Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dave Vanian's suit

I had a great time hanging out with Dave in the recording studio while he was scoring the soundtrack for the movie The Perfect Sleep, the music is Vicious!

I went with a more dramatic styling, very old Hollywood with a British sensibility.

Dave Vanian of the punk band The Damned wearing his Matt Deckard custom designed three-piece suit.

Plaid with a purple windowpane.

2 button jacket both to close (meaning no cutaway).
Wide peak lapel and belted action back.

6 button 4 pocket vest with hidden internal pocket.

High waist Hollywood waist trouser cut full with 2 inch cuffs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


May be a bit long… so if you do want to read it you might also want to grab some popcorn.
They’re an older pair of shoes, probably from the 1950s going by the logo inside. I have a lot of friends that wear vintage shoes, they were made in a day when men wore leather soles as he de facto standard, and they are always a safe bet when it comes to buying quality on a budget.
Because of the turn toward sneakers over the last 40 years, the leather soled shoe industry hasn’t really faired well, yet I can’t get past the nostalgia of a leather sole. Nothing is better for dancing (and I dance at the drop of a hat), and they tend to give you about 20 times more wear than any rubber soled shoe, that can't be resoled, on the market.
With the decline of the leather sole there have remained two stalwart companies that have fought the trend by continuing to mass-produce well made dress shoes in the US. One of those is Alden and the other is Allen Edmonds.
Now to the point...

The “Strawfut” A good breathable summer shoe.

I received these shoes in a dilapidated and torn state. I like them for several reasons, one of the biggest is because they are Allen Edmonds. I have a closet full of Allen Edmonds -- modern Allen Edmonds. When the chance arose to own a vintage pair, a pair that looked pretty unique… well I couldn’t turn it down.
Going by the older style Allen Edmonds logo inside I'd guessed they were from the 1950s (yet I could be wrong) and a time when the company made a summer shoe that could breathe. Recent summer models are completely lined in leather which tends to defeat the purpose of having a woven leather or fabric in the construction. These were truly open to the air and functionally cool to wear. The leather lining is in the heel and the toe and in between is an open breathing nylon mesh.
The last (wooden form on which shoe was shaped) used has a very wide forefoot and narrow heel, oddly good for my foot since I have very hobbit proportioned feet, wide in front and narrow in the heel. I tend to have a lot of tight fitting shoes that don’t grip my heel, so when I find a shoe that does I buy it, and vintage shoes tend to favor my footshape.
Most Allen Edmonds lasts today are much narrower in the toe box when compared to the "Strawfut" which obviously makes me wish they still used the last on which it was made. Unfortunately I recently heard that Allen Edmonds had a fire several years back that destroyed many of their old lasts, so remaking them (if they had the inclination) might be an impossibility. I do wish however that they would return these beauties to their lineup if only for the sake of having a breathable and extremely comfortable flexible shoe.
Ask Andy and AE's CEO
After a while of having them sit in my closet next to my wearable shoes I started thinking about getting the tear in the heel fixed, but first I wanted to post them on Andy Gilchrest’’s clothing website to see what other people thought of the style.
Fortunately, the CEO of Allen Edmonds frequents the site, saw the shoes and sent me a message asking if I’d send them in so he and the head of manufacturing could see the shoes firsthand to study the design and refurbish the shoe for me. I agreed and sent them to him direct. Soon after he gave me a ring and I was on the phone with Paul (the CEO) and Jim (the VP of operations). We talked about the style. Why the Allen Edmonds used the nylon mesh instead of a natural material back then (a natural material would have become brittle and have worn out by now), if they could fix the tear in the heel and whether or not they should be resoled.
A few weeks later the shoes came back. As soon as they were in the door they went on my feet (what do you want? I was in a rush and needed a snazzy pair of wingtips for going out), so the pics of the refurbishment had to wait. While I was out, I finally got to feel how the shoes were on my feet. With their straw mesh they breath like no other shoe I own, yet look and wear like a regular dress shoe. They also win extremely high points for being flexible beyond any shoe I’ve ever worn.
Allen Edmonds repaired the tear in the back of the upper, they replaced the heel and gave the leather a new lease on life, and gave me a shoe that I’ll covet and maybe wear sparingly seeing that I tend to treat my dress shoes like most people treat jeans.
I’d like to thank Paul and Jim at Allen Edmonds for returning these in great shape, and let them know as well that I’m wearing them while I write this and that they are ready to hit a dance floor in Los Angeles following this last word.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Men's underwear basics

Underwear has not always been a fascination for women and how they want their bodies to appear. There was a time in the world when men… real men took pride in their figure to the point that they would buy underwear that helped improve the look of their physique. As in the way many ladies corset and belly shapers have gone out of fashion, men’s underwear has taken a turn for the drab with choices being limited to pretty much the bare necessities of boxers or briefs or boxer briefs (my preference).

