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Archive for the ‘Materialism’ Category

Dot Dot Dot…

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

UnionmadeGitmanVintage

The sun is setting on Unionmade’s spring/summer sale – but in the early dawn of its launch I took a gamble on a dice-like button-up collab with Gitman Bros. Vintage.

GitmanBrosVintage

I made a conscious decision to buy way less clothes this year. I pre-permitted myself just four pieces for spring, four pieces for fall. (And a new coat and pair of shoes for each season.) I’ve more or less stuck to my limits so far, I’m shocked to report – and these limitations have helped me narrow in on pieces I’ll really need, will definitely wear, or are truly distinct.

WilliamScottRees

So though I’m stricter and more sober about my sartorial spending these days, I don’t want my wardrobe to simply stumble into snooze-ville.

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Organic cream polka-dots on inky, thick-linen-like material seemed an art-poppy way to plant some Brandon Flowers-style flair into my newly-parched purchasing habits.

WilliamRees

Strutting around just one bolero-tie away from reading as a full-on Reno casino scenester is a risk I’m in no way afraid to make.

Unionmade

I try to navigate End of Season Sales by aiming for pieces that are gonna work as well, if not better, in the season we’re revving toward as opposed to the one entering the rearview mirror. The crispy duck-cotton-like thickness of this Unionmade x Gitman offering is almost too meaty for summer – it’s gonna feel fantastic, though, against the cool thrust of fall!

Black on Black

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It was January when they first caught my eye.

February or so before I decided I for sure needed them…

BirkenstockShoes

Late (and still snowy) April before I thought it made any sense for a soul to be buying sandals in Minnesota…

BirkenstockSandals

And then suddenly everywhere/shop that I looked, the austere all-black Birkenstocks they call The Monterey (not Arizona) were sold out, a subversive style from a season or three ago. Seemingly never to be revived or replenished.

BirkenstockMonterey

Then June came, just about the earliest it makes sense to manual-up in Minneapolis, and I found a pair in Germany that only took a week to work their way to me.

BirkenstockMontereyBlack

A happy ending as summer finally gets around to beginning!

They’re my third pair of Birkenstocks in as many years, but the way they bridge hippie-chic with Helmut Lang I thought them wonderfully wearable and insanely un-ignorable.

Master & Commander

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

I am undeniably the master of embarking on unreasonable missions, like driving all around town to half a dozen dopey little drug stores in order to find a bottle of after shave retro and Redford enough to get me and my face through the tough winter ahead.

But when I finally come across something like this $8 bottle of Master Spice, which looked to have been sitting on the store shelf since 1979, my crazy quests instantly prove to have been really, really worth it.

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.

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.

New York Stories pt. 2

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Our first full day in New York began at the Doughnut Plant. It wasn’t situated near any of the shops we’d assigned ourselves to visit, but when there’s playful Pistachio, Creme Brulée, and Peanut Butter Frosted/Jelly Filled doughnuts baked fresh in the city I’m waking up in, I’m gonna do whatever needs to be done to try them out.

The bulk of the day was spent in Soho. There were very few shops I cared to return to from my 2005 visit to New York, but Opening Ceremony was definitely one of them.

Although last time the shop was just a floor and a half worth of inventory, and now its spread out over two adjacent buildings with staircase after staircase leading to endless levels of sequin bow ties for him and lucite pumps for her.

The two-headed or pinata-topped mannequins throughout were every bit as kooky-cool as the merchandise. I’d thought about picking up a Carhartt blazer for myself there, but like every blazer manufactured anywhere in the Milky Way since the early 1920’s, even the Small was way too Not-Small for me.

To keep up our strength we stopped into the Mariebelle Chocolate shop where I ordered a hellishly hot Banana/Milk Chocolate drink.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced Hot Chocolate so thick it needs to literally be chewed, but now you at least know someone who has. I almost needed a damn fork to finish my “drink”.

