abitofcolor

Menswear, denim and accessories that reflect my personal style of mixing contemporary casual and tailored apparel...all with a bit of color.

"To be noticed without striving to be noticed, this is what elegance is about" -Luciano Barbera

brokeandbespoke:

J. Lawrence Khaki’s of Carmel Private Label F/W 2013

Last winter I headed down to J. Lawrence Khaki’s of Carmel for the first time. I’d seen it consistently listed in Esquire Magazine’s list of top menswear retailers in the country, but I rarely make the three-hour drive down to Carmel-by-the-Sea as the town’s coastal charms bear little relevance to my day-to-day life.

As luck would have it, Gus (abitofcolor.tumblr.com) was a frequent visitor to both Khaki’s and Carmel and invited me along on a trip to shoot some pictures for our blogs, and I jumped at the chance. I snapped so many pictures during that first trip that I still draw on them when I’m strapped for some new pictorial content for the blog almost a year later.

Long time readers of this blog may remember my reaction to the store, its owner Jim Ockert, and the bounty of menswear goodness I saw there. But if not, you can read about it here. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. The variety of merchandise carried in the store was stunning, and the one hundred or so mannequins personally styled by Jim Ockert were a true sight to behold. I think the amount of clothing on the mannequins alone were enough to make up the stock of a small menswear boutique.

Since Khaki’s is located in a famed tourist destination, the shop stocks everything from resort-style sportswear to the rarest menswear labels from around the world. But don’t be mistaken, the store’s stock isn’t determined only by the clientele that frequents it. Jim Ockert is a master curator (I’m no fan of this term when it comes to merchandising menswear, but think it truly does apply here), and his vision for the store produces a vast array of items that speaks to any one who walks into the store, and it helps them find clothes and brands that they wouldn’t otherwise have known they’d want in their wardrobe. This year I saw amazing outerwear from Inis Meain, Gimo’s, Grayers, Allegri, and others, and great pants from Hiltl, Masons, Incotex, and more. It was astounding.

Jim Ockert loves color, and every season colors are on full display. This isn’t the type of store where the season dictates the color palette. Fall and winter garments are available in both the more muted hues commonly associated with colder weather, but also in bright heavy cashmeres and amazingly bold tweeds. But this is stuff that has become well known about Jim Ockert and J. Lawrence Khaki’s Carmel. What really blew me away this time was the expansion of the Khaki’s Private Label clothing.

Last winter I was impressed by the iconoclastic tweeds Jim had chosen for the Private Label sport coats, and by the careful detailing that went into the cotton khakis and wool trousers under the house label. But it all looked like a cautious start to something that might be great. This time, I was floored by how far the Private Label line had come in just a year, and indeed by how great it had already become.

Though Khaki’s stocks the latest and greatest by both well-known and rare labels, it was the J. Lawrence Khaki’s Private Label clothes that really wowed me on this trip. The new Khaki’s Private Label jackets come in three cuts, and are made by two of the remaining great tailoring establishments in the U.S., Martin Greenfield in Brooklyn, NY, and Adrian Jules of Rochester, NY.

There’s a ‘British’ cut that has a structured shoulder with slight roping, a ticket pocket (unflapped for a nice touch), and double vents. I tried one on in a very heavy 16 oz. bottle green cashmere (a weight that almost makes it like outerwear) that was incredibly luxurious and surprisingly agile considering its weight.

There’s a more Neapolitan-inspired cut that features no shoulder padding and three patch pockets, which I tried on in a beautiful black (I know!) cashmere. And there’s a ‘neo-American’ cut that features a more natural shoulder, a slightly roomier cut (akin to Canali’s off-the-rack offerings) and a jetted ticket pocket for some flair, which I tried on in a wildly decadent navy vicuna.

Khaki’s Private Label pant line has expanded too, and I tried on a couple of pairs in their new trimmer fit in a heavy wool Donegal fabric, and also in a beautiful brushed cotton that manages to be both rugged and refined. It’s similar to moleskin in its warmth and slightly matte look, but more elegant in its finish such that it can be work appropriate in all but the most formal of settings, and will likely hold up better over time.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about these sport coats and pants that stood out, so I asked Jim Ockert what drives him in the decision making process about his private label. He responded simply by saying, “I want to give customers clothes they won’t find anywhere else.”

