Friday, May 30, 2008

Hating on La Jolla, Loving on Affordable Polo Equipment

When out in San Diego a couple weeks ago, I popped over to La Jolla to revisit the town where my grandpa spent many of his summers. What was once grand, has become a nouveau riche ghetto of ersatz Lily Pulitzerites. Ok, there were some nice touches like the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and the gift shop at MCASD but even the La Martina store disappointed for the same plasticy reasons. Just for helmet obsession sakes, I almost did talk myself into buying a polo helmet there, but it cost upwards of $300. So, if you're jonesin' for polo equipment and don't want to scar your eyes with nine-colored easy breather shirts, click into Argentina Polo and go nuts. The green and white helmet only costs $45, while the mallets and the British Indian riding breeches can be yours for around a hundred bucks.

Ebay Shopping: 1957 Austin Healey

If you're one of those sickeningly lucky types with summer hours on Fridays, this would be an ideal toy for today (and any day it cracks 50 degrees). (I love how there's a little driver-sized hole cut out of the cover. Can't have pollen falling on that passenger seat).

Raj UNDER the Roof

Oh, the irony! India's monsoon season starts on Sunday. Brooklyn's Indian-themed party monsoon season unfortunately starts Saturday. With the forecast calling for absurdities such as hail, we're moving the celebration inside, which may even be better. It's tough to make a tar roof look authentic...we've already spent years making the apartment look right (and there's a zebra skin rug). Can't wait!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sidecar Named Desire

Can't really think of a better excuse (minus an Engligh Patient-esque open top yellow plane) to break out the Lindbergh goggles. Bids for this 1966 Vespa and sidecar hover at $8,599.00.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ebay Shopping: WWI Cavalry Officer's Boots with Wooden Inserts

My tibia and fibula would be lucky to jimmy into these, but if some preppy Anglophile out there as legs like Joey Ramone, these puppies are for you. The wooden insterts are just fabulous. With a full six days of auction time left, bids sit at $52.

Ebay Shopping: 1920s Shagreen Ciggie Case

If someone made a wallpaper that looks just like this, I'd cover every surface. Bids for this beauty stand at $23.50 with a little over a day to go.

Gussying Up the (Reluctant-to-Costume) Guests: Tretorn Sneaks

For the Raj guests who aren't interested in applying the full kit, the Swedes at Tretorn have offered up some more modern accessories that will help you keep to the theme -- even with jeans and a t-shit (god forbid!). The boys can tie on the Skåne Canvas for $70, while the ladies can slip into the Evelina Canvas for $60. Of course, the original T-56 Poplin would look quite dandy as well.

Gussying Up the Guests: Donna Karan's Draped Crossover Dress

This, while not vintage, would look exceptional at the Raj, perhaps with a pet leopard in tow (be sure to keep it on its leash). The back is a masterpiece -- and that belt is one of my favorite accessories from spring. Available for more than a month's rent at Net-a-Porter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ideal Raj on the Roof Accessory: The Roorkhee Chair

Legendary army officer/tiger hunter/conservationist/author, Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Corbett, sitting in a Roorkhee chair in Dhikala, at the foothills of the Himalayas, approximately 300 kilometers from New Delhi, in Corbett National Park, which was designated India's first national park in 1936. (Photo source: Elegance Under Canvas by Nicholas A. Brawer via

Named in honor of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Roorkhee, India, this legendary campaign chair would come in mighty handy on Saturday. It's made to support anyone who needs supporting on wildly bumpy terrain (industrial-style tar roof) and is highly transportable (if god turns wrathful and lets it rain, we may need to dart inside at a moment's notice). Lewis Drake + Associates offers this beautiful leather version (below) for $790 (canvas costs $680). The whole site is a treasure trove of colonial gems.

Gussying Up the Guests: RL Collection Verlaine Boots

It's always tough to walk the line between between drunk and "a drunk" and it couldn't have been more of a struggle for those colonials. In her amazing British Raj memoir and cookbook, "Curries and Bugles," Jennifer Brennan insists that the classiest folks refused to dive into their nightly G&T until after a ride or a tough round of polo or a tennis match sufficiently left them parched and ready to relax. So, putting on a pair of these for the Raj will at least make it LOOK like you've been working up to that drink. (And they're half off at $625).

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Not-So-Mysterious Event Unveiled: Raj on the Roof!

