30 July 2010

Get Grahame Fowler

Get it?

I want it.

Grahame's Sub (nfs). Benrus Military 1972 and 1978 ($2k & $1,800)

The dog gets it.

I get it.

Get some?

Only place to get Trickers in NYC

If you don't get this...

...you don't get these.

Get shirts. On sale.

J Crew gets it. Turns it into a beach towel for people who don't get it.

How do I get it?

Chuka & Grahame- Out of focus but edgy. I know they get it.

Already got some

$15,000 will get it.

Get your fourth point of contact to 138 W 10th St in the Village. You should have to pay admission. Unless you show proof of getting it. If you dig the Tommy, Ralph and Mickey show - best to stay away. If you're fluent in authentic. You're gonna be very happy here. There's even a sale going on.

When a designer slaps the 3rd Infantry Regiment patch on a pair of cargo shorts - - you can rest assured they don't get it. Even though they have a legal department that should. A legal department whose motto should read, "Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission."

You will find no apologies here. This is home to a soul shaking realness that - today - few seem to understand. It reeks of an intelligence, wit and sophistication that will, if you're brave enough to enter, change how you look at clothing and perhaps yourself.

The expression, "He's all hat and no horse" is apt for those who think nothing of slapping badges and patches on themselves. That they didn't earn it isn't nearly as bad as, they don't even know what it is. It's a sad commentary about today but I beg you to stop by and see Grahame's shop. If for nothing else - to offer us all hope in the face of this.

29 July 2010

Ft. Monroe Officer's Club - The Deep End

My 14th Summer was hot. Hampton, VA was spared by a breeze or two off the Chesapeake Bay but the place to be, for me, was the pool at the Ft. Monroe Officer's Club. There was an ocean beach but the water was always infested with jelly fish and the officer's wives preferred the sandless concrete deck of the pool.

I watched as formulas of baby oil & iodine were massaged by hands with long pink nails. Swimming towards the deep end in a slow breast stroke - I couldn't take my eyes off them. Not for the nine year olds playing Marco Polo. Not for the F-15 flying over from Langley. Certainly not for girls my age. Not for anyone who wasn't north of field grade and spritzing her hair with hydrogen peroxide. Lighting another Virginia Slim. Rooting through a purse for sunglasses.

When Major Frampton's wife stood up in her white bikini, strode to the edge of the deep end and slowly slid her baby oiled body into the water... I wanted to be the water. I poked my head under and watched her glide inches above the bottom of the pool as sunlight bounced off long frog-kicking legs.

Later, in wet trunks and a towel, I stood shivering in the cold air conditioned bar while my father and 30 other men like him sat at their martini lunches. 30 backs in military creased khaki shirts and black web belts leaned forward on bar stools. Packs of cigarettes and Zippo lighters engraved with 'Fuck Communism' littered the bar while huge Army issue glass ashtrays smelled like chlorine from the pool.

My father reached into his elephant hide wallet, handed me a dollar for the Fanta machine and I watched him sneak a look at the deep end of the pool. That was the first time I ever told him a joke. "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln -- How did you enjoy the play?" He laughed and so did the officer next to him. I couldn't wait to wear khaki.

28 July 2010

A US Shirt Factory

Across from the Piggly Wiggly

I kid you not.

Garland is about an hour east of Fayetteville (map here). Owned by Brooks Brothers, the Garland Shirt Factory has been making the classic oxford Polo for... a really long time. I'm still waiting to hear exactly how long. Back in the '90s, I insured a number of apparel manufactures in the southeast. Most of them are gone but Garland drives on.

There's a unique outlet store in Garland. It's on the right as you come into town from the south. Just across from the Piggly Wiggly. Don't look for your typical '346' outlet. This one is refreshingly authentic. Last time I visited I saw 50 pair of dinner trousers (US made-pleated) and at least eight pair of white buck wingtips - all size 12.

