Archive for the ‘Shoes’ Category

Point Break

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

It’s basically summer, which basically is the season that bores me most. I end up needing especially exotic and chic internet inspiration I’m able to priority ship to myself so the season passes less languidly.

A hot minute ago I impulsively ordered some man babouche shoes. They’re twice as androgynous as might be wise, and I’m probably gonna need some new pajama-y pants to pair with ’em to pull off the Brideshead Revisited world-traveler look I’m leaping into.


But what the heck else would I do with myself all summer?

I couldn’t decide if I should get black or indigo. Indigo seemed a little less harshly Helmut Lang, so indigo it was. They’re arriving from London next week and If I end up ballsy enough to wear ’em in real life I’ll upload the evidence to Instagram.

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…


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


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.


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.


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.

Beach Bum

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

I’m not sure I have it in me to grow an eight-inch beard or completely curtail some strategic manscaping, but otherwise I’m totally adopting Quit Mad Stop’s homeless beach hobo look once warm weather finds its way to me again.

Q.M.S. bags are big enough to literally tote your entire life in, which is of utmost important to the shelter-less set.

And the line’s pared down selection of jackets, polos, and trunks pair up perfectly (randomly) with richer men’s discarded dress shoes rescued from your city’s chicest dumpsters.

These silver painted linen shorts may shatter, slightly, the illusion of the impoverished existence I’m out to orchestrate – but they’re awesomely insane, which isn’t an entirely unwanted undertone when you’re going for that broken-down bum look.

So I’ll see you guys soon, down in the harsh and sandy shadows. You’ll probably pretend you don’t see me at all, but that comes with my new territory – I won’t hold it against you.


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!

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

Right About Now…

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I’ve been wearing this approximate outfit almost every day built around three recent finds.

1) Pointer Brand Chore Coat that the Buckshot Sonny’s dudes hooked me up with last month. For a manual labor-like coat, I tend to actually feel a little more snazzed-up than usual when I slip this coat on and sorta snap up its collar. It’s maybe the extra crispy crunch of the coat’s duck canvas.

2) Imogene + Willie speckled cream jeans in the brand’s higher-rise and therefore more mid-60s feeling fit they call The Willie. They read bright ‘n white on screen but in person they’re more of a heather-ed oatmeal, giving the jeans a heartier, more hardware-store kind of feel I’m quite keen on.

3) And last, but prob’ly not least, a fresh pair of Red Wing 2126 boots. Apparently the deal with this style is that Red Wing stopped manufacturing them “officially” except for once a year, selling the small lot of them down around Texas where they’re especially popular. The 2126s come boxed with round, golden, workman laces, but I threaded in flat, brown ones off Amazon to make ’em a little more mysterious and less bulldozer-driver-like.

So 1, 2, 3 and I’m pretty much good to go each morning. I haven’t found a shirt, even in the shadows of my closet, that refuses to work well with the rest of this outfit.

Wardrobe Resolutions: Vadim, Saucy & Matt

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Batch three of the Fall Wardrobe Resolutions – the most international aesthetes yet!

Fashion Fan #7: Vadim K.

Claim To Fame: Taught me how to order cool clothes from Japan using proxies. Plus he’s Russian!

1) Take more chances with clothes – be less safe. Even if that means dressing in the dark now and then.

2) Get a perfect grey suit. Wait – no…Get two perfect grey suits.

3) Spend less – save more. Check myself into the rehab for shoe addicts. Right after I get that pair of those perfect white Common Projects.

About the image: No matter what I enjoy seeing on people, in lookbooks and on runway, as far as my own closet – I always get inspired by somewhat times past. Therefore lads from The Specials, Mr Hedi Slimane (here – most American I’ve ever seen him) and unknown to me japanese gentleman, shot by Mr Scott Schuman about a year ago – all of these guys define what I try to see in the mirror when I dress in the morning. Now whether I succeed or not – thats a different topic.

Fashion Fan #8: Saucy

Claim to Fame: The Australian, acidic diarist behind Cigaratte Jeans. Surely you remember when I first introduced her to you.

“I know a lot of people don’t like resolutions because they make you feel like it’s added pressure to just trying to live your everyday goddamn life, but I like the idea of setting them and not calling them something zen like “milestone achievements” or “personal goals.” The fact that William asked me to do a mid-season resolution makes me even happier as now I am just not limited to the end of year epic-ness of December 31st. Seasonal goals seem much more manageable and won’t result in me screaming apologies at my external hard drive for not having any new work to load onto it.

1) Somehow obtain and wear this cape.

I am not normally a huge fan of capes, I don’t like a lot of hanging, draping, potentially irritating the shit out of me fabric in my arm waving area, however this one is kind of the shit. Right? I mean, it’s like you could be some super human crime fighting sexy genius in this cape.

2) Learn how to grow lavender without killing it.

In case you are unaware, I live in the other hemisphere to most of you, which means Spring is springing all over the place and it makes me want to get my hands into some earth and strut around in a large floppy hat singing the virtues of home planting. However, despite being raised by essentially a Plant Jesus, I have had very little luck at successfully growing this delightful specimen. Fingers crossed.

