It’s safe to say that the heritage menswear revival is alive and well in the South.
Earlier this year it was the return of Louisiana’s Haspel, and now Garden & Gun brings word that Civil War–era Southern brand Duck Head has relaunched their line of sturdy chinos and polos just in time for the dog days of summer.
As far as heritage brands go, all of the bona fides are there: founded in Tennessee by two brothers after their tour with the Confederate Army; started with chinos made of leftover duck canvas from war tents; supplied the US military with overalls during WWII; spawned a chino craze among Southern fraternity prepsters in the 1980s; everything went downhill when they moved production overseas... And now they’re back—with a couple of Ralph Lauren vets at the helm. Most importantly: so is their iconic label, stitched with a mallard’s head.
George’s Handmade Boots is a one-man operation that’s been quietly turning out handsome custom footwear out of eastern Oregon for the better part of the past century, and now the world is finally getting a look into his shop. As you can imagine, it’s as Americana as it gets—he still operates the way he did back then: phone orders and a mail catalog that you can request by, you guessed it, phone. In the recent flurry of interest, his granddaughter set up the Facebook page and there are talks of an e-commerce site—as well as George’s talk of finding someone new to take over his operation in the next few years. So, if you’ve ever romanced the idea of heading to the Western frontier to make your bones in the craft of bootmaking—or the idea of owning a really handsome pair of handmade boots—now’s your chance.
There are plenty of perfectly good reasons to wear a baseball cap.
Driving a convertible. Watching a ball game. Premature balding.
But we’ve been noticing a sharp rise in guys wearing more #menswear-y versions—without a hint of support for a sports team—even more so, with the recent rise in popularity of the five-panel cap and floral prints. And it got us thinking about what it all means. So we’ve gone ahead and taken stock of all the nonstandard baseball caps out there to give you a better idea of what your choice in billed topper is projecting to the world.
NYFW: still happening. And while none of this stuff will be available for a good seven months—or until the weather’s gone from cold to warm to cold again—we consider it of paramount importance that we keep you informed (and show you how stylish future-you could be). Hence, a series of quick-and-dirty posts on as many of the shows as we can get to.
Up next: Steven Alan.
The Background: Mr. Alan digs deeper into Americana subcultures with a collection inspired by ’60s post-bop jazz. (Back when jazz was still subversive and cool.)
Degree of Difficulty: Steven Alan makes the opposite of difficult clothing.
If you’re not familiar with his stuff, just imagine the sort of classic well-made American aesthetic someone who cut their teeth at the legendary tailoring shop Badowers, interned at Ralph Lauren and finally rose to the top ranks at J.Crew would turn out. Or, you know, now you can just visit his webshop to take a look.
Ralph Lauren is one of Americana’s most venerable institutions. He’s managed to clothe an entire nation—from the cable-knitted Northeast to the denim-on-denim’d Southwest.
And as a testament to that legacy, the brand is launching the webshop RL Vintage today. After a small army of vintage clothing enthusiasts/historians was assembled, the team set out, rummaging through the finer flea markets and antique shops to put together a veritable museum of Polo-centric Americana—well, a museum that you can actually buy things from. For the men’s offerings, you can expect a lot of suede—and even some fringe—but something we’re really looking forward to is the “Bring It Back” program that lets Polo fanatics dig through the archives and vote on pieces they’d like to see reissued. Whatever gets the most votes will actually go into production as a limited-run throwback. Currently on deck is the Polo Bear sweater, beloved by grandmothers, rappers and menswear bloggers alike.
So naturally, we were pleased to learn of a Dallas-based shop combining the two, by the name of Pebble + Pine. It’s one of those ideas that feels novel, but at the same time surprising that it hadn’t been thought of before (the brick-and-mortar shop has been peddling American-made golf paraphernalia to Dallas locals for a few weeks now, but they’ve just launched e-commerce this week).
But if you’re in the market for some handsome shell cordovan leather wingtip cowboy boots, look no further than these Wingtip Ropers from Yuketen that have recently arrived at Context Clothing. Here’s what else you should know about them:
The Story: Yuki Matsuda has been heading up the Japanese-led Americana revival for nearly three decades, while making some incredible American-made shoes along the way. But for these boots, he’s leaned on the ranchero expertise of Mexico—where they’ve been meticulously crafted from Horween shell cordovan #8 in a limited run.
Who to Channel: Whatever a dandified British-Texan oil baron rancher might look like—perhaps a mashup of Prince Charles and George W. Bush.
Or Spend Your $1,114 On: 12.9 barrels of crude oil, an old pickup truck or a shell cordovan leather wallet to hold your remaining $1,000 in.
But here on Kempt: it’s boots season. And that means choices.
With a vast sea of options out there—hiking, Chelsea, desert, cowboy, et cetera—it begs the question: what is your choice in fall footwear saying about you? So we graciously came up with this handy guide: