Monthly Archives: April 2009

Gitman Vintage at Context Clothing


gitman-2Just beautiful. I haven’t been this excited about a plaid shirt in a long time, and I love plaid shirts. All of them. Click on the photos to get a better view of the collection or pay Context a visit.


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washersI’ve suffered a serious bout of spring fever this week, and the only thing to cure what’s ailing me is a game of washers.

gameplay3I was eight when we moved to St. Louis. That summer, we attended a small family gathering with some of my father’s cousins. Jerry had a washers set: a soup can nailed inside a wooden box lined with electric green astroturf. A set of brass and nickel washers set the teams apart. Everyone drank Budweiser. I drank Vess.

Missouri Washer Works explains the game’s rules:

The game can be played with two or more players, as long as the teams are even.

Boxes are placed 20 feet apart on a flat and level surface.
Players must stand behind the front edge of the box,
and toss each of his or her three washers (usually underhanded)
toward the opposite box. The next player then does the same.
The highest score wins the round.

Points are awarded as follows:
1 point for a washer that lands in the box
3 points for a washer that lands in the cup (a “cupper”)

Opposing washers in the box (or in the cup) cancel each other out.
Continue rounds until one player reaches 21 points.

In St. Louis, it’s as common to find a summer barbeque with a washer competition as it is to find a cooler full of Bud Light tallboys.

gameplay41If you’re feeling handy, build your own. Otherwise, buy one built in The Gateway City from Missouri Washer Works; while you’re at it, pick up some custom washers, c/o WasherPit. I’m happy to take on challengers far and wide. I’ll bring the gear. You bring your game face.


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Katin & Apolis, A Collector’s Dream



When Shea Parton of Apolis Activism first told me they’d collaborated with Katin USA to produce a vintage cut of board shorts, I flipped out.

katin-1My entire life, since my first book-full of scratch and sniff stickers, I’ve been an obsessive collector of one kind or another. For a time in college, I collected board shorts and old swim trunks, a peculiar and difficult collection to accrue in rural Indiana. “All the more reason to do so,” I thought. Among all the Sundeks, Hang Tens, and O’Neills, my prized finds are a pair of wool Jantzen shorts with a heavy brass zipper which I’m guessing are pre-war, a Magnum P.I.-styled pair of my father’s Lacoste jams with palm trees, coconuts and airplanes on them, and a hideous print from Quicksilver’s early days. Because Goodwill typically only stocks what’s in season, most of my collecting would happen in the spring. One spring morning – it was a Saturday – I stumbled into the Goodwill in Plainfield, Indiana, and hit the mother load: a pair of kelly green Birdwells that looked and felt brand new, a faded pair of Villebrequin with lobsters on them and a half-inch hole near the crotch, and a pair of canvas Katins. The Kanvas by Katins were the most well-worn of the three, and they were too small for me, but I held onto them. They were red. They were rad. As far as I can tell, they must have been an old pair from Nancy and Walter Katin’s sail shop in Surfside, California. From the little research I was able to do at the time, I learned that as early as 1962, they were using nylon to make these bad boys.

katinteamAs with most of my vintage finds in college, these ended up in the laundry bin of a sorority house, another treasure lost on the road to winning a girl’s heart. Those Katins were too big for my girlfriend at the time, but she liked how they looked, slung low on her hips. They looked kind of baggy. Hot, but baggy. And because she wore them a lot, I let her keep them. I saw a pair made with nylon, the tag still in tact years later in a well-curated New York vintage shop; they were priced appropriately – high double digits, $50 or $60. I still have the Jantzens, stored away somewhere in my parents’ house, and the others suffered similar fates to the Katins. I think the Birdwells were left to perish on a vacation, hanged in a hotel shower.picture-5

picture-12The shorts are available at Context Clothing for $106. They come in three colorways: a Beach Clown blue stripe, shore guard yellow, and Baywatch red. They are made in America of top grade nylon, and as with everything Katin makes, these are built to withstand the harshest, gnarliest waves, as well as the tube slide at your local waterpark. They’re a solid investment for summers to come. Or, if like the Partons, you live in the land of the endless summer, these will never leave your sides.picture-6You can bet I will be rockin’ the reds all summer long, whether surfing in Montauk, strolling the boardwalk in Long Beach, or barbequeing in Prospect Park. picture-7All images c/o Katin USA and Apolis Activism unless otherwise specified.

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My Camera

t4-2t4Inspired by Foster Huntington’s recent post on his Goodwill camera, I’m compelled to tell a story or two about my hardware. In high school, my father bought me a Yashica T4 Super D Weatherproof point-and-shoot at Creve Couer Camera, the greatest camera shop ever. This p-a-s has been called a classic by people far more knowledgeable than myself. Jam-packed with features, my favorite little addition is the waist-level viewfinder – perfect for taking shots on the sly. I also use it for overhead shots.

I remember running with my girlfriend to Wolf Camera at the Galleria Mall, excitedly shuffling through a fresh batch of photos, the ink swirling with each grubby fingerprint. Scarfing Lion’s Choice, we’d discard the junked shots in the food court’s trash cans. As a site devoted to the T4 notes, developing is the key to making this camera’s photos look good. The Wolf Camera shots were all serviceable, but none looked as crisp as my CCC-developed photos of time spent in Europe in 2004.

