Monday, November 30, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: Joe Gannon Guest Post

Take one look at the post tags over at Joe's blog and you'll be quick to realize it isn't your average, run of the mill men's style blog.  "Childhood Dreams", "Old Movies" and "Brotally" are just a few reasons you should be reading it already.  I find myself drawn to people with unique perspectives and interesting things to say and Mr. Gannon is one of those people.  From a recent entry on his father-in-law's keys, to anecdotes about buying clothes for his son, Joe is chronicling the kinds of experiences and stories I couldn't dream of doing here at Sartorially Inclined.  On top of all this, he's just a straight-up great guy who is always willing to chat.  Read his blog and follow him on Twitter...I promise you will not be disappointed.

For Joe's guest post he sent over a great head-to-toe look that is anchored by, of course, a pair of vintage L.L. Bean boots.  He shares with us a little of his own aesthetic and sends some styling advice our way.  As far as I'm concerned, it's all simple, rugged perfection.

1.) Chesapeake Bay Retriever
2.) Billy Reid Conservation Hat
3.) 1982 Mercedes 300TD Wagon
4.) Vintage Bean Boots
5.) F.M. Allen Navy Sporting Dogs Bow Tie
6.) Polo Ralph Lauren Fine Slim Custom-Fit Stripes Oxford
7.) Barbour Tweed Windowpane Jacket
8.) Beretta Silver Pigeon
9.) Orvis All-Leather Field Pant
10.) Filson Original Hunting Vest

"I don’t profess to be a died-in the-wool hunter, though I do hunt semi-regularly.  Consequently, I don’t count myself in the category of style blogger-plenty of people who actually know what they’re talking about are doing good things in that genre.  I exist (and focus my blog) somewhere in between.  I have things that I like (some more than others) and I tend to gravitate, taste-wise, towards things that have a tie to the sporting life.  Whether it’s a pair of buckskin gloves or a bow tie with hunting dogs, I like to have at least one component of my ensemble reveal the faintest hint of my affinity for the outdoors.

Taking a card from Giovanni Agnelli’s deck, I tend to enjoy the juxtaposition of things formal and sporting.  Even before I knew that he pioneered this look, the pairing of opposites was my “go to” when an event’s guidelines of formality were not clearly defined.  The iconic Bean Boots are a great way to bring even the most formal attire down a notch.  Paired with a suit and a rakish attitude, Bean Boots can speak volumes of your personality.  As Agnelli remarked of his propensity for combining the seemingly incongruent, "…people will look twice, but that’s the point of fashion."  I tried to capture this feeling in my Bean Boot/Agnelli inspired head to toe.  It exists as, I feel, country and city.  Here and there.  Equally at home for cocktails and quail hunts."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

On The Fence: Statement Cords

[Pictured: Polo Slim-fit Corduroy Jean available for $69.99.]

Dan's most recent post on some serious "go-to-hell" holiday gear alerted me to some cord's on sale over at Polo.  These are not for the faint of heart or your average sartorially novice.  Anyone can (and should) rock a pair of muted cords as a nice alternative to your jeans and chinos, but boy are these "loud" for lack of a better term.  You're probably not going to find me wearing any of these, though the blue ones do strike a certain...c(h)ord?  Strictly for the bold and those trying to turn heads at their company's Christmas party.


Dress Like Hemingway: Viyella Shirts

[Pictured: Hemingway in what appears to be a Viyella shirt, Cuba, 1956. Picture courtesy of The Life Archives.]

I apologize if you thought this was going to be a neat, little style retrospective.  I could have easily done that with one swift browse of The Life Archives, but instead I'm going to focus on something a tad more tangible and practical. 

Ernest Hemingway, next to McQueen and a few others, is one of the (un)offical mascots for all this Americana, hertiage stuff and is frequently sited as a style icon.  I can't argue with this.  For a lot of guys, Hemingway is a man to be admired (even if only sartorially).  A talented man's man, who never sacrificed his beliefs, Hemingway and his life is easily romanticised.  There is nothing wrong with any of that and I'm just as guilty as the next blogger, but enough with the blog-osophy...

My Dad is a huge Hemingway fan.  From reading countless biographies to joking about getting 4 dogs and naming them after Ernest's wives, the man knows and loves him some Hemingway.  While home for Thanksgiving my Dad put me onto some interesting information regarding Hemingway's shirts.  In 1983 the Hemingway biography Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir by A.E. Hotchner was published.  On pg. 157 there is a brief mention of Hemingway's sartorial preferences. 

It was 1955 in Key West, Florida and Mary, his then wife and a woman known for being able to take infinite amounts of abuse, had just ordered a large selection of goods from the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog for Ernest to sort through.  Getting American clothes in Cuba meant paying heavy duty so while in Key West she took it upon herself to stock up for her husband.  Despite looking at the clothes "suspiciously" and making a remark about a "new uniform", that seemed to indicate a certain uneasyness about these new clothes, he did emerge with six new Viyella shirts, among a few other things.

