Vanda Fine Clothing


Diana Chan and Gerald Shen have been selling well-made, handrolled pocket squares to discerning customers at StyleForum for the last two years. Last summer, they began making neckties under the name Vanda Fine Clothing. Whereas most new neckwear companies rely on a faux-heritage image or “Made in the USA” label to sell their wares, Vanda is about quality in the way that I think a more thoughtful customer can appreciate.

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get one of Vanda’s first designs. It’s a completely handcrafted, half-lined, six-fold tie made out of Adamley silk, one of the best mills in the world. The edges of the tips are handrolled, which give the tie an artisanal feel, and the half-interlining makes the it feel a bit lighter. Most ties you’ve come across have a full piece of wool or cotton interlining. This gives them a meatier feel and heavier drape. Vanda’s ties, however, feel a bit more airy and scarf-like, and they wear in a more unique way.

Admittedly, such construction won’t be to everyone’s taste. If you’ve never worn an unlined or half-lined tie, you may find it’s a bit too light for your liking. However, if you’re an enthusiast of men’s clothing and style, I strongly recommend you at least try one out. For some people, including me, once you’ve worn one, it’s impossible not to get more. I appreciate such ties in the way I appreciate mechanical watches. They take more time, silk, and handwork to make, and I take pleasure in knowing how they’re crafted. I also find that Vanda’s ties yield a deeper, more handsome dimple, and since the edges aren’t pressed flat, they have nice rolling edges, which give them a fuller three-dimensional shape. 

I’ve liked my tie so much that I recently ordered another from Vanda’s webstore (I bought the brown glen plaid made of Huddersfield wool). I also recently had a chance to speak to Gerald about the new company, their ties, and Vanda’s future plans.

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Oh, what’s this in the mail? A small packet from England came. And inside?

Two Holland and Holland pocket squares, neatly wrapped in tissue paper and then sealed with a little metallic sticker. I’ve been hunting for these for a year and a half, first after seeing Jesse write about them, and then after losing the auction he posted about eight months later. Luckily for me, the same seller finally posted another pair of them last month, and I won the auction. Now I finally, finally have the pocket square that this guy wore in a video.

I’m actually wearing one of the squares now, and when I put it on this morning, I sang this song. Not at all joking. 

Now that’s a lapel pin.
(via Swimsuit Department)

Now that’s a lapel pin.

(via Swimsuit Department)

A roundup of camera accessories at Archival Clothing.
It’s On eBay
New & Lingwood Wallet
If you put in a little effort, you can get something wonderful for the price of something passable.
Buy It Now for £24.99 ($40)

It’s On eBay

New & Lingwood Wallet

If you put in a little effort, you can get something wonderful for the price of something passable.

Buy It Now for £24.99 ($40)

Christine Cariati has been close friends with my mother my entire life. When they first met, Christine taught my mother to weave, and I grew up with the sound of a loom in the room next to my bedroom. In the 80s, Christine and a friend ran a hand-woven goods company called Cariati & Wainwright that sold clothes and accessories in extremely high-end boutiques. Eventually, Christine quit weaving to pursue a career as a fine artist - several of her works hang in my home.
Recently, Christine has gone back to weaving, and she was kind enough to send me two scarves she wove from deadstock silk she had in a warehouse. They’re spectacularly beautiful, as you can see even in my lousy photograph above.
Hopefully, we’ll offer a very limited selection of the scarves for sale sometime in the next few months. Each will be hand-woven on a mechanical loom by Christine herself, and we expect a price around $150. I’m really proud we’ll get to share these pieces, which are true heirlooms.

Christine Cariati has been close friends with my mother my entire life. When they first met, Christine taught my mother to weave, and I grew up with the sound of a loom in the room next to my bedroom. In the 80s, Christine and a friend ran a hand-woven goods company called Cariati & Wainwright that sold clothes and accessories in extremely high-end boutiques. Eventually, Christine quit weaving to pursue a career as a fine artist - several of her works hang in my home.

Recently, Christine has gone back to weaving, and she was kind enough to send me two scarves she wove from deadstock silk she had in a warehouse. They’re spectacularly beautiful, as you can see even in my lousy photograph above.

Hopefully, we’ll offer a very limited selection of the scarves for sale sometime in the next few months. Each will be hand-woven on a mechanical loom by Christine herself, and we expect a price around $150. I’m really proud we’ll get to share these pieces, which are true heirlooms.