Near the end of the day, my shopping dry-spell was broken at last when a mix-matched set of vintage Italian dishes were snatched up at Aero, and a sparkly slab of pyrite was unearthed at Evolution. On the subway ride back to the hotel, I started to realize I was going to need to base the success of my New York trip on something other than how many shopping-bags worth of sweaters and bookends I slammed into my suitcase once it was over. I vowed to enjoy my visit, and my hunt for new treasures, regardless of how much I ended up buying/not buying.

While still in Minneapolis, I’d made dinner reservations for Friday night at the Oyster Bar under Grand Central Station.

It seemed just the sort of place Holden Caufield would’ve weaseled his way into and then out of, filled with all sorts of over-drawn characters.

In fact we sat at a table next to two college prep pricks who, now that I think about it, I know Holden would’ve royally hated.

But watching the almost fictional-feeling Taiwanese tourists, and lackadaisical latin waiters, and jock-itchy jerks around you is exactly what makes dining at The Oyster Bar so Salinger-esque, and so New York.

Holiday Haul pt. 1

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Two years ago, I felt I had to meticulously photograph all of my Christmas gifts before I could properly use or enjoy any of them. And out of that sudden, strong urge I launched The Treasury just a few days later.

The way I see it, there’s no point in something being delightful unless it’s dutifully documented.

My yuletide tradition continues for a third year. I present to you (and, really, to myself) a selection of the Christmas gifts I was lucky enough to have given and received this happy, holiday season.

1. Vintage French Workbooks.

2. Rogues Gallery Key Fob.

3. Gem-like Game Dice.

4. Bandit Boy Screen Print.

5. Retro-Perfect Stabilo Pens.

6. Not Chocolate-Covered Cherries, but Chocolate-Flavored Cherries!

7. Vintage Book on Style.

8. Made-In-America Robin’s Egg Colored Duct Tape.

More and more it’s the little things – the ones that typically show up in my stocking – that give me the biggest smiles at Christmas.

My Black Friday Find

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

At first glance, this Utility Shirt from J. Crew might not seem like anything special, but it’s got me unusually excited. I’ll, of course, explain why.

First off, it isn’t made of old-school oxford broadcloth but a softer and more supple brushed twill that feels almost like an all-year-weight flannel.

The stud-section shelves at J. Crew and beyond are severely over-saturated with chambray these days, so this new material (offered in multiple colors including dusty red!) has a 1981 Connecticut Canoeing Club feel to it which keeps things fresh and perfectly captures that outdated/updated quality so fascinating in fashion.

White buttons wouldn’t have had enough of that “Walter Mondale’s Weekend in a Winnebago” type ruggedness that the shirt subtly suggests, and so it’s these Bit-O-Honey colored closures that really seal the deal for me.

These Utility Shirts didn’t appear on the J. Crew webshop until just today. I’d like to try out another color as well, and pair them with tan jeans and either almost-feathered hair or a tote with a mallard on it.

I trust I can take care of the hair or the mallard bag myself, but where’m I gonna find some dumb tan denim?

On The Scene: Northern Grade Men’s Market

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Sitting smack-dab between the two coasts, Minneapolis isn’t often invited into the big fashion action, but Saturday’s Northern Grade Ad-Hoc Men’s Market proved that both the men and the makers of Minnesota are sturdy and style-minded supporters of the Made-In-The-USA movement.

With manufacturers Red Wing Shoes, J.W. Hulme, and Duluth Pack but three of Minnesota’s revered and revived brand names, there really was no better state in the Union to celebrate the return of American Style to its rugged, well-made roots on a September afternoon.

Hosted within the Architectural Antiques store in Northeast Minneapolis, local mens boutique MartinPatrick3 anchored the handsome action with checked selections from Gitman Bros. Vintage and luscious leather overnighter bags from J.W. Hulme.

A black-to-brick rainbow of Red Wing boots rose over a salvaged fireplace mantle and past two rows of pre-war, movie theatre seats. (I hadn’t seen so many crepe soles in one place since I stomped out of my closet just three hours earlier.)

