A hurricane is coming and it’s not for the faint footed. The Teva Hurricane XLT sports sandal is to river hopping hiking hippies what the Nike Air Force One was to Basketball players. Teva (pronounced ‘Teh-vah’) have produced a few collaborations with Japanese stores Heather Grey Wall and Oshman’s in some tasty colour ways. Oi Polloi bring them to British shores in some choice combos. These present a breath of fresh air for the toes of progressive clothing enthusiasts ready to move on from their summer Birkies.
Remember fellers: no one wants to see your fucking toes, so please wear these with some upbeat hiking socks for that classic ‘sex tourist’ look. Many thanks to Neu_76 for the heads up on these – first thing I’ve been compelled to present on S&S for a good while.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt compelled to write about anything for a while. I very recently started my own business which has caused the blog to take a bit of a backseat. But when I stumbled across this website the other day, I couldn’t resist a post. Quite simply, this site – Manufactum – is one of the best curated sites I’ve ever clicked upon. With it’s mix of household utility products, toys, luggage, and tightly curated clothing ranges you could liken it to London’s Labour & Wait, but minus the wistful English charm and rugged clunkiness of some of the products. Slowdownjoe could be considered a cooler cousin, but it doesn’t have the depth and range of product that Manufactum offers. Here’s a selection of just a few things that caught my eye on my journey through. I think my Christmas list just quadrupled.
Somewhere between a Tricker’s Keswick,Bourton, and Ilkley, you’ll find the quintessential English country shoe. Tricker’s may not be the veryfinest shoemakers in Northampton (although they’re certainly up there), but they can certainly lay claim to producing the most iconic English brogued Derby shoe and boot. The super round toe of the 4444 last, the overly heavy graphic broguing of the wingtips, the chunkiness of storm welted soles, and the iconic colours of C-Shade, Acorn, and Marron Antique: these all add up to a shape, colour, and style that many produce, but none quite match for the overall feel of sturdiness and robustness that the Tricker’s option offers.
The pair photographed here belong to the man who first introduced me to Tricker’s – my Dad – and were a 70th birthday gift to him from my Mum, Wife and myself. He chose the style himself on a trip to sunny Doncaster’s Shoe Healer. There he was sorted for a “6” width fitting which The Shoe Healer carries in stock in both this style and an attractive Matlock. It’s worth noting that the 4444 last is pretty generously sized and my Dad had to size down from an 8 to a 7 to get the right fit.
The differences between the three styles are small as they all feature identical uppers and a storm welt, but are offered with differing options on the sole, leathers, and colours. The Shoe Healer explains the differences here. This Keswick features a Commando Sole which is the chunkiest sole on offer, but is very robust especially for the Winter months.
As always Richard, Michelle, and the team at The Shoe Healer offered sound advice and help along the way. You really couldn’t ask for a better customer experience and I’d encourage anyone fancying a pair of bench made shoes to make the trip to Doncaster in person to check out what The Shoe Healer has to offer. My Dad was so impressed he was back buying a second pair of shoes two days later. You can’t get a stronger recommendation than that.
Some people call him the loudest person in Wobbletown, but I would call the man a purist. They say any great structure starts with a solid foundation and an outfit is no different. A strong footwear choice should set the tone for any outfit.
When it comes to Mr. Noisy, his unwavering belief in his choice of footwear* is so strong that he sees no need to dress the look any further. Why complicate matters with clothes when shoes alone can do the job? This obviously requires supreme self confidence in one’s body, but for those of us who don’t share this quality, we can take inspiration from an approach of simplicity. Let stand out items do the work and dress simply around them, because if everything is talking at once, things can get a little… noisy.
* I would identify Mr. Noisy’s shoes as a C-Shade Tricker’s Keswick with a Storm Welt; ideal for tramping around the Fells and Munros of Happyland.
The March issue of Popeye Magazine landed on these shores recently and it focuses on street style snaps of ‘City Boys’ in their day-to-day gear. One such ‘City Boy’ is Engineered Garment’s Daiki Suzuki with a feature on his week in outfits. I’m always interested to see how a master of styling such as Daiki takes to actually dressing himself. There’s a couple of surprises in there; stone washed Levi’s (good), Ugg Boots (bad – not even Daiki can sway my mind on these!). I’d go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for my favourite looks here. Tuesday’s Truman Jacket teamed up with some sad old Dad jeans is an especially corking look. And Wednesday’s Over Parka with the adjustable skirt is a big favourite of mine. Great wardrobe inspiration…
Alden Tanker Boots: The thinking man’s Indy boot? They’re not nearly as iconic as cinema’s most famous work boot, but I’d like to think they’re what Junior might favour for a Marshall College Ball if he were to put a little more thought into it. I certainly thought long and hard enough about them. I saw a few restocks come and go at Context and Leffot, always feeling annoyed that I’d missed out. So when I paid a visit to NYC’s classiest shoe store last May – the aforementioned Leffot – I decided to put my name down for a pair already in production. Almost ten agonising months to the day I ordered them (a year since Leffot placed the production order) and after an egregious shafting from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, they arrived at my desk. I opened the box to a gloriously muscular Cordovan boot in that deepest and richest of colours; Horween’s Color 8.
