Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Old Man: Pulpit Supply

I was browsing the Cordial Churchman website yesterday (new site rocks, by the way), checking out their new fall bow-ties, when I saw a link for "Pulpit Supply." I checked it out, but still didn't really understand what it was all about, so I asked Andy to explain it, and if he wanted to, write something up for the blog. So here it is, straight from the face (or neck, I suppose) of the company himself.

The collection has been in the ideation phase for about a year. (I just wanted to use the word 'ideation'.) The Cordial Churchman came along, almost accidentally, as something of a market-disruptor, in that we offered handmade-to-order-in-the-USA bow ties through a direct-to-customer, online, social-media-buzzed, high-touch delivery format for half the price of Asian-made bow ties at bricks-and-mortar retailers. Over the last few years, we've had lots of inquiries from retailers interested in carrying our bow ties. Retailers like Mast General Store and Levi's in the USA, and The Gentleman's Corner in Belgium, have carried the brand. Other stores like Ball and Buck and Just Madras have had us make their house label bow ties for them. 

But we found that it was best to create a new, top-shelf, more closely edited collection to offer to retailers and their customers. Pulpit Supply is a way for us to introduce ourselves to people through their trusted clothiers. While e-commerce is incredibly exciting, there's still nothing like walking into a leathery men's store and seeing customers physically 
interacting with your product. 

But Pulpit Supply is also a way for us to play a little bit of hardball in the e-commerce side of the industry (Doesn't it sound really sinister to say it like that?). Everybody has told us that we need to raise our prices. We think it's wonderful that people want to put more money in our pockets, but jacking our prices up would undermine what The Cordial Churchman is all about. With Pulpit Supply, we've put even more time, attention to detail, care in fabric selection, and---everyone's favorite part of getting a bow tie parcel---fun packaging, into a special collection. The line has a lot of coherence where The Cordial Churchman stresses variety and options. 

Tons of people tell us that The Cordial Churchman's quality rivals any brand of bow tie on the market. So we're excited to offer a little luxury to go with that quality in the introduction of Pulpit Supply.

Finally, you may be wondering about the name. Many people don't know that when I became a minister at an old, established church, I quickly had to learn how to stop dressing and acting like a college bum. I figured many other young men out there were facing the same steep maturation curve as they made a similar transition. So I was going to start a blog (that would, of course, end in a book contract!) called The Cordial Churchman, showing young ministers the joy and practical payoff of cultivating social and sartorial graces. Thank God Ellie stole my title, because I would have made a fool out of myself really fast. Pulpit Supply has a vocationally related provenance as well. When a church is without a preacher, they go looking for "pulpit supply" -- someone who can fill their pulpit while they're looking for their next preacher. When you're a young seminary student, you're desperate for preaching experience as well as cash. So one of the best gigs you can get is a "stated pulpit supply" arrangement with a church. We think there's something inherently 'preachy' about wearing a bow tie. Like it or not, you're telling everyone something about yourself when you tie one up. The trick is, of course, to make it seem natural, so that you can get your sartorial point across without looking, or feeling, like a goober. Our part is to provide the vestments; our customers will have to preach the sermon. Or something like that. Of course, in the end, we just think it sounds cool. 


 (you know it's a good post when the word "goober" follows hard after the word "ideation")

Check some of this stuff out:

 The Wilbur

The Eli

Handmade Lapel Flowers

There's a bunch more awesome stuff there. Neckties, scarves, and pocket squares. Check it out.

Thanks to Andy for providing the bulk of this post.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Old Man: Waxed Canvas

I got a new bag today. I had resigned my Filson bag to my new camera bag, but when I got my new job, I needed a new bag. So I searched Etsy and found Zakken bags, and the field bag, in brown waxed canvas. It's a really nice bag, and the perfect size for me. I love it.

The seller was also very nice, and included a handwritten note (which is something I absolutely love, and try to do).

You can check out the rest of the specs at the Etsy store. They have a bunch of really nice different bags too (including totes).


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Old Man: Sunday Style

Suit edition.

I haven't worn any of my suits besides poplin for a while, so I decided to wear one. Regent Clothiers made this one for MH Frank, for some guy pretty much my size (though I did hem and cuff the pants). Unfortunately, some cleaner pressed the lapel to a true three button (or maybe it was made that way, but I doubt it), but it is a sack cut. The shirt is Brooks (more on this below), the tie was actually made for MH Frank too, but I bought this one from the actual store, unlike the suit, which was thrifted.

AE wholecuts. I hadn't worn these for a while either. Be jealous.

I've determined my complexion what Flusser calls "Light-bright." Fair complexion with blond hair. He advises lots of colors, high contrast, and echoing your brown/amber tones in some piece. I thought this combination worked well. The bright tie and light shirt contrast with the suit, and the red square and tan shoes bring a little color to me I think.

I think that solid blue shirts work best for me, especially with dark blue or gray coats. Which of course, most of my jackets and suits are. Unfortunately I only have two blue oxfords, and only one is a Brooks, which I prefer. So if anyone has any extraneous blue Brooks oxfords (point or button down) in 15.5x33, let me know how I can get them off your hands. And if any thrifters out there come across such a treasure, I'd love to take them.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Old Man: The Internet

I have decided that there's only one place I'll look to on the internet for style advice.


Of course, this shouldn't be news to anyone reading this blog. He's a giant around these parts.

ADG doesn't dole out style advice, per say, but he sneaks it into his wonderful stories. It's refreshing to read advice on style in a manner that is neither authoritarian, nor exclusionary. He learned his style at a Trad menswear shop, but graduated to bespoke "fuzziness." He has his own style guidelines, which are not exactly the same as mine, but he still respects trad stuff done well (and helps those who need help getting to that point).

Besides his aesthetic sense, there is a current of quality underlying everything he wears. “The most expensive clothing in your closet is the clothing you never wear." Quite a quote. And based on the amount of stuff I've dropped back off at the thrift store (and the stuff I need to again), it is quite true.

This is a lesson I need to learn. Not that I need to get everything made for me, although I would love that, but just that what I buy has to be something that:

1. I will wear, and

2. Will wear well as long as I wish to wear it.

Thrift store Brooks Brothers fits that bill nicely.

ADG is a great read. I've always loved reading his blog, but recently I read through six or seven pages, and it was the best thing I'd read on the internet in a long time.

The other style resource I've started reading again is Dressing the Man, by Alan Flusser. How does this tie into ADG? Well, he sent me a copy of this great book, signed by the man himself, and addressed to me personally.

I'm going through it again, paying particular attention to the color section. Tell me how I did tomorrow.