Featured: Quite Continental on Tomboy Style

31/05/2011 § 3 Comments

Just a short note to let you know I’ve been featured elsewhere on the interwebs today.  When the lovely Lizzie Garrett, the kickass lady behind Tomboy Style, asked if I’d like to do a Q&A for her, I leapt at the chance.  To be included among amazing women such as Julia Leach of Chance, Emerson Fry of EmersonMade, Kate Jones of Ursa Major and Lizzie’s own mother, was a complete honor and a lot of fun.  If you haven’t visited Tomboy Style yet, you must do post-haste.  It is a daily stop for me for inspiration, and I know that you will love what Lizzie does as much as I.

As for my A’s to Lizzie’s Q’s, head here to find out what my current obsessions are, my favorite quality in a man, what fictional character I most identify with, and a few other random items from my brain.

LIFE Archives: Farewell at Penn Station

31/05/2011 § 2 Comments

Searching the LIFE Archives with Memorial Day at the front of my mind, I discovered these poignant images taken by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.  Taken in 1943 and 1944 at the original Penn Station, these photographs capture servicemen saying goodbye to their wives, girlfriends and lady friends prior to shipping off for WWII.  These kisses were meant to last until that happy day of reunion, but for some, they were destined to be a final farewell.

Happy Memorial Day

30/05/2011 § 2 Comments

While today is they day we specifically remember those who have died in service to our country, this morning I’m humbled and thankful for the sacrifices of all servicemen and women.  Today I am thinking of my father (Army), both of my grandfathers (Merchant Marine and Army) and my great uncle (Air Force, Tuskegee Airmen).

My father

My great uncle

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.  Welcome summer!

New Addition: Ivy League Pennants

26/05/2011 § 1 Comment

Was very excited to scoop up two Ivy League pennants on my trip to Brimfield.  Originally flown by knights in the middle ages and still used by warships today to connote their status as commissioned vessels, pennants are also associated with American sports — specifically professional baseball and collegiate teams.  I’m really looking forward to getting these dorm room staples up on the wall and adding a bit of school spirit around the house.

via Claremont Colleges Digital Library.
via Vassar College Archives.

via University North Carolina Greensboro Digital Projects.

LIFE Archives: The Youngest Cowgirl, 1955

24/05/2011 § 5 Comments

I’m feeling a bit horsey lately (have you noticed?) and these pictures completely blew my mind.  At 15 months, Jean Anne Evans, a cowgirl from Texas, could ride better than she could walk.  In 1955, LIFE Magazine photographer Allan Grant captured some amazing images of Jean Anne in action on her family’s ranch near Fort Davis on a roundup of their 1,000 head herd.

Jean Anne’s first ride was at one month with her  mother, and her first solo ride followed when she was 11 months.  With her mother and father always close at hand,  she had only fallen once in her 15 months and it was only because her horse shied.

Seriously, how amazing is this mother/daughter portrait?

To view the issue of LIFE these images appeared in, head here.

Down the Rabbit Hole: paws22 on Flickr

23/05/2011 § 2 Comments

Just found a wonderful cache of old photographs on Flickr that I wanted to share with you.  Specializing in images of children, moustachioed gentlemen, pipe smokers, dandies, soldiers and cowboys, paws22 has created a remarkable collection of images that had me wandering around for hours.  Head over to his photostream for an abundance of vintage inspiration.  I’ve included a few favorites below.

Ask Me Anything: Do Clothes Make The Man?

19/05/2011 § Leave a comment

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line, post haste!  Reach me here: contact@quitecontinental.net
McQueen. Image via ACL. (via LIFE)
Dear Mariah,
Do clothes still make the man? If so, in your opinion what single item of clothing most typifies the modern gentleman?

My dear, what a lovely question you’ve posed!  As you have probably gathered, I am a woman who has a deep appreciation for menswear.  Throughout my life, I have found myself surrounded by men who have taken a particular interest in their personal style — albeit widely varied in taste and approach.  I always tend to fancy a bit of a dandy, so it should come as no surprise that I have known and loved my fair share of peacocks, my father being the first, and the progenitor of this inclination.