Viyella are known for “blending 80% long-staple combed pima cotton with 20% Australian Merino wool before spinning the two choice fibers into yarn gives the fabric its unique combination of durability and softness that only gets better with age.”  Since reading this passage sometime in the 1980's my Dad has built his own collection of Viyella shirts and for all you heritage nuts out there who constantly look to Hemingway for inspiration, a Viyella shirt is a great way to actually dress the part. 

Viyella is a "luxury" fabric and retails for $129.00 over at Orvis, but this appears solely based on branding markup.  For a resonable $49.00 you can pick up the shirts at Cabela's Sporting Goods and avoid the 80 buck Orvis tariff.  I know fit is a big deal for a lot of people, so I'm going to recommend sizing down.  All fit aside, the fabric is extremely comfortable and I can see why Hemingway grabbed six.  If nothing else,  I see these being a great gift for your own Dad as the holiday's are fast approaching.  Thanks to my Pops for doing all the legwork necessary for this post (he's Sartorially Inclined's unpaid intern).  The next time anyone tries to tell me how awesome Hemingway was, I am going to politely stop them and ask to see the tag of their shirt before we proceed.


My Thoughts Exactly

"Although I admit it’s nice to share conversation with people who have similar interests and know that there’s people out there viewing my 'collections', in the end, I really don’t care if anyone sees or reads the stuff I post. Honestly, at the heart of it, this is just my closet full of junk that I can open up, look at, and admire. This rant? Just me airing my thoughts. Do you remember lining up all your transformers at the foot of your bed and admiring what you managed to procure? That satisfaction was for no one but you. Well, that is what this whole blogging schpeel is for me — Transformers at the foot of my bed. Over and out." - New Grass

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: 10engines Guest Post

Mr. James Fox needs no introduction.  In fact, odds are that his blog, 10engines, was one of a handfull of blogs that inspired you to start your own.  James' great eye, unique style of writing and varied background serve as the building blocks for a great blog.  When I see a new 10engines post on my blogroll I literally have no idea what I'm getting myself into and that may be the highest compliment I can pay any blogger.  Tweed, clothes for your whippersnappers and obscure lectures all show up over at 10engines and I wouldn't want it any other way.  James keeps it honest, nonjudgmental and in perspective.  As he once so expertly put it, "No pissing contests."

For his guest post, James gets nostalgic and puts himself out there.  He offers a little personal history about his childhood and brings it all full circle with Bean boots.  Meaningful and clever stuff for sure.

"I wore Bean boots all the time until we moved to Scotland (1980) and got teased to high hell. Hey, they are pretty odd looking. Damn older high school kids pickin' on the new guy.  Slightly scarred for life on that one...I was a little big for my age though, so when it came to rugby I f-kin romped...  (though I did spike the ball in the end zone for my first "try"... which then didn't count, you have to touch the ball to the ground in control... could not catch a break.)

Long/short I chucked the bean boots and cords and wore Kickers and jeans. hahaha. Topsiders though... would never give those up. there is a Bass outlet near Pops (Manchester, VT) so an unlimited supply of $40 Topsiders. Those knee high L.L. Bean boots (editor's note: see below) are my stepmother's, tough to find them now. She has all the classic gear; old Frye boots, CB Sports jackets, ancient Patagonias etc... classic."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Interview: Josh Rubin of Cool Hunting

Cool Hunting is one of my daily reads so when I was given the opportunity to shoot a couple of questions to editor in chief, Josh Rubin, I jumped at the opportunity.  Josh is a pretty impressive guy, who not only runs a great website, but is also the inventor/designer behind Freehands, a new style of gloves aimed at tech users.  At the end of the day, Josh understands utility and function, which is quite refreshing in an era when form usually takes center stage. I hope you all enjoy this little Q&A.

Could you please briefly describe your background?
I have been designing user interfaces for digital products and services for over 15 years. As a side project, in the beginning of 2003, I started Cool Hunting to catalog things I find inspiring. I always knew technology was my future but never realized I would get involved with my family's glove business.

Can you please explain Cool Hunting to those unfamiliar with the website?

Cool Hunting is a website for creative professionals to find new and inspiring stories and videos from a wide range of categories:  Art, design, style, technology, food, travel and music.

What made you decide to start Cool Hunting and where do you see the website going in the future?

I started Cool Hunting because I wanted to catalog the various things I found inspiring. It was meant to be a personal reference tool, but I shared it with friends and colleagues. After a couple of years lots of people were visiting the site and I had a chance to turn it in to a business by selling advertising.

As a designer do you possess an overall aesthetic and how much are you influenced by fashion in particular?
I guess my overall aesthetic is classic with an edge. I'm fascinated by fashion but my personal style is somewhat simple. That comes thru in Freehands because the line is pretty basic but has a twist of functionality. I place a lot of emphasis on utilitarian value. It's also important to me that the gloves are well priced, so many of the things I may choose to do in designing for myself as the audience have been simplified to get the price right.

