Archive for the ‘Will’ Category

On Military Time

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Treasury reader Peter wondered about the watch I was wearing in yesterday’s post, so I figured I might as well aim my Canon at it and devote an entry to it as I have come to wear the piece quite a bit over the past year and half.

The good news about the watch is it isn’t one of those pricy, Timex/J. Crew ones. The bad news is, there’s no identifying brand name or marking on the watch to provide us with any clues as to its origin. The word “Quartz” is as specific as this stealth little number cares to get.

What I can say is I had asked for a $30 dollar military watch for Christmas a few years back. The piece I had wanted was nearly identical to this but had a date dial as well. Apparently it was on back-order until after the holidays, and so this one was chosen for me instead as it was very similar in style and price. I believe it was purchased from some ordinary military/outdoor gear shop, and so a similar watch shouldn’t be too hard to track down via Froogle or Amazon.

Despite its lack of a date dial and my initial disdain for the piece because of that, it ends up on my wrist all the time as it is smaller and subtler than my other watches. I suppose its generic stealth-ness is the very strength of its style.

Case Closed

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

After many entries, and endless online investigating, I’ve ended my autumn search for a leather document case with this vintage piece from Murray Leather.

It’s a little shorter than the best one I’d had on hand previously, which is a plus, and its structure is sturdier and free from flop which I also appreciate.

It’s essentially perfect, I only wish it bling-ed a bit more in front with some sort of brassy clasp. So therefore, although this drawn out case appears to be closed, if you read between the lines you’ll surely surmise that a new one has already been opened.

Wash & Wear pt. 2

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Dunking my raw denim (with my body inside them) into a brisk Wisconsin Lake in order to achieve that perfect Levi’s Shrink-To-Fit effect wasn’t a bad way to spend a 93 degree day.

Roaming around the wannabe waves in the drenched denim didn’t feel too icky or sticky, surprisingly. It actually felt sorta swell.

After a breezy, forty minute boat ride my 501s were at least 50 percent dry.

A few sunny, strolls down hot, graveled roads on top of that and the jeans began condensing and conforming to my shape, just as the Levi’s clerk had promised.

A day later, my jeans have maintained their rough, rigid, General Store-staple type of structure, while gaining the perfect little wrinkles and angles which give them that authentic, lived-in, almost alive look.

So far they shrunk up pretty nicely. At least an inch in the waist and the length. Since they aren’t an inky indigo denim and I’m not going for a really worn or whiskered look, I’m gonna just launder them now, fly them through the dryer, and be done with them.

I don’t want to go overboard with the whole ordeal.

(Although, technically, I suppose I already did.)

Wash & Wear pt. 1

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I want a pair of cool, awesomely-fitting jeans as much as the next guy, but I’m not obsessed about it.

I do have a pair of (my first) selvage jeans arriving in the mail today (more on those later) and I did wear a pair of dark rigid denim twenty-plus times this past year before giving them their first wash because voices on the internet told me to. But that’s about as bothered as I’ve cared to get over the whole do-it-yourself denim perfecting game.

But a perfect storm came upon me this week that’s tempting me to play. An article by Simon Roe from Inventory’s premiere issue, along with these $50 buck 501s from the Levi’s store and the quirky clerk who sold them to me seem to be telling me it’s finally time to take the denim perfecting plunge.

My photos don’t quite show it, but the denim I chose isn’t a traditional inky indigo. They’re a lighter, almost train engineer blue, halfway down the track to actually being gray. In person, they’re just odd enough to seem like precious deadstock.

Looming together the advice of Mr. Roe and the dude at the Levi’s store, the key to killer shrink-to-fit 501s appears to be buying them an inch to two inches too large in the waist, wearing them while wet until they dry entirely, and then….

Well, we’ll see where that gets me. I’ll be near a western Wisconsin lake this weekend, so I’ll take a denim dip in my lighter-than-they-seem Levi’s and let them dry right on me.

After that, some advisors claim the jeans will have shrunk to my body already and to wear them as-is a few more weeks before machine washing them. Others suggest I’ll need to launder and dry them after the drench/air dry adventure to ensure a proper fit.

