Friday, September 16, 2011

The Power of Red

In my next life I'm coming back as Christian Louboutin.

While it's true he has as many ugly shoes as beautiful ones, I must admit that Christian Louboutin has done a hell of a job at branding himself. He has captured the nation's imagination and its material-girl urges with his trademark red-soled pumps. It doesn't hurt that he strives to make women's legs look longer, that his shoes are often seen on the red carpet on the likes of Renee Zellweger and Katie Couric, and perceived to be costlier, more desirable, more exclusive, and of a better quality than his competitors. Temporarily, at least, he has surpassed Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik.

I understand that there have been trademark disputes with Yves St. Laurent. Can you really trademark a color? And who was the first to do it? The designer Valentino claims to have done it in the 70's. It appears that Louboutin has lost the first few rounds. It does not matter.

While I do not profess to be an expert in trademark law (or women's fashion), I know what I like and what works for me. Do these shoes work?. Hell, yeah they work. More power to Louboutin on the day he first applied red lacquer nail polish to the underside of a lady's shoe.

It is a simple, bold stroke of genius and he deserves the success that comes to him.

The power of red and black together


These are the girls I was supposed to go to the beach with last winter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good, Better, Best

Surfing around the internet this morning, I came upon this perfectly acceptable Dooney & Bourke chronograph. It got me thinking about several others like it.

Available at Zappo's, $155.

At 38mm, it is a little small. But me, I almost like 'em that way. We'll call this one "good". Next up in the "better" position, we have the Tissot PRC200 chronograph, a good quality Swiss quartz at $291 from Amazon. I like the fact that the sub-dials are a little less contrasty. I would prefer it with a leather strap, however. I also wish the case had more of a sandblasted finish.

This next one I'm going to call "better yet". It probably provided the design inspiration for the Dooney & Bourke. Very rugged. Very military. Very nice.

Bell & Ross Vintage 126. $2,720 at Pacific Bay Watches.

Here is my personal favorite, though, from a design standpoint, pared down to the essentials, where nothing can be added, nothing taken away:

$880 at Gnomon Watches. The Best.

The other day, a couple of days before she went off to college, my older daughter said to me "you're really into country music these days, aren't you?" Kids these days are so perceptive. (Love ya, buddy.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stanley Duff Muttlebury - "One of the Presidents"

Just a word on the new logo. I notice that at least several of the blogs I admire use an image of some sort to go along with their blog title, something which gives the blog a personality and gives the reader a sense of returning to a familiar place. So I thought I'd give it a go. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get into the swim of things, but here is my first try. I own a copy of this Spy print. Unlike other collectors, it is the only one I own, but I certainly can see how people catch the bug and go on to collect large numbers which adorn the hallway or an office.

This send-up appeared in Vanity Fair on March 22, 1890. Here is some of what the article had to say:

"Born three-and-twenty years ago he became a “new boy” at Eton in the Easter Term of 1880; where, although he only took “Lower Middle,” he determined to make himself conspicuous. So, being a big boy for his age, he donned “tails” and “shiny buttons,” and presently showed much promise as a “wet bob”; which he has since redeemed. For, having successively won the Lower Boys Sculls and Pairs, he proceeded to develop into a rowing machine; and in that capacity he has since worked with fair regularity, breaking down much less often than the machinery of any of Her Majesty’s ships has been known to break down in any equal space of time. He won the School Sculls at his second attempt, and he helped to win the Ladies’ Plate in 1885; after which he was reasonably welcomed to Cambridge, where rowing men were smarting under pretty frequent defeat on the tideway; and where he is now worshipped for four successive victories which he has helped achieve over Oxford. He has won the Cambridge Pairs thrice, the Fours and the Sculls once, and last year he rowed in the Head Boat; while at Henley he has won the Goblets thrice and the Visitors’ once. He still lives in hope of winning the “Grand,” as well as a fifth victory over the Isis men. Yet he is not so good an oar as he was two years ago.

