The Best Menswear Stores for Shopping in Florence during Pitti Uomo

By Cristina Ferro

Florence is the city where the Italian fashion system was founded. In Florence you can find a world made of highly skilled artisans and their expertise: In fact, its history and traditions made it possible to create the perfect network for an emerging fashion market.
Florence is still a great place for menswear shopping. We have great boutiques and workshops where tradition is at its best. Here’s a selection of menswear boutiques for menswear shopping to visit during Pitti Uomo:

Eredi Chiarini

Let’s start with the most iconic and famous boutique: Eredi Chiarini is a must-visit place for menswear shopping in Florence. As far as I can remember, It’s always been a landmark for gentlemen as well as for young professionals. I remember our dad and older brothers used to buy their garments from Eredi Chiarini when I was a little girl in the 80’s!
This amazing clothing store opened in 1970; shortly after, they began to manufacture jackets, pants, shirts, and suits in line with the style of Italian and British accessories such as ties, bags, umbrellas, hats and shoes that they carry in store.
You can get your tailored garments done at Eredi Chiarini, as they collaborate with the most prestigious Italian tailors and offer a great selection of fabrics.

Address: Via Porta Rossa 33/R Firenze

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Tie Your Tie

Many of you may be familiar with Franco Minucci. He started working in menswear as an agent for some of the most important brands in the early 80’s. Through the years, he developed a personal fashion aesthetic that came to fulfillment with the opening of his own menswear shop, which offers the highest quality merchandise, in 1984.
After Mr. Franco Minucci founded the Tie your Tie Shop in Florence, he established its factory of marvelous artisanal ties. His inspiration for the shop comes from the concept of “beauty and simplicity”, and his values can be found in the details of these gorgeous creations, as well as in the highest quality items selected for his menswear boutique.
Ties are definitely the key player here, especially the “Sette Pieghe”, the original sevenfold ties.
Mr. Minucci says that the inspiration for the Sette Pieghe comes from the colors and designs from mid 19th century fashion. The Sette Pieghe ties were a great success as soon as they were released and still are made by hand using fine cloths provided by world-famous suppliers.

Address: Piazza de’ Rucellai 8r Firenze


Liverano & Liverano

Liverano & Liverano is one of the most important tailoring houses in Florence, as well as one of the few remaining from an era where dressing well was not considered a flair, but rather a requirement for any respectable man. The Liverano brothers’ business started at the end of the 1960’s in Florence, in Santa Maria Novella. Twenty years later, they moved the business to Via de’ Fossi, where it is still located today.
It’s not uncommon to walk inside and find Antonio Liverano in the house, at work at the cutting table. This is what made him one of the most respectful and admired personalities in the modern Florentine tailoring scene.
The Florentine tailoring style is all about slightly extended, soft, and generous shoulder, short jacket bottom, wide chest, low positioned pocket to create a V-shaped jacket whose bottom borders are cut away. This is still Liverano’s signature style.
The Florentine tradition requires a three-button configuration, and in the tailoring house they always remind their clients of the golden rule: with a cutaway style, you need to close only the central button!
In Via de’ Fossi you will find tailors who have worked with Liverano for over 40 years as well as some young, equally skilled ones.

Address: Via de’ Fossi, 43 Firenze


Piero Puliti


Piero Puliti started his career in fashion in Florence, working in the trendiest menswear shops if the 1970’s. After a few years, he started his business as a fashion designer, creating his own prêt-a-porter collections.
Later on, his love for menswear brought him to open a shop of his own in the heart of downtown Florence, not far from the Duomo and Piazza Della Signoria. He still runs a small, marvelous boutique where his creations and his taste and style in decorating spaces are manifest to the visitors; in this small boutique, his vision and creations are crystal clear. Piero is known to be one of the best tiemakers in town.

Address: Via Del Corso 51/R Firenze


Dimitri Villoresi

The leather industry is one of the most important ones in Tuscany; we are very proud of our leather artisans, and some of them stand out for being of a kind in terms of quality and style. Dimitri Villoresi is one of those.
Dimitri runs his workshop in Oltrarno, where he personally stitches his creations. Dimitri’s workshop, DV Bags, is a charming place that is hidden away from the main touristic areas and guided tours.
Dimitri Villoresi can be considered a visionary poet and an artist. He is one of the pioneers in the movement that looks back to true craftsmanship: he only uses the traditional tools of a by-gone era, and none of his creations ever see a sewing machine. His instruments are the cobblers’ knives, awls, scissors, needles, and thread.

The Dimitri Villoresi workshop is also a training center: here, the old art of leatherworking is passed on to the new generations through individual, personalized courses.

My favorite bag is La Sporta, a traditional “shopping bag” suitable for daily use. As Dimitri says, “it is an open container where you just put your things straight in and they stay there”. Such a pure and essential design for men and women alike!

Address: Via dell’Ardiglione 22 Firenze


Marina Calamai

Here’s another designer from team Oltrarno! Marina is an artist who runs a beautiful studio in Oltrarno, in Palazzo Guicciardini, in the heart of the coolest district in Florence. Her handiwork focuses mainly on painting and the creation of amazing pieces of furniture and homeware objects. Through the years, she has taken inspirations from the most diverse fields: food, science, and nature.
Marina also is a skilled goldsmith. If you get to know her, you’ll love her jewelry. And her men’s collections are just as inspiring and creative as the rest of the items you’ll see visiting her atelier.
Her cufflinks remind me of a shackle (perfect for sailing lovers!), physics and its formulas (Quantum teleportation formula), the shape of Santo Spirito church, Nautilus fossils, champagne corks, musical notes (specifically the Chroma), and finally the latest creation: the Bond-inspired shape of a Martini cocktail.
You should visit her studio and experience this connection between fashion, arts, and science!

Address: Via Santo Spirito, 14 Firenze

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Bernardo

If you lived in Florence and you were looking for high quality, timeless, and classic pieces for your wardrobe, you would likely be a regular customer of Bernardo’s, and an acquaintance of Andrea, the owner. I know more than a man who has made of this tiny menswear boutique their #1 choice when it comes to menswear shopping.
Bernardo is a small, charming boutique in Via Porta Rossa, exquisitely piled in 23 square meters or less. In such a tiny space, they manage to carry so many great clothes! The store has existed for over thirty years and it’s known for the excellent selection of brands and the great customer service: clients are cared of and advised by Andrea and his employees.
Bernardo also offers an excellent custom-made tailoring service. Indeed, the most peculiar trait of this boutique is the precision they have when helping a client. This is why gentlemen in Florence have always considered it one of the best places for menswear finds and true Made-in-Italy classic pieces.

Address: Via Porta Rossa 87/r Firenze

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Tacs Casentino

Not far from Bernardo, walking through the streets around via Tornabuoni (the luxury goods shopping street in Florence) you might take a turn and find yourself in a totally different universe. It’s a colorful place that reminds me of wildlife, history, and traditions: it’s the world of TACS Casentino.
You may know that Casentino is a valley located in Eastern Tuscany north of Arezzo. It is famous for its naturalistic beauty, wild forests, Etruscan sites, Romanesque churches, and Medieval castles, as well as for the traditional fabric that takes its name.
The production of the panno casentino started in the mid 19th century, and with time, its manufacturers developed the techniques to give the Casentino fabric its peculiar characteristics: the traditional ricciolo (curl), and the soft hand with an irregular surface.
Originally, Casentino fabric was often dyed in colors we wouldn’t expect to see today; the most typical color was a very bold red. Today, we all know its most iconic colors are bright orange and green, but maybe not everyone knows that these tones were the result of a mistake occurred in the dyeing process!
In this small boutique, you will find every model and color of coats and accessories in Casentino, as well as collections in fustian and cashmere.

Address: Borgo Santi Apostoli 43 R Firenze

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Cristina Ferro is an image consultant based in Florence, Italy. You can visit her official website here.

