While Ian Fleming himself never liked to be compared to the fictitious secret agent that he wrote to life during his twilight years, Mr. Fleming and James Bond were kindred spirits through and through. Fleming, much like 007, was wealthy, well-educated, and even served as a British intelligence officer during WWII. It was during this stint in the service that Fleming first visited Jamaica, the island destination from which he would pen all fourteen of his James Bond novels. Having fallen in love with the tropical atmosphere, which was unlike anything he had encountered during his English upbringing, Fleming returned to Jamaica at the conclusion of the war and purchased a plot of waterfront property on northern coast of the island. Dubbing it “Goldeneye,” a name borrowed from a covert plan he had developed during the war, Fleming constructed a modest house overlooking the Caribbean where he would spend each winter for the following decades.
South Carolina’s Lowcountry seems to sit just about six inches above sea level. It’s the flat coastal marshland area that stretches north from the Georgia border. Tall pines, oak trees draped in spanish moss and old plantations mark the landscape. It’s a gorgeous place to find one’s self in the spring.
And it’s then that I try and go every year to see family and take part in a purely southern tradition: the oyster roast.
The oysters that grow in the Lowcountry are long and flat with barely any undulations along the shell, far different from the deep scooped mollusks in the Northwest or even those in New England. They grow in the endless river and creek beds near Bluffton and Hilton Head and the surrounding area, where banks of them are exposed at low tide, waiting to be picked.
In the last two years Portland has seen an influx of established shops from around the country (Jack Spade, Steven Alan, Imogene + Willie) pop up next to some of the city’s home-grown Northwest retailers (Tanner Goods, Danner Boots, Poler, Nau, Filson). This combination of new and old, local and out-of-town, has created a mix that has finally started to give the city a bit of its own unique and diverse shopping scene. Yet even with all these new faces, one retailer continues to stand out in the crowd as a favorite – Frances May.
For the past six years, under the guidance of owner Pamela Baker-Miller and her Grandmother (and co-owner) Connie Codding, Frances May has been Portland’s most reliable shop for high quality mens offerings. Their selection is always evolving, always ahead of the curve and always classic. While they were early supporters of American labels like Gitman Vintage and Pendelton’s Portland Collection, they’ve continued to add to that base with more hand-picked clothing lines from across Europe and Canada (Common Projects, Our Legacy, Monitaly, Folk). The unifying theme being that each piece is extremely well made, wearable day in and day out and effortlessly timeless. These are the pieces that you wear for years, not just a season or a few months.
With its dual strap waistband, barrel cut legs, high inseam, and row upon row of pleats, the Gurkha short is certainly not for the faint of heart, but we’re sure the original Gurkha wouldn’t have it any other way. This overloaded short can be traced back to the Gurkha, a legendary Nepalese military regiment that consisted of that nation’s most fearless soldiers. The Gurkha were so revered for their bravery that even after suffering a loss to the British during the Anglo–Nepalese War in the early eighteen-hundreds, the kingdom enlisted them to fight for the English Empire.
Their legendary prowess at combat was not the only thing the Gurkha brought along with them when they joined forces with their former adversaries, for they also contributed, well their name. Overtime these shorts, which like almost all colonial garb featured a tan color and loose cut that could easily combat the often oppressive heat, were given the Gurkha name as they were so popular within the region.
There’s a lot of content out in the world today. Much of it barely deserved of a spot in the YouTube line up. And then there is this film, a masterful look at the life and work of John Benton. Now let us all bow down at the alter of Benton Performance. These are going to be the best six minutes of your day. Fuck. Me.
Thanks to Silver Arrows for the tip.
There’s been so much talk about this year’s endless winter that it almost seems cruel to discuss the weather at this point, and yet as we finally begin to thaw out from this infinite freeze, we also enter into Spring’s inevitable rainy season. Without the escape brought by a car, life in the city during the rainy months requires preparation and advance planning not accustom to most men. It also offers the opportunity to a stylish and useful tool like the umbrella. We’ll leave it to The Wirecutter to obsess over price and function, and we’ll focus our efforts on style.
It began with a smile.
More even than the man himself, the Jack Purcell line is best represented by a smile. Not everyone can recall that Jack Purcell was a Canadian badminton player, but we can guarantee that most people can recognize that subtle black “smile” that’s stamped on the front of his signature sneakers. And now nearly eight decades after Jack first took to the court in those white plimsolls, Converse is taking the brand to new heights thanks to that smile.
Converse has transformed that upturned line into a logo, stamping it proudly on a tee alongside their straightforward, unflappable message, “Smile.” That t-shirt is just the start of the brand’s newly formed apparel collection, which includes a polo (again with an all-over print smile motif that is almost reminiscent of waves), a lightweight blazer, and a unique barn jacket/blazer mash-up. Of course, the sneakers are still the most extensive part of the collection, adding a premium edge to the iconic silhouette, most notably on an indigo colored pair that features the wavy smile pattern.