Aside from all the darkness, rain, and slush, this time of the year is pretty great here in the North. The expectation of the first lasting snow and the transformation of mood and landscape into winter. After seeing a good selection of fall and early winter looks out there (Free-Man, Philosophy of the Well-Fed, Up-North), I thought I'd give a shot at my own. Shirt - Gitman Vintage Purple Oxford (Roden Grey) Blazer - Rugby by Ralph Lauren Scarf - John Malloy Belt - Tanner Goods Natural Belt (C-Store) Gloves - Norse Projects x Hestra Tan Staale (GoodHood) Shoes - Tricker's Brown Zug Ilkley (Pediwear.co.uk) Jeans - Nudie Steel Grey Even Steven (Yoox) Down Vest - Penfield (Yoox)
HBO's new Boardwalk Empire hooks you right from the opening credits. In particular, Steve Buscemi (as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson) in his pin-strip three-piece and simply stunning two-tone oxford wingtips. I'm not sure if these are technically spectator shoes or not, since the highlight colour on spectators is supposed to be white. Instead, these have a lovely burnished tan, the middle line of punched broguing is a darker brown, with the heel cap, toe, and lacing area in black.
Really quite stunning, although I'm not sure how I would pull them off as part of my wardrobe (or what to wear with them). This of course hasn't deterred me from checking out what is available. So far, a pair of Forzieri looks remarkable similar (the lighter tan shade could have darkened naturally or from polishing). The search continues.
After trying out a few new Wordpress Themes over the past week, I've finally settled on Mystique. It's quite attractive and very easy to customize. I'll still be tweaking the stylesheet over the coming days. I've also implemented the WPtouch widget to facilitate mobile browsing. Be sure to check it out on your mobile device!
After months of scouring various shoe blogs, and stumbling across the fact that Honolulu is home to one of the top Alden retailers in the world... Leather Soul Waikiki, I acquired my first pair of 'high end' shoes, a pair of Alden Cordovan #8 V-Tips. Thanks muchly to dad for tracking down the UPS guy making the delivery with about 45mins to spare before our flight (and for picking up the tab!). Also thanks to Takuya for many patient email responses about size and availability.
Now I have only the pleasure of enjoying the bliss of having these gloves of perfect leather on my feet. Seriously, I've almost walked in to people because I love to look at my own shoes. Slightly disturbing. Only slightly more disturbing is the fact that I've started to think about my next pair of Aldens. Sure, I was able to vicariously enjoy dad getting a pair of All Weather Walkers last week in San Francisco at the Alden store. Greg meanwhile is contemplating his 'Vancouver shoe' that would also be dressy, yet durable enough for site visits to the prairie dealerships in winter. He's thinking shell chukka with a commando sole. Or maybe in Kudu with a lug rubber sole?
Reading about these shoes only makes you appreciate the care and craftsmanship that go into making a pair, given that most of the shoes I've worn in my life were probably made in ten minutes by child labourers in a sweatshop in Vietnam. The enthusiasm of the retailers like Tom and Takuya at Leather Soul is the face most customers would see, but digging deeper we see the traditions at work in the Alden factory. But move a step further back in the means of production, and the same passion for the product and the production is still evident. The blog of the Horween Leather Company of Chicago is an amazing glimpse into traditional production practices that still persevere today. Here is where you can still observe something called craftsmanship that is largely lost in most of the crap we buy today. Thanks to the good folks at Horween, I have a newfound appreciation for not only the shell cordovan that eventually found its way into my V-tips, but also the amazing processes that go into making the natural Chromexcel that will produce my next pair of Aldens.
Winter is on its way and I can't wait. My latest footwear acquisition arrived yesterday - a pair of classic Sorel Caribou boots. These rate high in the nostalgia factor as I had the same boots as a kid in Prince George. Pity the once proudly Canadian brand is now US owned though.
I've somehow gone from being very reluctant to ever buy clothes online to a voracious online fashion shopper. Along the way, I'm collecting a small select list of the very coolest online clothes boutiques for us men. Strangely, many of the coolest placest online are maybe not in the places you first might expect. Belfast, Manchester, Aberdeen, and Newcastle (not London), Brooklyn (not Manhattan- ok ok, Brooklyn is already cooler than Manhattan), Malmö (well, also Stockholm), and Ballard... seriously, Ballard?!?
www.blackbirdballard.com/ (Ballard, Seattle)
Well, more like, "Stuff American middle-class liberal hipster white people like", but the blog (and now book) Stuff White People Like is often scarily acccurate when it comes to pegging the narrow conformity of their (our?) tastes:Vegan/Vegetarianism, Apple Products, Microbreweries, Not having a TV, Bottles of Water, Outdoor Performance Clothes, Religions their parents don't belong to.
So many of these are attempts to take the high moral ground (to "do the right thing" while establishing your own superiority) without any of the real effort involved in taking real action. Though, as the entries come from multiple submitters, the quality (and humour) is a bit uneven with some pretty poor or bordering on offensive.
Reading it, I'm equal-parts affirmed and embarrassed in how dead-on many of these are. Affirmed, in recognizing common contempt for many of these traits I recognize in others, and embarassed at the sheer number that apply to me. The full list currently has 120 entries of 'stuff'. Do the test (my white friends): how many apply to you?