1. Kickstart the Hudson River Watch Co.

    Watches are like ties, they are personal and everyone has their own taste about what works and what does not. However, unlike ties, watches get expensive quickly. Putting a lot well made and decent looking watches out of the price range of most men. 

    Wait, I’m sure there is a Kickstarter for something like this: well made, nice looking, affordable watches. And there is.

    Enter Hudson River Watch Co. as your quality alternative to scouring eBay for a Chinese knockoff of a watch you have always wanted. These pieces have swiss moments, scratch resistant faces, and are water resistant up to 150 feet. All the watches are going to retal for $300, but you can get them now for $225, which is a steal. Inspired and named after the street of NYC, Hudson River Watch Co. is a welcomed affordable shake up to the market of menswear watches.

    Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Cranberry, but there are 8 other models if you want to branch out.

    And, if you’re feeling generous you can toss these kids some money to get  the business of the ground.

    I see good things for watches - and companies - like these.

     

  2. Is $4,920 too much to pay for a cashmere blanket? Probably not. After it is stitched, the gods descend from Mt. Olympus and bless the blanket with an uncanny ability to warm and comfort its wearer. Definitely worth your mortgage payment for the month.  

     


  3. Sigh, Aldo..

    I’ve been really hating on Aldo for the past few weeks. Every time I walk by the store I want to reach out and grab the people in there and scream, ‘Don’t buy these shoes! Save up an extra $100 a buy a pair of shoes that will last more than 36 hours!”

    The trend of use and toss fashion is nothing new, with H&M and Zara leading the pack. But, those companies don’t portray themselves as bastions of quality. They bring out their lines knowing full well they will be replaced in a few months. Aldo, however, tries to pass off their shoes as trendy durable shoes. They are not. 

    The Aldo epidemic is spreading across the nation, and it needs to be stopped. Only YOU can prevent people from shopping there and spending their money on quality footwear.

    Reasons why Aldo is not worth your time or money

    • Not durable. They are the spoiled rich kid of shoes. They look nice now, but can’t stand up to life.
    • They look ugly. Aldo takes classic deigns and makes them look modern. Because two monk straps is not enough, they also need tassels and glued soles.
    • Horrible employee polices. Google it. It goes on forever.
    • Aldo the cheap sweatshop toy version of the shoes you want. Buy quality.
    • Remember the hot girl in high school who was dead inside? Yeah she is the Aldo of people.

    Reasonable alternatives in the same price range include: Clarks, Lands End, LL Bean, Allen Edmonds (eBay), and Herring (during sale season)

    /rant

     


  4. MMMMmmmm Mocha DB

    I have been following Common People Clothing since last season, as I was stuck by how versatile their pieces looked. When asked about what to buy by readers of SMS, I always push for versatility over style. Designer velvet smoking jackets don’t stack up in the real world of day to day wear.  Some clothes are meant to be worn, and others are meant to be worn outside the house,  and Common People is the latter. Don’t be afraid to get this stuff dirty or wear it on a date, because these are the clothes that will stand up to time and use in your collection. With exceptional quality and timeless patterns, Common People is worth your dollar.

    image

    Common People’s S/S13 collection had some choice pieces I wanted to check out, but none more than the mocha double blazer. This piece is delicious: a light (but not too light) shade, unlined to fit a sweater underneath, and contrast buttons. Spring usually brings warmer days but the night are still cold, and the double breast will do nicely to keep up layering with the option to cool off. The darker colour contrats against the usually bright(er) colours the new season brings, and more importantly you will be rocking a double blaser when the other guy is still fiddling with his snowboard coat. It gives a little bit of class when the season usually delivers a casual attitude to menswear.

    I am seriously impartial to everything that has to do with double blazers, so to bipass my bias check out the more of Common People’s S/S13 with a video teaser here. You won’t be disappointed

     


  5. Leather Nato Strap

    I’ve been using a leather nato strap for the past few months, and it has been a greater asset to my overall style than the canvas straps I use for summer.

    While the canvas straps add colour to my outfits, they eventually become dirty from all the wear and tear, and I need to wash them. Not a major sticking point, but one none the less.

    My leather strap (acquired on eBay for $15) heavily benefits from prolonged use. The everyday use is creating a fine patina, with the dark rubbings of age around the outside of the strap. It’s a beautiful thing to witness evolve over the life of the strap.

