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Review – Dooney & Bourke – Florentine Medium Duffle

“Good morning Glen. So, do you plan on skipping town after work?” said a colleague of mine as I entered the department at work. The Dooney & Bourke Florentine Medium Duffle is so robust, one has to ponder if “medium” is an accurate descriptor of the aforementioned travel companion. Now, before I venture too far ahead of myself, please allow me to rewind the story for proper context. Approximately three weeks ago, I was contacted by a public relations representative with some intriguing information: Dooney & Bourke, leading American designer of fine accessories in leather and fabric, was revitalizing and reintroducing their men’s collection from the mid 1970s. Furthermore, I could inspect and review a selected piece of merchandise for my reading audience.

Honored and overjoyed by the invitation, I perused their current inventory and decided the Florentine Medium Duffle Bag would be an excellent choice for a gentlemanly evaluation. Not too familiar with the brand with the exception of purses and handbags, I was thoroughly impressed by the exceptional quality and craftsmanship upon opening the package. After its arrival, I resolved myself to traveling with it to my base of employment to gauge the reaction of other gentlemen. Capturing a photograph with my Samsung Galaxy and sending it to a few male coworkers; it was likened to an oversized purse. Unfortunately, the bag’s true scale was not sufficiently captured by my camera phone. Full disclosure: Founded by Peter Dooney & Frederic Bourke in 1975, gentlemanly accessories were a part of its introductory collections before women’s accessories became a signature for the brand. And so, with Florentine in hand, I stepped out onto the 4th floor in my building, looking to prove the naysayers incorrect in their assumption, and examine its style and practicality.

So, first, allow me to examine a primary point of concern that most gentlemen share when purchasing a duffle bag – functionality. In other words, the duffle bag of a gentleman’s choice must be able to comfortably house all of his clothing and small personal effects – fair enough. The Florentine is billed as a duffle bag that will satisfy the needs of the gentleman traveler through any particular weekend. Perusing my own wardrobe, I thoughtfully selected a group of clothing items that would surely test the Florentine appropriately. In the interest of context, I excluded items such as socks, underwear, neckties, and other small items because it would have little to no effect on maximizing the capacity of the Florentine.

Proceeding with the theory that I am working with a three-day weekend trip (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday), I packed the following: 1 pair denim jeans, 2 pairs of khakis, 1 wool crew neck sweater, 2 cotton shawl collar sweater, 4 long sleeve sport shirts, 2 pairs of pajamas, and 1 pair of casual shoes. I wanted to pack bulky and heavy items to gauge if the holding capacity was sufficient. Of course, the selection of what one may choose to pack would be dependent upon lifestyle. I reside in Michigan, and right now the weather begs for items that retain warmth and comfort, hence the addition of sweaters and long sleeve sport shirts. The bag was full, but not tight and could still be zippered without issue.

Now, filled to capacity, a gentleman may have issues with any attempt to stuff the Florentine in an overhead bin during air travel. Although its dimensions – H 13.5″ x W 8.5″ x L 21.5″ – are less than the total allowed maximum of 45 inches, the weight may play a factor as well as the Florentine’s shape as it is packed, given the lack of fixed size like a small suitcase. It would be prudent to verify this information and travel policy according to your airline of choice. Personally, I would check the duffle bag and perhaps employ a stylish book-bag as a carry-on for smaller items, as it does come standard with a luggage tag in addition to a lock & key.

Cosmetically speaking, the Florentine boasts a buttery smooth leather exterior. Soft and pliable with no unsightly creasing, the leather has all the attributes to age with character and charm. The interior and exterior zippers are solidly constructed with a dual closure across the top. Embracing a minimalist approach with its design, the only noticeable embellishment resides with its extended zipper closure on each opposite end that button down the side. The are two pockets on both sides of the body, one zippered and the other a straight jetted pocket. The leather handles are assisted by a buttoned leather closure that affords a comfortable grip, as some duffle bags utilize velcro to keep both handles together or shun a closure entirely.

