Good Things

GreenBlazerDuds and headwear
Bottle-green blazer: The navy blazer, definitely a wardrobe staple, can be complicated by the rarer bottle-green version. For outfitting, we turn to O’Connell, Lucas and Chelf, Buffalo’s iconic men’s store. Their three-button sack model fits the bill. Made in the United States. From $350.

Tab t-shirt: A campus classic for decades that takes its cues from crew teams of yore, this is an essential piece of casual clothing. Naturally, we’ve selected the St. Lawrence model, on offer from the Brewer Bookstore. $16.95.

NewarkBearshatEbbetts Field Flannels ballcaps: Made in the United States — a strong compliment — these flannel ballcaps are a must have, especially as winter starts to show its frosty face. Given our New Jersey roots, we recommend the Newark Bears model. $35.

DaleDale sweater: No clothing item we can think of quite says winter like a Dale of Norway Sweater. De rigeur in all alpine precincts, we’ve selected the U.S. Ski Team issue in honor of Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht, who a bronze in Vancouver. $295 from NorwaySports.com.

Jytte hat: Nordic skiing requires the right gear. We’ve always liked the Jytte (pronounced you-tay) hats procured by the St. Lawrence ski team some years ago, and the Idaho-based firm will set you straight when it comes to headwear. Hand-made in the United States. From $18.

Filson shelter-cloth cap: Lined with wool, this cap comes recommended by ejforbes.com outdoor correspondent Steve Reynolds, a long-time Filson devotee. The water-resistant outer lining sets this cap apart. As appropriate for bird shooting as its for cruises through the urban jungle. Made in the United States. $62.50.

Brooks Brothers dress shirts: That these have been selected will probably not be seen as a surprise or a unique choice by some. It had to be done. Made in the United States — North Carolina, we’re fairly sure — these are essentials. Ed bought three earlier this year and has been suitably impressed to include them here, despite being generally skeptical of the Brothers. You won’t go wrong with the original. $89.50 or three for $199.

Mad Bomber: The warmest hat I’ve ever owned is a navy-blue Mad Bomber I got as a present about 12 years ago. Lined with rabbit fur, it’ll keep your noggin and your ears better than warm. The Mad Bomber is an absolute must for winter.

Hat Dale of Norway hat: If fur hats aren’t your thing, then you might opt for the Dale of Norway Vail hat. Show your support for the U.S. Ski Team. $49.

Barbarian Rugby Shirts: The perfect alternative to that ratty sweathshirt you should have retired during the Clinton Administration, the Barbarian Rugby shirt is one of the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The St. Lawrence version, sales of which benefit the Alumni Association, can be had here. $59.95.

Eyewear
REGlassesRandolph Engineering Ranger Classics: Everyone needs good eyewear for sporting-clay excursions. Randolph Engineering delivers with its Ranger Classics, which can be customized with a range of lenses. From $119.95.

Ray-Ban Caravans: For your everyday sunglass needs, nothing beats the Ray-Ban Caravan. Nothing.Modeled on aviator frames that are still standard in most branches of the U.S. Military, these are Ed’s favorite sunglasses barring his grandfather’s Bausch and Lobs. And, for the benefit of our “Mad Men” fans, if they’re good enough for Don Draper, they damn well ought to be good enough for you. $125 from J. Crew.

Outerwear
Patagonia vest: Ed’s never recovered from the loss of his Morristown-Beard ski team vest, which was left by a friend at a Canton watering hole. He took solace for most of college in borrowing Furnary’s instead. A must-have layer. $149.

LiddesdaleShooting vest: We chose Barbour’s very fine model because it offers padding on both shoulders and because we doubt it’ll ever wear out completely. $199 from Orvis.

Barbour Liddesdale: The gold standard for a smart, country-styled coat for the winter. As common on the streets of Manhattan as its Beaufort and Bedale cousins, the Liddesdale is an affordable and stylish alternative. It’s also pretty cozy, which we’ll take. $149 at Orvis.

Henri Lloyd’s Breeze Performance Jacket: Contributing ejforbes.com writer Will Briganti writes, “This is my best purchase of 2010 this far.” An avid sailor, Briganti’s word is bond on this choice. Versatile for coastal and urban activities. $69.

Filson vest: A perfect, traditional layer for a cold day in the Adirondacks or anywhere else. $105.

Footwear
MinnetonkaMocsMinnetonka Driving Moccasin: In Dark Brown – perfect for the ski lodge or casual Fridays at the office. Invest in only one pair, the more worn in, the better. $56.95 from Holly Woodworking of Old Forge, N.Y.

Justin Ropers: As appropriate for a day on the farm as they are in any situation where dress shoes aren’t required. The basic cowboy boot from Justin is a staple we can’t deny. From $99.

