A Continuous Lean.

Florence End to End

Aug 28th, 2015 | Categories: David Coggins, Italy, Travel | by David Coggins

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Florence is a reassuring city. You go there for stone walls, old frescoes and steaks as thick as a reference book. They love their country clothes there (it’s a surprisingly good place to get a second-hand Barbour). You see hunting dogs, tweeds in winter, and it feels perfectly natural when an old man bicycles down the street smoking a pipe. All bets are off when Pitti Uomo arrives with its parade of clowns, though most of the year the calculation remains the same. But there are still surprising ways to visit the city on the Arno and remake the classic equation.

Consider Villa La Massa, your dream of the Italian countryside made real. This 16th Century Medici Villa was converted into a hotel in 1948 and then renovated in 1998 by the owners of the renowned Villa d’Este. It’s set right on a bend in the river, across from fields and gentle hills. It’s about a twenty minute drive from town and they have a shuttle that regularly drops you near the Ponte Vecchio.

You can take your café or aperitif next to pool, there’s a small but elegant spa, and walking paths through a 22-acre garden, with rosemary, irises and pear trees. This is a much less formal affair than Villa d’Este (coats are not required for dinner, but you are in Italy, so why not?). It’s a low-key pastoral setting that’s intimate, handsome and contemplative.
Villa La Massa succeeds beyond its setting: You can attend cooking classes, wine tastings, eat white truffles in October or head out to visit distinguished towns and churches around Tuscany. But it doesn’t make you do more than you want to: You can sit by the river, read a book and drink your Negroni. Villa La Massa understands that you want to travel on your own terms. And in this setting, those terms are always good.

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The Villa la Massa.

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An Ode to the Humble Safari Jacket

Aug 27th, 2015 | Categories: History, Menswear | by ACL Editors

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Every time a technology company announces their latest, greatest, simply “must have” gadget, we tend to find ourselves asking the same question – where? And that’s not “wear” as in the Apple Watch’s wearable tech, it’s “where,” as in “where the hell are we going to put this?” As men, we suffer from a storage deficiency. Sure, a spacious bag can be a man’s best friend, but there’s a reason Superman’s Batman’s cape was for show while his utility belt did all the real work – it’s just easier to have your gadgets at hand. This problem is never more pertinent during summer when most men are left with nothing more than two measly pant pockets, and so we thankful that jacket season has returned once again.

A jacket, if designed properly, can turn you into a walking filing cabinet (without looking like one of course), and few jackets are designed quite as well as the Safari. This modified sport coat emerged when the Sahara first came in vogue during the twentieth century, as members of upper class westerners flocked to the “mysterious” continent of Africa. The Safari Jacket allowed these deep-pocketed Anglos, who were swept up in the allure of an “unexplored” land, to wander the countryside without the burden of luggage.

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Up to Speed | Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Aug 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Autos, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

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Porsche is often jokingly said to have the laziest designers in the business because the 911 has changed so little in 50 years. While that’s obviously an exaggeration the world’s most iconic sports car has remained remarkably true to its original lines. The Targa version, first offered for sale in 1967 as a sort of stop-gap while Porsche figured out how to make a workable cabriolet, has always been one of the most alluring 911 variants. An integral stainless steel roll-bar designed to address safety concerns gave birth to its famed B-pillar hoop bearing the Targa logo. Named after Italy’s Targa Florio race, where Porsche had scored seven victories since 1956 over the likes of Ferrari and Maserati, it was originally equipped with a removable roof panel and a removable plastic rear window, with a fixed glass version offered starting in 1968.

Following various updates in the ‘70s and ‘80s, in 1990 Porsche brought out a Targa version of the then-new 964, now considered the last of the “classic” Targas. In 1993 the design changed from a removable roof panel to a sliding glass one, which while not ugly definitely did not have the same aesthetic appeal, not least because it did away with the iconic B-pillar. Glass roofed Targas remained available until 2008 when Porsche updated the 997, and then last year the company unveiled the new 911 Targa with a radical redesign harking back to the original with the B-pillar hoop re-instated along with a fabric covered roof panel. The car employs a rather complex mechanism to remove the front roof section and stow it behind the rear seats, but overall it’s a styling triumph, a potent blend of modern and retro.

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The Long Lasting Style of a Real Character.

