Why a Solaro suit is the only suit you’ll need this summer

The time has come to legitimize the Solaro suit as a staple garment in any man’s wardrobe.

Oh please, don’t give me that look. We already established a long time ago that brown and earthy colors are no longer reserved for the countryside, and we integrated them as part of our daily – and even business – clothing. A Solaro suit is going to be your best investment this summer.

First, let’s go back to the origins of the fabric. Despite being quite popular among the Italians, we owe the invention of Solaro to the Brits and their assumption that the red color repelled radiation caused from direct sunlight.

The Solaro was born at the dawn of the 20th century, during the colonialism of the Tropics. The London School of Tropical Medicine dedicated studies to the wellbeing of the soldiers in colonial lands: climate conditions in tropical areas were incredibly harsh, and a need for new fabrics and garments to protect the colonizers arose as it did the belief that they were responsible for dreadful tropical diseases.

One of the School’s scientists, Louis Westenra Sambon, conducted some studies on the skin of the colonized populations, coming to the conclusion that the darker pigment was able to block off the UV rays coming from the sunlight. It was clear to him that Nature provided the natives with the necessary protection against the harm of the climate, and that the colonizers would have had to find a way to protect their fair skin just as well. Clothes were the obvious choice, as they act as an additional layer to protect the body from the external agents.

It was common knowledge at the time that light fabrics retained less heat than dark fabrics; however, white garments were not quite suitable for soldiers. Khaki green, on the other hand, was both light and suitable for a soldier’s uniform, and that’s why Dr. Sambon chose it as the base of the cloth of his invention: the Solaro. He added to it a red layer that supposedly repelled the UV rays.

“Dr. Sambon, assisted by Mr. John Ellis, has produced a fabric hat has a “perfect khaki effect” on the outside and a red colour screen on the inner surface, and he has stated that Mr. Bailey has examined it at the University College and that it has proved as impervious to the actinic rays as is the skin of natives of tropical countries. This cloth is called Solaro. We have not seen specimens of this cloth, but we note that it is obtainable at Messers Ellis and Johns, Tailors, 21, South Moulton Street, London, W.”¹

“Unlike clothing promoted for use in tropical climates today, Solaro was meant to prevent more than sunburn and carcinomas. It was designed to inhibit the “actinic” rays—what we would now call ultraviolet (UV) radiation—of the sun, which were thought to disrupt proper physiological functioning and produce nervous disorders. The design of the clothing was linked to the observation that skin color was darkest where sunlight was most intense.”²

Another debate concerned the type of fabric that would work best against the heat: cotton or wool? German zoologist Gustav Jaeger pointed out that many animals survive in tropical areas with a wool coat, and that wool breathes better than vegetable fabrics, which are not meant to be used in clothing: Nature has clothed the animals. Man clothes himself. Animal wool, which Nature has created to clothe the animal body, is the ‘survival of the fittest’ clothing material.”³

His assumption is at the base of Dr. Sambon’s choice of wool for the Solaro.

The patented Solaro fabric –“Original Solaro Made in England”- is produced by Smith Woollens (now part of Harrisons). It weighs 310 gr and is in a tan/olive-ish color with a herringbone pattern. It features an underside woven with brick red yarn;

solaro suit fabric history

Solaro fabric. Photo: No Man Walks Alone

this characteristic produces an iridescent sheen that is most evident when the light hits the fabric at a specific angle, but it is nonetheless quite subtle.

Today there are several mills – Loro Piana, Drago, Angelico, to name a few- that produce Solaro in a variety of weights and hues, yet remaining somewhat faithful to the mid-weight, khaki-and-red original version.

The most common fabrics employed to create Solaro are pure wool twill and yarn-dyed gabardine.

As I mentioned, the Italians are particularly fond of Solaro suits, as they embody perfectly the Italian sprezzatura with the relaxed, casual, and slightly impudent look provided by the semi-iridescent cloth. It’s not uncommon to spot distinguished, elderly Italians wearing Solaro suits, whether they are businessmen riding a bicycle in Milan, or classy Neapolitan gentlemen savoring espresso at a café while reading the Corriere della Sera.


