Ready-to-Wear, but Hard to Find



Most of the shoes we buy as style enthusiasts come from England, Italy, and the United States, but other countries have rich shoemaking traditions as well. Japan, for example, has a vibrant community of bespoke cordwainers, who are renowned for their sleek styling and shapely lasts. Certain countries in Central Europe also uphold a long Austro-Hungarian tradition, which includes making a unique style known as the Budapester — a brogued derby with high walls, large medallions, and slightly upturned toes.

In the past few weeks, as fall has been approaching, I’ve been eyeing a few of those Central European makers. They’re not always pretty to look at online, but once you imagine them underneath cavalry twills or corduroys, and paired with a thick and heavy tweed jacket, they suddenly make more sense. They’re country shoes, standing opposite to the slick city oxfords that men wear with business suits, and are great with casualwear (tailored or otherwise).

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On guncheck cloths & sentimentality

Yesterday, as a consequence of procrastination, I found myself staring dumbly for maybe a good twenty minutes at Aaron’s beautiful guncheck sportcoat. 

Made in a visually arresting Aberchalder style cloth, Aaron’s jacket recalls the sort of rigs worn by my father during the latter days of my childhood. Black and white checks, overlaid with red windowpane, were a keystone image during those years of infancy. They spoke to me at once of elegance, nonchalance, and perhaps just a hint of my father’s Anglo-Scottish education.

Honestly, I am excessively sentimental when it comes to such rustic cloths, because my height and girth forbid me the possibility of ever wearing much of my father’s tailored clothing. 

Such gunchecks have an intense but nonetheless harmonious visual complexity. In a way, dressing down such a jacket requires more than navy trousers and a simple twill/poplin shirt. This is undoubtedly where Aaron’s #menswear savvy proved effective. His sportcoat separate is fashioned with patch pockets - a detail my father would have eschewed in favour of more ‘sensible’ affectations from The Row - and in the first shot, he foregoes a tie altogether.

Multiple patterns are not so much the problem. The Duke of Windsor said it best when he alleged the skill is in gauging each pattern’s scale relative to another. Here, Aaron has worked an interesting circular motif in via his foulard, and its wide spacing harmonises exceptionally well with the guncheck jacket. 

(Source: Aaron Cheung