Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Web/Tech

Ebay's Brad Goreski-hosted pop-up hits Westside Pavilion* [Updated]

Ebay has enlisted celebrity stylist, reality TV star and man-about fashion-week Brad Goreski to help draw attention to the fact that the online auction site has rejiggered (the company uses the word "simplified") the way users list items for sale.

To that end, Goreski, stylist Danielle Nachmani and a handful of eBay fashion sellers (dubbed the Chic Squad) are hosting pop-up kiosk events across the country that explain the new process by helping individuals list an actual item they've brought in such as a handbag, pair of sunglasses, shoes or a dress.

The peripatetic pop-up, which started in New York City last month, has already rolled through Dallas and is slated to hit Los Angeles July 13 and 14 before heading to San Francisco. Goreski & Co. are scheduled to staff the Ebay Selling Style Studio at the Westside Pavilion, 10800 West Pico Blvd.* (directly in front of Nordstrom) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (we're told his old Brad self will be on hand Friday, June 13 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the Chic Squad holding down the kiosk the rest of the time).


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: At left, Brad Goreski mans the Ebay Selling Style Studio, at right, the pop-up's first stop in New York City on June 8 and 9. Credit: Ebay

*[UPDATED 12:32 p.m. 7/12/2012: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the location of the Ebay pop-up. It will take place at the Westside Pavilion -- not Westfield Century City -- on July 13 and 14.

Mr. Porter, 'Suits' wheel out a bicycle promo built for two

If your daily commute across Los Angeles Wednesday (or Thursday) finds you crossing paths with a well-heeled, two-wheeled flash mob, it's not a crowd scene dream sequence being shot for a Pee-wee Herman movie, it's a cross-promotional awareness campaign between USA Network's legal drama "Suits" (which kicks off its second season June 14) and the men's luxury shopping site Mr. Porter.

Groups of identically clad gents -- decked out in gray Acne suits and white Converse sneakers -- are set to bicycle the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday, handing out copies of the website's "Mr. Porter Post" publication along the way. For anyone unfamiliar with the show, the bicycle part of the equation is a nod to "Suits'" bike-riding, suit-wearing Mike Ross character (played by Patrick J. Adams). 

The velo fellows kicked off the promotion Tuesday in  New York City (where the TV show is set and Mr. Porter's U.S. offices are located) with the rolling panache mob taking to the streets and a fashion show of "Suits"-inspired looks curated by the Mr. Porter team on the High Line.

As part of the promotion, Mr. Porter has a dedicated "Suits and Style" web page that can be found here. As for the second season of "Suits," that can be found on your local USA Network channel starting Thursday at 10 p.m./9 Central.


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Details, Kaleidoscope to help men shop Coachella style

Mr. Porter meets Malibu: Men's luxury shopping site celebrates SoCal cool

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photo: A publicity photograph shows the kind of suit-wearing, bike-riding spectacle that will wheeling about the streets of Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday as part of a joint awareness campaign between the TV show "Suits" and the men's shopping site Mr. Porter. Credit: Mr. Porter

Five Four launches an online shopping club for men

Five Four Club
Local lifestyle brand Five Four has jumped on the subscription e-commerce bandwagon with Monday's launch of the Five Four Club, which, for $60 a month, promises to ship an assortment of its men's denim, footwear and sportswear -- with a retail value of up to $120 -- right to your home or office.

The Five Four crew says the sign-up process -- which includes an initial style survey -- won't take more than 60 seconds to complete, and points out that each monthly surprise package will switch up the merchandise mix to help round out the wardrobe.  

It remains to be seen if Five Four can persuade guys to shell out $60 a month for a package of clothes -- free shipping and easy exchanges and returns aside -- but we're pretty sure they've done their homework. After all, the brand, which began back in 2002 as a business plan at USC by then students Dee Murthy and Andres Izquieta, is now  carried in 500 bricks-and-mortar doors across the country, has a flagship store at Westfield Culver City, and has a bewilderingly diverse celebrity fan base that includes professional footballer Mark Sanchez, musician Jay Sean (who currently appears on the Five Four Club's home page) actor Zac Efron and suspender-wearing legend of the interview circuit Larry King. 


Details, Kaleidoscope to help men shop Coachella style

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Suit yourself: Men's custom clothes are a mouse click away

Five Four X Movember: A handlebar (mustache) for each wrist

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: The landing page of Five Four's new subscription e-commerce service for men. Credit: Five Four.

Bonobos brings its britches to bricks and mortar

Nordstrom Bonobos
After five years as an online-only men's pants brand, Bonobos is moving into bricks-and-mortar retail, spurred by a $16.4 million investment led by Nordstrom Inc.

