all hands on deck

You know those stories about disgruntled wives chopping up their husbands' Saville Row suits and leaving them scattered on the lawn? While I haven't done that - yet - I must confess I've had fantasies of chopping up some of his vast collection of vile ties. Especially the wide ones. I actually love his Saville Row suits. (I remember, before we were married, helping my future husband choose his first Saville Row suits: Huntsmen, made bespoke for him at Barney's, NY. One, a tweed in pale shades of the forest, with the tiniest hint of blue sky woven through.. but I digress).

The thing - the four things, actually - that I've most longed to remove from our lives in recent months are his two pair of very old Sperry Topsiders.

They're so old, in fact, that when I dug up these photos of a particularly fabulous sailing trip to St. Barts with our friends the Kissanes - which was nearly seven years ago now - I'm pretty sure he already had the deck shoes. And I've spent most of the winter - during which time he's been wearing said shoes - trying to cajole him into, you know, perhaps replacing them with something bright and shiny and new.

Something like the Fred Perry 'Kent', in Havana brown:

But whenever I tried dragging him into shops to find a replacement for the deck shoes, he was always finding fault with them. And then I showed him the Fred Perry options, and it was love at first sight. The brand's been around for 50 years now, and people like Ewan McGregor are fans (see HERITAGE), and I feel about them the way I used to feel about J Crew, which I feel has very much lost its way. I could weep on the few occasions when I look at the J Crew site: their print catalogues used to be so cool, they set the bar for telling a kind of editorial story, and now.. you couldn't even identify any item of clothing as belonging to the brand.

But Fred Perry.. they've got that classic American prep with a twist thing down in spades. With irony. Like these canvas shoes - the 'Byron' - a kind of desert boot in blue canvas, with a little 'collar' at the heel that's like a Polo neck.. and have you seen the Amy Winehouse collection? It's all in aid of the Amy Winehouse foundation, wonderfully 50s, Miami, beehives and eyeliner, and - as different as my style is to hers - I could see wearing it. Ballet pink, black.. anyway, I digress.

My point is, this story has a happy ending. Yes, Reader: he's wearing them. Two pair of new Fred Perrys. The Kent, above, and the Cole, below. (He wanted the Goldhawk, in the same ginger suede, but they were instantly sold out). And I didn't even have to throw out his old shoes!

They say the eyes are the window of the soul, and I believe Them. But I also feel our feet are the soles of our souls, and if you want to know a man, walk a mile in his shoes.

I don't want to chop up my husband's beloved bespoke Huntsmen suits and throw them on the lawn, and I don't want to toss out his Topsiders. But thank you, Fred, because now they have some very lovely younger brothers. And his closet is one big happy footwear family. The only problem, now, is, he wants more. Jumpers and polo shirts and things. I might have to toss out his suits after all, to make space in his closet.

Holiday snaps by me, in and around St. Barts. Apart from photo of me, by my lovely friend Maryann Kissane. (That's Jim and Maryann's son Ben, in the top shot. He and my husband spent that summer quoting from Pirates of the Carribean: 'Take all you want! Give nothing back!' Happy memories on this cold wet wintry London day in May.)


mtg said...

ha-ha-ha, I have to introduce my husband to Fred Perry! The first pair looks awfully familiar... In fact they look exactly like SEVERAL pairs of my husband's shoes. He does not sail but he used them when he cuts our lawn.
Love Kevin's new shoes. so handsome.

btw, beautiful serene photos. the print on the towel so "trendy" jk
We are on the same page with those relaxing palm prints, oceans and beautiful beaches.

mtg said...

Ben is so cute. Does he look like Elvis or is it just me?

jill said...

; ) Yeah, I could see that - a big Elvis-esque! Maybe his mouth.. certainly his attitude, but I don't know if he can sing. He was only 15 that summer, and there were a LOT of calamities going on - he'd have to dive way down to unhook the anchor, and we had some real mis-haps and he'd have to take Maryann and I in the dinghy, and the on-going gag was that I was the only one who would politely thank him each time for chauffering us about! It was quite serious at times, but I'd always step off the dinghy like some kind of Park Avenue matron with a polite thank you.

He's one of those people, actually, who is just blessed: everyone loves him. So in that respect, perhaps a bit like Elvis before his white jumpsuit years! I'll have to tell him you said that.

re: the towel, I didn't even think of the connection when I saw your post! I'm still obsessed with the idea of wearing one of those big tees with tights and heels. Too bad my clubbing days are pretty much behind me. Thanks Maya! xox

O D Y S S E Y said...

Shame it's still cold (or cold again) over there. I'd send over some sun if I could. We have plenty here in the Texas Tropics.
Those Sperrys look like J's. He always wore Timberlands but made a swtich to Sperry some time ago.

Your images of St Barts make me miss it so! It's a magical place in the Caribbean, one of my favorite islands in the West Indies. (I have been to almost every one, believe it or not.) St Barts is much more "together", cleaner than my Tortola. And all The Beautiful People...I always felt like a sea hag when I visited St. Barts, always felt so scruffy there. But never mind, I loved it so that it didn't matter.

You look so pretty in yellow.

Julie K said...

Love the pictures! Let's go sailing again. xo

- the other kissane sibling!

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I love all these photos! And I'm laughing about your husband's shoes and suits. I used to help mine get suited up at Barney's too but since we moved to CA, he's never once had to put on a suit (except during a funeral) so he gave away so many of those precious, beautiful suits! But like most men, he's completely most comfortable in his rattiest clothes. I beg to buy him new shirts and pants and he asks, "What for?"

That said, I am guilty of still wearing 20-yr old J Crew shirts and PJs. They have aged so softly, and somehow, they don't produce the same cut anymore. They used to have them fitted right up to the top hip, just before the hips widen completely, which really suited me fine!

-- J xxxx

Matthew Spade said...

i have all sorts of ties, horrid ones, wide ones, thin ones and average ones. i collect them i guess, and maybe wear one a year. i'm not at the right stage in my life for ties, it's partly that and partly that i haven't got the right shirts, jackets, trousers, shoes to wear with them. hopefully soon i will have a suit though, i've love that. and now i've just tweeted it.

nice choice with the fred pez, it's a classic sub culture brand that works for everyone. love their stuff but not can't afford their stuff casually, would be worth a save as there shirts are top notch.

just click through and you will see where i got the 'boarding pics from, it's an awesome site so much brilliantly archived stuff. i can't swim, damn, believe me i've tried. you commented on a post of mine from 2008, how on earth did you manage that! i like docs and i have 3 pairs but meh they don't really go with my style these days.

you're tea related friend is a wide man, Tick Tock's is the bomb, I find it so refreshing. true true the packaging is good and that's what drew me in too. the mint tea is alright, basically just tastes like peppermint though, nothing amazing. that sounds like a good tip for illness, i bet it kicks a right punch.

thanks for all the comments dudes and taking your time out to chat to me about and this weird and wonderful stuff.

jill said...

Ah, Matt, always a delight! I don't know how I clicked on the 2008 post either - it was on that thingy on the bottom, which I wish I could figure out how to put on my blog. And I love simply fresh mint tea leaves, too.

And JULIE!!! The Other Kissane Sibling. Dear sweet Jules - I dreamt about you! And I'm writing this here but knowing that you probably aren't reading this - silly me - I'll email you.

Unknown said...

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