Some of the Best at Edward Green

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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:

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Price Drops Everywhere

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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. 

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The Last of Arnys’ Ties

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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.

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The Much Neglected Striped Tie

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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. 

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Brooks England on Sierra Trading Post

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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. 

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Hidden Barbour Sale

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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.

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End’s Spring Casualwear Sale

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End just started their spring sale, with 25% taken off select items if you use the checkout code SS14PREVIEW. Some notables:

Battenwear: A great outerwear line designed by Shinya Hasegawa, who used to work as Daiki Suzuki’s design assistant at Woolrich Woolen Mills. I like their packable anorak and blue parka

Nigel Cabourn: Lots of Nigel Cabourn stuff. I’m still sour that this washed army Canadian jacket is sold out in my size. 

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Building a New Pants Wardrobe

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Some people try to improve their lives in really admirable ways - such as with every New Years, they make resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, or save money. One of my resolutions this year is to build a new pants wardrobe. It’s admittedly silly and trivial, but on the upside, since it requires no sacrifice or discipline on my part, I’m likely to actually meet it. 

The problem with off-the-rack pants, I find, is that even with a good cut, it can be hard to get the back to fit well. That’s because so much depends on how you stand. If you stand with your hips forward and knees locked – like an auditioning porn star, as my friend David put it – then your pants will crumple under the seat and ripple through the back of the leg. It’s a minor thing, but once you get obsessive about how clothes fit, it’s hard to not let these things bother you.

So earlier this year, I resolved to replace all my trousers through my tailor, and in doing so, I’ve had to think about what pants might be necessary in a good, basic wardrobe. Not to say this is what everyone needs, of course. Only me. But perhaps if you wear sport coats often, you’ll find some of these suggestions useful. 

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Mr. Porter Sale Starts

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Mr. Porter just started their end-of-season sale. Discounts of up to 50% are given on select items. Some notables:

Leather jackets: One of the jackets I’ve admired most this season, Saint Laurent’s suede Harrington, is sold out in my size, but available at 30% off. I also like this Hackett A-1 and Margiela 5-zip. I recently bought the same Margiela jacket, but in black, and it’s become one of my favorite pieces to wear. 

Field jackets: If you don’t already have a field jacket, Mr. Porter has some nice ones from Aspesi, APC, Oliver Spencer, and J. Crew. Aspesi’s looks like it could be a nice, lightweight layering piece for spring, while APC’s has a removable liner that could make it more useful year-round. 

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Through a Glass, Darkly

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I don’t remember being this sensitive to the sun when I was young, but nowadays, in the summertime, I try to remember my sunglasses before I leave the house. They’ve become a regular accessory, like a watch or belt, as without them, I find it’s just too bright outside. I think my sensitivity has something to do with age, but it’s also quite possible that I’m trying to justify purchases to myself. 

In any case, above are the five pairs I own:

  • Randolph Engineering Concordes in bright chrome: As the official supplier of sunglasses to the US Department of Defense, Randolph Engineering’s frames are worn by NASA astronauts and military pilots. I like the tear-shaped lenses on the Concorde models, but their Aviator, Sportsman, and Crew Chief models are nice too. 
  • Warby Parker Downing in Revolver Black: Warby Parker’s sunglasses feel a bit less sturdy to me, but on the upside, they’re affordably priced, very well design, and unbelievably convenient to try out. They can’t fill high-index prescription lenses, unfortunately, so if you need something strong, you’ll have to buy one of their empty frames and fill them elsewhere. As you can see above, mine still need to be filled because I’m a lazy bastard.

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