    I would, however, up the quality of my strap next time I purchased one. Enter Panerai by DaLuca, which has all the leather straps you’ll need for a lifetime. A bit pricy, but they last.

    When buying leather goods, you go big or go home. Just as you will become disenfranchised by the quality of lesser shoes, as the real leather ones will stand the test of time, the same is true for wallets and watch straps. It will hurt when you buy it, but it will only hurt once. 

     

  6. The outfit: blue. It’s the suede shoes, cuffed pants, dotted scarf, 3/4 overcoat, and boss tie; the monochromatic style works. Menswear has been getting increasingly flashy, increasingly loud, so it is good to see the basics done as they only should be done, easily.

    The one accent point on this man is the hat, and matches the heels on the shoes. Not a coincidence it would seem.  

    Shoes (Alden)

    Pants (P. Johnson) Come on, go custom.

    Scarf (Drakes)

    (via sickstyle)

     

  7. My friend came back from India earlier this year, and brought with her a beautiful three layer silk cotton scarf. The scarf is made from three separate sheets of fabric. They have all been stitched on the same seem allowing the scarf to be folded over itself to create various layering styles. For a scarf bought on the streets of Dharamsala, this scarf has some serious potential in the western hemisphere.   

     


  8. I have been trying to write an article like this for ages, but I have never had a sample large enough.

    Valet Magazine comes through large.

    Big take away: being well dressed gets you laid. Why? Because it shows you actually put in some effort.

    Also, bow-ties are finally endorsed north of the Mason-Dixon line and by someone other than Churchill. 

     


  9. The Economics of Menswear

    My past time (#menswear) overlaps with my profession (economics) from time to time. Not in the sense that I maximize my content or optimize reposts, but the act, the virtual act, of blogging becomes in itself marketable product. 

    Tumblr, and to a greater extent any type of blogging, is a virtual replication of a market. Blogging about clothes creates a virtual product (a post) from a physical product (the actual product) on a virtual market (tumblr). You put your posts and updates out for people to consume, and the cream rises to the top. People like what you have to say, you get more followers; if they don’t you, wallow in obscurity until you release a sex tape. 

    Don’t bitch about other people’s followers or better posts, the menswear scene is indifferent to your struggles.

    Don’t complain, up your game.

    Because the internet is an open market with low barriers to entry and perfect access - but not necessary consumption of - information, the market is essentially efficient. While not monopolistic, it can appear that some bloggers have more sway over the market than other. Warranted or not, some do.

    But there in lays the rub. If it is an efficient market but market power is partially concentrated, how do you gain market power?

    Post from my blog, will garner 60 reblogs on a good day. The kings of the market (LAS, Novh, Liam, Nikko) command a much greater audience and can therefore spread their ideas easily. So that begs the question, how do expand your reach.

    I have (while others may not) a full time job and professional qualifications to study for, my time to follow designers, other bloggers, and general menswear updates, is restricted. I physically cannot pine over posts and posts and posts, trying to get the next best thing up first. Someone is going to get there before me. Therefore, I need to find ways to push my goods, more effectively. 

    This is where gains from trade comes into play. My site is a jack-of-all-master-of-none. I don’t stick to one type of style, but spread myself over a variety of topics to extend market reach. I can’t be the first, but I can dip my hand into a variety of menswear topics. Write a little. Post some songs. Take some pictures. And this is the same with other sites, they excel in some aspects and not in others. By leveraging strengths through trade, each can mutually benefit colluding. But, back to that in a moment.

    Breaking into this market requires: 1) a radical new product 2) exploiting a niche or 3) using existing supply chains to promote your idea. But if you play by the rules, you’ll wallow in mediocrity. So what is the right play?

    Start a menswear cartel. Gather a group of like minded blogs, and promote each other. All the time. Everyday.

    You want menswear photography? Go to this blog. Insights with a little philosophy? This one. Rick Ross and Todd Snyder? Done. Put all the blogs on a list, and when questions arrise point to the list.

    Become an authority through referrals. 

    And, unlike an actual cartel, there is little incentive to defect. Each blog gains notoriety and access to each other’s markets, greatly expanding each other’s voice. As long as the content is original (or close to) it creates the perception of superiority, an assumed understanding of the market and its products. Monopoly power is not required, but instead created. And in turn, so is credibility about the subject matter. 

    Unfortunately, a menswear cartel does not have a monopoly on content, so without original posts, consumers quickly go to other sources and the cartel’s credibility is lost. This aspect is similar to any market. New content in a cartel has to connect with the other members; it must be a reenforcing act. It creates a closed circle of referrals and internally generated content, allowing other user to peer but not participate.

