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Modern Travel: Montreal

dweber posted this February 26th, 2015

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Living up to its nickname as la metropole du Quebec, Montreal is Canada’s cool older sister – artistic, outdoorsy, modern yet eccentric. Established in 1611 as a French trading post on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is situated on an island, surrounded by more islands, with a mountain smack dab in the middle of it all. The unique geography of Montreal makes it an urban hiker’s paradise – full of winding alleyways, gorgeous river walks and an endless selection of patisseries. Do what the locals do and grab a snack on the go (Montreal bagels have long rivaled the infamous New York bagel), stroll the old industrial Lachine Canal and get your groove on at a random street festival (Montreal has hundreds of festivals every year, so you’re bound to stumble upon one). Explore the old Victorian epicenter in Vieux-Port, find oddities in Little Burgundy, traverse the paths of Mont-Royal, settle into a warm café au lait in Plateau Mont-Royal, then grab a cold one and practice your French in the taverns of Mile End. Wherever you end up in Montreal, you’ll surely feel a joie de vivre.

WHAT TO DO IN MONTREAL

Mont-Royal Park
Every great city has a great park: London has Hyde Park, New York has Central Park, and Montreal has Mont-Royal (un-coincidently designed by the same man who did Central Park!). But unlike those other flat parks, Mont-Royal features eleven miles of pathways and staircases that twist up to a stunning observatory at the top. Pack your sneakers and walk your way from the heart of downtown to the summit or rent snowshoes, tobogons and ice skates at Lac Au Castor Pavillion along Beaver Lake. Regardless of weather, there is no shortage of activity or enthusiastic Montrealers in Mont-Royal Park, so plan to spend a few hours in the true heart of the city – it’s where you’re sure to experience Montreal the local way.

La Banquise
No trip to Montreal is complete without getting a plate of piping hot poutine – the potatoey, cheesy, gravy-drenched unofficial (but sort of official) dish of Canada. Whether you’re new to poutine or straight up addicted, La Banquise is the place to start. Get La Classique (fries/gravy/cheese curds) or branch out and try one of the more adventurous variations. Go for the La T-Rex – a smorgasbord of meats – or opt for La Elvis, the unquestionable King of Poutine. Dense. Smoky. Delicious. Yum.

Marché Jean-Talon
If you like farmer’s markets, then Marche Jean-Talon is your Mecca. Although it’s one of the biggest public markets in North America, it’s approachable, local and still has a country market feel: Rows upon rows of vibrant produce beg to be photographed, friendly vendors offer samples and sightseeing tips, and the cheese displays are definitely something to write home about. Grab a smoked meat sandwich (4” thick – it’s a Montreal specialty), try a scoop of fresh hazelnut ice cream, hit the crepe stalls, shuck Atlantic oysters, or even try the taco stall in the center of the market (yes there are tacos, and yes they are delicious). And like any authentic farmers market, this one is cash only and one of the best deals in town.

Dieu Du Ciel
Dieu du Ciel represents everything that is awesome about Montreal: Quality (both the beer and the people), relaxed, down-to-earth and cheap! And just like it’s name implies, the beer is positively divine. One sip of their Peche Mortel and you’ll know why they named the joint “God of Heaven.” For the size of the microbrewery, they manage to produce a huge selection of international award winning beers: The hibiscus beer and, ironically, the American IPA are big crowd pleasers, though you really can’t go wrong with any of their seasonal ales. It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that DDC makes awesome beer, so space is limited and prepare to get cozy with your neighbors. But what Dieu Du Ciel doesn’t offer in floor space they make up for with a certain je ne sais quoi… or maybe it’s just good ol’ fashioned beer.

Parc-nature du-Bois-de-l’ile Bizard 
It might be a mouthful to say, but Bois-de- I’ile Bizard Park is simply gorgeous. Located on an island just northwest of downtown Montreal, this large nature preserve is reminiscent of the great Canadian woods that grace old postcards and cookie tins. Snowshoe or cross country ski amongst the sugar maples, cedar groves and marshes. Stop on the footbridge over lac des Deux-Montagnes for some casual beaver and bird watching. Walk the miles of pathways and take in the tranquility– tres magnifique!

