Tucked away in the charming neighborhood of Ann Siang Hill is SWAGGER. It’s a lifestyle boutique for men and is the passion project of Stan Lee whose main business is public relations. SWAGGER carries a wide selection of goods for the discerning gentleman: ready-to-wear apparel and accessories, leather goods, literature, vintage collectibles and grooming products. The shop carries a great selection of brands some of which are only stocked at SWAGGER in this part of the world. It’s a bit quirky but what ties them all together is the handcraft, heritage and uniqueness. Continue Reading
Cad and the Dandy: tailor made for our times (The Telegraph)
“While Cad and the Dandy has kept costs down by doing some of its manufacturing in China, Sleater and Meiers are keen to complement Wildsmith’s “Made in Britain” credentials by eventually making all of its suits here, too. “Customers want quality, they want ‘Made in England’, which is why we’re switching,” says Meiers.”
Crockett & Jones: the factory, the shoes, the people (Permanent Style)
“There are differences of course, mostly in the handwork, but the materials tend to be similar – at least with the Handgrade range, which has always been great value for money. Materials tend to account for around 40% of the price of a Crockett & Jones shoe, with labour the extra 60%. As shoes get more expensive, the amount of labour increases but the materials are the same. It’s easy for shoemakers to know this because they all know who buys from which tannery. (Although the price of upper leather in particular is rocketing up, due to luxury brands buying up all the good leather – and tanneries – for handbags. As if there weren’t enough reasons to hate those overpriced fashion accessories.)”
Rules of Style: Designer Oliver Spencer (Details)
“Your style starts with your shoes. Shoes help to cement the foundation of every look.”
“I am Dandy , The Return of the Elegant Gentleman” (Parisian Gentleman)
“I am a Dandy is indeed full of great nuggets of wisdom taken from excerpts of interviews conducted by the author on the 59 featured men. And I must admit to being pleasantly surprised by the depth, the range, and literally, the class, of some of the remarks that have been skillfully aggregated in this book, with the reading sparking much more attention than I had initially expected.”
Clothes and the Quiet Movie Theater (Put This On)
“The first is the power to make our own choices about how we present ourselves in the world. To use what’s useful about all these cultural values and traditions and so on, and leave aside what isn’t. For each of us. Personally.
The second is the power to be empathetic towards others’ decisions. To understand that the truth as seen through our eyes isn’t absolute, it’s reflective of our values. And that other people have different inputs and may come to different conclusions.”
I was approached by Timmy Ang of These People Podcast to talk about menswear, this blog and Manifesto amongst other things. We recorded our conversation together and it is available for download here. If you have 44 minutes to spare I highly recommend listening to it. You will be surprised that I talk candidly and put things bluntly. But if you don’t here is a summary in eight points:
1. There’s nothing wrong with elitism. Embrace high-end. Clothes should reflect your status in life. You can’t keep wearing fast fashion.
2. Experiment with cheap clothing. When you’ve found your style start investing in quality pieces.
3. I’m not into designer clothing because I find the price you’re paying for design is too high. Of course there are exceptions.
4. For those who still don’t know my style I can sum it up as “Italian gentleman”.
5. I truly want men in the Philippines to dress better. Men can do better than wear Fred Perry polo shirts and Onitsuka sneakers.
6. On comments: It’s my house and you don’t get to shit in my house. It’s not a democracy. If you like what I write you can stay and if you don’t you can leave.
7. I don’t plan to start a line of clothes or accessories.
8. If a brand doesn’t speak to me I turn them down without hesitation.
Thank you, Timmy, for giving me this opportunity.
Last February’s Menswear Syndicate Meetup
Announcement (8/21/2013): The weather has been improving and we are pushing through with the meetup tonight.
It’s been a while since Menswear Syndicate had a big meetup so for the month of August we are doing it again. We’ve chosen August 21st (holiday!) to make sure we have as many attendees as possible. Whether you are just exploring menswear or a full-blown enthusiast like our group we are keen to meet you. The meetup is free and open to everyone but registration is required. You can register through the widget below.
When: August 21, 2013 6pm
Where: 26th St. Bistro by The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
What to Wear: Your personal style.
