of the blade against the surface of your skin: This typically does not take a long time to figure out. You want to find the angle that reduces the length of facial hair without also cutting the skin.

(2) Learning that using less pressure is best: Double edge safety razors are heavy for a reason. The weight of the razor itself is all you need to create enough pressure to reduce the length of your facial hair.

(3) Obtaining a close shave takes multiple passes: Note I have used the term “reduce the length of your facial hair” more than once. This is because the point of double edge safety razors are just that, to reduce the length of hair with each pass (and not to cut the hair down to skin level at one time like many multi-blade cartridge razors attempt to do). Although obtaining a close shave takes a bit more time, this is a good thing for your skin! Which brings me to my last key point:

(4) Learn the direction of the “grain” of your facial hair: The first pass you make should be in the direction of the “grain” (i.e. the direction that your hair grows). You can then follow with passes that are perpendicular to the grain, and if you want an extremely close shave, can even make a pass against the grain.

Step 3: Post-shave Conditioning/Moisturizing

Once you are done shaving, don’t stop there and go about your day. I recommend taking some additional time to tone the skin, as well as apply a moisturizer.

Once the shave is complete, it’s possible that you have a small cut or two that you will want to stop bleeding. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this. Alum blocks are one popular option, and they can be purchased from many drug stores or shaving suppliers. By simply rubbing an alum block over the area of the cut, you will constrict the blood vessels in the skin and therefore stop bleeding. There are also liquid skin toners that have the same effect. My personal choice is to first apply cold water to close and constrict my pores. I then follow with an application of witch hazel, a natural plant-based toner that cleans and further closes your pores.

After Shave Balm

Quality After-Shave Balm by the Art of Shaving

Finally, when you are ready to wrap up (either after toning your skin or a subsequent shower), I recommend applying a moisturizer to the skin. There are a ton of options when it comes to facial moisturizers. Many shaving companies specifically sell aftershave lotions or gels. Many of these are scented as well. My personal choice is to apply a light moisturizing lotion with SPF 15 that is unscented. This provides multiple benefits in that the skin is moisturized and protected from the harmful UV rays from the sun. I choose an unscented lotion because I prefer to wear a light application of cologne, and don’t want a scented aftershave to compete with the scent of my cologne.

The Tools

Now that I’ve gone over the process of the traditional wet shave, here is a look at the primary tools that you will need to pull it off well.

Shaving Brush

In recent years most men (myself included) learned to lather up using shaving cream dispensed from an aerosol can. It is understandable why, as these shaving creams are cheap, easy to purchase (available at corner drug stores and big box retailers), convenient to use (just push a button and you are ready to go!) The traditional wet shave, however, involves lathering a higher quality shave cream or soap that is also better for your skin. These shave creams and soaps are not dispensed by an aerosol can, and you have to work to create the rich lathter that will condition your skin and lubricate against the razor blade. The best way to do so is using a shaving brush. Just like everything else, shaving brushes come in all shapes and sizes. Consensus is that the best shaving brushes are made from a natural badger or boar hair:

Boar Hair: Boar hair brushes are widely known as the best entry-level shave brush material. Boar hair brushes will do a better job of retaining moisture than a synthetic brush, and will be priced very reasonably. The downside to boar hair is that they are typically brittle and prone to breaking with too much pressure. Boar hair brushes are typically not as comfortable on the skin as badger hair. Keep in mind, as with everything, you may not find this to be the case. There are many traditional wet shavers out there that swear by boars hair brushes.

Badger Hair: Badger hair is a truly excellent shave brush material. The hair itself is known for retaining moisture which is key when building up a nice, foamy lather. Badger hair is also typically more flexible and feel softer to the touch. Badger hair is generally available in three grades (in order of quality): pure badger hair, best badger hair, and silvertip badger hair. It is also becoming increasingly common to find shave brushes that are composed of a combination of the three grades. This practice allows for the performance of silvertip badger hair, with a reduced cost to the owner.