Bean boot: More than one pair (one being the shorter moc-version) is essential to make it through the mud, rain and snow. We like the new, shearling-lined model. Made in Maine as always. From $149.

Vasque Sundowners: Essential for any long trips in the woods. $170.

Accessories
GouchoBeltArgentinian polo belt: One snappily dressed reader is never without his. These are downright swell and are apparently standard on the polo fields of Argentina. In regimental and school colors from Gaucho Belts. $51.

Nantucket red socks: The genuine article, only for your feet. From Murray’s, the Island’s primary haberdashery. $17.50.

Billykirk and ACL & Co. canvas briefcase: A collaboration between A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams and Billykirk, this olive-drab canvas case is based on a World War II bag issued by the U.S. Navy. Made in the United States. $325.

Grosgrain watch straps: From the source, Central Watch Station, a wonderful watch-repair and retail kiosk in the 45th Street Passage of Grand Central Terminal, these nylon ribbon bands are classics. Easy to clean and comfortable, they’ve been a staple for me since the mid-1990s. Five for $29.95.

Vice holster: This Etsy item caught my eye a few weeks ago. A holster that will hold a flask, a phone or a pack of smokes, it’s the perfect hideaway for your vices be they booze, texting or tobacco. On offer from Four Chamber Forge. $95.

Smathers and Branson flaskNeedlepoint flask: Rare is the time when a tipple isn’t welcome. Indulge in style with this needlepoint-covered numbers from Smathers and Branson. Customizable with monograms, too. From $65.

Cordial Churchman velvet bow tie: We picked the rust-colored option from the Cordial Churchman, the charming bow tie emporium run by Ellie LaVeer Stager. Made of 100-percent cotton velveteen, the tie is presented in the traditional butterfly pattern. Charming. $26.

Knot beer belt: Knot Belt Co.’s belts are simply charming and this fall’s beer-bottle is now exception to that rule. Made in the U.S.A. by a Laurentian, Nick Mannella. $55.

Socks Collegiate socks: Show your school pride with these cozy cotton socks from Smart Turnout in Britain. $24.

J. Press braces: When it comes to dressing somewhat professionally, do a little growing up and embrace braces. J. Press has a versatile offering from which to choose. Keep it conservative. $59.25.

Zippered cigarette bag: For your smokes, your phone or that notepad where you store your Don-Draperesque ideas, this bag is it. From the recently-launched ACL and Co. line from A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams, it’s based on a World War II U.S. Army-issue sack that kept GIs’ luckies dry and toasted. $32.50.

Ribbon Belt from Knot Clothing: Tie a bit of whimsy around a loved one’s waist with a made-in-New-England belt from Knot Clothing. They’re a sure bet. $35.

Housewares and other gear
Chip and dip: One of Mrs. F.’s favorite pieces of serving wear is a glass chip-and-dip engraved with a Buffalo. It comes from Pitt Petri the venerable purveyor of all things proper in Buffalo, N.Y. These also come monogrammed. From $84.

whiskeystonesWhiskey stones: It’s frustrating, to say the least, when good whisky is diluted by the ice that chills it. Whiskey Stones to the rescue. Handcrafted from Vermont soapstone, this set of nine, properly chilled for four hours in a freezer, offers the right temperature and the right consistency for the holy water. $19.99.

New York in a Bag: A charming set of building blocks fashioned to resemble such architectural New York city icons as the Chrysler Building, the Guggenheim and MoMA’s original 1939 structure. From the MoMA store at $19.99.

Cocktail coupes: Exploring Westchester County’s Rivertowns — Ossining, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry — this summer, we happened upon a very nice rummage sale at the Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry. Lots of take could have been had, but we settled on a nice little set of vintage coupe glasses. For $2, they were a bargain. You can shell out a bit more at CB2 for adequate stand-ins. $5.95 each.

Olivewood cheese server: There’s no denying it. Ed and Mrs. F. have yet to find a piece of artisanal cheese they couldn’t palate. They often enjoy their curd on this olivewood cheese server from Williams-Sonoma, a gift from Mrs. F.’s grandmother. $59.

Cast iron grill: While we love Weber’s Smokey Joe, it pales in comparison to this hearty cast-iron offering from Lodge Cast Iron Cookware. Made with pride in the great southern state of Tennessee. $139.95.

Stanley Thermos: For the early morning call when you’re hitting the trail, the slopes or the road, keep your caffeinated fuel warm with this Stanley thermos, an undeniable American classic. My grandfather used one and so, too, should you. $48 from Urban Outfitters.

