Archive - November, 2007

Woolly Patch

J. Crew wool patchwork sneakers

For a few seasons now, J. Crew has been offering fun twists on the classic Jack Purcell sneaker, such as replacing the canvas with madras or seersucker.  Izzy is particularly fond of this wool patchwork model, which is perfect for autumnal lounging around.

Stag Gift

Paul Smith nude lady wallet

In a famous episode of Seinfeld, George fantasizes about the “trifecta,” in which he combines his three favorite things: having sex while watching TV and eating food. Along the same lines, this wallet from Paul Smith, insofar as it features a Vargas-esque pin-up holding a soccer ball, could be called the European bifecta. But is it tasteful? Well, you can’t spell “high class” without a-s-s.

Are You Ready for Your Close-Up?

anti-social mugshot t-shirt

The Smoking Gun is featuring a slideshow of some of the all-too-appropriate t-shirts worn in mugshots.  It leads Izzy to believe that anti-social attire does in fact correlate with anti-social behavior.

Jingle Shoes

Converse Christmas All-Stars

Complete with bells (but no whistles), these vintage Converse All-Stars are the ultimate in Christmas footwear.  And like a degenerate elf, they’re  guaranteed to annoy everyone in their vicinity.

Pre-Gifting

Thanksgiving is here, which means that the collective madness known as holiday shopping has already begun. In no particular order, here are some gift ideas for inspiration. Of course, it’s the thought that counts, but some thoughts are more valuable and stylish than others.

Up first, some simple, classic Brooks Brothers ties.

Brooks Brothers bar stripe tieBrooks Brothers silk repp dot tie

On the formal bow tie front, there’s nothing blacker than velvet, which isn’t seen much nowadays.

Thomas Pink velvet bow tie

And for a change from the usual cufflinks, how about silk knots, which, unlike ordinary cufflinks, are never stuffy? They’re so inexpensive that you can collect them in every color. Also, they’re easy to put on, even if you don’t have a manservant.

Thomas Pink woven silk cuff knots

Another interesting alternative are these woven cufflinks from Thomas Pink, which have a delightful feel.

Thomas Pink woven cufflinks

Speaking of formal wear, it might be worth experimenting with these Frenchback boxers, which look like just the thing to wear under white tie and tails. They’re perhaps the only undergarments that deserve to be starched.

Brooks Brothers Frenchback boxer

Not exactly the tallest man in the world, Izzy, like Tom Cruise, is a sucker for dressy boots.

Peal & Co. Chelsea bootsPeal & Co. wingtip Chelsea boots

And as for boots that will keep your feet warm and dry on an Arctic expedition or merely a schlep to the mailbox, Sorel is one of the brands to count on. The company was founded in Canada, after all.
Sorel Mounty II boots

These are totally off-season, Izzy knows, but why where white bucks when you can wear white buck wingstips?

Peal & Co. white buck wingtips

For that special someone who thinks he has everything, surprise him with this Brooks Brothers sportcoat made from “Coarsehair,” a custom Loro Piana blend of cashmere and goat hair.

Brooks Brothers Coarsehair sportcoat

Happy hunting.

Another great gift idea is getting the latest 4g phones as a gift, where you can find some great discounts.

Digital Control

Orvis trigger finger gloves

Suppose it’s freezing out, and you need to fiddle with your iPod.  Maybe, heaven forfend, you put Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” on infinite repeat, to your severe regret. Taking off your gloves can be cumbersome, not to say painful.  But these trigger finger gloves from Orvis, the outdoors outfitter, might just be the solution.  Each glove even has small magnets to hold its index finger out of the way.  And even if you don’t have an iPod (or a hunting rifle), it’s often useful to have a free digit.

Use Your Delusion

Delusions of Grandeur shirt and tie

As this shirt from Delusions of Grandeur demonstrates, once-archaic club collars are slowly making a comeback—though unlike in the early twentieth century, they’re typically being worn unstarched and unpinned.  Izzy recommends donning them with odd jackets or tweed or flannel suits.  Also, they should generally be paired with narrow ties (the one in the photo is too fat). 

