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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sock It To Me: Fine British Hosiery from Corgi & Pantherella

On my usual Daffy's/Marshalls swing, I was struck by the decent supply of socks from the British Isles. Pantherella and Corgi are well-respected concerns when it comes to men's hosiery and knitwear manufacturing. Pantherella normally makes socks from a variety of fabrics of patterns, ranging from argyles to charcoal greys. What I like best about Corgi are the wonderfully wild patterns available. In both cases, however, I have a hard time finding offerings featuring the over-the-calf cut which I like best because, well, mainly because they stay up.

So, imagine my surprise when I found charcoal grey over-the-calf socks from Pantherella at Marshalls, priced at 2 for $12. I also found a few pairs of argyle socks that should will work their way into the rotation in no time.

Moving on to Daffy's, I found a rack of vibrant socks with a "Wales Sox" retail tag for $10 per pair. I wasn't sure what to make of these - the socks don't have the Corgi retail tags affixed, but they do have the Corgi stamp on the socks, as well as the "Made In Wales" stamp and the fabric composition and size information. Strange, but whatever.

If you have either retailer nearby, and you're in need of some fancy hosiery, not a bad deal at these prices.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Free & Easy - The Summer Ivy Handbook Issue

The Trads out there might want to pick up a copy of Free & Easy's Summer Ivy Handbook issue. Well, proud Americans might also want to cop a peek - this issue is full of page after page of authentic men's apparel and accessories made right here in the USA. Apparently, American-made products have quite a following in the Far East.

There are also a lot of great images of "Ivy League" style - and whle there's certainly a lot here to draw inspiration from, I'm always amused by the term because I just can't remember anyone dressed this well on the Cornell campus when I was there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Edward Green for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label: The Ranell

Ralph Lauren's Purple Label Ranell

I rarely branch out stylistically from my sweet-spot when it comes to footwear: full-brogues, semi-brogues, a loafer or some suede here and there. Saddle shoes are a classic style that I've never been able to work into my shoe rotation. I love the look, but normally the saddle shoe is two-toned which makes the shoe more casual to my eye, and harder to match as well.

So when I came across Ralph Lauren's version of the saddle shoe, it appealed to me on several levels. For one, I've always been a big fan of Edward Green's calf leather in edwardian antique. The burnishing of the leather is always beautiful to behold, and I have a pair of well-worn Edward Green/RLPL Barksdales in edwardian antique that have aged quite nicely. To find a pair of saddle shoes that avoided the two-tone trap by going all-in with edwardian antique is almost too much to ask for.

Second, I'm still a broguing addict, so the fact that Ralph Lauren tweaked Edward Green's Westwood model by adding broguing at the captoe and along the saddle had me hooked at first sight.

Third, the 888 last in a blucher/open lacing front seems to fit my feet particularly well. The toe box is elegant but sufficiently roomy - its a very comfortable shoe.

The other point worth mentioning is that I don't recall seeing a pair of Edward Green shoes with such a lightly-colored leather sole (matching the light wood-colored sole edge and welt. Of course, this probably won't matter much after the fourth or fifth wearing, but I'm always intrigued by an aesthetically pleasing sole.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Edward Green/Drake's Pop-Up Sale

I don't suppose there's any friends/fans/followers based in London who might be willing to pick up some shoes for an Edward Green fan . . . or a random tie or scarf . . .


We are very excited to announce a pop-up sale we're holding this week in Notting Hill with Drake's of London.

Shoes will be selling at significant reductions - up to 80% off normal retail - better than the factory sale. There will be a wide variety of shoes on offer, as we clear good quality odd and imperfect stock.

Drake's will also be joining us with shirts, scarves and their beautiful Clerkenwell-made ties.

We'll be holding the sale in a lovely space just off Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. Make sure to pay a visit - this really will be the sale of the year for London's sartorialists.

12 Needham Road, off Westbourne Grove, W11 2RP
Wednesday 18th to Sunday 22nd July
Week 12- 8pm | Saturday 10-7pm | Sunday 12-6pm

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Strange Happenings at Marshalls

Last September, I wrote a short post on the Brooks Brothers' Golden Fleece and 1818 suits that were popping up at various Marshalls locations in the New York/New Jersey area (you can see the original post here.) It seems that the suits are back in force - with all the strange tagging issues as well.

I didn't take any pictures of the suits, but they all looked the same as what I reported on previously: a navy blue Brooks Brothers tag inside the suit jacket, with the tag on the jacket collar stating "Made in the USA of Imported Fabric." These Brooks Brothers suits also had an original BB retail tag behind one of the jacket lapels, with an original retail price of either $1600 or $1900 (which I don't recall seeing last year).

