Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cuff Knots Minus Cuffs

For a dude who owns not a single french cuff shirt I sure do own a lot of cuff knots.  Why's that?  Well, I like to put them into the buttonholes on my jacket lapels.  See, some of us who aren't ready for stuff like this still want a little bit of sartorial flair on our lapels.  And that's where your friendly, neighborhood cuff knot comes in.  Pop one in and you're done.  It's that simple.  You can go all novelty during these dreary winter months or keep things brooding with dark, solid colors - it's totally up to you.  Maybe you want to highlight the fabric in the jacket itself, your trousers or your shirt.  It doesn't matter.  At the end of the day you're the guy who went that tiny extra step to keep things interesting.  And that guy usually does pretty well for himself.  Here are some of my more monochromatic F/W sportcoats with that added bit of cuff knot jazz.


J. Crew Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves

This weekend I did a little holiday shopping because, well, I'm American (no Black Friday) and I ended up getting J. Crew's cashmere lined leather gloves for myself.  I opted for the cheaper version, as oppose to these and, after whatever holiday savings algorithm was in place, believe they are a pretty damn good value.  Yes, these are obviously machine made overseas, but I was extremely surprised at both the quality of the leather and cashmere lining.  As anyone who wears glove will tell you, quality is important because in this case it is usually analogous to comfort.  And there ain't many things worse than uncomfortable gloves.  Comparing these to a handsewn pair from, say, De Corato (one of my favorite shops in NYC) is kinda pointless in my humble opinion.  I'm not sure about you, but I like to SAVE money on accessories - value is the name of the game.  Not to mention, details like picked stitching are great, but why would you want something so precious on an item that is most likely going to get beat to shit?

It seems that lately everyone is really psyched on deerskin gloves.  I can appreciate the luxury and aging of deerskin, but you're not going to catch me in tan pair anytime soon.  Why's that?  Simply put, they look kinda feminine.  I'm a firm believer that a man's gloves should be the definition of understated.  Black or brown calfskin all day for me.  Just like my shoes, brown is my go to so I scooped the "dark hickory" numbers.  Bottom line: Handsome as hell, warm as hell and after a few wears it seems I got more than I paid for.  Side note: if you're in the market for some of these new tech-oriented gloves that aids in phone use, we are definitely not on the same page.  Call me old fashioned, but I take my gloves off when I use my phone.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Attn: Gant Sale At Epaulet

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving - I know I did.  In fact, I'm still kinda on vacation so forgive me if things stay a tad bit sporadic around these parts for a bit.  And if you're one of those guys who hates to read Sart Inc, you're welcome.  Moving on, Epaulet has a nice little Gant markdown party going on.  Mike and Adele have put their Gant by Michael Bastian and Rugger stock (minus the Homerun Varsity) on sale, so head on over and start stuffing those stockings.  Mom, if you're reading this, I could use a new trench coat.  You're the bestest.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Attn: Rugby Holiday Savings Event

I don't know about you, but I woke up to, I don't know, 50 or so emails alerting me to the various holiday sales that started around midnight.  I do not have the effort necessary to talk about all of them so I'll mention Rugby's since that's a brand a lot of you guys enjoy - not to mention their F/W 2010 gear has impressed the shit out of me as of late.  At checkout you can use the code "RUGBYHOLIDAY" to get 25% off all styles and free shipping.  Not bad if you ask me.  Was anyone even asking me? No? Okay, never mind.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The trailer for O'Mast, a documentary on traditional Neapolitan tailoring, has arrived.  The film is still being edited, but there is no doubt in my mind that when it drops it will be the definition of next level.  See for yourself.

O'MAST from Kid Dandy on Vimeo.


From New England With Love

What do Sid Mashburn, J. Press, Wharf, The Andover Shop and O'Connell's all have in common?  They get their shirts made by one of the last and most storied shirting factories in the United States of America, of course.  New England Shirt Company, based in Fall River, Massachusetts, runs the most impressive private label shirting operation in The States today.  While their main function is supporting their retail partners, January 2011 will mark the true debut of their own in house brand, which will be sold under the "Made In New England" label.  The line, showing January 14th-18th at the Warwick Hotel, is a well edited collection of sport shirts, dress shirts, vests, ties, and trousers.  Having chatted with New England Shirt Company's proprietors, Wallace Palmer and Robert Kidder, I can vouch for the passion these guys put into not only their own line, but domestic manufacturing in general.  Anyone who has ever felt a Sid Mashburn or J. Press shirt will surely agree.  Here is Robert speaking on New England Shirt Company's overall approach and philosophy:

"Our factory has been in operation for over 75 year and for the past 15 years has been slanted towards making product for the 'better' market. When we re-started this past December ( operations were suspended last March) our goal was to provide special and distinctive product to a particular spectrum of customers. They range from the classic, traditional and up-dated  men's stores to a new emerging market that we felt had a great appreciation for US made product and was looking for a younger and fresher approach to American classic. This factory and its heritage understands the great classic product of American traditional, but we think we also can take  vintage and interpret it for today' customer. The product is not complicated. Rather it is classically simple. It is about beautiful fabrics, made in a New England factory for a market that wants to buy well- made, beautiful American product."

