Styleforum’s “I forgot and I need something right now” Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide for men.

At this time, as Christmas approaches, I start to get antsy.  There is invariably gifts I forgot to send.  There is the always welcome “Send Paypal” option, but if you want to actually send something overnight, or close to, a few retailers are pretty reliable for this.  Unfortunately, this limits you to the “big boys”, big online retailers that can deliver reliably three days or less.  Among these are the giant, Amazon, and then big specialty retailers like Matches Fashion (which ships usually in under 3 days to the US from the UK), and Mr. Porter, which is offering free overnight shipping until Christmas for the real procrastinators.

Here are a few gift ideas that will still get under the Christmas tree in time for the big reveal. 

For your father: A Brooks Brothers Signature Tartan Travel Case

Fathers can be hard to shop for.  My father claims that he doesnt need any stuff.  But I’m sure that he still shaves and brushes his teeth.  And when he travels, I’m pretty sure that this subdued leather and tartan travel case will keep both his razor and his toothbrush in better shape than would that little plastic ziplock bag that TSA insists encases his toothpaste and deodorant. 

For your significant other/better half:  A Barack Obama Pendleton Blanket $370 at matchesfashion.com

Apparently, and I did not know this, but the marriage between Michelle and Barack Obama (Remember that guy? Liked basketball, asked for Dijon mustard on his cheeseburgers, wore mom jeans, from a few years back?) is lauded as a #relationshipgoal.  I had no idea until my social media manager told me.  Anyway, that gave me the idea that a good last minute gift for your significant other might be a Barack Obama Pendleton blanket – , available only, as far as I can tell, from UK online retailer Matches Fashion, which ships to pretty much anywhere in the US at lightspeed.  Not an Obama fan?  Not a worry, it’s just a really cool Pendleton blanket with a traditional black design that will keep you both cozy.

For your sanity: Master & Dynamic MH40 wireless headphones, $550 at MrPorter.com. 

I actually got this idea from one of wife’s colleague, who uses headphones to keep out the looped Christmas playlist that pervades all public spaces this time of year.  I personally love Christmas music, but I hate Christmas travel, and I hate it even more when people try to talk to you on the plane.  So, stick these on, and close your eyes, and they won’t even try.

For your mother: Cire Trudon candles, $71-83 each on Matchesfashion.com

There are a lot, and I mean, a lot, of candle companies out there, and you might be tempted to buy your mother that very modern candle that has gasoline base notes and is housed in an all black ceramic holder.  Unless you know that your mother is really into that, it’s better to stick with more traditional scents like sandalwood, cedar, jasmine, rose, incense, citrus, and so on, that have appealed to our olfactory sense for centuries.  Cire Trudon, France’s oldest candlemaker, made the candles for Napoleon’s wedding, so you are unlikely to go wrong. Plus, the traditional royal blue or moss green with gold crest add a festive touch.  If you get four, Matches fashion packs them very nicely in a set.

For your brother: Quoddy Shearling lined Fireside mocassins, $180 from MrPorter.com

Buying footwear as a gift is fraught with danger.  Shoe sizes vary across the board, as do feet.  A rare exception to this are slippers, houseshoes, and moccassins.  There is no requirement that they will be a perfect fit, unless you are doing some seriously questionable things in your lounge clothes.  These will keep feet warm all winter long, and since they are outfitted with a lightweight Vibram sole, will even allow you brother to go out onto his porch with his coffee and decide that nah, shovelling the driveway can wait a few hours.

And there we have it.  Five gifts that will save your hide and your sanity too boot.  Go forth and be a gift giving winner rather than whatever sorry state you might be in right now.

Why a thrift store is the best place for last-minute Christmas shopping

Thrifting is a fun hobby to have.  Sure, I understand the allure of buying something from a store or getting it made, but you never know what you’re going to find when you walk into your local Goodwill, Savers, charity shop, or vintage store. It may seem daunting or even a hassle if you’re not used to it, but if you look at it instead as a fun, low-risk gamble and not just an opportunity for cheap clothes, I think you can have a good time.  And what better time to check them out than this holiday season!

