Ivory Tower Style goes through some of StyleFourm’s best threads, and gives some pretty funny commentary on each.
Not nearly as cool as Jesse’s repair, but following his post, I thought I’d share these photos from StyleForum member Ghost01. These were recently posted in a thread dedicated to RRL, which as many people know, is Ralph Lauren’s workwear line. RRL was set up in 1993, and is heavily inspired by Ralph Lauren’s private ranch, which he runs with his wife Ricky (hence the name RRL). That means lots of American workwear inspired by country and vintage clothing. You can see the ranch in an interview Oprah once did with Ralph Lauren and his family. (Warning: it’s beautiful).
Anyway, Ghost01 had an RRL shirt and a pair of jeans that were falling apart. The elbow on the shirt had worn through and there was a hole in the back pocket of the jeans from where his wallet is usually kept. His solution? Patch up both holes, at home using his own sewing skills, with an old RRL pocket square that he had laying around. I think the results look pretty great - a practical solution that’s also in keeping with RRL’s aesthetic.
The top photo is of Ghost01 in an RRL jacket. That piece hasn’t been repaired, but I’m posting it because I think all three pieces - the jacket, the newly repaired shirt, and the newly repaired jeans - go together quite nicely for a casual look.
If you purchase your clothes online (and you probably do), you’re aware that the online marketplace for clothing—sure, for everything—has exploded in the last decade. First, established stores began selling their wares online, then warehouse-backed, online only behemoths like Yoox and Mr. Porter showed up. The vast gray market of eBay has been another source of growth for both new and used stuff, providing a place to snag vintage, deadstock, and new clothing and accessories from well beyond your local Goodwill/Buffalo Exchange. Also, helpfully, a place to dump your own regrets and didn’t fits. Of course you pay for access, through eBay fees and transaction charges.
Recently we’ve seen more independent options compete with eBay in the secondary men’s clothing market. As a seller, I always like to see more outlets where I can sell my stuff, particularly when listing is easy and cheap/free, and where the people browsing will be knowledgeable about what I’m selling. As a buyer, smaller markets can mean less competition and less chaff to sort through.
The Styleforum buying and selling forum has historically been the best non-retail place to find niche men’s clothing online. Although not easy to search, it’s simple to browse and, once you register, pretty simple to use. Styleforum has a custom tool for setting up listings with photos and details. Styleforum management is relatively laissez faire and does not get involved in transactions or disputes. There are rules, though, and a feedback system. Listings are split between “classic menswear" (mostly tailoring and traditional men’s clothing; e.g., suits you’d wear to work, sweaters and pants you’d wear out to dinner with your in-laws), and "streetwear & denim" (mostly non-tailored and designer stuff, e.g., high-end workwear and edgier stuff). Sellers who want to maximize visibility and sell at a high volume can pay for better placement; some earn legitimate livings selling exclusively through Styleforum.
Another forum marketplace, one even simpler than Styleforum’s, because Superfuture listings are plain ol’ threads just like any other on the forum. As for the what you’ll see here, it’s seriously niche interest stuff. Up and coming designers, rare streetwear, and for lack of a better word, gothninja. Like Styleforum, Superfuture mostly stays out of the way and lets members negotiate and work out payment amongst themselves.
Que Pasa Shop
A new concept is a storefront like Que Pasa Shop, with a limited pool of sellers and a managed payment system. Que Pasa’s system means that the stock is more tightly edited than the constantly moving free-for-all of forum classifieds. Que Pasa reviews all items before they post, and holds payment until sellers enter shipment tracking information, adding a level of trust for buyers. Payments are processed through Paypal. Que Pasa, however, takes 15% of each sale price. Que Pasa does additional merchandising through their blog, which, frankly, looks pretty cool.
A similar but more straightforwardly user-driven site is Grailed. The name is a reference to the sort of rare, sought-after items you might conceivably quest for, and the products currently on offer are a very broad mix of obscure designers and much more accessible stuff. The site allows you to filter items displayed by designer, size, etc., in an intuitive way, making it easy to narrow down the selection to what you’re interested in. Grailed uses Paypal and expects buyers or sellers to resolve any issues through Paypal’s buyer and seller protection policies; for now, the site is not charging users any sort of fee. As its user base broadens, it will be interesting to see how Grailed’s stock changes. Anecdotally, I saw quite a few items on Grailed that are also listed on forums and eBay.
