6 things that can cause irregular periods, explained by a doctor

First things first: Don’t panic

irregular periods

Irregular periods messing with your head? Your mind may be running away with itself and imagining all sorts of possible causes, but usually there’s a simple explanation as to why your cycle isn’t playing ball.

There are a number of reasons why your periods could be irregular (or completely absent), including lifestyle factors, medical conditions and just plain biology.

So to clear some of the fog, Dr Victoria Manning, women’s health expert at River Aesthetics, explains six of the most common causes below. If you’re concerned about irregular periods, always speak to your GP to discuss further.

What causes irregular periods?

Stress

If you’ve been under significant stress lately, whether work or home-related, it may explain why your period is acting up. ‘Stress activates a hormonal pathway in the body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, via the release of increased levels of cortisol,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘The HPA axis and cortisol help control the stress response in the body.

‘Cortisol release can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones, potentially leading to abnormal ovulation, anovulation (no ovulation) or amenorrhoea (absence of menstration).’

The contraceptive pill

‘Within your natural menstrual cycle your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the month – the main hormones involved are oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone,’ Dr Manning says. ‘The presence in varying levels of these three hormones trigger different parts of your cycle, such as thickening the lining of the womb, maturing your eggs and releasing them into your fallopian tubes.’

Essentially, the pill alters your hormone levels, which can in turn throw your menstrual cycle out of whack. According to the NHS, the progestogen-only or ‘mini’ pill can cause periods to stop, become lighter, irregular or even more frequent.

‘Oral contraception alters these hormone levels by introducing synthetic hormones. Some have a mix of oestrogen and progestin (a synthetic progesterone), others just progestins. Since these hormones are the key orchestrators of your menstrual cycle, it makes sense that your menstruation and ovulation would be different as a result of taking hormonal birth control,’ Dr Manning adds.

‘When you’re on the pill, you don’t have fluctuations in hormone levels because you’re actively taking synthetic versions that are keeping your levels high. So in essence, the pill inhibits ovulation because the levels of oestrogen and progesterone you’re taking don’t allow the hormone dip that triggers your natural monthly egg maturation and drop.’ If you’re thinking of coming off the pill, speak to your GP.

irregular periods causes

PCOS

‘Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a common condition that affects the way a woman’s ovaries work,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘The main three features of PCOS are irregular periods, which means your ovaries do not release eggs; excess androgen, high levels of “male hormones” in your body, which may result in physical signs like excess facial or body hair and central weight gain; and polycystic ovaries, where your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs.

‘If you have at least two of these features, you may be diagnosed with PCOS.’ For more information, read our guide to PCOS when you’re done here.

Weight gain

‘When overweight, cholesterol compounds in fat cells can get converted into a type of weak oestrogen called estrone,’ explains the doctor. ‘Overweight or obese women carrying extra fat cells have “little estrone-making factories”, which can have an oestrogenic effect on glands.

‘This added oestrogen can cause bleeding or irregular periods. A woman may go months without ovulating, for example, but the uterine lining is still building up to the point that it becomes unstable. This can cause prolonged or very heavy bleeding.’

Weight loss

‘On the other end of the spectrum underweight women and women with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, which result in extreme weight loss may also be unintentionally impacting their menstrual cycles. Women without much fat on their bodies may have fewer periods or go longer without ovulating.

‘Starvation, as well as extreme exercise and stress, can trigger an effect that suppresses the brain. These women may be so underweight that their bodies simply stop making oestrogen. Additionally, the lack of fat doesn’t allow cells to convert cholestrol into extra oestrogen.’

Perimenopause

‘During the years leading up to the menopause, known as perimenopause, shifts in hormone levels can fluctuate quite significantly causing changes in the menstrual cycle,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘During a normal menstrual cycle, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone increase and decrease in a regular pattern. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle and menstruation about two weeks later.

‘However, during perimenopause, hormone levels may not follow this regular pattern and as a result you may have irregular bleeding or spotting. Some months your period may be longer and heavier and others shorter and lighter, the number of days between periods may increase or decrease and you may begin to skip periods.’

Note that the purpose of this feature is to inform, not replace one-to-one medical consultations. For advice tailored specifically to you, always discuss your health with a doctor

The post 6 things that can cause irregular periods, explained by a doctor appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Grenadine Ties & Fabric Explained

The fabric weave known as grenadine is prized among the sartorially inclined for its versatility and understated character. But why is it so appreciated, and how exactly is it produced?

All About Grenadine

Those who dress in a suit and tie just because they have to will usually find a plain silk tie, regardless of color, to be good enough to wear with a suit (though hopefully not a shiny silk, lest they look like a boy at prom). A step beyond this is the businessman’s standard: a printed silk tie with some sort of geometric pattern on it. A grenadine tie, meanwhile, comparatively represents a gateway into refined style. It’s truly something different; still very business-appropriate, but versatile enough for more casual use and a sign that you don’t want to settle for the commonplace in the way you dress. Here’s all you need to know about the weave called grenadine.

Beautiful brown sport coat with grenadine tie and orange pocket square - one in real ancient madder silk would have been better, note the curved button down collar
Beautiful brown sport coat with grenadine tie and orange pocket square

A Brief History of the Grenadine Weave

Grenadine is not the name of a material, but rather of a variety of open weave made of two warp (vertical) yarns twisted around the weft (horizontal) yarns that run perpendicular to them; this is also referred to as a “leno weave.” The result is a sheer fabric that is conducive to hot-weather clothing, and grenadine used to be popular for tropical garments. Yet, its earliest known use was in the form of black lace fabric worn in 18th-century France. Some speculate that grenadine originated in Grenada, Spain because of the name (and presumably because it can get quite hot there), but it has made appearances throughout Europe, and its exact origins remain shrouded in mystery. The most direct reference we have to its geographic roots is its description as an “English gauze” (“garza a giro inglese“) in Italian. Indeed, giro inglese is still the name used to describe summer shirts made with the weave, and the term “grenadine” refers only to neckties.

