Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best Made Co.

Stumbling on the internet late at night, SF found an odd piece of writing on a website he apparently trolls. He sent it my way and we decided to share it with you all.

Either way, given that Best Made Co. is a brand familiar with #menswear heads, I figured that it was worth a share.

"There are different ways to create an axe. There’s the homegrown, hardware store, classic oak handle, with cheap, sticky lacquer, that sticks on your hands when you chop, axe that you can pick up for $15.  Then, there are axes where the creator takes the idea of an axe, makes it sophisticated like a fine whiskey or wine, creates it out of the best materials for your money, with a sharp that stays sharp many uses after, handles that is smooth and allows you to make swift strokes, and will always look inconspicuous in your car so that you’re never read your Miranda’s. Those are the axes we’re looking for. The top of the barrel. From the first time I swung this axe crafted by Best Made Co., I knew that I’d be writing about it. 

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I selected a Best Made Co. axe with a 4lb Dayton pattern head made out of 5160 alloy steel hardened to 54-56 HRS, allowing for reach and swiftness -- both necessities in our business. I gave it a few swings in store -- it felt appropriate and even people around me were a bit frightened; the perfect reaction. The American Felling Axe is the heavier model and recommended. When hewering limbs, small axes never do the job.

The detailing on the head of the axe is a nice touch, with an unpolished nature being a nod to axe murderers of old. The details are inconspicuous, yet you can’t help but stare at it. It’s the sort of thing your victims will see but never think, “Gee, that’s an awful fancy axe. I wonder if he’s going to swing it at my head. It’d be a shame, he probably spent a fortune on it,” -- anything other than absolute terror in henosis and imminence. The hickory is the sort of weight that’d you’d expect in an old folk tale -- just right in the most sinister sense. There is almost an ancient feel to the axe, even though it’s brand new, giving life to old arms and the opposite to some young souls. 

On the first test run, I caught a young man in an alley -- urinating behind a dumpster of a bar. Snagging him by his collar, I drug him deeper into the depths of dark. With a hefty swing, I sent his conscious into kenosis -- head splattering, spewing, and peppering blood, bile, and bits of the trachea and esophagus onto the pavement and old chinese take-out boxes. The first swing felt right. The motion was fluid and well-balance, much unlike anything you’d buy at ACE Hardware or the like. I hewered a few more limbs off the frame and disposed of the body, leaving what looked to be vomited pasta sauce on the wall. Finishing cleaning up the mess, I wiped the blade down with a towel that would be burnt. 

It was after this that I realized that I was holding a penultimate blade -- something only to be beaten by a craftsmen yet to be born. Great art would be produced with Best Made Co. axes.  I, at least, would see to it. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

How to sell the unsellable

Knowing a total of 0 things about marketing, I thought I'd lend a generous (and very free) hand to a large menswear shop and figure out how to sell the product that hasn't moved since last season.

Mr. Porter tends to stock its shop full of elusive and hard-to-find products -- usually they're hard to find for a reason but I digress -- then is stuck trying to move Milwakee Buck mascot costumes made out of 40% Alpaca, 20% Gold, 10% Snow Leopard feces, and 30% Lycra. Y'see, there's just not a big enough market for that sort of thing.

But, on the edges, in the corners of society, there are people who must want these products, right?

One's man's unsold product is another man's severely discounted steal.

40 year old men who work in puppetry for Nick Jr.

The men who work in the Amazon warehouses and never leave -- vestigal eyes and all.

Upper-middle-class juggalos.

Men who are children's librarians.


These are the men to whom the products must be marketable.

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Upon development of a time machine, Mr. Porter should take trip back to the early 20th century and sell these on the streets of where-ever boat races occur.

 While paper currency will be reasonably useless, there are many current day coin collectors who pay sums of money for the $2 of coins these jackets would collect. This requires a second step, but moving goods is the most important part -- amount of steps taken is a trifling concern.

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Used car salesmen who specialize in late 80s Chryslers.

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On the streets of NYFW. That's an odd and useless crew if I've ever seen one. They would eat this shit up.

Too bad they've never been to a site like Mr. Porter. OHWAIT....

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Sell this product to men who run Street Fighter console tournaments as prize support.

