PF Flyers: Honoring American Style Since 1937

11/04/2012 § Leave a comment

If you follow me on Twitter (@MariahKunkel) you might have noticed that I recently had a guest editorship on Flavorpill Los Angeles, where I put together a shortlist of interesting events in the LA area, which also happens to be my hometown.  I was especially pleased to find out that the guest editor series was sponsored by PF Flyers, the iconic American sneaker brand that was founded in 1937 and immortalized in one of my favorite movies, The Sandlot (see Benny put on his magic pair here, at 9.00 minute mark).

Was also featured on Flavorwire!

First produced by BF Goodrich in 1937, PF Flyers featured a patented insole — the PF stands for “Posture Foundation” — that was marketed as a magic wedge designed to help wearers “run faster and jump higher,” endearing them to generations of children (see: The Sandlot) who believed in their special powers.

PF Flyers was also the first sneaker company to collaborate with a pro athlete, developing classic basketball shoes with Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy in the 1950s, that are still available today;

and in the 60s, the adventurer Jonny Quest also relied upon the “action shoes”:

“He ran like the wind! Lucky he was wearing his PF Flyers!”
In a genius bit of cross-marketing, kids could get a free PF Magic Ring just like Jonny’s with the purchase of a pair of PF Flyers.

Starting in the 1970s, PF Flyers lost much of the popularity they enjoyed in the 50s and 60s, but after the recent purchase and revival of the brand by New Balance, PF Flyers is staging a comeback with its “Authentic American Style Campaign” that simultaneously honors the brand’s past, looks toward the future and searches out contemporary icons for truly American style inspiration:

“Everyone has a story. Ours began 75 years ago and is based on the tradition of crafting authentic American style. While we are passionate about what we do, we aren’t the only ones. The contemporary cultural landscape is flooded with purveyors of authentic American style.

To help us tell this ever-evolving story, we’ve enlisted a select group of today’s style-makers who we feel embody the same sensibilities as we do. Over the coming months we will be unveiling their perspectives in a series of video-based interviews where they share their thoughts on inspiration, authenticity, and individual style. Stay tuned.

The campaign recently kicked off with one of my favorite people, New Yorker Ouigi Theodore, Creative Director and Founder of the Brooklyn Circus. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing who else is included.  You can find all the interviews here.

For wearable sneaker nostalgia check out the Archival Reissue Collection.

I’ve been loving the Bob Cousy Los, with their “Gullwing Closure” at the ankle.

Girls! Run faster, jump higher…and wait for the subway!

Lastly, many thanks to PF Flyers and Gabby and Christopher at Flavorpill
for including me in such a fun project.

Archive photos via PF Flyers. Life photos by Yale Joel, via the Life Archive.

DIY: Dip Dyed Nylites

12/03/2012 § 16 Comments

The folks at Tretorn were nice enough to include me in the Nylite Project, sending me a pair of sparkling white canvas Nylites which I spent an evening dip-dying pink.  Full admission: As I am not well-schooled in the art of fabric dying, I used red Dylon dye, thinking they would be much more red, but I am quite pleased with the pink ombre that resulted — better for spring!

Dip Dye DIY

  1. Moisten shoes, prepare dye in stainless steel sink, according to package instructions.
  2. Dunk half of shoes into the dye, hung over the faucet.
  3. Fall asleep for three hours. (This step is optional)
  4. Remove from dye and allow to dry overnight. (I cheated and put mine on the heater.)

Voila!  I’m crafty!

Fall Staple: Grenson Ella Boot

29/09/2011 § Leave a comment

The Ella boot by Grenson has burnt a searing hole into my brain that I cannot ignore.  Consequently, they have been moved to the tippy top of my “must purchase urgently” list.  It’s a long list, I’ll grant you that…  I’ll wear this handsome brogue wingtip boot with my hem rolled down and up, and possibly with a midi skirt or two.  Find them here.

Also worth mentioning that Aldo has an eerily similar option here — but the Ella has my vote, hands down.

Quite Continental Wants: Gucci Ombre Leather Brogues

27/07/2011 § 3 Comments

Do I maybe talk about shoes too much?  Are you tired of my incessant chatter about loafers? Do you wish I would talk about something else?  Well, you’ll just have to indulge me then, because these are a goddamn beautiful pair of shoes.

Similarly obsessed?  Find them here.

Ask Me Anything: Shoes for a São Paulo Winter

20/06/2011 § 3 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:
Women trying on shoes, 1930. Image via State Library of New South Wales.
I need to buy wintery everyday shoes. I thought about oxfords but they are too popular around here (São Paulo). I dont like moccasins, I’m feeling too old for my Chuck Taylors, and flats are a little boring and too girly. Are there any options left???

I have to admit I was thrown for a loop upon reading your first line!  I was going to confess my jealousy over how forward-thinking you were, as I can never seem to prepare too much for the next season until it is upon me…but then I realized you were in Brazil and in the same boat I usually find myself in.  So let’s get to work and get you ready before the temperatures drop in the Southern Hemisphere.