Leno weave and a summer shirt made with it

Ties made of silk grenadine are woven exclusively in the Lake Como area of Northern Italy on historic wooden looms from the early 20th century.  This mode of manufacture not only adds to the artisanal nature of the product but to its overall mystique (and conversational value).

In German, Grenadine is called “Schlinger” which highlights the distinctiveness of the weave.

Types of Grenadine Weaves

Brown Grenadine
Brown Grenadine garza grossa

Grenadine ties appear most commonly in two varieties–called by the Italian terms garza fina (fine gauze) and garzagrossa (large gauze). A third sort of weave found more rarely is the prometeo (meaning “Prometheus,” though the significance of this mythological name is another obscure part of grenadine’s history).

Grenadine Garza & Custom Made Patchwork Vest with Lily Pulitzer Fabric
Grenadine Garza Fina & Custom Made Patchwork Vest with Lilly Pulitzer Fabric
Clip-on suspenders with grenadine tie - study of greys and blues
Clip-on suspenders with striped grenadine tie garza grossa – study of greys and blues

The prometeo can best be described as a large honeycomb weave.  Lastly, there is garzapiccola (tiny gauze), which is even smaller than garza fina, even if the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably by sellers. The difference is largely a choice of how much texture you want to emphasize. That being said, grenadine can be woven in many other combinations but it is just not done anymore, probably due to the fact that only very few machines exist who can weave this kind of fabric.

This silk grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere features a mixed weave of both garza fina and garza grossa.
This silk grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere features a mixed weave of both garza fina and garza grossa.

Finer grenadines (piccola, fina) tend to appear more like smooth solids whereas their larger counterparts (prometeo, grossa) have more visible texture. When the texture of the tie is less noticeable it is slightly more formal, so the fine grenadines can be perceived as especially office-ready.

Sean Connery in Dr No wearing a  Garza Grossa Grenadine Tie
Sean Connery in Dr No wearing a Garza Grossa Grenadine Tie

On the other hand, Sean Connery’s James Bond wore only garzagrossa ties and never fina, always with suits, and his style certainly never suffered for it. Garza grossaand prometeohave quite a visible texture, which can be compared to that of a knitted tie, though a woven grenadine will have a greater formality than any knitted neckwear.

Grenadine Garza Fina with patterns
Grenadine Garza Fina with patterns

How to Wear a Grenadine Tie

The beauty of grenadine ties–and why they’re so popular among menswear aficionados–is their versatility. Because they’re made of refined silk, you can find them dyed in nearly any imaginable color to coordinate with a range of clothes. The material and weave together also give a grenadine the sheen of a printed tie, along with the texture of a more casual woven one. Shine is usually a quality that makes something more formal (think patent leather opera pumps or the silk facings on a tuxedo lapel) while texture usually dresses something down; because grenadine ties have both, they are as equally at home with business suits as they are with button-down shirts and tweed sport coats. The texture of a grenadine tie, especially a garzagrossaworks perfectly with more casual sport coats that have a similar repeating pattern, like a houndstooth or shepherd’s check.

Houndstooth jacket with brown grenadine tie and Dark Green Silk Pocket Square with Orange Dots Motifs and Blue Paisley - Fort Belvedere
Sven Raphael Schneider in a houndstooth jacket with brown grenadine prometeo tie

Solid, Striped or Patterned Grenadine Tie?

When starting out with grenadines your first choice will usually be solid colors, because you can pair them not only with plain shirts but also with shirts that have stripes or even plaids. However, grenadine ties are also available with stripes, usually broader ones as well as other patterns. If the stripes are light in color, you’ll be able to see the honeycomb or brick-like rows of the grenadine weave even more clearly on the tie, which adds to the beauty.

It should be noted as well that grenadines don’t always come in the usual finished silk. Remember, it’s a kind of weave and not a fabric, so you can find grenadines in raw shantung silk, wool, cashmere, or a combination of these. This is where stripes also enhance the appeal of a grenadine because you can have one color of the stripes in one material, like finished silk, and those of another color in a different fabric, like shantung, both on the same tie. This really elevates the textural richness of the tie and is something that true connoisseurs will appreciate.

Fort Belvedere Grey and Orange Grenadine
A grey and orange cashmere-wool grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere

Garza grossa or Garza fina Grenadine?

As noted above, the choice of fina versus grossa boils down to how much texture you want to emphasize, but you really need both in your collection. Unfortunately, some men avoid garza grossa ties because their more open structure makes them prone to snagging, but, to be honest, all grenadines can catch on things. You may have to be a little more careful when handling a garza grossa–ensure that your fingernails are cut and well filed!–but this is hardly a deal-breaker. Knit ties are also susceptible to snags, but you probably wouldn’t ban them from your wardrobe, and grenadines are even more versatile. Lastly, if you prefer to wear a large tie knot, like a half-Windsor, or want to minimize your tie knot, the smaller grenadine weaves are a better choice. Garza grossa ties are called “large-knot grenadines” for a reason: the nature of the weave results in a fairly thick tie that will make a substantial four-in-hand knot. If you wear a four-in-hand anyway, garza grossa will give you one that is definitely not anemic.