While I believe what Jim said is true, it didn’t help me much in trying to understand what set the collection apart from the stuff I see on my tumblr dashboard every day, or what I see when I go into the city to window shop. When I pushed him on it, Jim told me that he begins with the fabric (not a surprise). He chooses limited run fabrics from some of the finest mills in the world like Loro Piana, and then, assured that the product will stand out, moves on to the details that will give it the Khaki’s touch. I think that’s what best summarizes what’s going on with Khaki’s new Private Label offerings: rare and bold fabrics, unique details born of Jim Ockert’s colorful tastes and long career in men’s retail, and a variety of cuts that will fit almost any size and taste.

If you haven’t already, go check out Khaki’s of Carmel. I’d hurry to go see the Fall/Winter offerings before they’re rotated out, but I’ve no doubt that the precedent being set here is that each season will outshine the previous one…

Something that I do when I’m not doing #menswear. The Les Paul TV Junior is now owned by Keith Richards. 

Gerald Shen and Diana Chan of Vanda Fine Clothing featured on Hand Made Singapore


To see their selection of handmade neckwear visit their website here.

(Source: vimeo.com)

Paraboot

 While Made in Italy or Made in England may get the majority of attention when it comes to quality men’s shoes, consider this classic option from France.

 During a trip to the America’s in the early 1900’s Remy Richard-Ponvert, the founder of Paraboot, was inspired to combine latex soles onto mountain boots. Perfecting a combination of Goodyear Construction and Norwegian stitching this gave comfort, flexibility and strength. Paraboot added walking shoes and for almost 100 years has been manufacturing hand cut and hand stitched footwear.

 This Anderson model is for me a perfect all-around shoe.  The combination of a rubber sole and attractive suede brogue details is suitable for any business casual setting. With water resistant construction it’s an excellent year-round shoe. The rubber sole has a sure grip and with it’s cork filling is as comfortable as sneakers, but oh, so much more stylish.

 Paraboot is available in a wide range of dress, casual and outdoor styles. You can find them at Unionmade, Wilkes Bashford and other specialty retailers. For more information visit their website here.

 -Gus Walbolt

                 Greg Lellouche of online retailer No Man Walk Alone

                    “Show restraint. Everything should be in good taste.”

                                                                                           -Greg Lellouche

 Mainstream fashion media loves extremes. Photos stream from Pitti with in-your-face looks. Forums justify any sensation-seeking combination of patterns and colors as “Sprezz”.   Brands with the mega ad budgets get space in menswear magazines and high-end retailers. But for those seeking an alternative, a unique mix of international tailored and casual fashion with restraint and style there is a new online retailer - No Man Walks Alone.

 Meet Greg Lellouche it’s founder. Born and raised in France, Greg’s father, an entrepreneur, was instrumental in teaching him the basics of classic dress- how to tie a tie, shining shoes every Sunday afternoon, how to wear a pocket square and fitting into a conservative profession as a junior banker. Like all teenagers the times and his environment - music, urban culture, hip-hop and sportswear, influenced Lellouche. But it was a 60’s New Wave style movement in Paris (a result of the Jean-Luc Godard movie “Breathless”) that created a desire for Greg and his friends to wear fedoras, ties and tailored jackets. To them the look resonated with style. It was old-school “cool”.

 “I began working in banking which is a conservative setting. Although a few senior level executives are able to push the boundaries of personal style, the underlying dress code in finance is “no dandies”. “My V.P.’s gave me jabs for wearing a pocket square or browns shoes, said Lellouche with a laugh. “You learn quickly not to be “that guy” who always stands out.

 Greg’s philosophy is that you can elevate your personal style even if you dress conservatively. It is about exceptional fit and quality materials and not the numerous embellishments so often seen online. “You show elegance when you exercise restraint”.

 He suggests beginning with a “concentric approach of 3-season suits in navy and grey”. Rather than a solid suit, consider a birds eye navy or grey sharkskin cloth that offer an interesting, subtle, textured look. “And, when everyone else is wearing black and charcoal coats in winter you can stand out yet be elegantly dressed with a warm brown. Scarves add color and pattern.”