Bureau of Trade
Bureau of Trade has built an attractive, Monocle-y looking, humor-laced site around, essentially, aggregating interesting eBay listings. They list more than clothes, branching into cars, art objects, and puppies. It’s fun to browse but truthfully I already know a good place for eBay finds.
“I would love everybody to be able to buy beautiful bespoke clothes, believe me. But that’s just not realistic. These posts on here often going on about full canvas this and that, just put undue pressure on young people on StyleForum with its young demographic. I remember being 19 looking at GQ and it had an article about things you need to be a man, one of them was a suit that’s made for you bespoke. At the time I was sort of like ‘whoa really?’ It’s the male equivalent of thigh gap.”— Bespoke tailor David Reeves
Where to Shop in San Francisco
Earlier this year, StyleForum asked if I could put together a “menswear shopping map” for San Francisco. That is, all the places that sell men’s clothing, from small boutiques to vintage stores to even custom clothiers. The map just got put up, and it includes the eighty-five places that I know of. Yes, eighty-five. Enough to keep you busy for any trip to this great city. You can view the database and map here.
StyleForum Trunk Show Sales
There was a StyleForum trunk show today for some of StyleForum’s affiliate vendors, and it’ll be happening again tomorrow from 12 noon until 7pm. From photos posted of today’s event, it looks like there was a great showcase of men’s clothing, footwear, and accessories, as well as some seriously delicious looking food and drinks. Readers located in New York City can catch tomorrow’s event at the second floor of the Third Streaming Gallery, located at 10 Greene Street.
For people who can’t attend, there are two sales right now associated with the trunk show, which can be taken advantage of online.
- The first one is from The Hanger Project, who is offering a 15% discount plus free shipping on any order over $75. Just use the code TRUNKSHOW at checkout.
- The second is from No Man Walks Alone, who is offering a 25% discount on all Alfred Sargent footwear, Cantarelli sport coats, Esemplare outerwear, and Scott & Charters cashmere and lambswool sweaters. Use the discount code TRUNKSHOW1113 at checkout.
Both codes expire tomorrow at 7pm EST (when the trunk show ends).
You Might Just Be an iGent
"iGent’ (short for Internet Gentleman) is a derogatory term for a certain kind of poster on men’s clothing forums (mainly StyleForum, but much talked about elsewhere too). Although the character type is very specific, the general personality is not. Our friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans recently wrote a funny piece at A Suitable Wardrobe about how you can tell if you’re an iGent. A sampling:
- If your new Alan Flusser book is sitting on top of your old Alan Flusser book;
- If you get all dressed up with nowhere to go but online;
- If you look for jobs that are business formal;
- If you have to decide between your Brigg or your Smith when it rains… and you post your dramatic decision online;
- If you pay $10 an issue for a magazine without people committing lewd acts inside it;
- If you buy magazines about shoes and clothing in languages you can’t read;
- If your suit would have cost more than your car if you hadn’t bought it on 95% clearance;
- If you ask strangers to look at clothed pictures of you on the Internet;
- If you ask other men to post selfies from the men’s room and are not a conservative politician;
- If you know where the outlet centers are in countries you have never visited;
- If you have ever used the words “suitings” or “shirtings,” (even correctly);
- And if you laughed at these… you just might be an iGent.
Read the full post here.
Three Events in New York
I love the Bay Area with all my heart, but sometimes, on very rare occasions, I wish I was in New York. Like this week, when these three events are happening:
- Nov 14th-16h, Meermin Trunk Show: Meermin is holding a trunk show from November 14th until the 16th. The location will be at 481 Broadway (cross street Broome) in Soho, with opening from 10am until 6pm each day. At the event, you’ll be try on different sizes and lasts, so you can become familiar with Meermin’s range; buy samples of newly released styles (including some that were exclusively produced for the show); and check out samples of previous made-to-order shoes, in case you’re interested in trying out their customization program.
- Nov. 15th, Gentlemen’s Vintage Show: Additionally, the Gentlemen’s Vintage Show will be happening on November 15th, from noon until 7pm, at 110 West 19th Street. Many of the big names in vintage menswear will be present, including Heller’s Cafe, Strongarm Clothing & Supply, and Peter Schubert. Expect everything from rare vintage denim to hand tailored suits. Admissions is $15 at the door, and $10 online. You can get more information at Manhattan Vintage.