Currently what are some of your favorite clothing brands?

My current favs include: Nice Collective, Apolis Activism, Isaora, Steven Alan, Burkman Brothers and Nau.

Do you have any specific sartorial inspiration for Fall?

Not really. With Freehands, it's more about the evolution of the fit and function than of the fashion.

p.s. Follow Josh on Twitter here and a special thanks goes out to Venessa Correa for setting everything up.


The Bean Boot Project: Components Of Enthusiasm Guest Post

Paul and myself are both devoted members of the church of rap, boat shoes and Natalie Portman.  In the short time I've known him we've bonded over, well, rap, boat shoes and Natalie Portman...besides other things of course.  Long story short, Paul is a great guy who runs a great blog.  I've been reading Components of Enthusiasm for a long time since it's one of the few good style and music sites out there.  His posts, from the most recent on some of the coolest photography I've ever seen (The Europeans by Yamandu Roos) to an older post (and easily one of my favorites ever) dealing with the age old debate of Sperry vs. Sebago, are great, insightful reads. Meeting kindred spirits is always the most enjoyable thing about all this blogging and I've got nothing besides great things to say about Mr. Munford.  Read COE and talk with Paul, odds are you'll become quick friends.  Assuming you like rap, boat shoes and Natalie Portman that is.

P.S. If you're cool you've already checked out my side project with Paul, "Once Upon A Time in Hip Hop", which may be arguably the most gangster website of all time.

Those Bean Boots

"When I think about it, it’s truly unacceptable.  I’ve lived in the South my whole life, born and raised near Richmond, Virginia.  I don’t come from a family who necessarily cares about heritage brands, but as a guy who personally acknowledges and appreciates the history and authenticity of these types of brands, I’ve found myself recently wondering why it is that I still find myself without Bean Boots at the ripe old age of twenty three.

Bean Boots are big in the South, so I’ve seen them plenty of times.  But the first time I truly appreciated their stylishness was my freshman year of college at UVA.  I spotted a fratdog stumbling out of dorms with the low top boots on a fall Saturday afternoon, and thought to myself, “Those are some sick kicks.”  Nearly six years later, I’m laughing as I type this because nothing has changed.  I still find myself holding the exact same opinion, and yet I’m still in the exact same position, no Bean Boots to my name!  Chalk it up to laziness, forgetfulness, whatever; probably a combination of both and more.

In any case (and despite my lack of ownership of said boots), my fondness towards them stems from the generations-old heritage and the simplicity of the design. I appreciate the color scheme—it’s perfect for fall, winter, and spring—and I certainly appreciate the LL Bean re-soling service, ensuring that the same pair of boots truly do become an heirloom that sticks in the family.  They go well with jeans and khakis, doing just enough to add that touch of laid back ruggedness to your look. Stylishness aside, they are fully capable and probably better suited in protecting your delicate toes from the harshness of winter snowstorms and the cold rain that arrives in spring and autumn.  Classic styling, practicality, and high quality construction that you can pass down to your children, the Bean boot just might be the only boot that I’ll ever need, but still don’t have.  That being said…it’s about time I purchased my own."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Afternoon Recon: Epaulet

After all the times I've recommended goods from Epaulet's online shop, I was finally able to head out to their physical location and do a little recon.  Black Friday probably wasn't the ideal time to head on over, but luckily for myself and my brother the throngs of middle America consumers were busy tearing apart the Walmarts and Kohls of the world.

Right down the street from another great shop, Smith + Butler, Epaulet is an expertly curated men's and women's clothing store in Brooklyn, NY.  They carry their own brand as well as some top-notch quality goods from Gant, Alden, Mark McNairy, etc.  I was lucky enough to chat with Mike, the shop's owner, for quite some time about the Pop-up Flea, their current selection of goods and the new stuff they have coming up.  He's an extremely nice and knowledgeable guy who is enthusiastic about his brand.  I highly recommend stopping by the shop even if just to chat.

Epaulet's footwear selection is second to none as far as independent establishments are concerned.  Not only are they the only current Mark McNairy account of a store their size, but they have a some really cool collaborations with Alden and Thorogood on sale.  I want to specifically highlight the new Alden Indy Boot the shop is currently offereing.  Dubbed "The Officer's Boot" (see below) this may be the classiest Indy Boot I've ever seen.  For anyone who likes the boot, but wants something a little less rugged I highly recommend asking Santa for this badboy.

[Pictured: Alden x Epaulet Officer Boot.  Picture courtesy of Dan from Disaffected Prep.]

The apparel, much like the footwear, is solid and I was really blown away with the quality of Epaulet's own shirting line.  The Epaulet x Mark McNairy oxfords are wishlist worthy and their flannels, made from 100% Pima cotton straight form Portugal, are the softest flannels I have ever felt, hands down.  Their neckwear is equally as impressive and I made it a priority to pick up their blackwatch plaid bowtie which was featured over at Inventory Updates a little while back.

