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Buckle Up

Balenciaga Shoes

In one of his notes on poetry, Wallace Stevens wrote, “Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor. It is only au pays de la métaphore qu’on est poète.” Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga, frequently inhabits this territory; his work is cleverly layered with context and subtext. Take these leather mules. The sharply pointed toes could probably be used as a weapon, but the utilitarian belt buckles ensure that the shoes remain fully strapped to the feet that they’re duty-bound to protect. The screwed-on palladium heel resembles an industrial fixture that will emerge unscathed after days or months or years of marching on cobblestones, dirt, and pavement. In brief, they’re work shoes for modern life. And they look pretty damn great while they’re trudging away. ($1,190;

Dress Up

Emilia Wickstead

There’s a lot of talk right now about day-to-night dresses, but few designers navigate this territory with the panache of Emilia Wickstead. The “It” Brit has laser-focused her collections on women who work and socialize with equal enthusiasm. We admit her four-figure dresses are not the kind of thing one can purchase by the dozen each season, but at least one specimen belongs in your wardrobe. Why? Meticulous design that often includes interior features like corsetry, fabrics that can withstand any amount of running to and from meetings, and seasonless profiles that make the piece a worthy investment. If you’re still on the fence, we should probably share that this number is inspired by a dress Sofia Coppola wore in The Godfather Part III as Mary Corleone. ($1,280;


The Cucinelli Corduroy Suit

The movie version of All the President’s Men is inspiring for many reasons, especially now. And here in the men’s corner of the Air Mail style department we also just want to say it’s always been a film that delivers one of our favorite style moments: Robert Redford in his tan corduroy suit. For years, it’s been impossible to find a great version of his look, but this season you’re in luck, thanks to Brunello Cucinelli, who delivers a knockout take on fall’s big trend for men. The best thing about a cord suit: it’s a way to wear a suit but not look like a suit. The material is not the chunky, wide-wale cord you may remember from your youth—no, this one is an impossibly soft and luxurious thin cord, one that, as we can attest, invites compliments whenever you wear it. ($3,995;

Layer On

Zegna Cashmere

It’s impossible to spend time in Milan without noticing an awful lot of impeccably dressed men. Frequently, Ermenegildo Zegna, unofficial outfitter of the Milanese gentiluomo, is responsible. The brand has long been associated with its top-notch materials—it was founded in 1910 as a fabric mill, after all—but these days, they’re achieving new heights of style. Take the once humble turtleneck, which has been elevated with luxe cashmere, ribbed sleeves, a trim silhouette, and a toasty neck. It’s more than O.K. to be seen around town in it each and every Saturday afternoon until further notice. In fact, it’s recommended. ($1,195;


A Swatch Sobleu

Not every watch needs to be a chronograph. The humble Swatch keeps excellent time while adding a dash of insouciance to your wrist game. One could go wild with a burgundy damask or metallic floral model, but don’t bother. Our favorite style of the moment is the minimalist, Mondrian-esque Sobleu, which retains its cool even when peeking out from underneath the most conservative cuff. ($65,

Issue No. 15
October 26, 2019
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Issue No. 15
October 26, 2019