Monday, February 8, 2010

We're expanding...

I'm very pleased to announce that, after a great year, the KC is expanding. I have taken on a new team member in Annmarie Dodd, longtime fashion editor at Golf Digest/Golf World. 

Annmarie and I have spent countless hours building a new site and determining the course of action necessary to make the Khaki Crusader the online destination for golf style news, discussion and inspiration. 

We hope you'll enjoy the work we've put in - the new site should be up any day now. Thank you all for your support and your readership!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend Inspirations

(Photos sourced from a variety of sites and are the sole property of golfissimo, Getty Images, J. Lindeberg, The Round Hill Club and TIME Magazine)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

RLX Fall 2010 - Setting the Bar

Quick run down...

1) The gray tones of RLX Fall 2010 are sophisticated, clean and very modern. Inspiration was taken from the maverick attitude and sleek lines of the clubhouse at the Bridge in Bridgehampton, NY. 

2) Featured items in the line include numerous twists on heritage pieces. They include: a Fair Isle sweater, sleeveless birds-eye cardigan, jersey windowpane vest and a shadow-plaid rain suit.

3)  This photo is for the commenters here, who said a plus-four could not be done in a cool way. The down vest is techy enough to keep the look modern and the pant is cut slim - the scarf an unexpected addition. In my opinion, the guy with the plus-fours is the coolest mannequin in there...

4) A late-spring/Father's day package takes a lighter approach - tech-piques in pastels with white and lighter gray trousers...

5) Outerwear as art... (L to R) Rotator, Elude, Connex

-Sean Hotchkiss

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sven-Olof Karlsson From Abacus Chats With The KC...

Abacus Golf was a highly-anticipated Swedish import at this year's PGA Show in Orlando. The company, known for its colorful outerwear and Nordic styling, is making its US debut in 2010 through a partnership with Caulfield Apparel Group, after a year of establishing a presence in Canada. Abacus is led by Managing Director Sven-Olof Karlsson, who sat with the KC to answer a few questions...

KC: I was, personally, very impressed with my initial exposure to Abacus clothing, because it's clearly a sporty lifestyle brand that happens to cater to golfers. What was the inspiration and the story behind starting the company in 1991 and how has that inspiration evolved?

SOK: Sven and Ingrid, who started the Abacus company, felt that there was a gap in the market of functional, good-looking clothes, and that you, at that time, had to choose between either design or function. Functionality was either poor or heavy or made for skiing or sailing. With newer, better and lighter fabrics being developed, they saw the opportunity to make more effective technical clothing that was suitable for golf, and to combine that with a sporty, fashion-orientated look. The original thought from the beginning was to make functional clothing with a good design in excellent quality, which is still the Abacus core idea.

KC: Many folks in the US won't be familiar with Abacus (hopefully after the PGA Show in January this will change) but what can you tell them briefly about Abacus' philosophy behind the clothing? Who is an Abacus customer?

SOK: Abacus' philosophy is to create a sporty and fashionable lifestyle on the golf course. We combine function and design into coordinated outfits for both on-and off-course use. The collection is based around a layer-on-layer ideal, with fabrics in lightweight and stretch materials... It is an [informed] and smart style of dress...

The Abacus customer is an active person living an active lifestyle; someone who likes to dress sporty and stylish and can use Abacus clothes in all occasions, both on the golf course and in their everyday lives...

KC: The styling and the photography on the website are unique in the way that we, in America, rarely think of scarves, layers and varying textures when it comes to golf clothing. What would you tell someone about the practicality of wearing items they might reserve for off the course, on to the course and how it might benefit their enjoyment?

SOK: Golf is changing and Abacus is part of the change. Golf is now, more than ever, respected as a sport that demands functional clothing. When wearing clothes that fit and make you look good, you feel good and comfortable. When we say that the Abacus collection is made for both on and off course, we mean that you can wear your favorite items on the golf course as well as off course, and that our clothes work well for playing golf, but they don’t necessarily need to look like typical golf items with a traditional golf style. You can be well dressed for golf coming directly from work without changing clothes.

