If you’re out and about pre-dawn on this fine, post-Thanksgiving morning, we salute you. However, the best, surefire way to avoid epic confrontations over the last leather jacket (or dastardly cloak?) in your size at the store is to simply stay home—pie in-hand, football on-screen, enjoying our Online Black-Friday Deals from the comfort of your couch.
To celebrate Black Friday, we picked a few of our favorite sale items—in timeless, stylish, black. Keep reading to see our sale-priced Editor’s Picks.
These French flag-themedNew Balance 574s were made in the USA especially for our French Fling Pop-In Shopin extremely limited numbers—and there’s a decent chance we still have them in your size! But not for long. As the wise man who writes our product pages stated, they’re “more rare than an Henri Jayer Pinot Noir, and pair a heck of a lot better with shorts.”
Grab your tri-colors while you can, whether you care to show your allegiance to liberté, égalité and fraternité—or just want to out-class the world’s foremost street-style stars. (Sneakers this chic go with everything from turned-up dad jeans to tailored suits these days, don’t you know.)
Last week, Men’s Shop Daily had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Marcus Wainwright (left) and David Neville, co-founders of Rag & Bone, at their in-store appearance at Nordstrom Bellevue Square, near our Seattle headquarters.
Below, the two British designers—who met in boarding school in England, before starting Rag & Bone more than ten years ago in New York—discuss their fashion baptism in rural Kentucky, smashing guitars, and style advice that every man should swear by.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Welcome to Seattle. Have you been out here before?
DAVID NEVILLE OF RAG & BONE: “We’ve been a few times, but only ever to see the people at Nordstrom. It’s worth the trip. It’s an amazing company.”
MSD: That’s great to hear—what makes you say that?
NEVILLE: “I think that when you look at the history, and the legacy of how it was started, and what it is now…I’ve actually read [Bruce Nordstrom's] book, Leave It Better than You Found It. The fact that it’s still run by the family, and the approach to customer service, and differentiating themselves as a store…The success that’s bred is kind of amazing. It’s 130 stores in America. I should be like a spokesperson.” [Laughs.]
MSD: You’ve noted the photography of August Sander as an inspiration for your Fall ’13 men’s collection. What drew you to his work, and are there any favorite photographs that stick in your minds?
MARCUS WAINWRIGHT OF RAG & BONE: “I’ve got a lot of his photography. I like photography—I collect [it] and like taking pictures myself. Part of it is just the subject matter—apart from the photographs themselves, the clothes are really cool, and very relevant to Rag & Bone. We do a lot of workwear, we do a lot of tailoring, and the August Sander pictures capture a lot of people working—and he captures them in a period where people were working in suits. If you look at the early pictures of rag-and-bone men, after the Second World War, they’re working day-to-day in tailored clothing. There’s no T-shirts, there’s no just shirt-and-jeans. And there’s a sort of beauty in that handmade clothing that’s been disheveled and rumpled and rained on and worked in.
“So the subject matter of the pictures is amazing. There’s a German aspect to it, which is pretty cool—it’s quite sort of different from the English stuff; it’s less sort of ‘dandy.’ There’s an amazing picture of a baker…and one in particular of a guy in a street in the most beautiful coat, which we made a sort of version of, which closed the show. It’s just great photography.”
MSD: Does Michael Pitt [the actor in Rag & Bone's fall campaign] have the best hair in Hollywood?
NEVILLE: “We were actually a little bit worried about his hair in a couple of the pictures—it just looks a little bit too sort of retro, kind of Johnny Cash, which wasn’t really the reference, you know. But he’s a cool dude.”
WAINWRIGHT: “He does have good hair.”
NEVILLE: “We had fun. He was awesome. He came to the shoot really sort of enthused, and there’s an amazing moment where he smashes his guitar in the middle of 6th Avenue. That was his idea, and it was fairly impromptu—it wasn’t staged or anything. It was cool content to just be able to create.”
[Seattle band Campfire OK played a killer set at our in-store
event—decked out in Rag & Bone, of course.]
MSD: When the two of you first decided to start a clothing company, you visited a legendary denim factory in Kentucky. What was that experience like, and what did you learn there?
