Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year From Sartorially Inclined

[Pictured: New Years Eve 1958 via The Life Magazine Archives.]

Well, it's been a great year and an even better couple of months for Sart Inc.  I will never stop saying "thank you" to all the readers and commenters who continue to make this blog something much more special than I could have ever imagined.  We are doing alright for ourselves if you ask me and things are moving fast as we head into 2010; I wouldn't have it any other way.

On a "housekeeping" note, my own plans of gallivanting in the mountains of NC will effectively shut down the blog until about January 3rd so in the meantime enjoy perusing the archives.  It's kind of wild, at least from my perspective, to look back on the "beginnings" of this whole thing and to see how far it's already come in such a relatively short time.  Hopefully everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year's spent with those they care about and drinks they enjoy.  2010 is going to be one hell of a stylish year that's for damn sure.  See you guys on the other side.


Green With Envy

White bucks, dirty bucks and even blue bucks will play no doubt...but green bucks, I don't even know where to begin.  Oi Polloi just got a new pair of Sanders in and despite everything I once held true and self-evident, I am actually really feeling these.  Not everyone feels comfortable giving a middle finger to the rules (you should though) and wearing their white bucks year round so this is a great option for those living within the confines of society's sartorial boundaries (though this could be debated as green shoes aren't really within any boundaries I've ever heard of).  The best thing about these Sanders bucks (there is a dirty buck as well) is that there is finally a legitimate competitor to current reigning buck champion Mark McNairy.  His Red Brick Soul collection are my favorite "shoes" on the planet, but that doesn't mean I don't want options. A new pair of Sanders will run you around $220, which is about 75 bucks cheaper than the McNairy x ACL dirty bucks for comparison.


From The Inbox: Pete's Bean Boots

While The Bean Boot Project has pretty much died down at this point (unless of course anyone wants to send in a submission), there is no reason to stop highlighting the timeless style of my favorite boots.  Reader and photographer Pete was nice enough to send in some pics of his new Bean boots which his fiance got him for Christmas.

"[On Christmas] I found a pair of Darn Tough Vermont socks and an L.L. Bean box with a pair of 10" Bean Boots with thinsulate. I felt like I was twelve again ripping the box apart, smelling that new leather and immediately strapping them to my feet. I wore them practically 8 hours straight trying to break them in, in one day of course, knowing it would take weeks to get them perfect. It has been just about a week; I have worn them in -5 degree cold bringing in wood for the stove, shoveling the drive way in a small storm and I am anticipating the storm over new years to take advantage of the 10" height."



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview: The Windmill Club

When I stumbled upon The Windmill Club I was just as enthralled as I was curious.  After watching their A/W '09 teaser video more times than I care to share I contacted owner and designer Kevin Burrows for more information.  After speaking with Kevin extensively about himself and his brand my appreciation for everything he was doing and planned to do only grew.  Kevin is an extremely intelligent guy whose talents are matched with an ambition to do great things within the realm of menswear.  He couldn't have been any nicer and our conversation touched upon many things ranging from his heritage, to his background and all the way back to his personal aesthetics.  He is the perfect example of someone who embraces his own personal style and is willing to go out on a limb and share that with the world.  I left our conversation excited for everything The Windmill Club is attempting to do and just flat out inspired.  Kevin was nice enough to do a formal interview, as well, and I hope it helps shed some light on a project that will in turn inspire and excite you as much as it did me.

L: Can you speak on your background in both design and otherwise.

K: My first formal experience in design was this past summer when I was interning at Apolis Activism. The Parton brothers are truly outstanding guys and a blast to work with. It was a great introduction to menswear and the industry and I can't thank them enough. As far as general background, I grew up in Southern California and I'm currently based on the East Coast about to finish up my senior year at Harvard.

L: To those unfamiliar with The Windmill Club can you explain the brand.

K: The Windmill Club is small line of ties and bow ties made in the USA. The first collection is Autumn/Winter 09 and consists of six ties and two bow ties. I also run a side blog where I post photos, music, and everything else that inspires the brand.

L: Assuming you didn't wake up one morning with the epiphany of starting your own neckwear line can you talk a little about your motivation behind starting The Windmill Club.

