The Colonial Obsession With Men’s Calves

Well, this is interesting.

It’s no secret that throughout history, as fashions come and go, so too have preferences for certain body types and body parts. From the alarming codpieces of the middle ages to the height-enhancing top hats of the 19th century, menswear has often been tailored to feature the fetishes of the day.

But now, according to Atlas Obscura, we learn that men in colonial times may have been obsessed with — of all things — their calves. It may seem a bit odd until you consider the evidence. Breaches cut just below the knee to reveal stocking-covered calves were very much in style at the time. Additionally, when a men of good breeding bowed before a woman, they always extended their toe, pointed outward, in an ironic display of manliness. And, apparently, a surprising number of men actually took to padding the back of their stockings in order to create a more impressive bulge of the calf.

It’s a curious piece of historical trivia, but it does remind us just how competitive men can be, and how long the dubious practice of padding has been around. If only our founding forefathers knew that just a few hundred years later they could have just gotten implants.

| Posted in Style |

The Difference Between Fashion and Style

When it comes to the difference between fashion and style, there is an old truism that is very easy to remember. Simply put, fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. Even so, many men believe that just by copying what they see others doing, they are somehow expressing a sense of style. Well, they are, of course, but unfortunately that style is not their own. Following fashion may get your clothing noticed, but it’s your personal style that will get you noticed.

The good news is that it really doesn’t take much to mix things up and put a little spin into your wardrobe. If you buy what you like and you make sure everything fits properly, then, when it comes time to combine items and create an outfit, chances are a lot of those combos will work nicely together. But don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit.

Choose one bold item, and keep everything else fairly neutral. It might be a surprising choice of shoes, a really bold sweater, an amazing vintage piece or even a killer pair of sunglasses. Whatever you choose, think of that one item as taking center stage, and everything else plays a supporting role.

Pay attention to the details. Aside from your one bold item, smaller items like pocket squares, socks, and colored shoelaces are all opportunities for subtle pops of color and personality, that won’t overwhelm everything else. Even if your whole outfit is relatively subdued, a pair of bright blue shoelaces, some striped socks or an amazing pocket square can add a subtle, but very effective pop of color and style.

Don’t be afraid to go high-low. Creatively mixing casual and dress items in the right combination is an excellent way to achieve a feeling of effortless cool. The starter version of this idea, of course, is pairing dark jeans with a dress shirt and half-lined blazer. But it could also be an elegant top coat and a cashmere sweater paired with your favorite worn jeans and casual shoes. It might be a pair of tailored dress pants with canvas shoes and a fitted T-shirt, or a camouflage pocket square with a charcoal suit. See what you’ve got and experiment!

At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to stand out a bit. It’s a good thing, and you may be surprised at the compliments you get. After all, there’s nothing noble or remarkable about blending into the woodwork. Just remember what Orson Welles had to say: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”

| Posted in Style |

Interested in a Lab-Grown, Spider Silk Necktie?

Step right up and get your necktie made in a laboratory! That’s right. This biologically engineered marvel can be yours for a mere $314. But even if you’re willing to fork over the cash, you’ll still need to enter a lottery to snap up this little piece of history. There are only 50 available.

Bay Area biotech startup Bolt Threads recently introduced a breakthrough product in its limited edition, synthetic, spider silk necktie made entirely of lab-grown proteins. Through a complex and very science-y process involving the isolation of silk proteins, genes being infused into yeast, and a fermentation process involving said yeast, sugar and water, they have developed technology that will enable them to replicate the natural processes of the silk worm. This allows them to produce mass quantities of silk proteins that can ultimately be spun into strong, elastic and durable fibers. These can then be woven into fabrics and garments.

According to their website, Bolt Threads is in the business of “spinning the future of high performance fabrics.” Indeed! As the technology and apparel industries continue to evolve and merge together, the race is on to create commercially viable biomaterials that will ultimately provide sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fabrics like polyester, nylon and acrylic. But, as is the case with so many tech-based innovations, some of the biggest challenges lie in scale and cost. Hence, the humble, little tie. It’s a practical, easily produced staple meant to showcase the technology at a reasonably affordable price.

So, there you go. The future consists of genetically engineered spider webs, gloopy microbial soups and silk threads as strong as steel. It’s something to think about as you button up your old-school, classic, cotton dress shirt.

Maybe the future can wait just a little bit longer.

| Posted in #goodreads, News, Style |

Shave Better & Conquer Procrastination

There are plenty of sources out there more than happy to impart their insightful wisdom and “top tips” regarding how to achieve the perfect shave. We find that most of them are at once practical, accurate and utterly unoriginal. After all, haven’t we heard most of these before?