Personally, I recommend starting out with a pure badger hair shave brush, at the lower end of the cost spectrum. Once you have practiced for a while, and are fully converted to the classic wet shave, you can invest in a higher quality brush with a higher quality badger hair. A higher quality brush can truly be an heirloom, and if well cared for can be passed down to a younger generation. Just take a look at this beauty:

A Marfin Hand-carved Shave Brush

A Marfin Hand-carved Shave Brush

Razor

The most important tool of the classic wet shave is the razor, naturally. Traditionally, the razor would be one of the following:

A classic straight razor

A classic straight razor

Classic Straight Razor: The classic straight razor is comprised of a single razor blade and handle. The blade typically folds into the handle (like a pocket knife) for safety during storage. A classic wet shave with a straight razor is believed to provide the most comfortable and closest shave possible. A classic straight razor often requires a higher initial investment, however it never needs to be replaced with simple care and maintenance. The owner simply needs to have the razor blade sharpened periodically. The downside is that shaving with a straight razor requires time, caution, and skill. Shaving with a classic straight razor is not something to be done quickly, and it is truly a hobby as opposed to a daily chore.

Razors

Merkur Doube-Edge Safety Razors

Double Edge Safety Razor: A double edge safety razor consists of two separate parts, the razor handle, and the razor blade. The handle typically unscrews, allowing for the user to remove and replace the blade easily. There is an initial investment in the razor handle itself, and a regular cost for razor blades. The cost of razor blades is significantly less than the cost for multi-blade cartridge razors however. Maintenance conists of cleaning the handle periodically and changing the razor blades.

My personal recommendation would be to start with the double edge safety razor, for obvious reasons. Starting with a classic straight razor would be like jumping on a two wheel bike and heading downhill before you ever spent time learning to ride with training wheels (i.e. there will be a lot of unnecessary pain in the learning process!) I have found such enjoyment out of using my double edge safety razor, and the results have been so fantastic, that I do not anticipate trading up to a classic straigh razor in the future.

As stated above, when using a double edge safety razor, there are two components to consider:

The Handle: There are many differnt size handles on the market. The only way to find out what is right for you is to hold them in your hands and try them out. I currently use a long handle Merkur razor. The length of the handle is very similar to that of a cartridge razor, and is an excellent model to start out with when making the transition to the classic wet shave. The traditional wet shave razor is shorter and heavier however.

Feather Stainless Steel Razor Blades

Feather Stainless Steel Razor Blades

Razor Blades: Again, there are many options on the market, and you will have to try a number of different models out before finding what works best for you. Many companies that sell traditional wet shave products offer sample packs with multiple brands, that make finding the right blade easier and more cost effective.

Finding the right combination of tools, products, and method takes time. Once you find the combination though, you will never look back!

Summary

 

Bond Wet Shave

James Bond enjoys a classic wet shave in Skyfall

One of the things that sets us as men apart from women is facial hair… and one of the long-standing traditions that men have taken part in is shaving. Wit a small initial investment, and some practice, I think you will find how enjoyable the process of shaving is. I have made the transition to a traditional wet shave with a double edge safety razor and I haven’t looked back. I honestly look forward to my time shaving every morning. It has become a relaxing and enjoyable experience, and gives me time to meditate and plan for the day ahead. I hope you find this primer to the classic wet shave helpful. If you already partake in the classic wet shave daily, please share any additional tips you have on either technique or products in the comments below.

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Shoe Care Part 2: Suede https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/shoe-care-part-2-suede/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/shoe-care-part-2-suede/#respond Fri, 30 Jan 2015 06:38:35 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1823 If you have spent time reading through articles on ModernGentlemanMagazine.com, it should be no surprise that we advocate for buying high quality items, made by those with a passion for what they do. In short: buy better quality items, and support the artisans that truly care about what they make. Acquiring items of quality is only half the battle, however. After all, one of the arguments for owning quality items is being able to enjoy them for a long time to come. It also may give you the opportunity to pass them on to a future generation of gentleman, for their enjoyment as well. It’s from that perspective, that this series of articles is based. Over the coming weeks and months, we will look at how to care for, and prolong the life of the items in your wardrobe.

