Weekly Roundup | A Visit To The Brioni Factory, How to Drink Like a Grownup, Oscar Udeshi

An Exclusive Education on the Making of Brioni’s Suits  (T Magazine)
“Petrucci says that the factory at Penne produces more than 220 suits each day, and that nearly 70 percent of the fabrics are exclusive to the brand. More than 1,000 employees work in two shifts, stitching collars, pockets, panels, sleeves and buttonholes. Every made-to-measure suit is sewn by the hands of a real human being, and more than 200 different tailors and quality-control specialists handle a single suit before it is ready for shipment. Each garment — especially the jackets that Petrucci says are so light you could wear one playing tennis — is pressed and steamed more than 80 times, which slightly lengthens the fabric at certain points of the garment so that it hangs and drapes on the body perfectly. Tailors trace and cut out patterns freehand; they sew up to 7,000 stitches into a single jacket, and hammer out buttonholes by hand. One slip of the wrist, and the entire front jacket panel must be remade.”

Bruce Boyer in Free & Easy (Die! Workwear)
“There’s also a great shot of Bruce’s shoe collection. I’ve always been under the impression that he wears nothing but suede, but a little over half of his shoe wardrobe is comprised of calf. Much like me, Bruce seems to favor slightly more casual looking pieces. Most of his shoes are bluchers or slip-ons, and of the few oxfords he has, many are made from casual materials. There’s also a pair of George Cleverley tassel loafers that look like the most elegant shoes ever. Handsomely styled and shaped, they seem infinitely better than the tassel loafers I own from Crockett & Jones and Allen Edmonds.”

The Passion of Oscar Udeshi (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“A visit to Oscar serves as a reminder that the sign of a great shop – from books to wine to clothing – is seeing a multitude of things you wish you’d thought of years ago and realize you always wanted.  Textures, colors and patterns mix themes of old and new:  grey flannel curtains and aged, scarred floorboards set the stage for a Marcel Breuer Wassily chair upholstered in paisley instead of leather.  Nearby hang in juxtaposition a purple melton cloth coat with Number Six-style piping and a rakishly cut trenchcoat in houndstooth tweed.  Venetian loafers in a luxuriously deep-napped suede gaze up from below, while in the bespoke cloth selection for summer black seersucker unexpectedly announces itself.  All of this catches the eye and the interest, perhaps giving the lie to the clothing hack’s old saw about being well-dressed being unnoticeable.  Nowadays tailors and designers realize that their continued survival requires them to be noticed.  Ready-to-wear in arresting designs, colors and patterns serves that purpose, but – perhaps unlike some of the loud new designers on Savile Row – at Udeshi deeper thought and care become apparent as you draw closer and consider what lies beneath.”

How to Drink Like a Grownup (First We Feast)
“Everybody comes to this fork in the road eventually: Keep drinking anything you can get your hands on to get wasted as quickly as possible (and start looking for the nearest AA meeting), or figure out what booze that you actually enjoy, learn a little something about it, and start drinking like an adult.”

How I Solved My Problem With Ready To Wear Shirts

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It’s hard not being able to fit into the theoretical average of ready to wear clothing. I stand 5’9″ and weigh 190 lbs with broad shoulders and arms that are longer than average. I fit well into a size L but find the neck measurement of 16.5″ is short by half an inch and the cuffs don’t reach my wrist bone. And with American and European brands making special fits and sizes for sale in Asian countries I’m pretty much out of luck when it comes to buying off the rack. Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Searching for a Subtle Scent, How Japan Copied American Culture and Made It Better

Searching for a Subtle Scent for Men (Wall Street Journal)
“With more than a thousand men’s fragrances on the American market, seeking the underwhelming was overwhelming. Possessing only a rudimentary knowledge of the art and science of perfuming, I resolved to make the quest a professional endeavor. Being a journalist, I turned to a beauty editor for help and, one week later, a heavy box arrived at my doorstep holding 11 bottles for me to wrap my honker round.”

Cad & The Dandy, A Comprehensive Review (Men’s Flair)
“There have been many questions lately from many sides, about my experiences with London tailors Cad & The Dandy. Many of you who follow my own blog will be aware that over the last year or so I’ve had three suits made by them, marking my rite of passage into the bespoke world. So, given that I picked up the latest of these three just last month, I thought that it might be time to set the record straight and offer you a comprehensive insight into my dealings with Cad & The Dandy.”