100 Hands Shirts Review

As soon as Fok saw me, he told me to turn around.
“Drop your bags off, we’ve got an appointment.”
A three-hour flight delay in San Francisco caused me to miss my connecting flight in London, forcing me to spend the night at a local generic Double Hilton Marri-Stay and take the next flight to Milan at 7am the next morning. From there I hopped on a train to Florence, and by the time I arrived at the StyleForum Maker Space, I had been traveling for over 24 hours. All I wanted was a cold drink and a warm bed, but as we were already late to our appointment, off we went.
“Did you bring a camera?” Fok asked as we wove through the cobblestone streets. “We should take pictures. I’m really excited about it. Is this the right street? I thought it was right around the corner…”. Around and around we went until we found ourselves in front of a modern-looking palazzo in a narrow alley. On the doorbell was the name 100 HANDS, written in fine cursive.
“You’re going to like Varvara,” Fok said as he pressed the doorbell. “She’s the sweetest person ever.” And then she opened the door, a petite young woman, with light brown hair parted to one side, greeting us with a kind smile. “Please come in.  We’ve been expecting you.”
Up to this point, I had only seen pictures of 100 Hands’ shirts online, accompanied with interesting, if unclear, descriptions of their construction: threadless and invisible stitching mechanics? What does that even mean?  
Once inside, Varvara introduced us to her husband Akshat, a tall young man from India with curly dark hair and gracious manners. “I’m so sorry,” he began as he shook my hand, “but I’m presently with another client. Please, have a coffee, and Varvara will show you one of our shirts.”
And what shirts they were.
Varvara pulled out what seemed to be an ordinary shirt with a box check pattern, but a closer inspection would reveal much. As an example, the box checks of the shirts line up practically everywhere – collar points, sleeves, shoulders, under the arm, and 360 degrees around the body. There is no way this can be done by a machine, and the result is a marvel to see. 
 
Pattern matching awesomeness (click below to start videos):

Another detail that sets their shirts apart is that instead of simply folding over the bottom of the shirt and running it through a sewing machine, the hem is hand rolled and stitched. The result is not unlike the edges of similarly crafted pocket squares, except the rolls are smaller and the stitching is more dense, making the stitching comparatively discreet; thus the term invisible stitching.
Indeed, the amount of hand stitching per inch is incredible – roughly 25 per inch, about three times than what you’d normally see on a shirt – but what is more striking is the way in which it’s done.  “When a thread breaks, we don’t simply tie a knot and continue,” Varvara explained.  “We pull it out and start all over. This is what we mean when we say threadless stitching. It’s just a single thread along a seam. That way, when you wash your shirt over and over, there is less chance of the shirt coming apart.”
Over a later email conversation, Varvara admitted the market speech can muddy the method. “But we feel the most important aspect of our work is the patience and precision of it.  We do use machines for some steps, but the majority of the undertaking is done by hand, and doing so takes time.” The time-intensive shirtmaking process passes through no less than 50 pairs of hands (thus the name). Simon Crompton of A Permanent Style has written extensively of the superb craftsmanship and exceptional working conditions of the over 100 people who work there. Although the atelier has existed for over 20 years and had made shirts for Savile Row tailors and haute couture maisons in France, the brand itself was established in 2014 and has enjoyed quite a bit of success since then, outgrowing the factory in the city of Amritsar and relocating to the neighboring countryside.
Photos courtesy of 100 Hands

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Another peculiar adornment found on each shirt are what Varvara calls their “one-of-a-kind” buttonholes. Put simply, they are not sewn, but embroidered: fine silk thread is worked around and up to the slice. In contrast, traditionally a slice is made in the fabric and then thread is brought around the cut edges to form a buttonhole. 100 Hands’ decorative method, which takes about 45 minutes per buttonhole, is borrowed from India’s own textile culture. Compared to other makers, the results are much cleaner and far less bulky. Here’s a few pics, plus a link to a 100MB picture Varvara sent me that you can zoom in on for full menswear geek gawking:
Besides being able to choose the collar, fabric, and finishes for a shirt, some may benefit from a custom shirt for a better fit.  For example, most OTR shirts are cut with higher, square shoulders; doing so can accommodate more body types.  The downside to this “democratic fit” is when you have more sloped shoulders, as the excess fabric can bunch in sloppy folds around the chest. Customization and fittings can adjust the pattern for these and other individual peculiarities for a cleaner fit while still being comfortable.
Speaking of customization: in addition to seasonal offerings, 100 Hands has access to nearly 400 fabrics from Italy and Japan, such as Canclini, Monti, Loro Piana, SicTess, Albiata and Albini. There are five different interlinings options for the collar, 12 different types of buttons, and the embroidery initials – sewn by hand – can be done in three different fonts.  Moreover, there are two levels of handwork, the Black and Gold Line. Both have the pattern drawn and cut by hand, handfusing and pattern matching, but the Gold Line contains far more: hand-embroidered buttonholes, handsewn side and bottom seams, shoulder, and sleeve placket.
After describing the work involved in making a shirt, Akshat fit Fok and me for a shirt each. I chose a plain white oxford cloth to go with light tans and blues that I’ll be wearing come warmer weather. Fok chose a denim shirt to wear, I assume, in the rough factory environment of his home office.
After taking our measurements, Akshat brought out prototypes for casual outerwear they have in store for the future, including a field and shirt jacket in slubby navy linen. No word on when these will be available, but I’m excited for the shirt jacket in particular – with a barchetta breast pocket, flapped patch hip pockets, and buttoned sleeves, it makes for a compelling choice when a sport coat might be considered too dressy. Meaning, I’ll probably be wearing it everywhere in California.
L’ora di aperitivo was upon us, so we said our goodbyes to Akshat and Varvara to meet up with Arianna at the StyleForum Makers’ Space. While making a wrong turn or two, Fok reflected on our visit with 100 Hands.
“I never wear dress shirts,” he mused. “I mean, look at me. I’m wearing beat up 18oz denim, a  worn in leather Type 3 jacket over a dirty tee shirt, and old sneakers.”  He paused for a beat, then chuckled to himself. “Those are some amazing shirts. I’m going to find an occasion to wear that shirt,” he vowed.
“Does that mean we’re coming to Pitti next year?” I asked. Fok stopped. “You never take pictures; how are you going to prove you ever wore the shirt?”  
“You make a valid point,” Fok conceded as he began walking again. “I could just buy a camera, but I’d miss the cobblestones and pasta. And cheese. And salame. And…I keep getting lost. Just wait till you see your apartment, it overlooks the Arno. Is this our street? I need a glass of wine…”
Later on, in San Francisco, the shirt arrived neatly packed in a box within a green canvas “suitcase” with a wooden button. I chose a Capri collar, unique in that both the collar and points are constructed in one piece so that it can be worn either buttoned with a tie or casually open. The result is not only one of the best fitting shirts I own (despite all the cannoli and gelato I’d been eating) but also one of the most versatile. For all those times you go from meetings to dining or vice versa, the collar handles both with ease and looks great doing so.  
Unboxing video: 

So much handwork does come at a price – $350 and up – but you’ll be getting more than similarly priced options from better known brands, such as Kiton and Charvet. All three do have a measure of hand stitching, but the sheer amount of intricate, precise handwork of a 100 Hands shirt frankly dwarfs most others and is one of, if not the defining characteristic, something Varvara and Akshat are very proud of. And then there’s longevity.
Mark Boutilier of San Francisco, who wears dress shirts far more often than I do, has had his shirts from 100 Hands for over a year. “I have shirts from various high-end makers,” he says, “and the Black Line not only has finer stitching and finishing, but has held up better after wearing and washing. Others have had stitching come loose, buttons unravelling, but not 100 Hands. I’m really impressed, and would highly recommend anyone to give them a try.” He did lament, however, the lack of availability for their MTM program in the US, which wasn’t available at the time. But that has recently changed.
“People have been requesting our MTM service via Instagram and email,” Varvara relates, “So we decided to begin to tap the US market that way.” My friend Tom was one of the first.
“I contacted Akshat, and he was very accommodating,” he began. “He offered for me to simply send in a good fitting shirt, but I decided that would be too much hassle, and sent him measurements instead. I also sent him photographs, and he was able to diagnose my biggest fit issues stemming from a forward posture.”
And the results? “Quite good for a first attempt,” Tom reports. “They hit the measurement specs perfectly and adjusted for my stance. My guess is that with one more iteration, we’ll be golden.”
Maiden voyage of Tom’s shirt from 100 Hands