Fine pinstripe suit with navy grenadine tie
The textural appeal of a grenadine can complement your suit texture

Lined or Unlined Grenadine Ties? It’s A Matter Of Choice

Neckties can come either lined or unlined. With a grenadine, you’re likely to find both options. The lining or interlining is a piece of fabric, usually wool, used on the inside of the tie to give it more body.  Because the open weave on a grenadine allows you to see through the tie to some extent, if you have a lining, it will be dyed the same color as the silk shell. Lined ties tend to look more finished, so they are most appropriate for business suits. Unlined ties, especially in an airy grenadine weave have more of a handmade artisanal look, which can also make them appear more casual. Because of the thinness of an unlined grenadine, you will also see the impression of the tie folds on the underside and perhaps the shape of the keeper as well. Some men dislike this because people who don’t know about ties will assume theirs is defective in some way.

Atte Rytkönen unlined grenadine tie
Atte Rytkönen wearing an unlined grenadine tie in which you can see the impression of the underside through the fabric.

As a counterpoint, the less finished appearance of an unlined grenadine provides a dash of sprezzatura: the characteristic Italian nonchalance in dressing that avoids perfectionism, so if you want to show this sort of rakishness, unlined is the way to go. A garza fina or piccola without lining is especially light and wispy, which also makes it an ideal tie for hot weather days.

Brown Grenadine Bow Tie & Green Linen Pocket Square by Fort Belvedere
Brown Grenadine Tie & Green Linen Pocket Square by Fort Belvedere

Its thinness pairs beautifully with a giro inglese shirt and a linen sport coat for a quintessential summer style. In this way, an unlined grenadine really returns to its roots as a breathable summer weave. Lastly, if you prefer a small tie knot, unlined is your best option. As already discussed, grenadines form a fairly thick knot, and a lining will only add more thickness. You can pull your tie tighter to shrink the knot, but then your risk stretching the fabric and making your tie too long. Keep in mind though that even an unlined garzagrossa makes for a fairly thick knot, so you’ll want an unlined garza fina if you tie a or to stick to a four-in-hand knot with these.

Fake Grenadine Tie
A false grenadine, which has texture but no open weave

A Word on Faux Grenadine Ties – Skip Them

In recent years, fake grenadine ties have appeared online, capitalizing on the popularity of the real thing. These can be had quite cheaply, for under $ 20, and they have a similar look from afar, so they’re popular for those on a budget. If you just want some texture and don’t care if your tie is an authentic grenadine, you might settle for these. However, the Gentleman’s Gazette upholds the general principle that it is preferable to buy better quality items that will last rather than cheaping it out in the short term.  You will likely desire an authentic grenadine tie eventually, and will probably have to replace the cheap one as it wears out faster–not to mention that it will never look as splendid as the real deal. The cost ($ 125 at Fort Belvedere) is not exorbitant–you’re not buying a Cifonelli suit after all–and you can choose a versatile color like navy, burgundy, red, or black that will get good use with the classic menswear colors of blue and gray. As a bonus, Fort Belvedere allows you to choose both the width and length.

The Fort Belvedere Shop offers grenadine ties in multiple colors and lengths.
The Fort Belvedere Shop offers grenadine ties in multiple colors and lengths.

Conclusion – Grenadine Ties Are An Essential Wardrobe Staple

There’s a good reason why a grenadine tie is considered a staple menswear item and an essential tie for every man. Solid grenadines come in a seemingly infinite range of colors, not to mention differently sized weaves, making them not only versatile but ultra-collectible. Meanwhile, a striped grenadine, especially one made of mixed materials, is just plain beautiful. So, if you’ve never tried a grenadine, now is the time to get one, and if you already swear by them, why not select another color for your collection?


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Gwyneth Paltrow has explained why Brad Pitt looks like his girlfriends

And it’s amazing.

brad pitt

The Brad Pitt girlfriend theory is one of our favourite things to ever happen, with the internet noticing the hilarious link between the Fight Club actor and his exes last year.

The theory, that sees Brad changing his look to resemble the woman he is dating, went viral after his split from Angelina Jolie, due to the internet rehashing his previous relationships.

This of course dubbed Brad as ‘the man who likes to look like his girlfriends’, and after looking at the viral side-by-side photographs of the actor and his former flames, we get it.

When he was with Angelina Jolie, he went for slicked black hair and shades. Jennifer Aniston? Long blonde beach waves. And Gwyneth Paltrow? An actual blonde pixie cut with a side fringe.

And it didn’t stop there, with more photographs surfacing of Brad looking identical to other former girlfriends, Christina Applegate, Juliette Lewis, Geena Davis and Thandie Newton, back in the day.

How did we not notice this before?

brad pitt relationships

Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock

While the images and theory went viral, neither Brad nor his exes made a comment, that is until now.

And who was it? Gwyneth Paltrow.

brad pitt relationships

Startraks/REX/Shutterstock

The 46-year-old actress and Goop founder took to Instagram to voice her thoughts on the theory, commenting on a fashion blogger’s Instagram of a newspaper article, entitled: ‘Brad: The man who likes to look like his girlfriends’.

Keeping her comment simple, she posted: ‘Or we like to look like him, let’s face it.’

This is hilarious.

But seriously, why do Brad and his exes look identical?

The post Gwyneth Paltrow has explained why Brad Pitt looks like his girlfriends appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse Heroes Explained

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we meet Miles Morales — he’s Spider-Man, but in another dimension. When the Kingpin uses a Hadron collider to break down the walls between dimensions, he causes Peter Parker’s Spidey to be sucked into Miles’ dimension. And Peter’s not the only one. There’s Peni Parker from the Japan of Earth 14512. Spider-Man Noir comes from a dark, alternate version of the 1930’s on Earth 90214. Finally there’s Gwen Stacy, the Spider-Woman from Earth 65.