I’ll just take it step by step and see how things seem. Fresh from the store, they fit baggy and bunchy like a toddler’s favorite jeans, but the Levi’s clerk assured me that would be the perfect start to my self-shrinking process.

If nothing else, hopefully we’ll all be info-tained.


Time Travelling

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Up in Northern Minnesota, time stands still in a way that wouldn’t be possible down here around home. And even when something you loved up there finally moves on or fades away, signs of it will still remain for many summers to come.

I’m trying to comfort myself here, but honestly I feel a little bit blue.

Turning Back Time

Friday, July 9th, 2010

There was a time when everything was perfect. My parents had a cabin up north, and I would float in the lake on my water-skis, waiting anxiously to be propelled up and above the surface.

While I’d bob in the waves all alone, to keep my brain from imagining myself as the tragic victim of the first Minnesotan shark attack in recorded history (with the JAWS theme stubbornly ringing in my ears), I’d stare at one of the many candy-colored scuba Swatches I favored in the early 90s to keep myself calm.

For eight years now, I’ve lived without our cabin, and haven’t slipped foot into a water ski.

I’ve missed it all terribly, and so arranged for a family boating excursion later this month. To fully maximize my orchestrated nostalgia I just ordered an old but never worn scuba Swatch off e-bay to sport that day, and beyond.

It’s sea glass green, see-through band is perfect and the visible cogs and wheels on the face will give me something to stare at rather than mysterious, midwestern shark fins.

Paint ‘n Play With J. Crew

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

It came as a quirky surprise to me but last fall, during their Men’s Spring 2010 preview party, J. Crew featured a pair of ragged, paint-ravaged shorts that completely tripped my trigger. For the past many months I’d visit their on-line shop with stalker-like frequency, waiting for the super-splotched shorts to appear.

They never ever did, so I called upon the supreme services of one of J. Crew’s online Personal Shoppers and soon learned that the shorts featured in the fall show, and later in GQ, never made it to production, and a similar though not identical design sold out swiftly as a Men’s Shop at the Liquor Store limited edition in New York in early May.

So I had no choice but to take matters and splatters into my own hand, and permanently ruin some shorts myself. It wasn’t exactly rocket science, but here’s the Step-By-Step instructions for my adventures in Self Destruction.

I’d wanted a pair of boot campy green shorts that weren’t too thin, but I couldn’t find a pair I liked anywhere and so after ordering a pair of J. Crew Sun Faded Stanton Shorts in an almost-green color called Canteen, as well as picking up a pair available in stores in a grey-er shade dubbed Bottle, I went for the Bottle, as its buttons matched its fabric better.

I then placed a strip of one inch masking tape above the hem of each leg to provide a fail-safe guide for even, easy-shearing, but for me short is never short enough, and so I hacked off an additional 3/4 of an inch, almost 3 inches total.

I then jacked up my inner Pollock to whip ‘n flick bursts of white, then dusty blue, then creamy sage, then sky blue, then barely pink splotches of wall paint over the front of my shorts, allowing for a bit of natural-looking wraparound on the outer sides. In between each color I’d brush blobs of extra paint onto the sides of my hands and then blot the splotches into the fabric. I wanted the painted stains to look handy-mannish and authentic, not crisp and 80’s like a teen’s Esprit overalls.

Wondering if I had gone a bit overboard with the paint compared to my original inspiration, I washed my shorts twice, holding them up under the washing machine’s gushing water-fall during the fill cycle to erode away half a layer of my thickly caked-on paint.

And that was it.

I thought I had messed up my messing-up at many points during my shorts’ Self Destruction, but in the end they turned out pretty much how I had always envisioned them: Sawed-off and splotched, salvaged from some Dad’s dusty Nantucket shed during the trip I never took there, sometime last summer.

The thing I like most about them is, on the surface, they dress down everything you pair them with. And yet, they’re such a statement piece that they almost dress everything else up in a witty way too.

Down ‘n Dirty

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Perfect, pristine white denim jeans are the most McQueen-ish (as in Steve) way for an otherwise Good Guy to get down ‘n dirty come the rumblin’ of summer.

