Archive for the Soul-Crushing Materialism Category

SS ’13 Menswear: Birds/Blooms

Posted in ART, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by effingjro

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I know what you’re thinking: “Florals? For spring. Groundbreaking.” And you’ve got me there. But there’s a damn good reason this happens every year. We’re suffering from color anemia. You can’t live off navy peacoats and heathered gray everything indefinitely. Even if it’s still snowing out, any of the items above will put you in a warm-weather mentality at half the cost of a trip to the Caribbean. Here are three quick favorites…

1. Profound Aesthetic 5-Panel Cap

Do not be distracted by the model (or do, briefly). Profound Aesthetic has a lot of great stuff in their newest lookbook, but this cap is doubly covetable for the 5-panel construction and suede flat brim.


2. AMI Bird Print Cotton Twill Shorts

Alexandre Mattiussi’s menswear line is French nonchalance made manifest. Proof that you can wear a bird print without looking like a peacock.

3. SUPREME x Vans Rose Print Sneaks

High Snobiety tipped me off to this collab, available in stores yesterday (you know what, they’re probably already sold out). Based off the album art for New Order’s 1983 Power, Corruption & Lies, they also look like any Baroque floral rendering, ever.

And speaking of Baroque: did you know Sofia Coppola (in her enduring wisdom) used New Order’s single ‘Age of Consent’ in Marie Antoinette? In wig choice alone, that woman owned the birds/blooms motif, so I think we’ve come full circle today, friends.

Thermal Thoughts

Posted in Photos, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez with tags , , , , on November 19, 2011 by effingjro

High-fashion onesie

This morning I had to take two dogs for a walk when it was 37 degrees. I know that’s not exceptionally cold if you’re Canadian or a penguin, but I could barely get myself out of bed, much less find enough layers to ensure I wouldn’t freeze the second I made it outside. For whatever reason, I get cold way faster than the population at large, and until I can afford winter trips to Cabo, it’s all about thermal shirts and long johns for me. I’ve been scouring stores, and the only real options are the AA thermals, the Uniqlo HeatTech line (oooh, science), or this stunning one-piece Fair Isle contraption from Japan…

(How do you go to the bathroom in this?)

One of the nice things about quitting smoking (I’m on my third week) is that I’m setting aside all the money I would  have spent on cigs, and instead buying something as a reward. So my plan is to buy a pair of long johns for every day of the week, and laugh in the face of the bitter elements.

April joined me for a photoshoot

Say hello to my weekend uniform.


Posted in Advertisements, Soul-Crushing Materialism, TEEVee with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by effingjro

Looking for someone relatable to endorse your product? How about a blogger?

Everyone’s a blogger, so it seems like a valid way to connect with a big audience. I guess I feel a little jaded when advertisers finally catch on to the trends of 2008 and harness it for their own nefarious ends, but I can’t hate on blogger commercials TOO much. I mean, bloggers are pretty nice people, right? Unless they’re Les Carles or running the Westboro Baptist Church homepage.

Ashley runs Not Without Salt, a beautifully photographed culinary blog. Not long ago she was offered free samples of Finish dish detergent to try out. The samples worked really well! So she agreed to a commercial.

And she even wrote a very forthright blog post about the whole filming experience. It was sort of touching (her brother worked the second camera on the shoot).

Next up is Lindsey Calla, who writes Saucy Glossie, a fashion blog that’s been featured all over the place: Marie Claire, Elle, Seventeen, etc. She’s been working the ho stroll a bit harder than Ashley. Some sort of serious deal has been inked, as she hosts “Twitter parties” about TJ Maxx, does a few webisodes about “taking your look from the office to the club,” and offers tips on fashion trends via smart phone.

I’m wondering if every other commercial is going to have a blogger soon, like the capitalist realization of Diablo Cody’s “Honest to blog.” If so, I’ll probably like it. I’m the last person to call anyone a sell-out. So if Marlboros, Levis or TopMan need someone to receive free samples… you know where to comment.


