Gift Guide for the Classy Women in Your Life

Finding a gift for a woman is a complicated task – and things get even trickier if she happens to have sophisticated tastes. Here’s a selection of great gift ideas –or shall I call it a wishlist?– to inspire you to pick a great present for the women in your life. The best part? They are all quite affordable.

 

CASHMERE SWEATPANTS $140

“Cashmere” and “sweatpants” are two words that only recently have been seen together – with the rise of the athleisure movement and the attempt from retailers to ennoble (or at the very least dignify) garments of modest and humble tradition. You may think that paying over $100 for something with a drawstring is lunacy, but believe me when I say that whoever will receive this gift will hardly be able to stop wearing it. These sweatpants are as comforting as a warm cup of hot chocolate on a winter night, plus they are sustainably made with Mongolian cashmere in one of Everlane’s approved factories in China.

MINI VOTIVE CANDLES $78

Usually I refrain from suggesting any gift “for the home”, as the risk of not meeting the recipient’s taste in high, and they would find themselves in the unpleasant situation of having to dispose of the object by either donating it, throwing it away, or recycling it as a gift for someone else. However, candles are a fairly safe option, especially if they come in a mini size like these Dyptique votive candles: in the unlikely case the person doesn’t appreciate the fragrance, they are gone fairly quickly and don’t leave any bitter feeling of regret or frustration behind.

MARC DE CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES $22

Chocolate is another great option if you’re unsure about someone’s tastes, because -again- it’s not an object that will perpetually be under someone’s nose, but rather it’s something that can be enjoyed by anyone who walks by. I am a big fan of Charbonnel&Walker’s truffles, which come in a variety of flavors and combinations. Dark chocolate lovers will appreciate the black truffles with Marc de Champagne, while more delicate palates will love the pink chocolate infused with roses.

MINIMALISTIC JEWELRY $29

If you’re confident enough to go down the jewelry route, my suggestion is to take a close look at the person’s style and choice of jewelry and try to choose something that could work with their collection. A giant cocktail ring encrusted with rubies might be cool, but it’s unlikely to work with most women’s collections. Consider instead a pair of miniature gold hoops, which look flattering on most face shapes and complexions, or a minimalistic necklace like this elegant piece by Mejuri in gold vermeil and sapphires.

A CLASSIC, BOYFRIEND-STYLE BUTTON DOWN SHIRT $228

A classic button-down shirt will find a place in almost any wardrobe, especially if you choose a neutral color or a classic pattern. I like Frank&Eileen’s take on the classic button-down, with a slightly more relaxed fit that’s almost menswear-inspired; the pattern matching is surprisingly good too.

OLD STYLE, NATURALLY FLAVORED TOOTHPASTE $36

This great stocking stuffer features one of my favorite Florentine brands, Marvin. I am a fan of their Jasmin mint toothpaste, but I am sure that any American girl will love the cinnamon mint tube. I have given away several tubes throughout the years and I can’t remember anyone who hasn’t come back to ask me where I bought it, because they just need more!

A DESIGNER PILLBOX $39

I am breaking the rule of not giving something with the potential of sitting unused for years to come, for the simple fact that this pillbox is adorable. The shape is incredibly satisfying just to watch, and I can almost feel its weight by imagining to hold it in my hand. Even if it did sit unused, it would just look like a beautiful design object, and I bet it could double as a cool paperweight.

A CASHMERE BERET $198

A beret is essentially the classier version of a beanie. I know the struggle women go through when they need to conciliate their city life with the burning desire to wrap themselves in something that keeps them warm. I succumbed to the chills of winter weather enough times to know that a warm beanie is the last resort, albeit ugly and resembling a woolen condom, to keep my head and ears from developing ice stalactite. A beret is a relatively basic hat – it happens to be in vogue just now – and if you pick carefully (I like this one in white cashmere by Janessa Leone) you will give something that is way more stylish than a beanie, but just as useful.

GIFT CARDS $25 & UP

Contrarily to what seems to be the popular opinion, I am not against gift cards at all. What may seem like a couldn’t-care-less gift might actually be an effort to make sure the person receives something meaningful and useful that doesn’t go unappreciated. In order to keep this sentiment alive, my suggestion is to give a gift card along with the gift of your time to go find this special something. Pick a shop she likes – it could be Sephora, Nordstrom, or Bloomingdale’s – and make sure she knows that you’ll be there to share a fun afternoon of shopping with her.

 

BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY MENSWEAR SALES LIST – STYLEFORUM

Welcome to the Styleforum Black Friday 2018 guide to sales and coupon discount codes for all the men’s clothing and accessories that are fit to buy (and some more to boot). We will be updating this list throughout the weekend, so drop in often, or just keep on hitting F5.

First, take a look at what Styleforum Affiliates cooked up for Black Friday:


STYLEFORUM AFFILIATES SALES LIST


A Fine Pair of Shoes

25% off all purchases with code BLACKFRIDAY2018

Carmina

25% off on selected items with code CYBER18

Cavour

15% discount code for SF members: “fw18sf

Cobbler Union

CYBER MONDAY STARTS NOW 20% off with code CYBER20

Drop93

20% off everything with code 20OFFFRIDAY + free HKD 100 gift card for orders over HKD 2000. Styleforum members enjoy the above offer one day before Black Friday by using discount code SFBF1STDROP

eHaberdasher

$100 off Carlos Santos shoes; $125 off Carmina shoes; All ties additional 40% off

StyleForum free shipping on all US orders over $100:  SFSHIP
Black Friday Sale Has Begun, Save 15% on Ghost Horsehide Till Sat

Gentlemen’s Footwear

Use code winter20 for 20% of on all purchases. Final sale, tailoring credit, shoetree gifts, and Alden products are excluded.

Castagno bluchers 40% off; Castagno diesels 30% off; B Grades and Discontinued items up to 50% off retail
Free shipping on all orders with code SF
$80 off full leather jackets or $50 off any other model with code FGHoliday18
20% off $200+ – 15% off $150+ – 10% off $50+

Heinrich Dinkelacker

Up to 40% off selected styles.

Black Friday sale 15-50% off.

John Elliott

30% off sitewide with additional sales up to 60% off with code JE30

Jonathan Abel

markdowns of at least 20%  PLUS an additional 10% discount for SF members with the code BFCM10SF

LuxeSwap

The best auctions of the year, now live

Luxire

sales throughout the website + 15% off orders $1000+

Mangue Lucy

Buy any pants receive any tee for free! Plus, Styleforum users receive free shipping &returns. Use discount code: SFTURKEYTEE

Miloh Shop

Up to 75% off with code BLACK25 plus all of our footwear at an additional 25% off. Use promo code “SHOES25” to save.

Need Supply

plus an additional 20% off with code: INTERNET20.

No Man Walks Alone

Up to 30% off

Pediwear

20% off current stock lines plus free shipping for orders over £150 with code BF20

Proper Cloth

Free Shipping on all US orders + discounts on the website

Sartoriale

20% off everything – no restrictions – with code BLACKFRIDAY

Self Edge

Coupon Code for 15% off: BlackFriday2018

Shibumi Firenze

15% discount on all orders above 200€ on 23rd and 24th November with code BLACKFRIDAY

Shop the Finest

free shipping on all domestic orders over $500 500BLACKCYBER2018 & free shipping on all international orders over $1000 000BLACKCYBER2018

Skolyx

30% off a selection.

Sons of Henrey

20% off site wide without discount code, plus get 30% off 2 or more items with code blackfriday

Standard Fair

Styleforum exclusive – 10% off with code TYSF10

Spier & MacKay

20% off site wide. Includes bundles and sale items. Use code: CM2018

Taylor Stitch

One Day Only! Save 30% & Get $30 Back

Todd Shelton

25% off site-wide with code holiday2018

UNI/FORM

25% off sitewide with code ‘BF25‘.