Ceramic New York City coffee cup: Iconic and happily non-disposable, this ceramic version of New York’s ubiquitous coffee cup preserves the classic 1963 design while being friendly to the environment. $12.

McAllan MacAllan Cask Strength Single-Malt Whisky: We got into this the other night after a party and we probably shouldn’t have. With notes of cheese and chocolates, it’s a tasty aperitif. From $55 at your local liquor store.

Monogrammed double old-fashioneds: Serve your cocktails in style with these terrific glasses from Buffalo’s Pitt Petri. $45 for a set of 4.

Newburyport seat: Designed in 1928 for use in rumble seats, this wooden folding seat is a design classic. Crazy Creeks, so popular in camping circles, owe their design heritage to this beauty. $54.99.

Wooden backgammon set: While we don’t play nearly often enough, Mrs. F. and I love our wooden backgammon set. The granddaddy of all board games, it’s well worth learning. $68.99.

Personalized cheese server: We received one of these as a wedding present and it’s one of our favorite serving pieces. Perfect for preserving a beautiful triple cream, this covered glass piece will serve you and yours for years. $49.

Tote Filson log tote: My father won’t relinquish his old canvas L.L. Bean tote, so I’ll have to settle for this terrific Filson product. $69.50.

LEGO Fallingwater set: Embrace your inner child while paying tribute to an architectural triumph. LEGO’s architecture series is geared toward nearing-30 former LEGOheads like your writer. $99.

Adirondack Pillow: With designs that summon the beauty of postcards from the 1930s and 1940s, Catstudio’s line captures the spirits of states, parks and resorts around the country. While we’re particularly fond of the Adirondacks, Catstudio is sure to have products for your favorite destination. $149.

Monogrammed matchbooks: Calling cards in their own way, these are a great little mementos. I’ve relied on Party Basics, a Buffalo firm, for these for years. You won’t be disappointed. $31 for a case of 100 books.

Hudson’s Bay Blanket: Winter’s here and well, warmth is key. Nothing will keep you warmer than a Hudson’s Bay Blanket. An investment, to be sure, but a very, very good one. $349.

Books, media and stationery
Colonel Roosevelt“Colonel Roosevelt”: Edmund Morris’ third volume in his epic biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It’s worth re-reading “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” (1979) and “Theodore Rex,” (2001) in anticipation. Morris looks at the last chapters of the 26th president of the United States. From $19.25 at Amazon.com.

“40: A Doonesbury Retrospective”: It wouldn’t be an ejforbes.com gift list with out a coffee-table book. Take home this one for the reader in your life. A 40-year retrospective of Doonesbury, the iconic strip by Saranac Lake’s own Garry Trudeau. From $59 at Amazon.com.

“Coming home to Glory”: David Eisenhower’s memoir of life with his father Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. A must for every baby-boomer father. From $18.48 from Amazon.com.

Moleskine notebooks: For writing, for jotting, for doodling. Can’t get enough of these tough little buggers. Made in Italy. $9.95 for a set of three from the MoMA store.

Pano San Francisco Panorama: Newspaper loves everywhere are singing the praises of the Panorama, a one-time print paper from the folks at McSweeney’s. Bringing together some of the best writers, designers and artists working today, the Panorama is a celebration of the power of print. $16.

“The National Parks”: Ken Burns’ latest opus is comprehensive and, if nothing else, a love letter to some of the nation’s greatest natural treasures. From $69.

“Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York”:Exploring the value of enduring charm of the city’s neighborhood businesses, authors James and Karla Murray shed light on an increasingly endangered species. $65.

Leifer “Neil Leifer: Ballet in the Dirt: The Golden Age of Baseball”: The glorious photographs of Neil Leifer, taken in the heyday of America’s pastime, are sights to behold. A must for sports and photogrpahy buffs alike. From $27.

“Bullet Park”: John Cheever’s 1969 novel about the lives of two suburban men, one named Hammer and the other Nailles, will seem a bit familiar to fans of “Mad Men,” as both the author and the book have inspired parts of the hit television drama series. From $10.

“The Speakeasies of 1932″: Al Hirschfeld’s atlas of New York’s watering holes in the final year of Prohibition is a must for any cocktail fan or lover of the old city. It’s a favorite of mine and always gets pulled off the coffee table when guests visit. Complete with cocktail recipes. From $24.95.

“Mad Men”: Season Four: While it’s not yet available, you can pre-order your DVDs of the third season of television’s finest show. $32.49.

GIFTS | The ejforbes.com 2010 holiday list

KnotbeltA beer-themed belt from Knot Belt Co. is among the items in 2010 ejforbes.com holiday gift list.

