Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shopping Florence, Or Firenze If You’re Bourgeois

Right, right, so nothing has really happened on here in what most people on and off the Internet would consider "a long ass time". I've got no excuses other than I have been equal parts busy and lazy. How's that for some truth? I try to keep things honest over here at the very least. If you haven't already figured it out, my daily blogging has migrated over to Tumblr for the most part. The insights aren't long form by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're one of the three or so people not my mother crying over the death of LAS at least you can soak those tears up with some cashmere socks or whatever. So what can you find on my Tumblr? Crazy awesome fan mail from 81 year old guys in New Mexico who read about me in The New York Times who also have serious bones to pick! Crispy McBacons in Florence! Finding an original Polo RL Snow Beach pullover at this week's (capsule) NY! Oh man, I've got kinda maybe sorta interesting shit like that for days yo. On to the matter at hand. I was in Florence for Pitti Uomo 81 and it was off the chain. Here is a blog post about shopping:

Obviously we couldn’t get to everything, but we did make our rounds. Some spots were highly recommended, others legendary and some merely stumbled into thanks to some intrepid exploring. There are a ton of price points represented here so if you find yourself lucky enough to be strolling around Florence you may or may not want to consult this list.

Keep in mind the following prices were converted from Euro to USD and many were sales. The thing about shopping in Italy, and really Europe for that matter, is that if you are lucky to be traveling towards the end of the season everywhere you go has blowout sales ranging from 30% - 70% off. It’s WAY more prominent than here in America.

Frasi ($$$$) - Formerly known as Tie Your Tie, Frasi is the legendary Florentine shop owned by the equally legendary Simone Righi. As the four dollar signs indicate, this shop is for the wealthy - when we first walked in two extremely stylish Japanese men were in the middle of possibly the most expensive personal shopping appointment I have ever witnessed complete with their own Italian translator. As far as the vibe and style goes, imagine the most incredible Italian menswear pictures we’ve all salivate over on Tumblr and multiply that by around, I don’t know, 100. The place is very intimate (a plus) and Simone, who doesn’t speak any English (thankfully he his assistant does), is the definition of polite and accommodating whether you are shopping or merely browsing.

Milord ($$$) - Milord was recommended to us by a good friend in the clothing business who has pretty stellar taste so it should come as no surprise that it was solid from front to back. And we could actually afford some shit! They stock lots of great brands, some of which are available in The States, but usually in very small runs or not at all - think Boglioli, LBM 1911, Roda, Rota, PT-01, Santoni, etc. The in house brand is nothing to scoff at either. The private label sportcoats were pretty obviously manufactured by Lubiam, but they did feature exclusive fabrics. I ended up grabbing a Roda blousan that was on sale for just over $300 USD as it was not available in the US as far as I know. For those keeping score at home, I allotted myself one “big” purchase while in Florence.

Boggi ($$) -“It’s the Brooks Brothers of Italy”, our buddy said and it made perfect sense - an entire brand of classic menswear with reasonable pricing. Of course classic Italian menswear couldn’t be any more different from classic American menswear so that’s about where the comparison ends. Anyhow, the entire selection was wearable with highlights in outerwear, footwear and shirting. For those of you who love slimmer fitting sport pants (5 pocket cords, washed denim, etc.) look no further. I should also mention that Boggi is not specific for Florence. They have stores all over Italy, Greece and the Middle East so be on the lookout depending on where you’re traveling abroad.

 Gutteridge ($) - We stumbled into this spot on the very first day we were in Florence and were completely blown away. Similar to Boggi, Gutteridge was packed to the brim with solid menswear. I thought the quality wasn’t exactly on par with Boggi, but the aesthetics were just as on point. Then again, when you start getting into these lower pricepoints the dip in quality is to be expected. The best deals were cutaway collar shirts for $30 dollars and the perfect casual cotton sportcoat (patch pockets, 2 buttons, high gorge, side vents, working cuffs) in a full range of colors for $140.