Part 2: Suede Shoes

 

Alfred Sargent Browning

Alfred Sargent Browning in Snuff Suede (courtesy: Leffot)

 

For some reason, suede shoes have taken on a reputation as being difficult to care for, unable to stand up to the elements, and requiring “babying” to prolong their lives. I’m happy to tell you that none of these points are, in fact, correct. With some simple care, and easily applied protective measures, suede shoes can be worn in any and all conditions without fear. Take my word for it… I used to believe that suede shoes could be easily ruined, but I have come to find that suede footwear is remarkably resilient. For that reason, I often reach for my suede shoes on rainy and even snowy days, as opposed to my smooth calfskin leather shoes. As in Part 1, I will break down the care of suede shoes into 3 categories, daily care, routine care, and occasional care:

 

Daily Care

Split-toe Shoe Trees

Split-toe Shoe Trees (courtesy: the Shoe Snob)

 

Shoe Trees: Similarly to caring for calfskin footwear, the best piece of advice I can share for daily care of suede footwear is to use shoe trees. See Part 1 for a more detailed description of shoe trees and how to use them. One important point to note: If your suede shoes are unlined (meaning there is not a leather lining on the inside of the suede uppers, that provides additional structural strength) know that shoe trees could potentially stretch the suede uppers over time. Spring loaded shoe trees, in particular, can provide a significant outward pressure that can stretch unlined suede. I recommend you observe how shoe trees affect your pair of shoes over time. It may be best to insert shoe trees for a short period of time immediately after wearing, and then remove them. This will allow the trees to absorb moisture from the day, but will keep them from significantly stretching the uppers.

 

Shoe Horn

Shoe Horn (courtesy: Epaulet New York)

Shoe Horn: Again, see Part 1 for more detail on using shoe horns. Putting on your shoes with a shoe horn can help prolong the life of the heel counter. A crushed heel counter is not easily repaired!

 

Saphir's Suede Eraser

Saphir’s Suede Eraser (courtesy: the Hanger Project)

Suede Eraser: Suede erasers (typically the same consistency as a pencil eraser) are sold by many brands. These erasers can be scrubbed on the suede uppers to remove stains, watermarks, soiling, etc. Similar to a pencil eraser, a suede eraser crumbles slowly with use, and should not affect the color of the suede. Using a suede eraser is the quickest and easiest way to keep your suede uppers looking fresh and clean.

Saphir's Crepe Suede Brush

Saphir’s Crepe Suede Brush (courtesy: the Hanger Project)

Suede Brush: Suede brushes can be used to disturb and restore the “pile” or “nap” of a suede upper. This is similar to how a vacuum cleaner restores an even pile to shaggier carpets. There are two purposes that this accomplishes: (1) to help remove deeply ingrained dirt or grime, or (2) to simply restore the nap of the suede and restore the visual interest of the leather. Suede brushes come in many shapes and sizes, and even in different brush or bristle materials. I have used cheaper brushes with plastic bristles, but always felt like they could cause damage to the suede itself. I have since switched to a crepe brush (as seen above). The crepe “bristles” are more flexible. They serve the purpose of a suede brush well, but also seem to be more gentle on the leather itself.

 

Routine Care

Saphir's Suede Cleaner

Saphir’s Suede Cleaner (courtesy: A Fine Pair of Shoes)

Suede Cleaner: Over time, your suede shoes will accumulate dirt and grime deep within the pile that even suede erasers and brushes cannot remove. Suede cleaners are similar to shampoo, and can be worked into the suede (often times with a brush or cloth) to deep clean the suede. These cleaners are formulated to remove dirt and grime, but will do no harm to the suede itself. If the cleaner is used properly, your suede shoes should look cleaner and brighter afterwards. One of the benefits of suede is that it does not scratch or scuff like calfskin or other smooth leathers. With regular cleaning, your suede shoes can look clean and new for many years.

