“Much confusion arises about Astaire’s style because his style changed subtly over the years: his coats were tighter in the earlier years, a bit more roomy in the 1940s, and slimmer again later on; in his later films he wore fairly slim trousers. In other words, Astaire followed fashion a bit too.” Bruce Boyer on Fred Astaire

I Colori Di Antonio Screening

Readers in New York City might be interested in a film screening happening this April 3rd at 7pm for I Colori Di Antonio (a film about the Florentine tailor Antonio Liverano). The event will take place at the School of Visual Arts’ Beatrice Theater, which is located at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue). After the screening, there will be refreshments and a Q&A session with Antonio Liverano and the director Gianluca Migliarotti. Tickets can be bought here, and a webpage for the film can be found here

“Clothing should be a wonderful tool that gives you confidence to cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that you meet in life. It should be fun.” — Bruce Boyer in one of my favorite segments of our second season.

"Elegance in an Age of Crisis" Exhibit

I swear, New York City seems to get all the awesome menswear-related events. Sample sales, tradeshows, and really, really fantastic exhibits like this one. 

The Museum at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) is holding a special exhibitions gallery from February 7th until April 19th on the fashions of the 1930s. That’s the decade that’s most often considered the “Golden Age” for classic men’s style, and the single most influential time for how we think of classic men’s dress today. 

The exhibit will feature both men’s and women’s clothing, and have a number of outstanding examples of bespoke tailoring from that period. Seen above? The first is a cream jacket from Rubinacci, a tailoring house in Naples, Italy. It’s made from tussah silk, which is a textured material somewhat like the nubby stuff we see advertised today as “raw silk.” This was considered to be a very aristocratic cloth at the time in Naples. The man who made the jacket was Vincenzo Attolini, a Neapolitan tailor who’s most often credited with having invented the soft shouldered, “deconstructed” Neapolitan cut. It is a style that today has defined Neapolitan tailoring. 

The smoking jacket you see in the middle was made by Gardner and Wooley. It was tailored from green velvet and satin. Gentlemen used to wear these at home when they were smoking tobacco (usually in the form of pipes or cigars), or just when they were lounging about, entertaining guests or hosting semi-formal occasions. The jacket’s purpose was to prevent smoke or ashes from getting onto the wearer’s business clothes or formalwear. 

Finally, the three-piece suit you see at the end was made by Anderson & Sheppard in London. It’s difficult to tell from the small photo, but if you look closely, you can see the chest is cut a bit full. Notice how there’s extra cloth that “drapes” vertically near the armholes? This is what’s known as the “drape cut,” a style that was invented by the Dutch-English tailor Frederick Scholte and then popularized by Edward VIII (better known to some as the Duke of Windsor). Scholte later passed his technique on to an apprentice named Per Anderson, who of course is the “Anderson” in Anderson & Sheppard. It may interest some readers to know that the drape cut was also the precursor to the zoot suit, which was a style deeply embedded in both jazz music and racial politics in 1940’s America. Many may be familiar with the history of the Zoot Suit Riots

Anyway, as I was saying, the exhibit opens next week. It was co-curated by Bruce Boyer, a remarkable menswear writer (having penned some of my favorite books, such as Elegance and Eminently Suitable) and a previous guest in our video series. I’m deeply sad I’m not in NYC and thus won’t be able to go. On the upside, there’s a book being released that will give a more in-depth study of the clothes featured. I’ve already put in a pre-order. 

