• The Cary Collection

    Music & Books | Store Profiles  

    Thomas Cary just paid $1,400 for Take Ivy, and it was only the second edition. It doesn’t bother him that it’s being reprinted. “I have clients—I sell to Tommy (Hilfiger?),” he assures me. Over the last decade he has spent up to a quarter million a year on rare and vintage books only to turn around and shrewdly supply them to the likes of Kate Spade, Tory Burch, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. They are just a few of many tapping The Cary Collection for design inspiration and display; furnishing their retail stores stretching from the Hamptons to far east Asia. Though a queer client list for a book dealer, Cary’s aesthete taste has granted him access to this veritable Who’s Who of neo-prep designers.

    “Just watch your step,” Cary warns me as we tight walk our way through the narrow hallway. Stacks of rare and vintage books scale the walls as high as eye level. At first glance, the 900 square foot Upper East Side apartment is a mad experiment in preppy hoarding, but upon further inspection I realize it is actually painstakingly merchandised. He converted his apartment into a showroom 10 years ago (available by appointment). Rare cocktail how-to books amusingly perch near antiquated Stork Club memorabilia, vintage needlepoint pillows of horses and terriers dot the WASPy interior—including one handmade by Brigid Berlin (one of Andy Warhol’s muses), while a vintage Gucci saddle rests on the back of a slipper chair; all showcased in intricate arrangements upon a scad of oriental rugs.

    “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.”        —Walter Benjamin

    Photographed in New York, NY (click select images to enlarge)

    Thomas W. L. Ashley's Skull and Bones 1948 yearbook

    Cary's Prince Albert velvet slipper collection rivals his books

    He is a merchandising virtuoso having spent 30 years in the fashion industry. During his days at Paul Stuart (and Brooks Brothers prior), he would run down on his lunch hour combing antiquarian book shops then hop on a train, grab a slice and be back on the selling floor in 59 minutes. Such is the life of a rare and vintage book dealer. “As a teen I would skip school and fly into the city when my parents were away,” Cary says. “I was a real wheeler and dealer in high school,” dealing in stamps and uncirculated American coins. In 2001, a home equity loan enabled him to spearhead the acquisition of his unparalleled catalogue.

    Since singularly creating a specialty niche market of selling to high-end global purveyors, Cary has expanded The Cary Collection to lamps, needlepoint and accoutrement from a bygone era when men were (mad) men. One of its most fascinating books is a 1948 Yale Skull & Bones yearbook underscoring a young George Herbert Walker Bush’s betrothal to the secret society. And this is not particularly exotic in relation to its 15,000 other books. The curated stock displayed in the showroom is only the tip of the iceberg. You can peruse the collection online at Abe Books or by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 245 E. 72nd St New York, NY.

    Sep 3, 2010 | Permalink (36) View/Leave Comments

    Principe left a comment on 2/28/2013 at 8:28 AM:

    Great stuff! Some of the colours are a little to polychromatic, (I ‘m a tweeds and flannel type of guy) but all in all most intriguing…. and remember if you visit the premises don’t just ooh and aah… buy something! It’s a commercial enterprise, not a museum….

    richard hammond left a comment on 1/31/2013 at 3:05 PM:

    Wonderful web site, very nice talking with you today Thomas about the Bill Blass auction catalog. Look forward to visiting your gallery.

    Tickled Pink And Green left a comment on 12/15/2010 at 4:19 AM:

    How did I miss this post?
    OMG I want to spend a week there exploring.  Next time my mom says I have too much stuff I’m showing her these pictures.  I’m inspired now to do a million new things….  : )

    isabelle left a comment on 10/19/2010 at 8:08 AM:

    Thanks for sharing this extraordinary collection of vintage books. It is totally fabulous.

    Tippy left a comment on 10/4/2010 at 2:57 PM:

    Darn…he was about 12 blocks away from being my neighbor.  Now that would have been cool.

    MikeZFromHouston left a comment on 9/18/2010 at 11:19 PM:

    Cool post, I will be sure to come back and visit!