Also read: Driving Shoes – Perfect Summer Footwear

Terrago Nano Protector

Terrago Nano Protector (courtesy: the Hanger Project)

Suede Protectant: As I mentioned above, if treated properly, suede is remarkably resilient. Applying a suede protectant spray as soon as you purchase your shoes, and following regular cleanings is a must. These sprays will make the suede repel water. If unprotected, suede can absorb water similar to a towel, which is obviously not good when it comes to leather. The suede protector above, Terrago’s Nano Protector is a fantastic product that I cannot recommend enough. Just minutes after application, you can literally pour water over the shoes and watch as it harmlessly flows off of the uppers, almost like over an invisible force field.

 

Occasional Care

Re-soling/Re-crafting: Also discussed in Part 1, shoes that are constructed in one of the traditional methods can likely be re-soled or re-crafted to extend their life. If you shoes were constructed with a hand welt, Goodyear welt, or Blake stitched construction (to name a few examples), the method with which the outsole is joined to the shoe will allow for the sole to be easily replaced. Re-crafting typically involves re-soling a shoe, however it also typically includes some form of restoring the finish on your uppers. Most reputable cobblers, or high-end shoe makers can deep clean suede uppers, restoring them to their original glory. With well maintained suede uppers and occasional re-soling or re-crafting, you can enjoy your suede shoes for many, many years.

 

In summary, shoes made from high quality suede are not only a beautiful and fantastic addition to your collection, but they can be remarkably resilient, “workhorse” shoes. Shoes made from suede that are properly maintained can truly retain the look that they had on the day you first opened the box. As always, we welcome any additional tips you have on caring for suede footwear… Please share them in the comments below.

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Shoe Care: Care for What you Own https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/shoe-care/ https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/shoe-care/#respond Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:04:42 +0000 https://www.moderngentlemanmagazine.com/?p=1793 If you have spent time reading through articles on ModernGentlemanMagazine.com, it should be no surprise that we advocate for buying high quality items, made by those with a passion for what they do. In short: buy better quality items, and support the artisans that truly care about what they make. Acquiring items of quality is only half the battle, however. After all, one of the arguments for owning quality items is being able to enjoy them for a long time to come. It also may give you the opportunity to pass them on to a future generation of gentleman, for their enjoyment as well. It’s from that perspective, that this series of articles is based. Over the coming weeks and months, we will look at how to care for, and prolong the life of the items in your wardrobe. We start with footwear, and specifically calfskin leather shoes. In a future article, we will share tips for caring for other types of leather footwear, including shell cordovan and suede.

Part 1: Calfskin Shoes

Here at ModernGentlemanMagazine.com, we believe in and endorse the positive effect that thee addition of high-quality shoes will have on you and your wardrobe. We are talking about a shoe that is (1) designed and constructed/lasted with the human foot in mind, (2) made with high-quality full grain leather, and (3) constructed in a traditional method (hand welted, Goodyear welted, Blake stitched, etc.) that allows for future re-soling/re-construction of the shoes.

If you’ve made the jump to a pair of high quality footwear, first of all, enjoy wearing them! Please don’t leave them in the closet to look at, afraid of what might happen if you wear them outside the house… High quality shoes are tough, and are made to last with some simple care.

Daily Care:

Shoe Trees

The best and most simple advice I can share when it comes to caring for your footwear, is to use shoe trees. Shoe trees come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. I recommend having a pair of shoe trees that is made from wood (most commonly cedar or beech), and properly sized for your shoes. Often, high quality shoe makers will sell lasted shoe trees, which are made to fit snugly inside shoes made on one of their specific lasts. There are also plenty of generic options that work just fine.

