Today I braved the elements to play in the 2013 Spring Kickoff at Sand Point Country Club. I detailed the event on SandPointCup.com — the most relevant facts are (1) I chaired the event, and (2) my team didn’t win. I did, however, debut my azalea pink pants:
Archive for the ‘Clothes’ Category
In 2011 I started a personal tradition of doing a Masters script. For whatever reason I didn’t do one in 2012 — some tradition — but this year, with me counting the seconds ’til Masters Thursday, I decided to do one again:
Like the ones I did in ’11 (yes, that’s “ones,” plural), this script wasn’t without thought. The Thursday pants haven’t gotten the call since George W. Bush was president: if they didn’t get the nod for a pro-am on Masters Thursday I’d have to put them in the donation pile — and I sure can’t do that.
Saturday’s hot pink pants are a new purchase from Bonobos. Seemed a smart call for Saturday’s Spring Kickoff at Sand Point CC, although it is supposed to rain.
Sunday’s green pants — well, ya gotta wear green on Masters Sunday, and those are the only green pants I own. (This particular combo looks a bit like Luke Donald’s Friday garb.)
As it turns out I’m not the only guy in the world not playing in The Masters who nevertheless does a script for it. Tim “Lumpy” Herron just released his — couch potato chic.
Good stuff. But I like mine better.
UPDATE: Golf Magazine voted Bo Van Pelt the best dressed player at the 2013 Masters. (More.) The shirt he was wearing in their favorite shirt? The blue one with the contrasting green color shown above.
From time to time I use this column to sing the praises of companies and products I fancy. Most recently I wrote a few love pieces for Alial Fital (1I2), a now Seattle-based clothing startup that makes very cool golf polos, among other things. I doubt my nice words made much of a difference to AF’s bottom line – I doubt either of my readers bought more than a shirt or two – but I believe in saying something nice when I have something nice to say.
So it is with pleasure that I write today about a company that recently caught my eye. The company is called The Cordial Churchman, and they make bow ties.
Lots of them.
You get the idea.
The product I like most on TCC isn’t a product so much as a service. For $29 you can send a necktie to the five-person, South Carolina-based company and they’ll convert it into a bow tie. (Buy now I More.) Last month I sent them two neckties that were unlikely to ever again get the call. They sent me back two bow ties and voila:
As neckties they sat at the end of the bench. As bow ties they’re in the starting lineup – and they got the call for Easter!
What I like most about TCC, however, transcends their product and service offering. The TCC folks just look like good people. And the fact that the company’s patriarch, a preacher, wears a bow tie every day is just plain cool. I don’t mind saying that I wish I could do that, but it just wouldn’t fly here in the uber-casual Pacific Northwest.
Regardless, this is a company I take pleasure doing business with. I’ll be adding to my bow tie collection in the weeks and months ahead.
Now, if only I could figure out a way to make a bow tie look good with a golf polo …
I try not to blog about myself these days — especially my clothes. But check out what arrived in the mail today courtesy of my buddy Jon Gaston:
Believe it or not, these are golf shoes. That didn’t stop me from wearing ‘em to bed last night.
I’m guessing I’ll be wearing these bad boys for the rest of my life.
Posted in Clothes, Golf, Hobbies & Interests, Nick, Professional, Ruminations, tagged Alial Fital, Bo Van Pelt, Chapeau Noir, Chapeau Noir Golf, Mike McAllister, PGA, PGA of America, Ryder Cup, Tom Watson on December 13, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I was pleased at this morning’s news that the PGA of America has named Tom Watson its 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Going with a guy who’ll be 65 by Cup time represents a big step out of the box for the PGA, which has lately stuck to picking guys in their mid-forties to early fifties as captain, lest the older captains be unable to “relate” to their younger players.
All that relating by younger captains to their players/peers isn’t working for the U.S. team, which has now lost seven of the last nine Cups. But I digress.
In terms of what this means to the ever-important issue of U.S. team apparel, early conventional wisdom is that Watson will go with Ralph Lauren. He’s a longtime RL guy and, according to Mike McAllister at Chapeau Noir, Davis Love III’s RL uniforms for the 2012 Ryder Cup (shown at the bottom of this piece) were “generally well received.”
I hope, however, that TW goes out of the box with at least some of his wardrobe selections. There are plenty of great smallish companies releasing outstanding golf apparel these days that the eight-time major winner can choose from. And for my money one of them sticks out.
It’s no secret to either of my readers that I’m a big fan of the now Seattle-based company (more) and I think TW would be well advised to give AF a serious look. The almost two-year old company provided polos to Bo Van Pelt on the PGA Tour in 2012: AF did such a good job that BVP turned down a much more lucrative offer from a household name to stay in AF’s tow. (More.) AF has done some nice “American” polos in the past few years:
and while U.S. captains have not always gone big with the red, white and blue lately — remember the Saturday lilacs of ’10 — they certainly should.
