Saturday, July 24, 2010

"It's gone, Jim."

Early last year on a clear, freezing February night and morning a fire raged in the center of Boone, my hometown. It consumed two buildings and damaged another. One person was killed in their upstairs apartment, where the fire started.

News story and video

The buildings were beyond repair.

Destruction of the buildings began on July 5 of this year. The two fire damaged buildings were destroyed first. While from the early 20th century, they were not of architectural importance: they were somewhat rundown and been changed so much that I considered them to be a bit of an eyesore.

However, today they tore down the important Mason/Meyers building. The photo below is from the very early 20th century, the Meyers building standing on the left side with the tower and cupola:

It housed businesses throughout the building (including a bank, jewelers and men's clothing store) until about the 1950s/1960s when the upper floors were made into apartments.

There's some family history in this building; my great-grandpa owned it from the early 1940s to the 1960s. During WW2 he donated the cupola to the war effort. Meyers was a men's clothing store in the middle of the century and I own a fedora and tie that were originally from Meyers.

Unfortunately the latest owner pretty much abondoned the building and let it rot, unbeknownst to the city and most folks who live here. Had he kept it up it probably would not have to have been torn down as the fire didn't do any real damage to the structure, though there was some smoke damage.

Here are some photos from today. Note the pink granite.

Unhappy me:

Here is a short news story and photos from inside a few months before it was torn down.

Thankfully my great-great grandpa's old haberdashery a couple buildings down the block survived untouched and is still standing. Boone has had bad luck when it comes to losing historical architecture, both to fires and the desire of the city. It lost it's big fancy downtown hotel to fire back in the '60s and several businesses were lost to fire some time ago on the same block as the Meyers building. At least three major fires within the last 100 years, talk about a streak of bad luck.

The turn of the century railroad station as well as the fancy old post office were both torn down by the city in favor of more modern construction. We're kicking ourselves now.

Hate to see good architecture go down the drain.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: Stacy Adams "Kingsman"- Modern Twist on a Classic

Classics can be updated while still remaining classic. But there is a fine line that, if crossed, turns a classic into trendy garbage.

You may have noticed the shoes I was wearing in my last WIW post. They were a great match with the suit and added a bit of flair to an otherwise conservative kit (a little too conservative for my taste). It adds a touch of uniqueness without being too over the top.

click images to enlarge

But what are those shoes? What is the quality? From where did they come?
Read on.

The shoes are modern Stacy Adams, the "Kingsman" model. And while the Kingsman comes in attractive solid brown and solid black, it was the two-tone black and white version that caught my eye.
A solid brown or black shoe is the foundation upon which every good shoe wardrobe should be built, but once the bedrock is in place a sturdy wardrobe of non-conventional shoes can be created: shoes that are meant more for fun and dandyism than for work or conservative dress.
That is why I was drawn to the two-tone Kingsman: my conventional shoe wardrobe has been well filled, allowing me to concentrate on more eye-catching purchases.

Why the Kingsman? First, they are made by Stacy Adams. Stacy Adams is known as a producer of good quality shoes for a decent price. I would call them a high mid-range shoe company, a step under Allen Edmond and the like.

Looking at the shoes, you can see that they are in fact well made. The uppers are made fully of leather. The leather itself is fairly thick but soft and these shoes require a very short period of time to break in, though the shoe did rub my lateral malleolus 'bumps' raw at first.

The soles are made of man made materials (read rubber) but are sturdy and lack ugly lugs.

The heels are in a casual dark brown/brown/dark brown combination, continuing the two-tone trend throughout the shoe.

Along with the two-tone sole and leather uppers, the white stitching also contrasts the 'black' leather section of the upper. This white stitching adds a bit of a casual feeling to the shoe, allowing it to be worn like saddle shoes in combination with casual kits (jeans, casual button-down shirts, slacks, t-shirts, etc.). Even with the casual feeling of the shoes, they are still able to be worn with a suit as the top photo of this post demonstrates.

