I’m hooked. Have been since The Rake debuted their Pocket Guide series.
Truly elegant men manage to get away with carrying so little. There was a widely held belief that the Boston Brahmin didn’t even carry an umbrella. His driver always had one, after all. I remember reading that in “Dress for Success.”
My father, when he wasn’t carrying his black Samsonite hard-shell briefcase to work, carried very little on his person. He felt prepared with something like a handkerchief, pen, a wallet, key case, watch and coin case (and rosary — which was strange for an Anglican….). I’ve recreated his everyday carry — or “EDC” as it’s called these days — using his watch and breast pocket wallet (which is capable of holding those massive foreign bank notes.) The USB drive is roughly the size of his key case which held a house key and two car keys (one for the valet.) He also carried a stainless steel Parker Jotter, as I do. On inclement days, he wore a raincoat and carried an umbrella. He once used it to run off two pickpockets in Naples.
I remember when I was shopping for my first briefcase after I decided to do away with carrying an Israeli paratrooper shoulder bag that had been with me since high school (you used to be able to buy things like that at Banana Republic…). I opted for a British Tan leather envelope from Coach. You see, I hadn’t planned on carrying much more than a pen, my keys, a document or two, a small paperback and my sunglasses. In my pockets I would have a handkerchief, a Swiss Army knife, my money clip and my wallet (a breast pocket wallet in the early days. It fit my credit cards, ID’s, and a cheque book.)
These days, I carry a lot more on my person and in my bag. Maybe it’s the electronics. Maybe it’s the “emergency supplies” to deal with kids’ scrapes, allergies, sudden intense hunger and the like. Maybe it’s a by-product of reading the EDC blogs and forums. Maybe it’s a post-9/11 hangover. If you took apart my shoulder bag, you’d label me with the “Gentleman Adventurer” tag. I look fairly well prepared for anything short of invasion. Not as much as some of the “preppers” and operators out there, but I’m in pretty good shape overall. Although I can’t shake the feeling that James Bond carries less and is more inclined to need some of the kit I pack.
On days that find me in a suit, I wind up with some variation of the following, carried on my person:
(I don’t carry two knives. The CRKT Pazoda works well with grey flannels because of the colour. If I have a watch pocket, the Swiss Army goes into it. Those scissors get a lot of use.)
Today, more casually dressed finds me schlepping my shoulder bag and changing out the pocket knife for a clip version. (That’s the fifth Swiss Army knife I’ve had. They do tend to get lost. The Spyderco Dragonfly and my other clip knives stay put.)
Not much difference, eh? I’d like to pare down. In particular, I’d like to find a solution to the key issue. My electronic car key lost it’s fob/ring thing the day I got it. Broke right off. I’m considering carrying the valet key, but I like the remote opening feature and the ability to set off the alarm, if I had too. I may consider dropping the pen and Moleskine book with the business cards in favour of the iPhone electronic solutions. I’m not sure yet.
EDC is constantly evolving. That’s part of the fun. What do you carry in your pockets? And does it share a colour scheme? Or are you a bag person?