Friday, April 30, 2010

Evidence of a Woman's Presence... my house. LFG sorely needed a shower after soccer practice. Wonder where she gets the "drop your clothes right where you take them off" trait from? Yep, it's genetic.
Post shower, LFG says that she'd "rather write than watch TV"...She makes me aware that her first draft of Alone: The Adventures of Febe and Fay is in need of some editing and she needs to do it now. It's a writer's thing I suppose. Don't ask me if I'm proud enough to bust.
I've got two decent posts coming this weekend. Cordovan and Cleft Lips and Bobby from Boston. Stay tuned. And finally, if you are in Boston this Sunday, how's about a swing by over at the Top Shelf Flea.

Onward. ADG and LFG

Sartorial Boston

It’s that time again. I’m blessed to be busy and this week the task at hand manifests in Boston. I love Boston and it’s almost the perfect time of the year to be here. I say almost only because this week the Boston temperature one day was 45 degrees. No biggie since I’ve been indoors all day running a meeting but still, it’s difficult to pack the proper duds for these gigs. Just as soon as I thought it was an unequivocal no brainer to stow away the moleskins and corduroys for the season, I’m wearing both here in Beantown. I'll skip the "guess the airport carpet" game as it's fairly obvious that I'm flying out of Heathrow this week.
Most of my recent Boston visits have limited me to Wellesley and precluded any free time to play downtown. I’m gratified to be working up here in one of the sweet spots for the Biotech industry but am more gratified this time to be downtown. I rolled in early enough on Monday to make my usual rounds along Newbury and adjacent streets but also to hang out with my boy Giuseppe from An Affordable Wardrobe. I couldn’t show up empty handed so on Sunday afternoon I rolled over to Target and grabbed some goods for the little G People. I also pounced on Liberty of London boxer shorts as well. $2.99 a throw and no-I’m not proud. It’s the new me…procurer or sartorial elements that roll down a checkout conveyor belt.
Heathrow saw me with an old pair of Lucky Brand Jeans and my timeless Ralph Navy D.B.. Suede monks and a monogrammed shirt of no consequence round it out for me. Anyone else discovered Clif bars?
Horizontalia never looked so funny. Suede Monks...not quite as versatile as a loafer but pretty darn close. Post security screening-refractory period...I haven't worked up the juice yet to buckle my babies again. Matter of fact I don't think I did till I landed at Logan.
I drop my bags at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and grab a cab over to the North End. Amazing the crispness of this iPhone photo. Meg.
Check out the G-Trio...makes me long for my old Slingerlands. 
The G-String and I’ve been trying to connect in Boston for a while but I haven’t been able to make it work. .  I’ve usually had to do a quick in and out because my juju was required the next day in another part of the contiguous 48. I’m glad we made it happen on Monday…Lunch with G and his two precious little kids. G was correct when he assumed that I’d love to have lunch and hang out with his little ones. I was born to be a dad and let me tell you-his kids are beautiful.
The G Family meet me in Boston’s North End. Quintessentially Italian. Old World…authentic…the real deal. SunTzu in The Art of War teaches devotees to “make use of local guides” and this is G-Man’s home turf. 
We meet up at a place that according to the G, hasn’t changed since his grandmother used to take him and his brother there when they were little kids. It’s obvious that the prices haven’t changed much at Galleria Umberto Rosticceria either.
The Italy mural...G remembers it from his childhood trips to this joint. He also remembers these two guys...suspended in time...same place in the queue...ordering the same slice.
I find it hard to not enjoy this combination...cheese, dough, sauce, toys and little people. 
Oh, and a paper cup of chilled red wine.
Caffe Vittoria for espresso and gelati...and milk and napkins and toddling around and cajoling and ...just engaging with little people. I loved it.
Little Miss G is a show stopper. It's been a while since I've had a little gal toddle over to me and smile that little person's smile that communicates a few distinct things. It says "My diaper is fairly dry-my belly is reasonably full...let me charm the world...I dare anyone to not adore me". The smile of a one year old is also fueled by a light that shines within-a light that hasn't yet been dimmed by the realities of an adult world. Bliss.
You can tell a lot about a man’s character by observing how he engages with his kids. Giuseppe is a fully engaged dad and his kids reflect it. His little man is polite, articulate and just an all around good lookin’ boy. Little Miss G is LFG incarnate…with only a little bit more hair. I hadn’t held a one year old in ages and this little gal is a heart breaker…big blue eyes and personality galore. Bottom line…the two hours I spent with the G Family was the highlight of my week. 

