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.


Outerwear

SW&D:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum stutterheim

 Stutterheim Car Coat – 95GBP at END.

 

CM:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

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


Knitwear

SW&D:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

North Sea Clothing Service Shawl Collar – 85GBP

CM:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

John Laing Cashmere Rollneck – 275$ at Hanger Project


Shirts

SW&D:

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

SW&D:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

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

CM:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

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


Shoes

SW&D:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Nike Flyknit SE – 86$ at Oki-Ni

CM:

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

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


Accessories

SW&D

Best End of Season Sales styleforum

Dries van Noten leather portfolio – 376$ at LOIT

CM:

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. 

The 3 Wildest Brands at Pitti Uomo 91

In addition to some of the best classic menswear brands, the best accessories, and the all-around best brands, period, Pitti plays host to some crazy and crazily impressive work. Here are three of the wildest brands at Pitti Uomo 91, brought to you by the discerning eye of Arianna Reggio.


OLD RANDA

One of the makers that impressed me the most at Pitti was Old Randa. Andrea, the creative mind behind the brand, caught my eye with his eclectic style. With his thin figure, the arms covered in tattoos, and the slim, straight moustache, he made me think that, if Baudelaire had been alive in 2017, that’s exactly what he would look like.

Since I am an incredibly frivolous person and I tend to dedicate attention to people with charm, I immediately approached Andrea to find out if his creations were as compelling as his style.

This is how I got swallowed up in a spiral of art, history, and tradition that almost left me overwhelmed as if I were drunk.

Andrea is a patina master, which means that he specializes in the art of dyeing leather. Because of his strong personality and his personal background (he worked in theater before dedicating his time to the Old Randa project) his creations are rather unique. Think Bontoni shoes tripping on acid.

Bright colors, such as absinthe green, bright purple, and mustard yellow, are combined using no apparent logic, and they make the shoes look like the skin of exotic, venomous animals.

I pointed at a pair of brogues that looked as if they were coated in the red marble adorning the Medici chapel in Florence.

“Ah, those!” said Andrea with a smile. “I dye them using wine must.”

As it always happens when I hear the word “wine,” I pricked up my ears.

“I retrieved an ancient recipe for making wine in the Ancient Rome. I dip the shoes in the must using an amphorae until they’re almost completely black, and then I polish away the excess until beauty is revealed.”

Then he flipped the shoes to expose the sole, and I was, if possible, even more blown away. On the leather sole of the shoe was impressed the strange figure of an animal; Andrea explained that he has always been fascinated by the drawings of ancient European explorers, who, coming back from their adventures, would try to illustrate the exotic, unknown animals such as lions, peacocks, elephants, and crocodiles. Because these representations were solely based on the memory of the explorers, they were incredibly inaccurate, and looking at them today they seem the drawings of mythological creatures.

I collected Jasper, who didn’t get a single word of the conversation – which was in Italian – and I walked away asking myself if this encounter really happened or I was still getting over last night’s prosecco.  Or if this whole Pitti thing was a dream, and I had just woken up to find out I was at some batshit crazy contemporary art vernissage in Copenhagen.

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FRANCESCO MAGLIA

Francesco Maglia is a big, ruddy man that, if it wasn’t for his perfectly tailored clothes, could easily be mistaken for Santa Claus. I timidly peeked inside their booth attracted by the varicolored umbrellas sprouting from rudimental metal tins, and Francesco Maglia literally dragged me inside and introduced me to his little crew – which were all family members.

“Hello, my dear,” he solemnly said, “I am Francesco V, and this is Francesco VI, my son.”

“Oh.” That’s pretty much everything I managed to say, partly because I was trying to figure out if the guy was shitting me, and partly because my hand had started to go numb in his vise.

“So…what’s going on here? You guys make some pretty awesome umbrellas,” I said, deciding that adulation is always a safe option. Besides, their umbrellas really are quite amazing: they look sturdy and practical, but with a range of colors and shapes that denote careful research in aesthetics. I would say that they’re the type of umbrellas I wouldn’t mind using to beat up a mugger on the bus, only to clamorously open it in a dramatic gesture a minute later and walk away in style, chin to the sky.

“We, young lady,” said Francesco V in his deep, low voice, “We are some of the best umbrella makers in the world.”

I stared at him for a long moment, finding myself speechless again. He said that in such a calm, confident way that I believed him immediately. He proceeded without giving me the time to process the information.

“Everything we sell is exclusively made in our workshop. We are a five-generation umbrella makers and we still use the same methods and processes that Francesco I used when he opened the workshop. Each umbrella requires more than 70 steps to make.