Here's where Stacy Adams put a slight twist on the classic spectator.
On the toecap of each shoe is a laser etched design much like the flames often painted on the nose of a vintage hot rod.

That subtle design adds a touch of 'rockabilly' or hepcat feel to the shoes, something desired by many these days.

Another interesting decision by Stacy Adams was the use of burn brown waxed shoelaces like those found on vintage athletic shoes. Just another piece of the puzzle that adds to the casual look of the shoe, one that I like very much.

You'll also notice that the 'black' leather isn't really black, it's a dark navy blue. Stacy Adams states that the Kingsman is 'weathered', giving it a bit of a vintage look. It is done quite well and the blue stands out nicely when compared to true black and white spectators, making it more versatile for use with both jeans and suits.

The general shape is pleasing to the eye and keeps with a more basic design when compared to modern shoes with their long pointed toes that may or may not curl upward at the end. Though it does not possess the desirable spade sole shape sometimes found on higher class shoes, the Kingsman has a classic wingtip design that is somewhere between 'sleek' and 'gunboat': an indicator pointing toward the casual.

Other than the initial rawness on my lateral malleolus 'bumps', the shoes are very comfortable with moderate arch support. An insole would only add to the already comfortable fit. They appear to be true to size.

I purchased my Kingsman shoes for $85 shipped from Shipping was quick and communication was good (there are also other very nice and well priced shoes on Zappos). You can also find the same shoes on other websites for a similar price.

I give these shoes two thumbs up. Stacy Adams walked the tightrope between classic and trendy with the Kingsman but did not fall off. If you are looking for a less dressy spectator that can be worn with either jeans or a suit, I would recommend the Stacy Adams "Kingsman".

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Another WIW, one right after the other. Aren't you lucky.

Wasn't real hot today, just warm. And that kind of weather calls for a 3-piece suit.

click images to enlarge

The suit is a 1940-dated 'Fashion Park' 3-piece with a very subtle plaid pattern that's nearly impossible to see. Nicely fitted with a nipped waist, flat front trousers and full-cut legs. I'm not usually a fan of flat front trousers but these are nice. The fabric drapes wonderfully.

The hat is a late '40s Royal Deluxe Stetson.

As for the shoes, well, you'll have to wait until the next post to find out about those.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

'Vintage' WIW

I wore the following several weeks ago while on vacation and never got around to posting it.

click images to enlarge

It's an early 1950s "Style Mart" suit. The tie is early '50s as well.
Hard to see in this photo, the suit fabric pattern is an astounding red and blue plaid. The hat is a 1930s Dobbs "Cross Country", a lightweight summer hat that lacks a liner.

Here's an image from earlier this year showing the plaid to full effect.

The material is worsted wool, a good fabric for a warm day like that one several weeks ago...

Monday, July 5, 2010

For the Ladies

Going off the beaten track, here's something for you ladies out there.

I know nothing about make-up but I do enjoy the short-hair 'Audrey Hepburn' 1950s look in a woman.

Embedding has been disabled on this video so you can visit it by clicking here.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Storm Rider

It's a manly name that evokes images of stonefaced cowboys hustling cattle in a sudden downpour of the Southwestern mesa lands...

The smell of cool rain on the hot red soil warns of a looming storm on the horizon. A gust of wind from the direction of the storm tells him it'll be a gully washer. His horse acts timid as sheets of rain rush towards him.
Thankfully the cowboy is wearing his "Storm Rider" jacket. The denim shell and wool blanket lining will keep him both warm and dry. The cowboy pops his corderoy collar as raindrops begin to fall.

The Storm Rider is a manly jacket born out of the necessity of protection on the range. Most examples found today date from the 1960s and 1970s but have that great Golden Era look about them. The Storm Rider came in two styles: lined with a blanket and unlined. The tag even shows a cowboy weathering a storm. It can't get more manly than that.

Or can it?
Steve McQueen...

...and Clint Eastwood think it can...


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