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Steve Mcqueen

Growing up in Aberdeen, Washington, in the 1970s left Gabe Johnson with memories of girlfriends who smelled like bubblegum and vodka, a penchant for explosives, a taste for illicit cartoons—and a zealous sense of nostalgia for America. The “real” America, as he puts it; and specifically, the mom-and-pop treasures that dot the highways and byways of this great nation, in the form of watering holes, record stores, auto shops, and other legendary landmarks that locals hold dear.

The latest undertaking of Johnson’s company, Horses Cut Shop, involves sharing the stories of those local haunts via T-shirts—the sale of which benefits the small businesses themselves.

Shop a few of our favorite shirts at the bottom of this article. First though, join us as we trace the history and influences of Horses Cut Shop, in the words of “Professional Boat Rocker” Gabe Johnson himself:

Origin Story. “Horses Cut Shop was started as unincorporated meeting spot for artists, riffraff, musicians and people who wished to create their own ‘reality,’ if only for one day or night at a time. The world wasn’t giving me what I wanted in terms of community, so in 2009 I decided to create the conditions that would.” [Watch a video about Gabe and said meeting spot that we made last Christmas.]

Smells Like Home. “Horses Cut Shop, as an entity, was styled after the American Fraternal Orders (Moose Lodge, Elks Lodge, Eagles Club, Knights of Columbus, etc.), and the ’70s summers of my youth in Aberdeen. The Cut Shop was a fortified compound in upper Fremont [in Seattle] that smelled like smoky burnouts, farm animals, whiskey, gas, mayhem and the ever-present dangerous machine. (This Flickr link provides photographic evidence of three years spent just under the radar of Seattle’s Finest.)”

A New Hope. “The Cut Shop experience was anchored by a monthly Sunday Brunch that we managed to pull regularly, on a volunteer basis, without fail for three years before the shop closed due to sale of the property by the owner. Ultimately, money was needed to continue the experiment in another location and in a new way. Hence the foray into the T-shirt business. The sale of T-shirts that celebrate and support ‘real’ America, an America that’s hanging on by a thread, seemed in-line with my ultimate goal of preserving and shaping the kind of world I want to live in. The T-shirt business is a vehicle for storytelling and simply a cover for my illicit love affair with America and the riffraff that makes her hum.”

Core Beliefs. “I believe beauty and knowledge can be found in the soul of inanimate objects. I tend to worship things that were built for use, community and to outlast the maker. In this sense, a wrench is like a record store and an old tavern is like a worn-in pair of boots. These objects—these places—are constructed with deliberate intention; they’re the embodiment of the American Dream and the products of our country’s worship of self expression and individualism. I want to acknowledge them and celebrate the creators/makers behind the name and logo.”

Fun Facts:
- I was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, along with four generations of my family.
- My favorite place to be is either lost and/or in some type of trouble.
- I’ve been arrested and charged with “Mayhem” twice.
- I believe that if you’re respectful of the differences in disposition and avoid harming others, there are no rules and everything is permitted.
- I believe the America I love peaked during the summer of 1979. Specifically, the evening of July 26th, 1979.
- The slow death of my hometown (Aberdeen, WA) has had the greatest affect on me as person.
- I may or may not have founded The Comstock Commission in 2008.

—  —  —

Under the Influence. Gabe’s influences include, but are not limited to:

 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK18NP4kB7U 
Men of Substance. “The Bandit (Burt Reynolds’ character in Smokey and the Bandit), Hunter Stockton Thompson, Jack Tripper (Three’s Company character) and Steve McQueen.”

 
 
Wild Women. “Jane Birkin, The Runaways, Lynda Carter, Nancy Sinatra.”

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt0xxAMTp8M
 
Miscellaneous: “That poster of Farrah Fawcett, girls that roller skate, Evel Knievel, being put in/let out of handcuffs, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, skinned knees, cherry bombs. As is probably evident by now, I left my heart in the Aberdeen of the ’70s.” [See Gabe's Tumblr for further odds, ends and vintage awesomeness.]

—  —  —

Made from America. A few of our favorite Horses Cut Shop shirts (which double as a checklist for your next road trip). All are made in the USA and benefit the independent businesses that emblazon them.


L-R: Comet Tavern, Seattle | Amoeba Music, SF | Wolski’s Tavern, Milwaukee
Twin Anchors, Chicago | Hole in the Wall, Austin


L-R: Moby Dick’s, Minneapolis | Kelly’s Olympian, Portland
Pete Paulsen’s House of Wheels, San Leandro | Sunset Sound, Hollywood | Baranof, Seattle

 

SHOP ALL: HORSES CUT SHOP

 
 

[Portrait of Gabe Johnson by Angel Ceballos. Still-life photos courtesy of Horses Cut Shop.]