My own personal style shows the influence of the men in my life — often because I tend to steal things from the ones I love most — and the fact that I grew up something of a tomboy.  I loved horses, played a lot of soccer and didn’t wear any makeup until my mother gave some to me for my 16th birthday.  Naturally, my inclination is to dress a bit like a boy.  My shirt almost always will have buttons on it.  I wear ties, I like grandpa sweaters with suede elbow patches and I have a weakness for smart blazers.  Sometimes I look like I should be mucking out a stall in my riding boots and work shirt, but the lawyer in me also loves a good suit.  Somehow I also relish being a girl and dressing like a woman.  I love dresses and sky-high heels.  I adore silk and lace and I almost always have red nails.  My favorite looks incorporate both of these leanings, yielding a look I call “polished tomboy.”

Cherie, I feel uniquely positioned to answer this question for you.  My point of view on menswear is that of a lady who eyes your wardrobe appreciatively, with an eye on what I might squirrel away for my own.  However, in order to round out the conversation, I’ve also asked a few of my nearest and dearest to also chime in to see if we can’t make this a more well-rounded conversation.

Will Price, of The Momentum of Failure:
I feel, to a certain extent, yes, the clothes make the man. A simple example would be the face value effect. Two men show up for a job interview for the same position. One man in a ripped t-shirt, baggy shorts, and flip-flops, while the other man is dressed to the nines in a suit and tie. Based on appearance alone, 9 times out of 10, the man in the suit will be given priority regardless of character. This also depends heavily on where the interview is. But in this instance, the clothes made the man. They made him appear readier and more willing and able to do the job. Sure, the guy could turn out to be a psychopath that ends up going nuts with an uzi after being let go for not meeting quarterly quota, but the fact is, he got the job. But what of the man in the shorts? Well let’s be honest: If he showed up to a job interview where the heads of the company smile on suits, he probably wasn’t too serious about the gig. But had the same scene gone down at an REI or an outdoors-enthusiast spot, the tables might have been turned.

We’re a shallow society. A generalization, sure, but it’s much easier to judge someone by appearance first and character second. So aiming to please visually is natural. Plus when you think you look good, you feel good.  So, to make a long story a bit longer, the clothes make the man, but the man makes the choice. So, you really make yourself.

In terms of one single item that is typical of the modern gentleman, I would say a classic and well-built leather wallet is a must.

J.Oliver, of Downeast and Out:
The single item that typifies the modern gentleman for me is becoming cliched these days, as more and more young men are improving their standard of dress. However, if I had to boil the argument down to a single item, I still believe a pair of dark brown or walnut-colored wingtips in calf or cordovan is the item the modern man cannot do without. Yes, captoes are more formal and a navy blazer is arguably the foundation of a wardrobe, but the wingtip deserves much praise for its versatility, as it can be paired with anything from a suit to a cardigan to a t-shirt. There are also a variety of styles within the wingtip family (longwings, shortwings, oxfords, and derbies), allowing a man to still show some individuality and personal preference with his choice. And as I continue to see gents walking around in black, laceless, square-toed dress shoes, I don’t think the point that “the shoes make the man” can be emphasized enough. While I would still say that fit is the single most important element a modern gent should focus on, I believe that a nice pair of shoes are the one item that should not be marginalized. I for one will pay up for quality materials and superior construction, as I intend to enjoy and hold on to the pairs I buy for more than a few years.

Marisa Zupan, of The Significant Other:
I don’t think clothing was the only thing that ever made the man. It comes down to many other things, not least of which is passion, personality and drive.  That said, I think clothing is an integral part of expressing all of the above.  Some might point to the suit as the single most manly type of clothing, but I’d say it actually just comes down to the shoes.  My grandmother once said, “you can see a whole man through what he chooses to put on his feet”, and I’ve never forgotten this.  Shoes, and all of the considerations that go into them, are a very personal and functional item.  Beautiful shoes, no matter if they’re sneakers, work boots or wingtips can tell you where a man wants to go, and how dedicated he is to getting there. Invest in a good pair that fits your lifestyle and you better believe it will pay off. The ladies, they notice these things, take our word for it.

Cooper Samuels, of To Take The Train
To be honest, I didn’t start caring about clothes or the way I dressed until a couple of years out of college.  My first job was at a record label and I wore jeans and a polo to work every single day.  I could never get used to the idea of wearing a t-shirt, flip flops, and shorts to work like many of my co-workers.  It just didn’t feel right, so I figured jeans and a collared shirt would be somewhere in the middle.  If I would wear nice shoes and sport coat to work, someone would inevitably ask me who died.