Maiden voyage of Tom’s shirt from 100 Hands

While my own shirt seemed fine by my eye, Varvara was able to detect a few problems. “The upper front placket under the collar could use some attention,” she noted. Otherwise, maybe the biceps need slimming? I guess my guns are more like pea shooters.
Currently their showroom is in Amsterdam and while they do trunk shows in various cities (London, Hannover, and Stockholm, to name a few) and their shirts can be found in several shops online and in-store (the Rake and Linnégatan in Sweden, for example), there is presently just one place to see 100 Hands shirts in person in the US, and that is at Carroll & Co in Beverly Hills. Tom and others have had success with the remote MTM program, but since Ill be going back to Florence for Pitti next January, I think I’ll make an appointment to see them in person to catch up. Maybe get another shirt or two.
To contact 100 Hands, email them at info@100hands.nl or varvara@100hands.nl

This is not a sponsored article; to read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.


MEMORIAL DAY 2018 MENSWEAR SALES LIST

Please note that coupon codes may change throughout the weekend and that we’ll do our best to keep updating them and adding new ones. If you’d like to share a sale that’s not on the list, you may do so in the comment section or on the Official Sales Thread on the forum.

Thank you and happy shopping!


Acrimony: Save 40% off discounted items. Use code: FAREWELL.

Allen Edmonds: up to 40% off on shoes, plus 30% off Woodlore.

Alternative Apparel – 40% off plus 20% off “brands we love” with code URFAMILY

American Trench: 20% off everything with code cookout.

Antonioli: Sales now on up to 50% off. More brands added: Calvin Klein, Off-White & more.

ASOS: 30% off occasionwear.

Baby & Co.: sale on now up to 40% off.

Backcountry: 30% off full price Arc’teryx.

Barneys: up to 40% off designer sale.

Barney’s Warehouse: Up to 85% Off Savings with an extra 50% off designer styles.

Beckett Simonon: any two pairs of shoes for $299 with code MEMORIAL.

Ben Sherman: 30% off with code HONOR.

Bergdorf Goodman: up to 40% off designer sale.

Bloomingdale’s: 20-40% off on regular price items and 40-50% off discounted items labeled “big brown sale”. Loyallists earn $50 every $200 spent.

Bluefly: up to 85% off, plus an additional 20% off on selected items.

Blue & Cream: Flash sale 20% EXTRA OFF sale with code EXTRA20.

Blue In Green: 25% off throughout the weekend.

Braun Hamburg: cashmere sale – 50% off.

Bodega: Use code EXTRA20 at checkout to save an additional 20% on sale items.

Bodileys: 30%off Mayfair and London collection with code BOD30.

Braun-Hamburg: CASHMERE SALE starts now! Summer cashmere reduced up to 50%.

Brooks BrothersMen’s Non-Iron Shirts Mix & Match 4 for $199 (or up to $120 each); Ties 50% off 2 or more.

Burberry: mid-season sale happening now.

Cali Roots: 25% OFF SITEWIDE CALIROOTS 14th ANNIVERSARY DEAL use code BDAY.

Canoe Club: 25% off with MEMORIALDAY25.

Carmina: 20% off a selection with code 20OFFCARMINA and 10% everything with code MEMORIALDAY2018

Club Monaco:25% off any purchase with code WARMWELCOME.

Cobbler Union: drivers and loafers 15% off with code REMEMBER.

Cruvoir: $35 off for $250+ purchase with code CVMAY35; $100 off for $500+ purchase with code CVMAY100; $250 off for $1000+ purchase with code CVMAY250; $550 off for $2000+ purchase with code CVMAY550.

Cultizm: 20% off + free shipping with code 20now.

Dapper Classics: 20% off your entire order with code MW18.

Domestic Domestic: 30% off everything with the code MOON.

Dope Factory: up to 50% off spring collection.

East Dane: Up to 40% off just-added items.

eBay: 15% off orders of $50 or more via coupon code PMEMDAY

Epaulet: Save 30% to 60% for Memorial Day.

Ernest Alexander: 30% off sale items with code MEMORIALDAY.

Farfetch: sale of up to 50% off.

Flannels: Up To 70% Off | The Outlet.

Forward: up to 50% off.

Frances May: Memorial Day sale now on 30% off a selection.

Gant: 20% off everything (automatic) or 30% off full-price at GANT w/code GNT30.

Gilt: 25% menswear and men’s accessories with code 25MAY.

Gitman: 20% off with code SUMMER18.

Golden Fox Footwear: Up to 70% off selected boots, no code required. Ends 05/29.

Great Divide: 20% off with code BANKHOLIDAY.

Franklin & Poe: 20% of everything with the code PARADE18.

Haven shop: Free shipping with code FLSHSHIP.

The Hill Side: 25% Off Everything with code MEMDAY.

Hotoveli: up to 50% off.

Huckberry: sale up to 70% off.

Hudson Sutler:  20% off on The Heritage Commuter Duffel with code DAD20.

Hunting Ensemble:

30% OFF Norse Projects, APC, Astorflex,Our Legacy, New Balance, Nanamica, The North Face and more (excl. sale) with code: VIPPRESALE.

Idol Brooklyn: Use code PRESALE30 at checkout for 30% off SS18 collections.

Independence: 50% off FW ’17 + Free shipping over $100.

Indocino: up to 60% off.

Jachs New York: MEMORIAL DAY SALE 50% OFF WITH CODE MDAY50.

J. Crew:  40% off your purchase including new collection with code GETAWAY.

John Elliott: S/S 18 Sale | Now Live.

Jonathon + Olivia: up to 50% off

Julian Fashion: Sale Season is started: Up to 40% Off.

Kith: sales on shoes and clothing.

Lanvin: Enjoy 50% off the Summer 2018 Collection and free shipping.

Last Call: up to 75% off everything.

LC King: 30% off with code Memorial18.

Levis: Memorial Day sale ongoing – use code MAY30 for 30% off.

L’Inde Le Palais: 50% off on SS18 collections.

LNN-CC: sale up to 40% off.

LOIT:  Sale Starts Now – 30% Off with code LOITMD18

LSG Denim: Sale – selvedge denim for 96.99 usd/125 cad with free shipping to US/Canada till June 9th.

Luisa Via Roma: up to 30% off SS18.

Luxeswap: 40% off shirts (min. 3) with code HOLYSHIRT; 75% off pants (min. 3) with code PANTPARTY; 35% off Ring Jackets with code RINGAROUNDTHEROSY; 50% off waistcoats with code WAISTNOTWANTNOT; 35% off Drake’s ties(min. 2) with code TIEONEON.

MAAS & Stacks: Enjoy a 25% discount on selected items after entering code: MEMORIAL18

Maison Margiela: up to 40% off* the SS18 Collection on the Maison Margiela online store.

Malford of London: 60% off everything plus extra 25% off with code SALE60.

Matches: sale on now for up to 50% off.

Miloh Shop: 20% Off All Denim with promo code “DENIM20“.

Mohawk: BEST OF SALE | 15% off for Memorial Day with code MEMORIAL15OFF.

Need Supply:  Sale! New markdowns up to 40% off.