As fun as it is to see all these Spider-People come spilling into this dimension and it seems like these incursions are ripping the universe apart. So Miles Morales and the rest of the Spider-Verse heroes have to figure out how to save their worlds and get back home before it’s too late.

Now, thanks to General Mills, Spider-Man has landed in the future with interactive themed decals. Inside select boxes of General Mills cereals, you can find collectible decals that you can bring to life on your phone.

Together, your whole family can enjoy the web-slinging family seen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, coming to theaters on December 14th, 2018!

The post Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse Heroes Explained appeared first on FANDOM.

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Shell Cordovan Leather Explained

Shell Cordovan is a staple material of fine men’s shoemaking, but you may wonder what makes this kind of horse (!) leather so special that it commands $ 500 or more per pair of shoes.

From the outside, shell cordovan looks quite similar to any other shoe leather – smooth, lustrous, and richly colored in shades of burgundy, brown, and black – but it has some unique properties that make it ideal for men’s shoes. It’s also a far rarer and more labor-intensive leather than cowhide. Let’s investigate what shell cordovan is, its history, how it is created and how to find, buy, and care for shell cordovan once it’s part of your collection.

Open cuffs, Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks & Meermin Cordovan tassel loafers

Open cuffs, Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks & Meermin shell cordovan tassel loafers

What is Shell Cordovan?

Shell cordovan is the name for a leather derived from the hindquarters of a horsehide. It’s one of the few types of leather that consumers might know by name.

The “shell” refers to the hindquarter part of the hide once it has been split horizontally to remove the grain. The name “cordovan” derives from the city of Cordoba, and means “from Cordoba”; together the terms refer to this specific type of horse leather.

Shell cordovan comes from only a small part of the horsehide

Shell cordovan comes from only a small part of the horsehide

Unlike other leather, the shell is a membrane in the middle of two epidermis layers in the rear portion of a horse butt. The hindquarter portion of the hide used for shell cordovan begins at about 24″ from the tail and extending 24-28″ on either side of the horse. The exact size depends on the particular horse.

Characteristics

Shell cordovan is exceptionally durable. The pores are so dense on the hindquarters of a horse that they are not visible to the naked eye. The hide is naturally resistant to water (though not impervious) as well as stretching. Instead of creasing, shell cordovan ripples.

Cordovan ripples as opposed to creasing

Cordovan ripples as opposed to creasing

Since creasing can lead to cracks in the leather, the tendency to ripple rather than crease helps to preserve the surface of the leather and the overall lifespan of the shoe. Furthermore, shell cordovan ages very well and develops a particularly beautiful patina over time. A well cared for pair of shoes can truly last you a lifetime.

Dalton boots from Allen Edmonds with Off White Fort Belvedere Boot laces with Cords

Dalton boots from Allen Edmonds in shell cordovan with Off White Fort Belvedere Boot Laces 

The leather itself doesn’t accept dye very well so it’s mostly found in dark shades of brown, black and what is known as “cordovan” color, which is a dark burgundy rose color. It takes approximately 1 and a half shells to make a pair of shoes.

Why is shell cordovan so expensive?

The high price of cordovan comes down to the low supply of hides, the high demand for them, and the long, complicated tanning process. Since horses are only raised as part of the food chain in a few places in the world, the supply of horsehides is small and unlikely to grow, contributing directly to the scarcity and high price of this type of leather. Only a small portion of the horsehide can be used and it can’t be split into layers like cow leather. Tanning alone takes 6 months and a great deal of handwork; very few tanners have the knowledge to tan it.

Smearing the Cordovan Butts

Smearing the Cordovan Butts

Shell cordovan is a truly rare and unique material, and prices vary, though it tends to hover around $ 100 per square foot. The cost is warranted considering the factors surrounding its production.

History of Shell Cordovan

Leather has been produced and used by man since 2200 BC, but the first documented use of horse leather was in 7th century Spain by the Visigoths and eventually by the Moors.

The city of Cordoba, from which shell cordovan derived its name, was a noted center for leather tanning.

Traditional Cordovan Leather from Cordoba, Spain

Traditional Cordovan Leather from Cordoba, Spain

In the 16th and 17th centuries, skilled craftsmen would create preciously decorated horse leathergoods such as wall hangings, trunks, shields, and armor.

Meryan in Cordoba

Meryan in Cordoba

Even today, you can find artisans such as Meryan in Cordoba who still maintain the tradition of Cordovan leather (sometimes also referred to as Cordoban). Because of its qualities, beauty, and durability, it found its way to the Spanish Royalty, who facilitated the spread of cordovan leather throughout Europe and the world through marriage with other royal families.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that shell cordovan was connected with the specific type of tanned horsehide that is used today.

Hides piled up outside the tannery

Hides piled up outside the tannery

In the middle of the century, German and Dutch tanners arrived in the US with their trade for “spiegelwahre”, which translates to “mirror ware”. The name is a reference to the fact that polished cordovan achieves a mirror-like finish. Their profession became known as “Cordwainers”.

Shell cordovan is noted for a natural high glass shine

Shell cordovan is noted for a natural high glass shine, hence the term “mirror ware”

That being said, shell cordovan in the 19th century was a thick, tough leather prized more for its durable nature than for its good looks. It was commonly used for leather razor strops until the safety razor emerged around WWI and the industry had to pivot to a new product. In the early 20th century, American tanners further improved the tanning techniques to make shell cordovan softer and more appropriate for shoes.