WHAT TO WEAR IN MONTREAL

Wisper Double Tank
Worn on its own or peeking out from under a sweater, the quiet elegance of the Wisper Double Tank lives up to its soft-spoken name. Two layers of silky, eco-friendly Tencel®, with a hint of forgiving spandex and bra-friendly straps, make this tank a travel must. With Wisper’s pretty draped neckline, you’ll be dressed-up enough for a dinner date even after hours traversing Mont-Royal.

Boarding Pass Pant
It’s a full plane and you’ve got the middle seat between two lumberjacks – but somehow you’re still smiling. You can thank your pants for the breezy attitude. Our Boarding Pass Pant is made of Travel Twill: a soft, light and stretchy blend of cotton/poly/spandex that maintains its shape and character over the long haul. There’s a stealth zip pocket to stash your travel essentials and the fabric is water, oil and stain resistant to avert evidence of dining disasters (Poutine isn’t exactly the daintiest of foods…).

Allisa Dress
With gas prices so low, why not take a spur-of-the-moment trip? Of course you’ll say yes when you’ve got the Allisa Dress. Tossing on this simple, functional dress is as easy as slipping into your favorite T-shirt, but gives you travel-worthy panache. Made from an uber-soft blend of organic cotton and poly, you’ll get plenty of coverage with the double-layer skirt and the stretchy waist can be worn high or low for maximum versatility (and minimalist packing). Toss on a pair of fun printed leggings, stash your passport in Allisa’s hidden pocket and get on your way.

Livingstone Shirt
This shirt is a mild-mannered button-front designed for wild-mannered adventures. Transition easily from one environment to the other – coffee, hike, bike, pub, grub, repeat. Made of Tencel® Sun, cotton and polyester, the lightweight fabric wicks moisture, traps sweat, dries fast and resists wrinkles nicely. A hidden zip sleeve on the chest pocket is perfect for stashing cash or passports, and just like Montreal locals, this shirt will maintain its composure and functionality all day long. Trés bon!

Horny Toad Becomes Toad&Co

dweber posted this January 27th, 2015

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Shakespeare said it best, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So on January 27, Horny Toad changed its name and became Toad&Co. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time and we’re really excited to start 2015 with a new name – one that sounds just as sweet. It’s a truer reflection of who we are, where we’re going and the great partners we’re proud to call our “Co.”

We’ll always love the name Horny Toad. We’re super proud of what we’ve accomplished with that name and it will always remind us of our Telluride roots. We’ve come a long way since that first hat was sewn 24 years ago, so we put a lot of consideration into our new name: We kept what’s best about being a Toad – our fun spirit, our commitment to great product and doing good – and added a nod to the partners we’re proud to call our &Co. That means our customers, employees, retailers and reps, the non-profits we support and like-minded companies we hang out with – you’re the company we keep. The name Toad&Co makes a lot of sense when you look at it that way.

Toad&Co says it all: More than just making clothes, we’re a company committed to making socially and environmentally smart choices; we value the important work of the individuals and organizations we support; we think living well and doing good are one and the same; and we believe that anything worth doing is better with good company. While this may seem like a big change, it’s important to know that nothing about our company is changing. We’re still the same great company, with the same great product and the same great people that make us who we are. Thanks for being part of it — you’re gonna love the new Toad.

Snap a Pic, Win a Shirt

dweber posted this January 15th, 2015

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From Horny Toad to Toad&Co, you’ve always been in good company. We believe that anything worth doing is worth sharing with friends, so we’re all about Keeping Good Company – and that means you. As a thank you for being part our Co for all these years, we’re giving away Keep Good Company Tees to the first 50 people to post a selfie wearing your favorite Horny Toad threads. Tag us @hornytoadactivewear with #KeepGoodCompany on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to win

Daisy rocking the Swingout Jacket in Western Ireland

Daisy rocking the Swingout Jacket in Western Ireland

Cheers to a Great Year

dweber posted this December 29th, 2014

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2014 was an awesome year for Team Toad: We got settled into our new headquarters, hired a few new faces from all over the country, hit the slopes and surf, and even found time to hang out with an elephant. We’re pretty excited about the big things coming up in 2015, and if it’s anything like 2014 then we’re in for a great year!

