Don’t get it twisted like Cinnabons, Put This On is about everything from thrift store to couture, and the things in between. One day I blog about $150 Drakes ties, the next day I’m writing about Lands End sales. Like Montell Jordan, this is how we do it.
30% off is always good enough to blog about, but this time, you can also combine it with their other promotion codes! If your order comes to $50 or more, use MJ11 (pin 4423) to get free shipping and $10 off. If your order is under $50, then use COOLER (pin 4353) to just get free shipping.
Before I started blogging about this stuff, I was an avid reader of menswear blogs for years. One of my favorite blogs was A Continuous Lean, partly because I shared Michael’s passion for knowing how my clothes were made, not just how they were styled. Some of my favorite posts by him were those that showed the manufacturing process behind the stuff I loved so much.
So, given my (well documented) love for Italian menswear, I thought I’d share a special set of videos of hand craftsmanship in Italy. The videos were produced by Mad About Town, an online boutique that brings some of Europe’s most exquisite luxury items to customers around the world.
There are three videos. The first is of a Genovese tie maker, Finollo. Lapo Elkann once named this as one of his favorite companies, and given that their wares are so beautifully handmade, it’s easy to see why. The second is of Riccardo Bestetti, an Italian cordwainer based out of Vigevano. Bestetti handmakes everything from Italian styled double monks to British styled wingtips to American styled cowboy boots; the man has an incredible range. Finally, we have Barbisio, a hat company inspired by the Italian notion of La Dolce Vita (“the good life”). These hats were big in Italy during the 1940s and ’50s, and men would wear them to tell the world they’ve reached an apex in their careers. Today, Barbisio makes hats with the same machines they used a hundred years ago. The manufacturing process is truly something to behold.
There are two other videos that I haven’t included here. The first is of Nicky, one of the finest tie makers in the world. The company was founded in Milan sometime in 1920, and since then, they’ve been hand making incredibly elegant ties. The other is of Valigeria Beretta, another Milanese company. They handhandcraft luxury bags out of French and British leathers. I’ve left them out because they’re not motion picture videos, but rather a sequence of photographs. However, you can see the two videos here and here. I do think they’re still worth watching, however, if you’re as into European menswear as I am.
Charlie asks: I’m getting close to the end of my grad school years and am looking to hang up my backpack for good and replace it with a briefcase. We always match our belts and shoes, but what about leather bags? Is matching one’s shoes with one’s bag something best left for the ladies?
Generally speaking, don’t worry about it. The above photo (by the Sartorialist) is a great example of a man whose case does not match his shoes, but nonetheless looks great.
The briefcase basics largely breakdown along serious/less serious lines: black is a little more serious than brown. Hard is a little more serious than soft. A refined aesthetic is a little more serious than a rough one. Bear in mind, though, that these are for the most part fine distinctions.
Matching bag to shoes can be nice, but few people want to take everything out of their briefcases in the morning to match them to their choice of footwear. My recommendation is to consider the color shoe you’ll most frequently wear, and buy a case in that color. If you’re a brown casual shoe type guy, maybe a black hard case isn’t the choice for you. If you’re a sober banker, perhaps a floppy brown bag won’t fit your style. You can also consider a color like burgundy, which will relieve you of the pressure to match almost completely.
Over the holiday, my wife and I fretted over what to buy for my brother-in-law Daniel, who’s 18 and a senior in high school. My in-laws suggested a piece of luggage, and we figured a duffel would be the most useful for someone his age - light enough for very short trips, large enough for long trips.
We wanted something simple and classic, and after much research, we went with a piece from Beckel Canvas in Portland. Beckel manufactures traditional tents in addition to bags, and their price point, while reflective of the high-quality, Made-in-the-USA product they offer, is set for people who will actually use their products, not shoppers at Bergdorf Goodman or Fred Segal.
It ended up arriving a few days after Christmas, so when Danny came to visit this weekend, I got to see it for the first time in-person. Not only is he delighted with it (if you can get a teenager to willingly pose for a photo, you know he’s excited about something), it really is a lovely product. Heavy canvas, handsome styling and rugged hardware. Dan will get to use it for years to come, and my wife and I are very happy with the purchase.
As for me? I picked up one of their knit ties for $21. It’s labeled as a narrow tie, but knit ties are typically much narrower. Since this one measures 2.75”, it’s actually a fairly wide knit tie, which I’ve been really feeling lately. Consider it a Mad Men antidote.
I’ve been trying to talk StyleForum’s RJMan into starting a Tumblr so he can share with the world his amazing finds. I haven’t won that battle yet, but in the meantime, here’s a beautiful briefcase he’s selling. It’s by Tanner Krolle, and is a steal at only $600. Retail on this would be around $2000. If you’re looking for a business bag you can carry for the rest of your life, this one’s a good bet. If you’re not a StyleForum member, but you’re serious about the bag, email me and I’ll forward it over to RJMan.