Valentino Couture, The American Psycho’s Suit of Choice

If you haven’t seen the famous American Psycho credit card scene, here it is:

Don’t try to look up Dorsia NYC btw that restaurant is fictional. So back to Bateman’s suit, Valentino Couture. The Valentino brand is famous but do they even make suits? (Couture usually means something made to measure. If you’re into designer clothing over bespoke clothing many times you’ll have to settle for made to measure over fully bespoke.)

Valentino’s site doesn’t have a category for suits or fine menswear. They do make jackets listed under “outerwear”. A search from their website turns up one suit in three different colors, black, navy, and grey.

So they do make suits! But more importantly from here, do they make made to measure (couture) suits for Mr. Bateman over here?

A deep dive reveals an article from Vogue talking about Valentino’s menswear store expansion in 2016 making room for their new made-to-measure service. If the service was new in 2016 and the movie was made in 2000, Bateman probably had some special connections to have his suit made. Even cooler to think about is perhaps this made-to-measure service could have been inspired by Bateman himself.

The article also gives us a price of about €2,600 for a tuxedo which is a reasonable ask in my opinion considering the ready to wear suit I found above and many other casual items from Valentino already command that price.

It’s been five years since that Vogue article was written, does Valentino Couture still exist as a made to measure menswear service? A google search doesn’t turn up much besides that article. From what I can tell the store they are talking about is the Paris Rue St. Honore which is thee Valentino Menswear store. A picture from May 2015 clearly shows us that it’s a menswear store:

And it seems like that store is still there despite not having a dedicated website or anything like that. Although a picture from 2020 shows us that the interior isn’t like that anymore.

And the 2015 picture was from before their second floor expansion so we’re seeing the same floor of the same store here. It could very well be that while the store location exists, Valentino Couture made-to-measure men’s suits are no longer a thing.

On the off chance that they are still in existence the only way to get a Valentino Couture suit would be to fly to Paris and find this specific Valentino store that makes no mention of its services officially online. I’ll check it out next time I’m in Paris.

The Brooks Brothers Tuxedo, An Amazing Budget Option

A tuxedo is a pretty hard pill to swallow. Do I really want to invest a thousand dollars in an outfit that I’d wear about once a year? So I never had one despite black tie being my favorite look. Then Brooks Brothers ran a sale, a tux jacket and pants for $300, usually they retail together for $600. I imagined I’d get a tux made for some special occasion but this “budget” option could hold me over until then.

As a 5’8″ 140lb skinny Asian with a runner’s build I went with the Milano (slim) fit jacket in 36S and Regent (regular) fit pants in 30 (they didn’t have Milano fit). I have to say, this was the luckiest I’ve been with an off the rack suit. It fits me perfectly. Both the jacket and the pants run one size small, I’m usually a size 35 jacket and 29 pants. I was so excited as I slowly realized that I wouldn’t have to tailor any of it. The tux is beautiful and its construction is much better than I expected. The fabric comes from Vitale Barberis Canonico in Italy and I believe I saw on a tag that it was constructed in Egypt.

If Brooks Brothers runs this promotion again, I would highly recommend it, especially if you happen to have a coupon from them at the same time.

If you’re a bigger guy I found a tux at the Hugo Boss outlet around the same time as I bought this. It was much looser and would have required significant alteration to fit me. The Hugo read regular fit though honestly I would personally call it a relaxed fit or loose fit. However, it was only $180 for the set plus further discounts depending on how much your total was in store (spending over $300 gets you like a 15% additional discount or something like that).

My Favorite Pants: Lululemon Commission Ventlights

I’ll be honest I didn’t really see the appeal in Lululemon at first. I happened to be shopping for some pants at the outlet and picked these up on sale. One thing I like about the brand is that they have smaller sizes for me and I imagine the only reason I got this on sale was because I can squeeze into a size 28.

These are absolutely the most versatile pants ever. I’ve been wearing them as travel pants, golf pants, and semi-formal dinner pants. They have vertical pockets for formality but they’re made of a techwear material called ventlight that makes them comfortable and breathable. The fabric is made in a grid pattern and you can see pin sized holes where the gridlines intersect. It’s almost exactly like the material on my Nike TeckPack pants but built into dress pants. Being a lover of techwear and formalwear, these are immediately became my new favorites and despite their $120 price tag, I set out to buy more.

