When you get really dialed-in to the denim and leather, heritage brand, and workwear aesthetic, you discover that there are all kinds of household and EDC items you can easily, stylishly integrate into your daily life. That is, at least in my experience, except when it comes to tech and digital doodads.
“Devices” certainly make our lives more fun and productive, but when you’ve cultivated a look around jeans made from denim woven by Japanese monks…leather boots crafted by a hermit working out of a remote cave on the Maine coast…a beanie made of wool from sheep who listened to nothing but Zappa bootlegs…it can be a real buzzkill pulling out a rose gold iPhone. It’s so…modern. Cell phone cases and accessories don’t help either, as most are too flashy, too silly, and just…so…not…cool.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on Chicago’s esteemed Horween Leather tannery, and a few of the companies turning their leather into wonderful things. Perhaps my favorite item from that piece was the Nomad cell phone case, an elegant solution to the (granted, first world) problem of not having my cell phone look as sweet or patina’d as my old billfold. Thankfully, Nomad cases continue to innovate while never losing the understated masculine appeal of their wares.
I wrote that original Nomad review over two years go, so I’ve had 623 new phones since then (not my choice—Apple makes me!), and I’ve long stopped using my original case. As luck would have it, the good folks at Nomad reached out recently with not only a new and improved version of their device cases, but news of even more items that will keep my (your) tech looking and performing its best.
The updated version of the Nomad phone case not only keeps pace with with all the iPhone model variations (and other makers too), but the overall construction seems at once more rugged, yet still sleek, discreet, and a pleasure to hold. From Nomad:
We source this leather from the renowned Horween Leather Co. of Chicago, one of America’s oldest tanneries. Over time, the raw, vegetable tanned leather will patina, developing a look that is exclusively yours. From day one to 100, your case will weather but not wear out, creating a handsome, rich character unique to you.
I chose the brown Horween leather option (my old one aged beautifully), though black is available as well. It’s $50 on the Nomad site, and the pleasure of throwing out the too-embarrassing-to-show-you-here one I was using cost twice that much.
To keep my new phone all juiced up, I snagged two items I can’t recommend highly enough. The first is a 1.5m – Lightning Battery Cable. Per the Nomad site:
The Battery Cable combines a durable, nylon wrapped, MFI Certified Lightning Cable with a high capacity 2800mAh portable battery. The battery gives your iPhone 8 a full charge. The 500D Nylon woven in a ballistic weave pattern was originally developed to protect military forces from shrapnel and bullets. The Battery Cable keeps your iPhone charged through the toughest of adventures.
I love it because the cable reminds me of old school woven cords that use to be on TVs, radios and such, and it looks so much better than something ordinary, flimsy, and white. The fact that is has a battery element is almost gravy.
Nomad has also just come out with a true revolution in wireless charging—their Base Station Hub Edition. Again, from the Nomad site:
Charges Up To Four Devices
Base Station Hub provides a central charging station for all your devices. Power your devices however you need—wirelessly, USB-C PD, and USB-A. Base Station Hub’s thin, sleek design integrates perfectly on your nightstand and desk.
You know how with other wireless chargers, you have to sit your phone on there just right so it’s in the charging sweet spot? Not with this baby—the whole rectangular surface is the “sweet spot,” and it’s big and powerful enough to let you charge all your devices (phones, ear buds, etc.) in any configuration at the same time. (Maybe you saw their partners hawking it on Shark Tank?) I opted for the Walnut option ($139) and it looks like a vintage mid-century desk accessory. It works flawlessly and is a welcome upgrade from my old model that glowed around the edges in neon green. (Not my choice—Amazon made me!)
Lastly, once travel becomes what it used to be (I’m used to catching some kind of funky cold on a plane, but funky cold is where I draw the line—I ain’t playing “deadly virus Russian roulette” from a middle seat anytime soon), it will be a swanky pleasure to use Nomad’s new Passport Wallet with built-in Tile Tracking. Per the site:
Traditional Passport Wallet with Tile Tracking was designed to be the only passport wallet you’ll ever need. Passport Wallet carries a passport, ten cards, and has a stealth pocket that hides a Tile Slim. The integrated Tile Slim uses advanced Bluetooth and crowdsourcing location technology to help you keep track of your wallet so that you never lose it. We’ve used our signature, American-made, Horween leather for Passport Wallet. This minimally treated, vegetable tanned leather is crafted to patina over time, ensuring it develops a look that is uniquely yours.
It’s the perfect pairing of old and new, and just $99 on their site.
Nomad makes a bunch more stuff all in this same vein (Horween Shell Cordovan Apple watch band anyone?), and my experience has been universally positive. So now instead of being embarrassed…hiding your phone deep within the recesses of your Filson briefcase…you can pull it out for the whole coffeeshop shop to admire and covet. Or you could share your knowledge and let them get their own—after all, friends don’t let friends buy that crap at in the Accessories aisle of the phone store. (Not my choice, Verizon made me!)