Here’s some info about them lifted from Context’s website…
“The Tanker Boot is made on the Barrie last which was supplied to the US military from WWI through WWII. The Mock and Norwegian skin stitch toe detail is done completely by hand (Alden is the only American shoemaker skin stitching by hand) using two needles and two threads- no more than 6 boots are completed per day.”
Quite how they managed to keep up with War demands at a completion rate of six per day I don’t know, but what it does mean is a lengthy wait for those keen enough to purchase a pair these days. They’re by far and away the nicest shoe/boot I own so I can certainly say they were worth the wait. I can also say they were worth the cost… *just* (minus Her Majesty’s sneaky cut). Would I do it all again? Maybe not. But then that’s what makes them so special…
I was recommended this product for Cordovan shoes when I visited NYC’s Leffot last May. Up until then I’d been reluctant to use any products on Cordovan; just a slightly damp cloth and lots of elbow grease. There’s a great fear with Cordovan that you can ruin the surface with normal polishes as they cover up it’s natural lustre. This stuff however is perfect. The mink oil feeds and conditions the leather and brings out the shine of the surface with half the effort of buffing without product. And the shine lasts just as long.
Saphir also produce a specific Cordovan cream which I’m curious to try although I’d only ever buy the colourless version. That said, when I quizzed the guys at Leffot about any other products (even Alden’s own Cordovan Paste) they reassured me that Saphir Renovateur was all I’d need, and it seems to have done the trick so far.
I also use Renovateur on calfskin shoes, though it doesn’t quite bring the shine up on this type of leather like ordinary polish, it does help condition it to keep it supple and healthy.
I thought I’d start this year by making a post about a subject closest to the heart of this blog: enduring quality. Tried and tested clothing. The majority of the garments featured have been worn week in, week out in the autumn and winter months for the best part of six years.
The pieces here are what I’d regard as ‘timeless’; a term thrown around far too frequently in the menswear field in the last few years. It’s hard to find contemporary makers that will deliver on that word, but the brands featured here I feel have offered it over the course of their existence. For me, ‘timeless’ is about the right size of lapel. The right depth of collar. The right cut of shirt to suit the style of shirt. The right choice of materials to suit the piece. The fit that is fitted. Not skinny. Not baggy. The pattern that is always relevant. The right width of tie. Never too far in fashion, but never too far out. ‘Timeless’ walks the line.
Many of the items below are still made today in varying forms. Many have been developed and improved upon since I purchased mine. Which is another quality I love of the brands featured here. No dramatic changes or redevelopments, but incremental improvements and tinkering, each season, all in the pursuit of making something better; not more fashionable.
So I guess think of this as a tried and tested recommendation list. I’d love to know people out there are getting the same amount of joy out of this garb as I have over the years.
Engineered Garments Bedford Jacket
I purchased this on holiday in NYC in 2007 and it has scarcely been off my back since. I own two other Bedford jackets for Summer, but I’ve never bought another for Winter as this is so versatile. It can be dressed up or down: super casual and warm with a hoody underneath or nicely formal with a shirt and tie. With four patch pockets on the front, a single vent, and useful internal pockets, it’s one of Engineered Garments most practical, but simple jackets. The Melton wool on this version – a fabric Daiki Suzuki is always revisiting – is such a forgiving and durable cloth that it is yet to show any real signs of wear. This one is also special for me as he included leather elbow patches on this version, which to my mind, he hasn’t done since on this model of jacket. Daiki has produced some outstanding jackets for both Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woollen Mills, but I regard this as one of his finest moments. There are new versions every season and some are in the sales now.
Nigel Cabourn Authentic Four Pocket Vest
This is perhaps my most worn garment over Autumn and Winter. It was included in Nigel Cabourn’s first Limited Edition collection and has consistently reappeared in the authentic line since, although in many different materials and colours. Along with his Cameraman jacket I’d also say it’s one his most copied pieces. It’s an extremely useful layer that can look as good with a plaid Workshirt as it can with a BD Oxford shirt and tie. Superdenim currently have some of the latest versions on sale here.
