Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

Eastern Time

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

When it comes to timepieces there’s nothing as handsomely Gastby as a vintage watch, but big name American-made watches from sixty or seventy years back can typically run hundreds of dollars on ebay (or more).

My thrifty get around has been to set my sights further east, over on etsy. Searches for Vintage Soviet Watches always uncover dozens of dapperly-designed watches for under eighty bucks whenever I look.

This discreetly dapper little Zim watch is my latest such selection. For me, choosing which un-American, espionage-evoking logo I want glimmering across my wrist (Zarja, Raketa, Poljot) is a major part of the process – and half the stylistic thrill of wearing a foreign timepiece.

For anyone spying you up close is gonna spot those exotic, eastern characters peeking out from the cuff of your coat and understand instantly whether or not you’re someone worth messing with.

As Seen On TV: End of Century

Monday, August 27th, 2012

It’s a little too early to tell if the ambitious art tarts on Gallery Girls will finally fill the Lauren Vs. Heidi-shaped holes in our unscripted television-fueled hearts. I mean, The Hills, at its apex, was truly a thing of back-stabby beauty.

One thing Miss Conrad’s show never provided, though, was a store-within-a-show curated by half its cast; offering the opportunity for us boring beings outside the reality TV bubble to cyber-shop ourselves closer to the center of the catty chic action.

Thanks to the End of Century website, I can bring spiky-nippled black cups, and speckled ceramic-spoons, and alien aloe-plant inspired pots into my life.

Their edgy, organic, lower west-or-whatever-side beauty is the real win. Being able to say they came from the shop of those BravoTV mega-bitches is just a merry, meta little perk.

Let There Be Light

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

A month ago the bedroom was an asymmetrical eyesore. Mismatched nightstands, a baby blue Jonathan Adler lamp on one side, a tomato orange ribbed one on the other. Then Kelly Wearstler whipped open her warehouse for One Kings Lane, and I spent nearly an hour feverishly refreshing my internet browser until a set of stone-veneer nightstands slipped out of other members’ online carts, and into my own. (I sorta owe God sixty-seven favors now.)

I had feared it might take another few years to find matching lamps worthy of my Wearstlers, but it took only twelve days ’til I spotted a conical, concrete number at Gabberts that was just about perfect.

The on/off switch was situated on the cord, and the silken shade that came with it was undersized and uninspiring – but what better excuse to at last enter the nouveau-riche-ish worlds of Lamp Rewiring and Custom Shade Ordering?

So the bedroom and I are on a roll, after eons of aesthetic inactivity. A queen-sized bed that doesn’t squeak when anyone breathes is pretty much all we still need.

Stacked Against Me

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The evidence clearly has been mounting against me for quite some time, but honestly I wouldn’t describe myself as one of those people who LOVES shoes INSANELY – like Pharell ‘n Carrie Bradshaw’s half-black baby deliriously would.

But the four pairs above are the damage I’ve done to my wallet/closet floor in just the past two months – and yet I still don’t feel as if I have that one perfect pair of shoes I can wear every day with any outfit.

Surely, at least some of my outfits will work really rather well with my tawny New Balance hikers.

And other, more 70’s-ish scholarly outfits would pair properly with the hard-to-find Cola-colored Clarks Wallabees I eventually tracked down in England.

And even though they’re more orange in person than I quite know what to do with, the Irish Setters lace-ups I proxied in from Japan will simply have to be the perfect accompaniment to at least ten outfits this season, or I’ll never be able to justify their price tag to myself or anyone sane.

I might still not have one perfect pair of shoes that can get worn with all of my outfits, but fortunately I can pair a perfect outfit with every new and old pair of shoes that I own. If that basically makes me a half-black Bradshaw-born baby, then so be it.

 

 

Preview: SnowGRADE Men’s Market

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

It speaks volumes about Minnesotan style and values that the state’s quickly become home to arguably the most beloved men’s pop-up market in America, September’s annual NorthernGRADE.

Event founders Larry Felitto of J.W. Hulme Co. and Kat MacMillan of Pierrepont Hicks and @mrsphicks Shoes are at it again, launching NorthernGRADE’s cooler, if not frostier, spin-off SnowGRADE on Saturday Feb. 25th. Here they share the story behind their new pop-up, and tip us off on which American-made goods they’re aiming to take home.