Split-toe Cedar Shoe Trees

Split-toe Cedar Shoe Trees (Credit: A Fine Pair of Shoes)

Simply stated, buy a pair of shoe trees, and insert them in your shoes as soon as you take them off your feet. The trees will help keep the leather uppers stretched (helping the leather resist developing deep creases), and absorb moisture and odor from the insides of the shoes, preserving the life of the leather.

Horse-hair shoe brushes

Horse-hair shoe brushes (Credit: A Fine Pair of Shoes)

Shoe Brushes

Once you insert shoe trees, I recommend giving your calfskin shoes a thorough brushing with a horse-hair shoe brush. Brushing the uppers will remove dirt and grime that accumulates over the course of the day, and will buff out surface scuffs. Shoe brushes are also used in the polishing process, which is described below. Simply put, these are the workhorses in your shoe conditioning/cleaning/shining regimen. In addition, some companies make small, stiff-bristled brushes meant for brushing the welt. If you don’t want to purchase a specialty brush, a toothbrush with stiff bristles will do the trick.

Shoe “duster” bag

Shoe “duster” bag (Credit: A Shine and Co.)

 

Shoe Bags

If you are taking care of your high quality footwear, you are going to want to maintain that beautiful shine on the leather upper. One way to prolong that shine in between wearings, is to store your shoes within shoe bags. Shoe bags, made from a soft fabric that won’t scratch the shoes uppers, can be found sold by most high quality shoe makers. They are often provided by the shoe maker when a pair of high quality shoes is purchased.

A beautiful, natural shoe horn

A beautiful, natural shoe horn (Credit: A Fine Pair of Shoes)

Shoe Horns

Using a shoe horn to put your shoes on each day will help prolong the life of your shoes. Specifically, it will keep your heel counter from being crushed as you press your heel down while putting the shoe on your foot. Keep in mind there are many options, and plastic shoe horns can be acquired for cheap, if you do not like the idea of using natural horn. A nice shoe horn is a splurge, but is an item that a gentleman can look forward to passing on to someone else, later in life.

 

Sole Protectors Installed

Sole Protectors Installed (Credit: styleforum.net)

Fight the Elements

Caring for your high-quality shoes has to include consideration for the outside conditions (weather, setting you will be walking in, etc.). Having sole protectors (Topy and Vibram are two brands to consider) installed by a cobbler on your leather soled shoes is one option to prolong the life of your outsoles. Sole protectors will not only provide protection for your leather soles from water and salt, but also provides improved traction on slick surfaces. Sole protectors can be easily replaced when they are worn through, and can help extend the time between re-soling (which we touch on below).

Galoshes Offer Protection in Rain/Snow

Galoshes Offer Protection in Rain/Snow (Credit: SWIMS)

Having a pair of rubber overshoes or galoshes will also come in handy if you face the potential to be caught out in the rain. Two sharp looking options for overshoes are made by Swims and Covy. If you do happen to get caught in the rain or snow, remember to let your shoes dry out naturally. Do not place them next to a heater, air conditioner, etc. The air will dry the leather out and cause damage that is difficult to repair. You can also ball up newspaper, paper towels, etc., and place them within the shoes to help absorb the excess moisture.

 

Routine Care:

>Disclaimer: Widely believed to make the best shoe care products in the world, the French brand Saphir makes absolutely fantastic shoe care products. I have used them myself for a long time, and I can’t recommend them enough. I will therefore use their product examples through the rest of this article, but keep in mind, many high quality shoe makers offer their own versions of these products that will also work very well.

