About Styleforum Editors

The Styleforum editors are a group of gnomes that actually do all of the work running Styleforum. Ari, and Jasper play air hockey, drink artisanal iced teas, and debate whether it's harder to get bolognese or bechamel out of grenadine ties, and whether either can be used to polish shoes.

What is Ancient Madder?

Over the course of the autumn and winter, there’s a good chance you read the phrase “ancient madder” somewhere on the forum, and you may have wondered what it is. Although madder itself has a very, very long history, ancient madder now refers, at least in menswear parlance, exclusively to silk ties. These ties are specially treated to have the characteristically matte – or “chalky” – hand, then dyed with the traditionally dark and dusty colors of the madder plant.

Initially, the “madder” part of ancient madder – or any kind of madder – came from the dye’s origins as an extract of the Rubia tinctorum plant, otherwise known as “madder.” Use of the plant dates back to the Egyptian Empire of 1500 B.C., and it has been found in Africa, Greece, Italy, and central Asia. Most regularly, it was used to produce reds and oranges, including the red coats of the British Army. Like indigo, natural madder dyes were phased out upon the discovery of the plant’s coloring agent, alizarin, and its subsequent synthesis in 1868. It doesn’t help that some of the chemicals present in natural madder root have been shown to cause cancer in rats (that’s not something you have to worry about with the modern, synthetically-dyed ties).

In America, Madder ties became a standby of Ivy style, often found in paisleys and geometric prints alongside stripes and club logos. The colors given by the madder root, and hence by its synthetic replicas,  are generally muted. Think of sandstone, changing leaves, and soft ochres – geometric madder prints remain an Ivy standby, but they’ve also been embraced by men who are after striking but conservative colors. They’re particularly well-suited for fall, when thicker textures and jackets come out of the closet for the changing weather.

Essentially, “ancient madder” refers to very handsome neckties in dark, chalky colors, with a similarly chalky hand. Several companies make “ancient madder” ties, though Styleforum members will be most familiar with names such as Drake’s, Shibumi Berlin, and Sam Hober. Larger brands such as Brooks Bros., Ralph Lauren, and Ben Silver also regularly carry madder ties.

Once you have one, Mr. Bruce Boyer recommends wearing it with a tweed jacket, though most jackets with some heft and texture to them will pair well with madder ties. When wearing a madder tie, do recommend embracing other natural or natural-looking dyes, such as indigos, which pair beautifully with the dark hues of ancient madder ties.

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The Week’s Best Styleforum Classifieds Listings

Every week, enterprising Styleforum member @razl takes time out of his busy schedule to search for what he can call the best of Styleforum’s classifieds. Out of that glittering company, we’ve picked our five favorites to share.

1. Brand New Gaziano & Girling St. James in UK 9 – 900 EUR (800 EUR without shoe trees)

Let’s start off with two pairs of stunners – two brand new pairs of G&G St. James in size UK 9. These beauties come in the wider “F” last, so if you’ve got wider feet and you’re looking to save some money on a pair (or two) of fantastic shoes, look no further.

Sold by @Jamestct 

2. ZILLI Brown Suede Belted Coat with Nutria Collar & Muskrat Lining (size s/m) – $2,850

Whoa. Talk about a stunner – this full suede coat with a hefty fur lining is a once-in-a-lifetime find, and with proper care it’ll last you just as long. Wear it open with a pair of well-worn jeans and casual boots, or over a jacket and trousers. Either way – holy damn.

Sold by @Brianpore

3. Isaia Jackets (various sizes and colors) – $699-$999 (trousers for $105)

Isaia’s known for bold patterns and colors – as well as great fit and construction. This is your chance to snag a deal on some beautiful, eye-catching pieces, at prices far lower than retail. Jump on it!

Sold by @gyasih

4. BNIB Alden Straight Tip Medallion Boots, #8 Shell Cordovan, Grant last, US 9.5D – $750

Best Styleforum Classifieds Listings

Another fantastic pair of shoes popped up this week – these Aldens in gorgeous shell cordovan are the perfect boot for jeans or trousers, and the legendary New England craftsmanship will take you all over the world in perfect style.

Sold by @hoodog

5. NWT Dents “Keswick” silk-lined gloves, sizes 9 & 10 – $55

Best Styleforum Classifieds Listings

Finally, Dents’ gloves are legendary by any standard, and finding a pair for half off retail is a dream. Wear them with anything, anywhere, anytime – not only will your hands be warm, but you’ll get that great, self-satisfied feeling that only comes from wearing luxurious accessories.

Sold by @jreigen

To see @razl’s full list, click here

Our Best End of Season Sales Picks

It’s your last chance to snag some great deals on winter collections before spring clothes make their way into your favorite shops. Here are some of our best end of season sales picks, great for any wardrobe.



