Navajo Weavings

image


Since moving into my new apartment, I’ve been looking for some art to fill an empty wall, and had the idea some months ago to get a Navajo weaving. Little did I know, they cost a pretty penny (at least for authentic, original ones that can be described as having a “patina”). So to get a better understanding of what’s worth buying, I’ve been reading a little about the subject. 

One particularly good book is Walk in Beautywhich is an expanded version of The Navajo Blanket, a book published by the Los Angeles County Museum in 1972 to accompany an exhibit. Aside from being a really good introductory text — covering everything from the Navajo’s cultural heritage in weaving to the designs and yarns used in these textiles — it’s also notable that the author, Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, was one of the first museum curators to break with tradition by displaying such weavings as fine art.

Read More

Finally, Tobacco Fresco

image


Finally, through a process that felt like childbirth, I present to you: a special run of tobacco Fresco. I first wrote about the project seven months ago with the intention of having the cloth ready for summer commissions. Well, it’s summer now, so it’s too late for this year’s heat, but as my friend Voxsartoria would say, summer will come again. 

Fresco, for those unfamiliar, is a type of high-twist, open-weave worsted wool from J&J Minnis of Huddersfield. It’s resistant to wrinkling, which makes it a wonderful travel cloth, and highly breathable, which makes it ideal for summer. It’s been a longtime favorite of bespoke customers, but sadly, hasn’t been made available in a true dark brown for a long time. Indeed, what Huddersfield currently calls their dark brown is really closer to black.

Read More

Summer’s Sneakers

image


The New York Times had an article a few weeks ago about the return of sneakers, and how some men (mostly New Yorkers) have been trading in their wingtips for gym shoes. It wasn’t a terribly interesting piece, to be honest, as sneakers have never not been popular, and men have been mixing them with tailored clothes for at least a couple of years. For anyone who would even be interested in reading such an article, this is all old news. Instead, I thought the author missed what’s a much more broader and interesting development: the rapid growth of designer sneakers in the last twenty years, which has culminated into the crazy market we have today. 

The idea of designer sneakers is as tricky as the idea of designer clothes. It’s never clear what people mean by “designer” — whether it’s about the name behind the label, the intent of the design, or the “theatrics” of the clothes themselves, as Eugene Rabkin once put it. Either way, we kind of know what people mean when they refer to it, and in this way, the rapid growth of designer sneakers is interesting in the same way designer jeans have been interesting. It’s a deliberate de-democratization of something that used to be incredibly democratic. Sneakers are unique in that everyone from Bill Gates to homeless people wear them, but in the emergence of designer sneakers, there’s a new stratification where there used to be none. Designs from Giuseppe Zanotti and Alexander McQueen, for example, retail close to a $1,000 nowadays, which makes the $100 Jordans we all used to covet as kids seem like a joke. 

Read More

Ralph Lauren’s Sale on Sales

image


Ralph Lauren just started a new sale today. You can take an additional 25% off already discounted items in their sale section with the checkout code SUMMER14. Some notable items:

Striped raw silk ties: There are surprisingly some raw silk ties on sale, and they qualify for the extra discount. Made in Italy, reasonably classic widths, and $52 with the checkout code. They also have some solid linen ties and a striped navy rep.

Canvas fishing bag: I have the tan version of this bag and really like using it in the fall with waxed cotton jackets. The canvas isn’t as thick as what you’d find on a Filson, and the leather could be a bit better, but the design is great, and the build is solid. A sporty fishing-style bag without pushing you into a full fishing-bag territory. 

Read More

Some of the Best at Edward Green

image


You could take all the artisanal, handmade, bespoke cordwainers in the world, roll them up into a ball, and I still wouldn’t like them as much as I like Edward Green. Although the basics of their shoes aren’t too different from any other good firm – as, after all, these are just Goodyear welted shoes made from full grain leathers – they have a style and finishing that sets them apart. There’s no company, to my mind, that has a higher batting average when it comes to making tasteful shoes. Their lasts are nicely shaped, their designs elegant, and their leathers are burnished just enough to give them some visual depth, but not so much that they look like the pimp-ish stuff you see coming from Continental Europe (sorry, Italy).

There’s a rumor floating around that Edward Green might be raising the prices of their made-to-order shoes, which would surprise me since they just lowered them. Well, at least for simple customizations (such as a change in leather), where now the upcharge is just £150. In any case, the rumor has me thinking that I should place an order soon, before expensive things just become more expensive. Some notable models to consider:

Read More

Price Drops Everywhere

image


It’s that time of the season — the time when stores do their second round of price drops, so the deals are especially good, but there are also still things left to be had. Over the weekend, drops happened at Mr. Porter, End, and Matches.

