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Feb. 24th, 2010

Victorian Things: But wait... there's more!

Holy shit why did I not find these guys sooner. Painfully historically accurate clothing, divided by time period. Scary expensive, though. but gods... I want their coats...

A variety of paper cuffs, collars, and shirtfronts. Useful!

Another one of those sites that I can't believe I missed. Unbelievably extensive resource.

Victorian Things 3: the Reckoning

Ah, the finishing accoutrement I couldn't find! My father found these, with his amazing sluethy skills:

This is the honest to god men's dress boot. pretty much historically accurate. this is the boot they sell at River junction, only this is the site of the people that make them (a zoot suit and pimp clothing outfitter, funnily enough) and so there are more options.

This, as far as we can tell, is the only real white kidskin glove anywhere on the market. The only frigging one. and these are the only guys who sell it. it's mostly the correct shape and style, too. kidskin (that is to say young goat skin or cabretta) is the only correct material to make a true gentleman's formal gloves out of. The gloves were nearly the only part of a formal getup that allowed for customization: it was intermittently popular to wear your gloves in any variety of white, off white, or light pastel hues... since you can buy them in white here, you could presumably gently dye them yourself.

The cane is the easy part. almost any antique store has a rack full of old canes, and most of the ones you find would likely be appropriate. I'm thinking of looking into a modern material beat-the-shit-outta-someone cane, just for kicks. maybe even a sword cane. but really, I should just make myself one of those.

The only thing I think I need to locate now is outerwear; I've seen a few period greatcoats, which mostly only work with military outfits, not formalwear. The appropriate thing to wear over a frock coat is the aptly named Overfrock, which is the exact same thing as a frock coat, only cut a little longer and a little roomier so it could be worn over it. I guess you could just order a larger size of the same thing, for that. Alternately, a Paletot or Paddock coat could be worn as less formal alternatives, but there's no finding those.
For white tie evening wear, you need a goddamned Inverness Coat. (not to be confused with an Inverness Cape.) I can find a ton of inverness capes, but no coats. they look very similar from the front, but while the cape has a full wrist length caplet all the way 'round, the Coat actually has sleeves that are split up the sides... they look kinda like a caplet from the front, but not the back. see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Invernesscoat2.jpg

For my 1860s+ tuxedo gettup, though, I have a little more leeway with what's appropriate. It seems I might be able to get away with an inverness cape here, despite it being mostly country wear. It'd look a little sinister, but I kinda like that. Also appropriate might be a guard's coat, if I can find one. also, if gloves are worn with the tux, they need to be gray, not white.

gods, I need to be sleeping now.

'night, all.

Feb. 22nd, 2010

Update: Victorian things

Okay, a couple of other sites.

These guys do mostly war reenactment clothing, and they seem to rock at it. Their frock coats seem nice, (although they all lack the revers on the lapel... grrr) but the fact that they aren't at all tailored kinda concerns me. Victorian clothing was all bespoke and incredibly close-fitting. But their Dress Coats (they call them tailcoats, which is the common usage, but it's kindof improper. technically frock coats and morning coats are also tailcoats) kick ass in a major way.

These guys are the only distributor of Christys' hats. And Christys' hats are awesome. they have the most accurately made top hats I've ever seen. They also have the most historically accurate homburg I've ever seen. in short, get your fucking hats from these guys.

Also, I'd like to point out that I've intentionally avoided linking the "gentleman's emporium", because they are terrible, and over priced. Their cuts are sloppy, their terminology is offensively wrong, and their historical accuracy is suspect. they are a cute costume shop, not an historical clothier. (I recognize that I'm being too judgmental here, but the stuff on their sight made me angry enough times that I gave up.)

Feb. 21st, 2010

Victorian things...

Wow... so much for me posting essays on swords, huh?
I kinda forgot I even had this thing for a while.
Oh well. I can have delusions of blogging in a regular and kinda professional fashion. But that's not really the point of LJ, is it? But you know... I'm new to this whole thing. Maybe it'll stick with me eventually.