Neiman Marcus: Up to 40% off designer sale.

Ne.Sense: SS18 Sale 20% Off.

Nitty Gritty: 25% Off on Selected Footwear | A.P.C. Resort Fall Collection.

No Man Walks Alone: 80% off Private Archive Sale.

Nordstrom:  Save up to 40% during Half-Yearly Sale

Nordstrom Rack: extra 25% off clearance items.

Notre-Shop: Additional Markdowns Up to 70% Off.

Nowell’s: 25% off with code MEM25.

Oak Street Bootmakers: $50 off all footwear.

Opening Ceremony: Take an Extra 20% Off All Sale Styles with code OCEXTRA20.

Other Shop: Use code ROYAL25 to take 25% off your order.

Pact Underwear: 20% off $100, 30% off $200, 40% off $300 use code MYSAVINGS.

Popov Leather: 30% off a selection + free shipping with code FATHERSDAY.

Rag & Bone: New Markdowns: Up to 60% Off.

Ralph Lauren30% off select styles with code MEMDAY.

The Real Real: 20% off with code REAL + up to 70% off.

Todd Snyder: 30% off new styles + up to 70% off sale.

Renarts: 40% off all regularly priced apparel, 30% off all regularly priced footwear, up to 80% off clearance, additional 10% sale section with code MDW10.

Roden Gray: Take up to 40% off selected apparel accessories and footwear.

Rooney Shop: Memorial Day sale now ongoing up to 30% off.

Saks 5th Ave.: up to 40% off DESIGNER SALE.

Sartoriale: Memorial Day Storewide SALE – Up to 90% OFF MSRP – Spend More, Save More

Shoes.com: Memorial Day sale 30-75% off + take 25% off with code SPRING 25.

ShopStyle: up to 70% off.

SSense: sale up to 50% off.

StyleBop: extra 20% off all styles applied at checkout.

Tessabit: Up to 50% off sale.

Todd Snyder: 30% off new styles + up to 70% off sale.

Totokaelo: 40% off Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, and more.

Tres Bien: up to 70% off.

Uncle Otis: 20% OFF NEW ARRIVALS with code FLASH20.

Unis: sale on Common Projects.

Union: 30% and 40% off a selection.

Unionmade: take 20% off everything with the code MEMORIAL20.

Uniqlo: Free shipping no minimum order + items added to sale.

Urban Outfitters: sale up to 50% off.

Vince: extra 25% off of sale with code MDAY25.

X of Pentacles: all pocket squares on sale + Styleforum users get 10% off with code SF10.

Yoox:  up to an extra 60% off.

Wrong Weather: SS18 sale up to 30% off

ZFACTORIE: 30-50% off some styles for Memorial Day.

Life After Eidos: Fully Canvassed Suits That Won’t Break the Bank

As the desire for quality, authenticity, and longevity in men’s clothing once again became more appreciated, Styleforum has been here for guys to share their knowledge on the questions that inevitably cropped up.

Who made these shoes?—Look at the nail patterns.” “Who made this private label suit?—Look at the manufacturer tag.” “Is this line of suiting full canvas or half canvas?—Here is the history of that maker’s quality for the past 25 years.

It is this last point—full canvassing in suits and sport coats—that remains a worthy benchmark for determining a garment’s quality and value. I’d say cut, fit and design are more important in deciding whether a suit or jacket “works” on someone, all other things being equal. But thanks to the resurgence of interest in tailored clothing in the last 10 years (however long it may yet last…), there are a lot of good options for full canvas tailoring.

One of the original value propositions of my favorite menswear brand, Eidos, was that it offered full canvas, made in Italy tailoring, at an almost unbelievable price point (I believe sport coats started at $895, suits at $995). Prices crept up over time, and with Simon Spurr’s first collection, suits will begin at $1395 (no word on sport coats). That is definitely an increase over the years, but it’s well within the norm for what you’ll find from other brands of similar quality (and limited handwork). No Man Walks Alone will continue to carry Eidos in their own signature cut from the brand at least through fall, so it’s business as usual at least through 2018 for customers of Greg’s.

As for the new aesthetic direction Mr. Spurr is taking the brand, I like to keep an open mind about things, and who knows – maybe it’ll be great. However, I’ve cultivated a list of other contenders for my tailoring wants if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Here are five I’ve got my eye on.

 

Berg & Berg

Only two seasons into their tailoring offerings, this Scandinavian company has expanded from men’s accessories into a nearly complete collection. Their tailoring is made in southern Italy (Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s boot). The collection is small, with only four suits and four odd jackets this Spring (one being double breasted in each category) but it is exceptionally well priced. For those outside the EU, without VAT, the price for a jacket is as low as $656 and a suit $852. The cut hits all the notes you’d expect this day and age—soft shoulder, lightweight canvas for a soft structure—with some departures from the mainstream, namely a longer jacket length and slightly wider than average lapels.

Check out: Berg & Berg Dan II Single Breasted Fresco Suit


SuitSupply Jort collection

SuitSupply is pretty much the king of half-canvas, contemporary, European-centric tailoring. Being made in China and having a vertically integrated retail presence, their prices are very competitive. Their Jort line—named after the company’s “sartorial historian” Jort Kelder—is fully canvassed. Each season, they produce a tightly curated Jort collection, using better fabrics that feature a slightly more elevated design compared to the main line. It takes the same cues as the rest of the company’s tailoring—soft-shouldered with a bit of grinze, lightweight canvas, open patch pockets if the fabric and design calls for it—but adds some design flourishes that most Styleforum guys would appreciate: a lower buttoning point as well as a slightly lower breast pocket, both of which lean on the more classic side. Jackets start at around $600, and suits are priced at a solid $1,000.

Check out: Suit Supply Jort Brown Check


Proper Cloth

Even though they’re known best for their made to measure shirts, Proper Cloth has offered other clothing items for a long time—accessories, sweaters, outerwear and even tailored jackets. Recently, they upgraded their tailored offerings from simply off-the-rack to made-to-order. It isn’t quite to the same level of customization as their shirts, but with sizes ranging from 32 all the way to 64 (at single intervals), with short, regular, and long lengths, as well as three fits (classic, slim and extra slim), there’s a pretty good chance you can hit the mark in fit, or at least get pretty close before alterations. Their Hudson jackets and Mercer suits are fully canvassed, while the Allen suits and Bedford jackets are half-canvas, coming in at about 2/3 the price. The design details on them check all the standard boxes—soft shoulder, open patch hip pockets, unlined, etc.

Check out: Hudson Navy Performance Wool Hopsack Jacket


Anglo-Italian 

I quickly took notice of this new shop from Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis (both formerly from The Armoury). Just like Berg & Berg or SuitSupply, they are a self-branded store, which means they don’t carry products under other labels. As the name clearly communicates, their product is meant to fuse the best of British and Italian menswear traditions: soft tailoring and design from Italy, and English fabrics. I stopped by the shop when I was in London last October, and really liked what I saw and felt. Their biggest focus is on made-to-measure, but they do stock a small collection of tailoring off the rack each season, as well as a full range of other products—ties, trousers, shirts, outerwear, etc.). Everything is made in southern Italy. For those outside the UK, a sportcoat runs about $1,350 (with the current exchange rate of about $1.41 per Pound Sterling). Trousers are about $350.

Check out: Anglo-Italian Sport Jacket Brown Broken Twill Wool


Sid Mashburn

Much has been written about Sid Mashburn. His personal charm is legendary, and his business has grown immensely since its opening, so he must be doing something right. At this point, there are enough cuts in the American-Italian spectrum to please most customers. His full-canvas sportcoats start at around $700 and suits start around $1,000.