WAINWRIGHT: “It was the birth of Rag & Bone in many ways. It was a very old denim factory in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. It had been a massive factory at one point, but everything had shifted—been bought or invested in by a Mexican company, and a lot of denim [production] had moved to Mexico. So it basically shut down most of it, and it was just sort of 60 people, as a sample room for the Mexican production—but it was the best sewers and pant-makers that they had.
“It was an amazing place with 50 years of knowledge about how to make proper jeans. It was an incredible place to go to, when you had no experience in fashion at all, and never really been to a factory to speak of, and you were sort of baptized into the fashion and sewing world by these women who were in their 60s, sewing jeans all day, proper salt-of-the-earth ladies from Kentucky—in a dry county, so there’s no booze. It’s rural Kentucky, and they take great pride in their work, and they’re just lovely people. They taught us the meaning of quality and authenticity and the value of that history of craftsmanship—and the value of that experience, and how easy it is for that to disappear.
“They were the last of 3,000. They shut down within two or three years of us working with them. The ladies who’d been sewing their whole lives went to work in the local outboard motor factory, or Walmart, or waiting tables. Never to sew again. The American-invented and American-owned skill of sewing jeans just disappeared from that factory forever, and it’s happened across this country. And that’s sad. So I think our company has a lot to thank that experience—to thank them—for what they taught us about the importance of maintaining that, and not just shipping everything to a factory that’s chosen based purely on price.”
MSD: If you could give male readers one style tip for Fall 2013, what would it be?
NEVILLE: “Don’t try too hard. Do what feels right; what you feel comfortable in. Menswear should never really feel like you’re trying to make a fashion statement. I think that can go desperately wrong. You should just be wearing what you feel comfortable in—and what your wife tells you you should be wearing is maybe a good tip.” [Laughs.]
WAINWRIGHT: “Guys should take pride in their appearance. I think when guys go wrong it’s when they try too hard or they don’t try hard enough. And you get a guy who just doesn’t think about it, and buys a pair of ill-fitting, cheap jeans and a cheap shirt. There’s a lot of inherent beauty in clothes, and clothes can make you feel great, and I think clothes are worth investing in. It’s worth buying the perfect leather jacket, for example, because it’s something that will be with you forever. It may seem like a lot of money, but it’s worth it, and it makes you feel good. And I think it’s important that you take pride in your appearance.”
MSD: What’s changed, since you founded Rag & Bone in 2002, in your approach to designing menswear?
WAINWRIGHT: “Not a lot. Menswear doesn’t change much anyway. We’ve been through periods of being more or less adventurous with men’s design, and we learned a lesson as men’s designers, quite quickly, that if you go too far out of the box, guys don’t get it. Girls are way braver—and way more willing to take a risk. You couldn’t get a guy into a white, leopard-print jacket, for example. But that looks cool on you [nodding to our female video producer in the room]. You’ve got to reference things that a guy is familiar with, whether he’s conscious of it, or subconsciously, something he’s seen in a movie, or seen his dad wear, or seen in photographs. That’s what menswear is really about: beautiful fabric, and detail, and making clothes that guys are familiar with—but at the same time, pushing it gently forward in terms of design, and the fashion part of it.”
MSD: After growing up in England, you’ve both lived and worked in New York for more than ten years. What do you appreciate about each place you’ve called home?
NEVILLE: “New York City is an amazing place. The energy of the city is intoxicating, and it’s very different to London in that regard. We thank New York for really giving us the platform to start our company—not just from a practical standpoint, but also from an entrepreneurial sort of enthusiasm, which I don’t think you find in many places in the world. We’ve been in New York a long time, and we feel sort of like adopted New Yorkers now, so that’s great. We miss London, miss our friends, miss the pubs…but I think both of us are very happy where we are, and don’t really have any intention of moving back.”
MSD: Do you visit London often?
NEVILLE: “We have a store in London now, which is exciting—and I think made our parents quite proud.”
— — —
In Their Own Words. Here’s a short clip of Rag & Bone founders Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, filmed before their personal appearance at Bellevue Square Nordstrom last week:
What happens when our Men’s Shop video team goes to Las Vegas during Market Week? They run into Pharrell. They get down to brass tacks with up-and-coming design heroes. And they make some movie magic.