There was a lotta outer wear. I secured a Blackwatch plaid Husky jacket for $35. And there were a fair amount of MTM monogrammed shirts. I asked a saleswoman if there were any oxford button downs. She sighed, "No, sir. They don't make many mistakes in the factory anymore." This video helps explain why.

Update: Brooks Brothers did a lotta digging and have advised the Garland Factory has been making the Polo button down since March 8, 1982.

27 July 2010

Do You Have American Style?

click on image to enlarge


Deduct 25 points for taking a style test.

Deduct 25 points for calculating score.

Add 50 points for taking style test at work.

26 July 2010

The Mirror That Is Take Ivy

I've been interviewed a number of times about Take Ivy and readily admit to not staying on message. However, journalists usually have a story or angle and they're looking for quotes to support it. I've tried to take them down a different path but these are not explorers. And who can blame them? They have a job to do for which they get paid. I'm a volunteer.

Take Ivy holds a mirror to the reader. Some see it as a nostalgic look at a period long gone. Others see privilege. A lot of people see inspiration. Not only in clothing others but clothing themselves. I see someone from the outside looking in.

As an Army Brat - I'm not from anywhere and it's one of the reasons why I love New York so much. You don't have to be from here to belong. But one of the thrills of moving was discovering new places. This was before a lot of places started to look the same.

You see? I'm getting off message already but stay with me. I assume you're not getting paid to read this. There's a mid 1980s BMW three series that parks on my street. The block lines, circular headlights and thick grill have aged well. And like wine, the car has come out of its 'dumb' period but it hasn't hit fad status yet. It stands out in the midst of boring plastic parked around it and yet it's still unappreciated. A good time to be a fan.

When we see something again. After a long absence. It's almost like seeing it for the first time. If we have some small connection to it - it's even stronger. When I look at Take Ivy...I might as well be Japanese. In the late '60s, I left oxford and madras for Hang Ten, Nehru jackets and hi water bell bottoms only to come back in the late '70s. Sans some Italian butter and Ivy's parent, the English, I've been faithful ever since.

Someone looking from the outside at something attractive in its foreignness. Going native. Whatever. That's what it means to me. Last week I saw both the old and the new Take Ivy on a bookshelf in a friend's office. I never thought to ask what the book meant to him. What he saw in it. That's a question I'd like to ask you. When you get your hands on it - Come back here and tell me. Just don't go wandering off the reservation.

23 July 2010

Trebay Has His Say: Take Ivy Review

Poster from 1974- "Sold Out"

First printing has sold out before the book is released. A second printing is on order. Guy Trebay talks to everybody and the kitchen sink. See his review here. By the way, I take great pleasure in announcing to the Trad world that Mr Trebay has never heard of Bill's Khakis or Mercer Shirts. I'll try to keep it that way.

Ron Rider's Venetian

This is Ron Rider's Venetian. And Rider, in my book, is a God. A visionary. And it's OK if you've never heard of him. He, like so many I met this week, work in the background of the apparel industry as sources. Ron is the source for some very big names you have heard of. And they come to Ron for shoes.

A few years ago I fell in love with a shoe called the Yuma. A vampless moccasin known by the trade as a Venetian. Simple and elegant and void of any unnecessary detail. I saw one made by Cole Haan in the early 90's when they still owned a factory in Maine. It came and went and I missed it. Many companies have made this shoe. Most have failed. It's not an easy shoe to make.

November of 2008, Florsheim, aka The East India Leather Company, released a Yuma and renamed it the Langsford. Cheap plastic leather and a too tight instep but man it was beautiful. I bought two pair and wrote 'em about here. I'm throwing them all in the dust bin.

I met Ron at the Warwick Hotel where he was showing his shoes out of a suite. The room was thick with the smell of leather. All it needed was some cigar smoke and you could be on the 4th floor of the Union League Club in Chicago.