Check out: Sid Mashburn Kincaid No. 3 Ticket Pocket Suit


Ring Jacket

Although it’s made in Japan, Ring Jacket designs along southern Italian lines—a curved barchetta pocket, open patch pockets, soft construction and soft shoulders. Part of this is because the company, which specialized in making suits and jackets for brands in Japan over the years, had a factory manager that studied tailoring in Naples, learning from them. He helped to recreate Ring Jacket so it features smaller armholes and larger sleeveheads. Their products were only available from only a couple retailers in North America for a long time, but despite their slow and deliberate expansion, it’s now a bit easier to find. They have their own e-commerce for some products, and a list of stockists you can find here: https://ringjacket.com/stockists

Check out: Ring Jacket New Balloon Wool 256 Double Breasted Sport Coat 

5 accessories that will make you look like a million bucks

Accessories can make or break an outfit. A perfect fit can be elevated simply by having one additional element of interest introduced by a well-chosen accessory. But on the other hand, accessories can ruin an otherwise fine fit by being overdone, ostentatious or in conflict with one another. “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Keep that advice from Coco Chanel in mind as I share five accessories that will, in the right contexts and done tastefully, make you look like a million bucks.

Okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Swiss, but it should be tastefully designed, and small. Giant diameters ruin what might be otherwise great watches these days. And unless you have Chris Hemsworth’s arms, they don’t really look at home on your wrist (though if you’ve got Chris Hemsworth arms, by all means, wear something proportionally small on your wrist!). When you’re wearing coat and tie, and want to look refined—whether it’s for a wedding, evening out with your significant other, or even just at the office—a small watch looks far more elegant. My personal favorites are Omega’s from the 1960s. My brother generously bought me a 1966 DeVille for my 30th birthday last year, with an off-white face that comes in at 34.5mm across. It’s magnificent.

I realize calling a product meaningful sounds like the worst marketing language, but I only say that because the guys wearing bracelets well are those doing it for a reason and not just because it’s the cool thing to do. When done well, a bracelet communicates a sense of refinement that no other accessory does in exactly the same way (when done poorly, it usually communicates that the wearer is trying too hard).

The ideal bracelet can lend style to an outfit because it’s carefully chosen, and the wearer knows when to wear it. I don’t typically wear a bracelet, but my dad does—and he absolutely nails it. He owns a couple, though one is far and away my favorite; it’s a heavy, solid sterling silver piece with decorative Navajo carvings made by Darin Bill. My dad has loved New Mexico since he was a boy, and Navajo blankets, art, and jewelry have been mainstays for decades in my family. I’d borrow it from time to time, but my wrists are much smaller than his.

Years ago I got a fairly inexpensive belt in snuff suede from Meermin and it changed my life. It sounds like a hyperbole, but seriously, suede as a belt material was a revelation to me. I wear that belt 90% of the time to this day. It looks particularly great with white pants and denim, but I’ll wear it with wool trousers as well. It doesn’t have to be suede, but a belt in a subtly different texture can bring your outfit together in a way you might not immediately think of. Something like alligator leather can improve a dressier fit, while canvas looks great with madras in the summer.

Brooks BrothersGustav Von Aschenbach

Besides just the belt material itself, you can also look for a cool buckle. For instance, I’ve always liked machined flat plaque buckles on a narrow dress belt—they feel very mid-century, and they make me think of my grandpa. I have no meaningful memories of him because he died when I was young, but I know, from what my dad has told me, that he was a very skilled craftsman. He had a fine attention to detail as well as a penchant for design, which he put to use making all kinds of things, usually with a strong mid-century aesthetic. A narrow belt with a machined buckle feels like something he’d have worn—and possibly even made himself.

Sid Mashburn – Tiffany&Co.

This is a super basic pick, but it’s an impeccable choice that really does improve a navy or gray suit. As pocket squares have gone mainstream, many men have been led astray into thinking the more gaudy, loud, bright and matchy, the better. In response, stylish men and forum members have sworn off squares all together. But even those most grieved by the over-saturation of pocket square culture still wear the white TV fold. It’s because it’s a stylish detail that’s not ostentatious. Mine is from J.Crew; it was a gift, and it is monogrammed.

If you’re looking at ways to fold your pocket square perfectly, check out Peter’s guide to folding a pocket square.

J. CrewKent Wang

Not a visible accessory most of the time, but when it is, it ups your class factor by a zillion. The things most men carry around to house their cards and cash are abysmal, awful, ugly, and thick. Don’t be like that. When you pull your wallet out of your breast pocket, a slim card case (or I suppose, a breast pocket wallet if you use bills regularly) makes for a nice indication of your appreciation for elegance—even if it’s not seen by most. It is slim enough that it doesn’t show if your jacket is more fitted in the chest. And even if you don’t have a jacket on it won’t make too big a bulge in your front pants pocket.

La Portegna – Salvatore FerragamoWant Les Essentiel

Rethinking Undershirts: A Review of GIIN’s Undershirt

Day 1: I wonder when I’m going to launder this shirt… Maybe I should wash it in the sink as I’m traveling…

I had the genuine pleasure of meeting Francis and Jennifer at the Styleforum Maker Space this year during Pitti. The two minds behind GIIN are–without a doubt–a pleasure to speak with about many things, including their products. It is genuinely a pleasure when you meet people who are passionate about their work; on account of shared interests in menswear, the satisfaction is multiplied. Speaking with them about their materials, manufacturing, the ideas that went into the design, and their brand goals, therefore, was a remarkable experience.

GIIN’s slogan is Elevated Essentials, which precisely sums up their products. Between the boutonniere (see my review here) and their undergarments, you get the sense that Frank is striving to do things differently with his products. The products have been imbued with Frank’s desire to improve and innovate, and are in many ways his attempt to elevate something as humble as an undershirt into something that transcends the norm. 

Day 2: Why not wear it again… it doesn’t smell?

Over dinner at Berberè, I recollect both of them speaking about how much waste they find in the clothing industry. The prime example for them were generic cotton undershirts, designed–more or less–to be disposable. These undershirts serve their purpose, being worn a few times, then they disappear into landfills when they no longer are in pristine condition. Following them from a commodity chain perspective, everything becomes an afterthought: the quality of the cotton; the rapid production; the cheap mistreated labor. Every aspect of what is ethical or warrants quality is ignored to streamline prices.

Instead of approaching their products as if they were disposable, GIIN chose to approach their clients with sincerity and a desire to show their products quality and refinement. I’ll provide an example of this sincerity–if you were not aware, GIIN had a giveaway and a Styleforum member won the contest but was outside of the sizes that they made. Rather than turn the winner away with an apology, they custom made the product for the client, because they felt everyone should be entitled to quality products.

As such, quality to Frank is in the details and life cycle of the object. The products that Frank is creating and has created, he won’t bring to market unless he’s more than satisfied; he tests all of his products repeatedly before they are made for the market. Each shirt he wears and washes around 100 times, in order to ensure that they maintain quality. As such, the life of wear that the shirt receives is accelerated in order to witness first hand how well the product will hold up.

Day 5: I’m surprised by how comfortable this shirt has been as a base layer under the Texas sun… I thought I would be sweating to death…

When talking to Francis, I mentioned to him that I never wear undershirts except when I’m wearing something like a turtleneck sweater. I know that there are two schools of thought concerning this: one that extra layers make you sweat more and overheating; the other that extra layers help prevent you from showing sweat stains and protect your shirt. Having lived in humid Houston, I fell into the school of thought that more layers == bad sweating. Of course, that is only true when outside, because after wandering indoors from the summer heat, you feel trapped inside an icebox.

Frank offered to change my mind by offering me a shirt and a pair of underwear to see how I liked them. He firmly believed that I would come around to his mentality after I would have tried his engineered undergarments. Just so you understand, this was pure generosity-nothing was expected in return except that I provide my honest feedback to him. I told him sure, and decided to start wearing the garments the next day or two so I could provide him feedback immediately.