Make Mine a Double (Ivy Style)
“But today no single silhouette or lapel width dominates menswear as in decades past. And when it comes to the double-breasted jacket, the line between classic and modern is disappearing. Digital fashion plates such as Lino Ieluzzi are wearing the DB short and fitted, conveying panache more than power, individual swagger rather than group authority, and sun-drenched holiday rather than gloomy shareholder’s meeting. Likewise, tailoring and design houses are updating the fit of double-breasted jackets. Together, purveyor and end user are heralding a resurgence of the double-breasted by lint-brushing away the dust of the past.”

The 15 Best Bourbons You Can Actually Buy (Gear Patrol)
“There’s no denying that bourbon is having a moment. It’s become the basis for an obscene number of cocktails, and any bar worth its weight in complimentary pretzels is stocking the stuff, often exclusively. Why? The pride of Kentucky wins out over other whiskies because it’s a little sweeter, a little smoother, and a whole lot easier to mix. It’s also relatively affordable — very good bottles are available at very good prices. But thanks to its newfound popularity, some of the top-tier bottles — Pappy Van Winkle’s family reserve, George T. Stagg — are now shockingly expensive and, increasingly, hard to track down. Luckily, there’s still a wide variety to bourbons at accessible prices that are readily available in nearly every state. Which one to choose? Here’s a list to help you out.”

How Japan Copied American Culture and Made It Better (Smithsonian)
“It’s easy to dismiss Japanese re-creations of foreign cultures as faddish and derivative—just other versions of the way that, for example, the new American hipster ideal of Brooklyn is clumsily copied everywhere from Paris to Bangkok. But the best examples of Japanese Americana don’t just replicate our culture. They strike out, on their own, into levels of appreciation and refinement rarely found in America. They give us an opportunity to consider our culture as refracted through a foreign and clarifying prism.”

It’s easy to dismiss Japanese re-creations of foreign cultures as faddish and derivative—just other versions of the way that, for example, the new American hipster ideal of Brooklyn is clumsily copied everywhere from Paris to Bangkok. But the best examples of Japanese Americana don’t just replicate our culture. They strike out, on their own, into levels of appreciation and refinement rarely found in America. They give us an opportunity to consider our culture as refracted through a foreign and clarifying prism.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-japan-copied-american-culture-and-made-it-better-180950189/#rFW5lmGv6XpDBIy5.99
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Alfred Lane Solid Colognes

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A few weeks ago Alfred Lane reached out to me asking if I wanted to try their line of solid colognes. Solid colognes have been around since the time of the Egyptians but for some reason liquid perfumes have become the preferred method of applying fragrance in recent times. I’ve been more interested in fragrances lately so I wanted to give solid colognes a try. They sent me all three of their scents: Bravado, Brio and Vanguard.
Continue Reading

A Visit to Back Alley Barbershop

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For the longest time I’ve been going to a run-of-the-mill barber shop chain to get my hair cut. The experience was not stellar with hair cuts rushed, packed with people moving in and out including the occasional wailing toddler. I consider getting a hair cut a ritual much like shaving but the place I frequented made it feel like a chore. I just wanted to get it over as quickly as possible. I’ve been yearning for a better barbershop experience so when I heard that there was a new barbershop in town I just had to check it out. Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Navigating the World of Japanese Magazines, Levi’s Bespoke Jeans

Navigating the World of Japanese Magazines (A Continuous Lean)
“There’s now more publications then ever before, and each one seems to set a new pedantic high point. Flip through any of these imported publications and you’ll see page after page of these masterfully arranged stories that scrutinize and celebrate men’s clothing in a manner that hasn’t been seen since Gentry Magazine back in the fifties. While all of these titles do fall into the general category of “clothing,” each has their own quirks and characteristics that set them apart, so to help you navigate this sea of Kanji and street style photos, we give you a timely breakdown of eight of ACL’s favorite Japanese magazines.”

Levi’s bespoke jeans (Permanent Style)
“The process of cutting bespoke jeans is not that dissimilar to regular bespoke. One small difference is that the denim is too thick to double up, so Lizzie (Radcliffe, pictured below) must cut all the pieces of the trousers individually. The pieces of a bespoke suit are normally cut ‘on the double’, with one trouser or jacket section being placed on top of two layers of cloth, and both cut together. One advantage of denim, however, is that Lizzie can cut the denim on the right side (tailors normally cut on the back of the cloth) which makes things a little easier.”

