Faribault Woolen Mill x All Plaidout

When the time came to name this All Plaidout, a blog with posts about things that are not trendy, about the stories of style over fashion, about the stories behind the clothes we wear, I turned to the rich history of a cloth pattern known as a tartan. I chose the tartan most emblematic of my style, my appreciation of history, and the one that most often showed up in my closet from as early on as I can remember, the Black Watch.

A dark, neutral tartan, it was first worn by the watchmen, highly trained members of the Scottish military who’d combined their clan’s patterns to stand as one. Owed primarily to its widely appealing aesthetic quality, it has become one of the most popular and sought after plaids.

When collaborating with John Mooty at Faribault Woolen Mill on a Black Watch plaid blanket, he offered a unique suggestion.

“Let’s ground it in the threads of the U.S. Military blankets for which we’re most well-known,” he said.

By combining the green from the U.S. Army, the blue from the U.S. Navy, and the black from the West Point Academy blankets, Faribault has created a subtly new, beautiful, and altogether American take on a pattern with a rich and wonderful history.

To capture the evocative nature of the fall blanket, I turned to Carolina Mariana Rodriguez, whose self-portraits fill a frame with emotion and texture, a feeling that extends far beyond a model draped in a blanket.

As for the blanket itself, far from those rough ones I remember wrapping myself in while sitting on the bleachers at high school football games, these thick, warm blankets are made of the same MIL-SPEC yarns as those that protect those whose job it is to protect and serve the rest of us.

Finished with the flourish of a red-yarned whipstitch – which too nods to the various derivations in the Black Watch plaid, a red line in the pattern signified at times difference in rank or platoon – every effort has been made to ensure each blanket provides the utmost in functionality and comfort.

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Read Laura Pearson’s piece on blankets in the Chicago Tribune, featuring this blanket.

Available from these fine online retailers.*

Faribault Woolen Mill 
Ampersand Shops
Ewin’s
Old Faithful (Canada)
Orvis
The New York Times
TRNK

All photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana Rodriguez and Kyle Smith.

*Ask for the “Shadow Plaid Foot Soldier” blanket with the All Plaidout label anywhere Faribault Woolen Mill products are sold.

BNTO

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The enduring appeal of the canning jar as a commonsensical, multi-functional, portable, and downright pragmatical storage tool, makes the latest offering from Aaron Panone, the guy behind Cuppow, a welcome addition to the old jar.
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Stock Mfg. Co.’s Kickstarter


Chicago’s Stock Mfg. Co. recently launched a fundraising campaign via the website, Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding site perfect for the small, local designer. With nine days and about $7,000 to go before hitting their goal of $20,000, I spoke with one of the partners, an old acquaintance of mine Areill Ives, about what he and the other Stock dudes hope to accomplish post-kick.
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Upstate

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Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski are the creators of Upstate, a line of clothing and accessories that feature Shibori, a Japanese method of dying using various techniques. Where I come from, we call it tie-dye. They make every piece themeselves, turning each one out in their new studio space in Brooklyn, which makes every piece one of a kind.

I’ve become a fan by watching my girlfriend wear the scarf my mother bought her for occasions of all stripes. I’ve also admired their collaborations with Archival Clothing and Fairends. Recently, they shared their fall lookbook with me, and I was compelled to interview them.

The result is below.
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Wood & Faulk’s Guitar Strap

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I first picked up a guitar in college, and since then, I’ve searched and searched for the perfect strap, comfortable on the shoulder and yet low profile, as not to distract from all the thrashing.

Music. Personalities. pic: circa 1957. American singer, songwriter and pioneer of rock Buddy Holly (1936-1959) who with his group "The Crickets" was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950's. Buddy Holly tragically died in a plane crash in 1959.

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Growing up in Saint Louis, this image of Chuck Berry was inescapable, and yet, his slim strap has eluded me until now.