Vintage Wolverine shell cordovan boot ad

Vintage Wolverine shell cordovan boot ad

In 1910, Wolverine advertised its shell cordovan boots and gloves as being “buckskin-soft.”

Shell Cordovan Today

Today, only a few factories in the world tan shell cordovan. Among them, the most recognized is Horween, which is based in Chicago.

Horween Leather Company Chicago

Horween Leather Company Chicago

Style-wise, shell cordovan today walks the line between casual and dressy; casual due to its history as a workwear material and, on the opposite side, dressy due to it’s higher price and rarity. Most brands use shell cordovan for shoes such as tassel loafers, bluchers, wing tips and a variety of boots.

Cordovan Production

The tanning of cordovan is incredibly complex. Six months and more than a hundred processes are required to produce a useable hide, and therefore, very few tanneries remain in the world still produce this kind of leather. At Horween, although roughly 80% of their business stems from tanning cowhides, they are probably most famous for their genuine Shell Cordovan leather.

Salted Horsehides

Salted Horsehides

Tanning is a process that does two basic things: it stops the natural decay process and develops the desired characteristics of the leather. It starts out with salted horse hides. They are sourced from France, despite the common belief that Horween leather is an entirely American product. For more on the subject, read our article about Made in the USA.

The horsehides arrive on pallets and are then cut down by hand. Only the butt portion of the hide is tanned as shell cordovan.

Horween tanning pits

Horween tanning pits

In order to remove the hair, they undergo some chemical treatments described in the tanning process; they are then tanned in pits using Horween’s proprietary tanning solution which consists of chestnut and quebracho tree bark as well as resins.

The horsehides are put into frames that agitate constantly. This ensures that the tannins don’t settle and the hides are evenly tanned.

After thirty days, the horsehides are taken out of the solution and then shaved to expose the shell. Subsequently, it is put into another pit with a stronger solution and tanned for another 30 days.

The two tanning stages cannot be rushed, or the outside skin fibers would only be penetrated by the tannins, while the inside would be still raw.

Finished shell cordovan in a range of colors

Finished shell cordovan in a range of colors

Once the tanning process is complete, the hides still require another 4 months of work before they become finished leather. The hides are polished and colored by hand, and most importantly, they have to rest.

Horween sometimes has to turn customers down due to lack of supply. When these customers then see the piles of shell cordovan in the factory, they don’t always understand that the shells have to rest.

In order to better understand the whole tanning process, check out the following video which shows the different steps of the cordovan production.

How to Buy Shell Cordovan

The first step is to decide if shell cordovan is the right material for you to buy because it is a significant investment. Personally, I am not a huge fan of shell cordovan shoes because they wrinkle in a certain way, are harder and less breathable. However, I know quite a few people who swear by it. My advice is to check it out yourself – chances are you will either love or hate it. New shoes will feel stiff, but take a trip to the vintage store, and look for the trademark ripples and color of cordovan to try out what a pair of broken-in cordovan feels like for yourself.

Cordovan structure

Cordovan structure

Shell cordovan is a great addition to your shoe closet if you appreciate the unique look, feel and durability of the leather. It is especially great for enthusiasts that want a hard wearing, casual-to-informal shoe that they plan to care for and re-sole for many years to come.

Shell cordovan restoration

Shell cordovan restoration; note the deepening burgundy color

You’ll mostly find shell cordovan in shades of brown and black, and of course “cordovan” burgundy. However, this classification can be misleading because cordovan leather has its very own way of achieving a certain kind patina through exposure to sunlight.

Shell cordovan typically comes in a small range of colors

Shell cordovan typically comes in a small range of colors

Over time, “cordovan” ages from a burgundy tinged brown color to reveal a bit more of the red tone with each passing year. Other shell cordovan colors will also age and darken, with the exception of the black.

Shell Cordovan Shoemakers

Considering the rarity of shell cordovan, it’s not always available and well-marketed shoe releases often sell out quickly. Brands that consistently sell shell cordovan over multiple shoe models include Alden, Allen Edmonds, Viberg, Carmina, and Rancourt, among others.

Vibergs Color 8 Work Boot in Shell Cordovan

Viberg’s Color 8 Work Boot in Shell Cordovan

Expect to find classic, informal shoes such as tassel and penny loafers, and work-boot inspired styles of all kinds. It’s not an ideal material for elegant, sophisticated looks, but for elevated casual and every day looks cordovan is an excellent choice. Considering the cost of the leather itself, makers of cordovan shoes tend not to cut corners when it comes to construction.

Alden shell cordovan tassel loafer

Alden shell cordovan tassel loafer

Given the sturdiness of shell cordovan, you can buy either new or vintage with confidence. Just note the return policy of the retailer, in case you don’t happen to like the feel of the shoe.

How to Clean and Polish Cordovan

Cordovan is different than other leathers and as such, many claim the treatment is different. In my opinion, you should use an emulsion shoe polish and rub it into the leather in concentric circles with either a brush or a piece of cloth. Some also claim that a shoe bone should be used. Unlike most shoe horns, this bone is actually a hind (leg) bone of a deer.

Deer Shoe Bone

Deer Shoe Bone

Apparently, it is used for cordovan because it has the right amount of oil to ensure the surface is not damaged without over saturating it. In my personal experience, the outcome with or without a shoe bone was the same. As you will soon find out, there are many ways to polish shoes and everybody has a little secret.

