Archives for December 2011 | A Continuous Lean.

The Layover

Dec 28th, 2011 | Categories: Food, Travel, Video | by Michael Williams


I spent a lot of time flying around this year — my frequent flyer account tells me 127,000 miles flown ytd — and the one thing that makes me not regret all those hours spent on planes next to a bunch of C.O.S. is all of the time I was lucky enough to spend experiencing a bunch of different cultures and cuisines. It’s easy to say that no time was more enjoyable than my exploration of Italy with my good friend Courtney, who has been the most amazing guide to all things good in not only Italy, but in life.

With it being the end of the year, I’m guessing that everyone is either on a beach, a ski slope or killing time (at home or work) on the internets. So I figured it would be a good time to think about the places and adventures that will shape 2012. This idea came to me recently while watching every episode of Anthony Bourdain’s food / travel show The Layover. I missed all of these shows when they originally aired (because I don’t really have any time to watch teevee), but thankfully all of the shows are available online and for me to share with you here.

The World of 50 Years Ago.

Dec 27th, 2011 | Categories: History | by Michael Williams

The Atlantic has a photo feature that takes a look back 50 years to the events that shaped the world in 1961. It’s one of the types of photo stories that you see a lot at the end of the year, but done in a much more interesting way than normal. Amazing to see the turmoil and change that shaped the lives of millions of people in the coming decades — from Cuba to the quest for equality in America. Also of particular interest to me is the space race and all that surrounded this early time of exploration of the final frontier. See all of the images here.

Photos via The Atlantic / AP.

Stopping into Cuffs Clothing.

Dec 24th, 2011 | Categories: Cleveland, Menswear, Retail | by Michael Williams

Out and about in Cleveland today, I spent the afternoon doing some last minute Christmas shopping (the last minute makes you the most productive — don’t forget it). Eventually I ventured over to Cuffs Clothing — one of my favorite shops. I was thinking just last week that stores like Cuffs in Chagrin Falls and O’Connell’s in Buffalo are two truly unique menswear shops that set the standard for specialty retail in America. When I go to Cuffs I can’t help but to think how the selection is both classic and modern at the same time, with an emphasis on quality. Cuff’s sells brands like Crockett & Jones, Brioni, Kiton, Charvet, Barbour, Southwick and Oxxford — among others. Also, Cuffs has what I think is the only remaining Hermès shop-in-shop in the United States. And all of this in a world where many specialty retailers are either painfully boring or going out of business.

As it Happened | Lunch with Mr Porter

Dec 16th, 2011 | Categories: As it happened, London | by Michael Williams

Spent the day in London with the good people of Mr Porter including Mr Terry Betts (senior buyer, at left) and Mr Toby Bateman (buying director). We had a “traditional” English lunch at Mishkin’s (“a kind-of Jewish deli with cocktails”), which was amazing and definitely is something that would likely be more at home on Delancey than round the corner from Covent Garden. Nevertheless, the food (and the company) was terrific. And just kidding about the traditional English bit. A more in-depth look at Mr Porter very soon.

The Lure of the Borsalino at JJ Hat Center

Dec 16th, 2011 | Categories: New York City, Retail | by Michael Williams

Acquiring crushable felt Borsalinos can become borderline addictive. A few Saturdays ago my friend Randy Goldberg and I stopped into JJ Hat Center, a New York institution for hat buying. I was just going along for the ride because Randy wanted to go to replace a lost Borsalino (which was swallowed by an NYC taxi) not at all intending to buy anything. After about 45 minutes, I walked out with a simple Italian-made felt hat that will last a lifetime (if cared for properly).

That’s how things just seem to go at JJ Hat Center — once you are there it is hard to resist all of the finely made hats. Next time you are on Fifth Ave (between 31st & 32nd streets) stop in and see if you can avoid the lure of the Borsalino.

GQ’s Oral History of Menswear Blogging

Dec 13th, 2011 | Categories: Random | by Michael Williams

Today one of those things you never thought would (or maybe should) be documented was documented. Today GQ published the Oral History of Menswear Blogging and I have to say it is pretty interesting. Somehow I managed to harass my dad and make fun of Lawrence Schlossman all in the same article — sorry guys. And if you can’t tell, I was only (mostly) joking.

Some choice quotes below and full article here.

Michael Williams: Maybe I’m out of touch, but I never liked the whole double monk thing. I think a lot of this stuff has gotten out of control. At the Pop Up Flea [in 2009], some dude showed up in a henley and Carhartt overalls, seriously, with like a bandana in his back pocket. That shit looks weird at a truck stop in rural Pennsylvania. You can’t be wearing that shit in SoHo. Now it’s all these Italian unstructured garment-washed jackets.

Lawrence is like the leader of all these little things. He’s the one that gets on bracelets and shit. I never subscribed to that either, the whole bracelet thing. I’ll leave that to Man Repeller, I’m good on wearing 10 bracelets. I’m not at fucking summer camp.

Lawrence Schlossman: I think the age difference in bloggers determines how susceptible they are to experimenting style-wise. An older guy, such as Michael, has had more time behind the wheel and knows pretty quickly when he has absolutely no interest in something. I wear them because I saw Kanye West wear them at Coachella.

Beauty & Youth Autumn Winter 2011

Dec 13th, 2011 | Categories: Japan, Menswear | by Michael Williams

The fall catalog from Beauty & Youth United Arrows showed up at my office a little while back and I am starting to suspect that it was sent just to taunt me. The Japanese shop is one that I always make a point to visit while in Tokyo. This season the guys at Beauty & Youth went crazy making up some awesome Harris Tweed clothing and accessories — which were far and away my favorite items on offer.

In addition to the private label, Beauty & Youth are also stocking some great footwear like the corduroy Vans and the limited distribution Irish Setter boots from Red Wing that are pictured below. It’s a solid offering of updated classics that has me contemplating a trip to Tokyo, or at least an email to my proxy.