Posted in ART, Hotties, Photos, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez with tags , , , , , , , on September 4, 2011 by effingjro

Well, this is  how I want to look all the time. I don’t know if I’m more into the idea of britches or calf-high boots, but almost every look in Balmain’s Fall 2011 collection features these things (well, technically not britches, but the rolled jean with a bit of sock showing looks just as good). There are a whole lot of these vaguely military jackets with shiny buttons, as well as big ratty scarves and layered shirts and sweaters, which gives the collection a very sexy magpie feel. In fact, sexy magpie might be the look I go for this fall.

To be fair, my coworker was pretty on point when he said “All you have to do is accessorize with a chain that carries the One Ring.” Some of the looks are a bit Middle Earth, but I think it’s because the model looks like he just left the Shire.

Scarves as scarves, scarves as belts!

Leather jacket, fur collar. Rough and tumble luxe.

The designer responsible for Balmain’s comeback, Christophe Decarnin, recently left the company. He was, after all, making $6,000 jeans. I just hope whoever takes his places maintains this level of cool. Actually, maybe you can decide for yourself when you take a look at Balmain’s 2011 Spring collection. Not sure if that’s Decarnin or not, but you can find it here on

Seriously, where can I get those boots?

Today’s Haul

Posted in Found Item, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2011 by effingjro

Some days, I could swear I was born to go thrift shopping.

Or, to be precise, thift/vintage/antique shopping. Today, after hitting three shops, I picked up a 1867 edition of Harper’s Monthly (yeah, I’ll scan it later), six marlin-shaped swizzle sticks from 1965 (no more mixing G&Ts with a spoon) and a silk coral-and-cream clover print scarf. Grand total: $15.

Though it looks like I’ll be heading back tomorrow to pick up a double-breasted peak lapel tuxedo jacket. Circa 1950? When something that old fits perfectly, it’s just wrong to pass it up.

Banana Republic: Too Mad For Mad Men

Posted in Advertisements, Found Item, In the News, Photos, Rag Mags, Rage Blackout, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez, TEEVee, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2011 by effingjro

I was enjoying my normal Saturday routine: G&Ts on the lounge chair in the back yard with the latest men’s mags, when I came across this Banana Republic ad in GQ.

OK, fine, Mad Men. I dig that just as much as any of human being out there. I love the show, I LOVE the costumes – I even went so far as to download the characters’ individual playlists on iTunes – that’s how taken I am with a mid-century modern lifestyle (no, I didn’t not craft a personal Mad Men avatar, but I was tempted).

The thing is, Banana Republic has been going Mad  for three years now. They started out with a ‘casting call’ promo in 2009. Then they rolled out their capsule collection in 2010 (I remember this in particular because I urged a straight friend to glean his whole wardrobe here). And now, in 2011, they’re putting out a third collection, even though the next season of Mad Men likely won’t materialize until 2012.

This show caused a bit of a style revolution, and I’m totally in favor of gents getting more dapper. The looks – a few of which I’m posting below – are still great, if extremely grey.

No arguments here, even if they are eschewing some of the preppier, Pete Campbell flourishes for The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit-style tailoring and homogeneity.

I just think it’s a bit lame that BR hasn’t come up with anything more exciting for the past three years than Mad Men. If I think your novelty capsule collection is starting to look familiar, maybe it’s time to change it up.

And for those of you trying to cultivate a little MM panache – try a vintage shop. It’ll be a whole lot more fun.


Posted in Authors, Hotties, I do stuff!, Photos, Role Models, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez, Uncategorized, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by effingjro

You know, the last time I bought glasses I was 16. It’s definitely time for an upgrade. I just ordered a box of sample frames from Warby Parker, which is my recently discovered and now favorite purveyor of eyewear. For one thing, they make relatively cheap, not-too-obnoxious retro frames ($95 with the prescription), and for another, for every pair of glasses you buy, they donate a pair to someone in the world who needs them.

Which, if you think about it, is way better than one of those ‘Buy one pair, get one free’ deals at Lenscrafters. I mean, how many pairs of glasses do you need?

And without further ado, here are the five frames (they have evocative preppy names that I will riff on to distract from my face)…

The Felton: These guys are really square, like an architect’s glasses. Kind of like that cute engineer from Love Actually that “Just Judy” never gets to sleep with. Not the worst association to go with.

The Pierce: Like the Felton, but a smoky gray version, with those fun metal rivets on the side. President Pierce never wore glasses like this, but he looked damn fine on a horse.

