Sheer Madness

The women's fashion runways for Spring 2018 were, as usual, packed with "new" trends including everything from massive amounts of fringe decoration to utilitarian buckle and zipper combinations to nearly naked (but carefully cut) sheer dresses, pants and blouses. Most eye-catching, of course, are the sheer options which vary from being simply silly in an appealingly light-hearted way to utterly tasteless and intended only to startle. Last weekend, tired of digging our way through a long list of the latest runway shows, we took a break and sought refuge in watching some of our favorite old movies. We queued up Flying...

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Ave Atque Vale

Why does each new generation try to adopt its own way of dressing? To make it clear that they are special, of course, and not hidebound  like their parents. But  that does mean today's hot new trend will most likely be old news tomorrow. Can you imagine yourself wearing spats today? How about a straw boater?One look, though, managed to hold its own in the menswear world for much of the 20th century--mainly because it was adopted by successive  generations of college students whose tweaking kept it fresh through several generations.That look, known as Ivy League, spread way beyond the...

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The Iconic Baracuta G9 Jacket

1937: British rainwear maker Baracuta began producing their now-iconic G9 jacket. Its design allows for the arms to move freely, its pockets are roomy and its cotton fabric breathes but sheds water, so golfers, a rather exclusive set in the 1930s, quickly adopted the style. Before long, though, the G9 proved its worth beyond the golf course and became a fixture in other men's closets, too. One of the jacket's early adopters was Simon Fraser, the 24th Lord Lovat and Fraser Clan chief. If you don't know who he was, it's worth looking him up. In short, he was an...

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Handmade Means Hands-On

Designers What to Wear

When the folks at Hamilton Shirtmaker hear all the current chatter about returning to heritage, artisanal craftsmanship and authenticity, they can just roll their eyes and yawn. They don't have to return to these values because Hamilton never abandoned them. After all, their company has been making bespoke shirts by hand since 1883. Back then, of course,there was no ready-to-wear—going to a tailor or a seamstress to have clothes made was the normal way to buy them.  Back then, too, Hamilton's home city Houston was a roughneck upstart, not the sophisticated dynamo it is today, so the business and the city...

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That's Artisanal


Meet Monica, Romina and Zora-- the entire production staff for the women's half of Biella Collezioni designed by Maria Luisa Barbera. If you have a favorite garment in your closet from her collection, these ladies probably made it. Talented, highly skilled and hardworking they are the behind-the-scenes heroines who figure out how to make a designer's dreams happen. Without a carefully coordinated team like this one to develop patterns, cut, sew, press and finish garments, and control the quality of every item, a designer can produce ideas, but little else. Now as always people are asking for clothes that are...

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