Boston needed my sartorial review so the balance of the afternoon had me haunting the Back Bay posh spots.
Hermes...the home of five hundred dollar beach towels and other reasonably priced goods. I'm still thinking that the Target beach towels look just as nice. 
My cousin AllievonSummersverb now sports the "H" belt. I've got a bit of an affinity for it-mainly because the H emblazons the first letter of my college nickname.
La Perla...just around the corner from Hermes. I couldn't for the life of me contrive a reason to go in. I did though, spend about an hour standing on the street-admiring this miracle of...whatever. Shut up.
Camo Espadrilles? The dichotomy is perplexing. I'm holding out for the Dale Earnhardt slippers.
The Brethren of Boston looks typical...with a bit of Whistleresque blue porcelain accompanying the made in somewhere else dress shirts. Whistler-Rossetti and Wilde collected Chinese Porcelain simultaneously in London. Probably fought over a piece or two.
I need to re-send the Patch Madras Memo to the least to Boston. Banned in Boston...too.
It's only for a nanosecond that I wish I could carry off the straw hat look. Baseball hats and tweed caps define my range. Probably all in my head but I'll leave the straw versions to my pal Toad.
One of the few things left at the Brethren that still satisfies me. Probably because most of their shoes are still made in America. The Brooks spectators look pretty good this year.
Polo-Boston. The most impressive Ralph store is in Chicago...the Gotham Mansion is certainly a sight-site to behold. But come to think of it I've never been on one that I didn't find pleasing. The Charleston and Georgetown store are a bit cramped but the aesthetics remain.
Men at work. Sinatra, Cooper and Dean. All well dressed.
My Boston clients were dressed "casually" for our three day meeting. Sloppy would be my characterization. Look at work. Come back sartorial clients look like Boy Band or reality television candidates. it looks like Ralph and company did commission some bleeding madras for 2010. My money is still on the O'Connell's cache of bleeders.
I love marketing parlance...I contrive it for a living. But I worry these days when I see words like "handcrafted" and "artisanal" associated with booze-food-clothing. It just means you are gonna pay triple for the goods. 
Those exact words aren't manifest in the Polo Madras value prop but they are intimated.
Upstairs in Purple Label Land. The odds are good but the goods are odd. And there isn't anyone in Polo's employ who can articulate why one should pay Purple Prices. Ok, I'm gonna relent and actually get a haircut from a trained've convinced me that my artisanal efforts are dodgy at best. Shut up.
An afternoon of sartorial observations sees me back at the hotel girding my constitution with a Martini and braised Brussels Sprouts.
Cleaned up for a three day strategy journey and then an LFG weekend awaits me.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spectator Season: Partially Open

