29 January 2011

Coronet Gold

What a regal name for a color! Perfect for an early 1970s Chevy Nova
or that imitation crushed velvet sofa that your Grandmother kept covered in plastic and no one was allowed to sit on
or in my case, a newly arrived pair of cords from good old Lands' End
Flat front in what they call "tailored cut", I like these pants. They're neither too slim, not too baggy...just right. The fabric is soft and velvety. I have a handful of other pairs like these, mostly in colors named after food such as "cranberry"(red), "cinnamon"(rusty brown) and "russet" (like the potatoes, a sort of brownish purple color) Seen here with a navy flannel blazer, blue shirt, rep tie and the abominable Toms/Rugby slippers (yes, I do actually hang around the house dressed this way...sometimes). With the streets as mucky as they've been, I wear these slippers exclusively at home, slip into Bean Boots at the front door, then into some tassel loafers I keep stashed at work. If this incredibly snowy month here in the Northeast has taught us anything, it's the value of a pair of dry shoes that live at your job.

Lands' End has these on sale between $15-$25, in odd pre-hemmed sizes. I picked these up in my waist size, with an inseam four inches too long, then had Mr. Lee cuff them. Nominal sizing is just that when you have a good tailor.

27 January 2011

The Perils of Thrifting (A Tale of Two Jackets, Reprise)

It's not all a bed of roses out there in the wild world of other people's cheap junk.
In an effort to prepare the tattersall jacket we discussed only the other day, a thorough pressing was in order.But as I tried to get the wrinkles out, I just couldn't. It seems like the lining and the body of the jacket don't line up...and the scent of laundry detergent came off it...almost like someone washed it in hot water and it shrunk. Ironic, really, given that our man Thom Browne was known to wash suits in hot water in his quest to create the now famous "two sizes too small" look he's so famous for.  Touche, Mr. Browne, touche.

It's still a nice piece of cloth. Maybe Mr. Lee can fashion a vest out of it or something. Can't win'em all.

p.s. new items in the shop as of last night. Peruse at your leisure. Just don't expect to find any tattersall jackets.

25 January 2011

Worth Every Penny : Parker Safety Razor

I've been shaving with a butterfly safety razor every since I was 18. A while back, after having lost one, I began using an old Gillette, likely made in Boston, that had belonged to my grandfather. Alas, after 60 years of service, the old warhorse started to give out, and I decided I would rather reitre it before it gave out completely than have it in pieces. Enter the Parker safety razor:
An apt replacement to my old one. Stainless steel top, with a knurled black metal handle and just the right amount of vintage styling. The handle is longer that my old one, which took some gettign used to, but after a weeks use I've decided it offers more control. Made in India, but as far as I can tell, every bit as good as a the much prefered Merkur of Germany. In any case, worth every bit of $26.99, especially considering the triple-bladed, lubricated strip, swivel headed plastic junk that you can buy at CVS (or Duane Reade, or Rite-Aid, given you geography) for $15-$20. This thing is nice and hefty, and the last such thin I owned took sixty years of daily use before it quit. A sound investment. Purchased online from Best Grooming Tools, it was on my doorstep in a scant few days.

Those of you who are still afraid of wet shaving with a safety razor, get over it. Sure, you'll hack yourself up a bit to start, but once you get that hang of it, and realize that cuts come only from dull, rusty blades, not clean, fresh sharp ones, you'll wonder why you spent so long faking it. Think about it the next time you're about to drop a twenty on a Mach III, or whatever it is these days. Would you rather have a wafer thin, murderously sharp piece of "safety" near your throat, or something made of plastic with a name suggestive of inordinate speeds? For me, there is no discussion.

22 January 2011

Elevated Casual

Same topic twice in a row...Another great use for the collar pin:
 In this simple and time tested combination of grey tweed, blue shirt, foulard tie and crew neck sweater, the collar pin brings the outfit up nicely. I would say that it "dressed up a casual outfit", but we all know that it's been a long time since an outfit like this would be considered casual. And before someone else says it, I live and work in a city, but the time for considering these things "country clothes" is long past too.