ATTENTION MEN (and women, too, if you’re reading this. Hi.)—you’ve got TWO DAYS LEFT to shop ANNIVERSARY SALE. To recap: This is a sale unlike any other, in which you can pick up killer Fall items, ahead of schedule, at limited-time discounts BEFORE they hit the floor at full price. Prices go up Monday, 8/5, so make the most of this weekend.

To help you navigate the sea of fantastic Anniversary items we brought in this year, we asked five men at Nordstrom HQ to curate a series of Expert Picks. And here on the blog, we’ve been shedding some light on the inspirations that make the men—and, presumably, inform their Picks. Read previous posts here and here.

Today’s entry is yours truly, Justin Abbott, senior editor of Men’s Shop Daily. Shop all my picks here, and read my rants, raves, and random thoughts below. [Note, there is, in fact, a second human on the other side of that interview: our talented men's e-commerce writer, Laura. Not that I'm above talking to myself at times.]


[A page from Take Ivy, the definitive volume on mid-century collegiate
style in America, shot by four dudes from Japan in 1965.]


[L: Steve McQueen, tux elegantly askew. | R: McQueen, not afraid to get his
hands dirty (nor his Barbour jacket).]


[L: Off-duty Gosling. T-shirt + peacoat = 'hey girl.' | R: Ryan Gosling shows how to keep a low
profile at the airport. Note the lack of sweatpants.]


[One of the best of the best street-style photos from our Street Etiquette x Nordstrom New York Fashion Week coverage.]


["If it bleeds, we can kill it." Predator uno, 1987.]

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Your number-one style icon?
SENIOR BLOG EDITOR JUSTIN ABBOTT:
“Trick question! I think it’s not possible (or not advisable) to have just one. Ideally, a person has a wide mix of influences and experiences that forms you into a unique individual, style-wise and otherwise. That said, my favorites are mid-century Ivy League students, for the way they wore classic staples (blazers, chinos, button-downs, repp ties) in nonchalant and individualized ways; Steve McQueen because he looked tough and confident whether in a tux or covered in mud after a motorcycle race; and (though kind of expected) Ryan Gosling—but less DB-velvet-tux-on-the-red-carpet Gosling, more off-duty-in-a-rumpled-leather-jacket, T-shirt, messy-hair, on-a-date-with-Eva-Mendes Gosling. Extra points for his bleached-hair and face-tats period, even if it was just for a part.”

MSD: Where do you get inspiration for your posts on the Men’s Shop Daily?
JUSTIN ABBOTT:
“I just try to touch on everything men need to live life with style—from the awesome products our men’s buyers bring in, to classic rock, motorcycles, and how to open champagne with a sword.”

hero
[A couple wardrobe essentials, via Abbott's instagram feed.]

MSD: Which bloggers would you say are really killing it right now?
JUSTIN ABBOTT:
 “Another trick question. I think we’re in a phase where the Internet is simply a medium that allows interesting people to quickly and easily share what they’re up to. Meaning: These days, a “blogger” might be a journalist, a photographer, a stylist, an artist—or any mix thereof. That said, Joshua and Travis of Street Etiquette have topped my list for years now. My favorite curators of menswear-related information are How To Talk To Girls At Parties, Nickel Cobalt, and Eye Five Style. My favorite photographers with a large web presence are Liam Goslett, Evan Tetreault, Noah Emrich, and Tommy Ton. My favorite collectors of random inspiration online are JJJJound, Haw-Lin, Wit & Delight, Push The Movement.”

MSD: Your top picks for fall trends?
JUSTIN ABBOTT: “Tweedleather jacketsarmy green.”

MSD: All-time favorite movie. Only one. Your pick, and why?
JUSTIN ABBOTT: “I should probably say something smart like Kubrick or Kurosawa, but…Predator. You get buzz-cut Arnold in his ’80s prime, a treasure trove of classic/corny action movie one-liners, a slasher flick where all the characters are somehow likable—even the earliest ones to get offed, Carl Weathers’ severed arm still firing off machine-gun rounds as it hits the jungle floor, that mystical pessimistic guy Billy, an actually pretty cool menacing soundtrack, and one of the extremely few sci-fi monsters whose eventual appearance lives up to the foreshadowing.”