Here are a few good reasons why a Solaro suit is the perfect integration to your summer closet:

It’s a conversation starter; we are not given that many chances to make fun of the Brits (if we don’t consider Brexit) so why lose the chance to make a joke of their belief that a red thread in their suits would keep them safe from tropical diseases? Jokes aside, the history of the fabric and its continental charm make a good topic of conversation for anyone who has an interest in menswear or history.

It’s unconventional but not crazy extravagant; the red sheen is barely there, just enough to remind the world that you are confident enough to pull off a suit that goes beyond the conventions. You own it.

It suits everyone. Just take look at the gallery, and you’ll see that a solaro suit looks good on every single person, flattering every complexion from the fairer to the deeper. Additionally, it seems to class-up everyone’s style, making the solaro suit the male equivalent of a pearl choker.

It makes a great option for business casual. I promise not to roll my eyes and scoff when you tell me that America is too conservative to allow such a suit to be part of a business environment. However, to the West Coast fellows that suffer from suit envy because their workplace is too casual to wear even the most innocent two-piece navy suit, I say: this is your chance! A Solaro suit is casual enough to be worn even in an office where the most formal piece of clothing is not-ripped denim, and you won’t be labeled as “the uptight dude in the navy suit”. Plus, you can lose the jacket any time and not look like you forgot a piece of your outfit at home.

If you’d like to read what other forumites have to say on the matter, there is a whole thread dedicated to wearing Solaro for business.

It’s incredibly easy to style. Click here to read our guide to wearing a Solaro suit – including some spezzato options!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Note: please note that the original Solaro cloth is only available through Harrisons and their agents, and it is a registered trademark. Any other maker that refers to this type of cloth with the name Solaro is in trademark infringement.

@AriannaReggio


1. The Indian Medical Gazette, Volume 42, p. 188

2. Bulletin of the History of Medicine: Bull Hist Med. 2009 Fall : 530-560

3. Jaeger Gustav. In: Dr. Jaeger’s Essays on Health-Culture. Tomalin Lewis RS., translator. London: Waterlow and Sons; 1887. p. 116.

Velasca’s Holiday Alternatives

BY VELASCA

Hi, this is me: I’m a man in my late twenties. I grew up in a business-oriented city, have been traveling the world when I can take a few days off from my studies (and now from my job), only to end up working in the same city that I tried to move away from many times.

I’m a manager of a startup company who really cares about dressing up, drinking the right cocktail at the right time, and going on dates for wine after 6:30pm.

I’m not crazy enough, really. I’m rational, and as with my job, restaurants, and plans in general: I have to have alternatives. I had to realize this pretty early in my youth, when I had to start doing it all by myself: paying for my own bills, flights, escapes, and gifts.

Yeah, gifts, I really like those. Have you ever imagined working for a company that crafts clothes? And being there, watching the process, from designing a model on a piece of paper to seeing the final product packed into a box?

velasca

In 2016, my dream of working for a fashion company came true. I’m with the guys of Velasca: a made in Italy brand at its finest. I can try on the prototypes before going into the market, and then drop an unexpected pair of shoes off to my friends and family.

While spending time in my department, I’ve learned that you need alternatives in fashion as well. It’s not just a matter of style ― your clothes have to go along with the occasion you’re attending, whether it be a casual dinner or grand wedding. You need variants. Maybe the weather will shift or even the location of an event will change at the last minute.

For this reason, I usually research the perfect outfit with at least one ‘Plan B’ ready to go. This Christmas, I got invited to my uncle’s place with the rest of the family. You know, a typical Italian atmosphere where everyone cooks his/her own food (and there’s always a lot of food); there are the classic tunes and tree, the talks and the gifts. And as always, I’ll wear a nice pair of leather shoes:


1. Velasca Chelsea Boots

velasca

I might take my motorcycle by myself to ride straight towards the house. It’s not a long way there. A pair of Velasca chelsea boots would be perfect, to go with a white cotton shirt, a blue pullover, and some grey woolen pants. Very easy, and casual without looking sloppy – always appropriate for a dinner with family.