Wearing a tie with a crew neck is tricky. I like it with a bow tie, because you can see the tie. A necktie usually disappears under them. But the pin pulls the tie up a bit, making it just visible. A nice trick. Also, wearing a tie clip high up under the sweater and pushing the tie up a bit gives it some curl and keeps it from sliding back down...another nice trick. 

Tricks like these allow you to convince yourself that you've successfully created that certain air of unstudied nonchalance all clotheshorses strive for, even though its clear to anyone you meet that you spend far too much thinking about your clothes.

21 January 2011

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing

Sometimes it's best to just dive head first into things. So, for the first run of the "real" collar pin, I decided there was no better shirt to stab holes in than one of my made to measure numbers that actually cost me a considerable sum of money. 

Because I got those weird club/not club collars on these shirts, it was decided immediately that the only way to wear them is pinned. So much the better with a real pin. It really does hold things together far better than my old falsie. There's no turning back now. I also really dig the combination of the round white collar and pin with a striped tie and a big fat shawl collar sweater. Got a nice 1930s vibe about it, no?
As a side note, I've discovered that paired with flannels, a big navy cardigan makes an excellent casual alternative to a blazer, and it has been officially decreed (by me) that a cardigan is best when it's long enough to wear it with at least three buttons open at the bottom.

19 January 2011

The Trouble With Designers (A Tale of Two Jackets)

Fashion designers, like every one else, have their place in the vast scheme of things, I suppose. It's no secret that in the realm of women's clothing they hold a place of great importance. Without them, what be the fun in evening gowns? But an evening gown at its best is a work of art, best conceived by an artist. While it's true that a mans garment at its best is also a work of art, we owe that to tailors more than designers. Given that the typical men's "uniform" of jacket, trousers, shirt and tie has basically changed very little over the course of more than a century, so called men's designers have a nasty habit of creating silly unwearable costumes, or worse, simply attaching their name along with a very high price tag to something old they found. In either case, the price tag is rarely justified. To wit:
Here's an old jacket, vintage early 1960s, that I found today at a thrift shop. All the details are there: 3/2, no darts, two button cuff, trim lapels and a shallow vent.
No brand name, just the label from a long gone, forgotten local haberdashery. That, and a union label from the ACTWU, in general a guarantee of high quality construction.

Back in the Fall/Winter of 2009, our man Thom Browne was offering the same thing as part of the then brand new Brooks Brothers Black Fleece line. Anyone remember this?
These pieces were sold separately, with the jacket retailing for an incredible $2100. Not only that, but you have to deal with Mr. Browne's foolish proprietary sizing system (BB1? BB2? and so forth). The jacket I found today is sized by way of measuring its chest and length in inches, thereby corresponding to a similar measurement taken of the human body itself. Imagine that?

Usually when I bring this up, someone is right there to tell me that its all about beautiful fabrics and quality construction with a guy like Thom Browne. But the older jacket is made of butter soft flannel, probably a woo/cotton blend, that reminds me of the best of the old Viyella stuff. The old jacket is just as well constructed. In fact, it's possibly better.
This photo was lifted from a post on StyleForum. It's a picture of the ladies Black Fleece tattersall jacket from that season. In this case, someone is trying to sell it (unsuccessfully) for $220, after about 1/2 dozen tries at a higher price, and is even entertaining offers. But you know what?
The pattern matching on these pocket flaps is razor sharp, much better than on the Thom Browne jacket. Go figure?

So here we have the common egregious crime of menswear "design" that is a simple remake of a good thing from the past. In much of his other work, Mr. Browne commits the other, sheer unwearable costume. Why pay for that?