Ron had these Venetians made in calf by Rancourt in Maine. He's doing them in cordovan for Leffot in NY. He gave me these (I'm a sample size). I insisted on paying. He said wholesale. What would you do? I've had an obsession with these shoes for almost three years. And these even fit. Like a glove.

We talked. I learned. A lot. This guy is the real deal. If this blog does nothing else - it will tell you about real deals. And real people. Ron Tweeted earlier in the week, "In the city today. Looking forward to steeping on the feet of any guy walking around in flip-flops with my big boots."

22 July 2010

The Ace Show

Mac of Pierrepont Hicks

Mac's ties

Taylor Stitch Madras

Taylor Stitch Button Down

Billy Moore's buckle - Needs a buffalo

More of Billy's copper & leather

Mac McMillan of Pierrepont Hicks thought to avoid the crowd at the Capsule show and display his wares in a Loft at the Ace Hotel. The Ace reminds me of a Romanian Youth Hostel but the young man from the UK who rode up in the elevator with me told his mates, "Shee, wot I likes about the Ace ez etts not so pre-tent-ches, yeah." Hello, Ian Wright (Ian's a hero btw).

Being the pretentious git I am, I was wearing a blazer on what had to be one of the hottest days in NYC. Entering the loft I was greeted by Billy Moore of 'Cause and Effect' with an offer of Moonshine. "That'll certainly hit the spot." I thought. Turns out there was a keg of beer. Billy poured me a cup and Mac came over and introduced himself. I introduced myself and my blog to which Billy opined, "God, another fuckin' blogger." and walked away - barefoot.

I was introduced to Michael Maher of Taylor Stitch and checked out his shirts. One of four young guys starting up their first company with made in San Francisco button downs. Hard not to be impressed with the energy. The look is not my thing (me being pre-tent-ches and all) but you can still respect it.

I like Mac's line of ties and bow ties a lot. It's pushing the 'hip' factor but there's no reason your Uncle Joe wouldn't enjoy getting one of these ties as a gift. I may have just kicked the cool factor down a couple notches by writing this but it's true. Made in NYC, they're unique enough for anyone.

Now Billy is another story. He has no web site. In fact, I can't find anything about him or his belts on line. I ran into Billy at a party the next night and noticed he was wearing shoes. He was also kicking an Exxon shirt with his name in cursive script. Billy makes belts (not so much) and some copper buckles(better) . Especially that arrow head. I asked him about his comment regarding bloggers the prior day and Billy said he didn't mean old farts like me but he meant young 20-ish hipsters who haven't lived long enough to know jack shit. Or, something like that.

Billy and I sipped our Pabst Blue Ribbon beers in a art gallery where they were selling khaki jeans for $225 and I grew to like him. That's what a lot of this is. You may not be crazy about someones line but you can always enjoy their passion and honesty for what they do. Hey, Billy. You need to write a blog. If you want a belt or buckle or just a hard time - shoot Billy an email at: billy.causeandeffect@gmail.com

21 July 2010

Trad Approved Ephemera

Among rack after rack of 'curated' boredom at Capsule - I ran into Grahame Fowler. And what a breath of fresh air he is. We talked about all kinds of things including vintage Rolexes, Hornets and military salvage. He gave me the piece of paper up there and asked that I stop by his shop on West 10th.

I stuffed the paper in my pants pocket and didn't really look at it until I got home. Simple but imaginative. Stamps and bleeding ink. It reminded me of a Lloyd's of London line slip. Each underwriter takes a percentage of risk and puts his 'line' down via a stamp. Just like that thing they stamp your passport with. I love paper.

Anyway, with the fashion over load going on in NYC this week - I thought I'd share something you don't wear. Although, those stamps would make a bitchin' t-shirt. Hmmm? Dear Mr. Lauren...

The Bucks Stop Here - Mark McNairy

Capsule - NYC - 7/20/2010

20 July 2010

Princeton - 1965

"If there are any blank pages, we're sorry."
Bric-A-Brac Staff 1965