 

Saphir’s Renovateur

Saphir’s Renovateur (Credit: The Hanger Project)

Clean and Condition the Leather

Leather is a skin, and just like our skin, it needs regular cleaning and conditioning to remain hydrated, supple, and to keep from cracking or deteriorating over time. For heavy dirt and grime, start by wiping off your shoes with a damp cloth (or applying a leather cleaner/stripper as described below). After the leather has time to dry, you can apply a specially formulated leather cleaner/conditioner with a rag in small, circular motions to the shoe. Saphir makes a product called “Renovateur” that is a mink oil based cleaner/conditioner. If there is one product to own and use, this is it. A little bit of the cleaner/conditioner goes a long way, and regular application will keep your leather uppers clean and supple for years to come. Once the product has dried, brush your uppers vigorously with a horsehair brush, and you will find a beautiful shine is produced. Many times, this is as far as you need to go with your routine maintenance.

 

Saphir’s Medaille d’Or Pommadier Cream Polish

Saphir’s Medaille d’Or Pommadier Cream Polish Lineup – 12 colors to choose from! (Credit: The Hanger Project)

Shoe Polish

Over time and with regular use, you may find that the color of the leather uppers becomes dull, or scraped. A colored cream polish can be applied to your shoes, to bring back the vibrancy of the leather, and to cover scrapes or discoloration in the leather that do not buff out otherwise. If you want to maintain the color of your shoes, do your best to find a cream polish that closely matches in color. I recommend using Saphir’s Medaille d’Or Pommadier cream shoe polish, which is an all-natural polish containing beeswax, turpentine, shea butter, and other nutrient waxes. For the sake of your shoes, please avoid cheaper polishes that contain silicones or resins, which are not good for the leather. Application of a slightly different shade of polish can be used to add depth to the leather. Go easy on the application, and over time with routine use, you can develop a beautiful patina.

Wax polish (either neutral or also tinted with color) can also be applied to provide additional protection, especially at the toes and heels, and can be buffed to a mirror shine if desired. Again, Saphir makes a great line of wax polishes. I won’t go into detail on the process of shining shoes… There are many methods that can be easily found with a quick internet search, as well as good videos online showing master shoe shiners at work. Have fun figuring out what method works best for you!

Occasional Care/Repair:

Saphir’s Reno’Mat

Saphir’s Reno’Mat (Credit: The Hanger Project)

Deep Cleaning/Stripping

Leather cleaners, like Saphir’s “Reno’Mat”, can be used occasionally to deep clean the pores within leather, to remove deposits of silicone and resin from cheaper polishes, as well as accumulated dirt and grime. These cleaners/strippers are also effective at removing polish that has previously been applied (in case you don’t like a darker polish that has been applied, etc.)This type of care should only be done on rare occasions, and should be followed with application of a high-quality leather conditioner and polishing regimen, as described above. Make sure to test this product on a small, unseen area of leather, to ensure there are no ill-results of use on your particular pair of shoes. This is a strong product, and it can strip the finish off of cheaper leathers or delicate finishes. Also beneficial, a product like Reno’Mat is effective for cleaning accumulated polish off of horse-hair brushes.

Before & After Recrafting Example

Before & After Recrafting Example (credit: NuShoe)

Re-soling/Re-crafting

When it becomes evident that your outsoles have reached the end of their useful life, high quality footwear can often be easily re-soled and re-crafted. Often times high quality shoe makers offer re-crafting (which consists of not only re-soling, but stripping and re-finishing your leather uppers) in-house. Most reputable cobblers can also re-sole and/or re-craft high quality footwear as well. Just make sure you read reviews and know who you are entrusting with your footwear! There are a lot of really amazing before and after photos you can find online that demonstrate what a re-sole and re-craft can do for a pair of high quality footwear.

Summary

In summary, caring for your high quality footwear is an essential part of any gentleman’s routine. In time, I think you will find the process enjoyable, and will even come to appreciate your shoes more each time you put them on.

The methods and products described above are just some of the many options and techniques that you can employ to care for your footwear, and is by no means an exhaustive guide. I encourage you to explore additional options and advice, and find what works best for you! If you have techniques you currently employ, or products you recommend, please share them in the comments below. Up next, we will discuss caring for your suede footwear.

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