My point here is not to start a Thom Browne bashing session. I don't care for what the guy does, but I have friends who do. It's a personal choice. But if you do like this stuff, you don't have to pay for it. Just think creatively. Figure out what it is about this stuff that appeals to you, then shop with a creative eye. If it's Thom Browne you like, you're likely to fine that high quality 1960s vintage, perhaps purchased in a shorter length, is pretty much the same thing. Maybe your tastes lean more toward the luxe flamboyance of Tom Ford. So be it. High quality wool suits from the 1970s are basically what he makes, and there's little to no competition for the real ones, and they're cheap. Buy an old suit, get it altered to fit perfectly and show some chest hair. What's the difference?

The trouble with designers is that rather than bring anything new to the table, they tend to have a good eye for old things that are due for a comeback anyway, then trot them out with a big dog and pony show to go along with it, and of course those huge prices. But there's no reason any well appointed and stylish man can't do the same thing, eschewing of course the dog and pony show, and the prices.

Observe, learn, think and have confidence. Who needs these guys?

p.s. the jackets too small for me, so I'll be offering it for sale in the shop within the next few days. Whoever buys it, please tell someone its Black Fleece and see if they can tell the difference.

18 January 2011

Black Tie, Bent Rules and Polite Society

At the gracious invitation of fellow Bostonian and sometimes commenter Yankee-Whisky-Papa, I was afforded the opportunity to don the full black tie get up and enjoy cocktails at a private Back Bay social club. What a time!
Good thing I didn't sell this monkey suit after all. It fit me perfectly, no alterations. Vintage shantung silk, $12.99, how could I resist? Now that I've worn it once, I'd say that it's paid for itself, so the rest is just frosting from here on out.
Besides being midnight blue, not black, the shawl collar is not faced in satin, thought there is a satin stripe down the side of the trousers. A small touch, but a nice one. I bought that silk satin formal bow tie when I was 16 years old, working at Simon's. Classic things are never out of style.
The first of the evenings slightly bent rules: a formal shirt in Black Watch tartan, with a bib, cuffs and (detachable!) collar in gleaming white pique, the generous gift of Tin Tin. Black formal braces borrowed from dear old Dad, and a $7.oo black satin cummerbund I picked up mere hours before at Keezer's. It's nice to know there's still a place where a fella can run out and grab such a thing as a cummerbund in a pinch.

And if it's a good thing I didn't sell the suit, it's an even better thing none of you bought those shoes from me. Vintage 1960s Italian made patent leather lace ups. Looks like I'll be keeping them after all. Skull and bones socks from J.Crew, the second of the evenings bent rules. I think it works, and anyway I bought these socks to go with this tux in the first place, remember?

Sterling silver and gold cuff links, sort of like mini engine turned belt buckles, generous gift of my Godmother on the occasion of my Catholic Confirmation, also at the tender age of 16. They started me young.

A vintage 1940s Kentucky Derby themed cream silk scarf, generous gift of a good friend for my birthday some years ago. Come to think of it, this may have been the first time I've worn it.

Topped with a Chesterfield coat from the Andover Shop ($9.99),  and finished with black leather gloves, a rolled black umbrella, because of the light snow, and (gasp!) a Black Watch driving cap, the third and most egregiously bent rule of the evening. While I'm well aware of the fact that wearing a driving cap with black tie is a sartorial faux pas worthy of capital punishment, I gotta say I liked it. I felt that in conjunction with the slightly off beat nature of the socks and the shirt, it actually tied everything together in its way. Besides, it was freezing outside, no way I was going out bareheaded. Perhaps some of you think this looks a little silly, but nothing looks sillier than being dressed inappropriately for the weather.

Lest you think I was the only one not strictly adhering to an arcane code of dress, here are some of the better examples (unfortunately no photos, my battery was dead. Take my word for it):

-A nice young fellow named B****** wore a classic understated tux, punctuated nicely by a vintage 1930s monogrammed scarf in cream silk originally belonging to his grandfather

-A nice young fellow named A**** eschewed the black trousers in favor of a pair in red, navy and green tartan on a black ground. Excellent. Further points gained for choosing a Barbour jacket as outerwear.