2014 by the Numbers…

New Hires: 8
Volunteer Hours: 1,200
Gallons of espresso made: 60
Baby Toads born: 3
# of Toads who cleaned up Mission Creek: 33 Toads, or 100% of the office!
Hours of pre-work surf-sessions: 208
Renewable Energy Certificates Purchased: 14
Smoothies made: 4,004
New office pups: 2
Pounds of organic food scraps composted at headquarters: 312
# of momos (aka: Tibetan dumplings) made by our accounting department: 2,000
# of Paintings sold at the Search for Adventure benefit auction: 36
Grilled cheese entries in the 2014 Grilled Cheese Smackdown: 7
# of panini presses in the kitchen at all times: 4
Toad weddings: 2
Lunch & Learns: 10 (highlights include Inside a Factory, The Wonderful World of Composting, Insights from a Yarn Bomber, The Environmental Defense Center, Mountainfilm in Telluride Screening)
Kegs of local beer consumed: 12
# of Bowling lanes in our office: 1 (it’s our bar!)

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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A very Toady Halloween

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Momos! An awesome homemade Himalayan lunch from our finance department


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Cheese. Bread. Butter. Win.


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Steve and his new bride, Michaela, when Team Toad met Team Elephant


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Eradicating invasive plants with the Backyard Collective

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How many Toads does it take to move a bowling lane?

The Road of the Toad: A Look Back

dweber posted this December 17th, 2014

Something big is happening at Horny Toad on January 27. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we’re looking back on the road we’ve taken and the people who’ve joined us along the way. It’s because of the partners we’ve had and the decisions we’ve made that we’re able to move forward. So as we look to the big things coming up in 2015, we can’t help but take a stroll down memory lane, and detour down the Road of the Toad…

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1991 – Horny Toad starts in a garage in Telluride, CO where one woman is making one-of-a-kind, handmade winter toques (fleece hats for ski-bums).

1995 – The first brick and mortar Horny Toad store is established in downtown Telluride. It’s 300 square-ft. Meanwhile, headquarters is moved to Chicago and set up in Gordon’s living room. The entire company has 3 employees.

1996 – Horny Toad Activewear launches at the Summer Outdoor Retail Tradeshow with no summer line, just our signature winter toques. Orders pour in for “Mixed Dozens”: An assortment of sizes and colors pulled from bins in the office. The company grows to 4 employees.

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1997 – We join with Search, Inc. to create Planet Access Company (PAC) in Chicago. PAC is a third party logistics warehouse that provides meaningful jobs for adults with developmental disabilities.

1997 – The pilot “Pillow Program” launches at PAC. PAC repurposes the fleece scraps from Horny Toad clothing and turns those scraps into pillowcases. The cases are sold across the country in outdoor retail stores with all proceeds going back to PAC; some of these proceeds are used to send PAC crew members on much deserved vacations to the great outdoors.

1998 – PAC takes over all of Horny Toad’s logistics: 100% of our clothing is picked, packed, and shipped by PAC crewmembers (and it still is to this day!)

1999 – Horny Toad launches the first spring line, saying goodbye to unisex sizes, and hello to women’s apparel.95-96wkbk-copy

1999 – We sponsor the MountainFilm in Telluride film festival in Colorado for the first time.

 

2000 – Search for Adventure,  a sister-program to PAC, officially gets off the ground. Proceeds from PAC and grants from Horny Toad provide much deserved vacations to the PAC crew, giving many their first experience of outdoor adventure.

2001 – The Horny Toad Outlet Store in Freeport, Maine opens. It’s meant to be a temporary pop-up shop, but after a successful winter it becomes a permanent fixture in downtown Freeport.PAC

2001 – Horny Toad is invited to join the Outdoor Industry Association as the voice of the next generation in the outdoor industry.

2002 – Team Toad relocates headquarters from Chicago to sunny Santa Barbara, CA. Four families, 2 dogs, and all our belongings pack into an 18-wheeler truck and hit the road across the country – garage band style. We set up shop in a small space right off main street. Horny Toad has grown to 8 employees.