Video Interview – Lino Ieluzzi (The Bespoke Dudes)
“The undisputed Italian style icon reveals his story in front of the cameras of The Bespoke Dudes blog by Fabio Attanasio, adding unpublished details about the beginning of his adventure and his friendship with Scott Schuman aka The Sartorialist. He will describe his trips to Asia, the story behind the famous number seven embroidered on his ties and his upcoming collection, everything spiced up by a good dose of all-Italian irony, elegance and savoir faire that characterize him. Thank you Lino!”

Men’s Navy Blazer Gets a Makeover (Wall Street Journal)
“Though the jacket’s crest-patched beginnings trace back to the 1800s, when they were worn by a rowing club at Cambridge, it’s commonly believed to be named after the British warship the HMS Blazer, whose Royal Navy crew members began sporting the style as part of their uniforms in 1837. Since then, the jacket has become de rigueur for prep schoolers, yacht clubbers and impostors alike. But thanks to designer takes on the traditional staple, the navy blazer has shaken off its lockjaw connotations and can be worn by any man, not just Harvard and Yale alumni.”

Killspencer Zippered Pouch

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This is part of a series that features items bought from the U.S. using Globe’s GCASH American Express Virtual Pay and shipped to the Philippines using the freight forwarding service My Shopping Box. For more information click here.

Over the last few months I bought a portable battery and a pair of sunglasses. Bringing them around is cumbersome if I put them all in the pockets of my trousers. I have a tote bag but find it too big to hold all these small items. I needed something smaller along the lines of a folio or a pouch. The first thing I remembered was Killspencer, a Los Angeles, California-based maker of carry products that I discovered a few years ago. The brand prides itself in making items by hand with a focus on functionality and quality. Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Are Bespoke Italian Suits Worth Time and Money, Technical Textiles Primer

Are Bespoke Italian Suits Worth Your Time and Money? (Wall Street Journal)
“The reality turned out to be less of a jet-set romp and more of a Neapolitan traffic jam. Fine tailoring is more art than science; nothing in Naples happens when it’s supposed to; some suits take four or even five fittings; and choosing fabrics—and cuff lengths, and buttons, and pocket placements, and linings—can be a time-consuming process. So, here we were, again, fanning ourselves in the waiting room as we recalibrated our travel plans for the third time and prepared to climb into the latest iterations of our suits-in-progress.”

Future Fabrics | A Technical Textiles Primer (A Continuous Lean)
“This quest to meld textiles and technology has given us a whole new set of fabrics that continuously push the boundaries on what a garment can achieve, and today these cutting-edge materials have become almost commonplace. Performance wear and sportswear designers now share the common goal of crafting garments that not only stand out, but also out last their competitors, and so with these fabrics moving from REI up to Barneys, we figured we’d give you all a primer on some of the biggest names in high-tech textiles.”

Here There Be Dragons (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“And here as well, Charvet’s attention to detail is unsurpassed, if not unequalled. The buttons are all deep shell mother of pearl (many shirtmakers offer shell buttons that are actually somewhat irregularly shaped Trocas, often discernible through the reddish markings on the back of the button).  Charvet favors the classic French regularly shaped button but keeps a drawer of thick wok-shaped cuvette buttons, like those on this shirt, for those of us who drank the Neapolitan shirtmaking Kool-Aid.  Buttons are shanked, and patterns are matched everywhere possible.  Pattern-matching in itself doesn’t indicate a quality shirt, but on an otherwise well-made shirt helps carry it that step further.  The stitching is neat and fine but strong, the seams regular and the cuffs neatly pleated, a significant difference from my otherwise quite nice Courtot bespoke shirts.  All of which has meant that even my Charvet shirts in the most delicate materials have survived for years and still look and feel wonderful.”

Additions To Your Sole (A Shoe Snob Blog)
“There is much debate on whether or not one should add things to his/her sole to make them last longer/protect from the elements. Some argue in favor of adding rubber/metal, others swear that it actually ruins your shoes in the long run. But who is right? Well, while my word is not fact, I will put my two cents in and break down both the for’s and against’s in order to come to a conclusion that appears logical. First and foremost, allow me to say that there really is no right or wrong, especially as the idea of adding things to make your shoes last longer really depends on many factors such as where you live (i.e. the weather), how many pairs of shoes you have, whether or not you use shoe trees, how hard you walk, whether you commute by foot or car etc…. So you see, while one answer may be right for one person in California who drives to work and lives in a hot climate, it won’t be the same for the guy that lives in London, takes the tube every day and doesn’t wear galoshes on rainy days.”

