Cheers, Brexit: Save on Fine British Accessories

With the British pound at a historic low against the dollar, American shoppers can finally indulge in guilt-free purchases of fine British accessories by treating themselves to some exquisite items from the land of Her Majesty.  It’s even sweeter if you think that a recent change in tariff regulations now allows buyers to spend up to $800 each day without paying duty on products shipped from abroad.

In case you’re short of inspiration, here’s a shortlist of some of the best and finest British goods that will instantly make you look like a distant, distinguished, cousin of the Prince of Wales.

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Available at https://www.ettinger.co.uk/

#1 An Ettinger Billfold Wallet

Instantly up your style with one of Ettinger’s classic billfolds. Lined in contrasting leather, you can choose to have 3, 6, or 12 credit card slots, a coin purse, and even opt for silver or gold corners to protect your precious pocketbook from wear and tear. Pretend to not notice all the glances of admiration as you pull it out to pay for your next coffee with the money you saved from the weakened pound.


Available at http://www.purdey.com/

Available at http://www.purdey.com/

#2 A Classic Outerwear Piece from Purdey

If a Burberry trenchcoat seems way too clichè nowadays, you can class up your wardrobe with one of Purdey’s stunning outerwear pieces. The highlight of the collection is a luxurious leather quilted paddock coat (a type of traditional hunting or sporting coat used in the UK) that is both lightweight and warm.


Available at http://www.swaineadeneybrigg.com/

Available at http://www.swaineadeneybrigg.com/

#3 Briefcase & Umbrella by Swaine Adeney Brigg

It would be a shame to buy one without the other. Brigg’s handmade umbrellas are famous worldwide, and it’s not uncommon to see their signature polished chestnut handles hanging on royal arms.

Swaine Adeney briefcases are a monument to British craftsmansip. If you feel like being a touch more adventurous, choose their Attache case: originally commissioned as a Diplomat’s case in the 1800s, this model has been made since then using the same, ancient process that involves hand stitching with natural linen thread.


Available at http://turnbullandasser.com/

Available at http://turnbullandasser.com/

#4 A classic shirt from Turnbull and Asser

There will never be a better time to stock up on elegant white shirts, perhaps the one item that everyone can agree is a classic and timeless staple of a man’s wardrobe. Like a blank canvas, a white shirt is the starting point of any outfit. Each T&A shirt is made in Gloucester using hand-operated sewing machines from 33 individual pieces of high-quality cotton, making it a covetable piece for any classic menswear obsessives and fashion aficionados alike. Make sure to splurge on some Sea Island Cotton if you only want the best of the best.


Available at http://www.equusleather.co.uk/

Available at http://www.equusleather.co.uk/

#5 A bridle leather belt from Equus

Equus has been a longtime forum favorite, and since you no longer have to tighten the belt on your finances when shopping – thanks to the current state of sterling – you can proudly tighten a new, handmade leather belt on your waist instead. Equus specializes in bridle leather belts using leather from venerable English tanneries Sedgewick and Bakers of Coylton, but recently have been producing belts using leather from European tanneries like France’s Tannerie Haas. They also use buckles specially commissioned from French silver and goldsmiths and Japanese master blacksmiths.


Available at https://www.drakes.com/

Available at https://www.drakes.com/

#6 Anything from Drake’s

Drake’s website is a cornucopia of goods that would tempt anyone who’s into classic clothing. Styleforum members have a soft spot for Drake’s accessories, and swear by their handmade ties and archival-printed pocket squares. We have it on good authority that our editor Jasper has a thing for the unicorns.  Load up on Christmas presents and upgrade to high class stocking-stuffers.

The Endorsement – the Aero Leathers Type 3 Leather Jacket

Aero Type 3 Leather Jacket front view

The Aero Type 3 leather jacket that I take out the door nearly every day.

The Type 3 leather jacket (so named after the popular iteration of the Levis denim jackets)  has been my go-to for a while now.  In years past, it’s been hard to find good ones.  Traditional brands like Schott made them, and you could find them in cheap looking leather shops on not-so-great shopping streets. Occasionally, a “vintage” brand like Ralph Lauren’s RRL would come out with a version, and I’d jump on the winners. The FW2011 RRL Gambler jacket is still one of my favorite jackets, and it looks even cooler all scarred and beaten up after years of use.

In recent years, the leather jacket du jour has been the double-rider, and just like full sleeves of tattoos, they’ve become so ubiquitous that the jacket that once evoked immediate images of biker gangs and leather daddies now conjures up images of corny teens visiting New York for the first time.