Best End of Season Sales styleforum stutterheim

 Stutterheim Car Coat – 95GBP at END.



Best End of Season Sales styleforum

CM: Camoshita Houndstooth Balmacaan – 711$ at No Man Walks Alone



Best End of Season Sales styleforum

North Sea Clothing Service Shawl Collar – 85GBP


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

John Laing Cashmere Rollneck – 275$ at Hanger Project



Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Haversack long popover – 115$ at Gentry with code HALFOFF


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Luciano Barbera Seafoam stripe – 197$ at Lawrence Covell

Denim and Trousers


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Snow Peak Okayama OX Pants – 155$ at Standard and Strange


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Hiltl for H.Stockton thin-wale corduroy pants in chocolate – 183$ at H.Stockton



Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Nike Flyknit SE – 86$ at Oki-Ni


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Carmina Tanker Boot in brown scotchgrain – 475$ at Gentlemen’s Footwear



Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Dries van Noten leather portfolio – 376$ at LOIT


Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Begg Kishorn cashmere scarf – 340$ at Unionmade

See something you like? If you’re on the hunt for more great end-of-season sales and deals, make sure you’re subscribed to the Styleforum Offical Sales Alert Thread, where we share all the sales, coupon codes, and deals from the best vendors in the world of menswear. You won’t find a better place to stay up-to-date on staying stylish. 

Three Great Classic Menswear Brands at Pitti 91

While there are hundreds and hundreds of brands that show at Pitti Uomo, many of them deserving of your time and attention, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Here are three great classic menswear brands at Pitti 91, all of which we thought had that little extra.

1. Peter Nappi

I’ve been following Peter Nappi, off and on, for several years now – though this is the first time I’ve had a chance to see their wares in person. My interest has largely been devoted to their line of handsome work boots, which are about as streetwear-friendly as you can get. But this season, Peter Nappi has introdced a new line of beautifully-patinated shoes that, at least in the warm browns that were shown at Pitti, are perfect for less-formal tailored clothing, or even dressed-up casual wear. I was most impressed by the wholecuts, which I thought had not only a shape that would be conducive to a range of outfits, but a honey-gold warmth that I can see pairing very nicely with, say, sage-green trousers, as well as worn denim. If you’d rather wear something a little slicker with your jeans and jacket, perhaps a pair of suede zip-up harness boots is what you’re after. Those, I have to say, were gorgeous.

Peter Nappi is based in Nashville, but the entire line is made in Italy, and most of the products are Blake-stitched. However, there is a line of completely handmade Goodyear-welted workboots, should you want to branch out.


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2. Fioroni Cashmere 

Fioroni cashmere caught our eye at Pitti Uomo for the delicate nuances of their incredibly soft cashmere sweaters, but our interest deepened when we learned about Fioroni’s innovative techniques and philosophy. The brand stands against animal cruelty and uses only the finest Mongolian cashmere that is spun in Italy, while the leather is sourced exclusively from the food industry. Every sweater is finished by hand using pure cashmere thread.

The most interesting products we spotted were the Duvet line and the bio cashmere. After weaving, the Duvet garments are washed for an hour in water coming from the Lake Trasimeno, which is rich in iron and gives the cashmere an extra soft, compact, and virtually pill-less texture.

The Bio Cashmere is dyed using exclusively natural pigments; we spotted oak-dyed cashmere in the most beautiful taupe hue, and olive-dyed knits in a delicate pastel green. The colors of the Bio Cashmere line are pleasantly muted and, just like indigo-dyed garments, they take on character as they age and get washed.


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3. Massimo La Porta 

Massimo La Porta is a Neapolitan shirtmaker who learned the art of shirt making from his uncle Pino Borriello, one of the first shirtmaker in Naples in the 1940s. His goal is to provide a product that follows the steps of the traditional Neapolitan tailoring as well as contemporary style.

Each shirt goes through twelve hand-stitching steps: collar,  button holes, shoulders, and hips are hand-finished, and the Australian mother-of-pearl buttons are sewn by hand using a lily-stitch. The armholes are not sewn along with the hip seams; instead, they are hand-finished using a technique named “curl.”

Although there are many well-known Neapolitan shirtmakers, La Porta’s wares caught our eye due primarily to the range of fabrics on display. Particularly appealing to Jasper was (unsurprisingly) a medium-blue chambray shirt with exposed selvage detailing, though there were plenty of interesting patterns perfect for casual use alongside the more classic stripes and solids.


