Inspired by Japanese web shops, I’m stripping off my socks and yanking up my pants. Loafers, clogs, or mocs, it doesn’t matter. Put those Anonymousism socks away for winter 2018 and start showing some ankle. Add khaki and a slim fitting Danton windproof jacket for full French factory worker flair.
Since Winn Perry closed, I’ve looked to Japan for the best examples of Alden SMUs. What I love about the Alden market in Japan is that most of the shoes are sized down to fit women or gents with smaller feet. Here are some recent offerings from The Lakota House. Unlike some more aggressive custom Alden smus (Tanker boots and heavy treads), The Lakota House Aldens utilize subtle leather swaps and unique outsoles.
Here’s an unusual pair of Gokey loafers for women, available via this ebay auction. Gokey is known for their rugged, moccasin-style, handsewn boots for gents. Gokey footwear was originally designed for explorers, hunters and prospectors. Here’s a typical Gokey specimen:
I’ve been wearing Weejun-style loafers since I was teen. I used to buy the Bass boy’s model since I hated the low vamp on the version for women. Since Sebago left the US market, I’ve been searching for a new source for loafers that would resemble classic era Weejuns. My requirements: high vamp, quality leather, perfect fit and top quality construction. I was willing to pay more to stop the cycle of having to discard worn loafers after less than a year of wear (I really do wear these on a daily basis).
On Saturday, I visited Jordan at Winn Perry to sample a loafer that fit my shopping requirements. Jordan knew about my loafer search and suggested a beef roll penny loafer from the Cape Cod Collection–one that does not appear in the Alden print or online catalog. I should note that I continue to source my loafers from men’s collections. As readers of this blog know, it’s nearly impossible to find classic style footwear in sizes for women. I wear a women’s 8.5 but can get away with a men’s 6.5 or 6. Fortunately, Alden offers most of their shoes in sizes down to 6 (and smaller) in a range of widths. Jordan was kind enough to size my feet using a Brannock device. Now that I know my Alden size (for different lasts), I can sign up for one of his future, special edition Alden projects.
As it turns out, the Alden H410 loafers are perfect. After a little prep by my local shoe repairman (adding a protective half-sole), I’ll be testing these out as my daily drivers. Thanks to Jordan for sourcing these loafers for me. I would never have found them on my own. How important, still, is the brick and mortar store and its knowledgeable proprietor!
Alden Model H410 penny loafers
Beef roll stitching on Sebagos, vintage Sears loafers and new Aldens
I’ve been following the serialized publication of the Take Ivy on The Trad blog. Take Ivy documents–in candid snap views–the casual clothing styles worn by Ivy League students in the 1960s (selected, edited and refined to produce a distillated view of that period’s preppy look).
Since the Take Ivy options for women are rather grim, I’ve been studying the men’s footwear, namely the high vamp “Yuma” loafers (paired with white socks, madras shorts and/or slightly highwater khaki pants). Here’s my favorite photograph of the Yuma-style loafers from High Ivy. In another blog posting, The Trad provides a more detailed history of the Florsheim Yuma moc loafer style.
According to blog comments on The Trad, Florsheim is now offering a Yuma-type model rebadged the Langsford. Other options included the super vamp “Kangagroo” style loafer designed by Terence Conran for Tim Little or a custom pair of Moccasin loafers through Russell Moccasin.
Given that I spend a lot of time sifting through University photographic archives, I’m confident that “Ivy League” was not a prequesite for the classic preppy style of folks crossing campus quads during the early to mid-1960s. At some point in the far future, I hope to make my own appearance in a folder of my own campus archives–perhaps Campus-Bicycles-2000s–sporting a pair of Sebago loafers and Filson whipcord climbing breeches.
I didn’t see this coming but I’ve become a bit of a come-lately fan of Michael Jackson (the early years). It started out with a larky screening of the video retrospective, History Volume I. Now, a week later, I find myself checking out the VHS copy of “The Making of Thriller” and including “Wanna be Starting Something” on a mix tape for my L.A. friend, Mimsy. To keep everything structurally sound and straightforward, I want to say that I’m primarily obsessed with Michael’s proto-MTV sartorial style: black loafers, exposed socks, slim-legged trousers, and sometimes, rolled up suit jacket sleeves. If you’re curious about this fine archival edition of MJ, check out the video to Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. Though I rejected MJ as a teen, I can now appreciate the homages to Judy Garland, Bob Fosse and Fred Astaire buried in MJ’s videos and dance choreography. On the Making of… video, MJ recounts how Fred Astaire phoned him up after his moonwalking performance on the Grammy awards show and told him that he liked how he [Michael] moved. Endorsement enough from the original archival gent!
Until Filson introduces a new product line for women, I’m relying on tin cloth Mondays to reignite my excitement over the Filson family of waxed fabric brands.
Today, I sported my classic tin jacket w/wool facing collar (a discontinued garment, I think). Though I’d love to report on the rain deflecting properties of this garment–my own lapsed rewaxing regimen caused the shoulder seams to leak. Scheduling a special viewing of the five disc Criterion edition of Fanny and Alexander so I can motivate myself to rewax the whole coat (a complicated process involving a blow dryer, old rags, an ironing board and a tin of wax warmed in a double boiler on the stove).
Renewing my austerity vows, I’m trying to locate items from my own home closet to sport for the new Fall fashion season. It helps that I’m an epic pack rat with still unopened boxes from my last two moves (souvenirs from 2001 trip to Tokyo or a genuine Rosie O’Donnell barbie doll w/prop microphone anyone?). For the most part, austerity shopping consists of visiting the laundry room and unpacking a new box. Today, I made two major purchases: one for me–a pair of double tin Filson waxed trousers, tags intact–and one for Sara–a barbour quilt vest with polarfleece lining. The Filson pants were purchased off ebay some time ago. I originally bid on them because the gallery image implied that they were the more user friendly, unwaxed, single tin version. I ended up winning the pants on a superlow bid because they were already ready tailored to my oddball dimensions: adult waist, childish length. Though I’ve never actually worn the pants I’ve kept them around, for one, because they’re lovely artifacts, and two, because they might have future use value under post-apocalyptic conditions (the fabric is so rigid, so profoundly two dimensional, almost thing-like, that it took me a full five minutes to work myself into both pant legs)(an experience akin to having a complete wax casting made of your lower body). Anyway, I’ve decided that for the sake of austerity I’m going to push forward and start wearing these pants (on a daily basis?) especially since they feel like body armor and clean up with a soapy sponge. In a future entry, I shall report on the futility of my austerity program in the likely event that I develop some sort of fatal waxed fabric friction rash.