3) Find a replacement for the Swedish Hasbeens I wanted that are now DISCONTINUED.

I have been pining after a pair of size 10 Swedish Hasbeens in the peep toe super high style in mustard (what a mouthful) since last christmas and about midway through this year discovered they were discontinued in the colour. Why is mustard such an unpopular colour? I have started a mission to find a replacement pair, and one that does not cost the $280 that the SH’s would have cost me. I am thinking this pair from Wittner might do, but am wondering if they will just make my canoe feet look like hooves? Either way I am kind of digging the image of myself climbing a mountain and singing about lonely highland goats.

Fashion Fan #9: Matt Fox

Claim To Fame: Really fine and really dandy Shopkeeper of the FineAndDandy shop.

1) Wear more hats. I have a terrific collection of hats: fedoras, pork pies, newsboys, ivys. Many of them are vintage and some of them belonged to my grandfather. And yet I wear hats rather infrequently. The weather is getting cooler, and what better time to vow to wear more hats?

2) Be more adventurous in mixing patterns and colors. Theoretically I love mixing it up but many mornings I get caught in that “does this work or does this hideously clash” mentality. I need to take the risk and just go for it, even if I have doubts.

3) Edit my wardrobe. I am so fortunate to have a packed closet. But it’s too packed. I need to edit so my closet its more organized and I’m more able to locate the good stuff.

Wardrobe Resolutions: Damien, Jeremiah & Kwannam

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Batch two of Fall Fashion Resolutions from far-off internet friends. A three-pack of dudes doing it their way.

Fashion Fan #4: Damien Davis

Claim To Fame: Merging together grit with swank on his Junctioned blog.

Resolution: I would have to say my fall resolution is to embrace my inner prep. I’ve really been influenced by the 60s, 70s, and 80s style-wise and over time have tried to build a wardrobe based around those eras in menswear. The simple idea of well worn basics that grow, and mature as you do really appeal to me and my aesthetic.

Fashion Fan #5: Jeremiah Simmons

Claim To Fame: New kid on the blogging block as author of A Headlong Dive.

Resolution: My resolution this autumn is not to break in a new item, but re-unite with what I consider a couple of old friends… my Clark’s Wallabee and Desert Boot. Simply put, they go with anything and mine have gone everywhere. Though I see nothing wrong with desert boots being worn pretty much year round, something about the deep brown hues, worn suede uppers and dirty from wear crepe soles always evoke autumn. Inventive or fashion forward, they are not. What they are… timeless, understated and like an old friend… good to be with again. A man couldn’t ask for better footwear to walk with into fall.

Fashion Fan #6: Kwannam Chu

Claim To Fame: Jet-setting fashion photographer behind We Could Grow Up Together.

1) To find a perfect fit benton sailor striped sweater, yuo know the ones with buttons on one side of the shoulders!
2) Actually to be less obsessed with getting a certain something fashionable just because a new season is coming.
3) We should all have new adventures and embark new journeys in lives as a new season approaches…

The wardrobe resolutions are just getting rolling. More to come, later this week!

Northern Grade Men’s Market

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The goods: All-American.
The guests: Mostly Minnesotan.

This coming Saturday, the pop-up-style men’s market makes its way to Minneapolis thanks to the mavens behind J.W. Hulme Co., Pierrepont Hicks, Red Wing Shoes, and Fox River Socks.

The Northern Grade Ad-Hoc Men’s Market will be invading an old, antique Barn Door/Church Pew store in NorthEast Minneapolis from noon until 7. I’ll be making an unscheduled appearance at some point in the afternoon, and I think I heard there’d be hot, straight-razor shaves offered on-site too. So needless to say, it’s THE place to be seen this weekend.

I best go on now, and grow out my scruff as quickly as possible. I refuse to clash with all the domestic plaids and leathers.

In or Out: Working The Sport Boot

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Since publishing an entry this past January with an early 70s photograph featuring Paul Newman, a dirt-bike, and a pair of biker-esque boots, I diligently hit internet auctions every morning for seven months to race down, at last, this “near mint” pair of 1960s Red Wing Irish Setter Sport boots.

They differ somewhat from my original inspiration, but they were just the style and color I figured would work with my day-to-day wardrobe. Now that I’ve finally got them, I’ve had to figure out to make them look cool with my pants when I’m not wearing slim 60s denim and sitting on a mini-motorcycle as Mr. Paul Newman was.

First I started with my pants crammed inside, but it takes time and it takes work to get them in there alright, and the resulting look is undefined and essentially dowdy.

Pulling the pants out streamlined the silhouette, but I can only think of electricians and dishwasher delivery men wearing them this way.

Neither in nor out was working, so I finally tried my pants the way I normally wear them, cuffed up twice. So far that gets me and my boots nearest that Newman photograph so I’ll roll along that way and see how often I end up wearing these biker-y boots I spent all year yearning for.

(Slimmer pants will probably help too. I’ve loved these canvas, khaki ones quite a bit, but half a year without fried chicken and chocolate milk and they’re just too big now.)

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.