You can purchase a New England Shirt Co. shirt at any one of these locations and be sure to keep you eyes open for the full reveal of the Made In New England collection - from the small looks available now it is surely going to impress a lot more people than just myself.  I've got some shirts headed my way as we speak so I will be sure to do a hands on review once they arrive.

[Pictures courtesy of FREE/MAN.]


Monday, November 22, 2010

United Colors Of Benetton Quilted Blazer

From the pages of a Japanese mag (Leon? Men's Precious? Men's Ex?) to the back of a friend to a glowing recommendation to my closet - that's how lots of my purchases have panned out recently.  And none have worked out better than a new quilted blazer I just picked up from United Colors of BenettonQuilted blazers are pretty awesome, but are always tough to find and are always expensive as hell.  Well, if you can locate a United Colors of Benetton near you (sorry, no online shop for these Italians) all your quilted dreams may very well come true.  Be wary, however, as not all Benetton retail spots carry their men's line (I'm looking at you, Charlotte).  This particular jacket is on sale for around $150 depending on sales tax and may even drop lower.  The Benetton I went to didn't even have these on the floor.  My assumption is that these guys overstated the sophistication of their customer (Club Monaco syndrome) and the result is a bunch of extra units nobody wants.  So take advantage.  Bottom line: this jacket is worth every cent and I've been wearing it nonstop since I picked it up this past weekend.  Conveniently listed pros and cons can be found below.

-100% wool outer (as oppose to nylon)
-Surprisingly warm
-Patch pockets
-Breast pocket (begging for a pocket square/handkerchief)
-Great off the rack fit (higher arm holes make layering easier)
-Under arm vents
-Elbow patches

-Only available in gray
-Non-functioning sleeve buttons
-Wrinkles quite easily
-Lacks suede detailing (undercollar, elbow patches, etc.)
-Made in China


Attn: Sid Mashburn New Arrivals

Sid Mashburn has been quietly adding new items to their Taigan stock and this is as good of a reason as any to finally register your ass with these guys - at the very least you can start planning ahead for that eventually field trip to Atlanta.  The highlights for me include one of the most impressive chambray shirts of recent memory and a diesel pair of cap-toe, pebble grain boots that are insanely versatile for this time of year.  By this point I'm sure we're all aware how well made Sid's gear is, but for those of you who need a refreshed, the shirts are made in the U.S.A. and the shoes are made in England - the smallest amount of effort will even let you know exactly what manufacturers are involved.   Head on over to Taigan when you get a chance and be sure to scope the smaller ticket items as well (ties, pocket knife, clothing brushes, etc.) since they often make the best gifts this time of year.


Technical Meets Traditional

Griffin blows me away with their devotion to building a brand not only focused on heritage, but intently interested in how traditional clothing can be combined with technical innovation.  This idea was firmly on display in their F/W 2010 collection and was the fist time I had been exposed to the brand.  Everything Griffin does is ambitious in a good way, which is impressive because when you fail at something like this, you fail hard.  They pull off the whole "technical meets traditional" aesthetic as good, if not better, than anyone trying to pull off similar synergy in menswear today.  For a closer look at Griffin's signature skill set I direct you to the video below, which features narration from designer Jeff Griffin.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Woolrich Woolen Mills S/S 2011

It's been previewed and it's been discussed, but today we get our last official look at Daiki Suzuki's final collection for Woolrich Woolen Mills before it hits stores.  The lookbook, just like WWM and Daiki for that matter, is a low key affair that lets the clothes speak for themselves.  To call this the end of an era would be an understatement.  Here are my thoughts on the collection from back in June, now with more commas:

"So this is how things end for Daiki Suzuki at Woolrich Woolen Mills - not with a bang, but with a whisper.  For those expecting some avant garde craziness, think again.  S/S 2011 is a line of 'Classic Mountaineering' gear based on the great hiking and rock climbing brands of Daiki's formative years.  Think Sierra Designs, Early Winters and other iconic brands of the 70's.  The idea here was to create highly functional, rustic pieces with an urban elegance and simplicity.  Despite the current advancement in mountaineering clothes, Daiki stays true to his period of inspiration as cotton, corduroy, and tropical wool are prominently featured.  Overall, I'm pleased that Daiki is ending his tenure at WWM not with some insane, unwearable statement making display, but instead with the kind of clothes that have made him one of the best working designers in menswear today.  It's a well-made collection that revels in the simplicity, functionality and history of garmenture and it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone."


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Neckwear Round Up

Today's interesting notes from the world of neckwear:  First up is an interesting take from Brooks Brothers on the classic repp tie that you don't see all to often.  The repp knit is the perfect marriage between two iconic pieces of neckwear that style dorks love.  The texture and unique look of a knit tie plus the recognizable stripes and color combinations of your standard repp tie work incredibly well together.  The result is as familiar as it is unique and I should mention that you get a pretty slick looking knot with all the different colored stripes.  Wrapping up with something cheaper, The Tie Bar is now selling wool versions (70% wool, 30% silk) of their incredibly cheap slim ties.  I'll be the first to tell you that these ties aren't anything to write home about quality wise, but if you need some seasonal neckwear on the cheap you could do a whole lot worse.