(Quick side note, LLL support is really friendly and they showed me this dot inside of the pockets that have the size and product numbers in them. So if you ever need to identify LLL products look for the dot!)

After a bit of searching online and in stores it’s apparent that the pants are completely sold out, despite what I consider a heavy price (guess not). LLL has no idea about if or when restocks happen. So if you happen to find Ventlights in your size, I recommend picking them up.

Review: Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece Captoes

I needed a casual set of oxfords and this light brown was perfect. I got the GF Captoes on sale for around $120 with a coupon. The oxfords feature a non slip sole and ortho insoles, great for a casual shoe I intend to be traveling in. These shoes are made in Italy out of calf skin. The sales rep told me that they were made on a Peele & Co last which is what sold me.

Here’s my greatest issue, these are by far the most difficult dress shoes I’ve had to break in. I’ve probably walked about 5 miles so far in them and the contact points at the base of my toes and heels blister upon extended use. I’ve never had a shoe bite into the top of my foot so much at the crease behind the toecap, it’s especially bad at the base of my big toe. I think I could be wearing a half size smaller to make this shoe a snug fit. That would only increase the problem but I would say the sizing runs slightly large. Even just standing around at the craps table the orthopedic insoles were not doing me as much good as I would’ve hoped. The description of these shoes promises a flexible, comfortable, shoe which has been the exact opposite of my experience so far.

At the moment it’s unclear what direction Brooks Brothers will take their shoe line, the shops haven’t had any shipments during COVID so I may just be beating a dead horse critiquing these oxfords.

I’m not giving up though, I did spend a bit of money on these. Hopefully, with a more break in, these will become a comfortable casual shoe for me.

 

Description: Brown Oxfords with non-slip soles and ortho insole.

Brand: Brooks Brothers

Line: Golden Fleece Footwear

Style: 100083732 (color: cognac)

Shopping for a Ready to Wear Savile Row Suit

Perhaps one of the greatest aspirations for a fashion hobbyist is owning a bespoke suit from Savile Row in London. Nowhere else is quite as famous for making suits. This is perhaps because in other countries, the sartorial heritage is more spread out throughout multiple cities instead of located all on one street. The brand names that come to mind when I think of a Savile Row suit include Huntsman, Henry Poole, and Anderson & Sheppard.

All of these brands make amazing bespoke suits. Now we get to the sort of “work around” that I always love to talk about: Of these three famous brands, one makes ready to wear suits, Huntsman. (Aside: if you like the Kingsman movie series, they wear Huntsman suits and their set is based off the Huntsman store. Though if you want a Kingsman suit they actually have their own brand called Kingsman which can be bought from Mr Porter.) Now there is nothing like a bespoke suit but it’ll cost you thousands of dollars and four separate trips to London to be fitted. That’s a bit out of my budget range right now so I’ll settle for the next best thing, a Savile Row suit in name made ready to wear off the rack.

 

Huntsman makes 7 suits ready to wear, but really it’s 4 suits with the most common design having a few options. They basically make a “standard” suit, an evening suit with peak lapels, a tuxedo like suit with a shawl lapel, and a hopsack suit. Their standard suit comes in winter and summer weight, navy and grey, filling out the rest of the selection to 7 choices total. The two evening suits are pictured above and the more standard suit is below.

If this is going to be my nicest suit, I’d like some versatility from it. I don’t think peak lapels are for me and a shawl lapel is really only for those late evening events. That standard look pictured above is what I’m going for, something I can wear to work and a wedding.

Their sizing goes down to 34 on the suit with the shawl lapel and 36 on everything else. I’m a size 35. Oh well, that’s the compromise with ready to wear anyways, they typically only have even sizes.

I prefer a black suit. Some people say it makes you look like a butler and it’s overly formal but it’s my favorite color. If I had a bespoke tailor I’d try to find a black fabric that looked more casual. For now with the Huntsmen suits, my choices are grey and navy. Neither would be a fitting color for black tie but honestly how many truly black tie events do I attend?

The worst thing about being in a suit for me is the heat. I have a nice selection of overcoats for the cold but in any heat I’m uncomfortable. So I prefer lightweight suits weeding out all but three choices, the navy fresco suit, grey fresco, or navy hopsack. The two navy suits are pictured above. The navy fresco and navy hopsack are sold out in size 36 so my decision was really made for me, the grey fresco.