    Joey Dee left a comment on 9/7/2010 at 3:36 PM:

    Absolute mad house. Another great piece!

    mara left a comment on 9/5/2010 at 10:21 PM:

    i really really enjoyed this post! thanks so much!!!

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    Christopher Tawney left a comment on 9/5/2010 at 1:13 PM:

    Time to move on,Basher.

    Jay left a comment on 9/5/2010 at 12:57 PM:

    “Hoarders: Prep Edition”  While I love the collection, he needs to get a proper showroom.  I would be afraid to lift a blazer for fear what was underneath.

    Chznone left a comment on 9/4/2010 at 10:58 AM:

    A-MA-ZING!!!!!!! Makes me look like a minimalist, which I am far from….......

    Elizabeth left a comment on 9/4/2010 at 10:30 AM:

    His place is fascinating and his book collection is astounding, but I bet talking to him is even more interesting! Thank you for sharing this.

    bunny left a comment on 9/4/2010 at 1:51 AM:

    amazing. naturally i love the needlepoint pillow of the dog in olde finery and the fox hunt dioramas.

    Laguna Beach Trad left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:07 PM:

    Stunning. I’m speechless.

    Ted Roosevelt left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 6:08 PM:

    Perhaps the most extraordinary collection this side of paradise!

    Sophia Redmond left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 6:00 PM:

    That shoe collection puts Carry Bradshaw’s to shame.

    Caron left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 4:26 PM:

    This must be something like falling down the rabbit hole in Greenwich, CT.

    A.W.Keller left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 3:45 PM:

    Gorgeous.  I can only imagine how incredible the photos are in the Skull and Bones yearbook.  The whole place must be incredible in real life.

    pitboss12 left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 3:00 PM:

    @FEC - The images are even more striking when enlarged.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 2:50 PM:

    @RPOhio—The Official Preppy Handbook (hardback) fetches about $100 on eBay in good condition.

    RPOhio left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 2:40 PM:

    I have the original Official Preppy Handbook in hardback cover, red cloth cover.  Wonder how much it’d fetch?  Need the cash!!

    TWA left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 2:27 PM:

    Ha! I knew this man was a genius. Everyone tried to poo-poo him and critique his pants being wrinkled/ not hemmed. He is a preppy god! The collection of slippers alone is lust worthy but the whole collection is the complete manifestation. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Royar left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 1:12 PM:

    What wonderful pictures! I must visit there when I go to New York next!

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 12:11 PM:

    @Tom & pitboss12—You can know click on select images to enlarge them and take in all the intricate details. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Chens left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 12:10 PM:


    pitboss12 left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 12:01 PM:

    It looks like the Royal Tennenbaums’ house threw up on itself - in a good way. 

    Great pics, definitely need to be able to enlarge to get the full scope of the space.

    Tom left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 10:40 AM:

    Wow!  That is an extraordinary place.  Any chance you can make it so the pictures will enlarge if you click them? There is so much to look at, I get dizzy with the small pictures :)

    Kiel James Patrick left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 10:39 AM:

    “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.”  I simply must pay this collection a visit.  Job well done young man capturing this vibrant, detailed masterpiece.

    ACH left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 10:28 AM:

    Thank you; I could look at those pictures all day.

    Andrea left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 10:22 AM:

    Great pictures!  All of the color in his apartment is fantastic.  In a way this reminds me of the set from the Royal Tenenbaums. 
    Interesting that his bold style is reflected in his home.

    michael butts left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 10:00 AM:

    some stuff I love, some stuff is not for me, the clothes and slippers I mean.  And that’s what makes this collection awesome in my opinion.  Eclectic, vast, and personal.

    Emily left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:46 AM:

    A beautiful and incredible, one of a kind collection.

    robdarko left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:35 AM:

    Thank you for this glimpse, F.E.C.

    Cary Randolph left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:20 AM:

    This place is fantastic. A mad hatter, fun house library. And Mr. Cary’s taste impeccable; his adventures, no doubt, completely wild. (But then I think there is something to be said about people named Cary.) Gorgeous photos, FEC.