“You like that?” he asked, noticing I was eyeing a beautiful umbrella in cobalt blue.

“It’s really nice,” I replied sincerely, “The wood seems quite solid!”

“It is. It’s a single piece of wood. A whole branch of walnut, actually.”

Francesco went on explaining how they only use the best wood branches to make their handles, and how laborious the process is.

“First, you have to select the branches. Then, you have to straighten them, and that requires a lot of time – up to 6 months – during which the maker steams the wood and softens it in order to bend it to the correct shape.”

I suddenly felt reverential respect for this man, who was clearly passionate about his profession and was taking the time to illustrate his art to me. It broke me a little when his face changed to a sadder expression as he told me that people don’t seem to care about quality anymore.

“People don’t understand that an umbrella like this is an heirloom piece that will last through more than one generation, because my umbrellas simply don’t break. My sister has had hers for over 30 years, and we just recently replaced the canopy: it looks like new again.

“The demand is so low that we had to come to terms with some of our offerings; for example, we are no longer able to offer silk as a choice.  Our fabric is now a blend of cotton, silk, and wool.”

His big smile came back as soon as I told him that I work for a menswear forum (it took a while before he understood what that was) where quality is not only appreciated, but also worshipped like a goddess, and I promised to introduce his brand to the community.

I walked away after one last, vigorous handshake that thankfully didn’t make my $3 Hello Kitty umbrella fall off my tote bag. That would have been embarrassing.

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ESSENZIALMENTE LAURA

Since both Jasper and I have the sense of direction of a blind mole in a maze, we found ourselves lost in the main pavilion more than once trying to find the shopping area, which was supposed to be a pretty big deal this year. During one of our aimless wanderings, we ended up in the area dedicated to maîtres parfumeurs, as in: the beauty section.

Honestly, I feel pretty at ease around beauty aisles, so I suggested going through them in hope to find the shops and maybe even a perfume to bring home as a souvenir.

“But…what does beauty have to do with Pitti Uomo?” objected Jasper.

Oh, God. Men. Always asking irrelevant questions.

“Aren’t you a big connoisseur of fragrances yourself?”

“Yes, but…is this a good use of our time?”

I stared at my colleague in dismay: he succeeded in the attempt of making me feel more guilty than my husband ever has.

“Fine. Let’s go this way, perhaps we will find the…”

“Ohh, look! Roses!” breathed Jasper, waltzing towards the stand of Essenzialmente Laura, which had rows upon rows of elegant perfume bottles protected by crystal cloches.

I followed him to the stand, where a woman was elegantly waving her hand, spraying perfume all around.

“This is Mystic Rose,” she said smiling at us. “It’s part of our collection dedicated to the Bible.

“Roses are a biblical symbol of wisdom and purity. The thorns represent the sins, and the Church itself is oftentimes represented with a rose. Do you like it?”

Jasper seemed pleased with the smell of Mystic Rose, so the woman showed us the rest of the Bible collection.

“This is Incense of the Churches of Rome,” she announced, spraying off the fragrance on a piece of paper and handing it to us.

“It smells…like a church,” I commented stupidly, but I did mean what I said. If you ever entered a big cathedral in Europe – whether it’s Notre Dame or St. Peter’s, you know what I’m referring to: that smell of melted wax, incense, and wood has probably been the same for centuries. It is actually not unpleasant: it instantly brought me back to my trip to Bruges, when I had one of the most intense sensorial experiences of my life. I was walking down the aisle of the enormous cathedral in the central square of the city, and someone started playing the harp in a little hidden chapel. If you have never heard the sound of a harp resonating through the marble walls of a church, let me tell you: it was the most poetical sound my ears have ever perceived, and even if I chased it desperately in hundreds of harp concerts after that day, I was never able to grasp that celestial melody again. It was one, ephemeral moment of pure beauty, and it’s lost forever.

That’s what I was thinking when I smelled Incense of the Churches of Rome: I felt grateful for the privilege of having shared the stage with Beauty one day many years ago, in a semi-desert church in Belgium inundated with the morning light.

Perhaps it’s not a perfume I would wear on a daily basis, but the melancholy those notes of incense instilled in me is more precious than the average “I’d have sex with myself” fragrance.

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So here we are! Hopefully you enjoyed reading about the more unconventional people and brands that populate Pitti Uomo. Watching the photos online and reading about it on fashion magazines and blogs doesn’t even begin to explain the variety of incredible personalities that you can encounter. If you take the time to talk to them, they’ll tell you stories – their stories – that will transcend the menswear field, and you’ll find yourself wondering if you really should be listening to these mad individuals rather than concentrating on the clothes and the products.