Sapatero Manila Bespoke Shoes | Part 4: Finished Pair

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It’s been a while since my third post on Sapatero Manila. This is because I’ve been traveling and could not get my finished pair. The long gap should not be interpreted as the length of time it takes to make a bespoke pair of shoes although some shoemakers do take their time. That aside I finally have my pair and can give my thoughts on it.

Based on the fitting I felt that three things needed to be changed. The width of the shoes were too wide by a few millimeters and I preferred a closer fit. I am confident with the natural stretch of the leather so this should not be a problem. The side stiffeners hampered movement and flexibility so they had to be removed. I like my dress shoes to feel like dress shoes so it should have a thin layer of foam or none at all. In this case Sapatero Manila used a thin layer of foam as the feet need to be shielded from the holes and stitching inside. Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Northampton Shoemaking Revival, Makati Speakeasy Scene, Whiskey Stones

Northampton’s Traditional Shoemaking Revival (Wall Street Journal)
“”Go around to any department store in Tokyo and you will see a plethora of shoes made in Northampton,” says William Church of Joseph Cheaney and Sons. Tokyo is the company’s biggest foreign market. Overall exports have gone from 15 percent in sales to 35 percent in four years; staffing levels have increased 30 percent in the same time frame. Meanwhile, John Lobb’s most recent store openings were in Tokyo and Shanghai. Dr. Martens, another brand with a long history in Northamptonshire, has brought back its apprentice program and speaks of a “reawakening of interest” in English-made products.”

Untrueisms V (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“In truth, bespoke is simply another word for custom.  That is, there’s no fixed or legal definition of bespoke, as the true bespoke tailors of Savile Row found out recently when they lost a legal battle to prevent a new shop on the Row from calling its stock special clothing bespoke.  (A stock special is essentially a garment made to order using ready to wear patterns, such as, say, having a shirtmaker put a 15.5” collar on the body it usually uses for a size 16 shirt.)  Makers with integrity and informed customers usually use bespoke to mean an item of clothing made specially to the measurements and specifications of the customer, using a pattern individually created specifically for that customer and his or her dimensions.  Ergo, bespoke should not mean existing clothing that is altered to fit the customer, or clothing made from a block size pattern that is tweaked to reflect a few details of the customer’s fit.  Because of the difficulty of doing this right, many companies selling clothing want to appropriate the term “bespoke” to describe what they do.  There’s no law against it, but it’s misleading to anyone who thinks of bespoke in the terms that clothing enthusiasts do.”

American-inspired fashion (How To Spend It)
“After all the hyperbole about London being the epicentre of the menswear universe, it might seem ironic that the inspiration for much of this spring’s casualwear hails from across the Atlantic. Previously used to describe such things as the beards, banjos and bluegrass of the alternative country-music scene, Americana – the catch-all term that has come to include everything culturally evocative of the Americas – influences a raft of menswear labels, from Bottega Veneta to Louis Vuitton.”

Behind Closed Doors: Pepper’s Guide to Makati’s Speakeasy Scene (Pepper.ph)
“Manila’s speakeasies still adhere to the same rule, applying the same guideline to its patrons’ behavior, but for different reasons. The city’s speakeasies are a haven away from the loud, obnoxious club music that many have grown tired of. They try to keep the background noise low,  allowing for free flowing conversation between guests over quality cocktails.

Today, we’ll tell you all about 6 different speakeasies that Makati has to offer. We hope this’ll make it easier for you to decide which are the best spots for a Friday nightcap, a barkada reunion, or a hot date over drinks.”

Whiskey Stone Reviews and Comparisons (Cool Material)
“While better than some rocks from the yard, most whiskey stones do little to nothing. Buy them if you want your drink to look cool but not necessarily be cool. If you are looking for a way to keep your scotch a bit colder without watering it down, we found Balls of Steel and Steel Ice to be the best of the bunch. Not only did they drop the temperature of the bourbon a significant amount (over 20 degrees each), but they kept it from coming back to room temperature for over an hour. To get the quickest chill, nothing tops an ice cube or two in your glass, but for a dilution solution, steel beats rock, and Steel Ice or Balls of Steel are the way to go.”