    Therefore, key to cartel survival is: content, credibility, and mutual promotion. And, Rick Ross.

    But if all else fails, just follow these instructions.

    So, who is down to start the OPEC of menswear? Dictator suits available on request.

     


  10. The Uncanny Valley

    As humans create more realistic and lifelike robots, there is a point where the subtle imperfections make the robots look, unsightly. Just watch The Polar Express.

    This is referred to as the uncanny valley (bukimi no tani - 不気味の谷) , coined by Masahiro Mori in an attempt to describe the hurdles robot designers create for themselves as they, create. As the designers pine for a more perfect replica, every step forward which does not achieve perfection is an insult to the human eye; it knows something is wrong with the creation.

    But when the valley is crossed and humans create their equal, does that mean we are one step closer to being our creator? What does that say about us as a species if we can replicate our bodies? What will it say about us when we can replicate our minds, and finally our souls? 

    The valley really a chasm, both deep and wide. It and speaks to our core humanity, and what might mean (if it does so happen) when we shift from being the created to the creator; when we cross 不気味の谷. 

     


  11. F/W2012 Kit

    I have received a few requests for a full F/W2012 kit.

    Here goes it.

    1. Blazer

    2. Shirt

    3. Sweater

    4. Pants

    5. Boots

    5.5 Other Boots

    6. Bag

    7. Tie 

    8. Socks

    9. Scarf 

    10. Square 

    11. Jacket

    12. Weekend Date

    13. After Dinner

     


  12. 20 Years of Tarantino Style

    This guy was ahead of his time.

    Not only are his movies boss - except for Jackie Brown; we all make mistakes - but the style is sharp.

    Fucking Hattori Hanzo sharp.

    Looking back on the last 20 years of Tarantino, he has influenced more than the way movies are made. He has been subtly influencing the way men dress.

    Don’t believe me? Just take a look.

    Black Suit of Armour (Every movie he has made)

    The centre piece of a man’s wardrobe. I don’t champion the black suit for work, because it looks dull and uninspired. But for the time outside the office, the black suit is part of your championship game. In an urban setting, you will never feel out of place in a black suit. Collection after collection of characters in Tarantino’s movies draw part of their power from such a dark suit. (The clear exception to this is the Bride, in the Yellow Biker Suit.)  The clear take away from this trend is if you’re going to be part of a criminal organization your need to order a slim black suit. And if you stuck in a 9 - 5 job, make them think you’re part of a criminal organization so they stick the other guy with work for the weekend.

    Clubmasters (Reservoir Dogs, 1992)

    Point Tarantino. These glasses have been making the rounds for years, coming in and out of fashion. From Mr. Ripley to Malcolm X to JFK, these glasses peaked in the 60s and and recently been floating around the pages of GQ. But, toss it up to Tarantino to showcasing these glasses during a Tim Roth kill shot in Reservoir Dogs. Deadly.

    Skinny ties (Reservoir Dogs, 1992 and Pulp Fiction, 1994)

    Bringing back the skinny tie 15 years too soon. Yeah, they promo’d the tie in Reservoir Dog, but Jules and Vincent showcased them. These guys were immaculate, in speech and dress. It is probably the dialogue that puts this duo ahead of the Reservoir crew. Before Jules and Vincent, skinny ties were a relic of your grandfather and Buddy Holly albums. Now you can rep these ties anywhere, shootout to sporting event. I would credit slim ties as an affordable game changer for any man. You can go through airport customs without having to show ID with a tie like this.

    Samurai Sword (Pulp Fiction, 1994, Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2003, and Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2004)

    Given the opportunity, I would have a samurai sword hanging over my fireplace. It gives a certain, this is my home this is my castle, feel to anyone who would walk into my apartment.  Stringer Bell had the same idea. Fuck it. I would wear it around the office, holding it up while presenting TPS reports and during my quarterly review sessions. You want the ultimate men’s wear accessory, get a samurai sword. An often overlooked piece, the samurai sword works in formal and informal settings, tea ceremonies to dungeon crawling.  See if you cop any trouble matching your pocket square to the hilt of your sword, or if anyone calls you out on that. Just try it.