Why did you decide to spin-off NorthernGRADE into SnowGRADE?
Larry: The response for the last NorthernGRADE event was overwhelming and more and more I kept hearing from attendees and vendors alike that we should do more of these throughout the year. People really had a great time.

SnowGRADE is adding workshops into the mix. What can people expect to see and learn?
Larry: There will be an axe restoration workshop, a home brewing 101, leather care workshop, leather tooling workshop and the fellas at Marvel Bar are talking about doing a cocktail workshop. I’ll be front row for this one!

Kat: Peter Geye is a local author, who wrote a book called Safe From the Sea. He’ll be there talking about his book and signing copies. His book is about a man and his father, an old sea captain, coming to grips with their relationship… it takes place outside Duluth. It is such an appropriate book for SnowGRADE. And Peter is quite a guy.

Tell me about some of the new vendors who’ve come on board for SnowGRADE.
Larry: Best Made Axe Co. and Northern Brewer are two that I’m most excited about seeing. Both companies, although not menswear, exemplify the heart and soul of SnowGRADE; the idea of American made, craft, durable and quality.

Kat: I am so excited to welcome Byrd and Belle’s modern and gorgeous iPad covers. Moonshine Coffee is providing the coffee, which is so delicious I will probably be highly caffeinated all day long.

Kat: Rancourt and Co. is coming in from Maine. They make traditional handsewn shoes and boots. Frost River is coming. Their bags are awesome! We’ve got a great crew.

How have you tempted out-of-towners to brave the Minnesota winter and attend the event?
Kat: I think folks from elsewhere feel Minnesota in February is something they have to do at least once in their lives. It’s about character building. Or something.

Is there anything you’re hoping to bag at the event for your own wardrobe?
Kat: A Cause and Effect belt. A Byrd and Belle iPhone case. There is a pen at Askov Finlayson that I have to have. It’s apparently used by the State Department and it’s very heavy and can write upside down or underwater, since I am always writing notes while scuba diving I have to have it!

Larry: Fairbault Woolen Mills just launched a line of beautiful new scarves in a variety of colors, I’ve got my eye on one of those.

Larry: I’m also a little disappointed I didn’t pick up a hat from Ball & Buck at NorthernGRADE so I might have to spring for it this time around.

– – –

And there you have it. Better pad your wallets and bundle up, boys. SnowGRADE’s gonna be ice hot!

The Shape of Things to Come

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

My own family’s already made fun of me for shading my eyes behind these sunglasses from OAK. They’ve been calling me an Olsen Twin if and when I’m in them. (I’ve, obviously, been called much worse.)

But their drying-blood color and futuristic fighter-pilot shape feel fresh and forward-looking, which is what this time of year is for, when it comes to one’s look. They combine with the rest of what I’m slipping into these days, and yet quietly clash as well.

That’s just sorta how we Olsen Twins always do things.

Season’s Screenings: Downhill Racer

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Any day now it’s gonna be snow sport season across half the globe, so speed-screening the 1969 flick Downhill Racer is just the trick to slicken any stud’s winter style up quick – on the slopes and off.

In Racer, Robert Redford does his usual stoic-dick brand of schtick as Dave Chappelet, the newest member of America’s then-uncelebrated ski team.

From his dead-end hometown in Colorado to various mountaintop hamlets throughout the Alps, Chappelet’s wardrobe centers simply around sporty, proto-70s basics.

The powder blue chambrays and sherpa-lined overcoats of Chappelet’s farmboy past pair up effortlessly with the showier swank of his jet-setting future, through high-necked sweaters and mirror-lensed shades.

Essentially, as long as you stick to Chappelet and his teammate’s main palette of navy, red, and white, you’ll whip your winter look up to top speed in record time.

True champs will dare to go that extra mile and get their frostbitten hands on some old-school aftershaves, a perwinkle period van, and a Swedish snowbunny or two to slide around the slopes with.

Get ready ‘n set all like that and Coach guarantees your style’ll earn imaginary medals all winter long!

Shades of Greige

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

One wunderbar thing about Holiday Shopping is it tends to send you into stores you wouldn’t think of stepping foot into any other time of year.

Had I not foraged into the fast-fashion disaster zone known as Forever 21 this weekend looking for jewelry and jeggings or something for my tween-age niece, I wouldn’t have found these grey-beige sunglasses for myself, buried in a bowl in the microscopic men’s department.

Smoky grape lenses and discounted down to $2.99, it made all the mallrat madness incredibly bearable.