Tartans + Shetlands + Waxed Jackets
I don’t reblog much, but couldn’t help myself with this one. I admit, I’ve experimented a lot when it comes to clothing, and still like to try new things, but I’ll forever love classic American style.
Above is a tartan shirt, a green Shetland sweater, and a waxed cotton Barbour coat. I think O’Connell’s Shetlands are some of the best around, but they cost $165. If you don’t mind the price, I highly recommend them. Otherwise, you can get Shetlands from these other brands or on eBay. Barbours are also pretty easy to find on eBay UK. Yes, some will be pretty beat up, but that’s a good thing with these kinds of coats. If they come with a musty smell, you can get them cleaned through New England Waterproofers. If the idea of wearing a used waxed coat seems gross to you, and you don’t want to pay for a new Barbour, you can try these alternatives. Lastly, tartan shirts can be bought through companies such as O’Connell’s, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Ralph Lauren, and our advertiser Ledbury. If you prefer custom-made shirts, you can get tartan fabrics pretty affordably through Acorn and give them to your tailor. 
It’s not a terribly new or original look, and it’s hardly “cutting edge” when it comes to fashion, but it’s great, genuinely classic, and pretty easy to put together. In an interview at Ivy Style, Bruce Boyer once said: “I’ve gone through different phases and trends and tried things, but I always keep coming back to a kind of Anglo-American look.” I often feel the same way. 
(Photo via glengarrysportingclub)

Tartans + Shetlands + Waxed Jackets

I don’t reblog much, but couldn’t help myself with this one. I admit, I’ve experimented a lot when it comes to clothing, and still like to try new things, but I’ll forever love classic American style.

Above is a tartan shirt, a green Shetland sweater, and a waxed cotton Barbour coat. I think O’Connell’s Shetlands are some of the best around, but they cost $165. If you don’t mind the price, I highly recommend them. Otherwise, you can get Shetlands from these other brands or on eBay. Barbours are also pretty easy to find on eBay UK. Yes, some will be pretty beat up, but that’s a good thing with these kinds of coats. If they come with a musty smell, you can get them cleaned through New England Waterproofers. If the idea of wearing a used waxed coat seems gross to you, and you don’t want to pay for a new Barbour, you can try these alternatives. Lastly, tartan shirts can be bought through companies such as O’Connell’s, Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Ralph Lauren, and our advertiser Ledbury. If you prefer custom-made shirts, you can get tartan fabrics pretty affordably through Acorn and give them to your tailor. 

It’s not a terribly new or original look, and it’s hardly “cutting edge” when it comes to fashion, but it’s great, genuinely classic, and pretty easy to put together. In an interview at Ivy Style, Bruce Boyer once said: “I’ve gone through different phases and trends and tried things, but I always keep coming back to a kind of Anglo-American look.” I often feel the same way. 

(Photo via glengarrysportingclub)

I know there are people out there who spend countless hours discussing the correct depth of trouser cuffs and length of coats. But the reality is that dressing well is like writing well: you learn the rules that are fashionable at the time, then you develop your own style by breaking them in order to better accommodate your unique life.

Those who slavishly follow the rules of dress are really just followers of fashion: the fashion of a particular time, past or present.

— Bruce Boyer (via Ivy Style)
“Don’t go shopping for a suit wearing sneakers, unless for some reason you intend to wear sneakers with the suit. Don’t wear sneakers with the suit.” — G. Bruce Boyer from his masterpiece Elegance. (via pindotsandgrenadine)
“Everyone knows that women frequently hide their clothing purchases from their husbands, but we men are guilty of the same. Last month I mentioned to the menswear writer G. Bruce Boyer how, that morning, a rather frosty atmosphere had settled over my breakfast table after my wife inadvertently discovered that, later in the day, I was to be fitted for a new Shetland jacket by my tailor. Mr Boyer wrote back to me, “I’m sorry to hear about your Shetland. Every time my wife asks me if I’m wearing a new jacket I brush it aside with, ‘You mean this old thing? God, I’ve had it forever. I’m surprised you never noticed it before.’” He then reassured me by saying, “It’s a relatively harmless obsession, as far as obsessions go, isn’t it?”” — Mansel Fletcher on shopping habits and marriage (via A Suitable Wardrobe)