Lastly, AF polos are all made in the USA, something that should matter to the uber-patriotic Watson.
None of this is to say that I’m putting my chips on AF’s chances. TW’s long-standing relationship with Ralph Lauren is going to be tough to overcome and AF is still a very small company, a fact which will no doubt turn off the ultra-establishment PGA. Still, in a perfect world AF would be well in the running. Heck, I can put together a uniform set based on my favorite AF’s now. Think this
don’t look better than, say, this
As anyone who’s known me for more than a few years knows, I used to be an entrepreneur. I came up with Facebook before the world’s social network existed: the network of friends you’d have built on the second iteration of TheFence.com would have formed networks of interconnected “fences,” and the question wouldn’t have been “how many Facebook friends do you have?” — it would have been “how long is your fence?” Unfortunately I ran out of money for that one.
A few years later I came up with Betcha.com — basically an Ebay for bets. As I’ve detailed in this space at length, I ran out of luck on that one (or, more accurately, I never had any). Someday, someone’s going to get very rich when they launch their rip-off of Betcha.com. Maybe not Mark Zuckerberg rich, but they’ll have more than a few yachts to water ski behind.
As a guy who almost made it, I find it too painful to follow the entrepreneur/start-up scene these days. And while I don’t root against the little guy, I don’t care enough to root for him, either. That’s called envy.
Recently, however, I discovered a company that captured my attention, my affinity and, ultimately, my business. The company is called Alial Fital and, until a link to its website ended up in my Facebook margin, I’d never heard of it. AF makes polo shirts. Not just ordinary polo shirts. With designs that called to mind both Saville Row and Magnolia Lane, AF polos were the coolest polos I’d ever seen.. And when I saw that PGA Tour player Bo Van Pelt was wearing them on Tour — well, I had to take a closer look.
I’m a guy who’s into golf, style and golf style (1I2I3), so I was quite intrigued. And the more I read the more I liked. AF was founded by — and is apparently run by — Gibran Hamdan, a thirty-something dude who bounced around both the NFL and CFL in an earlier life. I don’t know Mr. Hamdan, who sounds like a bit of a renaissance man, but suffice it to say he was doing a lot I liked. On the product side, AF was producing polos unlike the world had ever seen. Their unique contrasting collars and plackets — gingham checked, striped and the like — made them quite distinctive, not easy for a polo shirt. AF was zigging while the big boys were zagging: whereas the Nikes (more) and Pumas of the world were (and still are) producing lowest-common-denominator pieces that look like they belong in a Central American outlet mall (example), AF was producing seriously stylish pieces that would fly off the rack in the Nordstrom men’s department. And AF was getting rave reviews in the blogosphere (1I2) — not an insignificant matter given that one of the bloggers was Mike McAllister, a golf clothing writer for whom I have great respect.
As much as I was impressed by the AF product, I liked the company’s presentation even more. Whereas many start-up companies represent themselves as being bigger than they are, AF seemed to embrace its smallness. Take a look at the AF blog and it’s hard to imagine the company is much more than a handful of guys in a Minneapolis office. I appreciated its transparency and honesty: like me, they agree with the ol’ saying that you should never pretend to be something you’re not. Its website was better than Playboy for a clothes horse like me — the lookbook at the bottom of this page being its centerfold proxy. Most importantly, AF is doing all this with a sense of humility. Unlike, say, the guy at Iliac Golf, a company I want to like but just can’t, AF’s website and Facebook posts are light on references to “I,” something I very much like in people and companies.
Despite my affinity I could not pull the trigger. Most polos were listed at $85, quite a dig into a not-very-deep pocket. ($85 is a lot better than $245, which is what Iliac is asking for one of its limited editions shirts.) And every time I had enough spirits in me to pull the trigger, the shirt I wanted was unavailable in my size — the always elusive “Large.” That was understandable given that AF only produces one hundred shirts of each style, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating.
Last week, however, AF introduced some new polos and I finally pulled the trigger. On four shirts.
When Santa Claus — er, the mailman — finally arrived, I wasn’t disappointed.
My shirts arrived in a box that looked like it was made of alligator skin. Accompanying my shirts was a hand-written thank you note from Mr. Hamdan himself. Even better than the packaging where the shirts themselves. “Very dope” is about the right phrase. To paraphrase Mr. McAllister, AF’s microfiber shirts are an outstanding combination of feel, craftsmanship, style, technology and innovation. Suffice it to say that when I wear these polos out I’ll have the nicest shirt in the place, whether that’s a country club grill room, airplane cabin or backyard barbecue. And because the side splits are detailed to match the collars, they’ll look good either tucked or untucked. These AF’s will immediately go into my starting lineup — and with 150+ polos in my closet (including 40+ from Greenspan Cup and 30+ Tiger rapidly-aging Tiger shirts [more]), that’s no small achievement.
