A few weeks ago veteran Ask Andy Trad member CMDC posted about another independent menswear shop closing its doors. I have been doing some research on various menswear shops of the past so his post really resonated with me. I followed up with CMDC about this post and he was kind enough to provide a write for us about his.
Roger Stevens is located in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The Pfister is Milwaukee’s finest hotel and is one of those old, historic, elegant gems that each major city has but that aren’t being built anymore. When I was an undergrad in Milwaukee during the early ’90s, I had neither the sensibility nor the cash to shop there. So, I never visited the store in its heyday. Milwaukee is, as most would guess, a very blue collar town so I’ve never associated it with fine dressing although there obviously is a clientele that has kept the store doing well over the years. The patrons of the Pfister have also been a key element of the store’s success.
I get back to Milwaukee a couple of times per year and, as I’ve become more dedicated to dressing well, I’ve always intended to stop in. With the announcement of the store’s impending closing–and the significant markdowns–I made it a point to visit when I was in Milwaukee a few weeks back. Roger Stevens is–and clearly was–the type of store we clothing enthusiasts wish was still the standard. Even though their stock has been getting cleared out and everything was 50% off, the staff approached me and the other customers in the store as if it was business as usual. To give a sense of their offerings, the main brands were Samuelsohn, Southwick, Bills, Seaward and Stearn, Gitman Bros, and Zanella. They used to offer Allen Edmonds as well, which one would expect. So, mostly TNSIL favorites with a tiny smattering of the more fashion forward.
While there was much to tempt me, I didn’t want to totally break the bank. In the end, there was a Southwick 3/2 sack tweed sportcoat that I simply couldn’t leave behind. The price was very good and I’m always a sucker for bold tweed patterns. I rounded out my purchase with a really nice Ancient Madder tie. I had a really nice conversation with the saleswoman who helped me about the store, its closing, and the Milwaukee menswear scene. The honest truth is that there’s not much left in Milwaukee, especially downtown. There is a Brooks Brothers at one of the suburban malls as well as Harley’s on Milwaukee’s east side which offers a much more fashion forward, heavily Italian, line.
So, another fine menswear store is no more. While Roger Stevens’ closing isn’t attributable to the rise of business casual or the economic downturn, it is gone nonetheless. I really wish I had been able to make more than one visit. You can read more about Roger Stevens and its closing here: Menswear store Roger Stevens closing after 37 years
It has been a long week. I am sure that I am not the only one feeling worn down from the work week and that many of you can relate. However, I am sure that many of you are wondering, “What does this mean to me?” It means that I slacked off this week and do not have anything truly new to share, but what I do have is some classic material to pass along.
I am sure that most of you are familiar with the other blogs that fill the traditional American clothing niche such as Ivy Style, The Daily Prep, Maxminimus, The Weejun, The Trad , and a few others. However, there is one blog that in my opinion stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is Heavy Tweed Jacket (better known as HTJ).
HTJ has a wealth knowledge about all things trad and writes about it at a depth that is unrivaled in the blogosphere. Not only can he school you on the evolution of the Brooks Brothers OCBD, but he can also delve into the finer the points of what makes for a good Grateful Dead set. There is one hitch to his blog. He frequently abandons it only to return months (or years) later.
Currently HTJ is retired again and his blog is nowhere to found on the internet (and we teach kids that the internet is forever!). Will he pop again and leave me looking foolish for posting about his absence? If I were a gambling man I would say yes, but this won’t stop me.
For your reading pleasure here is a link to an RSS feed for Heavy Tweed Jacket. This link does not provide access to the entire HTJ archive (it contains about two years worth of posts), but hopefully it will be accompanied by a long drink and provide a little well deserved R&R to all of my readers who are still recovering from their week at work like me.
If anyone has a copy of the full website or other RSS feeds I would be grateful if you would send them to me. I would love to have a complete archive of the site. I hope to see HTJ return in the near future, but if not at least I have this link…for now. The most important lesson to learn from this post is that nothing lasts forever. Not even the internet.
I recently came across a shoe that on the second-hand market that I have been pining over for a long time. This shoe is none other than the cordovan tassel loafer. The only problem was one that all of my thrifters, Ebay scourers, and other experts of the second-hand/vintage clothing markets can relate. Will they fit?
This specific pair of tassels are Crown Windsors made by Bostonian. These tassels are not from the current iteration of Bostonian, but rather from an era when their quality was on par with Allen Edmonds and Alden. This specific pair was being advertised as having not been worn outside, but after taking a close look at the sellers pics I believed them to be new old stock (NOS). The quality, condition, and price (when compared with a new a pair) made them very very attractive to me.
My first move was to do some due diligence. I contacted a man of many tassels that I know and sought his counsel. He could not provide me with any fit information in regard to vintage Bostonian tassels, but he did have other pairs of vintage Bostonians and sent me what info he had. I did some more research on the web and in the end I felt the odds were in my favor. I pulled the trigger.
When the shoes arrived they were in spectacular condition. I now fully believe that they have never been worn before at all, inside or outside. I was enamored, but the moment of truth was here. Try on time. They fit a tad big, but I was still hopeful that after a full day of breaking them in that they would work for me. I was wrong. They slipped all day and were even painful. I was and still am crushed.
This sad story is one that I know many of you have experienced. It is also why I am weary of the second-hand/vintage market. While I can certainly get my money back out of them it involves me reselling them which in my opinion is a form of torture. Moving forward I will be purchasing less and less from this market as I can afford it, but for now I will just sing you my thrift store blues.
As Labor Day has passes many men are partaking in the ritual of putting away their white bucks and seersucker. One man has his own end of summer ceremony. On Memorial Day he (,and now his son) hoist the Madras flag and on Labor Day the flag is lowered. Yesterday the flag lowered.