Classic style is often steeped in nostalgia. It tends to venerate cuts, patterns and looks from the past, recognizing that good style is inherently timeless.
Little surprise then that we have a fond affection, both for actual artifacts from the past and for reproduction items that hearken back to an idealized point in sartorial history.
Last year, my wife an I chanced upon a particular maker of vintage-styled reproduction apparel. We were visiting Retropolis, a sort of vintage clothing superstore next door to Houston’s Manready Mercantile.
While there, we were drawn to a line of reproduction clothes called Swearing Parrot. Upon closer inspection, we happily discovered that everything was USA made. In fact, all of Swearing Parrot’s wares are handmade in the Houston area, by co-founder Amanda Bezemek.
Swearing Parrot’s patterns are the stuff of pure whimsy. In fact, the piece my wife chose was a skirt whose pattern is drawn from Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. It’s an amazing piece, and she’s already worn it several times.
Two years ago, I acquired my first pair of Rancourt shoes: the Weltline Penny Loafer. Made in Maine, these have been one of the pillars of my wardrobe. Those of you who follow my exploits on Instagram know that these shoes have been with me, steadfast and true, in travels near and far.
But a recent accident put my loafers out of commission.
One night, my wife and I went out dancing. A woman, drunk beyond the point that faileth human understanding, stumbled onto me. Her heel made a perfect spear, lacerating the vamp at the stitch line. It’s no black mark on the shoes’ durability; I can imagine no other shoe that would emerge from that kind of abuse unscathed.
So to Rancourt the shoes returned, ready both for a repair and for a resoling; I ordered the premium refurbish, which is essentially a recrafting of the shoes from stem to stern. It includes resoling, replacement of the sockliners and removal and replacement of the plug.
The results are amazing. They are practically a brand new pair of shoes.
I should mention that the process is a lengthy one, exacerbated by several snowstorms in the Northeast. It took about three months all told, but worth the wait in every way.