History | A Continuous Lean.

An Ode to the Humble Safari Jacket

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


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.


The Long Lasting Style of a Real Character.

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


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.


The Souvenirs of War.

May 21st, 2015 | Categories: History, WWII | by ACL Editors


We’ve all heard the famous stories of soldiers who ran through Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at the close of World War Two, taking home his silverware, or Nazi banners, or even his personal photo albums. Yet, this pilfering was not unique to that one battalion, as there’s evidence of American soldiers across all ranks taking home their own personal keepsakes from the war. Most of the time these were standard battlefield ephemera – guns, badges, helmets, etc. but in Japan this desire to bring something back home actually led to the creation of a specific garment, the souvenir jacket, which soldiers would purchase from little stalls before making their way back to America.


The Originals.

May 1st, 2015 | Categories: England, History, Menswear, Shoes | by ACL Editors


After the explosion of interest in men’s clothing that was catalyzed by the heritage movement of the early aughts, we now find ourselves in a pretty tumultuous time for men’s style. Brands fall in and out of favor at the drop of floppy Italian hat. Trends can rise and fizzle out in the time it takes a model to walk the length of a runway. And it is now (relatively) normal for someone to dress like a drop-crotched goth ninja one day and a soft-shouldered Neapolitan aristocrat the next. If there’s one idea that has never seemed to lose steam throughout this all though, it’s that anything made in China is less preferred than things made in Japan, Europe, America or even Canada.

If you ask us, blanket statements like this are easy to say, yet hard to fully comprehend. We don’t really believe that all things made in China are always made poorly, just as we don’t believe that all things made in America are automatically made well. With that said though, it is true that the large-scale factories that make up much of China’s clothing industry do prioritize quantity over quality, and the effects of this can be manifold. Which brings us to the story of Padmore & Barnes.


An Ode to the Humble American Beer.

Apr 7th, 2015 | Categories: Drinking, History | by Michael Williams


The calendar is filled with a host of events like “National Donut Day” and the like that seem to be conjured from thin air with little basis in the real world. The amount of these little celebratory days tends to amuse me greatly. So when I heard the story of “National Beer Day” I was immediately skeptical that this was yet another greeting card holiday. When I learned the actual history of today, April 7th, National Beer Day, a new found respect emerged for this humble beer drinking day’s place in our history. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to motivate me to grab a cold one.

The significance of this national day of beer emerged following the dry days of prohibition in 1933. As it turns out, the date of April 7th is the day that the Cullen–Harrison Act went into effect for the first time, and marked the day in which a thirsty public could once again legally consume a beer without fear of incident from the authorities.

Opening the Door on New York’s Private Clubs.

Mar 9th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, New York City | by ACL Editors


“Hey, I wonder what’s behind that door?”

It’s a question that most New Yorker’s ask themselves countless times, almost subconsciously, as they wander through the city each day. These doorways certainly intrigue us, but in the end, we only ever step into maybe one percent of the buildings that we pass by in this city. All those other thresholds are off-limits, leaving us to quietly wonder what lies behind that door. And few of these buildings stoke our imaginations quite like New York’s many private clubs. That word, private, says it all.

New York has a long tradition of clandestine clubs that are designed to keep outsiders at bay. It’s who these clubs do choose to let in, though which distinguishes them from one another. Each different club may appeal more to artists, or authors, or politicians, or city planners, depending on their charters, but they all genuinely share one common characteristic: wealth. Let’s face it, these clubs are not for us (that is unless you happen to be a high-society millionaire whose great-great-great-great-great-grandparents arrived on these shores via the Mayflower) to enter, they are for us to ogle at from the outside. So join us for a look, but don’t touch, guide to NYC’s social clubs, because this is the closest we may ever get to knowing what actually goes on behind these doors.

The Art of Eating.

Mar 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Art, History, New York City | by ACL Editors


Filet Mignon for a buck eighty five, a salad for sixty cents, a baked potato for a quarter, a glass of beer for a dime.

In 1941 you could get a solid meal at the famous Keen’s Steakhouse here in New York for less than three dollars. That in of itself is extraordinary, but what’s even more extraordinary is how the menu looked. Back in the forties, Keen’s menu was a real work of art. The cover of the medieval inspired menu proudly displayed the Keen’s story, each page was bordered by smiling vegetables, and “To-Day’s Selections” were announced by a lute playing minstrel musician. And this was just one menu from one restaurant.

Back in the day, all menus were an art form in their own right. They would often feature hand-drawn figures, ornate scripts, bracketed sections, and frame-worthy covers. These boastful bills of fares were a canvas for creativity, regardless of the quality of the dishes which were listed on their pages. This is somewhat of a flip on today’s culinary trends, as most restaurants today hand out plainspoken menus, yet peddle some truly beautiful dishes. While the menu has become mundane now, we can fortunately still revisit the artistic menus of the past through the New York Public Library’s extensive online archive of menu’s from New York City restaurants. With over seven thousand menus, the archive is a real feast, our only recommendation is that you don’t visit on an empty stomach. Some of our favorites after the jump.