Vecchio Anseatico

Sale on ties starting at €58, plus get a free Carlo Riva pocket square with a pre-order of 3 or more ties

Yellow Hook

Holiday sale ongoing

Yeossal

20% storewide with code YBF2018

ZFACTORIE

30 -50% off on all Category M Items –  Items are priced with discount


BLACK FRIDAY SALES LIST

3sixteen

10% off everything with code BF2018

A Fine Pair of Shoes

25% off all purchases with code BLACKFRIDAY2018

Abercrombie & Fitch

50% off sitewide

Adidas

Up to 50% off

AER

20% off sitewide with code BF20

Al Duca d’Aosta

Up to 50% off

AllSaints

30% off everything

Allen Edmonds

ONLINE ONLY! Extra 20% Off EVERY. SINGLE. THING. with code CYBER20

Alpha Industries

30% off Black Friday early access

Alpha Shadows 

20% off >£1000 – 25% off £1000 – £1499 – 30% off <£1500

Alternative Apparel

30% off sitewide with THANKS30

Amazon

Deals on apparel and accessories throughout the weekend

American Rag

20% off with code BLACK20

Antic Boutik

Black Friday Sale – nearly everything 30% off

Antonioli.eu

Extra 20% off on Sales FW18 with code BLK20

APC

Up to 50% off

Artisan Deluxe

20% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

ASOS

25% off everything with code EPIC25

Atelier on Web

Up to 40% off

ATM

20% off selected merchandise with code BLACKFRIDAY20

Aviator Nation

10% off full price items, up to 50% off a selection

Baldwin

35% off with code BLKFRI

Banana Republic

50% off

Barbanera

30% sitewide on Black Friday

Barney’s

Designer Sale up to 40% off

Barney’s Warehouse

50% off orders $500+, 40% off orders $300+, 30% off up to $299

Basic Outfitters

30% off sitewide + free shipping with GIVETHANKS30

Batch

40% off at shirts with code THANKS

Bates Hats

Sale on selected styles

Belstaff

40% Off Now On

Bergdorf Goodman

Sale now on up to 40% off

The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear

25% off with code CYBER

Best Made Co.

up to 30% off a selection

Billy Reid

Cyber Monday is here – sales up to 50% off.

Birchbox Men

10% off any $30 purchase, 15% off any $50 purchase, 25% off any $75 purchase

Blackstock & Weber

25% off with code HOLIDAY

Bloomingdale’s

It’s Cyber Monday! Take 25% off

Blue and Cream

Get 20% off with code BURR

Bluefly

Extra 20% Off E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G Coupon code BFDAY20

Blue Button Shop

25% OFF – SEASONAL ITEMS with code thank25

Blue in Green

Vip sale 20% off with code: VIP20

Blue Owl Shop

20% off with code TURKEY20

Bluffworks

30% off till 27th.

Blundstone

15% off with code GIVETHX

Bodega

30% off sitewide  with code 143BOD3GA

Bodileys

30% off

Bonobos

25% off orders of $150 – 30% off orders of $250 with code DEALWEEK

Braun Hamburg

50% off cashmere sale

Breda

30% off site wide with code GIFT30

Breton Company

30-50% with code TURKEY/TURKEY50

Bridge & Burn

20% off with code NOV20

Briggs & Riley

$50 Off Every $350 Spent

Brooks Brothers

10% off today only

Browns

Extra 20% off SALE now with code BLACKMAGIC

Bumble & Bumble

take up to $40 off your order

Burberry

up to 50% off.

The Bureau Belfast

20% off with code BLACKTHANKS

CanoeClub

25% off

Carmina

25% off on selected items with code CYBER18

Cavour

15% discount code for SF members: “fw18sf

Century 21

Free shipping plus $21 CenturyCash every $100 spent

Caliroots

EXTRA 20% OFF ALL SALE ITEMS WITH CODE CYBER20

CAMO

50% off for Black Friday with code CAMOBLACKFRIDAY18

Clarks

30% off select styles with code CYBER

Club Monaco

get up to 35% extra with code CYBERMONDAY18

Coach

30% off select styles with code THANKS18

Cobbler Union

CYBER MONDAY STARTS NOW 20% off with code CYBER20

Coggles

25% off Fall/Winter styles with code AW25

Cole Haan

Grand Giving event 30% off

Corridor

20% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Country Attire

25% off footwear – no code necessary

Crown and Caliber

$175 off all watches with promo code BlackFriday175

Cultizm

20% off + free shipping with code BW20

Daniel Wellington

free strap with any watch + 50% off Dapper collection + 20% off sets

Dapper Classics

30% off with code 18WEB

Da Luca Straps

30% OFF leather military straps with code PRESALE

Diesel

30% off of a selection

Deveaux

40% off with code THANKS40

Domestic Domestic

25% off with code CHEESEGRITS

Drop93

20% off everything with code 20OFFFRIDAY + free HKD 100 gift card for orders over HKD 2000. Styleforum members enjoy the above offer one day before Black Friday by using discount code SFBF1STDROP

DSTLD

25% off storewide with code BLACKFRIDAY 

DSW

20% OFF everything with code MADHOUSE

DXL

30% off a selection + free shipping

East Dane

extra 30% off sale items with code WOW18

Eddie Bauer

40% off everything with code COUNTDOWN

Edwin

code BFMC at checkout for 30% OFF selected items

eHaberdasher

$100 off Carlos Santos shoes; $125 off Carmina shoes; All ties additional 40% off

StyleForum free shipping on all US orders over $100:  SFSHIP
15% off coupon on their app only PICKFAST

Eleonora Bonucci

40% off F/W with code BF40

END.

20% Off Selected Items

Black Friday Sale Has Begun, Save 15% on Ghost Horsehide Till Sat

Everything Hip Hop

25% off everything with code BFW25

Express

50% off everything

Exquisite Trimmings

20% sale with code SAVE20

Everlast

35% off + gift with purchase of +$100

$80 off full leather jackets or $50 off any other model with code FGHoliday18

Far Afield

33% off with code BlackThirdDay

Farfetch

Extra 20% off for Black Friday is here with code x20BF

Fendi

Up to 40% off

Firmament

FREE World Wide Shipping

Florsheim

25%  off sitewide with code BCKF8

Frances May

Use code “BOOKSMART18” to receive 25% off for Black Friday

Frank and Oak

30% off everything with Code:  CYBERMONDAY30

Franklin and Poe

Use code EARLYBIRD to get 25% off

Filson

Get $100 When You Spend $500

Finish Line

25% off select styles

Fossil

30% off everything including sale with code BF30

fwrd

BLACK FRIDAY SALE Up to 65% off

Gant

30% off Fall/Winter + 70% off a selection

Gap

50% off everything with code BLKFRIDAY

Gentlemen’s Footwear

Use code winter20 for 20% of on all purchases. Final sale, tailoring credit, shoetree gifts, and Alden products are excluded.

Gilt

Cyber Monday & $99 Designer Apparel starts NOW!

Glamood

Until CYBER MONDAY (Nov 26th) EVERYTHING is at extra 25% OFF

Gola

20% off sitewide

Golden Fox Footwear 

up to 50% off

20% off clothing and footwear to the first 200 orders with code BF18

Graduate

Up to 40% off on the F/W collection
Castagno bluchers 40% off; Castagno diesels 30% off; B Grades and Discontinued items up to 50% off retail.

The Great Divide

20% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Free shipping on all orders with code SF

Greats

25% off with code HOLIDAZE

Guess

Up 50% off the entire store

H&M

25% off sale items with code 3236

H. N. White

20% off + free worldwide shipping with code blackfriday

20% off $200+ – 15% off $150+ – 10% off $50+
Up to 60% off
20% sitewide with code BLKWKND18

Heinrich Dinkelacker

Up to 40% off selected styles

Hides and Stitches

20% off all items with code BLACK20

The Hill Side

40% off everything with code BLACKFRIDAY

Hotoveli

Fall SALE up to 50% OFF

House of Fraser

Up to 60% off

Huckberry

Up to 50% Off

Hunter

20% off selected lines + an additional 20% off sale items

Hunting Ensemble

25% OFF Norse Projects, A.P.C, Our Legacy, Nanamica, New Balance, Han Kjobenhavn and more) w/ code: BLACKFRIDAY 

Idol

Black Friday FW18 Sale now on up to 50% off

Indocino

up to 70% off with code BLKFRI 

Isotoner

30% off all orders with code 30FRIDAY

Black Friday sale 15-50% off.