It’s On Sale
Striped Grenadine Tie
I’ve written here before about the beautiful accessories from Drake’s of London. This is one of the few situations where I actually think spending good money on a necktie might be worth your while. The Drake’s winter sale has a number of beautiful, basic ties on sale that you can wear every week for many years.
About $85 from about $135 at Drake’s of London

It’s On Sale

Striped Grenadine Tie

I’ve written here before about the beautiful accessories from Drake’s of London. This is one of the few situations where I actually think spending good money on a necktie might be worth your while. The Drake’s winter sale has a number of beautiful, basic ties on sale that you can wear every week for many years.

About $85 from about $135 at Drake’s of London

Via Dim Tool Dim Bulb

The Great Wallet Roundup

Lately the trickle of wallet inquiries we regularly receive has turned into a torrent. What precipitated this trend I cannot say, but there can be only one appropriate response: a Great Wallet Roundup.

First of all, let’s address what type of wallet you should carry.

I’m generally an advocate of the card case. Generally speaking, there’s no need to carry more than ID, a debit card and a credit card. Perhaps a health insurance card for emergencies. Anything more than this (say a store credit card or a club store card), you can grab them on your way out the door. The advantage of the card case is size. It can easily fit into a front pants pocket if you’re not wearing a coat, and will not create any visible bump if worn in a coat pocket. Cash can simply be carried in the front pocket, with or without a money clip, as you prefer.

Bi-fold wallets are a reasonable alternative for those who insist on carrying more cards with them at all times. These should nonetheless be modest in size. Jacket wallets, longer and thinner, roughly the size of a checkbook, are generally suitable only for those who always wear a jacket. Someone classier than me, in other words. Tri-fold wallets, as the Monty Pythons might say, are right out.

Wallets should be worn in the jacket pocket whenever possible. It’s better for your back, more difficult to steal, and given a reasonably-sized wallet, is the best choice aesthetically as well. In a pinch, a front pocket will do. I usually reserve the back pocket for blue jean days, and generally move my wallet to sit or (especially) drive.

As for the question of brown or black, it is a matter of personal preference. I generally wear brown shoes and so I generally wear brown wallets. On the rare occasion I wear evening clothes, I just pull out some cash and cards and use a money clip.

Wallets are available at a million price points, from Hermes to nylon-and-velcro. I’ve tried to put together a little range of possibilities, and hopefully you’ll find yourself something you like. Wallets often go on sale, and can easily be found in the vintage and second-hand market, but we’re focusing on new stuff at retail.

If I could have any wallet in the world, I’d likely have something made by April in Paris. This San Francisco-based company makes truly bespoke leathergoods. Beatrice, the owner, trained at Hermes, and welcomes you to visit your item as it is being made. Almost any design or skin is available. They’re also quite expensive. (Oh, and you could do a lot worse than the similarly expensive Hermes, who are one of the few big-name luxury companies who haven’t sacrificed quality in the pursuit of profit.)

On the inexpensive side of things, Saddleback Leather offers a bifold card case for only $15. The quality should be excellent, but if you’re looking for something with somewhat more refined aesthetics, Hartmann offers a handsome alternative for $35. I’m not nuts about ID windows, but what can you do?

Speaking of rough-hewn aesthetics, the recent Americana revival has hit the world of leather goods, as well. When I asked about wallets on Twitter, we had multiple recommendations for options from Tanner Goods (of Portland) and Billykirk. Tanner Goods’ choices tend towards “outdoorsy casual,” and Billykirk’s towards “axe-wielding.”

I’m a big fan of the leather-and-canvas choice from Duluth Pack of Minnesota, which offers a lifetime guarantee. They’ve also got a nice money clip bifold which is only $20, and a simple credit card wallet. In the past, I’ve recommended Filson wallets to those looking for something casual and durable, and, well, I still do.

If you’re looking for something “fun,” check out the selection at Jack Spade. They really get the silly trendy stuff right, with simple aesthetics and cool touches. They also come up regularly on sale and on Gilt Groupe for very reasonable prices.

My overall champion, though, is Swaine Adeney Brigg. The quality is exceptional - they are made in England and bear a royal warrant - and the prices, while high relative to the more mass-produced options, are not crazy high. Hermes may charge you $1500, but Swaine Adeney will likely be under $200. Indeed, the simple card case (the design of which is pretty much perfect) is available for $95. In fact, I’ve got myself so pumped up about it I may ask for one from my wife for my birthday.

Regardless of what brand you chose, my advice is simple: simplify. Your back will thank you, and so will the line of your clothes.

It is currently taking all my self control to prevent myself from buying this beautiful web belt from Archival Clothing.  It’s $24!  Gimme a break.

It is currently taking all my self control to prevent myself from buying this beautiful web belt from Archival Clothing.  It’s $24!  Gimme a break.