Vestis Legis

Primogenitus. Curator. Vancouver. Halifax. Lex. Menswear. Coffee. @vestislegis

Brooks Brothers x Vancouver Club

With the girlfriend out of town this evening, and the apartment to myself, I had the pleasure of catching up on some reading, some long overdue shoe polishing, and some solo drinking. Not a bad Wednesday evening indeed.

My malt of choice? Glenkinchie 12. My book? The Vancouver Club: First Century 1889-1989.

My evening of solitude allowed me to reflect on the immense pleasure I derive from the simpler, albeit finer, things in life.  Give me something interesting to read, a neat whisky and some classical music on the radio and I couldn’t be happier.  Granted these are all rather bourgeois pleasures – not unlike an admiration of #menswear.

I think there is an undeniable, although by no means absolute, nexus between having an interest in dressing well and having an interest living well. Of course the allocation of scarce resources dictates to varying degrees how well one’s interest in dressing and living well gets to be played out – but the interest, the fascination, the appreciation, is usually there.

 

Having said all of that I was somewhat surprised by the January 23, 2013 post on Permanent Style. I realize that January was some months ago now, but so rarely do I find myself at odds with our learned brother Simon Crompton that his thesis is worth discussing. “I find bizarre” he wrote, “the assumption that because I pursue refinement in clothing I will be interested in the best cigars, hotels or opera.”

Frankly I would have assumed Simon appreciated vintage mechanical movements, well made cocktails and smooth-drawing Cubans. To pursue refinement in #menswear to the degree that he does, and not let that passion for aesthetic beauty, tradition, occasion, and history spillover into the other arenas of life seems inconsistent.

 

To be fair, smoking and drinking are both vices that Mr. Crompton may abstain from generally, and if that is the case there is certainly nothing wrong with that. However if we assume that he does enjoy the occasional mixed drink, and takes the occasional trip abroad, I just can’t picture him sipping a rum and coke in a bespoke suit at a Best Western.

How does one espouse the values of buying well-made, well-designed garments, but then fill their flat with furniture made from particleboard, and artwork from Tesco? How do you connect with merchants and makers of cloth on the level that Crompton does, only to let that passion for understanding fall to the wayside when it comes to other facets of personal expression? It doesn’t add up.

#menswear is a gateway drug.

Bowties go with scotch like Friday morning tee times go with private club lunches.  

 

 

 

Allen Edmonds. Recrafted.

After finishing law school, but before I started articles, I made a trip down to Boston, MA to visit an old roommate from undergrad. Between the beer and the baseball I made a special effort that week to visit an Allen Edmonds shop to get fitted for a proper set of shoes – walnut Strands. It proved to be a wise decision.

Since then I’ve purchased several more pairs of Allen Eddies on eBay – all “lightly used” and all at a fraction of the cost of new shoes. Prior to my Boston trip I would have never considered buying shoes online, but now that I’m familiar with the brand’s sizing I browse and order with confidence.

In the #menswear blogosphere I don’t think there is an article of clothing that is as rigoursly evaluated for its “value” as shoes. Countless digital inches of column width have been devoted to articles, blog posts and reader comments discussing and dissecting whether it is worth “paying more” for quality footwear. Interestingly this is at odds with the prevailing #menswear dogma that aesthetic appeal is in itself valuable, and therefore it is perfectly reasonable to pay more for a nice shirt, tie, or pair of shoes simply because it looks better.

 

Strangely there exists a chorus of cynics who paradoxically frequent websites like Permanent Style and Put This On yet still demand something akin to an actuarial report on the cost, lifespan, and maintenance fees associated with full grain, Goodyear welted footwear to justify their purchase over down-market models. While that level of analysis may seem excessive, the philosopher kings of #menswear who relentlessly champion the value of good shoes almost ask for it.

A new pair of Allen Eddies will set you back about $345. A similarly styled pair of shoes from Aldo, or a like brand, will cost you only $135.

So how do the proponents of quality footwear beat that $210 spread (assuming, for arguments sake, that it is not sufficient to leave it at “the more expensive shoes just plain look better”)? 

I think based on my experience with buying both new, and used, Allen Edmonds I can answer that question.

 

Well-made shoes hold their value: Admittedly that is a weird statement. I don’t think most men shop for clothing with resale value in mind, and there are some guys that would never in a million years buy shoes from a dead guy. Nevertheless a few minutes on eBay will reveal a tremendous volume of used leather shoes selling for hundreds of dollars. More often than not these shoes are several years old, being sold long after they are available in stores or featured in advertisements. This speaks of the intrinsic value of properly built shoes.

