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Well hello there! It’s been nearly a year and a half since I updated this blog, and much has changed in my life since January 21, 2012. One of the most significant changes is that I’m now living in the west end of Toronto, rather than in one of its exurbs. And, just like the streetscape itself, the people are dramatically different from what I’d grown used to in my old surroundings. One of the most startling differences is the fact that my new neighbourhood is infested... with hipsters. So, as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reintroduction to this blog, I present: The Five Essential Ingredients of the Queen West Hipster.

1. Skinny Jeans
The sine qua non of hipsterism, skinny jeans are ubiquitous in my neighbourhood. And the skinnier the better: if you can’t read the dates on the coins in your pockets, go back to Urban Outfitters and try again! They’re ideal for showing off the perfectly-toned ass, thighs and calves you’ve acquired from constantly walking or cycling around the city because the TTC is "too corporate". Or, for showing off the fact that you barely have an ass, thighs or calves, since a hipster who isn't skinny is like a mafioso who isn't fat—sure, they exist, but it's not exactly what you picture when somebody mentions one, is it?


2. Thick Plastic Glasses
They may be black, they may be tortoiseshell—they may even be brightly-coloured or transparent—but whatever their colorway, chunky frames are a sure-fire way to say “look at me, I’m so effing countercultural”. Score one bonus hipster point if they’re made by Ray-Ban; score two bonus points if you bought them from an independent eyewear merchant; score three bonus points if you don’t actually need glasses at all.

Honourable Mention: Browline frames, à la early-season Mad Men's Harry Crane.

3. Herschel Bags
Founded in 2009 and based in Vancouver, Herschel Supply Co. has been taking the world by storm. Ever wished your plain canvas bag had a brand that could suitably convey your particular chosen social niche? With Herschel, it can. They may be roomy, and they may be comfortable to wear, but with Herschel bags, there's only one thing that really matters: they say "Herschel" on them.

Honourable Mention: Plain canvas messenger bags. Score a bonus hipster point if covered with pinback buttons.

4. Beards
I don't know when it became a thing to ensure that one's face is constantly swathed in a gross, sweaty mane of hair, but unfortunately, this trend doesn't show any signs of going away. It is, thankfully, largely confined to the hipster community, but within those confines, it is rampant. Can you imagine being a woman (or gay man) and having this face looming over you during sex? I shudder at the thought.

Honourable Mention: Period facial hair. Score a bonus hipster point if achieving it requires the use of moustache wax.

5. Dr. Martens
This last one is debatable, since it’s a component of many different aesthetics. But, when worn in combination with two or more of the aforementioned items, Docs become the ne plus ultra. It’s pretty simple: you wear them, you win at hipster.

Honourable Mention: Blundstones, the boot for the slightly less in-your-face hipster. Not just for winter anymore!

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What does "preppy" sound like? That's the question I set out to answer with this compilation. I had two basic guidelines in mind:

  1. The music should be generally similar to Vampire Weekend (since anyone who knows anything about either Vampire Weekend or prep would probably agree that they're two peas in a pod).
  2. The music shouldn't sound out of place if it were played in an American Eagle store. (Yes, I know the old-school preps out there will choke on their gin-and-tonics and protest that "American Eagle isn't really prep!" But prep rock? Yes, I would say it is.)
I wasn't really concerned with representing a wide variety of artists, so some of them get significantly more time than others (Vampire Weekend and Shout Out Louds, in particular). What I was most concerned with was capturing the right sound and mood. I also tried to ensure that songs flowed nicely into one another, which is why I decided to feature this basically as a CD-burnable playlist, and why I would recommend that you listen to the songs in order, at least the first time.

The zip file includes all 23 songs, plus cover art, and high-quality printable PDFs of CD case inserts (of which I'm rather proud, if I do say so myself). And here's the track list:

  1. Peter Griffin - The Spirit of Massachusetts
  2. Vampire Weekend - Mansard Roof
  3. Shout Out Louds - Fall Hard
  4. Canvas Kites - Vacation (Take You Away)
  5. This Is Ivy League - The Richest Kids in Town
  6. Shout Out Louds - Your Parents Living Room
  7. Mystery Claws - Phony Checks
  8. Ra Ra Riot - Massachusetts
  9. Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma
  10. Surfer Blood - Take It Easy
  11. Hungry Kids of Hungary - Wristwatch
  12. Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
  13. Ra Ra Riot - Shadowcasting
  14. Shout Out Louds - Normandie
  15. Spoon - The Underdog
  16. Vampire Weekend - Holiday
  17. Shout Out Louds - Shut Your Eyes
  18. Dr. Dog - Stranger
  19. Two Door Cinema Club - Eat That Up, It's Good For You
  20. Vampire Weekend - Walcott
  21. Shout Out Louds - Impossible
  22. Prep-Unit - Tea Partay (Director's Cut)
  23. Peter Griffin & Company - The Spirit of Massachusetts (Reprise)

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As a matter of fact, it happened around December 20th - but by the time I've gotten around to posting about it now, the number is above 28,000! Thank you to each and every one of my visitors. I know it sounds cliché, but it really doesn't seem so long ago that I sat down in front of my computer, uploaded the "Arthemia Magazine" template, and started ranting about clothes. So where did all those hits come from? Here's a list of the Top 10 most-viewed entries.


Some thoughts on the eternal elements of the Western man's wardrobe and the everything-old-is-new-again nature of fashion.

Initial impressions based on press coverage prior to the release of Lisa Birnbach's True Prep.

After meeting Lisa Birnbach at a True Prep book signing in Toronto, my review of the book, and a consideration of what "true prep" really means.

