Michael Williams Loves Workwear and Whiskey

By
Michael Williams, founder of AContinuousLean.com. Photo: Angelo Baque

A couple years back, Michael Williams was bored by the handful of menswear blogs he browsed. They were either "too straight or too gay," as he puts it — "either about grills or about some crazy new man accessory." So in December 2007, Williams launched AContinuousLean.com, a style-slanted blog after his own interests — handmade goods, Americana, denim, and workwear — plus whatever else struck his fancy in music, food, and booze. Spending a few hours a night blogging, his following has grown to around 350,000 visitors a month, and he's a regular contributor to GQ.com and Selectism.com. This weekend, Williams and UrbanDaddy editor Randy Goldberg have curated a menswear-only Pop-up Flea, stocking merch from Rogues Gallery, Billykirk, No Mas, Michael Andrews Bespoke, and more, and some of Williams's favorite brands will carry over into his blog's new online shop, launching Monday. We talked to him about shoes, eBay trolling, and drinking (occasionally all at once).

What sets A Continuous Lean apart from other style blogs?
It's not about fashion — the F-word is never used — it's just about well-made stuff. It's focused on craftsmanship more than anything, whether that's a $6,000 Savile Row suit or work boots from Wolverine.

You've curated a menswear pop-up this weekend. Are you worried about competing with Save Fashion?
It's like the antithesis of Save Fashion: It's not about fashion, it's not a sale … it's just clothes and curated stuff. Randy [Goldberg, of UrbanDaddy] and I were joking around, "You go ahead and save fashion — we'll be over here, drinking whiskey."

Who are your favorite designers?
I like Nigel Caubourn from the U.K., Steven Alan, and Billy Reid. But mostly I'm adherent to a uniform: flap-pocket Oxford shirts from J.Press or Hamilton 1883, jeans from A.P.C. or Jean Shop, and Barbour jackets. But that's representative of the guy that reads my site — it's a very sort of man thing, to wear the same stuff over and over.

What's the first designer item you bought?
I think in the nineties sometime I bought some Prada shoes — that was a big thing for me at the time. Now a designer buy for me is Alden or Church shoes.

Where do you like to shop in New York?
Steven Alan is the store that best represents me. I also like Hickoree's Hard Goods, an online store that has awesome vintage stuff. And City Foundry, which carries all this Machine Age industrial furniture. I'm also the craziest eBay addict.

Anything in particular you're hunting for?
I love to buy stuff on eBay, just so every day I get a crazy package with something random in it. Sometimes I'll get drunk and go on eBay and forget I bought something the next day — then a package will show up with all these buttons or a wool blanket or something. It's my own induced vintage Christmas.



How would you describe your personal style?
Disheveled. I think people are a little underwhelmed when they meet me. I love workwear, but I don't need to wear bib overalls. I can exorcise those demons online.

What trends are you appreciating right now?
A lot of people are buying American-made stuff, and I hope that continues.

Any current trends you hate?
Luxury for the sake of luxury. It's like luxury condos: Do you ever see a condo that's just marketed as a condo? No, it's always a luxury condo. It's bullshit. And it's indicative of the whole luxury market.

What's something you're saving to buy?
I don't really have any needs in my life. I mean, sure, I'd like to go to Savile Row and buy a crazy-expensive suit, or go buy an IWC Portuguese watch. I'd like to buy that, but I don't have any money, and I'm okay with that. I have a Timex; it works.

What should every guy have in his closet?
The real giveaway with style is footwear, and I think women will attest to that. If you met a guy with bad shoes, it'd be something you'd have to get over. He should have a Chukka boot, a nice English brogue, and a saddle shoe.

What's something you never leave the house without?
My Springer spaniel, Lancey (like Delancey Street). I take her to work every day.

The Pop-up Flea, 201 Mulberry St., nr. Spring St.; F (3–9), S (11–7), Su (11–6)