-My gracious host YWP finished his tux with a pair of socks in purple and black horizontal stripes, $2.00 at Target.

-Best of the evening was a very old gent in a very old tux and black bow, worn with a rumpled white oxford button down with a frayed collar! I know how it sounds, but this old dude had the style to pull it off, mostly because he really didn't care. I want to be like that when I'm old.

Also of note was the very low number of pre-tied bows I saw, even on the young guys. Apparently, rich people still teach their sons how to tie a bow tie, generally speaking. Better still, I only saw one four in hand tie the whole night.

Once more, for good measure and vanity:
The tux "in the wild", amongst the leather furniture, wood panelling and brocade drapes of  an old 19th century Brahmin social club.

Thanks YWP, I had a great time. I owe you one.

13 January 2011

A First Time For Everything

I finally did it, I crossed the line. I bought something new in the sartorial holy land that is Andover Shop.

There's the proof, that paper bag right there. I'll keep it forever. I feel like a teenage girl who gets kissed on the cheek by a rock star and vows never to wash her face again. Cripes, I'm blushing.

Being both cheap and broke, my purchase may not have been a big one, but for me it was enough. A collar pin, $17.50 plus tax. Ever since my pal ADG pointed out that only a degenerate would wear a slide on falsey collar pin, I haven't worn mine. This one sticks right through, leaves a hole in your shirt. It's almost like learning to drive stick after a lifetime of faking it with an  automatic.

The Andover Shop exists outside the limits of our mere human world. It's a place so ripe with soul that it practically hugs you as you come in. At the center of it all is Mr. Charlie Davidson, the owner.Sartorial god amongst mere mortals, this short statured old fellows love of jazz, foul mouth and "clothes madness" will keep any admirer enthralled for days. He held court resplendent in charcoal flannels and a hunter green blazer, absolutely ancient tassel loafers, a blue oxford shirt with a mythic collar roll, and black repp tie with purple and yellow stripes. Years ago, I stopped in and got caught up in an hour long conversation with the man himself about the long lost haberdashers of Boston. I didn't buy a thing then, but he told me to feel free to drop by anytime to "shoot the sh*t". Over the years I have done just that, our conversations always end with a laugh and a slap on the shoulder,  and I always leave with a smile on my face.

Today was no different, only I actually bought something. Charlie couldn't have cared less, god love 'im.

I was wearing my favorite scarf, a thing I reclaimed that originally hailed from his shop. I told him the story of it's provenance, to which he replied. "I love that sh*t. That's why I like talking to guys like you."

We talked about Miles Davis. "Who was that guy who did the arrangements on Kind Of Blue? The guy who did Birth of the Cool?" He asked. His old assistant chimed in "I know the guy, but I can't remember his name". Charlie said "I wasn't asking you, you can't even remember your own name sometimes." I chuckled and said "Gil Evans". "Yeah, that's the guy." said Charlie. I'm brimming with pride. I told him that just the other day, while playing Kind of Blue for my kids, I realized that my thrift store copy is a original pressing. "You mean an LP?" Charlie asked. Feeling confident I answered " Is there really any other way to listen to that kind of music properly?" He laughed, and I beamed.

When the time came to leave he said "Nice seeing you again, kid. Stop by any time you like, you know, just to shoot the sh*t."

p.s. as for my own shop...
at the request of customers and readers, I've added a "new" tab to the shop. This will enable frequent visitors to view only the latest additions if they wish.

a note on sizing:
the sizes listed on the Affordable Wardrobe shop are the result of my own measurements, regardless of the nominal sizing on the tags. Jackets marked "short" measure less than 30 inches from collar to tail, "regular" between 30 and 31, "long", over 31. Waist sizes on trousers are also the result of my own careful measurements.