Saphir Cordovan Polish

Saphir Cordovan Polish

With regards to shoe polish, Saphir now has a cordovan shoe polish in their portfolio but a regular emulsion cream (not turpentine wax) paste will do just fine as well. Since Cordovan is a very rough leather, you do not have to worry about it and if you go to the lengths of using emulsion shoe polish and a brush, you are ahead of most people out there.

Shell Cordovan before and after Saphir cordovan polish

Shell Cordovan before and after Saphir cordovan polish

Conclusion

Shell cordovan’s special qualities aren’t for every person’s closet or budget, but they are a cornerstone of classic men’s footwear. What shell cordovan shoes and accessories do you own?


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Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see <em>Harry Potter and the Cursed Child</em>

In a November 21st appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Daniel Radcliffe—aka the OG Boy Who Lived—was asked if he’s ever planning on seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—the play that centers on Harry Potter’s son. And it turns out Radcliffe likely won’t be sitting in the audience any time soon. The actor explained that it’s not that he doesn’t necessarily want to see it; rather, he thinks the whole experience will direct lot of pressure and scrutiny his way.

“I’ve been asked this a lot, and I feel like I always give a really boring, terrible answer,” he told Meyers. “I’m probably not going to see it. I don’t have plans to. Not because I think it would throw me into some existential crisis of like, ‘Oh, is that what happened?’ But more so I just feel like it would not be a relaxing evening in the theater.”

He continued, “I feel like I would be being watched for my reaction. And maybe that is complete conceited and egotistical and people wouldn’t care. But I do feel like if I was just surrounded by Harry Potter fans, it would be a little odd.”

Okay, he’s definitely not wrong. We have a feeling literally every single Harry Potter fan on the planet and their mom would want to know what Radcliffe thought of the stage show, and that definitely does sound stressful. So basically, we get it, dude.

Radcliffe is currently starring in the Broadway comedy The Lifespan of Facts, and you can get tickets now.

The post Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see <em>Harry Potter and the Cursed Child</em> appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Who Is Viktor Drago? ‘Creed II’ Villain and ‘Rocky IV’ Connections Explained

Creed II is hitting theaters on November 21. This follow-up to the 2015 Rocky spin-off continues the story of Adonis Creed, who has become a boxer in an attempt to live up to his father’s legacy. But the sequel makes things a little more personal for the heroic boxer. Not only does he have a dangerous new opponent to face in the ring, but his determination to fight him may end up costing him everything he cares about.

This new opponent is Russian fighter Viktor Drago, and there’s more going on with him than you might know. Here’s all the info you need on Creed II’s scary antagonist.

Who Is Viktor Drago and Who’s Playing Him?



Creed II follows the Rocky series’ habit of casting real fighters as fictional boxers. Viktor Drago is played by Romanian boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu. He hasn’t done much acting before. In fact, his only other credit is the 2016 short film Bogat. But the filmmakers didn’t hire him for his expensive film experience. He got the job because he’s big, scary, and knows how to throw a punch.

The ‘Rocky’ Connection



Viktor Drago’s father is no stranger to Rocky fans. He’s Ivan Drago, the villain of the fourth movie, which had Rocky Balboa traveling to Russia to take on the machine-like boxer to avenge the friend Drago had killed in the ring.

That friend was, of course, Apollo Creed. Adonis never met his father, but the opportunity to fight the son of the man who murdered him offers some sense of retribution or closure for his loss.

Rocky, who trained Adonis at the start of his career, suffered severe brain damage in the fight. And he hopes to steer the young boxer away from making the same mistake he did. But it wouldn’t be a boxing movie if the big fight didn’t happen, so he’s probably not going to listen.

How does Viktor compare to Ivan Drago?



Since Creed II is all about sons measuring up to their fathers, it only makes sense to wonder how Viktor Drago compares to his dad.

In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago stood 6’5” and weighed 261 pounds. This was thanks to extensive training and whatever no-doubt illegal chemicals his handlers injected into him. The film shows him as almost inhuman and monstrous.

Munteanu — and therefore Viktor — has similar stats, which is a little intimidating considering we’re talking about a real person and not a fictional boxer that the Soviets basically grew in a lab. He stands 6’4” and actually lost weight for the role. So he “only” weighs 245 pounds. And according to the actor, he achieved this by using old-style Russian training methods, some of which will actually appear in the film.

The Drago Legacy



Adonis sees the fight against Drago as an opportunity to reclaim — and possibly exceed — his father’s legacy while getting some sort of proxy revenge for his murder. He’s spent his whole life feeling like he’s had to live up to his famous, heavyweight-champion dad, and this is an opportunity to do so.

But Adonis isn’t the only one carrying father issues into this fight. Ivan Drago trained his son specifically to carry on in his stead. And Viktor’s success will be his own after his fall from grace 30 years ago. Losing to Rocky and embarrassing himself in front of high-ranking Soviet officials effectively ended Drago’s career, and his son presents his best opportunity to return to the spotlight.

So Viktor is carrying his own share of historical baggage, which adds even more to the stakes and tragedy of the bout. The fighters have more in common with each other than they realize, but pride and pressure are forcing them into the confrontation.

Viktor Is More Than His Father



Considering the complicated family history between Adonis, Viktor, and their trainers, comparisons between fathers and sons are likely. But from the footage we’ve seen of the younger Drago in action, he’s nothing like his once-famous father.

That’s probably because rather than being a symbol of the might of Soviet sport and science, Viktor is rising from the crumbs of his father’s life. The elder Drago got the boot from his home country after the fall of the USSR, and he ended up raising his son alone. He’s obsessed with revenge and blames Balboa for everything bad that happened to him.

