Posts Tagged ‘Clarks


One Guy Recommends: J. Crew’s Upcoming Canadian Invasion

I make no bones about really liking what J. Crew has been up to the last few years, and I’m definitely not alone in this opinion.  Collaborations with such hallowed names as Belstaff, Barbour, Alden, Crockett & Jones, Globetrotter, Baracuta, Mackintosh, Woolrich, Thomas Mason, Levi’s, Sperry, adidas, Converse Jack Purcell, Selima Optique, Timex, Red Wing, Quoddy, Mister Freedom, Clark’s and Rolex have made them a one-stop shopping destination for some of the coolest gear out there.  This is an idea that’s turned out so well, that it’s been borrowed by their competitors, including Banana Republic.  Furthermore, their everyday collection has reached nearly “must-have” status for style (and budget conscious) gentlemen, with their “secret wash” cotton button down shirts being first choice weekend wear for me, with their casually rumpled cool.  In other words, the men (and women) at J. Crew have really created something special out of a brand that, 5 or 6 years ago, was kind of like a Toyota Camry: reliable, but entirely unremarkable.

The only big downside for Canadian J. Crew fans is that we don’t have any actual, brick-and-mortar, J. Crew stores.  We’ve been stuck shopping online and via catalogue.  This doesn’t seem too bad on the surface, but shopping in this way creates two major issues: first, you have to tack on international shipping to every order, even a pair of socks; and second, Canadians get hit by nasty customs duties and the infamous “customs brokerage fees” that UPS arbitrarily pays itself.  I’ve had orders almost double in price because of these two nasty little additions.  Plus, there’s the fact that you can’t try anything on before you buy it unless you want to cross the border and pretty much anything you purchase takes a week and half to get to you.

Well fellow Canadians, this will soon be a thing of the past – if you live in Toronto, that is.  According to their new catalog, J. Crew is opening a store in Toronto in 2011.  Details are minimal right now, but at least we have a fixed date to look forward to.  In the mean time, you can check out J. Crew’s online store here.


This Week’s Objects of Lust: Desert Boots from Clarks Originals and Loake


Summer is a time for more relaxed footwear choices. One of my favourites right now are desert boots, the perfect shoes to throw on with a pair of jeans or khakis. In fact, I guarantee you that they will be the first pair of shoes you grab when you’re stepping out of the house by the fall. Two of the best available both come from the U.K. Nathan Clark made the original desert boot in 1950 and his namesake shoe company, Clarks, still make some of the best examples today. They offer a wide variety in both leather and suede and in a number of colours and patterns, including those in grey at right.

Another pair of note are made by Loake, the esteemed maker of benchmade shoes in Southern England. Their example is called the Sahara (which can be seen on the left) and go up a level in terms of quality of construction.

Clarks Originals Desert Boots are available online in Canada at at a retail price of $107 U.S. The Loake Sahara can be purchased online at at a price of £79. Considering how well the Canadian dollar is doing against the British Pound, now is as good a time as any to pick up a pair of these fantastic boots.

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