Monday, December 9, 2013

Flattering laces flat: A tail of strapping on your shoes with a touch (just a touch) of old school panache

Through history there have been silk laces, flat cotton laces, waxed flat cotton laces, flat nylon laces, round laces with a nylon core and much much more… Oh and buckles too. When I started wearing dress shoes several years back. The primary lace sold in stores for the plain black or brown dress shoe was the plain black or brown round waxed cotton shoelace that usually had a nylon core for strength. Now, they are fine for shoes… always in style, but for me they just don’t have that certain sense of … well you know, retro grandpa chic that’s just a little unique and what the general masses aren’t wearing. I’m not too eccentric with my wears, but I do like to tweak the details to just a little more outside the box of the regular guy in a suit and tie

A return to the flat, waxed cotton shoelace

I was quite enamored with old shoe ads in Esquire and Life magazines from the 1930s and absolutely had to emulate the look. Clean, dashing, flat and different were the laces on shoes style that were common for the last 100 years. When I decided to change up my style to match the laces I saw in the old ads, I found it was quite the challenge. Flat laces had just fallen out of style. I can guess why with my own experiences; through time, trial and error with different laces.

Flat laces that are all cotton tend to break down a lot faster than the current issue round lace with nylon core. In the early 1950s the US military kept with flat laces that were made of nylon for a short time for dress shoe wear, but those laces tend to  just slide out of their knots so the US military also followed the public and went to the round cotton with nylon core laces.

But I still wanted the classic flat waxed all cotton, and… well they were damned hard to find. I’d frequent the South Coast Plaza mall and order special make Allen Edmonds now and again and constantly ask there about such laces, and at the Alden shop and check online and everywhere else that looked like they’d have an inkling of classic cobbling to their works until I walked into a John Lobb shoe store. They had the laces on their shoes and right there and then I asked to buy a handful of brown and black flat laces.

I’ve gone through all those laces as they do break rather easily, but they evoke a panache that I don’t think can be matched by just a plain round lace.

Over the last several years we’ve seen a return of more and more shoe designs from the early 20th century. Lots of spectators and ankle boots and now also, the flat waxed lace. There are a lot of unwaxed ones out there as well that are quite thick and wide and don’t really look in place on a dress shoe, but I’m happy we now have options.

If You’d like to get a pair I still suggest John Lobb and now Allen Edmonds as they have shoes in their lineup that require such laces. 

A pair of Buzz Rickson officer shoe reproductions I purchased along with extra laces (in stumbling Japanese while in Tokyo). Unwaxed flat cotton

Special Make Allen Edmonds with their waxed flat laces from John Lobb

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Walk softly and... well it begins with that.

I know... a lot of people have been asking me about my work at Stetson... that's coming... a lot has happened since I worked on set for Home and Family and a few other shows, but the biggest change will be revealed in future posts.

Now for shoes.

I picked up a pair of Cole Haan Lunarlon wingtips not too long ago and… well they are the ideal shoes when it comes to comfort and looks for a classic wingtip. The patina is built in so you don’t have to worry about adding polish over a period of years. They aren’t your typical leather soled shoes, they do have a twist, and the twist tends to be what upsets the stalwarts when it comes to a classic style. They are sneakers that absolutely pass the test of hitting the town as a classic dress shoe; the future shoe that I have always wanted. With my soft feet I’ve often had to live the life of wearing a dress shoe for dancing and lots of walking, but when the time hit to travel I’d run to my sneakers as my feat aren’t warhorse enough to take on leather to pavement day after day. These shoes fix the issue. They look as grand as any of my leather soled shine-able shoes, with only a wet wipe of the surface (sacrilege I know) to make them presentable at any event.

It may be 2013, and sticklers of the old may often surround me when it comes to where I go and how I dress, but in the end we live in 2013, and style knows no bounds… but comfort for me will always be king as long as it carries the style I love.

Check them out; tell me what you think of the look. I’m getting more before they stop making them… that’s what tends to happen when I love something that can be bought.

At the request of Professor Timothy Doran... here are the shoes. 

