Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by KnifeStyle » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:21 pm

Very recently, my life has taken some major turns and my lifestyle has had to change considerably. For the last few years I've been a blue collar college student working his way through school, every day I wore jeans and layered jackets that whatever gear I needed. Never without my Chrome satchel which I basically lived out of occasionally. Form before fashion, the only time I unloaded my pockets was when it was time to change the jeans I wore. Now? I'm working in an office every day, commuting by car constantly, taking graduate courses at night, and a few times a week attend fraternal organization meetings which require a formal suit and respectable appearance.

However, I'm still the guy who has to handle anything with a chaotic life to prepare for. So here I am settling into a new apartment and a new daily routine, trying to sort out what kind of gear I should still keep carrying, what I need to replace, and how to adapt it all to my new 'Mad Men' wardrobe and appearance requirements. I'll be breaking this down into categories to try and narrow down what I need.

How to carry-During the day I'm in dress slacks, a button down shirt and a tie. At night I pull on a sport jacket which has a minimum of two inside pockets and two outside pockets, a few of my blazers have more. I'm known for always carrying a pocket square for decoration, so the chest pocket is off limits. Some events I wear a vest for a full three-piece, I may relegate this for events where I'm on-duty in order to justify the extra pockets for administrative odds and ends.

Filling my bag-as much as I love my Chrome bag, I'm in a new world and I'm now using a standard black laptop-style bag with my organization's symbol embroidered on it. Quite a lot of pockets and dividers, but have yet to narrow down what I need to have in the corporate world compared to my usual college antics. What are some basic essentials for the office and meetings that adults with jobs rely on rather than punks like myself?

Sharp things-I used to sleep with a neck knife, and always had a fixed blade or two on my person with a folder in my waistband. Those were the days. Now I'm meeting more politically correct standards, nowadays sticking with an old Victorinox Cadet solely because it's inoffensive. I usually carry a pink Spyderco Delica, but it's simply too large for most situations nowadays. I do have a Boker Subcom which I occasionally used as a hidden tie clip, but when I'm just in charity meetings and not at work I wouldn't mind having a fixed blade somewhere in my suit in case we need to set up or take down some decorations. I've used 'sheathsticks' made by the Hideaway Knife company to pin sheaths into clothing before, are there any generic alternatives I could put together for less than twenty dollars a pair?

Lights-I have traveled the world with a Surefire E2L which is also an impact weapon I've trained with, but the military style abrasive grip is a factor in dress pants when I'm wearing rings. I still have my old Fenix EO1 on my keychain, but I need something strong enough for when the lights really go out.

Multitools-My Leatherman Wave just can't come along for the ride anymore. I still keep a Squirt on my keychain, but I'm feeling my Vic Cadet isn't quite up to a hard job if it comes up. I need something functional enough for casual jobs, light and small enough not to wear out my clothes or bulge pockets, and reliable without gimmicks.

Paracord-I can't get away with a bracelet anymore, need to find a way to store it all in my bag, in my suit jackets, pants pockets, etc.

Whistle-I love Fox 40 whsitles, and have carried several of them...And all of them eventually broke off my keychain, I literally have a small pile of them with the key fob cracked off. Any sturdier but inexpensive options?

Personal upkeep-Despite wearing a suit every day I still wear my hair long in a ponytail, need to keep clean and presentable, and often have to adjust myself before meetings or interviews in a rush.

Traveling with clothes-I have a Toyota Matrix hatchback already filled with a decent car kit. I need a way to keep an outfit such as a tuxedo in decent shape hanging in the back seat or laid out over the open trunk section.

Pens-I carried a Zebra 701 for a year, and absolutely loved it. When I lost it, I have yet to find one in any stores, and can't justify shopping online for a 7 dollar pen. I've tried carrying the Zebra 402s, but keep snapping them because they're still plastic bodied under the steel barrel.

Wallet-Mine is about ten years old, falling apart, generic brand tri-fold. Any thoughts on what I could upgrade to that will hold more gear without going the nylon military-looking route? I carry in my front pocket so size is a factor.

Business cards-Right now, I'm carrying them in my old wallet. Any simple options for carrying them that doesn't clutter my pockets considerably?