The costs associated with manufacturing well-made shoes makes the business practice of dumping countless models on the market every season, with the expectation of deeply discounting them only months later, untenable. Goodyear welted shoes are built to last and are sold with a consumer in mind who will look after them. For these reasons Goodyear welted shoes tend to be conservatively styled; therefore they are a better value proposition over the long term.

I purchased my McAllisters on eBay for about $80. I’d be shocked if a worn pair of Aldos from a couple years ago had any value whatsoever.

Aging: Cheap shoes suffer from rapid aesthetic depreciation. Footwear crafted of dubious “leather”, rubber, and glue will never look as good as the day they were purchased. It may take a year or two, or as short as a couple months, but the veneer of a corrected grain leather will wear away or crack, glued seams will become unglued, and rubber soles will part ways with their synthetic uppers.

Although I have no idea how old my McAllisters were when they came into my possession (the McAllister was reintroduced in 2009), they nevertheless looked quite handsome. The creases in the leather from the miles they’d already travelled added to the appearance of an already commanding shoe.

 

The quality of the leather used to make a shoe will be the single biggest indicator of how a shoe ages: how it responds to the elements, to regular wear, and to the occasional or frequent polishing. While it may be a stretch to say that high quality shoes “only get better with age”, it’s certainly safe to say they age gracefully.

Recrafting: Leather soles do eventually need to be replaced, that is just the nature of the beast. How many years you get out of a pair of soles depends largely on personal variables. Leather soles wear quicker when wet, so that should be avoided whenever possible.

I wore my McAllisters for a full year before sending them to the Allen Edmonds factory for a “recrafting”. I opted for the “standard” package which set me back $125 (+ $15 extra for return shipping to Canada) and it included new soles, heels, and reconditioning of the uppers. 

I was impressed with the recrafting experience. The form was easy to print off and fill out, and the shoes came back in about four weeks time looking practically brand new, and smelling of polish. The richness to the oxblood colouring of the uppers had been completely restored, and the shoes were buffed to a brilliant shine. They felt fantastic too. One doesn’t notice the wearing down of soles over time, until the sole gets so thin your feet are regularly getting cold and damp. Putting my McAllisters back on with thick full soles returned a firmness to the shoe, and a snug fit that had been missing for sometime (and having been purchased used, likely I never fully got to experience).

 

Based on the condition of the soles of my Strands, I’m expecting 2-3 years of regular wear on these shoes before another resoling. 

Could you resole and recondition lesser quality shoes? Maybe. I’m sure most strip-mall cobblers could come up with some combination of glue and polish to prolong the shoes’ slow death, but they certainly wouldn’t be able to return them in “like new” condition.

So where does that leave us?

In a nutshell I consider the “recrafting” process a very good value, which underlines the merit of investing in good shoes, new or used. For $140 dollars I was able to return an $80 pair of eBay shoes to their former $345 glory.  Even if these new soles only last me two more years, for $220 ($80 purchase price, plus $140 recrafting) I’ll have enjoyed three years (one year on original soles, two years on the new soles) of wear out of a very nice shoe, at an amortized cost of only $73.30 a year. Now that is a cost/wear ratio that cheap shoes just can’t compete with.

Anglophilia

 

This past Saturday was unseasonably pleasant here in Vancouver, so I decided to venture out to Main St. to pay a visit to my favourite antique shop - The Source.

 

The Source is a decidedly British affair, focusing its business on the unconventional trifecta of darts, hardware (hinges, knobs, hooks etc.) and vintage pub paraphernalia. Rounding out the inventory is a healthy variety of goodies from English estate sales that includes plenty of artwork (horse and hound type stuff, caricatures of old judges and politicians, country landscapes), out of date encyclopedias and law reports, and lamps and bookcases.

 

In my humble opinion, The Source is to vintage pub fixtures what Bobby from Boston is to vintage #menswear. Granted I don’t think “vintage pub fixtures” is a particularly competitive field. 

Anglophile or not The Source is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in downtown Vancouver and you’re in the market for a little bit of Old World charm to take back to your flat.

I’m particularly keen on the pub signs; all of them are hand painted, and most of them are carved out of wood, weighing several hundred pounds. The sheer size and weight of these beauties makes it hard to imagine actually acquiring one for any purpose other than hanging it outside your garage-turned-tavern. Fortunately mixed in amongst the wooden signs are a few considerably lighter sheet metal signs like ol’ King George II here.

