Touchscreen Gloves

In the age of iPads and smartphones, it’s surprising that there aren’t that many options for attractive, touchscreen-friendly gloves. Many are overdesigned and too techy looking, like something that would come out of an REI store.

I recently came across this problem while I was searching for a pair for my cousin, who received iPhone for Christmas, but also lives in Canada, where gloves are a winter necessity. On the casual side, there’s iTap and Etre, although neither of them are particularly attractive. Muji and Isotoner have plain, simple designs, but I was afraid the acrylic composition wouldn’t be warm enough.

The best I’ve found are leather gloves, which in recent years have come with various gadget-friendly solutions. The simplest are by Pengallan and Land’s End, where there’s a slit in the index finger that allows you to operate your devices. The Pengallans are nice in that they’re made with a horizontal slit instead of a vertical one (which is what the Land’s End model features). This allows you to more easily pull the leather back when you need to push the tiny buttons on your cell phone. There are also gloves that are conductive through leather. You can purchase those through Isotoner or Dents (the second being also available at Mr. Porter), or have them custom made through Chester Jefferies. Chester Jefferies makes great custom gloves if you send them a tracing of your hand, but for better results, I recommend submitting a photocopy. That way, you won’t get any errors from changing the angle of your pen as you trace.  

If you’re daring, you can also try to hack your current set of gloves so they become conductive. There are a number of YouTube videos that show you how, as well as posts at Fashioning Tech and Instructables. It might be wise to be extra-careful if you’re working with leather, however, as you won’t be able to hide poked holes, so mistakes will be costly. 

(Pictured above: Pengallan gloves)

Q and Answer: How Can I Get an Office-Appropriate Wardrobe for $500?
americastoppushing writes: I just got a job at a major publishing house in NYC and the whole staff here is very well dressed. I need to jump from grad school clothes to stylish office clothes quickly. I have about $500 to spare right now and I need to make some significant changes to my wardrobe, including shoes, a laptop bag, and at least a few shirts and pairs of pants. Where can I get the most for my money? I’d like to get things that are fairly versatile.
First, congratulations on the new job and for graduating grad school. I’m actually finishing up a grad program myself, so I can appreciate what a grind it can be. 
As for your wardrobe, I’m afraid $500 won’t going to get you very much, especially if you need it soon. But let’s see if we can’t give it a try. 
For shoes, I recommend a pair of brown derbys (also known as bluchers). Derbys have “open lacing,” which means the shoelace eyelet tabs are sewn on top of the part of the shoe that covers your toes and instep. This differs from the more elegant and formal oxford, which has the eyelet tabs sewn underneath. Oxfords are considered more formal because they make you feet look more “dressed.” However, since you can’t afford suits and sport coats at this time, you should embrace the inherent casualness of what you’re wearing by getting derbys. These can be worn with anything from cotton chinos to wool trousers.
Getting them in brown will mean that you can wear them with trouser color (except black, which you shouldn’t be wearing anyway). I recommend a plain toe design for your first pair, but if that’s too boring for you, you can also get them with a perforated or non-perforated toecap. Any of these will be acceptable in an office environment. You can get a pair at Meermin for about $150.  
For dress shirts, you really ought to have at least ten, so that you can get through two work weeks before having to do laundry. However, ten will almost wipe out the rest of your budget and leave you pants-less, so I recommend getting five for now. As soon as you can, pick up another five. 
Your first five should include three solids and two stripes in a mix of white and light blues. These colors flatter the complexion of any man, and they’ll set a good foundation for when you’re ready to wear suits, sport coats, and ties. You can read Jesse’s post about this subject here. I agree with what he said, and would just add that in your situation, it would avoid having people think “here comes that guy in the bright pink shirt again.” You are going to be wearing each of these often, so best to make them look fairly non-descript. 
Design wise, choose the following if you can: semi-spread collars (they look good on every guy); French placket with no pocket (as a proper dress shirt should be); and barrel cuffs (not French cuffs, as you won’t be wearing these with a suit for now). You can browse TM Lewin’s clearance section to see what they have. Their “slim fits” fit decently well on the average sized guy. At $32 a pop, this should set you back $160. 
For pants, I’m going to fudge here and assume you at least have a pair of khaki chinos you can use for casual Friday. To add to this, I recommend two pairs of wool trousers, one solid mid-grey and another slightly darker. If you must choose a pair of non-grey pants (and only if you absolutely must), I recommend brown. Pick whatever weave you’d like (from flannel to sharkskin), but just make sure the fabric doesn’t look too shiny. You don’t want to look like you forgot your suit jacket at home. Sign up for Land’s End’s newsletter and wait for a coupon code to come up. You can then score a pair of their Tailored Fit wool trousers for about $60. 
Finally, we have the laptop bag. Muji has a canvas and leather shoulder option as well as a “3-Way” bag (an unfortunate name) for $80 and $90, respectively. These aren’t the most professional looking of bags, and there are certainly better options out there, but this slides us in at about $515, just fifteen dollars more than the budget you allocated. 
Of course, a basic business wardrobe should have at least double what I’ve listed above – two pairs of shoes so that you can rotate between them (wearing the same pair everyday will quickly ruin the leather), ten dress shirts, and four trousers. Depending on your office environment, you may also want to get a few suits or sport coats at some point. These will make you much more professional looking, but they’ll be considerably more expensive. 
Remember that you can lower your outlay by acquiring things over time instead of buying everything at once. Try thrifting, using eBay, and waiting for sales. Jesse’s guide to thrifting can help you with the first, our eBay roundups the second, and my sales announcements here and at the Inside Track the third. Give yourself a year or two to acquire a decent, basic wardrobe, and perhaps another five to six years to perfect it. It takes a while to acquire what you need and learn how to dress well, but the process itself can be very fun and rewarding. 

