Friday, May 28, 2010

The ABC's of Style: Travel...Like an Adult

In the recent months I have repeatedly come across what can only be described as beautiful leather goods. It's given me a desire to update my luggage, which until this point in my life has consisted of lifeless, classless roller, a medium sized duffel bag, and a backpack suitcase hybrid that I picked up at LL Bean (which is amazing, but still not too classy). I think the image you set out when traveling is somewhat important. Sure, you may never see any of them again, but when traveling abroad or domestically, you act as an ambassador for wherever it is that you may be from. Represent yourself and those you love with style and class. The three items I'd love are a solid suitcase or messenger bag, a weekender bag, and an adult suitcase, of some sort. Here are some wonderful, albeit expensive. As always, cheap shot are at the end.

There's a classic simplicity to the TravelTeq Trash (as it's called). There's no crazy pocketry, no extraneous buckles. Just a simple zipper and a simple handle. It comes in a 17in version too, as well as a messenger (which is the same as above but with a strap). It also costs 455 British Money Units, which will put us West Siders (of the Atlantic) out about $660.

Next up is the versatile and almost always gorgeous weekends bag. It seems every brand thats ever made a bag has a decent version of this, but I like the idea of a more rigid model. The one below is the 25in Oxford by Swaine Adeney Brigg of St. James, London (as recommended by GQ style god Glenn O'Brien).

This piece of leather awesome is beautiful and accordingly priced at 1175 BMUs, or 1700 US Clams. Not the price you want to pay for your first weekender bag, so look below for some alternatives until you save up for this one.

Finally, I'd love to grab a traditional suitcase. There's something modestly stylish about an old rectangular suitcase from the old days. This is actually the piece that sparked my desire to write this post. It's a bit smaller than I'd like (18x13x, but the style is immaculate. By Dunhill. It's available briefly on for $1295 (you have to be a member).

Cheap Shots
Briefcase.Messenger: Torino for $265, David King for $90
Weekend Bag: Chiarugi for $850, Castello Torino for $200
Suitcase: No such thing as a cheap version of this, apparently. Let me know if you find one.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The ABC's of Style: W is for Watch Carefully...

It's a play on words. Because this post is about the importance of wearing a watch. First, you should wear one. Looking at your phone to tell what time it is is somewhat more inconvenient, and infinitely less stylish and refined than using a watch. Second, look to spend NO LESS than $85, since in the world of watches, higher price almost always means higher quality. Watches are investments. That's how some people (not I) justify buying a Patek Phillipe or Vacheron Constantin. Watches aren't toys, and watches aren't underwear: you should buy one for keeps and treat it like you're going to own it forever (no skidmarks here!). Below is one of my favorite watch of all times, not least because Steve McQueen (the coolest man to ever have lived), the Tag Heuer Monaco ($2,500). It was also a favorite piece of Sammy Davis, Jr.

This is a good starting off point for my take on watches. In my opinion, you only NEED one watch. However, I feel that having a variety of timepieces is a good move. I think 3 should do the trick: steel band, black leather band, and brown leather band. However, 5 is better: the previous three plus a gold band, and a sports watch.

The steel metal is the universal watch that you can really do anything with. I have several friends with Invictas and they are all happy with them. They offer a solid line of reliable watches at a reasonable price. And they are always on sale, which is nice.

With the leather band watches, you're looking for something classy. These are watches you will be wearing to formal occasions. I have a brown leather Ted Baker that I'd fight someone for, and a black leather Guess watch I picked up at JFK Airport. The two below are excellent examples.

These can be purchased here and here, for $253 and $180, respectively.

As I recommended above, it can't hurt to have a gold band watch. Mine is a classic white-face Timex that I just inherited from my grandfather. Also, a sports watch is a crucial item for the casual weekend. I have a fantastic Bobby Jones watch that has garnered repeated compliments.

Here's the bottom line on watches: You'll want a variety so you can pair them with any outfit, which is why I own four (ironically, I am without the standard issue steel band). Polo with khaki shorts? You can throw on the gold band or the brown leather. Black suit? Black leather. Purple suit? Go home and change, asshole.

Oh, and here's the watch that got me thinking about this post: Nixon 'The Mellor'.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The ABC's of Style: Always Be Comfortable

I'm a firm believer that if you don't feel comfortable and confident in your clothing, you won't look comfortable or confident in your clothing. That comfort part is crucial, and it's the part that carries over into your home life. Long day at work left you tired and aching to get out of your oxfords and take off that tie? On a cool summer night (and even more so in the wintertimes), there's nothing like a few reliable comfort items to relax in when you get back to your humble abode.

