Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bivouac Eats: Parents & Family Weekend Restaurant Guide

    If you're a ramen-adjusted college student like us, this weekend represents the once-a-semester chance at culinary tourism past more than just MoJo cookies: November 6-8, 2015 is the University of Michigan's Parents & Family Weekend!

   Wondering where to go when your Mom asks the all important "where do you want to try tonight?" Bivouac Eats has your back. Click the links below to check out out restaurant review series highlighting some of Ann Arbor's best! Restaurants listed in no particular order.

1. Lena.

2. Sava's Restaurant.

3. The Black Pearl.

4. Aventura.

5. The Raven's Club.

6. Mani Osteria.

7. Frita Batido's.

8. The Jolly Pumpkin.

9. Babo.

Happy dining!


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Denim, pt III: Brand Profiles

    In this third and final installment, we'll synthesize everything we’ve covered so far into profiles of a few of the world's foremost denim producers. After all, what good is all your denim expertise if it doesn’t manifest into something you can actually wear?

    I’ll be breaking down the brands we carry by telling you about the brand, their fits offered, what kind of fabric they use, from where they source their denim, and what they do best.



The brand that started it all. In 1870’s California, Levi Strauss created reinforced overalls of indigo-dyed cotton denim cloth after customers of his dry goods store complained of constantly buying cloth to reinforce torn pants. The 501 would not see the light of day until the 1890’s (contrary to a Levi’s ad campaign claiming Strauss sold his first pairs to Gold Rush-era miners), and it wasn’t until the post-war 1950’s that Levi’s truly became a household name.

    Fits: 511 (Slim), 508 (Tapered), 514 (Straight), 501 (Original Straight – see below), 505 (Regular – a midpoint between Straight and Relaxed), 559 (Relaxed). 

    Fabric: Levi’s jeans are made exclusively of washed denim with one single exception: the 501 Original jean is made of unsanforized (not pre-shrunk) raw denim, and features the raw denim-standard button fly as a result. 501’s are the classic “shrink in the bathtub” jean from day’s past, and at $47, they’re a bargain at twice the price.

    Source: The Levi’s main line uses denim sourced primarily sourced from the countries where the jeans are produced, namely Peru, Mexico, or Egypt.

    What they do best: carry every fit imaginable, in any color you could ever want, at an attractive enough price point that you can buy a few varied pairs to round out your wardrobe and still pay rent.

Levi’s Commuter.

    An offshoot of the brand that started it all, engineered for anyone who wears jeans in motion. The “Commuter” moniker comes from the line’s cycling-centric design philosophy. The Levi’s Commuters line produces jeans from highly-technical cotton blends meant to resist water, prevent odor, and move every bit as well as you can. Plus, the blended fabric is more breathable than regular cotton denim and provides a frugal alternative to buying separate “summer weight” denim that is null once winter returns. This technology package is shaped into stylish, familiar cuts like the 511 Slim and 504 Straight to offer a great blend of form and function at a characteristically Levi’s price point. If you wear jeans year-round, you want Levi’s Commuters. If you bike to class, you really want Levi’s Commuters.

    Fits: 511 (Slim), 504 (Straight)
    Fabric: Washed denim, but made of a twill/cotton/synthetic blend coated with a water-resistant nanosphere treatment.

     Source: The Levi’s commuter line is made in Colombia, and likely uses denim sourced from either there or a neighboring South American country.

     What they do best: Technical apparel/fashion crossover designed for active customers. When your jeans are designed to move, that game of pickup Frisbee you see forming after class is suddenly doable. Sure, your Ozonic pants feature 4-way stretch and keep you just as dry – but Levi’s Commuters do all that and look good. A Herculean task, but it’s one Levi’s Commuter line handles just fine.           