First off, let me say that I’m a terrible gift giver. It’s not laziness or apathy, but it probably has to do with how specific I am; I just want the person to either love the gift or have some genuine enjoyment out of it.  As a result, I used to either give gift cards, cash, or exactly what the person wants. But lately, thanks to a plethora of fun white elephant exchanges with friends and family, I’ve tried to adopt a new view on gift giving. Something quirky or even funny.  It’s much better than simply giving them something that they would buy for themselves anyway. So the next time you’re out thrifting for menswear, try looking for out for these cool pieces, perfect for your close friends or that next joke white elephant swap at the office.

Thrifted Clothing

Obviously clothing is a no brainer, since you’re already there and chances are not everything is going to fit you.  I’ve written about how to thrift for clothing, but this time try to match the measurements to your friends, that way it feels more like a score even if you don’t get something for yourself.

There’s always a plethora of oxfords and other dress shirts that can be great stocking stuffers for friends who don’t necessarily dress too well; you could even throw in complimentary tailoring if you feel the need to be extra charitable.  Tweed jackets, corduroys, and shoes are also a good buy if you get lucky. And if all else fails, a good repp or foulard tie can usually be found on the way out. I can’t tell you how many times my friends always ask me to find things when I’m out thrifting!

One last thing to look out for (if you have streetwear-oriented friends), are cool 1980s-1990s T shirts.  You probably know the ones I’m talking about: stuff from old company parties, band (both rock and brass) festivals, or just ones with “totally radical” graphic design.  Perfect for lightwash 501s (which are also good to find while thrifting), tucked into chinos, or as a fun PJ shirt.

Glasses and Decanters

I’m not a big drinker, but I like the opportunity to make it look like I am. Instead of buying fancy glassware or china, I like looking at the aisles for interesting containers or decanters.  It was a big hit in my college days when I would put apple or grape juice in the decanter to have a non-wild night with my friends. As you get older, juice turns into the fermented versions and getting a unique one is usually the way to go until you’re in a position to get an expensive one.  Or you can get one for your own holiday parties; just don’t forget to clean thoroughly after bringing it home.

Books

While a majority of books found at thrift stores are cookbooks and outdated advice books (which can be hilarious in itself), you can definitely find some grails. Obviously I tend to look for older editions of classic books or general ones centered around history or culture that my friends will find interesting; the best ones are usually ex-library books, still “mint” in the wrapping.  

Coffee table books are common to find and can be given to friends who have interests in those topics. I’ve come across a few menswear books (like Dressing the Man, by Alan Flusser) but painting, photography, and architecture compendiums are the usual faire. Again, older ones tend to be more interesting, if you can find them that is.  

Unique Toys, Bric-a-brac, and Accoutrements

I used to think that bric-a-brac was something reserved specifically for grandparents, but I’ve come to love it! It’s something completely unique that you really can’t find anywhere else that makes for a fun story or at least a funny reaction.  One of the most common ones are 80s-90s toys that my friends and I can reminisce on about your youth. I tend to prefer menswear related ones, like a cool wooden statue of a dandy gent that brings to mind the old esquire mascot.

Depending on your thrift/vintage store or antique mall, you could also find things like vintage cufflinks/tie bars, cameras, and even watches.  Other than that, nice models of airplanes, bookends, or figurines can be equally as nice. It’s just always worth a look!

Records

Lastly, we have the music. More and more people are getting record players and  collecting vintage LPs. While you may not find that crazy-rare jazz record at a Goodwill, you can find some hidden gems; I personally have found the old 1960’s score to Mary Poppins and the first Pink Panther film! Usually, random jazz recordings, orchestra compilations, or obscure 1970’s groups are what populate the racks.  I’m not a huge physical music collecting guy, but it’s fun to find something with great album artwork and to listen to music that you can’t really find online.  Just be sure to inspect the record for any scratches before you buy them!


Standard Fair Sport Camp Sneakers – REVIEW

Part of being a classic menswear guy for me is the ability to have products that last a long time. We oftentimes rationalize higher priced purchases because of the quality that goes into them. Suits with full canvassing, tailors cutting a pattern with extra seam allowance so the suit can still be modified fit when we gain or lose weight, or shoes welted instead of glued so that they can be resoled, thereby having a longer lifespan. While for many this is a justification, it also serves as a deciding economic factor or a philosophical factor when purchasing a product.

