The best time to visit San Francisco is now. Arriving at the chilly heels of “Fogust”, fortune favors those who visit during mid-September to mid-October, when you are all but guaranteed plenty of daylight, clear skies, and warm sunshine. Not surprisingly, it’s also the most popular time for weddings in the Bay Area, including my own twenty years ago. I remember being a bit incredulous when my wife scheduled our wedding for early October, but her confidence was rewarded with wonderfully mild temperatures, perfectly suited for an outdoor garden wedding. I should have never doubted her.
Fortuitously, it’s also the ideal weather for transitional clothes, those baby-bear pieces that are too airy for the dead of winter and too oppressive for the peak of summer, but just right for right now. Think breathable linen sweaters, gauzy cotton trousers, and lightweight tops that can be layered. Never mind that you can only practically wear them a couple months of the year; when that time comes, you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without them.
There are a few designers that offer choices for this kind of weather, but none stands out as much as Steve Calder. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Steve’s line Informale includes clothes for all seasons, both tailored and casual, but his mid-season clothes are the most compelling to me personally, particularly the double-pleated trouser in 280 gram linen (about 10 ounces). With a hidden elastic waistband, high rise, relaxed and slightly tapered leg, they have been my go-to trousers practically every moment I wasn’t working or in bed, and look good with everything from loafers and a sport coat to sneakers and a t-shirt, on the streets or the beach.
This aesthetic seems to permeate most of Steve’s Instagram, which is how I got to know of him (and a great source of inspiration for transitional clothes in general). His feed is full of outfits that interpret classic clothes for a casual environment, and while all of the items are familiar to menswear, it’s not strictly menswear, and neither is it streetwear. The overall impression is sophisticated but not ceremonial, unstudied but not sloppy. Or as Steve calls it: sartorial casualwear.
“Informale is essentially born out of my own personal style,” Steve relates. “I wouldn’t say it fills a void or is super unique, but I do want to make sure it has our own signature, a small detail or fabric which can’t be found anywhere else. When I started seeking out casual pieces to mix in with my tailoring, I noticed that there weren’t many casual options that mix well with the kind of classic, soft tailoring that I was making. Everything started with the dream of making a pair of drawstring linen trousers with a tailored cut that I just couldn’t find anywhere. I figured, how hard could it be to find someone local in Melbourne who can make me a pair of pants? And that was what drove me to seek out someone who could make my dream a reality.”
When it comes to styling, Steve says Informale can work piecemeal or wholesale. “Don’t worry about buying into the entire look; pick and choose the pieces that will work best for you and your own personal style. I like to believe our designs are simple and easy enough to work seamlessly into our clients’ existing wardrobe.”
I love flannel as much as the next guy, but before you go all tweedy for winter, ease your way out of summer with transitional clothes while it’s still warm.
pictures mine and courtesy of Steve calder of informale
Labor Day has come and gone, and it seems that everyone can’t wait to exchange their beach togs for sweaters and tweed. This summer was warmer than usual in San Francisco, and it’ll probably extend into October, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about the upcoming season. Perhaps it’s the fact that the additional layers allow one to express oneself in subtle whispers that rival the boldest aloha shirt, but perhaps I’m romanticizing it just a bit. It helps that the coldest it ever gets in San Francisco is a laughable 40℉ (about 5℃), so I can enjoy the clothes without having to suffer too much discomfort. Yes, that’s an admission of guilt.
Carhartt recently released a video for Labor Day that good-naturedly highlights the rookie gaffes of apprentices, and you should watch it, because it’s wonderful. I’ve done at least three or four of these, and as embarrassing as it is, everyone stumbles when taking their first steps, and it’s good practice to laugh at yourself, if not then, at least in retrospect.
I like to think it’s in honor of those who suffered for those benefits we sometimes take for granted that workwear has become such an ingrained part of everyday clothing. From denim to duck cloth, one can hardly walk down a street anywhere in the industrialized world without seeing something that references the hard-wearing togs of the common laborer. Many of the upcoming fall/winter collections include a sweeping variety to choose from, so if you don’t feel like going all-out with hickory-striped coveralls and hi-viz, you’ve got plenty of other options. Here are my favorites for the early season.Continue reading
The difference between a painting and a print are at once subtle and striking. Put a reproduction next to the original, and the former seems flat, dull, and inanimate, whereas the latter is vibrant, engaging, and alive. For some, the simple fact that a particular work of art is the genuine article justifies its superiority, but for me the reason is not provenance, it’s visceral: the texture of brush strokes.
Texture, like many things in life, adds interest and depth to the otherwise mundane and can make something good even better. This is why we take the scenic route instead of the freeway and add chocolate chips to vanilla ice cream, and also why I love Derek’s summer tweed. A 9/10 ounce blend of 60% linen and 40% silk, it offers a visual and tactile uniqueness that is rarely seen in fabric, an intriguing amalgam of irregular consistency and soft hand, dancing between light and shadow.Continue reading
In this photo at Harry’s Bar in Firenze, Jake Grantham is laughing. You don’t know why, or with whom, because the left side of the photo has been cut off. But if you were there, you’d be laughing too, relishing that memorable night of negronis and hysterics, right along with everyone else.Continue reading
The first and second days of Pitti are insane – meetings, parties, and press. The third day slows down dramatically, and by the fourth day, everyone just wants to go home. Presently on the train to Rome to start my trip home, I’m just now realizing that I mostly trawled the booths to take as much advantage of the air conditioning as I could. I should have taken more pictures, but I did catch a lot of video, so check out the stories on Styleforum’s Instagram on these makers:
- Craftsman Clothing
- Amidé Hadelin
- Freenote Cloth
- Man 1924
- Stefano Cau
- Made With Hart
The days and nights are flying by. Plaza Uomo held an event at the Palazzo Budini Gattai, a 16th century that was built and is still owned by the eponymous family. The next day a few of us got a chance to sneak away from the madness. Andreas Klow (@flannelsandtweed) and Aleks Jovanovich (@aleksjj) and I rented scooters for a jaunt in the Tuscan countryside, and later that evening enjoyed good company with Matt Hranek from W.M. Brown Project and Douglas Cordeaux from Fox Brothers hosted a party where everyone ended up parting ways with a smile on their face.
Check out the StyleForum Instagram feed for stories. These photos are from the evening of day one to the evening of day two. Thanks to Andreas and Aleks for sharing their pics when this third-rate pretend-photographer was slacking off.Continue reading