RM Williams Bespoke Boots
The Australians aren't known for their style. Spin bowling, unrelenting optimism and flip-flops - yes, but rarely style. But that's unfair, and all you need to do is look at the work of brands like RM Williams for proof. The eponymous brand has been making exceptionally good boots since 1932. Initially they're sturdiness and simplicity were best suited to work in the outback, but over the decades those qualities – alongside an overriding sleekness – have brought them to the attention of slicker, more style-conscious city types.
The brand are starting a series of new ventures here in the UK. There are new shoes and new stores (we'd highly recommend stopping in to the new space at Westfield White City when you have a sec) but the most exciting development is the launch of a bespoke service, which allows you to create your own one-of-a-kind Craftsman Chelsea boots. In addition to colour and type of leather (always just a single piece for each boot), you can choose the thread, elastic and stitching, and the service starts from just £50. With autumn jut around the corner (sorry) we can think of few better investments.
DAPPAD Summer Box
If you're looking for general guidance when it comes to dressing well, we'd humbly submit ourselves as your first port of call. There are, however, huge benefits to using a personal stylist that no lifestyle website can match: and for that we recommend Dappad.
The online personal shopping service for men has gone from strength to strength since launching last year, building their reputation by pairing informal consultation with professional results: in a nutshell, you ring one their friendly stylists for an easy-going, guided chat and they send you a box of clothes for you to embrace or reject. Overwhelmingly, you'll want to opt for the former.
Testing one of their boxes for summer - a tricky season for the best of us – we were delighted to receive a combination of perfectly chosen basics (a Tiger of Sweden white Tee; Orlebar Brown swimshorts) with more challenging items (a beautiful pair of handmade Castaner espadrilles; a understated floral print shirt from Eton), all chosen based on the minimal information we provided.
Anyone short of time, struggling for style inspiration or both should give Dappad a try immediately.
Herschel Supply Apex Knit
We had a few drinks with Lyndon Cormack – co-founder of Herschel Supply – a while back, and as we were saying our goodbyes he pointed out just how many Hershel bags he'd seen in the past two minutes. I knew Hershel was popular, but never knew the real extent of it. The Vancouver brand sells millions of backpacks, hold-alls, messengers and folios a year.
The success doesn't stop Lyndon and his brother Jamie pushing Hershcel forward, though; the pair are constantly looking to make the product better. The new Apexknit collection represents that progressive mindset perfectly. The three-piece range features bags cut from a woven 600D high-tensile yarn fabric that is molded into the 3D form of the bag, allowing for fewer seams and stitches, which in turn allows for a tougher product and less waste in production.
"A major focus for us is experimenting with new materials and manufacturing processes," says Jamie. "The idea for Apexknit came about two years ago after we discovered jacquard fabrics at a footwear tradeshow—we immediately knew it was something we wanted to work with. The material composition is similar to other examples out there, but the real difference is in our construction process. Apexknit has to be a lot stronger because we're physically molding each piece, creating pockets and forming silhouettes that need to hold their shape independently."
Axel Arigato Leather Goods
A few months ago we were rather taken with Axel Arigato's collection of simple sneakers - all clean lines and muted colours. They drummed up attention by releasing a new sneaker every week, and now they've established themselves as one of the most exciting streetwear brans in the industry. The same pared-back aesthetic has now been put into a new range of small leather goods, which unsurprisingly, are about as handsome as the shoes. Everything's handmade from premium Italian full-grain leather and coloured in the same pastel shades as you'll find elsewhere in the AA look book. Finally, a chance to match your shoes to your wallet.
Stutterheim Vasatan Car Coat
Finding inter-season outerwear can be tricky – you want something hardy enough to stave off the elements, but slight enough to stuff into a bag if the sun does suddenly decide to burst through. And of course, it needs to shape up in the style stakes too. Step forward Stutterheim, the Swedish brand inspired by the concept of melancholy, which seems particularly poignant in that weird, non-seasonal twilight time between summer and autumn-proper. They make sleek, simple raincoats from rubberized cotton that do the job of keeping you dry in a very stylish, obliquely Scandinavian way. The new Vasatan car coat is a variation on the house style, unlined and handmade with double-welded seams (making it properly impermeable) and a natty cutaway collar. When the weather's too bleak for a trench, but still too balmy for an overcoat you'll be hard pushed to find a better outerwear alternative.