Edwardian Sterling Silver Pill Locket / Fob / Box – 1916

Edwardian Sterling Silver Pill Watch Fob Case

Edwardian Sterling Silver Pill Watch Fob Case

view full image

This item is an Edwardian sterling silver pill-box / fob / locket made in Birmingham, England in 1916. The silver hallmarks are clean and easy to read. They show the company Crisford & Norris made the item. This is just the kind of pill-box that would be found in Downton Abbey.

Shoes 201 – Shoe Care – Suede Shoes

This is an excellent video and article by videojug about the proper care, cleaning and revival of suede leather shoes. Peter Schweiger,  the 5th generation owner of the British bespoke shoemakers James Taylor & Son, , demonstrates the techniques.

How To Clean Suede Shoes

How to Clean and Care For Suede Shoes - Video

How to Clean and Care For Suede Shoes – Video

Step 1: You will need:

  • 1 suede protector spray
  • 1 suede cleaning brush
  • 1 small knife
  • 1 nail brush
  • 1 sponge
  • 1 shoe tree/ white tissue paper
  • 1 crepe rubber/ pencil eraser

Step 2: Introduction

Suede is a kind of leather with a soft raised surface called a ‘nap’. It can spoil more easily than leather so needs a special level of care. It makes sense to always spray new shoes with a protecting spray.

Step 3: Protection spray

These sprays can be bought from footwear shops, and will protect your shoes from the water damage and staining. Before applying the spray, lightly brush your shoes to remove any dust or dirt. Always brush in the same direction to lift the nap. Make sure you follow the manufactures instructions on the side of the aerosol can. Shake well, spray away from your face, and as with all aerosols, only use in a well ventilated area.

Step 4: Scuff marks

Even with a protection spray, shiny marks can still appear if you scuff suede shoes, flattening down their surface. Restore by brushing back and forth with a suede brush. If the shoes are very worn, scrape with a sharp knife to lift the nap.

If your suede has dirty marks, try removing them with one of the sides of a suede brush

Experts recommend using a little crêpe rubber, or even a pencil eraser to ‘lift’ the marks from you shoes. The dirt will transfer from the suede to the rubber

Step 5: Removing mud

If your shoes get muddy, wait till the mud dries, then use a stiff brush, such as a nail brush to remove the dirt. Move with a sweeping action, and keep all your strokes in the same direction. Work all the way around the shoe, including the edges of the sole. Pay special attention to any dirt stuck in detailing.

Step 6: Wet suede

If part of the shoe gets gets wet, the water can leave a tide mark and dry a different colour. So wet the shoes all over, sponge off any excess water and insert a shoe tree to keep the shoe in shape as it dries. If you don’t have a shoe tree, stuff the toes shoes with white tissue paper, or any white paper to hold them firm.

Don’t use newspaper if your shoes are very wet, as the print may leech into the shoes

Leave the shoes to dry overnight. Then gently brush to restore the texture.

Step 7: Stains

Stains like oil and grease are almost impossible to remove.
Work into the area with a suede brush to see if that lifts the stain, treating it as you would a scuff.
If not, remove the laces, and wash the shoes with a little water and a stiff brush.

If this doesn’t work, it may be time to say goodbye to your dirty shoes

Step 8: Storing suede

When you’re not wearing your shoe, wrap them in tissue paper and put in a shoe box, heel to toe. Don’t keep them in plastic bags or airtight boxes and avoid humidity, which can make them mouldy and avoid bright light, which can discolour suede. Keep them in a dark dry place.

The Suit 101 – Blazer, Jacket, Tunic, and Coat Explained

It is clear why confusion plagues so many men about how they should dress when the basic nomenclature employed is consistently misused and abused. The terms ‘jacket’, ‘coat’, and ‘blazer‘ are often used interchangeably. While I enjoy the casual nature of modern life and the greater equality it affords us this laziness in language reduces a man’s capacity and his ability to be present in the world in the way he both desires and deserves.

George Orwell put it this way in 1984, “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”.  Ludwig Wittgenstein stated in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” To this end, let us move away from a corrupt and limited world into one fashioned for a gentleman.

All of the terms in discussion relate back to the early 19th century when clothing that covered a man’s torso was either an ‘over’ or ‘under’ coat. While the term ‘overcoat’ has persisted in use, the term ‘under-coat’ has not. The garments discussed here are in the class of being an under-coat, and as such some still carry the suffix of coat.

A Brooks Uniform Co. blazer with the 1923 Princeton University insignia

A Brooks Uniform Co. blazer with the 1923 Princeton University insignia

Blazer – This garment finds its origins in the world of varsity athletics, with the Lady Margaret Boat Club of 1825 laying claim to the term. The team’s bright red club jackets were nick-named ‘blazers’ and the term later expanded to include all manner of flannel-based jackets used in gentlemens sports, such as boating, cricket, tennis or rowing. Consistent to the blazer is the use of patch pockets and brass, or otherwise ornate, buttons. A crest or insignia is often affixed to the outside left breast pocket of a blazer.