We like to think of us being part of making new ideas and making a change in order to welcome fashion, sportswear and lifestyle into the golfwear market and making it more interesting and at the same time creating fashion worn off the golf course that comes from the golf world...

KC: I see more and more parallels between skiing and golf outerwear in terms of weatherproofing against the elements, the articulation and movement and the materials and equipment design - also many connections exist between companies doing ski and golfwear like Lindeberg, RLX, Peak Performance... Looking at some of the photos on the website and coming from Sweden, does the whole ski town/resort town feel inspire the design of Abacus?

SOK: Skiwear and sportswear are inspirations as well as [high-street] fashion, and many of the Abacus functional wear, fabrics etc. that we use are also used in the sportswear industry. We are looking at action sports based on Scandinavian nature. It can be from the snow world, but as much inspiration comes from the sea and mountains. Practical ideas, a healthy lifestyle, activity and sporty touch are inspiring us to bring these elements to the golf course and to a leisure lifestyle. The latest development of functional fabrics with lighter weight and/or stretch are making new ideas possible on the golf course.

KC: I'm really into educating American golfers on proper fit. Describe the philosophy behind "fit" at Abacus...

"Fit" for fashion and "fit" for golf have been two different ideas, but they are indeed very similar. Oversize is not working in fashion and actually not necessary in golf. A nice silhouette is important for look, but also important for performance in golf - you just need more stretchy and lightweight fabrics. In the past, we've had to deal with heavy fabrics without stretch and companies have needed to make both polo shirts and waterproof jackets oversized to allow movement. This is no longer the case. Abacus thinks: create a look you can be proud of, but feeling practical and comfortable on the golf course is paramount.

KC: Do you guys have any plans to have USPGA Tour players wearing Abacus anytime soon?

SOK: Yes, we do. We started, from the SBS, to be represented by Richard S. Johnson.

KC: What is a favorite item from the Abacus collection that a new customer should absolutely own??

SOK: Our "Pitch" rain jacket. It has outstanding outerwear properties in all weather: Heavy rain, storm, cold, early mornings, evenings, grey, cloudy days or anything that is not warm sunshine. It features fantastic stretch, unique breathability, it is quiet, lightweight and of course, waterproof...

-Sean Hotchkiss

Special thanks to Shane Brett

The Boss Weekend?

(Photo of Ben Crane the sole property of Getty Images)

As Hugo Boss' Green Label makes its re-entry into the American golf market, they couldn't have asked for a better few days...

After being one of the most talked about items at the PGA Merchandise Show - their first since 2002 - Ben Crane added an exclamation point with a victory at Torrey Pines on Sunday wearing the collection. Crane was an off-season acquisition for the German brand, who also picked up 2-time Tour winner Nick Watney.

Team KC swung by the Hugo Boss booth on Thursday morning and previewed the fall offerings. We left with a few noteworthy morsels:

- One of HB's plans is to offer totally seamless offerings to the US and EU markets - if you see Henrik Stenson in a Euro Tour event wearing a golf shirt or trousers from the brand - odds are, you won't have any trouble finding it on US shelves... This makes consumers very happy.

- The Green Label strives to create that perception as a 'fashion' line that happens to be golf-friendly, in the sense that all of the items could easily be worn as street/casual wear, but happen to be in the "golf" collection. It's all about transitional pieces these days and everyone is talking about how to get guys from the first tee to the clubhouse to the town in the same garment. It's challenging, but fun and Hugo Boss is looking towards that kind of inspiration with emphasis on pieces like stylish outerwear, colorful polos and soft-spike golf shoes that look just as appropriate in Soho as they do at St. Andrews. Hugo Boss, as brands like J. Lindeberg have done in the past, offers shirts with a Tour distinction (which carry larger TV-friendly logos) to accompany their more traditional and subtly-branded polo shirts.