After wearing the garments for one day, I decided I would write a review, because I actually liked the garments. I will point out that–in the end–I’m still not a wearer of undershirts all that often, but I see that they are useful, and even when worn in warm/hot environments they actually serve a use to prevent odors and staining.

I provided Frank my feedback regarding the undergarments. One note is that I actually put them on inside out the first day, seeing as how there are no stitches or sewn in labels. Instead, the fabric pieces are bonded together using a high-end seamless bonding method. The raglan sleeve adds for ease of movement, and the laser cut ends without seams lie invisibly under shirts or other layers. Frank is especially proud of his boxers because they have a three-dimensional aspect to them which help support the male package, rather than squeeze it flush against the body or leg. Of course, in so doing this, there is no fly, which might be a deal breaker for some men.

For me, however, while I will sing praises about the undershirt (hence the title of review), I will note that I’m not the biggest fan of the boxers. I enjoy the support that they provide and I don’t mind the lack of a fly opening, but rather, the biggest complaint that I have is that the underwear is a low/medium rise; I personally prefer higher rise, but this is a personal preference. It isn’t as if the boxers are even unreasonably low rise: it more is just that this cut of underwear is not something that I would normally gravitate toward. However, there is a benefit here for some men: the lower rise works well with lower rise pants or jeans.

giin elevated garments undergarments shirt undershirt review

Day 8: They do not know… No one has said anything… Perhaps undershirts really do work well at preventing body odor?

Frank told me that I could reuse the undershirt when traveling by washing it in the sink/shower, then hang dry so it would be ready the next morning, stating that odors would disappear. I tried that at first, but came to realize that just by hanging the undershirt, the smells took care of themselves without added washing. As such, when I was embarking and packing for an almost two-week trip, I decided to take both the boxers and the undershirt to put it through its paces, seeing how it holds up in a wide variety of environments, temperatures, and under various garments.

In the end, I spent close to two weeks (thirteen days total) wearing the same undershirt. Of course, yes, it took on some odors over that time, but after hanging it up every night it rid itself of any scents, leaving barely perceptible–if any–noticeable odors.

Day 10: I mentioned casually in conversation to some of the others with whom I was traveling that I‘m testing an undershirt for someone, that I’ve been wearing it repeatedly… since we were in Texas, DC and Iowa…

As I’ve said before, normally I don’t wear undershirts since I sweat a lot; I find them stuffy, I find that I sweat more than normal with the extra layers, and I find them not helpful. But this might actually be not a function of the undershirt, but a function of the terrible quality cotton that goes into cheap undershirts. However, the GIIN undershirt works exceptionally well at preventing excessive sweating because of the wicking nature of the fabric (the fabric is a combination of high twist cotton, polyester and lycra). When I’m stuck in a middle seat on a plane, I normally smell terrible by the end of the flight because I’m sweating since I can’t spread out my arms. However, coming off the plane each time, I wasn’t scolded and avoided by anyone (including those I work with). I noticed changing at the hotel that my shirts did not smell bad; if anything the undershirt acted as a shield to prevent further sweating. Because the shirt is seamless and form-fitting, it is not noticeable that you are wearing an undershirt either.

Day 13: I’m coming home to my spouse… I wonder if she–with her sensitive nose–will put an end to this experiment as delusion…

At thirty dollars a piece, before trying one, I would have said the undershirts were pricey. However, after seeing what they can do, putting it through the paces, experiencing the quality and construction first hand and hearing about went into designing and manufacturing the product, I feel the price is completely fair.

For sizing, I got a small, which in reality might be a touch tight when it began being worn. I probably should have gone with a medium; however, they are fairly forgiving seeing as how the fabric has a lot of stretch. As such, order either true to size, or if you order a size smaller, you will feel just more support from the tighter fabric. I think that the tighter fit also helped improve my posture, seeing as how the tighter fit on the raglan shoulders made me more conscious of how I was sitting, and that I should sit up straighter. That, however, is another story, and for each person to decide.

Day 14: Although it doesn’t smell… Maybe I should put an end to this experiment for the sake of my wife. I also have a bunch of other clothes I can wear again…

For those that were curious-or just plain repulsed-yes, I did wash my other clothes as I was traveling. 

giin elevated garments undergarments shirt undershirt review

You can purchase GIIN undergarments on the official website.

If you have questions regarding the product, you can ask them on GIIN’s Official Thread on the forum.


This is not sponsored content. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.

The Absolute Worst of Yoox End of Season Sale

April is indeed the cruelest month; not only does it make our beloved tweeds & flannels disappear – swept to the most recondite corner of our wardrobe – but it also plagues us with atrocious “end of season” sales. If you’ve ever shopped for bargains during this time of the year, you’ll know that, despite dirt-cheap prices, there is hardly anything worth even considering. A quick look at Yoox’s infamous 90% off sale confirmed this tendency hasn’t changed in 2018. In fact, it might just be even worse.

As a propitiatory act to welcome spring, here I present you the very worst (and I mean bottom-of-the-barrel, atrocious, borderline grotesque) of Yoox’s last sale of the season. Hide your credit cards, everyone!

 

Caruso sweater

I feel like the only way this design could be improved would be adding random typos and grammar mistakes. Could you picture an Italian grandma knitting it for you and threatening to hit you with a rolling pin if you don’t wear it at the family dinner?

 

Isaia polo shirt

yoox

Sadly the logo trend doesn’t seem to be just a fad, and we have to accept that even the most respected fashion and tailoring houses embraced it. Take this polo shirt by Isaia, featuring a menacing coral branch creeping up your pecs – and think that this is as classy as this can get.

 

PAURA 5 pocket pants

I don’t know if I’m more amused by the fact the name of the brand translates into “Terror” in Italian, or by the tomato color of these pants, which, as if they weren’t terrifying enough for cut and shade, are also cropped above the ankle to give you a delightful high waters effect. Can you believe they’re down to $16 from over $150?

 

Beauty & The Beast Forever Rose

I’m not sure what would prompt a mentally stable adult to shell out $425 (on sale!) for an accurate representation of Bella’s rose from Beauty and the Beast, but here we have it.

 

Dolce & Gabbana Sneakers

Because what screams badass more than a pair of bulky kicks made out of genuine Targaryen dragon skin?


Naturally, there are some real gems you can buy during the sale – you just have to be really good at finding them. If I were you, I’d try getting a pair of Castaner espadrilles before summer comes and you’ll likely not find them at such good price for a while.

Please share with us your #atrociousyooxfinds under this post or on the forum.

Atelier Bertrand Reversible Leather Belts – Review

Despite being ubiquitous, belts are oftentimes overlooked as an accessory. Like many others on the forum, I personally wear a lot of trousers with fitted waistbands or side adjusters, so I oftentimes go out without wearing a belt for the simple fact it isn’t necessary. However, a good belt can make an outfit more polished or–to the masses–a bit more complete. I’ve been asked more than once if I left it behind at airport security. On the other hand, I oftentimes receive compliments when I wear a nicer belt, and I have never received as many comments on a belt (especially within such a short time frame) as the ones I’ve gotten for these belts from Atelier Bertrand.

The mastermind behind the eponymous, Parisian Atelier Bertrand, is Jerome Bertrand. The brand is a reflection of his idea that high quality, luxury leather goods can be available at a reasonable cost. Jerome has been an extreme pleasure to speak with; he is enthusiastic about his brand and is knowledgeable about every aspect of the product, the different leathers, tanneries, artisans, et cetera. I’ve rarely experienced this level of knowledge and passion from someone in the industry.

I received an offer from Jerome to write a review of one of his reversible leather belts. After thinking through my collection and wardrobe, I decided I ought to get something that was unlike the other belts I owned, so I opted for his taupe and navy blue. It was a hard choice because many of his belts have interesting color pathways (e.g. the cigar and red), but the taupe boxcalf won my heart with a sort of particular elegance. Jerome was generous enough to send me another belt in the black and Prussian blue pathway since I had remarked to him about how lovely that color was as well. Because of this, for complete disclosure, in addition to reviewing the belts, I decided to help Jerome with the English copy on his website in order to show some extra appreciation and help him out as a young brand.

