Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's a sin.

Okay, I give into the idea of fashion taking precedence at times, but when it comes to an ankle boot that is truly meant for utility of use, I get offended when shoe designers mess with what works and I conclude that the designer didn’t do research into why certain things exist.

It’s a sin that some ankle boot makers make finger loops that are for affectation and not function.

The ankle boot finger loop should be big enough for a finger to thread into the loop so you can yank your boot over your heel. With this loop you don’t need to use a shoehorn. Yes it might cause the shoehorn business to take a hit if ankle boot designers began putting a functional version on all ankle boots, yet that is the plight of living in an era where clothing not only means fashion, but means utility as well.

On that utility note… WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ANKLE BOOTS THAT DON’T HAVE SPEED LACES? If you look at the photos, you’ll see a pair with holes for threading your laces as it goes up your ankle, and one with hooks for speed lacing your boot. I prefer the easier speed lace when compared to the cumbersome holes that at times have to be unlaced in order to accommodate me putting my foot in.

Yeah yeah, there is the argument that regular lace holes look better on an ankle boot, but I’m wearing an ankle boot for more than looks… it keeps the mud out, it keeps the cold breeze off. I want that extra ankle support, and I don’t want to wrestle with getting it on before I go to work in the morning.

That’s all.

Bad Design

Good Design

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Horween Shell Cordovan; is it worth the expense?

I purchased my first pair of Horween Shell shoes a little over 2 years ago. When they showed up I was hopeful, yet noticed that they were dull in their burgundy color (#8). I’m not a burgundy shoe fan in general, yet this wasn’t a regular burgundy shoe that I bought, it’s one that has a reputation for looking exquisite over time. There are photos abound on the Internet showing the glowing luster that Shell Cordovan mellows and warps into, and I bought that first pair in anxious excitement.

I wore them around town, danced in them, took them through evil weather and then took them through even more. Over that time I was wondering when that great patina would arrive, when that dull luster would go away. These after all are made of a material that is touted as having the ability to pull off a shine without needing polish. The shoe that has been through a tanning process so rigorous, that it sweats out its long term oil wax bath liquids in order to give you a natural coating with which to buff a shine.

That first pair is still dark, still doesn’t quite have the patina I was expecting, but in the shoe’s defense, I did abuse them in a way that most wearers in the 21st century would never do. I have many many pairs of leather dress shoes, and I wear those pairs like most men wear sneakers. To be realistic about shoes and why we wear them, In the end, it all comes down to how comfortable you are (let’s ignore fashion for a minute). The sole and the footbed of the shoe have to be more important than the upper if you expect to take them to and from work for several years. 

Being Men’s shoes, you want a pair that can be walked in day after day, and (yes you must rotate your shoes so you don’t soak them with sweat till they rot) take the punishment while still holding onto their stylish look when in the crowd. We live in a fast food world with fast food clothes (got that from my girlfriend), but we don’t need to give into that fast food idea of style. I bought these shoes to see if they wore better and would have that ‘special’ patina over time, and when compared to calf (the other well known leather in men’s dress shoes) I have to say yes to the wear. Yes, the uppers will get scratched and beaten and all you have to do is take a shine brush to them and go to town. You will need a little cordovan cream at times that will darken them a bit, yet when compared to the average leather you see on the foot of the man that (on rare occasion) will wear dress shoes and be next to you on the morning train, you can walk in confidence knowing that your shoes will look  less cracked and beaten to a pulp as the years go by.

As for the patina… yes… time passes with Horween Shell Cordovan. Some warp like my first pair and some crease and break at the perfect point on my foot and keep the shoe looking quite elegant (when near the other guys calf shoes). The patina, over time, makes the shoe glow, yet doesn’t really come to life unless in sunlight.

You’ll get stuff that looks like crud in those creases and that can be buffed out.
You’ll see a dull luster on the shoes that you think will not go away; ad some cordovan cream and brush like mad.

Buff them
Wear them in evil weather
Add cordovan cream now and again
Buff them again.

The answer is YES.

Oh, and I found that even though I love Ralph Lauren’s dark Cognac wingtips, the burgundy shell really works with… well almost anything. Gray, Navy, Brown...

P. S. They do get lighter in the creases over time, not darker… RAD!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The hat of tomorrow, today!

The first paragraph is interesting, but if you want to cut to the chase jump to the second.

Over the years (at least the ones I’ve been alive (and a few decades before)), the dimensions of menswear have changed from the look of fitted trousers and baggy jackets to fitted jackets and baggy trousers, to where it kinda is today… fitted jackets and tight trousers. This look being close to that of the look men wore in the 1960s, that slim blade through the city look that came about in a time where men were eliminating the hat from their wardrobe. In fact, if the man had a hat with his suit it would tend to be strictly for fashion alone, a hat with little to no sun protection, with a stingy brim and low profile crown so not to distract from the streamlined look. Well… I’m not quite against that look, yet as of late I have been frustrated by its permeation in sartorial society (primarily because I don’t have a streamlined human form). It’s wonderful that there is a more tailored ideal out there combating the hoards of people getting the high tear priced reproductions of mining clothing from the 1920s. Regardless of whether or not it’s what I love, it’s a step in an interesting direction. A direction that I want to see grow into a neo future styled world with a sea of people wearing retro futuristic clothing while talking to their holographic friends that are being projected out of small shiny robots that float and fallow our every move.


I have a pretty large collection of men’s hats that were produced within the last 100 years, and most of them are from the 1930s and 40s, back in what I consider the heyday of headwear.  Because I’m into the 1930s man about town aesthetic, I tend to go for hats that have a sense of proportion that was common in that era, brim not too wide, crown not too low; I’ve loved this balance so much with my wears that I have hunted down those vintage hats to keep me happy and covered when it rains. Or when I need to keep the sun off my face. Unfortunately there is a lack of this type of hat in this era unless you go custom. Yes, there are lots of hats on the market today. Hats that look like they go with many things, yet there are few, to my eye, that look as good with a well tailored 1930s style suit.  That’s why I’m releasing one onto today’s market. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s available for pre order now from Matt Deckard Apparel.

The Powell Fedora
in Tusk White

6” crown
2.5” brim
2” ribbon
bound edge
roan leather sweatband

To pre order one in your size, use paypal to send your address and hat size and $225.00 and $12.00 shipping to mattdeckard@yahoo.com

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

A hat for the man of action.