Weaving Into Summer

Reading through Alexander Kraft’s “9 Rules for Living Elegantly” for The Gentleman’s Journal, I have to say Rule #5, “Never Wear Sandals” certainly rang true. (well, to be honest, the whole article resonates with me, which will come as a shock to no one.) A gentleman shouldn’t thrust his exposed toes onto the scene unless he is on the beach, and there are many more suitable and interesting choices in summer footwear.

Now, I’ve long been a fan of espadrilles, loafers, Belgians, slip-ons of any kind, really.

Antibes, 1996, with my soon-to-be brother-in-law. I had three pair of espadrilles on rotation. Blue, white and black (for evening.)

And, as I sit at my desk in a pair of leather TQT Reef flip-flops (they don’t make it past the front door), I wonder why I don’t rely on my trusty staples-of-summers-past.

For one thing, espadrilles used to be cheap. Paying anywhere north of $20 seems like highway robbery to me (save for the suede versions, but still…) Especially for shoes that get thrown away after you walk though them.

For another, my permanently busted-up feet need arch support. And most soft shoes don’t afford any degree of support. Some, if they are made of heavier materials, can take insoles. Most can’t.

H. London’s Spanish-made woven slip-ons.

Enter the above pair of woven slip-on shoes by H. London purchased a year or two ago, on-line, through Asos.com. (They don’t carry them anymore, but they can be found … here.)

It took me a season or two to work up to wearing them, perhaps because of the design? But, having worn them, let me say that these are the perfect hybrid of espadrille and leather-soled loafer. They are supremely comfortable, stretchy because of the weave, have a bit of arch support, and are sturdy enough to take some in soles. Pair them with linen trousers, shorts, jeans and khakis.

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The American Cousin

I know… Bryan Adams drove a red one in the movie….

Running errands and dropped into my local Kroger this afternoon to be greeted with a Rosé Cadillac.

Even nicer, I got a chance to meet the guy behind the wine, the American version, Charles Bieler, of Bieler Pére et Fils. I’ve kept the Aix-En-Provence “Sabine” rosé on regular rotation at home for a couple of years now. Now, it was time to sip the Washington State version. Yum! How I love spring and miss St. Raph.

Le fils, Charles, of Bieler Pére et Fils, with the autographed bottles that are now on my bar.

“I like to say it’s the brash American cousin of French rosé. The French you have to lean in to. The American comes right up to you,” he explained. “I wanted to show that we could make an elegant (or did he say ‘sophisticated’?) rosé in America and Washington State has the vineyards to do it… ”

Twenty years of success has proved him right. Follow Insta @BielerWines #roseroadtrip. I hope you get a chance to meet him. I wish I could have stayed around longer.

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“‘Twas the Night…”

As we leap headlong into Christmas and preparations for the New Year, I’d like to recommend a practice that I’ve been following for much of this past year. It’s been wonderful for my outlook and I think you’ll embrace the feelings that it generates.

For once, I’m not prattling on about clothing, or manners, or even food. On the contrary, this is pure Personal Maintenance Time.

I’ve been studying a lot of Stoicism lately and have, as a consequence, been journaling a lot more consistently. One of the more frequent entries in my daily journal (aside from weather and any important global news) is a reflection on those things for which I’m grateful. Some days there may be a few as one or two items; others, a dozen. But it always gives me a moment’s pause and puts a smile on my face. It also helps to curb my acquisitiveness.

“The Daily Stoic Journal” and a Visconti Bronze Age fountain pen.

Having thrown out that bold remark, I will also say that my journaling is done with pen and paper. Which does involve a bit of kit. In my case fountain pens and fountain pen friendly notebooks.

I have my favorites, but even among the 14K gold nibs, specially ground nibs, exclusive designs and materials, there are fun, functional, and inexpensive pens for everyday use.

A Moleskine A5 size journal and a Jinhao 159 fountain pen whose size mimics a Montblanc Meisterstück.

Might I suggest buying yourself or someone very special a gift of creative freedom? The notebook and pen that you pick may spawn a life-long pleasure and a really nice habit.

AC Moore Fabriano notebook and Lamy Safari in Petrol Blue.

During my morning journaling tomorrow, I will notice that ’twas the night before that I felt truly grateful for all of you who take a moment to read Easy and Elegant Life and reflect a bit on what the good life is all about.

Clairfontaine’s amazing paper perfect bound into an A5 dot grid notebook and the TWSBI Diamond 580 demonstrator pen.

Merry Christmas,

Chris

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