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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Michael Hainey in Houndstooth by Tommy Ton

Michael Hainey in Houndstooth by Tommy Ton

It’s been a while since I’ve written an actual, applicable “style” piece on here, a fact that I’ll attribute to my general distaste for these last few weeks of summer. The back half of August into September is always a struggle for me – I’m long since tired of linen and rolled up sleeves, but the more I look ahead to fall, the more I’m reminded that those sweaters and tweed jackets sitting in my closet, will have to remain idle for a couple more fortnights. In the spirit of publishing though, I decided to torture myself and write a bit about the one item that I’m really hoping to pick up for this fall – an unlined wool houndstooth sport coat.

Of course when I say “hoping to pick up,” I mean spend my imaginary monopoly money on, but never actually purchase. Nonetheless an unlined houndstooth sport coat is, in my opinion, the perfect fall jacket. My biggest issue with many cold weather weight jackets, is that they end up looking frumpy, with far too much padding that ruins the natural silhouette. I believe that most of a jacket’s structure should stem from the wearer itself, which of course, doesn’t mean all jackets should be devoid of padding, but for right now I will totally admit that I do much prefer a softer shoulder year round.  The lack of lining makes it easy to layer both under and over, which helps to steer clear of Pillsbury Doughboy territory. The most important reason I like this particular jacket, is that houndstooth is favorite fall pattern. It’s not too countrified like many tartan checks, but it still has a solid motif that mirrors the molting leaves, and it happens to be easy to pair with everything from formal dress trousers, to grey chinos, to washed out denim.

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Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Wax Wane World HQ has been on the move this week, as I finally fled my old apartment for a new adobe that has a ceiling that actually won’t cave in for a change.

More importantly though, as I was unpacking things and getting situated yesterday morning, I was reminded of one of my favorite series of photos that I’ve ever come across in my #menswear-ian travels – Rose Callahan’s portraits of Sean Crowley in his apartment. If you know me personally, you know that Crowley’s apartment has become somewhat of an ever-present obsession of mine. I’ve had these photos bookmarked for probably a year now, and from time to time I’ll still send them to people to address such pressing questions as:

How does one man own more ties than there are days in his entire life?

How many bottles of scotch do you buy before they begin cascading onto the floor?

What’s an acceptable number of hours that a man can wear a house robe?

Are top hats the new five panels? Or just the old trilbys?

How does one decide which pipe to smoke in the morning?

Why do all other apartments (mine included) suddenly seem so inferior?

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan1

Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan

Do yourself a favor, and see the rest of the shots on Rose Callahan’s site, The Dandy Portraits

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In light of news this past week that his son Austin is currently working on his own movie that “blurs the lines between fiction and reality” I’ve been thinking a lot about David Lynch’s early nineties masterpiece, Twin Peaks. I, like many of my peers, only discovered Twin Peaks over the past couple years, (thanks largely to the miracle that is Netflix instant watch) but I swiftly consumed those thirty episodes whole and have had Angelo Badalamenti’s theme stuck in my head ever since.

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Now, I could wax on about the intricacies of Twin Peaks and we could all fall down the rabbit hole of the innumerable theories surrounding the show, but that’s not what this post is about. No, this post is about one of my favorite characters in the Twin Peaks universe, a man that best captures the shows tendency to toe that fine line between the banality of everyday life, and the madcap absurdity of the supernatural – Dr. Lawrence Jacoby.

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Faulkner in his signature herringbone sport coat with his ever present pipe.

Faulkner in his signature herringbone sport coat with that ever present pipe.

I considered trying to write something halfway eloquent about the life and career of William Faulkner here, but after typing and deleting a slew of mediocre intros for the past half hour, I’ve decided it’s best to just tell you all to go read The Sound and The Fury. What I will say about the man though is that Faulkner’s appearance matched his writing – it was deliberate and personal. It was both typical for his era, and idiosyncratic through and through. Here’s a grab bag of shots of the man himself across the years, take a look, and then do yourself a favor: close the computer and just go read.

More of Faulkner's favorite herringbone jacket. Note the slightly rounded lapel.

More of Faulkner’s favorite herringbone jacket. Note the slightly rounded lapel.

Straight legged khakis with what appears to be a two inch cuff.

Straight legged khakis with what appears to be a two inch cuff.

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This past week was Indian Market in Santa Fe and as much as I’d like to say this post is a first hand recap of the festivities, I personally haven’t made the exodus to the New Mexico in quite some time (far too long in fact) so I was left following along from the sidelines, scouring Santa Fe based Instagrams (and some that weren’t) for a glimpse of the Southwest. For a few weeks now I’ve been meaning to do a recap of some of favorite Instagram accounts and so I figured why not bring the two ideas together.

Shiprock Santa Fe - Shiprock is my favorite shop in Santa Fe, and probably one of my favorite shops in the world. Owned by Jed Foutz, a fifth generation trader on a Navajo Reservation, Shiprock carries a mix of Native American art, vintage jewelry, mid-century modern furniture, folk art, as well as a smattering of other odds and ends. On top of all that Shiprock recently became one of the few stores in the states to carry Visvim, with one of the biggest selections of any store I’ve ever seen.

Jonny Ribeiro - I’ve never met Jonny, who goes by choloclown on the ‘gram, but he acts as Creative Director for Santa Fe Vintage, a shop which I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time. While I’ll have to wait for my next trip to actually stop by SFV, Jonny’s Instagram is a great way to live vicariously through his daily duties buying for the shop. Covering everything from hundred year plus old photographs of Apache chiefs, to Mali cloths, to serapes from the 1880’s, Jonny’s account is a much needed break from the standard food photos and city shots that litter my feed.