The holidays — ready or not! — are knocking. It’s time to get shopping. Here’s our second annual selection for just about anyone on your list. This was assembled with the help of contributing writers Will Briganti and Maxwell Eaton III. It’s a bit on the masculine side, but you’ll cope.

Happy shopping.

GreenBlazerDuds and headwear
Bottle-green blazer: The navy blazer, definitely a wardrobe staple, can be complicated by the rarer bottle-green version. For outfitting, we turn to O’Connell, Lucas and Chelf, Buffalo’s iconic men’s store. Their three-button sack model fits the bill. Made in the United States.From $350.

Tab t-shirt: A campus classic for decades that takes its cues from crew teams of yore, this is an essential piece of casual clothing. Naturally, we’ve selected the St. Lawrence model, on offer from the Brewer Bookstore. $16.95.

NewarkBearshatEbbetts Field Flannels ballcaps: Made in the United States — a strong compliment — these flannel ballcaps are a must have, especially as winter starts to show its frosty face. Given our New Jersey roots, we recommend the Newark Bears model. $35.

DaleDale sweater: No clothing item we can think of quite says winter like a Dale of Norway Sweater. De rigeur in all alpine precincts, we’ve selected the U.S. Ski Team issue in honor of Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht, who a bronze in Vancouver. $295 from NorwaySports.com.

Jytte hat: Nordic skiing requires the right gear. We’ve always liked the Jytte (pronounced you-tay) hats procured by the St. Lawrence ski team some years ago, and the Idaho-based firm will set you straight when it comes to headwear. Hand-made in the United States. From $18.

Filson shelter-cloth cap: Lined with wool, this cap comes recommended by ejforbes.com outdoor correspondent Steve Reynolds, a long-time Filson devotee. The water-resistant outer lining sets this cap apart. As appropriate for bird shooting as its for cruises through the urban jungle. Made in the United States. $62.50.

Brooks Brothers dress shirts: That these have been selected will probably not be seen as a surprise or a unique choice by some. It had to be done. Made in the United States — North Carolina, we’re fairly sure — these are essentials. Ed bought three earlier this year and has been suitably impressed to include them here, despite being generally skeptical of the Brothers. You won’t go wrong with the original. $89.50 or three for $199.

Eyewear
REGlassesRandolph Engineering Ranger Classics: Everyone needs good eyewear for sporting-clay excursions. Randolph Engineering delivers with its Ranger Classics, which can be customized with a range of lenses. From $119.95.

Ray-Ban Caravans: For your everyday sunglass needs, nothing beats the Ray-Ban Caravan. Nothing.Modeled on aviator frames that are still standard in most branches of the U.S. Military, these are Ed’s favorite sunglasses barring his grandfather’s Bausch and Lobs. And, for the benefit of our “Mad Men” fans, if they’re good enough for Don Draper, they damn well ought to be good enough for you. $125 from J. Crew.

Outerwear
Patagonia vest: Ed’s never recovered from the loss of his Morristown-Beard ski team vest, which was left by a friend at a Canton watering hole. He took solace for most of college in borrowing Furnary’s instead. A must-have layer. $149.

LiddesdaleShooting vest: We chose Barbour’s very fine model because it offers padding on both shoulders and because we doubt it’ll ever wear out completely. $199 from Orvis.

Barbour Liddesdale: The gold standard for a smart, country-styled coat for the winter. As common on the streets of Manhattan as its Beaufort and Bedale cousins, the Liddesdale is an affordable and stylish alternative. It’s also pretty cozy, which we’ll take. $149 at Orvis.

Henri Lloyd’s Breeze Performance Jacket: Contributing ejforbes.com writer Will Briganti writes, “This is my best purchase of 2010 this far.” An avid sailor, Briganti’s word is bond on this choice. Versatile for coastal and urban activities. $69.

Footwear
MinnetonkaMocsMinnetonka Driving Moccasin: In Dark Brown – perfect for the ski lodge or casual Fridays at the office. Invest in only one pair, the more worn in, the better. $56.95 from Holly Woodworking of Old Forge, N.Y.

Justin Ropers: As appropriate for a day on the farm as they are in any situation where dress shoes aren’t required. The basic cowboy boot from Justin is a staple we can’t deny. From $99.

Bean boot: More than one pair (one being the shorter moc-version) is essential to make it through the mud, rain and snow. We like the new, shearling-lined model. Made in Maine as always. From $149.

Vasque Sundowners: Essential for any long trips in the woods. $170.

Accessories and housewares
GouchoBeltArgentinian polo belt: One snappily dressed reader is never without his. These are downright swell and are apparently standard on the polo fields of Argentina. In regimental and school colors from Gaucho Belts. $51.