A select offering of Bonobos' most popular pants (chinos and non-iron trousers priced $88 to $98) will hit the shelves of 20 full-line Nordstrom stores -- including the Grove and Fashion Island locations -- on Monday, with expanded and seasonal offerings available through Nordstrom's website and at select stores.

Founded in 2007 by Stanford business school buddies Brian Spaly and Andy Dunn, Bonobos launched with a single product -- pants designed for guys with a more athletic build -- and an online-only business model. In the years since the label has expanded into additional menswear categories including suits, shirts, shorts and a line of Los Angeles-made denim. The Nordstrom deal marks the first time the label will be sold outside of the Bonobos website or New York showroom.

Bonobos' move offline also represents Nordstrom's deepening investment in online retail, with the $16.4 million minority investment led by the Seattle-based department store chain following the March 2011 acquisition of flash sale site


Bonobos launches a collection of L.A.-made denim

Nordstrom delves into online flash sales with acquisition of HauteLook

Pants Pants Evolution

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: At left, a 2005 file photo of a Nordstrom department store (Credit: Douglas C. Pizac/AP Photo). At right, a pair of Bonobos "Shamdaisies" stretch corduroy trousers from 2008, the brand's second year in business. Credit: Bonobos


Details, Kaleidoscope to help men shop Coachella style

Coachella Style 2011
Yes, one part of the Coachella convergence of music and style is about pairing bands with brands (a topic Times fashion critic Booth Moore wrote about for Sunday's Image section). But the other big part of it is the opportunity for fashion folks to observe what the festival crowd is wearing.

Street style photographs (perhaps "field style" is more accurate) of festival fashions now routinely make their way to service-oriented "get the look" articles in fashion glossies and style blogs, many of which end up running long after the event (or in advance of the following year's).

But this year Conde Nast men's magazine Details, in partnership with shopping app Kaleidoscope, plans to dramatically shorten that turnaround time to 72 hours, serving up a shoppable gallery of five to 10 men's looks from Coachella's first weekend (April 13 to 15) to the magazine's website by that Sunday night. According to a Details representative, the gallery will grow by an additional look each day during the following week that will capture the stylish either at the festival or one of the many Coachella-adjacent parties. Another handful of images, culled from the festival's second weekend, will make for a total of 20 to 25 shoppable looks. 

What Kaleidoscope brings to the table is technology that analyzes the images, breaks them down by garment (i.e. poncho, striped cardigan, war bonnet, five-pocket jeans and the like) and suggests where -- from a list of Details' retail partners that includes Mr. Porter, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks -- the item (or a very similar one) can be purchased. To get a feel for how the technology works,you can test drive a demo version of the company's mobile app, which is currently only available for Android devices, at Kaleidoscope's website.

According to Details' announcement, this is the first time any magazine has used Kaleidoscope's technology. "We are piloting this at Coachella," said the publication's editor-in-chief, Dan Peres. "But hope to scale the model to be used in in many different ways.” Peres also noted that the technology fits with the Details readership, which research indicates is "socially savvy and hyper-engaged."

"They are 105% more likely than the average man to post on social networking sites and four times more likely to Tweet brand recommendations, like a brand on Facebook, and recommend a product online,” Peres said.

If it works as described, the combination of Kaleidoscope's technology, Details' festival fashion photos, the retail partners' ability to deliver in-stock goods, and the two-weekend Coachella schedule could result in a kind of micro trend where what's worn in weekend one can directly influence what's purchased for -- and worn to -- weekend two.

Throw in the fact that both weekends will have the same lineup of musical acts and it looks like we're in for a massive case of déjà vu in the desert.  


Coachella essentials

Coachella musicians hip to fashion

Critic's Notebook: Coachella remodels itself

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Details magazine and Kaleidoscope are teaming up to make festival looks -- though not necessarily the ones on display at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival -- easily shoppable through an online gallery. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times.

Allure and launch Sample Society

Sample SocietyAllure magazine and just made it possible to peruse and try your favorite products, without the fear of getting showered with a heady perfume by the woman trailing you at the cosmetics counter.

In fact, much like most of our bricks and mortar shopping these days, you may not ever have to leave your couch again when wanting to sample a new eye cream or smell the latest perfume from your favorite fashion house. Sample Society, launched this week, is a members-only subscription service that gives shoppers access to samples of hair care, makeup, skin care and fragrance products as well as a "mini issue" of Allure magazine each month.

The subscription ($15 a month) gets you five deluxe-size (translation: there's enough in there for more than just one use) samples from brands like Frederic Fekkai, By Terry and Bond No.9. And each month there's also a gift code for $15 to use toward the purchase of any product from the month's featured brand. Tips and advice about the products from Allure editors is also included.

“Given the thousands of beauty products that are introduced each year, sampling just makes sense,” says Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure. “Who can really buy all those products? Who has the time to try them all?

