A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Tales From The Thrift: Crockett & Jones Spectators for Barneys New York

As I mentioned the other day, New Jersey was fertile hunting grounds for thrifting this past weekend. If the John Lobb Miami's weren't enough of a blessing, I also came away with these absolutely lovely spectators from Crockett & Jones for Barneys New York. 

Lately, companies have been putting out all kinds of two-tone shoes. I'm not even sure if these new color combinations can be properly characterized as a "spectator" shoe, as I thought that meant the shoe needed some white somewhere. Perhaps I'm being a stickler, but in any event, there are really some beautiful options out there if you're looking to go the two-tone route for spring and  summer. 

Personally, I love a light brown and with white suede combination. Some models will have white calf  instead of suede, which to my eye appears a bit too shiny and bright. But to each his own. This pair really displays the classic look: the tan leather has a bit of texture which gives the shoe more of a country look , and it really works well with the suede. Most spectator shoes do not have the extra strip of brown leather behind the captoe, as this pair does, and I imagine most of the white suede will be blocked from view by the wearer's trouser cuff. So perhaps this style would be a better starting point for those looking to experiment with the spectator shoe.

The shoes are in phenomenal condition, having been worn at most 2 or 3 times. The double soles show very little signs of wear, and the rubber heel counters look virtually untouched. 

A great pick-up, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, I'm fully stocked with captoe and wingtip specs at the moment, so for any size US 10D feet out there, I've listed these shoes on eBay.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thriftin' Ain't Easy: John Lobb's Miami

John Lobb's Miami.

As spring approaches, thrifting continues to pay dividends out in Northern New Jersey, particularly in the suburb towns along the midtown direct corridor. I probably hadn't done my normal loop since before the holiday season, so it was about time I popped into my haunts to see what could be had.  

I was not disappointed. I came away with a few items, but this pair of immaculate boat shoes from John Lobb, known as the Miami, were a pleasant surprise. Surprisingly, the white rubber soles show very little wear. And while the leather was a bit dry when I found them, the calf leather really jumped back to life after after I applied some Saphyr leather conditioner. 

Amazingly, I'm not even sure if these were even the best pick-up of the day, even with the absurd $15 price tag and with the 9E size on the 2995 last fitting my size 10 feet perfectly. 

But I'll let you all decide.

Stay Tuned!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Uptown Dandification @ Tumblr

I didn't want to clutter the Uptown Dandy blog with photo posts, especially if they weren't necessarily related to men's style. Tumblr seems like a better format for uploading images anyway, so I've created Uptown Dandification.  

I'll be posting images there that capture my imagination or interest. I hope you like them, and even if you don't, I'd like to hear your thoughts anyway!

Thanks for looking! 

Dan F.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tod's Driving Moccasins

I've been meaning to pick up a pair of Tod's driving moccasins for some time now. Since I don't really do much driving,  I always put off the purchase with the rationalization that it would make more sense to pick up a pair of shoes that I could wear regularly. 

A few weeks ago, there was a sale near near my office in midtown, so I decided to drop in and see if there was anything that caught my eye. As it turned out, I ended up purchasing 3 pairs for my wife, but I did come away with a nice pair of tan suede gommini mocs.

Tod's shoes are made in Cassette d'Ete in Italy, the town where Tod's CEO Diego Della Valle was born. While the company talks up the more than 100 steps involved in making a pair of shoes, most of those involve quality control precautions.

As Simon Crompton pointed out a few weeks ago on his blog Permanent Style, Tod's driving shoes are handmade in most respects. A layer of rubber nubbins is inserted through the leather body of the shoe; an internal rubber layer is then added on top followed by a leather insole. The vamp is sewn by hand around the front with the remainder of the stitching done by hand-guided machine.

It should be noted that the sizing on Tod's shoes is interesting, to say the least. The shoes come in European sizes, so you should generally plan on sizing up a full size. That being said, I'm normally a US 10D, or UK 9.5E in most English shoes, but occasionally a UK 9E, depending on the last. These shoes, however, were a EU 7, US 8. Go figure - but if ordering online, you'll want to know your size in Tod's shoes prior to ordering.

Of course, with the gommini, I won't be wearing these everyday, but I think the tan suede will work well with denim or shorts. Now to schedule a few long drives for the spring and summer . . .


