Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mike's Guest Post: Gustin

Hi, Belle On Trend followers! It's Mike again. Mary isn't the only one in this house who's purchased new clothes. This week, she's asked me to share a couple of items I've bought in the last 6 months, especially stuff I've gotten from the specialty site Gustin (discount available if you sign up for an account through this link! More on that later!).

It's been a while since Mary had me pose. I don't know what do to with my hands!

I first became aware of Gustin through this sponsorship of the menswear blog Put This On. Gustin is a company out of San Francisco that specializes in men's workwear: think jeans, chinos, boots, and canvas jackets. They have a really classic style to them with very little labeling, and all their products are made with a unique twist: shoppers are actually crowdsourcing proposed products Kickstarter-style. Once each campaign reaches 100%, no more orders are taken. Only then is the item itself manufactured, and all the production happens right here in the USA. According to Gustin's site:
You help us line up supply and demand every single time. Crowdsourcing is the mechanism we use to let you tell us what to make. Without inventory piling up in a warehouse and wasteful marketing campaigns to convince you to buy what we already made, there is tremendous efficiency. We pass that savings back to you. Unlike other brands that cut out the middle-man but keep the savings, you're getting boutique quality at true wholesale. We know because we used to sell through high-end retail.
Pretty great idea, no? I signed up with an account to their site a long time ago, but I kept hemming and hawing over the idea of buying $80 jeans without trying them on. I loved the idea, but couldn't commit to the process itself.

Last fall, however, the perfect product for me became available on their site: a classic gray crew-neck sweatshirt. I had had my eyes on one of these for a while, but was reluctant to pay the $69.50 J Crew or $45 Gap were asking for one. Yeah, Steve McQueen, JFK, and Paul Newman all look pretty damn cool. But that seems like a bit much to spend on something so basic, right? But $37 for one made in the USA (7 days remaining to back this order!)? I'm there! I backed Gustin's offering back in October.

From Gustin's site. Better detail than I could hope to capture.

My payment processed a few days later when the campaign reached 100%, my order arrived at our PO Box at the very end of December. (Remember, they do not start manufacturing the order until the campaign goal has been met.) I could not be happier. Yes, it's just a simple gray sweatshirt, but this is as soft and as comfortable as any sweatshirt I can ever remember owning. The medium fit me perfectly and has become my go-to sweatshirt to throw on when running errands on a Saturday morning.

Having already purchased one Gustin product, I was all in. On Black Friday, they offered a "mystery" pair of jeans for $69. They did not have specifics about these jeans, like they do for all the others they offer, but they simply promised that they would be American milled, blue, raw selvedge denim somewhere between 12 and 16 ounces. Basically heavy, dark indigo, stiff jeans that may eventually fade in a cool way as they mold to the wearer's body over time.... perfect for someone with hipster leanings like myself. My go-to Gap jeans were on their last legs after 5 years (which is pretty impressive in and of itself... I have no complaints about their jeans department!), so before the sweatshirt arrived, I found myself backing a second Gustin campaign!

More photos from Gustin. Their "Heavy" jeans brand-spanking new and after 5 years of wear.

Gustin offers 3 different fits for each pair of jeans they sell: straight, slim, and skinny. Since I'd be wearing these jeans to work occasionally, I went with the straight fit for this order. They do offer a fit guide with the precise differences of each style down to the inch. I highly recommend reviewing this guide before ordering: it turns out my 32s were not actually 32 inches in the waist! Also, they only offer one inseam length in their pants -- 34-inches -- so if you have short legs like me, mentally prepare yourself to either roll up the bottoms (and show off that selvedge id), stack the bottoms like a skater circa 2001, or get them tailored (pro tip: go to a tailor who can do jean chain stitching so they look like you ordered them in that length, and so they don't look like a pair of dress pants at the hem). I got mine tailored for $15 from the Naperville tailor who altered my tuxedo for our wedding! It only took a couple of days, and I am pleased with the result!

When these jeans arrived in mid-February, I found that the fit was spot on with the measurements provided with their fit guide.... which was a pleasant surprise! Again, I highly recommend checking that before placing an order. You might end up with jeans that are significantly tighter than you anticipate otherwise.

I did have one issue when my jeans arrived: one of the rivets holding a front pocket together was broken. I emailed their customer support right away, and literally 5 minutes later (not an exaggeration), Matt from Gustin had replied with 2 solutions to choose from: I could ship my new jeans back to them free of charge for Gustin to repair, or they could send me a few rivets and instructions on how to install them. The installation process didn't seem all that hard, so I chose option 2. A couple days later I received a bag of rivets in mail, as well as a Gustin bottle opener for my troubles. Cool!


I found out the hard way that our cutting board wasn't a hard enough surface to install the rivets (sorry, babe!), and then it hit me: I can use the handle of the bottle opener as the backing surface. A couple strikes of the hammer later, my jeans were as good as (better than?) new! Very clever, guys. All in all, I came away very impressed with their customer service!

Around this same time, my Adidas Samba sneakers were about to bite the dust. RIP. We've been through a lot together, for many a year. Maybe it was the way they squeaked when they were brand new, maybe it was the fact that they were now $70, maybe it was the fact that Mary hates leather sneakers, but I decided to try something new: classic black Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. It's weird: I'm 31 years old, I'm a musician, and I've been accused of being a hipster more than once (maybe because I genuinely enjoy High Life and PBR), but these were the first pair of Chucks I've ever owned. I like 'em.

I made sure to go with the "All Star Lean" -- extra thin sole for a better feel on my drum pedals.
Y'know, important stuff.

So there you have it. I am so happy with my Gustin purchases, I have a 3-pack of t-shirts on their way that I can't wait to wear this summer. You do have to be patient to receive your order, but I am incredibly impressed with their prices, quality, and the fact that everything is made in the USA. Highly recommend.

Before I forget, Gustin has a great referral program! If you sign up through this link, you can get $10 off your order! Full disclosure, I'll get $20 off of a future purchase as well. It's a win win! Make it a Michael Scott win-win-win by sharing your own link after signing up!

Follow me on Twitter or Instagram! My handle is @Fremeauji on both sites if you want to see lots of some posts and pictures about drums and Notre Dame football. Sorry, it's what I do.


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