It would be an interesting way to 1. increase attendance for these things because people love competing for dumb things and 2. move these hoodies because the real world is not an anime (somebody tell that to Rick Owens though? Maybe? Nah? Ok.).

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Donate to the Island of Bill Cosby clones. No hope of selling this product -- cut your losses and run.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waves and Wine

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New Gant Rugger products hurr.

Waves is apparently a theme -- a sort of surfing, melancholy vibe that is possibly tangible through the copyright. You guys have read Ginny Woolf or whatever since you went to Sewanee or Haverford or BU or whatever, so you probably understand. Or whatever.

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It's a bit Gap Kids in three figures but you've got dreams and plans of being a surfer, so go forth...

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What this really needs...

What this really needs is a big bag of Franzia. Red, sugar laced, and staining.

The kind you drink with a tie as you tell others what losers they are because they're not wearing a tie.

Isn't that #menswear?

Your "being" in sartorial supremacy while drinking wine that'll get fucking all over you.

This is just a reminder that everyone is drinking the same Franzia. You should try some.

Waves is nice, I guess.

I don't know. I only looked at a couple pictures.

Edit: It's also post-Memorial Day Weekend so, "YAHHHH GO WHITE CLOTHING THINGS" obligatory post.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GOP Socks

HW and I are on a first name basis, or so my email would tell me.

Anyway, I got an emessage from him a few days ago -- he's pretty hip these days -- concerning a new venture of his:

I don’t know what your guilty pleasures are in life, but one of mine is socks.
I’m a self-proclaimed sock man. The louder, the brighter, the crazier the pattern -- the better! It’s usually the first thing people notice I’m wearing whenever I’m out in public and that’s the way I like it.
So when Chairman Reince Priebus asked me to write to you on behalf of the Republican National Committee (RNC), I told him I’d be happy to do it. But on one condition: my letter to you had to involve socks.
I’m proud to say the RNC has commissioned a limited-edition pair of socks in my honor. Embroidered with the Republican elephant and my signature on them, they’re sure to get you noticed.
You can get your own pair today or as a gift for your favorite Republican by sending a special campaign contribution of $35 or more to the RNC now. And if you donate $35 or more to the RNC now, your gift will be matched by a group of donors. 
(the rest is edited out for brevities sake)
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So, following other sock brand kickstarters selling subpar socks, the GOP has gotten on that band wagon.  
You can wear these as a way to ensure that you'll never be ganked by a CIA spook and as a way to support the right-wing oligarchy.  
The left-wing oligarchy hasn't caught on yet but I'd expect them to be selling Jimmy Carter peanut crafts on kickstarter within the week. 
I understand that HW is a big sock guy but you'd think that they'd at least be over-the-calf.

Regardless, this GOP funding campaign looks no different than a "BRAND NEW SOCK BRAND COMPANY ABOUT COOL DESIGNS". Perhaps this campaign doesn't speak to how crap a political party is but to how crap crowd-sourced clothing brands are. If political party can do it, can't we all?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Spring is here and, once again, life is exciting for reasons other than bad weather.

Don't have any excitement in your life? Don't worry. Every mens clothing company ever has you covered.

They're going to sell you some exciting jackets.

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They're bright. They have print.

They're crrraaaazzzzzyyyyyyy.

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It's something that would be featured in a GQ spring issue.

Don't take the bait.

Exciting clothes are for unexciting people. Or rather, people who see an exciting coat and say, "Well, I'm pretty exciting so I should probably have that."

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This coat has been on sale for a year, I'm pretty sure.

Coincidence? I think not.

Do you know why Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery?

His bright-ass coat.

Don't get sold into slavery.

Wear boring coats.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Are your pants too tight?

I hadn’t heard from Sam Franklin for sometime so I had a pleasant surprise last Friday when I got an email from him. 

It wasn’t the typical, questioning drivel I’ve become used to; it was a well-thought out explanation of a rule of thumb(law). Tiring of the deafening subjectivity of #menswear philosophists, SF drafted a test for a transgression that he and I have seen far too much of. He then sent it to me in an encrypted file (the paranoia of any great creator is that someone may take your work) which I have just now unlocked to share with all of you.

