One part Eastwood,
One part Astaire.
Add a dash of Bogart.
Shake, strain and enjoy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rugged/Refined: Grandfathers

My paternal grandfather (far right) in England during Doublya Doublya II sporting the classic Army fatigues.

My maternal grandfather enjoying a smoke on the front steps.  Casual cool at it's best with rolled up cuffs... both shirt and trousers. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter "Storm" Distraction: J. Crew's Spring Line

As I sat at work today, I was secluded in my windowless cell, away from the apparently treacherous conditions that were hyped to leave New York paralyzed in a sea of white.  Co-workers called out.  Clients arrived, but rushed their work to skee-dattle before they were snowed in behind their desks.  I was stuck there, alone, shouldering the responsibility because I chose to live in the city, and not some far off land, and had easy access to the office.

I have come to think that once you reach a certain age (my guess is early 30s), snow devolves from the wonderfully pure substance that elicits childlike awe to a form of anthrax that flutters from the heavens.  Over-reations and hype are spewed out more than insults at roast.  Not having immediate access to what was unfolding outside, my mind began to wander as to what I would face when I finally left.  A friend had uploaded perfect wintery pics to his Picasa page of his snow shaped Brooklyn street and I was excited to head out and frolic (manly frolicing, of course).  As the revolving door finished spinning, I was greeted with a grey, grimy Madison Ave, no different than if it had rained.  Thanks again media - for setting me up and knocking me down.  Snow storms are like blind dates.  You hope... pray... wish that you arrive to a D-cup nympho ready to jump your bones, only to find a frumpy financial dame with the personality of wet dish rag.

But I digress... there is a point to be had.  The (imaginary) snow had brought one blessing to the work day - peace and not so quite.  When the co-workers are away, the iPod will play... loudly.  The random shuffle brought a lot of glimmers of spring... some DMB (a great reminder of summer concerts), Jack Johnson's island cool and quite a bit of Vampire Weekend's eclectic beats.  As a devotee to style and a self ascribed clothes whore, I meandered over to a few of my fashion sites during my lunch break to unwind. 

My favorite ruggedly refined outfitter, J.Crew, has much in the way of exciting offerings for their spring line.  The home page of the men's section features a video with head designer Frank Muytjens and stylist Jack O'Conner highlighting the inspiration and styling of their new collaborations and designs.  I was happy to hear Jack comment on the attention to tailoring.  I believe that fit, first and foremost, is the key to looking sharp and J. Crew only keeps getting better with their attention to detail in cut.  

After watching the video, I was digging the shawl collar dinner jacket made of a lighter weight material for summer - a unique interpretation on a classic piece.  I was also keen on the concept of a chambray shirt (classic rugged) with a tie and jacket (refined)... again, Mr. Crew, I think we are destine to work together. Additionally, take note of the relaxed gingham sport coat on one of the models, another refreshing take on a summer pattern staple. 

Some other things I fancy from their "new arrivals":

Definitely on the "to buy" list:

I love the concept of a pocket square in a rugged material.

Navy Gingham Tie - perfect compliment to a khaki suit.

Piccolo Gingham Tie in Turquoise.

Seersucker Tie... is there a classier summer fabric?

*As a side note: Frank is also up for GQ's designer of the year award - which would be well deserved, in my humble opinion.  All of the nominees are slated to be featured in the March issue of GQ.  

Also, Check out an article on one of my favorite sites,, on Frank's work space

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday's Sophisticated Twist

Click poster to visit movie site and trailer

Welcome to Rugged/Refined!  I'm struggling to find/perfect my voice but what a fitting day to begin.  One inherently oozing with machismo, brutish sport, and tradition. 

I have never been overly concerned with sports.  I am an avid runner, golf hopeful and lacrosse fan but on the whole I never put much energy into passionately following a team... I am a sports loner.  But there is something to the Super Bowl.  I watched, I imbibed, I cheered and in the end I felt defeated by a team I know little to nothing about.  Maybe next year Peyton.  

While many thought about football from sunrise to sunset, I took a slightly different approach. In an attempt to combat the clownish attire of the commentators and the hot wing stained T-shirts that crowded the bars, I decided to interject a little refinement into my day and take in a movie - A Single Man - to keep the balance.  The Tom Ford written and directed piece is visually stunning, with a hauntingly endearing storyline, impeccable 60s attire, inspired architectural beauty and a vintage Mercedes that made me shiver with envy... and I could usually care less about cars.  Besides the flawless style, I was most taken with the interplay of color that Ford used to seemingly denote emotion.  A washed and frigid blue cast hovered over Colin Firth, while those things that reminded him of the beauty of life were saturated in warm tones and vibrant color.  It is evident that Ford poured over every minute detail to create this film.  Tom Ford has always been the pinnacle of menswear design in my eyes.  This movie confirms that his creative mind expands well past the likes of patterns and fabrics.  I highly recommend a visit to the theater or at the very least an addition to the Netflix queue in a few months.  

I knew going into the film that the Tom Ford suits would be precisely tailored. I knew there would be slim ties, razor sharp pocket squares and crisp white, French cuff shirts (laundered, pressed and packaged in a drawer).  Having obsessed over Mad Men, this was a given in 1962.  A scene at the home of Julianne Moore's character, Charley, is the highlight of style in the film.  Firth is dripping in 60s swagger - contoured suit, Rat Pack cuffs, open collar shirt... coupled with a dashing dame and a glass of scotch, he is the embodiment of classic cool.  I could honestly go on for days about the wardrobe in this film, but there is plenty of time to circle back in future posts. 

Colin Firth and Julianne Moore enjoy a night in, but still dressed to the nines.

A pleasant surprise (other than the Mercedes), were the glasses.  Seen above in the movie poster, Colin Firth's character owned those thick plastic frames!  It takes confidence and a certain charisma to pull off chunky specs... and a larger frame face doesn't hurt either.  I was unable to find the exact maker of the ones used in the film but the glasses remind me of a pair of Moscot frames that I came across in my own quest to find eyewear early last year.  Moscot is a New York institution and home to some of the most classic designs to grace a face.  But more on them another time, good reader.

.. it's late and the scotch runneth low.  

A classic pair of glasses.  Ones the most certainly make a lasting statement about the wearer. 
image: Moscot Hyman