 “There is no reason for weekend and casual dress to be a direct extension of your work wardrobe”, says Lellouche. “There is room for fashion elements in casual wear including leather sneakers, Japanese denim, fashion shirts and other contemporary designer elements. People should feel free to explore. I get very interested in what designers are doing in casual wear, especially the Japanese brands selecting just the right material for the right garment. For the weekend I like to venture outside the tailored world.”

 Greg successfully launched his new online menswear store No Man Walks Alone last month. When asked what makes his store unique he said, “I have selected brands that are well made by true craftsmen. I sought out clothing and accessories that have an authentic story behind them. I offer a mix of fine tailored clothing and casual wear because I believe you can wear two completely different styles, one for work and one for casual and weekend wear. And, of course, I want everything to be in good taste.”

 For more information on No Man Walks Alone visit their website here. Sign up for the informative series NEWSROOM DISPATCH that shares interesting profiles on their various makers from around the world.

 -Gus Walbolt

Boglioli - For an ideal blend of tailored menswear with a modern aesthetic Boglioli offers something special. I’m wearing their signature “Coat Jacket” fit with surgeon cuffs, a 3-roll-2 lapel and patch pockets.  This jacket fits like a glove and is easy to wear casually with its unlined interior. It is the ideal jacket for the guy who doesn’t need to wear a jacket and enjoys something with a relaxed, fashionable look. 

Boglioli is famously adventuresome with their fabrics and colors. This  washed herringbone looks somewhat traditional from a distance. Yet upon closer inspection you see flecks of gold, green, rust in the blue and navy pattern. Rather than a scratchy tweed, this is a soft blend of wool, cashmere, polyester and polyamid. The fabric and weave allow for a cozy sweater-like comfortable fit.  

My only issue with Boglioli has been that they have been just too short for my 6’2” frame. But, a visit to Khaki’s of Carmel, where I bought this jacket, and problem solved!  Khaki’s is one of a handful of retailers that carry Boglioli in a “Long”. And by Long, I mean the same length as most Regular length Italian and American brands. (A Long in a Euro 52 measures 30” From the bottom of the collar). In addition to carrying Longs, Khaki’s is known in Northern California for their variety. The buyer at one of San Francisco’s well known retailers said to me,”Khaki’s buys Boglioli better than anyone”.  While visiting the Carmel store they had charcoal, navy, a beautiful warm terra cotta and this navy herringbone among others. 

I now look forward to seeking out a scarf to compliment the jacket’s wonderful colors and prepare for cool Fall days ahead. 

ethandesu:

A Lid for a Grand Voyage
The Voyager from Lock & Co. has been warming my bald head in winter climes since I bought my first some years ago in London. A classic fedora with a slightly shorter brim, making it contemporary and city appropriate, the Voyager is soft enough to roll, making it the perfect hat for travelling, as it can roll in to a tube for packing in luggage, or can be hastily dropped in a coat pocket when you find yourself in a brasserie somewhere, a warm meal warming your Christmas holiday.
Currently stocked in Blue, Grey, Black and Tan - it is a great stocking stuffer for that loved one who is hopefully taking you somewhere cold for Christmas.

ethandesu:

A Lid for a Grand Voyage

The Voyager from Lock & Co. has been warming my bald head in winter climes since I bought my first some years ago in London. A classic fedora with a slightly shorter brim, making it contemporary and city appropriate, the Voyager is soft enough to roll, making it the perfect hat for travelling, as it can roll in to a tube for packing in luggage, or can be hastily dropped in a coat pocket when you find yourself in a brasserie somewhere, a warm meal warming your Christmas holiday.

Currently stocked in Blue, Grey, Black and Tan - it is a great stocking stuffer for that loved one who is hopefully taking you somewhere cold for Christmas.

(via thesharpgentleman)

khakiscarmel:

Heavy Tweed
The J. Lawrence seasonal soft coat.

khakiscarmel:

Heavy Tweed

The J. Lawrence seasonal soft coat.