Nantucket red socks: The genuine article, only for your feet. From Murray’s, the Island’s primary haberdashery. $17.50.

Billykirk and ACL & Co. canvas briefcase: A collaboration between A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams and Billykirk, this olive-drab canvas case is based on a World War II bag issued by the U.S. Navy. Made in the United States. $325.

Vice holster: This Etsy item caught my eye a few weeks ago. A holster that will hold a flask, a phone or a pack of smokes, it’s the perfect hideaway for your vices be they booze, texting or tobacco. On offer from Four Chamber Forge. $95.

Smathers and Branson flaskNeedlepoint flask: Rare is the time when a tipple isn’t welcome. Indulge in style with this needlepoint-covered numbers from Smathers and Branson. Customizable with monograms, too. From $65.

Cordial Churchman velvet bow tie: We picked the rust-colored option from the Cordial Churchman, the charming bow tie emporium run by Ellie LaVeer Stager. Made of 100-percent cotton velveteen, the tie is presented in the traditional butterfly pattern. Charming. $26.

Knot beer belt: Knot Belt Co.’s belts are simply charming and this fall’s beer-bottle is now exception to that rule. Made in the U.S.A. by a Laurentian, Nick Mannella. $55.

J. Press braces: When it comes to dressing somewhat professionally, do a little growing up and embrace braces. J. Press has a versatile offering from which to choose. Keep it conservative. $59.25.

Housewares and other gear
Chip and dip: One of Mrs. F.’s favorite pieces of serving wear is a glass chip-and-dip engraved with a Buffalo. It comes from Pitt Petri the venerable purveyor of all things proper in Buffalo, N.Y. These also come monogrammed. From $84.

whiskeystonesWhiskey stones: It’s frustrating, to say the least, when good whisky is diluted by the ice that chills it. Whiskey Stones to the rescue. Handcrafted from Vermont soapstone, this set of nine, properly chilled for four hours in a freezer, offers the right temperature and the right consistency for the holy water. $19.99.

New York in a Bag: A charming set of building blocks fashioned to resemble such architectural New York city icons as the Chrysler Building, the Guggenheim and MoMA’s original 1939 structure. From the MoMA store at $19.99.

Cocktail coupes: Exploring Westchester County’s Rivertowns — Ossining, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry — this summer, we happened upon a very nice rummage sale at the Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry. Lots of take could have been had, but we settled on a nice little set of vintage coupe glasses. For $2, they were a bargain. You can shell out a bit more at CB2 for adequate stand-ins. $5.95 each.

Olivewood cheese server: There’s no denying it. Ed and Mrs. F. have yet to find a piece of artisanal cheese they couldn’t palate. They often enjoy their curd on this olivewood cheese server from Williams-Sonoma, a gift from Mrs. F.’s grandmother. $59.

Cast iron grill: While we love Weber’s Smokey Joe, it pales in comparison to this hearty cast-iron offering from Lodge Cast Iron Cookware. Made with pride in the great southern state of Tennessee. $139.95.

Stanley Thermos: For the early morning call when you’re hitting the trail, the slopes or the road, keep your caffeinated fuel warm with this Stanley thermos, an undeniable American classic. My grandfather used one and so, too, should you. $48 from Urban Outfitters.

Books and stationery
Colonel Roosevelt“Colonel Roosevelt”: Edmund Morris’ third volume in his epic biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It’s worth re-reading “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” (1979) and “Theodore Rex,” (2001) in anticipation. Morris looks at the last chapters of the 26th president of the United States. From $19.25 at Amazon.com.

“40: A Doonesbury Retrospective”: It wouldn’t be an ejforbes.com gift list with out a coffee-table book. Take home this one for the reader in your life. A 40-year retrospective of Doonesbury, the iconic strip by Saranac Lake’s own Garry Trudeau. From $59 at Amazon.com.

“Coming home to Glory”: David Eisenhower’s memoir of life with his father Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. A must for every baby-boomer father. From $18.48 from Amazon.com.

Moleskine notebooks: For writing, for jotting, for doodling. Can’t get enough of these tough little buggers. Made in Italy. $9.95 for a set of three from the MoMA store.

BELTS | Coming soon to a Brewer Bookstore near you

ScarletandBrownBeltKnot Belt Co.’s Scarlet and Brown belt, created exclusively for the St. Lawrence University Alumni Executive Council’s SaintsWear line.

As many readers now, I have the privilege of serving as secretary of the St. Lawrence Alumni Executive Council, the 40-member governing body of the University’s Alumni Association.

The Council, which funds a range of programs for current St. Lawrence students and supports activities for alumni, raises funds through an affinity credit card and SaintsWear, a growing line of Scarlet and Brown clothing and accessories. SaintsWear is sold via the Brewer Bookstore, St. Lawrence’s college store.

