building blocks

Capsule Wardrobe Building Blocks

The White T -shirt

A Brief History
Many of today’s clothes derive from the Army, Navy or Air Force and the humble T-shirt is no exception. It originated from the British Navy when sailors were ordered to sew short sleeves onto their sleeveless undershirts to prevent underarm hair being viewed during a royal parade.

The T-shirt was always seen as a utility undergarment until the 1950s when cinema’s brooding anti-heroes Marlon Brando (The Wild One, 1951) and James Dean (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955) were seen sporting them without a shirt over the top. Since then the T-shirt has been adopted by many groups as part of their look and remains a must-have item today.

A Style Classic
The T-shirt is one of the few items of clothing that transcends class, race, gender and time to truly be called a classic. It has been an integral part of many cult looks (think 50s rock ‘n’ rollers or 70s skinheads) and remains just as popular today. Designers are fascinated by its simplicity and lack of exclusivity and are constantly reinventing it in new cuts and materials. There is little reason why the T-shirt would go out of favour as it serves it purpose perfectly and therefore will be around for years to come.

T-Shirts now come in a million and one different colours, cuts and fabrics. Many are adorned with pop culture images or slogans and statements. Unless you are a teenager it is probably best to avoid such frivolity and opt for a classic shaped, all cotton T-shirt in plain white. Chances are this garment is going to get lots of wear, under shirts in the winter and as a top layer with khakis or shorts in the summer. For this reason, purchase the best you can afford. Cheap T -shirts quickly lose their shape, especially around the neck, and become bobbly with wear. Look for 100% cotton examples and ensure that the fit is not too snug, especially if you have a less than perfect shape.

The Knowledge

Never be a billboard, labels should be on the inside.

If you are wearing a T-shirt as your only top layer, do not tuck it into your trousers.

Don’t be tempted to wear a tight cap-sleeve t-shirt. Women do not find them sexy.

A t-shirt should not be visible above the collar of your shirt if you are wearing a suit or tie. This is simply bad form.

The majority of women will say that the most sexy outfit on a man is
1. A white t-shirt and jeans, 2. A tailored suit.

“Let’s just put these blocks up,” says 4-year-old Jacques. “I think this will probably work. Be careful, Corrine.”

“I know,” says Corinne, who is also 4.

With focused intensity, Jacques and Corinne work to balance and secure two semicircular wooden blocks atop two long, straight ones.

Whoa, careful, it’s leaning!

The tower collapses to the carpeted floor at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School.

They work the problem.

It is Silicon Valley, after all. Fail early, fail often, kids. Iterate. Collaborate.

Jacques makes a pitch for stability.

“Corinne, I think if we just put a little on each side and used the right amount where mine was, it would work,” he says. “OK?”

“OK, let’s try,” says Corrine. “OK!”

The tower grows.

Then, to paraphrase Homer, the tower falls thunderously and the blocks clatter about.

“It keeps falling down! Maybe a little higher,” Jacques says, resisting the urge to lose patience.

The block party is on. Soon other kids wander over to try to help build this hour’s great random structure.

“If we can’t do it, we could build something else!”

“OK, what?”

Two blocks or four? Big or small? What shape? This is negotiation and collaboration, pre-K style.

“Those are the kinds of skills that we need later on,” says Jennifer Winters, the Bing school’s director. “We’ll need to learn to work together on projects, to collaborate, to bounce ideas off one another.”

Before Minecraft, The Blocks Were Made Of Wood

Photos: Eric Westervelt/NPR

Capsule Wardrobe Building Block:

A Brief History

A mainstay of any modern wardrobe, the sweatshirt’s continuous popularity crosses all generations and social backgrounds.

To get to the origins of the sweatshirt, we’ll have to venture back to 1920s Alabama, when Benjamin Russell, an owner of a women’s and children’s underwear factory was presented with a problem by his son. Bennie Russell Jr, a football player with the University of Alabama, had grown frustrated with the highly uncomfortable wool jerseys sported by the players. These were itchy, and prone to shrinking after washing.

Benjamin set about developing a comfortable alternative, using women’s underwear material as football shirts. The sweatshirt’s popularity amongst the sporting fraternity was immediate. Adopted amongst football and baseball players across the country, the sweatshirt became synonymous with American sport and comfort. Incidentally it picked up it’s not so glamorous sounding name from factory workers who commented on it’s apparent state post-game.