A Downside to Upgrading?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Next week I’m eligible to upgrade my phone, which I’m only partially excited about because the subpar camera on my iPhone 3GS has taken some really above-par images the past year that it’s been stashed in my pocket. The fuzzed up photos it captures I’ve found to be rather dreamy and almost Polaroid-like. (With or without post-effects apps.)

I’m crossing my fingers that the three extra megapixels, better optics, and built-in flash that’ll be heading into my hand next week won’t perfect away all the awesome imperfections I’ve gotten so used to.

Because I don’t really want to document my daily life in crisp, accurate reality. I want to keep capturing it abstracted and veiled, like it all took place 25-extra years ago on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies.

Speaking of which, I now present a series of never-before-seen images from the past seventeen months, taken and never Tweeted while on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies while I lazily lived my life.

Goodbye, ol’ phone!

Talking Shop: Askov Finlayson

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Any serious shopper has surely (sorta-seriously) imagined opening their own little retail spot. This week I was able to live the daydream through conversations with Minnesotan brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton, whose vibrant new clothing and accessories shop Askov Finlayson opened last month in a 130-year-old building the brothers have carefully converted into an elegant model of the non-Mega Mall.

Capping off a space that also includes the brothers’ buzzy but cozy eatery The Bachelor Farmer and underground watering hole Marvel Bar, the arrival of the Daytons’ compound of cool in the warehouse district of Minneapolis has officially turned the ever hipper ‘hood into our city’s own mini-Williamsburg.

Stocked with revered/revived heritage brands like Penfield and Wm J. Mills & Co., as well as up-and-coming labels like Salt Lake City-based Zuriik Shoes, Askov Finlayson takes timeless style and tips it playfully toward tomorrow.

Eric (above, right) and Andrew (left) were kind and candid enough to sit down and describe their exciting transformation from avid shoppers into savvy shop-owners with the opening of Askov Finlayson.

Where did the idea to open Askov Finlayson originate?
Eric: I worked for Target before business school and got a great retail training there. However, much like opening a restaurant, the idea of opening a store grew out of the opportunity to buy the (Marvel Rack) building and bring it back to life. With my brother as my partner on the project, we wanted to fill the space with businesses that aligned with our personal interests and also would work well together. We hoped that putting a restaurant, bar and shop all under one roof and then programming the second floor with events would create something of a clubhouse for the neighborhood.

How did you go about selecting the brands and products you’re stocking?
Andrew: Our focus has always been on quality of design and construction. It also has to be something that my brother and I both really like, which tends to narrow our search considerably.


I’m curious how your past and current experiences as shoppers, in Minneapolis and beyond, maybe influenced your decisions as new shop-owners.
Eric: There are a lot of great stores in the Twin Cities and we’ve become friends with many of the owners behind them. That said, there were a number of amazing brands that we admired and that were not being offered locally. We saw an opportunity to introduce those brands and add another point of view. We wanted to be complementary to the existing stores in town, not duplicative.

What’s been the best thing about opening your own shop?
Andrew: We get a great mix of customers coming through the store and I find myself spending much of my day interacting with interesting people. Our building is in such a vibrant neighborhood that what’s most exciting to me is simply being a part of it.



What product/products have been the biggest hit with the shoppers at your store?
Eric: People have been responding positively across the assortment, which is a huge relief to Andrew and me! It’s hard to identify a stand-out after only a few weeks, although I will admit that we drastically underestimated the appeal of Vilac balloon boats.

What insight have you gained from interacting with your customers so far?
Andrew: People respond to a perspective. I think that trying to appeal to everyone can ultimately make a store (or a bar or restaurant) less appealing. Even if someone doesn’t buy what we’re selling, they almost always appreciate that we’re taking a position. Fortunately, though, so far a lot of people are buying!

Speaking not as fashion business-owners, but just as dudes, what have you added to your wardrobes this season that you’re super keen on?
Eric: We have spent so much time and energy filling the store with what we believe is a great assortment of merchandise that our own closets haven’t been updated in quite some time. One exception is an awesome jacket that our friends at Epaulet designed in partnership with Vanson. We each got one (different colors of course).

What’s coming up still, this first year, for Askov Finlayson that you’re especially excited about?
Eric: I’m really excited to add local designers Annie Larson and Kenton Sorenson this fall, and then brands like Quoddy and Vilebrequin in the spring. We also have some collaborations with artists in the works, and those are a lot of fun.