Peluso ($) - You already know I saved the best for last. Peluso is a men’s and women’s shoe brand who also manufacturers made in Italy shoes for some high end brands/shops. Anyhow, here is what you need to know - made in Italy shoes in classic menswear styles for dirt cheap. I’m talking chocolate suede penny loafers for $49 USD (boom, snagged), blue suede Chelsea boots for $70 USD (boom x 2, snagged) and calfskin shortwings for $91. Peluso’s soles do leave a little to be desired however. While there are full leather soles, most shoes are on some type of rubber (knock-off Dainite, faux crepe, etc.) or rubber and leather mixture (probably the best of the bunch and definitely the most comfortable. The uppers, on the other hand, actually surpass the pricepoint, which is something that I am still trying to wrap my head around. Do they have own their own tannery? Secret Illuminati connections? Mafia shit ala Gomorrah? To be honest, I really don’t care when the customer is benefiting this much.  There are a bunch of Peluso shops around Florence, many only selling women’s shoes or a small selection of men’s so you want to hit up the main Peluso store on Via del Corso. "Too good to be true" is an understatement.

Final thoughts - My friend JD was once talking about Pitti and made the statement, and I’m paraphrasing here, “The great thing about Florence and Italy in general, is that you can get the entire 'look' at EVERY pricepoint”. After shopping the city for about a week I couldn’t agree more and we only saw around 40% of the menswear stores you’d want to shop at. The taste level here in the US is light years behind many countries abroad and it’s a shame. We, the customers, are the ones that suffer. We’re forced to lust after amazing clothes that we either can’t get or can’t afford. That’s not the case in Europe, especially not in Italy. So what can we do to rectify this? We need to educate ourselves and push our boundaries, both stylistically and otherwise. By doing something about this taste gap we can begin to close it.

I should also mention that we checked out a few other stores on our trip. Shops like Happy Jack, WP Lavori, Massimo Dutti, Luisa Via Roma and more. They all had something special or unique to offer, but I didn’t feel like I spent enough time there or made a purchase that warranted a comment. Hopefully I can get back here soon to expand this “guide”.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Boglioli S/S 2012

Of all the brands to have exploded thanks to the Internet's relatively recent obsession with Italian tailoring, Boglioli is my personal favorite.  Obviously, I am incredibly biased - it fits me better off the rack than anything, it's the exact laid back elegance I look for in tailored clothing, so on and so forth.  You may agree with me or you may not.  That's not really the point of all this.  Boglioli's S/S 2012 collection recently got some visuals and I think it serves to teach us some important lessons.  First of which is, even if you love a brand to death, don't always look to them on how to style their products.  I'm not saying you guys are slaves to lookbooks or any shit like that, just a friendly reminder, you know?  I think Boglioli's S/S 2012 styling is cool, but I'm a little hesitant on how some of this would translate in real life.  We are nowhere near Piombo territory, but something to think about.  Next, if you are still unconvinced of how unconstructed/unstructured sportcoats can change your life, look no further.  Seriously, do these jackets look like they can be any more comfortable?  I understand those of you who want something a little more jacked up for cold weather (that whole romantic idea of you clothing being personal armor), but when the weather is warmer you cannot do any better than this stuff as far as I am concerned.  Finally, I actually think we can take a queue from the styling.  I mean, keep in mind what I said before, but offset it a little with this point - S/S layering is possible.  Meaning, just because it is hot as hell doesn't mean you can't experiment with layers.  But, the right layers of course.  Many Italian brands, especially the superior ones like Boglioli, have such an understanding of things like fabrication, texture, fit and drape that they really do enable, and encourage, the sometimes foolish/ballsy idea of layering during S/S.  Think about it.  If you take away anything from the above nonsense, let it be - Boglioli makes jackets so good they'll make you wanna slap ya momma.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Run Of The Mill F/W 2011 Has Landed

