Gents, summer has arrived. So while you’re breaking out your shades and your short shorts, summer Saturday style screams for sneakers. However, not all pairs are created equal, and while the sneaker is an American tradition, they’re not so American Gentlemen friendly because:
-They tend to wear out in only one or two seasons.
-They’re almost always made in a sweatshop. Err.. I mean made in China.
-Even though they cost little to make, you often times have to put down a pretty penny to get your hands on em.
- The latest trends are constantly changing.
BUT, a sneaker is an essential item whether we like it or not. They’re the key piece for sports, long days of walking and a wardrobe staple. So while it doesn’t quite fit in the formula, here’s some tips to get the most outta your sneaks.
Buy Two Pairs
I know, I know. You’re saying, “But isn’t American Gentlemen about streamlining your wardrobe? Less is more? Quality over quantity? etc etc”. And while American Gentlemen is about those things, we have to tweak it a little to get the most out of this item. So, generally speaking, sneakers die after about one season’s worth of use, two seasons if you hardly wear them. And a year if you never wear them. But if you’re never wearing something, what’s the point?! I figure, get two pairs, so you’re wearing them half the amount of time, and in turn they’ll at least last you an entire year. Less is still more, but unfortunately for sneakers, no matter the quality, you’re gonna wear them down. So keep it at two, and you’ll get two different options, for twice the amount of time. (This especially works to keep your white sneaks white longer)
Take the price points easy
Keds, the original sneaker came out in 1916. Since then, shoe companies have been making the production process cheaper and cheaper as most of the major brands ship their production overseas. The problem, is that despite these dirt cheap costs, some brands will still charge you $100 + dollars for them. The solution, don’t pay more than $40. My pair cost a bit more cause I wanted that leather material over the typical canvas, but we’re talking $15-$20 more. Not $50 - $100 more. And if you’re buying two sets, that’s $80 for two. Not bad, considering those new Nike Flyknits will run you $160.
Ignore the Hype
We get it. The newest, sickest, shoe has just dropped. But the problem is, the next newest, sickest, most ill, crispy, shoe game crushing pair is about to drop next month. And the month after that, and the month after that. So instead of chasing your tail in circles, ignore the hype. Stick to the classics, and if that new pair stands the test of time, then check it out. Because the grass is always greener, so if you can get the eff of the lawn, you and your bank account will be happier.
You’re invited to the American Gentlemen Launch Party at the Hotel Chantelle!
Part of their Tuesday Night Social, enjoy an amazing three-course dinner accompanied by Live Jazz from Dandy Wellington and His Band in the stunning open air of the Hotel Chantelle rooftop. Work late? Stop by after hours for a drink at the bar, as the electro swing music from Electric Gentleman will be keeping the beats going late. So DRESS TO IMPRESS in your Tuesday Best and celebrate the launch of NYC’s newest style source, the American Gentlemen!
May 14th, 2013 Dinner Seating 8pm-11pm Prefixed Dinner, Classic Cocktails Reserve a table to ensure your spot!
Dandy Wellington and His Band - 8:30 PM Electric Gentleman - 11:30 PM
In this week’s essential’s breakdown we saw some pretty slick shoe options, BUT should you manage to find a diamond in the rough like my 30+ year old Bostonians, you’re gonna wanna to give them some immediate TLC before they’re ready to go, otherwise a cool vintage look can become a rather uncool vintage hole in your shoe. Here’s what you should do as you get those vintage shoes home:
Taking a damp rag, a simple wipe down will do alot of good to just getting rid of the dirt and dust that has accumulated on there over the years. If you’ve got a shoe brush, or even a tooth brush a one-over will help get in the cracks or in between any of the detailing. Also Saddle Soap, is a leather cleaning agent that will spruce up your shoe at this point as well.
The next thing you’re going to want to apply a hard core moisturizing agent. A lot of people use Saddle Soap at this point, but I prefer using Mink Oil. It’s basically like the base coat for your shoe. It’s not gonna change the color or anything it’s just like lotion for your skin, and for a vintage shoe that’s been in a bin or a shelf for the last few years, it’s gonna drink it up. I would really pay attention to any sort cracks or chipping in the leather by applying a bit heavier amount of product. The oil is going to lock out any moisture or water from getting into those areas and are going to rebuild the flexibility of the leather after however long they’ve been out of use.