K: It's been an interesting progression to be sure. It wasn't until the past couple years that I really got into menswear and design largely in part from reading various blogs. It started with me getting into streetwear and brands like The Hundreds, Only NY, and in particular The Award Tour (shouts to Phil and the great stuff he's doing over there). At a point in time during the summer before junior year I kind of got fed up with a lot of stuff I was seeing and couldn't really find pieces that worked with the style I was trying to create. So junior year I started up the blog and did a small run of graphic t-shirts that I sold to friends (kind of a beta-test). The Windmill Club really solidified this past summer when I was interning with the guys at Apolis Activism. Working in menswear and talking with them really helped to focus my vision for The Windmill Club and what I wanted to create with the line.

L: From what I've seen of the line it appears both heritage and collegiate inspired.  Can you boil down The Windmill Club's aesthetics?

K: I definitely draw from a heritage and classic college aesthetic. Also thrown into the mix is my dutch heritage (hence the name) and my appreciation of the cats who were killing it way before I was born.

L: As a designer what or who do you look to for inspiration?

K: I read a good number of menswear and style blogs which are probably my main source of inspiration on a daily basis. I've recently been looking at a lot of older photography as well as films from the 60's and 70's which were drenched with style.

L: Do you have a specific creative process and if so can you break it down for me?

K: What's most important is that I have strong vision of what I want before starting on a project. For example, I have a gigantic folder on my laptop that is filled with any images I come across that catch my eye. Sometimes it's a whole look, others just a detail or often the tone that the image evokes. When starting on something, I'll go through and pull out the shots that have the feeling I want. I can't necessarily describe the look or the style but I can recognize it and try to re-create it in what I'm working on.

L: Manufacturing, especially of the domestic variety, is a hot button topic in the menswear community.  Can you discuss the processes that go into making a Windmill Club tie?

K: Sure. For the fall line all of production was done in Los Angeles. I sourced my fabrics at a shop that stocks surplus from various productions. From there I worked back and forth with a small manufacture (the guys at Apolis were kind enough to put me in touch with the shop where their ties are made) to get the sizing and details right and then the ties were hand crafted at their workshop. It was important for me to produce the ties locally so that I could be there in person and get to know the people crafting the products. Also, the added benefit of supporting American businesses is a definite plus.

L: Who do you envision knotting up one of your ties? Who is the Windmill Club customer?

K: The Windmill Club customer is a member of this new group of young men who appreciate classic style and what it means to dress well. Men who seek out real substance and adventure in their lives.

L: Both iconic brands, such as Polo by Ralph Lauren, and current stalwarts, such as Band of Outsiders, started with neckwear before expanding their line.  Is this the direction you see The Windmill Club going?

K: For sure. I'm going to focus on neckwear for the time being, but down the road if the opportunity is there I would love the chance to work on expanding into a larger collection. It'd definitley be a lot of fun to throw my twist onto some other menswear staples.

L: What can we expect from The Windmill Club in both the not so distant and distant future?

K: In the not so distant future, we'll be launching our online shop on January 10th (in the meantime orders can be done via email directly). As for the distant future, I see The Windmill Club continuing to produce quality menswear pieces including an expanded collection but also working on presenting the line through more adventurous projects be it video or otherwise.


[Editor's Note: Expect a hands on review of The Windmill Club's neckwear very soon. It's The Windmill Club. Damn straight.]

A Penny For Your Boat Shoes

[Pictured: Quoddy Trail Boat Penny Loafer available for $195.00.]

When I posted on O'Connell's Clothing at the beginning of the month some folks went pretty nuts for the Quoddy Trail Boat Penny Loafer. The shoe (seen above) is a combination of two perfect warm weather shoes, the penny loafer and the boat shoe.  A pair of these could easily been worn sockless every single day when the weather is nice and you would still be the most stylish dude at the Jersey Shore (since the competition is so fierce).  No one is going to deny how great this shoes is, but the price tag is a little bit of a turn off.  Now I realize Quoddy's reputation speaks for itself and that these boat loafs are handmade in the U.S.A., but they still may be a little too rich for such a casual kick, not to mention I'm a little worried that wearing them sockless 24/7 in the spring and summer will absolutely destroy them.  For a cheap alternative try Sperry's just released (for the first time? re-release?) "Authentic Original Loafer Penny".  It's not the exact same shoe (360 degree lacing) and definitly not as nice, but at $75 clams it's much cheaper and you wont feel bad when you lose one after a drunken bonfire in the dunes. 