Overall, I had an extremely enjoyable afternoon shopping, chatting and hanging out over at Epaulet.  It's great to finally get to know some of the people behind a shop I've been championing for a while.  Epaulet's products should continue to pop up over here as some of the stuff they have coming up is going to be pretty awesome (suit separates, new boots, etc) .  Head over to their webstite to do some holiday shopping or if you have the time, stop by the shop and chat with Mike about all the cool stuff they have going on.  Thanks to Epaulet for being gracious hosts and continuing to put out fantastic stuff.

p.s. Check back for a post regarding my own purchases from Epaulet: A pair of Mark McNairy Red Brick Soul Chukkas and the blackwatch bowtie.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: One Man's Style Guest Post

One Man's Style may be the best curated blog on the internet.  No joke.  Andy's photo essays are the definition of efficent and his format of one men's style pic, one chick and two randoms per post is actually kind of genius when you think about it.  His own posts and guest posts (one of which I was honored to submit) are constant visual inspiration and actually helped push me towards creating my own "inspiration board".  I've had the pleasure to get to know Andy a little through email and I look forward to collaborating more with him in the future (be on the lookout for quite a large undertaking myself, Andy and a bunch of other bloggers have coming up).  One Man's Style is just guy and his style.  Thank god for us Andy's got style to spare.

Andy's take on the Bean boot was very analytical.  Here he shares with us his own sense of how to style the boot in ways that are both a nod to the past and a nod to the present, not to mention provides us with some picture representations as well.

"From one of the most iconic brands comes a boot that has been time tested and worn though out the ages. The Bean boot has been reinterpreted many times by those trying to shed a new light on the shoe, but this seems to prove difficult as the original always shines through. Wear them with your flannels and jeans for that Sunday hike or wear them on that rainy Tuesday with the gray tweed suit your going to be rocking to work over the next couple months. The boot's classic aesthetic worn with your modern touch is undeniable. Pick up a pair and wear then until they burst at the seams, because as we have seen from Max (All Plaid Out) and Foster (A Restless Transplant), you can then send them back to Bean and they will come back to you fresh as the day you took them from the box."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Diffusion Lines Of The Past: Brooksgate by Brooks Brothers

So I'm flipping through the Orvis catalog with my Dad the other night, talking about how he can spend some gift card he has.   We're looking at options and discussing his style when the conversation soon turns to suede shooting patches.  Damn near everything in the catalog comes clad with one and the whole "form vs. function" debate arises.  My Dad mentions how he has a great wool sweater from Brooksgate complete with said suede hunting details that no longer fits him.  I instantly had two important questions for him: Do you still have it? What exactly is Brooksgate?

After chatting with my Dad and doing some digging around the internet I got the basic facts.  According to the "Fashion + Innovations" page at the Brooks Brothers website, Brooksgate was launched in 1976 as "a new department...featuring tailored clothing designed especially for the young executive."  Sound familiar, no?  Back in 1976, Brooks Brothers was doing what a lot of brands are doing today.  The demand for classic, heritage brands by a younger set has led to quite a few "reinterpretations" (i.e. more tailored fits) under diffusion lines.  I won't bore you with a list of examples since we are all bombarded with them everyday.  The launch of Brooks Brothers new extra slim fits shirts probably deserve a mention here as well. 

The digital footprint of Brooksgate is pretty slim and one of the only things I could turn up was a catalog scan from, you guessed it, The Trad.  He makes a quip that you can still buy all this stuff Polo.  Both a clever and true observation.  Interestingly enough, though, Polo was still flying under the radar, at least relatively, pre-1981 when the brand went global so maybe it was actually Ralph who took some cues from Brooksgate.  We'll probably never know.  Anyway, that's a little history lesson for Thanksgiving.  I hope everyone enjoys time spent with their loved ones and most importantly stays safe. Cheers.


[Pictured: Brooksgate, 1985 catalog scan.  Picture courtesy of The Trad.]

[Pictured: Brooksgate sweater bought sometime in 1980-something.  Wool, leather buttons, suede shooting patch.]

[Pictured: Brooksgate by Brooks Brothers, made in the U.S.A.]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: A Curious Monogram Guest Post

Don is one of a select group of bloggers who me inspired to start Sartorially Inclined.  His little corner of the internet, A Curious Monogram, is a wonderful place to discover new music, inspiring photography and of course, some cool digs.  One of the most interesting things about Don, and why I appreciate his blog so much, is that he is actually putting himself out there and doing something tangible.  I don't have too many details for you, but I do know Don's shirting endeavor is off the ground and underway.  This is the kind of stuff I feed off of...the kind of stuff that really gets my blood flowing.  People, like Don, deciding to take their passions to the next level is something I will always look up to and hope to do one day myself when the time is right.  Until that day, I give my full support to folks like Don who continue to raise the bar, for all of us, everyday.  Stay tuned because I, and I'm sure Don, would hate to say, "I told ya so".