My two buddies and I are back at it for F/W 2011.  Our own little Run of the Mill has expanded its offerings for the season with 4 new shirts and 4 new shoes (our fan favorite cutaway collar oxfords will be back up for sale later in the day).  Since day one it's been about offering the stuff we love and wear at a great value to our customers.  While manufacturing has stayed consistent (shirts made in the USA, shoes made in Italy), we tried to push the envelope.  The fabrics sourced for a few of the shirts are on another level - we're talking Albini and Albiati, which are two of Italy's most renowned mills, for those of you who care about this sort of thing.  We also updated our cutaway collar.  The new collar has a slightly wider spread and longer collar points adding up to the best cutaway we've had the pleaseure of offering.  Shoes are still coming out of one of Northern Italy's best ready to wear factories and F/W 2011's program features beautiful shades of suede and one double monk stomper that is snow ready, seriously.  All our product is still on a made to order basis and the new stuff will be up for about a month long window starting today.  Hopefully those of you who are interested will head on over and do a little browsing.  Maybe you'll even do a little buying.   Regardless, I'd like to thank everyone who supports my endeavors and me for helping make special things like this possible.  Feel free to email me with any questions/concerns/inquiries/slander.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Unis F/W 2011

When I visited Eunice Lee a little while back at her Elizabeth St. shop we talked about starting over.  Not from scratch or anything too drastic, but revisiting the things that made her brand, Unis, amazing in the first place - shoring up the foundation if you will.  Fans of Unis have nothing to worry about and those looking to explore her clothing for the first time have a lot to look forward to, starting with what helped her stake her claim in menswear in the first place.  Most people have probably heard about Unis thanks to her bottoms, specifically the Gio, which was easily one of the top 5 chinos on the market.  You may remember how she "famously" (I only put that in quotes because I know not everyone is on the internet as much as I am) defended her price points to blog commenters.  For F/W 2011 the Gio got a little bit of a facelift.  There are now two completely re-engineered Gio's - a standard and a "skinny".  Yeah, you just read the word "skinny" on a menswear blog.  Did you blackout?  Are you okay?  Moving on, having two fits hopes to alleviate any discrepancies that may have existed before and satisfy as many people looking for chinos as possible.  Personally, I prefer and wear the Gio Skinny - word is bond.  Others may prefer the Gio.  Regardless, they are the best pair of chinos that I have owned since Hickey closed its doors.  The Italian cotton used is hearty enough for cold weather wear, but has a luxuriousness to it.  The whole point of these pants is to offer a tailored silhouette, much like a trouser, but in the washed comfort of your traditional chino.  The emerald and ox blood colorways are the definitive choices for those of you looking to wear not just color, but the right color for this time of year.  Eunice didn't stop with her bottoms either.  No, there is a lot more great stuff happening for F/W 2011.  She's offering USA made suiting for the first time at an affordable price point compared to her competitors.  It's a casual take on the new buttoned up aesthetic engulfing menswear, while not sacrificing an iota of quality.  For the guy looking to grab himself a sportcoat, but isn't drinking any of that Neapolitan kool aid, look no further.  I should also mention the new outerwear made in conjunction with San Francisco's Golden Bear.  Simply put, it's murderous.  Long story short, swing by Unis if you live in NYC or browse the site if you live on the internet.  Either way I think you are going to find some great stuff that's going to help you shore up your own foundation for F/W 2011.

[All pictures courtesy of Justin Chung.]


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ovadia & Sons F/W 2011 Campaign B-Roll

A little while back I had the pleasure of working with a bunch of talented folks/friends in producing the Ovadia & Sons F/W 2011 campaignJustin took so many great images that we didn't end up using that I figured it would make sense to drop a selection of them somewhere.  I guess that's what a blog is for, right?  Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoy some of these outtakes.  Not all of them are meant to be taken seriously (though that fur stole is absolutely, undeniably ill), but they do tell another story that I think ultimately compliments the official campaign images.  Also, if this is your first time seeing Ovadia & Sons F/W 2011 then I am happy to bring you up to speed on the best new line of menswear coming out of America.