As my belly gets slimmer there are a few things I’d like to share about men’s underwear.
1. With modern underwear, tuck the undershirt into the undershorts.This keeps the dress shirt from being dragged out by the undershirt and gives a cleaner appearance.
2. For the heavier men… wear the undershorts below the overlapping belly and the trousers over the belly and at your natural waist. This takes some of the pressure off your waistband and keeps the undershorts from riding up even higher and causing discomfort.
3. When they change color, buy new underwear... I have been on too many business trips where the guy in the room with me has on a pair that was probably white to begin with though changed color over time... Ladies, if this is your guy... buy him some new cotton.
In many cases the women have it easy... they know where to go when they want a garment that makes them look as though they have lost 5 pounds... For men, in the year 2006 you have to do an in depth google search that may yield nothing you'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Deckard in London

Alltogether the trip was fantastic. I didn't get to see many of the sights I wanted though I was there on business putting my time into a trade show and helping with interviews of tailors. Some of the information is quite interesting. Such as how the whipcords of today wear away unlike the whipcords of yesteryear. One of the tailors was wearing a suit made of whipcord and explaind how he had worn through a pair of trousers and showed me where the seat of his jacket was already pilling up. He also explained that they no longer make the materials as they used to as the fibers being used for the modern wools they get are very fine and break down when even made into whipcords or tweeds. Though those are the rougher fabrics and tend to wear faster than a good twill or mill finished worsted... it's nice to know i'm not insane when i say they don't make the fabric like it used to be made. I questioned him about the heavy weight fabrics and he agreed that even the heavier denser fabrics they make today are not as hard and tend to stretch and show wear faster . I learned alot about body fit and a few measurements that were used for tailoring general suits though are held for the most intricate of jackets such as one that was at Henry Poole being made for the Sherriff of Cheshire. The armholes were tight circles and the jacket was made to give the wearer shape. the tailor explained that Their current suits don't require as much fit or the materials can't give the shape as they used to so they are focussing more on drape. Unlike many US tailors and shopkeeps i've met, these UK chaps are disenchanted with the modern super light threads.

Even saw some vintage material. Mohair with a metalic stripe... they don't make those anymore.

Anywho I saw alot, the London Lounge members were quite a hoot and I'd like to thank them for the compliments on my hat pics and wish they would post some of their own.

As for the local London Fedora Lounge Members... It was wonderful meeting you all. I wish we could have spent more time together. Next time I come it must be a straight social visit. I needed to see those vintage shops. Paddy you're a well spoken man.

Yes I look tired in the pic.
My new girlfriend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sock it to me?

Socks for living in, socks that look good absorb well and just plain feel damn good on your feet. Go wool blend all the way in a thicker weave than the traditional dress sock you find at the local department store.

I go dancing nearly daily and my feet take a pounding. Cotton socks no matter how soft or specially made, no matter what cotton plant they came from or how treated in some odd way or another; cotton socks always end up sticking to my feet in some odd way, chafing my skin against the sidewalls of my shoes and leaving me cold footed at the end of the day, soggy and adjusting how they lie in my shoes.
Cotton poly blend socks are better, sometimes by a lot and sometimes by a little. They are often too thin to take the beating that comes between the leather and my toes yet when given the choice between cotton and poly socks... in this case Poly blend socks with a bit of spandex wins hands down.Since those aren't the best feel to my feet either, when I can find them and they are priced right and in a great style I head for something made with a little more thickness than the traditional dress sock you find at the mall.
Wool blended, better at wicking moisture and plenty of styles to choose from, wool blend socks take the cake whether running a conference or running on a treadmill for 30 minutes. I wear them in the summer.
So who is the best?
I used to swear by Ralph Lauren's winter wool socks. Awesome patterns and they just felt amazing. I'd go to the outlet in Camarillo where a gal would keep a bin handy whenever I came over, just to show me the ones that didn't sell for the season. I'd get them for a dollar a pair and that was marked down from 20 to 15 dollars at times. Argyles and stripes that looked like they came from the old Interwoven sock ads from the 30s.
But they aren't the best... best for designs yes, but when it comes to feeling on the feet... it's Robert Talbott socks for the win.

#1 Robert Talbott Socks
Made in Italy and they are costly... around 35 bucks a pair unless of course you are lucky enough to find them at Burlington coat factory for a song. The patterns are fine, stripes argyles and in the right looking weave to be confused with vintage socks. They feel great and last forever.

#2 Ralph Lauren socks
Made in China and they are costly as well. Around 15 to 20 bucks a pair. I'd wear them continuously and are a close runner up for the feel of Robert Talbott socks.. I think they just wear out a bit faster than the Robert Talbott socks and they tend to have a lower wool content.

#3 Brooks Brothers socks
Made in China. Only the thicker ones they make with wool. They have some good designs yet they fall down too easily (and I hate sock garters). You can really feel the nylon in these ones and if they would ad a little spandex that might make a big difference. I think it's the blend and the thickness of the weave being thinner... but I tend to leave them behind regardless of the price... which is sometimes around 12 to 15 dollars. I feel more of the plastic in Brooks Brothers socks. Less cushion and absorption. They also are shorter than the competition, so that's another draw back.
As for Gold Toe and Pantherella? Calvin klien has a better feeling weight to their socks with a seam that can't be felt. I just think Pantherella is too thin and I'm not too into their designs

I hear-tell Smartwool is going into dress socks... I'll see what that's all about soon enough.