Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Someone Else - Stories Behind the Clothing

Inside Horween from Someone Else  (zebra shoes second from the left)
“I remember when they ran the zebras here. I was a kid. Zebra was one of the alternatives that they looked at when the horsehide availability started to become more difficult. They sent over a couple shells and I think that was all they got out of them, enough for one pair of shoes. Now I'm happier to stay away from stuff like that. They tell you that (the hides are) legitimately taken, but it's hard to check, and we want to do things in a responsible way. I can give you origin (of all current Horween leather) back to the packing house.” 
- Skip Horween

At the antique market with Yuki Matsuda
I don't recall exactly how I came across Someone Else. I do, however, distinctly remember the feeling I had the moment I realized how good it was. There's no shortage of sites and Instagram accounts filled with good looking people focused on how to quickly "get the look" these days. Everything is hyped with marketing buzzwords, and it often encourages a mindset of trying to achieve a certain aesthetic, more or less, with the least amount of contemplation necessary to do so. There aren't nearly as many sites that care to delve beyond the superficial.

Self-described as looking at what lies "under the surface of style," Someone Else at its simplest tells the stories of the people behind some of the best brands in menswear - Yuketen/Monitaly, Ebbetts Field Flannels, Horween, and so on. Everything is well-considered. The site is cleanly designed and devoid of any extra frills, the pictures are stellar, and the interviews are even better. I especially enjoyed "Hype-Free Heritage: Inside the Horween Leather Archives," but I'd highly encourage reading through their entire archives if you have the time.

And you do. You're here right now.

In a letter from the editor, they recently announced an upcoming weekly series exploring New England towns and the brands representing them as a counterpoint to a puff piece GQ put out in 2014 titled, "The New New England Thing: 7 Preppy Looks for Spring." Now who can't get behind that?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mr. Porter - More Lines Just Added

Mr. Porter dumped a fresh batch of stock into their Spring/Summer sale just after midnight - a lot of outerwear and leather jackets from brands like Belstaff, Blackmeans, Sandro, Rick Owens, and RRL are new rather than just restocked returns, and in the span of a minute the number of pages in my size went from just a couple to nine. There are also a couple new bags in the accessories department (though generally underwhelming) and some great stock in the footwear section as well (like these Common Projects shown below - not sure I've ever seen a white colorway at this price). New stock mostly seems to be discounted at 70% off, as well.  

If you're up early in the morning and reading this, maybe skip breakfast or brushing your teeth for a few minutes so you can look through that's available things tend to get run through in a few hours once word gets out.

Just chew a piece of gum or something.

As for what happens next, it's really anyone's guess. Prior sales have hit 80% off at some point, though this year things seem to be off cycle. As always, shipping and returns are free.

Mr. Porter Sale

Monday, June 19, 2017

Worth the Read - What you know about "Genuine Leather" is probably wrong

This specific issue has been on my mind for a few years now, but I was reminded of it again when I read over a great article recently posted by North Star Leather. It's definitely worth reading, and deserves more visibility for being a rare voice of reason in a sea of copy-paste parroting.

North Star Leather - "Genuine Leather" has become a 4-letter word

From my own experience, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where it all started, but it seems to be right around the time Saddleback was becoming a household name and put out an "educational" piece called "Leather 101." I'm embarrassed to admit I remember reading it as a younger man many years ago, wide-eyed, marveling at how I had unlocked the simple secrets to quality leather, and proudly reciting my newly learned mastery to anyone that would listen (God bless my wife). Over time, journalists and influential websites started disseminating the same information, and it eventually became accepted as well-understood fact. Search it on the internet today and you'll find pages and pages of articles with easy keys to understanding quality tanned leather (often ignoring vegetable tanning entirely), grades of leather, and how the term "genuine leather" is a quick and easy buzzword letting you know that a product is made from the worst leather possible.

Head onto some widely-circulated sites like Reddit's Male Fashion Advice or TIL (Today I Learned), and you'll still commonly see those same points regurgitated down from one person to another like Moses coming down the mountain with the Ten Commandments. Thousands and thousands of people read that Reddit post and up-voted it, for example, and you'll find a ton of comments along the lines of "solid info" and "it's been a long while since a TIL actually told me something I didn't already know. Good work."

Charlton Heston famously telling someone that genuine leather is horrible

The problem is, it's simply not true. And at the very least, it isn't simple. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mr. Porter Spring/Summer Sale Hits 70% Off

The Mr. Porter sale has hit the next tier of discounts, now up to 70% off one of the best menswear inventories around. This is the second of three expected tiers, with the last being up to 80% off. Hard to predict when that will be, but the second and third tier drops are even more hectic than the first. If you are thinking about picking something up, I'd recommend that you just do it and ponder it later. Mr. Porter sales ship free with free returns, so there's really no risk here. This is one of the main reasons that the sale is so good, and things will be moving very quickly.

I've mentioned the excellent Kingsman line before, but just wanted to throw out that these are probably the lowest prices I've seen on By Walid items. If you don't know the brand or tend to dress within the dotted lines, so to speak, the pieces may seem a bit outlandish (and still expensive), but it's rare you'll ever see this level of texture orgy done with a high level of sophistication. For excellent fits on those, check out some of these IG fits from Eric, who was previously featured in Styleforum's member focus.

Link to Sale

Kingsman x Mackintosh Field Jacket - Still Available

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Value Boot Proposition - Indonesian MTO

Junkard SC 2089 Boot in  Brandy Shell Cordovan

Allen Edmonds Eagle County
It was only a few years ago that Allen Edmonds was giving Styleforum members free MTO options on all of their models, including clearance items. If reading that didn't rustle your jimmies, allow me to explain: you would pick out a clearance item, change whatever you wanted aside from the basic skeleton until it often resembled very little of its original incarnation, have it made as a one-off, and then pay the clearance price with your MTO fees waived. How do those jimmies feel now? 

I used the service just once in 2013 on a pair of unfortunate-looking boots called the Eagle County, but it was incredible. A customer service angel named Allison handled all of AE's communication for MTOs, and she went as far as to send me a sample pair of shoes in the same last, shipped free both ways just so I could try them on for size before I ordered. I changed a lot of it, naturally - went for walnut calf from what looked to me to be a pretty unattractive original choice, brass eyelets and 3 speed hooks vs 2 hooks + regular top eyelet, upgraded to a full independence lambskin lining and insole, black split reverse welt, brown transparent edge dressing, and switched out the chunky Harrier sole for a Toby mini lug outsole. All for free. Final price? $197 shipped.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Packing For the Long Haul - Traveling With Barbour

I was asked a little while ago to share how I pack for a long journey - in this case a two week trip to Japan. I had in mind a similar type of post about the jacket I brought with me, but this actually fits right in with that idea, in a broader sense.

My entire packing philosophy, if there is such a silly sounding thing, centers around one basic idea: maximizing versatility - the point being to save space by being able to wear each article interchangeably in as many situations as possible. Most guys out there own a fair number of shirts and pants, but most wardrobes are least built up in the footwear or outerwear department and you can't bring more than a couple on a trip, so that's usually where I anchor my wardrobe and build around it.