It’s On Sale: J. Crew “Bowery” trousers
I’m putting the finishing touches on a review of my Howard Yount flannel trousers (expect it tomorrow), and in this review I complain a bit about how hard it can be to find nice wool trousers at a reasonable price. I was doing a bit of research to back up my claim, and in doing so I noticed that J. Crew’s “Bowery” Classic trousers are on sale for $82 +$5 shipping with the code “PRESENTS”. Not cheap, but reasonably affordable, given the alternatives. I have no experience with this exact model, but I’ve found that J. Crew’s pants are a fair deal when on deep discount. Moreover, my good friend La Casuarina is known to be fond of them, and he has access to some of the best brands in the world.
As of now, almost all sizes are available in all four colors. I appreciate that the color options are shades of gray and navy; J. Crew has a bad habit of taking a nice item and only making it in colors reminicent of sherbet. It should come as no surprise that I recommend gray trousers to start with.
Now, if you can manage to put $150+ down for wool trousers, I strongly recommend Howard Yount. They are much better, but they do have the disadvantage of requiring tailoring for hemming (and possibly waist alterations, since they are only available in even sizes). If you want to keep this purchase under $100, though, J. Crew could be a good deal.
This sale ends at midnight, but these 30% off codes appear almost weekly so there’s no need to rush the decision.
A Holiday Gift Guide for the Menswear-Inclined
The holiday season is once again upon us, and now that we’re done spending too much on ourselves during Thanksgiving sales it’s time to think about the other people in our lives that deserve our gratitude. This list is for the #menswear among us - maybe it’s a brother, a father, a friend, a husband, or something else entirely; no matter what relation, here’s your unequivocal menswear gift guide for this holiday season.
For this list I tried to select items that add a lot to a complete wardrobe but often get overlooked. I also tried to steer clear of items that rely heavily on sizing, since that can make gift-giving difficult. He may not think of getting these for himself, but he’ll sure be glad that you did.
1. A nice umbrella. Nothing destroys the powerful look of a nice suit like the plastic sheen of a cheap umbrella stick. Any guy walking down the street with a solid stick umbrella automatically goes from “Person in the rain” to “Person too important for the rain.” A chestnut-stick umbrella with a subtle canopy (think dark, subdued colors like black, navy, and burgundy) will always help elevate professional attire. These options from Howard Yount and Kent Wang are essentially identical - take your pick. If you’re looking for something a bit more luxe, buy your guy this Talarico from No Man Walks Alone and he’ll never lose his umbrella again.
2. Socks. Yeah, socks used to be a lame gift, but not anymore. A couple of pairs of over-the-calf merino or cashmere socks will do wonders. Pantherella on Sierra Trading Post is always a good bet - wait for 35% off.
3. Nice hangers. We often talk about the beauty of an article of clothing, but rarely do we reflect on the even greater visual impact of a well-organized closet. A though-out wardrobe on display is greater than the sum of the parts. Keep your guy’s too-expensive sportcoats in tip-top shape by giving him a few high-quality hangers. It’s something he’ll never get for himself but will use every day. The Hanger Project makes the best stuff, but there are more affordable options at Sierra Trading Post and Wooden Hangers USA (the latter two come in one size only, though).
4. Gordy’s camera strap. You don’t want your guy out there bloggin’ with his nylon Canon strap on, do you? Set everything right with the best place to get a hand-made, high-quality, and affordable strap. It’ll go much better with his Alden tassel loafers - trust me.
5. A really nice tie. Ties can feel a bit played out, so if you go down this route make sure that it is very high quality and not too loud; something that he can wear every week for the next decade. There are lots of good places making great handmade ties right now; Vanda, Panta, Yellow Hook Neckties, Viola Milano, and Conrad Wu come to mind, but there are plenty more.
6. A new belt. Yeah, I know he’s spent $2k on shoes this year, but have you seen his ripped-to-shreds split leather belt? It’s terrible. I highly recommend Equus Leather for classic bridle belts; Narragansett Leathers is also a good bet, and if you don’t have time for a custom option then Allen Edmonds and Brooks Brothers are solid choices as well.
7. Shoe care accessories. Speaking of shoes, make sure that he has all the necessary tools to keep his prized possessions in great shape. The Hanger Project has the whole range of Saphir products, and you can get shoe trees at Sierra Trading Post for cheap. This shoe valet from Brooks Brothers is also a great kit for the real shoe fanatic.
