Footwear | A Continuous Lean.

The Enduring Appeal of Ostentatious Loafers.

Jul 15th, 2015 | Categories: Footwear, Preppy | by ACL Editors

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The Gucci bit loafer, the Prince Albert slipper and the Belgian loafer. Three loafers that all share the dubious honor of being “rakish,” or “revolting,” depending on who you ask. Polarizing as they may be, this traddy triumvirate has remained a constant curiosity throughout the years, as each style is rediscovered in time by whatever wave happens to be cresting that year.

First it was the Gucci bit loafer, which was thrust back into the spotlight during the East Coast preppy revival of the mid-aughts. The bit loaf had first gained notoriety during the mid-twentieth century as a high society hoof that was so popular amongst A-listers and deep-pocketed socialites that they became part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection in 1962. Similarly to Ralph Lauren, another Madison Avenue icon, the horsebit story begins with a vision of polo. The story goes that in the wake of WWI, the Italian born Guccio Gucci was working at London’s Savoy Hotel where polo was a persistent topic of conversation between the rotating roster of English aristocrats that frequented the hotel. As Gucci listened to (er, eavesdropped on) these tales from the ground, polo came to represent a leisurely and luxurious lifestyle that was always just out of reach.

Francis Ford Coppola in bit loafers

Francis Ford Coppola in bit loafers

Dustin Hoffman wearing bit loafers in Kramer vs. Kramer

Dustin Hoffman wearing bit loafers in Kramer vs. Kramer





A Victory for American Made Sneakers.

Feb 5th, 2015 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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Victory Sportswear might just be the most important new sneaker brand out there, but there’s actually nothing new about them. We had never heard of Victory until we spotted them at this year’s Capsule trade show, but we were immediately taken by the brand’s suede and mesh trainers which look like a cross between something Carl Lewis might’ve worn at the ’84 Olympics and a pair of sneakers you might find at an orthopedic store.

Truthfully though, it wasn’t the look of the shoes that got us excited, but rather the fact that they were made in America. The only other brand making shoes in America right now is New Balance, and just like them, Victory produces their sneakers in New England (NB in Maine, Victory in Massachusetts). In fact, Victory has made its entire collection in its Massachusetts factory since the company was founded in 1980′s. The question is, where has it been this whole time? And how are we not surprised that it was Daiki and the Engineered Garments team that has unearthed them for our collective pleasure.





Boots. Just Boots.

Nov 25th, 2014 | Categories: Fall, Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

This idiom dates back to the 19th century when men wore tall boots which they had to pull on using loops at the mouth of the boot. Overtime, the phrase came to describe the act of overcoming an obstacle using nothing but your own willpower, and that’s how we still use it today. So, why are we telling you this? Well, boot season is finally upon us here in New York, and instead of blathering on about the merits of a good pair of boots (which we’re sure you’ve heard countless times) we figured why not give you an inane bit of trivia? And, now for something you actually can use, here’s our list of this year’s best boots. Bootstraps not required.





One of One | Custom New Balance 990s

Oct 16th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

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New Balance understands you. The American sneaker brand knows you appreciate the classic style of the 990, and they know that you couldn’t possibly wear the same shoes as everyone else. In a world of ubiquitous style this is an important development for us all. Utilizing the New Balance factory in Maine, you can now turn-around a custom pair of 990s in a little over a week from sewing machine to the street. That’s a good development because we don’t off the shelf shoes and no one wants to wait too long for their one of ones.

To some people designing their own shoes presents a major challenge. It’s often easy to know what you like and to know what you don’t, but the sheer number of options can cause a paralysis of sorts. New Balance coaxes things along with a gallery of base-designs that make it easier to understand the possibilities. Once you get into the process it becomes difficult to see how just one pair is going to be enough. Onward to the 990 customization montage.

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Beyond the Pale | A White Sneaker Round-Up.

Sep 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher

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Growing up, my dad used to refer to white sneakers as “nurse’s shoes.” Oh, how the times have changed. White sneakers are now the shoe, the singular sneaker that I can honestly say everyman needs. Regardless of your respective style, no wardrobe is complete without a pair of blanked out sneakers. From Italian leather lace-ups, to dirt cheap plimsolls, the sneaker marketplace is inundated with white sneakers of all material, shape, and price. To help you chart your own course through this sea of white, we’ve rounded up our favorite colorless lace-up sneakers. Wear ‘em till they’re no longer white, and then start all over again.





X Marks the Spot | The Converse Jack Purcell Cross Stitch Sneaker Collection

Aug 22nd, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Shoes, Sponsored Post | by Jake Gallagher

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Great design is an intersection, lying at the point where all these different features, details, and ideas converge. The crucial component to this meeting is balance – if one point outweighs the others than the center shifts and the perfect X collapses. From the light blue JP stitching on the tongue down to the molded cork footbed, the sneakers of the Converse Jack Purcell Cross Stitch sneaker collection are perfect X’s all the way through.

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A True American Craft: Handsewn Shoes.

Aug 20th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA | by Jake Gallagher

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It’s hardly a recent revelation that the pieces that define “American style,” are so rarely produced in this country anymore. If you’re reading this site, it’s safe to assume that you’re aware of the steady deterioration of America’s garment industry, but (thanks in part to our shared awareness) there has also been the reactionary effect of bringing production back to the states. This can be seen in the multitude of shirt factories, denim labels, brands, and sites such as this across all categories that have opened over past decades.

These contemporary companies were not formed to compete with the mammoth conglomerates that produce overseas, rather they provide a higher quality product for a conscientious consumer. Again, this is not at all new revelation, but it does place the sheer resilience of America’s hand-sewn footwear brands in context. While many industries exported their production and have only recently begun to see a continental renaissance, our country’s small-scale hand-sewn shoe businesses have endured all along. These footwear brands, some of which have been around for over one hundred years, were able to convert the Native American moccasin tradition and weather the mercurial attitude of the American consumer year after year.

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