31 August 2010

Men's Club 'Take Ivy' Issue - August 2006

Another collector's item?

Mr Teruyoshi Hayashida - Photographer and recent 80 year old.


In good company

Today's the day of Take Ivy's US release. I've heard Amazon copies have started arriving. Please don't forget to leave your impressions here. Also, interviews with the four authors of Take Ivy have all been received and are being translated for posting soon. This issue of Men's Club celebrated the release of the 2006 edition. Looks like a great issue. If only I could read it.

Blind Oxford Tasting

Stay tuned for the lowdown on the button down and the identity of the judge who warned, "Lets not encourage the world - which is already lost - to call any shirt with a button front a button down."

30 August 2010

Who Needs The Beach

Bryant Park Cafe, NYC

Bryant Park Cafe, NYC

Bryant Park Cafe, NYC

Bryant Park Cafe, NYC

8th Avenue, NYC

Columbus Circle, NYC

27 August 2010

Off My Back: J Crew

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

Charanga Cakewalk

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.

The Logo With A Story

A reader has kindly volunteered

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.

Dad's Recline

I grew up with this painting by my father. I can remember it as far back as I can remember. I don't know when he painted it or where. But if I ever come up with a logo for The Trad - - This will be it. I just hope he doesn't sue me. More of Dad's art is here.

24 August 2010

My J. Crew Story

Was talking to a J Crew employee this morning at the opening of their new men's store on 79th and Madison. Beautiful Swain Adeney Brigg brollies and leather cases fill up an old bank vault with Barbour coats, Quoddy moccs, silver Benson & Clegg collar stays, Timex watches and Crockett and Jones brogues not to mention my beloved, D.R. Harris toiletries. While the paneling says Scandinavia - this place screams St James's Place.

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.

18th Century Seersucker & Bow Ties

Annie's Bow...

...with a different kind of seersucker.

Nice pattern matching.

Doneckers in Lancaster - A very special store recently closed

I love details like these...
...and these. Seersucker's great, great, great grandfather.

Annie Wilson gave me a bow tie and all I had to do was complete a questionnaire. Is this blogging thing sweet or what? Check out her site(s) and be sure to give her bow ties a look. If you're a bow tie kinda guy. I like her style and her blog. For a Californian she has amazingly good taste.

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

The Kent CR8

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

Off My Back: The Mystery Shirt

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.