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Spring is finally here (I think). There has been a resurgence in American made goods recently, and I've compiled a list of my favorite things for spring.
1. For those of you who are denim lovers, such as myself, you know that quality, well-fitting denim is like wearing pajamas. Imogene + Willie is an amazing brand out of Nashville. If you visit the store, you can opt to have a pair of jeans custom-made for you. My favorite pair is the Willie Rigid ($250). It's a straight-leg jean that fits many body types. With I+W offering repairs, you'll have these jeans for years to come.
2. I'm always on the lookout for sunglasses. I don't like to spend a ton of money on them because I'm clumsy. One company in Massachusetts has been making high-quality frames and lenses since 1972. Randolph Engineering has an amazing collection of frame shapes, finishes and temple options that allow you to customize the perfect pair. With a starting price of $129 and including a lifetime guarantee, you can afford to be clumsy.
3. Weather changes on a dime here. I typically have a navy blazer with me at all times just for this reason. I wear it with shorts, with jeans, with linen. The Oxxford navy blazer is handmade in Chicago. The construction is unparalleled and light enough to keep you cool in summer. Frieschskys sells the Oxxford blazer for $450.
4. My father has had the same boat shoes for 20 years. It probably helps that he wears them in the house and does no boating whatsoever. Recently, however, the boat shoe has made a resurgence. My favorite boat shoe comes from Oak Street Bootmakers in Chicago. The Oak Street boat shoe is constructed using Horween Chromexcel leather which gives it durability for years of use. I like the navy for its versatility. Starting at $262.
5. I love chambray and denim shirts. Tucked in at the club, untucked at Wolski's or wherever you may be, Pennsylvania's Gitman Vintage has got the shirt for you. Gitman has archival fabrics, great patterns and excellent fit. Own one of these shirts and you'll have a closet full before you know it. Available locally at Context Clothing in Madison starting at $150.
Prior to joining OnMilwaukee.com as a style writer, James studied Art History at the University of Milwaukee. Since 2005 he has worked as a personal stylist in both Milwaukee and Chicago. In 2009, James co-founded HollenWolff, LLC.
The company specializes in precision machined cufflinks and coordinating stud sets. Produced from a solid bar of surgical grade stainless steel or marine bronze, the cufflinks utilize ball bearings to secure and release the halves.
From a young age James realized he was born into a stylish and influential Milwaukee family. His grandfather, Dr. Stanley Hollenbeck (namesake for his cufflink line) was known throughout Milwaukee County Hospital and Blue Mound Country Club for his vibrant sport coats, bold plaid trousers, impeccable taste and genuine nature.
James has been a guest lecturer for the Creative Alliance of Milwaukee, a favorite topic on menswear blogs and was voted one of M Magazine's "2012 - 11 People of Style."