Kempt

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Summer of Vintage Love

  • Najib Benouar

The vintage shop beat can be more trouble than it’s worth if you’re not looking in the right places.

One of our favorite places to look: the Brooklyn-based Wooden Sleepers. And they’ve just replenished their stock (both dead and vintage) on Etsy—just in time for your summer weekending to come. It’s a kaleidoscope of vintage anoraks, tassel loafers and brass bookends, so we thought we’d help you wade through the well-curated bins with a look at some of their best new offerings after the jump.

Let’s get vintage-ing, shall we?»

The Repurposed Tie

10 Tie Co

It’s not the fabric; it’s how you use it. This, for instance, is a handsome tie—but once upon a time, it was an extremely ugly shirt.

It’s a product of 10 Tie Co, an Etsy shop stitching together from vintage dress shirts, flannels, and at least one wool skirt. Once the fabric’s set, the ties are backed with Egyptian cotton and folded together to a 3.5-inch point—resulting in a brand new item with a minimum of vintage mustiness.

And more importantly, now we’ve got a plan for what to do with our old flannels.

Love For Sail

Annaruna

The Midwest Style put us onto this local crafter made good, a Mizzou student named Anna who happens to make some pretty good bowties. The cut is as trim and discreet as you’ll find, but she has a knack for finding tastefully intricate cloth, like this regatta print. The bad news: they’re all one-of-a-kind…so you may want to hurry.

In Search of the Perfect Sweatshirt

Sweatshirt

A good sweatshirt is surprisingly hard to find.

That’s part of the reason you might find yourself dropping $160 on something that looks fairly unassuming to the untrained eye. But if you find the perfect one, it’s worth it.

And after years (honestly, years) of looking. We’ve found it. Here it is. You’re welcome.

It’s a deadstock item stitched together almost 30 years ago but never worn, newly arrived onto Etsy. If you wear a medium, your search is officially over. Everyone else: this is what it’s supposed to look like, right down to the ribbon watchband and the flat-front khakis. Go forth and find your own.

Leaving Your Mark

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As you may have noticed, we’re fans of well-cultivated eccentricity. Whether it’s a few loose bracelets, a delicately curled mustache...or a devotion to old school stationary.

These rubber stamps caught our eye as just that. They're an eccentric taste, to be sure, but given the quantity of paper that still gets shuffled around a modern office, it might be nice to leave your mark on some of it. Now, to figure out exactly what the mark should be…

Why Thank You

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We’re across-the-board fans of old-school etiquette, but the Thank You card in particular deserves more credit than it gets. It’s a simple gesture, easy once you’re in the habit and it makes an impression like nothing else—especially since it’s so unexpected in the modern day.

Our gameplan: keep it short, and let the stationary do the talking. There’s a pretty good crop on Etsy (our favorite is here), which makes it that much more personal. It’s the kind of social meticulousness that makes gentlemen—not bad for a piece of paper.

On the Case

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At the risk of repeating ourselves, we’ll say it again: vintage briefcases are pretty fantastic stuff—especially if you’re looking for a gift for a younger brother ready to move into the suit-and-tie portion of his life.

This one is an art deco model that popped up on one of Etsy’s many fantastic vintage shops—but there’s plenty more where that came from. We wouldn’t advocate vintage gifting under every circumstances, but this is one item that gets better with age.

The Bow Tie, Revisited

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Bow ties are getting pretty daring these days. Case in point: this refreshing counterpart for your club collar.

These Forage bow ties are handmade in Philadelphia by the Etsy celebrities who brought you the famed Mustache on a Stick. They’ve deviated from conventional tartans and stripes in order to bring you a whimsical collection of sixteen designs. We like to think of them as the perfect accessory for the daring sentimentalist—the gentleman who takes his trad in moderation.

And unlike the Band of Outsiders version, these don’t come with clip-ons or any other shortcuts. You’ll have to knot these all by yourself. We like to think of it as the opportune moment to show off your manual dexterity. This should be of assistance if you need to brush up on your skills.

The New Saddle

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A Brooks saddle is pretty handsome to begin with, but Kara Ginther has managed to make them even better, thanks to some leather carving tools and some clever design. These bike seats (hat tip) are designed to look like anything from a vintage map to a Fair Isle sweater. And if you've got an even better design in mind, it won't be hard to arrange; at the moment, they’re all custom jobs, arranged through Ginther’s Etsy site.

Feeling Crafty

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It’s tough to pull off a pocket square without coming off like a trad, but if you choose wisely, it can give a staid suit some much-needed playfulness. Our advice: nothing too flashy and per A Suitable Wardrobe, stay away from silk.

Which is why a touch of homemade can be extremely useful. Like cufflinks, this is an instance where you may find the best stuff on Etsy. These cotton squares range from chambray and navy stripe to more complex graphic patterns—depending on your irony tolerance—any one of which would go over pretty well at a holiday party, if tucked into an appropriately rugged blazer.

Think Small

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We’ve admired raw felt computer gear before, but it looks like it’s filtered down to the Etsy crowd.

So while this felted laptop sleeve (hat tip to NotCot) may not be quite as sturdy as the Hard Graft version, it’s a solid $100 cheaper, which should make up for quite a bit of it. And since it’s made on a smaller scale, it’s full of DIY touches like leather clasps reclaimed from a car seat, not to mention the option of your own logo stenciled on the front gratis, if you decide to get personal.

Lighting Up

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The art of packaging is making a serious comeback, thanks to Apple and a few other retail aesthetes. But what’s surprising is how much of it comes from homegrown shops in Etsy.

This comes from the Portland General Store, an Etsy outlet that caught our eye with their whiskey-scented shaving products, but the sampler pack is an accomplishment all its own. Instead of cardboard, they bundle their goods in a Dominican Hemingway cigar box, with a Mary Jane, candy cigarettes and (of course) a cigar tossed in for good measure, with a glossy pic of an anonymous older gentleman presiding over it all. It’s even more impressive since they’re putting it all together in a house in rural Maine—although they probably never want for cigars.

After the jump, the unboxing pics»