I love white sneakers, especially canvas ones.  I don’t like them too sparkly white, as I think they’re much better with a “beat to hell” look.  Hands down my favorite canvas sneaker is the classic Jack Purcell (shown above).  Since you mentioned that you felt “too old” for your Chuck Taylors (which is impossible, believe me!), perhaps the Purcells will feel a little more grown-up.  I also like classic white Keds, basic Supergas,Tretorn T56s, Adidas Lavers with the green sole, white on white checkerboard slip-on Vans.

For shoes with a bit more color, I like Onitsuka Tigers, and that’s about it.  I loathe huge basketball shoes and I only wear running shoes to run.  (Anyway, when I buy running shoes I’m not normally paying attention to what color they are, only how well they fit.)

Perhaps you are looking for something a bit sturdier for the winter months?  I love the color and detail of the Wolverine Gibson Mattie boots (shown above).  I also like the classic smooth Doc Martens in 14-eye, and the James Wingtip Lace Up and the Paige Tall Riding Boot, both by Frye.  Speaking of riding boots, if your budget is pretty flexible check out these by Ferragamo and these by Ralph Lauren Collection.  If you care to enter dreamland, feast your eyes on these beauties by Hermes.

Another idea might be men’s desert boots or chukka boots — try Clarks or J. Crew.  They both also make a “women’s” version, which involves taking this naturally handsome boot and sticking it on a wedge.  Avoid at all costs.

I know you mentioned that you didn’t want oxfords, but I was wondering if you had considered a pair of slippers like these beauties shown above by Stubbs & Wootton?  The slipper can be a bit tongue-in-cheek for some, but if you’re not afraid of that, then you’ve got a whole world to consider!  Ralph Lauren has their horses, Brooks Brothers will lend you their monogram, Del Toro will make you a pair with your own, and the aforementioned Stubbs & Wootton has plenty of designs worth perusal.  I especially like the “tassels” on these linen slippers.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:

Ask Me Anything: Basic Black Flats

06/06/2011 § 5 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:
Hi Mariah,
I’m searching for a pair of basic black flats and I would like to spend less than $200 on them.  What would you recommend?

A wardrobe workhorse most definitely, I am always on the lookout for a good pair of black flats to add to my collection.  Since moving to New York from Los Angeles, quality flats have become more of a priority for me, as I’m now doing quite a bit more walking than I did in the City of Angels and I’m not one for wearing running shoes — unless I’m actually running, of course — I’d feel too much like an extra from Working Girl.

Repetto BB Classic Flat

Ballet Flats
If you’re more inclined towards something of a ballet flat, Repetto should be your first stop.  While your price range will rule out most of the ballet slipper-inspired shoes made by the famed French ballet shoe company like the pair above, I managed to find a pair of grosgrain ribbon flats that were within your price range here.  You could also purchase their actual ballet shoes for much cheaper.  However, don’t expect them to hold up as well as shoes made for walking.

Take a gander at the ballet flats by Tory Burch.  I like her Revas for their bright colors, elastic collar, and the fact that a basic pair prices at just under $200, but the recently released Eddie flat is my new favorite.  The Eddie is simple, classic and without the large medallion found on the Reva.  Also worth noting: J.Crew also has a solid offering in the Lula flat, the Sloop by French Sole, and the very affordable Amarissa flat from Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

KORS by Michael Kors Olympia

Looking for something even more basic than the ballet flat?  The Olympia by KORS by Michael Kors (pictured above) is about as basic as you can get, and is within your price range.  Urban Outfitters also has some solid offerings at very affordable prices.  Check out the Deena & Ozzy pointy patent skimmersummer skimmer, and the BDG pointy leather skimmer.  I also quite like the wingtip-inspired Berkeley flat by French Sole.

Dieppa Restrepo Gaston Tassel Slip-on

If you’re looking for something in a loafer, the above tasseled beauties by Dieppa Restrepo are a bit out of your price range, but if you could be persuaded to stretch it a bit I would definitely recommend scooping them up.  A cheaper tasseled option can also be had in the Washington by GH Bass & Co.  Also check out the penny loafers at Bass, and these very affordable canvas loafers by Cooperative available at Urban Outfitters.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:

New Addition: Minnetonka Moccasins

04/06/2011 § 1 Comment

Photo taken by StyleOnTheCouch.

I’ve been on the lookout for pair of easy summer slip ons and I wanted to let you know how satisfied I am with these lovely pair of Minnetonka Kilty Moccasins.  Soft and comfy, with a reinforced rubber sole, I am hopeful these classics will last me through the heat of the summer months.  (However, should they need replacing, I’ll only be out $50 or so.)

While I opted for the plain, the Kilty also comes in a variety of different adornments, such as studded or beaded, if you are desiring something a little more jazzy than the plain.  I’m definitely going to pick up a black pair as well.

I’m looking forward to wearing these with just about everything.  Thus far they’ve seen action with a skirt, a maxi, shorts and jeans.  There really isn’t anything they won’t work for.  They really soften up and stretch a bit, so if you go down a half size, they should be perfecto.  Scoop yours here.

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