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In conjunction with Currie Person, owner of Spartan, Wood & Faulk’s Matt Pierce made these straps as a keepsake for those who headed to Austin for this year’s South by Southwest Music Festival, arguably the most influential of its kind. On his blog, he said he made them “partly to commemorate the music festival, but mostly because I love Austin and Spartan.”
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Teva

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Men, there are those among us who swear off sandals. Take for example, Rule Number 121 from Walker Lamond’s Rules for My Unborn Son, which states “Men should not wear sandals. Ever.” And then, there are men like me, men who grew up wearing shorts and sandals every day of his humid, sticky summers in the Midwest. After discovering Teva, my hot summer days would never be the same.
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GAR.RTH

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When we were kids, my brother Ben was an avid collector of the strangest things: rocks, cardboard tubes, socks, and carrot sticks (don’t ask). Thankfully, as he entered adulthood, his cotton for collecting diminished. Socks, particularly boldly colorful ones, were the only collectible that managed to maintain his interest. To this day, anytime I see a remarkable pair, I feel obligated to buy them for my brother. That’s why, when I saw Garrett Colton’s schizo stockings at his newly renamed shop on Beverly Boulevard in sunny Los Angeles, California, it was safe to say I’d grab a pair for Ben.

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The collection, a motley crew of crew socks are Garrett’s first offering from his forthcoming full line of collaborations with Rene Holguin, the owner of RTH, a perfectly appointed store near Garrett’s on North La Cienega.

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They combined their names and came up with GAR.RTH. I’ve been wearing GAR.RTH’s socks since leaving Los Angeles, and I’ll tell you, they have the most incredible cushion. I’ll also tell you with absolutely no shame that I cannot pull them on,  stretching the crew length leg without saying to myself, “Ribbed for her pleasure. Ew.” Wouldn’t it be cool if Dana Carvey was their spokesman? I’m not holding my breath, but someone please make that happen.

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Until then, I can think of a couple brothers who will happily sport these socks whenever and wherever they can. Oh, and Ben, where’d you hide the carrots?

G. Colton’s grand opening is Saturday, March 30th in Los Angeles, California. Be there.

Great American Flask

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“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” – W.C. Fields

With wedding season fast-approaching, and graduation and father’s day not far beyond, the questions in my e-mail have quickly shifted from “How do I tie a bow tie?” to “Is there something unique I can get my dad or my groomsmen or my soon-to-graduate boyfriend or all of the above?” And the answer is: The Great American Flask from Jacob Bromwell, the oldest kitchenwares manufacturer in America.
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Kletterwerks

Day 1
I have a problem.

It’s not a real problem like an economic crisis borne of these uncertain times, nor is it mental, physical, or otherwise somehow internally harmful. It’s not financial. It’s not like the problem of pesky neighbors nor a nagging parent nor an out-of-control rodent infestation. Truthfully, in the grandest of life’s schemes, this is rather small potatoes.

I have a problem with theft.
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The Campaign for the Accurate Measurement of Creativity.

When I was really little, like five or six years old, my parents’ friend Greg, a contractor in the small town where I grew up, showed me a device he’d created. My five-year-old brain remembers it being enormous. It took two of my little hands, and then some, to hold it. It looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie. Sheets of metal were riveted together. It was this big silver cylinder that tapered into a cone shape on one end. At the tail end of the cone, a little, pink eraser from a Number Two pencil stuck out. It was a glorified electric eraser, which he used on his drafting table. Since then, I developed a fascination with taking pens and pencils — particularly mechanical pencils — apart and finding new ways to make them work. I’ve attached pen caps to Chapstick; I’ve taken ink and tried to dry it around graphite to make blue pencils; In fifth and sixth grade, I even used to cut Bic pens in half, shove a red ink pen into one side and a blue ink pen into the other side, and sell them to my classmates for $5. Called them “Two Color Shorties.”

This is why, when I saw my friend, industrial designer Craighton Berman had tipped his hat to the current Mason Jar Craze by topping one with a pencil sharpener, I had to jump on board.

On a conference call the other day, Joe Gannon asked, “And how many of you have actually supported a Kickstarter?” Only one of us replied that we had, in fact, put money into a Kickstarter. I’m writing today on behalf my friend Craighton to let you know I supported this, and I think you should, too.

The Campaign for the Accurate Measurement of Creativity.