Living it up in LA, Dallas and Manhattan... Talk to you soon.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


There is always a great experience gained from travel, especially when it’s to far off places. This time, the place isn’t too far off, being in the middle of the US, but the experience is more interesting than many past short distance travels as it has taken me to a state that is quite ensconced in its own traditions and styles that easily make it unique and very interesting.

I’m in Dallas, Texas and have a position that requires a lot of study and lots of travel, but more on that in upcoming installments. 

Since I’ve been away from LA, I’ve seen vintage clothing expert Marc Chevalier take up the charge of the LA Tweed Pub Crawl. This one approaching will be the 4th in the line and one not to be missed as they tend to get bigger and bigger each year. Take your tweed and some comfortabke shoes. 

Friday, November 15, 2013
It begins at 7:00 pm.
I believe it's beginning at that place where I've had many a French Dip Sandwich, Cole's in Downtown LA.

I'll attend if I can make the trip work with my schedule.

Locally, I’ve joined forces with Matt Tolentino, Danielle Bennignus, and Tom Pecina to form the Art Deco Society of Dallas. The center of the Art Deco scene in the the Americas (Geographically speaking). 
Event-wise we've already successfully shown to a large audience, Top Hat from 1937 starring Fred and Ginger at the Texas Theater... this was fallowed by a grand concert from the Singapore Slingers. Many more events are to follow including a good old (new) knickerbocker mini golf later this month. 

Anywho, that's a quick latest filler for the blog. Now to get back to rifling through piles of cloth, felt and ribbon.

From Dallas, Sometimes Manhattan and now and again LA, but wishing more often Paris... I'll see you soon.

I believe there is a hangar dance out here that I am to attend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Skyfall Wears

Ralph Fiennes suspender button placement in the new 007 movie was terrible. Outside that, the movie was splendid.

I was pretty keen on all the wears Tom Ford made for Daniel Craig. Very well tailored and fitted for a man with a muscular physique. Very little leeway for any fat. I particularly was fond of the tab collars Craig wore. You see the entire film as having Craig channel that clean "man cutting through the city" look of the 1960s. It was quite an effect to my eye seeing Craigs wears next to those that they put Fiennes in. Fiennes looks were a bit more 90s in style with cloth that was cut to drape away... built up shoulders to the jackets, shirts that bloused out. Fiennes clothing looked clumsy and staid, even if just by a tad when juxtaposition to the clean action ready look of Craig. Very well done.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Feeding My Eyewear Obsession


As an optician at Hotel De VIlle Eyewear, I got to study faces in a whole new way. I'd learned the intrinsic differences that made a cat eye frame work on one woman and not another. The bold attitude it took to carry off a thick frame that could look obnoxious on one man, ridiculous on another, and still well suited to another. In that time I studied myself of course, and on an excursion of study to Oliver Peoples on Sunset I discovered something that gave my heart glee... a pair of 1930s styled P3 shaped amber sunglasses with minty green lenses that suited me to a tee. I had to have them. 
I receive at least a few questions a week about where I got them, so I'll break it all down here and now. The glasses are a reissue of the O'Malley, a popular style that Oliver Peoples made back in the late 1980s when the company was new and on the covers of the most well known fashion magazines around the world. I tend to think the reissue of these glasses, and the others in the vintage lineup have given Oliver Peoples a new energy, a good fresh energy as they return to their roots. Anywho, I spent a nice amount of money on them and used my skills to make them fit me perfectly so that I don't notice when they are on... comfy! 
With the specs came a classic clam shaped case with a beautiful crushed velvet liner... the case is something that slides neatly into a jacket pocket. 
It's not easy to find a good pair of amber colored frames from the 1930s, and quite frankly I'm not really needing to go on that hunt with the discovery of these. The acetate used to make them isn't brittle, and the lenses have a nice anti reflective coating on the inside for me but not on the outside for you. In these ways, the specs are better than vintage.

I present to you the O'Malley by Oliver Peoples. Just one of many in their vintage reproduction line. Part of the 1980s does 1930s eyewear revival.