There was a purpose for all these recent "Gussying up the Guests" posts. A grand purpose. The First Annual Hovey Raj on the Roof. Next weekend (post Memorial Day), Porter and I are throwing a celebratory homage to the greatest aesthetic era on the books: The British Raj of India. We've been accumulating props for months: hoards of pith helmets, early 20th c. military cots, potted palms, umbrellas, 1920s badminton sets and gallons upon gallons of gin. We're hoping that the guests rise to the challenge and come bedecked in their best linens and campaign wear. Perhaps some will choose to go a bit more modern and will choose PJs, head bandages and limited edition monogrammed Vuittons. If you'd like to join in on the absurdity, drop me a line at and I'll shoot you a proper invite post haste!

WASP Jock Chic: Edward Penfield Crew Poster

True collectors, turn your eyes away. Yeah, it's a new copy of a 1908 crew poster designed by graphic design legend Edward Penfield, but it's still great. The ebay seller offers a lot of great reproduced crew photos, too, all for under $10.

If Only I Didn't Hate Games...

I went on about my lifelong hatred of games on Hovey Vintage a while back. Wow. It's so true. Gambling is worse. I do buy mega millions tickets, but get me in any Vegas-style situation and my stomach turns. It combines said hatred of gaming with my other great dread, trading money for things that don't either feed me or decorate my home. But if I were a different person completely, I'd have to buy these. So, if any of you Hoffmans, Howards, Huffingtons or Howells out there like to gamble, then these are going for $24.99 with 4 days left in the auction.

Ebay Shopping: 1878 Dated Shotgun Cartridge Belt with Amazing Buckle

I recently picked up an all leather cartridge belt and can't get enough of it. It lets me pretend for a minute that I'm some Natasha Illum Berg (more on that saga later) huntress type. Even with the cartridge loops, it's wide enough to create a flattering waist over the most nubbly of shawl collared sweaters. This one's quite a wonder, as well, especially with that beautiful buckle. Bids hover at $34 with 2.5 days to go.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

HHH's Childhood Chic: John Lobb Sandals

At one point during middle school, I owned 14 pairs of Cole Haans. Most were men's. There were many loafers. A beautiful woven suede with brown cap toe (actually for women). Tuxedo shoes. And two pairs of sandals that basically looked like these John Lobbs. In fact, I picked up my first pair of these mandals on my first trip to San Diego.  I'm back there this week for another day job obligation.  Temperatures are wildly low, so I've been spared from seeing the flip flop contingent.  Thank goodness both CH and JL realize that men should never show a toenail in public.  These are like sandals with a decency cap.  You can pick up these size 7.5 Lobbs for $425. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spectacular Shop: Brilmuseum Amsterdam

Unlike other museums, Amsterdam's Brilmuseum lets you buy the exhibits.  All pairs of specs, up to a century old, have never rested on another's nose.  I love the T.J. Eckleburg-esque eyes on the website (see above).

Waxing Historic: Cire Trudon Candles

Louis the XIV, Napoleon and Marie Antoinette loved 'em. So, if you need something to light up your palace, Cire Trudon candles are the only way to go. The world's oldest candle maker lets you take in French history in one whiff: the pine, sage and hay emanating around the little general's camp (Empire), smells of hot and crusty bread (Révolution), the orange and ginger of the far east French colonial outposts (Pondichéry) and even the rocks of the moon (Odeur de Lune) - the latter, a scent of the future, as it would be. If you're not in favor of letting history (or $70) go up in smoke, you can invest in one of the company's wax busts (see below).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dispatch from London: Steve's Stag Party

London correspondent Steve continues to make his perfect London flat even more perfect now that he's installed this ca. 1910 Peter Spicer red deer mount and the crystal chandeliers. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

WASP Jock Chic: Early 20th C. Athletic Photos

I recently found a blog soulmate.  The real deal.  Now I'm stealing from him.  Drinkin' and Dronin' found these incredible old sport pics on Shorpy, which, by the way, is the best damned collection of old photos you'll ever lay your eyes on (much like that gent third from the right may be the most studly thing I've ever laid my eyes on).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gussying Up the Guests: Lace Chemise Flapper Dress

This, too, would be quite nice for the party. Most likely best with slip added underneath. 1) Lace like that would have to chafe during a heated game of badminton or pink gin pounding. 2) Can't have any "ladies" showing it all (and by default, showing up the hosts).

Gussying Up the Guests: 1920s French Linen Jacket

This + pith helmet = perfect outfit for the big event. Party guests (and anyone else) can buy it now for $245! 

