Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Corrections And Clarifications

First thing's first: rest in peace, Peter Yates. He directed a long car chase and an actor who got to react rather than act. Who'd guess such a combination could give so much happiness?

Ray-Ban Wayfarer 2140
(tortoise frame, green lens: code 902)

Somebody's challenged my assertion that Kennedy was a Persol fan. The book The Ivy Look (by Graham Marsh and JP Gaul) is full of great information, as I've intimated, but it threw me a wobbly there. His tortoiseshell Ray-Ban Wayfarers look similar to Persol in some regards, and I regurgitated the error. I read it in that book, but I also saw it on a couple of webpages. That's the trouble with the internet. Anybody can set themselves up as an expert. Anyway, welcome to Steve McQueen Style!

Now here's a terrible clanger. I said, in the heat of the moment in response to a comment, that the "Frank Bullitt jacket" available from Grand Prix Legends and The King Of Cool has "no darts". Bullshit. I don't know what I was thinking. Modern suit jackets and such usually have front darts (vertical seams that give shape). Steve McQueen's jacket in Bullitt has no darts. It's the digression from Ivy's unstructured style, from its natural shoulders and hang, that's the shame of the new "Frank Bullitt jacket". Steve McQueen Style information is occasionally, as Oscar Wilde would've had it, whack. We get there, though.

I've noticed people keen on the fashion "industry" tend to get a bit hot under the collar, so to speak, and term some things "too popular". Military style clothes are too obvious because so many men like them. Steve McQueen is too obvious because so many people mention him. I trust these hot-under-the-collars will studiously continue to avoid the self-evident. I'll do what I can to help. I tell you what's too obvious, in fact: breathing.

If you find McQueen's position as an icon a worry yet admire the way he looks I advise, as ever, you take elements of his style rather than the impossible whole. I wear the big Persol 714s even though my head is average size. (This is the literal size I talk about here. My head is metaphorically big as Jupiter, of course.) The effect of big sunglasses is more Jason Spaceman style and offsets the Steve McQueen thing. Jesus Christ. I bet this is just how characters in Sex And The City speak.

Sperry Top-Sider 75th Anniversary CVO
in natural

I overlooked a photograph of McQueen from the Unforgettable Steve McQueen book (2008, edited by Henri Suzeau) in what look like natural-coloured Sperry Top-Sider CVOs. The L.L.Bean Signature sale continues, and that's where you can find the 75th Anniversary edition in natural and navy.

I'll never quite let footwear go. I'm not the first person to give this simple bit of advice: change the laces in your Sanders playboys. I don't know why they supply shit laces with such beautiful boots, nor why I put up with them slipping undone for so long. I bought a new pair from Shoe-String for just over £2, and it's changed my life. They look the same. They're dark brown, 2mm thick and 60cm long. They're non-slip, though. I don't have to tighten them as much in the vain hope they'll stay, and my boots are a good deal more comfortable. Honestly, little things.

Somebody's commented that charity shops can be a great place to find a vintage bargain, but it mostly comes across as a boast to me because I'm bitter. Why's it everybody else who finds their dream tweed McQueen jacket in Oxfam? Seriously, though, good advice.

This is as good a point as any to reinforce a bit of the Steve McQueen Style aesthetic agenda. Even if you're a multimillionaire, refrain from buying all the Steve McQueen style clothing you can find. Be selective. A couple of pairs of boots for winter, for instance, allows you to alternate. You can account for it, because it falls on the side of sanity. They'll smell better and last longer. If you buy a dozen pairs of shiny winter boots, you're a moonwalk from Michael Jackson unreality. Footwear is at its most comfortable and looks its best when you've worn into each other. Swap boots each day for a fortnight and you'll look about as natural as the Beckhams must when they copulate (with each other).

Buy the best quality you can afford, be selective and remember to try to buy from your own country. We're lucky here to have, on the higher end of things and among other clothiers, Albam, Heritage Research, John Smedley, Sunspel and the bootmakers I mention. Some of the clothes with most Steve McQueen style of course come from elsewhere, from Vietnam and China, the US and Japan.

Heritage Research

I'll talk more about Heritage Research and recommend some specific stuff in time, by the way (and Albam, John Smedley, Sunspel for that matter), but I'd like to mention quickly the forthcoming spring and summer updates to their collection. Russ from Heritage Research tells me a theme is the attempts of servicemen to rejoin society after World War II, and the motorbike clubs and car clubs they started, which should suit us.

OK, in other news: Barbour will apparently sell a set of shirts, knitwear and jackets inspired by Steve McQueen.

Based in Devon and established 1984, Eastman Leather is a company that specialises in reproduction WWII flight jackets (they supplied them for the film Pearl Harbour). They now also stock clothes by Japanese company Buzz Rickson. You'll find, among many other great items, those M-43 service shoes (McQueen's boots in The Great Escape). £350. Grand Prix Legends and The King Of Cool sell "Great Escape" boots, while we're at it. They're apparently made by the same company that supplied them for the film Saving Private Ryan and TV programmes Band Of Brothers and The Pacific. £150.

Last, not least and further to suggestions in the previous post: another forum that might well be of interest to fans of Steve McQueen in general, rather just fans of his style, belongs to Steve McQueen Online. The site also features reviews, images and videos.

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