Attn: The Pegasus Has Landed

[Pictured: Alden for Epaulet Black and Tan available for $450.00.]

I don't normally mess with black boots due to the automatic military association they evoke.  Not that I have anything against the military whatsoever, it's just a little too intense for my footwear sensibilities.  Epaulet's new Black and Tan Indy boot might just change this mentality.  Made from Pegasus leather (from Chicago's Horween tannery), a thick matte finish cowhide (not actual flying horses), this boot is the latest of Epaulet's exclusives (only 18 pairs were made of the Black and Tan).  What I like about this particular boot is the contrasting color of the sole.  If you are going to go with black boots a tan sole like this is a great way to offset the intense nature mentioned above.  When I visited Epaulet a little while back, I remember Mike bugging out over how good the boot was going to look and the ridiculously awesome name of the leather used.  Turns out he was right as per usual.  The Pegasus has official landed.


p.s. Looks like Epaulet is stepping their photo game up as well.  The product shots in Mantauk take the boot to a whole new level and the leather looks extra fantastic with a sandy backdrop.

Wednesday Morning Inspiration: "Hello, I'm Chevy Chase and you're not."

Much has been made of the rise and subsequent fall (and rise? I personally really like Community) of Chevy Chase, but regardless of his late career output the guy absolutely owned comedy in his prime.  From 1975, when he debuted on the first season of SNL, to 1989, when he starred in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Chevy Chase was unstoppable.  With a filmography that includes Caddyshack, Fletch, Three Amigos and The National Lampoon series it's tough to argue against his status as a legend.  His charisma and talent was/is undeniable and with Christmas Vacation fresh on the brain a photo tribute is surely in order. "Hello, I'm Chevy Chase and you're not."





Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vael: An Interesting Manifesto

I guess I've been sleeping on Vael because I just found out about these guys today.  While you surely are dangerously close to OD'ing on boots much like myself, Vael's collection is pretty impressive.  Some of their stuff is a little out of control (I'm only highlighting the "conservative" options), but I think that's the essence of the brand (just check out that insane logo and their brand philosophy below).  Most of this stuff isn't going to register as "classic" or "timeless" though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Fresh on the heels of Danner suing Rag & Bone for copyright infringement maybe it's time that brands started to blaze their own path instead of designing straight off their inspiration boards.  Also of note is Vael's brand manifesto which is currently leading the category of "most interesting of 2009".  Check this out...

"VAEL is a premium brand extending the range of mobile societies (Gesellschaft). We engineer and manufacture soft goods for the wandering global creative class."

What is "Gesellschaft" you ask?  Well, Vael has got you covered on that as well...

"When we made the transition over the last 200 years from tight communities (Gemeinschaft) to free and mobile societies (Gesellschaft), we escaped from bonds that were sometimes oppressive, yes, but into a world so free that it left many of us gasping for connection, purpose, and meaning."

Anyhow, if you plan on breaking out of you oppressive bonds to search for connection and purpose anytime soon you might want to get outfitted in a pair of these...


Lusting After: Seiko Military Watches

[Pictured: Vintage Seiko helicopter pilot's watch via Chronomaster by way of watch guru Nick Maggio.]

Vintage or fresh out of the box, Seiko's military watches are some of the best looking timepieces around.  These badboys are the real deal with all the oldschool sex appeal you can shake a stick at.  Just looking at my own Timex now I feel like I might as well be wearing something I snagged out of a Cracker Jack box.  Obviously Seiko's generation one models, like the pilot's watch seen above, are going to run you a little more change ($300+) than something new (the last two models seen below) off of eBay ($54+), but boy are they worth every penny.  If you are in the market for a new timepiece or just want to geek out over some tickers peep the goods...


Monday, December 28, 2009

Hands On: Taylor Stitch

It's a simple and honest manifesto...Taylor Stitch wants to put a well-made, well-fitting and affordable made to measure shirt on your back.  Whether a dress shirt for work or a sport shirt for heading out after work, guys deserve something great.  Buying made to measure, or custom, shirting is not a route many of us have taken or plan on taking, which is a shame.  Assuming ridiculous prices and a complex process, mass produced goods often feel like the only option.  Thankfully brands like Taylor Stitch are filling a much needed void and dispelling notions once deemed unwavering.