THE LEATHER

Upon receipt of the belts, I was impressed by the leather quality, especially on the box calf side. The tumbled/grain leather is also lovely, partly on account of the particular shades of blue, but unlike most belts in a grain leather, the boxcalf reinforces and lends structure to the end product. In my extensive email dialogue with Jerome, I learned that he selects leathers from quality tanneries like Haas or Deggerman for a variety of his products. For his belts, he uses lesser known and smaller producers that maintain the same level of quality. Because his products and brand is based in France, he has access to a large network of tanneries, many of which employ still historical, artisan methods in their work. The box calf on the taupe belt is some of the best I’ve felt (and would be lovely as the secondary color on a pair of spectators). For both belts, for each side, there are no noticeable muscular/fat striations or blemishes, and the full grain calfskin holds its own as a truly luxury leather in both appearance and feel.

GIVE REVERSIBLE BELTS A CHANCE

I had never owned a reversible belt before, so I didn’t know what to expect going into this review, and it took me a bit of time to understand that the tongue of the belt is actually supposed to go under the belt and buckle, making it appear very streamlined. Jerome commented that the reversible belt is ideal with a suit because it provides a clean look (and I couldn’t agree more). After using it a couple times, it became quite logical and easy to put on and take off the belt.

SIZING

Please note that when you purchase a belt, I recommend going for a belt that is a size up from what you would normally wear. Jerome sells his belts in European sizes, and after a long discussion, he convinced me upon his recommendation I get the size greater than what I thought was a direct conversion for what I normally wear. In the secondary belt Jerome sent me, he gave me the size I originally asked for, which, though it fits, was more difficult to tighten because of how you push the belt buckle through the hole directly, rather than slide it on with a more traditional belt buckle. I measured the length of the holes to the buckle, and even though the length was the same, I had a harder time fitting into the smaller belt (this could also be from the Fall Winter gut I’ve been accumulating from all my culinary indulgences). However, as with most clothing fits, your mileage may vary.

FINISHING

In terms of construction, the finishing on the belt is top notch. The stitching is done as a mix of both machine and hand, with the hand stitching reinforcing the machine stitching so that the belt lasts longer. The thread matches the colors of the leather, and there is no contrast on either side of the belt. The holes were punched cleanly – and you can spot that immediately given the sleek and minimalistic look of the belt. The edge is extremely consistent and even, and it also matches the darker color of each belt’s pathway. The solid brass (nickel free) buckles are made in Italy and are only available in a silver tone. This quality finishing is a reflection of the type of manufacturers that Jerome uses: Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant.

FRENCH MANUFACTURING

For those of you unfamiliar with French manufacturing, companies can be classified as living heritage companies, or Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, EPV for short. These companies are essentially the pride of French manufacturing and tradition and make goods in traditional methods. Jerome chooses to work with EPV companies as much as possible, simply because he ends up getting better quality goods. The leathers he uses are from EPV tanneries, and likewise, his EPV manufacturer is in Limoges and produces goods for luxury brands renowned for quality.

While talking with Jerome, I asked if he was using the EPV companies in part as a marketing tool, since in Europe, especially in Italy and France, there is a strong appreciation of culture and heritage; for the French, it is an appreciation for “cultural capital.” However, for Jerome, it is less about the marketing of methods that are part of historical French culture; he employs EPV makers because the heart and soul that goes into the objects made by these heritage brands oftentimes result in a better product. Although this is a qualitative measurement–the ethos of an object cannot directly translate into a sort of material value–I would agree with his assessment.

The appreciation of such products, however, comes with an awareness of the nature of a product: for example, people who know about shoes tend to love Edward Green not merely because it is a status symbol, but because it has a cultural heritage that imbues the objects with value; you know what type of care went into making it. The same can be said for hand-sewn shirts and suiting. Likewise, Atelier Bertrand provides excellent quality goods which are worth the price to informed consumers because they recognize and understand what is quality in such goods.

Jerome is looking to provide reasonably priced leather goods by offering pre-orders each month, offering products made from high-quality tanneries like Haas. He can thereby reduce their cost because he already has sold some of the product, ensuring demand and not ending up with a lot of dead stock. With leather goods this excellent, Atelier Bertrand should have no problem selling its wares, and I can highly recommend them if you are going for a streamlined European look with belts such as these; their wares are on par with and are a more affordable luxury than Hermès (who he is clearly taking aim at with these belts), and you can experience higher quality when compared to many traditional brands while not devastating your wallet.

Atelier Bertrand Official Website


This is not sponsored content. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.

The Best Shoes for Rainy and Snowy Weather

“Watch out for that first step, it’s a doozie.” Winter weather comes and goes, repeating itself every year. While many of us love layering, wearing coats, heavy flannels, tweeds, and the like, sometimes it feels like it is a Groundhog day every day, every winter. With the snow, the rain, the sleet and ice, we have to be more cautious with our footwear, in order to protect it and ensure it sees its maximum lifespan. As such some shoes are better than others for tempo di merda, so here are some examples of what I consider the best shoes for rainy and snowy weather.

With the recent inclement weather throughout Europe and the US, you are bound to see some wear on your soles, especially if you accidentally wear leather soles out and don’t realize it’s going to seemingly spontaneously hail and rain in the “ever sunny” Los Angeles. Even if you escape the season’s unpredictable rain, you might just step right into one of those puddles that appear shallower than they actually are as you are crossing the street. Let’s start by acknowledging that there is no such thing as waterproof shoes (unless we consider rubber Wellingtons an acceptable footwear option). However, the good news is you can invest in shoes made for inclement weather, like the infamous, and forum favorite, L.L. Bean Boots. Originally designed in 1912, the boots have long protected feet from wet environments for over a hundred years. They are probably one of your best bets for winter storms in the American Midwest or Northeast, seeing as they won’t look completely out of place.

Sometimes, you need or want something a bit more elegant: for this reason, rubber-soled shoes are a popular option since they work reasonably well in winter weather. Although many people might prefer a Dainite sole for a dressier look (when compared to a commando-style sole made by Vibram), Dainite soles are not optimal for wet weather since they provide little in way of increased traction–they are marginally better than leather soles at best. However, the Dainite sole helps to prevent wear to the sole of the shoe, increasing the lifespan tremendously. Because they are rubber, even though they are not high grip on wet surfaces, they work well in light snow or preventing water from getting into the cork bed or upper. I have a pair of Loake 1880 Chukka boots with Dainite soles which is my go-to travel shoe when I’m uncertain what the weather might be, seemingly because they are casual enough to be worn with denim, but elegant enough to go with odd trousers.

DAINITE SOLE
Loake 1881 “Kempton” Chukka Boots
Allen Edmonds Strand Cap-toe Oxford

 

If your style leans toward streetwear, you could look for something with more traction: I would consider a Vibram branded sole or a commando-style sole. The commando-style sole has all the lugs to provide extra grip, which add more visual weight to the sole, providing heavier-chunky appearance that belongs with streetwear more than tailoring. However, that isn’t to say you probably can’t find a place in your wardrobe for a pair of Alden with a commando sole to go with some moleskin or corduroy pants. These are excellent for heavier snow and provide the protection and grip that you need when the weather is at its worst. In addition, the higher sole helps provide more distance between your leather upper and the salted ground.

STREETWEAR APPROVED
Alden “Indy” Boots
Cobbler Union “Miquel” wholecut

If boots are your thing, but you prefer classic style, you’ll want something that is a bit more pragmatic than leather-soled boots when the streets are wet and slippery. That said, those of us who want something a bit more sophisticated and elegant -but still need grip or water protection- might consider a pair of boots such as these from Cobbler Union that feature studded combination leather and high-density rubber sole. The soles have some minor lugs set into it, which help to break up the flat surface and provide traction; simultaneously, the upper part of the sole and the welt are leather, contributing to the elegant look of the boot.