My guess is that AF will go a long way — if it wants to. The company seems to have the marketing element figured out: its Facebook/Twitters feeds are always outstanding, and the less-than-two-year-old company already provides shirts for pro athletes like Van Pelt, Larry Fitzgerald (NFL), Brandon Weeden (NFL) and Tristan Herbert (auto racing). (Van Pelt is wearing AF (tucked) on the PGA Tour: his U.S. Open polo narrowly edged the Eagle shirt from Quagmire’s Arnie line (see the first pic of me at Turnberry in this set) for Golf Shirt of the Year in the Jenkins household. Fitzgerald has designed a few shirts for AF: the Arizona Cardinal star is wearing AF (untucked) in Italy.) It’ll have to figure out its distribution — you can only get so rich selling individual polos online — but that’s an easy problem to solve. It’ll have to expand beyond polos –again, easy enough. It’ll have to figure out how to get its price points down — a tougher task if it continues to remain just a manufacturer and continues to do its manufacturing in the United States. And it will have to bridge the brand gap from style to lifestyle, something that apparel brands must do to make it big (most recently Travis Mathew). If its execution to date is any indication, that, too, will be a gap it has no problem bridging.
Regardless of what direction AF goes, I count myself as a new, loyal and enthusiastic customer. A bunch of good guys making outstanding, cutting edge products — well-made clothes for well-dressed men. It’s a vision I appreciate pursued by a company I can happily root for.
Next in my lineup — AF’s Ryder Cup sweetness. I’ve seen a sneak peak, and it did not disappoint.
Posted in Clothes, Golf, Hobbies & Interests, Lists, Nick, Professional, tagged Adam Scott, aquascutum, Arnie Wear, Bo Van Pelt, Chapeau Noir Golf, Dunning, Dunning Golf, Geoff Ogilvy, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Jonathan Byrd, Kartel, Kyle Stanley, Luke Donald, Mike McAllister, pga tour, Ryan Moore, U.S. Open, Webb Simpson on August 9, 2012 | 1 Comment »
With the 2012 PGA Tour season coming to an end, I thought it high time to do another “best dressed players on the PGA Tour” list. (My 2010 and all-time lists.) The list wasn’t particularly easy to compile: most players on Tour are sorely lacking in on-course style. In fact most of the household names on this “best-dressed” list display none of it whatsoever. A few guys, however, do:
2. Graeme McDowell. The 2010 U.S. Open champ’s Kartel line is some of the most stylish stuff out there (wish I could afford it) and his Open Championship script might have been Script of the Year on Tour.
3. Luke Donald. Like I said back in ’10, “(n)othing spectacular from the Polo guy, but he just has a certain je ne sais qua that most players don’t.”
4. Jonathan Byrd. Always stylish, I criticized him back in ’10 for his lack of pizazz. No longer a problem (see here).
5. Geoff Ogilvy. Mike McAllister at Chapeau Noir Golf said it better than I can.
6. Webb Simpson. Like Scott, never seems to have an off-day. Might be a bit higher but his very-preppy looks lacks a little in pzazz.
7. Ian Poulter. Has dropped a bit since ’10 because his ensembles never seem to change.
8. Bo Van Pelt. According to BVP, Alial Fital‘s Gibran Hamdan coordinates his outfits from head to toe. He’s doing a great job. BVP is one of maybe four guys on Tour (Scott, McDowell, Byrd) whose presence on the leaderboard will get me to tune in — just to see what they’re wearing.
9. Kyle Stanley. Not overly flashy, but his Dunning gear always looks perfect.
10. Ryan Moore. Don’t love his style, but at least he has it, and the best of Quagmire’s Arnie Wear line is some of the best stuff out there.
Honorable mention goes to Justin Rose (liking him in Ashworth apparel but the footwear could use work); Jesper Parnevik (would be a top fiver but not really “on Tour” anymore); and Ryo Ishikawa (non-stop pzazz would be in my top ten if he toned it down on occasion).
Dishonorable mention — well, just about everyone on this list. As one commenter noted, just wearing expensive clothes supplied by a sponsor does not make one “well dressed.”
Last night I got back to Seattle after spending five days in Orlando, the first three of which at the PGA Merchandise Show. My ostensible purpose was to video my buddy Jeff Benezra’s interviews with golf industry insiders; he did the shots for a character he’s creating for DiscountGolf.com.
A few pics:
A few months back I expressed my disgust for some of the new stuff Nike Golf is putting out — specifically, the new, more techie Tiger Woods gear.
Turns out there was more.
Mike McAllister at ChapeauNoir.com reported the other day on the new Nike Dunk NG, uh, “golf” shoes:
As bad as that shirt with the holes in it was, these shoes might be even worse. All I can say is that basketball shoes are made for the basketball court. Golf shoes are made for the golf course. The two do not and should never cross over.
Safe to say Nike Golf won’t be hiring me anytime soon.