    Christian Bourasseau left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:05 AM:

    That’s a lot of velvet sleepers! That place is totally whimsical!

    Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) left a comment on 9/3/2010 at 9:01 AM:

    Ooo… I have to be so careful, or my house would look like that. My husband and I just donated over 300 books to our local library system, and STILL have to build a 2nd library in our house to accommodate our collection.

    LOVE the fox on the director’s chair - have any more information on that?


  • Gant Rugger

    Store Profiles  

    Even though I catch my reflection out of the corner of my eye, I’m almost mistaken for what decade it is. The Seth Thomas clock isn’t much help. Newspaper articles and photographs from Gant's manufacturing facilities in New Haven from the 1950s—1970s plaster the walls. I’m in the dressing room, modeled after the foreman’s office of Bernard Gant, of the new Gant Rugger shop on Bleecker St. A navy/red striped polo, madras sport shirt and heritage-rich blue oxford pullover haphazardly drape over the office chair. Gary’s silhouette knocks on the door to see how I’m doing. He's astute yet nonchalant. He runs off to grab a different size for me.

    The 700 square foot store in New York’s West Village showcases a more industrial factory look, partly inspired by the company’s New Haven, CT manufacturing heritage. The narrow space reveals exposed brick, open ceilings, vintage furniture and factory-floor fixtures. A custom adjustable wood shelving system is reminiscent of an earlier time. Fabric rolls, a mid-century sewing machine and archival shirt-making patterns dot the quirky factory blueprint. It’s the kind of space you, as a guy, walk in and wish was your closet—you want the entire collection. I walk out with the oxford pullover to start.

    “Gant was a small family business in the beginning and they poured their heart and soul into it. So we tried to create a space that inspires a mix of creativity and functional design, with a nod to the passion that went into our grass-roots shirtmaking origins from all those years ago. It’s a very personal space.”

    Christian Bastin, head designer of Gant Rugger

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Jun 7, 2010 | Permalink (10) View/Leave Comments

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    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 9/15/2010 at 1:49 PM:

    @Jason Feldmann—I shoot the Canon 5D.

    Jason Feldmann left a comment on 6/14/2010 at 12:45 AM:

    what kind of camera do you shoot with? the pictures of the store are brilliant.

    Steve left a comment on 6/9/2010 at 9:11 AM:

    I have to disagree with the comment about Los Angeles.  We have amazing stores—from Craft to APC to Milkmade to Confederacy…even a RRL.  That being said, we could always use a Gant Rugger shop!  :D

    Petter left a comment on 6/9/2010 at 7:52 AM:

    I like these pics!


    M.D. Cooley left a comment on 6/7/2010 at 7:26 PM:

    Oh how I wish I lived near New York,they get all the good stuff! All we get in L.A. is Empirio Armani, and other similar horrors.

    Gary Davis left a comment on 6/7/2010 at 3:43 PM:

    This looks great! Thanks so much….

    bunny left a comment on 6/7/2010 at 3:13 PM:

    it’s all so handsome

    The Boss left a comment on 6/7/2010 at 2:56 PM:

    I’ll pop in the next time I’m in NYC—looks promising.

    Andy left a comment on 6/7/2010 at 2:17 PM:

    Great pics…  I want pretty much everything I see in that showroom.


  • Save Khaki

    Top Drawer | Store Profiles | Prep Essentials  

    David Mullen is waiting on me. I slide into the anonymous storefront adjacent to A Salt & Battery on Greenwich Avenue. He’s oxidizing some sheet metal detailing above the doorway by hand. This is how he does things. He loves details...loves working with his hands. In between a soft spoken discourse on the philosophy of fit and the misappropriated media coverage of the injustices unfolding in Darfur, I realize he’s from another generation—a generation that can literally talk shop and life until the sun sets if you hang around long enough. But David is a product guy (“This is what I’m supposed to be doing,” he riffs unpretentiously), so we get back to the pants.