Adriano Goldschmied (AG)

    The personal brand of “the Godfather of Denim” himself, Adriano Goldschmied. Adriano Goldschmied is responsible for the worldwide upscaling of denim past a simple utilitarian pant, and has been a leading innovator in the fashion industry for almost 50 years. Goldschmied still oversees the production of every pair of jeans the label creates, and even owns his own private laundry to ensure each pair is made to his exacting standards.

    Fits: Matchbox (Slim), Graduate (Tapered), Protégé (Straight), New Hero (Relaxed)

    Fabric: Due to the meticulously designed nature of AG’s washes, AG uses washed denim.

    Source: AG is notoriously difficult about revelaing their exact source – the tags only read “made from imported denim”. Considering every pair is handstitched in California, that leaves… exactly 204 Olympic-recognized nations left. Guess well!

    What they do best: stylish, high-quality washed denim with designer flair and innovative materials. Most AG jeans have been washed to the point of buttery comfort, yet retain durability due to their complex cotton-spandex blends and weaves – oh yeah, and they look great.

7 for All Mankind (“Seven”)
    7 for All Mankind was founded in Los Angeles, California, in the year 2000. “Sevens”, as they are known to their fans, quickly gained popularity as one of the first “premium denim” brands to emerge on the scene. This positioned Seven well for the designer denim craze of the mid-2000’s, and catapulted their distinctive “squiggle” pocket embroidery and famous low-rise skinny jean to worldwide acclaim.

    Fits: Slimmy (Slim), Standard (Straight), Carsen (Easy Straight – think Levi’s Regular fit), Austyn (Relaxed)

    Fabric: Washed, same reason as AG.

    Source: Japanese denim. That’s a very good thing.

    What they do best: a similar package to AG, but with more name recognition and a true “Made in USA” story all the way through.

Citizens of Humanity (CoH)

    Think of Citizens of Humanity as the Justice League of the “designer denim” world. CoH was founded in 2003 by Jerome Dahan, one of the co-founders of 7 for All Mankind. In 2007, he convinced long-time friend and denim legend Adriano Goldschmied to join the brand and provide CoH’s laundering services through Goldschmied’s world-famous GOLDSIGN facility. Citizen’s current Men’s Creative Director, Simon Miller, is another storied name in the denim industry. How’s that for star power? “Citizens” plural, indeed.

    Fits: Core (Slim), Sid (Straight), Perfect (Easy Straight), Evans (Relaxed)

    Fabric: Majority washed denim, for the same reasons as AG and Seven. 

    Source: Japanese denim on some styles; nebulously “imported” on others.

    What they do best: washed designer denim with a decidedly wholesome, youthful, Western aesthetic, as opposed to the luxurious AG and the flashy, celebrity-driven Seven. For example: the brand publishes a biannual photography magazine called “Humanity”, highlighting the work of photo essayists who have inspired recent collections. That about sums it up.


    Unbranded started in 2009 as an experiment by Montreal-based Naked and Famous, one of the world leaders in the raw denim market. The thinking behind Unbranded is simple: how cheap could we make premium denim if we didn’t sell an image? Unbranded relies on word-of-mouth marketing, has never produced a single ad or campaign, and sells only raw denim jeans, eliminating the need for the costly and labor-intensive washing process. As the name implies, they don’t even have a logo. Your dollar is converted entirely into product. Bang for your buck goes nuclear.

    Fits: UB1xx (Slim), UB2xx (Tapered), UB3xx (Straight)

    Fabric: All raw selvedge denim. Ding-ding.

    Source: 100% Japanese denim across the line. Dingdingdingdingding.

    What they do best: Japanese-sourced raw selvedge denim at a price that keeps you off ramen noodles. Unbranded’s UBx01 series of jeans also make great winter-weather jeans for anyone feeling the chill through their other thinner pairs – 14.5oz cotton denim doesn’t let cold in easy. For anyone who’s ever been interested in raw denim, Unbranded is your gateway drug.


    There you go, gentlemen and gentlemen: your comprehensive guide to everything denim. I hope you put your newfound knowledge to good use and find your new favorite pair of jeans!