And he’s poured all of this hatred and rage into his son, who then passes it on to his opponents. Viktor is an aggressive, angry fighter. That’s a huge shift from his father, who was basically an enormous punching robot made of meat and steroids.

The post Who Is Viktor Drago? ‘Creed II’ Villain and ‘Rocky IV’ Connections Explained appeared first on FANDOM.

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Shoe Toe Shapes and Detailing Explained

The toe of a shoe is the most forward projection of your body, so it literally leads the way for the rest of you.  Therefore, it’s an important style consideration that will most likely be the design focus of your shoe purchases.

The shape and decoration of the toe of your shoes will almost certainly be noticed first. In this article, we’ll explore the various shapes and ornamentation possible on a shoe’s toe and how it can affect appearance and comfort.

Spectator Tassel Loafers

Spectator tassel loafers are sure to be noticed

The Shape of a Shoe Begins with the Last

The overall shape of a shoe is created by the last, which is the name for the form traditionally made of wood and hand-carved by the shoemaker. These days lasts are also machine-made or 3D-printed from plastic.

refined lasts

Wooden carved shoe lasts

The last then serves as the mold for the upper of the shoe, thus giving it shape. The leather is stretched on the form and allowed to sit there for some time (often several weeks) until the shoe upper holds its desired shape. Shoemakers will name or number their lasts to distinguish them for themselves and their customers. The shape of the last determines the fit and shape of the shoe as a whole, and these are most influenced by the shape of the toe.

Awaiting lasting

Shoes awaiting lasts

Classic Shoe Toe Shapes

Although there are numerous subtle variations in toe shape, these can be boiled down to a handful of basic shapes, namely round, almond, square, and pointed.

Round Toes

The most basic and traditional shoe shape is the rounded toe. This can be quite spacious and therefore very comfortable, especially if you have broad or wide feet. Because the shape is simple, it tends to be innocuous on most shoes–nothing offensive but perhaps nothing exciting either.

Tricker's Stow Boot - The ideal fall companion

This Tricker’s Stow Boot is chunkier and therefore well suited to a round toe shape

Despite being basic, a truly round toe tends to look best on more structured and heavier shoes, from boots to chunky country derbies (Tricker’s, Church’s, Grenson) to trainers or sneakers, but on loafers, which already are smaller and closer fitting than other kinds of shoe, a round toe can make your feet appear shorter.

Round-toed Shoes

Round-toed loafers can make your feet look smaller

This is because the half-circle shape of the toe does not elongate the foot visually but gives it a snubbed appearance. To compensate for this the added mass or bulk of a heavier shoe is necessary. You can see this on the variant of a round-toe shoe called the Budapester, named for its origins in the Hungarian shoemaking tradition. True Budapesters have a spacious toe box with some height to it. You can see the real deal at Vass Shoes from Hungary, but versions of it can be found at Crockett & Jones and elsewhere.

Budapester shoes

The shortness of a round toe looks best on boots and chunky shoes like these three budapesters because their mass counterbalances the shortness of the toe.

Shoes that you might consider oval at the toe also fall under the “round” umbrella in many cases. These are found on traditional British dress shoes, particularly oxfords. The shape is classic and not showy.

Crockett and Jones Connaught black oxfords

Crockett and Jones Connaught black oxfords on the round-toe 236 last

Almond Toes

An almond toe is essentially a more elongated version of a round toe, shaped like the narrower end of the nut it is named after. You can think of it as a tapered oval. In my view, the almond is more flattering and elegant than the simple round toe. It’s also more contemporary with an edge of dandy style. You might say that an almond toe exists in the “Goldilocks Zone” of footwear: among toe shapes, it’s just right. It provides a bit of foot elongation but is not at all extreme. In some more exaggerated versions, you can really identify the almond shape by the way the shoe widens considerably at the ball of the foot (the base of the toes).

Almond-toe monk strap from Ace Marks

Almond-toe shoes, like these monk straps from Ace Marks have an elegant shape

Some almond-shaped toes can be chiseled. This means that instead of having a smooth curved edge along the outside of the toe, you have straight cuts or angled sides. This is most apparent if you direct your eyes to the sides or bottom of the sole since the softness of the upper can make it less obvious. A good example of the chiseled almond toe comes from British bespoke shoemaker Gaziano & Girling who are renowned for it. The shape isn’t really possible with round toes, so chiseling really begins with the longer almond shape.

Gaziano & Girling's signature chiseled toe

Gaziano & Girling’s signature chiseled toe, evident in its three angled edges

Square Toes

The general rule is to avoid wearing true square-toe shoes. This sort of toe is usually found on inexpensive footwear, and, frankly, it can be described as blunt and ugly. You’ll know these snub-nosed shoes when you see them because they are hideous and cheap looking.

square toed shoe

Ugly square-toed shoes

However, note that certain brands can call a chiseled toe a square toe. This will usually be an almond toe with a leading edge that is rather straight across the front. Crockett and Jones Square Toes

Crockett & Jones Last 348 (square toe) and 337 (called “a soft square”)One example is Crockett & Jones’ Last No. 348, which is worn by James Bond in the SPECTRE and Skyfall films and is the most widely used shape in their collection. The company calls this a square-toe, but no one would mistake it for the square toe shoe shown above.

We could call it a chiseled toe or straight toe instead, as there is no standard naming requirement across different brands. So use your judgment and trust your eyes when assessing a shoe labeled as having a square toe.

Pointed or Elongated Toes

Pointed shoes were once the rage in 15th-century Europe where they were called either crackows or poulaines.

Crackow shoes

Pointed-toe crakow or poulaine shoes were the rage circa 1470

These went to ridiculous extremes of length as a sign of virility (longer feet suggesting larger genitalia) and some even had bells at the tips.