Don's guest post focuses on a particular image he stumbled across and what it means to him.  I'll present the image first and let Don explain it's inspiration.

[Picture courtesy of Grass Doe.]

"I'm not a photographer, or even a decent amateur snap and shot.  I wish I was.  So when I was I thinking about the project and how I could contribute, I did what I usually do; just keep it in the back of my mind when I'm partaking in one of my favorite pastimes - searching for the end of the Internet.  Luckily enough, the picture I found from Grass Doe was perfect and really struck me.  See, as a city-dweller / suburbanite all of my life, there has always been a certain romantic quality to being out in the wilderness and the clothing that was traditionally designed for it.  For whatever (weak) reasons, it has always felt a little contrived when I try and force some of those items into my wardrobe where the functional purposes of the clothing aren't being utilized the way they were envisioned.  However, there are certain items that crossover with their form and function fitting perfectly in both worlds.  The Bean Boot is one of these items, especially when the weather in Chicago acts up.  This picture though, perfectly portrayed the romanticism I mentioned earlier.  The Boot, as it was meant to be - out in the wilderness, amongst moss covered rocks, on a damp Fall day."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.] 

Wednesday Morning Inspiration: Too Cool For School

[Pictured: Students at Yale University, 1965. Picture courtesy of the Life Magazine Archives.]

I'm not sure what it is, but I've been on a crazy Ivy style kick recently and I can't seem to shake it.  Maybe its my restlessness thinking towards spring, pants with no break, and ditching my socks.  Maybe it was the eye-opening article on Ivy Style today concerning the first Japanese ivy rebels..who knows?  Regardless, I'm seeing ivy everywhere and I really can't complain.  1950's and 1960's ivy style was pretty damn clean (see the above picture for further evidence).  These cats knew they were the bees knees and dressed like it too.  Apparently Dad's money went a long way with the New Haven haberdashers.

The above pic is my favorite I've come across from the last week and it appears to be from a piece Life did back in 1965 on a freshman named Timothy Thompson.  Tim was the proverbial "fish out of water" who was trying his hardest not to flunk out and Life decided he was worthy of a feature.  Tim is third from the right, looking quite befuddled and serves as a stark antithesis to that of Mr. Cool in the white chinos (you would think this kid was actually wearing the cat's pajamas).  Regardless of the smugness written all over his "I wear my sunglasses indoors" face, the dude does have some serious style.

Immaculate tailoring rules the day in this instance and I'm sure the Yale Co-eds of 1965 would agree with me.  Consider this post my endorsement of tailored blazers, showin' a little ankle and getting your ivy on with that patented and requisite "I'm better than you" swagger.  Every now and then it doesn't hurt to be too cool for school.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lusting After: Quoddy Masleet Oxford

[Pictured: Quoddy Masleet Oxford available soon at NYC's Leffot.  Pictures courtesy of Por Homme by way of Swipe Life.]

Everyone pretty knows all there is to know about Quoddy at this point.  The Maine shoemaker produces handmade, expertly crafted shoes and are best known for their mocassin styles.  The price are pretty steep at around $200 plus, but at the same time you are getting a pair of shoes that will last you a very long time (not to mention the whole, "get better with time" mantra you hear from a lot of top brands today).  As far as my moc situation is concerned, I'm personally never going to spend that much money for a shoe I can get from Eastland or L.L. Bean for under $80, though if I was it would be on this navy/red brick sole release just announced today.  Navy shoes have been highly coveted by yours truly as of recent and the red brick sole just seals the this very moment there is not a more desirable combination of colors than a navy upper with a red sole.  I wish I had a price on these, but they have yet to hit the streets so we're all playing the waiting game.  I don't know about you guys, but I'd wear these in a heartbeat.


The Bean Boot Project: Southern Gent Guest Post

Daryl already has the Sartorially Inclined cosign, but when you have a blog as enjoyable as his you're bound to find yourself caught in a rainstorm of praise every so often.  As a citizen of the south, blogs like Daryl's really hit home.  Much like Skip's blog, mentioned the other day, Southern Gent is not so much about clothes or style, as it is about a way of life...a way of life that includes happy hours, tailgating, hunting and lots and lots of madras.  If there was ever a lifestyle to aspire to I'd like to think it lives somewhere over at SG.

Much like any southern gent, The L.L. Bean boot means a lot to Daryl.  His memories connected to the shoe are what drives his appreciation for it and that is the focus of his guest post.  Daryl taps into the nostalgia of a time spent with good friends, when the booze was flowing and the field was muddy.  The image he sent over was particularly striking and I'm sure you all will get as much of a kick out of it as I did.  Thanks to Daryl, both a favorite blogger of mine and a good friend, for sending over this piece.