First up, a solid, disturbingly soft pair of sweatpants. As a rule, I avoid fleece sweatpants; they are constantly hot and sticky, which is disgusting. For hotter summer nights, you may want to have something more lightweight on hand, but for year-round comfort, Joe McCoys can't be beat. If Jesus had turned water into sweatpants instead of wine, this is what the end result would be. These things are soft and strong, and age much like the wine he made would have. Nevermind the fact that you didn't go to Greenbrier College; wearing these earns an honorary doctorate in comfort. They will run you about $215, though, so start saving now and you may be able to get them come Winter. Get them here

Second, there's no better friend to an achy foot than a comfortable pair of slippers awaiting you at home. The ones above are by the venerable Harry's of London (purveyors of all things good). When it comes to slippers, I'm always a proponent of buying them either a size up, or with open heels like the 'Mansion' slipper pictured above. This will give your feet some extra room to breath, and will make you loads more comfortable. The Mansion slipper from Harry's is about $158, and you can get them over at 6pm.

Cheap Shots: For slippers, you can never go wrong with L.L. Bean's Wicked Good Scuffs for $50. I've had a pair for years and they still haven't failed me. For sweatpants, you really can't go wrong with any major American brand: Abercrombie has an undoubtedly comfortable pair for $60. I've owned a pair of Abercrombie sweatpants for about 5 years, and they remain the most comfortable pants I own.

Going to the Beach This Summer?

It's OK to act like you're 12 and build a sandcastle. And it's even OK to knock over your buddy's sandcastle when he says yours sucks. And don't hesitate to get those hot chicks to join you by pulling the classic overthrow a la American Pie. It's OK to do those things. What's not OK is dressing like a 12-year old at the beach: board shorts are for people with board skills, and odds suggest that you are not part of that group. It's time to drop the floral pattern waterchinos and go for something classic. That's where the Orlebar Brown Bulldog Swim Short comes in.

What you're looking at here is a masterpiece of swim craftsmanship, really. Note the details: zip fly, classic mesh lining, button fastener. These are swim shorts that can be worn on the boardwalk, in the water, and then to a decent dinner after a quick dry off from the day's waterfrollicking. ASOS has them for about $200, a price that is certainly steep, but no doubt takes into account the versatility inherent in these shorts, along with the confidence they exude (you can also get them direct from the designer in 20+ colors here). If the price doesn't fit for you, check out these instead: Ted Baker for $68 and Polo for $50. My go-to's are two pairs of John Ashford Sport swim shorts, in blue and red. I can't find them online though, so you'll have to find your own style.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I Need: Blue Suede Shoes

Elvis wasn't playing around when he told you to "stay the fuck off of my blue suede shoes" [sic]. Legend has it that Carl Perkins, who penned and recorded the original song in 1955, got the idea from Johnny Cash but was wary of writing a song about shoes, which he claimed to know nothing about. The final nudge that got him writing the classic was seeing a boy at a dance warn his apparently gorgeous girlfriend not to "step on his suedes". This guy was ready to drop this girl in a second if she scuffed his kicks. That's what it's all about..

Mark McNairy just released the shoes above, a beautiful pair of dark blue suede shoes that I'd probably kill a hobo for (if it makes it better, I'd give the shoes to Goodwill once I'd worn them out). For such a beautiful shoe, the $260ish price tag actually isn't bad. For the wallet and practicality, however, it's a disaster. Here are some other options: Nordstrom's 1901 Carson Oxford for $100; or if you hate your feet and are particularly cheap, check these x-brand (as in no brand at all) for about $40. I've had my eye on the 1901 Carsons, which also come in red and white, for quite some time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quickies: A Little Help for the Clueless Male

Not sure if asking out the stranger you see every single day is weird or romantic? It's romantic. Are flower still appreciated, or is it a bygone notion from the days of gallant gentlemen? It's still a good idea. What should you order on the first date? Apparently anything as long as it's not too messy and doesn't cause foodnoise (that's a thing). 

The lovely people over at DonQ Rum have put together a gift to men in the form of a survey site that picks the minds of women the world over asking them the simplest questions that always seem to stump us men. Head over to the site and learn a bit before your next disastrous first date.

Another Useless Product

...Unless you're living pre-1960 and/or the clumsy lead of a movie in which you need to drop your schoolbooks. Considering the small part of the population that subset comprises, I've deemed this Monacle, B Yoshida, and Porter collab useless.