- Nov 16th-17th, StyleForum Trunk Show: Lastly, StyleForum will be holding a trunk show for some of their affiliate vendors, including No Man Walks Alone, Kent Wang, The Hanger Project, Yellow Hook Neckties, JP Marcellino, Franco Ercole, and more. Stop by to see some really great clothing, shoes, and accessories. While you’re there, you can have a drink, eat some food, and meet some really nice people. The event will be taking place on November 16th and 17th (Saturday and Sunday), from 12 pm until 7pm, at the Third Streaming Gallery (located at 10 Greene Street, on the second floor).
Q & Answer: Can Leather Jackets be Altered?
Jeff asks: I’ve been trying to find a leather jacket, but all the ones I’ve come across are too big in the body. Do you know if these can be altered like a sport coat, and if so, is it generally considered a safe process?
Yes, but it depends. Like with suit jackets and sport coats, you should try to make sure your leather jacket fits you well across the shoulders and chest, and that the armholes are high enough. It’s not that these parts can’t be altered; it’s that the alteration can be expensive and risky. Things such as bringing in the body and shortening the sleeves, however, are much easier.
That said, a lot depends on the specific leather jacket you have. Details such as ribbing, zippers, and pockets can get in the way of certain alterations. If the jacket has a very unique lining or insulation system, or if the panels were cut in a strange way, these can cause other complications. Whether it’s possible to get something done really depends on the jacket at hand.
Whatever you do, make sure you go to someone who has a lot of experience working with leather jackets. One of the problems with these alterations is that you sometimes need special machinery. Cowhide and horsehide, as mentioned yesterday, are very, very thick, so you need special equipment to sew through them. And if a tailor ever messes up, undoing a seam can reveal some ugly holes, so mistakes are costly. To find someone good, you might want to call places that sell really nice jackets - be that a fashion boutique or a place that specializes in motorcycle leathers - and see if they have any recommendations. There are also some good recommendations in StyleForum’s archives.
If in the end, should your leather jacket get ruined, take comfort in knowing your can chop off the sleeves and turn your jacket into a leather vest, then ride around town with it shirtless. The body might still not fit well, but I’m pretty sure nobody will say anything to your face.
The Occasional Henley
So lately, I’ve been wearing this outfit pretty often on weekends – a white t-shirt, brown leather jacket, pair of raw jeans, and either sneakers or brown leather boots. It’s an incredibly simple thing to put together and requires very little maintenance. No ironing, no dry cleaning, and no worrying if I’ll stain my t-shirts (as they’re quite cheap to replace).
Wearing the same thing often can be a bit boring though, so sometimes I’ve been swapping out the white t-shirt for a henley. Henleys are pullover shirts with rounded collars and short, buttoned plackets at the front. In the mid-century, they were sometimes know as Wallace Beery because of their association with the 20th-century actor, who was sometimes seen wearing the style on-screen. Some men understandably feel that henleys look too much like long underwear, while others who are old enough to remember the 1990s might think they’re a bit too “Eddie Bauer.” However, if worn with the right kind of clothes, I think they can look pretty good. I wear mine with jeans and leather jackets, but in the photos above, you can see Fok from StyleForum wearing his alone, and Brett from Viberg Boots wearing one underneath a cardigan.
You can find henleys at any number of places. Wings + Horns, RRL, Archival Clothing, Schiesser Revival, and Reigning Champ make them almost every season. Certain stores, such as Blue in Green, Unionmade, and Cultizm also have wide selections, and now that J Crew carries Homespun Knitwear, there should be a decent version in almost every American mall. Additionally, folks looking for a deal might want to visit Bench & Loom. They have a ton of great stuff on clearance right now (though not everything is listed in their sale section, so you’ll want to click around). Included are some henleys starting at $56.
Mine are designed by Nigel Cabourn and made by Merz b. Schwanen. They have some vintage-reproduction detailing that I really like, but this particular model is hard to find nowadays (it’s from an old season). Retail is expensive, but like with everything, if you wait for the right sale or scour eBay, you can pick one up for a fraction of the price (I paid about $100-125 for mine). Merz b. Schwanen also makes a wide range of henleys that they’ve designed (here’s one on sale).
I admit, I don’t wear my henleys often, but it’s nice to have a little variety in the dresser drawer when I want to (slightly) deviate from my weekend uniform.