Blake vs. Goodyear: The Welt Showdown

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Blake vs. Goodyear: The Welt Showdown

Quality shoes are complex: they have a wide variety of construction methods for every aspect of the shoe, and these options all have their pros and cons. We’re going to look at shoe welting, and what you need to know when making a decision on the type of welt you want in a pair.

First of all, what is a welt? Put simply, the welt is the layer of material that rests between the insole and the outsole of your shoe. The insole is the layer of material your foot makes contact with when you’re wearing your shoes. The outsole is the layer that makes contact with the ground. In order to create extra support and water resistance, and for a superior, more durable construction, a welt layer is essential. Another term we will be using here is the upper: the pieces that construct the main portion of the shoe, the portion your foot goes into.

There are three main varieties of welt attachment, but we’re going to look at two today. The third is called cementing, and it’s simply gluing the layers together. It’s cheap, easy to do, and is usually found on more casual shoes that are less well built. Here, we’re going to focus on the Goodyear and the Blake welt, as they are the more durable options which speak to a higher quality of shoe.

The Blake: Industrial and Flexible

The Blake welt is more common than the Goodyear. It’s known to be less costly to construct and is a very industrial method, as it requires a specific machine and cannot be done by hand. In a Blake welt, the upper is wrapped all the way around the insole, resting between the insole and the welt layer. A single stitch is pushed down through the insole and passes through the upper, the welt, and the outsole, resting perpendicular to the shoe’s layers.

The Blake welt is simpler to construct. It does require a specific machine to create, but on the whole, it is less expensive than a Goodyear welt. The stitch goes through only a few layers, making it more flexible. Because of its simplicity in construction, it is generally easier to resole if necessary.

On the flipside, because the Blake welt requires a specific machine, resoling can be more expensive, despite the initial construction of a Blake welt being on the less expensive side. In addition, while fewer layers does make the shoe more flexible, it also makes it less water resistant, and in some cases, less durable. Some men say their foot becomes irritated by the interior stitching on the insole, as well.

The Goodyear: Custom and Intricate

The Goodyear welt is less common, but also more complex. It’s more expensive to construct because it is more involved and is often done by hand, but it is also more durable. For these reasons, it is widely considered to be the superior welt, and when we say it’s complex, we mean it: there is a three-step system involved in constructing a Goodyear welt. First, the insole is prepared by creating a rib that extends below the insole, into the welt, perpendicular to both. It can be cut and sculpted from the insole material itself, or it can use an entirely different material. The shoe upper is then stretched into the shape of the toe, and pressed up against the insole rib, where a second rib is made from the upper, resting next to the insole rib.

The next step is to last the shoe. A last is a three-dimensional model of a foot, used to shape the shoe before the pieces are all attached. In this case, the outsole is stretched over the last and attached to it. Third in the process is the welting itself. A shoe-thread is sewn through the welt, parallel to it, and then through the insole and upper ribs. A second stitch is made perpendicular to the sole and welt layers, attaching the welt to the outsole.

A major benefit of the Goodyear welt is that the two separate stitches makes for an easy resole, and while they are more expensive to construct up front, due to the extra materials and manual labor required, the lack of necessity for a specific machine makes for a less expensive resole. While the ribs created makes for a less flexible shoe, it is more supportive, durable, and water-resistant.

So Which Welt is Right For You?

When picking a welt style, it comes down to trade-offs. We’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons here, now it’s just down to what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to forego. If you’re looking for a hardy shoe that is going to last you for many, many years, go with a Goodyear. The Goodyear welt, with its durability, more involved construction process, and resoling capabilities, is widely considered the superior welt, which is why we strictly offer it here at HARTTER | MANLY. We want your shoes to last a lifetime and to only fit better with time. Like most elements of a man’s wardrobe, it’s a good idea to have a variety of options, but if you’re only looking to invest in one pair now, take these tips into consideration and pick out the perfect pair for you.