  • Wash your face first with warm water to remove excess oils.
  • Use quality shaving cream and aquality razor.
  • Use a shaving brush for the most thorough coverage.
  • Rinse your face afterwards with cold water to tighten the pores.
  • Dab dry, don’t rub, and apply a good after shave lotion to nourish the skin.

Yes, yes, all very good advice.

However, there is one tip that often is overlooked, and it harkens back to Ye Olden Days when a barber prepared a man for a shave by wrapping his face in a steaming towel and leaving him tipped backwards for five minutes like a freshly wrapped mummy in repose. The purpose of this ritual, of course, was to open the pores and soften the whiskers in preparation for a smooth and close shave.

Now, while steaming towels and old-timey barber chairs may not fit into your daily morning routine, the same effect is easily achieved when lathering up properly. You’ll want to thoroughly moisten the beard with very warm water, and then apply your cream or gel as usual, but it’s what you do next that matters most. You must WAIT!

Allow your shaving cream or gel to sit on your beard for 3-5 minutes before you begin shaving. This will do wonders to help soften the whiskers and lubricate the skin more thoroughly for that clean, one-pass shave you’re after. And it is precisely during this 3-5 minute waiting period that you can begin to change your life. We refer here to the wisdom of David Allen and his advice on conquering procrastination.

Allen advises that the things we put off doing are most likely to become overwhelming when considered en masse. The trick, he says, is to eliminate the small things immediately and regularly whittle down that to-do list. He calls it the two-minute rule: Anything that can be done in two minutes or less – do it now!

Or, in this case, do it during that blissfully empty interval while your beard is softening into a luxurious, velvety state! Load the dishwasher, throw some clothes in the washing machine, send that email, shop for a new shirt, make your kid’s lunch or pay that bill. Every morning, you can cross one or two items off your list and be done with them by the time those final bits of stubble are swirling down the drain.

We think it’s an excellent use of time for a modern gentleman.

| Posted in Style, The More You Know |

The Curious History of the Man Bag

Will you be traveling this year? If, perchance you find yourself in Amsterdam between March 11th and August 27th, you might want to stop by the Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses. It claims to be the largest museum of its kind in the world and is situated in a beautiful canal house in Amsterdam’s historic canal ring. The collection contains more than 5,000 bags and purses dating back to the 16th century, including one of Margaret Thatcher’s purses as well as the Versace bag that Madonna carried to the premiere of Evita.

All very interesting on its own, but this month the museum is unveiling a special, new exhibit called It’s a Men’s World. The exhibit explores the history of the “man bag” and its inevitable resurgence in popular culture.

You see, up until the 17th century, men’s purses and bags were attached to their belts, but the advent of inner and outer pockets in menswear eventually replaced the need for man to have a bag. That was fine in the days when a man only carried a wallet and a set of keys, but now a pocket is not enough when you’re carrying a laptop, water bottle, gloves, sports gear, earbuds and various other gadgets and gizmos. A man needs a bag!

The exhibit is organized by themes of Hunting, Wall Street, Sport and Travel and looks to be most enlightening. Well worth a visit, we think.

After all, the man bag is nothing new, but by looking back in time we often get a glimpse of what’s yet to come.

Put your best foot forward. Shop for accessories at Hugh & Crye.

| Posted in Style, The More You Know |
Parterre Pocket Cocktail

Parterre & The English Garden

The Pocket Cocktail

In this series, we pair one of our one-of-a-kind print pocket squares with a delicious cocktail. One starts a conversation, the other keeps it going. Today’s edition is an elegant summer cocktail, and was crafted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes.

::

The English Garden

[inspired by our Parterre pocket square]

Cool off with a simple, refreshing cucumber based cocktail.

  • 1/4 cucumber, cubed
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 1/8 cup simple syrup
  • 1/8 cup pasteurized egg white
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1-2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 strips of cucumber to decorate

Put the cucumber, lemon juice, thyme, and cordial in your shaker, and muddle with a muddler. Try to get the juice out of the cucumber. Add the gin, simple syrup, and egg white, and half fill the shaker with fresh ice. Shake vigorously until a frost forms on the shaker then strain into two chilled martini glasses (or use small elegant flutes). Decorate with strips of cucumber and a sprig of thyme.

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Who might you enjoy this cocktail with?

Photos and recipe courtesy of Supergolden Bakes.

| Posted in Pocket Cocktail |
Mint Julep and Kelvin Pocket Square

Kelvin & Louisville Julep

The Pocket Cocktail

In this series, we pair one of our one-of-a-kind print pocket squares with a delicious cocktail. One starts a conversation, the other keeps it going. Today’s edition is a simple mint julep perfect for relaxing lakeside this weekend, and was crafted by David Wondrich of Port Cocktail.

