Style Pick of the Week: Brothers Leather Supply 810 Wallet

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

brothers-leather-wallet

A durable, well-made wallet from the Michigan-based team at Brothers Leather Supply. Get 15 percent off all Brothers Leather goods with the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ until January 6th!

First of all, we’re wishing everyone a lovely Christmas Eve. Now, onto to business, shall we? The concept of small, daily style upgrades that make your life better is one that’s pretty big here at The Style Guide. Be it something more noticeable like the cut of your crewneck sweatshirt or the quality of your favorite waxed trucker jacket, looking to buy the best and use the best menswear out there is a fun — if taxing — pursuit. And that pursuit extends to your everyday carry — after all, building great style is a process that touches every aspect of your life (repeat that again, will ya?) I’m always looking for ways to improve my own style, and that’s why finding brands that make the search easier can be so fulfilling. Take Brothers Leather Supply — this brand first caught my eye during a summer trip back to Grand Rapids, when I had the chance to check out the Michigan company’s well-appointed storefront, as seen below.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to a great leather goods brand.

My Grand Rapids trip this summer introduced me firsthand to the great leather goods brand that is Brothers Leather Supply.

And if you’ve been following me on Instagram, perhaps you’ve seen some of the stunning goods I’ve been testing out — including today’s Style Pick, the slim, useful and effective 810 Wallet.  We’ve talked in the past about upgrading your wallet, and if you’ve yet to do that, the 810 Wallet is an easy and effective way to check that off your list of men’s style resolutions before the new year even starts.  Whether you browse online or have the chance to visit the Brothers Leather Supply shop in Grand Rapids, I’d urge you to get up to speed on a brand that could steadily upgrade your accessories — in fact, you can use the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ to get 15 percent off any item, now through January 6th! Why should you do that? Read on, my fellow #menswear aficionados.

The 810 Wallet is made with full-grain Vechetta leather in a lovely medium tan-brown color — it’s supple, smooth leather that’ll age nicely over time. And for $75, you definitely get your money’s worth — although hey, that 15 percent discount looks pretty good, yes? The brand does you one better by offering your pick of personalized branding and leather conditioner, too. The striped, canvas-lined large back pocket is a neat design touch that’s complemented smartly by three easy-to-access slots on the left side, plus a larger slip pocket on the right side (complete with its own striped tab). Yes my friends, the 810 Wallet  ios a masculine, smart-looking wallet that slides easily in and out of slim dark denim or a trim wool overcoat — a bulky George Costanza wallet, this is not. And it should slide easily into your front suit jacket pocket the next time you suit up on a dressy day at the office. So, what’s not to love about (potentially) your go-to everyday wallet? I’d pick one up as quickly as possible, and I’d wager you’ll be surprised at how much lighter — and more stylish — your everyday carry can be.

Get 15 percent off the 810 Wallet — or any other Brothers Leather Supply good using the code ‘BrotherBeau15’ now through January 6th. Stay stylish!

Style Q+A: Moore & Giles

Editor’s note: To catch up on other Style Q+A entries, click here.

Built for the road ahead -- it was great to catch up with team at Moore & Giles (makers of the Benedict Weekend Bag) seen here.

Built for the road ahead — it was great to catch up with team at Moore & Giles (makers of the Benedict Weekend Bag) seen here. Photo courtesy of the brand.

Whenever I get the chance to stop by various #menswear events happening around NYC or around the country, I’m always intrigued and curious to see who I might meet, or what brands I might discover. At this past December’s Pop-Up Flea in New York City (a cornucopia of great lifestyle and men’s goods brands all in one spot), it was hard not to discover the stunning leather goods on display at Moore & Giles. I got to chatting with the brand’s Director of Marketing, Daryl Calfee, about some of the stellar product the brand had brought (seriously, it was museum-worthy). He just happens to be good friends with my pals over at Brothers & Craft, so we naturally hit it off talking all things men’s style. I also got to know the brand a bit more, and it’s a worthwhile one to know. In addition to a massive collection of fine leathers,  they also produce their own line of jaw-dropping bags, renowned for their heritage quality and style (in fact, I covered the Benedict Weekend Bag for GearMoose). Throw in a well-curated, stellar assortment of home goods, and you’ve got enough gear to make your head spin (the 33 Chair in particular is Wish List-worthy).

Given the brand’s affinity for quality and nuanced design, it was great to be able to send over a few questions to Thomas Brennan, the brand’s Director of Design for Bags & Accessories. After you get a look into the Moore & Giles process, you very well might want a bag for yourself. Enjoy this one, folks!

(Editor’s note: In the meantime, got a brand or style personality you’d like to see answer some zingers?Let me know via Facebook or Twitter).

The Style Guide: Take me through the background of Moore & Giles and how you approach your work?