J. Crew

Cyber Monday is here. Shop 60% off sale styles & 50% off everything else with code CYBER

J. Crew Factory

25% off with code ADD2CART

Jachs

60% off sitewide with code BLKFRIDAY 

Jack Erwin

20% off orders of $140+ with code HOLIDAY

James Perse

up to 70% off + free shipping with code JPHOLIDAY18

John Elliott

30% off sitewide with additional sales up to 60% off with code JE30

John Sterner

40% off

John Varvatos

up to 40% off select styles

Jonathan Abel

markdowns of at least 20%  PLUS an additional 10% discount for SF members with the code BFCM10SF

Jos A. Bank

70% off almost anything

Kamakura Shirts 

all items $50 till December 1st with free shipping.

Kiriko

20% off with code KINYOUBI

KNYEW

30% OFF everything with code BLACK2018

Kurt Geiger

20% off selected styles including Crockett & Jones

L’inde Le Palais

30% with code BLKF30

Lacoste

40% off entire site + free shipping with code SALE40

Lanieri

30% off everything starting on Friday 23rd

Lanvin

50% off the Winter 2018 Collection and free shipping.

Lazzari

BF10 -10% for orders up to 500 € – BF15 -15% for orders from 500 € up to 1500 € – BF20 -20% on orders above 1500 €

La Garçonne

Up to 40% off + free shipping with code lgshipfree

Le Rang

up to 40% off on selected pieces

Leffot

20% off pre-owned shoes with code GIVETHANKS

Levi’s

VIP early access: 40% OFF STARTS NOW use code INDIGO

Life After Denim

$25 off 100, $75 off 250, $175 off 500

Linde le Palais

Get ready for the BLACK FRIDAY! From today shop with -40%! use this code at checkout: BLKF40

Linjer

15%-50% off sitewide + free strap with code STRAP65

LNCC

Up to 40% sale + extra 10% off sale with code LNCCBF10

LOIT

Up to 70% off

Lost & Found

20% off of select merchandise today and today only. Use code ‘turducken

LSG Denim

Blue jeans 99 CAD, black ones 135 CAD, belt 50 CAD. Free shipping on orders of $99 or more in Canada and USA.

Lucky Brand

50% off everything, no code necessary

Luisa via Roma

Sale starts now

LuxeSwap

The best auctions of the year, now live

Luxire

sales throughout the website + 15% off orders $1000+

Maas & Stacks

25% off on select Fall Winter 18 with code BFFS25

Madcap England

20% off everything excluding sale with code OUTLINED

Madewell

25% off with code DEALWITHIT

Maison Margiela

up to 40% off the Autumn-Winter 2018 Collection

Malford of London

up to 85% off + EXTRA 15% OFF with code CM15

Mangue Lucy

Buy any pants receive any tee for free! Plus, Styleforum users receive free shipping &returns. Use discount code: SFTURKEYTEE

Maple

20% off entire site with promo code BLACK18

Matches Fashion

Extra 10% off sale – limited time only with code EXTRA10

Mavi

30% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Meermin

Free shipping with code THANKYOU plus free calf wallet

Miansai

20% off storewide with code BLACKFRI20

Midwest Boots

$15 off $125+ coupon: BLACK15 – $20 off $150+ coupon: BLACK20 – $25 off $175+ coupon: BLACK25 – $30 off $200+ coupon: BLACK30 – $40 off $260+ coupon: BLACK40

Mildblend

15% off

Miloh Shop

Up to 75% off with code BLACK25 plus all of our footwear at an additional 25% off. Use promo code “SHOES25” to save.

Minnetonka

25% off select styles and free shipping with code HolidayReady

Mismo

20% off for Black Friday with code BLACK20

Mission Workshop

20% off your purchase, a $20 gift card for future use, and a free bag of Bicycle Coffee with code 2020MW

Moda Operandi

Markdowns on select Fall/Winter 2018 collections

Mohawk

20% off with code BFS2018

MooseJaw

25% all Arc’teryx items

Mott & Bow*

25-35% off with code SHOPEARLY

Mr Porter

30% off sale is now on

N/A

25% off site wide with code GRAVY

Namu Shop

use code “TURKEY” for 30% off most items

Native Shoes

Up to 50% off select styles + free shipping

Nautica

50-70% Off Storewide & Sitewide + Free Shipping

Need Supply

plus an additional 20% off with code: INTERNET20.

Neighbour

15% OFF with code FRIDAY18

The Next Door

30% off select styles

Ne.Sense

40% off on selected items with code NSBF2018

Neiman Marcus

uP TO $750 gift card – use code GC4YOU

Neiman Marcus Last Call

extra 40%–80% off entire site + you’ve officially been given BONUS SAVINGS! (10% extra off in your first 30 minutes of browsing.)

New Balance 

15% off & Free shipping

Nifty-do

25% off with code BFCM

Nisolo

15% OFF $150+, 30% OFF $300+

Nike

Extra 20% off selected styles with code THANKS

Noah

20% off at checkout with code TAKE20

No Man Walks Alone

Up to 30% off.

Nordstrom

Designer Sale – up to 40% off

Nordstrom Rack

Extra 30% off clearance + SPEND $150, GET $25

The North Face

Up to 25% off select styles

Notre Shop

BLACKFRIDAY for 35% Off Sitewide

Tiziana Fausti

Use code TFBLK18

North Menswear

25% orders of $500+ with code BLACKTOBLUE

Notre Shop

35% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Nowell’s

20% Off Site Wide with code Cyber Free Shipping on orders over $49

OAK NYC

50% off everything

Oipolloi

20% off with code VENOM

Oki-Ni

up to 30% off selected new season product in the black friday sale

Oliver Wicks

Biggest sale of the year with code BLACKFRIDAY

Oneness

50% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Opening Ceremony

20% off sale with code OCBLACK20

Opumo

20% off for Black Friday with code BLACKDEAL 

Orvis

Up to 50% off

Other Shop

40% off with code BF40

Outerknown

up to 70% off

Pact

Underwear up to 65% off

Patine

25% off

Pediwear

20% off current stock lines plus free shipping for orders over £150 with code BF20

Pettet Endurance

25% off orders $100+ with code  “shopsmall

Pony

PONY

BF: 50% off sitewide 50BLKFRI

Present London

30% off.

Proper Cloth

Free Shipping on all US orders + discounts on the website

PUMA

30% off sitewide with code PUMANOV

Quality Shop

10% off orders above €100 Code: black10; 20% off orders above €200 Code: black20

R+Co

20% off orders $50+ with code BLACK20

Raen

40% off regular priced items

Rag & Bone

25% off with the code TAKE25

Reebok

50% off apparel with code BF50

The Rake

Black Friday deals

Ralph Lauren

TAKE 30% OFF WHEN YOU SPEND $100 OR MORE WITH CODE THANKS

The Real Real

take an extra 20% off with code REAL. Also get a credit up to $250 with $1000 purchase

Rei

Up to 50% Off

Revolve

up to 65% off

Ridolfi Shirts

Black Friday savings up to 60% off

Rogue Territory

30% off select styles with code RGTBLKFRI2018

Rooney Shop

CYBER MONDAY – 25% OFF + FREE SHIPPING with code FREESHIP

Saks Fifth Avenue

40% off designer sale plus $75 gift card with $150 purchase with code THANKFUL

Saks Off 5th

Up to 90% off clearance with code AMAZING

Saturdays NYC

25% off everything with code Friends25

Sartorial Home

up to 70% off

Sartoriale

20% off everything – no restrictions – with code BLACKFRIDAY

Scotts

up to 40% off

Schott

15% off with code STUFFING15

Sefton

25% Off EVERYTHING with code ‘BLACKFRIDAY

Self Edge

Coupon Code for 15% off BlackFriday2018

Septieme Largeur

Black Friday Free Patina Service

Shibumi Firenze

15% discount on all orders above 200€ on 23rd and 24th November with code BLACKFRIDAY

Shoes.com

$40 OFF $100 purchase with code EMLTHANKS18

Shop the Finest

free shipping on all domestic orders over $500 500BLACKCYBER2018 & free shipping on all international orders over $1000 000BLACKCYBER2018

SK Manor Hill

25% off with code THANKS

Skolyx

30% off a selection.

Slam Jam Socialism

30% off with code SLAMBLACK30

Sneakerboy

Up to 50% off with code SBID10

SSENSE

Up to 50% off

Stag

20% off Red Wing Heritage boots with code TURKEYWING

Standard & Strange

Earn a $50 gift card for every $250 spent

Standard Fair

Styleforum exclusive – 10% off with code TYSF10

Stefania Mode

50% off plus Extra 10% off our FW18 sale. Use the code SMCYBER18 at checkout

Suitsupply

Black tie bundle including tuxedo, tuxedo shirt, tuxedo shoes, and a silk bow tie for $799 – accessories bundle including shirt, pocket square, bow tie and shoes for $379.

