Category Archives: clothes

Where did Baudelaire Buy Shirts? And More!

Paris is loaded with fascinating public spaces that have historical interest. Few cities have more, and fewer still embrace their traditions the way Parisians do.

One of those historic establishments is the shirt maker Charvet.

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Wikipedia has this to say

The world’s first ever shirt shop, Charvet was founded in 1838. Since the 19th century, it has supplied bespoke shirts and haberdashery to kings, princes and heads of state. It has acquired an international reputation for the high quality of its products, the level of its service and the wide range of its designs and colors. Thanks to the renown of its ties, charvet has become a generic name for a certain type of silk fabric used for ties.

BTW, the founder’s father had been curator of the wardrobe of Napoleon. That gave Christofle Charvet a great head start. But there was something else going on

Christofle Charvet created the first shirtmaker store in Paris, for which the new term chemisier (shirtmaker) was coined. Previously, shirts were generally made by linen keepers with fabric provided by the customer,but in this store of a new kind, clients were measured, fabric selected and shirts made on site.[The development of this specialty trade was favored by a change in men’s fashion, with more importance given to the waistcoat and the shirt collar, which called for more propositions for the shirt front and a technical change. Previously, shirts were cut by linen keepers entirely of rectangles and squares. There were no shaping seams and no need for shirt patterns. The new interest for a closer fitting shirt led to curving the armhole and neckline or adding a shoulder yoke, by application to the shirt of tailoring techniques. The new kind of shirt was called chemise à pièce (yoked shirt).  Alan Flusser credits Christofle Charvet with the original design of a collar that could be turned down or folded, much in the manner of contemporary collars, and the concept of the detachable collar.

In those days, the most elegant men belonged to the “Jockey Club”. Charvet advertised himself as shirt maker to the club. Who could resist that?

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And if stories like the above interest you, check out this list of other Parisian destination locations! Most important, enjoy!


$720 for a Pair of Sneakers?

It might surprise you that these would not be the most expensive sneakers around. A pair of gold dipped Nike dunks will set you back $6k. And those are not the most expensive sneaks on the market. Check out the link if you want to know more. Nonetheless, it aint cheap.

And that is what you will need to pay to snag a pair of Nike self-lacing sneakers, called the hyper adapt.

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Want a pair? Here is what you have to do.

Good luck with that one!


And Now a Note from MeUndies

This is not an ad, though it might appear that way.

I wrote about this firm a few days ago and mentioned then that I like their concept. So today, I decided to give it a try. I ordered a trial pair of shorts – and something that I did not expect to see – a pair of lounging trousers.

Image result for MeUndies Lounge Pant

Errr … no, that is not me in the picture.

Seriously, in a cold climate comfy lounging pants are a high priority. Can’t wait till they get here!

If all works out, I will go on the subscription plan. Stay tuned!

A quick follow up – Of course, I have not received my undies yet, but on making my order, I have been impressed with how friendly the backroom staff has been! Impressive!

don’t bust a gusset

If you are worried about the fad to make men’s shirts more trim, Brooks Brothers may have the answer for you. A new version of their oxford classic.

First introduced in 1896, it basically invented the shirt style we now know as the Oxford Cloth Button-Down: a versatile, sporty shirt that can be dressed up or down.

And what is new?

… this new version features side gussets to strengthen the seams, a longer tail to ensure it stays tucked, mother-of-pearl buttons, and, most importantly, the Holy Grail of the OCBD: a collar that enables a glorious, perfect roll.

I will be checking this out this summer!

Can You Make Me Look Smart?

A Long, long time ago, nearly everyone, except perhaps St. Francis of Assisi, wanted to look rich or at least well connected. So an ambitious guy like Sir Walter Raleigh was rather comfortable looking like this back in the 16th century

He knew that the lace et al were important to cast the right image. Fast forwarding to the 18th century, Beau Brummel changed that. After he came along, looking rich meant wearing stuff like this

The style had indeed radically changed — out went the lace and the make up — but the motivation for style did not. It was still to show that you were connected to wealth and power.

