How Not to Relaunch a Product: Belstaff Jacket

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Belstaff famously makes motorcycle jackets. The brand has been reinvigorated in the past few years. This is good for awareness, but not necessarily good for integrity. Steve McQueen famously stayed home one night rather than go out with his movie-star girlfriend in order to wax his Belstaff. This is not a euphemism. He was such a fan of the motorcycle jacket, traditionally constructed from waxed cotton, that he wore the Trialmaster series … [Read more...]

Elegant Loafing

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Laces: who needs them? When I was a young lad at school, purchasing shoes was a regular activity. My feet grew rather quickly in my early teens and I was taken to Russell & Bromley sometimes three or four times a year. From the comparatively small selection available in their woefully decorated stores (Eighties kitsch), I nearly always pointed to slip-on shoes. As a wide eyed and naive child, I had no tolerance for acknowledging timeless … [Read more...]

How to Dress in the Foreign Office

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Continuing the theme of dressing as costume, the constraints of one’s job can often make one into a stereotype, especially if one works in the more traditional industries or political offices of older institutions. A lovely example is found in the autobiography by Donald Hawley, a long-standing member of the British Foreign Office who was Head of Chancery in Cairo during the Nasser epoch and in Lagos when Nigeria fell apart following the … [Read more...]

Online Shopping & Men

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Last year, I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that discussed how luxury makers who traditionally target women are taking aim at the men in their lives. While this is not a particularly new trend, the intensity and focus surrounding the effort is definitely growing. I also read about Longchamp reviving its line of men's bags, and it turns out that was only the opening salvo. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Lanvin, and even … [Read more...]

The English Suit

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Many moons ago in the late autumn glow of October, I wrote, at length, of suits. Readers that recall my musings might have noticed that, though I paid small reference to the English suit, my focus was on the alternatives; the Continental, the Gangster and the Italian. Any at-length discussion of the English style was intentionally avoided as I believed, and still do, that the English rather overdo it when it comes to blowing their own sartorial … [Read more...]