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

Monday, November 26, 2012

LuxeSwap's Cavalcade of Belts


LuxeSwap is a StyleForum affiliate vendor (link here), run by member SpooPoker. Essentially a large online consignment shop, the benefit to the sellers is the high traffic that LuxeSwap generates for its items on sale via eBay and StyleForum's classified section. In addition, the site will also offer various men's clothing and accessories for sale.

The Allen from Trafalgar

Recently, a large collection of belts from makers like Trafalgar and Ike Behar went on sale. At $25 per belt, prices were significantly below retail - LuxeSwap also went so far as to point out that its prices were even below the cost to manufacture each belt. I can't confirm or deny that claim, but the main point here is that these are great looking belts at a fraction of the usual price.

The Kensington from Trafalgar

I picked up 3 Trafalgar models for myself, which arrived the day after Thanksgiving (2-3 days after purchasing online), and I couldn't be more pleased. I went with pretty basic styles (1.25 inch widths in various shades of brown, with silver or brass-colored buckles): the Allen with silver buckle in scratch grain chestnut brown Italian leather; the Kensington with silver buckle in brown hand polished cortina leather; and the Lucas with brass buckle in chestnut brown vegetable tanned cortina leather.

The Lucas from Trafalgar

There are literally hundreds of belts, primarily in size 36 (which can be cut down for smaller waists or   have loops added if you're a bit bigger). In many cases, there's only one belt per model/style, so check it out before they're all gone.


Photos: LuxeSwap

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Cut Above: Brioni

As I was leaving Chartwell Booksellers the other day with my signed copy of Churchill Style, I noticed that just down the hall from the bookstore is Brioni's New York store.

Much has already been written and re-written about the Roman house of Brioni, which was founded shortly after World War II. By the 1950's, the tailoring house's client list included Cary Grant and Clark Gable. By the 1990s, Brioni was outfitting James Bond (Pierce Brosnan and later Daniel Craig) as well as the "Dapper Don," John Gotti, who by then was already known for his collection of bespoke Brioni suits.

One can enter the store via the 52nd street entrance or the arcade of the Park Avenue Plaza Bulding. The store was very quiet when I passed by on a weekday afternoon, so take your time and peruse the  lovely four and seven fold ties, as well as the wonderful suits and sports jackets that show off the Brioni cut and Roman silhouette.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chartwell Booksellers: The Home For All Things Churchill

Chartwell Booksellers isn't exactly a hidden gem here in New York City, but its certainly a unique little shop. Currently celebrating its 30th year, the shop bills itself as the only bookshop in the world devoted to the writings of Winston Churchill.

The proprietor of the shop, Barry Singer, is also the author of Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill. I dropped by the shop, which is only a few blocks away from my office, to pick up a signed copy. I haven't had a chance to delve too deeply into the book (although I hope to write a brief review shortly), but its worth the purchase price just to get an up close look at Churchill's monogrammed velvet slippers, made by the legendary N. Tuczek.

If you happen to be in midtown, I highly recommend visiting the shop. The atmosphere is downright cozy and offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan, with classical music playing softly while you peruse what must be the world's foremost collection of rare, signed editions of various works by Churchill.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Wells Fargo Stagecoach

Taking a brief detour to post something a little different as things return to normal after 9 days of nomadic living courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. In any event, I was walking in midtown a few days ago when I came across a Wells Fargo branch with a Wild West stagecoach in the lobby.

The carriage was in absolutely pristine condition, and the leather storage piece at the back looked amazing - like something out of a Swaine Adeney calatog.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Berluti: All In The Patina

Before I was unlucky enough to have power knocked out for 9 days by Hurricane Sandy, I was fortunate enough to come away with quite a thrift haul during one of my routine forays. One pair that stood out was a pair of dark Berlutis. A sleek loafer with a wingtip broguing pattern, I was particularly intrigued by Berluti's well-renowned burnishing technique - in this case, what seemed to be a dark polish over a tan calf leather.The result speaks for itself.