Anyhoo, I've been obsessing over clothing. Formal Mens' Wear and the history thereof seems to have struck me in the same way blademaking and mixology did, and I'm consuming all the material I can about it. I'm even considering trying a hand at sewing and pattern use. I've never made a single thing out of fabric in my goddamned life, and here I am wanting to apprentice to a clothier or some other shite.

My interest seems to mostly lie in the Victorian period, and the growth of the Steampunk subculture makes me happy, fuels my interest, and provides similarly-minded peers.

I just wish that more steampunkers were a little more accurate in their interpretations of the period.

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Nov. 26th, 2009

Pointy Things: An Introduction

I am a smith at a renaissance faire. When I'm there, I mostly do ornamental ironwork and fun little things I can make in an hour or so. snakes, bottle openers, coat hooks, belt knives, etc. But inevitably people ask me about swords. It's just as well... my fascination with blades and the mystique surrounding them is what got me in to metalworking in the first place, so I'm in a pretty okay position to answer.
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Sep. 23rd, 2009

I randomly wrote this once as an anonymous post to a friend's page.

Here, for your amusement and consideration, is my brief rant on the history of the "vodkatini". most information was gleaned from Drink Boy and Imbibe magazine.

: The Vodka Martini, sometimes referred to as a "Vodkatini", is an unfortunate misnomer and one of the most notable instances of historical fallacies in modern cocktail culture. In the 1950's the Smirnoff company launched an add campaign suggesting that a martini could be made "better" with vodka instead of the more traditional gin. But the change of the central ingredient should suggest an entirely new cocktail; in actuality, this "Vodkatini" had been in existence since the 1920's, in the form of a little-known drink called a "Kangaroo". This seemingly careless substitution of ingredients while erroneously maintaining it's name precipitated the martini to almost entirely loose its identity in modern parlance. "Martini"- once a reference to a fairly specific combination of ingredients- is now seemingly and shockingly used interchangeably with the word "cocktail", or to denote any mixed beverage served "up" (in a cocktail glass - the ones traditionally used in martinis).
In commemoration of this old and most iconic cocktail, (robbed of it's name, the poor thing) here are five distinct versions of the Martini in the order in which it historically appeared (recipes courtesy of Robert Hess, of DrinkBoy and the Chanticleer Society) :
Martini (circa. 1888)
1 1/2 ounce Old Tom gin
1 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (note that old martini recipes used sweet white vermouth, something which is difficult to find nowadays)
2 dash simple syrup
2 dash Boker's bitters
1 dash orange curaçao
Garnish: Piece of lemon, squeezed over the top.
Stir with ice. Strain into a fancy cocktail glass.

Martini (circa. 1900)
2 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Martini - dry (circa. 1900)
2 ounce gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
2 dash orange bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Martini (classic)
1 1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

 "Modern" Martini
2 1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Garnish: Lemon twist, or a green olive
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

"This is a 5-1 ratio Martini. An "extra-dry" martini can take this to such an extreme as to have no vermouth at all. Which sort of missses the entire point of what a cocktail (much less a Martini) is all about."

And just for fun, the original James Bond cocktail, as it appeared in Ian Flemings original novel Casino Royale. This is a fairly close relative of the martini: it's main departure is it's use of Kina Lillet instead of Vermouth. the Kina variety of this fortified wine is nearly extinct and difficult to find, but I prepared this cocktail once substituting it for Lillet Blanc, and it came out as one of the loveliest cocktails I have ever tried. 

The Vesper
3 measures Gin (Bond specifies Gordon's, but Gordon's gin has reduced in quality significantly since Royale's time)
1 measure Vodka
1/2 measure Kina Lillet (substitute Lillet Blanc if necessary)
Shake over ice, serve with a "large, thin slice of lemon peel"