The Kansas City boys behind Baldwin Denim were among the friendliest at the retail event, offering expert advice on achieving the perfect dude-denim fit.

One of the brands I hadn’t recalled bumping into on the boy blogs before, Taylor Stitch, showcased the fine fabrics behind their shirting with a stash of swatches set all around our big, black world.

The rocking and most of the rolling at Northern Grade was provided by Erik Kosinken and his back-up band, featuring Your Lord Jesus Christ on (invisible) drums.

These two-toned Hulme bags were my favorite find at all of Northern Grade, although I hadn’t realized it until after I’d left. Soft and unstructured like a weathered old windbreaker, they couldn’t look better had you dug some out of the trunk of your Dad’s sedan and snatched ’em without telling him.

The Rock-Ola jukebox wasn’t up or running during the event, but with Dolly Parton and Dean Martin both trapped somewhere deep inside, don’t think I didn’t consider plugging the old puppy back in.

Carefully curated vintage watches and antique books on topics including sailing and stables were stashed near the back of the MartinPatrick3 station. Their mix of old and new items, as at their North 1st Street shop, always emphasizes the beauty of both yesterday and today’s goods.

I’d received a reminder e-mail from MP3 halfway through the afternoon making me wonder (then full-on worry) that the event wasn’t going so well, attendance-wise. But when I arrived I was plum pleased to see how buzzy and bustling the mini-market was.

Man, oh man, the place was alive!

Minnesota, you done made me proud.

Bean Boots: LL Bean Signature

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

To be clear, the camo case from ACL & Co. that arrived yesterday debuted on-line way last fall. So today is the first real day of F/W 2010 arrivals for me and my wardrobe with the front door appearance of my Alex Carleton designed L.L. Bean Signature classic Bean Boot in its brand new colorway.

Granted, they’re not exactly a “transitional” item. In home by mid-August, I wouldn’t even think of wearing them until a golden leaf or two has fallen, sometime deep into chilly crisp October. Although I won’t be wearing them anytime soon, I’ll adore my black over brown Bean boots as they sit patiently in some un-cool corner ’til full-length pant-wearing-weather returns.

They’re  a little dull right out of the box, but a swift swipe with a leather furniture wipe and they do dew-up just great.

Passing On The Savings

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Although I flirt with and photograph Byredo bottles of fragrance, I tend to end up with whatever scent COMME des GARCONS spritzes into the ether.

The essence of the line’s newest, WONDERWOOD, is richly wooded and thickly forested – yet fine and fancy; too luscious for luggy ol’ lumberjacks. It’s the smell of black-tie in a birch grove, of tuxedos in tree houses. And although I’m not afraid of an offbeat, edgy scent WONDERWOOD’s calmer and quieter than CdG’s Man 2 or Hinoki fragrances which I also favor.

For a limited time you can indulge in any of COMME des GARCONS’ scents at 25 percent off at BeautyHabit.com with a semi-secret coupon code. The code is applicable to any of BeautyHabit’s myriad of brands including Treasury favorites Valobra soaps and shaving cremes and Couto Portuguese toothpaste.

Click below to learn the not-so-secret code, and pinky promise me you won’t make fun of me for knowing it.

Promise!

(more…)

Elizabeth and James Hudson Pant

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The built-in calendar on my iMac assures me it’s 2010.

But I just purchased pleated pants, cuffed, from those mini-moguls from Full House. So most of my brain thinks I’m now living in 1996 (again).

After years of ridicule the pleated pant started to finally seem smart again about a year ago, but only thrift stores seemed to offer any hope of finding a proper pair, and we all know what happens the second you purposely look for something in a thrift store. (You won’t ever, ever find it.)

So some on-line searching sussed out these summer-thin Hudson slacks from the Olsen Twins’s mid-price range. They’re a pretty good start but my deep, deep need for plenty of pleats has only just begun.

I’m hoping the fall of the flat-front will finally make its appearance in some of the A/W 2010 offerings popping up in stores and online in the next few weeks. We’re right on the cusp of my favorite time of year!