This was before the 1960’s blew up quite a bit of that. Then nearly everyone wanted to look cool or hip or at least with it. Looking rich was less fashionable than looking like you were having a good time. Something like this

Or perhaps even like this


Or like this

At first blush, the above looks seem radically different from the “make me look rich” fashions from before. But both of the above deep rooted desires (looking rich and looking with it) gave birth to marketing strategies that sold a hell of a lot of stuff. That stuff signaled belonging to a certain segment of society – your social status. And these strategies  — linking purchases to social status — still work. Err … to a certain extent.

I say to a certain extent because I see less of a desire these days to look rich or cool. These both seem just a bit vieux chapeu. Keep in mind, that we are way beyond punk fashion by now.

Is there a new sort of deep desire that will supplant the desire to look rich or cool or even punk? That is a very good question and an important one for folks who want to sell stuff. BTW, as Dan Pink points out, we all want to sell something these days.

One gets an inkling of the answer from what motivates people these days. For example travel. Lots of young folks are wandering around the planet looking for great experiences. Not because they think it makes them look rich or with it. But because of something else.  Something deeper than just manifesting their social status. You might even think of the allure of wandering as an assertion that something is more important than social status. Like what? Again, good question.  It may be a bit too early to put a word to it.

It could be that we are embracing a different sense of empowerment. A new sense of what makes for finding a meaningful life. And that may have to do with — drum roll please — how smart we are. How well we can play with ideas and bring them into reality. It could be, therefore, that the key to selling  stuffthese days is to make the buyer looks smart. Not rich. Not with it. But smarter than the folks around him or her.

As I think of it, that may have been the core realization that Steve Jobs had about marketing. People will pay a lot for a toy that we call a computer or an Ipad or Iphone because it makes them look smart. It makes them feel good about having that status — not a social status so much, but an individual status.

At least this is what Audi thinks. Check out their new ad. It rocks!

Dunhill’s Got a Romanticism?

Alferd Dunhill is a prestigious brand and it has been for quite some time. Indeed, its stability has always been part of the attraction. It has catered to those who could afford the finer things in life. And so, it is curious to see what Dunhill thinks just what the finer things in life are these days.

Perhaps life was simpler back in 1893. The Telegraph Luxury section informs us that

… ever since the young Alfred Dunhill inherited his father’s saddlery business on London’s Euston Road in 1893 and introduced his range of “Motorities” – early drivers’ accessories – the brand has always stuck close to the idea of the automobile-as-chariot.

Here is young Alfred

But in the era of driverless cars, this fixation of the dashing side of driving  may be out the window. What replaces it?  Dunhill’s answer says quite a bit about how culture is and is not changing.

The point is not to find something new. Instead, it is to take something that we recognize and give it an air of posh possibilities. And Dunhill’s new designers are taking to the idea of London – more specifically, Soho at a given point in its history.

… mining his own memories of arriving in London from Dundee in 1986 to study menswear fashion design at Central St Martin’s, (Dunhill Creative Diretor John) Ray chose to explore a quite different demi monde: the rough-house district of jazz clubs, dive bars, gambling dens and strip clubs that comprised Fifties Soho, and in particular the nexus of artists, writers and sundry imbibers who made the area their artistic Camelot.

Dunhill and rough house jazz clubs?

“I’ve got a romanticism about that part of London,” says Ray.

He’s got a romanticism? Oh dear. Perhaps a grammar coach could help with this. But the show must go on!

The character of the ‘Dunhill man’ – a marketing epithet that doesn’t sit too comfortably on Ray’s lips – is played out in the new season’s compendium of looser silhouettes teamed with the imaginative use of traditional fabrics – twill, crepe wool, shearling and angora –strongly influenced by the clothes worn by Soho’s celebrated confederacy of gutter/moon leading men.

Hmmm … are we talking about something like this

Yikes! Jeffrey Barnard must be rolling over in his grave.