Engineered Garments Workshirt
Arguably the cornerstone of Engineered Garments shirting and perhaps Daiki’s most referential piece, this shirt features every season in many different materials and patterns and always in a selection of chambray. The fit can change slightly depending on material and season, but it always features the same tough chain stitch construction, pockets based on a vintage Reliance Big Yank Cigarette Pocket shirt, and the iconic use of an odd cat’s eye button for the last fastening on the placket. Another nice detail is the choice of contrasting colour for the placket trim. This particular shirt was the first Engineered Garments piece I ever bought and it’s probably seen more wear than any other item in this list as its worn all year round. It has accompanied me on many hikes as well as day to day wear too. It’s robust and tough and after nearly six years it’s showing no signs of wear, tears, or fraying. It just gets comfier.
Engineered Garments Workaday 19th Century BD Shirt
The Engineered Garments 19th Century BD shirt is my absolute favourite shirt. It’s pattern is taken from a vintage Gitman shirt and is very similar in style to a modern Gitman shirt, but with the addition of large curved overlapping plackets; a detail that really sets it apart. Daiki exercises some of his more playful fabric choices on this piece from season to season in the main E.G. line.
You can read in further detail about this shirt here. The one pictured here is from the Workaday line and is made in classic Oxford stripe. As with many items here it gets dressed up and down. Casually, it looks great untucked, showing off the odd plackets; formally, it looks great tucked in as the curved placket stops the shirt from splaying open at the waist line. It’s all about the details with this piece.
Engineered Garments Workaday Fatigue Pants
These are a pretty new addition to my wardrobe, but have already become a regular wear for me. These are fairly loose fitting and in a great colour. They’re always in the Workaday line and feature each season in the E.G. mainline, but in differing cuts and fabrics. The fabric here is reverse sateen and is nice and hard wearing. These are a great alternative to regular jeans, trousers, and chinos, but their simplicity also keeps them nicely away from the combat pant. I like to often wear these with a shirt and tie for that ‘business up top, but me legs are already in the weekend’ look.
Woolrich Woollen Mills Upland BD Shirt
Sadly, this is the only garment here that’s no longer readily available although a few keep popping up on Yoox at good prices. This was Daiki’s second attempt at this shirt; the first version (which I have, but don’t wear nearly as much) didn’t feature the iconic billowing chest pocket that this version has and was made in a heavier, but less appealing chambray. For me this shirt epitomised Daiki’s approach to his WWM collections: outdoor pursuits meets the classic and wearable. Reinforced shoulder detailing and elbows give this a hardy feel, while the button down collar makes it feels a touch more classic, striking a nice balance between casually smart and relaxed workwear. Along with the Workshirt here, this is my most heavily worn and washed shirt as it’s another great garment for all year round. It’s wearing nicely now with the chambray fading like denim around the collars and cuffs. I’d certainly recommend trying to get your hands on one as it will do you proud for many years.
Nigel Cabourn Mainline U.S. Clip Jacket (pictured right)
A constant in the Nigel Cabourn Mainline collection (made in Japan), I struggle to recommend this due to it’s absurd overpricing, but it’s worth hunting around for one in the sales and on eBay because it is an incredibly constructed super versatile piece. I managed to pick up a half price sample version in Present some years ago and it’s proved to be an indispensable layering piece ever since. Based on a U.S Gym/training jacket it features a breast pocket and two hand pockets. This simple and useful jacket is given that Cabourn twist with the addition of the metal clip fastenings that have become somewhat of a signature for Nigel. Versions have definitely improved since I purchased mine with a higher grade clip fastening now on the jacket (same as the Cameraman jacket). There’s many replicas of this jacket around (most notably Heritage Research’s USN clip jacket), but if you’re going to buy one, don’t get the poor man’s version, hunt around for Cabourn. It’s worth the time.
Nigel Cabourn Authentic Cameraman Jacket (pictured left)
I’m yet to see a parka I love more than Nigel Cabourn’s iconic and mighty Cameraman Jacket. I was first shown it in Oi Polloi years ago and I was utterly blown away by the details. The jacket features a marriage of two of Britain’s most celebrated and cherished fabrics – Mackintosh and Harris Tweed – and includes Nigel’s signature clip fastening on the upper portion. Appearing every season in the Authentic line since it was launched as part of the Limited Edition collection, this is quite possibly the most copied jacket of the last decade of menswear. Many have had a pop, but all have completely failed to understand what makes this jacket: the quality materials and the build. It doesn’t feel like you’re putting on a jacket; the Mackintosh makes it feel like you’re getting into a protective shell. It’s featured in other fabrics down the years including summer versions in Beeswax cotton and linen. If you’re going to get one, please don’t buy them at the extortionate full price. They always make it to the sales every season. You may have noted I have a problem with Nigel’s pricing. While his clothes are among some of the most exceptionally constructed I have seen, they are not worth the money – unless you’re having a completely bespoke suit made to your own specifications by a team of highly skilled individuals – no clothes are! Hit the sales for this stuff.