Oh, but you can’t help that,” whispers a voice in my head: “We’re all mad here.

The Best Accessories at Pitti Uomo 91

The Best Accessories Brands at Pitti Uomo

1. Ana Lemata

Ana Lemata is less a milliner than a textile artist who happens to make hats – and “passionate” doesn’t begin to describe her approach to her craft. Her hats are by turns whimsical, elegant, and romantic, ranging from traditional designs to hats that are barely recognizable as hats until they’re worn.

Ana was trained by the former milliner to Queen Mother Elizabeth of England, though she also carries a Ph.D in art history. Both skill and knowledge are on display in all her wares, and one gets the feeling that her hats wouldn’t be out of place in the Guggenheim Bilbao. But don’t let the incredible artistry fool you – these hats, made of materials such as beaver felt, vicuna, and straw – are made to last as long as the wearer, with proper care. And, while there are a host of ready-made options available upon inquiry, Ana relishes the opportunity to make bespoke hats for discerning clients.

If you’re in the market for something hand-made, unique, and sure to bring you years of happiness, you should act soon – currently, Ana’s prices are almost criminally low considering the materials used and the amount of work that goes into each piece.

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2. PB 0110

One of the most interesting pieces we saw at Pitti was this undyed leather backpack by PB 0110. This is a German brand that manufactures primarily sleek, modern leather accessories; very much in the vein of Scandinavian design but with a slightly more streetwear bent to them. What that means is that instead of rigid perfection you get a product with a bit more personality than the stereotypically featureless accessories people still tend to associate with ubiquitous minimalism.

Like most of the companies that show at Pitti, PB 0110 is eager to tout the lasting quality of its products. Normally, I’m wary of these claims, but pictures of well-used leather bags suggest that perhaps there’s more than marketing spin to the statements.

Though the articles are available in a range of colors and styles, the undyed leathers are probably the stand-out. Perfect for lugging around your rolls of dead-stock denim and small-batch-roasted coffee beans.

3. The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear

If you spend any time involved in the #menswear community online, you’ve probably heard of The Bespoke Dudes – or at least of the founder, Fabio Attanasio, who’s a veritable Instagram celebrity. The eyewear is based on classic – mostly 50’s and 60’s – styles, but updated for a more modern look. Every pair, whether wire or acetate, is manufactured and hand-finished in Italy, and if nothing else it’s a great alternative to the Luxottica behemoth. Of course, you’ll have to make sure the shapes and widths work for your face, but the details, lenses, and finishes may just pull you away from that free pair of sunnies you keep in your car’s cupholder.

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4. La Portegna

We’ve been singing the praises of La Portegna since at least 2014, and nothing has changed our appreciation for these lightweight travel goods and accessories. While in years past the offerings were very voyage-focused, La Portegna has expanded somewhat to include a wider range of women’s goods, along with shoes and sneakers for both sexes. The latter being, as José told me, a natural extension of the brand, despite (his words) the ubiquity of minimal sneakers.

To me, the appeal of La Portegna is how good the products feel in the hand, and how comforting it is to bring them with you on a daily – or irregular – basis. The designs and leathers continue to be attractive to both the eye and the hand, and offer a relieving middle ground when one is faced on all sides by heavy leather weekenders and Nylon carryalls. And, to José’s credit, his (leather-soled) espadrilles are the only espadrilles I’ve ever considered wearing.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a backpack in La Portegna’s beautiful and long-wearing ‘Sol’ leather, the wait is over.

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(Disclosure: La Portegna provided Styleforum with sponsored goods for a different project in 2015)

5. Merola

Merola is an old standby of Italian glovemaking, and for good reason. Since 1885, they’ve managed not only to hang on to their manufacturing pedigree, but they’ve adapted their line to fit the needs (and hands) of everyone from Kate Winslet in Titanic to your average guy with a smartphone. Of particular note were the gloves lined with tie silk, which is a touch that I can see many Styleforum members finding attractive – and comfortable. The materials and linings remain sumptuous, the finishing top-notch, and the number of styles available mean it’s pretty likely that you’ll be able to find something to keep your hands both warm and stylish, whether you’re riding a vintage bicycle or just nonchalantly stuffing your gloves in the pocket of your overcoat.

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Waiting for sales in 2016, and my sale picks.