Now everyone knows that shoe polishing makes your shoes shiny, but contrary to popular belief, shining your shoes is about protecting the leather more than anything else. Like waxing your car, polishing your shoes will protect it from the nicks and scrapes that eventually turn in to the tears that eventually destroy your shoes. Not to mention by matching the right (or wrong) color polish to your shoes, you can add some really unique character to the leather color wise.
And that’s pretty much it. If protecting your shoes is like protecting your car, Preserving would be a car waxing, and protecting would be a car wash. So you should PRESERVE your shoes about once a month, and then PROTECT it, after about a week’s worth of wears, or after a “rainy day”.
KEEPING THE VINTAGE LOOK
What’s interesting to me is that many times when I talk to guys about shoe care, they often say, “I don’t want my shoes to be shiny” or “I like when my shoes get all beat up and worn down”. However by not maintaining your shoes at all, they’re cutting the life of the shoe in half, if not more, so here’s two options for what I would do to protect the shoe and keep that vintage flavor going;
Follow the complete steps above, but after applying the polish to your shoes, just brush them clean, DON’T buff them clean. The polish will leave a matte look on the shoes that will keep your shoes protected AND keep your look.
Cut out the polishing completely, BUT make sure you brush them clean and apply some moisturizing agent from time to time. Since Mink oil and other leather lotions are clear, they won’t change the color of your leather, but will protect the cuts and scrapes from water damage. Water is what kills the leather, so while I’m not a huge fan of this for the overall health of the shoe. It’ll let you keep that broken in look for as long as possible.
And that’s it. For specifics about the process of polishing your shoes, check out Friday’s video!
We get it. You are in college, you’re broke, and you’re eating Ramen noodles for the fourth day straight. It’s ok. Everything will be alright. Go do yourself a favor though, and pick up a blue oxford. Even if it’s this budget option from Gap, it won’t hurt. Their fit has gotten a little better since your mom bought you their hoodies in elementary school.
Let’s face it, you can’t talk about oxford shirts without mentioning Brooks Brothers. They pretty much invented them. Years later, they are still putting out solid options and give you four fits to choose from. I always opt for the extra slim fit considering the brand has a pretty classic cut as it is, and I’m not a fan of my shirts blousing out when tucked in (and nor should you!).
Chris Bastin over at Rugger has been consistently killing it over there these past few years. He puts his own twist on classic American pieces and never seems to disappoint. This oxford gives you the lived in feel without the gross neck stains from buying an already lived in oxford at the thrift store.
Maybe you don’t want to wear shrunken suit jackets and cropped trousers like Thom himself, but you could definitely f*** with this. That is, if you have $320 to drop on a shirt. Nice and heavy oxford cloth that’s going to stand the test of time, along with the cool red, white and blue stripe detail Thom Browne throws on a lot of his pieces. The fit is great, the cloth is amazing, and you will probably get laid if you leave the top few buttons open this summer. Is that not enough reason to spend a little more on better clothes?
So you learned something from us yesterday and you went and picked up some chinos. After looking at all the images online from different websites, you bought what you thought fit the best. Only problem is when you put them on, they looked nothing like the fit pics you saw, and now you’re probably drowning in a sea of self-loathing.
It’s ok man, there is a reason for that. First off, most brands have what we call “fit models”. The product is pretty much based off this guys body to fit him like a glove. They also will use these guys or guys of similar build to model the product for their online images. Second point, you’re not a model (don’t worry at 5’6’’ neither am I)*. Sure you might look at yourself in the mirror and talk yourself up to be this rico suave lady killer, but you don’t have a guy with a measuring tape taking your numbers down to make pants for you. Get over it bro.
So what do we do if we aren’t fit model status? You go an get your own guy to get a measuring tape and take your numbers down. This guy is called a tailor. Pretty much, this guy will become your best friend so choose wisely. Build a relationship with the guy as you would a barber. You don’t go back to a barber who butchers your f**kin head do you? (If you do just don’t respond).
Anyways, you can approach the tailor the same way you do your barber. Maybe first time take a pair of old pants you don’t really wear anymore and have him slim and taper the leg to your liking, see how it goes. If you’re a little skeptical ask to take out less so you have room for error or to keep slimming down further. Maybe bring a picture of how you want them to fit to give the tailor a better idea of what you’re looking for. After you are all marked up let the tailor do his thing.
Depending on the work and the tailor’s demand you will have to wait some time. This could be anywhere from hours for a simple hem to days for a complete slimming. Either way if you found a good guy who understands what you are looking for its worth it. Put the pants on and notice the difference. They fit great right? Now go back and look at yourself in the mirror and keep telling yourself how much hotter you are than that god damn fit model.