Mocs In The Mud

"After years having duck boots of all brands except by the venerable Maine outfitter, I finally decided to start my collection of the real deal with the Bean Moc. Living in the South we don't get that much snow, yet tons of rain year round and figured I would wear them with shorts during summer thunderstoms, tromping around the country in the fall, through inch high snow in the winter and muddy puddles during spring showers.

Shortly after the Mocs arrived from Bean in the spring of 2005, horrible rain showers fell on Charlottesville, VA making Foxfields Races a muddy mess. Together with my friend Pamela, this picture was snapped to capture the moment. I remember it as the first of many fond memories I've shared not only with good friends, but my L.L.Bean Bean Boot Mocs."


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lusting After: Washed Brogues

[Pictured: Our Legacy Brogue Washed Leather available for $291.00.]

A while back I remember checking out a Billy Reid S/S '10 preview (I can't recall where).  As you can imagine the collection featured Reid's typical fair of combining European tailoring with down south sensibilities.  While this kind of stuff is always a pleasure to check out, and hopefully own, what really caught my eye were a pair of washed brown brogues.  I had never really come across such a striking pair of shoes and ever since I've been on the lookout for something similar.  Unfortunately I've yet to find a similar shoe until this afternoon when Swipe Life featured a new washed brogue being offered by Our Legacy.

The washed brogue from Our Legacy even surpasses what Billy Reid was offering due to its longwing broguing and I've never been one to hide my love for the longwing. This particular shoe is everything one can hope for in a washed leather shoe and has instantly moved to the top of my "Lusting After" list (especially since I now own a pair of shoes from Mark McNairy's Red Brick Sole collection).

What's so great about the washed brogue, or any washed out leather, is the new life given to a garment based around such a simple detail.  The fading and matte finish created by the washing process completely alters the entire "idea" of the shoe.  Without getting too meta on you guys, I really love how a washed brogue presents a engaging juxtaposition between the relaxed look of the leather and the fancy intricacies that are associated with broguing.  While I am on the lookout for any shoe even somewhat similar I still can't seen to scrounge up any alternate options (feel free to post anything you have come across in the comments) and I am slowly approaching the idea of trying the washing process out myself.  This is no easy feat by any means and if I do plan on doing this I will keep you guys updated.  For a guide to washing leather, check out this primer Blackbird posted a while back.  Stay tuned.


Attn: ACL & Co. Shop Has Gone Live

This afternoon saw not only a feature on Valet (contains some insight into the shops conception and launch), but the launch of the official ACL & Co. shop.  Many of the products seen at this weekend's Pop-up Flea are now available for consumption online and I can already hear the blogosphere reaching into its collective wallet.  What we end up with are a variety of apparel and accesoires that are much in the vein of ACL's overall aesthetic.  Offerings are simple, classic and made in the USA (outside of the shoes, which were produced in England).

I particularly like the dirty bucks, which are a collaboration with Mark McNairy.  Mr. McNairy makes the finest shoes on the market, in my humble opinion, so I cannot wait to what else the shop carries in the near future (by the looks of the stuff for sale at the Pop-Up flea we are all in for a treat).  Some of the smaller items are cheap, while pretty much everything else is upscale.  Not to toot my own horn, but it also turns out I was spot on with the cargo pants revivalCheck it out and edit your Christmas list accordingly...

[All pictures courtesy of ACL.]


The Bean Boot Project: Alex Grant Guest Post

Skip runs one of the best preppy "lifestyle" blogs on the internet.  I use the word "lifestyle" because Skip doesn't just talk about clothes all day, like myself, but instead lets us in into his life as a father and a husband.  Skip is an unapologetic L.L. Bean fantatic, to say the least, and was nice enough to shoot me over a picture that speaks volumes about him personally.  His love for the classic American brand and his life as a young father blend together in a picture he simply titled "Generational".  It is was truly a pleasure to view this picture of Skip's son trying on his father's L.L Bean Boot rubber mocs and I'm happy to share it with you guys.  Thanks are very much in order to Skip, who continues to be one of my biggest supporters.



[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr. Martens Wasp Weston Boot

[Pictured: Dr. Martens Wasp Weston Boot available for $130.00.]

While the original Dr. Martens boot has some seriously awesome history behind it, I can see how it would be a little too punk rock for a lot of people including myself.  With that being said, I really like their new Weston Boot.  Part of their Wasp collection (tongue in cheek much?), the Weston boot is the British brand's foray into "outdoor Americana styling".  The boot brings together a lot of Dr. Martens' signature elements and said Americana elements to create an interesting combination.  I'm always on the lookout for foreign takes on our country's staples and this is one of the best I've seen outside of the Japanese brands who have been doing it real well for a while.  The yellow welt trim is particularly striking and I really appreciate the abbreviated moc toe.  Overall, The Weston is a very stylish boot tailored made for gallivanting around the city (slim sole included) and for under $150.00 it's a bargain.  Along with the Timberland Abington collection, these are currently the best non-Red Wing, non-Thorogood boots on my radar.