Q and Answer: How Can I Get an Office-Appropriate Wardrobe for $500?

americastoppushing writes: I just got a job at a major publishing house in NYC and the whole staff here is very well dressed. I need to jump from grad school clothes to stylish office clothes quickly. I have about $500 to spare right now and I need to make some significant changes to my wardrobe, including shoes, a laptop bag, and at least a few shirts and pairs of pants. Where can I get the most for my money? I’d like to get things that are fairly versatile.

First, congratulations on the new job and for graduating grad school. I’m actually finishing up a grad program myself, so I can appreciate what a grind it can be.

As for your wardrobe, I’m afraid $500 won’t going to get you very much, especially if you need it soon. But let’s see if we can’t give it a try.

For shoes, I recommend a pair of brown derbys (also known as bluchers). Derbys have “open lacing,” which means the shoelace eyelet tabs are sewn on top of the part of the shoe that covers your toes and instep. This differs from the more elegant and formal oxford, which has the eyelet tabs sewn underneath. Oxfords are considered more formal because they make you feet look more “dressed.” However, since you can’t afford suits and sport coats at this time, you should embrace the inherent casualness of what you’re wearing by getting derbys. These can be worn with anything from cotton chinos to wool trousers.

Getting them in brown will mean that you can wear them with trouser color (except black, which you shouldn’t be wearing anyway). I recommend a plain toe design for your first pair, but if that’s too boring for you, you can also get them with a perforated or non-perforated toecap. Any of these will be acceptable in an office environment. You can get a pair at Meermin for about $150.  

For dress shirts, you really ought to have at least ten, so that you can get through two work weeks before having to do laundry. However, ten will almost wipe out the rest of your budget and leave you pants-less, so I recommend getting five for now. As soon as you can, pick up another five.

Your first five should include three solids and two stripes in a mix of white and light blues. These colors flatter the complexion of any man, and they’ll set a good foundation for when you’re ready to wear suits, sport coats, and ties. You can read Jesse’s post about this subject here. I agree with what he said, and would just add that in your situation, it would avoid having people think “here comes that guy in the bright pink shirt again.” You are going to be wearing each of these often, so best to make them look fairly non-descript.

Design wise, choose the following if you can: semi-spread collars (they look good on every guy); French placket with no pocket (as a proper dress shirt should be); and barrel cuffs (not French cuffs, as you won’t be wearing these with a suit for now). You can browse TM Lewin’s clearance section to see what they have. Their “slim fits” fit decently well on the average sized guy. At $32 a pop, this should set you back $160.

For pants, I’m going to fudge here and assume you at least have a pair of khaki chinos you can use for casual Friday. To add to this, I recommend two pairs of wool trousers, one solid mid-grey and another slightly darker. If you must choose a pair of non-grey pants (and only if you absolutely must), I recommend brown. Pick whatever weave you’d like (from flannel to sharkskin), but just make sure the fabric doesn’t look too shiny. You don’t want to look like you forgot your suit jacket at home. Sign up for Land’s End’s newsletter and wait for a coupon code to come up. You can then score a pair of their Tailored Fit wool trousers for about $60.

Finally, we have the laptop bag. Muji has a canvas and leather shoulder option as well as a “3-Way” bag (an unfortunate name) for $80 and $90, respectively. These aren’t the most professional looking of bags, and there are certainly better options out there, but this slides us in at about $515, just fifteen dollars more than the budget you allocated.