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Styleforum’s Pitti 91 Recap

Pitti passes by so quickly. There is so much build up beforehand, and then… poof, it’s over. I’ve spent the last two months planning what to see, who to meet, etc., etc. Then the week comes and it all turns into a hazy whirlpool of cheek kisses, dinners, and nighttime events in lavish locations. Then, a few days later, I leave and feel like I didn’t really have time to actually speak to all the people I wanted to speak to, I didn’t see all the exhibitors I would have liked to see, and I didn’t have time to just stroll about and see the city-sized museum that is Florence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I just spent almost a week in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, discussing and looking at beautiful clothes, shoes and accessories. I guess it’s just impossible to squeeze everything you’d want to do into four days.

I was lucky enough to be traveling with Jussi Häkkinen, a new partner at E-F-V, and his lovely fiancée, Anu Ratulinen. This season my fiancée, Erica, couldn’t come because of work. She usually helps out with the photography when we’re there. Fortunately, Andreas (@Anden) was able to come this year and take pictures. And even though I missed having Erica with me, I really enjoyed hanging out with Andreas this week.

Anu had taken care of booking an apartment for us. I was expecting your average Air BNB experience, meaning a decent flat with a shower. What I had completely missed was that she had managed to book us a room in one of Florence’ oldest and most well known palazzos. Not only did the 7-meter ceiling have beautiful frescos, but the apartment was also overlooking Arno and Ponte Vecchio. We found out later that this palazzo was Hannibal Lecter’s Florence residence in the movie Hannibal.

After arriving pretty late the first night, I had to dump my luggage in the room quickly to join a dinner for “influencers” (I really can’t identify with that term), hosted by tie makers Loïc et Gil. The restaurant was very nice, and even though I arrived a few hours later than everyone else, they had only gotten halfway through the 10-or-so-course meal. The company was good and naturally we ended up at cafe Gilli in central Florence. Gilli’s is a beautiful old cafe, with some nice pastries and decent drinks. All of this is impossible to appreciate during Pitti though, since the place is brim full of Pitti visitors, and the staff is particularly rude. Tired after traveling and the big meal at the restaurant, I headed off to our apartment to get at least a few hours of rest before Day 1 of the fair.

Day 1

I woke up eerily early the day after. Couldn’t shower, since all the hot water was used up. A quick cold wash in the sink had to do the trick for day one. We got dressed, had a quick cup of coffee and headed off to meet some friends outside the fair.

Andreas and I had decided to meet up inside the fair before lunch. There were so many people to meet and greet outside of the main pavilion that we actually didn’t get inside before lunch. After some haggling, Andreas, myself, and a Swedish photographer friend named Milad managed to get our lunch passes, even though I had emailed ahead to make sure there would be no problems this time. “Oh well, it’s Italy” (a phrase I repeated to myself a couple of times this week). We arrived at the lunch buffet, met some Swedish friends, had some wine, and headed out again.

Once inside the fair halls, we walked around just looking into booths for a while. Of course we had a few must-sees (the usual suspects), but nothing scheduled. This was pretty much my philosophy for the week – trying to have as little as possible scheduled, to be able to actually experience the atmosphere and the visual impressions without repeatedly checking the clock. This made the entire week much more enjoyable, and actually fruitful.

We met Jake and Alex, formerly of the Armoury, in Orazio Luciano’s booth. They told us they are now launching their own store in London. Exciting news indeed for all Londoners.

Day 1 went by way too quick. Since we had planned to go to Plaza Uomo & Simon Crompton’s Independent Shops Symposium at Palazzo Budini Gattei, we didn’t really have time for dinner. Unfortunately, the location of the party, beautiful as it is, didn’t work perfectly with the symposium that was being held at a stage at the far end of a big hall. Standing close to the stage, you could hear what Patrik of Skoaktiebolaget, Mark of the Armoury and the other guest speakers were saying, but at the back of the room everything dissolved into mumbling. Partly because a lot of the guests didn’t really care about the shushings from the people who wanted to hear what was discussed onstage. Since we hadn’t had time for dinner, the drinks hit harder than they usually would have. Once it was time to get something to eat, Benedikt (@braddock) lead the way, and a nice little company of people (12 or so) headed off to a really nice place, centrally located, where I was seated next to my good friends, Norman Vilalta and Charley Marcuse (@mr.claymore). The meal was great, the company was even greater, and all of a sudden we found ourselves at Gilli’s again.

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Erik is co-founder of EFV Clothing. You can find him on Instagram at @ErikMannby. If you’re attending Pitti Uomo 91 this January, let us know in the comments below!

Member Focus: Gerry Nelson

Meet Gerry Nelson, a Styleforum member who routinely posts in both the Classic Menswear and Streetwear and Denim subfora. Gerry has a great eye for color, texture and fit, and in this week’s member focus he tells us about how he honed in on a style that’s versatile, eye-catching, and always well put-together.