The Cargo Pants Conundrum

[Note: Valet talked about this a while back, but after getting my own pair of "cargo" pants I felt it was time to chime in and expand.]

Even with the workwear, heritage movement at full steam you'd be hard pressed to find a pair of cargo pants on any well-dressed guy.  This is extremely strange to me especially with guys channeling military and hunting looks more so than ever.  The cargo pant stigma can be easily traced back to the extreme overexposure and abuse it received at the hands of white-suburbia-tween-mega-mall clothier such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Old Navy.  I guess you could include both the Gap and J. Crew on this list, but we will leave them off purely based on their current merit.

When shopping the Woolrich Woolen Mills sale on Gilt this past week I came across (and you might have too) a great pair of chinos that featured large, bellow front pockets.  I clicked on them as fast as humanly possible and was lucky enough to grab a pair in my size.  I realize these are not exactly the kind of cargo pants that we think of when we picture a northern state school frat dude doing a keg stand, but they are a sign that designers are finally giving the "cargo" pant a second life.

When browsing around the internet, I was able to come across various versions of either the traditional cargo, the "field" pant (Woolrich Woolen Mills pant I mentioned earlier) or some combination of the two.  As you would expect, all these pants succeed thanks to vintage detailing and fit.  One of the issues with the old version cargo pant was the absurdly roomy leg they heavily featured.  While cargo pants should never be slimmed down, a nice trim never hurt anybody.  If you're looking for a new pant this fall, especially one that will look killer with your Red Wings or whatever boot you're currently breaking in, try anyone of these cool vintage inspired cargo pants.

Woolrich Woolen Mills Field Pant...$225.00

The pants featured in both the Valet piece and similar to the pair I picked up at the Gilt sale.  While these are a little pricey, they are the best example of front pocket field pants available for purchase.  My pair lack the flannel lining and come equipped with larger pockets, but I'm assuming they are from a past season (hence the discount and Gilt sale).  I'm sure Woolrich WM will revisit this style in a more Spring friendly fabric, so feel free to wait or throw these high class options on your holiday wishlist.

Polo Herringbone Cotton Cargo Pant...$114.99

I tried these on in the mall the other day and I promise you that they are badass.  I realize they are a little intense, but if you like archival stuff these are for you.  Click the link to see a bunch more views and all the crazy pockets these have to offer.  The fabric is a heavy weight and the fit is trim, so for under $150 these are a great bargain and my favorite of the bunch.

Regular Fit Vintage Cargo Pant...$59.50-$79.50

While this may seem like your standard cargo, J. Crew has gone with vintage and distressed cotton twill for the old school feel/look.  The fit appears pretty good and if you need a lesson in how to style your cargo pants look no further.

Dockers Cargo Pant...$98.00

Dockers is getting slept on by a lot of people and it really is a shame.  They have some good offerings out right now, and if what I've been hearing is correct, they have some curveballs coming up that are going to catch a lot of people by surprise.  I particularly like the slim side pockets on these cargos and the box stitching on the front is a cool detail I haven't really seen elsewhere.  These are probably cut the fullest of all the featured pants, so I would recommend trying these on before pulling the trigger.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: Fine and Dandy Shop Guest Post

Hopefully you are already familiar with Fine and Dandy and if not consider this your introduction.  The online shop specializes in all things dandy (that was kinda obvious wasn't it) and offers a great selection of gentlemanly accessories.  If you're in the market for a new ascot, pocket square or even a tie bar in the shape of a key (and who isn't) then this is your new mecca.  Mr. Matt Fox, the shop's proprietor, sent over what may be the most refined look at the L.L. Bean boot I have seen in a while.  In this landscape of workwear and rugged Americana, this look at the boot is quite refreshing and I probably shouldn't have expected anything less from easily the most "dandy" gent in the blogosphere peddling some of the most "dandy" accessories.  Be sure to check out the Fine and Dandy Shop and their great blog for some refined inspiration.

"The Dandy Take on The L.L. Bean Boot"


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Lusting After: Rogue Territory Work Shirts

As much as this blog may or may not be in workwear overdrive lately, I refuse to pass up on something great.  Rogue Territory makes "modern vintage workwear" and is committed to quality American manufacturing, so you know I'm already sold.  It also just so happens that their current collection of work shirts are right up my alley.  Now, as much as I love work shirts, I'm not about to buy something with 15 pockets because I don't need that many and, quite frankly, I think it looks kind of ridiculous.  Rogue Territory's work shirts have killer details (the pockets, placket and stitching look great) while not going overboard like a lot of other reinterpreted workwear you normally see.  The proportions looks great too, as I prefer a shorter shirt that when un-tucked looks just as clean as when it is tucked in.  I can foresee one of these shirts making my own holiday wishlist, though the one knock against these guys is their availability (exclusivity is awesome, but frustrating).  Without a webstore currently up and running, you can only get these at one of the retailers on Rogues Territory's stocklist.  So if you live in L.A., congratulations and I hate you.