- Additionally, Hugo Boss is offering their first women's collection - and while it appears a fairly safe introductory entry into the market, it's a much-anticipated designer brand that enhances the ladies golf fashion scope and offers a lot of potential for future development...

Look for Hugo Boss making appearances on more US shelves this summer. Of course, you can also purchase at TrendyGolf and other online retailers.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Red, White and Who Knew?

Now for Peter Millar’s big We’ve Arrived moment: execs from the nine-year-old line, based in North Carolina, say they've been asked to dress the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Captain Corey Pavin reportedly selected Peter Millar’s creative director, Chris Knott, and his design staff, to create Team USA’s signature look for the event, Oct. 1-3 at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. The team has not yet been named, but those scoring high in the points needed to get them on the team include Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods, Ben Crane, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Palmer.

Peter Millar is known playing vibrant color off very traditional men's wear patterns (those they dress on PGA Tour include Steve Stricker, Aaron Oberholser and Troy Matteson). They’re also known for their huge line of cashmere sweaters. Knott is one of those Southern Gentleman who never appears in public without every stitch in place … and a pocket square to match! We’d love to see some luxe layers on Team USA set against the Welsh landscape.

What a huge honor and everyone we know at Peter Millar was so excited when we spoke with them last week at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

Team USA will wear, we hear, Hickey Freeman tailored clothing to Ryder Cup formal engagements. Nike Golf, Fairway & Greene and Polo Golf are among the brands who’ve dressed previous Ryder Cup teams. Peter Millar hasn’t made its way into the Ryder Cup merchandise, yet, but some shirts and caps for the event are already on sale at

–Annmarie Dodd

Simply the Best?

(Photos the sole property of The Associated Press and Getty Images)

It was great to see Ryuji Imada around the top of the leaderboard at Torrey Pines all week... Rooj has been one of the sharpest dressers on Tour, week in and week out, for several years and, despite a Sunday slip, it appears his game is back in form...

What sets Imada apart, you ask? The man keeps it clean and simple. His trousers fit slimmer than your average pro's, his knits trimmer and he knows how to balance the use of powerful pieces/colors to create a subtle statement. See: If you wear Caribbean blue slacks, make sure the rest of your look is conservative...

Cutter & Buck is clearly making him custom sweaters - or he's wearing someone else and C&B is stamping them - because those things fit like a bag off the rack and Rooj is lookin' crisp out there. Check the photo of him in black - the sleeve is just perfect. I wasn't in love with the ribbing/body mapping on the blue number he was sporting yesterday, but the whole package is damn near perfect. If you're looking for a pro to emulate in terms of dress, look no further than this KC stalwart.

Welcome back, Ryuji!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Badds the New Goods for Travis Mathew

(Photo the sole property of Getty Images)

Travis Mathew continues to roll out its roster of offseason acquisitions. It's been confirmed by reliable sources that Aaron Baddeley is the latest signee for TM. Baddeley, with his shag and laid-back demeanor is a perfect fit for the brand known for exuding sophisticated, surfer style on the course. Baddeley spent several years as the posterboy for the bold plaids and stripes of Original Penguin.
A Travis Mathew rep at the PGA Merchandise Show told the KC, "When we did the initial fitting and saw [Aaron] in the clothing, it was the first time [we] said to eachother, "this is exactly how we envisioned the brand to look..."

An official announcement has yet to be made, but our impeccable record of providing you with the latest speaks for itself... Now we just need to see if Badds can resurrect his game in 2010. If he does, you can imagine TM will be the first to say, "Gotta be the duds..."


Friday, January 29, 2010

Jessy Heuvelink @ J.Lindeberg

J.Lindeberg’s new golf design director, Jessy Heuvelink, has just the fashion-schizophrenic pedigree needed to shape the Swedish brand that’s been pushing golf style forward for more than a decade. After stints in Adidas’ German headquarters and in Christian Lacroix’s haute couture atelier in Paris, Heuvelink has new muse … and it comes in the chiseled shape of Camilo Villegas. Here are some of the highlights of our meeting with Heuvelink at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando...