Once fitted inside a wooden frame I think The George would make for a rather interesting piece of original artwork – and certainly a conversation piece.

 

There’s no question that the presence of these antique signs in Vancouver is the byproduct of a shrinking pub landscape in the UK. According to a staffer at The Source, Britain’s losses become Vancouver’s gains by way of shipping containers that The Source receives directly from the UK on a regular basis. Apparently defunct pubs in the UK are unable or unwilling to sell their signage domestically, so the only market for these gems is overseas.

The Brooks Brothers #10 Elastic Band

You won’t find them in the online catalog, but anyone who received a gift card, tie, or pocket square over the Holidays is familiar with this sturdy blue and yellow striped elastic band - courtesy of Brooky Bros.

 

Even if you haven’t received much by way of gifts recently, all it takes is one bender of binging on clearance-priced neckware to riddle your desk with blue elastic bands. 

Though it was easy enough for me to recycle the cardboard boxes, binning the chunky elastic bands seemed wasteful. So after weeks of these stylized ‘bands hanging around my office I started using them in lieu of regular large elastic bands.

The legal profession often relies on elastic bands to keep stacks of authorities organized and documents in their respective folders. The BB #10 elastic band actually works really well.

 

Is this a brilliant example of a #menswear byproduct repurposed for sweet trad office style? Will we ever see elastic bands in ancient madder?  Or is all of this a little too Martha Stewart? It’s probably the latter.

Alas, the Bookster lounge jacket has arrived

These are exciting days over at Vestis Legis – Bookster Tweed is now offering a lounge jacket.

Maxminimus got me onto Bookster back in the fall with a favourable review of their trousers, and I’ve been biding my time ever since, waiting for a suitable 3/2 roll lapel option to materialize. While their hacking jacket is certainly a beautiful specimen, and no doubt lovely for country pursuits, the rigid shoulders and somewhat stuffy button/lapel configurations don’t lend themselves to everyday wear -at least not in the city, by gentlemen under the age of 50.

 

Tweed is so hot right now. No longer the stoic domain of the academy and the sport-shooting crowd, even Walmart has staked a claim. I’d say tweed has never been hotter – but that probably wouldn’t be true. My guess is one would need to consult Christian Chensvold for a proper placement of 2013 on the all time tweed popularity bell curve. Nevertheless a walk through H&M or Top Man will confirm that tweed jackets are being pushed on the masses.

While it makes sense that this hardwearing and versatile fabric is enjoying a high street renaissance, I think this only makes it more crucial that those in the know flex in well-made jackets, cut from cloth a little more exciting than your (quite literally) run of the mill herringbone tweed. Too many geezers are drinking coffee in two-button Harris knock-offs with leather elbow patches. It can be tough to take some days.

I’m about to make a £380 wager that says Bookster has the fix.

 

Bookster opened its doors in 2003 initially as an online retailer of vintage tweed clothing. In 2007 this Gloucestershire-based business started offering made-to-order tweed jackets and suits for city and country wear.

What sets Bookster apart from most retailers is that they take incredible pride in who make their garments, where they are made, and what they’re made of. Very few labels are willing or able to do that. Brands are quick to point out which of their pieces are “Made in America” (or England or Italy etc.), or if a certain jacket is made with Harris Tweed you’ll certainly see that prominently displayed in the copy, but by and large these selected items are the exception to the rule. The rule of course is that you’ll never see the country of origin listed beside a garment on a company website, at best you’ll see “imported” – a useless euphemism for third world construction. As for the quality or maker of the fabric itself, that information is typically neglected as well.

 

Bookster garments however are made entirely in Britain, by a second generation family-run tailoring outfit, using only cloths from top British manufacturers such as Johnston’s of Elgin, Porter & Harding, and some small specialty producers. That’s pretty hard to beat.

I also like that Bookster got its start by sourcing and selling high-end vintage tweed items. I think that kind of pedigree is indicative of a company that appreciates classic English tailoring.

 

You do have to pay for the fabric samples, but as you can see this is a worthwhile step, and the swatches are generous. The swatches aren’t uniform in size because they’re cut by hand on site. I know this because I called Bookster to order these swatches, and the lovely English woman on the phone informed me of when the “sample lady” would next be in.

The options available to customize their jackets are numerous (button, pocket and vent configurations mostly), but not overwhelming or excessive. 