Thanks and Happy Shopping.

12 January 2011

The Jams Winter Warmer Edition; Flamenco, Fancy Shirts and Clementines

Two editions of my infrequent music post series "the Jams" in the same week, let alone the same month, is and unprecendented occurance here at An Affordable Wardrobe. However, after having spent most of the day digging out form under two feet of snow, I felt a little Winter Warmer was in order. Fear not, there's a good enough dose of clothing geekery to keep you satisfied. Besides, I need to move those photos of me in my bedclothes down from the top of the page.
Sabicas, "Festival Gitana" is a ripping Flamenco record by a true master of his craft. Augustin Castellon Campos, born in 1912, revolutionized the world of Flamenco guitar. Known as Sabicas, a nickname he acquired at the tender age of ten, shortened from "El Nino de las Habicas"( the "Broad bean Kid", for his love of that certain legume), Castellon is widely regarded as a seminal figure in the world of gypsy derived Spanish music. For more on him that I could ever tell you, see here.Mrs. G. picked this one up at a thrift for 99 cents, probably because the cover looked good, but what a find.  Neither of us had heard of this great talent, but I'm glad this platter made it's way into my home. I only wish we had more of his work, and maybe someday, if I'm lucky, we will, on vinyl of course. Don't forget, discovery of the great things you never heard of is a happy side effect of thrift shopping.

Here's the man destroying it in 1939:

and once again in 1967:

Just in case you forgot, Spain owns, and I mean owns,  the rights to the guitar.

Turns out, our man Sabicas was a stylish fellow, too. If the guitar and striped suit in the vintage 1930s footage weren't enough to convince you, have a good close look at his shirt:
Pink, with black horizontal pencil stripes, contrast French cuffs, and a pinned contrast club collar (and you thought Flusser  and ADG came up with this stuff...pooh pooh). Worn with a black knit tie and black suit, the look is nothing short of murderous.

So, when the snow piles high and the temperatures run low, dig some gypsy Flamenco.
A crate of Spanish clementines doesn't hurt either. The kids and I have been going through at least a crate a week lately.

From the frozen Northeast, I wish you all the warmth in the world.

10 January 2011

The Comforts of Home

For as much as I may be "clothes mad" (to heist a phrase), I've never been one for pyjamas in the old fashioned sense. I'm talking about the "suits" of pyjamas that come with a button front shirt/coat with lapels. I've always found that they get all twisted in the night,making them terribly uncomfortable to sleep in. But that's not to say I don't give my "house clothes", as I call them, at least some consideration.

And it seems that I've lately found the perfect use for the recently acquired cardigan from Lands' End Canvas 1963. Don't get me wrong, there is no sarcasm intended here at all. I've actually grown quite fond of this sweater used this way. It's soft, warm and comfortable, and being charcoal grey it pairs well with all of my plaid or critter printed flannel pyjama pants. Besides, you should see the ratty old zip front black hoodie this sweater has replaced. Take a cue from your grandfather and Mr. Rogers, a favorite cardigan that sees near daily use but rarely leaves the house is a must have.

I simply throw it on right over my undershirt, button up, and settle down to the task of penning your favorite blog, or maybe reading in bed. Early on a chilly morning there's no better match to a hot cup of tea.

I have about a half dozen pair of cotton flannel pyjama pants, mostly from (gasp!) Old Navy. Soft, comfy, cheap and easily replaced. House clothes are no thing to spend a lot of money on, and I'll admit that even I am a little turned off to the idea of wearing another man's bed clothes. Being the incurable fop that I am, I tend to choose the pair that works best with whatever socks I have on that day (in this case a knee high pair in navy and green rugby stripes from Target, $4.99 in a pack with another pair).  And velvet slippers be damned, those Toms by Rugby RL that appalled so many of you when I first picked them up have become old friends as well. I like to be well put-together, even at home, even when no-one sees. I do it for myself, you see, which is the best, and perhaps only, reason to attempt to dress well.