People Who Are Doing Things Right: Pierrepont Hicks

If you follow me at all on Twitter you'll know that I've been championing a few smaller, upstart brands that I think people should know about.  Let's be honest, "people who are doing things right" are much more worthy of your hard earned dollars.  Pierrepont Hicks is a relatively new brand making men's neckwear who falls into this very category.

Mac and Kat are a husband and wife team from Minnesota who run Pierrepont Hicks.  Kate has experience at both Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, among other noted brands, and Mac's background is in real estate development and construction.  The birth of their daughter signaled a new direction for the couple and they formed Pierrepont Hicks.  Kat designs and Mac crunches the numbers, and together they have created some of the coolest neckwear I have seen in a while.  Just forward thinking enough, while still taking cues from the classics, these ties and bowties are just perfectly bold so you stand out.  The collection is something that I cosign 100%.  To top it all off, their ties are made right here in America, in the NY garment district, a place I know and love.  Mac is a great guy and is always looking to chat with customers and talk about his ties.  Check out the website here, follow them on twitter here, and be sure to check out the digital lookbook as it's really a treat.  Three cheers to Mac and Kat, Pierrepont Hicks and people who are doing things right.


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Bean Boot Project: The Life Tussle Guest Post

Jerry from The Life Tussle was kind enough to forward his own blog post on his pair of L.L. Bean Boots.  The post, entitled "Shoes for Saturday", could not be any more fitting with the weekend fast approaching.  Jerry has some fantastic pictures of his 10" Maine Hunting Boots and some choice words on the classic footwear.

"I believe this is my second pair of these iconic boots. My first pair got me through my years in East Lansing. Parking at MSU is challenging to say the least, so I typically walked to class. The Fall, Winter and Spring in Michigan can be a wet, cold and tough on footwear. I wore my Bean bluchers, suede bucks, Sebago loafers and Vans as much as possible, but it seemed like the Main Hunting Shoes were called it to action for months at a time. And I walked hundreds of miles in them. I wore the heal down to a memory and the chain-link tread pattern was only visible around the edges. And when I packed up my room after graduation, I think my boots never made it in to a box. I hope I gave them a proper salute and heartfelt thank you for their service. I should have bronzed them."

p.s. - Laurie Brooks from L.L. Bean PR posted this fantastic video today.  It's truly a must see.


[Note: Head here for the project's backstory. Also, If you are reading this and I requested a submission from you or if you would just like to participate please feel free to submit (contact via email). Your participation, as always, is still much anticipated and appreciated.]

Fit For The Weekend II: Presented by S.I. x D.P.

Dan and myself are back with the second installment in our "Fit For The Weekend" collaboration.  The result is something that I can only describe as "squeaky clean", well, and classy, and know what...just check it out yourself...

In Dan's words, "For the uninitiated, Lawrence and I bounce back an item of clothing to each other over the course of the week until we have a complete outfit. Each person's descriptions are below."

[Note: Items presented in the order in which they were compiled.]

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Low-top...$45.00

Dan: Some things you just feel cool doing.  Listening to the Rolling Stones.  Getting a high-five when you walk into a bar.  And walking in low-top converse all-stars.  You can't go wrong.

Hickey Denim Blue Trouser...$325.00

Me:  It's the weekend and there is a good chance you may be going somewhere nice.  Time to man up.  Lose the jeans, ditch the chinos and rock a pair of trousers.  Not suit pants, or the pleated monstrosities you see on Joe Business Casual, but a cool pair like these from Hickey.  The cut, fabric and color will keep you from feeling stuffy and odds are you'll at least look like the most confident guy in the restaurant.

Brooks Brothers Slim Fit Pinpoint Button-Down Dress Shirt...$79.50

Dan: Forget the IBM image of robots in white shirts.  Take a look at Tom Ford.  He's always decked out in a crisp white shirt - and he does not program computers.  There is a reason this shirt was named "Best Dress Shirt" by New York Magazine.  Classic looks and reasonable price point.

Baracuta G9 Jacket...$220.00

Me: You are not going to find a cleaner jacket. Period.  The golf jacket is an iconic piece of outerwear that works in the fall and spring so it's definitely worth the cash.  The khaki couples up real nice with the white shirt, ads some layering and the plaid liner looks good on top of all solids.

Paul Smith Black Walking Umbrella...$195.00

Dan: If you are out on the town you don't want to look like a chump with with a pocket umbrella the size of a teacup.  Drop some coin on a real umbrella.  This Paul Smith umbrella features a chestnut wood handle and a tasteful trim along the edge of the umbrella. 

Polo Navy Classic Knit Tie...$54.99

Me: This is a no brainer.  A simple, classy knit tie is always a good call especially when it's navy and you've got on a white shirt.  And it appears as if we have that exact situation going on here. Planned? Yes.  Killer? Obviously.

-L.A.S x Dan