While I'll leave the in depth brand story and vision to my good friend Paul, who has what should be a fantastic feature in the works, Taylor Stitch is an upstart San Francisco "online shirtmaker and men's outfitter purveying well crafted goods."  When I first heard of these guys I immediately reached out for more information and since then have developed a solid relationship with a brand I have the utmost respect for.  When I was given the chance to get my hands on a custom shirt I jumped at the opportunity to not only get my feet wet with made to measure, but to evaluate a product that on paper seemed pretty spectacular.

After putting in my order back in early November I was finally able to rip my package from the evil grips of my apartment complex's office and get up close and personal with a shirt I helped "design".  See, that's the greatest part about made to measure.  For the first time ever I really feel like I have a personal stake in an article of clothing I own and that feeling in itself is pretty invaluable.

The above oxford cloth button down from Taylor Stitch is the fruit of our labors and I couldn't be happier.  I won't comment too much on the fit since that would prove pointless as these are my measurements and my tweaks arranged specifically for me.  I will say that the specs I worked on with Mike of Taylor Stitch fully come through in the final product.  Being a complete novice with only ideas of how a shirt should fit wouldn't seem to bode well, let alone yield such a great fitting final product, but luckily for me that's where the experts come in.  Since day one Mike was with me every step of the way discussing the intricacies of measurement and overall fit.  I don't know many brands who jump at the chance to get on the horn and talk every detail from the collar down to the buttons, but then again, I don't know of many brands like Taylor Stitch.

As far as quality is concerned, the shirt fires on all cylinders as well.  The grey oxford cloth is just thick enough and just refined enough that it will easily transition from meetings to the bar.  I'm already looking towards a very classy event next month where this oxford is going to feel right at home.  The custom red contrast stitching on the second button hole and cuff also came out perfect and add some character to the classic garment.  With a wide variety of fabrics and colors, but not enough to overwhelm, Taylor Stitch has curated both a shop and shopping experience that appeals to both menswear geeks and novices.

Made to measure is truly an enjoyable process everyone should try at least once.  You don't need to be a Wall Street goon or a tastemaker to appreciate and afford the process.  It is something that when given the proper time and thought can turn out some great gear and I can't think of a better starting point than Taylor Stitch.  With customer service that puts the White House staff to shame, an actual desire to help their customers dress better and a product that speaks for itself I think we can file a new chapter under "people who are doing things right."


A big special thanks goes out to Mike and all the TS guys for the shirt, their constant assistance and attention.

Sartorially Inclined and Line Change Present "The Re-Gift Giveaway"

A little while back Rob of Line Change decided it would be a nice gesture to give away a pair of boots to some readers who helped him pick out his own pair for the holidays.  The premise was simple: hit up Macy's, find him some options and out of everyone who helped out he would pick a winner at random (read his original post here).  When I saw Rob's contest blast on Twitter I jumped at the chance to force my sartorial will on another hapless soul without thinking too much about grabbing my own pair of boots in the process.  Fate just so happens to be one cruel mistress and saw fit that I should also somehow deserve to win this competition.  When Rob contacted me about my winnings I was flattered and grateful, but at the same time a little hesitant.  I have enough footwear as it is, not to mention winter boots aren't really necessary where I live.  After a little back and forth Rob and I decided that it would be kind of funny to take my prize and offer it up to my readers as a kind of re-gifting stunt in the vein of all things "not so classy" that seem to pop up a lot during the holidays.

So here's the deal:  A pair of size 10 (which should in theory cover everyone sizes 9.5-10.5) tan Polo ranger boots are currently up for grabs.  For the uninitiated, read my thoughts on this classic here.  This isn't going to be some lame re-tweet fest that is in the interest of gaining followers on Twitter, but instead something a little more creative and, yes, just as lame (that's how I do it baby).  Taking a page out of Ivy-Style's book (what up Christian) the rules are as follows: simply complete this statement, "The First thing I'm going to do when I get my new Polo Ranger Boots is..." in the comments section or in an email (Subject: Contest) for a chance to win.  I'd appreciate if everyone only entered one submission to keep things fair and if my brother is reading this, "No Doug, you can't enter. That's called nepotism."  Once all the submissions are in, Rob and myself will judge the entries, announce the winner and ship you your new Polo ranger boots.  The contest will stay open until Jan. 11 or when my inner Scrooge McDuck rears his ugly head...whichever comes first.  Hopefully this will encourage some readers to come out of the woodwork and just get some general jackass-ery started.  Have at it and happy re-gifting to all!

