The new year is shaping up to be a good one for those in search of affordable, well-made, traditional neckwear. Following on the heels of December’s announcement of Paul Winston’s webstore for Chipp2 comes new source for handmade ties in conservative widths and patterns as staid as anything found on the racks of traditional clothiers.
New York City-based Conrad Wu announced the opening of his eponymous brand in October of last year, but since much of the hubbub is happening over at Style Forum, Wu’s ties have likely stayed below the radar of Tradsville. While not an overtly Ivy or preppy brand, Conrad Wu is poised to have appeal across the spectrum of menswear, and for lovers of matte-finished repps and regimental stripes there is obviously much to like. What’s more, the ties are currently on sale in Celebration of Chinese New Year.
Each Conrad Wu necktie is handmade in New York City and features three-fold construction. The blades are untipped with hand-rolled edges. Widths vary from 8-8.5cm, well within the traditional sweet spot.
In addition to regimental rep stripes, hearty woolens, and small-print foulards, Wu offers a selection of stripes in shantung silk (such as the tie pictured above), that rare, nubby textured silk made popular a couple of years ago by luxury makers such as Drake’s of London.
Wu tells Ivy Style his plans for the brand are modest and focused on value. “My goal for my brand isn’t to make it big,” he says. “I draw personal satisfaction knowing that others are happy with my products. Quality and customer service will forever be what I strive for.”
With prices ranging from $87 for a wool tie to $93 for a shantung, Wu seems well-positioned to capitalize on the resurging interest in artisanal neckwear while offering a price below his competitors. — ZACHARY DELUCA
I could hardly believe it, but there it was right in front of me: a grainy newspaper photo of a group of happy haberdashers under a sign in Old English script that read “The Trad Shop.”
How could this be? The general consensus in the natural-shoulder enthusiast community is that the word “trad” refers roughly to the Ivy League Look in Japan, and that it was never used in the US to refer to the natural-shoulder genre. To believe otherwise is to embrace an artificial construct of the Internet age.
But the question now is what to do when you find the exception to the rule. I believe that a dispassionate examination of the evidence will show that this anomaly adds to the richness of the Ivy story for those who love both clothes and the business acumen that brought them to the public. So let’s delve in and meet Stuart Lewis and The Trad Shop, which served the Cornell campus during the Ivy heyday. (Continue)
Ralph Lauren’s fall collection just went up online and is full of the very items we’ve been discussing lately. OK, we haven’t been discussing three-piece suits lately, but we’ve got a piece on vests coming up soon. (Continue)
I’ll confess to popping the collars on all my overcoats, including my raincoat, most of the time. Not for preppy reasons: I just can’t seem to shake that 19th century influence.
Zach of Newton Street vintage recently posted about popped polos — polo coats, that is — which got us thinking about finally mentioning there’s a tumblr site entirely devoted to polo coats and their cousins.
We haven’t done a poll in a while, so let’s see how the numbers break down among you guys when it comes to popping wool, cashmere and camelhair collars, as opposed to cotton piqué:
It’s certainly been polo coat weather lately. I’m heading into town in mine, worn lazy-Sunday style with grey flannels, boat shoes, turtleneck under buttondown, vintage-varsity-styled shawl cardigan from RL, and a baseball cap from the Newport Jazz Festival.
And no, I’m not wearing such a getup to church. — CC
We received a message from Beckett Simonon, a shoe company that launched in 2012, touting its new collection of shoes atimed at the budget-conscious guy who still wants quality. The shoes, which are made in India, feature Goodyear-welt construction, a durable manufacturing process associated with shoes priced much higher.
Here’s an extract from the company’s press release:
“We see a huge gap in the men’s footwear market. It’s outrageous that well-made leather shoes retail above $300. We operate without the complex layers of big businesses (no middlemen, no distributors, no expensive physical stores, etc.) so we can offer the same quality products for a much more affordable price,” says Andres Niño, CEO and co-founder of Beckett Simonon. “By selling directly to consumers we bypass the traditional retail markup, around 2.5X, so we are technically selling to consumers at wholesale prices.” Beckett Simonon is the only online footwear company to sell Goodyear Welted construction shoes under $139, setting them apart from competitors with equivalent craftsmanship and materials but retailing above $300.
As the American gold-standard in quality shoe construction, Goodyear Welt construction holds together the sole, insole and upper sole with one thick stitch and a leather welt. Between the insole and outsole is a cork layer that creates a custom-like footbed, which makes the shoe breathable and flexible.
Beckett Simonon’s longwings, pictured above, are just $139. The color is too light for me personally (and I’m not a longwing fan anyway), and I’d recommend swapping out the laces, but they certainly seem to fill an opening in the shoe market. Not every new grad or frugal trad can follow the “Official Preppy Handbook’s” advice and invest a week’s salary in a pair of Church’s shoes. — CC
Update: The final hours of J. Press at Madison and 47th were rather subdued, which allowed Richard Press to have a long chat with Onward Kashiyama management.
The company says it is very actively looking for suitable locations both in New York and New Haven, and is acutely aware of the tremendous value of the brand’s heritage, as well as the need to “move forward.”
A longtime salesman also intimated that he planned to be back on the floor just as soon as the new store opens. — CC
Today J. Press sent out the above in an email blast.
On Saturday at 5 pm, join myself and Ivy-Style.com columnist and Press family royalty Richard Press as Madison Avenue and 47th Street de-Press themselves of this historic American retailer.
We’ll count down the final hours together. Come by to snatch up the last remaining items, rub natural shoulders with fellow trads, pay your respects to the current location, and wish the company a speedy return to the streets of Manhattan. — CC