SALE PICKS from Justin’s category. From left:
Patagonia vest | Billy Reid henley | G-Star Raw sneaker | Billy Reid leather jacket | Obey cap


Vince pea coat sweater | Jack Spade leather briefcase | Diesel jeans | Nordstrom trim-fit dress shirt | John Varvatos sportcoat
 

FOR MORE, SHOP:
ALL JUSTIN ABBOTT’S PICKS
ALL EXPERT PICKS
ALL MEN’S ANNIVERSARY SALE

 
 

[Interview by Laura Oxford. Steve McQueen photos via Life Magazine and TWW. Ryan Gosling photos via Socialite Life, here and here. Tweed jacket detail shot by Joshua Woods. Predator © 20th Century Fox, Gordon Company, Silver Pictures, Davis Entertainment. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


 

When we interviewed AG Jeans Creative Director Sam Ku a few months ago, we noticed his favorite style icons were all of a vintage nature. From rough-around-the-edges antiheroes like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman to infamous ladies’ man Serge Gainsbourg, it was clear that Ku’s inspiration draws largely from the past—which provides a logical context for the latest lineup from AG Jeans.

Dubbed ‘AG-ed Vintage,’ the collection utilizes AG’s modern jean-crafting expertise in an ode to time-honored treasures discovered at a rare vintage shop. Each style is labeled with a number of years—the higher the number, the older the inspiration.

Here are a few favorites, from dusted-up greys that would look at home in the driver’s seat of a Mustang, to gently distressed blues for prowling Paris with Jane Birkin on your arm:


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (6 Years Destroyed)


AG Jeans ‘Dylan’ Slim Skinny Leg Jeans (3 Years Tonal)


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (7 Year Grey)


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (24 Year Fade)

 

SHOP: AG JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

 
 

[Video clips © Solar Productions, Fontana Records, and Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

1. Luxe Slipper. This style of crushed-velvet dinner slipper, often emblazoned with obscure, hilarious, or illicit symbolism, is popping up all over the internet in recent times.

While we fully endorse the Hefner-esque (or Disick-ish?) “I do what I want” levity they lend to formal attire when worn for a nightcap at your mansion, the question is: Can they be worn outside the comfort of your study?


[Magnanni velvet loafer | Mezlan embossed suede loafer | Donald J Pliner beaded loafer]

Turns out, the answer is yes. As any number of street style blogs—like Dapper Lou, below—these things add comfort and a sense of humor to jeans, cardigans, plaid pants, and definitely tongue-in-cheek socks.

And, for good measure, here’s Steve McQueen, proving that with the right attitude, velvet slippers can look good no matter what you’re wearing. (How does he do that?)


 

However, if you’re heading out to holiday parties this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or New Year’s, and the forecast precludes velvet, here are some tux-friendly alternatives to finish off your formal look:


Classics, L-R:
2. Patent Loafer. The sleek, most surefire choice with any tux. [BOSS Black]
3. Chelsea Boot. Same clean lines, but more puddle-proof if you’re party-hopping. [To Boot New York]
4. Patent Lace-up. Less traditional than a loafer, but equally acceptable with a tux—as long as you keep them shiny. [Salvatore Ferragamo]
 


Experimental, L-R:
5. High-End High-Top. If you want to blend streetwear with formalwear, make sure your sneakers are spotless—and preferably all-black. [Alexander McQueen PUMA]
6. Subtle Color. Stay full-on formal, and still raise an eyebrow or two, with a lace-up in near-imperceptible purple. [Paul Smith]
7. Punk-Rock Tux. Spiked slippers mix best with a skinny tux—and adventurous company. [Steve Madden]

 

Shop: Our Party Essentials Guide | All Party-Essential Shoes

 

[Photos: Cary Collection slippers via Unabashedly Prep; Outfit shots via Dapper Lou; Steve McQueen via Drop Dead Prep. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

“Steve McQueen—ironically displaying his signature, perfect balance of allegiance and rebellion.”
—The Selvedge Yard

“I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”
—Steve McQueen

On America’s birthday, we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute than to recommend one of the most patriotic, and yet most subversive, web museums in the world: The Selvedge Yard.

Some might call it a blog, but we say ‘web museum’ because the breadth of topics and depth of research is nothing short of encyclopedic. And with subjects ranging from Hitchcock to Harley Davidsons, Playboy Bunnies to Bob Dylan, and famous mustaches to muscle cars, there’s something for everyone. (Unless your idea of the perfect lunch-hour blog break includes LOL-inducing cats.)

While The Selvedge Yard does include a few choice overseas exports, like the Rolling Stones and vintage Schwarzenegger, the running themes remain intact: rebellion, recklessness, and good old-fashioned machismo.

Alfred Hitchcock on the secretive set of his classic thriller Psycho, 1960.

Albert “Shrimp” Burns, a top racer of the 1910s and early 1920s, was the youngest champion of his era, winning his first titles at age 15.

The Playboy Club, circa 1960. (Note Keith Richards in the background, top right.)

Bob Dylan, London, circa 1966. Photo by Barry Feinstein.

Frank Zappa’s mustache, New York City, 1967. Photo by Jerry Schatzberg.

Carroll Shelby’s iconic Ford Mustang GT350 pony car, circa 1965.

 

All photos, quotes and captions courtesy of The Selvedge Yard.

 

[Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]