DRESSIER BOOTS FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER
Cobbler Union “Guillaume”
Tricker’s “Stowe” with double leather

Not all stitched soles are created equal. The stitching methods favored by the Italians, Blake method stitches the outer directly to the upper and insole, leaving out a welt, and thereby permit more water into a shoe. In Blake-rapid stitching, there is slightly more waterproofing on account that there are two stitches like in a Goodyear welted shoe (separating the stitching channels for the shoes): the Blake stitch that goes between the midsole, outer and insole, with the rapid stitch that stitches the midsole to an outsole. By adding in a midsole, the stitching for the inner part of the shoe is not exposed to the elements from the bottom sole as much as in Blake constructed shoes. Goodyear welted shoes, on the other hand, see the sole attached to a piece (oftentimes made of leather) called a welt, which acts as a medium for stitching between the upper and the sole. Besides allowing for easily repaired soles in the United States and UK, the welting process helps keep water out of the footbed.
You might further consider waterproofing your welted shoes by seeking out stormwelts on Goodyear welted shoes. In this case, the manufacturer puts a storm welt on the shoe when performing a welt-stitch (either handmade or Goodyear welted). The storm welt is a wider piece that bends to create a seal between the upper and the midsole. These are seen oftentimes on shoes from makers like Tricker’s.
A final stitching method that provides the most waterproofing is the Norwegian stitch. You now see Norvegese construction more often on the work of higher end Italian shoemakers (in terms of quality, not “designer” priced). The Norwegian construction features two stitching lines, one which connects the welt, upper and insole, and the other connecting the welt upper and sole. When joined together, they create an even more closed channel, helping to further keep water out of the shoe.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STITCHING
Heschung “Richmond” with Norwegian welt
Grenson “Fred” with triple welt construction

Finally, you might be stubborn and wear leather soled shoes everywhere. If that’s you, I encourage you to invest in galoshes. In environments with snow and salted roads, the galoshes serve to protect your leather from salt stains. Swims makes a good pair of galoshes that can go around the leather soled shoes and provide protection from the elements, helping to extend the lifespan of your shoe. You can keep a pair in the office or in your car so that you’re not caught unprepared in case of unexpected showers. However, I will warn you that they do not have the best traction on slightly slick surfaces. I’ve slipped and fallen walking in them when I was walking over metal grates. A commando sole will be better for traction.

IF EVERYTHING ELSE FAILS, CONSIDER SHOE CONDOMS
Swims Classic Galoshes
Tingley Overshoe

In the end, the lesson here–just like when I’ve stepped into that bottomless puddle–might just be to pay a bit more attention to where you step.

 


 

Please note that a correction was made to clarify Blake vs Blake-rapid construction.

How to Declutter Your Winter Wardrobe

It’s half past 8, it’s 25°F outside, and you’re rushing to get out the door—running late for work again. You throw open your closet to choose a coat to layer up over your suit.

“Hmmmm, which one will I wear today?

“I could go full Russian and wear the Norwegian Rain Moscow with fur collar. But that’s my favorite coat and I wore that yesterday.

“I could go full Italian with the Eidos topcoat. Ehhh, that’s too insouciant for the workplace.

“I suppose I could go full #menswear and wear the robe coat. Nah, I’ll get a hundred snide comments.

“Dang it, now it’s 20 to 9 and I still haven’t picked a coat. Forget it, I’ll wear the Moscow again.”

The signs are obvious—it’s a Tide ad.

Just kidding, you’ve got a #menswear problem.

Maybe it’s time to declutter your winter wardrobe, including—but not limited to—your sweet outerwear collection. Here are five tips to help you do so.

declutter your winter wardrobe

I wrote a little bit about this in one of my previous article. The gist is to have a system for your clothes—whether it’s shirts, trousers, jackets, coats—where it’s obvious what you have worn recently and what you have not. Doing so allows you to identify what winter wardrobe items you just don’t wear.

I don’t recommend going full Marie Kondo, assessing the specific level of joy each thing brings, then donating the rest of it—but, if there are jackets, sweaters, flannel shirts, or anything else that you haven’t worn all winter because there’s other stuff you enjoy wearing more, it’s probably safe to get rid of those things.

declutter your winter wardrobe

Allow me to state that besides the “joy” factor, there is a time that you have to acknowledge that your style has changed and maybe it’s time to get rid of old things you never wear for that reason. There was a good season or two I was still gaming the J.Crew sales to try to score good deals on V-neck merino sweaters before realizing, “wait a minute, I don’t actually wear these things.”

There’s also a time to acknowledge your #dadbod, to put it charitably. Looking at my own dad, I can see that at my age, he had roughly the same body shape as I do. But something clearly happened in the ensuing 10-15 years (at 62, he’s back to my size again, and I have a mind to kop an Eidos jacket or two for him at some point). I fully intend to maintain my current fitness level forever, but we all know best intentions don’t always go fulfilled. If you find yourself in a position of unfulfilled intent, consider it an opportunity to sell off old clothes that don’t fit and upgrade with something that does.

Besides, those old 32 waist APCs have too low a rise for your more sophisticated appreciation of higher rise denim.

declutter your winter wardrobe menswear

There’s a point where you can declutter too much. I know because I’ve been there. My friend Jonathan had gotten engaged, and for his bachelor party, we went paintballing—in March (in Ohio). Sounds like a great (if freezing) time, except I had purged my closet of nearly everything I might’ve been okay getting covered in paint. I wore pebble-grain chukka boots from Banana Republic that up until then were still in somewhat regular rotation (this was early in my menswear transformation, cut me some slack). So while I enjoyed the final gauntlet we put Jonathan through (he had welts all over his body for his honeymoon), I was definitely not appropriately dressed for that day.

These days, I make sure to have stuff in my closet or in storage bins downstairs so that I’m not caught without the right gear. Like a few weeks ago when I dug a trench outside my house for drainage in 30° weather after a week of heavy rain. I was glad to have a fleece, old jeans and some old boots to work in the mud in.

declutter your winter wardrobe men

Back in my merino V-neck wearing days, I recall having a perfect navy sweater. It was from Banana Republic and I wore it to great effect all the time (in particular over a blue gingham button-up shirt—you know the one). But even then I recognized that Banana quality left something to be desired, and there came a point within 2-3 years that it was clearly showing its age. I knew I needed to replace it and reduce how often I wore it.

I’m not the kind of guy to, say, buy seven identical pairs of shoes so as to spread out the wear and tear amongst them and prolong their natural life. But I do think it’s good to recognize those things you’ve identified as your best-of, favorite items (see point 1), and when there’s an awesome deal on the same or very similar thing, you can buy it to keep the magic alive. Depending on what it is, you can take advantage of seasonal sales, especially if you’re under no time pressure to immediately replace it.

declutter your winter wardrobe outerwear

The coat matrix skews admittedly toward a tailored-favoring audience, so I apologize to the streetwear guys. But it can be useful for classifying the coats in your wardrobe, which will, in turn, help you spot gaps (or surpluses in certain categories). The gist is to break your outerwear into categories based on the level of formality level, and how warm they are.

It’s fair to say that the colder months are more ripe for dressing well because of all the layering opportunities and wealth of great clothing categories (sweaters, outerwear, scarves, etc.). The flip side of that is that the risk of over-stocking your closet to the detriment of warm-weather attire. You need to save some room in your wardrobe so you can look great all year round—not just when it’s freezing outside.

Use these five tips to help free up some space and clear out the cruft of your wardrobe. Of course what you do with that newly vacant space is up to you. Something tells me it’ll quickly be filled again.