I think it is also worth noting that ”made-to-order” is something different than “made-to-measure”. As you can see from the Bookster online order form Bookster has a standard pattern for their jackets, available in a variety of sizes, and you place your order based on that model. You make the jacket yours by picking the fabric, buttons and pockets – maybe asking for longer sleeves if need be – but the cut of the jacket remains more or less the same. I find that reassuring. If Bookster were a made-to-measure operation, and I were asked to input a variety of measurements without speaking to the cutter, I think the odds of a well fitting jacket showing up in the post some weeks later would be slim.

 

Coming in at a little under $600, the Bookster jacket will be priced comparatively to similar offerings by outfits such as Brooks Brothers and J Crew. While both of those brands make a nice jacket, their seasonal tweed offerings tend to be pretty basic and are almost always “imported.” I say reject the tweed du jour.

If you’re like me and your appetite for street cred draws you towards details like real horn buttons and exotic tweeds like multi-fleck blue Donegal, or green thornproof patterns – then I think Bookster is an online gamble worth taking. At the very least you know you’ll be getting the highest quality tweed, cut and sewn in England. But maybe I’m wrong and I’ll find out the hard way in 7-9 weeks. 

Tellason. Raw.

image

Because my last post was about a brand I wasn’t particularly happy with, I thought I would follow up with a post about a brand I am quite impressed with: Tellason. They make beautiful jeans.

I bought two pairs of raw selvedge denim jeans from this San Francisco based company almost two years ago – and this past December I treated myself to two more.

 image

After two years of consistent wear, these jeans have undergone an impressive transformation from their former crisp and uniform condition. Looking at my well-worn Tellasons beside the new ones it’s hard to believe they’re the same product, but I think that’s the magic of raw denim.

 image

The casual observer would probably be surprised to learn that all jeans start their lives as raw denim garments. Raw denim, or dry denim, is the term applied to denim that hasn’t been washed or treated after it was dyed during production. Raw denim jeans owe their dark and stiff appearance to the fact that after being cut and sewn they are left in this state of nature. Pre-washed, pre-distressed jeans destined for the high street on the other hand are subjected to various washes, stains, and abrasives to arrive on retailer’s shelves feeling broken in, and looking slightly worn. Because raw denim jeans haven’t been subjected to any of the foregoing, the purchaser receives a clean slate where their lifestyle, habits and adventures alone will determine the look and feel of their jeans – not the fashion trends du jour.

 image

The malleable nature of raw denim isn’t necessarily a plus for everyone. Jeans that are purchased pre-washed and faded provide the consumer with a fit and “look” that is reliable and unlikely to change dramatically with washing or time. Raw denim jeans after their first wash may shrink, or the excess dye that has been clinging to the fabric for months (or in my case years) may rinse out in unexpected ways. I say it’s a small price to pay for jeans that will last for years, and will only look and wear better with each passing season. Whereas conventional jeans with contrived whiskering will always be identifiable as jeans bought at a certain time, or from a certain brand, raw denim jeans that whisker organically defy such categorization.

 image

More to the point for #menswear enthusiasts is that “raw denim” jeans have taken on a secondary meaning: quality and simplicity. Though there are budget-priced raw denim jeans, like offerings from Levi’s and Cheap Monday, most raw denim jean brands tend to be made in small batches from heavy weight denim (12oz or better), with high quality zippers and rivets. Raw denim jeans in my experience are often minimalist in their design, forgoing over-styled back pockets, and superfluous details, for basic, timeless styles.

image

 image

Tellason excels on both of these fronts. Sourcing denim primarily from Greensboro, North Carolina based Cone Denim, as well as Japanese producers, Tellason’s California-made jeans feature a genuine leather patch, chain stitching, and reinforced back pockets to prevent your wallet from wearing through. They’ll cost you $200 or so a pop, but it’s money well invested in a hardwearing garment that you can count on for years to come. For more on the cost of domestic jean production I recommend this Wall Street Journal article.

 image

I should also add that I’ve experienced great customer service from Tellason. After a year of rigorous wear the crotches in both of my jeans blew out. When I brought this to Tellason’s attention they invited me to ship them down to their factory, and they repaired them quite brilliantly – free of charge. It’s such a nice bonus when quality production is matched up with lasting customer service.

image

image

 

Indochino. A Parting Shot.

I ordered a suit from Indochino shortly before I started my first office job as a summer student at a law firm. A friend of mine who worked at a bank put me up to it. I blame him for this.