    Questions? Concerns? Just want to talk shop? Leave a comment or stop into the store – we’ll be more than happy to spend some time.

~Alex R. ~Men's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Men's Fashion: Curated Looks for Fall/Winter 2015, part II

4. The Off-Season

Jacket: Arc'teryx A2B Commuter Hardshell
Shirt: The North Face Reaxion Amp Crew
Pants: The North Face Winter Warm Tights
Gloves: The North Face Runner's E-Tip Glove
Shoes: The North Face Ultra TR II
Beanie: Arc'teryx
Watch: Garmin Forerunner 225

5. The Initiate 

Shirt: Vineyard Vines Slim Fit Murray Shirt (in-store only)
Pants: AG Lux Khaki in Wheat
Belt: Trafalgar "Kane" in Brown Leather
Shoes: Clark's Desert Boot in Beeswax Leather
Watch: Timex South Street
Accessories: Detroit Grooming Co. Stainless Pocket Comb

6. The Michigander

Shirt: Patagonia Daily Henley in Forest Green 
Vest: Patagonia Bivy Down Vest in Ash Tan
Pants: Unbranded UB301 in Indigo
Belt: Bison Designs Roughcut Leather
Shoes: Sorel Cheyenne Lace-Up
Watch: Timex Expedition Scout in Brown Leather
Accessories: Ray-Ban Aviator


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The 3 Fall Colors Your Wardrobe Needs

      While I hate to admit it, I can be quite the stereotypical girl when it comes to fall. Nothing excites me more than seeing leaves fall, trees change colors, all while clutching my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (I’m sorry).

      Along the same lines, there is no season I enjoy shopping for more than fall. While aligning with the colors of the trees, I love matching my wardrobe to the colors that nature provides us.

      Olive, green, brown, maroon, and cranberry are all colors I keep stocked in my wardrobe with fall specifically in mind. Here are a few essentials I have in my closet that I look forward to wearing as the season turns.

1. Burgundy

      Without a doubt, this darker hue of red is one of the hottest colors in the mix for fall. It’s a great color because it’s not black or grey, but still subtle enough that even a self-proclaimed “I only wear black” snob such as myself can feel comfortable wearing it.

      I plan to pair my burgundy apparel with dark denim or black. I would advise staying away from any sort of olive pant—to avoid looking like you arrived early to a holiday celebration.

     I’m a huge fan of this Shark Hem cardigan from Free People in "Red Berry"!

2. Olive

      The perfect segue into my next favorite color for autumn, olive takes the prize as being the most versatile and my personal favorite shade for PSL season. Olive pants are the perfect alternative to jeans and look great with any neutral colored top.

      I plan to pair my olive pants with a cream-colored sweater and comfortable riding boots. Add a brown scarf or vest and you’ll have a perfect and earthy outfit that will keep you warm on the coldest October days.

These Splendid jogger pants are the perfect thing to wear to class - they are both comfortable AND 100% fashionable.

3. Mustard

      No list is complete without a wild card and I’m definitely pulling for a darker tint of yellow as my secret obsession for this fall. Mustard yellow is the ideal pairing to any white, cream or grey item. To avoid looking like a bumblebee, I would stay away from pairing mustard yellow with anything black.

      For an extra-spirited fall look, add a navy sweater or scarf to your mustard-yellow clothing piece. You’ll look stylish and pay respects to your favorite college football team!

     Add this Free People tank to your grey skinnies for an easy, breezy autumn look!

      Happy Fall!