2. Velasca Cap-Toe Oxfords

velasca

Or, it’s possible that I’ll have to pick up my grandmother at her house; by car, of course. In that case, Velasca’s full grain leather oxfords with a rubber sole would be my choice. They’ve been a standy for ages, and I really like the model we came up with. No need to completely change my outfit: I might wear a pair of blue pants to stay classy.


3. Velasca Derbies

velasca

What if we’re not celebrating Christmas at the house anymore, and we’re moving at the very last minute to some friend’s restaurant? It happens, especially since it’s impossible to find a reservation around the Holidays. Well, I’d like to get noticed in a dining room full of strangers and my family. If that happens, I’ll wear my Velasca derbies. They’re unique and classic at the same time.

See, you always need to have alternatives. Keep it in mind.

Warmly,

Paolo

The 2016 Tuxedo Buyer’s Guide

If you’re attending a black-tie affair this winter and you’re already panicking about what to wear – we understand. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of shoddy tuxedos, conflicting advice, and too-good-to-be-true deals. You know what? We’ve got your back. And there’s still time to find yourself the perfect black tie rig. Because whatever you do, we really don’t want you to rent an ill-fitting tuxedo.

This tuxedo buyer’s guide will go over some of Styleforum’s top picks for the winter, detailing the pros and cons of each. We’ll cover a range of budgets and a range of styles so that you can be sure you’ll look downright incredible in your tuxedo, no matter the event. You’ve got plenty of time to pick out a tux before the party season is over, so don’t worry – plus, part of the beauty of the tuxedo is that you only need the one. And you know what that means? You’ll never need to rent a tux.

All of the below will require the traditional accoutrements: a proper shirt, shoes, and accessories (tie, studs and links, and a cummerbund or waistcoat).


Black Tie on a Budget

1. Suit Supply Black Tuxedo, $569

Modern, stylish, and very sleek. There’s a reason Suitsupply is so well-regarded on Styleforum: the value proposition is hard to beat. Plus, returns and try-ons are easy and shipping is fast, so you’ve got a good chance of nailing the fit. This is an easy fire-and-forget option.

Pros: Price, obviously. You’ll look good, you’ll have some money left over for the rest of the rig, and you’re going to spend all your time partying and enjoying yourself anyway.

Cons: The Suitsupply look is not to everyone’s taste. The lapels are loud, the cuts tend towards the slim and short, and the gorge can be quite high, so you’ll have to plan and adjust your size accordingly.

2. J. Crew Ludlow Shawl Collar Tuxedo, $525

Those who would like a slightly more staid offering than Suitsupply’s admittedly in-your face tuxedo may wish to consider J. Crew’s “Ludlow” option. We’ve picked this shawl collar variation because, unlike J.Crew’s other options, it has a single button closure. Combined with the shawl collar this does, at the least, distinguish it from a business suit – though why it has patch pockets is beyond us. You’ll have to tuck those in or remove them. Otherwise, this is the cheapest tuxedo on our list, and if you can get the sizing right and you have a decent tailor you’re likely to have a good time. Just note that J. Crew staff seem predisposed to forcing customers into jackets at least one size too small and far too short.

Pros: A true budget option. While it’s not the pinnacle of style or quality, you won’t look out of place if you nail the accessories.

Cons: Less elegant than the other options on this list due to its somewhat confused pedigree, and J.Crew patterns can be hit or miss depending on the wearer. You may have to try this on in person to find your ideal fit – or at the very least, take a handful of size options to a reputable tailor.


The Trad

J. Press Peak Lapel Tuxedo, $795

For the Ivy-inclined, J.Press’ classically American take on the Tuxedo may be the perfect option. However, we admit that this tuxedo did cause the Styleforum editorial team to come into conflict. While some forumites will argue that a single-vented tuxedo jacket is an acceptably and intentionally American take on a continental garment, others firmly believe that a single vent is far too casual for evening wear, rooted in sporting garments as it is. We’ve compromised and included this tuxedo to show the range of available options.

Pros: Firmly American in style, from an old guard of the East-Coast Trad. Easy to wear, easy to obtain.

Cons: Somewhat lacking in personality, and you’ll have to tuck or remove the flap pockets.

