LFG picked out my little British Racing Green Mini Cooper-S convertible almost two years ago and it’s been a blast to drive. Really. Would it serve better as a second car? A weekend roundabout and a tool-around buggy for the back roads around Middleburg and The Plains? I believe that’s when it best preens its Go-Kart capabilities. Otherwise, it’s a bit small for a daily driver. Good news is that I generally don’t drive far and wide when I’m home. The car is just not that practical.
And God only knew that I would be driving my Mini back and forth home to Florence with the regularity that I have since February 3rd. I’ve been home more since February 3rd than in the previous three years combined. My mom, by the way…the eighty-three year old gal who was on a respirator and whose departure was announced hourly for the first month…the gal who one of the most skilled and communicative surgeons…the guy who did emergency surgery on her at two in the morning, said wouldn’t come off the table alive…spent a half-hour outside of the rehab hospital soaking up the sunshine the other day. She also shot my baby brother the “bird.” I have much to share about my mom and this odyssey that we’ve all been on with her. I think I need to start another blog to take on the gravity of it though. Stay tuned…or not. I don’t care.
And this used to be a blog about clothes. You remember, right? Texture, color, fuzziness and whatnot. So why don’t I throw sumpin on this drivel pile that’d be true to what I used to drone about with some regularity. Let me tell you about Coffman’s Menswear in Greenville, N.C. and my two buddies who preen around the joint with country-ass aplomb. I’ve been humbled by and amazed at the eclectic goods and high caliber tastiness of Coffman’s. That's Daddy, above. He's fuzzy even when he ain't feeling well.
Daddy, the sartorial fuzzier than me to the point of no-return hirsute-tootiness and his understudy, whose real name is Hog Farmer John but who I’ve dubbed Dextrose are the collective Forrest Gump of Eastern Carolina haberdashdom. Dextrose in his Tom Wolfe-Thumbian getup above, dates a hottie by the way. Shut up.
Let me touch on the humbled by Coffman’s thing. Karma demands that I admit to getting years ago, way above my raisin’. I’m the progeny of Scotch-Irish Carolinians who spent the first century over here scrounging like most of ‘em did, eking out an agrarian subsistence. But in the mid nineteenth century, tobacco changed everything. And there was money in that crop, let me tell you. Big money. So both sides of my family became tobacco farmers way back then. I’ve told the story about my dad swearing from moment one that he’d get the hell off the farm and he did. And this set the stage for me to fly even farther from the nest and see the world and get a fair amount of high falutin education and to get, well, high-minded.
So when I began to see tumblr snippets here and there about this joint called Coffman’s, I was skeptical After all, I’ve spent time and money in most of the pantheon caliber haberdasheries remaining in the States and quite a few in Europe. Greenville, N.C.? Really? Are there that many hog and peanut farmers left with the dosh to pop for such things? And who the hell down there has the taste level to appreciate it even if they could afford it? Tobacco by the way…ain’t what it used to be. The Department of Agriculture pays us not to grow it. I get a check once a year—unfortunately it’s divided among a zillion cousins—for about enough dough to make a down payment on a pair of Cleverley’s. Shut up.
Might my high-mindedness be considered reverse provincialism? How stupid can I really be? Greenville, N.C. is a healthcare destination…teaching hospitals and a medical school with great repute. I suppose that being so close to Duke and all its marquee caliber healthcare provision causes one to not think of Greenville as a healthcare town per se. And there’s East Carolina University. Bottom line is that it was pretty pig headed of me to write off Greenville and Coffman’s as sartorial wasteland. My hometown of Florence can’t carry Greenville’s water. And Florence hasn’t had a decent haberdashery in over twenty-five years now.
My first purchase from Daddy and Hog Farmer-D was my 2013 Bill’s GTH togs. I still hadn’t set foot in the store but I figured that if these guys could source such thangs, I’d just phone order my damn self a pair of size 33 extra charming older than fifty-years Peter Pan man britches. But then I stopped by to see the boys and the store when I went home just after Christmas. The joint is legit.
So I stopped in again to see Daddy and Dextrose on the way down to Florence the other week and pounced on a couple more tasty thangs. Wispy thin linen pocket square was a keeper for certain. There was something about its attenuated delicateness that whispered—yes—whispered…“take my ass home…take my ass home.” And amazingly, it whispered it in a three-in-the-morning, Roxanne Burgess, circa 1980 at the Kappa Alpha house voice. So who was I to say no?
And then Daddy hoodwinked me into believing that there was some kinda legitimacy to this Carolina Tartan come-on. My people only began wearing burlap kilts from feed sacks back in 1893. We ain’t got no tartan. I remain skeptical about the tartan legitimacy but not about the belt. I wore it every day all day all week and am probably gonna wear it when I hit the mean streets of D.C. tonight. Shut up.
Last but not least is this Peter Millar linen fuzz thang. I’m set with solid color linen shirts but this one had my name on it. Well not literally but you know what I mean. I’ve never owned a Peter Millar anything and don’t see myself becoming a devotee but this one had balance. Balance you ask? Yep. Fuzzy enough without being over the top GTH in a Liberty of London kinda way. If you need further clarification on what I’m conveying here, please, ask someone else.
But these cats do even tastier things. After seeing Daddy’s horizontal contrivances from the Carmel atelier of Robert Talbot, I had him cook one up for me. We simply did a stock size with a tweak or two and it came out perfect. Over the fuzzy top, actually. The ADG jury remains out regarding how the Carmel chemise will ultimately compare to what Gambert turns out in N.J. for Flusser and Rykken but I can say that they’ve got Individualized beat all to be damned.
But that ain’t all, folks. There’s also the subject of popovers. Yes, popovers…the quirky trad throwback shirt that’s rare these days…rare at least from the perspective of finding one that’s “right.” I discovered one in the trad store that I worked in during college and had no idea what it was. It had slipped behind a display counter and had hovered there between the counter and the wall for over twenty years. I think nowadays people call something like this new-old stock. You know, like the togs we all went crazy for at O’Connell’s three summers ago.
A few months ago, Daddy started showing off popover swatches. The boy is rapier efficient with his iPad. He shoots a few photos of swatches and before you know it, guys like little ADG are American Expressing themselves. Popping all over. Shut up.
So let me close out this drivel and get hopping. I’m Gotham bound in the morning and then over to New Jersey on Monday afternoon for two delightfully billable days. Then it’s back home to take delivery of a five-thousand dollar HVAC system for Casa Minimus. There’s no joy in spending 5k on something that admittedly makes you feel comfortable yet isn’t something you can take photos of and blog stories about it saying … “look at me…look at me…I spent five grand on this sh_t.” But wait till you see what the Coffman's boys are making me from this card. Bam.
Onward. Still holding on to my mama. Humbled. Horizontalled. And Popped.