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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Secrets of Tampa Bay Business Travelers




Secrets of Savvy Business Travelers 

Re-post off corporate Blog (click here)

Travel, especially business travel, presents a myriad of challenges, not the least of which relate to clothing. In that respect three of the biggest obstacles are:
1. Packing the right clothes.
2. Packing enough, but not too much.
3. Dealing with wrinkles (or, better yet, trying to prevent wrinkled clothing.)
Knowing what to pack depends mostly on how well you know your destination or destinations (culture, weather, etc.) and the extent to which you can anticipate what you will be doing and who you will be doing it with. The less experienced among us, more often than not, end up packing more than we need, presumably to be prepared for anything. Maybe that’s the Boy Scout in each of us. Be prepared.
But the good Boy Scout also knows that if you’re going on a 50-mile hike, you want the pack on your back to be as light as possible. So you carefully plan ahead of time and bring only what you need. The time honored motto “be prepared” is no more appropriate than when applied to the business traveler.
With regard to the issue of wrinkled clothing, the answer both to how you pack and what you pack. We all know that some fabrics travel better than others. Fiber content, how a cloth is woven, and many other factors contribute to wrinkle resistance. Wool is more wrinkle resistant than cotton as is cloth that is more tightly woven rather than a loose weave. Most synthetic fibers are particularly wrinkle resistant as are some natural fiber fabrics that have been treated to be either no-iron or “easy care.”
Navy microfiberReport shirt
For business casual, resort wear, and golf, the new microfiber pants from Tom James provide a wrinkle-free, easy care, and very comfortable option  for those who can wear a ready-made size. For a modern, tailored-fit, dress casual shirt option, consider easy-care shirts by Report.
Packing Tips to prevent/reduce wrinkled clothing:
  • Packing any jackets or shirts on hangers? Try covering each piece with plastic garment cover that you get from the dry-cleaner.
  • Roll clothing, instead of folding whenever possible.
  • Make use of packing sleeves, cubes, sweater bags, etc.
  • Pack and use a handheld/travel size steamer.
One of my favorite bits of travel advice comes from frequent international traveler Jim H. who said, “I like to bring items attached to good memories. A hand-made linen pocket square with embroidery from a trip to Sestri Levante, Italy. A pair of Celtic cuff links my wife returned from Dublin with. Keepsakes that have fond memories attached to them.” If you have to be away from home so much, at least you can bring a little bit of home or the ones you love most with you.
More advice from Jim:
  • Carry a pair of cuff links or silk knots as well as a small handful of collar stays in your briefcase. “The case never leaves my side and you never know whose day you might save besides your own.”
  • When you think you have packed enough, remove something. You’d be surprised what you don’t need.
  • Wear part of an outfit when you travel rather than pack it.
Joe B. is particularly fond of his black suede lace-up shoes for travel because they look smart with everything from jeans to formal wear.  He also told me that his Global Entry TSA Pre Check card is a must for frequent travelers. “It saves me hours, days and weeks over the course of a year,” said Joe.
More travel tips that will make packing easier and simpler,  save you time and may even save the day:
  •  Keep the variety of color and patterns of your clothing to a minimum.  Choose clothing for ease of coordination and versatility.
  •  Put your passport in a shoe you plan to wear, then into the safe in your hotel room. On a recent trip to Scandinavia my sister-in-law left her passport in the hotel room safe. (She must not have known about the shoe idea.) Fortunately we had left the hotel only minutes earlier so it was easy to retrieve.  Imagine the problem it might have been had she discovered the error two days later when trying to leave the country?  Which leads to the next point…..
  • Make a photo copy of your passport/driver’s license and keep the copies in a different bag than the originals.
  •  Put a business card on the inside of your bags.
  • Stash an extra credit card somewhere other than your primary wallet/card holder.
  •  Put a colorful ribbon or some similarly unique identifier on any checked luggage, especially if it’s a black bag that looks like so many others – to make it more easily recognizable.
  • Stick to your travel routine (where you put your license, etc.).  Keep things in the same pockets, etc.
  • It’s best not to check anything that you might need for the next day.  Try to keep those things, including the next day’s clothing, in your carry-on.
  • Last but not least, pack everything in a great piece of luggage, like the TUMI Alpha Two-wheeled Carry-on.
TUMI Alpha 2 carry on

Incorporate these ideas and featured products and take the hassle out of travel, whether for business or pleasure.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Make A Shell Cordovan Shoe So Special?

