2 Leather Accessories You Should Invest In

We see leather everywhere, in all different types of clothing and accessories. The downside is, most of it is probably not of good quality. But right now I want to focus on accessories, and there are 2 main accessories that I think are worth investing a little more than you typically would: wallets and belts.

Before we get there, let’s briefly talk about leather and why you should opt for higher quality/grade leather. What that means to you is opting for full or top grain leather. Those two are the best quality leathers your money can buy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s expensive.

Shy away from genuine leather because it’s are typically made from scrap leather that has been bonded and refinished to appear to look like top or full grain leather. That also means it doesn’t have the strength and durability that full or top grain leather provides. If you are unsure on the grade of leather you’re buying, just ask.

Product Review: Full Grain Creations Lexington Wallet

Wallets are often an accessory that we pay the least attention to. An afterthought, if you will. But they shouldn’t be. They’re the gatekeepers to very important information; our identification, and our financial means. That means we should care about the wallet that it’s placed in.

Morgan Timmann, the owner and craftsman behind Full Grain Creations sent me the Lexington card wallet to review. I stumbled upon Morgan’s work through his Instagram account, and because extremely interested in the the details that he adds to his pieces. After reaching out to him, he graciously agreed to let me review a wallet.

First Impressions

With clothing, cars, people, or food, first impressions are everything. Wallets are no different, especially if you care about quality. My first impression of the Lexington ranks amongst the highest with any other clothing item I’ve ever bought. This wallet is gorgeous. It’s very supple to the touch, and the exact type of unique details I look for in an accessory.

The beautiful details of the Lexington.

Functionality

I’m of the mindset that normal bi-fold wallets are overkill on a day-to-day basis. You shouldn’t need to carry that much stuff in your pocket. I carry 5 cards including my drivers license. This is why card cases are so attractive, and this Lexington is no different.

The Lexington with my cards inserted.

Most card cases that you see have slots on both sides, with a center slot for cash. This Lexington only has slots on one side with a center slot. At first, before having this in hand, I wasn’t sure how I’d like this. But after adding in my cards to try it out, I realized that based on this particular design, it saves me fractions of seconds of having to make the decision of; which side is the card I’m trying to use on. Small detail, but that’s good design.

Backside of the Lexington

The Lexington is also slimmer than my current No. 3 wallet from Ezra Arthur. This means it’ll sit more flat in my pocket, which is a huge win. The less I feel the wallet in my pocket, the better.

Side-by-side of my Ezra Arthur and the Lexington

The Details

The star of the show with the Lexington is the stitching. There’s a multi-colored hand-stitching around the wallet that is absolutely perfect. I’ve never before seen this type of stitching, and was very impressed.

You won’t find this tri-color stitching anywhere else.

“Each wallet is meticulously hand sewn using red, white and blue French linen thread. The French thread, from Sajou, is not only of supreme quality, but allows me to pay homage to the county that helped contribute to the success of the American Revolution, from which the wallet derives it’s name.” – Morgan Timmann

As mentioned from my first impression, the leather is super soft to the touch. And one of the cool things about using this sort of high quality leather, is that over time it will develop a great looking patina, which mean it’ll age gracefully and look better down the road. You can’t say that about many clothing items you buy.

Also highly visible is Full Grain Creatives stamped logo. If there’s one gripe I have with this product, it’s the size of the logo. But my personal preference for any clothing item/accessory is either no logo, or very small logo. But this is by no means a deal killer for me, and helps that it’s a good looking logo overall!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, I love this Lexington wallet. And if aesthetics and craftsmanship matter to you, you would also love this highly. In case it wasn’t obvious, I highly recommend it. The pricing of the Lexington isn’t cheap, at $125. Yet when you compare it to the pricing of a luxury brand, it would be considered cheap with much much more care and attention placed on it. I’d choose the Lexington ever time. Full Grain Creations does offer a lesser priced alternative, which is the Saratoga wallet, at $60. While it will have the same high quality leather, you miss out on the unique tri-colored stitching.

I can say with confidence that I will be ordering a wallet from Full Grain Creations very soon. Head over to the website and check out the different leather goods offered, and order one yourself! If not only to have a great item, but to support great craftsmanship. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My 2018 Style Goals

Photo by Jason Walker

It’s time for another batch of yearly style goals. I like to do these every year because they force me to do a few things a little differently and mix up my day-to-day outfits. They don’t have to be huge lofty goals. But before jumping into my 2018 goals, I’ll quickly recap on how I did for my 2017 goals

Grading 2017 Style Goals

Buy Less Clothing: I’ve been working on less impulse buying and more thoughtful, higher quality purchases. So I definitely dialed back the amount of clothes I bought last year.

Photo by Lesa Photography

Get more creative with my wardrobe: While I certainly bought less clothing last year, I don’t feel that I got too creative with what I already own.

Wear jeans less: This was tough. Jeans are my goto when I’m in a pinch, and they never disappoint. While I did wear chinos and non-denim pants a little bit more, it wasn’t a drastic change. I’d say I broke even on this goal.

Try a new accessory: This was my favorite goal from last year. I ended up opting for a hat as my new accessory, and I absolutely loved it. I wore it a bunch, especially over the summer. So I consider this a successful accomplishment.