Note that J.Press also produces a notch lapel tuxedo. Notwithstanding the contemporary prevalence of this garment, we do not feel we can endorse such a garment. Although there is modern precedent (read: 1980’s) for a notch lapel tuxedo, when compared to contemporary business suiting we feel that details are firmly required to distinguish evening-wear from office-wear.


Affordable MTM

Kent Wang Tuxedo, $840

If you’d like to be sure you’re getting every aspect of your tuxedo correct, look no further than Styleforum affiliate Kent Wang. Their tuxedo is elegant without being precious or costumey, and for the price it’s quite the deal. You’ll be able to specify color and lapel style, but note that their tuxedos are only available through their MTM service, meaning that this isn’t the ideal last-minute option.

Pros: Fantastic value, guaranteed to nail every element.

Cons: You’ll have to have the time and inclination for MTM

Kent Wang is a Styleforum affiliate. You can join their conversation here.


The Standard

Ralph Lauren Polo Tuxedo, $1,395

At this price, a Ralph Lauren tuxedo is a very easy option, particularly if you don’t have the time or inclination to search, try, return, and generally occupy your mind with the ins and outs of tuxedo-buying.  A solid workhorse of a tuxedo, this is a good option if you’re looking for something simple but very elegant. The trousers sport side tab adjusters as well as loops for braces, so you can wear them as you wish. The jacket is canvassed, the pattern will fit a wide range of body types, and this tuxedo is certainly not going to fall apart on you. While a Polo tuxedo may lack some of the character of the other options on this list, it will provide solid, accessible results for most buyers.

Pros: There’s a 90% chance you’ll look great in it. Reasonable value for your money, and they’re easy to obtain.

Cons: Flapped pockets are a no-no. You’ll have to tuck or remove the pocket flaps, but once you’ve done so the vents are no issue.


The Monaco

Sartoria Formosa Tuxedo from No Man Walks Alone, $2,350

Look at those full lapels and bountiful quarters! This stunner from Sartoria Formosa certainly isn’t cheap, but it represents some real value from the well-regarded Neapolitan sartoria. The silhouette is fantastic, and we’re huge fans of the unapolagetic peak lapels. This tuxedo is tasteful and elegant, while giving you room for some personal touches.

Pros: It’s beautiful. And, at $2,350 it’s somewhere in the attainable mid-high range of tuxedo pricing. While that takes some splashing out, this is a tuxedo that is going to last you a long, long time.

Cons: With such a full body and bombastic lapels, this tuxedo may take some panache to pull off. Side vents in the jacket mean it will take more naturally to lounging with one hand in a pocket (and will be more forgiving if you have a muscular posterior), but it lacks the absolute rigidity of some of the more precise options. Of course, that could certainly be seen as a pro as well, depending on personal preference.

No Man Walks Alone is a Styleforum affiliate. You can join their conversation here.


The Red Carpet

Tom Ford “O’Connor” Midnight Blue Evening Suit, $5,470

If you’re up for splashing out to look like a contemporary movie star, this is the tuxedo for you. A low gorge, wide shawl lapel, and glam silhouette make this a mean contender if you’re less inclined towards the classic and more inclined to look like James Bond. This tuxedo begs for some non-traditional styling, and you could certainly pair it with a black turtleneck and embrace the full Tom Ford look.

Pros: You want sexy? You got sexy. This tuxedo hits all the right notes to be a show-stopper.

Cons: Well, it costs five thousand dollars, and it’s not exactly classic.


The Roman Holiday

Brioni Tuxedo, $5,750

Gregory Peck wasn’t the only Hollywood star to wear Brioni, but he certainly did his part in popularizing the Roman house’s tailored clothing – just as he and his cohorts are still doing their part to keep black tie alive. Brioni, decades later, remains a glittering, glamorous option for the well-to-do.

Pros: Hard to argue with what you’re seeing here, really. From the strong, structured Roman shoulder to the narrowed waist, this is an unabashedly masculine take on an already masculine garment.

Cons: At almost six grand for one of Brioni’s off-the-rack options, you may start asking yourself what you’re really paying for. And if that seems like a drop in the bucket to you, perhaps you’d get more joy from a fully bespoke experience.


