The Wall Street Journal has a feel-good story on the resurgence of Northampton-based shoemaking, which is thriving, largely driven by sales in foreign markets—many of them the very countries to which Northampton exported jobs in the 1980s.
Here are our hand-selected favorites from eBay for this week, plus heads-up on recommended sales. If you’re a member of the Inside Track, click through, and log in with your Member.ly username and password. If you’re not a member, you can join now for just $5 a month - you’ll get access to one of these members-only lists every week, and your membership supports Put This On.
There are a number of nice shoes in today’s roundup, such as these Edward Green shortwings, Carmina balmoral boots, and the Ralph Lauren shell cordovan boots you see above. As usual, you can always find more items on eBay using our customized search links. We’ve made them for high-end suits, good suits, high-quality shirts and fine footwear.
- Green tweed, 40
- Brown checked Belvest sport coat, 40
- Brown herringbone sport coat, 40
- Blue double breasted sport coat, 42
- Corduroy sport coat, 42
- Grey wool flannel suit, 42
- Grey flannel suit, 42
- Brown pinstriped suit, 42
- Tuxedo, 42L
- Cream silk Sulka jacket, 44
- Navy Saint Andrews suit, 44
- J. Press Yale blazer, 44
- Grey pinstriped double breasted suit, 44
- Brown single breasted top coat, 38
- Nigel Cameraman jacket, 38
- Red Burberry parka, S
- Lee Storm Rider jacket, 40
- Buzz Rickson driving jacket, M
- Waxed Filson jacket, M
- LL Bean field jacket, M
- Lavenham quilted jacket, M
- Real McCoys jump jacket, 40
- Brown leather A2, 42
- Pea coat, L
- Engineered Garments CPO shirt, L
- Class 5 60/ 40 parka, L
- Filxon x Levis tin cloth jacket, L
- Brown Arnys jacket, 42
- Grey Donegal coat, L
- Woolrich plaid shirt jacket, L
- Brown cafe racer, 42
- Woolrich Woolen Mills Upland jacket, L
- Grey shirt jacket, L
- Boston Red Sox jacket, XL
- Green military jacket, 44
- Grey tweed Post Overalls jacket, XL
- Tan cafe racer, XL
- Black Moleskin chore jacket, XL
- Engineered Garments Bedford jacket, XL
- Herringbone overcoat, 46
Sweaters and knits
- Ovadia & Sons pocket sweater, S
- Navy sweatshirt, M
- Burgundy rollneck, M
- Arrowhead Riders sweatshirt, M
- Brooks Brothers polo sweater, L
- Peal hunting sweater, L
- Grey cable knit, L
- Peal cashmere v-necks, XXL
- Grenson cap toe boots, 7.5
- A.P.C. navy suede plain toe boots, 8
- Common Projects Achilles sneakers, 9
- Maison Martin Margiela GATs, 9
- Edward Green shortwings, 9.5
- Paul Stuart suede cap toe oxfords, 9.5
- Carmina brogued oxfords, 10
- Ralph Lauren shell cordovan boots, 10 (pictured above)
- Carmina leather/suede balmoral boots, 10.5
- Woolrich Woolen Mills suede cap toe boots, 11
- Patchwork Dior scarf
- Aviator sunglasses (1, 2)
- Black alligator belt, 40
- Old reading glasses
- Old binoculars
- Croquet set
- Old tennis racquets
- I’m gunna knock you out
- Fancy whistle
- Folding shoe shine stand
- F for Fake movie poster
- Desk lamp
- Blue smoking jacket, M
Prenuptial Prep Work
If you’re going to a wedding this summer—June is the most popular month for weddings—you probably already know. Etiquette says wedding invites go out six weeks or so before the wedding, but many couples send save-the-dates months ahead. Put This On gets questions pretty often asking where and how to get proper wedding attire (as a groom, groomsman, or guest) on very short notice. Don’t let it get to that point.
You’ll likely need some lead time if you want a proper ensemble like the Prince of Kent or Simon Crompton (pictured above). Think about what you might want to wear now, identify holes in your wardrobe, and then you can fill them at a leisurely pace via ebay and judicious purchases. Some updated tips from the PTO archives:
- Morning coats, white tie formal, and black tie are traditional forms of dress. Wearing them appropriately keeps fading customs of men’s attire alive. Accordingly, if the wedding starts in the daytime, avoid black tie.
- Tuxedos can be great, but for most modern weddings, lounge suits are a fine option for all men attending. Solid, dark suits are the best fit; stripes and black are best avoided.