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2004 – “Cashmoore” becomes synonymous with Horny Toad. This micro-polyester fabric is buttery, indescribably soft, and full of eco-friendly fibers. Our Cashmoore pants and jackets put us on the map for the ultimate in cozy, fluffy goodness.

 

2005 – Horny Toad becomes a member of the outdoor industry environmental collective, the Conservation Alliance.We go outdoors to be inspired, so it’s paramount to our success to keep it wild and free.

 

FreeportOriginal2005 – We’ve outgrown our downtown location, so we find some new digs down by the beach. The company has swelled to 23 employees and 3 dogs.

2006 – Horny Toad becomes the proud owner of a handful of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through 3Degrees®. We tally up the amount of energy we use every year and commit to purchasing the relative amount in RECs.  RECs allow us to channel funds to sustainable energy projects, offsetting the environmental impact of our energy use.

2007 – We open the Lizard Lounge, our second brick & mortar location, in Portland, Oregon. Horny Toad gets even hipper and now we have an excuse to visit Portland more often.SB1

2008 – With their likeminded commitment to doing business for good and designing some seriously cool threads, Nau becomes an awesome addition to the Toad family for five years.

2009 – Our reputation for making functional yet feminine women’s dresses starts here: The Rosemarie Dress makes its debut in our spring line and is offered in four basic colors. Rosemarie sells out before the spring season is over and we know we’ve found our new

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2010 – We participate in the first annual Backyard Collective, joining forces with Conservation Alliance members and local organizations for a day of environmental action. We trade spreadsheets for shovels, getting our hands dirty restoring trails and creeks in our own backyard.

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2010 – Outside Magazine names Horny Toad one of the Best Places to Work. Beach cruisers, pig-pong, and pooches – we think it’s pretty great too.

 

2013 – We host the first annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown Invitational on our back patio. The results are delicious.

2013 – The Toads move up in the world as we take our headquarters to the former 1920s hilltop home of UC Santa Barbara. We set up shop in the old library, replacing book stacks with 49 employees.

2013 – Horny Toad becomes a member of 1% For the Planet. It’s a proud statement of our commitment to PAC, SFA and creating meaningfulgrilled cheese change through socially and environmentally smart business.

2014 – For the 5th time, Horny Toad is named one of Outside’s Best Places to Work. They’re making us blush, but we couldn’t agree more.

2015 – On January 27, we changed our name to Toad&Co.

 

Our Props Are Real

dweber posted this December 3rd, 2014

 

This awesome, hot and cozy classic comes from iconic chef Jacques Pepin. Yes, we made it to use as a prop for the dinner scene on our photoshoot. And yes, we ate it before it got cold!


cauliflower_au_gratinCauliflower au Gratin

1 head of cauliflower
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups of milk
1 cup half & half
salt
fresh ground black pepper
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese 

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Break the cauliflower into florets, cut the core into chunks. Boil for about 5 minutes until just barely soft.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook for a bit – be careful not to brown it! Add the milk and gently bring to a low boil, stirring so as not to scorch the mixture on the bottom. Add in the half & half, salt, pepper and nutmeg and bring to a boil for another minute or so. It should be thickening a bit. Remove from heat.

Butter a gratin or baking dish. Arrange the florets in the dish and sprinkle the cheese all over the top. Pour the sauce over and place dish on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Yum!

Deck the Halls, Win a Gift Card

dweber posted this December 3rd, 2014

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Join Us on Giving Tuesday

ian jordan posted this November 28th, 2014

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Giving Tuesday is just around the corner – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – and it’s a global day of giving. This Giving Tuesday, December 2, we’re donating to  Search, Inc. It’s a cause that is very important to us and one that we have been deeply involved with since 1997.

What is Search, Inc.?

We think Search, Inc. has something special going on. Their mission is straightforward: They empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve their full potential, accept a valued role in their community and lead rich, rewarding lives.  Search provides a wide range of flexible, personalized services and supports for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities including supported living arrangements, adult learning and employment programs, as well as medical, behavioral, therapy and home-based services.