Attn: Patrick Grant Speaks

In a new feature over at GQ UK, sartorial mastermind and Sart Inc favorite, Patrick Grant is going to be blogging weekly for the esteemed menswear publication.  In his inaugural column Patrick muses on Britain's "unpatriotic" obsession with denim and quotes Snoop Dogg.  Need I say more?


Rugby Black Watch Down Parka

Damn, Rugby came with it this holiday season.  Their new arrivals have a ton of interesting pieces, from rugged black tie to RRL Jr. looking knits.  My favorite of all the new stuff is this black watch down parka.  No one is going to deny that this is a busy jacket, but it helps that all the elements are cool and classic.  The result is a very warm winter option that toes the line between preppy and outdoorsy.  It's surprisingly versatile, actually.  The detachable hood, leather toggles and ribbed cuffs are quality, functional details and we all know the right functional details are absolutely necessary when spending $200 plus on your flagship piece of winter outerwear.  I think the biggest argument someone could make against this jacket is that aesthetically it is very "of the moment", which is a nice way of saying that it's "trendy".  But here's the thing, next year when black watch isn't so ubiquitous you'll be the guy wearing the jacket everyone wants to know about.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pop Bottles

Do you live in or around NYC?  Got plans for the weekend?  You should probably swing by the third annual Pop Up Flea.  The brainchild of Michael Williams and Randy Goldberg (aka A Continuous Goldberg) gets better each and every year and the third entry looks to continue this trend.  Check out the list of vendors:

-Oak Street Bootmakers
-J.W Hulme
-Levi’s Vintage Clothing
-L.L. Bean Signature
-Smith + Butler
-Tanner Goods
-Scout Original
-Wooden Sleepers
-Riviera Club
-Alexander Olch
-Oliver Spencer
-The Hill-Side / Hickoree’s Hard Goods
-Grown & Sewn
-Stanley & Sons
-Gitman Brothers Vintage
-Schott NYC
-Digby & Iona
-Alexander West
-Leather Head / Lemon Ball

Pretty impressive shit, no?  Anyhow, I highly recommend checking it out, blowing a couple stacks and having a few beverages.  I'm heading over on Saturday to intern for my good friend Brian Davis so be sure to stop by the Wooden Sleepers booth and spend that Christmas bonus you don't have yet.  And say hello too.  I'll be the dude not wearing a Barbour.


Rogues Gallery F/W 2010 Quilted Arrivals

New Rogues Gallery F/W 2010 items are trickling into their online shop and the two new quilted outerwear styles are the best of the bunch.  Both the wool vest and liner coat are impressive entries into the current quilted craze that seems to be sweeping both the blogosphere and the brands we talk about on the reg.  The wool vest is particularly nice and I'm sure most of you will agree - a common theme in the comments seems to be "screw nylon down vests, wool or death".   I can dig the pricepoints on both of these and, more importantly, can vouch for both the quality and fit of RG.  Still looking to hop onto that quilted bandwagon?  If so, this wouldn't be a bad starting point.


Monday, November 15, 2010

TOMMY S/S 2011

GQ has the scoop on the newest line out of the Hilfiger camp - TOMMY.  While the Tailored collection seems to have Polo Ralph Lauren squarely in its sights, TOMMY is going after the Rugger's and Rugby's of the world by appealing to the ever growing neo-prep set.  The difference here is timing (late to the party) and price (we're talking sub-Lands End Canvas with "knits starting at $39, sweaters at $49, and outerwear at $69").  I'm not sure how I feel about all this.  On one hand, the aping is blatantly obvious, but, then again, Hilfiger is a true originator - the exact same catch 22 that has defined this stage of his company's evolution/rebranding initiative.  Not to mention, the jury is still out on what kind of quality we can expect with prices this low.  For those interested, TOMMY will be available as select locations across the US and Canada much like how the Tailored Collection can only be grabbed at the NYC flagship.  A final thought, from the few pictures and looks available, I can appreciate the apparent boldness of the clothes themselves.  To differentiate yourself in a menswear world that becomes more uniform by the day you gotta go big or go home.


Howard Yount Tailored Goods

I must have missed these when they dropped, but I am sure as hell happy I came across them today.  Howard Yount is now selling tailored goods in the same vein as their neckwear and trousers - incredible quality at reasonable pricepoints.  F/W 2010's additions include a navy wool and cashmere twill jacket and a gray flannel suit.  Both unconstructed jackets are Italian made and despite lacking body lining (the sleeves are lined) are of substantial weight.  The key for me, outside of Howard Yount's stellar track record, are the details.  Both jackets are pretty much damn near perfect in my eyes - unconstructed, darted, patch pockets, two button, side vents and substantial lapels.  This wholly Italian style is not for everyone (our sack wearing friends stopped reading this post a few sentences back), but for my money it doesn't get much better.  I can only hope a double breasted version pops up sooner rather than later.