31 August 2010
30 August 2010
29 August 2010
27 August 2010
Not sure exactly how old this is. Maybe 20 years? You don't remember buying a shirt in a J. Crew outlet the same way you remember buying a shirt on Jermyn Street. There's not much of a story here either. The wear and tear speaks more to the washing and drying than any adventure. But I love the frayed patina and the old tag. It's a weekend shirt good at absorbing hangovers, washing the car, leaning up against time and holding onto life by a thread.
26 August 2010
Turned onto these guys a little over a year ago by the same 'DB' who posts pithy comments here. I've known the pithy commenter for 35 years. He turned me onto Everything But The Girl back in 1985 and a year later I turned him onto Laphroaig. We just keep turning each other on. You know... In a straight way.
A logo that incorporates my father. I couldn't be happier. And to the mysterious reader who sent me four different options- I don't know who you are but I thank you. Soul. Gravitas. History. Authenticity. It tells a story.
24 August 2010
The employee tells me he thinks it's great to have it, "...all in one place so you don't have to run around..." I say, "I'm just the opposite." And he says, "What do you mean?" I say, " Imagine you're walking in London.
And it starts to pour. You run into a shop just to escape the rain and as you brush off your coat you see a Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrella. It's 200 pounds and the exchange is nearly 2 to 1 but you gotta have it. Hell, it's raining.
So you buy it and crank it open as you step onto King Street and head for the Red Lion Pub to meet an auctioneer about a Monet panel that you buy for 20,000 pounds and sell for $200,000 in the states.
For 20 years you manage not to lose that umbrella. You loan it to no one. You run back to several restaurants knowing you left it by your table and you know it's gone for sure. But it's always there. One night a waiter chases you down the street and taps you on the shoulder, "Sir, you forgot this..."
It's a story. And you tell it over drinks where your friends shake their heads in disbelief -- but it's all true. Every word of it. Almost. Or, you can tell people you bought your umbrella at J Crew."
The employee shakes his head and says, "Man, I know what you mean." And I wonder, "Do you?" For those of you who don't want to run around...it's all in one place and a beautiful place it is. For those of you who want stories - - Book your tickets now. Before you run out of time to live.
I'm getting a sense of the late 18th - early 19th century although I don't really know why. Maybe it's the embroidery of this formal great coat from France. Annie hand makes every bow so each one is unique. Hard to go wrong with that. Hard to go wrong with $28 as well. You can see what's available here.
Great coat photograph from, What Clothes Reveal, by Linda Baumgarten.
23 August 2010
Years ago I was in a monthly staff meeting when a sales manager begged a group of us to trust him. My big mouth shot out, "I trust two people. Me and my wife." A crusty old timer sitting next to me laughed, "One outta two ain't bad."
Dry cleaning a two piece suit in Manhattan can run upwards of $20 and who's to know someone didn't just throw it on a hanger and cover it with, "Thank You For Your Business !" plastic. Hey, I'm not a trusting guy - - Certainly not in this town.
About ten years ago I started brushing my suits and coats with a brush. The idea is to knock the crap out of the fibers rather than sending them to be dry cleaned - - A brutal way to clean a suit and a great way to shorten a suit's life. Take a look in your trouser cuffs and you'll have a pretty good idea just how much dirt wool can pick up.
Any clothes brush will do but the Kent CR8 is such a beautiful piece of history and wood and it should last a couple generations. Beautiful to look at and to hold - it reminds me that sometimes all you need is a simple tool. Just like that sales manager.
20 August 2010
How much of a mystery can this be with that big ass label up there? Actually, it's not so much a mystery as it is complicated. I acquired this Oxxford shirt in 2002. That's one clue. While Oxxford is usually associated with Chicago and very well made but, anchor man/presidential, offend no one, suiting... They also sell shirts.
This one was not made in the US.
Evidence of hand sewing, pattern matching and unique fabric scream Italian. And there's strong evidence this was made by Kiton. Oxxford continues to offer shirting today but manufacture had moved to the US and the smart money will tell you a sister company, Individualized in NJ, now makes the Oxxford shirt.
But this shirt is my benchmark. It is worn no more than once a month. It gets hand washed and ironed. And for me, it is a small piece of art. Quiet and understated, only one man ever recognised how important it was. Avery Lucas narrowed his eyes at the shoulders and started grilling me with questions. And that's the best part of this story. I found it in Filene's Basement on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago for twenty bucks.