Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The periodic table of typefaces

This is great. If you’re a man with too much time on his hands and a collection of Taschen books you never actually bother reading.

Click on the picture to enlarge. To find out more go to Squidspot.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sergio Tacchini ‘Dallas’ tracksuit, bought 1984

There are many signposts along the road to manhood. For me, one of the earliest, and most significant, was the purchase of a Sergio Tacchini tracksuit top, bought for me on my 13th birthday in October, 1984, by my ever-generous mum.

I’d been into clobber for a couple of years, and had been lucky enough to get an Adidas padded anorak the year before, but the Tacchini (pronounced ”Tashini” by me and my mates) was a real step up. So when I got my hands on it, I was properly chuffed. And no wonder, Tacchini, aside from the almost-mythical ‘Australian’ brand, was the ultimate in European super-rich sportswear. For two years, like John McEnroe, I wore little else.

When the label thing did eventually ‘go out’ in early 1986 – to be replaced by Ocean Pacific sweatshirts and elephant cords – I folded the top reverently and put it away, even then aware that one day I’d want to examine it again some time in the future.

A few years later it was lent to a female mate of mine, who kept hold of it for the best part of a decade. Every time we met thereafter I would ask after its health. It was, she assured me, being looked after very well.

Finally, last year, the tracksuit was given back to me, about five sizes too small, but still recognisably the garment I’d treasured all those years ago. Today, it hangs in my wardrobe, waiting for the moment when it is given the respect it deserves and framed and hung upon the wall of my already-planned ‘Dad room’, so that I can gaze at it for eternity, a treasure from a different age, resplendent in blue nylon and white piping.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beautiful ’60s-style mod shirts at DNA Groove

I have a thing about shirts. Less of a thing, more of a weakness. I love them, I love the way that a shortening of a collar here or the addition of a little button or two there can give your outfit a completely different feel. I like it when a good spread collar frames a tie and suddenly makes what you’re wearing make sense, or the instant Ivy League/skinhead look you get when you stick a nice button-down Oxford under a V-neck.

And it’s the collar (and then the fit) that is the key to a great shirt. If you’re wearing a tie, then you’ve got to plum for a more traditional British/Italian collar, one that will sit just below your Adam’s apple and deliver a perfectly-sized space for your tie to sit in. Look at the picture of Jude Law as Alfie, below.

His collar is smaller than the norm (though not Top Man silly-small), while his tie is slim in that Don Draper-off-Mad Men way. Then there’s the cuffs. Folding French ones obviously, but held rigorously in place by the cufflinks so they don’t bunch up to the surface of the suit. And that suit… if ever there was an advert for buying a whistle that’s just a little bit too small then this it. Jude looks absolutely boss here.

Of course, there’s another option: the button-down. Now, there are plenty of Americans who wear their superior Brooks Brothers button-downs with ties. This, sadly, makes the wearer look like the sort of New England square who wears chinos with his brogues and fastens his mobile phone to his belt with a mad strap/fastener thing. However, a great button-down shirt, without a tie, is joyful thing. Whether nestling under a V- or round-neck jumper, or being coupled with a svelte cardigan, it always looks the business. On its own, paired with pair of slim-fit Levi’s and desert boots the button-down shirt is the very essence of mod. I’ve got several of them and there is just so instinctively right about them that I’m tempted to wear one every day.

Anyway, the whole point of this little exercise is to flag up the beautiful ’60s-style shirts available from what I consider to be the best mod label about, DNA Groove. Made in Italy, the shirts come in various styles, from a high-collared button-down number to a gorgeous tab-collar model with lovely, rounded lapels. The choice of fabric is mindblowing too, with seemingly every pattern and colour covered, while each individual shirt boasts beautiful design details that mark out it as something really special. As George Harrison said in A Hard Day’s Night, whilst wearing a nice button-down shirt himself, this is the gear. Check out the selection below.

More style here at the DNA website, where you’ll find suits, ties, handmade shoes and everything a good mod needs. There’s even videos made by the brand’s owner, Claudio, showing you how to put an outfit together.