Me with my boys (when they were still boys, wearing youth sizes)
There is a rude awakening as a mother of young sons when your child goes from child to young teen. Well, of course there are many jolting awakenings but the one to which I refer here has to do with clothes. As a child, boys’ clothing (sizes through 18 and XL) is reasonably priced. In fact there is that magical moment when your kids, almost ready for adult sizes, can still wear the youth and you feel like you have hit the jackpot. But sure enough, like every growing thing, one day you can no longer fake it with the XL. That is when you realize your budget will forever be shot because that is the moment that you are forced to buy men’s sizes and in doing so pay the price. It is no small adjustment either. The jump to men’s clothing is enormous and frankly, shocking.
My boys are older now and have been shopping in men’s sizes for a few years. And as often happens with the benefit of time I had forgotten the horror of the price increase – it had become a distant memory. Until my friend, whose son is twelve, reminded me of this reality. She was forced to find the men’s size for the very same pullover top (I won’t name the store) – the price jumped $100. She passed on the item altogether.
Now I understand that more material is involved to make men’s clothing. But what about the in-between ages and sizes? Can’t they find a fair in-between price-point? Do we as mothers have to deal with price shell-shock as well as the fact that we are now living in the land of the teenager? Can’t stores give us a break? I mean, come on!
Master Tailor Nino Corvato with Vicki Vasilopoulos
When I saw the film MEN OF THE CLOTH, I wept. I wept to hear and feel the stories of three master Italian tailors, filmed over the course of eleven years. Director Vicki Vasilopoulos tells a beautiful story. In this interview, Ms. Vasilopoulos shares her background, what inspired her to commit to making this film, and why these master tailors’ stories need to be told now …
MKG: Were you always interested in fashion?
VICKI: I’ve always been interested in fashion, since high school. When I got a job at DNR, the respected men’s wear news magazine (which later became a part of Women’s Wear Daily) it was my introduction to the world of men’s fashion and design. As a fashion editor I covered shows in New York and Europe. When traveling to Italy, I met master tailor Checchino Fonticoli, and was introduced to the passion and pride and luxury of this Old-World profession.
MKG: Why is this subject dear to you?
VICKI: I have a reverence for things that are made by hand; the personal and intimate creations by artisans and masters of their craft. My father was a craftsman (a furrier) and I grew up appreciating what he did. I know there’s a continuous feedback loop between the brain and the hands. The subject of master tailors fascinates me: I did my research, I used my journalistic background to investigate, and I uncovered the fact that this was a disappearing art. Creating the film was an eleven-year process. When I started, I took a topic-driven approach. As the years developed the focus of the film changed and in the editing process it became clear that this film needed a more character-driven approach. And I am very happy that we did that because the intimate portraits of these three wonderful master tailors now have a universal appeal. The message of MEN OF THE CLOTH is one to which we can all relate: what it means to find your true calling in life. Continue reading →
Cameron Conaway is enlightened. He is a human rights activist and a concerned citizen. He is a prolific poet. And he is a good man. In fact, he is the perfect good man: Executive Director, behind The Good Men Project, an International online destination for conversations about what it means to be a good man in the 21st Century. Cameron and I spoke recently about this important opportunity for men, for women, and for all of us …
MKG: The Good Men Project was founded in 2009 by Tom Matlack. What did the site envision at the onset and why did your team believe the time was now for this vision to come true?
Cameron: Tom had an awakening. Here he was on the cover of magazines and being featured all over, and yet he was struggling personally. He was a successful businessman, but it wasn’t until a series of major personal struggles that he found the error of his ways: He’d confused being a successful businessman with being a successful man. Continue reading →
Continuing our conversation, Steve and his wife Deborah and I sat down to record a podcast yesterday (although this conversation was all Steve!). On growing up in West London, on the adjustment of moving to The United States and on why men should embrace taking care of themselves and not be afraid to be fashionable …
Click on the podcast download, to hear Steve – fashion enthusiast and wife Deborah’s fashion guru …
Photo Credit: Gregory Vaughan for The New York Times. Photographed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Ingrid Steffensen has become my eyes and ears while living in New York City for the year and I am very grateful. Her recent observation? The men have it, and they are the ones taking risks in their on-the-street fashion choices. In yesterday’s New York Times article by David Colman, entitled, “The Over-the-Topcoat” he discusses this new reality: That men are thinking about clothes now the way women do, or the way women used to.
In this week’s podcast episode, I talk about this new reality. I ask: Are you seeing this trend on-the-streets where you live?
A few months ago, Kevyn at Prada, told me that, for the first time, more men than women are coming in to shop. He told me “they are looking for something new and are not afraid to try new things and experiment. It used to be the opposite …” ~ Kevyn
Ingrid Steffensen has been keeping an eye on the New York City streets and is seeing exactly what Kevyn is seeing. I am grateful to Ingrid for being my eyes and ears in the city. Here is Ingrid’s story about: The Men in Red Pants (and Green, and Orange, and Purple, and …)
“With our daughter studying abroad for a year, my husband and I are trying out a year of living in New York City. We have temporarily left our charming three-bedroom suburban house in New Jersey and we’re renting a tiny Manhattan apartment in the Flatiron District. Is this as fun as it sounds? I’m sorry to have to say – yes, yes it is. After sixteen years in New Jersey, I’m having the time of my life soaking up the city – so much to see, so much to do! One of the most fun things is keeping an eye out for what everybody is wearing. And do you know my conclusion? Right now it’s the boys who are more interesting to watch! Continue reading →
Credit: Bill Cunningham, The New York Times “On the Street – Tucked In” – Sunday, November 25, 2012
Today’s New York Times Style Section, On the Street with Bill Cunningham, highlights men dressing up and looking very much like the classic dandy. Notice the layering, waistcoats, vests, and impeccable tailoring? Designer Cally’s Kal Rieman is definitely on to something!