This season, many of the the big-name retailers – the ailing J.Crew and limping Ralph Lauren foremost amongst them, but also big department stores like BarneysSaks Fifth Avenue  and the larger online specialty stores like SSENSE –  held off on price slashing seasonal sales until very close to Christmas, playing a high stakes game of chicken with consumers in a bid to preserve their margins (and according to WWD.com, mostly losing).

This led to a pent-up demand for sales items when the sales finally started – and this post Christmas shopping season felt much more like pre-Great Recession sales than the “start-in-October” free-for-all that we’d gotten used to seeing.

I’ve seen the effect of this in the Styleforum microcosm.  Yes, someone is always going to gripe that sales are not deep enough, but both the traffic through our “Official Sales Thread” and the tone of the comments in that thread have been more positive than I remember from the same time last year.  Spending as much time as I do on the forum, I’m inevitably influenced by the the virtual mood around me.

There are more things that I want this year than I’ve wanted for a bit now.  Unfortunately, I can’t get them all.  So, I’m presenting my humble list to you, in hope that either you’ll 1) send me something, or, failing that, 2) that I’ll live vicariously through one.  Yeah, if you do get something off this list, whether for me or for yourself, please tell me in the comments.

Nearly all of the below are chosen with travel in mind – the traveling circus that is the fashion trade shows starts in January with Pitti Uomo and closes, over a month later, in Las Vegas.


1. Engineered Garments reversible Brookline jacket in navy stripe, ($288, www.theloit.com)

I normally regard any piece that is described as “versatile” with great suspicion, because “versatile” is often synonymous with “boring”.  Mix that with a gimmick like “reversible,” and my spidey-sense is at red alert.  The Engineered Garments Brookline jacket is an exception.  I got  y first Brookline years ago, at a traditional brick-and-mortar on final sale.  It’s one of the less talked about of Daiki Suzuki’s perennial designs, perhaps because it’s sometimes hard to translate the appeal of a piece to a computer screen, so I’m going to post two pictures of it.  One side sports larger, dark buttons on a striped suiting fabric; the reverse side is made from sportswear’s traditional quilted nylon and features a snap button closure.

Engineered Garments Brookline jacket navy striped

Engineered Garments Brookline jacket nylon

2.  Battenwear warmup pants ($161, www.mrporter.com)

Mr. Porter held out, as it usually does, until actual Boxing Day.  I’ve been on a bit of a Battenwear tear recently – loving the 80s hiker vibe that a lot of pieces have, right down to the Battenwear logo – and the pieces, while they have a retro sportswear feel, can fit into a variety of styles, whether you want to be an urban commando or a woodsy hiker.  And it doesn’t hurt that these pants are cut in warm and fuzzy Polartec 200, which will make them freat for winter travel, something I dread as the trade show season looms.

 

Battenwear warmup fleece pants

3. Guidi Chelsea boots ($726 USD, www.ssense.com)

I’ve been a big fan of Guidi’s unconstructed, vat-dyed footwear for about three years running.  A few years ago, the dollar was much weaker against the Euro, and you could expect a pair of Guidi boots to run you about $1000.  For the iconic “986” model with a zipper in the back of the boot, in basic black, you were going to pay a pretty penny, or you were going to the secondary market, or you were going to order from a European retailer – always a crapshoot, given the variable sizing of Guidi footwear due to the vat dyeing process.  If you have the money, at $726, these boots are a strong buy.

(I’ve heard that the Guidi tannery will not sell third parties leather in the colors that they use for their own products, so if you want Guidi colors, you are going to have to buy Guidi)

Guidi 986 boots black

4. Faliero Sarti scarf, ($168, www.farfetch.com)

I like wearing a scarf.  Apart from the variety of practical reasons you’d want a scarf in winter, they are very close to being an actual security blanket.  Every Faliero Sarti scarf I’ve handled has been uniformly luxurious feeling and expensive; the product, I assume, of decades of textile manufacturing.  I typically don’t wear the “huge ass scarf” style that can double as a tablecloth and has been the norm in fashion circles for a while now, but I can see the appeal. At 50% off, I’m willing to give it a shot.

Faliero Sarti Scarf

Farfetch is not a retailer, but more like an agent or a fulfillment and shipment solution for small, often niche, boutiques.  Each piece is sent to Farfetch, where pictures are taken for the site, to maintain consistency, and then sent back to the retailer.  So, the sales are non-uniform, and the prices can vary for the same piece between sizes, or even sometimes be listed twice, at two different prices.  That you can comparison shop on the same online “shop” is a little odd, but it does make things interesting, if nothing else.

