Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feet First

Footwear is, both literally and figuratively, the very foundation of a man’s wardrobe. Always one of the crowning jewels in women’s wear, shoes have become one of the most important components of a man’s attire for fall 2012. From classically inspired wingtips to the introduction of stylized hiking boots, the choices this season seem endless. But why should a man care about what he puts on his feet? After all, shoes are one of the last things he puts on each morning, and nobody really notices them anyway, right?

Actually, a man’s choice in footwear speaks volumes about his personal style. Unkempt shoes with dog-eared heels? He pays no attention to detail. Highly polished dress shoes with jeans? He has no style. Soft leather shoes that complement his outfit? He’s got it together. One of the first things a woman notices about a man (after his smile, of course) is the way he’s dressed. And while the details of his outfit may or may not be deal breakers, they certainly add to the whole. He may not think stylish footwear is that important, but his audience begs to differ.

Take this season’s wingtips, for instance. Not the stiff old brogues of his dad’s era, these updated lace-ups are constructed of soft, matte finished leather and often carry rubber soles, adding to their comfort and casual nature. Drawing on their multiple personalities, these new wingtips can look stylishly at ease with jeans or seriously dressy with a suit.

The re-appearance of tasseled slip-ons and loafers with ‘penny-strap’ detailing heralds the return of classically inspired footwear. And while these shoes take their cues from those of the sixties, they could never be considered ‘cookie cutter’ designs from the past. This season’s versions include such features as distressed suede and washed leather uppers with crocodile hide details.

The chukka boot, named after the ankle-high footwear worn by Polo players, marks its return in a pebble-grained version with rubber soles. Its chunky lines make it the perfect foil to the narrow bottomed trousers of today, and it’s equally at home with washed cotton sport pants, corduroys and dress flannel trousers.

Perhaps the most novel footwear this season is the stylized hiking boot, a reinterpreted version of the original that’s fit for the runway. Its speed laces and Vibram sole pay homage to the real thing, but such ‘designer details’ as shrunken leather uppers and lamb suede collars insure that it will never be confused with its utilitarian cousin. And from a fashion standpoint, its rugged good looks are the perfect complement to the slim silhouette of today’s sport pants and jeans.

Shoes are to an outfit what icing is to a cake. Both add a nice flavor to the whole, and are one of the last things you put on. While you can eat a cake without icing or wear the wrong shoes with an outfit, the question remains…why would you want to do either?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cut By Hand

I hope that anyone who read the last installment visited the New England Shirt Company website. This idea that good shirts and pants can still be made in America lives on through people with a sense of quality and solid design. Having said that I would like to expand on this idea to include some other domestically made menswear that we presently include in our americana assortment. This offering includes Oxxford Clothing, Gitman Vintage shirts, Hamilton Made to Measure shirts, Barbara Blank neck wear , and Hertling trousers and vests. Each of these offers a high price value relationship along with a fashion perspective that is concurrent with a modern interpretation of the market. Let's talk about these starting with Oxxford Clothing.
Along with the classic Finest Quality collection,which is all made by hand, the addition of the 1220 collection has reached out to a larger audience with updated styling and lower price points. Updates include higher arm holes, more waist suppression, narrowed point to point, shorter jackets and slimmer pants. At the lower cost the jacket retains all of the hand made features except the hand padded lapel and handmade buttonholes. The main difference in this collection is the pant which is engineered rather than hand made. 1220 is approximately 30% less than the Finest Quality. So if you are looking for modern styling and a more affordable price 1220 is a really excellent opportunity. If you are interested in all handmade clothing and price is not part of your equation then the Finest Quality is an exceptional garment. Below is a link to the website which deals with the Finest Quality only. Both segments of the line are offered as "off the rack" or "made to measure."


Monday, November 22, 2010


This week I would like to address the rise of “American Style” and highlight one of the companies dedicated to preservation of this ideal. With the migration of textiles and clothing manufacturing to the Far East over the last thirty years very few American made clothing companies managed to survive. With fashion taking its cue from Italy these survivors slipped into a relatively obscure status appealing to a small but steadfast group of stores and consumers.

Five to seven years ago the Italians became infatuated with the natural shoulder jacket and the idea of American style of the late 1950s and early 1960s. These stylistic leanings plus the economic decline of 2008 and 2009 brought forth a new generation of young Americans to embrace the old ideals. Old school fabrics like oxford cloth, chambray, and tweed executed in modern fittings are once again the fashion of the time. Sturdy, functional, simple designs yield clothes with honesty and integrity true to the American style of past times.

One of the companies to rise up at this time is the New England Shirt company in Fall River Mass. Rather than roaming off on a long explanation of this company I would direct you to their website which gives a concise explanation of who they are and what they are do. As for TRC we are embracing this brand and the idea of American made style. I will discuss some additional brands at a later date. While we will continue to feature the finest collections from Europe, as we have done in the past, we have intentionally reintroduced the “Made in America Ideal” to our story. We hope that this blossoming resurgence of American Style will bring forth a proliferation of new companies that actually design cut and sew here at home. Check out New England Shirt Company’s website :http://www.newenglandshirtco.com/.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I suppose there is no more appropriate criterion that qualifies one to write about style and fashion other than too much idle time. Having said that, I will try to justify my positions with forty five years of evaluating, buying and selling menswear; ranging from the “Jivey Ivey” of the early 1960s to the sartorial splendor from Neapolitan craftsmen and all things in between. I have adopted from all these experiences, a position that merges fashion “de jour” with a personal style so as to alter the latter with nuance from the former. In other words, make the best of the past relevant in today’s world.
Fit, Fabric, Function and Fashion are the ingredients needed to produce clothing in this way of thinking- garments with a fair cost and a high value relationship- clothes with integrity. At the same time these clothes cannot be so mired in the past that they fail to reflect in some way modern culture. Clothing needs to be more than just brigandine (body armor) but not appear as an overstuffed costume which much of the fashion world seems to be so invested in creating.
Over the next few months I will comment on a number of products that embody the characteristics previously mentioned and offer further thoughts on classification dressing and wardrobe building with an emphasis on personal style.