In the south, southern frat style dominates men in their 20’s.  If you go to a southern school you are issued a pair of patagonia standup shorts, a frat t-shirt, croakies, and rainbow flip flops.  One night when I was out in downtown Nashville, I looked around and noticed every dude was dressed the same.  It drove me nuts.  How are you supposed to stand out if you look exactly like the guy next to you?  It was then that I realized it’s time to start paying more attention to the way I dress, so I cleaned out my closet and got rid of everything I had purchased from the time I graduated high school to that point.  I invested in some nice suits, shoes, and dress shirts.  I retired my baggy jeans and bought a pair that fit.  I also started to take notice of the way other people dressed.  What I’m trying to say with this back story is that clothes still make the man.  I think men pretend not to notice what other men are wearing, but the truth is they do.

To me the item of clothing that most-typifies the modern gentleman is his shoes.  I’m not scared to save and spend money on shoes.  You can make a cheap suit look good by finding a great tailor, but you can’t hide a cheap pair of shoes.

Yours Truly:
I believe that a man is a sum of so many different parts: respect, strength, self-confidence, gallantry, curiosity, bravery, love.  Taking pride in one’s appearance is undoubtedly one of these elements, so thus, if someone’s got everything else under control and then adds some great clothes to the mix, then it could be said that clothes “made” (or completed) that man.  Conversely, if you’re a jackass, but dress well, you’re still just another jackass in bespoke.

As for the single article of clothing that most typifies the modern gentleman, I strongly agree that good shoes are important.  I will admit that shoes are among the first things I will check when sizing up a gent. You must invest in at least one solid, quality pair of shoes.  When confronted with the price, take comfort in the fact that a good pair of shoes will be with you for years.  I have lovely memories from when I was a little girl, of my father sitting in the living room watching the Lakers with his wooden shoe shine box, lovingly tending his tasseled loafers, frequently pointing out he owned shoes that were older than I was.  (And yes, he still has these shoes.  And yes, they are still older than I.)

Other things that will catch my eye will be the glasses and tie you might be wearing (and I hope you’re wearing both, but that’s just personal preference), the fit of your clothes and your choice of socks (or better yet, lack thereof).  But above all, there is one small item that I believe speaks volumes about you — at least to me, anyway.  It’s your watch.

Gianni Agnelli. Via LIFE.

In my opinion, the wristwatch most typifies the modern gentleman.  A man’s choice of timepiece will speak loudly to me.  I’ll first note the style, then after a bit I might try to gauge up the age and price you probably paid, and then I will take a step back and try to figure out why you chose that particular watch — what is it about this watch that drew you to it?  What are you trying to say about yourself by choosing it?

I’ve mentioned it a few times already, but I frequently wear one of my father’s watches that doesn’t work.  I’ve always preferred to wear men’s watches because I have a sizable disdain for dainty twee lady watches.  I want something handsome and substantial on my wrist, just like I like my men.  I clearly remember the first watch I specifically asked for, when I was  8.  It was a large, men’s Timex with a round, white face and a dark brown braided strap.  The strap was so long on my 8 year-old girl’s wrist that I had to loop the strap back under itself to deal with all the extra slack.  I also took to wearing it on my right hand, even though I was right-handed — something I continue to do to this day.  The point here is that I’ll be wondering about the story behind your watch of choice.

In my life, I’ve known a few watches (and their owners).  There was the refined gent who alternated wearing a dazzling Chopard — that I frequently joked cost more than my first car — with a cheapie plastic Timex Ironman because he loved to swim and run.  He tended to wear the Ironman more, even with his fine suits.  So much so that I sometimes had to remind him it was “big boy watch time.”  There was the upstart who wore the diamonds in his bezel with so much swag, it became tiresome.  There was the handsome executive/repressed creative who favored switching the bands on his antique field watches so that a flash of Hermes orange would peek out of his cuff at board (bored) meetings, unexpectedly.

 I don’t design to tell you what kind of watch you should be wearing.  Aim for something that pleases your eye and is appropriate for your wallet.  You should be wearing the kind of watch you like.  You should also wear it in the manner you like, just like Gianni Agnelli above.  But rest assured,  I’ll notice whatever you’ve got on your wrist, and I’ll want to hear all about it.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line, post haste!  Reach me here: contact@quitecontinental.net

LIFE Archives: Wild Hearts

18/05/2011 § 1 Comment

Popularized in the 1880s, diving horses were a boardwalk attraction that became a rarity after WWII.  Here, LIFE photographer Peter Stackpole captures one in Atlantic City in 1953.  I can’t find the accompanying article or write-up in the LIFE archives, so I have to believe these weren’t published, leaving us to wonder who these performers were, as we watch them carry the torch for a disappearing trade.