A note on vintage tuxedos and accessories: while the vintage route can bear beautiful black tie fruit, it does take a real eye for details. Beyond the fact that you likely wont’ be able to return a vintage tuxedo, you’ll also have to contend with the previous owner’s alterations, you’ll have to divine the fabric composition, and you’ll have to find the damn thing in the first place. Remember, just because something is “vintage” doesn’t mean it’s good. A vintage polyester tuxedo is still unacceptable, and shoddy craftsmanship on a set of studs will mean that those “heirloom” accessories aren’t really heirlooms at all. While we fully support buying vintage or pre-owned clothing, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.  

A note on white jackets: you may have dreams of telling your friends to “Play it again,” but the truth is that Humphrey Bogart’s white dinner jacket in Casablanca is an intentional nod both to Bogey’s personal style as well as to the warm climate of the locale featured in the film. Remember that black is always appropriate, and that during the winter season white will seem counterintuitive.

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.

Cozy Essentials for a Winter Cabin Retreat

huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

by Cody Ernst of Huckberry

Last weekend, three other members of the Huckberry crew and I had the pleasure of filling the Eagle’s Nest Tree House to capacity and hiking the surrounding forest while doing a couple of photoshoots. The catch was: colder, wintry temps were just starting to creep into the area. So, before we departed from our foggy (and relatively seasonless) hometown of San Francisco, we armed ourselves to the teeth with all the warmest gear we could fit into our duffels. Below is a list of clothes and gear that we, as a team, deemed coziest. They’re the absolute must-haves for prolonging your time out (or in by the fire) this winter.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Yosemite Shirt:

This is hands-down the thickest, softest brushed flannel shirt we’ve ever put on. And it’s no wonder why. The design geniuses at Taylor Stitch had these made in a Portuguese mill that’s specialized in one thing for over 80 years: flannel. Don’t worry about looking too lumber-jacky either. These’ll fly in a packed bar just as well as they will out on a hike thanks to a stylish, tailored cut with a higher armhole for a slimmer-looking silhouette.  


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

The Rover Jacket:

Also from Taylor Stitch, this heavy-duty California-made fieldcoat, exactly what you want to be wearing in case you get caught in an unexpected shower. It’s built like a tank, and lined with heavyweight, ridiculously soft moleskin. And its outer cotton shell is fully waxed, so water beads up on it and brushes right off. Like the Yosemite Shirt, it’s handsomely tailored for ease of movement. This jacket is really the best of all worlds. Its classic look, rugged construction, and spacious pockets nail the sweet spot between form and function.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Sleepy Jones Keith Lounge Pants:

One of the perks of being inside: you don’t have to dress like you’re outside. So when you’re settled into your cabin for the night; lounging, sampling whiskey, or up late getting some work done, throw on these USA-made lounge pants from Sleepy Jones. They’re tailored for comfort out of high-quality 100% cotton, and come in fun prints ideal for when you’re kickin’ back and being yourself.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Whiskey Glass Candles:

Here we have a one-two punch of cozy. Ranger Station not only makes some of the richest-smelling candles out there (this particular one smells like Amber + Clove), but all their candles come in super sturdy whiskey glasses, perfect for toast after toast in front of a roaring fire.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Glerups Wool Slipper Boots:

It makes sense that these 100% wool slipper boots come from the frigid wilds of Denmark, where they have their own word, hygge, that roughly translates to “cozy with friends.” Their wool construction will keep you toasty while wicking moisture away from your feet, which means they’re good to keep you feeling super-comfy all day. And don’t just take our word for it. Men’s Journal called these, “The coziest indoor shoes money can buy.”


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Woolrich Sherpa Blanket:

There’s a reason Woolrich blankets have been around since 1830: they’re damn good at keeping you warm. This blanket in particular is super-cozy and lined with insulating sherpa fabric. And it’s made in Woolrich, PA with an iconic Woolrich plaid they’ve been using since the Civil War era.

Oh, and those leather boots? They’re lined with the same 100% USA-made wool used in every Woolrich blanket.  