Now on to our third selection…

The Preston: These are pretty much Clark Kent glasses, which is awesome, because there’s nothing I like more than pretending to work for a newspaper while on the sly I’m performing heroic, muscle-flexing feats of bravery.

The Roosevelt: A front-runner, along with the aforementioned Preston. I like the color and the shine on the frames, and they’re mostly square, which is good for round-faces (me). If you were to ask me, I’d say the my favorite Roosevelt wasn’t Teddy OR FDR – it was Eleanor.

The Webb: I think these glasses are way too small. I feel like Truman Capote and while that’s fine when I’m writing, I’m not taking my fashion cues from that guy. Also, aren’t glasses supposed to stop you from squinting? What is up with my eyes?

And yes this is the most vain post ever, but if I keep these glasses as long as I’ve kept my last pair, I might as well get a few opinions. Plus, hey! Polls!

The Remette

Posted in Films, Found Item, Hotties, I do stuff!, Muzak, Soul-Crushing Materialism, TEEVee, Typewriters, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2011 by effingjro

Well, nothing has proven to me the efficacy of the portable typewriter as much as my experience yesterday, lugging a “portable” (read: still way too heavy) typewriter through the streets of Philadelphia. The Philly Type-In was a whole lot of fun, and I really liked meeting some fellow typewriter enthusiasts (at best, most people just sort of raise their eyebrows when I talk about typewriters, then make some comment about getting their fingers stained, so this was a nice change).

What I learned, though, was that I need a lighter typewriter, and one that types faster. Today I found both in one – meet the Remette. Funny thing is, it’s the oldest of all my typewriters, and it also works the best.

What’s that, you ask? Is that a cedilla on the lower right? Hell yes it is. I don’t even know how to make a cedilla on this computer. ¸ OK, that spot you just saw is technically a cedilla, but it looks nicer on this key…

And, to see how it writes, check on my typecast below (it writes really well).

A barely related update: Nope, didn’t watch any of the Super Bowl at all. Did hear Christina fumbled the words a bit during the anthem, and it was Fergie, not Lea Michele during halftime. Frankly, no one is listening that closely to the words in the anthem anyway, but I’d say old Xtina needs to lay off her pipes a bit – to me they sound ragged, especially at the end. Bummer.

A postscript: I know I haven’t been updating much lately, but stay tuned for some vinyl I’m putting online, some great pictures from old issues of LIFE and LOOK, and generally a lot of other stuff that happened before I was born.

Caddys, Chevys, Olds of 1960

Posted in Advertisements, Found Item, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by effingjro

Hands down the best old ads are car ads. Everyone in the 50s and 60s was so fixated on their cars and driving on those nifty four-leaf-clover things and Route 66 that the advertisements were crazy aspirational. I wonder if the current lifestyle-equivalent would be your smart phone (or is it still your car?)

Take your perfect family for a Saturday jaunt on the ferry…

Take your biddy for a cruise through Japan or Washington D.C.

Take your Italian mistress for a promenade across your terrace.

Notice how that last one uses a back angle, like they really wanted to flaunt the fins on that Caddy. For extra Cadillac goodness (true, I do want one “someday”) here’s a fun commercial from the same year. Get how they’re driving home the jewelry=Cadillac=luxury component? Subtlety, through and through.

A Saturday Evening Post

Posted in Advertisements, ART, Photos, Rag Mags, Reading Rainbow, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2010 by effingjro

I bought myself a Saturday Evening Post from April of 1960.

(And this is a Saturday evening blog post – get it?)

As usual I haven’t read much of it because I keep getting distracted by the pretty pictures. They’re mostly gorgeous paintings, with a few poppy photos thrown in for good measure.

SO good-looking, right? I wish ads were still made like this. As a bonus, these images are pretty much analogous to the ads they made in the first season of Mad Men, since that season was set in 1960. Yes it’s lame, but I like to pretend Don Draper helped out with these. Or maybe Peggy. For comparison, here’s an image of Peggy’s promo board for Playtex:

Stay tuned for some sick car ads. Featuring a Cadillac El Dorado(!)

Crazy Characters

Posted in Found Item, Muzak, Photos, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Trivia, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by effingjro

We’re pretty used to the QWERTY keyboard because it works well for English. And, you know, pretty much all Latinate language. But what do you do if you happen to be, oh, I don’t know, Japanese?

