Details magazine ran a nice six page spread called The Rules of Khaki and I felt it was missing some of the critcal details that every khaki-wearin’ guy should know. Also, the pictures of pouty-lipped, pretty-boys seem better suited as jail-bait for Dateline: “To Catch a Predator” than for a feature on khaki pants in a menswear magazine, but that’s just me. I’m a little more old school– I like my imagery a little more rugged and iconic. So where are all the great magazines that guys can turn to for the real deal on menswear these days? We’re all thinking the same thing, right? Overseas.
I’m a lover of Khakis, so let me take a stab at it and add my two cents–
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There’s something really great about the fun and easy attitude displayed in these pics from 1953-54.
A best of guys from days gone by, stylin’ summer formal looks with a very classic “go to hell” prepster vibe– as in, if you don’t like it GO TO HELL. This look may have been part of trad conformity back then, but there is an air of rebellion and individuality, looking at it with today’s eyes, that makes it very appealing.
I’ve always sort of snickered and the short & jacket look, but in this context I’m almost tempted to follow suit. Almost.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, baby.
Speaking with Adam Lippes recently, he shared a story about one of the nicest compliments he’s ever received. Adam was working under Oscar De La Renta at the time, and Oscar commented in front of a group– “Everyone, look how rich Adam looks– and he’s not wearing a single rich thing.”
Now, I think that says a lot about someone’s personal style. They look great, but there isn’t one single item that overshadows, steals their thunder, or that takes away from the total package. Confidence (not arrogance), a great personality (and sex appeal), and meticulous grooming, all go a long way towards defining and determining style too.
When you have it all, it (style) becomes more of an aura than a fashion moment or a look. Your style ceases to be something you put on, but rather who you are.
The clothes alone don’t make the man.
If I’m not mistaken, this is our very stylish friend from 13th & Wolf, via Mister Mort. Looking good, my man. You gotta represent, especially when shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, and you’re doing it well. Rugby is looking great too, as always.
Paul Stuart is a brand that has always fascinated me. They’re always very focused and true to who they are, unapologetically dandy, and have a very distinct flavor that is unmistakably Paul Stuart. The Phineas Cole label, with it’s new corner shop on Madison & 45th, comes at exactly the right time. It represents Paul Stuart speaking to the younger guy who wants a grownup alternative to the shrunken suit silliness that is Thom Browne, and many other’s, ilk. Phineas Cole is respectful to timeless style, but in a way that’s approachable and relevant for the younger guy.
Paul Stuart has always had a strong point of view, which has served them well. It isn’t for everyone, mind you. If you’re not well versed on the classics and the art of dressing, then you may be overwhelmed, or simply just not get it. For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. I love what they stand for. After all, many brands have learned recently that if you do not stand for something– you will fall for anything.
And many of them have.
Photo courtesy of Material Interest
I got a note today from a designer friend that’s in the same boat as me– looking for the next gig. Her words echo my sentiments exactly and are hard to improve upon–
how’s it going?
I’m still searching for “the needle in the haystack” while considering how to re-invent myself.
I think reinvention is the key thing, that and being able to take half the salary I had before,
these are new times and I’m not sure it’s just the strongest that will survive, maybe the most flexible?
the AIG thing makes me mad…..
A friend and I were discussing this movie (Network) the other day and how chillingly appropriate it is for now?
It’s not fashion, but…what is happening and when are we going to do something?
I’m thinking about the waste in our industry and what I can do with it.
George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. Playboy Magazine, July 1961.
For fans of Mid-Century modern design, this classic image above from Playboy, July 1961 is like the Holy Grail. Design masters & fellow peers in their prime, beautifully captured in a time that was aesthetically crisp, uncluttered and innovative.
Thanks to our friend over at A Time To Get for reigniting an old love– the military Quonset hut. And wouldn’t you just know it– the LIFE archive has some amazing images of them being uniquely repurposed for life off the base. If I do ever end up hitting the skids, at least I have a plan B for cheap and practical lodging.
Quonset Huts rented out during a housing shortage for $32 per month for a maximum of three years. --1946
I remember when someone calling you a good merchant was a great compliment, and being in the industry was, well, a real credible profession. Sometimes when I tell people what I do they give me that look– you know, like they’re wondering when I’ll get a real job. To me retail & apparel is a real job, and my passion. But I do long for the past more and more– like the real haberdashers. Not the pseudo “haberdashery” pop-up shops we see from time to time in J. Crew, Ralph and others, but the real deal. And the old school merchants, an almost extinct breed.
Ah, the glory days– before it all went to crap.
1842 - Alan Gimbel opened Palace of Trade Vincennes, IN; 1887 - Isaac and Jacob Gimbel opened first store in Milwaukee; 1894 - opened large department store in Philadelphia (above); 1910 - opened store in New York City in Herald Square near Macy's; 1973 - acquired by Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp. for $200 million; 1987 - last of Gimbel stores closed.
Clerks at Filene's Department Store's Bargain Basement preparing to admit customers for a sale on men's suits and topcoats. --Boston, MA 1949
Retailers and vendors are responding quickly in anticipation of the consumers tighter spending habits and are dropping initial retail prices by up to 30%. We should start to see the adjustment for next Fall. Spring/Summer selling remains to be seen– will people spend a little to pull themselves out of the slump and brighten up their wardrobes? Or will it continue to be about holding out for markdowns, and last year’s closet rehash?