Moore and Giles:  The brand was founded in 1933 as a materials supplier to local shoe manufacturers. Donald Graeme Moore traveled around the area sourcing and selling everything from shoelaces and eyelets to nails and leather. Eventually his offerings narrowed to strictly leather   and his regional hunt gradually expanded into the global quest it is today to uncover hidden gems at tanneries in all corners of the world. The company develops, sources and sells millions of square feet of leather a year across a variety of industries including furniture manufacturers, private aviation companies, and high-end homes and hotels.
The bag division developed in 2007 when our president and vice president decided to take advantage of their access to such magnificent material and made a few travel and work bags to bring with them on their travels. The line has grown organically from that point into the extensive, well curated line of bags and accessories that exists today.
Our products are unapologetically traditional. Artisans have been tanning hides for millennia and hand-sewing the resulting leather into useful objects for just as long. Both the material history and the history of our own company add welcome layers of authority, grandeur, and natural beauty to our bags; my job is to simply accentuate the existing beauty of the material with understated designs that will age as well as the leather.
Just one of the exceptionally high-quality bags produced by the brand. Photo courtesy of Moore & Giles.

Just one of the exceptionally high-quality bags produced by the brand. Photo courtesy of Moore & Giles.

TSG:Where do you find your biggest sources of inspiration?
M&G: The leather itself is the primary inspiration. We are fortunate to have close relationships with a 150-year old tannery in Italy, which means that our “product development” begins with prototyping leather colors and experimenting with different finishes, various combinations of waxes and oils, milling times, and ironing treatments. These design decisions affect the finished product long before I ever sit down to sketch a specific silhouette. When I do sit down to design a bag, I tend towards clean exteriors, traditional shapes, discrete details——decisions that keep the natural beauty of the leather front and center.
 Reading books, talking with creative peers, and sifting through vintage stores all provide great creative fodder but for the ultimate design inspiration, nothing beats close observation of day-to-day routines. Take going on a business trip, for instance. As I’m packing, I want to make the job easier, tidier, more secure and I want my shoes kept separate from my shirts; when I’m going through airport security I need a convenient, safe spot to tuck my wallet and cell phone; when I’m putting my bag in the overhead bin I want easy access to my notebook or a magazine but don’t want to rifle through the body of the bag; if I’m meeting with a new manufacturer I want to have my business cards close at hand. I aspire to be more organized than I am and more put together than I often feel. Our bags help me on both fronts.



TSG: What, in your mind, can a great leather accessory do for a guy who might not have given it much thought before?

 M&G: In a lot of ways, having a great leather accessory is like be the owner of the easiest pet ever: It will never cease to amaze you how happy you get when you see it; you’re going to feel more fond of it the longer you have it; strangers will stop you and ask you about it. Added bonus: you don’t have to feed it and it arrives at your door already housebroken.
TSG: Are there new product categories that you want to expand into in the coming seasons?
M&G: What’s proving more interesting than expanding out across new categories is finding new ways to give the existing line more depth and texture. The sheer volume of colors and finishes of leather we have at our fingertips is dizzying. The collection of artisans who tan, stamp, hand-stain, carve, and etch, to whom we have access is incredibly deep. Eight years in, we’ve only scratched the surface of what the bags and accessories can look like. As an example: we introduced a bespoke program during the holiday season last year that has given our customers a chance to participate in the creative process by selecting from a more expansive palette of hides to use on a custom travel or work bag. Seeing the colors that customers gravitated towards——reds and purples and golden tans and cool grays——and the types of leathers they’ve responded to———leathers that are exceptionally rare, have more history, or age in unique ways——informed several recent releases (like our Modern Saddle collection featuring vegetable tanned leather) and inspired a roster of upcoming releases.
TSG: What’s one thing every guy should have in his closet in terms of style?
M&G: Wherever you sit along the style continuum between a tailored suit and leather lace-ups and raw denim and sneakers, our classic Benedict Weekend Bag is a worthy compliment. It’s simple, beautiful, and functional. Unlike some other sartorial decisions, I guarantee you’ll still be proud of yourself for owning one ten years from now.
To keep up with all things Moore & Giles, follow the brand on Instagram or via Twitter.

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The Product Review: Linjer Leather Goods Mocha Billfold

Editor’s note: Thanks to all who participated in the recent giveaway run in conjunction with Linjer Leather Goods!

Enough room for the essentials and some cash. Much slimmer than a regular wallet.

Enough room for the essentials and some cash. Much slimmer than a regular wallet.

Now that the blog’s given away a fantastic Linjer Leather Goods piece to one lucky winner, it’s time to turn our attention to an alternative way to snag a great leather piece from the company for those who didn’t come out lucky — and that way, my friends, would be through yet another fundraising round. Uf you’re unfamiliar with Linjer, they launched early last fall and delivered successfully on a popular INDIEGOGO campaign, promising to cut down on the cost of leather goods while delivering the same top-line quality as more expensive brands. Funding opportunities for company’s new line launch today via the link at the start of this sentence. Linjer’s second push is shooting to raise about $15,000. The new line includes a card holder, a vertical wallet, the billfold seen here and a passport wallet, along with a tote bag. If funded, those items would join a selection of briefcases, a satchel and a messenger bag, among other items in luxurious-looking leathers, already for sale at the company’s official website.