But at this year’s earlier trade shows, it seems that the Type 3 has at last caught the eye of some fashion designers – and rightfully so.  After all, with 18 double riders available at www.mrporter.com, that trend has hit saturation point.  While bikers and leather daddies will continue to wear them into perpetuity, you have to ask yourself if you are either, or whether you will look more like a corny teen (for the full look, pair your double rider with a big scarf, jeggings, and a pair of zip up or jodphur boots.)

If you are looking for the best Type 3 jacket, and one that will be built to fit you, I would forego designer versions and go to Aero, the custom leather jacket makers headed by Ken Calder, and whose work has been worn by anyone from Elton John and Blondie to Daniel Craig and Jude Law. Their work is the real deal (link to vimeo interview here).  Also, Aero and Levis has a special relationship, with Aero making samples for Levi’s higher end lines. So you’re sometimes getting a premium product for less than the branded, production product.  It is also one of the very few companies that does real patch chest pockets, a difficult process because of the number of leather layers that must be sewed, and especially difficult for heavier leathers.  Most other companies do a ghost pocket that is set into the jacket.  Not only that, but because of Aero’s special relationship with Levi’s, they are allowed to use the red tab on their jackets, something that is typically not at all allowed.

Aero type 3 leather jacket pocket with tab

Aero is one of the few companies that is allowed to use Levi’s trademark red tab, and one of the few that uses a patch pocket rather than a “ghost” pocket.

Each jacket Aero builds is made by a single artisan. I like to think that mine are made by a winsome Scottish lass.  And you have your choice of leather, from the super heavy Horween Chromexel cowhide that I tend to prefer (and that is one of Aero’s go to leathers), to a much lighter weight Italian, vegetal horsehide, called “Vicenza”, which is light- to middle-weight by traditional moto-riding standards.  The jackets start at 550 GBP, which translates into $715 right now, and range to about 625 GBP for high-end leathers. You can’t find a better deal than than.  The suede version is even a better deal, starting at 450 GBP, or $585, which is the price of a random mall jacket in 2016.

You can order the leather version here, or the suede version here, but don’t be afraid to email them for more leather options.

 

Linjer Watch Giveaway [CLOSED]

Our friends at Linjer are known for their sleek, high-quality bags. Their new project, luxurious timepieces featuring Swiss movements and Italian leather straps, are certain to be just as impressive. We’re teaming up to give away a watch in any style and color to one lucky winner. If you want a shot at a beautiful watch that’s sure to serve you for a lifetime, join the contest below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Myth of Clothing as Self-Expression

This article was originally published at The-Rosenrot.com on September 8.


When I was younger I used to think that displaying one’s tastes externally was cool, despite knowing that deep down inside I risked being uncool by wanting to be cool. However the compulsion was strong. I wore my Tool shirt with much pride, paired with the skinniest of jeans and the most hardcore of Harley Davidson boots. Ideally they should destroy someone’s naked toes if I step on them. While my outlook remained the same, my interest gradually switched to fashion. I made sure people know of my hobby, which in itself is probably not a bad thing because every human craves for validation. But I was also secretly judging people for being unadventurous with their clothing choices. Instead of letting people be who they want to be, or wear whatever pleases them, I’d instinctively be tut-tutting their choice of clothing silently (she’s wearing t-shirt and shorts with her birkin?!). I was an awful, despicable snob.

I was reminded of my old self because recently someone I spoke to complained of a girl who chided his preference for J. Crew. Her exact word was ‘GROSS’, before going off on a rant about how clothing is a way to express one’s personality. To choose nondescript clothing labels to wear was a sign of a lack of it.

Her words echo this popular notion that fashion is a form a self-expression, that it is a genuine way of showcasing our inner self. I say it’s utter nonsense.