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Woolrich Fleece-Lined Suede Slippers:

While we’re on the topic of Woolrich, we couldn’t help but throw these into the mix — suede slippers with the same sherpa lining as the above blanket. Their tough suede construction and fleecy footbed make them the perfect slipper for throwin’ in your bag for a weekend trip. They pack all the legendary coziness Woolrich is known for into a pair of slippers, and are honestly one of the best values we’ve seen this holiday season.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

LED Lantern:

Last, but certainly not least, this Barebones lantern offers the best of both worlds. It has a classic steel design and warm ambient light that harken back to your dad’s old-school camping gear. Yet its brightness is adjustable, and it packs a huge rechargeable battery that doubles as a USB charger for your phone or whatever other electronics you bring out with you into the wild.

To snag this winter gear and more in time for your own cabin retreat, Join Huckberry’s 1 million+ adventure community. We deliver the coolest gear and gifts at the best prices, inspirational stories, and a hell of a lot more to your inbox every week. Membership is free and takes seconds.

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.

Holiday Parties With House of Kydos

Dear Friends,

With festivities already underway, have you decided yet on what to wear during the holiday events? Paris, the family’s voice behind necktie maker the House of ΚΥΔΟΣ (that’s “Kydos”), has prepared an outfit for each event using his personal wardrobe and selected ties and accessories from our AW’16 collection.

Styleforum members can use code sf2016 for a 15% discount on all items until the 18th of December.  Tax Free prices (that is 24% less) are always available for all non-EU shipments.


Family Dinner

Family dinner has always been our family’s highlight moment of the year. It is the time when we all gather together around the fireplace, relaxing and contemplating the events of the year, making plans and discussing dreams for the year to come. The men always wear casual jacket or a cardigan, so here is a combination that I am contemplating for this year’s dinner: a brown herringbone jacket with white shirt, a blue silk tweed tie, a blue silk pocket square with a traditional Greek pattern, and a lapel pin in colors which can be found both in the tie’s weave and in the pocket square’s design.

kydos styleforum holiday office party silk tweed tie

  

The KYDOS unlined, 8-fold necktie used has been created solely by hand sewing, using the same knowledge and skill our great grandfather used over a century ago. The silk – with a small quantity of wool, viscose and linen – has been spun at Como, and as per custom, only 33 ties of this design and color have been created.

In Greece there is a long tradition of embroidery, with designs varying among regions, local traditions and social or economic status. This specific pocket square has been designed in-house based on our family’s inherited embroidery. The design, which symbolizes fertility (hoopoe), the passage of life (ship) and youth (flowers), originates from the island of Skyros, where the ruling class’ families created such designs for adornment, but in secrecy both to avoid copying and to preserve them over the passage of time. Using silk spun at the Greek silk village of Soufli, we created two more color variations in burgundy and in green. Then, our seamstress hand-rolled their edges for an elegant finish.


Office Party

Office parties have already started, with lawyers and bankers leading the way.  A classic, deep blue single button suit looks proper to blend in with the crowd. A burgundy necktie is an ideal choice for a touch of elegance. A personalized, hand-embroidered white pocket square, folded in a “sails” shape, can add a playful note.

kydos styleforum holiday office party burgundy silk tie

 The burgundy tie is – as are all Kydos’ premium ties – totally unlined, 8-fold, and 100% hand sewn in house, in a process that can take up to 4 hours for each necktie to be completed. All edged have been hand rolled with an invincible seam so meticulous that the points of the blades are perfectly shaped, and with the aid of a silk monk’s stitch the tie’s layers join together creating perfectly balanced folds.

As you may have noticed, the white cotton pocket square is not simply hand rolled. Its edges have been hand embroidered by our seamstress for a very unique and elegant finis,h and in this case my monogram has been hand embroidered as well to make the pocket square even more personal.


New Year’s Eve

kydos styleforum holiday office party black velvet bow tie

New Year’s Eve is usually the most glamorous night of the three. Our plans though are different this year, as we will host a house party without a defined dress code, so the tuxedo will have to wait for now. Being the host, a navy jacket with some texture will be combined with a black silk velvet bow tie and a formally-folded white Egyptian cotton pocket square.

