Monday, May 18, 2009

The solo shoemaker: A Styleforum find

Here's a Styleforum find for shoe lovers - a solo shoemaker who will make made to order shoes based on several standard lasts. Cliff Roberts is effectively a one-man Edward Green MTO operation. His ebay name is charlesdaniell. If you know how you fit in EG lasts, this could be a nice opportunity for more affordable MTO.

Check this thread for the details and photos of his sample work (including balmoral boots).

Additional links
- AskAndy thread on Cliff Roberts

Updated Oct 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Men's magazines: The Rake and Men's Ex

Currently, my favorite men's magazines are Men's Ex (published in Japanese and available at Kinokuniya and Mitsuwa) and The Rake (published in English). Below are are a couple of sample shots from the September 2008 issue of Men's Ex. They illustrate nicely the difference between soft and structured shoulders and variations between.

Soft v. structured shoulders

Soft v. structured shoulders

The Rake is a newly launched magazine whose inaugural issue was the December 2008 / January 2009. The Rake website recently went live and features a selection of articles from the print versions.

The Rake (Dec 08 - Jan 09) cover

Additional links
- Styleforum thread on buying Men's Ex in Europe

Updated June 10, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Philadelphia stories: Men's shops and shirtmakers

I recently stayed about a week in Philadelphia and visited or walked by a few establishments. I stopped by Wayne Edwards, an independent men's retail shop, and chatted with the owner Wayne and his assistant Franz on a recent weekend. They carry RTW business and sportswear and also do MTM (Isaia). I was curious to see their shoe selection as their website mentions John Lobb. I didn't see any Lobbs but they did have a nice selection of mostly Italian makes (Bontoni and Gravati).

Wayne Edwards is perhaps the "cooler" alternative to establishment retailer Boyd's, which is also the largest men's retailer in the city. While Boyd's carries Hugo Boss and True Religion, Edwards carries PRPS raw denim and Yohji Yamamoto.

Around the corner from Edwards is the custom shirtmaker Barton & Donaldson.

Barton & Donaldson 02

Barton & Donaldson 03

Barton & Donaldson 04

The NY Times article below makes a brief mention of Philadelphia's Fabric Row Fourth Street (between South and Catherine Streets). The article came out after I had left Philly but I did manage to visit Fifth Street, a block away. Fifth Street houses a custom tailor and shirtmaker Ernesto (unclear if the shop is MTM or bespoke).

Ernesto 01

Just down the street from Ernesto is a tailoring supply shop, Charles Zarit and a nice vinyl shop, the Philadelphia Record Exchange.

Charles Zarit 01

Additional links
- NY Times article 36 hours in Philly
- Styleforum thread on Philly haberdashers
- Styleforum thread on Ray's Custom Shirtmakers

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Foster & Son Spring 2009 Schedule

Bespoke English shoemaker Foster & Son are back in the States this spring with more enticing new samples and accessories. I visited Sarah Adlam and Emma Lakin on their last day here in Los Angeles but you can catch them in the following cities in the days ahead:

San Francisco
Friday 8th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday 9th 9.00am – 5.00pm
The Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason Street, San Francisco CA 94108 Tel: 415 772 5000

Chicago
Monday 11th May 9.00am - 6.00pm
Tuesday 12th May 9.00am - 6.00pm
Wednesday 13th May 9.00am – 12.00pm noon
The Drake Chicago
140 East Walton Place, Chicago IL 60611 Tel: 312 787 2200

New York
Thursday 14th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
Friday 15th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday 16th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
InterContinental The Barclay
111 East 48th Street, New York NY 10017 1297 Tel: 212 755 5900

Washington
Monday 18th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
Tuesday 19th May 9.00am – 6.00pm
University Club of Washington (non-members welcome)
1135, 16th St. (NW), Washington DC 20038 Tel: 202 862 8800


Sarah and Emma will welcome visitors during scheduled hours or you may wish to contact them directly:
Cell (USA only) 323 710 1542 / 978 967 5313
Email: sarahadlam [at] wsfoster.co.uk

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Denim disputations: 'Distressed' over rules

In recent weeks, an intellectual dispute with the 'denimification' of clothing has surfaced up to the mainstream media. Exhibit A is journalist Daniel Akst's Wall Street Journal op-ed piece describing the pernicious assault of denim on sartorial taste. He argues that the principal crime of denim is "undifferentiated dressing".

Picking up where Akst leaves off, George Will thinks the crisis runs much deeper. In a recent op-ed, Will puts a Freudian-Tocquevillean spin on the meaning of denim: "Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults (Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men) and cartoons for adults (King of the Hill)".

For both Akst and Will, denim is a sure sign of sartorial oblivion and turpitude. Will writes, "This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly." Good taste forbids the use of denim. Both Akst and Will want rules back in place.

Both make interesting observations but veer toward overzealousness. Shall we ban denim then? If every man, woman and child in our country wore denim and only denim everyday, their outrage would be more compelling. As for myself, I enjoy having options ranging from three piece suits that might even meet with Astaire's approval to dark rinse jeans that would not.

Rules are useful but I prefer exercising my own judgment to automatically following the Akst-Will rule on denim.

Additional links
- AskAndy thread on the George Will and WSJ essays
- Styleforum thread on Will / WSJ essays
- Styleforum thread on "sartorialist jeans" - The debate continues!