Learn about the HARTTER | MANLY process.
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ABOUT

Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Lapel Varieties: What They Are and When to Wear Them

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Lapel Varieties: What They Are and When to Wear Them

Source: harttermanly.com

The lapel is one of the most noticeable aspects of a suit. It works to frame your shape and draw the attention of a viewer’s eye to preferred features and attributes. There are multiple different styles of lapels, and they each work for you a bit differently; they are each suited for different occasions and each do different things to work with your shape and features.

Before we get into the different styles, let’s discuss the basics of lapels. Just what exactly is a lapel? A lapel is the matching parts on each side of the jacket, right below the collar, where the fabric folds back towards the shoulders. The average width for a lapel is 3.5 inches, but they can range anywhere from 2 to 5.

Which Width?

Skinny lapels have rapidly risen in popularity in recent years: they are very on trend, but it’s important to know what width is best for your body. Slim lapels work best on slim guys. If you’re frame is more on the broad side, avoid the slim lapel, as the proportions will be off and your body will overwhelm the lapel, making it look like it doesn’t fit properly.

Wider lapels – in the 4 to 5 inch range – typically work best on men with broad frames, but that’s not to say skinny guys should avoid them entirely. If you go slightly wider than average with your lapel as a skinnier guy, you can broaden your frame. Just don’t go too wide and let the lapel swallow your look.

Now that we’ve covered how to find the correct lapel width for your body and situation, let’s talk about the different styles of lapels. The three types of lapels are notched, peak, and shawl. They each best work with different suit styles and on different shapes. Here are the need-to-know basics of the different styles.

Notched Lapels (both jackets)

A Lapel for Every Man

A notched lapel is the most common type of lapel. It is called notched because the two layers of the lapel meeting together form a sideways V-shape, or a ‘notch’. It’s the easiest to produce, and therefore the cheapest, but it’s also the best for most everyday suits. You’ll want to wear a notched lapel on a single-breasted suit. It is the standard lapel found on most suits directly off the rack. It is wonderfully versatile and works for most business attire, weddings, nice dinners, and other semi-formal events. If you only have one suit, make it a notch, as it will work for most events.

When selecting a suit with a notched lapel, you want to look at the size of the notch in comparison to the width of the lapel. They should be in even proportions: if you have a slim lapel, you want a smaller notch. If the lapel is bit wider, look for a larger notch. This helps keep the look balanced, and ensures that the lapel doesn’t overwhelm the jacket.

Peak Lapel

Peak Design

The second style of lapel is the peak lapel. It is called peak because the lower half of the lapel has corners that angle upwards towards the shoulders, forming a “peak” on each side of the jacket. It’s the most expensive style to produce because of all the angles involved, but it’s got an edge to it that will always make you stand out.

The peak lapel is excellent for shorter guys because the upward angle of the peak draws the eye upwards, visually adding more height to your frame. It’s also good for more heavyset gents, for the same reason – drawing the eye up and lengthening the frame. For the width of a peak lapel, you want to avoid going too slim: it can look cluttered and you can lose some of the detail when making a peak too small. Peak lapels are great for more formal events or situations: executive style business meetings or functions, galas, or parties that call for evening-wear.

Shawl Lapel

Shawl: For Men in Black

The shawl lapel foregoes any edges; it rounds out in a continuous curve, no notches or peaks to be found. It is best to opt for a thinner, slimmer lapel if you’re going to be wearing a shawl style jacket – it makes for a sleek look. Shawl lapels aren’t the best choice for heavier guys or those with a round face, as the curve of the lapel can accentuate the curves of the body and face. The shawl lapel is almost always limited to tuxedos and black tie events – it’s used in only the most formal of situations.

As we’ve discussed here, lapels are important. They are one of the most stand-out aspects of a suit and they require quite a bit of consideration when you’re browsing for your look. There are many things to consider, the most major ones being your shape, the lapel width, and the lapel style. Now that we’ve discussed the basics, and some of the more in-depth concepts surrounding lapels, you’re armed with all the info you need to find the perfect lapel, just for you, right here at HARTTER | MANLY.