- Shirts should be white, preferably with a spread collar and french cuffs. Not a bad time to buy a nice new white shirt.
- Stick with black shoes for all but the most casual ceremonies. Plain or captoe balmorals are more appropriate here than bluchers, brogues, or loafers.
- A traditional wedding tie would be nice, but isn’t strictly necessary.
For the Groom
- Congratulations, it’s your day! Haha, no it’s not. But it may well be the best excuse to wear a fantastic new suit and tie you’ll ever have. So do it up.
- Details that border on flashy for business, like peak lapels, waistcoats, or one-button or double breasted suits, are great for weddings.
- The bride, groom, and groomsmen need not all match, colorwise, but coordinating the level of formality is important or you’ll look like you’re going to different parties. If your bride is wearing a simple cotton dress and you’re getting married in a sunlit garden, it’s probably not a black tie occasion for you.
For the Groomsmen
- As a groomsman, respect the couple’s wishes. If that means you have to rent a notch-lapel tux with a long tie and wear it before 6 p.m., just accept it and enjoy the open bar.
- Get a haircut and shine your shoes.
- If you’re a bride or groom and are deciding what to ask your groomsmen to wear, be considerate: new suits, especially specific, unusual new suits, can be expensive.
- A good way to coordinate the groomsmen is to provide them with a boutonniere or tie, rather than forcing everyone into the same suit.
For the Guests
- Again: solid suit, white shirt, black shoes.
- Linen and cotton can be great in the summer. Seersucker, too, where regionally appropriate.
- Add a swank wedding tie and/or a lapel flower for some personality.
- It’s better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. But try not to outdress the wedding party. I know; it’s hard for Put This On readers.
For more on wedding attire, browse PTO’s archives or read probably the best single piece of writing on the subject: Nicholas Antongiovanni’s Wedding Attire in the Modern World.
Despite having no motorcycle of my own — or even my own car, for that matter — I’ve been really into leather motorcycle jackets lately. Above are two photos from one of my favorite StyleForum members, CrimsonSox. He has a knowledge of classic men’s clothing that’s not matched by many people.
The first photo is from Vanity Fair, and shows a version of a motoring outfit in 1907 (check out the goggles). I imagine this was probably worn in open top cars, but one of the interesting things I recently learned was that motorcyclists at the beginning of the 20th century wore a coat and tie when they rode. Something perhaps not too different from this. Some men had leather jackets custom made for them (mostly styled after aviation jackets, such as the A1), but the idea that you really needed serious protective gear (i.e. a real, dedicated motorcycle jacket) didn’t come until the 1930s or 1940s, when motorcycle performance started improving and more men rode them.
Anyway, the second photo is of a Brooks Brothers store in 1915. Apparently the second floor was used for their “motor clothing department” (clothes to be worn on motorcycles or open-top unheated cars).The first paragraph reads:
We have a complete assortment of everything in the way of clothing, furnishings, and accessories for automobile use, and are prepared to furnish anything in this line in the fashions now practically settled, and deemed correct, many of them being of our own exclusive design.
The idea that you could walk into Brooks Brothers in 1915 and buy a motorcycle jacket — one that was “in the fashions now practically settled, and deemed correct” — is just really, really awesome to me.
Oh, and Voxsartoria has an even higher resolution image of that second photo.
(Photos via CrimsonSox’s Twitter)
It’s On Sale: Ralph Lauren Fishing Bag
I really like this bag. It’s admittedly a fashion label’s interpretation of a traditional fishing bag - which can be found at companies such as Brady, Hardy, and Chapman - but if you want something that has the sporty look of a fishing bag, without go “full sport,” this is a good option. The regular retail price of $350 always struck me as a bit expensive for the build quality (the leather could be better, and canvas a bit thicker), but Macy’s has it on sale right now for $260. I like it as a casual bag to use with waxed cotton Barbour jackets and other sporty items I’ll never use for their original intended purposes.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wear
Like anyone who feels guilty about how much they’ve spent on their shoes, I’m fairly good at taking care of my footwear. I apply cream and wax polishes every few weeks, and leather conditioner even more frequently. Before any pair goes out for wearing, it gets brushed down to remove any dust or dirt.
I’ve learned, however, that some shoes look better the less you take care of them. This includes work boots, engineer boots, camp mocs, boat shoes, and almost anything that’s considered extremely casual. These still get treated to leather conditioner, just not that often (maybe once every six months to a year). Things such as cream and wax polishes, however, never get used, and shoe trees never get inserted. If you’ve ever wondered whether these things really make a difference, just try going without them for a year. You’ll see that creases develop more quickly and set on deeper when they do. Scuffs and scars will also show up more without the “cover-up” of polish.