The mocha billfold in action.  What bank do I belong to and where am I from? There you go.

The mocha billfold in action. What bank do I belong to and where am I from? There you go.

Roman from Linjer Leather Goods was kind enough to send me the first mocha billfold they produced, and it’s a piece that delivers on the quality the company promises. Some crowd-funding campaigns can be quite iffy in terms of actually delivering nice items in time (or at all), but Linjer’s stepped up to the plate, for sure. This particular mocha billfold is a lot slimmer than even typically slimmed-down wallets (about 40% of the traditional thickness) and uses exceptionally soft leather that should develop a nice patina over time.

The first-ever mocha billfold from Linjer Leather Goods.

The first-ever mocha billfold from Linjer Leather Goods.

This same leather features prominently in the company’s briefcases, satchels and messenger bags — it’s vegetable-tanned, giving it that soft-to-the-touch feel. It features two pockets for cash (one of them dubbed a “secret pocket” and enough space for 6 cards, which should be the perfect amount for most of us. Crucially, the presentation of the wallet in terms of packaging was also on-par with what you might expect from a reputed company — Roman and the team were kind enough to include a handwritten card.

I currently carry a brown leather card case, but this presents a sturdier, more durable and attractive option. There’s more than enough space for cards I need and the cash slots offer enough room for some bills. The inner lining of those sleeves is a soft twill that’s also a step up from the plastic-like lining you find on some brands. While these pieces are close to $50 right now, it’s an investment that’s worth making — doubly so when you consider a wallet’s on your person every day with both casual or dressier outfits. This Linjer billfold is sharp enough to go with both — and everywhere in between.

Brand Profile: Linjer Leather Goods

A very new start-up plowing through a successful Indiegogo campaign.

A very new start-up plowing through a successful Indiegogo campaign.

Editor’s note: Although this post was originally supposed to cap off the Budget Style series, there was a change in plans — look for that entry early next week!   It’s not been often on this site that specific brands have been featured (outside of the Starter Style Review series) but Linjer Leather Goods is a great place to start. An extremely new start-up currently flying through an initial Indiegogo campaign, the brand is looking to fill a unique niche that could actually apply to lots of working professionals and even students looking for a bag upgrade. Right now, the brand makes a soft briefcase and portfolio bag in black or cognac, a messenger bag, a satchel bag (both in black) and a cardholder in black or cognac — any of which could hit the sweet spot in a few months’ time for professionals or students (shipping is set for January 2015). And about that name — it means ‘lines’ in Norwegian, reflecting the Scandinavian heritage of co-founder Roman Khan.

Vegetable-tanned leather, an upgrade over chrome-tanning.

Vegetable-tanned leather, an upgrade over chrome-tanning.

The intriguing name reflects the brand’s back story. Finding a high-quality bag without the ridiculous mark-up initially proved difficult for Roman and his co-founder, Jenn. Coming from conservative industries where a nice bag was a must, they consistently ran into quality problems with cheaper bags. So they launched Linjer, looking to craft affordable leather pieces at price points that the ordinary professional could actually afford. So far, it’s paying off — the brand has already raised $55,592 (at the time of this post) since launching its campaign earlier this week. More importantly, the bags look sleek and simple, and even the website and e-commerce site photos reflect polish and professionalism — both positives when considering donating to a campaign. Down the line, a women’s collection is also in the cards for the brand. It’s worth noting, however, that some Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns have resulted in missed delivery dates and poor-quality product — tread carefully, and yet note that early indicators are largely positive for Linjer.

Understated and yet worth the price.

Understated and yet worth the price.

And the fact that these bags bring so much style and polish is absolutely worth noting. Instead of carrying around a regular backpack or laptop sleeve, something with some character to it could undoubtedly make the difference in your appearance at work or in the classroom. A sharp bag that complements the rest of your outfit is yet another step to take in improving your personal style, and unlike other items you might buy on a budget and rotate, a fine bag might feasibly go with you everywhere. Where Linjer looks to set itself apart really comes through in the leather itself. Their products are made with vegetable-tanned leather, a more natural process than chrome-tanning (more can be found on their site here). That process results in a richer patina over time, a great thing when you consider that the leather should take on its own character based on where you go and what you do.

If you're in need of a bag upgrade, you might want to check out Linjer Leather Goods — soon!

If you’re in need of a bag upgrade, you might want to check out Linjer Leather Goods — soon, based on their Indiegogo campaign.

There are several pieces in their lineup that could come in handy in the future — although right now I carry around a trusty Kenneth Cole messenger bag, I would consider making the leap to Linjer’s black messenger bag or perhaps a portfolio case. Right now, the Indiegogo donation lines run from $1 to a $769 bundle featuring two soft briefcases, two cardholders and free U.S. shipping. Overall, subsequent donation amounts seem to reflect affordable pricing for a long-term purchase. In the coming weeks, a product review will hopefully be coming down the line. Keep your eyes peeled, and in the meantime, check out the brand’s Indiegogo page for more information.