They also make these suits made to measure for the same price but really it’s just a few tailoring options. The most dramatic change one can request is a different cloth but the rest of it is unimpressive. I couldn’t dictate a different size or a different fit. Just waist and sleeve adjustments. Next time I’m in NYC I’ll stop by their New York location to take a look at these cloth options (they have a location in Manhattan as well as on Savile Row).

My Dream Watch: The Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project

I’d like to consider myself a watch enthusiast even though I don’t have the funds to support such a hobby. My very modest collection has a few mechanical watches, an apple watch, and a classic Movado (I know the stigma but I love their design). But the watch I really want is an Omega Speedmaster, the moon watch. I like to think of watches as a practical instrument and space is my profession. I guess in a certain way I work in the space industry. There’s a scuffed up example of a speedmaster I’m eyeing right now but I’d love to tell you you about the speedmaster in the featured image, the Alaska Project. It was designed to work on the moon and that bright red case was to insulate it from the harsh temperatures of space. I have a very slender wrist but I would wear that full case, what an amazing talking point.

Also on my list and at a much more attainable price point is the Omega Commander’s Seamaster. Wait that’s not a speedmaster you say? Actually speedmasters were all originally part of the seamaster line. I guess I’ll have to take up yachting if I get this watch. Most importantly though, it’s James Bond’s watch; he’s my idol.

Honorary mention is a digital speedmaster. It looks like a Casio! Imagine telling people you have a speedmaster and pulling this thing out. I think these may be oddly collectable.

Actually Running in Hypebeast Techwear Shoes

A while back someone at the gym stole my vaporflys and I was so bummed out I didn’t even want to go to the gym. Since not going to the gym was bad for my health I figured I’d solve this problem as quick as possible by walking into the Nike store and picking out whatever caught my eye. By coincidence I found the Nike Air VaporMax Utility Triple Black. They were listed on the Nike website as running shoes though at over $200 retail I think they were targeted a bit differently than trainers. I’d say these shoes were primarily for the techwear fashion enthusiasts but you know they had a nice new midsole and others in the line were clearly meant for running so I bought them… to run in. Not like casual running, these were my only training shoes for a while.

I mainly liked how the shoes fit in with my athletic outfits. I went to the gym on campus I wouldn’t have to bring a set of training shoes and a set of nice shoes for class. I’d love to style these with an acronym cp4-ws cape one day but that’s out of my budget range for now. My main complaint is the squeak. My friend commented “you’re not gonna sneak up on anyone with those shoes”. The vapormax soles squeak, especially on that you commonly find at schools and hospitals. Other reviewers said this went away but after years of ownership I can confidently say the squeak does not go away.

Enough of that though, I said I trained in them and I did. How were they to run in? It was fine. It felt like a high unstable platform at times. The flyknit held my foot well and I didn’t feel like I needed laces. That fastener lace they had on there does nothing. However, some days I’d get roped into playing sports with them on and this is where the real criticism lies, the shoe cannot handle any horizontal force. I think I was playing soccer and needed to change direction quickly. The shoe basically rolled around my foot like a sock so that the sole was completely on the side and I was stepping on only flyknit. The shoe survived that, more than once too.

After a years of use the shoe has faded and the flyknit has a small hole on the high top collar from me pulling the shoe on. Make sure to use the straps to pull flyknit shoes on or you’ll repeat my mistake.

Shoe was fashionable for everyday wear, acceptable to run in, and terrible for sports.

Comparing Three Doc Martens

I love Doc Marten Boots and I’m not sure why. They’re not particularly comfortable, practical, or honestly even that good looking. Somehow though I’ve still managed to accumulate three different pairs from different lines within the brand. They’re laughing all the way to the bank even with my criticisms.

My first pair was a 1460 in cherry red. Holy crap it was tough to break in. I remember I’d put folded paper in my socks to keep them from rubbing my heels raw. I wore them everyday for months and it eventually yielded to my determination. The leather feels authentic and over the years the boot has been scuffed up from motorcycle rides and late nights. I’ve never worried about this boot falling apart, it feels sturdy.

My second pair was a set of black Cartors. I found them at Nordstrom Rack for half the cost of my 1460s. From afar they look like the classic black docs but picking them up I could tell that there was something not right about them. I think my main complaint is that they’re synthetic leather and thus have a much softer feel and a different shine than the 1460s. These did not require any break in. They’re acceptable to wear if my outfit requires black boots but if these were my first docs, I would not have been impressed.