Askov Finlayson
200 North 1st Street | Minneapolis, MN 55401
612.206.3925

All Work And No Play…

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

It’s that freaky/fun time of year when dressing-up like someone else is encouraged, regardless of your age. (Although dressing like dead, outdated or imaginary dudes is something I personally recommend doing all year round).

As it’s Halloween month, BBC America’s been playing Kubrick’s The Shining seven or eight times a week, and re-watching it for the first time in forever has led me to seek out a little Cabin Fever Chic for my late fall wardrobe.

Faded plaid flannel would be the most Jack Torrance-ish shirting I could hope to hunt down, but the perfect 1979-ish print’s been hiding from me (somewhere deep in that snowy maze, I suspect).

This button down oxford from Club Monaco seems to suggest a shamed prep-school teacher turned hotel-caretaker though, and is just the right shade of old Colorado Tan. Woven with a subtle undertint, it almost makes the shirt literally “Shine”.

These red-soled suede shoes from Quoddy were my first steps toward my transition into a Torrance. I can just as easily see Jack pairing them with pajama bottoms and a cableknit fisherman’s sweater as I can imagine Wendy tying them on over some red tights and a corduroy jumper dress.

The real trick in turning into a 1980 Torrance though is wearing a thick, insipid turtleneck under just about everything.

And then accessorizing with either a roque mallet or a hatchet. (Club Monaco just sold out of theirs, so I’ve been walking around town miming that I’m clutching one instead).

I’m 167 pages into the original book now. It’s not as inspirational as the film, sartorially – but it’s sadder and not so sarcastic. And hopefully by the end I’ll maybe work out how to rock bloody bathrobes as ready-to-wear.

Until then, creeps, REDRUM and Happy Halloween!

New York Stories pt. 3

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Saturday morning we wandered through Brooklyn and into a new shop called Goose Barnacle where I shuffled through thirty or so assorted packs of Afro-jelly bracelets to select the perfect color combination.

At the Barney’s Co-op we met up with Yuko whose lovely New York life I’ve followed on the internet and Twitter for years. She suggested we walk to an old Pharmacy turned Soda Fountain which sounded super to me.

I tried to select something that wouldn’t ruin my upcoming stop at the Shake Shack, so I went for the Red Velvet Twinkie Sundae. While we snacked Yuko told us about the dream-like shopping in Japan, and we recounted our survival story of being stranded in Paris last Spring at the hands of the Icelandic volcano.

We stopped into a few more hipster-worthy stores on our way back to the subway. Yuko mentioned she doesn’t actually venture into Brooklyn that often because she has a hard enough time stopping herself from buying clothes and shoes and important stuff like that all throughout Manhattan. That’s pretty much half the reason to know and love her!

Another New York blogger, Kwannam, told me about the Cured Olive Shortbread Cookies at a coffee shop called Abraco, so later in the day I tracked one down and adored its offbeat amazing-ness. I think I’ll try and bake some at home myself, sometime sorta soon.

Our final day in New York began at Barney’s where I’d wanted to see their R&Y Augousti accessories since I’m never fast enough to add any of them to my cart when they show up on Gilt. I’ve totally got a thing for shagreen, and after leaving the shop without anything, we trekked all the way back later in the day and bagged one of the boxes above!

I’m always way early for everything, so while wasting time until our lunch reservation we walked past the Apple Store to witness firsthand the fan memorials to the life and work of Steve Jobs. I actually got pretty choked up seeing all the people weeping and hugging and laying down their tributes to the man who changed the world. It’s been such an exciting and impacting decade or so; I guess my almost-tears were a silent little “thank you”.

Needing a AAA battery for the plane ride home, we then darted into a Duane Reader drugstore, where I added a bag of Utz Potato Chips to my souvenir stash. Cuz you don’t see Utz in Minneapolis very often, and Don Draper did do their creative, after all.

The day’s main event was a grand tour of Bergdorf Goodman’s, the retail kingdom where the turban-crowned Kelly Wearstler is now reigning queen.

Having just added clothing and accessories to her brazen line of brassy home goods, our tour climaxed with a two-and-a-half course lunch in the Wearstler-designed BG restaurant.

The best thing about a vacation to a big city is you can curate it with only the topmost shops, and the snappiest snacks, and the most atmospheric eateries, making it as if, for those four or five days, you live in a time and place where everything is beautiful.

Cause that’s the kind of time and place in which we should all be living.