Like most machines he is adapted for one purpose only, and consequently he is not a brilliant scholar; yet he has a head which, it is currently reported, can stand more than that of any other man. He is a fine swimmer, who has scored nearly as many pots in the water as he has on it; and he has upon occasion run at a good rate and played football with fitting violence. He always likes to get a good start in a race, and rows better when he does so; yet he has never started before the word “Go” has been uttered. He takes delight in tearing either side off a boat, for he can row on stroke or bow side. He is a brilliant conversationalist, for in himself he has a never failing subject of conversation in which he is well posted; and he is the strongest man on earth (in a boat) as well as the most ugly.

He knows more of life in London than most men of double his age know, and he weighs fifteen stone when untrained. He can tell stories, and he is supposed to be the most successful pot-hunter in England.

He personifies the triumph of matter over mind."

His obituary, published in The Times of London on May 5th, 1933 called him "the greatest oar Cambridge has ever produced."

Information shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia. For more, go here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ADG: Say It Ain't So!

ADG over at Maxminimus is vowing to sign off and let his URL go dark. Please, for the love of God and all that is good, wander over there, cheer him up and try to talk him out of it. Anyone who finds this blog even in the least bit amusing will certainly find his blog ten times more so.

I can't begin to enumerate the number of ways this guy has influenced me, but basically they boil down to these three:

Stylistically/Aesthetically - Someone to emulate or at least respond to.

Writerly - as a blogger whose voice has authority and authenticity.

As a man - as a father - as someone I consider to be a friend - even though we've never met or spoken. That's how much I enjoy reading his column.

Tell him to keep the store open. You can tell him I said so.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wimbledon, 2011

As a casual observer of tennis I am always glad when Wimbledon rolls around. Perhaps it is the strict adherence to all-whites against that emerald backdrop. Perhaps it is the occasional show of good cheer and good sportsmanship that is also known as fellowship. Perhaps the stiff upper lip in the face of certain hardship, perhaps the rainy weather. Certainly the recollection of a Pimm's Cup well-hoisted. And certain too that Ralph Lauren and Rolex have hitched their corporate images to a wagon far more storied than their own.

Still, it is a wonderful time of year, here in the middle of the heartland in the "middle" of my life, reminiscing about a younger day, engaged in sporting endeavors across the pond. Jackets still required. Grunting, not so much.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shades of Summer

When stumped for a post this afternoon, my older daughter suggested I do a little something on sunglasses. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so here goes:

Though I seldom wear them except when driving, I'm full of opinions.

This is one of my favorite styles currently. For lack of a better term we'll call them "Fuzzy Zoeller's". I have bought expensive sunglasses like this from Maui Jim and inexpensive ones like this at Walgreen's. I usually feel better about myself when I'm wearing less expensive sunglasses.

Then you have the JFK look. Almost Wayfarers, but with a narrower stem. In tortoise shell, not black. Very elegant, very classic.

A great shot for Father's Day.

Another style I like is the RayBan Aviator. Looks good on almost anyone's face. It may make you look a little haughty, but what else are you wearing 'em for?

Happy Father's Day. Comments always welcome.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Original Topsiders

Some of my favorite sneakers, from back in the day, available here:

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

Here is a link to a most interesting collection of shoes that would even make Will over at ASW blush.

Comments always welcome. Way to go, Bruins.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fare Thee Well, Meredith Vieira

It is long since past due: Meredith Vieira has served her last day on the Today Show. This fifty-seven year-old product of New England, graduate of the Lincoln School and Tufts, has served her country and her cause well. As I do some research on her background, I am reminded of the cool of West 57th Street and certainly her work on The View. I am not really a viewer of the Today Show these days (I prefer Morning Joe). However, it is hard to argue with class. And this is something that MV has in abundance and it seems to come naturally from within.

Playful, with Matt Lauer, her first day on the Today Show.

Who says that the gentle passage of time
can't be thoroughly charming?