Summer Store

50% discount on a large selection of items and brands

Superdry

30% off everything with code BLACK30

Suspension Point

1-2 items 30% off with code 30SALE – 3 or more items 40% off with code 40SALE

Spier & MacKay

20% off site wide. Includes bundles and sale items. Use code: CM2018

Tanner Goods

20% off on a selection for Black Friday – EU customers get 20% off with code HOLIDAYINEU18

Taylor Stitch

One Day Only! Save 30% & Get $30 Back

Tani

30% off everything (including already reduced items) with code THANKS

Tate + Yoko

Up to 70% off

Ted Baker

25% off selected items

Tellason

15% off with code BFCM2018

Tessuti

Up to 30% off

Teva

Up to 40% off

The Tie Bar

Free Socks with  orders of $40+ with code NORTHPOLE

Theory

25% Off Online & In Stores with code CYBER

Timberland

30% off select styles

Timex

Cyber Monday Starts NOW! | 30% Off Sitewide with code CYBER30

Todd Shelton

25% off site-wide with code holiday2018

Tom Ford

50% sale on apparel, shoes, bags.

Tommy John

20% off sitewide on orders $100+

Topman

Up to 50% off

Tres Bien

Up to 25% off

True Facet

BLACK FRIDAY SITEWIDE SALE $75 OFF $1,000+ CODE: BF75 – $200 OFF $2,500+ CODE: BF200 – $400 OFF $4,500+ CODE: BF400 – $600 OFF $6,500+ CODE: BF600

Totokaelo

Up to 60% off select styles + extra 10% off sale items with code CYBERMONDAY

Twillory

11% off

Uncle Otis

20% off with code 20BLKFRDY

Understudy

Up to 40% off

UNI/FORM

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20% off all knits, candles, and any Upstate Stock branded items for 30 hours. Use code ‘ CYBERMONDAY ‘ at checkout to get your discount.

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20% off for all ties, shirts, scarves & accessories + up to 40% off selected items.

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Service Fee Discount of 150 JPY. All purchases from Friday 3 PM JST to Sunday 12:59 PM JST will get 50% off the service fee.

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WOMEN’S DEALS

Alo Yoga

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ASOS

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Bloomingdale’s

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If you’d like to share a sale that is not featured in this list, you can do so on the Official Sales Alert Thread on the forum.

Jonathan Abel Shoes – Review

There are a lot of shoe brands out there. Many of the foreign favorites are heritage brands with a strong history in manufacturing; some brands are start-ups, created by shoe lovers, with an emphasize on leaving their mark on the shoe world. Jonathan Abel is a young brand from Singapore, developed and designed by shoe fans, striving to produce something functional and of good quality that would appeal to both a mass market audience as well as shoe fans. The shoes are made in Portugal, a region less known than Spain or England or the US for Goodyear welted designs, but with a few manufacturers that specialize in them, including Carlos Santos. Jonathan Abel’s designs–especially among the Goodyear welted models–are not loud, evoking a classic aesthetic while flourishing a hint of contemporary style in the silhouette.

When I was asked by one of the employees at Styleforum if I would be willing to write a review of my impressions of a pair of shoes from Jonathan Abel, I said sure. Before saying yes, I made sure there were some shoes that I would like, and a few of their styles appealed to me. Because the brand writes that they make Goodyear welted shoes (though you can find Blake welted shoes), I opted to select a Goodyear welted pair, going for their Noah longwing derby model in tan. Normally I like neither longwings nor derbies, but the aesthetic with the last seemed to be more flattering and elegant, somewhat less clunky than normal on account of a good balance between each dimension on the last. I thought I might as well take more of a risk with something that I normally avoid. And I’m pleasantly surprised, having found that the design and aesthetic of the shoe is so well balanced, it’s quickly become a shoe I can imagine using for a variety of occasions. In addition, they have received quite a few positive comments on the street, something which just doesn’t happen with most of my more conservative shoes (like Crockett and Jones).

On their site and in their affiliate thread, Jonathan Abel writes that their shoes are made with leathers from higher-end tanneries including du Puy and Annonay. For this pair, they used leather from Weinheimer Tannery, which, albeit not as famous as du Puy and Annonay (employed for other models), produces some exquisite leather used by other top-end manufacturers. Historically, one of the best German tanneries was Freudenberg Tannery, which moved from Germany to Poland on account of environmental legislation and changes; Weinheimer Leder split off from Freudenberg group and produces leather for footwear following the rigorous methods and techniques originally used by the Freudenberg tannery. Such leather is used by other, more established menswear favorites including Crockett and Jones, Gaziano and Girling, J. Fitzpatrick.

The biggest complaint that I have for the company regarding their site and product descriptions is that they do not list the correct corresponding leather on the site for each model, and I only found out which leather was used by reaching out to them. Many consumers may only be familiar with more well-known tanneries like du Puy or Annonay, let alone be familiar with any tanneries at all, but for sake of transparency and accuracy, I wish they updated the site with better listings.

The leather for my shoe is on the softer side for break-in. One of the creators of Jonathan Abel remarked they selected a softer leather from Weinheimer that is much softer than those from du Puy in order to decrease the break-in period for their clients. This is quite true in my experience; the shoe was rather comfortable from the first few wears. If you are looking for a goodyear-welted shoe that has a quick break in period, go for these. I sometimes feel like I’m wearing something Blake welted, rather than Goodyear welted on account of how comfortable the sole and shoe is. However, in contrast to Blake welted shoes, the soles appear to have much more resiliency for water and heavy use based on running around in them through wet grass, puddles, and other moist terrain.

The leather is nothing to discount either. Over time, the shoes will look amazing with proper care. I think that with a mirror shine and some antiquing on the toe they would look exquisite. As they continue to be used and taken care of, I’ll aim to polish them in that style.

Concerning construction: the stitching is clean, the broguing is clean, and the leather laces don’t feel like they are going to fall apart. To be honest, I’ve gotten shoes from Peal and Co. (Crockett and Jones make) with more asymmetries and little finishing problems then the pair from Jonathan Abel. I do wish the shoes featured closed channel soles. But based on my experience wearing these ones through grass (wet and dry), dirt, rocks, sidewalk, concrete, through puddles, among other venues, the soles have held up exceedingly well, with minimal wear. I also chose not to rotate them with other shoes as I normally would, using only a shoe tree at night, and am still amazed by how little wear the soles show. They didn’t skimp on the leather soles quality.

Packaging wise, the shoes had an interesting box that folds upon itself, with two ribbons that loop through to create handles. I’m sure they could also be tied to make a bow, but during shipping, the courier opened the box to take a look at the shoes.

Jonathan abel shoes review

For fit, I would suggest staying to your normal size. I’m a US 8 or 8.5, depending on the last. However, I oftentimes have problems with certain lasts on account of my foot volume and width. With European lasts, I usually have less of a problem because oftentimes there is more space for the arch of the foot. Looking at their lasts, I decided that the best for my foot would likely be a rounder last, so I opted for something with their R385 (soft round last). Because of my fitting difficulties, when reaching out to them to coordinate the shoe pair for review, they suggested I take size 42 based on my measured foot width, but that actually ended up being a disaster, and I had to send the shoes back because they were oversized with too much volume on the instep. In this case, I overemphasized my difficulties in fitting a pair of shoes, and so they had erred on the side of caution based on foot measurements. Based on my experiences, I would once again suggest sticking with your normal size, because the lasts are fairly traditional. I do wish they made half sizes since I might even consider sizing down half a size on account of the extra room found in a derby.


Overall, in terms of quality, these are quite the pair of shoes. In terms of price to quality ratio, these are a great option for those of your looking for simple, clean shoes that are made with quality leathers and construction. I would recommend them and choose them over Allen Edmonds in most cases since I prefer the slightly more elegant and European styled lasts. The welting is on par with Carmina or Cobbler Union (even though it lacks the closed channel soles you would find on each of them). I quite like the pair I received and would consider ordering from them in the future, especially if another model pops up that I like. I think that should you find a pair that you like and appreciate quality shoes at a good price, or you are looking to start your dress shoe collection, Jonathan Abel is an excellent option to consider.

jonathan abel shoes derby quality review price

Please note, once again, that these shoes were given to me to provide a fair, honest review. They provided no input on what sort of content they wanted in the review, so everything I am saying is of my own choice.


