The Best of Made in the USA – 2012

From under to outerwear and all points in between.

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Despite what many may think, Americans are still really good at making stuff.  Machinery, technology, crops, noise, arterial plaque… But since tomorrow is Independence Day here in the states, and this happens to be a website dedicated to Men’s style, there’s an opportunity to salute those still making great looking wearable and carry-able, stuff right here in the USA.  Much of these can get real expensive, real quick.  So know that.  Additions from you guys are welcome in the comments.  Top Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan

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Best Dress Shirt:  ratio/clothing Blue Windowpane Pinpoint – $98.00

Durable, great looking, and fits perfectly.

Not just made in the USA, but made in the USA with a custom fit.  Ratio’s sizing procedure isn’t overly invasive, but it still gets close enough that you feel like a tailor took your measurements.  Full review here.  See the 5 Favorites with ratio’s founder Eric Powell here.

 

Best Casual Shirt:  Bonobos All-American Oxfords – $88.00

They don’t often get to the sale section.

One of the biggest casualties of the Bonobos code drought has been the purchasing of these friggin’ amazing shirts.  They’re cut closer, but not tight.  They’re incredibly comfortable and soft, made from a thicker but not beastly thick oxford cloth.  Made in Philadelphia.

 

Best Sport Coat: Club Monaco Cotton Twill – $395.00

Cotton. Made in Maryland.  (Fella on the right wearing sweats?)

Man that’s expensive.  Comes in standard measured jacket sizes.  Made in Maryland, and a serious investment that should be your go-to for many, many years to come.

 

Best Dress Shoes:  AE Strand in Walnut – $335 / Brooks Brothers Medallion Cap – $261

The standard.

Credit to Allen Edmonds.  Their shoes are a major investment for sure, but  unlike some other high end American shoe companies, most won’t have to cash out their 401K to get their hands on a pair.  Meanwhile, Brooks Brothers and Allen Edmonds have a bit of a relationship.  The BB model isn’t called The Strand, but differences are pretty minimal if noticeable at all.  The Brooks Brothers model is on sale through today, then it shoots back up to $348.  Runner up:  The since discontinued Allen Edmonds Fairfax.  That’s an amazing shoe.

 

Best Suit:  Hickey Freeman via LastCall.com at 40% off – $350 – $375

Sizes and selection can go extremely fast.

They’re not the slimmest fitting suits in the world, but at retail they clock in around $1500, they’ve got some heritage, and they’re made in the USA.  Problem is snagging a common size on LastCall before they all sell out.  Usually found with stripes too.  Solids are rare.  But they’re hundreds less than a Brooks Brothers even when the BBs are on sale.

 

Best Boots: Danner Mountain Light Stumpton Series – $330 – $375

Terrific looking and tough. Real form, and real function.

It’s awfully hard to find any sort of fault with Red Wing or a pair of Alden Indys.  But if you want a boot that can handle the trail and keep your feet dry, all while not feeling or looking like you’ve got a pair of cinder blocks on your feet, then the Danner Mountain Lights from their Stumpton Series are perfect.  Lined with Gore Tex, built on a last that’s slimmer than most boots, and manufactured by a company with awfully high standards.  Plus, whether you go with the leather or nubuck options, they all look really, really good.

 

Best Jeans:  Todd Shelton “American Dark” Watts Narrow Leg – $118

Dark, and now with a more narrow leg.

Todd Shelton is now offering a jeans cut that’s closer than their straight fit.  And that’s good news for those who might prefer a 514 type of slim/straight.  The narrow leg fit has a 7.5″ opening on a waist size 32.  Too trim at the ankle?  Not to worry… their standard straight has a 501 like 8.5″ opening (although personal experience showed they seemed to fit a little bigger than a 501.)   Also worth a mention:  The Made in the USA Levi’s line for Brooks Brothers is on sale right now.  But they’re usually $148.  Todd Shelton jeans are normally $118 and they’re made from USA cotton too.

 

Best Belt: J. Crew Classic Plaque Belt – $49.50

You’ve seen this thing everywhere.

Made in the USA huh?  Who knew?

 

Best Watch Accessory: Wood & Faulk Navy Passthrough Watch Strap – $59.00

Red, no.  White, nah.  This… yeah.

Navy.  Nicely done.  Adds a real subtle bit of color to your wrist without going all summer-stripey.  Watch on the strap sure appears to be the Maratac mid-sized automatic, which along with the larger size, is sold out.  Full review of the non blue version over here.

 

Best Tie:  Theory “Coupe” dash tie – $48.90 ($98)

At least it ships free…

On sale and with a perfectly subtle dashed pattern.  3.25″ wide so it’s no skinny thing by any stretch, but it’s not going to be massively fat either.  Substantial, but not bib like.  Made in the USA of imported silk.  Want something a similar only slimmer and in a micro dot?  This one in black from J. Crew will do.