Diagram of a Patch Pocket

Diagram of a Patch Pocket

The point of wearing a blazer is to mark yourself with your connection to an activity or organization and as such may be worn in place of a dinner jacket at dinner. A special type of blazer evolved from the late-Victorian naval officer’s uniform that featured a navy double-breasted jacket with brass buttons; the reefer jacket. Please note that to refer to a pea coat as a reefer jacket is lazy and spurious.

Edward VIII in a Reefer Jacket

Edward VIII in a Reefer Jacket

Tunic – In regards to men’s clothing a tunic applies specifically to the jackets worn by members of the military. The tunic is a jacket that usually ends between mid to lower thigh and is of sturdy construction. It will use large and often brass buttons.

British Army Officer's Tunic

British Army Officer’s Tunic

The military tunic has consistently played a key role in the development of men’s jacket styles.

Jacket – A jacket is a garment that has sleeves and a front closure that is worn over a man’s shirt. It is the last layer of under-coat before donning any type of overcoat. The jacket is the broadest term for this piece of clothing and as such has many distinct types – the dinner jacket, sports jacket, riding jacket, etc. Also included are the previously mentioned blazer, reefer (jacket) and tunic. All jackets are considered under-coats, hence them sometimes being called a sports coat, dinner coat, morning coat, etc.

The jacket is considered one half of the suit, the basic mens outfit, the other half being the trousers. Hardy Amies wrote about why the suit is important,

“It is the most comfortable costume in which a man can conduct the life which modern conditions make for him. It is a second skin in which he has placed pockets. He needs the pockets to carry the paraphernalia of living: money, keys, drivers license, and a handkerchief. Deprive a man of his pockets and he will need a handbag.”

When I think of the various types of handbags and purses being foisted on men today Sir Amies words become prophetic. A gentleman uses a wallet, briefcase, or satchel – never a ‘man-purse‘ – but that discussion is for another time. The point is, that as the modern male has abandoned the jacket and its pockets, he so too has abandoned a portion of his masculinity and certainly his maturity.

Sean Connery as James Bond in a Dinner Jacket Beating the House

Sean Connery as James Bond in a Dinner Jacket Beating the House

Cary Grant in a Suit Jacket Out-running a Plane

Cary Grant in a Suit Jacket Out-running a Plane

Zach Galifianakis Not Wearing a Jacket and Not Doing Anything

Zach Galifianakis Not Wearing a Jacket and Not Doing Anything

Victrolacore Breaks into the Mainstream – Mr. B. the Gentleman Rhymer with Zoe Ball

Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer

Mr. B. the Gentleman Rhymer and Victrolacore Innovator

Moving into mainstream consciousness is never a gentleman’s motivation, yet it is often a result of a gentleman’s actions. So a resounding ‘Hazzah!’ for Mr. B. The Gentleman Rhymer, chap hop innovator and victrolacore artiste, on his recent appearance at the Latitude Festival and performing on television for the beautiful and talented presenter Zoe Ball. Well done, chap, well done.

Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer performs ‘All Hail The Chap’ live from the Sky Arts TV Studio at Latitude Festival, 2011

Kingpin’s Hideaway and All the Queen’s Men – Toronto Star Review

British-styled Menswear in Toronto

British-styled Menswear in Toronto

The Toronto Star honoured Kingpin’s Hideaway this past week by being included among the august body of upscale menswear stores found in the West Queen West  art and design district in Toronto, Ontario. The article, by Derick Chetty, outlined the rise and concentration of British-styled menswear shops,

“It’s unlike any other city I’ve been – not even in Paris or London have I seen such a growth of men’s shops in one area,” says Sydney Mamane, who opened his eponymous store – and one of the first men’s stores on the block – six years ago.

As for reasons for the growth of testosterone retailing in this neighbourhood, it’s anyone’s guess. Mamane theorizes perhaps the women’s market is crowded and highly competitive, and menswear appears to be untapped.

In the celebrated vintage store CabaretAndre 3000 and David Arquette have paid visits – there is a pop-up shop [Kingpin’s Hideaway] dedicated exclusively to vintage menswear or “gentleman’s wear” as curator Jonathan Hagey likes to call it.

Kingpin's Hideaway Makes the Toronto Star

Kingpin's Hideaway Makes the Toronto Star

The article appeared on the front page of the Life section of the paper (not too shabby) and I’ve included an image of the intro as well.

The full article online is in the pay-for-use section of the Star, so I’ve posted a PDF of the entire print version:

All The Queens Men Article in the Toronto Star