Above is one of four new videos we shot while traversing the vendor booths in Vegas during three furious days of menswear trade shows. Press play, learn about the elbow grease that goes into some of today’s best gear, and shop our Editor’s Picks from a few of the brands we interviewed. (Notice a theme? Fall is officially here.)
It’s that special time of year: Anniversary Sale. A time not only to revel in scoring new Fall items, at sale prices, ahead of schedule—but also a time to look back on our 100+ years of history.
Did you know that the first Nordstrom was a shoe store? John W. Nordstrom himself set up shop in Downtown Seattle in the year 1901. A century later, we’re still here in Seattle—and still family-operated.
[Our founder standing proudly in front of his first store, circa 1901. His partner's name now graces our in-house, heritage-inspired brand, Wallin & Bros. For more vintage photos, read our post on Nordstrom's Illustrated History.]
Alright alright, enough reminiscing. Here are a few of our favorite fall steals on indispensable footwear—for the office, the gym, the bar, and everywhere in between. Find more Anniversary-Sale shoes here. Happy hunting.
It’s that time of year again, when the thought of donning excess hosiery seems all but preposterous. Magazines like GQ have conditioned us to believe that the so-called ‘sockless’ look is stylistically standard come summer, but from a practical standpoint, as well—it just feels right. (Once you’ve experienced a cool breeze caressing your ankles on a 100-degree day…you’ll never go back.)
The question, then, is how to cool your jets without a) developing some wicked blisters and b) wrecking your wingtips with the sweat (and stank) of a thousand sweltering steps to and from your air-conditioned office every day. The answer is no-show socks. It turns out that even the men of GQ, progenitors of the sockless look, feel good about pulling on a little protection:
Personally, we’re fans of rocking Chucks sans socks. But for dress shoes, loafers, monk straps, and any footwear you’d like to hang on to for more than a single summer—an extra layer goes a long way.
Tip: Don’t confuse these with ankle socks—which are great for the gym, but not for the illusion of socklessness you should strive for elsewhere. The no-shows shown here are cut extra-low, so no one but you (and whomever you allow behind the scenes) will know the secret pattern or pop of color of your summer sock game.
Spotted in the Wild:Fashion Week having just wrapped up, the usual cavalcade of mesmerizing street-style images is in—and no one does it better than photographer Tommy Ton. Below are a few ankle-baring examples from his recent trips to Milan and Florence (for Pitti Uomo). Are these gents going commando? Or are they protecting their footwear and feet with no-show socks? The world may never know. [Click images to enlarge.]
Good to know: Every Nordstrom store is staffed with expert Personal Stylists, who can help you look amazing at an important event, locate the perfect gift, or just keep you up-to-date on the essentials you need to stay current each season. Their services are free of charge, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.
For this month’s installment of our Personal Stylist blog series, three female stylists from our flagship store in Downtown Seattle—Christie Coover, Nicole Jackson and Lisa Proko—fill us in on the five key items they’d love to see every man master this season.
1. Bold Color. “It’s fun to see guys wearing brights such as yellow, red, orange, and blue. This trend works in knitwear, linen, denim, even leather. If you’re nervous about executing it properly, relax. Just pair your one bright piece with neutrals—khaki, taupe, navy. Works every time. Ying and yang.” [Above: John W. Nordstrom Cotton Blazer]
2. Pumped-Up Kicks. “With our love of brights right now, we love to see color on guys’ feet, too. This looks great beyond sneakers—think boat shoes, oxfords, loafers. Speaking of boat shoes, we’re kind of obsessed. Such an easy alternative to the sneaker. A high-quality shoe with your suit is also a must—try stepping it up with a wingtip or double-monk slip-on. Women take notice when you care about the details.” [Above: John Varvatos Star USA Canvas Buck]
3. Jeans That Fit. “Similar to a great-fitting suit [see below], women want to see guys get a spot-on fit with their jeans. Jeans are such a staple because you can wear them so many ways: Dress them up with a blazer and skinny tie, or throw them on with a soft T-shirt and hoodie. Either way, have a salesperson help you find the fit works best for your build. Pick up multiple kinds (colorful, white, skinny, destroyed) so your denim doesn’t start to look like a uniform.” [Above: PRPS 'Rambler' Slim-Fit Selvedge Jeans]