Combining Vices: Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls

Woah. What a week. The ole day job required my presence in Kentucky horse country the past couple days. I met with a couple surgeons who are performing a groundbreaking incisionless gastric bypass tune up procedure. You see, even after that major surgery, many of these patients start regaining weight. Rebecca Ruth bourbon balls may be a culprit (at least for the Kentuckians). Ruth Hanly (Booe) and Rebecca Gooch, got their start in professional candy making in Prohibition-shuttered bar room. It wasn't until '36 that Ruth started spiking the candy, but what a great idea it was. It may have been two days of contant travel and airport stress, but four of these little things did me in last night.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ebay Shopping: 1941 Football Sweater

Back in my sportier days, I always held complete contempt for those who lacked all athletic ability, but still went through the motions of working out. While a bit irrational, it fell into the same sort of Darwinian category as my hypothetical fear of falling in love with a previously hideous individual who'd secretly undergone grave plastic surgery, only to be discovered when looking into faces of my children. Muscles, in my mind, were meant for jocks. Letterman's sweaters, however, when old enough, are classic fun, even if you can't throw a ball or a punch. Bids for this one hover at $36.

Finnish First: Sis. Deli + Café

I, an insatiable Anglophiliac since my days in the womb, left my 1999 trip to London obsessed with three things.  Not Savile Row. Not high tea. Certainly not Harrods. was the foreign-sounding chains that got my heart pumping. Wagamama. Muji. Pret a Manger. Now that there are two Prets within two blocks of my office, that's old hat. Muji's in SoHo. C'est la vie. Wagamama's still teasing me, but after opening a billion locations in the U.K. and every country around the world, it's finally encroached on American shores (albeit, Boston/Cambridge). (Wahoo!). Now it's Finland's turn to feed my need for a new well designed nosh pit.  Those tasteful scouts at Monocle point out Sis. The sister-owned Helsinki mini-chain excels at perfect packaging and delicious-looking healthy bites. I love the check. Reminds me of a Hästens

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hometown Pride: A Little Friday Shout Out to Ole K.C.

The Posh Pashley Phantom

We grow up loving our bikes, but there are those dubious teenage years where we cast our two wheeled transport aside for their more powerful, self propelling, four wheeled brethren. Hey, it's hard to pedal your way to prom. It's even harder to pedal your date to prom. But once you leave the hellish halls of high school, it’s ok to re-embrace your forsaken childhood traveling companion. They’re easier to park than a Smart Car, friendlier to Ma Earth than a hybrid – and given generic car design these days, a lot more stylish. If you plan to go back to bikes, you may as well do it with maturity. Pashley, the wonderful British bicycle maker founded in 1926, has launched a limited edition of 80 Classic Phantom Roadsters. At £995.00 they don’t come cheap, but it’s a debt you should pay for all those years of biking neglect (and it comes with that amazing headlight).

Nordic Preppy (Sort of): Our Legacy

A jaunt through Sweden is particularly dangerous on the virtues front. No matter how hard one tries, you can't help but commit two deadly sins simultaneously: envy and lust (depending on your love of sea food and reindeer, gluttony may also be a problem). Beyond the super human beauty, these Swedes also know how to dress - very well. Cristopher Pierro Nying and Bror Jockum Hallum are no exception. Their Our Legacy line simplifies the classics. They love a cuffed pant with white keds or sockless tie ups. It's a bit like A.P.C. for the Nordic Set. These images come from thier limited edition t-shirt line, "Les Gentilhommes: An Illustrated Journal," at Nordiska Kompaniet. And just like the Swedes themselves, it's not enough to just be beautiful, they excel at the packaging as well. These come in a tailormade suit bag with a numbered certificate.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Sale

Brooks Brothers' wildly expensive Thom Browne Black Fleece line from fall has come slightly down to economic earth now that everything's 50% off. So, now you can pick up the BB# 10 Stripe Patch Pocket Jacket for $1050. Still a bit rich, but less than J.Crew's new prices.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Latest Obsession: Deutsche Optik

Thanks to reader Ryder Hawthorne, I've unearthed a new vintage military shopping obsession: Deutsche Optik. Run out of Nevada by an army surplus obsessed German, Justus Bauschinger, this site and catalog help you spy, fight and stay warm in the night. (Above, the Delux Leather Carry Case, $399). Also check out the great Snoopy Goggles (the photo was too small and destroyed all asethetics of this post, so I had to leave them off).

Left, Swiss Army Bast-Korb (wicker and rocket tubes!), $74. Right, French Navy Sea Bag, $32.