The newest addition to the line — which already includes a Barbarian rugby shirt, Louis Garneau cycling jerseys, SmartTurnout socks and accessories from Sara Langley — is a belt designed by this writer and Nick Mannella, proprietor of Knot Belt Co.

You may remember Mannella — we did a profile interview last fall. Nick is also a Laurentian and graduated from St. Lawrence in 2006.

The belt features four St. Lawrence motifs: An Adirondack chair, evergreens, the University shield and the clocktower of Sykes Residence Hall.

It will retail at $38 and should be available online later this month. In the meantime, you can order your belt directly from Knot.

Note: The classic St. Lawrence Leather Man Ltd. belt is not being discontinued.

GIFTS| The 2009 ejforbes.com holiday list

FWaterFallingwater, the centerpiece of LEGO’s new Architecture series. See below.

With only nine days until Christmas, you’d better hustle to get all the presents you need for all the dear friends and relatives on your list.

Here are some gift recommendations from your writer:

Gear
• Ceramic New York City coffee cup: Iconic and happily non-disposable, this ceramic version of New York’s ubiquitous coffee cup preserves the classic 1963 design while being friendly to the environment. $12.

McAllan• MacAllan Cask Strength Single-Malt Whisky: We got into this the other night after a party and we probably shouldn’t have. With notes of cheese and chocolates, it’s a tasty aperitif. From $55 at your local liquor store.

• Monogrammed double old-fashioneds: Serve your cocktails in style with these terrific glasses from Buffalo’s Pitt Petri. $45 for a set of 4.

• Newburyport seat: Designed in 1928 for use in rumble seats, this wooden folding seat is a design classic. Crazy Creeks, so popular in camping circles, owe their design heritage to this beauty. $54.99.

• Wooden backgammon set: While we don’t play nearly often enough, Mrs. F. and I love our wooden backgammon set. The granddaddy of all board games, it’s well worth learning. $68.99.

• Personalized cheese server: We received one of these as a wedding present and it’s one of our favorite serving pieces. Perfect for preserving a beautiful triple cream, this covered glass piece will serve you and yours for years. $49.

Tote• Filson log tote: My father won’t relinquish his old canvas L.L. Bean tote, so I’ll have to settle for this terrific Filson product. $69.50.

• LEGO Fallingwater set: Embrace your inner child while paying tribute to an architectural triumph. LEGO’s architecture series is geared toward nearing-30 former LEGOheads like your writer. $99.

• Adirondack Pillow: With designs that summon the beauty of postcards from the 1930s and 1940s, Catstudio’s line captures the spirits of states, parks and resorts around the country. While we’re particularly fond of the Adirondacks, Catstudio is sure to have products for your favorite destination. $149.

• Monogrammed matchbooks: Calling cards in their own way, these are a great little mementos. I’ve relied on Party Basics, a Buffalo firm, for these for years. You won’t be disappointed. $31 for a case of 100 books.

• Hudson’s Bay Blanket: Winter’s here and well, warmth is key. Nothing will keep you warmer than a Hudson’s Bay Blanket. An investment, to be sure, but a very, very good one. $349.

Duds
• Grosgrain watch straps: From the source, Central Watch Station, a wonderful watch-repair and retail kiosk in the 45th Street Passage of Grand Central Terminal, these nylon ribbon bands are classics. Easy to clean and comfortable, they’ve been a staple for me since the mid-1990s. Five for $29.95.

• Filson vest: A perfect, traditional layer for a cold day in the Adirondacks or anywhere else. $105.

Socks• Collegiate socks: Show your school pride with these cozy cotton socks from Smart Turnout in Britain. $24.

• Ribbon Belt from Knot Clothing: Tie a bit of whimsy around a loved one’s waist with a made-in-New-England belt from Knot Clothing. They’re a sure bet. $35.

• Zippered cigarette bag: For your smokes, your phone or that notepad where you store your Don-Draperesque ideas, this bag is it. From the recently-launched ACL and Co. line from A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams, it’s based on a World War II U.S. Army-issue sack that kept GIs’ luckies dry and toasted. $32.50.

• Caravan aviators from Ray-Ban: When my father served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the 1970s, he wore Caravan-shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Keep your retinas healthy with a pair of these American icons. $119.

• Mad Bomber: The warmest hat I’ve ever owned is a navy-blue Mad Bomber I got as a present about 12 years ago. Lined with rabbit fur, it’ll keep your noggin and your ears better than warm. The Mad Bomber is an absolute must for winter.

