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Common Thread

The GQ 100: America's Best Men's Stores

The GQ 100: America's Best Men's Stores

This morning we awoke to find ourselves featured in The GQ 100: America’s Best Men’s Stores, featured online at GQ.com. In 1991 when we first started Harrison Limited, we never dreamed that it will be as well received as it has been in Birmingham, let alone around the country. We are humbled by GQ’s kind words, and more than that thankful for each and every one of you for your support. 

Thank you.

Read GQ Article Online

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A Better Khaki

A Better Khaki

There is no way to make a great pair of khakis with bad fabric. Khakis, with their birth in military uniforms, have always needed to look great while being incredibly durable and functional. The weight for instance, especially for a man in the deep South, is not an easy thing to get just right—light enough to breath, but dense enough for a flattering shape to last over the years.

Many of us have been wearing the same pair of khakis for years now. When it became clear these wouldn’t be available forever, we started looking for the right fabric to craft our own Harrison khaki pant to sell at the shop. We are excited with what we have found.

We are proud to introduce you to the Harrison Limited Badge Khaki. These pants are 100% cotton (available in a poplin or a twill), sourced from Japan, and made in Brooklyn by Hertling Trousers. When we felt this cloth for the first time, we knew we wanted to make our own khaki with them. We think they are the right balance of density and breath-ability. They are fully tailorable, and available in our two most popular fits, our more modern trim fit, and a more traditional classic fit.

Shop Harrison Badge Khaki Online

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With Thanksgiving

I don’t think it is a coincidence how often the Bible mentions thankfulness along with prayer and peace. Throughout the Bible, and in the Old and New Testaments, we are told not to worry. We are told to be thankful. And we are told to pray. But in the verse above, and many like it, we are reminded that it is through prayer AND thanksgiving that peace will come to our hearts and minds. That gratefulness creates peace.

This Thursday is a day for family. It is a day to sit together and feast on the abundance that our hard work has created. But it is also a day to remember the blessings that have been given to us. To the family with which we have been blessed. To the community and friends that add joy to our lives. And to remember that gratefulness out of our mouths brings rest and peace to our hearts.

This Thanksgiving, may your minds be calm, your hearts find rest, and your tables be full.

—SHP

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Reflections on Twenty Five Years

Reflections on Twenty Five Years

How could a post like this not begin with clichés? “Where did the time go?” “Time sure flies when you’re having fun!” After 25 years, even these cliché sentiments have turned out to be completely valid. Twenty-five years of sole proprietorship in the same location . . . Monday through Saturday, with doors open for business 58 hours a week. It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 25 years since Harrison Limited officially was born. It was 1992, and things were a bit different.

In 1992, no one had a cell phone. No one had an email address. If you were starting a business and watching your expenses, you even had to worry about spending too much time on a long-distance phone call. There was no social media (gasp!) –no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. No one was using the internet  (double gasp!!), and there were certainly no internet sales, because no one had a website. Oh how technology has changed.

Today, we wouldn’t dream of doing business without any of these new tools. Today, they seem essential if not mandatory. I’m not the earliest adopter of new technology, though I was the first guy in my fraternity house to own a CD player (in 1984). But some innovations and new trends have greater payoffs than others, and deciding where to expend your energy to the greatest effect can be difficult. Keeping up with all of this, while also trying to keep a shop open year after year, can sometimes leave a shopkeeper wondering where the real payoff is.

Men’s clothing styles have also changed a great deal in the last 25 years. In 1992, men were just beginning to embrace pleated trousers. Full in fit, with large thigh, knee, and bottom measurements, these trousers draped like the clothes of 1940s icons Fred Astaire and Cary Grant. Shirtings were fuller in the body and jackets, too, had fuller armholes, broader shoulders, and wider lapels. Today, the prevailing trend, as I’m sure most of you are aware, is trim, trimmer, and trimmest. Believe it or not, even this trend isn’t new. A few years ago, a good customer with even better taste, walked into the shop and declared that he wanted all of his new clothing to fit like the suit he was holding in his hand. And what was it? A 25-year-old Norman Hilton suit. I asked him to leave it with me so I could dissect its DNA, and I discovered that every single one of its vital measurements was within 1/8” to the specifications listed on one of our vendors’ “new/old” models.

Moments like this remind me that  “fashion” has never been a word with which I am very comfortable. I think magazines use “fashion” to produce sales. I prefer the term “style,” because style lives inside a person. Fashion can be right or wrong, according to the pundits of the day, but style is always right when it is a natural, authentic extension of a man’s work life, social life, and family life. The key to good style? Just be yourself.

On March 6, 1992, Harrison Limited opened its doors for business for the very first time. On this day, every year for the last 25 years, my sister-in-law, Holly Simmons, has brought me a bottle of wine at the shop to celebrate and encourage me. I often joke that Harrison Limited was born because I’m really good at knowing one thing—how to get dressed in the morning. And now Harrison Limited is a small, semi-proud business that can claim 25 years of legitimate existence because of that one thing. But none of that means anything without remembering the most basic reason for our continued presence in the community: that so many people along the way have made such lasting impressions on my life, and such significant contributions to 25 years of Harrison Limited.