Since day one we’ve made choices that reflect Horny Toad’s commitment to making a difference in the world beyond just making clothes. So in the mid-nineties Horny Toad and Search collaborated to found the Planet Access Company (PAC). PAC is a life-skills training group with a mission to positively change the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by providing them with training and work opportunities. The PAC work crew processes 100% of Horny Toad’s inventory and every unit of Horny Toad clothing is picked, packed, and shipped with unmatched enthusiasm by the PAC crew.

Another program that’s close to our hearts is Search For Adventure, a travel program dedicated to connecting members of the PAC crew to the wider world. Funded by proceeds from PAC and a grant from Horny Toad, every year about 50 clients and a handful of Toad volunteers travel together on much earned vacations. They enjoy places like the Appalachian Trail and New York City, and they always make a trip to visit Horny Toad Headquarters in Santa Barbara. Meeting the PAC crew and getting to host them is one of the highlights of our year and we always look forward to a great weekend.

PAC and SFA are just two of the great programs at Search, Inc. They also have a Visibility Arts program that offers everything from group learning to studio-time to gallery exhibitions. In fact, we had an exhibition at HT headquarters this past September and a number of the artists come to speak about their art. Other programs include Search’s Glidepath Curriculum and No Boundaries career services programs, the Planet Access Retail Store in Chicago, and JJs Lista certification program for businesses that want to partner with Search or make their businesses more accessible to folks with developmental disabilities. These programs make up Search, Inc and further their mission to empower Search clients to achieve their fullest, richest lives. The work that Search does is important to us so we’re supporting Search, Inc. this Giving Tuesday and we’re asking you to join us.

How to Donate

Search, Inc. has been invited by the Coleman Foundation to participate in its Giving Tuesday Matching Grants ProgramIn support of this goal, the Coleman Foundation will offer a dollar-for-dollar match of donations received online for 24 hours on December 2 from first time donors, up to a maximum of $15,000. search square

As a Thank You, search will be giving away prizes to top donors:

  •  First 10 people to donate receive reusable Search tote bags
  •  First 10 people to donate $50 or more will receive a set of Visibility Arts Holiday Note Cards
  •  Top 6 donors on December 2 will receive a painting done by Visibility Arts artists

Your donations on Giving Tuesday will support Search, Inc. as they continue to provide support and inspiration to families in need. With your help, Search will continue giving clients the opportunity to live, learn, work, play and share their unique abilities with their community – just like everyone else.

Please visit search-inc.org and donate on December 2, 2014.

The Company We Keep

ian jordan posted this November 25th, 2014

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Horny Toad has always been guided by the idea that things are better when we’re among friends and sharing with others. We place a high premium on keeping good company. Our employees, partners, vendors, retailers, distributors, and loyal customers make up the fabric of Horny Toad, and we’re grateful that all these people have chosen to collaborate with us.

There’s actually a word for this feeling: Hygge. Pronounced “hyoo-gah,” it’s a Danish idea that loosely means “simple, cozy, togetherness.” There’s no direct English translation, but Hygge is a celebration of the relationships and things that enrich our lives, whether that’s a great meal, a favorite sweater or your closest friends. Our design director encountered this word on an inspiration trip to Copenhagen, and after really digging into its meaning we realized we embraced hygge a long time ago. Now we have a word for it.

As we look back on the year and take stock of our friendships, we can’t help but feel a warm sense of appreciation – and hygge – for all the good in our work and our lives. We’ve been lucky enough to partner with folks who bring richness to our company and remind us that what we’re doing is so much more than making and selling clothes.

Founded on the desire to make a difference in the world beyond just making clothes, Horny Toad has partnered with socially and environmentally active companies, organizations and individuals since the beginning. As we grow, so do our partners, so every partnership is meaningful and woven into the fabric of how we do business:

• When you place an order from us, it is fulfilled by Planet Access Company. PAC is a life-skills training group with a mission to positively change the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by providing them with training and work opportunities. The PAC work crew processes 100% of Horny Toad’s inventory and every unit of Horny Toad clothing is picked, packed, and shipped with unmatched enthusiasm by the PAC crew.