Hopefully smaller sized portions will make the process less overwhelming. At least you won't come out of it smelling of a powdery, headache-inducing perfume.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photo: A selection of products from Sample Society. Credit: Sample Society

Suit yourself: Men's custom clothes are a mouse click away

Online custom shirts
In researching the piece on men’s made-to-measure dress shirts that will appear in Sunday’s Image section, it became apparent that though it’s men in their 30s and 40s that are currently driving the custom clothing business (there is a technical distinction between made-to-measure and true custom — which I address in the story), the industry sees growth potential in the twentysomethings.

“Our custom dress shirt business has been consistent over the last couple of years,” said Saks Fifth Avenue men's fashion director Eric Jennings. “But we’re seeing the younger guys are more interested in dressing up, and we think there’s a real opportunity to go after that younger customer that’s not the classic customer that’s in our stores right now.”

Joseph Abboud, chief creative officer and president of HMX Group, echoes that sentiment. “It’s a very interesting sort of genetic memory thing that men have about nice suits and nice shirts,” Abboud said. "There seemed to be a generation-skipping thing going on -– when we went through that whole corporate casual Friday thing. And now the younger guy is starting to get dressed again.” 

And, according to Kyle Vucko, CEO and co-founder of Internet-only label Indochino, they're the ones most likely to buy online. "A lot of our guys are in their late 20s and early 30s," he said, "they're fresh out of college, they’re used to buying online, and they appreciate the affordability and value we can offer when it comes to custom apparel."

Below are a handful of the DIY options I've discovered over the last few weeks. (And trust me, it barely scratches the surface of what's out there.) Some are Web-only, while others are in-store only (and one option is ordered online and picked up in-store).

I have just one piece of advice: Be sure to measure (or be measured) carefully and choose wisely, since, as a general rule, made-to-measure garments cannot be returned or exchanged.

Bespoken Clothiers

If choosing from hundreds of fabrics and dozens of customization options sounds daunting, the folks at New York City-based Bespoken have done you a favor by winnowing the field to 16 Thomas Mason fabrics, six collar styles and three styles of cuff. Since they’re all hand-stitched in Turnbull & Asser’s U.K. factory, your shirt comes with a pedigree worth boasting about.

Price: $245 or $265.

Turnaround time: Three weeks.

Brooks Brothers

Brooks offers two options for guys looking for something beyond standard-issue ready-to-wear. One is a full made-to-measure program — suits, dress shirts and formal wear — that’s available through its bricks-and-mortar doors. The other is its “Select” special-order dress shirt program (also available for women) that allows customers to customize the fabric, fit, collar and cuff details of an existing shirt style.

Price: $108 to $195 (add a monogram for $12).

Turnaround time: Finished garments are delivered to your local Brooks Brothers store within four weeks.


The retailer's John W. Nordstrom made-to-order program allows people to customize an existing dress shirt style by choosing from more than 100 Swiss-made fabrics, four fits, 10 collar styles, six cuff styles, two types of pockets, two types of button placket and two kinds of buttons –- as long as your neck circumference is in the 14 1/2-to-20-inch range and you take a 30-to-39-inch sleeve.

Price: From $145 to $495 (based on fabric choice).

Turnaround time: Six to eight weeks. Available through Nordstrom’s men's furnishings departments nationwide.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Most made-to-measure shirts are cut and sewn overseas, but if you’re keen on buying American-made goods, check out Saks’ private-label custom dress shirt program, since all the garments are made in the USA. 

Price: Shirts start at $130.

Turnaround time: Four weeks.

Available through select Saks Fifth Avenue stores, including Beverly Hills.

Web-only and shirts-only, ShirtsMyWay has been open for business since February 2009 and claims to offer “seven trillion unique design variations” (a number so absurdly astronomical we’re forced to take the claim at face value).

Price: From $75 to $175 (based on fabric choice).

Turnaround time: Free shipping is 15 days door-to-door; tack on $10 for delivery in nine days.

Streets of Beverly Hills

A one-stop shop for the HMX Group stable of brands with a clubby man cave vibe, Streets of Beverly Hills, which opened its doors in September, hopes to become a made-to-measure mecca. Currently the custom options are limited to Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx suits, but the store plans to add custom shirts in the future, so it’s worth making a mental note.


Although the company started in Canada in 2007, co-founder and Chief Executive Kyle Vucko says the U.S. now accounts for 70% of sales of its made-to-measure dress shirts, suits and outerwear, which are shipped to men in 60 different countries across the globe. “We help a few thousand men a month get into custom shirts,” Vucko said.

Price: $79 to $99.

Turnaround time: Although the company promises delivery from Shanghai within three weeks, as of this writing, the website notes that due to high order volume, customers should allow six weeks for deliveries.