A design classic

‘The ‘Triangle’ or ‘Dorito’ as it’s been affectionately named, is a design feature that has appeared on sweatshirts since their inception.

The technical name is the ‘V-Stitch’ or ‘V-Insert’, a piece of ribbed cotton jersey or elasticised material commonly found in waistbands. These were originally used as a means of collecting sweat around the chest and neckline after exercise.

Further to their practical uses, the V-Stitch was put in as a way of controlling the stretch of the neckline when pulling the garment on. Today, with improvements on design of the sweatshirts the triangle is more of a visual feature harking back to collegial sportswear.


We recommend a classic marl grey with a crew neck (no hood) and definitely no images, slogans or decals to cheapen it.
Our favourites are: Sunspel and Levi Originals

FiKi Week: Ered Luin: Firsts Series

Happy FiKi Week!

For Ered Luin day, a silly little love story between my Firsts boys, all grown up.  And I would like to dedicate this as an unbirthday present for archer-and-lionprince.  :)

Falling in Love

Kili was a creature of instinct. He always had been, from the time he was tiny and breaking his arm in trees. In a way, it served him well as a hunter; instinct mixed with training let him stop immediately, shoot accurately, when he’d only seen movement from the corner of his eye.

Other times, it got him into … exciting situations. His mother despaired of him, thoroughly convinced that he would get himself into trouble he couldn’t climb out of because he didn’t stop and think things through. Kíli, didn’t worry, though. Things always worked out, either on their own or because of the intervention of his much more cool-headed big (little, he still luxuriated in that knowledge 30 years later) brother.

However, something was…changing.

And Kíli wasn’t sure what.

So he did what he always did when he needed to think things out: he grabbed his bow and a fresh set of arrows and slipped off into the forest. He could disappear for several hours and no one would think twice about it as long as he came home with something for dinner. His only companion was one of his best friends and a brilliant listener, even if she wasn’t much for giving advice (which was, frankly, often a blessing).

“He’s avoiding me,” he told her. “But I don’t know why.”

Fowl hooted what he assumed was agreement.

She’d picked their tree today, a study oak beside the brook that ran down the east side of the mountain. The air smelled like wildflowers.

Kíli swung his feet. He thought well in trees, not that he’d like people to know that. Dwarves weren’t meant to be tree-dwellers. Nor were they meant to be tall, or thin, or bare-chinned, or- well. Kíli-like. Fowl appreciated his idiosyncrasy, though, soaring ahead of him through the forest until she found a sturdy branch and landed on it, fluffing her feathers as she waited for him to join her. He was fairly certain she laughed herself silly every time he scrambled up after her – climbing was a talent, but not a particularly graceful one. “Which, of course, you love.”

Fowl looked pleased.

Keep reading

Capsule Wardrobe Building Blocks

The Peacoat

A Brief History

A Pea Coat (Peacoat) is a heavy topcoat worn in cold, miserable weather by Sailors in both European and American Navies. The original coat was tailored from “pilot cloth” – a heavy, coarse, stout twilled in a dark blue cloth with the nap on it’s outer side. This was sometimes called P-cloth from the initial letter of pilot, and the garment made from it was called a p-jacket – later a pea coat. The term has been in use since the early 1700s to denote coats made from that cloth.

A Style Classic

As with all of our recommended building blocks; The Peacoat transcends time and fashion to become another stylish, yet perfectly practical classic. On film they have often been worn by the action hero, most noticeably Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale and Skyfall.


We recommend you opt for an authentic version and avoid high street fashion for this garment. In the UK Silvermans Naval issue Peacoat is the best example. In the US it’s sold under the Gerald & Stuart Fidelity brand. The cut of the authentic coat is fitted at the shoulders and arm holes and has a deep collar, with a relatively fitted body in a navy or black.
Ezio invents a Starbucks drink
  • Ezio invents a Starbucks drink
  • Antonio de Magianis/Ezio Auditore
  • Assassin's Creed II

Antonio: Avanti, Ezio (Come in, Ezio). Prego (Welcome). Can I offer you something? Biscotti (Biscuit)? Un caffè (A coffee)?

Ezio: What’s caffè (coffee)?

Antonio: An interesting concoction, brought to me by a Turk merchant. Here, have a taste.

Ezio: A little bitter if you ask me. It just seems lacking somehow….I don’t know. Have you considered adding sugar, maybe? Or latte (milk)?