Duds for Dudes
Heaven, I was in heaven ? and my heart beat so that I could hardly speak. No, I wasn't dancing "cheek to cheek" with Fred Astaire; but I was definitely channeling Ginger Rogers, as the strains of one of the signature songs of the 1935 classic Top Hat wafted through the store.
What, no Ke$ha? No "Blurred Lines"? No Katy Perry? What kind of store is this? A fine and dandy one, that's what kind. In fact, it's so much so, that's its name: Fine and Dandy, "Accessories for Dapper Guys."
Are you a dapper guy? I'm talkin' 1930s, give or take a decade or two, dapper. I'm talkin' a time when a man who dressed fearlessly with flair was called a dandy; the kind of gentleman who'd roll over in his grave if he knew of the advent of "casual Fridays" and flip-flops on city streets.
If you pine for days of yore, when men wore pocket squares, spats and suspenders and smelled of Royall Lyme, descend the few steps into this cozy little store at 445 W. 49th St., where old-world elegance rules. Lest you think the atmosphere might be stuffy, be advised to the contrary: Wit, whimsy and playfulness abound, both in attitude and presentation, as well in the designs of the wares, many of which were drawn up to the owners' specs by local companies.
"We launched in 2008 online," says nattily dressed Matt Fox who, with partner Enrique Crame III (is that not the best name?), is F and D's "shopkeeper," as his card charmingly reads. After a series of pop-up shops drew a growing following, "it was time to start looking for a permanent space." That was less than a year ago, and Matt's "thrilled with the traffic we're getting on a small side street."
Come here once, and you will come back again to soak in the transporting sights, sounds and smells. Speaking of the last: Royall Lyme, a crisp, invigorating scent formulated in 1957, is indeed here for your delectation; $48 for 4 ounces of it, or any of the other Royall colognes, such as the sensually subtle Muske and the provocatively piquant Spyce. Each is beautifully boxed and stamped-wax sealed. (Matt shares that while some are denoted as a lotion or eau de toilette, they're all basically colognes ? the different designations are based on essential-oil percentages.)
Please note while "vintage-inspired" is the calling card here, virtually everything is indeed contemporarily made ? exceptions include wonderful old black-and-white photos on the walls and a big beautiful (genuine!) Underwood manual typewriter. While it was never the owners' intention to sell the atmospheric goods, folks have been buying them off the walls and the shelves, often before they can even be priced. So if you see something (you like), say something ("How much?").
I love the little metal and enamel $19 tie/lapel pins in such designs as the stars-and-stripes, a lucky horse shoe, and all sorts of autos and animals. Also compelling are the fabulous silver- and gold-plated cigarette cases for $25 ? oh, and the lavender silk pocket square emblazoned with champagne flutes and cocktail glasses for $39: much glamour!
Socks ($29 to $65) are stand-out, and include playful polka dots, sweet little stars, black-and-white hound's-tooth and traditional argyles in some very non-trad color combos, such as lilac with lemon and charcoal. "We're suckers for colors," Matt says cheerfully.
Matt, I'm a sucker for your store: And I say that as a non-dandified dame.
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