8. A dope dopp. Are you shopping for a guy that geeks out over selvage denim and American construction? Get him this dopp kit from Black House Project (made in San Francisco) and let him get his toothbrush fades on. Ernest Alexander has great dopp kits as well - made in the USA from waxed canvas, and 25% off today.
9. A cashmere scarf. If the weather warrants it, a nice cashmere scarf can be a way to wear a luxe material without spending too much. My cost-effective favorites are these at Sierra Trading Post, from Moon Mills. I mean, check out that houndstooth one! What a winner. With the inevitable 35% off code these clock in at under $40.
10. A night out. Your menswear loved one probably spends too much time on the internet, anyway. Give him a reason to dress up. Get him out of the house, for a change.
(photo by Gerald Waller for LIFE magazine)
Since I’m spending the week with my family, I won’t be giving a thorough rundown of the sales that are beginning and have already begun; I’m confident that sites like Dappered and Put This On will do a good job of that for me. For good measure, here are a few lesser known sales from retailers that I enjoy:
Self Edge - 13% off all items though 11/30 in-store, 12/2 online
Ernest Alexander - 25% off and free shipping, through 12/2
Britex Fabrics - 30% off in-store today, 30% off online Monday
Haberdash - 1/3 off one full priced item, ends today (note - Aldens on sale)
It’s no secret that the Thanksgiving week is full of sales - some good, some not. No matter what, this is a good time to remind yourself to stick to your list and only take advantage of sales if it’s helping you purchase something you’re working towards. I’m constantly reminding myself to avoid sporadic purchases this time of year, but I think it’s an important mindset to have right now. Remember - if it wasn’t appealing before the sale then it’s probably not worth buying at discount, either.
Most importantly, if you’re spending time with your family, don’t give that up just to go shopping - menswear isn’t that important.
Styleforum Spotlight - Rob Rossicone and Yellow Hook Necktie Co.
The recent Styleforum trunk show in New York City brought together many different vendors from all over the globe; most of them were people I recognized immediately, even though I had never met them in person - that’s the power of the internet, I suppose. One of those men was Rob Rossicone, a styleforum regular and creator of Yellow Hook Necktie Co.
Although many of you may have not heard the name Rob Rossicone, I’d bet that you have seen him in one of his other online personalities - Put This On’s Rob from Brooklyn, Styleforum’s well-known NewYorkIslander, or even as a contestant in Esquire’s 2010 "Best Dressed Real Man" competition. Throughout all of these, it is clear that Rob is a man who is comfortable in his own sense of style and has an eye for fit, texture, and color.
Rob and his wife Courtney, both teachers in Brooklyn, launched Yellow Hook Neckties about a year ago. They started it in part as way way to begin a creative hobby outside of the classroom, and to bring a truly hand-crafted item to an audience outside of the “bespoke” circle. Like with many menswear words tossed around, “hand-made” can mean a lot of different things; in this case, it means that each tie is made by a single craftswoman in Brooklyn, one by one. Rob says, “The process is incredibly time consuming, but we feel the end product is something entirely different than a factory “hand made” tie. A Yellow Hook Necktie has a certain feel and drape to it that simply can’t be made by machine. A softness, if you will, that usually is saved for only the finest bespoke houses around the world, but at a cost. With us, you get that old world experience, an old world item with old world charm, at a price that we think is fair for everyone, from the consumer to our crafters.”
At first, all ties were made by Rob and Courtney, but as business has grown they have put the manufacturing in someone else’s hands, while making sure that they were staying local and using the best of the best. According to Rob, “Maria’s ties are perfect, and if they’re not, she starts over again - not because I say so, but because she’s old-school and she really believes that everything, from the lining to the stitching to the drape, needs to be perfect. I think it shows in our product.”
All ties feature six-fold, lightly lined, untipped construction, except for the denim and “woolly mammoth” ties, which are three-fold due to their significant heft. Substantial handwork can be seen along their sumptuous rolled edges.
What I wore in New York, day three.
Trench - Club Monaco | Sweater - Polo Ralph Lauren | OCBD - Gant Rugger | Denim - Gustin | Chukkas - Loake