It wasn’t my first suit, but I was still quite green in the #menswear game at the time, and obviously a little naive.  At the time I was probably the target Indochino market: a young man raised by GQ to know that “fit”, thin lapels, and “bespoke features” like novelty liners and surgeon’s cuffs are important - yet not savvy enough to understand the importance of construction or quality textiles.

After dutifully measuring each other according to Indochino’s online instructions we each ordered a suit. If memory serves me correct my colleague went with a navy two-piece, and I ordered a charcoal three-piece. Our suits were about $400 each.

Neither of our suits fit when they arrived. 

The Blogosphere is filled with similar accounts of poorly fitting Indochino suits. In fairness, I’ve also read a handful of Internet postings by customers who were happy with the way their suit fit out of the box.

I sent my suit back, as Indochino invites you to do if the sizing isn’t right, but the fit of the re-made suit wasn’t much better. The jacket fit ok, but the pants remained much too tight. For my money ok isn’t good enough for a jacket that’s supposed to be made to my measurements. 

 

I took the suit to my tailor. I could always count on Radd to shoot straight with me. As a student I was always taking vintage finds or sale items to him that were several sizes too big and asking him to work miracles. Without fail he’d grill me on how much I paid for the garments I brought into his shop, lecture me on their makeup, and then insist the “balance” of the item would be all wrong if he carried out my instructions. Occasionally he’d applaud me on the pieces I brought in for him to work on, but more often than not I’d get a finger wagging for wasting my money.

He was particularly disappointed in me when I brought in this offering from Indochino.

There was nothing he could do about the pants – not enough material to work with he said. The liner he figured wouldn’t last me the summer. Radd routinely works on, and sells, department store quality suits. So when he criticized the makeup of my Indochino suit he wasn’t holding it up against a $1500 suit, he was comparing it to the $500-$600 suits he sells in his shop.

Nevertheless I wore the suit that summer, and even into the following school year – tight pants and all. 

I can’t say exactly when I stopped wearing my Indochino suit, but as I dug it out of the back of my closet this week to put it with the rest of my old work clothes going to the Working Gear Clothing Society, I am sure glad I did.

Simply put the suit just looked cheap – and lifeless. These photos don’t do my dissatisfaction justice. From the materials, to the construction, to how it wore – I was never confident in that suit.

 

The wool itself was probably my biggest complaint. Although advertised as super 120s, the Chinese wool (or wherever it came from), felt greasy and contained imperfections you wouldn’t see in a comparatively priced department store suit.

The stitching holding the liner in place was sloppy, and after one summer of use was already showing signs of wear along the seams.

 

Although the suit wasn’t stuffed with rigid shoulder pads or an overbearing fused canvas, the drape of the jacket never sat well with me.

In short the Indochino suit has since served as my low-water mark for evaluating quality and value. I can say with authority that if you want to spend $400 on a suit, a department store or outlet mall suit will almost certainly be better put together, and cut from better cloth than one from Indochino. 

When you think about it, $400 for a suit isn’t even that cheap. High street suit retailers have sales with such frequency these days that it is not uncommon to see suits regularly priced at much more than $400 available at that price. So from a pragmatic point of view when comparing the quality of an Indochino suit it’s artificial to limit the comparison to other suits regularly priced at $400.

 

Yes, the Brooks Brothers “346” outlet mall special won’t come with a bright metallic liner, functional button holes on the sleeves or a ticket pocket. But it will last you more than one summer at the office, and taken to a flesh-and-blood tailor will fit you just as well or better than what Indochino has to offer.

Glenfarclas of Ballindalloch, Banffshire. 17-year-old expression. The house style is a robust, outdoors take on Speyside, with a greater affiliation to sherry butts than bourbon barrels. The New York Times. Early evening at the Vancouver Club, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Glenfarclas of Ballindalloch, Banffshire. 17-year-old expression. The house style is a robust, outdoors take on Speyside, with a greater affiliation to sherry butts than bourbon barrels. The New York Times. Early evening at the Vancouver Club, Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Kent Clothes Brush. Fundamental.