Of course, a basic business wardrobe should have at least double what I’ve listed above – two pairs of shoes so that you can rotate between them (wearing the same pair everyday will quickly ruin the leather), ten dress shirts, and four trousers. Depending on your office environment, you may also want to get a few suits or sport coats at some point. These will make you much more professional looking, but they’ll be considerably more expensive.

Remember that you can lower your outlay by acquiring things over time instead of buying everything at once. Try thrifting, using eBay, and waiting for sales. Jesse’s guide to thrifting can help you with the first, our eBay roundups the second, and my sales announcements here and at the Inside Track the third. Give yourself a year or two to acquire a decent, basic wardrobe, and perhaps another five to six years to perfect it. It takes a while to acquire what you need and learn how to dress well, but the process itself can be very fun and rewarding. 

House Shoes
Although it’s very much a cultural issue, I prefer having separate shoes for when I’m at home. You can change between shoes at the porch, and doing so will ensure that you don’t track in filth. Indoor shoes can also provide your feet with support and, at the same time, be more comfortable than lace ups.
There are a variety of options. On the more “formal” side, there are Prince Albert slippers, which are typically velvet and have quilted silk linings. The English aristocracy used to wear these when they received people into their homes. They were worn with tuxedos and smoking jackets, but in the past few decades, they’ve migrated to the more casual side of the spectrum. I think they look quite smart with a pair of casual trousers, button up shirt, and a sweater. Black is the most traditional color, but brown, navy, and British racing green work nicely as well. I like them plain, but if you get an emblem, I suggest that it be of something with personal relevance (e.g. your initials, a sport you play, or a school you attended). You can buy such slippers from Brooks Brothers, Stubbs & Wooton, Broadland, Bowhill & Elliot, and Shipton & Heneage. You’ll also find that most major English shoemakers have them for sale.
For more casual options, there are Grecian, mule, and moccasin-styled slippers. These typically come in leather and sometimes have sheepskin lining. I think such slippers look best with a heel cup, but the mule style will be easier to take on and off. Drapers of Glastonbury makes really excellent models, and Pediwear has them for pretty attractive prices. You can also get some handsome ones at Brooks Brothers, Morlands, Jeremy Law, and Mr. Porter.
Some American men may want even more casual options still. For those men, I’d recommend LL Bean, Lands End, and Ralph Lauren. I personally don’t find those styles to be as attractive, but they can look more suitable if you wear jeans or sweatpants at home. You can also check out Muji (both the European and American webshops). They have slippers at extremely affordable prices.
Finally, two additional pairs I think you should consider are the travel and bath slipper. If you travel a lot, a pair of travel slippers can be nice for when you’re at the hotel. They’re also wonderful for long flights since your feet swell during air travel. La Portegna makes some really handsome ones, but as I’ve written before, their shipping is a bit high. I’ve been told, however, that they’re working on expanding their US distribution. The other pair of slippers you may need are terry cotton bath slippers. These should be worn underneath a bathrobe when you’re heading off to the shower. Having a separate pair helps ensure that you don’t stick damp feet into your lounge slippers, which can be bad for both your feet and your shoes. If you buy nice slippers, you might as well make sure they last.
(pictured above: Derek Rose Gower slippers)

House Shoes

Although it’s very much a cultural issue, I prefer having separate shoes for when I’m at home. You can change between shoes at the porch, and doing so will ensure that you don’t track in filth. Indoor shoes can also provide your feet with support and, at the same time, be more comfortable than lace ups.

There are a variety of options. On the more “formal” side, there are Prince Albert slippers, which are typically velvet and have quilted silk linings. The English aristocracy used to wear these when they received people into their homes. They were worn with tuxedos and smoking jackets, but in the past few decades, they’ve migrated to the more casual side of the spectrum. I think they look quite smart with a pair of casual trousers, button up shirt, and a sweater. Black is the most traditional color, but brown, navy, and British racing green work nicely as well. I like them plain, but if you get an emblem, I suggest that it be of something with personal relevance (e.g. your initials, a sport you play, or a school you attended). You can buy such slippers from Brooks Brothers, Stubbs & Wooton, Broadland, Bowhill & Elliot, and Shipton & Heneage. You’ll also find that most major English shoemakers have them for sale.

For more casual options, there are Grecian, mule, and moccasin-styled slippers. These typically come in leather and sometimes have sheepskin lining. I think such slippers look best with a heel cup, but the mule style will be easier to take on and off. Drapers of Glastonbury makes really excellent models, and Pediwear has them for pretty attractive prices. You can also get some handsome ones at Brooks Brothers, Morlands, Jeremy Law, and Mr. Porter.

Some American men may want even more casual options still. For those men, I’d recommend LL Bean, Lands End, and Ralph Lauren. I personally don’t find those styles to be as attractive, but they can look more suitable if you wear jeans or sweatpants at home. You can also check out Muji (both the European and American webshops). They have slippers at extremely affordable prices.