Now, I absolutely love the design of the handles, as they are not attached directly to the bag’s body, rather, the upper handles are attached to square metal links which in turn are attached along the upper sides. This should provide much-needed support surrounding this area of concentrated stress due to bearing the weight of its contents. Sporting plaid fabric on the inside, the interior is equipped with 1 bifolded compartment, a regular jetted pocket, and a zippered deeper pocket.

As for the finishing touch, the Florentine’s bottom arrives with metal “feet” or studs so your bag is never in total contact with the ground. And speaking of ground, there is approximately a 12 inch drop in strap length, so the bag is approximately 10 inches off the ground when holding the bag with one’s arm totally extended down. However, the audience should consider I am 6’1″ so that approximation will vary from gentlemen to gentlemen. So, to the unnamed gentleman that likened the Florentine to a woman’s purse; I humbly submit that you are woefully mistaken.

Retailing at $548.00, the Florentine is not an inexpensive travel companion. And many gentlemen with humble means will scoff at the price-point, and that is perfectly acceptable. Most likely, there is a duffle bag that will suit any lifestyle accordingly. Nevertheless, the Dooney & Bourke Florentine is designed for the cultivated gentleman that appreciates a refined piece of luggage that becomes more exquisite with age, exudes an understated presence of sophistication, and considers such a purchase a quiet investment in elegance. This bag should last a lifetime. After a long hiatus, resurrecting their collection of fine accessories for stylish, contemporary gentleman; Dooney & Bourke should be able recapture a market of men that will surely explore future collections with newfound excitement.

Please visit https://www.dooney.com/home for purchasing information.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
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Style & Substance – J. Crew – Cashmere Cable Beanie

To be perfectly honest with the audience, I simply cannot understand how some gentlemen are capable of confronting the elements, of course referring to bone-rattling glacial winter temperatures, without dutiful protection of some form of headgear.  I quietly, painfully observe my fellow gentlemen commute across frozen, urban tundras; their cranial follicles crying out for a warm, merciful intervention. Alas, toasty relief is but an unfulfilled dream of comfort. As a bald gentleman, venturing into frosty weather is definitely not – and I passionately repeat –  is definitely not an option. I can vividly hear my late grandmother now: Boy, put something on that head before you catch pneumonia! Therefore, my winter wardrobe is stockpiled with the necessary accessories to combat plummeting temperatures.

In the more recent years, I have heavily favored beanies, generally cotton, to shield my head from cold, unsavory conditions. This winter, I wanted to switch it up and experiment with woolen fabrics. Enter the J. Crew cashmere beanie. At the time, I did not own any J. Crew merchandise, but their cashmere offering was on decidedly tempting discount, so I embraced the risk and purchased a burgundy selection to complement a pea coat I favor during this time. I was not disappointed. The delicate reputation of cashmere may elicit trepidation in some gentlemen, but the J. Crew beanie offers a heavy, robust knit while retaining the signature softness of this chosen woolen fabric.

The weave is suitably tight enough to deter chilly, sneaky wind from penetrating through the surface. And the fit allows for a slight stretch without losing its body and allowing for a cozy hug of the cranium. It grants warmth without being unnecessarily clunky. Now, the cable knit is a departure from the plain weaves of my cotton beanies, but it is a welcome change that affords an elegant presentation. Simply stated: This hat is a winner and J. Crew will certainly be added to my list of preferred brands. The quality of the beanie at the current price-point is fantastic. And if you are fortunate to take advantage of a sale – as it is currently – you will not regret your purchase. Your head will thank you later.