Join the discussion on the forum on the Jonathan Abel Official Affiliate Thread.

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

GIIN Elevated Essentials – Boxer Briefs REVIEW

giin boxer briefs review

“The way it supports, you’ve never felt anything like it.”

Frank and I were chatting during l’ora dell’ aperitivo in Florence at the StyleForum Maker Space. It was the final evening before the final day, when vendors leave the Pitti booths after the sun sets and talk shop with those they’ve met throughout the day over a cup of something viscous. Frank’s company, Giin, is perhaps better known for their lapel hole object d’arte flowers, but his side gig – men’s underwear and undershirts – intrigued me, since I’ve never given either one more than a passing thought.

“Sell it to me,” I challenged, to which he said the opening line. “You see how I’m cupping this glass of chardonnay?  That’s the kind of support I’m talking about. It’s there, but natural.” I was a little incredulous – natural wouldn’t describe anything I’ve tried that’s made for down there. Frank must have read my face because he immediately responded with another angle: “You can wash and wear them the next day.”

Now that was something that struck a chord with me. The practical usefulness of something that could withstand a sweaty, pick-and-shovel day in the field and be ready for tomorrow might prove applicable for vacation as well.  “All right,” I nodded. “I’ll take a pair and put them to the test at work. Then I’ll take them on my next vacation in Turkey. We’ll see how they perform.”

He chuckled. “I’ve already tested them in Singapore. If they can handle those summers, Turkey will be a cakewalk.”

Frank ended up sending me a week’s worth, “just in case,” he writes, which I tell my wife in the event that she refuses to touch a person who hasn’t changed their underwear after a day. The fabric is fantastically soft, made from a mix of high twist cotton, polyester, and Lycra that Frank says took extensive trial and error to perfect. I put them on in preparation for running power in the crawl space in the Tenderloin’s Salerno Hotel lobby – a sweatbox if there ever was one – and the first thing I notice is the second-skin snugness. Boxers, these ain’t, but after a few minutes, they stretched to the point where I didn’t notice any snugness, and – perhaps disconcertingly – I didn’t notice them at all, meaning I had to remind myself that I’m actually wearing underwear. Part of the reason is the fabric, some magical hybrid of high-twist cotton, polyester, and lycra that is featherweight and silky smooth that was developed in-house. Also, there is a not a single stitch anywhere; instead, the seams are bonded with a thermoplastic film called Bemis that Frank swears by. “Throw them in the dryer if you want,” he challenged. “The fabric will wear out before the adhesive does.” The result is a low-profile non-abrasive pair of chonies that you forget about almost as soon as you put them on.

Up in the stuffy 100-year-old crawlspace, I twisted, contorted, and twisted my day pulling MC home runs over ductwork, underwater pipes, and carefully stepping on black iron supports, and not once did the underwear bind, ride up, or fall down. At home, I finished the daylight with a perspire pool of a Shawn T workout, hopped in the shower and per Frank’s instructions, washed with soap and water, hung to dry overnight, and put on a new pair.

The next day I did the exact same thing – work and workout – except instead of grabbing a new pair, I reached for yesterday’s and did the sniff test. To my amazement, they smelled not just clean, but laundered. No trace of yesterday’s funk at all. Nonetheless, since my olfactory senses have been dulled from years of construction inhalation, I handed them to my bloodhound-nosed wife for confirmation. She took a pair of tongs, held them six inches from her face, and took a deep breath. Her eyes widened.

“Impressive. If anything…” she pursed her lips. “I smell a hint of EO body wash.” And with her blessing, they were green-lit for Turkey.

giin boxers review

Bringing underwear on vacation is always a gamble: what if you’re nowhere near a place to do your laundry? You’re better off throwing them in a nuclear waste disposal and buying a new pair than risk repacking them and spreading the odor to the rest of your luggage. But if Giin underwear is truly wash-and-wear…

In short, the underwear wasn’t compatible with the whirlwind ten-day Turkey tour. We did have a shower every night, but since we departed for a different city every morning, there wasn’t enough time for the underwear to completely dry in the hotel before repacking them. However, we bookended our trip with several days before and after in Istanbul, and had three straight days on a boat; in these instances, the every-other-day rotation worked fine. Not surprisingly, the fabric handled the Turkish heat with aplomb, never once feeling clammy or uncomfortable. Additionally, they come in mid-grey and nude, giving them ninja levels of invisibility underneath white pants or shorts. Because even if your aloha shirt is shamelessly crass, at least your unmentionables are modest.

I don’t know of any other real-life stress test to put Giin underwear under, but I’ll bet that they can take whatever can be thrown at them. More than that, they are easily the most there-yet-not-there pair I own, equally comfortable and imperceptible. Just wash, allow to dry for 24 hours, and you’re good to go.

And if you’re wondering about support, just think of Frank holding a glass of chardonnay.


Read the review of GIIN’s seamless undershirts here.
You can purchase GIIN’s underwear on the official website.
Check out the Official Affiliate Thread and join the discussion on the forum.

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

Turtlenecks in Menswear

As soon as sweater season rolls around, you can be sure to see menswear guys post pictures of Steve McQueen in Bullitt and caption it with “mood.” It’s a no-brainer, the turtleneck look is absolutely killer and has gone on to influence countless gents around the world. Not only is it stylish, but it’s pretty practical and is perhaps one of the easiest things a guy can wear due to its minimalistic, yet sharp look. The best part is that no shirt or tie is necessary (unless you really want to wear them, despite them not being seen).

Now, most people know the progression of the turtleneck thanks for the copied content across different blogs. Some of the more romantic bloggers say that knights wore one of the first variations, an undershirt to protect themselves against their chainmail and armor. It then was adopted as a sweater, no doubt to keep the wearer warm and to prevent the need for a scarf, which featured an extended neck. Then, they briefly touch on Noel Coward before ultimately landing at the 1960s and later, calling it the uniform of the anti-establishment, citing beatniks, the Beatles, Steve McQueen, and Steve Jobs. This alone should be enough to point you in the direction of this loved sweater. If not, that’s why I’m here.

More personalities than people imagine wore the turtleneck back in the Golden Era. You could find it across everyone from film actors to the naval officers to even university students. In general, the chunkier turtleneck (whether plain weave or in the cable knit) was the main one worn, no doubt due to it’s more utilitarian nature. The finer weaves were reserved for loungewear at home rather than to be worn out. Early pictures and advertisements will have the turtleneck done in bold block stripes or with embroidered years or motifs, something that seems to have been lost today. Still, many guys back then wore them on their own or with full tailoring.

Inspiration can be found across all eras. While everyone likes to bring up Clark Gable and Noel Coward for Golden Era moods, one of my favorite has to be a 1910s illustration of a student wearing a cream roll neck with a stingy billed cap, grey flannels, and opera pumps.  Pretty rakish, but I’m sure that it provides plenty of inspiration for your own outfits. I also have found photographs of the Prince of Wales wearing one with jodhpurs and the beret combo from an old archive of 1930’s European family pictures.

The 1960s-1970s definitely reflected the shift away from mainly utilitarian use and more as a true replacement for the shirt and tie combo. The chunky cable knit ones were still in play, but it’s the thinner, finely woven ones that took the spotlight. These newer turtlenecks were more form-fitting, echoing the trends in the mod and disco phases. Now they were available in much more than dark navy, black, or cream: you could now see them in saturated colors and earth tones. Though they were a classic item, they were definitely a trend during this era.

In some cases, the growth of their popularity was indeed a rejection of corporate culture (think artists and musicians) as other people have noted. In others, it’s more of a futuristic fashion trend that negates the need to think too much about shirts and ties. For example, a solid turtleneck will contrast or help mute a tailored outfit making for a sharp, minimalistic look. Even if you were against neckwear from the beginning, you could achieve a more formal vibe with a turtleneck than if you simply wore an OCBD and a crew neck sweater; this is all thanks to the high, closed neck that subtly harkens back to the tunics worn by royalty back in the day. Michael Caine even doubled down on this “high neck closure” by wearing it with a double-breasted suit.

