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wonders never cease

26 Years!

So, maybe you've heard (because we've been making a pretty big deal out of it ... ), Proper Topper just turned TWENTY-SIX. Which is like a billion in shop years.

Needless to say, we're celebrating. We've been strolling down memory lane for a few weeks on Instagram, and this week in the shop we're revisiting the 90s with our favorite songs (you can listen here: more than 24 hours of fun) and beverages (Capri Sun, KoolAid Jammers ... ) from that decade and some flashback pricing. Next week, we'll revisit the aughts. And for the duration of the next two weeks, we'll be having a big 26th anniversary sale. Please come join the fun.

Meanwhile, we want to thank you for supporting a real live brick-and-mortar shop (which used to be just be called "a shop") staffed by real live people. We think local retail shops play an important role in their communities. We're hoping to keep sharing our favorite things with you for many more years. Cheers to the next quarter of a century!

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Mr. Reliable

This week's installment of Proper Style Picks,  by our own Mr. Reliable, Jake:

With Father's Day this weekend, I'm thinking about how glad I am to have three fatherly figures in my life: my dad, my stepdad, and my mentor. While I've had my ups and downs with all of them (but who hasn't, especially as a teenager?), they have always been reliable.

With their reputations of reliability, they deserve gifts with the same reputation this Father's Day.

I already expounded on the quality of Lisa B. socks in a previous post (but you should definitely give dad some); here are some other favorites you can rely on.

Rustico leather products are all hand-crafted in Utah, ensuring their reliability for years to come. (I use one of their Departure leather wallets and can report that it's worn in beautifully.) I like the idea of sharing special memories in a brag book, making a date to spend time outdoors with a golf or fishing log, or writing a travel itinerary and wrapping it up with a passport cover and luggage tag.

Is there a more reliable summer hat than one made from panama straw? (The answer is no.) Always hand-woven in Ecuador, panama hats come in a variety of colors, shapes, and styles. My personal favorite this season: the Winnick.

A good book is always a reliable gift, and the shop has a really great selection this summer.  Some of my choices include topics like whiskey, fashion and lifestyle. But perhaps the most reliable on all fronts: a mash-up of  Shakespeare and (arguably) the most reliable Star Wars film: The Empire Strikes Back.

Finally, there's nothing more reliable than a good card with a handwritten message inside to tell Dad how much you really appreciate him.

Happy Father's Day!

- Jake

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Spotify Summertime

Our weird spring weather has blossomed into summer, and a sunny swelter has gripped our city just in time for the longest sultry days of the year. We invite you to enjoy another of our in-store play lists from our Spotify account. It sounds just as good by the pool as it does holed up in an air-conditioned home, and it's appropriate for discerning listeners aged 5 to 95.

Log on, kick back, relax and try to stay cool. If you're looking for a good sun hat to stay shady, swing by and let us hook you up.

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An Ode to Socks

We're pleased to launch a series of  Proper Style Picks, this one from our dapper staff member Jake:

Socks and underwear: gifts men typically dread receiving. Too often they are something needed, not wanted. 

Recently, though, there's been a revival in sock love. Colors and patterns have reappeared --  much to my liking. As someone who loves color and appreciates quality, I was drawn to these new offerings.

But: I'm hard on my feet, and socks take the brunt of my abuse. I had come to accept that socks never lasted long in my life.  

Then I gave the Lisa B. socks we sell in the shop a try. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you they changed my life. In addition to taking a beating, they are comfortable, colorful, and a great fit. My first pair has lasted more than two years and are still going strong. Did I also mention they are made in rural Pennsylvania? An added bonus. #shopsmall #madeintheUSA #etc

These socks make a statement without being too flashy. Like a pocket square, good socks will show you care about details, demonstrate personal style, and exude confidence. They're a perfect splash of color for the office, a formal(ish) occasion, a night on the town, or a night in. The colors and designs are timeless, so you won't need to buy new ones every year (but you might just want to anyhow).

As Lisa herself says, these socks "fulfill a need, but that doesn't mean it has to be dull and boring!"

As for interesting underwear ...  well, I'm going to let you choose that on your own

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Summertime Chill

This first long weekend of summer always feels like standing at a starting line, waiting for the thrilling race to begin. The sunshine! The fireflies! The water and sand and long, long evenings. A perfect time for a picnic in the park as The Summer Chill begins.

Be sure to wear a shade-producing (and fetching) hat. A summer dress is also de rigueur for the ladies, and this lovely cotton tie-back from Tracy Reese/plenty couldn't be more comfy and cool; speaking of cool, this fabulous tote is a cooler bag with abundant bottle pockets and storage space- a sneaky everyday tote that's also your picnic's best friend. Last but not least, take along some chill music: our leather-wrapped blue tooth speaker, loaded with our Proper Topper play list #2. (DId we mention that we're releasing a new play list weekly, the custom-crafted work of our own mix master Joe? Find it here, and also by following us on Spotify.)


Relax, enjoy, and let the kids go a little wild.

Savor the season!

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Nick Offerman Can Canoe, Can You?

The sunshine spilling over our waterlogged metropolis is such a welcome sight today. Alas, it seems to be only dropping by for a quick visit and will be replaced by a few days more of grey skies and gross rain. This will undoubtedly put a damper on your big plans for the weekend, so we thought we'd turn you on to a product that might be of some interest to you.

Long before our pal Nick Offerman became a best-selling author of multiple books, and even before he was cast as Ron Swanson, the hilarious libertarian director of Pawnee, Indiana's Parks and Recreation, he was a struggling actor and accomplished woodworker. He made ends meet between acting gigs by building sets for theatrical productions and crafting furniture. At one point, he found himself with time to kill in NYC. Being the industrious fellow he is, he decided to use his time to craft a canoe by hand. He rented a vacant workshop in Red Hook and contacted the good people of Bear Mountain Boats to procure a copy of their top notch How To Guide to Canoecraft. They convinced Nick to film the process with his pal Jimmy Diresta and create a how-to DVD to accompany the book.

The rest is canoecraft history. 

Given this apparently endless rainy season and global-warming-induced rising sea levels, we think we would all be better off with our own canoe. We suggest that the craftier among us roll up our sleeves and get to work creating a fleet of beautiful hand-crafted canoes. Since they probably only take a few (hundred) hours to construct, we can test them out this weekend when Rock Creek jumps its banks. If they prove themselves seaworthy, we can band together and start to gather the animals in pairs.

We've included a few pics of Nick hard at work to motivate you (and convince the skeptics among you).

For those of you allergic to sawdust, if you survive the flooding, you can join us later this summer as we enjoy the comedy styling of Mr. Offerman and his talented wife, Megan Mullally, when they bring their acclaimed Summer of 69: No Apostrophe show to the Warner Theater on August 19th. We'll even swing by and pick you up in our awesome canoes if it hasn't stopped raining by then. 

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wonders never cease