Q: Over the years, J.Lindeberg has been alternately all about color, or a particular silhouette, what’s driving J.Lindeberg right now?

J.H.: Right now, J.Lindeberg is not about a revolution, but an evolution. We’re going back to our roots to bring style to the golf course with pieces no one has ever seen before, like a waterproof, tech blazer we’ve created that has the look of a traditional blazer, but you can play golf in it.”

Q: Is it wrong to say JL is only for the super slim? Pardon the pun, but is the line broader than that?

J.H.: "We do have that reputation, but the truth is we have pieces all kinds of shapes can wear. Some pieces, however, are done with a design twist that can make them seem like they’re cut smaller. I’ve often said, when some bigger guys wear JL, they can, in fact, appear trimmer than they really are."

Q: We’re looking at a collection that will hit stores in the early summer, what was your inspiration here?

J.H.: "Tailoring. Classic menswear patterns, like big plaids, houndstooths and pinstripes, yet made modern in technical fabrics. The play between the old traditions and the new..."

-Annmarie Dodd

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stuck in a Moment?

(Photos the sole property of Jack Nicklaus Sportswear)

Fashion is cyclical. Most of us are starkly aware of that. What was hip once will probably be hip again, some day. Golf apparel companies have been tapping into designs from the 60's, 70's and 80's for the past few seasons of men's clothing and the response has been predominantly favorable. Many of the younger players on courses all over the world dress something like the younger players did 30 years ago. The focus on more streamlined looks across fashion's horizon has been a catalyst for a movement towards more fitted apparel on the fairways - which is great.

That being said, how far is too far with regards to revisiting the past? Would you buy an exact replica of the argyle sweater worn by Jack Nicklaus at the British Open in the 70's? Nicklaus Sportswear thinks you will. They are unveiling a Heritage collection that takes actual pieces Jack played in and was photographed in during the aforementioned decade and recreates them for the modern player. I can definitely see a collection like this getting some attention in Asia, where Nicklaus apparel sells more readily, but I don't see American or European golfers biting...

Between the Slazenger Heritage Collection, the Nicklaus Heritage Collection and other historically-inspired apparel lines, one inquisitively-minded individual surely begins to wonder if this seemingly fun regurgitation is actually completely stunting creativity. Reinventing and rebirthing old apparel lines is cool if you actually plan to take them somewhere - and I'm not picking on the Nicklaus line, because I think this idea has a lot of potential a) if they use the line as a "slim-fit" version of the Signature stuff then continue to develop and push direction once they've established a presence golfers can relate to, or b) make it a one-time, limited-edition type thing - but if the push is aimless - perhaps to keep churning out knit shirts with "retro flair," (what doesn't have "retro flair" these days?) it's going to stale quickly and sooner than later, be obsolete.

I guess my point is simply that apparel companies need to be aware of becoming too gimicky and nearsighted. It's exactly what they expect from us - by "us," I mean the golf industry and by "they," I mean everyone else that thinks 'golf' and 'style' don't belong in the same sentence. If it sells, it sells - I know companies have to move units. There is no better way to educate golfers on the elements of style then designing, producing and flooding the marketplace with high-quality clothing, but you also need to show your younger or savvier consumer a little bit of progression, creativity and vision or the mission is lost...

I had someone remark to me recently, "golf clothing is such a game of extremes - it's like I have to choose between plus-fours or a spacesuit... I just want a cool shirt and some flat-front pants that I could wear anywhere..."

Sounds pretty manageable, but is it?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abu Dhabi Style

(Photos the sole property of Getty Images)

The Euros (and quite a few international stars) are in the desert this week for the Abu Dhabi Championship. On display, here, are some of the more crisp and clean sartorial achievements we've seen recently - probably because we've been watching the Sony Open... snooze... It's nice to see a full field of some of the world's best looking sharp.