My journey began half a lifetime ago in England. Up until then, I didn’t have much of an interest in menswear. Hanging out with a group of people who were into designer clothing got me interested in clothing by Giorgio Armani. This, in turn, gave me a love of interesting textures and soft tailoring…I then proceeded to gain a bunch of weight and consequently lost interest in menswear over the next two decades until I decided to get things back on track.

After getting back in shape around 2011- 2012, the first thing I did was to start looking out for resources on how to dress better which led me to StyleForum and Put This On. The latter has a wonderful list of items for an essential wardrobe. It was fantastic – there it was, all laid out for me in a list and all I had to do was to acquire the pieces, one by one. Of course, things are never that straightforward, but more on that later…

From Styleforum I got a love for English men’s shoes, combined with an itch to polish them to a high shine. The members were helpful but what really got me going was when a good friend of mine, Christian Kimber, sat me down and showed me how it was done. Of my most memorable moments was when I finally got it! I figured out that:

  1. Most men pay more attention to the clothes than the shoes
  2. If the clothes fit well, you didn’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money
  3. A nice, well-polished pair of shoes stands out for all the right reasons

So that’s where I started.

I, of course, took it further and decided I needed a mixture of styles to cover any occasion from tramping in the woods to a black tie dinner! So, I ended up with black, brown and burgundy oxfords, derbies, monkstraps, boots and loafers in shell, calf and suede. Most of these were bought second-hand, and naturally, mistakes were made along the way. Fortunately, I was able to resell the pairs that did not fit properly and ended up with a collection that I am extremely happy with (but there will always be another pair out there to tempt me!).

Similarly, with suits, I got the standards – a navy and a mid-grey single-breasted suit and then branched out into a lighter blue, a charcoal, a grey flannel, brown linen, a green Donegal tweed and finally, a dinner suit.

Regrets? I had a few – I bought a Chester Barrie suit off eBay because of the name and because it was made in Savile Row. I thought it was awesome but didn’t realise how out of date it looked – always ask yourself if you would buy something if there was no label. I’ve bought trousers based on the waist measurement and found that they fit more like skinny jeans or were way too baggy – pay attention to ALL the measurements. Think about where any potential purchases would fit in your wardrobe before you buy something. In some cases, I didn’t and things either had to be sold or donated (yes, I’m looking at YOU, seven-fold teal satin tie!).

I prefer textures to patterns and that’s how my Classic Menswear style developed.

There came a point, however, where I felt that I had a handle on the more formal side of things but had no idea how to dress outside of that. I wanted a style that incorporated classical elements but was something I would wear while going out on weekends, i.e. not a jacket and tie. This search eventually took me to Japanese workwear and the love of the looser, flowing fit. I still love textures and indigo-dyed sashiko and boro fabric have got my attention these days. I’m as likely to be at work in an untucked button-down collar shirt, fatigue pants and work jacket as I am in a suit, tie and pocket square. One of the great things about where I work is that there is no specific dress code.

I’ve built up a great wardrobe over time and it’s time once more to sift through and get rid of the pieces that no longer fit in with what I wear these days. It’s a good exercise when you feel you’ve accumulated too many clothes. There is no such thing as the perfect wardrobe but the best wardrobe for now is one that is constantly edited – with additions and removals – which keeps it exciting.

A great thing about Melbourne is that we get all four seasons and the weather doesn’t necessarily stick to a schedule – I’ve worn lightweight tweed on cold spring days and linen on warm autumn days. The colder weather also affords me the opportunity to layer my clothing and that opens up a lot of options in terms of colours, textures and accessories like scarves (cotton, wool-silk, lambswool and cashmere) and gloves (cashmere, calf leather and peccary). I often wake up excited about the sartorial possibilities the day promises.

It’s been a long process of experimentation that is still going on. Along the way, I’ve been influenced by many different people and made some great friends. The one thing they all have in common is that they primarily wear clothes that I would be very comfortable wearing, so it’s very easy to draw inspiration. Some of the people and brands I get my inspiration from:

For casualwear, I draw a lot of inspiration from Engineered Garments, Blue Blue Japan and Kapital for their workwear-inspired pieces, indigo dye and sashiko – what is there not to love?

Find your inspiration and I wish you all the very best on your journey. If you want to talk more about menswear and the journey, I would love to hear from you!


The Best Streetstyle from Pitti Uomo 91, Day 4

Styleforum’s coverage of the best streetstyle from Pitti Uomo 91 continues, with Andreas Klow’s photos from Day 4 of the fair. Which is your favorite look? The slideshow is below.

You can follow Andreas on Instagram at @flannels_and_tweed.

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Styleforum’s Pitti Uomo 91 Streetstyle, Day 2.5

We’re back with more Pitti Uomo 91 Streetstyle. Check out the slideshow below to see some of the world’s best-dressed men – including a few familiar faces!

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All photos Andreas Klow. Follow Andreas on Instagram at @flannels_and_tweed.