Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Watches: Affordable Vintage Appeal - The Seagull 1963

Whether you're interested in getting into mechanical watches or you're already an avid enthusiast looking for an affordable new piece, take a moment to consider an option with a fascinating background and slam dunk vintage style: the Seagull 1963 Reissue.
Vintage ST19 Movement
The Seagull 1963 Reissue has been making waves ever since it was released a few years ago. It pays tribute to a chronograph developed by Chinese government mandate for use by the People's Liberation Army Air Force in the early 1960's, and uses a hand-wound column-wheel chronograph movement based on Swiss company Venus Watches' caliber 175 which would come to be known as the Seagull ST19.

At a relatively inexpensive cost of ~$200-300's along with the heritage of the watch, the use of a column-wheel chronograph, and the successful recreation of vintage aesthetic into a modern watch, the line represents one of the more compelling options for someone looking for something infinitely more interesting than a Michael Kors quartz at comparable prices. After the success of the original reissue, several other editions have been released as well in various sizes, dial configurations, and dial colors in the years that have followed.

There are already some great articles that explore the workings of the 1963 more in-depth, but the number of variant models can be confusing to say the least, so here is a quick rundown of the main options available, what differentiates them, and where you can buy them. Be advised there are a multitude of different variants with minute differences (enough so that I suspect no one knows exactly how many variations there are), but these are the big categories.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chester Mox: Back on Massdrop

Chester Mox is back on Massdrop (ahead of schedule, actually). In case you missed it, Bellanie from Chester Mox is making some of the greatest leather work out there right now. I wrote a glowing review of the one I purchased, but check out Dieworkwear/PutThisOn, FromSqualortoBaller, and Thisfits.me if you need further recommendations. Lowest price is about $89 shipped, which is what I paid for mine and honestly I wish I had a reason to buy another. The drop is limited to 200 units, or 7 days, whichever comes sooner. The last order was filled way ahead of schedule, so if you're planning on getting in on it I'd commit sooner rather than later.

Massdrop link here. If you aren't a member (it's free to join) and wouldn't mind using a referral code, my referral link is here

Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Mr. Porter Sale

Private White V.C. - Moleskin Bomber
There are a constant stream of sales around all the time, but only a couple of truly notable sales a year for the good stuff - sales to really look forward to. Mr. Porter's escalating clearance sale is one of the best. Discounts start at 30-50% off, and step up to higher percentages off as the sale goes on. The sale builds as time goes on, culminating in a beautiful frenzy when insanity prices hit (but also the lowest stock of sizes). The best part is that shipping and returns are free, so there's not the risk of something like Carson Street or Unionmade's final sale clearances.

My strategy is to look at all the items, buy what I can't live without (if something like that is available and at a good price), and take note of a few things to keep my eye on if prices drop further, knowing that it could easily go out of stock as the sale goes on.

Happy hunting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quote of the Whatever

"Oh no, it's getting cold outside and I'll have to layer."

            - Nobody in menswear ever

Saturday, December 19, 2015

In Review: Alex Mill - Welcome to the Dark Side

I was reminded of Alex Drexler, founder of NYC-based clothing company Alex Mill, while watching Star Wars Episode V the other night (I'd highly recommend checking out the Despecialized versions). The fate of the entire galaxy hung in the balance as Vader tried to turn young Skywalker to the dark side. You know...just like Alex Drexler.

Alex Drexler grew up, like many other little kids, wanting to be something like an FBI agent. He went on to study law and worked in advertising before he left to develop the Alex Mill label with designer Alex Casertano in 2013. Now only a few short years later, they're carried in stores such as Unionmade, Barneys, and Mr. Porter, among many others. That could be the general story line of a lot of successful guys in the menswear business were it not for Drexler's pedigree. If the name Drexler sounds familiar, it's because it is - his father is the Mickey Drexler. Gap resurrection Mickey Drexler. J. Crew juggernaut Mickey Drexler. Darth Vader Mickey Drexler.  You know...minus the evil and the horrific prequels. You'll have to forgive the analogies - with Star Wars coming out my mind has been a bit preoccupied.

I discovered Alex Mill last year after I picked up one of their slub cotton long sleeve t-shirts on sale and it quickly turned into one of my favorite basics. I have to admit I didn't know much about the brand at the time and I kind of forgot about it until Aliotsy from ThisFits asked me recently what I thought of the brand. Wouldn't you know it, a ton of Alex Mill stuff went on sale at C21 a few weeks ago for insane prices. Long story short, I left with almost everything they had. It's great stuff.

Go grab a donut or something - I've got plenty to talk about. If you didn't have a donut on hand and now you're hungry, that's my bad.

Monday, December 14, 2015

3 Years Later: Allen Edmonds Dalton

A quick clean and shine before boot season and my Daltons in Dark Chocolate Calf have never looked better. AE prices, as of late, on the other hand...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Barneys Warehouse: Extra 50% off Clothes Today

Pretty swamped at work this morning, but wanted to post this quickly while I had a minute of downtime so it wouldn't be super late by the time I got another chance. Barneys Warehouse has been running daily specials for a few days now for the holiday season, but today's sale is 50% off (final sale) all men's clothing.

That's more discount than usual, and includes brands like Band of Outsiders (going out of business, and their sizing scares me), Belstaff, Brioni, Zegna, etc. Barneys is one of the better online outlets available, as long as you are fine with no returns. Free shipping as well in the US.

Monday, December 7, 2015

In Search of the Double Breasted Overcoat

Eidos Napoli AW 2015 (at No Man Walks Alone)

If I had a single weakness for any category of clothing, it would definitely be outerwear, which is why my soul slowly shrivels and dies during the hot summer months. I've had buying a nice Ulster-style overcoat on my radar for a while now, but haven't been able to find the overcoat thus far that matches an admittedly ambitious set of criteria - I'm looking for a plain colored (or subtle patterned) charcoal or mid-tone grey, full length double-breasted wool coat with a specific broad notch lapel, half-belt back/Martingale belt, buttoned vent, and turn back cuffs. Also, and perhaps most importantly, less than <$800 ideally.

If you have a slightly different set of checkboxes, there are some really great options out there if you are on the hunt.  Keep in mind these are going to be on the pricier side of things, but outerwear is one of those items that deserves an investment. Cheaper options are available, but they tend to have to make significant concessions in order to keep costs down - less details, more synthetics, etc.

Suitsupply Merano - $699 and up

I've been a fan of Suitsupply for a long time - for materials, construction, and cut, no one consistently knocks it out of the park at their pricing level. Their Merano line of DB coats, debuted a couple of years ago, has the right general cut (though I wish it were a touch longer) and all the right details, combined with some real quality textiles. They just don't have the fabric this season I'm looking for,  though I have to admit the subtle glen check navy coat almost broke me. The cream wool alpaca mohair blend also catches the eye, but it looks like it has quite a different texture than the softer-looking wool cashmere coat from a past season if you don't look closely.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In Review: Thirteen50 Leather Belts

Named for the thirteen stripes and fifty stars in the American flag, Thirteen50 Leather is a small California leather goods company originally started years ago by a few friends doing projects for friends and family. In 2015, the company decided to take things to the next level by investing in the machinery and infrastructure to offer a run of locally-made, USA-sourced full grain leather belts on Kickstarter, backed by a 100% satisfaction and lifetime guarantee. Craig Morrison, one of the partners, contacted me to send me two belts (gratis) for review: one brown 1.5" belt and a black 1.25" belt. I've had a few weeks with them now, and wanted to share an in-depth review on what amounts to some pretty solid belts. Let's take a look.