If you’re having a hard time signing up via the widget below click here.
Resoling a pair of shoes is fairly straightforward for cheaper shoes. But when you’ve started to invest in high quality footwear resoling costs a lot more and involves shipping your shoes back and forth to the manufacturer. I know that owning nice things means spending the proportionate amount of time and money in caring for them. However, the costs and downtime of having shoes resoled by the manufacturer is not practical. This has led me to put sole protectors on all of my new shoes. Continue Reading
Weekly Roundup | Managing Shoe Purchase Expectations, Kamakura Shirts, Glenn O’Brien, Frank Muytjens
Managing Your Shoe Purchase Expectations (The Shoe Snob)
“These days £150 won’t get you much in terms of handmade shoes, let alone a good factory made shoe yet people think that for not too much more than that they should be getting top notch quality.”
Shopping Kamakura Shirts, New York (Put This On)
“The workmanship on Kamakura’s shirts is quite good—stitching is even and clean, and seams finished well. Collars are cotton lined but not fused (lining and fusing help a collar keep a consistent shape, but make a collar stiffer; not the goal on OCBDs). The shirts are made in Japan, while similar shirts from Brooks, Mercer, and O’Connell’s are made in the United States. Kamakura’s standard fabrics are mostly 100% cotton, often Xinjiang cotton, a long-staple variety grown in China that has a reputation for softness. Some shirts use Italian or American cottons and are labeled accordingly.”
Glenn O’Brien on #Menswear, Personal Style, Haters And More (Four Pins)
“It’s safe to say Glenn has earned his place as one of downtown New York City’s seminal figures ten times over. The fact that he now is perhaps most recognized for his work as GQ’s “The Style Guy” is actually somewhat surprising. After all, clothes and men’s style, whatever you think that even means, don’t seem nearly as important as the transcendent cultural impact of O’Brien and his inner circle.”
Rules of Style: J. Crew’s Frank Muytjens (Details)
“A wardrobe takes time and patience to build upon. Individual pieces take time to become yours: The fading of a pair of jeans, the way a jacket forms around your body, a shoe molding to your foot, and the soft touch of a pair of chinos.”
Italy’s mills and merchants explained (Permanent Style)
“A lot of Italian mills make ‘Italian-style’ ranges for English merchants and non-English merchants such as Scabal and Dormeuil. These are not always labelled as such in the cloth books. Far fewer English mills supply cloth to the Italian mills, though there are some in Ariston and Caccioppoli bunches.”
Image Makers (Mr. Porter)
“Some of the best-dressed men of all time are figments of the collective imagination. However, the fact that they’ve only ever existed on celluloid takes nothing away from the power of their style. In many ways it’s the brief duration of their existence that has immortalised their sartorial perfection, because they’ll never be snapped by a paparazzo while looking out of shape and unshaven, or appear at the Oscars wearing a skinny tie and trousers that are two inches too long. These fictional characters are like a concentrated shot of style, and untroubled by the vagaries of dressing every morning they will remain elegant, sharp and well dressed, even as real men age, thicken, wear trousers with an elasticated waistband, and die.”
Suits shouldn’t be dry cleaned often; maybe once a year at most depending on use. But I had to make an exception with my suit because of a few grease stains I got while at a party. Stains shouldn’t be left to set and neither should they be remedied at home. It’s times like these when you have to leave it to the professionals. I brought my suit to Jeeves of Belgravia at New World Hotel to have the stains removed and dry cleaned. Jeeves of Belgravia is a recognized brand when it comes to dry cleaning with a Royal Warrant from his HRH the Prince of Wales to back it up. It was founded in 1969 and have branches all over the world. Continue Reading
For the discerning menswear enthusiast like myself the retail scene here in the Philippines leaves much to be desired. Local retailers don’t have the sophisticated selection of brands that fit the aesthetic and lifestyle I want to achieve. That is why if you have been following this blog you will notice that a good number of items in my wardrobe were bought abroad mostly from online shops in the U.S. And if ever those items are available here it is probably cheaper to buy online even if you include the shipping costs.