No fuddy-duddy he, Izzy must admit that he actually kind of likes the racing stripes on the shirt’s cuffs.  The sloppily low-slung trousers, on the other hand…

Note, by the way, how the model’s cigarette is all that is needed to express a devil-may-care attitude.  We’ve come a long way from heroin chic.

Button Panic

Akon with too many buttons

Hip-hop star Akon’s overcoat has so many tightly-grouped buttons that it’s a risk-factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.  But if buttons are the new bling (they are so un-Amish), Izzy will happily tolerate the trade-off.

Imperial Service

Sam's Tailor with Tony Blair

During a 24-hour stopover in Hong Kong, Tony Blair was able to have two suits, four jackets, and a dozen shirts made. Such a seemingly impossible feat was made possible by 55 tailors working through the night.  Very colonial, that.

My Country, Wrong and Wrong

Kenny Chesny in sateen

Ain’t nothin’ like a blousey “sateen” shirt with narrow-waisted pleated trousers.  If this is how the Heartland of America dresses, Izzy is sticking to the Brainland.

Yellow Peril

JC Penny terrycloth hell

Francesca has drawn Izzy’s attention to a series of mind-boggling pages from J. C. Penny’s 1977 catalog.  He doesn’t quite know whether she deserves to be thanked or cursed.  Either way, it helped to confirm Izzy’s speculation that the seventies ruined the color yellow forever.  Also, why the heck is it ambiguous as to whose hand in the gentleman’s pocket?  It’s not as if J. C. Penny has ever aimed for the Bert and Ernie demographic.

Sieg Wale!

Corduroy Appreciation Club membership cardCorduroy Appreciation Club membership card - reverse

As promised, Izzy attended the Corduroy Appreciation Club’s 11|11 meeting yesterday in Brooklyn, and is delighted to report that he had an excellent time. The secret rites lived up to their reputation, the corduroy-themed foods were crunchy, and the crowd was simply drop-dead cord-geous. (Apologies…) Izzy had never seen so much ridged fustian in one place in his entire life. These people take their silliness extremely seriously.

Izzy was surprised to discover that there was an open bar (which, he imagines, would serve anything but a velvet hammer—that textile is anathema to the Club, which derides it as the fabric of Leprechauns), thanks to the sponsorship of the naturally supple people at Cotton Inc. (“The Fabric of Our Lives,” etc.), though Izzy couldn’t help remembering that corduroy can in fact be made from wool or cashmere, however rare that may be. (Random aside: Izzy doesn’t want to encourage any conspiracy theories, but doesn’t Cotton’s logo eerily resemble a mushroom cloud?)

Never one do things by halves, every visible item Izzy wore, except for his socks, was corduroy: a brown medium-wale sportcoat, an indigo pin-wale shirt, blue and green medium-wale Converse All-Stars, and outrageously pink medium-wale trousers (pictured in the background above). Izzy thought that the latter would be the piece de resistance, but he was, alas, one-upped by a gentleman in an entirely pink corduroy suit. Izzy consoled himself considering that although that gentleman may have won the day (and also the best-dressed prize), his suit was made in Vietnam (where the labor is cheap, and so is the workmanship), whereas Izzy’s trousers were made with the utmost care in Italy, and hence should last a lifetime. Also, while Izzy may have appeared to be merely ridiculous, that gentleman looked like the Pink Panther.

Among the best parts of the evening was the hilarious, arch homage to corduroy delivered by Lord Whimsy, who excels at mock erudition. Izzy even had the pleasure of (briefly) meeting him, as well as with Duncan Quinn, a rock-star haberdasher who was by far the sharpest-dressed gentleman in the room.

But of all the highlights, Izzy’s favorite was when he received his membership card, which is comfortingly backed with brown corduroy. All in all, the event deserves a hearty “Zip, Zip, Hooray.”

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