    Suspenders (Inglorious Basterds, 2009)

    I don’t know anyone, including myself, who wears suspenders because they need their pants held up. They wear them because it conveys authority. When the Bear Jew emerges from his cave to paint his bat with Nazi blood, it would have not have been as effective if he was just in the white tank. Who was the last dominant man to wear suspenders before this? Gordon. Suspenders are never really in style or out, they are just there. But, as keen observer of the human condition, Tarantino observed this was the necessary piece to show a man was not to be fucked with. Up your game with some Trafalgars.

    The overall theme of Tarantino’s style is dominance. The characters don’t need the clothes to covey their power over others (as seen with Jules and Vincent wearing Jimmie’s spare clothes) but it heavily accentuates it. The distinctive cinematography is reflected by the way the characters dress: it is carefully planned reckless destruction. He makes the chaos look like an afterthought of a perfectly planned play. The clothes don’t make the character, they make the scene of the film. And that is good style, for it complements the surroundings while captivating your attention.

    Like I said, this guy was ahead of his time.

    So, all you need to be the BAMF in the room is: a slim black suit, skinny tie, suspenders, with a samurai sword in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. Done.

    Also, check this out.

     


  13. Keeping you warm this autumn with Berg & Berg from Opumo.com

    Berg & Berg is of one the designers I’ve been following since their inception in 2009. Founded by Karen & Matthias Berg, the brand focus on strikingly gorgeous yet simple men’s accessories. B&B keeps has its pieces pointed towards a traditional European feel; a timeless high quality that works with jeans to slacks to suits.

    I kept going back to B&B because they always have a scarf or tie or pocket square I had been looking for, and then they had another one, and another one. To be honest, one of the main reasons I kept going back was everyone kept asking me where I got piece after piece. If I was buying stuff the girly liked and she did not pick it out, I was doing something right.

    B&B has hit that sweet trifecta for menswear: high quality, (relatively) affordable, and crispy designs. Can’t say that about many designers. 

    The materials come primarily from boutique suppliers in Italy and Scotland, ensuring a boutique, hand made feel. Additionally, as a lesser known brand you are almost guaranteed not to run into someone who has the same kit as you do.

    The place to get B&B this season is Opumo.com. With a range of gear available for less than on the B&B site, Opumo is where you want to be shopping in F/W2012.

    Setting out this Autumn you’re going to need a well made kit for the colder weather. If you’re not living in an area that will be blanketed with meters of snow and sleet, layering is key. Layering is always a pain: sometimes you’re too warm, sometimes too cold, and if your gear is not made well none of it is going to work. You end up as a itchy/sweaty mess hating winter for the next rest of your life.

    Solution? The B&B stuff from Opumo.com

    Here is kit you should put together:

    1. Scarf.

    I like big scarfs. Ever since my days in Toronto I’ve relied on scarves to protect me from the elements. My nana made me a double lined tubular scarf for Christmas a few years back, and it’s perfect for F/W. But, for those who don’t have overly crafty grandmother the B&B navy green white tartan will do (almost) as well at my granny’s work. I’ve found the B&B scarves are light and breathable, while still keeping me warm while walking around town. And, if the tartan is not to your liking you might want to check out the other options here and here.

    2. Socks.

    There has been a lot of talk about men’s socks recently. I’m a big advocator of loud socks, but in the winter months socks get stuffed away in heavy boots, ending up more hassle than they are worth. Stay away from full wool socks, your feet with thank you. It is best to have a wool blend so your feet can breath but still stay warm. The B&B heavy blue socks made in Spirano ( a small village in Northern Italy) are just that. Look, it gets cold up there in the mountins, so these people know what needs to go into a sock to keep you warm during the winter months. This may or may not be true, but I’ve been told if these craftsmen make lesser quality socks, they are forced to move to another village. Just saying.

    3. Tie.

    Most people will ditch the tie during the winter months, opting instead for the scarf. I personally prefer both. Ditch the silk and cotton ties (reserve those for the spring and summer) and try a wool cashmere blend. Underneath a dark peacoat and against a white shirt, the B&B grey wool birdseye tie stands out. I have two versions of this tie, one from B&B and another from JCrew, and former outperforms every time: the texture, the knot dimple, the piece of mind it gives me; this B&B tie is shamelessly endorsed by singlemaltscotch. It is best to use the scarf you have on to frame the tie, or use the patterns of either to make the other piece stand out.