5. Mark Cross vintage Duffel bag – ($1199 ($1079 with discount right now), www.barneys.com)

I like leather products.  I really like leather bags.  This bag I’ve admired more than just a few times.  It is elegant and structured, with sharp lines meeting rounded shapes.  I imagine it getting admiring looks while I wait for the flight from Amsterdam to Florence.  Then I will walk on the plane, pass business class, and to the end of the coach seats where I will grunt and stuff it into the remaining space in the overhead compartment.

Mark Cross Vintage Duffel Bag

10 Best Watches for Every Budget

Guys love watches. Is it for status? Is it the mechanical prowess? It is for the utility? Who knows, and you know what, who cares? Here’s a great collection of the best watches to buy for yourself or convince someone to buy for you as the holidays approach.


1.  Swatch System Boreal YIS401G. MSRP: $215

A neat-looking watch with respectable mechanics and for as cheap as you can get without buying a watch meant for a 6th grader. 

Available at Swatch.com


2. Hamilton Khaki Field. MSRP: $445

One of Hamilton’s most popular offerings, the Khaki is a classic American watch. With a suede strap and beige numbers, the Field model is just a bit more fun than the run-of-the-mill model.

Available at Hamilton


3. Hamilton Khaki Pilot Auto. MSRP: $995

No list of best watches would be complete without a pilot’s watch. Hamilton nails it again with classic pilot styling, cool looks, and darn good price. 

Available at Hamilton


4. Nomos Tangente 38. MSRP: $2,330

No one, and I mean no one, does understated elegance like Nomos. The Tangente 38 is as pure as it gets and a bargain when it comes to bang for your buck. 

Available at Nomos


5. Longines Master Retrograde Seconds. MSRP: $3,325

Probably the best-priced complicated watch ever made. The Master Retrograde boasts 4 retrograde hands, day-date functions, and somehow manages to do it without looking looking like an awful cluttered mess. 

Available at Prestigetime


6. Bell & Ross BR01-92. MSRP: $4,800

If you want something really cool and off the beaten, look no further than B&R’s military spec, black carbon coated, square shaped, BR01 beast.

Available at Prestigetime


7. Tag Heuer Monaco. MSRP: $5,350

Is anyone cooler than Steve McQueen? No. Can you be Steve McQueen? Also no. But you can get pretty close with the iconic watch that he sported in the all time great film, Le Mans. Watch the movie, wear the watch.

Available at Prestigetime


8. Glashutte Original Senator Sixties. MSRP: $7,500

Vintage styling and top-notch mechanics join forces for Glashutte’s nod to the 60’s. Go for the gold indices for some extra pop. 

Available at Prestigetime


9. Rolex Datejust 116234. MSRP: $7,950.

You just can’t argue with the Rolex crown, and this about as classic Rolex as it gets. 

Available at Prestigetime


10. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400. MSRP: $50,500 

 If you just won the lottery, or re-financed your house and took some cash out, this is what you buy. Just make sure you signed that pre-nup.

Available at Prestigetime

Gifts for the CM Wife or Girlfriend

5 gifts for the woman in your life gifts for the CM wife

If you’re a Classic Menswear dude with a female partner, chances are she’s a classy, educated woman who treats her clothes just like you do: a vehicle to express her impeccable taste in a manner that is neither extravagant nor – heaven forbid – fashionable.

(The exception to this is if you are my husband, who is the archetypical CM guy, but somehow ended up marrying a fashion blogger who collects Victorian mourning jewelry).

If you recognize your wife in the picture I just introduced, and Zara and H&M are cringe-inducing words to her, keep reading and find some ideas for your better half.

 


An Eileen Fisher top

Eileen Fisher is my husband’s obsession when it comes to womenswear. Every time we go shopping together, he secretly hopes that I will drop the eye-catching lace dresses and opt for an understated, elegant poncho made of a soft alpaca and cashmere blend.  In his wildest dreams, I’m wrapped in an Eileen Fisher hand-woven cardigan in a melange color with tailored pants featuring perfectly ironed pleats.

The thing is, I like Eileen Fisher a lot. Despite my preference for lace and more “statement” clothing, I even own the above-mentioned poncho (which I hardly ever wear here in SoCal). Almost any Eileen Fisher piece is an evergreen garment that will work with most women’s wardrobes – even those in which white lace is predominant. Eileen Fisher is the anti-Zara, and any woman who has an appreciation for quality over “trendy” will gladly welcome such gift.