This pre-tied bow tie, which is also 100% hand sewn, has been created using the finest silk velvet and silk satin. The intention has been to create a visual effect by combining two different weaves, the velvet for the front bow and the satin for the back bow.

The white Egyptian cotton pocket square can be either hand rolled or can be hand embroidered and personalized. Here it has been hand embroidered using blue thread both for the edges and the monogram.

Wishing Happy Holidays to all of you and your families from sunny Greece!

 – Paris Anastopolous, House of ΚΥΔΟΣ

5 Gifts That Aren’t Clothing

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Not all of our friends and family members are as obsessed with clothing as we are, and that’s okay. It’s also worth keeping in mind before you go out of you way to buy a pair of 20-ounce Ironhearts for your nephew, or a limited-edition pocket square for your wife (“Wear it as a…scarf?”), here are five gifts idea that anyone – no matte their age, gender, or relationship to you – is sure to enjoy.


La Portegna ” Jimena” Portfolio

My iPad died halfway through The Proper Kit, which means I have to get a new one if I want stay up too late watching YouTube videos in bed again. Since I have a La Portegna briefcase that I adore (disclosure: they sent me one free of charge, and I now use it every single day), I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this. Namely, fantastic leather that actually gets better as it ages (for real – everyone claims this and it’s not always true), and a size perfect for those days when I don’t want to tote around a whole bag. Plus, you can monogram it for the intended recipient. Future iPad, meet your future new best friend.

La Portegna, 215GBP


Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

No one writes anything by hand any more, and that is a filthy shame. I carry two small notebooks with me wherever I go: one for story ideas, one for absurd Deep Thoughts. And I write with pens exclusively – no graphite here. As a middle school science teacher once told me, never erase anything – put a line through it, because you might come back to it later and find some unexpected brilliance. Having a half-decent pen to write with (or a really nice pen to write with), as opposed to the disposable ones we all steal from hotels, makes the experience so much more pleasurable. I’ve never owned an unabashedly nice fountain pen, because I’m probably too scatterbrained to be trusted with anything fancy, but that’s what a wishlist is for. I am mildly obsessed with the design of the Lamy 2000, which is unassuming but (in my eyes) gorgeous; not the heavy gold-and-black cigars that still dominate the world of higher-end fountain pens, but sleek and futuristic. And it’s built for writing – which is, after all, the point.

Amazon, $120


L’Artisan Perfumeur “Al Oudh”

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Al Oudh isn’t the fanciest perfume in the world, nor the most expensive, nor the most fully-packed with exotic ingredients. It is, however, an excellent scent, and for men or women who don’t want a collection in their cabinet there’s a good chance this could become an every day fragrance. It’s more accessible than fancier oud scents, less cloying, and a bit fresher and friendlier to more noses. I’ve been jealously hoarding my tester-sized sample of this fragrance for a while now, and I think it’s time to treat myself to a full bottle. Or rather, for someone else to treat me. ‘Tis the season.

L’Artisan Perfumeur, $145


Jaybird X3

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I scored a pair of Jaybirds on Amazon over the summer, and they have changed my life. That sounds like exaggeration but it’s not – I’m not an audiophile, but I do listen to music 12 hours a day, whether I’m sitting at my desk or exercising. These are great for both – they’re comfortable enough to wear for long periods, the battery life is great, and when you do go for a run they actually stay in your ears. Plus, the sound quality is pretty darn good. So far, mine have been one of the best purchases I’ve made all year.

Best Buy, $130


Pyrrha Stag Ring

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I am a sucker for all things symbolic, and doubly so for vaguely heraldic imagery. Pyrrha has been making wax-seal silver jewelry for over a decade now, and has inspired legions of other brands. They’re rough-hewn, cast from Victorian-era wax seals, and – I think – quite beautiful. I also have a thing for stags, generally; horned gods being both classic and timeless and beautifully foreboding.

For women, there are a host of beautiful necklaces, rings, and bracelets, which means that whoever you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find something that will speak to them. Pro tip: searching for “wax seal rings” on Etsy will show you plenty of other options, but since they go quickly and are variable in size, Pyrrha is a good stop for consistency.

Pyrrha, $380

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