Meredith shares a moment with Abe Vigoda

And  production staffers

Fare thee well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bruins Open It Up in Boston, 8-1

The Bruins game tonight was as good as any I've seen in a long while, and I've been watching them for some time now. In fact I had to explain to my daughter that there was a time when the players did not wear helmets. I even remember when the goalies didn't wear masks. The first professional game I attended was stopped for 20 minutes, while Eddie Johnston the Bruins netminder had a deep gash in his forehead stitched back together. (There was no back-up goaltender on the bench.) And you wonder why they drank, or had the shakes like Gump Worsley.

Tonight's game and certainly the entire series has been about goaltending. Tim Thomas, my hat goes off to you. Job well done!!

Thomas stretching prior to opening face-off.

Shoving one of the twins . . .

on his ass!

He shoots, he scores! Bobby Orr wins it in overtime. May, 1970.
13,909 screaming fans go wild! Bedlam erupts.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Separated at Birth?

Garrison Keillor vs. Rainn Wilson. You be the judge.

Garrison Keillor is someone I love for his voice, both literal and figurative. There is no one I would rather listen to on a long car ride. He can be enormously entertaining, his voice so soothing. Puts me in the zone every time. Rainn Wilson, not so much. I mean what a screwball. And yet his character, Dwight Shrute, the man you love to hate, is so necessary and vital for The Office. You be the judge. Comments always welcome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Speaking of Temptation

I have never owned one of these, probably never will, but from a purely design point of view, it is exquisite. How could you need anything more?

1948 Citroen 2CV (love that creamy green color). Tintin noticeable in the background.

This caught my eye the other day.

The new Fiat 500

And, as a passing thought, I realized how similar the Honda Insight is to the Toyota Prius, yet somehow more elegant.

2010 Honda Insight

Women We Like - Elizabeth Hurley

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


For the longest time now I have been looking for a blue pincord spring sportcoat. In case anyone out there is also looking, I have a few sources.

He's not a 56 Long.

In the event that you are a 56 long, Brooks Brothers appears to be your best bet, as this is the only size they seem to carry. I haven't done further research to see if this is some sort of a typographical glitch; my guess is that they have discontinued it and this is the only size remaining. Such a pity. Why on earth would you discontinue such a classic? I should thing BB could sell these by the thousands if they wanted to.

Elbow patches on a spring jacket? Really?

Another possibility is this one I have seen by Polo Ralph at Westport Big & Tall. The trouble is, you've got to be big or tall. Still, at $250, I almost pulled the trigger. Also I wasn't so wild about the elbow patches. Elbow patches, to my way of thinking, are generally an affectation -- they should only be added to heavy tweed, and then only when truly needed. I think the best ones are usually pigskin in a chamois or tobacco color.

Continuing my search, I may have seen something available at Joseph Banks, but for some reason or other I didn't like it. You can look around there if you want to. Finally I found just the thing, except it's a suit.

$450 at O'CONNELL's,

Closeup of O'Connell's pincord suit.

Item Last: I found this online while writing this article:

Who knew? $495 at J. PRESS.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Poplin Suit

Well I did it. I broke down and bought a poplin suit suit today. $175 at Joseph A. Bank. At that price, I figured how could I go wrong? I'll probably spend more than that just to have it tailored. I also purchased two short-sleeved sport shirts. It was part of their 50-60-70% off sale. (Buy the first item at 50% off, the second item at 60% off, and the third item at 70% off.) Seriously, price drives the bus at this store. A word to the wise, though -- hold onto your wallet and try not to walk away with anything you know you'll never wear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Timex Tuesday

It just goes to show, it's not what you spend, it's how you use your money and what choices you make. Here is a perfectly good watch (chronographs really have my attention these days) and a Timex, to boot, which has a certain GTH provenance to it. Don't waste your money on a watch, just have faith in who you are and save your nickels for that new Ferrari. Available online.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring is in the Air

While scouting for spring ties, I came upon this image and thought you would enjoy it. Shirt and tie available at Ben Silver.
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