      ~Carly N. -Women's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Brand History: Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Founded: 1957
Country of Origin: Canada
Famous for: Ultra heavy-duty cold weather gear, down parkas, supplying gear to the United States Antarctic Program (USAP)
Social and Environmental Responsibility initiatives: insistence on keeping supply and manufacturing processes in Canada (resulting in ethical wages and provision of a reasonable standard of living for hundreds of Canadian artisans), ethical harvesting of coyote fur and duck down in accordance with international standards, support of The Conservation Alliance and Polar Bears International

      Polish emigrant Sam Tick left postwar Europe seeking opportunity large enough to quench his entrepreneurial spirit. Rather than immigrate to the United States, Tick made his home in Canada, choosing the city of Toronto as the location for both his home and his new life. In 1957, Tick founded Metro Sportswear, Ltd., an outdoors apparel firm specializing in the production of raincoats, wool outwear, and snowmobile suits – products tailor-made for the needs of the Canadian consumer. Metro Sportswear grew steadily throughout the 60’s and 70’s, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the company known for its world-famous down jackets would actually make its first parka.

      That year, Tick’s son-in-law David Reiss joined Metro Sportswear. Reiss, a closet inventor, went on to create a volume-based down filling machine, all while leading Metro towards international expansion under the revamped “Snow Goose” label. Snow Goose’s overstuffed down parkas quickly gained a reputation as utility pieces engineered for those who work in the coldest places on earth – early Snow Goose clients included the Canadian Rangers, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Ministry of the Environment. By the 1980’s, the pure function of Snow Goose’s down parkas had spread its customer base and opened new engineering opportunities for Metro Sportswear’s designers, as everyone from Everest Climbers to scientists at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station request custom Snow Goose insulation pieces to meet their unique needs. During this era, the first truly iconic Snow Goose jackets (the Expedition Parka and “Big Mountain” jacket) are launched, and the legend of Toronto-based Metro Sportswear grows around the globe.

      By the late 1990’s, Snow Goose jackets are sold throughout the United States and Europe as the ultimate in cold-weather gear, yet still retain a distinctly utilitarian audience far from their fashion customer base of today. Since a Snow Goose apparel line existed in Europe prior to Metro’s first trade show on the continent, Reiss relabels the brand as “Canada Goose” to reflect his commitment to the country that gave him and his family so much. Reiss’ son and the grandson of Metro founder Sam Tick, Dani Reiss, joins the company in 1997 and is given the job of calling Canadian bush pilots who delivered to the Arctic to see if they used Snow Goose parkas. Dani sees the job as a way to make a little bit of traveling money before he goes abroad to realize his dream of becoming a writer, but decides to stay with the company after conversations with the Arctic pilots show him just how loved Snow Goose is by the people it serves.

Antarctic Researchers in Canada Goose jackets, pictured on Observation Hill, McMurdo Station.

      By 2001, Dani was in charge of then-Metro Sportswear and catalyzed Canada Goose’s growth with two bold decisions: he pledged to keep all production and supply in Canada, and then renamed the company “Canada Goose” after realizing that everyone from Antarctic researchers to Swedish citygoers had come to associate his down-filled parkas with the company’s Northern heritage. To this day, Canada Goose sources down, coyote fur, and cut & sew production exclusively from Canadian artisans paid fairly for their trade. Over the next decade, Canada Goose would introduce dozens of new jackets and expand to retailers in more than 40 countries worldwide. Over 50 years of integrity and service had paid off: Canada Goose, long the gold standard for anyone working in cold weather the world over, finally had the international recognition it deserved.

      In 2015, Canada Goose offers everything from ultra heavy-duty down jackets rated to temperatures below -25 degrees Fahrenheit, to technical shells and rainjackets that harken back to Metro’s past. Canada Goose parkas are featured in everything from Outside magazine to “National Treasure”, and have transcended their purely utilitarian past to become dually fashionable luxury jackets that rival the appeal of Moncler and even Arc’teryx. The brand’s unique take on fashion and function has even graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. As the weather grows cold this winter, you can bet on one fact: there’s only one Goose at home in the snow.   

~Alex R. -Men's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Denim, pt II: Washes and Fabrics

New to Denim? This is Part II of a biweekly series about anything and everything that goes into your favorite pair of blue jeans. My goal: help you find your new favorite pair of jeans, or better yet, understand why you love the ones you have already. Click here to read Part I: The Fit.