Aug 20th, 2015 | Categories: History, Hollywood, Menswear, Movies, Style | by ACL Editors

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No one watches old movies anymore. With all apologies to any film scholars out there, we don’t know anyone who sits down to watch a silent film, or even a pre-war talkie these days. We don’t remember these movies anymore. But in some cases we do remember their stars. Even if you’ve never seen The General or Our Hospitality or Sherlock, Jr., chances are you know what Buster Keaton looks like. With his stone faced stare and polished attire, Keaton was one of the original straight men, playing up the madcap comedy of early cinema through his signature stoicism.

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Get Into Polo Ralph Lauren’s Modern Fall Look.

Aug 19th, 2015 | Categories: Sponsored Post, Style, That Autumn Look | by Michael Williams

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This fall Polo Ralph Lauren is launching an entirely new and altogether fresh take on menswear at Bloomingdales.com. In the spirit of our That Autumn Look style series, this new Polo collection serves as the perfect inspiration for the fall dressing that will be upon us in the not so distant future. The recently launched Polo Ralph Lauren collection at Bloomingdales presents a perfectly distilled presentation that captures the many distinct and intriguing style archetypes of the modern man in one streamlined online experience.

When it comes to dressing for the seasons, nothing is better than layered fall style. Pairing a cool shearling with a chunky cable knit sweater and fine leather bag can make for the ultimate modern fall look that so many of us covet. And don’t overlook Polo’s great collection of smart tailored clothing for work which effortlessly elevates menswear staples like the blue blazer, the knit tie and classic grey flannel trousers to new heights. There’s also the iconic Ralph Lauren look of moto jeans and a tweed jacket for a night out. It all comes together to form a forward and somewhat unexpected new direction which somehow simultaneously feels right in line with the Ralph Lauren aesthetic. All of this making me think that this new online shop could be the key to the ultimate fall style.

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In Fleming’s Footsteps: The Return of the Real Bond.

Aug 18th, 2015 | Categories: Books, Jared Paul Stern, Movies | by Jared Paul Stern

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The release of Spectre, the 24th Bond film and the fourth to feature Daniel Craig as 007, isn’t the only thing on the secret agent’s dossier this autumn. On Sept. 8, two months before Spectre makes its worldwide debut, Harper Collins will publish Trigger Mortis, a brand new Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz incorporating previously unpublished material written by Ian Fleming for a never-filmed television series, Murder on Wheels. Though there have been dozens of Bond books commissioned by the Fleming estate since his death in 1964 – he didn’t actually live to see very many of his iconic creation’s cinematic exploits – Trigger Mortis is the first to be set during the original timeline created by Fleming since 1968′s Colonel Sun.

That book, written by brilliant British author Kingsley Amis under the pen name Robert Markham, was a bit tricky for some Bond fans though elements of Amis’ plot were later used in filming The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Though he had also published two other Bond-related works, a literary study called The James Bond Dossier and the cheeky The Book of Bond, Amis wrote no other Bond novels. A fictional autobiography of 007 by John Pearson appeared in 1973 followed by novelizations of The Spy Who Loves Me and Moonraker in 1977 and 1979. Then the torch was passed to British novelist John Gardner, an ex-Royal Marine Commando, who went on to write sixteen Bond books between 1981–1996.

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Is Rowing Only for the Rich? A Henley Winner Weighs In.

Aug 14th, 2015 | Categories: Jared Paul Stern, Sports | by Jared Paul Stern

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Our recent report on the Henley Royal Regatta sparked a serious debate about class and style. One commenter’s position that “people should know their place” in regards to attending and dressing for such high-end events struck a chord in particular. Which led us to wonder whether Henley and its ilk are really the bastions of unrepentant snobbery that some make them out to be. Many seem to be of the opinion that rowing is only for the rich, and that the “ridiculous” blazers worn by rowers and clubmen are merely a way of rubbing the proles’ noses in it. So we decided to ask Jack Carlson (photographed above by Jason Varney) to stick an oar in.

A three-time member of the U.S. national rowing team, Carlson has won the Henley Royal Regatta, the Head of the Charles Regatta, and the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. A native of Boston, he first began his rowing career as a coxswain at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge, Mass., which was the first American high school to win at Henley in 1929. Last year he published Rowing Blazers, a gorgeous paean to the flamboyant garments that have occasioned so much criticism, with photography by F.E. Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep. Oh, and he also has a degree from Georgetown and a Ph.D. in archaeology from Oxford.