 

Best Pocket Square: Fifth & Brannan Blue Gingham – $30.00

Making your pocket feel like the 1%

Thirty bucks for a square of cloth?  I know.  Plenty of you have seen this before, thought “ridiculous” then and still think “ridiculous” now.  But it feels outrageously different from the cheap alternatives.  It folds perfectly into pocket size, it’s durable, and it’s the perfect not-navy-blue to offset your navy suits and jackets.  A total splurge, maybe a gift for someone else.  Lucked out and snagged their three pack on discount when 5th&B ran their Kickstarter Campaign long ago.  Made in San Francisco.

 

Best Underwear: Flint and Tinder?

Speaking of Kickstarter… talk about a successful launch.  Their goal was $30,000.  They raised almost 10x that.  They became “the best funded fashion Kickstarter event of all time.”  If you pledged $36, you’ve got three pairs of Made in the USA “briefs, boxers, or boxer briefs in the 1 color and size of your choice” coming to you.  Anybody get their F&T underwear yet?

 

Best Outerwear:  US Navy issue Peacoats via an Army/Navy Surplus Store

As authentic as it gets.

Hat tip to our friends in the UK & Europe for the style inspiration.  Honest-to-goodness Navy peacoats are incredible quality and can usually be found for dirt cheap.  The coats above were $140 – $160.  And if you don’t want to look like you’re on shore leave, replacing the gold buttons for something more subtle would be an easy fix.

 

Best Luggage:  Frost River Flight bag – $140 | Blue Claw Worton – $298

The budget and the splurge.

The Frost River is more rugged and dirt cheap for what you get.  The Blue Claw is more refined but not overly so thanks to the nylon base under the super-thick leather accents.  Both are plenty big.

 

Best Dopp Kit:  Beckel Canvas Small Necessary Bag – $23.00

Why pay $30 for some import when you can have this?

Dopp kits can get stupid expensive, especially considering that a zip loc can do the same job, and almost no one will see it since it’ll stay in your luggage.  This one is not only made in the USA, it looks outstanding in the off-white canvas color, it also comes in navy or green if that’s more your thing, and it’s barely over twenty bucks.  Made by the same company who produces the popular “Possibilities” duffel.

 

Best Brief Case:  Slim Laptop Briefcase – $208.60 ($298)

Made in the USA

Also part of the Brooks Brothers sale that ends today.  Dark and sleek enough for almost any office, but has a 21st century relaxed feel to it thanks to the ballistic nylon.  Nice blend by the fellas at Brooks Brothers.  Also absolutely worth a mention, Filson’s Original Briefcase for $225.

 

Best Card Case: Chester Mox Chestnut Brogue Wallet – $50.00

Personalization available as well.

Take some medallion inspiration from a shoe, slap it on some incredibly soft leather, stitch it with waxed cream colored thread, and there you have it.

 

Best Nontraditional Wallet: form•function•form Architect’s Wallet – $78.13* ($95)

Code: “whitesoftheireyes” is good for 17.76% off.

First seen over here and was extremely well received in the comments.  And for good reason too.  Hand stitched Horween Chromexcel Leather uses a Moleskine Volant extra small notebook to make one hell of a good looking and unique wallet for the guy who’s got ideas, but is afraid he’ll forget them.  *Code “whitesoftheireyes” is good for 17.76% off (mm hm…) through 7/8/12.  Items ship once form•function•form gets back from vacation sometime next week.  More on their facebook page here.  Sale is limited to the quantities they have on hand.

 

Best Vehicle:  Tesla Model S -$57,000 – $105,400

And they’re here.  Tesla started delivering these in June.  Base model gets you a range of 160 miles at 55 mph, 0-60 in 6.5, and a top speed of 110 miles an hour.  There are three other models, and here are the stats for the high end “signature performance” model:  300 mile range, 350 horsepower, top speed of 135 mph, 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.  Test drive stops can be found here.  Made in Freemont CA.   No it’s not “affordable.”  Yes it’s easy to love the new classic inspired styling of the Camaro and Challenger.  But Tesla’s Model S is all kinds of brilliant.

 

Best Evidence that plenty of American Women get it done over 40: Connie Briton

Born in Boston, raised in Virginia.  Won’t watch a second of this new “Nashville” show that ABC is putting on, but head to head, Ms. Britton vs. Hayden Panettiere, sorry cheerleader… save yourself.

Your turn guys.  Additions are welcome in the comments.  Here’s to hoping all of us in the states wake up on Thursday with the same number of fingers we woke up with on Wednesday.  Enjoy the holiday.