_2a_01491Taken while riding in a Venetian gondola, these display what a Yashica handles best: close-ups and motion shots.  In every photo I have of him, Ty is making that face. I remember my shock as the gondolier removed his hat and handed it to Ty; sacrilege. And when pressed, I could think of a better job than beer distribution boat operator, but that Guinness dinghy is pretty rad.

jamesbrownterryAt a party a couple years ago, I turned, looked, and standing next to me was Terry Richardson, famed fashion photographer clicking away on a T4. I was too nervous to pull my camera to my eye and follow suit, but at some point later that night, he pointed to my wrist, “Hey! Same camera.” That was it. He was, not surprisingly, wearing a buffalo check. Here are two videos of Mr. Richardson at work. The first features model/actress Josi Maran talking about the camera, and the second, well, I admit I didn’t pay much attention to Mr. Richardson, but at one point, you can see he avoids the lag time on the advance by switching between two T4s.


If you have the desire, buy a T4 (Amazon, $200).

For more on the Yaschica T4 Super D, see
To make a remote for the T4, check out The Establishment.

In New York, I have photos developed by the fine folks at Duggal on 23rd Street.

For more on Mr. Richardson, see Terryworld, by Taschen.

selby-t4T4 of The Last Magazine’s Magnus Berger. Image c/o The Selby.


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Free & Easy: Apolis Activism

freeeasy-apolis2The headquarters for Apolis Activism are featured in Japanese publication Free & Easy this month. The entire issue is devoted to interiors. While flipping through the issue on the 6 train, today, I was thrilled to see Shea Parton’s handsome mug just hangin’ out in their brick lair.

Pick up a copy of Free & Easy at Context Clothing.


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SeaVees: Your Vote Counts


As a general rule, blogger polls don’t work. May this case be the exception. I am in a pickle, and I need your help.


I have counted all the coins in the piggy bank, and I am ready to invest in some fun summer footwear.

Derek Galkin and Steven Tiller of SeaVees, a California-based footwear company, were granted full access to the Pantone archives. Pantone, started in September 1963, set the standard for communicating color-correctness, and the world — literally everyone from the designer to the producer to the consumer — is forever indebted to their series of colored fan books.


Using the original fan book from 45 years ago, Mr. Galkin and Mr. Tiller have put together a handsome, timeless collection of shoes aptly named, 09/63, in honor Pantone’s creation. The collection, they say “epitomizes the cool, casual style of California in 1963,” hence, my plea.


I’ve mulled it over long and hard since first learning about SeaVees courtesy of Mr. Williams’ write-up on Selectism. Their shoes are thoughtfully made with a care and precision heretofore unseen in casual footwear. The front of the shoe, the vamp, is made of sueded leather, and the sides, the quarters, are made of canvas dyed-to-match. With sueded leather insoles and lining, waxed cotton laces, and a herringbone siping on the bottom, the outsole, these aren’t Vans Authentics, and they won’t wear out as quickly either. At $125, they are an investment, but one worth every penny, hence, my piggy bank.

I’ve narrowed it down to three colorways, and I invite input of any kind as I venture towards a decision.


Apart from the t-shirt I was given as a proud member of the Tiger Cubs, I never owned anything orange growing up. Since writing about blaze orange, I’ve slowly begun incorporating this happy marriage of red and yellow into my wardrobe. I own a cashmere scarf, documented quite well by Foster Huntington and a camel-colored duffel coat that has been lined with a canvas the hue of a harvest moon. I am seriously considering SeaVees’ PMS170.


Again, harkening back to my younger days, my first pair of Chuck Taylors were an intoxicating turquoise. It is a color I wear often. I own OCBDs, polo shirts, and t-shirts in this color. This is my flash, my bling, my go-to-hell. On a typical day, SeaVees’ PMS322 are a lock.


The dark horse candidate, while pale yellow is a color I wear often (I’ve worn pale yellow polo shirts since birth), it strikes me as too weak a color for footwear. I like my kicks to be grounded in something strong. I find myself most often attracted to a hard white canvas or a bold color. The PMS587 have the look and feel of skin tone, albeit that of Bart Simpson, but with the right amount of wear and tear, these suckers could be the dirty buck I’ve always longed for: the perfect balance of shock and awe.

To recap, the PMS170 blaze orange, the PMS322 turquoise, and the PMS587 pale yellow, are your choices. Any insight, opinions, or psychological analysis are welcome. I would love it if someone quoted Kandinsky. If you’re uncomfortable leaving a comment, you can cast your vote via e-mail, plaidout [at] gmail [dot] com, or via Twitter.

I will tally the votes and report the outcome in a timely and efficient manner. The polls are now open. The line starts to the left. Coffee and donuts to the right.

Check out SeaVees blog, Worthy.


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A Tour of Quoddy Trail Moccasin

quoddy-001Coming this week, look forward to highlights from my tour of the Quoddy Trail Moccasin factory. I met Quoddy’s VP Kevin Shorey for a very informative look into how things are run at their new facilities in Lewiston, Maine.quoddy-0021


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