Monday, December 24, 2012

Unpacking a Marinella bespoke tie

Marinella bespoke tie

Marinella bespoke tie

Marinella bespoke tie

Marinella bespoke tie

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ivy League exhibition

If you missed the Ivy League symposium back in November or the special tours with curator Patricia Mears and Richard Press, you can still virtually walk through the exhibition with them in the video tour. Definitely worth a visit before it closes in early January. The highlights for me were the raccoon coat and the vintage school blazers (for the technically minded, check out the front darts on the blazers).

Friday, December 07, 2012

Florsheim by Duckie Brown SS 2013

I recently attended a spring/summer 2013 preview of Florsheim by Duckie Brown, which are very affordably priced shoes.

Florsheim by Duckie Brown

I met Steve and Dan, the designers behind Duckie Brown, and they shared a bit of their journey in designing for this old mainstay American shoe brand. After being sold a few times, the company was reacquired several years ago by members of the original family that founded the company in 1892.

During their visits to the Florsheim headquarters north of Milwaukee, Steve and Dan naturally perused the company archives for design inspiration. During my visit, they pulled out and showed me a terrific vintage Florsheim 1941-42 shoe catalog that featured everything from boots to brogues. I would love to spend an afternoon in the Florsheim archives one of these days.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Noel Coward exhibition

Very few individuals are multi-generationally stylish. These are individuals who remain firmly on center stage over time and continue to maintain a stylistic influence across decades and continents.

Entertainer Noel Coward is one of those rare individuals who achieved this in the first half of the 20th century. I recently attended the Noel Coward exhibition in NYC this past summer and have included photos of some of the exhibits below.

Noel Coward dressing gown
Noel Coward dressing gown (bought from DeFree's, New York)
Douglas Hayward dinner jacket for Noel Coward
Coward's dark brown polyester dinner jacket (made by Douglas Hayward)
Douglas Hayward dinner jacket for Noel Coward
Shoulder line of Douglas Hayward dinner jacket
Noel Coward & Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Noel Coward (left, in DB suit) and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr
Cole Lesley
Cole Lesley, Coward's business manager, in morning dress

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The ubiquitous trenchcoat and the ultimate hold-all

Casablanca is probably the first film that comes to mind when one thinks of trenchcoats, in particular the final scene with Bogart and Bergman. But Le Cercle Rouge (Red Circle) beats it in terms of the sheer number of appearances the trenchcoat makes in a film. In no other film that I'm aware of does the trench coat seem so “entrenched”, as it were. In nearly every outdoors scene and a good percentage of the interior scenes, the lead protagonists and their counterparts often wear a trenchcoat, or occasionally a dark Chesterfield overcoat.

Also, unusually for a film, luggage plays a leading role. In this case, the luggage to watch for are two enormous Louis Vuitton steamer trunks and two beautiful chestnut finish leather hold-alls. The former belongs to a washed up cop who teams up with Alain Delon and his cronies in a jewelry heist. The latter is where the pilfered jewelry makes it home. The hold-alls feature straps at the ends that attach to the handle.

Forward to 1:39 in the above Youtube clip of the film and you'll catch an initial close-up of one of the hold-alls. The rest of the clip shows the ending of the film in which the hold-alls go along for a punishing run in a soggy field where the holders of the hold-alls meet their slippery demise.

A call to readers - I have tried to research the maker of those hold-all bags but to no avail. If you know anything about their make or manufacture, please share.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bonfanti's shuttle looms

Below is a short clip of Bonfanti's Omita shuttle loom which are nearly 50 years old.

Keep in mind many looms these days are shuttleless which are designed for much faster production (and hence lower cost).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New shirtings from Tip-Top Fabrics

Tip Top shirtings

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cappelleria Vitali

Earlier this year I strolled by Cappelleria Vitali, a hat store in the resort town of Rimini.

Cappelleria Vitali storefront

Cappelleria Vitali window display

Cappelleria Vitali mens hats

Cappelleria Vitali mens hats

Cappelleria Vitali umbrellas

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Herring shoes: Kirkdale boots

I recently received a pair of Chelsea boots from UK-based Herring Shoes. These are called the Kirkdale boots and are made by Cheaney on the 175 last featuring Dainite soles and veldtschoen construction.