First of all, our staff—though it seems plain wrong to just call them “staff”. For me, it was much, much closer to family. Alex Lockett, Wilson Matthews, Marty Crawford, Bennie Johnson, Mathew King, Calvin Reynolds. Also friends of the shop like Terry Slaughter and David Ytterberg. Each of you and your individual efforts and contributions humble me. I am truly grateful for each of the relationships we have been able to share.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge some industry people who have taught me how to conduct business and how to treat people. Woody Appleby, Miller French, the late Sam Jones, Bob Jensen, Rick Montavon. You guys are especially spectacular ambassadors of our increasingly tiny cottage trade. Each of you helps make me stronger.

Finally, but most importantly, you don’t make it 25 years in retail without a family that is loaded with grace and long-suffering. Missed soccer games, late arrivals at recitals, and abbreviated spring breaks are the casualties of owning a small retail business. Oh, and I almost forgot: don’t try to go anywhere during Christmas either. Margaret Ann, Caroline, Courtenay, and Ann Lacey, thank you for your patience. I am truly grateful and am a better man because of each of you.

 

Thank you for 25 years, from a guy who simply figured out how to be good at getting dressed in the morning.

 

SHP

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"Every good thing that could ever happen to a person..."


…Has happened to me.”

I’ve watched this story 6 times now, and would be happy to watch it a least a dozen more. I’m struck by this man’s courage and generosity to do more than the right thing, in one of the hardest of circumstances.

“Every good thing that could ever happen to a person. Has happened to me.” — Dunne

Credit to the Golf Channel for this wonderful piece.

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6799

6799

Since day one, we have insisted on working with brands that stand for something. The kind of people and companies that treat relationships with both our shop and our end customer with the same paramount importance that we do. It is something we demand before we add product to the shop, and it is why we have been working with many of the brands we carry for as long as we have.

Ultimately, we believe you have to look at the industry and answer the question, “Who’s making the coolest and very best product, for the right value, and will stand behind their product when the time calls for it?”

Early on, we picked up Alden Shoes, and I remain particularly proud of that choice today. We’ve carried Alden in the shop for 25 years now, practically since the beginning, and it isn’t because they’re trendy. They make a great product, at a great price. But equal to all of that, they are great people: a family-owned brand that sees as much importance in the long-term as they do in the next season. They do things right, constantly.

At the shop we call this shoe the 6799, and at this point, it seems a little late to name it anything else. It’s a makeup. And while it wasn’t our first-ever makeup, it is definitely our longest running. It isn’t color No. 8, and it isn’t tan. It’s dark brown. A classic Alden hand-sewn penny loafer in a Van last, but in a color that you’re less likely to see walking around your office already.

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On Community

On Community

The point of this post is to say thank you. To our friends, local community, and supporters around the country. It feels great to be part of the fabric of a community, and these past few weeks, as hard as they have been, we have felt just that. We’ve heard from friends reaching out just to say they are thinking about us, to customers that have chosen to purchase a suit or whatever, when they clearly aren’t wearing it to the office right now.

No matter the context of the message, we have heard it, and we are more than thankful. We are truly grateful for the outpouring of support that has been shown to us in the midst of this difficult time.

Because what we are seeing in this difficult moment is that not even this global pandemic can shut down community, especially one as strong as ours. (Okay our bias might be showing at this point, but so be it.) I struggle to imagine a situation in which we would have to shut our doors for 4+ weeks, suddenly, and without warning, where we still had the business that we do currently. Whether it be through phone orders or online, we are truly grateful for your business, and still committed to earning your business through great service, great products, and our sometimes quixotic pursuit of value.

Know that this is our way of saying thank you. And more than that, please know that we are still here. Whether you need to FaceTime us from your closet, or need help putting together a considerably more casual work from home wardrobe. We are still here.

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Introducing the Tassel Loafer

Introducing the Tassel Loafer

Alden Shoe Company introduced the iconic Tassel Loafer to the world in 1950

A couple of years in design, the notion of the tassel and corresponding strap as decoration only was a result of a collaboration with Hungarian actor, Paul Lukas. (Lukas won an Oscar in 1943 for his role in the movie Watch on the Rhine.) Lukas’ original idea included the tassel as a part of a functioning lace, but the folks at Alden changed the scheme from a lace-up to a slip-on to show the strap around the opening of the shoe culminating in the tassels on the vamp of the shoe.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Early on, this shoe’s popularity among college kids and recently graduated young professionals was so great that at one time Alden offered it in as many as 20 different leathers and colors.

Today, some 70 years later, the Alden Tassel Loafer is as iconic, as classic as it ever was. Often imitated, but never duplicated, the shape of the toe and the perfection of the Aberdeen last, from which the fit is derived, The Alden Tassel Loafer is as revered as ever. It exists exactly as it did in 1950, made in the same factory in Massachusetts with the same materials, and with the same time-honored construction and quality.

At Harrison Limited we proudly stock this great shoe style in 4 variations currently. Black Calfskin, Brown Calfskin, Chocolate Suede, and Snuff Suede. Through the years we have also “made up” our own Tassel Loafer styles in different leathers and colors. Some of you reading this now may have had the chance to obtain one of these rarities for yourselves, and you know what a unique treat they are to own and wear.

I’ve spoken before about the pride I feel representing great American companies like Alden. There aren’t very many of these kinds of brands or companies left in our country, so I value and cherish the pedigree and the tradition we enjoy by association. 

If you haven’t ever tried out a pair of Alden shoes, the shoe they invented, the Tassel Loafer is as good a place to start as any.

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