A few notes: Liking Geoff Ogilvy in those TM pants - big improvement with respect to fit - the tailoring is perfect in the back... Chris Wood fearlessly rocks 2 of the dominant colors in JL's spring 2010 gear... Camilo being Camilo - looking forward to seeing him in the new JL stuff, he needs to get back in the brights... Soren Kjeldsen cuts a striking silhouette in Puma... Henrik Stenson may have the best-fitting trousers in the game today...


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 New Apparel Companies Bust Out on 2010 PGA Tour


Richard S. Johnson in Abacus

-Swedish apparel brand, Abacus, has signed fellow Swede and former JL guy, Richard S. Johnson, to sport their looks on the European and PGA Tours. US customers may not be familiar yet with Abacus, but they've already been featured as the outerwear sponsor for the Euro side in the Solheim Cup last summer, are headed to the PGA Show and, of course, have been featured several times here on the KC... I really like the Nordic attitude of the clothing and the focus on making 'golf' apparel that really can be worn anywhere as sportswear with an emphasis on transitional pieces that thrive in a variety of weather... I've already conducted an interview with Abacus CEO, Sven-Olof Karlsson - which will be featured shortly - and I plan to sit with Abacus a week from Friday at the PGA Show to see the collections. Stay tuned for more on this...

-Flare apparel - trousers and shirts - is a brand-spanking new venture out of Tulsa. So new, it appears, that they do not have a website. Their pitchman on the 2010 Tour will be Bo Van Pelt, who has apparently been given a stake in the company in exchange for wearing the clothing. The shirts feature an interesting 'v' shaped cut-out on the sleeve and the color scheme is bright and bold. (See shots here of Bo in Flare, courtesy of Getty.) Currently working on gathering more info on these guys and their plans...


Monday, January 18, 2010

RLX Fall 2010

The new RLX fall 2010 stuff is sick... I can't show photos yet, because RL will have my head on a stick. Trust me though... As they've done recently, the collection takes both heritage pieces - injected with contemporary flair and an updated fit - and modern staples with re-tooled detailing. It's clean and sophisticated with just enough edge to it. I'll have photos by next week from the PGA Show...


New York Haberdashery Show


Todd Martin and Chris Knott

I stopped by the Warwick Hotel on Friday morning to chat with my friends Chris Knott and Millie Graham from Peter Millar. As always, we had fun firing back and forth about the latest developments in golf style, menswear and, of course, gossip. When I'm around the Peter Millar team, I always just want to slip into a Southern drawl - that syrupy demeanor is infectious. I was also pleased to get a chance to meet Todd Martin, who will be running the golf division for PM going forward and to hear some great news about the upcoming year... More to come on that.

Of course, we also had business to attend to, and that meant seeing all the new fall 2010 apparel from the ever-expanding PM collection. I am consistently blown away with the quality and the sheer scope of what they offer to their customer. New for this fall is a barrage of Italian-influenced outerwear; think zip-out vests, quilting, Loro Piana Storm System technology, etc. They are also doing a variety of beautifully-made shoes and belts with new closures. I'm amazed they are able to move all this stuff, but PM is able to make a super high-quality product and sell it well under comparable offerings from more renowned manufacturers from, say, across the pond - which has been a formula that seems to have worked in the men's specialty shops where they make their home.  

As far as golf goes, PM offers boundless options in autumn sweaters: cashmere, merino, 1/4 zip, cardigan, shawl collar, classic v-neck. The fall book is just enormous. Knits are bold and bright, as always, and their pants have expanded to include several new styles of trousers including patterned wool offerings that fit with the sophistication of what I've been seeing for fall 2010 from others. 

For the slightly older and more fiscally comfortable set that makes up the PM customer base, it's worth knowing that PM has never been more on top of its game than in 2010. But don't think the last 9 years have jaded these guys, they're still having plenty of fun. When asked about the scent of the new Peter Millar cologne offering, several members of the team - after attempting a more sophisticated pitch expounding the tri-layer musk and citrus oil formulation -finally remarked, "Hell, we just call it BCR... Bitches come runnin'..."