Monday, May 23, 2011

Howard Yount Tailored Goods 2.0

No one doubted the value of Howard Yount's tailored goods when they launched last fall.  However, fit was an issue.  The jackets were on the short side and looked awkward on customers that were not hobbits - anyone who frequents StyleForum can attest to that.  Never a brand to shy away from constructive criticism, Howard Yount went back to the drawing board for S/S 2011.  All the great details, fabrics and construction is back, but now with a new and improved longer jacket.  With the kinks worked out, HY is redefining what it means to offer a true value in the realm of tailored goods.  In fact, I got an email from an industry buddy and tailoring enthusiast this afternoon who was quick to call this new crop of jackets "the best deal in tailored clothing."  High praise no doubt, but you would to be hard pressed to find a better jacket for a better price.  HY's made in Italy sportcoats are soft/lightly constructed, half-canvassed and feature considerable hand stitching.  Tailored gang, throw your set up.


Revisiting Boglioli S/S 2009

For S/S 2009 Boglioli turned out one of the best ad campaigns and lookbooks of recent memory.  I've talked about it before, but I recently found a behind the scenes video that documents the shoot, which took place on location in the Republic of Seychelles.  If you ever need a reminder that the man makes the clothes (apologies to Mark Twain) and that dressing should be fun, look no further than what Boglioli's marketing department was doing in '09.


Monday, May 16, 2011

1901's For Your 911

I'm not sure about you, but I cooled off on boat shoes once my grandma started wearing Sperry Topsiders.  Just kidding.  But seriously, has anyone else been looking for boat shoe alternatives?  Or, non-sneaker options for casual S/S footwear?  If you answered "yes" to either of those questions then you probably want to keep reading.  If you answered "no", let me congratulate you on having Wi-Fi on your yacht before you close your screen.  Okay, moving on.  I don't do too much driving these days (unfortunately, as Shawn said, I also "don't do too much bloggin"), but that didn't stop me from trying to track down a new pair of driving mocs as one of those S/S alternates I mentioned above.  I'll be the first to admit that making the argument against city dwellers wearing driving mocs is warranted.  Basically, most driving shoes cannot handle everyday wear.  Those little rubber nubs that grace the sole wear out quick if you're main mode of transportation is of the bipedal nature.  So, said argument is warranted, but also thin because driving shoes, especially a suede moc toe version, look damn good and anyone should be able to wear them if they see fit.  Where does that leave us?  For most of us, that eliminates Tod's because they are too expensive of an option for those who don't drive and don't drive something that gets you laid.  Minnetonka charges beater prices, but they still have those damn nubs, so price per wear is a little iffy.  Somewhere in between these two options happens to be Nordstrom's in house 1901 driving loafer.  These suede beauties actually have a full layer of rubber between the the upper and the rubber nubs, which translates to a longer shoe life.  I recently grabbed a pair and have been really happy with them.  They are the perfect errand shoe and require not a single sock investment.  Sand suede was my ticket, but there are a bunch of options for my more adventurous readers.  They run true to size (assuming you are ditching socks) and have a more aggressive toe shape that recalls European brands four times as expensive.


Monday, May 9, 2011

"Only Think About Your Tie When You Buy The Next One"

I don't always agree with the stuff that comes out of Scott Schuman's mouth, but his recent treatise on Italian style for GQ UK is pretty great.  Despite what you think about Italian style bombarding the blogosphere as of late, Scott and his blog have served as an advocate for this stuff since The Sartorialist's inception in 2005.  Whether or not Scott is an expert I will leave up to you, but there is not denying the wisdom of a man who has worked closely with the men who embody a particular aesthetic.  The bit about taking a little extra time when shopping and getting alterations done is particularly poignant.

"A lot has been written about 'Italian style'. A number of 'facts' have been detailed: the Agnelli-isms of unbuttoned shirt collars, unbuckled monkstrap shoes, ties over the sweater - your general sprezzatura minutiae. But when it comes down to it, these things border on gimmick. To me, that's not really about what Italian style is about, or what people relate to in my photographs.

What I think people are actually aspiring to is something much trickier to attain. It's the same kind of thing that you've seen in all classic menswear icons, most perfectly embodied by Cary Grantand Fred Astaire. It's grace.

Why people react to Italian style is the grace with which these gentlemen inhabit their clothes.

Now, some people will discredit this and call it 'effortless style', or write it off by saying, 'These Italians are just born with it.'

But it's quite the opposite. There is nothing effortless about their style, or their look. What's unique is that they put an extreme amount of effort into their look when they buy the clothes, when they have the clothes altered by their tailor, and when they put them on in the morning.

But once they put them on, they don't think about them until they take them off again at night. It's that graceful thoughtlessness that is so seductive.

Do me a favour. Look at these photos [below]. Look at the shoulder line. Look at how relaxed these guys are. Their shoulders aren't uptight and around their ears. These guys are having fun.

Then take a look at your typical Saville Row-tailored gent. Refined (read: restrained) to within an inch of his life, shoulders straight as a board and typically looking like they're having as much fun as an American wearing a suit.

If there is one piece of advice that I could give to someone who wants to embody, in their own way, the very best of Italian style, it would be: take an extra half an hour when buying the clothes, and extra half an hour at the tailor to make sure they perfectly fit you, and an extra half an hour in the morning to make sure you are confident in your choices.

Then think about food, think about women, think about cars - and only think about your tie when you buy the next one."


Grenadine By Way Of Kent Wang

Kent Wang has been popping up on a lot of radars these days thanks to, arguably, the best polo of the season.  I'm not gonna talk your ear off about that because a simple Google search will yield you all the info you need in that regard.  A year or so ago I recommended Kent Wang as a great place to pick up the oft-elusive traditionally cut knit.  While I still think one of these, especially the pin dot versions, are a great purchase, I want to talk about grenadine ties at the moment.  Much like shantung/raw silk neckwear, grenadine is super nerdy for lack of a better descriptor.  Meaning, for those of us with a shit ton of ties, there are probably only a few items, if any, missing from our arsenal.  Hell, Kent Wang calls grenadine "a connoisseur's tie", which is more or less a nice way of putting what I just said.  So, what the hell is grenadine?  Basically it's a loose silk weave that results in subtle texture that is most commonly found in solid colors.  The benefits are pretty obvious - texture resulting from a tie you can wear in warm weather and it's easy to pair with your shirts.  Kent Wang is selling a bunch for $75, which is a good deal when compared with various other grenadine options on the market.  With the weather getting real nice I'm partial to pink and sky blue, but you can never go wrong with navy.  I repeat, you can never, ever go wrong with navy.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Attn: Gant Launches US E-Commerce

We all knew this day was coming eventually.  Today sees the launch of Gant's first in house e-commerce site for those of us living the American dream.  And it's all here - Gant by Michael Bastian, Gant Rugger (by Christopher Bastin) and even their mainline stuff, which isn't heavily marketed across these amber waves of grain.  While select products from these collections could be found at various online retailers prior, this will most assuredly be the easiest way to get any and all pieces each season.  Shit, and you thought you were already broke.