FOR METICULOUS MEN, there are few accessories as coveted—and expensive—as shoes made from shell cordovan leather, a material prized for its durability, shine and resistance to creasing.
Lately, however, those looking to buy a pair have required not only deep pockets, but also an enormous amount of patience. Even if you are willing to part with $2,000 for a pair of navy oxfords by English shoemaker Edward Green, you will have to wait six months or longer to possess a pair.
A global shortage of cordovan over the past couple of years has caused a backlog of orders. Worse yet, the crimped supply came as demand for the pricey shoes spiked thanks to renewed interest in haute-crafted men's shoes.
Shell cordovan leather comes from the muscle beneath the hide in a small area around the rump of a horse. The shell is a layer of very dense fibers that, after a lengthy tanning process, yields leather that is particularly shiny and durable. When cordovan shoes scuff, a simple rub will erase the scratch. But since its ancient discovery by the Moors in the Spanish city of Cordoba (the town from which its name is derived), the material has been far scarcer than cow leather. A single horse provides only enough cordovan for a single pair of shoes.
Adding to its cost is a long processing time. At Horween Leather in Chicago, a major supplier to brands like Alden and Allen Edmonds, cordovan takes six months to tan. To compare, its Chromexcel leather made from adult cows takes just 28 days to finish. Finished cordovan can cost up to 10 times more than high-quality steer leather.
The current shortage only piles onto that baseline scarcity, and its effects are being felt all over. At Leffot, a high-end men's shoe store in New York, many luxury brands only offer their cordovan shoes made-to-order. While the shop stocks several styles by American label Alden, which start at $750, a pair of black seamless oxfords by shoemaker Saint Crispin's, which will set you back $2,400, take 10 weeks to arrive.
A pair of black seamless oxfords by shoemaker Saint Crispin's, which will set you back $2,400, take 10 weeks to arrive.
The Armoury, a men's boutique in Hong Kong, was forced to cut the wide range of styles it once carried from Spanish shoemaker Carmina to focus on a few that it could actually physically have in stock. "[The rest] just took forever," said Alan See, the store's founder. And Colin Hall, the chief marketing officer at Allen Edmonds, cited delays of up to a month for a pair of black oxfords.
As for the cause of the shortage, the answer lies in the complex dynamics of the hide market. The cordovan supply is determined by the consumption of horse meat, explained Nick Horween, the company's 30-year-old vice president and the fifth generation in his family's business. A century ago, when horses were still common transportation and horse meat was widely eaten, hides were plentiful.
But today, with world-wide consumption of equine flesh declining, hides are limited. Mr. Horween estimated that the company processes just 15% of the horsehide it used to take in when his ancestors started the company in 1905.
The cordovan shortage hit hard in late 2012. Suddenly, the raw shells stopped arriving at Mr. Horween's tannery. He described the supply drop as a "cyclical interruption," though he declined to elaborate further, citing sensitive supplier relations.
In the clubby world of men's high fashion, there are rumors and theories. Some blame hide speculators who snapped up skins as the price of leather was about to rise. Others point to Chinese shoe manufacturers, saying they bought up entire horsehides—which include both the coveted small rear shell pieces and the cheaper and larger front pieces—in lieu of more expensive steer hide when prices for the latter spiked to historic highs in 2012. However, there is little proof of either.
Matthew Abbott, technical sales director at tannery Joseph Clayton & Sons Ltd., based in Chesterfield, England, said the supply of hides was also hurt by a horse-meat scandal last year in the U.K. "There was nothing wrong with the meat, just that it was misidentified," he said. "But I suppose people didn't want anything to do with horse for a while."
Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope for those seeking a pair of loafers or oxfords. Mr. Horween reported that the hide supply began to return to pre-drought levels at the end of the last year, which means cordovan supplies for shoemakers may soon be back to normal. His advice to covetous shoppers: Sit tight. More is coming soon. That doesn't quite mean that cordovan shoes will be plentiful, however. "It's still not as much as the market wants," said Mr. Horween.
Find Your Favorite Pair of Horween Leather Shoes From Allen Edmonds:
http://www.tomjames.com/accessories/shoes/allen-edmonds/ 

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