On my return to the office today I was surprised to receive a late Christmas gift from one my colleagues: a Kent clothes brush.

image

A clothes (or suit) brush is an accessory I had long coveted, but had been unable to source in Vancouver. Although the clothes brush is bandied about on the Blogosphere as an unquestionable staple of male existence, in reality they’re a little anachronistic. The truth is that most men treat their suits and jackets rather poorly, either neglecting to clean them entirely, or dry cleaning them into shapeless oblivion. When you consider that a man’s suit collection is almost certainly the most expensive aspect of his wardrobe, it really is astonishing the way most guys treat them: stuffing them into suitcases when traveling and letting them languish on wire hangers week in and week out.

image

Men wear suits, in the workplace or otherwise, to look good and to look professional. Regardless of how much money you spend on your suits, keeping them clean and looking sharp should be a priority. Otherwise you look neither professional nor well dressed - and where does that leave you?Letting your suit jackets lose their shape, or the fabric lose its lustre from an abundance, or total absence, of cleaning isn’t a good decision for your career or your cheque book.

As I made my rounds to some of Vancouver’s more reputable suit dealers this fall in search of a clothes brush, the best most salesmen could offer me was a lint roller. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by this. Nevertheless it is tragic that shops in Vancouver can trade as purveyors in the arena of #menswear, and sell thousand dollar suits, yet through ignorance or indifference don’t stock relatively inexpensive brushes. I suspect this is a state of affairs that exists beyond the city limits of Vancouver. Granted, as someone who didn’t own a clothes brush until today I suppose my indignation should be somewhat tempered.

image

Dry cleaning is indeed the most effective way to get dirt and stains out of a suit. However it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process will over time break down the natural fibres in the wool and canvas of a suit, and the crude two dimensional pressing that accompanies dry cleaning will eventually affect the shape of the jacket. Unless you’re consistently spilling food and drink on yourself, you shouldn’t be dry cleaning a suit more than twice a year.

The good news is that most dirt and dust, along with minor wrinkles, can be easily brushed away. Do this after every wear and you’ll extend the life of your suits considerably. A regular brushing whisks away crumbs and mud and whatever else you’ve picked up during your workday before it gets a chance to be ground deep into the fibres. Regular brushing is also supposed to prevent that nasty shine that well worn suit pants can develop.

I gave my suit jacket a brisk brushing this morning and I was legitimately impressed with the difference it made. If you wear your suits on a regular basis you gradually stop noticing the settling of little fibres and hairs on your jackets and trousers that have accumulated since their last cleaning. A few passes with the brush will breathe life back into the fabric.

image

Though I don’t doubt that there are many makers of proper clothes brushes, GB Kent & Sons Ltd. (or Kent Brushes as they are more commonly known) have set the the standard for an affordable workhorse of a brush. They’ve been making brushes since 1777, using only natural boar bristle, and have been recognized for their excellence in this field by the granting of various Royal Warrants under nine different reigns.   

So buy a clothes brush, and use it often. When the wrinkles in your suits become too much, take them to a reputable cleaner for a proper pressing. This will keep your suits looking better - longer, and pare down your dry cleaning bill considerably. You’ll also be able to look down on your peers who don’t practice this time honoured #menswear tradition.

The Dark Side of the Authentocracy

image

There’s a dark side to the authentocracy that is #menswear. It’s a crowded marketplace of ideas, products and brands and everyone’s jostling for position – constantly having their bona fides evaluated. It’s sartorial Darwinism. It’s survival of the crispiest.

Nothing in #menswear is authentic enough, well made enough, or classic enough. Your luggage is not heirloom quality enough, and your shirting is not American-made enough. In short we’re always hungry, always hunting, always searching for something more. This isn’t a bad thing.

The guardians of #menswear, like the students of Socrates, engage in a constant dialogue in pursuit of the ideal form of authenticity. Searching in vain for a physical manifestation of true authenticity, a nebulous concept not easily defined or explained. Traditional, original, genuine – adjectives #menswear enthusiasts aimlessly sprinkle into their Christmas wish-lists and product reviews without a true consensus on what any of it means. I think this is because the disciples of #menswear are romantics by nature, and perhaps historical revisionists to some degree as well, idealizing bygone eras, fashions and techniques.

But get too far down the rabbit hole and you can end up like these geezers, steezed-out in the middle of the wilderness reading books and holding vintage magnifying glasses. Nothing wrong with that really – could be one hell of an afternoon - I just think they’ve taken the pursuit of an “authentic” experience a little too far. They’ve had too much of the #menswear Kool-Aid.

We know the holidays are a time for indulgence – more free time to cruise the Blogosphere, more dinner parties to dress up for, more Internet sales. Even the air is crisp this time of year.

Just remember these two chaps when you’re stuffing your online shopping cart on Boxing Day: too much of the #menswear Kool-Aid and you too could wind up passed out on a log in a misty ravine while your pal in yellow slacks regales you with a passage from his favourite book.