Footwear

Massdrop x Allen Edmonds Chukka boots – 5 months on

This drop is live again right now with 8 days left. I was one of the guys who joined the very first drop last year so I thought I’d do a quick write-up of my experience with them. For those who don’t know what Massdrop is, it is basically a group buy/made-to-order type setup. A drop appears for a limited time and the more people join, the cheaper it becomes. Usually the orders don’t start getting made until the drop finishes, so the trade-off for a lower price is that you can sometimes wait for weeks to months for your goods to arrive.

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Shaving

Safety first 

I’m going to take a break from talking about clothes and shoes for a second to talk about how I got into wet shaving. It was kind of an accident really. It was 2012 and my future wife and I had just moved into our new home. I found this enormous steel trunk in the garage. It turned out the previous late owner was in the air force and the trunk was full of old books, a squash racket, course books from his radio engineering days, and a shaving kit (I later found his service pistol in the garage but that’s another story for another day). I asked the daughter and wife if they wanted the trunk and its contents back but they said they were downsizing and told me to keep it.

Inside the shaving kit was some really old rusty double-edge blades, some crusty old shaving soap, an alum stick, and two Gillette Tech double-edge safety razors. Incidentally I had just read an article on artofmanliness.com about shaving like your grandpa and these razors instantly piqued my interest. The old fashioned coolness of it just appealed to me.  Continue reading “Safety first “

Footwear

Finally, shoe-trees for Australians!

Shoe trees are essential when taking care of your shoe investments. I have talked about shoe trees and how to properly take care of your shoes before, but access to good quality shoe trees have always been a problem in Australia. The Americans have pretty nice selection of shoe trees from brands like Woodlore, but shoe trees weigh quite a bit (they are made of wood and metal after all) so the shipping might cost as much as (or more than) the shoe trees themselves. EBay sells shoe trees but the sizing is a bit hit and miss, it’s usually not cedar, the quality is generally terrible, and the shipping is still not that cheap. So I had pretty much resigned myself to buying Florsheim shoe trees due to the lack of options. Until now!

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Footwear

True moccasins

I love my moccasins and own quite a few pairs. Now it is important to distinguish between true moccasins, moccasin-styled shoes, and loafers.

True moccasin construction

A true moccasin is one where the leather is wrapped/shaped from the ground up around the last, then another piece of leather to sewn on top  to form the vamp (the top part of the shoe over your toes). This means the sides and bottom of the shoe are all one piece of leather. A sole is usually sewn to the leather under where your foot goes, and there is usually an insole attached inside the shoe. Here is a handy diagram courtesy of Russell Moccasin Co. The sewing is usually done by hand and there are a number of companies in the New England region of America that specialise in hand-sewn moccasins. Continue reading “True moccasins”

Cloth and Hide

A hem, your pants are too long

Let’s talk about pants. Specifically the end of the pants. For two little openings that allow your feet to poke through, they are surprisingly complex and difficult to master. So I’m going to talk about a few rules and options when it comes to hemming your pants.

Rule #1 (and really the only concrete rule): hem your damn pants!

There’s few things sloppier than a guy walking around with a puddle of pants around his ankles. It makes you look like you stole someone else’s pants and completely ruins your silhouette. Continue reading “A hem, your pants are too long”

Cloth and Hide

See my vest, see my vest, see my vest

I used to think vests/gilets/body warmers (especially warm ones) to be an odd thing. Why would you want your body to be warm but your arms to be cold? I have since seen the light. Sometimes all you want is that bit of extra core warmth without the ungainly sleeves, especially if you are doing some manly activity like chopping wood, or wrangling your baby. It’s a great layering option if the weather can’t make up its mind.

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Cloth and Hide

Military style

I’ve been wearing a lot of military or military-inspired clothing lately. Maybe it’s because I follow Nigel Cabourn on Instagram, or I’m trending towards more over-sized, comfy clothes as I’m getting older, or I just really like green. You could say quite a bit of menswear comes from the military. From the humble t-shirt to the iconic Burberry trench to the grandpa cardigan, you’ll find that men are actually walking around in clothes rooted in warfare and don’t even know it.

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Cloth and Hide · Shopping

eBay Shopping Tips

I like good quality clothes and shoes but I don’t like to pay full retail unless I have to (or I want to support local). So much of my high quality pieces are secondhand. If you live in America or the UK, then you have a wealth of thrift stores and vintage markets to browse. Unfortunately in Australia the thrift scene isn’t as plentiful for guys and this is where eBay comes to the rescue. Here’s what I have learnt from my years of eBay thrifting.

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Coffee

Home brewing and my love for the bean

I became a home barista almost by shear accident. The year was 2013 and we had not long moved into our new home. My wife unpacked an old coffee machine that was gifted to her years ago and we decided to give it a go. Half a packet of supermarket espresso grind later, the machine leaked water all over the bench and died. Fast forward a few months and she bought a little Italian espresso maker, also known as a moka pot. I tried to use the same espresso grind coffee in it and made the most nasty acrid coffee I had ever tasted, so like any good twenty-something I went on the internet to do some research. And I guess the rest is history…

Continue reading “Home brewing and my love for the bean”