In the case of Standard Fair, they have designed a product around quality and lifespan. Whereas most other sneakers are not designed to be resoled, Standard Fair bucked that concept and designed a piece of footwear from the sole up, building it to be resolable. The shoes are made in the United States in Maine, sourced with quality leathers from Italian leather mills that work with historic, labor intensive methods to produce vegetable-tanned full grain leather. They have selected leathers from two members of the Italian True Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium, Conceria Walpier (for white vegetable tanned leather), and Conceria Tempesti (for the other colors). Created on top of camp soles (more on that in a bit), the shoes are stitched using blake methods to allow the sole to be replaced. And while it is difficult to find individuals to resole blake shoes in the USA (not as difficult in countries like Italy), Standard Fair offers a resoling and refinishing service, to help keep your shoes nice and functional. Overall, the company is aiming to provide you with a product that will last a long time with proper care.

 

When asked to provide a review as a Styleforum user–more so lurker–I decided to let Standard Fair send me whichever color pathway of the Sport Camp they wanted. It didn’t matter so much to me because I own a pair similar to them from another small footwear manufacturer Collegium, also from a similar leather mill, and I own Buttero in both black and white color pathways. In the end, Mike, the well informed, friendly proprietor and creator of Standard Fair, opted to send me black. While they wouldn’t have been my first choice, I had decided that I would go into this review focusing on the quality and design, not on trying to make sure I am overly biased based on choosing a preferred color pathway (which would have been the white for me, seeing as how veg-tanned white leather sounds utterly strange and exciting to me). I’d like to think that this helped make me a touch more objective when considering the shoe.

So you understand, I’m not unfamiliar with “stitched construction” sneakers, especially margom soles. I have bought several pairs of margom cup stitched sneakers thinking that I could get them to be resoled. In the end, I am incredibly disappointed with the longetivity of the margom cup soles, seeing as how I feel the soles wear through rather quickly. After a little under two years of semi-regular wear (with rotation), a pair of shoes from Buttero has horrible soft spots on the rubber. I had reached out to Buttero to inquire as to if they were resoleable, seeing as how they are stitched, and the Italian company confirmed with me and their factory that they cannot be resoled because they are glued, that the stitching is superficial.

As I wrote earlier, part of what separates Standard Fair from other makers, besides the construction, is the transparency in sourcing and material design. Mike is willing to let you know exactly where materials are being sourced, and they have a space on their website showing you from where each component, down to the most minute like the insole or laces, are being manufactured or originated. Their openness is refreshing, seeing as how few other brands are willing to discuss their manufacturers or sourcing. In addition, the choice of manufacturing the products in places such as the USA speaks to their commitment to quality manufacturing. Mike acknowledges that just because a product says its made in a certain country (England, USA, Italy) does not mean that the product is going to be of good quality. However, his careful sourcing of suppliers and manufacturers has put Standard Fair at the top of the game in terms of quality. I feel that the quality of the materials that went into this shoe are better than those that went into Buttero. To me, having felt the two sneakers side by side, Buttero feels more like a fashion brand, while Mike’s Standard Fair feels truly like a quality focused brand.

Aesthetically, Standard Fair opted for a few little stylistic choices to set them off from more minimalistic competitors. The shoes have heel and tongue patches of the same leather, flesh out. In theory, this leather should continue to develop a patina through wear as well. The soles are tone on tone, matched against the leather upper color. There is also a loop on the tongue, to run the laces through and keep the tongue up. Overall they are fairly streamlined, and I can picture the white pair being a staple in my wardrobe. The black works well especially in winter since it doesn’t attract too much attention, especially as the leather has gained a matte patina through the few weeks of pretty intense wear, giving the shoes a more lived-in look.

The camp soles are something that you don’t really see on sneakers. For those of you that are not aware, they are found on a lot of preppier, New England styled, casual footwear, including moccasins from makers Quoddy, Rancourt, and Yuketen. The concept behind the camp sole was to have a lightweight, sturdy yet comfortable rubber sole that would allow comfort based footwear, like a moccasin, to be worn when lounging around outside–during a weekend getaway for instance at your local New England summer lake. Prior to Standard Fair, it would be only common to see a camp sole on a moccasin, oftentimes handsewn. Because the soles have a nice grain to them, they provide good traction, and the wedge cutout found on many of them keep the sole nice and light. It makes a lot of sense to pair this sole with sneakers for that reason and thinking about it, I can imagine we will some other manufacturers emulating this in the future.