Photo by Jason Walker

And now for 2018 goals…

Wear More Black
One of the most under represented colors in my wardrobe is black. I only have 2 black shirts that I occasionally wear. When I suit up I never wear black suits, and always wear brown dress shoes. All my casual loafers and boots are shades of brown. Generally, I don’t think I look good in black. But this year I’m going to challenge that notion, and attempt to add more black to my wardrobe.

Design a Leather Accessory
I’ve recently became very interested in leather craft. I’ve already dabbled in making a phone coaster, and now I have some ideas on other things I’d like to try and make. It’s pretty time consuming, but I’ve learned a lot already and think I can make a few cool things that suit a couple needs of mine. If I’m happy with the results, I might even sell a few, but that’s a stretch goal.

Wear a Sports Coat More
I don’t wear sports coat much at all unless I’m going to a client meeting. There are so many different creative ways to wear a sports coat and make it look less formal, so I’m setting a goal to try some of those ways.

Write More Here
2017, especially towards the end was one of the slower years of A Curated Style. And quite frankly, I think you readers deserve more stylish content than what I delivered last year. And I want to do something about that. I have a few interesting content ideas that I think you will like. While this isn’t directly related to a clothing item, it *does* force me to explore my style/wardrobe thoughts more, get them on paper, and delivered to your inbox.

Are you making style goals this year? If so I’d love to hear them. Shoot me and email and let me know: john@acuratedstyle.com

Enjoy Your Clothes

I love talking about clothes. There’s so much to know, learn, and explore in the world of menswear. And even though many topics have been stressed here around proper fit, color matching, and sweating the details, the most important thing is to just enjoy yourself.

When you get dressed in the morning, you’re either putting on clothes based on a vibe you’re feeling, or based on a vibe you want to give off with your outfit. And that’s fine. But once you walk out of your front door, make sure that you’re actually liking and enjoying the clothes you’re putting on.

“This sort of rule-based approach to style – the idea that shopping for clothes is like shopping for electronics, and there are certain truths that govern aesthetics like physics – sucks all the joy out of clothing.”

– @dieworkwear on Dressing from Emotion (great read, by the way)

For all of us that don’t work in the fashion industry, this is a hobby. Clothes are nothing to stress out about for the sake of looking good. If you find an item that makes you feel a certain way, buy it. If you feel the need to jump on a certain trend, do it.

At the end of the day, these are just clothes. They don’t define you. So whatever outfits you’re choosing on a day-to-day, make sure you enjoy wearing them. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Here’s to a new year in style!

Designing a Phone Pad

I’ve gotten asked many times if I would ever get into designing clothes. While I’ve had ideas here and there, it’s never been an interest of mine. But what has seemed more appealing is accessories. As you know, I love accessories, so the thought of designing them has been on my mind for quite a while. I just didn’t have to motivation to make the jump and/or solve a need I have…until now.

Quick Backstory

I don’t like having cases on my phones. I admire the physical design of devices too much to want to have it covered up all the time. Normally I’m pretty careful with my phones, so dropping it was never a concern.

After getting the iPhone X, I realized a habit that I had been doing for about the past 10 years. I was always looking to put my phone on something instead of a hard desk/counter top. I was either putting it on a notebook, a soft coaster, or even some type of cloth next to my bed. While it got the job done, it wasn’t an elegant solution. And after a little searching online, I didn’t find a product that fit my style/need.

Scratching My Own Itch

In came the idea to just design my own. I had just two minor requirements for this thing; it had to be portable and easy to move around, and it had to look very stylish sitting on a surface. I had two materials in mind that I really liked which were felt and leather. Just going with felt would look good, but the material is fairly slippery on hard surfaces and I didn’t want it to slide around. So I thought that I’d use the felt for the top layer, and some quality leather as the base layer, which provided much more grip.

After a bit of initial research on leather craft (thanks /r/leathercraft) and idea gathering on Instagram, I bought a few basic tools, bought some felt, and ordered some quality Horween leather that felt good to the touch.

The Prototype

I made a prototype version from a piece of crappy leather just to test out the process and get used to the hand-stitching stitching. It turned out just ok, but as a first timer, I was into it.


I felt like I had a good grasp on making it better, and proceeded to make a few more for myself; to put in my home office, bedroom, and for work.

The Final Results

I have to say, I love these things. I know I’m biased, but they turned out close to exactly how I wanted. And they look really good and stylish sitting on various surfaces. They’re also something super easy to throw in your work bag and carry it around with you.

 

I still have a ton to learn about this kind of crafting, and working with leather, but I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I enjoyed working on the different versions that I made. It’s also pretty fun pre-determining how it’s going to look; the color of the leather, color of felt, and stitching color. Going from a mere thought in my head, to holding the product after a few hours of work is satisfying.

What’s Next

 

So now what? I don’t feel like I should keep these to myself, so I’ve been considering selling a limited run of these. I’ve gotten some pretty positive initial feedback and thinking of an approach to being able to produce more of these. If you think you might be interested in one, have any questions, or just want to give me feedback, shoot me an email: john@acuratedstyle.com.