    The color of a pair of jeans is referred to as its wash. The term refers to the rinsing process used to moderate the indigo dye concentration in the raw denim fabric from which jeans are constructed. “Washes” created color variation in denim back when jeans were only available in shades of blue. The lighter the finished product, the more washing the pair had undergone before it reached a customer.

Dark wash –  dark blue and black jeans, often uniform in color. The indigo dye remains in high concentration throughout the fabric because the jeans either haven’t been washed at all (in the case of raw denim – more on that later), or have been washed sparingly to prevent dye bleed. Dark washes are the most flattering for all body types, can be dressed up the easiest, and generally last the longest (due to their escape from the industrial washes and pre-distressing techniques used to create the other washes). Every man should own a good pair of dark wash jeans, bar none.

Medium wash – your classic blue jeans. Medium wash jeans have been industrially-washed and often treated with acid/sandblasted before ever reaching the customer, creating the recognizable faded blue color associated the stereotypical pair of denim. The medium wash process often creates a softer fabric, too, but not fabric as typically soft as light wash pairs. It is difficult to dress up medium wash jeans, but then again, you have no reason to: they’re already one of the single most versatile, iconic, and wearable wardrobe staples ever created – you won’t be out of uses any time soon.

Light wash – pale blue, faded, and often slightly-ripped jeans. Light wash jeans are exposed to carefully-controlled, but very involved, washing processes from the second they leave the sewing machine. The constant washes, bleaches, sandblasts, and even manual distressing creates a soft fabric, a well-worn look, and a very light blue color. The intense washing process also compromises the construction of light wash jeans to a much greater degree as compared to any other jeans in any other wash. Light wash jeans have become a staple of streetwear, skate, and alternative styles for their unconventional color and disheveled look – even if you have to replace them a little more frequently, it’s hard to beat light wash jeans in their niche.


    All jeans are made primarily of cotton denim, a weave of cotton known for its resistance to tearing and overall longevity. As textile research gets better and better, it is not uncommon for a pair of jeans to be made of a fabric that takes advantage of modern synthetic materials to provide better functionality to the wearer. Common additions include spandex (better mobility), polyester (quick drying), and anti-microbial treated cotton (odor resistance). Above even fabric additives, a larger taxonomy exists which cleaves the denim world neatly in two: washed denim vs. raw denim.

Washed denim – cotton denim that has been industrially washed in some way, shape, or form before it reaches the consumer. The degree of wash varies, but even the deepest indigo pair of washed denim has still been industrially “finished” in some variety. Whether the wash was done to create color, design, comfort, or even shape, the pure cotton denim fabric has been structurally affected before you pay retail price. Washed denim does allow for a much greater degree of expression on the part of the designer, and as such is a popular canvas for many famous labels and names that each put their own deft take on the classic pair of jeans.

Raw denim – cotton denim that has been stitched into a pair of jeans. No wash, no sandblasting, no chemical treatments. Unmolested fabric, some heavy-duty stitching, a few rivets here and there, and you. Raw denim lasts significantly longer, fades as you wear it (allowing for a degree of usage-based personalization e.g. your cell phone pocket will likely fade the shape of your phone), and is often a deeper, richer color than even the most lightly-washed indigo equivalents. Because it hasn’t been washed or chemically finished, raw denim is resultantly heavier, coarser, and more likely to bleed dye than its washed brethren. The uniform coloration and heavyweight nature of raw denim lends itself well to both dressier and colder weather uses.  

~Alex R. -Men's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The School-Life-Fashion Balance

    Like most college students, I value my sleep… and since I don’t get much of it in the first place, I like to get in every little bit I can in the mornings.

