Leon Drexler Bespoke Hats

July 30, 2014



I recently had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Temkin, the Torontonian behind Leon Drexler Bespoke Hats.  Temkin, a writer, designer, and avid hat wearer, launched the label in 2009 after spending over two years seeking out the old tools and researching the techniques required to pursue what is a nearly forgotten métier: the traditional handcrafting […]

Posted in: Formal Fashion

Dress in the Dominion: Historical Canadian Etiquette

July 24, 2014



The historical paucity of genuine Canadian etiquette guides originally led me to wonder how much my ancestors’ sense of propriety was effected by our culture’s most predominant influences: our British founders and our American neighbours. If the content of the Toronto Reference Library’s collections is any indication, U.S. publications were clearly the preferred choice whether […]

Posted in: Etiquette, History

From the Vaults: Jet-Set Styling

July 22, 2014



Last of a series featuring highlights of my recent research at the Library of Congress. The Jet Age was definitely a mixed bag when it came to formal fashions.  The late 1950s and early 1960s marked a transition from the limited experimentations of the relatively conservative 1930s into the anything-goes attitude of the sixties and seventies.  The styles shown in […]

Posted in: History

From the Vaults: Soviet Evening Wear

July 18, 2014



Part of a series featuring highlights of my recent research at the Library of Congress. In my youth I was always fascinated by the bizarrely Orwellian nature of life in the Soviet Union.  An article on Communist sartorial propaganda in the May 1959 issue of GQ reminded me just how perversely fascinating the USSR was. The article’s introduction sets […]

Posted in: History, Miscellanea

From the Vaults: Silk Evening Shoes

July 17, 2014



Part of a series featuring highlights of my recent research at the Library of Congress. William Skinner and Sons was a very successful silk cloth manufacturer with roots dating back to the 1850s.   Their earliest ads in Apparel Arts often promoted their quality silk linings for robes, suit jackets and tuxedos and occasionally for lapel facings and […]

Posted in: History

From the Vaults: Apparel Arts

July 16, 2014



Part of a series featuring highlights of my recent research at the Library of Congress. My most exciting discovery at the Library was really more of a re-discovery: the priceless fabric swatches contained within the pages of Apparel Arts magazine. For those unfamiliar with the publication, it began in 1931 as a resource for the American menswear […]

Posted in: History

From the Vaults: Library of Congress Research

July 15, 2014



I’ve taken time off from blogging lately for a busy summer including a week of World Pride festivities and ongoing home renovations. Also tucked in there somewhere was a trip to Washington, DC where I took the opportunity to do something I had long dreamed of: research at the Library of Congress, the largest library […]

Posted in: Updates

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