Ivy Style Exhibit Coming to FIT: Sept. 14th - Jan. 5th

If you haven’t already heard, The Museum at FIT in New York City is hosting an exhibition on the classic American “Ivy League style.” The exhibit, simply titled Ivy Style, will show the development of the look over three distinct periods: the interwar years of the 1920s and ’30s, the post-war era to the end of the ’60s, and the style’s revival from the ’80s to present. In the first period, the interwar years, American clothiers Brooks Brothers and J. Press took classic English pieces such as tweed jackets and polo coats, and appropriated and modified them for young men in elite East Coast colleges. After the second World War, the “Ivy League look” started to disseminate across the United States. OCBDs, khaki chinos, and penny loafers were adopted by a much larger, more diverse population, including working class GIs and jazz musicians. Finally, after a period of dormancy in the 1970s, Ivy League style started to see a revival, from the ’80s until today. 

The exhibition will be on view from September 14th until January 5th. The museum is also running its annual fashion symposium on November 8th and 9th. This year’s talk will be connected to the Ivy Style exhibit and will feature speakers such as Bruce Boyer and Christian Chensvold, as well as other scholars and designers. We’ll publish info on that symposium as the date approaches, but for the time being, we encourage you to check out the exhibit. 

For those not lucky enough to be able to attend, know that a more in-depth study of the Ivy League look will be featured in the accompanying book, also titled Ivy Style. It will contain essays written by the museum exhibit’s curator, Patricia Mears; scholars such as Dr. Peter McNeil, Dr. Christopher Breward, and Dr. Masafumi Monden; and leading menswear writers Bruce Boyer and Christian Chensvold. Boyer and Chensvold, in my opinion, have written (and continue to write) some of the best material on classic men’s style, and I’m really looking forward to reading their new project. You can pre-order it now on Amazon

The Charm of Tassel Loafers
I really like tassel loafers. I’m wearing a shell cordovan pair now with brown sharkskin trousers, a dark green v-neck sweater, light blue oxford cloth button-down shirt, navy over-the-calf socks, and a dark reddish-brown alligator belt. With clothes that are a bit too fully cut, tassel loafers can look a little fuddy duddy; with clothes that are too tight, they can look overly hip. Somewhere in the middle, I think, is where they look best.
Tassel loafers came into being in the post-war period of the 1940s, right when tweed jackets, Shetland sweaters, and penny loafers dominated prep schools and Ivy League campuses. As college students graduated, they wanted something as comfortable as their slip-ons, but were a bit dressier and more sophisticated for their new life in the business world. It was around this time that an actor named Paul Lukas came back from Europe with a pair of oxfords. They had little tassels at the end of their laces, which Lukas thought made them look more lively. So he took them to a couple of New York shoemakers to see if they could make something similar, and they in turn took the job to Alden. The company’s president at the time, Arthur Tarlow, came up with tasseled loafers and they were an instant success. That makes Alden’s model the original, and Paul Lukas the first man to wear this style of footwear. You can read more about this wonderful history in this article by Bruce Boyer.
Tassel loafers come in a variety of colors and leathers. The most common is brown calfskin, but the ne plus ultra is the reddish-brown shell cordovan that comes from Chicago’s Horween Tannery. Shell cordovan has the particularly good quality of holding the color burgundy well. In calf, burgundy can sometimes look cheap, but in horsehide leather, it absolutely glows. 
As for where to get them, there are probably a dozens of versions on the market. I’ll only cover a few. As mentioned, Alden’s is the original and its history as the classic makes it hard to beat. They also make a similar model for Brooks Brothers. The main deviation is the piece of leather that’s added to the heel cup. From England, we have Crockett & Jones’ Cavendish and Edward Green’s Belgravia. Crockett & Jones also makes a shell cordovan version for Ralph Lauren called the the Marlow, and it has a slightly more unique shade of shell cordovan brown.
My own pair is Allen Edmonds’ Grayson. It’s quite similar to Alden’s, but it has a higher vamp, which is the part the shoe that covers the top part of your foot. I thought it looked slightly better this way, so I bought a pair in shell cordovan. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase and recommend them highly.
If you’d like more affordable options, consider Loake’s Lincoln and Meermin’s 101381. Both come in around $175, but Meermin has the added advantage of being able to do special orders. If you’d like to get a pair in shell cordovan or suede, or made from a different last or sole, they’d be happy to make you a pair for a small surcharge. I have a pair of their made-to-order shoes and couldn’t be more impressed with their value. To order, read this buyer’s guide and then go to Meermin’s website. My only comment on that guide is that you should ask Meermin for sizing advice; don’t just assume. 
Tassel loafers aren’t anything I’d call “an essential,” but they’re certainly very enjoyable to wear. If you work in an environment that lets you get away with more casual footwear, try wearing a pair of these with a wool sweater and corduroys, or maybe a checkered tweed and flannel wool trousers. Both will carry a great sense of American style that’s both casual and sophisticated. 