• We support and participate in Search For Adventure, an adventure travel program funded by proceeds from PAC and a grant from Horny Toad that provides members of the PAC work crew trips to the great outdoors. Every year about 50 clients and a handful of Toads travel together, enjoying places like the Appalachian Trail, our seaside town of Santa Barbara and everywhere in between.

• We’re members of 1% For the Planet, meaning we donate 1% of gross sales annually to environmental and social causes that inspire us.

• We’re members of the Conservation Alliance, a consortium of Outdoor Industry companies that fund conservation projects. Every year our employees vote for which grassroots non-profit organizations receive the grants they need to protect the wilderness we all love. We also volunteer with local member company employees and local grantees for a day of environmental action through the Backyard Collective. We get out of the office and get our hands dirty doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards

• We stay closely connected to our roots in Telluride, Colorado by continuing to support MountainFilm in Telluride whose annual program of films and national tour bring awareness to environmental and social issues.

•  At Toad Headquarters in Santa Barbara, you’re just as likely to have a tasty Tibetan lunch made by the finance department as you are to catch an impromptu dance party from the sales team. With one big, bright, open room full of Toads and pups, our work environment feels more like a family picnic-meets-think tank than an office. From our annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown to monthly Fun Committees and regular Lunch & Learns, we think we’ve figured out this whole work-hard-play-hard balance.

• Most importantly, we want to acknowledge our customers. We hope what we do beyond making clothes is what makes you feel good about wearing the clothes we make. We value every note, comment and photo we get from you – it inspires our next move and makes us feel connected to you.

So consider yourself in good company. We’ve built Horny Toad on the foundation that the choices we make are as important as the clothes we create and we pride ourselves on being good partners in our relationships. So call it hygge, call it the holiday spirit, no matter how you say it, we appreciate you.

Modern Flannel

ian jordan posted this November 13th, 2014

Modern Flannel
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(Click to view: Dot Matrix Shirt, Birddog Flannel Shirt, Earle Shirt)

Image Map Horny Toad Dot Matrix Shirt Horny Toad Men's Birddog Shirt Horny Toad Men's Earle Shirt

We get excited when Horny Toad pops up in new places, so we were super psyched to see our friends at The Manual calling out our flannels as their go-to autumn gear this season. The Manual: The Essential Guide for Men is a website that performs just as a it sounds – it offers tips and insights on how men can live full, engaged lives whether it be through fashion, food, drink, travel, grooming or culture. So check out Austin Parker’s recent post on the our “Modern Flannels” and see why the folks at the Mannual are picking up three of our favorite shirts. 

MODERN FLANNEL: HORNY TOAD
Austin Parker – October 16, 2014

Whether you’re heading to a saturday afternoon wine tasting, or simply heading out for an afternoon walk with your trusty four-legged friend, Fall weather calls for a little more than the typical jeans and t-shirt you got away with this summer. Let’s be honest, aside from hipsters and lumberjacks (and maybe a few too many ski town “bros”) flannel hasn’t really been a part of most of our wardrobes for a few years. That’s about to change. After relaunching their line earlier this year, Horny Toad’s new outdoor lifestyle focused shirts are the perfect foundation for wearing around town this fall.

The cornerstone of the line is the Birddog Shirt. Featuring hollow-core polyester fibers, it has excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, and more importantly wicks moisture and dries quickly, so you can wear it directly from the office to the trail. Expect this one to be a go-to piece for a few seasons to come.

Not everything has to be technical though (our gear addicts on staff might beg to differ). The all new Earle is 100% organic cotton tweed, favoring classic construction and design. The athletic fit compliments the throwback colorway and iconic pattern. Just don’t be surprised when this one gets stolen by your girlfriend.

Our last pick isn’t quite flannel, but the Dot Matrix Oxford is a classic working man’s shirt that belongs in your closet. The subtle texture and heavier blend make this the perfect layering piece for an outdoor evening or night at the bar. You may need to just get one in every color. Right now is perfect time to expand and update some of the tired shirts you’ve been slowly wearing out, and it’s time to look at flannel again. Horny Toad’s fall line proves that you don’t have to work in a logging camp or drink terrible beer ironically to look good in a classic flannel shirt.