Carmina boots

I personally discovered Carmina’s women shoe line at The Proper Kit this past November, and it took all of my strength and willpower not to break the bank over their boots. If you’re just a little familiar with women’s fashion, you know how hard it is to find pieces that equal menswear’s in terms of quality – at least through mainstream outlets. When I think of quality footwear for women, the first names that pop in my mind are Louboutin and Ferragamo, and even then, the construction is not on pair with a comparable menswear collection.  Carmina offers mind-blowing construction and materials as well as classic designs that will likely last for over a decade. Again, if you wish to give a gift that lasts, and if your partner has the sensibility to appreciate the great work and care that’s behind this type of product, you can’t go wrong with Carmina.


A bracelet stack by Astley Clarke

Jewelry is, obviously, a great classic when it comes to gifts. Some couples even have a tradition where they give at least one piece of jewelry a year, in order to slowly build up a collection that can be passed on to the next generations, or to simply remind them of the years that pass while they’re together.

The first and most important thing to remember when you shop for jewelry is to avoid Tiffany’s at any cost. It’s mainstream, banal, and overpriced, and you don’t really want to see a condescending smirk appearing of your wife’s face when you hand her that sickening “blue box.”

Once you bid farewell to overrated jewelry houses, you will find a world of glimmering collections. One of my favorite brands – and I have to thank my husband for introducing it to me – is the English maison Astley Clarke. The founder was even appointed by the Queen with one of those crazy titles the English appreciate. Dame of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or something like that.

In any case, you can find something delightful on Astley Clarke’s website, and the best thing is that prices go from $50 to $50,000, so you really have a wide choice at every price range. I would personally choose one of their bracelet stacks, which follow the trend of layering jewelry with no risk of incurring in the Jersey Shore/Christmas tree effect.


A leather cardholder

Long are gone the days when a woman used to carry huge wallets and stuff them with anything ranging from pictures of her parents as toddlers to Target’s loyalty card. If there’s one good thing that smartphones did, it was ridding us from such superfluous paraphernalia.

Normally I dread patterns, but since a cardholder is such a small item, I feel that this could be a good time to be a little adventurous and choose a piece that would turn heads when making its appearance out of the purse. This beautiful Dolce&Gabbana cardholder features a typical Sicilian tile motif, and since it folds over, it actually has some space to carry some cash, which always comes in handy.

If you’d rather play safe and stick to a more traditional look, this Smythson card holder in powdery blue will do the trick.


A Silk Scarf

There is something incredibly sensual in a woman covering her neck with a scarf (and a man too, actually.)

Perhaps deep down I am a vampire, but I consider it quite intriguing when one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body is hidden under layers of precious cashmere or impalpable silk, perhaps sprayed with a sophisticated fragrance.

On this account, I believe that the gift of a scarf comes out as thoughtful and delicate, even protective. It’s a way of saying: “I’m here and I’m taking care of you.” There is more love in a man kissing goodbye to his wife on her way to work while wrapping a scarf around her neck than there is in any epic poem.

First Class Gifts for the Traveler

There is no place like home for the holidays.

Luckily, the other 360 days a year offer you a whole world to conquer, and we invite you to awaken your wanderlust with these travel treats. This gift guide features our favorite first class gifts: experiences, one of a kind vintage keepsakes, and affordable accessories to outfit you for your next journey. As for the lucky recipient? We think it should be you, the Styleforum reader. Remember, you are required to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist others.


Planes

Experience – Beginning your journey jostled by grumpy travelers is no way to unwind.  There is indisputably a better way to travel by becoming a fractional owner of a luxury fleet of planes. Allow your timetable to be the only one that matters as you skip the lines, sink into plush seats, and jet away to, well, anywhere you want. 

Fractional Jet ownership with Net Jets. Prices vary.

Keepsake – Fine china on an airline? We no longer expect to fly in such style. The halcyon days of flight your first class ticket came with impeccable dining…and drinking. Allow these 1960’s Pan Am glasses to spark conversations about distant destinations and days gone by.

Landing on your living room bar cart for just $120

Accessory – You may not be dodging birds in an open cockpit, but that doesn’t mean you should live your life without these aviator glasses. Equally at home on the sands of Caracas and the driver’s seat of a coupe, we give our nod to the origins of the aviator glasses by suggesting that you sport them for your next flight. 

Oliver Peoples, $425


Trains

Experience – Murder and mayhem may have graced the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, but in real life the Orient Express offers pampering with panache. The train from Paris to Istanbul runs only once a year. You should be on it. Five days and two continents offer a once in a lifetime luxury rail trip.

Starts at $12,250

Keepsake – While we are on the subjects of icons, may we pitch the posh 19th C. French Steamer trunk? Ages ago it kept an entire wardrobe. Today it brings the romance of the rails into our everyday lives. Great for travel (provided you have porters), storage, or a one-of-a-kind coffee table. Or perhaps all three.

