It’s On Sale: Chuck Taylors and Swaine Adeney Brigg Umbrellas
Two sales just popped up, both only lasting for today:
First, Shoebuy.com has Chuck Taylors All Stars at 25% off. That puts my favorite model, the white high tops you see above, at $37.46. Use the check out code EMLFLASH14 and pay attention to sizing. Most people find they need to size down half a size in Chuck Taylors. So if you regularly wear a 10D, for example, then you’ll want to take a 9.5. 
Second, J. Peterman has Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrellas at 32% off. They’re still expensive, even with the discount, but SAB makes wonderful umbrellas and they have lots of heritage. Use the code INTIME at checkout. 

It’s On Sale: Chuck Taylors and Swaine Adeney Brigg Umbrellas

Two sales just popped up, both only lasting for today:

Ghurka Trousers

The older I get, the more I’ve come to accept that I have a fairly boring sense of personal style. Shetland sweaters with button down shirts and chinos; soft shouldered sport coats with flat fronted wool trousers and blue dress shirts; and more recently, white t-shirts, dark leather jackets, and a pair of really worn jeans. Every once in a while, however, I get the urge to experiment more. This past week, I’ve been thinking about Ghurka trousers for summer.

Ghurka trousers come from that period of history when the British occupied North Africa and India - a time that left a very uncomfortable political legacy, but seems to be a continual source of style inspiration for books, movies, and clothing. They’re typically high waisted, made from a heavy cotton drill, and characterized by a unique self-belting design. That belted rigging allowed British officers to easily cinch their trousers as they lost weight — an issue I definitely haven’t experienced as I’ve entered my 30s. Still, I find their unique style very appealing. They draw to mind all those beautiful safari images in old Banana Republic catalogs, before Banana Republic was bought out by The Gap.

A couple of weeks ago, StyleForum member TTO posted a photo of himself in some Ghurka trousers, which reminded me of a very military-inspired look Five once posted at Superfuture, which in turn reminded me of a photo of Ralph Fiennes in Anderson & Sheppard’s vanity book. Granted, none of these are looks I could see myself wearing, but these photos do inspire. 

Ghurka pants have been offered in the past by Japanese workwear brands such as Engineered Garments and Haversack, as well as American “dad outfitters” such as J. Peterman and JL Powell. Pete also wrote about them when he covered Whillas and Gunn for StyleForum, and I’ve seen old Ralph Lauren versions on eBay. Some of these are still being offered; some not. I noticed that J. Peterman, for example, still sells theirs.

TTO tells me he’s tried the ones from Silverman’s and What Price Glory. The Silvermans are simpler and less cluttered, as they have no extra pockets or button-down belt loops. They’re also sturdier in their fabric and stitching. The downside is that they’re rather short (measuring a ~29.5” inseam on a pair of 36” waisted trousers). This is probably historically correct, as British officers most likely wore these with gaiters and boots, but they might be too short for the modern style enthusiast. What Price Glory’s pants are longer, but they come with a bit more detailing, which may or may not be to people’s taste.

The other option are Ghurka shorts, which Jesse has written extensively about. Engineered Garments and Go Fujito have made versions of them in the past, and styled them in ways I wish I was cool enough to pull off.

(Photos via Giant Beard, Five, and To the Manner Born)

Umbrellas: Cheap, Expensive, and Everything In-Between

We’re back in rainy season again, and here in San Francisco, the weather was a bit wet this weekend. That reminded me of how useful it is to own several umbrellas. Not only does that ensure that you’ll always have something if one of your umbrellas breaks or gets lost, but it also allows you to have several options to choose from depending on your mood.

When buying a good umbrella, it’s tempting to get something unique and different, but I’d suggest your first purchase be one with a solid black canopy. These will go with anything, and in some cases – say if you’re wearing a somber suit – it’s the only appropriate choice. After your first good, black umbrella, you can get one with a navy or tan canopy if you’d like something conservative, or go with something dotted, checked, or striped for something more fanciful. 

The upside to decent umbrellas is that they come at almost every price point. Belt Outlet sells some basic black Totes for $15 after you apply the coupon code belt10. Fulton and Gustbuster are a bit more expensive, but remain reasonable affordable. Decent tartans can be bought through Orvis and Brooks Brothers. Those cost about $70, but they often go on sale. Wingtip, for example, has the Barbour version at 30% off with the coupon code TAKEACHANCE.

For a little more money, Howard Yount and Kent Wang sell some handsome single-stick options. Single stick means that the umbrella’s shaft and handle are all made from the same piece of wood. It’s a nice, artisanal touch, I think. (Note, whangees are not single stick because you can’t have the bumpy ridges on the handle go up the shaft for obvious reasons). London Undercover and Passoti are two other good options in this price tier.

Finally, for some of the best umbrellas in the world, you can turn to Swaine Adeney Brigg, James Smith, Fox, Francesco Maglia, Talarico, and Le Veritable Cherbourg. Those are made from better materials, often have single stick constructions, and are just beautiful sights to behold (as shown above). They typically run a few hundred dollars, but sometimes you can find “deals” (relatively speaking). J. Peterman occassionally discounts their Swaine Adeney Briggs, for example, and Grunwald sells Maglias at good prices (actual price is lower at checkout because of VAT discounts). Even on sale, they’re not cheap, but a look at some of those handles is enough to make a man dream. 

(Photos by fk118, Voxsartoria, and me)

Three Good Sales

Three good sales started today.

The first is at Drake’s, who just put a selection of their men’s accessories on discount. Note that folks outside of the EU can expect another ~20% off at checkout for not having to pay European taxes.