    Pull on a pair of his signature khakis and it’s apparent; Save is a product-driven outfit. I could go on about details like the Hollywood waist band and the interior micro-sanding, but all you need to know is it’s the best chino I’ve ever worn. It fits and moves so well; not skinny but slim. His product is a direct reflection of himself—wrinkled, well worn, detail oriented. It’s an exceptional rendition of the beloved prep essential.

    David Mullen outside of his Greenwich Avenue store

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Save Khaki began three years ago on the notion of creating great fitting khakis (and surrounding it with all the product that compliments it) in a world where everyone’s wearing denim. Since Save Khaki’s nomination as “Best New Menswear Designer in America” earlier this year by the CFDA, they’ve opened up three stores on Broome Street, Greenwich Avenue, and Lafayette Street. On the horizon is a collaboration with Pointer brand and the launch of Save Khaki United, a sub-brand by Save Khaki offering only goods made domestically. “Everything is still within our vision of updated classics that are naive to trend; chambray shirts, wool coats, knit sweaters, some selvedge chinos and even a line of denim (no prejudice here).”

    *A week before Thanksgiving my apartment building caught fire and I lost a good bit of personal belongings. David sent over a care package of khakis, a couple sport shirts, tees, and a tote bag that arrived at a time when I had hardly any clothes to wear. This is the kind of man David is. This is the man behind the khakis.

    Dec 22, 2009 | Permalink (13) View/Leave Comments

    mel left a comment on 9/19/2013 at 8:41 PM:

    Where can I find that hanging map?

    jeff left a comment on 7/22/2010 at 8:04 PM:

    where do i apply?

    marcus left a comment on 5/20/2010 at 12:16 PM:

    Great stuff!

    KyleBarnes left a comment on 1/7/2010 at 10:24 AM:

    stellar post. perfectly depicted and gorgeous photos definitely makes me want to stop by the next time I’m in the city. Until then, thanks for the preview.

    Kate Noelle left a comment on 12/28/2009 at 12:50 PM:

    This blog post was probably the best yet… your words were so eloquently put and perfectly accented the awesome antiquity of the shop. I loved it. Way to go. And I’m happy to hear you’re experiencing the wonders of God’s unmatched provision…. may you continue to see miracles. :)

    CLD left a comment on 12/23/2009 at 2:47 PM:

    Absolutely beautiful.  The piece is great!

    The Boss left a comment on 12/23/2009 at 11:22 AM:

    I really like David’s whole ensemble in this photo. And, that is rather unfortunate regarding your predicament.  I’m sure David’s hospitality put a smile on your face, though.

    Theo Martins left a comment on 12/23/2009 at 11:18 AM:

    Brought me out of the wood works, great stuff.

    theandydunn left a comment on 12/23/2009 at 3:47 AM:

    Hey Fred.  Great post, I’m wondering where I might get a pair of these in the UK?  Will have to e-mail david.

    H. left a comment on 12/22/2009 at 8:40 PM:

    that place looks amazing.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 12/22/2009 at 6:38 PM:

    @Pittboss12—I shoot Canon cameras (5D) and lenses (L series).

    pitboss12 left a comment on 12/22/2009 at 6:19 PM:

    I don’t always agree with the content of your posts but this one was nice.  One thing I can’t deny is that you have an eye for great images. What kind of photo equipment do you use?

    Kym left a comment on 12/22/2009 at 5:41 PM:

    Gorgeous. All. Bravo.


  • The J.Crew Men’s Store

    Store Profiles  

    It’s refreshing...shocking, even, when a big design house creates a uniquely brilliant shopping experience. Even more so when they do it for the men. J.Crew’s Tribeca Men’s shop, located at 235 West Broadway is just that. A one-of-a-kind Ivy League/modern trad shopping experience designed exclusively by Andy Spade.