Available on 1stdibs, $5,625

Accessory – Exotic architecture, fine wine, and bartering with local vendors; it all may fly by like the blur of the countryside beyond your authentic 1920’s art deco cabin window. Jot down notes to jog your memory in a Field Notes journal dressed in a fine leather cover.

Handcrafted in Vermont by Queen City Dry Goods, $65


Automobiles

Experience – Racing School  There is a certain high-pitched whine that you welcome. Unlike your mother-in law, the sound of these super cars make you thrilled to give up a Sunday. Perfectly tuned for high performance these cars respond to your slightest cue as you let go of the world and grab onto the steering wheel. Choose your favorite super car – or more than one – and give in to G-forces on XRS’s Los Angeles track.

From $299 for 5 laps

Keepsake – Amidst a flurry of accolades, the 1974 Series III Jaguar E Type roadster convertible earned its highest praise from competitor Enzo Ferrari, who called it “The most beautiful car ever made.” This example in British racing green is unrestored, which offers you the gift of bringing an icon back to glory. 

For sale at auction on Jan. 6th, 2017. Be prepared to break into the seven digits.

Accessory – Unnecessary? Possibly. Undesirable? Never. The point of accessories is to enhance experiences. Anything that offers both comfort and control can cap off our holiday list. After all…it is called a glove box for a reason. Italian Leather Driving Gloves by Mark and Graham. May we suggest cognac leather?

Available for $125


Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO.  She does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything

This year has been all about unseasonably warm weather, the Cubbies, sensitive emails on private servers, mosquitoes, and a gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo. It’s been YUGE, folksAnd without Prince or Leonard Cohen to help us through, we all need some retail therapy this Holiday Season.  These goodies below will ensure we’ll make it through to 2017 put together, smelling good, and with all our gear properly stowed.


1.  The Bag: Shinola Flight Zip Tote

john clayton holiday gift guide

Made in the USA, the size and shape are perfect, the leather is durable, and the hardware is sturdy.  Known mainly for their watches, Shinola hired veterans Richard Lambertson and John Truex (yep, THAT Lambertson Truex) to design and launch a bag collection.  Comparing it to virtually any designer offering, I like the quality, pricepoint, and timeless design of the bag.  Black will probably be the go-to, but I prefer the “bourbon” brown.

Price: $1195


2.  The Scent: Tom Ford Oud Fleur

john clayton holiday gift guide

Oud is everywhere, from Avon to Yankee Candle.  Leave it to Tom Ford to do one of the best.  This one has the strong Oud note (a deep, dark, woody resin that has long been one of the pinnacles of perfumery), but balances it with a deep rose-based floral heart.  Worry not, however, it’s not at all feminine, but adds a touch of sweet to the famous Tom Ford sweat. This is a gift that your partner will want to steal.

Price: $225 for 50mls


3. The Pen: Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen

john clayton holiday gift guide styleforum

I recommend this one almost every year.  Like wines or watches, fountain pens can be daunting; you can spend a little or you can mortgage the house.  I find the Pilot Custom 74 to be one of the best all around fountain pens: excellent quality, good price point, and easy to clean, fix, and use.   And with the vast range of Pilot inks available, you can find a shade that expresses your own sense of style. I recommend getting one with a bottle of the “Iroshizuku” ink in Ajisai blue.

Price: $160 for the pen and around $25 for the ink bottle.


4. The Book: Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper 1956- 1992

john clayton gift guide styleforum joan mitchell

Accompanying a lovely exhibition at Cheim & Read going through the end of December, this is the sort of gift for somebody who has just about everything else.  As a couple they do wine tours in Napa; you don’t dare get them a bottle.  He gets bespoke suits; she frequents Goyard.  So what better than a gorgeous collection of Mitchell’s works on paper: understudied, often overlooked among more “famous” abstract expressionists (cough, Rothko; cough, Pollock), yet achingly beautiful. Guaranteed to up your aesthete value for less than half the cost of a demi of d’Yquem. 

Price: $100


5.  The Stocking Stuffer: Squareguard

And for a fun stocking stuffer, get a Squareguard.  Easy to use, functional, and lightweight, you weave your square through and it stays in place without the silk sagging, popping out of the pocket, or getting out of shape. I got one on a whim and have been using it ever since.  You don’t feel that it’s there, it’s invisible, and it fits almost all standard suit lapel pockets. 