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 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Websites that offer made-to-measure men's dress shirts include Bespoken Clothiers, left, and ShirtsMyWa. Credits: Bespoken Clothiers and

Calabasas company demonstrates 'virtual dressing room' at CES

Although the really big fashion news coming out of Las Vegas isn't expected until next month's MAGIC trade show, our Business section compatriot Andrea Chang reports in today's Times on a Calabasas company's demonstration of technology it hopes will revolutionize the dressing room experience.

Called Swivel, developed by FaceCake Marketing Technologies and shown at the Consumer Electronics Show, Chang reports it's designed to allow customers to try on virtual outfits, receive recommendations on accessories and send images of final "looks" to friends. Her description of the process reminds me of the futuristic kind of full-screen wall technology in the 2002 film "Minority Report":

"Select a category -- say, dresses -- by waving your hand over it. A lineup of gowns will appear on the right-hand panel; another wave of the arm selects the dress you want to try on and digitally overlays it over the live image of yourself."

Technological advances in the clothes-shopping experience are all well and good -- especially with recommendations for the accessory challenged (I wonder if it gets commission), but Chang's report made me wonder how Swivel might react if asked aloud the dreaded dressing room question I always think to myself: "Do I look fat in these pants?" 

If it's programmed to answer truthfully, I'd suggest reinforcing that virtual dressing room with a whole lot of un-virtual Kevlar. 

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GQ names 15 worst-dressed men of Silicon Valley

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: The crowd on the show floor at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images pops up at Ten Over Six

Affordable online eyewear shopping just got easier with a site called, which has joined the mix of similar outlets like Warby Parker and Toms eyewear. Lookmatic has also just set up a pop up store inside Tenoversix, the Melrose Place-adjacent boutique for chic and interesting accessories.

The site offers prescription eyewear and sunglasses starting at $88 in about 50 different styles, most of which are unisex and vintage inspired.

There are sun and optical options for men and women.  Just send your current lens prescription, pick your frames and buy them online. Eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses are $88, regular non-prescription sunglasses or non-prescription optical frames are $58. There’s also photochromic lenses that turn from clear to shaded with the sun and progressive lenses for anyone who needs a graduated prescription. Those come in around $128.

“We want to revolutionize the way people think about eyewear as not just a necessity, but looking at eyewear as more of an accessory,” says the site’s executive creative director, Joe Cole. “You can have multiple looks and pairs. It’s more fun, and you can really build a collection.” will be launching an at-home try on service later this month where people can choose five frames that interest them to be sent and tried on. In the meantime, they’ve opened a pop up installation inside Tenoversix, where customers can try on every style, order directly in the store or later online after they’ve pondered which style or styles, suit them.

Tenoversix is located at 8425 Melrose Ave.  Los Angeles, CA 90069

--Melissa Magsaysay


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Warby Parker opens a shop in shop inside Confederacy

Warby Parker's affordable, vintage inspired eyewear

Photo: pop up shop at Tenoversix/

Jenni Kayne launches lifestyle blog

L.A.-based designer Jenni Kayne is expanding beyond her collection of easy separates and classic sportswear with an aspirational new blog launched earlier this week called The site, named for her two children, Ripley, 8 months, and Tanner 3 1/2, doesn’t focus so much on fashion, but Kayne’s life including cooking, pantry clean outs and picturesque European vacations.

So far she’s documented a Thanksgiving dinner spent with friends and family and a trip to Italy. She’s got tips for entertaining and where to eat while summering in Capri, peppered with a few accessible items and ideas found at more affordable places such as Pottery Barn and

It’s a lifestyle blog a la Gwyneth Paltrow’s, but thus far reads a bit more posh than the actresses’ online tome, which Kayne cites as a definite inspiration for her own. “I am the friend that everyone calls when they need a baby gift or a home item,” says the designer. “Friends have been telling me for years to start a blog and share my finds.”

Much like her West Hollywood store’s interior or the general aesthetic of her collection, the site is understated but upscale. And this peek into her personal life certainly showcases Kayne’s high-end taste.

“I’ve always loved beautiful things,” she says. “I’ll scour the Internet looking for the most beautiful flashlight. I just love all of the little details.”

Kayne will post several times a week, sharing organic and seasonal recipes learned at the monthly cooking class she holds for friends at her Beverly Hills home, ideas for kids and profiles and advice from some of her celeb and tastemaker friends.

Along with her online foray, Kayne is adding another brick-and-mortar destination to the retail component of her business. Her new boutique is opening at the Brentwood Country Mart soon and will carry some coveted accessories from various designers including Proenza Schouler.


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-- Melissa Magsaysay

Image: Jenni Kayne's new blog



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