The Standard #45

A wise gentleman understands that his reward and blessings in life are not entirely his own to selfishly possess. Rather, his reward and blessings are meant to fuel his purpose, and his purpose – in some form or another – should be enhancing and adding value to the lives of other people. To be sure, a gentleman’s objective in life should not be driven by a concerted focus to facilitate personal gain, especially at the costly expense of other individuals. The wise and prosperous gentleman understands that material wealth is meaningless if it is not utilized to cultivate prosperity with other members in society. A gentleman’s service may arrive in the form of monetary value, educational and knowledge sharing, or granting valuable time with his presence. Truly, however, whatever a gentleman gives of himself to bless the life of another person is wholly his own decision. Surely the accomplished gentleman understands that his own blessings are most likely have been assisted by a helping hand – seen or unforeseen. Today, identify and recognize your own blessings and how they can positively impact the life of someone who could really reap the benefits. Someone is in need right now.

The Standard #44

An emotionally intelligent gentleman fully understands that the regular practice of deep introspection is vitally crucial to personal learning and growth. Affording oneself a quiet interval of thoughtful reflection is a fantastic opportunity to reveal truth and awareness critical to your development. If but for a brief moment, freedom from the daily rigor of life can open a personal alertness that can cleanse and rejuvenate the mental faculties. A gentleman can thoughtfully evaluate his state of affairs, calculate the necessary adjustments if required, and determine the best course of action to facilitate progression.

Now, the personal objective of sequestering time may present itself as an implausible, almost impossible feat. However, that is certainly not a reality that a gentleman should allow himself to be deceived. Procuring time can be as simple as silencing the radio during your commute to work. It can be as easy as allowing temporary disconnection from social media to concentrate on yourself, or as painless as momentarily shunning television programming – do not fret, DVR has you covered. All of that is to say: Time is available and ready to be smartly utilized. One cannot underestimate the importance of proper maintenance to one’s mental and spiritual state. The time is now, start today.

Review – Dolce & Gabbana – Light Blue Intense

To be perfectly honest, this particular review is woefully long overdue. Managing both my professional and personal life is still quite the challenge. Nevertheless, with the holiday season officially underway, I determined that there was not a better time to share my thoughts on Dolce & Gabbana’s aromatic offering Light Blue Intense. Intimately introduced to Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue a little over a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised when afforded the opportunity to sample the Intense version of the previous offering. For more than a few months now, Light Blue Intense has quietly become my preferred cologne of choice. Boasting a robust melody of aromatic notes, coupled with a sustained, mildly pungent presence, Light Blue Intense should be in your rotation of cologne. Allow me to provide a detailed explanation for you.

Observations

Top Notes: Mandarin Orange, Frozen Grapefruit

Middle Notes: Juniper, Aquatic Accord

Base Notes:  Amber Wood, Musk

  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense arrives in the same bottle as Light Blue Beauty of Capri – unadorned and simple. The delicately curved bottle is standard as most cologne bottles are presented. Short, stout, and dense; the transparent light blue flacon houses the selected scent topped by a powder blue cap.
  • A lively commencement of notes begin with a foundation rooted in sharp tones of citrus. Immediately, a gentleman will recognize that Light Blue Intense is definitely stronger than its predecessor. The introduction is a playful balance of bitter and sweet as the dry-down is mellow and smooth.
  • The progression toward the heart of the fragrance reveals a fresh and light personality. The fragrance definitely slows down before regaining momentum during the latter end of its notes.
  • The fragrant finish is slightly heavy with deep wood flavors. The base notes are surely pronounced, but not obnoxious. However, moderate applications are recommended. I applied too much on one occasion and later in the day, it was a little overbearing on the senses.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense is at its best when properly deployed for early to late evening occasions. Because of its intensity, I would recommend Light Blue Intense be saved for cooler temperatures. If you choose otherwise, please be advised that its scent will probably be greatly magnified if the environment is warm or hot.
  • Eschewing pretension, Light Blue Intense affords a touch of sophistication that should be befitting of any dapper gentleman. A gentleman will enjoy moderate to long longevity, as the spicy woody tones are robust and full. I would estimate that 4-5 applications of Light Blue Intense should suffice.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense 3.3 fl. oz. $88.00, 6.7 fl. oz. $125.00 – Available at Dolce & Gabbana, Macys, Nordstrom, and other fine men’s department stores
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