"It's not a memo…"

Manolo Costa of Phineas Cole, photo c/o Scott Schuman & GQ

As I continue to refine this blog, I hope my intentions for it are met, and met with a groundswell of support from friends and loved ones. I wanted to begin writing about clothes much sooner. Now, spurred by the events of November 4th, and by warnings from the media of our country’s impending financial doom, and by an overflow of email I sent to myself with the subject “Something Else for the Blog,” I’m finally starting.

In an article in today’s New York Times The Underminer, Mike Albo states (far more eloquently than I did in my email to my father) that as a country we’re bound to start reexamining the impact of appearance and the importance of quality.

Albo’s glorious account of a visit to Paul Stuart, one of my favorite stores to stroll through on a lunch break, particularly on scruffy days (it’s the rake in me), spotlights one of my favorite PS employees—the impeccably clad Manolo Costa (pictured) who oversees their younger gentleman’s line, Phineas Cole.

Recently, I’ve explored ways I can buy American, organic, recycled, or (my mother would say, “heaven forbid!”) used. Michael Williams, of A Continuous Lean, published The American List, which outdoes any I’ve seen in terms of well-curated, downright cool stuff being made right here at home. If only when Bush’d encouraged us to shop, he’d taken it a step further and said, “… if yer gonna buy, buy Amurican,” maybe today’s headlines would look different.

Instead of bad news bear markets, Big Three bailouts, and bankruptcies, the cable news crawl would read “Buying American Pays Big for Business,” “Menswear Shapes Up: Trim Looks for Men Mean Fatter Wallets for Retailers,” or “Bush Elected to Unprecedented Third Term.” Ok, maybe not the last one, but Sam Cooke’s right—a change is gonna come. Even this fop is goin’ in for alterations. Join me next week, when I headline with a new look. Hint: I’ll have the ladies bowing before me.

That’s it for now, I’m all plaid out.

Re: Abercrombie

My father sent me an article from today’s WSJ regarding Abercrombie’s decision to fight the massive wave of discounts sweeping the world of retail. In a precaffeinated haze, I wrote the following response:

In my humble opinion, the company needs to reexamine its branding strategy from top to bottom. To riff on Dylan, they are stuck inside of 1999 with the over-gelled blues again. Americans and, if Germany’s current issue of GQ has anything to say about it, the world are reintroducing themselves to a classic silhouette. This may be way off base, but I saw a group of high school kids on the train this morning, all black kids, all wearing big puffy North Face coats, etc, but not one was wearing jeans. They all were wearing khakis and cords, one even had critters embroidered all over his cords, and they weren’t baggy. They fit well, narrowly even. Now, this may have been a one time thing, it may have been school sanctioned, but it got me thinking. The world around us is focusing on cleaning up messes made in recent years, and one of the ways that shows itself is in dress code. I think Thom Browne was a soothsayer in his pushing an albeit ridiculous exaggeration of a generally staid, more formal look. Americans’ business casual look will become more formal as we try to reintroduce ourselves to the world. Quality will become as important, if not slightly more so, as value (see: bargain).

I could go on forever.

APC & Nike, Sp '09

The Pipeline at Refinery 29 announced today that come Spring 2009, APC will release another shoe in collaboration with Nike. A fresh take on the 1975 All Court model, the shoe will be available in one of three colorways, red, white, or bleu.