Did I really just post photos of myself in my pyjamas on the internet? Yikes! Well, at least I don't wear this stuff out to the grocery store at 11 a.m.

08 January 2011

The Jams

In a chain of emails between friends, I had the pleasure of being reminded of a moment of greatness in music history that I hadn't given much thought to in a long while. Lucky me, and now lucky you. I watched it half a dozen times last night, three more just pulling it back up to write this. It's that good.

 Of particular note: the tuxedos; the back up girls, particularly the palms up move at the beginning of this jam; the "slide" and the "quakin' legs" at about 2:20; the black girls in the balcony at 3:10. Sadly, I also noticed that all the black audience members appear to be in the balcony. A blasphemy, really. Those girls should have been front row center. Let's not forget that 1964 wasn't all nice clothes and cocktails.

Sure, it may be a generally accepted fact that Bo Diddley is nothing short of a god in the world of rock n' roll, but when's the last time you thought about that? I've had a life long love of music, and seeing this performance nearly brought me to tears. The guy belts it out like he doesn't even need a mic, the music comes at you hard, like a steam roller, with nothing but some small amps and a drum kit, no high tech gear, just the bare minimum equipment to act as a vehicle for what these guys and girls spill out from their hearts and bellies. Best of all, it's only one chord. Proof positive that guts and raw talent will get you further than needless complexity. A good rule for life, I think.

Since this is a clothing blog,  allow me to point out that this also serves as a further argument for the fact that any man looks good in a suit that fits. Bo ain't a small guy, but his jacket hugs his frame just so, he shows a good half inch of shirt cuff, and how about those pants? Narrow cut and high water, but not tight. Who says big dudes need to wear clothes that fit like drapes? People who don't get it, that's who. The bass player is a skinny guy, who looks equally good in a matching outfit, because his suit fits him equally well. I've said it a million times but it bears repeating: find a good tailor and get to know him. It's hard to tell, but I bet those jackets were tartan with black satin faced lapels. Bo was known for that.

Goddammit, Bo Diddley:

Once again for good measure:

Dr. Jive, honestly.

I played the drums in a lot of bands in the old days, and the styles of music my projects have touched on has varied a bit. But seeing these videos makes me realize that every band I was in, no matter what we played, every time we performed, this is what I imagined, or at least hoped, we were getting at.

06 January 2011

Sis Boom Bah! (The Polo Look, sans Polo)

I'm as impressionable as anyone, I guess. Recently, I visited the Ralph Lauren store in Boston, just to look around, you know? I can't afford anything in the place, but it sure is a treat for the eyes. Say what you will about Ralph, his stores are like going to some magical menswear theme park. The furniture, the lighting, the carpets, and that red tartan jacket with the black velvet collar they had displayed with formal wear (you should have seen it!), it's all perfect. You gotta give 'em that. In any case, the next day, I left the house in this get up:
I'm usually not big on wearing a knee length overcoat without a jacket underneath, but every now and again I can pull it off. Besides if I didn't try, I'd hardly ever get to wear my vintage cashmere number, and that would be a shame.
A vintage bow tie ($1.99), a vintage football sweater emblazoned with a number hard earned by another man long ago, and a cashmere scarf in Black Watch tartan ( generous gift of Mrs. G.) play pretty well together.
Finished neatly with a pair of J.Press charcoal flannel pants ($5.49), yellow socks and a battered old pair of Florsheim penny loafers ($19.99).