    I have this really bad habit of abusing the snooze button. I tell myself that I’m going to wake up at 9, but then I don’t get up until 9:40, so I end up rushing to get ready. Once I’m finally ready I have no time to eat breakfast so I get to be that guy whose stomach is growling uncomfortably loudly in the middle of lecture… it’s super awkward, trust me.

    I also have a habit of rolling out of bed, putting on my favorite black leggings and the first big sweater I can find, throwing my hair into a messy bun and calling it a day. The problem is, I wake up so close to the start of my first class that I’m not really fully awake when I get there so I I end up doodling or writing random “To-Do” lists (full of stuff I never actually end up doing) rather than focusing.

    Eventually I decided that my laziness was becoming a problem. I think it finally hit me the first time ordered Insomnia Coookies- which is about a 3 minute walk away from my house- for delivery. Anyway, this realization led me to try something crazy: I decided to start waking up earlier in the mornings #GASP

    Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Why would I ever want to wake up early, I have class like all the time and SOOOO much homework and a job and I barely sleep as it is and blah blah blah…” Trust me I’m right there with you so I totally get it. College students are busy. With classes, homework, clubs, etc., the prospect of getting a good night’s sleep has started to feel like an oxymoron, so why risk losing anymore sleep than you have to, right?

    But, here’s the thing: when I say I started waking up earlier, I’m only talking about 15 minutes… I know, I know, every minute counts when you’re up until 4 a.m. studying for that exam tomorrow, writing that paper due Thursday, and trying to complete those problem sets due at 8 a.m.; but think about it, that extra 15 minutes will give you time to make yourself a cup of coffee- because you know that there will definitely be a line the Starbs on South U, so that just isn’t happening- and that cup of coffee will give you way more energy than an extra 15 minutes of sleep.

    Waking up a little earlier also allows some time to spend a few extra minutes getting ready in the morning. Yeah, yeah, I know: “it’s just class, who cares what you look like…” but that’s not what it’s about. As a general rule, I am a MUCH more efficient person when I feel confident and put together… the first time I ever wore jeans to class, I organized my entire planner (that’s big stuff for me).

    Now, maybe it’s the fact that feeling put together gives me some sense of responsibility... Or maybe I just work better when I’m feelin’ myself ~shoutout to Nikki and B~. Either either way, taking the time to put myself together in the mornings has had a positive impact when it comes to how productive I am on a daily basis. Seriously, like 10 out of 10 would recommend trying it out.
Here’s how to do it:

Step # 1: The Outfit.

    Being comfortable is crucial when you’re spending your days crammed in a lecture hall trying to take notes without elbowing the guy next to you, so it is important to look cute and feel confident without having to sacrifice comfort.

    Try pairing an oversized sweater with a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans. I like to wear a lace bralette underneath to add some extra detail.

    Finally, accessorize by piling on the necklaces - I’m a huge fan of the layered necklace trend if you can’t tell - and throw on a pair of comfortable flats (I’m obsessed with these cheetah-print Vans! So cute and comfy!) and you’re all set. Trendy but still comfy, what more could you ask for?

Step #2: The Final Touches.

    Having a cute outfit is a start, but I like to add a few final touches to complete the look.

    Makeup takes a lot of time and effort, so rather than doing a full face of makeup every morning, I stick to the basics.

    I like to start with a light moisturizer followed by a BB cream. I love this BB cream by Kiehl’s because it has sunscreen so I get a little bit of protection when I’m outside walking to and from classes. I finish off my makeup routine with a tinted lip gloss and sometimes a light coat of mascara… if I’m feeling ambitious that morning.

    Right before I head out the door for class I like to spritz on a little bit of perfume (Tokyo Milk Gin and Rosewater is my absolute favorite) and touch up my nails with a file since I pretty much never have them painted.

    In total, my regime takes about 15 minutes. I walk to class feeling cute and confident rather than feeling like people are questioning whether or not I’m in my pajamas. 15 minutes gives me a completely new attitude in the morning, so why not take the time to work some fashion into your daily life?

~Cat S. -Women's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.