Don't be deceived by its belt-like looks. This here is a "magazine strap". As the name implies, it's for magazines, not books. At least they recognized that the type of people who would be dumb enough to drop $75 on a nonsense accessory like this can't read real books. If you are one of those people, or you just have the urge to buy this thing, here's your best bet: get rid of the leather at the end, buy a belt buckle, and make this thing somewhat practical. 

If you like the web belt look (that's what those military belts are called, kids), wise up and dig on one of these: Paul Smith for $105, Fred Perry for $56, Levi's for $11.25 

(via PorHomme)

Quickies: iPhone for the Win

L5 just devastated Logitech (leader of shitty, unworkable universal remotes).

The L5 Remote makes your iPhone a uPhone--UNIVERSAL, THAT IS! WHOA! Ditch your clunky factory remotes and keep up with the Jones' (I checked, they've had this thing for months). Best use: changing the channel discreetly when your girlfriend insists on watching Gossip Girl. Best $50 bucks you'll ever spend. The app for the the remote is free. No excuses. 

Proxyville: Hobo Bags Make You Look Slightly More Homeless

So hobo has graced us with a nice looking bag (comes in shoulder and tote versions). The canvas shoulder bags look decidedly bedraggled, and as such are quite befitting of the company's name. Those with an ever-casual mindest (hippies) will surely appreciate them. Ring it up at the register: $250.

Like the look? Like canvas bags? Like money? Check out these alternatives: b3Labo for $148 or Kakadu Brief Case Bag for $96. Both are great looking.

Quickies: Good Timing...

The Standard Edition posted these covers (including the one below) of the apparently bygone supermodel Kate Moss. Bygone? That's right. In case you ain't heard, people don't even want to pay for pictures of her nude. Huffington Post can give you more info. I blame the internet.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Proxyville: Atlantic Works

Yet another amazing shoe from the collaboration between Atlantic Works and Japanese retailer Beams. It's so nice of them to dangle these things in front of our noses.

You can fly to Asia and get these, or get your proxy on and grab them at Beams or Zozotown. They are also outrageously expensive at around $450, so if you like the look but don't have the book, check out some of these options: Banana Republic or Kenneth Cole for $100,  or Bronx for $60. I vote for BRep here.

(via Inventory)

Things I Need: Monk Straps

Things Is Cool posted these beautiful monk straps. If I had money, a dream, and a pocketful of sunshine, I'd go get myself a pair. But as of right now, I'm broke, suffering from a recurring nightmare involving Madonna, The Ghostface Killah, and crop circles, and the only thing in my pocket is a hole. So these will have to wait.

You can get them here for a few doubloons shy of $250. That's not bad for shoes that good looking, but if money happens to be tight, you can check either of these options out for under $110: Donald J. Pliner or Giorgio Brutini.

Quickies: Marc Jacobs Wants to Bang One out on Your Neck

The man himself lets his fragrance emanate from his man parts in the campaign for the new Marc Jacobs fragrance Bang.

Another Useless Product

The Daily Details delivers this, which I can only assume was thought up by the bottled water people.

Névé Ice has decided to corner the mail order ice market with what is apparently just fancy ice cubes. This is what Kanye gives people after he burns them bad. I heard that whole Taylor Swift thing was just a Névé Ice promo.

Quickies: For the City-Bound Gentleman...

Too beautiful to ignore. German bike manufacturer Retrovelo has come to the rescue of city-biking businessmen and bikers who simple have to carry a laptop or copious amounts of loose papers with their gorgeous frame bag.

No word yet on release or price. Seeing as how Retrovelo's European Countryside-inspired cycles run upward of $1200, I'd assume something in the $300-500 range, at least. When these hit, you'll finally be able to ditch the messenger bag or (god forbid) that pink basket dangling from your handlebars.

Summer Essentials: Canvas Slipons

Band of Outsiders for Sperry brings a fresh look to the classic loafer for this summer. Grab them at Forward.

Missing the $198 that these cost? Here are some alternatives: Fossil for $70. Skechers (no one will be able to tell) for $40. Feeling like a do-gooder? Reach for TOMS Classic Canvas, shown below. For every pair purchased, a child determined by TOMS to be "in need" gets a pair.

If you want to get fancy with your summer casual (crazy, right?), J Shoes has this pair for $60. Canvas and leather, together at last.

Summer Essentials: Chino Shorts

Selectism has the rip on these sick new shorts from 45RPM. At $256 cold hard cash, they may be the only things you buy this summer.

Looking for something similar that won't put you into debt? Volcom's got you covered here for an easy $45.
Whether you're spending $10 at a rummage sale or $256 on the quality above, chino shorts need to be a part of your summer regimen, so get to it.