Further evidence that these are above average quality suits: the imported fabrics used to make these suits. I didn't check every suit on the rack, but most of the suits had fabric tags from Loro Piana, Cavendish, and Vitale Barberis Canonico.

Marshalls is currently selling these for $499. That's a decent deal, although not as good as the $199 that some of the Golden Fleece suits were going for last year. If you happen to have a Marshalls nearby that sells suits, it might be worth dropping by to snag a suit or two on clearance.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More New Last Magazine: Issue Two

I came away impressed with the first issue of the new LAST magazine, and so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the second issue. While I still have a special place in my heart for the original LAST publication, this new version is very well done. Once again, the focus is squarely on the shoes, and there's an alphabetical compilation that puts an emphasis on established and up-and-coming brands from around the world.

At roughly USD $28.00 from Kinokuniya in Manhattan, that is roughly the going rate to import most Japanese shoe magazines to the US. Without any comparable magazines here in the States (and, really, aside from the Men's Ex shoe volumes that come out periodically in Japan), I think its worth every penny.

Now if I can just convince someone at LAST to feature my humble collection of vintage Edward Greens . . :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

B. Nelson: Another Fine Re-Sole

I've commented before on the great work done by Nick V. and his crew at B. Nelson in Manhattan. I had a vintage pair of Edward Green's for Paul Stuart resoled, and I came away impressed with the work that was done - Rendenbach leathers used with channeled soles, elegantly bevelled waists, and sunken metal toe taps. From that point on, I've pretty much become a B. Nelson devotee. As the store is not too far from my job, I take almost all of my shoes there now for whatever work might be necessary.

A few years ago, I purchased a nice pair of Crockett & Jones' wingtips made for Brooks Brothers' Peal & Co. line on the 318 last. While I kept the uppers in good condition, I neglected the soles to the point that one was just about to ready to give out on me. A hole hadn't formed yet, but there was a dark spot on the sole that was threatening to wear completely through.

I didn't think a channeled sole with bevelled waist was warranted here, so I dropped the shoes off with Nick for a basic resole using the JR Rendenbach soles.

Once again, I was impressed with the end result!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Yin & The Yang: Black & Brown Hand-Grades from Crockett & Jones for Tom James

About 6 or 7 years ago, as I was just beginning to dabble in "high-end" men's shoes, I was able to pick-up two pair of Bartons, a captoe brogue from Crockett & Jones' handgrade line, re-badged for Tom James. This was one of Style Forum's more memorable feeding frenzies - C&J's handgrade line normally sells in $600-700 range, so pairs on sale for $150 are rare. For staple models like captoe brogues, wingtips, etc. - its basically unheard of.

The insole stamp.

I'm not entirely sure what prompted Tom James to unload their supply of C&J shoes - if I recall correctly, the company had decided to discontinue the sale of shoes made in England after failing to move them at the retail price. The sale included both benchgrade and handgrade models from C&J - and don't quote me on this, but I think ALL models were priced on sale at $150. $150 for C&J handgrades is ridiculous; $150 for C&J benchgrade models is pretty good too.

Black C&J Bartons for Tom James, 330 last.

C&J's handwritten size and last information.

At the time, I didn't have much of a collection. Aside from a few Paul Stuart Masterpieces from Benny's in Atlanta (also $150 at the time), as well as a few pairs picked up at the absolutely insane Paul Stuart sample sale, the C&Js were some of my first purchases of shoes made in Northampton.

An overhead profile shot of C&Js elegant, round-toed 330 last - 
a predecessor to the more elongated and pointed 337 last.

A close-up of the somewhat bland rams-head medallion.

I've never really acquired much of a taste for black shoes, but this seemed like the perfect time to pick up a pair to have for interviews/semi-formal events, etc. The black Bartons remain my only black shoes, all these years later (well, I also own a pair of spade-sole Johnston & Murphy Handmade 100s, but really that's it). Comparing the two shoes, its easy to see how much more play the antique chestnut Barton's have gotten over the years.

Antique chestnut Bartons by C&J for Tom James, 330 last.

In hindsight, I'm still not sure if the C&Js 330 handgrade last fits true to size. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time to pick up a test case since the shoes were going so fast. I'd say the shoes were about a half size smaller than comparable C&Js, probably because of the stubby last shape. The shoes do fit, and have gradually become more comfortable over the years, so I was probably somewhere right between a a US 10D and 10.5D. But a 10.5D may have been just a touch too roomy, so it was probably a wash in the end.

Of course, I'm looking forward to the next 6 or 7 years with my Bartons.

Tom James' logo stamp on the waist of the sole. 
The shoes featured typical C&J handgrade characteristics such as the channeled soles and ever-so-slightly bevelled waist.