The Charm of Tassel Loafers

I really like tassel loafers. I’m wearing a shell cordovan pair now with brown sharkskin trousers, a dark green v-neck sweater, light blue oxford cloth button-down shirt, navy over-the-calf socks, and a dark reddish-brown alligator belt. With clothes that are a bit too fully cut, tassel loafers can look a little fuddy duddy; with clothes that are too tight, they can look overly hip. Somewhere in the middle, I think, is where they look best.

Tassel loafers came into being in the post-war period of the 1940s, right when tweed jackets, Shetland sweaters, and penny loafers dominated prep schools and Ivy League campuses. As college students graduated, they wanted something as comfortable as their slip-ons, but were a bit dressier and more sophisticated for their new life in the business world. It was around this time that an actor named Paul Lukas came back from Europe with a pair of oxfords. They had little tassels at the end of their laces, which Lukas thought made them look more lively. So he took them to a couple of New York shoemakers to see if they could make something similar, and they in turn took the job to Alden. The company’s president at the time, Arthur Tarlow, came up with tasseled loafers and they were an instant success. That makes Alden’s model the original, and Paul Lukas the first man to wear this style of footwear. You can read more about this wonderful history in this article by Bruce Boyer.

Tassel loafers come in a variety of colors and leathers. The most common is brown calfskin, but the ne plus ultra is the reddish-brown shell cordovan that comes from Chicago’s Horween Tannery. Shell cordovan has the particularly good quality of holding the color burgundy well. In calf, burgundy can sometimes look cheap, but in horsehide leather, it absolutely glows. 

As for where to get them, there are probably a dozens of versions on the market. I’ll only cover a few. As mentioned, Alden’s is the original and its history as the classic makes it hard to beat. They also make a similar model for Brooks Brothers. The main deviation is the piece of leather that’s added to the heel cup. From England, we have Crockett & Jones’ Cavendish and Edward Green’s Belgravia. Crockett & Jones also makes a shell cordovan version for Ralph Lauren called the the Marlow, and it has a slightly more unique shade of shell cordovan brown.

My own pair is Allen Edmonds’ Grayson. It’s quite similar to Alden’s, but it has a higher vamp, which is the part the shoe that covers the top part of your foot. I thought it looked slightly better this way, so I bought a pair in shell cordovan. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase and recommend them highly.

If you’d like more affordable options, consider Loake’s Lincoln and Meermin’s 101381. Both come in around $175, but Meermin has the added advantage of being able to do special orders. If you’d like to get a pair in shell cordovan or suede, or made from a different last or sole, they’d be happy to make you a pair for a small surcharge. I have a pair of their made-to-order shoes and couldn’t be more impressed with their value. To order, read this buyer’s guide and then go to Meermin’s website. My only comment on that guide is that you should ask Meermin for sizing advice; don’t just assume. 

Tassel loafers aren’t anything I’d call “an essential,” but they’re certainly very enjoyable to wear. If you work in an environment that lets you get away with more casual footwear, try wearing a pair of these with a wool sweater and corduroys, or maybe a checkered tweed and flannel wool trousers. Both will carry a great sense of American style that’s both casual and sophisticated.