The Easter-Memorial Day vetting sieve through which you’ve tethered your seasonal clothing decisions is forever kaput. I’ll tell you when you can wear what and to that end, White Bucks will be released later in the week. I declare spectator shoe season partially open. Loafers only…brogues…wingtips…a few more weeks abeyance please.
So I test drove mine the other day. My old Brethren Peale babies that given the limited season for appropriate use and my general lack of interest in them, should last me forever.
Paul over at Sorrento Lens is an artist and a car buff. I love old cars but artistic endeavours with a camera…not so much. I’m not even close to viewing anything through an artistic lens. Heck, I do well to come off with snaps that aren’t blurry. This old Austin Healy Sprite offered me trace elements of an artistic view after I caught my spectators in the chrome hubcap.
Spectators are kind of tricky. Probably unfairly maligned by the likes of Al Capone, Clyde Barrow and of course, J. Edgar Hoover. I’m thinking that if Robert Macaire and RatapoilHonorĂ© Daumier’s metaphorical archetypes had lived in the era of spectator shoes they’d both have donned them. 
Crafty guys those two…gaming the system while sometimes representing the system and always…looking out for themselves. Certainly I’ve over-thought and overwrought this correlation. Shut up.
We’ve got Macaire and Ratapoil in residence at Casa Minimus. Macaire lives on a poster relegated to a corner of the kitchen-accompanying a Trek road bike just above the Vanity Fair print of Alberto Santos Dumont…in the shadow of pots and pans from above. Yes, I can cook. I'll be doing a post on Dumont and his Charvet collars at some point.
Ratapoil lives adjacent to a row of NASCAR models that front a row of books loosely categorized as domestic social nonfiction laced with some Southern fiction and anchored by Tom Wolfe and Dominick Dunne. And no, I never did finish painting the built in book shelves. Shut up.
You too can have a Daumier sculpture of Ratapoil. Christies has one in an upcoming auction and the estimate is $40,000.00-$60,000.00. If this Alexis Rudier version goes for less than 60k it will be a steal. Mine? I’m hanging on to it till I have to pay lawyers again, send LFG to graduate school or buy shell cordovan futures.
Ok, let’s get back to shoes ‘cause I know I’m losing you. Spectators aren’t just for fellas but I’d say that the correspondent look is perhaps trickier for gals to pull off…just my opinion. Come to think of it…lace-up spectators have a gender independent theatric energy-a campy tone and one that I can’t begin to actualize. Hepburn did it on the golf course with aplomb but that’s where lace up spectators seem to belong-on the links. Hepburn did a lot of things with aplomb including gray flannel trousers.
I’d never consider spectator brogues a nautical thing but this WASPy gal certainly made it work. This photo and the one of Hepburn on the links are from A Privileged Life…one of those books interested me but not one to buy till I found it for a couple of bucks. We need a lot of things over here but one of them isn’t another coffee table/picture book.

Ok, so wear your loafers but not your brogues. I’ll give you the go-ahead on those babies in a few weeks-if I want to. Till then, here’s my Speck Tater installment from last season.

Ps…Evidence that I do occasionally wear black shoes and that I eat something other than Hungry Man Turkey Dinners.

I’m not one for the two toned, seasonal spectator or co-respondent brogues. They look tres gangsterish to me. Besides, that freak show known as J. Edgar Hoover wore them and that’s reason enough right there to never sport a pair.Here’s J. Edgar with famous fellow G-Man Melvin Purvis. Purvis was the Chicago SAC when Dillinger was shot at the Biograph Theatre on Lincoln Avenue. Purvis lit his cigar when Dillinger walked by, signaling the boys to close in. Little Mel Purvis was done wrong by Hoover…further alienating any allegiance I might’ve had for spectator shoes. You see, Melvin Purvis was one of my heroes when I was a kid. I used to literally shake with nerves when I delivered the morning paper to the steps of the Purvis Mansion. I’d peer inside and see the landing where Purvis had lain dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound. I’ll blog about dapper Mel Purvis later.

So, I do have a pair of Peale spectator loafers from the Brothers Brooks but they are rather tame. Medium brown with khaki drill cloth for contrast.
I propped them up against what I thought would be suitable trousers. The striped pair is Flusser…dupioni silk with a back buckle in lieu of side tabs. These trousers are stronger than battery acid. If you ever happen to see me in them, don’t touch-you might get hurt…by the trousers…certainly not by me. Girls, you can touch but please, let me guide you. It would break my heart to know that there was collateral damage in tandem with your delight. Ok, I woke up. The other pair…Polo Ralph linen windowpane. Colony model. Rather drapy, high waisted, side tabs.I think the Tater Pealers hooked up nicely with my new J.Press horizontal striped socks. Whaddya'll think?