Mr. Porter: Now up to 70% off, which is usually when Mr. Porter clears through their remaining stock. Some things that caught my eye:
  • Field jackets: I handled this APC field jacket at Barney’s earlier in this season and thought it’d make for a great fall coat given its removable liner. Oliver Spencer also has a nice model. For something more affordable, check out this Aspesi ripstop jacket. It looks lighter in weight than the other two, but this could be a good thing in the summertime. 
  • Leather jackets: I really like this Margiela 5-zip and Saint Laurent Harrington. I recently bought the Margiela in black lambskin and it’s quickly become one of my favorite outerwear pieces. If I could afford another, I’d love to get this blue version. 

Read More

The Last of Arnys’ Ties

image


My friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans once lamented that there are few things anymore unique to a place. “[A]lmost everything is available on Google for comparison shopping, flipped on eBay by some enterprising parallel importer or made especially for discount sale through Gilt,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, redevelopment in the historic shopping areas of the world usually means homogenization to a standard of boring, set to the thudding Abercrombie & Fitch drumbeat that echoes down Savile Row.”

Indeed, one of the most recent houses to fall was Arnys, a Parisian boutique that was as famous for its designs as it was for its quality. In a world where the only ties that seem to be made anymore are striped reps and Macclesfield foulards, Arnys was one of the few places where you could get something original. Granted, I like striped ties and conservative foulards, but they can get a bit monotonous (plus, do we really need fifty makers for such things?). Arnys’ ties, on the other hand, were elegant, bohemian, and even a bit counterculture. Rive gauche style, in a way.

Read More

The Much Neglected Striped Tie

image


I’m convinced that most tie wearing men own too many ties, but at the same time, not enough striped ones. The advantage of striped rep ties is that they’re simple, unassailably in good taste, and wearable with almost anything - from smooth and silky suits to rough and tweedy sport coats. English foulards (which are those silk prints with small, repeating, geometric shapes) and paisley ancient madders, on the other hand, often look best with either one or the other, but not both. Which means if you’re building a necktie wardrobe, it’s better to start with a good foundation of striped rep ties and solid colored grenadines before you branch out to raw silks, boucles, or unusual prints.

It used to be that men could only own one striped necktie. The style originated in the early 20th century, when decommissioned British officers wanted to continue wearing their regimental colors after they returned to civilian life. Hence, we get the term “regimental silks” for how those colors denoted those officers’ service. After a while, the practice was taken up by men in exclusive clubs or colleges, such as the students of Trinity College wearing navy ties with white stripes, or members of the Hawks Club wearing red ties with yellow stripes. It was inconceivable that you could ever buy these ties in a store, as they were for members only, which is why men only had one style they could wear. 

Read More

Brooks England on Sierra Trading Post

image


Here’s an unusual add for the discount site Sierra Trading Post. At the moment, they have select items from Brooks England  - the British manufacturer famous for their bicycle saddles, but in the last few years, have also made forays into clothing and bags. Included in the stock is the Criterion jacket (which I once wrote about here), but only in the women’s version. They also have some unisex bags, which you can see demonstrated in the videos below (I particularly like the Hampstead holdall). 

As it goes with Sierra Trading Post, you’ll want to apply one of their daily coupons in order to get the best deals. They’ll typically knock another 30-40% off the listed price, and you can get them by signing up for their DealFlyer newsletter or checking their Facebook page. That puts these items at less than half of what they normally retail for. 

Read More

Hidden Barbour Sale

image


Here’s something odd. End is having a 25% off sale at the moment, as mentioned yesterday, but they don’t have Barbour listed in their navigation bar. The brand will show up, however, if you search for it manually, and doing so will yield some pretty good deals. With the checkout code SS14PREVIEW, waxed cotton jackets start at $199 and nylon quilted jackets start at $100.

Some notable models:

  • Ashby and Bristol: Barbour’s two most famous models are Bedale and Beaufort - both styled similarly, but with the Bedale being the shorter of the two. Both fit kind of full, however, so if you want a contemporary fit, you either have to size down or get the Ashby and Bristol. The Ashby (which comes in navy and olive) is a slimmer version of the Bedale, while the Bristol (which comes in olive, black, and navy) is a slimmer version of the Beaufort. 
  • Japanese Bedale: Another slim fit version of the Bedale. Comes in waxed and non-waxed versions, as well as something Barbour calls their “cotton Vachettas.

Read More