To kick around, all over town, in a truly proper pair, the trick is in cotton rough and rugged enough to protect against white denim’s greatest threat: visible front-pocket outlines.

Aside from that, there’s nothing to fear. A little grime ‘n grit ground into them good is exactly what you’ll want…

It shows all the cats ’round your corner just how bad you really can be.

Gitman Bros. x Monocle

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In a 50’s fashioned dream world, I would’ve found a short-sleeve, plaid Gitman Bros. Vintage button up for summer, but the proper pattern and size combo never materialized for me this spring, online.

As a consolation prize, I placed an order for the Gitman Bros. x Monocle short-sleeve popover instead. As much as I appreciate Monocle as a magazine, I have to admit it makes me feel a little lobotomized or slavish to purchase a piece of clothing the publication plopped its name on. Following the leader is the march of the uncool, right?

But a classic broadcloth oxford shirt rendered in such an indigo-ink-y hue seemed so quietly quirked out, I knew I could wear the piece with just about anything, and any time of year.

I’m looking forward to how the piece will fade, but it’s actually so intensely inky, I worry/wonder a bit if it even ever will.

Homemade Vintage

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Ever since this winter, Monday morning through Friday afternoon I pretty much won’t pop a single thing into my mouth unless the chick from Clueless says it’s okay.

As a result, I’m now a walking punchline – and half of my clothes are now too big for me and my plant-fueled body.

Thankfully, for the past ten years I haven’t been able to throw out any adorable article of clothing too large or too small without first saying to myself, “You know, you’re either gonna be one of those people who get thicker and thicker the older they get, or you’re gonna be one of those people who get skinnier and skinnier the older they get. So, self, you better save that sweater/tuxedo shirt/tattoo-ed pair of 1999 CK jeans, just in case you grow a little bit thicker or a little skinnier anytime between now and the year 2062.”

I now have five ‘n a half coffin-sized bins of my former fashion hits and misses messing up my attic which I rummage through every few months. It’s like my own personal thrift store but with far fewer Hilfiger hoodies.

I might not get to eat anything fried or frosted during the week because of that damned vegan has-been, but I can fit into my favorite jeans from Fall of 2000 again which I never thought would happen.

It’s not quite as delicious as Thai chicken with basil was, or salted caramel milkshakes were, but digging into a heaping mound of well-worn clothing classics you yourself turned vintage is tasty in its own way

Mall Madness

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Early this fall, when it was priced at $355, I half-heartedly tried on this Gap leather jacket and quite enjoyed its dulled yet oily finish and its near-perfect fit. Ten weeks later, when it was marked down to less than $95, I snatched it up as my sole selection from the end-of-season fashion sales.

It’s since helped me look 95% cooler and tougher than I actually am, so God bless the good old Gap.


I know J. Crew earns all the internet ink for its constant collaborations with better-buzzed brands and its curatorial approach to merchandizing, but their actual in-house offerings rarely impress me. Over the last few seasons their sizing, fits, and pricing haven’t prompted me to pull the trigger on anything except two pairs of super short shorts and a single grey T-shirt with the word GUARD printed on it (though that T-shirt has become my current favorite, I will say.)

Whereas each season at the “boring” and bad-buzzed Gap I’m able to find at least two styles of pants that fit, perfectly unfussy, and read as completely era-less; and with their constantly re-designed and re-branded denim department there is usually a pair or two every few months that manages to get everything just right as well.

They still stock the mundane, middlebrow building blocks of Chandler Bing’s business-casual wardrobe (lax khakis and lime green button-ups), but when I sift through the middle-American snooze I find A.P.C.-like pop-over tops in rusty madras, tab-collared chambray shirts with stitch-striped cuffs, and trim trench coats in navy wool that Jakob Dylan would (and will) envy me for.

It’s never risky, The Gap – and aside from short shorts and jumpsuits, neither am I. So we’re a real good fit.

January 18th…

Monday, January 18th, 2010

…is my birthday.


All I wanted was blue icing on my cake, but I ended up with a whole lot more.