    Aside from showcasing essentials from J.Crew’s men’s line, my recent visit to the Liquor Store bar in New York City revealed it also showcases Thomas Mason shirting, Selima glasses, Globe Trotter luggage, Red Wing boots, Aesop body products, Borsalino hats, Alden shoes, Hollywood Trading Company belts, as well as various vintage items (i.e. the watches featured below). Truly a men’s shop fresher than a breath of Nantucket air.

    Images via J.Crew

    Dec 7, 2009 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Kyle left a comment on 3/11/2010 at 12:10 PM:

    what watch faces are pictured here? I am looking for one that will fit bands that can be switched out for the summer. Thanks!

    sunday ibok left a comment on 12/7/2009 at 5:42 PM:

    fing amazing. when marc jacobs said ’ a photo is a million words ’ he wasn’t kidding. oh wait was that someone else?

    SMII left a comment on 12/7/2009 at 3:27 PM:

    Excellent report as I’m unfamiliar with this treasure of a store. Do my eyes deceive me, or did I notice a Constellation w/ Pan dial?

    Greg left a comment on 12/7/2009 at 2:13 PM:

    Great store, I picked up my Chromexcel Indy Boots there this summer. I could easily dress myself entirely out of the contents of that store.



  • Parke & Ronen

    Store Profiles  

    Their suits are popping up everywhere these days. GQ sought out Ronen’s advice on suit fit in their July issue earlier this year. He’s the reason I chopped my chinos off at a 4" inseam. Ever since Parke & Ronen introduced their line of men's swimwear four years ago, they've staunchly stood by the fit and cut of their suits.

    Ronen Jehezkel of Parke & Ronen

    Photographed in Los Angeles, CA

    “Trying to launch a complete collection off the ground was one of my big mistakes. It’s very expensive.”

    —Ronen Jehezkel

    Their success in focusing on men’s swimwear—and doing it very well, paved the way for recent forays into menswear. With Wall Street yuppies serving as their muse, the “dirty preppy” is a collection inspired by the financial shakedown fallout of unemployed investment bankers performing manuel labor in order to maintain their standards of living. Since they’re broke, they’re working in their preppy office clothes. The inspiration produces a more fitted silhouette in preppy fabrics like gingham, seersucker and broadcloth by employing cotton with a touch of spandex (97/3) and an enzyme wash. The result is some smart updates to southern classics. And they’re in short supply too since their collections are limited runs.

    This fall, they’re off to the races as they mature their “dirty preppy” line in borrowing from the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horse racing—the Kentucky Derby.

    Oct 16, 2009 | Permalink (6) View/Leave Comments

    My Affair with Michael Bastian left a comment on 5/7/2011 at 8:50 PM:

    I love the way his shorts fit! (MB’s fit very well too). http://affairwithmb.wordpress.com/

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/20/2009 at 12:42 AM:

    Michael—Look at wool duffle/toggle coats by Gloverall. Find it on eBay (used) or at Sierra Trading Company online (new). Gloverall is the best in the business, out of England. Buy it right the first time and you’ll only have to buy it once.

    Also, naval inspired peacoats (with the 6 buttons arranged in a two vertical rows) in wool or cotton. You’ll probably want wool if you’re in the Northeast during winter.

    Michael left a comment on 10/18/2009 at 7:47 PM:

    I must admit, I stumbled upon this blog accidentally and I am quite hooked. Your passion and knowledge is unparalled, and it is always nice to see things in my closet mentioned! I am just curious, but do you have any advice on a new coat style for the upcoming fall/winter?

    L.A.S left a comment on 10/17/2009 at 8:06 AM:

    Informative post…I’d like to say I’m pretty sartorially inclined and knowledgable, but I had never heard of this designer.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/17/2009 at 2:40 AM:

    Julie—Stay tuned for the next two weeks. I’ll be writing about some of my favorite women’s options.

    Julie left a comment on 10/16/2009 at 4:57 PM:

    Fred…I absolutely love your blog!  You can tell it is a sincere passion and the detail and thought you put into it is going to play very well into your success someday!  Keep the great info coming…I always love to see the options for preppy women’s clothing!


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