Unusual trinkets-My fraternity often requires me to bring along some challenge coin style artifacts, some small medals I put on for ceremonies, bits of jewelry I don't wear during the day, etc. For example, I have to keep around a pair of white cotton gloves which are for very special occasions. Any tricks for keeping these things protected and organized in a ready-to-go format?

Watch-My old military-looking Dakota with the rechargeable LED lights has finally died past warranty. I'm looking for an inexpensive, conservative watch with a stainless steel band. Something neutral that goes with everything.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Towanda » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:40 pm

Unless you're in the habit of getting undressed at your office, you can wear a neck knife under your shirt, positioned so you can undo a couple buttons under your tie and yank it out.

Will your Leatherman Wave not fit in your laptop bag? Can you get a laptop bag with more room? Tom Bihn makes some good ones.

I always carry a Fisher Bullet space pen with a fine point refill in my pants pocket.

Wallet: check out the International Shirt Pocket Briefcase from Levenger.

I've had a Fox Micro whistle on my keychain for about four years with no sign of the ring breaking off.

Can you keep your gloves and other trinkets in gallon zip-top bags in your car?

Look at Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by ineffableone » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:39 pm

A nice inconspicuous defense weapon and functional tool.

The Unbreakable Umbrella
This is their new telescoping version
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by TODP » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:09 am

Suit-wearer here. Just for reference, my usual lineup consist of a no-name stainless steel pen, Victorinox manager, Leatherman Squirt, phone, leather wallet, and a bic lighter. No flashlight, because my phone can do that. When I'm transporting stuff that I'm actually willing to defend (which is sometimes the case), I also carry a small container of pepper gel (First Defense) and a tactical flashlight with a strike bezel. So much about me.

I concur with Towanda's recommendation of Citizen Eco-Drive watches. However, if you want to safe a few bucks, there are excellent models in Casio's Edifice line, mostly around $100. See http://www.edifice-watches.co.uk/collection.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; .
I've been wearing this watch for the last 8 months, and it is awesome: http://www.edifice-watches.co.uk/produc ... px?ID=1857" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Casio watches really came a long way from cheap plastic junk.
Nothing wrong with the Citizen line, purely a cost issue.

If you really want a multitool between the Wave and the Squirt, I'd recommend looking at the Juice.

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by vahtryn » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:03 am

For a sports coat I suggest getting one of these: http://www.scottevest.com/v3_store/SeV-Sportcoat.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Then go get some matching pants for the color you choose. That'll help with EDC.

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by RonnyRonin » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:01 pm

if you start wearing a vest more often you can hide some pretty sizable items in the appendix area, I never wear a tucked-in shirt without a vest. I carry my pocket knife and glock appendix and a dress vest is almost always enough to conceal them, a smaller fixed blade or a leatherman with pocket clip could be carried inside the waistband appendix. I've tried carrying a larger tactical light appendix, but it was not ideal.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Paltik » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:29 pm

I think your laptop bag could be a key component for your new EDC.

You could make a paracord shoulder strap for the bag.

As for what corporate types usually carry in their bags, the answer is usually too much. Generally all you really need are a file folder with pertinent documents for the day/meeting (other docs should be filed), writing implements, a notepad, and your laptop or tablet. No reason there shouldn't be plenty of room for a flashlight, knife, multitool, bic lighter, etc.

The only problem would be if you have to run your bag through a scanner. I wrote an article about how I pack my carry-on bags for air travel that might be of help in that case.

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Smü » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:03 am

Part time suit monkey, that is what I am (among other things).

Don't ditch the LM Wave. I carry ony daily, even when sporting the business attire. For the Leatherman, I use a Boker Nylon sheath, these can be worn vertically and don't bulge. It depends a bit on your physical appearance though. On a "skinny" person, it might be more visible.

The "EPLI" flashlight might also be worth considering, it has roughly the size of a pen, only a tad thicker. Pretty bright and could double as a Kubotan if that is of any concern.

Business cards can be stored in a steel tray, usually 3-4mm thick. Mine is polished steel and could double as a signaling mirror if need be.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by BloodLust » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:36 pm

I'm in dressy attire for work. Also need to travel often by plane.