    4. Gloves.

    Look, they are not B&B but you’re going to need some mitts for the next few months. This time around ditch the black leather gloves. I personally like gloves with the fingers chopped off so I can use my phone, but these do trick just as well. The ends of these wool gloves are treated with silver, turning the tips of your gloves into a conductive instrument. This keeps your hands warm in the winter while you are still able to text away. After years taking off/putting on/taking off/putting on leather gloves to use my old iPhone 3, I’m never going back after owning a pair of gloves that do not allow me to text in the winter.

    Look, you can deck your kit out with whatever you want but these are the basics you should consider. Once you have these down, you can build up from there.

    Also, a red wool pocket square can’t hurt.

    Opumno Men’s Accessories

    Opumo.com

    +44 (0) 207 262 3606

     


  14. How to get girls as a menswear blogger, in 10 easy steps

    Chicks dig menswear bloggers. From the double monks to bean boots to ROTM references, they can’t get enough.

    But, if your ask box is not bursting with messages from all the single ladies asking for the dates, than you’re doing it all wrong bro. You need to retool your blog’s content.

    Here are some tips

    1. Get female bloggers to do guest posts on your site. Shows you have a sensitive side brah.

    2. Include words like cop, swag, peasants, crispy, stunt, fat stacks, honies, throngs, #dead, selvedge, madras, and beast. A hefty lexicons show good menswear genes.

    3. Post a note saying, “Swag is for boys, and class is for men.” See the previous note.

    4. All girls love Kanye West, but cut the hip-hop and post some classic music from Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Any music pre Beatles is appropriate for those intimate late night blogging sessions.

    5. Don’t philosophize, but when you do make it so obscure it is relevant. Well dressed and deep? You’re a lock.

    6. Occasionally show pictures of you as a child dressed in a suit; old family weddings work best. You get the ‘Awwww’ factor, which is perfect prep for meeting her mother.  

    7. Post yourself in a bowtie or full beard once a year. Just to mix things up.

    8. Wear distressed/well worn/DIY clothes all the time. It makes you look rugged and lived in; not afraid to do work around the house.

    9. Take photos where your face is covered. You’ll look more mysterious. Don’t post photos of you smiling. You’ll look too accessible.

    10. This photo.

     


  15. Gap x GQ = slim cargos I’ll wear

    I have not shopped at the Gap for years. I had a falling out with them back in 2005 when a pair of their slacks died on me after only 2 months. I kept loyal with Banana Republic for the next few seasons, but they also fell out of favour as JCrew and Club Monaco slowly upped their game. I have watched over the years as the style at BR evolved into the standard Sunday School uniform. I swear Rick Santorum buys all of his sweater vests there.

    Your girlfriend wants to get you new clothes so you can meet her parents? She is shopping at BR.

    Don’t forget the Lands End polo.

    The Gap Inc. collection of stores has chosen, poorly, over the last few years. But the Gap x GQ collaboration brought me back, at least for one purchase. 

    Granted the stuff produced by the Gap collaboration won’t have the same superior quality as buying directly from Ovadia & Sons or Mark McNairy but the fit and style are still there, at least a cursory glance.

    Admittedly I have been slow to get onto the slim cargo bandwagon. I keep having flashbacks to my high school years where I swaggered around in oversized, baggy olive cargos. Not only did they sag well below my ass but they were 6 inches too long, making it especially difficult to walk around in a wet Vancouver winter as I would drag the soggy ends of my pants wherever I went.

    I was young, I made mistakes. Where were the menswear illuminati when I needed them most?

    The Gap x GQ x Todd Snyder cargos have assuaged my previous fears about cargo pants. They have a perfect fit; it feels as if they were tailored for me.

    Look, I have big thighs (I played rugby for years and still hit the gym regularly) so anything slim/skinny looks way to small on me, but not these cargos. They fit perfectly around the waste and hang just at my ankle. The pockets on the sides and front are easy to unbutton and slip gloves/wallet/scarf/darts into, as I am want to do. The ends of the pants have buttons on the side, about 6 inches up, so you can roll up and firmly secure the pants to show off your socks.  Not a feature I’ll be using, but I guess the option is there.

    Overall, Gap actually delivered on a serious pair of cargos. Not close to grail status, but worth a try on.

    On another note, the wool cargos by Ovadia & Sons were a huge let down. I went to the Gap specifically to get these, and on further inspection they wore as a pair of unstructured wool sweatpants. They pair better with a t-shirt than a blazer or anything else more formal.

    Overall the Gap x GQ promotion was good, more like menswear designer lite. Good if you can find something to fit your style, but don’t expect big things.