Alden Snuff Suede Flex-welt Chukka.

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.

Alden’s Water-lock Flex-welt sole.

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.

Alden’s with Beams Plus and APC New Standards.


Dennis Wilson circa ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’.

I’m trying to keep the Golden Garb choices varied and vaguely seasonal. So with desert based oil drilling and Christmas crime fighting behind us we move on to summertime beach loitering and the first ‘real’ Golden Garb entry; Mr Dennis Wilson.

As it’s well documented, Dennis was the only ‘real’ Beach Boy from the Beach Boys. While the rest of Brian’s troupe waxed lyrical about their boards and surfin’ safaris, Dennis was the only member putting the art of Surfing in to practise. Wave chasing aside he was also the only member to genuinely adopt the free wheeling beach lifestyle that defined much of The Beach Boys music.

Another ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ promotional shot. High waisted is the way forward for Den.

The darker sides of Dennis – from his tragic involvement with the Manson Family, the heavy drinking and pot smoking (which damaged his voice to gravelly perfection – see/hear Pacific Ocean Blues), to the alcohol abuse that would lead to his premature death from drowning – all contribute to form a complex and intriguing super dude that is often overshadowed by the legacy and immense talent of his brother, Brian.

Dennis promoting ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ circa 1977.
Dennis in the classic Hawaiian shirt.

But rather than this being a mini-biopic of the man I’d of course like to focus on his inimitable relaxed style. There aren’t many gents that can get away with such high waisted pants and still look 110% cooled out with the situation. And not many people have donned Hawaiian shirts with the same degree of sincere causality before or since his Pacific Ocean reign. Team all that up with a Grizzly-Adams-Mountain-Man beard and you’ve got a winning combo on your hands that can even chill a tuxedo the-fuck-out.

Formal Dennis / Casual Dennis. Unkempt beard and penguin suit is always a winning combo for me.

So with many brands ‘reviving’ the Hawaiian shirt this season and some fine examples out there already, I thought it would be good to take a leaf from Dennis’ book to show how to wear ‘em loud whilst playing it cool. Here’s a variety of Dennis vs The Hawaiian Shirt images with some recently available latter day options from Stitched & Stitched favourites; Engineered Garments, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Monitaly, Our Legacy, and Woolrich Woolen Mills.

Engineered Garments Hawaiian Print Chauncey Shirt from Oi Polloi.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing Hawaiian Red Print Shirt from Tres Bien Shop.
Monitaly Vacation Shirt in Geometric Blue and Geometric Teal available from Mohawk General Store.
Our Legacy 1950s Button Down Shirt Indigo Potplant from End Clothing.
OK, so not strictly a Hawaiian, but you get the gist… Woolrich Woolen Mills Half Sleeve African Print Shirt from Sarah Coggles.