A brief addendum to the entry immediately preceding it. Probably ranks this high because of the very large image of Sebastian Smythe (played by Grant Gustin) featured in it.

One of my very first posts, and an example of a recurring theme: the tragic number of men who buy suits that look like shit, just because they don't know what they're doing.

It's not very often that I post about really current goings-on, but I found this campaign exceptionally endearing. It has, in fact, continued since Fall 2010; I should probably try to cover the new stuff too!

A successful experiment in targeting a particular entry's topic at search keywords that have brought people to the blog. After a brief mention of velvet slippers in a late-2010 entry (which is #2 on this list), it seemed that people really wanted more information on this elusive trendy-yet-crotchety item.

A product of a Glee obsession which I've mostly gotten over at this point. Hat-tip to Fashion of Glee for originating the concept, and rewarding a couple of my contributions to their list with reciprocal links. ;)

Unfortunately, I posted this entry on Boxing Day 2010, which meant its useful life for that year was pretty much over. But I expected that the traffic would probably pick up towards the end of 2011, and I was right. I'm quite proud of this entry, because it's not only useful for the holiday season, but all year round.

The granddaddy, the king, with nearly eight times as many hits as the next closest contender, this is unquestionably the most popular item I've ever written. It's also one of the most thoughtful and articulate, so I can be unabashedly proud that it's become so popular. I'd like to do more entries on the significance of wardrobe in Hollywood movies... Inception, anyone?


I've got a couple of surprises in the works to mark this milestone, which I'll be posting in the next week or so, but I can also make a small announcement today: Threads Count is now on Twitter! For links, photos, and thoughts that aren't big enough to warrant a blog entry, look no further than


I anticipate being able to tweet more frequently than I can post full entries to the blog (although I will tweet each new blog entry as well). So I hope to see you there!

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It's a question I've been asking myself as well. So I've done a bit of research, and unfortunately, the answer seems to be: not anywhere cheap. I know that last year, H&M had them, in black and midnight blue velvet at different times (black pictured at right), and they were in the area of $35-40. And I foolishly, in a fit of parsimony, returned the ones I bought back then, so of course this year, I haven't been able to find them (although you may want to contact your largest local store just to be sure). This has left me to scour the online marketplace, and the results are decidedly unfriendly to the wallet. However, here's what I've found, in ascending order of price.


Church's, Embroidered Crown, £110
or £91.67 (approx. $145 US) if shipped outside the UK; available in black, but out of stock as of this writing

Church's is a venerable English shoemaker, now owned by Prada. Too bad these are out of stock right now - it's the best price I've found, and considering the heritage of this brand, I'd consider these a bargain (which is probably why they're sold out).



Herring Shoes, Embroidered Coat of Arms, £135
or £112.50 (approx. $180 US) if shipped outside the UK; available in seven colours; also available non-embroidered in navy, purple, and black (~$155 US)

Made in England, this is the house label of a UK online shoe retailer. Reasonably priced.

Brooks Brothers, Embroidered "BB" Monogram, $198
available in black; also available in non-embroidered black ($198) 

Made in England by Peal & Co. It's a shame that Brooks Brothers doesn't offer any other embroidered styles; using someone else's monogram is a bit gauche. I'd only recommend these if your initials are actually B.B.


Del Toro, Embroidered Skull and Bones, $215
available in navy, black; also available in non-embroidered navy, red, bottle green, and black ($270), logo-embroidered navy ($270) and black ($215), and custom styles ($295-$455)

Del Toro is new on the velvet-slipper scene, and has been getting a fair amount of publicity from The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, et al. Anytime somebody writes an article about velvet slippers, they're bound to be mentioned.


Shipton & Heneage, Various Embroidered Motifs, $255
available in five colours; also available in six non-embroidered colours ($215), several wraparound embroidered designs ($345), three monogram styles ($450), and four custom crest styles ($595)

Great selection, competitive prices. Enough said.

Stubbs & Wootton, Embroidered Heraldic Dolphins, $450
available in black; also available in a variety of seasonal colours and styles ($450) and numerous custom configurations (from $495)

Stubbs & Wootton is the name in velvet slippers. They carry a handful of seasonal designs, tending towards the irreverent (this heraldic dolphin is the most conservative). But they also offer an unparalleled custom range, allowing you to choose your material, colours, and embroidery style, with dozens of figural motifs ($495), three styles of machine-embroidered monogram ($600), and six styles of hand-embroidered monogram using silver or gold bullion thread ($900).

Ralph Lauren, Embroidered "RL" Monogram, $650
available in five different colour combinations; also available with a figural horse-and-rider motif in five colours ($650)

Again, the tackiness of someone else's monogram, but at three times the price. But they do use bullion thread, so if your initials are actually R.L., these'll save you $250 over the Stubbs & Wootton custom bullion monogram. Otherwise, just say no.



Barker Black, Embroidered Skull Logo, $825
available in black; also available in a silver-and-gold-bullion "skull and spade" motif embroidered on black ($825)

Are you an elitist brand-whore? Is your skull as vacant of brains as the ones embroidered on these slippers? Then look no further!

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In tonight's episode of Glee, we were introduced to a new, aggressively sexual Dalton Warbler by the name of Sebastian Smythe (Grant Gustin). He invites Kurt and Blaine out to Scandals, the (one and only) gay bar in Lima, where we see him out of his school uniform... and for someone who wonders whether Blaine is tired of "all the preppies" at Dalton, he's the most stereotypically preppy character we've seen so far, in a navy and green Polo Ralph Lauren rugby shirt ($125, now reduced to $74.99). Also, though it's impossible to tell exactly what watch he's wearing from the blurriness of that photo, this one by Bulova looks pretty darn close (even though it doesn't have the contrasting white stitching on the band).