Hat• Dale of Norway hat: If fur hats aren’t your thing, then you might opt for the Dale of Norway Vail hat. Show your support for the U.S. Ski Team. $49.

• Barbarian Rugby Shirts: The perfect alternative to that ratty sweathshirt you should have retired during the Clinton Administration, the Barbarian Rugby shirt is one of the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The St. Lawrence version, sales of which benefit the Alumni Association, can be had here. $59.95.

Reads and other media
Pano• San Francisco Panorama: Newspaper loves everywhere are singing the praises of the Panorama, a one-time print paper from the folks at McSweeney’s. Bringing together some of the best writers, designers and artists working today, the Panorama is a celebration of the power of print. $16.

• “The National Parks”: Ken Burns’ latest opus is comprehensive and, if nothing else, a love letter to some of the nation’s greatest natural treasures. From $69.

• “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York”:Exploring the value of enduring charm of the city’s neighborhood businesses, authors James and Karla Murray shed light on an increasingly endangered species. $65.

Leifer
• “Neil Leifer: Ballet in the Dirt: The Golden Age of Baseball”:
The glorious photographs of Neil Leifer, taken in the heyday of America’s pastime, are sights to behold. A must for sports and photogrpahy buffs alike. From $27.

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• “The Speakeasies of 1932″: Al Hirschfeld’s atlas of New York’s watering holes in the final year of Prohibition is a must for any cocktail fan or lover of the old city. It’s a favorite of mine and always gets pulled off the coffee table when guests visit. Complete with cocktail recipes. From $24.95.

• “Mad Men”: Season Three: While it’s not yet available, you can pre-order your DVDs of the third season of television’s finest show. $31.99.

INTERVIEW| Beltmaker Mannella hopes you’ll tie on a Knot

MannellaNick Mannella and Caitlin O’Hara, the entrepreneurial designers of Knot Clothing, pose with Boston, their home base.

Earlier this summer, through Laurentian friends on Facebook, I learned about Knot Clothing, the latest entry into the ribbon belt and accessory market.

Started by Nick Mannella, a native of Naples, N.Y. and a member of the St. Lawrence class of 2006, Knot follows in the tradition of Green Lobster USA, the brainchild of my St. Lawrence classmates, Ward Meehan and Luke Adovasio. Aiming their product at the northeastern collegiate set, Mannella and his partner, Caitlin O’Hara, offer whimsical motifs on colorful, high-quality grosgrain ribbons.

Knot2
Among the motifs offered in the Knot line are tributes to the sea, golfing, equestrian pursuits and tennis.

Available now through an online store and soon at boutiques around the country, Knot’s line includes a range of belts for men and women, collars and leashes for dogs, key fobs and t-shirts.

I recently talked with Mannella about his inspiration, his style and his hopes for his fledgling business.

Q: Tell me about yourself and what led you to start Knot.

A: When I was little my parents always stressed the importance of a clean appearance and good first impression. From there, I was always dressed well and wanted nice clothes … and obviously wanted to always make a good first impression because you only have one chance at it.

I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York and worked every summer at a golf club on Canandaigua Lake, Bristol Harbour. At Bristol Harbour, I would always sport classic boat belts, golf-club belts, whale belts, and belts with the St. Lawrence crest. Lots of the members and summer renters would actually come into the pro shop the next day with the same belt I had been wearing the day before. It was a compliment and I always thought, in the back of my mind, that I should get into clothing or something to do with it.

After graduating from St. Lawrence, I interviewed with just about every clothing company and manufacturer out there and each one of these places probably still has my résumé on file under the “no thanks” section or something. Nobody would give me a job.

I moved to Boston and found myself in a basically dead-end job. The people were great, it was a solid company but there was no room for individuality. I thought back on how much I enjoyed summers back home and St. Lawrence in the fall and winter and started dreaming up these ideas for clothing products and designs. At first, nothing seemed to fit exactly what I was looking for to represent myself. Then, finally I thought of the idea of making belts.

Knot4I started researching clothing companies and shoe manufacturers, sports apparel companies and even some luggage manufacturers. I called fabric producers and wrote e-mails to importers from Asia, India and Italy and inquired about everything from material costs to production to turnaround time. Everything. And I did this all day, every day while at work during my day job for about four more months. After another long five months of searching and saving money and then some, I settled on ribbon belts and focused my searches on that, where I found a connection through St. Lawrence. After a few sample runs of belts we had our product set.

The business officially went public in Nantucket over the July 4 weekend, about a year after I began drawing designs and thinking of how to go about creating a clothing company. I had logo stickers, beer koozies and T-shirts made and just gave a bunch of stuff away. If someone said,“hey awesome koozie!,” or “that belt is great looking,” I would throw them a koozie and some stickers. One night at the Straight Wharf in Nantucket, this girl complimented me on my belt and that it would look great on her boyfriend. I literally took it off and handed it to her. She was blown away.