His post isn’t long and it offers helpful insight into your day-to-day functioning as an adult male who purchases trousers perhaps a tad-too-small. We’ve all done it, but recognizing that you’ve done it - that is, purchase trousers a tad-too-small - is the first step to correcting your errors. 


how u now u trosers are too small? 

if pepple can c your pen is

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no one wants to c your penis in pubic

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sartorial doctrine more like penile doctrine amaright?

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matt peen wers pants too small

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some ppl grow pubes on their face

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how do u no your pants r too tight?

pen is

dats how.

learn the basics

folow the rule

no man is a island

every man is a pen island

- Sam Franklin

photos from:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Esquire TV

There’s been little buzz about Esquire’s new endevor, television. Ivy-Style ran a post about it, but it was merely a +1 for Ben Silver. It’s a men’s lifestyle/living magazine. How could it not be relevant?

Anyway, I decided to take some time to watch some uninspired television and let you what I think.

First up: White-Collar Brawlers. The premise of the show is to get two office mates who don’t like each other particularly much, train them for two months and then have ‘em beat the snot out of each other. 

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You get a good primer of current #Americanofficewear. The guy on the left is going to be fighting the guy on the right. You can already tell where this is headed. Where is the suspense?

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#americanofficewear continues. It’s like “The Office” but they’re not wearing it as a mirror of reality. 

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Gym-trainer-guy is skeptical of the chubby asian man and is regretting to get involved in this TV show. When gym-trainer-guy asks the chubby asian man why he is getting in the fight, the man, on the spot, replies that he is trying to get fit and prove to his wife that he can take care of himself... and her... when they’re at the bar. The TV producers run with that theme and make it the subject of the episode.

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 Chubby asian man’s wife.

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Jeff Gordon’s old Dupont car weighs in. He has little insight. He could be fed lines from the producer. I can’t tell because the lines are wish-washy and flaccid. 

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Allegedly fit man has run a marathon. They don’t tell us his time. Darn. I was hoping for an ego inflation. Cool sunglasses, right?

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Chubby asian man pep talk. Do it for your wife, chubby asian man! You can do it!

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The fight is about to start! They have a tuxedoed announcer and rustic chairs filling an old manufacturing room. Friends and family are there. Chubby asian man’s wife looks anxious. 

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Chubby asian man has lost weight and is ready to take on Donkey Teeth. 

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This isn’t going well for our hero.

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Donkey Teeth wins. 

It’s ok though, chubby asian man has gotten more fit and has self-respect. Self-worth comes from inside, the show implies, as everyone cheers for the chubby asian man as well as Donkey Teeth, validating their existence. The irony punches you in the face much harder than either of these guys ever could.  

Either way, this show is kind of boring. Two men who don’t know how to box are pitted against one another, story lines are created, and then they box ungracefully and on unequal levels. If I wanted to watch bad boxing, I’d go get drunk with my volatile friends.

Next show: special about the best bars in America.

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Two comedians, one possibly of Polack descent, the other likely of Italian, get drunk, posit some fed lines to the camera, and don’t live up to their job description. 

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In one scene, the Italian comedian approaches two women by asking if they frequent there often. The camera pauses as the Polack shakes his head at his friend’s ineptitude, building a climax to see if the Italian will get shut down. He doesn’t. Why doesn’t he? Why can’t there be a crest, fall, and crescendo like any good flick? Why is there not heartbreak here, only to be mended at another bar? Or even just a storyline about how cool brodom can be (a la Superbad or any military flick)?

“Do you guys come here often?”

It just rolls right off the tongue.

I’ll have to try it next time. I bet it works.

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They count their drinks like proper frat dudes. Pro. We wonder why we have a binge drinking problem.

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The dudes spend like anywhere from $200-$500 per night on drinks. I hope Esquire foots the bill. The beers pictured are only like $5, which isn’t bad.

This show is set up like a History Channel or TLC special and performs like one.

Next show: Alternate Route feat. Matt Hranek of The William Brown Project. 

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The episode I watched was the one were Matt goes to Charleston and does stuff.

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They show us his hotel room. It’s either a Hampton or a fancy one downtown. Can you tell?*

*It’s a fancy one downtown.

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Matt goes to a restaurant and eats food like he knows exactly what he’s looking for. He’s an expert.