Taken in Atlantic City in 1953 by Peter Stackpole

Boys seldom make passes… {Warby Parker Showroom Visit}

17/05/2011 § 8 Comments

Yours Truly, wearing the Owen in striped chestnut.

Law school thrashed my eyeballs. I went from not needing glasses to realizing I had no idea what my professors looked like in less than a year (please add this to the list of cons for law school).  So since then, I’ve worn either glasses or contacts to correct my law-scarred vision.  (Is that a tort?) (Law school jokes!) (Sorry.)  I’ve been wanting a new pair of spectacles for some time and in my search for the perfect pair, I came across Warby Parker.

Briefly, for the 3 or 4 of you who are not yet aware, Warby Parker is an entirely online, extremely affordable, frame manufacturer that specializes in vintage-inspired styles.  $95 will get you a new sparkly pair of prescription spectacles, shipped free to your door (with free returns as well).  While currently only producing eyeglasses (and a monocle, in case you were in the market), Warby Parker will be adding sunglasses to the repertoire this summer.  Also worth noting is the fact that for every pair purchased, they donate a pair to people in need.  The combination of excellent style, affordability and philanthropy completely sold me.

Leery to purchase glasses you’ve never tried on before?  Well, Warby Parker has that covered through their Home Try-On program.  You select 5 pairs you’d like to test out, they send them to you free of charge and you get to try them for five days.  Then you send them back (yep, for free) and place your order online.  For those who are bit too impatient or too indecisive to narrow it down to 5 pairs, you can also elect to pop by a Warby Parker showroom (currently in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Portland, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Omaha).  I made an appointment with the exceptionally helpful Patrick, and dragged along the lovely Sarah of StyleOnTheCouch to help me select a pair and take a few pictures.  The images, unless otherwise noted, are hers.

The showroom, located just off Union Square, is a lofty, light-filled space that shares quarters with the Warby Parker corporate offices.  After a warm welcome I immediately set to work narrowing down my options to a group of semi-finalists, and pulled a group of five.  I then began plaguing Sarah and Patrick with multiple try-ons and demands to know which pair looked best.

Semi-finalists from top: Tenley, Crosby, Owen, Miles, Roosevelt
I’m obviously fixated on tortoiseshell.

Trying on the Tenley in burgundy fade.

In the Roosevelt in striped chestnut.

The shape of my face requires I stay away from overly narrow frames or anything severely cat-eye, so I knew I wanted a pair of larger, heavier frames, but wasn’t eager to venture into Man Repeller territory.  My finalists were the Owen (pictured at top) and the Roosevelt (pictured above).  So what do you think?  Which pair looks better?

See which pair I chose after the jump.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Field Notes: Brimfield, Boston, Cambridge

16/05/2011 § 3 Comments

As we’ve already discussed, this weekend I scampered up to Massachusetts for a bit of a mini-break.  With Lani as my partner in crime, our activities included the massive antiques fair at Brimfield where we haggled like pros, Cambridge and Boston shopping walkabouts, and a fabulous evening of dance moves and drinky poos at the Liberty Hotel with lovelies Christine and Sean. I have a special place in my heart for Boston and its environs as once upon a time I had a Mister in the Bean and we spent many a weekend wandering around. It was so nice to return.

Lani

Lani

Dapper gents.  Check out Mr. Moustache…

I have an awful obsession with GE fans.  My grandparents had one.  I want one.
This was a beautiful specimen, and priced accordingly, so I had to leave it behind.

This is my Moby Dick of the weekend.  The one that got away.
I decided against picking this one up, and continue to kick myself

Cambridge

While in Boston’s North End, we stopped by Acquire, a home decor boutique I’ve been a big fan of since 2008.  Owner Nikki Dalrymple has an amazing eye for beautiful, one of a kind pieces.  I always find Acquire to be a lovely little jewel-box of interesting tabletop accessories, wall art and accent furniture.  If you are in the neighborhood, you must see it for yourself.

Acquire
61 Salem Street
North End, Boston, MA

Acquire

Acquire

Dinner at Scampo in the Liberty Hotel

You’ll notice I didn’t include pictures of the aforementioned dance moves or my spoils from Brimfield.  As for the latter, I will be posting about them over the next few days.  As for the former, don’t hold your breath, cherie.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for May, 2011 at Quite Continental.

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