Every now and then I’m asked what blogs I follow myself or that do I have some specific favorites. Of course I do follow and read a lot of other blogs (which thanks to tumblr is pretty easy nowadays), so I decided to pick out a list I wrote a while ago for other purposes and then updated it a bit….
AC Cobra, Jaguar E Type, Porsche 911, average car way in the back.
Out and About: Khaki’s of Carmel
I have been living in the Bay Area for a little over two years now, but there is still a long list of places I haven’t experienced yet; I have yet to visit Alcatraz, drive down Lombard St. or hike Half Dome, to name a few. Fortunately, though, I was able to check one item off of my list over the weekend when I went down south to visit Khaki’s of Carmel, a place that many men’s clothing enthusiasts consider to be the Mecca of menswear on the West Coast, and perhaps the whole country. I was fortunate to spend a good amount of time talking with the Jim Ockert, the third-generation merchant that created Khaki’s over 20 years ago. He was able to give me good insight into what his store was about, how it came to be, and where it is headed.
Spring is in full bloom at Khaki’s, and shipments of drool-worthy clothing and accessories are being added to the mix every day. Jim Ockert runs the store with his wife Connie, who works hard behind the scenes to give Jim the time to do what he loves: design his store and meet his customers.
“I’m not sure where it came from, but I’ve always had a knack for displays and merchandising,” Jim remarks. “I just love seeing pieces come in and imagining how they’ll go together.” His passion for the products is obvious at the store, where over 90 mannequins are dressed in a constantly morphing array of colors and patterns. Even the space itself was the brainchild of Jim; “There used to be walls there, there, everywhere, really,” he says. “I wanted a big open space so we took them all out. We even polished up the steel braces to give it a new look.” The resulting space gives expansive views of colorful and playful clothing for the upcoming warmer seasons (not to say that California has been experiencing a particularly difficult winter or anything like that).
Khaki’s didn’t get its reputation from just carrying high-end clothing, though; there are plenty of places in the Bay Area and beyond that have large stores full of top-notch brands. What makes Khaki’s unique is the phenomenal breadth of the store – the product line is curated in a way that provides pieces for for a wide variety of styles, and each piece is carefully selected to fit in to the store’s overall aesthetic. Although Jim’s personal affinity is for tailored clothing, his previous work in the Pacific Northwest denim scene is obvious. Rows of Incotex, Edward Green, Boglioli and Luciano Barbera sit next to supreme workwear brands like John Wolrich, Eastland, Levi’s Made & Crafted, and John Barbour & Sons. The “blended cocktail” of goods is truly something to behold.
Another exiting aspect of the menswear mecca is its growing “Private Label.” The house line already carries a variety of trousers, shirts, sportcoats, and ties, with plans to continue expanding. This gives Jim, a self-described perfectionist, the ability to control nearly every aspect of each product. “Our end goal is to have 20-30% of our stock be our own line,” Jim says. “If we can’t find the perfect product out there then we’ll do it ourselves.” The products look to be very impressive; I was fortunate to handle some swatches for sportcoats that will be available in the coming months, and the fabrics are sublime. It’s clear that Jim has thought deeply about what goes in to all of his products; the linings, buttons, and other details all show signs of his discerning eye. The quality of the products is impressive as well; for instance, many of the items in the Private Label are made in the United States by the esteemed Martin Greenfield Clothiers. It is clear the Jim will only introduce products of his own when he knows that they can go toe-to-toe with the other brands in his roster.
Even outside of their house label, many of the products at Khaki’s are customized specifically for the store. Jim spends a good amount of time every year at trade shows working with vendors to tweak their products for him. “We’re always looking to add something to every product, whether it’s an increase in quality, a unique detail, or something else entirely,” he explains. For example, many of the shoes in their Edward Green selection have been given extra details like additional burnishing or sole colorations that can’t be found anywhere else. “Edward Green was a little uneasy lightening up the edges of their soles, because that’s not what they do in England,” he jokes. “This is California. Things are a little different here.” Those that are interested in learning more about Khaki’s product line should be informed that a webstore will be going live in the very near future - keep an eye out.
It was very refreshing to see a retailer that remains so passionate about his product, year after year. It is clear that Jim approaches each season with renewed vigor and a discerning eye, and the outcome is quite spectacular.
Spring is only beginning to arrive in California, but Jim is already becoming enamored with his new fabric swatches for autumn jackets. The colors, patterns and textures look to be a lot of fun, but there’s still much to be done before then - shipments of Private Label stock are still coming in, vendors need to be contacted, and some of the mannequins have to be touched up. It’s a lot of work, but Jim is up to the challenge. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he says. “This is exactly where I’m meant to be.”