Lawrence & Rob

[Editor's Note: IMPORTANT...if you are posting in the comments section make sure you either add your email address or have a link to a blog/website/twitter/whatever so I can contact you.]

Gilt Man Helps You Spend Your Holiday Monies

[Pictured: Gilt Man's Woolrich buyer's picks.]

Assuming you have generous friends and family you may have some holiday monies already burning a hole in your pocket, myself included.  No worries as Gilt Man has some nice sales to help with such a problem not to mention their best in the business shipping could insure some new wears come NYE 2009.

Monday sees sales from Grenson, Jean Shop and Calvin Klein Collection.  If you are in the process of "man-ing up" your wardrobe all of these brands makes some good stuff to help you get grown.  Gilt Man has yet to step their shoe game up so hopefully Grenson comes through with some brogue boots (fingers crossed) and various loafers to help top off whatever you're currently working with.  On Tuesday Woolrich comes through for the second time in a month or so, which is good news for all the white collar/blue collar cats out there.  Though it is not explicitly mentioned, this stuff is Woolrich Woolen Mills so don't fret on issues of fit.  I cleaned up last time WWM was on Gilt and I can't speak highly enough of the brand and their gear.  Take one look at any pics from my mini holiday vacation at home and you'll see I wore my WWM old school cargo pants nonstop.  RRL accessories round out the goodness on Wednesday and since this is the only time any of this kind of exclusive stuff falls into my lap/price range it is surely something I recommend checking out.  Head over to Gilt to sign up and check out the remainder of this weeks sales (also including Property of...) or just holler at my invitation (requisite blogger transparency yields disclosure on my end that I get credit after your first purchase...hopefully that's cool especially after all the big words I just used).


Sunday, December 27, 2009

It Was The Summer Of '59

Dry Goods and Assorted Sundries (a fantastic blog by the way) put up a pretty rad post regarding Bruce Davidson's 1959 collection of photographs detailing a Brooklyn Gang by the name of The Jokers.  In Davidson's own words...

"In the spring of 1959, I met a group of teenagers in Brooklyn who called themselves 'The Jokers'. At the time there were an estimated thousand gang members in New York City. A Youth Board had been formed which sent 'Youth Workers' out to dissuade gangs from fights and to help socialize them. It was after reading a newspaper article about a skirmish in Prospect Park that I decided to find the gang and enter 'the cool world' of their lives. At first, I attached to the youth worker assigned to them, but then stayed with the gang members as they stood late at night on the street corner, hung out in the candy store, or went to the beach at Coney Island with their girlfriends.

I was twenty-five and they were about sixteen. I could easily have been taken for one of them. My way of working is to enter an unknown world, explore it over a period of time, and learn from it. The previous year, I had traveled for a few months with a circus, making intimate photographs of a dwarf clown. Now I found myself involved with a group of unpredictable youths who were mostly indifferent to me. In time they allowed me to witness their fear, depression, and anger. I soon realized that I, too, was feeling some of their pain. In staying close to them, I uncovered my own feelings of failure, frustration, and rage."

I have seen a bunch of these pics floating around the internet, but never knew where they had originated.  1950's cool has never been so well documented as it is here.  Check out untamed youth and rebellion in all it's timeless glory...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Parting Shots

For anyone not following Sartorially Inclined on Twitter (use your discretion), here are some parting shots from my short, but wonderful time spent at home which will conclude early tomorrow afternoon.  And yes, I wore the same pair of WWM cargo's all weekend...

[Pictured: I got a new pair of low top Wallabees (right) and passed on my boots to my brother.  My hope is he follows my lead and thoroughly destroys them.]

[Pictured: Santa reps for Jewish kids too.  Epaulet x Mark McNairy RBS.]

[Pictured: Walked the dog in my brother's Red Wings.  Currently devising a plan to kidnap them and hold them ransom in Charlotte.]


[Pictured: My brother in his new L.L. Bean Blucher mocs courtesy of me.]