Looking back now, we have a plethora of different examples to follow if you want to rock the turtleneck. Obviously the most common is that minimal 1960’s look with a nice, slim finely woven variation. It’s not a bad look, as it looks fantastic with most tailoring and serves as the starting out point for many. Navy blue is probably the best choice to get since it will work across a variety of outfits, but you could always experiment with something in light browns or burgundies/yellows to evoke the earthy palette of the 1970s. It especially helps when you feel like the patterns in your suit or sportcoat are too loud and need a bit of grounding. If you want to go for that look, I suggest looking at merino wool, since it’s supposed to be ultra fine in its texture. Luckily, you can find these at most stores like Uniqlo and J. Crew at a great value. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with the different colors they offer (pairing it with simple grey trousers is great), but keep in mind that they won’t be as versatile as the navy or black ones.

Despite the fact that I live in California and merino are the only pieces I can wear without vigorously sweating, I definitely have a soft spot for looks that incorporate chunky turtlenecks. These make more sense if you’re wearing selvedge denim, heavy peacoats, double-riders, and scratchy tweed. It feels a bit more nautical and workwear-focused, that’s for sure, but I’ve always been a fan of a more rugged take on tailoring. Cream is probably the way to go, but soft greys and intricate weaves or even fair isle patterns can also work. North Sea Clothing is a place to consider if you want a solid wool one that echoes the traditional maritime ones, complete with a wide ribbing on the neck, cuffs, and hem.  Lambswool variations can be found at Drake’s (whose latest lookbook has plenty of turtleneck ideas) while the cashmere ones can be found anywhere from Uniqlo, Todd Snyder (at $300), and at Berluti ($1000+). I personally wish they made heavy guage in cotton for warmer climates, but a guy can dream!

J. Crew           •         Berluti          •         North Sea Clothing


Todd Snyder        •        Uniqlo          •          Uniqlo

Overall, I really recommend that you guys try the turtleneck out if you haven’t already. The utilitarian benefits are clearly there, but I like the added bonus of being able to look sharp without having to wear a tie or even a shirt.  While I like that this “throwback” piece of clothing has stuck around, I just hope that the horrid v-neck sweater/turtleneck hybrid doesn’t make a return appearance.  That simply belongs in the mid-1960s and should stay there forever.

Shoes as explained by Styleforum members

This article was published on a thread on Styleforum by the user A Harris many years ago, and we are reviving it here, implemented with pictures, for everyone to enjoy.

Throughout the years, Styleforum members have shared a wealth of knowledge on the forum pages, and if you have the time and patience to browse through them, you can check out the list at the bottom of this article. Bonne lecture!


Most classic shoe models can be traced back to bespoke shoemakers. Nearly all of them first appeared at least 75 years ago, and some have been around for more than one hundred years. They have evolved and have been refined, but most are still obviously connected to their original form. The driving force behind shoe design is really the silhouette of the clothes they are meant to be worn with – especially the trousers. Slim pants with a narrow (pegged) bottom require a slim fitting shoe unless you want your feet to appear larger than they actually are. Conversely, fuller-cut clothing requires heavier shoes. As a general rule, your trousers should cover the lacing of your shoes – approximately two-thirds of the shoe’s length.

The most important factor to consider when choosing a shoe is the last. The last is the wooden form that the shoe is constructed around. It determines both the final shape of the shoe and its fitting characteristics. Master lastmakers are, in a way, part scientist, doctor, architect, and artist.

Also crucially important is the leather that the shoe is clicked (cut) from. The leather used to make the shoe upper is almost always chrome-salt (mineral) tanned in large rotating vats. Most fine shoe uppers are made from high-grade calfskin. Thicker cowhide is sometimes used for pebble-grained uppers and to a lesser extent, you will see fine shoes made from shell cordovan (horse leather) and even exotic leathers like alligator and crocodile. A fine shoe will have an insole and sole of thicker pit-tanned cowhide. This leather is vegetable-tanned using actual vegetable matter, not vegetable extracts. Most shoe linings are also vegetable tanned.

There are a huge variety of methods used to construct shoes. Most require mass production and lots of glue – we will not concern ourselves with those. Most truly high-quality shoes are either welted, reverse welted or a variation. Some fine shoes are Blake-stitched or use an Italian moccasin construction. Let’s examine each method:

GOODYEAR WELTED SHOES OR HAND WELTED SHOES

goodyear welted shoes men construction

Photo: crockettandjones.com

Welted shoes consist primarily of a leather upper, a welt, an insole, and an outsole (sole.) First, the insole is tacked to the bottom of the last. The insole is the thick (usually about 1/8″) piece of vegetable-tanned leather that your foot rests on. It has a “feather” on the bottom of it. On a world-class bespoke shoe (and on a few elite ready-to-wear shoes like those of Vass) the feather is “skived” into (cut from) the insole itself. However, most all ready-to-wear welted shoes use a glued-on feather made of linen.

Next, the upper (with its inner stiffening layers and lining already attached, which layers are either natural leather or celastic depending on the quality of the shoe) is stretched around and tacked to the last. On a really fine shoe, the upper is splashed with water and beaten with a hammer to compress the leather fibers, and to permanently mold them to the shape of the last. The leather is then allowed to dry completely and the process is repeated, often multiple times. It should be noted that the majority of shoes, even very expensive ones, are lasted by machine.

Once the upper has been shaped the shoes are welted. The welt is a thin strip of leather – often two feet or more in length, about three-quarters of an inch wide and an eighth of an inch thick. In this step, the shoemaker uses a single row of lock-stitching (two interlocking stitches) to sew the welt to the upper leather to the feather (in that order.) Generally, this is done with the aid of a Goodyear welting machine. In a very few small workshops, the shoes are welted by hand. Once the shoes have been welted, the excess leather is trimmed away from above the seam, and the whole area is compressed with a hammer. Then the shallow, hollow section in the middle of the shoe (created by the attaching, and in some cases the skiving, of the insole) is filled. In most cases, a shank (thin metal or wood strip that stabilizes the sole and heel,) and a leather covering used to hold it in place, fill the back half. The front half is sometimes filled with cork.

The sole is then affixed with glue and sewn to the portion of the welt that protrudes from the front and sides of the shoe. The sewing of the sole is almost always done on a machine, with very few exceptions. On a top-quality shoe, the sole stitching is hidden in a “channel” and is not visible on the bottom of the sole. Finally, the heel is either built from layers of leather fixed together with wood and brass pegs, or a pre-made heel is attached, and the shoe is finished.

Closed channel vs open channel shoes.

Closed channel vs open channel shoes.

WHY ARE WELTED SHOES SUPERIOR?

Welted shoes are considered superior by most because they are very durable and are easily resoled. A top-quality welted shoe can almost always be sent back to the maker for resoling, or even re-crafting. The heel can be removed, the sole stitching undone, and a new sole and heel can then be attached. In cases of more extreme wear, the insole and welt can be removed as well. The shoe can then be stretched back over the original last and remade. These processes can be repeated many times. As a result, a truly great pair of shoes can, with proper care and rotation, be worn for 10-20 years. And in some cases, men get 40 years or more out of them.

HOW ARE WATER-RESISTANT SHOES MADE?

When a shoe needs to be highly water resistant, it is made differently. There are many methods – reverse welted, double-stitched, Norwegian-stitched, norvegese, veldtschoen etc. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the specific differences. The main similarity is the welt and/or the upper leather curves out and away from the shoe, instead of down and in – the advantage being that that water cannot easily penetrate and wet the insole, like it can with a regular-welted shoe. Thus, reverse-welted shoes are more water-resistant and more casual than a regular-welted shoe. They can generally be recognized by the double or triple row of stitching on the outside of the shoe where the upper meets the sole. It should be noted that some Italian makers will add a braided stitch just for looks, so buyer beware.

alden reverse welt bluchers

Alden reverse welt bluchers.

 

BLAKE STITCH AND MOCCASIN

Blake-stitching and moccasin constructions are used primarily by Italian shoemakers. A traditional moccasin is made without an insole. The upper leather wraps all the way around the foot and is sewn by hand to a flat vamp that sits on top of your toes and instep. The sole is then sewn directly to the upper on a machine. The most famous example of this method is the classic Gucci slip-on.