The rest of the “Out and About” series can be found here.
Gents Town Lists The TOP100 Most Well-dressed Men In The World.
Part 4 - Toni Tanfani.
Ignatious Joseph from Gents Town Top100 list of the world’s best dressed men wearing Viola Milano Bracelets… Thank you!
How a Suit Jacket or Sport Coat Should Fit
A couple of weeks ago, I said that there are different schools of thought on how a jacket should fit, but trousers should only fit one way. Upon reflection, I now realize that was a bit misleading. There’s a difference between style and fit. Generally speaking, style is about silhouette, whereas fit is about whether something sit on you correctly. Simon Crompton has a good article about this difference.
There are different silhouettes for jackets, but the rules we have for how they should fit are similar to those we have for trousers. There shouldn’t be any pulls or puckers along the front or back, the sleeves should be free of any ripples when the arms are naturally hanging down, and the jacket should have clean lines all around. These principles should be true regardless of the jacket’s style (e.g. clean, draped, padded, natural, skinny, full).
Unlike trousers, however, suit jackets and sport coats are much harder to fit well. Their construction is more complicated, so there are more things that can go wrong. Above is a set of photographs I’ve stolen from Macaroni Tomato and slightly modified. Each photo illustrates a common defect. Click on each of the photographs, and you’ll see that they’re lettered.
- Fig. A. Sleevehead and Collar: The most difficult areas to fit well are perhaps the shoulders and collar. A properly fitting jacket shouldn’t have any indentations in the sleeveheads and it should stay glued to your neck at all times.
- Fig. B. Strained Buttoning Point: Here tightness at the buttoning point can result in a jacket pulling around the waist, effectively forming an “X.” To be sure, this is sometimes purposefully done in the name of fashion, but more often than not, it’s a sign that a jacket is too tight. (Note that the jacket pictured here doesn’t have problems in this area).
- Fig C. Messy Back: Likewise, the back can have unsightly folds or pulling along the waist, around the shoulder blades, and underneath the collar. A well fitting jacket should have none of these issues, but rather fit cleanly.
- Fig. D. Sleeve Pitch: If the sleeve isn’t attached to the jacket at a degree that harmonizes with the wearer’s natural stance, you may see furrows along the sleeve. You can see an example of this here.
- Fig. E. Flared Vents: A properly fitting jacket should always have closed vents, like the ones in this picture. Make sure yours don’t flare out or gape.
- Fig. F. Balance: The term “balance” can refer to a few things on a jacket, but in this case, we’re talking about the relationship between the front and back of the jacket, as well as left and right sides. There are two schools of thought on how the front and back should balance. Most tailors believe that the front should be slightly longer than the back, but a few think they should evenly align. Here, the jacket’s front is even with the back. Another aspect of balance concerns the left and right sides. Here there is less controversy; these two parts should always be dead even with each other along the hem. If you wish to read more about this issue, check out this article by Michael Anton.
Like we saw for trousers, there can be a number of causes for these defects. Depending on the cause and how your jacket is constructed, an alterationist tailor may or may not be able to fix the problems for you (at least within a reasonable cost). The easiest to fix are Figures B and C. Indeed, those are rather common to clean up, so unless you see severe problems in those areas, you needn’t worry about them. The rest you should probably make sure fits right off the peg.
To read more about fit, you can check out my posts on trousers and silhouettes, as well as Jesse’s posts on jackets, collar gaps, an unfortunate Pitti Uomo attendee, and Conan O’Brien. This simple guide by Esquire and Ethan Desu’s comments are also worth reviewing.
Jacket: Le coq sportif Italia series
T-shirt: Converse All star
Bottom: Italian workwear cargo pants (it’s really work wear,not a style of work wear)
Shoes: Timberland Blucher Moccasin
Belt : Anderssen
Sunglasses: Polaroid 80’s retro
Bag: H&M (very very strength bag, 2years of cruelly using)
Headphones: Sennheiser CX-400
Jacket: Addict varsity jacket
Shirt: H&M Chambray
Bottom: Oldstock customized levi’s 501
Shoes: Converse ALL-Star
Belt : Armani Jeans
Headphones: Sennheiser CX-400
Comfort for work-day:
Jacket: Zara Jersey Jacket
Shirt : Carerra (find in small shop in Italia, don’t meet anywhere after, may be “no name” but quality very fine)
Bottom : H&M Carot Chinos
Shoes: ASOS Topsider (not so good as sperry,but it fine for second pair, when my sperry chillin)
Belt : Anderson Woven
Money Holder : All i know - it’s leather.
Sunglasses : Polaroid 80’s retro
Watch : Tissot