If you haven’t noticed, the Internet is big. The e-ink spilled on traditional menswear itself would have been too much for the librarians at Alexandria to handle. This is the first post in a series highlighting some web-volumes that we would weep over, should the e-library of menswear be burnt to the ground.
An Affordable Wardrobe. Giuseppe is basically a reincarnation of my grandfather. Unless Papa Sam was cutting the grass (in which case he would sport some great polyester old school running/basketball shorts [remember when they were the same length?], a Lichi-Vitale family reunion mesh ball cap, and over-the-calf socks), he would invariably be dressed like a true gentleman. Most admirable of all, he bought almost everything he ever wore at the Village Thrift Store, which he affectionately dubbed “Cheap Jack’s” or “C.J.’s Boutique”. Giuseppe ebodies the same self-respect and thriftiness Papa Sam perfected.
He’ll teach you how to mix patterns without looking like a goober, how to take calculated risks, how to thrift shop without amassing a bunch of ill-fitting garbage, and what sorts of items (besides underwear) should, after all, probably be bought at Target.
Giuseppe demonstrating how to take the basics (blue oxford and blazer) and add texture, pattern and color.
Giuseppe is an independent dresser. He’s definitely dressing in the New England/Ivy League – inspired tradition. But, being an Italian, his commentary is laced with just the right amount of righteous disregard for the elitism and the accompanying rules that so often seem to go along with WASPy style and culture. He’ll teach you the rules. Then he’ll teach you how to bend and break them with confidence. You won’t always agree with him. But unless you take yourself way, way too seriously, you’ll always laugh and learn something in the process.
It’s safe to say that if Giuseppe and An Affordable Wardrobe didn’t exist, neither would The Cordial Churchman. Giuseppe made me rediscover my inner Papa Sam, which is to say, he made me realize that some of the best threads available are to be found at ridiculously low prices. I would have never dreamed of bugging Ellie to make me a seersucker bow tie if Giuseppe hadn’t empowered me to break the rules, and convinced me to stop paying way too much for so-so-quality clothes (including bow ties).
The Cordial Churchman is privileged to have been featured from time to time on An Affordable Wardrobe, which feels a little like having Cal Ripken, Jr. tell the press that you’re a promising shortstop known for playing through minor injuries. We’ve even been privileged to have Giuseppe hawking some TCC wares at his own Top Shelf Flea (which looks as if it’s going live online soon.)
A suitcase full of wares from The Cordial Churchman at Giuseppe's Top Shelf Flea. Note the record player.
Do yourself a favor. I tell all my friends this. Go read through the archives. It’ll take you 2 or 3 evenings. You’ll be a better person for it.