We also have had raffles on Facebook where our fans can email us or post their favorite design. Once we have enough entries we pick one and give them that belt and one for a friend. Everyone likes a raffle and it gets people involved, which is important.

Q: It might be said that Knot is coming into the belt game a little late. Camilla Bradley’s been doing grosgrain belts for more than 10 years. Other small producers have come and gone. Why now and who do you see as your competition?

A: It is time for a new generation of ribbon belts. CK Bradley has some nice belts, as do Polo, J.Crew and all of the top competitors, but the difference is in the manufacturing. Each Knot belt is double sided and is thick and durable. They are American-made and because each belt is so durable, you are getting the added quality you won’t find with other ribbon belts. I’m sure you have some old ribbon belts that have frayed at the ends or just won’t hold tight to your waist because they are so thin. Knot belts will hold tight, guaranteed.

Q: Have other Laurentian efforts like Green Lobster USA and Sara Langley Designs inspired you?

A: Absolutely. I had the privilege of working with the Green Lobster crew and did some work for them fresh out of St. Lawrence. Their niche was a lot tougher to sell because companies like Vineyard Vines and Leatherman, Ltd. limited already had those cloth belts made. Ward Meehan from GL really gave me some good insight when I approached him about Knot and we still hang out and talk to this day. I actually just saw him at the Phish show in Saratoga. That was an epic time and lots of Larries were there. I was wearing my “Why Knot?” launch t-shirt and everyone kept screaming “WHY KNOT!?”

Q: You’ve got some clever motifs, like the Ski Bunny and Chick Magnet designs? What inspires your design choices?

A: My mom always said I was creative so I guess this just comes with it. If you’re wearing a belt that has a tennis racquet on it, people glance at it and move on. If you’re wearing a design that makes someone stop and laugh or stop and think about it, chances are they’re going to be more inclined to research where it came from and can instantly think of someone who that design would be perfect for. What you wear around your waist shouldn’t be boring.

Q: Your belts are made in New England. Tell me a little bit more about that process and where your supplies come from. Who’s making the belts?

A: When I was working for GL, I worked with a fellow Laurentian whose mother owns a company that works with ribbon fabrics and belts. After contacting her and discussing what I wanted to do with my own label, everything just fell into place. She is awesome and I’m glad to be in business with her.

Knot3Q: Who is your core market? Where would you like to see Knot belts sold and where would you like to see them worn?

A: Our core market is definitely your classic, east-coast American. Knot belts are for people who enjoy and seek out quality in a product. Without quality, you have nothing. I think our belts hold true to that look you have in memories about from vacationing on Nantucket. Orders have been coming in from mainly the New England area, but we’ve also gotten many inquiries from Florida, California, and even Mississippi. We will be selling mainly from our online store, however we will be selecting a handful of choice boutiques and shops along the way. I’d like to see my belts worn on the golf course or with a nice pressed shirt heading to a cocktail party or mixer. I’m excited to be out somewhere and see someone wearing a Knot belt!

Q: Obviously belts are your core product for the moment. What’s next for Knot? Where do you see the project in 5 years?

A: We have lots more designs in the works right now. Not to give too much away, but we will be introducing tote bags, hats, and Croakies for your sunglasses soon.

I do have a business partner with Knot. Her name is Caitlin O’Hara and she is one of my best friends and everyone should know that. We get along great, feed off of each others’ energy, and brainstorm really well about what classic America is all about. Without her I’m not sure Knot would exist. I would say the most thought went into creating this Knot as the logo. Living in Boston and so close to the water it was almost a no-brainer to do a knot. I drew it out and showed it to Caitlin. She tweaked it a bit and from there, and Knot Clothing was born. I doodled more designs during my lunch breaks, went window shopping and studied fabric materials after work, and most importantly I watched people. I’ve been to Europe and the UK and all over the place and I love watching people. Caitlin and I would just sit in the Boston Common, in the North End, or in the Navy Yard and just watch people and their styles and how they react with one another. We wanted Knot to be very American and bit like something out of the 1980s when people created their own individuality through their clothes and behavior and lived on the edge a little bit. I think people are feeling that “me me me” feeling again like they did in the ‘80s because so many have lost a lot during this economic downturn. If the classic style of our Knot ribbon belts can make someone remember a good time they had 20 years ago, then we’ve done an awesome thing, especially on the east coast where that work hard play hard attitude holds strong. Everyone should treat themselves once and a while. Why Knot?

Knot Clothing
lifestyle@knotclothing.com

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