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He drives a nice car around for the weekend. They tell us, “Matt is cool. He drives this car.” Hranek explains why he likes the car so much because he knows a lot about cars as well, apparently.

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He visits legendary store, Ben Silver and is shown around by ‘also-legend’, Bob Prenner.

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Hranek proclaims to the audience that he has found his style sweet spot. He knows. 

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Prenner discusses his shop with Hranek and shows him their product, which is all dope. Hranek tells Prenner that he has been thinking about brass buttons on his grey jacket. Prenner tells Hranek to stop being daft while avoiding telling the camera that Hranek’s idea is bad and will result in a poor looking jacket.

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Hranek then goes to a flea market and tells us how to shop for deals, using the phrase “I” a lot when describing how to do things. 

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He also goes digging for clams. He lets the pros take care of this one.

This show appears to be a “No Reservations” knock-off but lacks severely. Where Bourdain sold his show through a balance of knowledge and self-deprecation, this show is stuck in a weird sort of self-aggrandizement. In “No Reservations”, the host frames the show and not the other way around. If were grabbing a formula show (that being “No Reservations”), you should at least complete all the variables appropriately. G. Bruce Boyer, whose’s Ivy-Style response is a bit more vicious than my review, nails it on the head.

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Next show: Risky Listings, a show about restaurant real estate in NYC.

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This show is petty, silly, a little forced, but so goddamn brilliant. It’s the quintessential reality show, only the reality occurs at work and not in a hot tub. Each character is looking out for numero uno, as Mr. Bossman herds them like cats.

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Because I am generally interesting in clothing and how people wear it, it was interesting to see how these guys picked up one certain things. They’ll pick up on some stuff that has been circulating what we would call #menswear and then they’ll completely miss certain stuff, have a void, an fill it with old frat wear or european club wear. 

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This show has absurd premises, ridiculous buyers (see above), and lots of character infighting. There are a couple of decisions where you can see the writing on the wall. Reality is coming like a freight train and it looks so good. This is the best show on Esquire TV that I had the opportunity to watch.


Next show: How I rock It. 

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This show does anything but. Baron Davis, the host, awkwardly introduces each awkward guest, who have screen time devoted without the presence of Davis or any competent host to mitigate the unseemliness. 

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Even if Davis were there, the cursory overview of each person or people hardly breaks down any sort of glass that exists between the viewer and the guest.

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Most telling is the segment of Shimon and  Ariel Ovadia. While brilliant menswear designers, the Ovadia brothers don’t seem to be fit for the camera. The segment painfully bumbles along as the brothers provide awkward answers to sterile questions, using a tone not unlike a tone some one would use when their doctor asks them about sex, cigarettes, or alcohol. The segment is bizarrely rescued by actor Vincent Piazza, who, accustomed to the camera, warms the scene with just a few slick lines. I don’t know how he does it, it’s not like it even has any authenticity to it, it just flows. 

The producer foists the responsibility of carrying the segment to the subjects, which not all are capable of doing. The Ovadia brothers were probably put on earth to design men's clothing, not cater to a TV audience.

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This is probably where the show fails: Baron Davis is the “host” but the real hosts are the subject of each segment. Some are accustomed to being followed around by a camera and are brilliant in their own narcissism (see above), which this show lauds. Others, not so much, and the show flounders despite having a Sesame Street style clip rotation. 

Esquire TV has growing pains, that’s for sure. It has some bright spots and some new TV shows that I didn’t have time to get to (disclosure: I was doing the watching over Christmas Break). Like any fledgling, it’s a work in progress. Viewers are an easy telling guide of whether to drop a show or not. However, when I watch some of these shows, I notice a lot of these problems could be nipped at the bud with a bit more oversight by “head honcho” Esquire TV. 

Esquire TV appears to be largely letting producers do what they want. However, for a network to be brilliant, I’m pretty sure Esquire TV has to (a) only get good producers or (b) explicitly structure a network frame so that each show furthers the network’s vision, tell the producers what you want, and then ensure that the man behind the camera does what you want. Don’t dabble in TV, grab it by the balls.

Of course, not being experienced in TV, I could be way off base. But that seems unlikely.