For certain shoes, however you want this kind of “damage” to appear. It gives them character and makes them more lived-in. This gets back to a very fundamental idea that nothing looks good when it’s too new or too stiff. That doesn’t just go for certain styles of footwear – it goes for things such as tweed jackets, briefcases, and almost all kinds of outerwear. It’s perhaps for this reason why there are stories about how Fred Astaire used to throw his new bespoke suits up against the wall before wearing them, and how Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop won’t even wear a new jacket until it’s been sitting on a hanger for a year.
Of course, with dressier shoes, careful polishing, edge dressing, and even the occasional bulling can be great. Those will give your shoes a certain kind of luster that’s in keeping with the style. With everything else, however, all you need really is the occasional treatment of leather conditioner. As you can see in the last photo, as long as you buy shoes of good quality - and keep the leather supple so it doesn’t crack - they can be repaired to good effect. And why would you want to recraft an old pair of boat shoes when new ones can be bought for not much more money? Because the old ones look a lot better.
Thick Flannel Shirts
Over the weekend, Jesse listed this Spring’s Seven “Must Have Or You’ll Die” Essentials. Do you know why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, and in Southern California, the four seasons are: spring, summer, summer with slightly chillier nights (but not by much), and spring with slightly chillier nights (but again, not by much). Dear readers: know that I - as your correspondent in the Bay Area - understand that we’re still solidly in winter. Here in the Bay, it’s still cold enough to need chunky sweaters, heavy coats, and the occasional pair of gloves.
It’s also useful to have a few thick flannel shirts around. I’ve been wearing mine every once in a while with jeans and a leather jacket, and prefer ones made from heavy, coarse fabrics. My favorite sources so far include:
- John Lofgren: A highly underrated and underappreciated workwear label. Really nice, thick fabrics made into shirts with slightly short, vintage-y cuts. Available at John Lofgren’s site directly, but also Self Edge and Bench & Loom (although the last two don’t have woven shirts right now).
- Flat Head: A Japanese workwear label that draws a lot of inspiration from American motorcycle and hot rod subcultures. They have two lines of shirts – the mainline, which is slim and shorter fitting, and Glory Park, which is just a touch bigger. Of all my flannels, these are easily my favorite, but they’re expensive. If you don’t mind the price, they’re available at Self Edge and Rivet & Hide.
- Five Brother: A genuine workwear label that recently started making slim fitting shirts for the fashion crowd. These are made from vividly colored fabrics with coarse weaves and a dry hand. Of all the companies on this list, Five Brother probably offers the best price to value ratio. You can find them now at Bench & Loom, but in the past, Context and Hickoree’s has also carried them (they will again this fall).
- Nigel Cabourn: Always a favorite, but his prices are stratospherically high. If it matters, his flannel shirts are sometimes reversible, although the other side of the one I bought is perhaps too “fuzzy” to realistically use. Still, he has some nice subtle detailing that the other brands don’t offer (unique pocket designs, smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and extra, extra thick fabrics). Available at Nigel Cabourn’s own website or any of his stockists. If you’re not able to afford those retail prices, you’ll have to trawl Yoox and eBay like me.
- RRL: Ralph Lauren’s ranch inspired sub-label. The fabrics on RRL shirts really run the gamut, but in general, they’re typically a bit flimsier than the aforementioned brands (at least when it comes to fall/ winter shirts). On the upside, they can often be found on deep discount (I bought mine for about $75). These are available at Ralph Lauren’s website, and certain niche stockists such as Unionmade and Frans Boone.
The best part about wearing thick flannel shirts? With designers such as Daiki Suzuki and Heidi Slimane incorporating them into last year’s looks, you can simultaneously feel very “aritansal heritage workwear” and “high fashion au courant.” Plus, Rick Owens wears them! The dream of the 90s is alive in menswear. At least until spring comes for the rest of us.
“Living here [in Los Angeles] and having a car, I can drop home real quick and change clothes and then go back out… What happens is, like a witch, you can dictate how people see you—you get to organize how they interpret your own energy. And then their energy, reflected back at you—or me—becomes hypnotic. I felt like Superman to my everyday Clark.”— RuPaul on the power of clothing
This incredible embroidered silk nightcap was worn by an Englishman in the middle of the 16th century. According to the Smithsonian’s Object A Day blog, it was worn at home informally, but not to bed. What a spectacular thing.