These are my coffee-stained Incotex trousers.
Anyone who's been looking at shoes in this thread will no doubt recognize the carpet from the second floor of the W San Francisco, the venue for StyleForum's 10th Anniversary festivities.
About an hour earlier, my wife, 10-month old son and I were at the Starbucks down the street from the hotel, having just checked out of the W. It was the morning after the O'Mast screening, and I had just finished browsing this very thread on my iPhone, tying usernames to the faces of the many well-dressed gents I'd seen the night before, and checking for updates from Gus and Fok about the soon-to-start vendor showcase. Putting the phone down on the table, I looked to my wife and offered to play with my boy for a bit, giving her a brief respite to enjoy her breakfast. She gladly handed him over.
My boy--firstborn, bright-eyed, joyous and ever-curious--was trying to grab everything he could see. While holding him secure with one hand, I used the other to move my phone just out of his reach. This left me out of position when he dexterously spun around and swiped at my grande coffee with soy.
The paper cup seemed to teeter for a second and then fell over, the plastic top coming loose just enough to allow the contents to gush out. I immediately righted it, but not before most of the coffee flooded the table. Turning instinctively to keep my son away from the hot liquid, the larger share of the coffee pouring off the table splattered onto the floor and my Incotexes.
Let me pause for a moment to praise the kindness of San Franciscans. To this point I had the distinct impression of them as a people cooly wrapped up in their own affairs and mobile devices, mentally detached from those around them--especially so at coffee shops.
So I was pleasantly surprised when two strangers at two different tables immediately leapt to action, one finding and bringing over a wad of paper napkins to sop up the mess while the other went to inform the staff of the spill. Still holding my son, I was unable to move quickly myself, and so expressed my thanks while holding the entire Bay Area in much higher esteem.
After the excitement and the cleanup, I sat wondering what to do about my blemished trousers. Believe it or not, that was their first outing--I'd just gotten them back from the tailor after hemming and a slight taper. I had another pair packed away in the trunk of our car, but I figured if I'd ask the valet to bring the car down, I might as well just call it a day and leave the city immediately, skipping the showcase.
The whole trip had been exhausting. My wife and I had learned the hard way that traveling with our boy was a much more strenuous affair than it had been just a few months earlier. He's usually a calm kid and a charmer with his big toothless smile, but he bubbled over with excitement at all the new sights and sounds of the city. I just wanted to leave right then, make the 90-minute drive home, change into well-worn Levis and enjoy the afternoon relaxing and playing with my son at home before attending another engagement we had that evening.
I was all but committed to that path when we got back to the W. We went up to the second floor to find a quiet spot to feed my son lunch before retrieving our car. That's when I took this picture.
It's also when I saw the showcase for the first time. Brooklyn Circus was just finishing setting up their display. The folks at Goorin Bros. encouraged us to try on a hat as we passed by. And there was Will Boehlke of A Suitable Wardrobe, somehow even more majestic and well-turned out in person than in pictures.
It was re-energizing. I decided to stay. Who cared about the stains on my trousers? The summery grey check pattern obscured the coffee pretty well, anyhow.
StyleForum's 10th Anniversary would only happen once. I wanted to be there, if only for the screening and the showcase.
We were tight on time, but I made a few quick loops through all vendors' booths. The shoes at Leather Soul were gorgeous, of course. A gent at Jack/Knife showed me the 125-year old pair of jeans on which they modeled their newest cut. I enjoyed an all-too-brief conversation with Alan Au, and swapped parenting stories with the fine folks at Sette.
I very awkwardly told Will that I found his site inspiring. He told me I had a great-looking kid.
Thanks, Fok et al, for this forum, and a great weekend. And thanks for encouraging me to bring my son along.
And that, iGents, is my Panta story.