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The Louisville Julep

[inspired by our Kelvin pocket square]

A popular formula for a refreshing mint julep.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 oz water
  • 1 oz. Taylor-Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port
  • 1 oz. Larressingle VSOP Armagnac
  • 1 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
  • 6 or 7 mint leaves

Put 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar and 1/2 oz water in the bottom of a pint glass and stir to dissolve. Add 6 or 7 mint leaves and press them lightly with a muddler. Fill the glass with finely-cracked ice. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour this carefully into another pint glass, pour it back, and repeat 3 times until everything is mixed. Add more ice to fill the glass, insert 4 good sprigs of mint, nestle a berry or two among the mint, and add a couple of straws.

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Who might you enjoy this cocktail with?

Photos and recipe courtesy of Port Cocktail.

| Posted in Pocket Cocktail |

The History Of Menswear Told Through NYPL’S Digital Collection: Part 12

Earlier this year the New York Public Library shared 180,000 prints, maps, manuscripts, and much more in a digital public domain collection for the very first time. In it, we unearthed menswear ads from over one hundred years ago. In this series, we explore them. Discover part twelve below, and find the other parts here in case you missed them.

Arrow collars and Cluett shirts 1895

Unique Styles of Men's Dress Shirts
This ad from Arrow & Cluett from over 100 years ago shows how clothes have always been an outlet for self-expression. Here they’re appealing to men’s desires to look good and set themselves apart from the crowd with ease. They explain that their products are favored by men who are both on-trend and who create stylish looks that reflect their own sophisticated taste – making them unique.

Here at Hugh & Crye, we believe in supporting your “distinguished individuality” too, with a range of versatile styles and designs. We feel that nothing you wear should be louder than your own personality.  So, we choose styles that are both timeless and modern, for example explore our take on denim. We think trends are for suckers, and you’ll never find one of our shirts to have a goofy logo or unnecessary flair.

So, while you won’t look like every other guy on the street when you wear one of our shirts, we mean that in a good way. And, you’ll be able to enjoy wearing our shirts for years to come.

What do you think the guy in the back of this ad is thinking?

 

| Posted in News |
NPK Pocket Cocktail

NPK & The Nomad

The Pocket Cocktail

In this series, we pair one of our one-of-a-kind print pocket squares with a delicious cocktail. One starts a conversation, the other keeps it going. Today’s edition is a gin-based cocktail that takes advantage of seasonal citrus, and was crafted by Kaiser Penguin.

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The Nomad

[inspired by our NPK pocket square]

This cocktail is complex, refreshing, and leaves you digging for clues.

  • 2oz Anchor junipero gin
  • 1/2oz Bols genever gin
  • 1/2oz Hayman’s old tom gin
  • 1/4oz Krogstad aquavit
  • 1oz lime
  • 1/2oz white grapefruit
  • 2t lemon
  • 1/2oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1/4oz falernum
  • 1/4oz demerara syrup
  • 1/4oz orgeat
  • grapefruit peel for garnish

Build in a glass with large ice cubes, stir, and garnish with a piece of grapefruit peel.

::

Who might you enjoy this cocktail with?

Recipe and photo courtesy of Kaiser Penguin.

| Posted in Pocket Cocktail |

The History Of Menswear Told Through NYPL’S Digital Collection: Part 11

Earlier this year the New York Public Library shared 180,000 prints, maps, manuscripts, and much more in a digital public domain collection for the very first time. In it, we unearthed menswear ads from over one hundred years ago. In this series, we explore them. Discover part nine below, and find the other parts here in case you missed them.

Arrow Donchester Dress Shirts 1915

The Proper Fitting Men's Dress Shirt

This Arrow dress shirt ad for the Donchester shirt from 1915 shows how important a good fit has always been to achieving the best look. This is the second Donchester ad we’ve taken a look at. In this ad, similarly to the other, they bring home the importance of a better fit by highlighting that the bosom of a Donchester Shirt – like good manners – is never out of place. However, the illustration style is a bit more whimsical in this ad, and only features black and white which is less attention calling.

They go on to describe a common problem of ill-fitting dress shirts: muffin top, and purport that their shirt solves for it. When a men’s dress shirt isn’t tailored properly through the torso and is then tucked in, all that extra fabric puffs out around the waist creating what most closely resembles the top of a muffin. This is the most prevalent—and in our opinion, the least pardonable—fit problem.

That’s why Arrow claims that their shirt doesn’t buckle up and bulge out of the waist-coat opening. Nearly 100 years later, our signature tapered fit solves the same problem and many more; it’s a great way to find a shirt that feels like it was custom made for you, right off the rack.

Which ill-fitting problem do you most often encounter?

| Posted in News |