Because they are Blake stitched, the sole breaks in a bit more rapidly, seeing as how it features a thick, rubber sole sourced from Sao Paulo. The sole material feels comfortable. I don’t feel any stress standing on my feet since the support on the arch especially is incredibly nice for a sneaker.

While they are true to size, for individuals with a higher instep or a wider foot, I would suggest a half size up. Having gone TTS based on the suggestion of Mike, I found that my feet, especially when laced tightly, by the end of the day wanted a little bit more breathing room. The leather, while it has broken in, is still a stiffer leather (its a feature of the specific leather mill), and so it probably would have been beneficial to have extra space at the beginning, especially seeing as how with thicker socks, my feet feel rather tight in the shoe. Going forward into warmer seasons, the shoes will work nicely with thinner socks.

Would I buy these shoes? Yes. Because of the resolability, the quality materials and the ability to gain a patina, through wear, especially on the Chestnut and Honey colorways, you have a pair of shoes that can last you a very, very long time with upkeep and wear. If you are someone who truly respects quality and craftsmanship, these are for you. They also have a design that many may find that they like, even if it is a touch less minimalist because of the flesh out patches on the heel and tongue. Don’t let those patches deter you from considering the shoes since they are less distracting when on the foot than it appears in photos. Personally, my pick would be the white or Honey color pathways. You really aren’t going to find other sneakers that will last you a lifetime with proper care with good support that will gain a nice patina over time.


Join the discussion on the forum on the Standard Fair Official Affiliate Thread.

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

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

25% off sitewide with code ‘BF25‘.

Uniqlo

$30 off Ultra Light Down Coats + cashmere + FREE shipping on everything

Unis

Sale on Common Projects

Unmarked

30% off site wide with code AMIGOS

Unionmade

25%off site wide.

UNKNWN

New items added to sale

Upstate Stock

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

Urban Outfitters

GET $50 every $150 spent

The Urban Ties

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

Vathir

up to 50% off

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

Venque

20% off with code PREBLACKFRIDAY

Viccel

25% off with code black25.

Vince

25% off everything with code THANKS25

Vineyard Vines

25% off everything

Volcom

25% off with code BFVIP

Watches.com

15% off with code BLACK

Will Leather Goods

25% off with code HOLIDAY18

Wilson & Willy’s

20% off sitewide with code holiday20

Wilson Leather

60% off Sitewide + Free Shipping on orders $50+ with code FRIDAY

Wings & Horns
30% off + free shipping

Wolf & Shepherd

$100 off shoes and boots with code HUNDO

WRANGLER

30% off sitewide with CYBER30

Wrong Weather

30% off a selection

Y-3

Private sale – 30% off with code PRIVATE18

Yellow Hook

Holiday sale ongoing

Yeossal

20% storewide with code YBF2018

YOOX

25% off everything.

Zadig & Voltaire

40% off Fall/Winter styles

ZenMarket

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.

ZFACTORIE

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

WOMEN’S DEALS

Alo Yoga

up to 70% off + 30% off full price items

ASOS

25% off everything with code EPIC25

Banana Republic

50% off

Bloomingdale’s

It’s Cyber Monday! Take 25% off

Barney’s

Designer Sale up to 40% off

DSW

20% OFF everything with code MADHOUSE

Forever21

30% off everything with code BLKFRI30

GAP

50% off everything no exclusion with code BLKFRIDAY

Max Mara

sale on F/W 2018

Net-a-Porter

get an extra 15% off for Cyber Monday with code CYBER15

Prana

30% off a selection + free shipping

The Real Real

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

Rebecca Minkoff

up to 65% off

Saks Fifth Avenue

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

Sephora

$15 & under Black Friday deals

Shopbop

30% OFF sale items with code WOW18

Ulta

Black Friday sale ongoing

Urban Outfitters

30% off sale items

Zara

30% off everything


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.

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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.