by Joseph Bullmore
A good scent will take you halfway across the world. A truly great scent will take you back in time (just ask Marcel Proust). But Penhaligon’s Sartorial fragrance, a modern brut modeled on a traditional fougère, might just do both. The final destination, in that case, is the cutting room floor of Savile Row’s Norton & Sons around the turn of the 19th Century. Can you smell the wood of the tobacco tinted cabinetry? The whiff of steam-pressed tweed? And then that final drop of honey, like beeswax drawn across the thread?
It’s not an altogether arbitrary terminal, either. Penhaligon’s, the holder of two Royal Warrants, grew up on Jermyn Street, just a needles throw away from Savile Row. As such, its master scent-makers know well the heat and spice of those famous workshops, while its clientele are no strangers to the bespoke experience. So synonymous, in fact, has this marquee scent become with the clubland of St James and Mayfair, that outsiders—stepping into those ancient, paneled chambers—might well find themselves asking aloud the old question: Does Sartorial smell like gentlemen, or do gentlemen smell like Sartorial?
It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes. YES GOD. Hardy Amies, the English menswear designer and official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II, preached that (he’s dead now, God rest his soul). Around here, it’s as much gospel as Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
We tend to dress up our sportswear and dress down our formal wear…but usually always with a well-made shoe. Why? Because we’re not 10 years old anymore. We take our shoes very seriously (just not ourselves). The moc-toe penny loafer is one of our essentials.
Originating in the 1930s, somewhat unbelievably, the moc-toe penny loafer was born when the Spaulding company produced shoes styled after those of Norwegian dairy farmers that had appeared in an article in Esquire Magazine. It’s become the closest thing to a shoe suitable for any occasion. Sure, they can feel very Thurston Howell III. We tend to think they’re more Miles Davis. Most importantly, they’re unapologetically American.
Allen Edmonds’ moc-toe penny loafers boast a sleek last with a soft round toe (you’ll love that), an elongated penny tab at the vamp (you want that), and Goodyear welted construction (you need that). They’re handcrafted in Port Washington, Wisconsin via a process consisting of 212 different steps.
[Sidebar] Expensive Goodyear welted shoes can last almost as long as you do if you take care of them. The key is in their ability to be re-crafted (and Allen Edmonds’ most certainly are). Shoes are stretched over their original lasts (to retain shape and appearance), soles are replaced, welting, laces, and heels are replaced, and the uppers are refinished—they essentially look new again, all for about the price of a cheap pair ($125-$200). [End Sidebar]
It’s no secret we like clothes...a lot. But we love taking care of people. And it’s because we love taking care of people that we’re going to get one of you into a pair of Allen Edmonds, on us. That’s right, lucky you. Enter to receive our email newsletter (which you want to be getting anyways) and one of you will be chosen at random on Thursday April 14th. For the rest of you, you can invest in a solid pair right now at a great price during Allen Edmonds’ Anniversary Sale running until April 25, 2016.
It’s September 12th.
The year is 1964.
In a mass raid, Japanese teens in Oxford cloth button-downs are being apprehended by police in the streets of Ginza. Upwards of 200 on this Saturday night are arrested and questioned. At this particular moment, a wrinkly shirt with a button-down collar which signifies old money in the States, is an indictment of criminal behavior in Japan. Their egregious crime? Looking like a Kennedy.
How did we get here? Japan was gearing up for the Summer Olympics. The Tokyo government simply couldn’t tolerate the mere appearance of unruly loitering teens tarnishing their crown jewel of a district’s image. The eyes of the world would be on the nation in less than a month. The kids in Ivy League clothing had to go.
It is this rebellious spirit that Kamakura Shirts conscientiously weaves into each Oxford cloth shirt they make. The buttons are natural shell*. The interlining is non-fusible. The needlework is 22 single needle stitches per inch. The attitude is nonchalant. The result is a soft-rolling collar shirt for $79, made in Japan. Perhaps they got the exchange rate wrong because we’re still scratching our heads over how they’ve pulled this off.
This spring, Kamakura is introducing a fistful of fun striped Oxford button-downs in all four of their fits. We love them paired with our wool/linen jackets and sport-coats (leave the button down collar unbuttoned). At a price of $79, it’d be a crime to not cop one. As for looking like a Kennedy, you’ll likely be acquitted if it’s JFK Jr.
*Unlike plastic, shell buttons don’t melt when ironed under high temperature. We don’t condone ironing—but then again, we don’t know your life.