I have the Leatherman XE6 but I keep it in the bag. On my person, I use a Leatherman Freestyle.
Light is a Fenix LD10 but if you still want something more low profile, Fenix E11 for AA ( http://www.fenixlight.com/ProductMore.a ... d=11&cid=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) or a Fenix LD01 for AAA ( http://www.fenixlight.com/ProductMore.a ... d=10&cid=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;).
As Towanada mentioned, I also use the Fox 40 Micro. It's flatter so less snags. I haven't had 1 break on me yet.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by tommyatomic » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:26 pm

+100 on the Citizen Eco drive. I am a bit of a watch whore and I dont wear a nice watch (in my opinion) for work; I wear a Citizen Eco drive. The citizen ecodrive is the Toyota of watches. It not flashy, it does not have dozens of options but its comfortable, reasonably sturdy, keeps good time and it always works (solar powered).

I use a passport wallet which fits nicely in my suit jacket pocket. I've never seen or heard of International Shirt Pocket Briefcase from Levenger but I'm going to look into that myself.

For casual meetings I have a fairly business looking messenger bag. For business I use a fairly classy slightly older slim leather laptop case. Because the laptop bag is a couple years older, Its not designed for a tablet or a macbook air, so it has a spacious front pouch with space and organization to hold my leatherman wave, a generic tactical flashlight, a zippo(although I dont smoke), and a handfull of other EDC items I dont want floating around in my suit pockets during meetings. The padded laptop pocket houses a leather portfolio, my ipad, a couple and a bluetooth keyboard.

The laptop bag never leaves my side and it gets me through the day with nothing more than my wallet and phone in my pants pockets during meetings or in my office. But everything i need is close at hand.

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by MacWa77ace » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:48 pm

KnifeStyle wrote:Filling my bag-as much as I love my Chrome bag, I'm in a new world and I'm now using a standard black laptop-style bag with my organization's symbol embroidered on it. Quite a lot of pockets and dividers, but have yet to narrow down what I need to have in the corporate world compared to my usual college antics. What are some basic essentials for the office and meetings that adults with jobs rely on rather than punks like myself?
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by allofthemonkeys » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:00 pm

One idea I had for you was connect your paracord bracelet to your key ring or to the leatherman. I have a short paracord thing on my keys and it helps me pull them out of my pocket.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by 0122358 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:47 pm

Look at fossil watches.

I'm looking at upgrading my style of wear to more classy conservative suit/tie/blazer/vest type wear for classes at least once a week. My job I get to wear jeans or cargo so i can really "redneck" out, But for classes Id like to class it up. Call it practice for office work
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Beowolf » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:47 pm

Wanted to add my personal recommendation for Fossil watches, too. They have great variety and everything from uber formal to recreational. My only watch--which I really only wear when I am required to wear a monkey suit--is a Fossil Arkitekt series.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Towanda » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:19 am

Here's the Eco-Drive watch I wear. I've replaced the band with a military-style nylon one from Maratac. The watch is solar-powered and gains about eight seconds a year. It's always ahead by about four seconds when I check it against time.gov on time change day:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000EQS1J ... SY165_QL70" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This page shows Levenger's line of "shirt pocket briefcases:"

http://www.levenger.com/pocket-briefcases-765.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by 2now » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:31 pm

If you do not have to go into safe zones you can carry quite a bit in a suit.

first do you do belt or braces?

Braces look better and allow you to carry in a belly band very easily. I carried a J frame that way for years, no one any the wiser. if in doubt hold a file/pad/tablet in front of your crotch, it makes you seem shy, not tactical. Other than Mae West none will actually ask if a bump in the front of your trousers is a pistol.
A belly band typically has other pockets too to let you carry reloads and a light or a knife.

I also carried in a shoulder holster at the office, under my dress shirt covered with an unbuttoned sweater vest during cold weather quite a bit, with great success [but I was thinner then]. A sharp suit still look very good, but by removing the jacket and replacing it in the office with a sweater vest you are just saying you are comfortable and still know how to dress well.

pocket carry can work with the right holster. Whatever you have in your pocket will be fine if you soften the lines. I carried my BOAT for my decades in a suit, but I kept it in a small cloth jewelery bag in my front pants pocket. Never a comment.

neck carry:
If nothing else you can easily carry something on a neck chain behind a tie with a tie tack. I liked a NAA revolver with 4 loaded cylinders with a cleaning rod through the barrel into the empty cylinder, attach the cleaning rod to the neck chain no holster needed.