Post script:  I know this purports to be a "men's style" blog, but bear with me for one moment, or just shield your eyes for two seconds. Rightly or wrongly, I generally associate  the Tod's brand with men's shoes and women's handbags. However, the women's shoes are beautiful. I literally could not decide on a pair for my wife, so ended up leaving with 3 pair for her. Unfortunately, I only have a few iPhone pictures of those,  but just to give you a sense of the craftsmanship involved. Each pair have the distinctive Tod's gommini above the heel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bergdorf's Men's Store: Window Dressing

One of Bergdorf's wonderful window displays - 
The reflection of The Plaza Hotel looms magnificently in the background.

I still haven't had a chance to put up some of the photos that I took during the holiday shopping season - the more iconic men's shopping destinations do a really great job putting together wonderful window displays. Bergdorf's Men's Store created some rather eclectic images built around basic one-word motifs. This one was "Dapper."

Here's "Spiffy."

And a little bit o' "Mighty."

At first, I wasn't sure what the animals were meant to signify - if anything. There were bulls and bears, so I thought perhaps there might be a "masters of the universe," Gordon Gekko-type thing going on. You know, the whole impeccably attired, Wall Street financier imagery (which, in reality, is seldom seen,  unless you believe pseudo-Jermyn Street shops (a Jermyn Street address, a Malaysian-made shirt) represent the height of sartorial sophistication). 

Then I thought perhaps it was a "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" thing. Sort of a "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto" vibe. . . but I didn't see any Tigers.

Ah, well. I'm sure its something clever and simple that blew right by me.  

But wonderful displays, to be sure.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vintage Edward Green: The Captoe Longwing for Wildsmith

As I mentioned last week, I recently purchased a pair of longwings made by Edward Green for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label (see the post here). I thought it would be interesting to note the differences between that pair of shoes, made on the elegant 888 last, and this vintage pair of Edward Green shoes made some time ago for Wildsmith & Co.

Its unclear from a quick internet search whether Wildsmith & Co. remains a going concern for bespoke shoes. The current address appears to be 13 Princes Arcade, St. James's, London. The address on this pair of shoes is actually 15 Princes Arcade.

In any event, at one time Wildsmith & Co. were well-regarded bespoke shoemakers. The company offered a variety of models/designs and then essentially coordinated the separate portions of the shoe-making process completed by various outworkers. The company's ready-to-wear footwear was made in either the Edward Green or Crockett & Jones factories in Northampton. Apparently those designs were also created by Wildsmith, although Edward Green seems to have also made shoes for Wildsmith based on designs by Peal & Co. and Cleverley (for Poulsen Skone).

The channeled sole of the vintage Edward Green shoe. 
There really is not much of a bevelled waist to speak of. 
In this case, the sole was showing quite a bit of wear, so I had them replaced with JR Rendenbach heels.

This particular pair of shoes appears to be an example of the ready-to-wear footwear provided by Edward Green for the Wildsmith & Co. label. These shoes also differ significantly from the RLPL Brooksville - which was based on the classic longwing design - in that the Wildsmith shoe features a captoe, so the horizontal broguing running the length of the shoe does not extend from the wings at the toe box. In this case, the horizontal broguing begins at the throat of the shoe.

In addition, this pair of shoes, on the more substantive  32 last (now defunct, although still available for Made-To-Order or Special Order Edward Green shoes) offers quite a contrast to the decidedly sleeker 888.

As is often the case when comparing vintage Edward Green shoes with their more recent counterparts, the leather burnishing or patina of the older shoes certainly leaves something to be desired. In this area, especially when looking at the patina on the Brooksville, most notably along the toe box as
well as the back quarters, the Edward Green production process seems to have made significant advancements. Whether this is due to the quality of the leather or more advanced burnishing techniques when compared to what existed 20-30 years ago is unclear.

But one can hardly argue with the results. Despite all of the above, the leather uppers on the Wildsmith shoes are holding up quite well after what is most likely 15-20 years (at least). The color and tone of the leather, which appears to be somewhere between Edward Green's dark oak and chestnut antique, is certainly exquisite and seems to have aged very well, which is generally the norm for a pair of  Edward Green shoes.