Winklepickers

Winklepickers were extreme to say the least

They made a comeback in the winklepickers of the 1950s British rock scene and survive today in similar rock-n-roll boots (envision alligator skin) and in some cowboy boots. Thankfully, truly pointed shoes are hard to find in dress shoes that can be worn with classic menswear.

Olive green shoes with navy trousers

Olive green shoes with an elongated last

So, rather than speaking of pointed toes, when it comes to dress shoes, it’s more useful to speak of elongation. We already mentioned that almond-toe shoes as elongated, meaning the toe area of the shoe is extended. Shoes that are not elongated normally have a small amount of space beyond where your toes end, but elongated ones have more. Bestetti elongated toe

A highly elongated last (with a round toe): Riccardo Freccia Bestetti’s Boston shoeThis is especially true of toes that are chiseled or otherwise narrowed at the front; obviously, you can’t cram your toes into an area that is tapered, so the shoe has to be longer to accommodate the shape of the last.

Crockett and Jones 348Last

Crockett and Jones 348Last

A good example of this is Crockett & Jones’s 348 last, called the “Lowndes.” As they say, “The wearer may have at least an inch of space at the front of the toe box, which will not affect the heel to ball fitting as it is more for aesthetics.”

The elongation of the Lowndes is quite subtle, but, according to Donika at Crockett and Jones’ flagship shop on Jermyn Street, many men become alarmed when they put on one of their elongated models and look down at their feet. She recommends looking at elongated shoes in the mirror, rather than just by looking down at your feet in order to gauge whether the proportions are right.

If you have smaller feet or just like the style of a longer shoe, give it a try, but, as always, moderation is the key. You don’t want to look like you are wearing oversized clown shoes, but high-quality shoes from well-established brands won’t go to extremes, so you’ll be safe with them.

Shoe Toe Decorations

Reddish Brown Captoe Double Monks

Reddish Brown Captoe Double Monks

The All-Purpose Captoe

Besides its actual shape, the toe of a shoe also contributes to the overall appearance of footwear through its ornamentation or lack thereof. The simplest toe is completely unadorned, followed by the cap toe, in which the toe area of the shoe is separated off by a line of straight stitching, shown side by side in the Crockett & Jones 337 and 348 last images above. Since simplicity of design makes an article of menswear more formal, a plain or cap toe oxford is suitable for the requirements of morning dress and black tie, as well as for business suits.

Smart Casual Details: Wingtips and Broguing

Meermin Austerity Brogue - Made in China with red lining at a high quality standard

Meermin Austerity Brogue – Note the simplicity of the stitching that forms the “wing” on the toe

Next up in terms of increasing ornamentation is the austerity brogue, which is the simplest form of wing-tip. This is made up of stitching in the shape of a W (technically, “a backward-extending point and curving sides”) to separate the toe from the rest of the shoe. The name originates from the austerity measures imposed on British shoemakers during World War II. Since they weren’t able to use the same amount of leather as required by a regular brogue, they simplified the design.

wingtip spectator derby shoes with Mid Brown Socks with Green and Cream Clocks by fort belvedere with brown trousers

A spectator wingtip clearly shows the detailed design of the toe box in the usual wingtip, the wing shape is made up of a pattern of perforations that resembles lacework, but you can also find this as a straight band forming a captoe. This is the broguing, which was originally designed to allow water to drain out in country shoes worn in wet, muddy conditions.

Wingtip Cognac Antique

Wingtip in an antiqued cognac leather

The Formal Medallion

The last sort of broguing related to shoe toes is the medallion. This is an ornate geometric or floral pattern of perforations adorning the toe cap. You can find these alongside other brogue details, but they are sometimes the only bit of ornamentation on an otherwise fairly plain shoe. The latter will not be as formal as a plain cap toe, but a medallion can still feature on oxford shoes.

Beautiful Medallion with 12 hole lacing

Beautiful Medallion with 12 hole lacing

The Laid-Back Split Toe

Back to more casual shoes, there is one other type of toe feature that is worth mentioning, and that is the famous Norwegian split-toe, found on lace-up derbies and, occasionally, penny loafers. As the name says, there is a vertical seam right in the middle of the toe. Because of the visible heavy stitching, these shoes tend toward the casual, to be worn as any other derby.

suit slacks in mid-brown with split toe derbys

A pair of vintage Norwegian-toed derbies made by Mannina of Florence with a split toe

Toe Color Variations

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that shoes can also feature a toe in a different color or material than the rest of the upper, such as cream suede on the vamp and brown calf leather at the toe. These are spectators, whether captoes or wingtips. But, for those who find spectators too showy and want a more subtle difference, many a brown dress shoe is available off the shelf with color variation in the patina, usually darker tones of brown, at the tip.

Half Brogue without Medallion & two tone Ghillie brogue shoe by Ugolini

Two-tone Ghillie brogue shoe by Ugolini at right

Conclusion

Like other style details–shirt collar shape, the rise on a pair of pants, or lapel width on a suit–the choice of toe shape should be governed by what looks best with your physical features. Just as a man with a round face should not wear a wide-spread shirt collar because it increases the impression of width, if you have smaller feet, you should probably avoid rounded toes and try an elongated last. The choice can balance your proportions.

It is also important to realize that these toe shapes also often appear in combinations, so you might have a shoe that is elongated with chiseled sides and a square toe, but once you know the varieties you should be able to identify them when you examine a pair of shoes. Then choose the shape and amount of ornamentation that suits your personality best.


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The Florida Recount Explained | The Daily Show

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