Blake-stitched shoes have an upper, an insole, and a sole – like a welted shoe. But they do not have a welt. The insole (which is flat – no feather) and upper are attached to the last. Then the sole is glued on and a single row of machine-stitching is used to stitch through and attach the sole, the insole, and the upper. The one advantage of this method is that it can make for a very light, thin-soled shoe. However, Blake-stitched shoes are not as water resistant, as durable, or as easily repaired as a welted shoe. If the manufacturer has not covered the insole with a full-length insole-cover, you can recognize a Blake-stitched shoe by looking inside it. You will see a single row of stitching around the forepart of the shoe.

Blake stitch construction

Blake stitch construction || Photo: matthewdack.com

Italian shoemakers are also incredibly good at coming up with alternate ways of making shoes. They employ a bewildering array of methods and combinations of shoemaking that I could not possibly cover here. Some of the methods are labor-saving shortcuts that allow for a combination of machine and handwork, and some involve very complicated handwork that can make for exquisite shoes.

CLASSIC SHOE DESIGNS

While the last, the leather, and the construction of the shoe are vital, you must like its design as well.

Most high-end shoes are variations on a few classic models. Lace-up shoes are generally divided into those with open lacing and those with closed lacing. Before I indicate the difference between open and closed lacing, I must define two crucial terms. The vamp is the forepart of the shoe that covers the toes and instep. The quarters are exactly what they sound like – the two back quarters of the shoe, which extend from the center-back seam and generally end at the midpoint of the shoe. On a shoe with closed lacing, the vamp is sewn on top of the quarters, and the tongue is usually a separate piece. On a shoe with open lacing, the quarters are sewn on top of the vamp, and the tongue is usually an extension of the vamp. Shoes with closed lacing are often called oxfords or balmorals, and shoes with open lacing are called derbys or bluchers.

On derby shoes (open lacing), the quarters are sewn on top of the vamp, which also makes the tongue of the shoe.

In addition, formal lace-up shoes are often referred to as “plain,” or as “half brogues” or “full brogues.” A plain shoe is just as it sounds – there are no decorations other than perhaps a double row of stitching on the toe-cap. Brogueing refers to a pattern of decorative punched holes along a shoe’s seams. “Half-brogue” usually indicates a shoe with a straight toe-cap and extensive brogueing. “Full-brogue” indicates a wingtip shoe with extensive brogueing. Half-brogues and full brogues almost always have a punched “medallion” decoration on the toe.

Lace-up shoes can also be whole-cut. This means that that the entire upper is cut from a single piece of leather. This takes a lot of skill and usually increases the price of the shoe. Shoes can also close with a buckle, in which case they are referred to as “monkstraps” or “monks.” Generally, monkstraps are a variation on the derby. Another version of the derby is called the “Norwegian.” Most Norwegians have three-piece vamp with a hand-stitched apron-front and split toe. In some versions of the Norwegian, the quarters extend all the way to the front of the shoe and join at the middle of the toe. Finally, there are slip-on shoes. They can be made in any number of ways – moccasin, welted, reverse welted, Blake-stitched etc. They can be constructed and decorated in many ways, can resemble brogues or Norwegians, can have saddles or tassels, or they can be completely plain. There are innumerable variations.


Check out these shoe-related threads on Styleforum:

Shoemaking techniques and traditions

The official shoe care thread: tutorial, photos, etc.

Vintage dress shoes: maintenance, tips, and advice

 

Atelier Wen Odyssey Watch Review

When I first touched Atelier Wen’s debut watch, I was immediately struck by how different it feels from the typical western-styled watches we all know and love. I don’t see how anybody could mistake it for something produced in the West. In both looks and feel, it’s unabashedly Chinese, but drawing upon a Western framework.

atelier wen review watch made in china

For the Odyssey model we tested, the dial is the first indication of its Eastern bent. The combination of a white porcelain face, heat-blued hands, and blue indices for hours/minutes reminds me of a Chinese porcelain plate or vase. The small seconds hand sits at the 6 o’clock position, and moves extremely smoothly. I honestly have had to double check myself sometimes to make sure it is indeed moving (it always is), because it’s rotating so smoothly. Around the second hand, we find the characters You酉 (top left) and Mao 卯 (bottom right) in a circle with 5-second markers in a pattern that echoes the 5-minute indices. Because I’m unable to do it justice, I’ll just direct you to Robin from Atelier Wen, who explains these characters in Atelier Wen’s Styleforum Affiliate Thread.

atelier wen review ceramic watch

The Odyssey’s 316L stainless steel case rides on a deep blue lizard-pattern leather band. It’s a bold choice, and perfectly accents the blue and white found on the dial and hands. Sitting inside the case is a Peacock SL3006 automatic movement– a clone of the workhorse ETA 2824-2. The weighted rotor of the movement is absolutely silent, and I observed a -3s/day drift during the time I tested it.

atelier wen review watch

I was surprised by the heft of the Odyssey. While not overly heavy or noticeable on the wrist, when I pick it up in my fingers, it feels substantial. Contributing to this feeling is the high-relief embossing on the caseback.

atelier wen review quality

The Kunpeng (bird-fish) on the caseback is more gorgeous in person than it ever could be in pictures, primarily because it feels amazing to touch. You don’t notice it when wearing on your wrist, but I can’t stop myself from running my fingers over it when putting it on or taking it off. The embossing really pops, and is my favorite feature of the watch.

atelier wen review


Small details set the Atelier Wen apart from its competition. The crown and strap buckle both feature the stylized “Wen” character that Atelier Wen created to represent their company. The case is finished to a high-polished shine everywhere but the top of the lugs, which are brushed. The handset’s bluing is both deep and bright. All of this comes together into a watch that feels like it should cost much more than the Kickstarter’s super-early-bird pricing of $488.

 


Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.

Sweater Inspiration

As it dips into the low 70s here in Los Angeles, I’m proud to say that sweater weather is finally arriving! I’m ready to pull out my fair isle sweater vests and cotton-wool crew necks out of the bottom drawer of my dresser and start wearing them with tailoring.  But as I do that, I’m reminded of the fact that while high rise has come back in recent years, the length of the sweater has not changed. The hem should really be shorter!

While long sweaters did exist in the 1920s (probably since they were intended as the final, outer layer), there actually was a time when sweaters were hemmed to hit at the natural waist, instead of close to the hips as is done now. This was mainly done in the 1930s-1940s, as you can see in the included images. Also unlike today, the sweaters were cut with higher armholes and a trimmer body in order to make a very fitted silhouette. This silhouette was further emphasized with the wide ribbing, which ensured that the sweater would “cinch” at waist well.

It’s just a personal observation, but I think that sweaters were made this way not just to wear under a sportcoat, but to play into the masculine ideal of the time: broad shoulders, small waist, and long, wide legs. Overall, it’s also probably done to echo the tailored look of a waistcoat (which also tends to be on the long side today). This has since disappeared the closer we got to the modern times. As rises got lower, sweater hems got longer to compensate; sweaters also lost that fitted look.

Now I like to wear sweaters, but it’s definitely a problem with high rise trousers since manufacturers haven’t quite caught up. I run across this problem whether I’m buying good basics at Uniqlo/J. Crew or when even when looking at contemporary, higher quality ones on eBay. To make up for the length I either just tuck the excess fabric into itself or do some awkward blousing which almost always results in a slight muffin top effect. The effect is made obvious as I’m not particularly tall or lanky, which means even a standard small can be a bit long and puffy on me. Though it may be my fault for preferring an extremely high rise, I’m sure that some of you can understand this frustration with your own wardrobe.

It’s especially tough when rocking sweater vests (both the pull over and waistcoat style), since the long length can’t be hidden with any sort of tucking. And having a good fit is probably one of the only ways to make sure you pull off the sweater vest.  Some guys try to cheat the system and shrink them in the wash, but then it could potentially be an expensive mistake. You can always hide the blousing with a sportcoat, but it’s not quite that cold  in LA to layer too much; plus I like the more “casual” look of simply wearing a sweater with denim or chinos.  And as much as 1990s Ralph Lauren is a vibe, I’m not sure many guys are willing to tuck their sweaters into their trousers, especially if they are wearing a button-up and tie underneath.

Luckily, some makers have taken notice. One that comes to mind instantly is Simon James Cathcart, a niche vintage reproduction brand. They have released a virtually identical sweater to ones from the 1930s, complete with a high V, waist-correct length, and wide ribbing for a fitted figure. It’s pretty perfect, though it probably leans a bit too vintage for most and there aren’t many options available yet.