Finally, two additional pairs I think you should consider are the travel and bath slipper. If you travel a lot, a pair of travel slippers can be nice for when you’re at the hotel. They’re also wonderful for long flights since your feet swell during air travel. La Portegna makes some really handsome ones, but as I’ve written before, their shipping is a bit high. I’ve been told, however, that they’re working on expanding their US distribution. The other pair of slippers you may need are terry cotton bath slippers. These should be worn underneath a bathrobe when you’re heading off to the shower. Having a separate pair helps ensure that you don’t stick damp feet into your lounge slippers, which can be bad for both your feet and your shoes. If you buy nice slippers, you might as well make sure they last.

(pictured above: Derek Rose Gower slippers)

Dopp Kits: A Nice Accessory for the Traveling Man

Dopp kits are designed for men who need something to hold their toiletries while they travel. They were invented by Charles Doppelt, a German leather-goods maker, sometime in the early 20th century. Doppelt scored a contract with the US Army during WW2 and provided millions of American GIs with them while they fought abroad. When these soliders came home, they brought their dopp kits with them and thus began their civilian use. 

Now, unless you’re off fighting a war, nobody needs a dopp kit. You can get along fine by triple bagging your toiletries in plastic bags when you travel. Unless you’re hanging out with really lame people, nobody’s going to judge you for it, assuming they even notice. However, these pouches are still nice to have. There’s something about them that help you feel a little less like you’re living out of a box, and they inspire a better sense of organization. With plastic grocery bags, even if I bring my nicest ones, my toiletries randomly wind up on different tables in my hotel room. As well, dopp kits just feel a bit more “grown up,” and that’s what this site is all about, right?

So for readers who travel, I thought I’d run through some dopp kit options. I’ll separate this out into three price tiers.

Over $100: Mulholland Brothers sells some nice basic models in both waxed canvas and leather. Nothing fancy here, just your standard dopp kit in great materials. If you want something a bit more interesting, there’s this Kenton Sorenson, which will darken to a beautiful patina over time. Jack Spade also makes some. My personal dopp kit is by Jack Spade and I love it, but I’ll admit that I think their products are slightly overpriced for what they are. However, Jack Spade dopp kits go on sale every once in a while at Gilt and Nordstroms, so check there. Lastly, there is Col. Littleton, which looks amazing, but is pretty expensive. 

Between $50 and $100: As with a lot of things, Filson and Orvis always makes very nice mid-priced items. There’s also this leather piece by Buxton Accessories, which has one of the nicer organization systems I’ve seen. 

Under $50: If you’re on a tighter budget, there are many dopp kits priced under $50. The first is Lands End’s SeaGoing and Square Rigger models. The SeaGoing is designed for really wet environments (perhaps if you’re bringing your dopp on a boat) while the Square Rigger is a bit more traditional. There are also affordable waxed canvas options by Marc New York and J Crew, as well as a leather model by Dopp Delegate. Additionally, Potterybarn has one you can monogram. I’ve handled this one before and wasn’t very impressed with the leather but - well - it’s $39. Lastly, MUJI has a variety of affordable options - this one’s $17. Jesse uses a MUJI bag not unlike this one and recommends them, and I can see the hook coming in real handy for situations where you can’t take up a lot of counter space. There are more here.

As for what to pack in your dopp kit? For me, I work off of this list:

The Essentials: Travel size bottles of shampoo and conditioner; toothbrush and toothpaste; floss; nail clippers; facial scrub; lotion; hair products; Q-tips; hand salve; a comb; deodorant; sunscreen; and a shaving kit. 

Optional: Lip balm; Band Aids; Tylenol; $20 bill; LintUps; breath mints; ear plugs; Emergen-C; condoms; and my own soap (since hotel soaps usually suck). 

Also, be sure to squeeze out the air from your travel sized bottles. This will help make sure they don’t explode during the flight. You can buy travel sized bottles at almost any Longs Drugs or Walmart, or online through Flight 001

Lastly, a word of caution when selecting your dopp kit. The goal here is not to get the biggest sized bag you can. It’s much wiser to know what you typically bring and buy an appropriate sized bag for your gear. If you get something too big, it will just take up unnecessary room in your luggage, so know thyself before buying. 

It’s On Sale
Muji “Good Fit” Sneakers
Another nice summer sneaker option.  Ready to be paired with almost anything all summer long.
$21.20 from $26.50, Muji.us

It’s On Sale

Muji “Good Fit” Sneakers

Another nice summer sneaker option.  Ready to be paired with almost anything all summer long.

$21.20 from $26.50, Muji.us