Price: Single guard with square for $34.95 or a pack of three guards (without the square) for $24.95

Wear a Black Turtleneck Under Everything

Remember when I said that I almost never wear black? Well, I’m here to tell you about the one exception I make: the black turtleneck. Because in Denver, the weather has finally turned, which means that it’s the season when I wear a black turtleneck every other day.

We’ve discussed roll-necks in the past, but I’m specifically talking about the cotton, shirt-weight black turtleneck, which is the ultimate cheater’s garment. Let me explain: it is a t-shirt that looks fancier than a button-up. Well, not always. But a lot of the time, wearing one instantly takes you from “slob” to “suave” (zing) in perfect comfort. Besides, it fits every style out there, regardless of whether you pine for James Bond-ian masculinity or Creative Artsy Dude Vibes(tm).

Although you can find these anywhere, in a wide range of fabrics, my favorite black turtleneck comes from Uniqlo. It’s very unassuming – thick-ish cotton, relatively relaxed in fit, and it only cost me 15$. I like to wear it under my quilted ts(s) blazer, under an SNS Herning “Stark” cardigan, or alone under a piece of long outerwear or flight jacket. The point is that it looks really good with everything I can think of at the moment. It’s an especially great option for the dreaded company holiday party, when you don’t really know what to wear but you sure as hell don’t want to wear a tie.

The black turtleneck is the kind of shirt that you could stock up on, wear every day of the week, and look great. And as a plus, that whole myth about black being slimming isn’t entirely a myth, which – if you’re as predisposed to holiday overindulgence as I am – can come in pretty handy. The only downside to these cotton pieces is that they don’t insulate as well as wool. So, if you plan on sweating a lot, a good way to combat that is to wear an insulating undershirt beneath it and stay nice and toasty. Of course, Uniqlo also offers Heattech turtlenecks. I have no experience with those, but I’ve worn plenty of “athletic” undergarments under casual clothing, and the idea is sound.

It’s the ideal garment for days when you want to look good but can’t be bothered to try looking good: choose pants and shoes, put on black turtleneck, and outerwear goes on top of that. Done. That’s the kind of ease I can get behind.

A few of Fok’s favorite BLACK FRIDAY sales

black-friday

In our Black Friday sales guide, we have well over 200 sales listed., and counting.  If I had a billion dollars, I would probably find something I wanted to buy from each of those.  As luck has it, I do not have close to $1BN.  So as in every year, I have to focus on a few sales that are going to give my highest percentage wins.  Here are some sales that I am focused on this year.  Enjoy – Fok.

 
Barney’s

40% off designer sale

40% off is generous, and frankly, something only the big retailers can do this early in the season.  Free shipping and returns clinches as well as a host of brands that are fairly esoteric compared to the other big retailers in the USA, and are otherwise “final sale” at smaller boutiques, make this a this a sale that I always check out (and the choice online is typically better than the choice in-store.)


Blue Button Shop

30% off

Code: THANK30

Both Jasper and I are enamored of all things indigo, and when you add interesting stitching and dyeing techniques, Kapital is going to be one of your favorite brands.  They also have some great Vibergs (publisher’s note – Styleforum is in the midst of doing a special order with Viberg,) With the Canadian Dollar as low as it is combined with a generous discount, this is the best deal for the product obsessive in all of us.


E35

20% off all items

This Austrian store is usually not on my radar, but they benefit from having some accessories from brands like Frank Leder that simply cannot be found anywhere else, it distinguished itself from the pack for me.


Farfetch

Up to 50% off

and Enjoy 10% off your wishlist
One day only
Enter code below at checkout:
BF10

Where else can you get this many small boutiques selling their ware in one place?  This is my go to clearinghouse for all the small esoteric brands (in my case, this is my first stop for Guidi boots and MA+ accessories and jackets, and Faliero Sarti scarves).  Lightning fast and reliable shipping that small boutiques typically cannot  guarantee on their own, and you have yourself a winner


Levi’s

40% off everything

Code: HOLIDAY40

I spent my entire morning moving Christmas trees for my kids schools.  Yes, I love me some Japanese denim, and that is what I wear daily, but if I want some inexpensive jeans the fit decently to act as true workwear, Levi’s at 40% off is hard to beat.


No Man Walks Alone

A large selection, all on sale!

Greg and Kyle are able to consistently surprise me with new brand choices and products that I haven’t seen before.  And I love that the store can cater to a wide and diverse range of customers.  I don’t know any store that can weave Blue Blue Japan indigo dyed everything together with Formosa suits and Tie your Tie neckwear, Ts(s) outerwear with Norwegian Rain’s superlative raincoats.  tldr: great taste levels bring me back here consistently.