Thomas Farthing, another UK brand, also has a waistcoat style sweater. I also seem to remember that the Drake’s x Armoury sweater vests are cut higher to for this reason. I own an original one from Drake’s and they fit the bill just as well; I also leave the last few buttons unfastened so that the true length isn’t as apparent. I’m sure there are others who have taken notice and with the rise of online custom, it won’t be long before guys are able to order a decent length for high waisted trousers.

For now, I’ll try my luck with vintage since it’s an affordable way to get the details without compromising too much.  Picking a true vintage one from the 1960s or 1970s (hopefully in natural fabrics) can be common in select thrift stores and still comes with a decent length for high rise trousers.  Occasionally I’ll come across ones from the 1930s-1940s online, which are the real gems. I’ll just take the small moth holes as signs of character.

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If vintage isn’t for you, trying on modern brands in a size smaller than you’re used to could also achieve the look; not only will it be shorter in length, but the trimmer fit could be more desirable, especially in a merino wool (I wouldn’t recommend that for a thick shetland number).  Of course, there are a bunch of DIY tricks I’ve heard from other guys like shrinking or even hemming it at the tailor but that’s also a dangerous road to tread. Or we can just be hopeful that the market will lean in our favor, just as they did for high rise trousers.

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18 East: A Chat with Antonio Ciongoli About His Travel-Inspired New Project

Antonio likes Italian, but now he wants you to try something Indian. Other options include Japanese, Irish, or North African, because, for him, each place offers something interesting.
We’re chatting in La Cumbre, one of the restaurants in San Francisco that claims to be the birthplace of the Mission-style burrito, and Antonio is all smiles.
“Man, you guys have it good. There’s probably a million places to get Mexican food out here. I love it.”  We’re talking about Antonio’s new project, 18 East, which was born, in part, from his visit to Rajasthan a few years ago. He was struck by the various patterns and silhouettes that, while commonplace there, are relatively unused by Western designers. Inspired by his visit, he designed a handful of clothing for his subsequent collections for Eidos, but it wasn’t enough.
“I loved my time at Eidos, but there was so much I couldn’t do,” he recalls. “For one thing, there are so many artisans all over the world, but with Eidos, I could only use their Italian factories. Not that they weren’t great – their knitwear is simply amazing – but they just can’t recreate what we saw in India. In Jaipur, there are huge indigo fields as far as the eye can see where they hand-dip and then air-dry garments. No factory in Italy can do that.”  
“Besides, the idea of massive two-season collections doesn’t make sense to me,” he continues. “There’s the stuff I’d do for Eidos, and then the exclusives for various vendors, like Barney’s and Bloomingdales – literally hundreds of pieces, all at the same time. Guys aren’t looking for polo coats in September – they’re looking for transitional pieces.” With 18 East, Antonio is able to focus on a few dozen pieces seasonal-appropriate every couple months. “I’d rather do a few unique pieces that I’m really excited about, rather than producing an item just to check off a list.”
While it’s true that the items from this drop are influenced by the textiles he saw in India & Nepal, they are not simple imitations. The next day I go to Unionmade to check out the clothes in person, and I’m impressed with just how wearable everything is. Sure, there’s a uniqueness to them – the hand-blocked prints and intricate woven patches, especially – but nothing is so far out that would make the wearer self-conscious. “I didn’t want to create a line that would alienate people,” Antonio says while sipping a beer at the store. He then points to the corduroy sherpa coat hanging on a mannequin. “Take this jacket, for example. It’s my favorite from the collection. It reminds me of something you’d see at a Vermont head shop.”
18 East "Charlotte" sherpa travel vest and belter corduroy rancher coat.

18 East “Charlotte” sherpa travel vest and belted corduroy rancher coat.

Online, I immediately was drawn to the red pajamas (inspired by Steve McQueen’s character in Bullitt) and made a b-line over to them on the rack.  Unfortunately, photos and words can’t do them justice – they really are special.  In two seconds they were off the rack and bagged at the counter, and I wore them that night.  They’re a little different, but the muted color and repeating kalamkari and bagru patterns provide just the right amount of visual interest, and I’ve found they go well under sweaters and jackets.
18 East "Julian" Vintage pajama created with kalamkari - a traditional block-printing method.

18 East “Julian” Vintage pajama created with kalamkari – a traditional block-printing method.

I also picked up the tie-waist cardigan. Made from a donegal-style yarn of sheep’s wool and yak, Antonio chose to use a basketweave to fashion this kimono-style sweater, giving it an insane amount of depth and texture. “That cardigan was a happy accident,” he recounts as I try it on. “We first made it without the placket, and the ends curled up in a funky way.  Then someone attached this placket from the inside, and it just fell perfectly.”
Prices are reasonable, and the general silhouette of the clothes, while loose, is far from baggy.  As a reference, I’m 5’8” and 160lbs, and I took a small in everything and felt comfortable. This first drop had nominal sizing information on the 18East website (e.g. “This garment is oversized”) and it took me a couple tries to find the best size for me in person. Future collections will have measurements to minimize confusion and help get a better idea of how each garment fits. It’s a departure from his much-beloved suiting at Eidos, and for the time being, Antonio isn’t planning on introducing any tailored clothing at all.
18 East "Hima" chainstitch crewneck and "Nomad" tie waist cardigan.

18 East “Hima” chainstitch crewneck and “Nomad” tie waist cardigan.

“Don’t wear any of these clothes with a tie,” he chuckles. “Matching tops and bottoms, though, that’s something I’d like to explore a little in the future.” He shows me pictures from a photoshoot he did earlier in the week with Marco (@KamoteJoe on the forum) wearing pants and a shirt in matching fabrics. “You see this often in India, and it looks fantastic. You’ll see something like this later on. Don’t get me wrong – an Italian suit is great, but it’s not the only suit there is.”
While it may be an obvious statement that there is wearable fashion everywhere, it’s another thing entirely to incorporate global influences in a way that doesn’t come off as ethnic appropriation. From Antonio’s collections, you get the feeling that if Antonio wasn’t in fashion, he’d be a chef, finding inspiration in local flavors around the world.
“But what is local?” he asks back at the restaurant, and it’s a good question. The Mission burrito, stuffed to cylindrical hugeness with equal amounts of beans, rice, and meat, is undeniably San Franciscan, but has origins elsewhere. Ditto for cioppino, chop suey, sourdough, Irish coffee…the list goes on. Like many international cities, the Bay Area readily embraces foreign tastes and incorporates them often into their dishes, because how boring would it be to eat the same thing over and over again?
“I couldn’t agree more,” Antonio says between bites. “As much as I love the pizza in Napoli, I love Philly pizza just as much. As long as it’s good, does it matter where it comes from?”

Photos courtesy of 18East and Ian Anderson
Discuss 18 East with other Styleforum members on this thread.

Starting a Tie Wardrobe – Styleforum Picks

Starting a tie wardrobe in 2018 can be daunting; with the variety of options that are just one click away, it might be hard to determine whether a tie is going to get some use or will lie in a cedar box untouched for years.

This list was compiled following the directions of some Styleforum members who discussed pretty extensively the merits and versatility of the following ties on this thread.

A starting wardrobe of 12 ties might contain:

  • Two navy solid ties (a grenadine and a repp, for instance)
  • Two other solid ties (i.e. forest green grenadine, a chocolate brown repp)
  • One glen plaid, guncheck, or shepherd’s check tie in black and white or navy and white
  • One houndstooth tie
  • Two pindot ties
  • Two “neat” ties –  small, evenly spaced designs
  • Two repp stripe ties

See below for some great options that will help you complete your tie collection.


Navy solid ties

Yellow Hook $130      •       Kent Wang $75

Solid ties in other colors 

Vanda Fine Clothing $123       •      Yellow Hook $130

Glen plaid / Guncheck / Shepherd’s check ties

Vecchio Anseatico $95      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Houndstooth ties

Drake’s micro houndstooth $195    •      Drake’s puppytooth $185

Pindot ties

Shibumi Firenze $126      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Neat Ties

Spier & MacKay  $35      •      Shibumi Firenze $126

Repp stripe ties

Ralph Lauren  $125     •      Vecchio Anseatico $95