4. A Well-Tailored Suit. “There’s a quote floating around Pinterest right now that says, ‘A well-tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men’…And we agree! Nothing says sharp, smart, and confident like a great-fitting suit. It’s timeless. For a proper fit, your suit jacket should hug your shoulders. Try on a size smaller than you think you are, just to see how it fits. We like a slim lapel best. It’s fun to see guys do something custom and unique to show their style, like add a ticket pocket or wear a colorful pocket square.” [Above: Hugo Boss Trim-Fit Suit]
5. Eye-Catching Patterns. “Some men might be hesitant to mix patterns together—but we say go for it! As long as you vary the scale and color, you should be good to go. For beginners, feel free to start slow: Same rules apply as with bright colors, just pair your pattern with neutrals so it’s not overwhelming.” [Above: Zanerobe Shirt]
Founded in 1966 in Anaheim, California, and still family-operated, Vans has grown to represent more than a mere shoe company. We had a chance to tour their headquarters recently, and were treated to a glimpse at the brand’s rich history—which includes Venice’s infamous and revolution-sparking Z-Boys, Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the Vans Warped Tour, and countless other legendary collaborators and zeitgeist-shifting moments. Here’s a look inside one of America’s finest surf/skate/counterculture institutions:
Visitor’s badge: check. Homage to Vans founder Paul Van Doren on the way in: double check.
Left: Vans’ mission statement. (You can’t quite tell here, but this resided on a two-story-tall installation.) Right: A recent winning design from the Vans Custom Culture competition—in which high-school art students from every state receive pure-white Vans as blank canvases for their creativity. Winning designs are manufactured and sold nationwide—and earn money to support their school’s art program.
Left: Big shoes to fill. No, founder Paul was not 30 feet tall—but he did know how to make customers laugh with unique store visuals. Right: Cool installations tracing the brand’s history, decade by decade, line the halls.
One giant, vaulted-ceiling room at Vans HQ is devoted entirely to one-of-a-kind artworks by the brand’s favorite artists. Each work answers the question: “What does ‘Off the Wall’ mean to you?” This piece by graffiti artist Neck Face might not be attractive in the traditional sense—but we liked what he had to say in the placard beside it.
Left: The back room is a huge warehouse / skate park. We were told blind skateboarder Tommy Carroll was a guest here just days prior, and spent hours skating and sweating in the bowl. He’ll be back for the Vans Pool Party, a pro contest, on May 11. Right: Past visitors’ shoes dangling from the rafters above.
Left: A display devoted to Vans’ recent Metallica collaboration. Right: A sketch on a random wall of Tony Trujillo—a pro skater and lover of loud music.
Below: Worlds collide when Tony, his wife Ashley, and Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo meet up, jam, and form the Trujillo Trio. We highly recommend watching this—if nothing else, to marvel at Mrs. Trujillo absolutely shred on drums:
Today, Vans has expanded beyond shoes to produce some truly killer clothing and accessories—from backpacks to board shorts and everything in between. Click the images above or the link below to shop the current collection.
If you think it’s tough facing the decision of loafers vs. monk-straps in the morning—try facing a day with no shoes at all.
On Tuesday, April 16, join Nordstrom and TOMS (the ground-breaking company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need—One for One®) by going barefoot to raise awareness for the millions of children around the world who don’t have shoes—a difficult reality that not only prevents many kids from meeting their local school’s dress code and receiving an education, but also exposes them to serious health concerns.
Watch the video below to learn more…find additional info on The TOMS Movement here…and give your kicks the day off tomorrow for a good cause.
If you dug our GQ Selects collaboration, you’re going to enjoy the next eight weeks—during which we’ll release a new GQSpring Trend Report video every Monday, featuring GQ Magazine’s Creative Director, Jim Moore (left, below), and Deputy Editor, Michael Hainey.
In the first installment, the two discuss the finer points of slip-on Spring footwear—i.e., dapper Loafers you can dress up or down:
Below are a few of our own favorite loafers—handily categorized by Penny, Bit, and Tassel.
Click the images to shop each one, and browse additional favorites here: MORE LOAFERS
[Note: the tassel loafers in the image up top are by 1901 and Transcript.]