A.P.C. New (& Old) Standards
Like fine wine, you can go crazy with denim. But my own sensibilities do not carry me far enough into that world and I’m happy not to go there, because quite frankly; I can’t taste the difference. Denim is the work horse of the casual man’s wardrobe and in my opinion should be purchased, worn, and washed as such. I currently have four pairs of New Standards in rotation. Photographed here is my latest pair and my second pair, now a good five years old. All four still get regular wear. These jeans are decent denim, at a decent price. Simple and classic, they remain an amazing colour throughout their tenure; from their bluey grey beginnings to their stone washed end. And I can’t argue with half a decade (plus) of constant wear. All still going strong.
Steven Alan Woolrich Plaid Tie
I probably wouldn’t buy a Steven Alan tie anymore as I deem them a little too slim nowadays, but this purchase from a few years ago is just about my most worn tie and I still wear it with monotonous regularity. And it’s all down to the material. The Woolrich fabric used on this tie is just about the most versatile plaid I’ve seen as it seems to be able to slot into just about any outfit with ease. I buy ties from Engineered Garments and Drakes now as the quality and shape is perfect, but I wanted to include this piece as its just been so good down the years. Subtle pattern and texture is what I’ve looked for in a tie ever since I realised exactly why I like this one so much.
Trickers Stow Boots
The classic English country boot; Tricker’s Stow. This is a colour that goes with just about everything, a commando sole that will tackle just about anything, in a style that looks appropriate just about anywhere. The scotch grain adds an aesthetic hardiness to the already tough calfskin and does well to hide many creases that would be showing up a lot more prominently on smooth leather. Going on four years with a lot of wear these need a minimal amount of looking after as this colour and finish seems to hold its shine so well. If I had to reduce my shoe collection down to one choice for winter, this would be that choice. I’d always visit Richard at The Shoe Healer for my Tricker’s these days. Even at full price these are worth every penny.
Autumn tipped up this year in a wonderful mood. Plenty of colour, mild temperatures, some crispy mornings, and a bit of rain to remind you Winter will soon be kicking in to action. Winter is a no-brainer clothing wise. As is Summer. But Autumn and Spring provide good measure of a gent’s wardrobe. Fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions require a versatile approach. With that in mind I fancied adding a bit of suede to proceedings this season, but something a bit lighter and more streamlined than my typical choice. The majority of my shoe collection consists of chunky English derbies and American moccasins. I was after something a little easier going with a colour that would work across a number of outfits.
My search brought me to Alden’s Snuff Suede Chukkas, one of Alden’s most renowned styles. I’ve best seen the suede on these described as ‘buttery’ and I don’t think I can find a better adjective to suit the hand of this material. It’s so soft and supple, it’s like sticking your feet in a pair of Rabbit’s ears. And as these things are unlined they are comfier than slippers.
Based on that description they don’t sound too suitable for Autumn, but the thing that attracted me most to this model was Alden’s special Water-lock Flex-Welt sole. Despite the low profile of the sole, it’s made for wet weather as the leather is specially treated – all the water and moisture is removed and replaced with oils, making it not only very supple, but incredibly water resistant. The oils also give the sole a much better grip than a traditional leather sole, meaning no more impromptu ice skating when out in the rain. All this combined with a stunning colour that seems to change between a chocolate milkshake and a red setter in different lights makes for an extremely versatile shoe for Autumn. You can find this style at a number of places, but I picked mine up at Sweden’s finest: Tres Bien Shop.
Back once again with the Yuketen Sandals. The Semi Chukkas to be precise. Walking a fine line somewhere between Maximus Meridius, The Dude, and Forest Gump, these good time sandals are my choice for summertime meandering. This pair were purchased from the very helpful folks at Denmark’s Støy Munkholm who are the only European retailer carrying these Yuketen models (the rest having all gone to the Asian market). They have both styles available on their online store. You should also check this beautifully presented video giving a tour of Støy Munkholm’s store in Aarhus. I’m going to be sure to check it out if I ever find myself in that part of the world.
Back to the sandals and I went for the Semi Chukka in the end as they looked a little more robust than the Braided style. Interestingly Yuketen are very clear to point out that these styles are made by artisans in Mexico. I know they produce a few styles in Mexico including their very premium Cordovan Longwings Brogues (Goodyear welted leather sole with stunning allover brogue patterning) and it resonates with me as a customer that they are so proud and transparent about their places of production despite a consumer stigma aimed toward various countries. They would not produce anything there unless it absolutely met their exacting standards. Yet another reason I really believe in Yuketen as a brand. All I need now is for Summer to turn up so I can finally break them out proper.