Moleskine Notebooks


As someone who is constantly taking notes, sketching out ideas and regularly trying to sound witty and knowledgeable on such elusive topics as cashmere v. merino cardigans, I pay attention to notebooks. Like any other personal accessory, a notebook says as much about you as your shirt or watch. Do you grab an anonymous spiral bound book from the office supply cabinet, or do you spend weeks searching for just the right exotic handmade Florentine creation bound in leather with marbled pages? Me, I fall in between, and my personal favorite is Moleskine.

While I admit that I have a weak spot for nice blank books and handmade papers, I really love the elegant simplicity of Moleskine journals. These subversive little black books with the elastic band almost beg to be written in. While an admittedly elegant lambskin journal from Smythson will cost you $250, for under $20, you can get a large format Moleskine in your choice paper style (plain, lined or grid). There is even a handy expanding pocket in the back.

The pocket sized journals have become iconic and are instantly recognizable. Where some journals look like they belong in a museum, eliciting actual panic at the thought of actually writing down a mere “to do” list within those hand tooled covers, Moleksines encourage you to jot down your daily musings.

The Italian company that now owns Moleskine, Modo & Modo, recently expanded their product line to include a variety of elegantly simple diaries – one sits in front of me as I type. Thay also have a line of cahiers; thinner, lightweight versions of the traditional Moleskine journals that are perfect for slipping into a shirt pocket or leather folio on the way to a meeting.

The latest and most exciting edition to the lineup are the newly launched city journals. On the outside they have the traditional Moleskine black cover, but inside are filled with a combination of maps, city guides, and tabbed sections for listing such vitals as restaurants and stores, and room for travel notes. It is a great tool for travelers, perfect for keeping track of stores, restaurants and local events. City journals cover multiple locals including Paris, London, Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York and Rome. Each book has the city name discretely embossed on the spine.

Moleskine has an enormous cult following across the web and one of the best sites is the blog Also stop by, an amazing blog dedicated to travel and urban exploration in all its forms. Of course, make sure to check out, the official company website; it is a cool and informative resource for all things Moleskine.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. I’ll just have to buy myself one now.

  2. Sketchbooks by Dailer-Rowney or Ryman can be used for everything else and are also pretty cool. You can get them at art stores.

  3. Thanks for those additional suggestions Kris, Rhodia notebooks are another favorite of mine.