SaraBirdieBrown - Sara is one half of Identical Eye, which will forever have a spot on my blog reader, and I believe she works for Ralph (although I could be totally off on this) so I admittedly wasn’t going to include her account because she’s New York based, but her shots can quite literally can span across the country in a matter of days. And of course there’s the above photo of Doug Bihlmaier, which is good enough for a post all its own.

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Grasping for that Rebel Without a Cause spirit, and coming up short, The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia paints a muddled portrait of post-adolescent malcontent that presents the title character Jimmy as little more than an infantile Holden Caulfield in mod’s clothes. It’s tough to sympathize with a character that walks around sticking gum on plants, treats a scooter like a missile, and pops more pills than a bored suburban housewife, but what makes the film watching, (and writing about on here for that matter) is Jimmy’s definitive look – a slim suit, a dark, collar pinned tie, and a surplus fishtail parka.

While I’ll withhold judgement on Jimmy’s suit choice, which makes him look like an icebox, the overall kit, with a loose fishtail up top and tapered trousers below is an interesting play on proportions. It’s that high/low, baggy/slim that menswear seems to be obsessing over lately, and admittedly yes, it did inspire me to buy a fishtail parka for the colder months ahead. Post-teenage angst not included.

QUADROPHENIA (1979) PHIL DANIELS, LESLIE ASH

Not me, nor my umbrella, just one of my favorite shots ever, from the h (y) r collectives Take Ivy inspired shoot that Lee Norword, John Fiske, Foster Huntington, and JP worked on.

Not me, nor my umbrella, just one of my favorite shots ever, from the h (y) r collectives Take Ivy inspired shoot that Lee Norword, John Fiske, Foster Huntington, and JP worked on.

“Why the long face?”

“I lost something very dear to me.”

“Your dog?”

“No, my umbrella.”

After a few too many road sodas this weekend, some lucky son-of-a-gun on the Lower East Side is now the owner of one of my most prized possessions – an umbrella that’s actually worth feeling sorry about leaving behind. This was not some second rate substitute that you pick up for five bucks from some guy hawking them on the street corner during an afternoon downpour, this was daresay, a friend. Granted, it was all black, had a broken end (from me pretending it was a cane a few too many times), and had a giant logo on it, but dammit if it didn’t see me through some grey days.

So, you can bet what my purchase is going to be, an umbrella that’s as well made as the garb that it’s keeping dry, if not better. Maybe even this guy from Swaine Adeney Brigg if I happen to win the lottery sometime soon. Until then, I’ll be praying for clear skies.

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I’ve been working a 9-to-5 (well, actually 6, I don’t know anyone that’s lucky enough to get out of the office at 5 anymore) for a handful of months now, and it hit me this past weekend that the effects of the workaday routine have begun to fully set in. Growing up, I always found it a bit square that my dad used to wear a nearly identical suit everyday, but now that I’ve settled into the office life, I would say my dad was (and still is) one smart man.

One morning it just clicked, I stood in front of my closet with just a handful of minutes before I had to leave for work, my brain still lying on my pillow, and I found myself putting on the same thing I wore the day before. From there, it just became a routine. There’s something quite liberating about picking a style and staying with it. Of course, that’s not to say I decided to step out in a tee shirt and jeans every day, rather what I’ve adopted as a uniform is a look that I find appropriate (with slight variations of course) in nearly any situation.

It begins with the basic template seen above on Mr. Guido Wongolini of the infamous Most Exerent Brog – a navy sport coat with grey trousers. I favor a navy jacket with patch pockets just like Mr. Wongolini, although I tend to lean toward a slightly slimmer pant, which I’m sure he’d have something to say about. From there, I grab a blue dress shirt, which always find to be a bit less less stiff than its white counterpart. Instead of a patterned tie like Wongolini, I prefer a standard black knit in a double four in hand knot. As an anchor, I typically slip into a pair of brown hard-bottoms, be it wingtips or double monks, with the occasional suede loafer or even German Army Trainers thrown in there on more casual days.

If the whole look sounds familiar, it’s because the navy top, grey bottom pairing has been the official ensemble for security guards for decades. Minus the linebacker shoulders and puddles of excess fabric, of course.

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Well it was certainly the slowest show I’ve been to all year. In fact it was probably the slowest fashion show I’ve ever seen. And this is coming from a guy who sat through Hood By Air’s thirty plus minute slow motion trainwreck last fashion week.

Engineered Garments Spring/Summer 2014 show wasn’t just slow though, it was silent.

I’ve never seen a retail space more devoid of noise than Nepenthes Garment District storefront was on that afternoon. From the moment that first model stepped out to the intentionally uncomfortable close (in which designer Daiki Suzuki abstained from taking a bow leaving the audience to sit for roughly three minutes watching a blank wall in anticipation of a man that would never come) the show was entirely silent, save the steady purr of spotlights and the echo of hard bottomed soles striking the hardwood floor. The models, which consisted mostly of Nepenthes/Engineered Garments employees, and friends of the brand, would step forth from behind the white canvas partition and make the slow march down the line before returning back behind the fold, a process that took anywhere between three and five minutes depending on the model. The show was akin to watching a painting as you walk across a gallery, only instead of you moving, it was the painting.

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