But in the course of buying from different U.S.-based online shops I sometimes run into a few snags. The most frequent problem I encounter is they do not ship outside of the U.S. (if they do it most likely does not include the Philippines). The second is that the customer is required to have a U.S.-issued debit/credit card. However, there is a way to get around these problems, take advantage of the wide selection and lower prices in the U.S. by using Globe’s GCASH American Express Virtual Pay. It is a service that provides you with a U.S.-issued virtual card that is linked to your GCASH mobile wallet. The video below explains it in a nutshell.
Weekly Roundup | Manning Up in the Heat, Sunspel Sea Island Cotton T-Shirt, George Cleverley, Flip-flops, Antonio Liverano
Manning Up in the Heat (The New York Times)
“Most guys have their tricks and tactics. Some say socks; some say nix. Some swear by the virtue of an undershirt for keeping a dress shirt relatively dry; others contend that an extra layer just creates more heat and discomfort, not to mention a moisture trap that never dries.”
The Process of Creating a Sunspel Sea Island Cotton T-Shirt (FREE / MAN)
“Storied English label Sunspel has allowed us a look into the steps involved in the creation of a T-shirt made with cotton sourced from the Sea Islands, woven in Switzerland and constructed in England. Incorporating extra long staple cotton from one of the original Caribbean Sea Islands – Montserrat – the completion of each garment demands a startling amount of individual processes, with a truly superior product as the result; spoken of as “softer than cashmere.” Each shirt requires 15 individual processes and 9 people to create from start to finish.”
George Cleverley (Mr. Porter)
“The classic style of George Cleverley shoes reflects the company’s extraordinary roll call of clients, past and present. The company makes elegant but masculine English shoes designed for strolling across the pavements of Mayfair, the polished floors of gentleman’s clubs (White’s for the seniors, 5 Hertford Street for younger customers) and the antique rugs of country houses. Of course they’re also to be found on New York’s Upper East Side, and in Tokyo’s better restaurants. The dress shoes are made to be worn with beautifully tailored suits, English shirts and hand-stitched silk ties – although the brown suede shoes, inspired by the casual nature of British country life, work just as well with cords and blue jeans. The shoes represent a sophisticated expression of Britain’s traditionally understated approach to style.”
Fashion Dictator on Flip-Flops (Esquire UK)
“So, what’s my point, I hear you cry? Location appropriate footwear, that’s what. If you fancy a long walk this weekend, don’t wear flip flops – silly, impractical, dangerous and what’s more they’ll play havoc with your mani-pedi.”
A Conversation with… Antonio Liverano (The Bespoke Dudes)
“Today Liverano is a reference point for Florentine tailoring in the world: he can tout a private collection of vintage fabrics, even wider of Loro Piana’s one and has customers in Tokyo (where he is present with a corner also at United Arrows), Hong Kong (at The Armoury) and in Seoul. Antonio loves to define himself as a tailor-entrepreneur: not only mere manual executor of a suit, but also keeper of an Italian taste, freely passed on his regular customers, by recommending combinations, but also fabrics, colours and the most adequate cuts. Antonio deems necessary to educate the customer to the suit and – regarding the expensiveness of the sartoria today – he recommends to save money for just one suit per year, in order to have ten suits in ten years, that will last forever.”
Wearing Suit Jackets and Pants as Separates (Broke and Bespoke)
“There are a number of ways I generally go about achieving this kind of versatility, and construction and fabric are key. Since an odd jacket and trousers is by its nature a less formal look than a full suit, it logically follows that choosing your suit in a more casual fabric—one that could be used to make either a sport coat or trousers—is a good starting point.”
Penhaligon’s has been around for over 140 years but it’s only recently that the perfume house has become popular. It was founded in the late 1860s by William Henry Penhaligon who quickly rose to become a barber and perfumer to Queen Victoria’s royal court. During the war their establishments were destroyed and the company lay dormant until in 1975 when designer Sheila Pickles and Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli revived the brand. In the last two years I have seen this house’s steady rise while quietly establishing itself in the former British colony of Singapore. They offer a fragrance profiling service and I went to experience it first hand at their newly opened boutique at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. This is where my journey of finding a fragrance begins. Continue Reading