I hope all you Bay Area PTO readers will stop into Wingtip on Wednesday. We’ll have a couple hundred handmade pocket squares for sale at crazy prices, plus Wingtip will be kicking off their annual sale. Should be a lot of fun, and a great place to spend that Christmas check from grandma. And it’s just a couple blocks from Montgomery BART, in the shade of the Transamerica Pyramid. No guarantee that 80s Willie Brown will be there, but we’d love it if he showed.
If you’re in the Bay Area for the holidays, stop by Wingtip the day after Christmas, say hi to me and my mom (yes, my mom is helping) and pick up a little holiday gift for yourself at our special sale. We’ll be offering hand-made squares at significant discounts, and Wingtip will be kicking off their annual “Risk/Reward” sale. No guarantee that Willie Mays will show up to play stickball, but we’ll see what we can do…
On the podcast Necessary & Sufficient, host Evan Forman sends his guests an envelope containing two index cards, each with a single word. They then open the envelope live on the air. When I appeared on episode 100 of the show, the words were “fashion” and “style.” A discussion followed.
Put This On Season Two: So Far
Above: Episode 4
Below: Episodes 3, 2 and 1
Season 2, Episode 2: PTO Place: Jay Kos
From Put This On Season 2, Episode 2, a profile of New York menswear retailer Jay Kos. Kos is known for mixing traditional style with bold fabrics and colors, and is a favorite of contemporary dandies like Fonzworth Bentley.
“Then I quickly throw on some clothes—the same outfit every day, pretty much. It’s just… I hate shopping because I hate myself and I don’t know what clothes to wear. And I get into an existential crisis when I have to choose clothes because I think “Well who am I, that I would wear this shirt rather than this one.” I’m not proud of that… There was a period about 10 years ago where I would have to get drunk in order to buy clothes.”—
Two of my favorite colleagues!
I just got back from the big public radio conference. Was pitching WTF to stations (I help produce the public radio version… ask for it by name). And I gave Ira a high five, but didn’t get a chance to hang out. Ira’s selling himself short. His one outfit (monochromatic semi-casual) works great for him. Nothing wrong with that.
As an aside: four public radio heroes who go to those conferences and stick up for all that’s right with pubcasting: Ira, Jay Allison, Jad Abumrad and Brooke Gladstone. That’s four kick-ass people right there, and I’m very, very proud to work in their industry.
Dave Hill Visits New York Fashion Week: 2011
“Hi, I’m Dave Hill for Put This On, coming to you from Fashion Week in New York City, a week-long nightmare where people try, and fail, to look as incredible as me.”
As a thank-you for all of the 1,600+ people who backed season two of our show, we sent our correspondent Dave Hill to New York Fashion Week to talk to fashion fans ranging from the exceedingly gracious Bryan Boy to the the exceedingly quiet “Natasha Finkel, Fashionista Feline of the Persian Persuasion.” (Cats can’t talk.)
As always, Dave made some new friends, some new LADY friends, and wowed the world with his dashing style and almost inhuman panache.
“Statistically speaking, we’re standing in the eye of a poon storm.”
I know, I know. Derek just reblogged this picture.
I want to add one more defense of the guy on the left, relative to the guy on the right.
In direct contrast to the guy on the right, the guy on the left doesn’t look like he’s gripped by SERIOUS BALL DISTRESS.
The guy on the left is all, “Well, off to another fashion show.”
The guy on the right is all, “OH MY BALLS MY BALLS OOH OOH OW OW BALLS OH OW OOH.”
The whole system has become completely democratic. Literally anyone who has a £250 Argos computer can start their own blog, and can publish to the world anything and everything from their views on the merits of the double-breasted suit to the size to what they had for breakfast that morning.
The result of this, of course, is that when you open the sluice gates, you let everything in, good and bad. The upside is that we, the readers, get access to almost everything that is happening in the world of menswear. The downside is that we, the readers, get access to almost everything that is happening in the world of menswear.
Outside of menswear, I spend a lot of my time reading about economics and politics, and this issue has been treaded over many times. As one argument goes, before the internet, we had identifiable public intellectuals who had to climb their way up through the ranks - usually academic or journalism ranks - before they could be taken seriously. They had to have rigorous training of some kind, and were held to high professional standards. Nowadays, anyone with a laptop can prattle on about the Middle East conflict or state of the global economy. There is no need to prove yourself to other intellectuals or have newspaper editors check your facts. All you need is an account at Blogspot.
One of the important things to recognize here is that traditional media failed the public long before blogs were even around. The death of the public intellectual happened arguably in the 1980s or 1990s, and that’s just in social commentary; it happened much earlier in the arts. Where we used to have Bertrand Russell and George Orwell, we now have David Brooks and Paul Krugman. Even Maureen Dowd has a column (how I have no idea). I like Brooks and Krugman, but they’re no Russell or Orwell.
Contrast that with blogs, where the conversation is a thousand times richer than what you’d find in most mainstream magazines and newspapers. To be sure, there are still great publications such as The Financial Times, The Economist, and Harpers, but most mainstream publications are pretty devoid of any serious insight. In my opinion, blogs have saved the public discourse on politics and economics.
Bringing this back to menswear, I think it’s the same situation. Outside of some niche Japanese magazines, I find the conversation on the blogosphere to be generally richer than anywhere else. Sure, we bloggers don’t have editors to vet us or people to check our facts. Most of us don’t even get access to trade shows or receive any press releases. But we’re kicking ass.
Long before I started blogging, I was a huge fan of A Continuous Lean, Put This On, Sartorially Inclined, etc. Michael Williams at ACL created a really compelling view of men’s style, Jesse wrote great posts on the basics of how to dress well, and Lawrence at Sartorially Inclined introduced me to more interesting brands each week than I probably got from any magazine in a year. These people were not only posting great content, but given how much stuff was written in a month, it was actually more information about menswear than I would receive in my magazines.
I also think people are pretty good at identifying who’s worth reading. Check out this old post that Jesse made at the beginning of this year. I would bet money that if you looked at the Google Reader stats for any crappy blog, they wouldn’t match up to any of the blogs on Jesse’s list. Though some of my favorite blogs are actually at the bottom of that list, it remains that the people who deserve attention are getting it. My own blog, Die, Workwear!, has had the amazing fortune of growing really well since I’ve started. I’d like to think it’s because I try to write as substantively as I can, and people respond to that.
There’s a theory out there called Condorcet’s theorem. Roughly speaking, it says that if you take a group of people who each have over a 50% chance of being correct, they will as a collective make a better decision than any single person. I’d like to think that this is happening with menswear blogs. Allowing the public to decide which voices are worthy of listening to, instead of just giving that power to one editor, seems to have allowed better content to emerge. This is one instance with rapid democratization has been incredibly successful.