Let me know if you need to know more about any of the above.

Oh yes look at pen shaped tools, they make pen shaped lighters, flashlights, pepper spray, knives, radios, and even a gun. Suits are designed to hold pen shaped objects. If you have pen shaped tools you will find empty spaces they can easily fill in your office attire.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by crypto » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:42 pm

Office veteran here:

Paracord: Make a cobra-stitched keychain lanyard / fob thing and put it on your key ring if you have the space for it. If it makes your keys bulge in your pants pocket too badly, use it as a zipper pull for your laptop case.

Knife: Get a gentlemans knife, a nice looking 3" locking knife that doesnt look too aggressive. I use mine to open letters and boxes and no one bats an eyelash. I got this Kershaw for $20 on amazon:
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Light: Surefire P2D. It runs on 1x123A or 1 17630 rechargable, costs $40, is small and will not jack up your pants.

Multitool: I have an old Leatherman Sideclip that I love. It is small and minimalist but still tough as hell. These days its usually in my EDC bag next to me.

Paracord: Make a cobra-stitched keychain lanyard / fob thing and put it on your key ring if you have the space for it. If it makes your keys bulge in your pants pocket too badly, use it as a zipper pull for your laptop case. Use black paracord, no one will even notice it, or think the bag came with them.
Personal upkeep: Keep a small toiletry bag in your desk, with a brush for your pretty pony hair, a travel toothbrush and paste, some breath mints or gum, and a small sewing kit with some extra buttons to repair the ones you don't discover are cracked from the last pressing until after it disintegrates before your big 2pm meeting. Consider also keeping a lint brush in your desk.

Travelling with clothes: Garment bags are semi-evil, but often a necessity. If you must use one, DO NOT hang the pants from the hanger youve got the coat on. Instead, go buy a pool noodle and put it on another hangar, and then put the pants on that noodled hangar. The larger padded radius of the noodle will keep them from getting a crease in the wrong spot. Consider pinning the pants legs together to keep them from moving around in the bag and creasing.

Pens:
a. Stainless sharpie pen Fine point. Its awesome, writes on anything, costs $5. Has refills available.
b. Lamy AL-star fountain pen. Nothing says SRS BSNS like a fountain pen. This one is under $40, is made out of no-nonsense aluminum, and writes like a dream. I keep mine clipped to my ID lanyard at work, where its been bumped around for 6 months straight, never any leaks or any problem. Its a great pen. I recommend the blue-black ink refills for it.

Wallet: I've got a Spec-Ops T.H.E. Mini, but they make a smaller one than that if you're into minimalism. I've had the wallet for a decade, it looks no worse for the wear.

Business cards: Get an aluminum or stainless business card holder. They're slim and light and you can even stick them behind your pocket square in your coat pocket.

Unusual trinkets: Put all that shit in an altoids tin, wrap the white gloves around them so they dont' sound like a tin full of coins.

Watch: Another vote for the citizen eco-drive. Amazon has them for about $100.

Other business essentials:

Get a portable battery, the kind with a couple USB jacks in it. You will be amazed how often you need it, and you can use it to top off your phone when you put it away for meetings. $30-70 depending on size and features.

Extra micro-USB cables and wall chargers. You will leave yours either at home or in a hotel The ones at the checkout of walgreens/CVS with the power prongs that fold up into the charger are great. $8.

Extra ethernet cable. Not all hotels will have wi-fi, but may have a corded network

spare HDMI cable. Works great for watching movies with your laptop in hotel rooms on their TV, and the day you pull one out of thin air for a meeting when they cant find the one that goes with the projector will make you a hero.

Small first-aid kit. This is mostly boo-boos and tummyaches, but will make a world of difference when you need to get shit done. antacids, anti-diarrheal, allergy meds, no-doz, bandaids, moleskin, your chosen pain reliever, and some shitty normal aspirin. You may never use the aspirin, but the last time someone in my office had a heart attack, people came running to me screaming for aspirin for the guy to chew up because they knew I had an aid kit on me. Cheap insurance. go to the drug store and get some little pill baggies for the pills. Label them. I take them through security checkpoints all the time, and even when my FAK gets opened up no one questions properly labelled OTC meds.