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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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The Suit Interlining: Fused, Half-Canvas, and Full-Canvas

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The Suit Interlining: Fused, Half-Canvas, and Full-Canvas

Suits are complex things. There are many aspects that go into constructing a quality suit, from the lapel roll to the cuff break to the interlining. Today we’re going to talk about interlining: the lining that holds your suit together.

What exactly IS interlining?

At its core, interlining is the layer of fabric that goes between the inner and outer layers. It’s what allows the suit to hold shape, kind of like a skeleton, but as with many things in life, there are different levels of quality, and what kind of fit you get all depends on the suit’s construction and the price point you’re willing to work with.

Suits can vary greatly in price. You can find some suits as low as $50, and some go up to far beyond a several thousand. There are many different factors that go into deciding a suit’s price, and one of them is the interlining. There are two main variations on suit interlining: fused, and canvas.

Source: Joebutton.com

Fused: Cheap in price AND quality

A fused interlining is one that is a thin sheet of fabric (usually wool) heated and pressed between the inner and outer layer. It’s cheap and easy to produce, which often leaves suits constructed this way at a lower price point. In fact, roughly 95% of off the rack suits are fused.  But there are several downsides to getting a suit with a fused interlining.

It is directly attached to the inner and outer layer, so it can feel more stiff. It is also less breathable, resulting in more sweat, which results in more dry-cleaning, which can diminish the quality of the suit and the fit, as the interlining eventually breaks down. When it does, the outer layer will bubble up, and the fit will be even less flattering. It will not form to your movements – rather, it will sit on top of your body, and will sag.

Canvassed: High-class, high price

If you’re looking for a better fit, and don’t mind shelling out a bit more cash, consider getting a canvassed suit. Canvassing is a form of interlining where a layer of fabric, usually linen or horse hair, is sewn into the suit. With the interlining only making contact at the points where it is sewn, a canvassed suit is much more breathable. It will move and shift with your body, and the more you wear it, the better it will fit as it begins to mold to your shape.

A canvassed suit is both more expensive to produce, and more time-consuming to construct, so you will most definitely see that reflected in the price. If you are going to a tailor to have a bespoke suit made, be sure to check that they will be creating a canvassed suit for you. There is no point in paying to have a bespoke suit made if it’s going to be constructed with a fused interlining – it entirely defeats the purpose of having a custom fit.

Source: Oliverwicks.com

Half-canvassed: A healthy middle

If you’re interested in a canvassed suit, but can’t quite afford the price, consider a half-canvassed suit. This suit is constructed with a combination of both fused and canvassed interlining. It will use canvas on the chest, lapel, and down to the pocket, with the lower half of the jacket being fused. If you need to, that’s an okay area to skimp on, because the drape isn’t quite as important at the lower half – it’s okay to let it taper down so that it has freer motion. You want the heavier structure to be on the upper half of your jacket, where it must form to your shape to accentuate it. That, after all, is the point of a well-fitted suit.

How can you tell what you’re working with?

If you’ve found a suit you’re interested in and want to know what kind of interlining it has, you can use the ‘pinch test’. Use two fingers of each hand to pinch and separate the inner and outer layer on the chest. If you can feel a third layer in between, then the suit is canvassed. If you can’t feel a third layer, it is because the interlining is completely pressed into the inner and outer layers.

In virtually all situations, a canvassed suit is the way to go if you’re looking for the best fit and drape, and the longest lasting suit. As mentioned above, the more you wear a canvassed suit, the more it will adjust to your body and the fit will actually improve over time. While fused is a more economical option, your best bet is to go at least half-canvassed, if you’re looking for a proper fit. Even though half-canvassed and full-canvassed suits are more expensive, they will last longer and only look better as time goes on. If you can, splurge, but at the very least, go half-canvassed. Your closet, and your body will thank you.

 

About the Brand: HARTTER | MANLY’s entry level suits are half canvas.  Since the brand prefers to only produce the highest quality garments, HARTTER | MANLY only charges customers it’s cost to upgrade to full canvas.  The value results in 90% of HARTTER | MANLY’s customers choosing to pick full canvas jackets.

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Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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