My third and hopefully last pair is a set of Chelseas, mono black so that I can wear them with my service dress if I want. I had been on the hunt for Chelsea boots for a while but none really caught my eye like the Docs. So after a putting it off as a maybe for a year I ended up buying it. They’re not too comfortable to walk in but my main complaint is the insole. It is cardboard. It’s hard to get a picture because it has some fake black cover they have over the heel of the insole. I thought it was some packaging material I had missed the first time I wore it. When you walk it feels like your socks are slipping around on dense cardboard inside. For $150, I don’t think this the quality one pays for. I gave them a shot though, maybe the cardboard becomes like memory foam after a while. I’ve worn them about 10 times. Still not pleased with the insole.

Overall I’d say get the 1460s, they’re the classic look, and be ready to break ’em in. They also have a vintage “made in England” line for $230 but I think Docs are quite pricey as is so I won’t be trying those any time soon.

The Harvard Class Ring

Everyone knows about that massive brass rat the MIT students wear. Does Harvard have something similar? Harvard class rings aren’t as universal as the brass rat is to MIT but they are around. Harvard class rings are almost universally signet rings; however, there is no “official” ring. I’ve heard that back in the day there were competing efforts between the Coop and the Harvard Shop to introduce a class ring and it looks like the Harvard Shop’s ring made by Balfour won out. There are at least three other companies that make Harvard class rings, Signitas, Herff Jones, and M. La Hart & Co but I went with the Balfour ring.

Why do I want a class ring? Well firstly I think signet rings are classy but I don’t have a signet of my family crest passed down for generations like others. Secondly, class rings are a military tradition and thus commonly worn at my workplace.

My fingers are long and thin so I went with the extra small design, extra small being 1mm smaller than small. It ended up looking more like an “normal” ring than a signet ring because of its extra small sizing. I imagine that if one wants the more traditional bulky signet ring you’d have to get at least a medium but that wouldn’t fit my hand. I inquired about their style sizing and included it here for anyone else that needs the info: L – 18mm x 15mm, M – 16mm x 14mm, S – 13mm x 11mm, XS – 12mm x 10mm.

I’m very pleased with the amount of customization allowed. Each side can be customized with the student’s house and school. People commonly engrave class year on the sides as well. Mine has the Extension School’s coat of arms on one side and Kirkland House’s on the other.

The cheapest option with no precious metals is around $400. It took a long time to produce, two months, but came nicely packaged and has stood up to semi-regular wear for almost a year now.

Moncler Swiss Ski School Jacket

My latest ebay find is a Moncler Swiss Ski School Jacket! Moving to Colorado has been a great excuse to buy a new snow jacket. In college I wore Patagonia but I’ve been meaning to step it up for a while. I think I could fit in with my Harvard classmates wearing a Canada Goose but trying them on I wasn’t too impressed. Canada Goose kinda strikes me like LV does today. It’s a luxury brand but a really mainstream one at the moment. The top of this luxury winterwear food chain though is probably Moncler, a designer brand much more focused on designer fashion today rather than their expeditions of old. In the featured picture is Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini with ski instructors wearing the jacket. Ruffini is credited with transforming Moncler from a practical brand to a designer brand.

I didn’t give much thought to Moncler since they were out of my price range but shopping on Rodeo I wandered into their boutique. The quality, warmth, and lightness of their jackets immediately impressed my friends and I. It was a clear step up from Canada Goose, the fill was thicker but the jacket still felt lighter. I was truly close to purchasing a $1700 Kander ski jacket that day. Finding a perfect fit in a boutique is rare and usually I have to hunt down luxury items I want by traveling to multiple stores. The Moncler on Rodeo only had one Kander in my size. I didn’t buy it, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

So after a month in downtown Denver I’ve seen snow twice, bought my lift pass for the season, and bought new bindings for my snowboard. Shoutout to Arbor and Stoked Ride Shop for the pro discount! Last up is a new outfit for the season. 

I found this listing on ebay, it’s a jacket that used to be worn by ski instructors at the swiss ski school, probably about 7 years ago? The featured image is from a 2013 article and looking at their YouTube it doesn’t seem like the swiss ski school uniforms look like this anymore. I’ve got myself another vintage item.

I love the idea of taking a ski vacation to the alps, though I haven’t had the chance to do it myself. The jacket embodies the trans-Atlantic mood I’m going for. Now I’ll fit right in at Vail, the most expensive ski resort in the nation from what I’ve heard.