Hope some of this helps. Welcome to the soul-crushing world of corporate america.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by cricketdave » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:15 am

Just a few suggestions for later on as your career progresses. Hart Shaftner & Marx suits, they last forever and stay in style. Johnston Murphy dress shoes, comfortable and again last longer than many, well worth the money. A good pen, I always carried Monte blanc's, they last a lifetime and refills are cheap. Saddleback leather wallets and messenger bags they won't wear out. Get a good watch when you can, a good mechanical watch will last much longer than a digital or even the eco drives. I always carried a Cr sebenza usually in my waist band with the clip under the belt its very inconspicuous while being a serious knife and still looks like a gentle mans knife.

I spent 20 years in a corporate setting and while none of what I suggest is necessary most of it will save you money in the long run (suit brand and shoes) the initial investment is fairly substantial but evens out over the years. Add the rest of what you want to carry in your messenger or laptop bag, plenty of those with lots of pockets.

A lot of the time in a corporate setting your appearance is just as important as how you do your job.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by crypto » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:18 pm

cricketdave wrote:a good mechanical watch will last much longer than a digital or even the eco drives.
With all due respect, I absolutely disagree.
I've broken 2 seiko automatics, a Tissot automatic, and a Tag Heuer automatic in the last decade. No watchsmith would even look at the first 3 because they were too cheap ($150, $150, and $300, respectively) and the bill to replace 2 broken jewel bearings on the Tag was so expensive I just said fuck it.

I have come to the conclusion that they're just too delicate for EDC use.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:18 pm

crypto wrote:
cricketdave wrote:a good mechanical watch will last much longer than a digital or even the eco drives.
With all due respect, I absolutely disagree.
I've broken 2 seiko automatics, a Tissot automatic, and a Tag Heuer automatic in the last decade. No watchsmith would even look at the first 3 because they were too cheap ($150, $150, and $300, respectively) and the bill to replace 2 broken jewel bearings on the Tag was so expensive I just said fuck it.

I have come to the conclusion that they're just too delicate for EDC use.
I second this conclusion. The mechanical watch is about as useful to use every day as a carburated car. You can do it, and some people are really into it and that's their thing, but it's a leap backward in technology and durability since that problem got solved by a 10-dollar oscillating quartz crystal and a battery that needs replacing every decade or so.

I have a nice watch. It's a quartz. It needs nothing but a tiny amount of battery power. I don't have to move it, wear it, or service it. I can throw it in a drawer for a year, pick it up, put it back on, and it'll still be keeping relatively perfect time.


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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by cricketdave » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:51 pm

Well as to automatic watches, you get what you pay for. A Seiko or Tissot or even most tag's really aren't very well made. You have to take quite a step up in price. I've got a couple that have been through car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, horse back wrecks (broke my back and pelvis with that one) and a lot of years of diving and many other stupid things that I thought I could do at the time. Regardless if you want to go quartz thats cool do find one with a synthetic sapphire crystal though.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by crypto » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:55 pm

Yeah, $1000 for a watch is so far from practical, I'm not going there. I don't buy expensive jewelry like that. And if I did, it certainly wouldn't be on my wrist every day.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by cricketdave » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:33 pm

I understand and I wasn't suggesting that the OP go run out and get in debt right away. What I was trying to post were some tips to help him later in his career I know he probably cant run out and spend 600 bucks on a suit or 200 bucks on shoes or a pen. Let alone upwards of a couple thousand on a watch. Later in his career those things may stand him in good stead, people used to say dress for success and while that may not be said as often its still a very true.

As for practical, well its a matter of perspective, whats practical for one may not be for another. It wasn't practical at the beginning of my career to spend that kind of money either, later when it was you would be surprised at the difference in the way I progressed.
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Re: Change of pace in life, have to upgrade EDC habits.

Post by KnifeStyle » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:30 pm

I already wear Johnston Murphy shoes, got steered in the right direction on that front. I already have a two-port USB charger made by Energizer that's indeed a lifesaver, and ironically I did end up picking up a Walgreens cash register USB wall port the other day which lives in my office. Regarding watches...I was actually just on the ledge between a Timex Weekender and a Seiko 5, but the automatic debate is an ongoing issue which this thread convinced me I wasn't just overthinking about.

Amazing advice so far, thank you to everyone responding.
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