I could romanticize the past, and imagine a time when a man might actually have worn such a get up to a football game, but I don't care  for football . I could spark up the tired old discussion about old Ralph, and the "look" he created, or stole as some would say, but I won't. For one thing, aside from the socks and the shirt, none of this outfit is Polo, it's all actual old stuff. For another, I happen to like that "look", on occasion. Being a little too old for the demographic this look is currently aimed at, I find it best to tone it down a bit. On a skinny 22 year old, you might see this with jeans, and the shirt inexplicably un-tucked on one side, likely without socks despite the bitter cold. On a 34 year old father of two, dress pants, a tucked shirt, a clean shave and of course a pair of socks go a long way toward making the look a little more "grown up". Or maybe I'm just out of my head and this is just a silly imitation Polo imitation football get up. That's more likely, but I liked it anyway.

Next time, I'll carry a vintage megaphone with me, and we'll all have a tailgate party out of the trunk of my Honda Civic.

p.s. It's cold outside! Plenty of new items to keep you warm available in The Shop. Stop by sometime.

03 January 2011

Salt Water Chic

The turtleneck sweater is a tricky beast, but this year I found myself convinced it was a must-have. After a fair amount of searching, I opted for this number:

A reproduction Royal Navy submarine sweater, in (just slightly off) white wool, with a big fat ribbed neck,
from What Price Glory, a company I've mentioned before. Specializing in British WWII gear, based in Salinas, California, ships from Dubai, and doesn't say where it was made. Questionable to guys like me who bother to notice these things.
Though it does well under a blazer, this thick sweater is right at home solo under a duffel coat. Not surprising, given the fishing/nautical heritage from which both pieces derive.

Needless to say, this one precludes the need for a scarf. Earlier today, I found myself on the waterfront, being battered by a chill wind. It stung me in the face, but from the neck down I was well protected.

Turtlenecks are weird. You have to be careful to get just the right one, which is why I went so long without one. Forget the close fitting cotton ones, ugly doesn't come close to describing those. A thin one in cashmere or merino looks well with a blazer or tweed jacket, just don't take your jacket off, unless you're going for a motivational self help speaker vibe. A rugged one like this is great for comfy casual situations, but I've worn it a with flannels and a sports jacket to fine effect. Mrs. G. told me I looked like a news anchor from the 70s...in a good way. I'll take it, thank you.

As for What Price Glory, and the sweater itself, the review is mixed, but leaning toward positive. The sweater is very thick, but a bit scratchy. This seems to wear off after it's been worn a few times, though. It's super warm, which is good, but don't wear anything more than an undershirt under it or you'll be sweating bullets indoors. The fits good, though the sleeves are a bit short, too short to cuff. The sweater shipped from Dubai and was at my house in a week, which is good, but because they use DHL and I wasn't home the first time they got there, it was another week before I actually had it, which is annoying. And I really wish I knew where it was made.

Worth $68? I'm the wrong guy to ask, really. I'm sure it is, maybe that's even cheap. I wouldn't know. I was feeling flush when I bought it, and I'm mostly happy with my purchase, but I've been spoiled by the thrift shops and I can't answer this one truthfully. Still, I find myself reaching for it once a week since it came, so I guess that's the answer.


01 January 2011

Post Season: LittleTrees from Big Trees

As the holiday season winds down, many of you are probably packing up the decorations, and taking down the tree. If so, consider this:
My best friends father in law is a master craftsman. He makes some of the most beautiful furniture you never heard of in his studio on an old farm in Western Massachusetts. He's pretty handy at wood turning, too.  I hear he makes a few bucks replicating bits of nineteenth century woodwork for use in the restoration of old buildings. He's also a swell guy.

He also turns these little Christmas trees out of the stumps of actual Christmas trees. If you send him your stump, he'll send you one back. Now that's some well curated authentic heritage Americana if ever I saw it. Seriously.

Chances are if you read this blog with any regularity you're the kind of person who appreciates handmade things and likes to collect stuff that is beautiful, if entirely unnecessary. $60 may be  pricey, but it's only once a year. And once you've accumulated about a dozen of them, it will really be a nice little group on the mantle in December, something to pass on to the kids. That's kind of worth it.

Before you toss the tree, consider sending Don a little piece of it.