Next, The J. Peterman Company is offering a “30% off + free shipping” discount with the checkout code WeLoveYouToo. The code drops this Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrella down to $245. Not as cheap as the time Jesse found it for $187, or even when he found it for $234, but it’s been over a year since I’ve seen it go down this low. 

Finally, H.W. Carter & Sons is giving an extra 20% off with the code 0020. That drops these boots by Oak Street Bootmakers down to about $175. They have some other nice casual shoes as well. I own a few Oak Street Bootmakers shoes and really like them. 

It’s On Sale: Swaine Adeney Umbrella
Over at J. Peterman, they’re offering Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrellas at close to half price - just under $200. If you’re not a man who loses his umbrellas, this is about as good as it gets for as good a price as you’ll find.
$187 from $350 at J. Peterman (use code jpten for 10% off)

It’s On Sale: Swaine Adeney Umbrella

Over at J. Peterman, they’re offering Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrellas at close to half price - just under $200. If you’re not a man who loses his umbrellas, this is about as good as it gets for as good a price as you’ll find.

$187 from $350 at J. Peterman (use code jpten for 10% off)

The Five Days of Summer Series, Part I: Bretons

The trees in my neighborhood have been leafing and flowering for some time now, but this weekend, as the weather was particularly sunny, things started to feel more summery. As such, I thought I’d create a five-day series dedicated to things you can get for the coming summer season. 

The first part to this series is about Breton shirts and sweaters. These seem to be popular every year around this time, and their continued relevance is probably due their being an iconic, international classic. In the last year or two, they’ve become particularly hip - a trip through Brooklyn has come to look like a visit to a French sailor’s convention.

Saint James invented Bretons in 1850 for men working out on the sea. They were originally just for the people of Brittany - a peninsula region in the northwest of France. In the 1920s, however, Coco Chanel became enamored with the Breton’s striped sailor look and made it into a more general “French style.” By the 1940s, it became the uniform of French beatniks, and then by the 1960s, it was popular among American rock stars. It has remained an iconic cultural staple ever since. 

There are a ton of companies right now making their own version of the Breton (eg Brooks Brothers and Lands End Canvas). It would be laborious and needless to list every option, so I’ll cover only three kinds: the classic, the Picasso, and the poor man’s. 

Classics: For the classic, there is the originator - Saint James. Binic II is their most popular sweater; it has stripes starting around the breastbone and a button placket on the left shoulder. Their Matelot is a slight variation on the Binic II, with full-body stripes and a looped around collar. For shirts, they have two main models, the Meridien II and Minquiers 10. They’re basically the same shirt, except the Meridien II has a boatneck while Minquiers 10 has a round one. As well, Meridien II is made from carded cotton, which is a heavier, slightly “rougher” cotton, while Minquiers is made from combed cotton (the kind we’re mostly familiar with). I think carded cotton is strongly preferable, if only for its unique texture, but some men are a bit timid about wearing boatnecks. 

Should you order a Saint James, you can get one from Brittany Boutique for about half of what you’d find them for in most stores. 

For other classic manufacturers, check Royal Mer for sweaters, and Armor Lux, Le Minor, and Guy Cotton for shirts. You can’t go wrong with the companies that have been making these forever. 

Picasso: As famous as Bretons are to French sailors and beatniks, the image of Picasso in his Breton is just as enduring. Capitalizing on that association, J. Peterman recreated the one we’ve seen on Picasso. The curled boatneck is a bit more daring than the regular boatneck, but on the right guy, it can carry a lot of panache. 

Poor man’s: Lastly, we have the budget Breton. For this, do a search on eBay for telnyashka. Here you’ll find Russian Navy undershirts, many of which are deadstocks from the Soviet era. The Russians borrowed the design from the French Navy, who of course got theirs from the sailors in Brittany. You can typically score one of those for under $20. 

Finally, a word about styling. Bretons work well as layering pieces and can easily be worn with almost any pair of chinos. For a bit more creativity, try wearing them with other quintessential summer pieces. For example, you can wear a Breton shirt with a khaki cotton suit, braided leather belt, and navy espadrilles, and you’ll basically have your summer style on smash. 

It’s On Sale
Swaine Adeney Brigg Umbrella
$234 from $350 at J. Peterman

It’s On Sale

Swaine Adeney Brigg Umbrella

$234 from $350 at J. Peterman

Since I got my J. Peterman catalog, I’ve been lusting after this football shirt.  Kind of into the “Argentine Polo” as well. 
(via Where is the Cool?)

Since I got my J. Peterman catalog, I’ve been lusting after this football shirt.  Kind of into the “Argentine Polo” as well. 

(via Where is the Cool?)

It’s On Sale
J. Peterman Tennis Sweater
Peterman just put a number of items on sale, including some interesting possibilities like this one.  Quality is OK but not remarkable, and cuts are generous, but the styles are often practical and timeless.
$74 from $99 on JPeterman.com

It’s On Sale

J. Peterman Tennis Sweater

Peterman just put a number of items on sale, including some interesting possibilities like this one.  Quality is OK but not remarkable, and cuts are generous, but the styles are often practical and timeless.

$74 from $99 on JPeterman.com

It’s On Sale!
J. Peterman leather money clip.  Looks lovely.  It’s important that your wallet not ruin the lines of your clothes.
$38 from $85 from J. Peterman

It’s On Sale!

J. Peterman leather money clip.  Looks lovely.  It’s important that your wallet not ruin the lines of your clothes.

$38 from $85 from J. Peterman