Herring Kirkdale boots

Herring Kirkdale boots

As used in English shoemaking, "veldtschoen" construction means the upper leather is turned outward and stitched onto the midsole rather than turned underneath the insole. In theory, this "would direct unwanted debris and water, dependent on materials used, away from the foot instead of inside the shoe".

Naturally, I intend to put this theory to the test this autumn and winter!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Henry Tomkins customized grip bag

I recently received a customized version of the Henry Tomkins grip bag. Mr. Tomkins is an English leather goods craftsman based in Devon, England. The original grip bag is shown below:

The version I ordered is slightly downsized to fit underneath an airline seat and uses the #2 leather (see below):

Henry Tomkins custom grip bag

Henry Tomkins leather swatch

Henry Tomkins leather swatch

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Palmisciano sports jacket

I recently picked up a sports jacket made by Sicilian tailor Palmisciano, based in Catania, whom I write about in my guide to Sicilian tailors.

Palmisciano try-on sports jacket

The cloth is a Super 150s Drapers jacketing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Arrigo alpaca topcoat

This is an alpaca Ulster-style topcoat which is being made by Messina tailor Arrigo, whom I describe in my guide to Sicilian tailors.

Arrigo alpaca topcoat fitting

Arrigo alpaca topcoat fitting

Alpaca should probably not be your first choice in topcoating fabric. This particular alpaca is made by the Italian textile mill Agnona. The fabric could be an interesting third or fourth choice for a casual topcoat if you're looking for something different from the usual wool or cashmere options.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Toronto hatmaker: Stephen Temkin

I wrote about Stephen almost 2 years ago and finally met him in person earlier this summer in Toronto. He kindly walked me through the well-thought out setup for his bespoke hatmaking operation. Enjoy the photos.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Chicago style for the fall

Edmund Paszylk of menswear retailer George Greene in Chicago talks about three different looks for the fall. If you are relatively open-minded or flexible about what you can wear at work, take a look at the video below.

I liked the three different looks he put together, especially the first (Band of Outsiders jacket and Inis Meain zip sweater) and last one (Boglioli jacket), mixing together texture, pattern and color contrast. More details on the garments here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Update on Sleevehead's Guide to Sicilian Tailors

I'm pleased to say that my guidebook is finally available in paperback on

Alternatively, you can buy the same paperback edition on or as an e-book (see links to the right).

While browsing Styleforum, I noticed that my guide has appeared on a Styleforum thread compiling a list of "definitive books on menswear". Thanks of course to the original poster of that thread and Styleforum.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A visit to Allen-Edmonds' Shoe Bank

I had the opportunity to visit iconic American shoemaker Allen-Edmonds' corporate-owned Shoe Bank in Port Washington just north of Milwaukee. The Shoe Bank is attached to the AE factory as well as their corporate HQ.

I visited after the workers had gone home so I wasn't able to see the factory but I had a chat with Chris who was working in the Shoe Bank. They're executing a steady expansion plan opening up stores in the US. Their fourth and largest NYC store will open this fall on 43rd St.

In the last 12 months they've enjoyed quite a bit of press coverage and visits as they are enjoying the resurgence of "Made in USA" and heritage brands.

View of wing containing AE corporate HQ

View of factory (left) and wing containing retail Shoe Bank (right)











Thursday, August 16, 2012

MAN SS 2012's NYC show

Officine Generale cotton jacket

Bo neckties

Piola shoes

The Jante Law briefcase

Canvas holdall by Creep

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Richard Anderson RTW Autumn/Winter 2012

The folks at Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson recently sent me photos of their upcoming autumn/winter RTW collection. The RTW line is designed in England and manufactured in Italy.

In general, these suits, jackets, trousers and overcoats are recognizably English but whose traditional lines and features have been subtly nipped and tucked. I especially like the covert coat, whose traditional straight and easy lines have been slimmed, and the three piece suit whose trousers retain the ease of a full cut rather than the trendier slim cut.

As a side note, the mixing and matching of colors and patterns in these photos are terrific (esp. the covert coat, three piece suit and navy blazer) - refined, even conservative, but relaxed and very stylish.

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Fitting stage of 3 piece suit

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
3 piece suit

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Tartan sports jacket

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Navy blazer

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Velvet jacket

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Covert coat

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Tweed coat

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Double-breasted overcoat

Richard Anderson RTW AW2012
Tweed coat