You do this:

I found this beauty on eBay (if you want it, get in there, cuz they’re bidding up a storm over there). I have no idea how it works, but the seller says that it’s got over 1,4000 characters, all jam-packed in this tiny machine.

And like most things Japanese, it is also infuriatingly elegant.

This Soviet typewriter, on the other hand, is all efficiency:

And my personal favorite is this uber-rare 1950 Keaton MUSIC TYPEWRITER! I bet you thought this didn’t exist. Well, check it:

Granted, if a normal typewriter seems anachronistic and inconvenient, this device seems nearly impossible to use effectively. Seems like it’d be far easier to write a score by hand, but I’ve never written a score, so who am I to say?

Sandy Claws

Posted in ART, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Stylez with tags , , , , on October 19, 2010 by effingjro

A little taste of what’s to come this holiday season.

Can you guys identify this portly, bearded man? If not, it’ll make more sense when his imprint is on your Christmas card. (Found this old printer’s block at a flea market in Cape May).

One Thing That Does One Thing

Posted in Advertisements, ART, Critical Theory, I do stuff!, Photos, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2010 by effingjro

It’s no small secret that I’m joining the ranks of the typewriter-obsessed. You should have seen the warning signs early, when I started making posts about record players and FM stereos. I’m getting all swept up in analogland and I can’t say I mind. I was trying to explain this to my friend the other day. “Why would you buy an old, outdated piece of equipment?” he asked me. “Because it’s beautiful and it’s also a radio,” I said. “Well, my phone plays the radio. And movies. And games,” was his response.

And uh, that’s a pretty good response. It’s obvious that technology is moving in the direction of loading one device with a billion capabilities, instead of producing a billion devices with one capability. It’s kind of a death blow if you’re a hardcore materialist, and all the sudden all your media and communication needs are met by a toy the size of a pack of playing cards.

What, for example, am I supposed to put in my room besides an iPod, iPhone and iPad. A whole lot of surge protectors? No way! I like stuff! Stuff like this:

It only does one thing. But it does it really well. Also, it happens to be from around 1955. Show me an iPad that will still function 55 years from now.

This is (duh) a Remington typewriter. The same company that produced the first widely-available typewriter in the US around 1887 according to Christopher Latham Sholes’ design. I can assure you that it is NOT a Quiet-Riter, despite the snappy moniker. It’s loud. But unlike Lou, the margins work just fine on this one, and since there’s a fresh ribbon in there, I don’t have to worry about ordering more online just yet.

This is where the magic happens. It’s called the “type guide.” Also, there’s something called the “ribbon vibrator,” which raises and lowers the ribbon when a typebar flies up. Vaguely kinky, I know.
So a little cursory research indicates that my new (favorite) typewriter is colored “Mist Green.” Other options included French Gray (because everything is better in French), White Sand (evoking beaches, perhaps?) and Desert Sage.

The Mist Green one looks vaguely military, and I’ve already made a crack or two about it looking like somebody used it in WWII. I’m naming it ‘Patton’. Anachronistic, I know, but what about this blog isn’t?

Pussies, Pansies, Creepy Kids

Posted in ART, Found Item, Photos, Reading Rainbow, Soul-Crushing Materialism, Vintage with tags , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by effingjro

I bought this crazy children’s book entitled The Pansy, which I think is kind of a Sunday-school lite for good Christian kids at the turn of the century. Is that school-marmish individual wreathed by pansies “The Pansy”? No idea. She looks miserable though. I haven’t actually read the book yet, but I HAVE admired the awesome illustrations. And now, you can too.

Caption: “It’s resting itself.”

Caption: “Miss Ruby disobeys nurse.”

Caption: “Kent thinks it over.”

Caption: “Harold”. Proto-creepy kid.

Caption: “After Thanksgiving dinner”

I think you guys can read that last one. If you want to see these enlarged (you do) click on the image you like.

Costume Season

Posted in Found Item, Photos, Soul-Crushing Materialism with tags , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by effingjro

Now to find a pair of cool overalls.

Also, is there anything remotely benign about this mask or is it completely creepers? Can’t decide.


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