Dress is an important dimension in the articulation of personal identity, but not in the sense of voluntarism, whereby one’s choice of dress is freely-willed, expressive and creative. On the contrary, this ‘personal identity’ is managed through dress in rather boring ways because societal pressures encourage us to stay within the bounds of what is defined as a ‘normal’ body and ‘appropriate’ dress. Too much attention has been given to self-expression and individuality, while ignoring the implicit constraints that we face every day (Enwistle, 2001, available here and here). In fact, we often make sartorial decisions based on practicality, whom to impress, whom not to offend, which fashion tribe to align to, what our heroes are wearing, and how we want the world to perceive us. There’s also budgetary, class and social constraints that we have to adhere to. If fashion was truly a form of carefree self-expression, many of us would choose to be naked, and men would not feel insecure about their fragile masculinity when confronted with feminine clothing. The external pressure to dress a certain way is most evident in the realm of fashion blogging and street style, whereby the need to be recognized or conform to certain aesthetics (Southern prep anyone? Or the cool kids of Vêtements?) often trumps other hidden desires. Even yours truly still falls prey to that. I know I love the clothes that I wear, but I’m also aware of the external influences of the zeitgeist, which is why my favorite shoes currently are my Rafdidas.

There are several reasons for one to feel the need to express their identity and these mainly revolve around issues of social status, economic class, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, religious condition, recreation and individualism. With the creative use of fashion, individuals are able to either confirm or subvert several of these facets about their identities, consequently transmitting culturally coded, visual messages about themselves. This personal identity that is often tied into fashion is a created self that has to be crafted through social interactions. While one can argue that we internalise these influences to make them a part of our existence, there are still plenty of other external forces that play a strong role in our decision-making processes, as mentioned above.

So why then are we so hung up on the idea that fashion is an authentic form of self-expression and personal identity? It’s a romantic idea that is as clichéd and unhealthy as the line ‘You complete me.’. Do we really believe that Justin Beiber is a big fan of Metallica when he wore their t-shirts? Should we care? Why do many of the most creative people in the world choose to wear black t-shirts all the time?

At the end of the day, we have to stop swallowing this myth because it turns us into judgmental creatures. It shouldn’t matter whether a person dresses normal, lavish, outrageous, subtle, boring, so long as they’re appropriate within the context of the situation (again, bowing down to external forces). We do our darndest to not judge a book by its cover, and we should do the same for fellow human beings.

the myth of clothing as self-expressionthe myth of clothing as self-expression

the myth of clothing as self-expression

Introducing the Styleforum Journal

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For a long time now, we’ve been working on the best way to bring you news and articles while preserving the discussion-friendly DNA that makes the Styleforum community so great. Now that summer has come and gone, we’re happy to share our answer: this week, we introduce the Styleforum Journal.

From now on, the Journal will act as Styleforum’s editorial outlet. You’ll find in-depth articles on style, men’s tailoring, and great clothing designers. You’ll find shopping guides, city maps with our favorite stores laid out, style grids, and how-to’s. You’ll find everything from the basics of building a wardrobe to the minutiae of menswear. As we move forward, you’ll also find travel and leisure topics, such as how to get the best out of your luggage to how to pour a great cocktail.

We hope you’ll join us in discussing our shared interests, both here and on Styleforum.net. We want this to be an extension of the wonderful community we’ve created, friendly for new users and fulfilling for long-time members.

Remember, if there’s content you’d like to see, please reach out to us at journal@styleforum.net.

Very Best,

Fok Yan-Leung, Owner

Jasper Lipton, Editor-in-Chief

 

 

Rome City Map

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Welcome to Styleforum’s City Maps! Remember that these lists are not definitive. They have been chosen by our editorial staff to reflect what we believe our community will appreciate. We are open to suggestions, and are aware that shops close and re-open regularly. If you have a store suggestion or a comment to share, let us know in the comment section

Milan City Map

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Welcome to Styleforum’s City Maps! Remember that these lists are not definitive. They have been chosen by our editorial staff to reflect what we believe our community will appreciate. We are open to suggestions, and are aware that shops close and re-open regularly. If you have a store suggestion or a comment to share, let us know in the comment section

Florence Men’s Shopping Map

Florence Men's Shopping Map

Welcome to Styleforum’s City Maps! Remember that these lists are not definitive. They have been chosen by our editorial staff to reflect what we believe our community will appreciate. We are open to suggestions, and are aware that shops close and re-open regularly. If you have a store suggestion or a comment to share, let us know in the comment section

Styleforum first cut—May 24

Photo by Slim Aarons.

Bruce Pask gives the T Magazine endorsement to Orlebar Brown’s photo printed shorts. Wear Slim Aaron’s sun-drenched beachside photos while lounging poolside. META.

Uniqlo signs Novak Djokovic as brand ambassabor. Djok will debut his new duds at the French open–I assume Uniqlo Vintage Chinos and a +J parka.

Our Legacy releases image of their fall 2012 lookbook, shot by Takashi Homma. In: pajama suits, snow-covered leaves. Out: smiling.