Thursday, December 31, 2009

Professors: Underrated Icons Vm. 2 — Archie and The Gang

-I'd completely forgotten about the time I spent flipping through my neighbors stack of Archie comics as a kid until I found one laying around at my girlfriend's parents house over Thanksgiving break. Archie has been entertaining kids since he was created by Bob Montana in 1941. Another thing Archie and his crew have been doing since World War II? Keeping it steezy in the clothing department. Archie's style has the unique quality of showcasing the best and worst of each of the decades in which he's been drawn. Archie is always daring and sometimes ridiculous (see: pink bell-bottoms) but he always gives a nod to the classic natty style of his early days. Follow me after the jump for some more photos of Archie and The Gang's iconic style and some more random Archie trivia (I got a little obsessed researching Archie for this post.)

-Even though Archie is never shown to be on any sports team, he often rocks Riverdale High gear with pride. In the vintage cover I used for the lead-in image we see Archie in a Riverdale sweater-vest with a polka dot tie. Lose the plaid pants and that's an outfit I would walk out the door in right now. Ignore this huge gap, scroll down.

-Besides varsity gear, Archie's most consistent quality look is his white shirt under crew neck sweater get up. Though I rarely rock a non BD-collar under a sweater, this is the look I most relate to. Keep it simple, keep it consistent. Archie and his friends are based on real-life people from Haverhill, Mass. where Montana attended high school from 1936-1939.

-Mr. Weatherbee is boss-status. Literally and stylistically.

-Sometimes Archie makes a mistake when dressing. The day he pulled out the polka dot sweater, orange plaid pants and cowboy boots was one of those mistakes.

-Dilton Doiley! My, and now your, favorite Archie character. Actually, Cheryl Blossom is our favorite Archie character (she was removed because she was deemed "too sexy".) You remember that Asher Roth mixtape jam about which cartoon characters he would fornicate? Yeah. But anyway, Dilton —Riverdale's resident nerd/genius, is by far the iciest cat in the Archie crew.

-What really strikes me as interesting is the fact that Montana, and the artists who continue the Archie legacy, have to pick clothes for Archie and his friends for every story. I just wonder how much thought goes into those decisions? Whatever the case, the 70 year old comic has definitely been a stylistic influence to generations of kids, and he's hasn't got the sartorial respect he deserves.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

School Supplies: Spring Quarter, Band of Outsiders Polos

-The new Band of Outsiders polo shirt collection, "This is not a polo shirt collection" (dumb name, I know, they probably know too) will probably show up on a shitload of blogs because that's usually what happens with BoO stuff. But I'm inclined to post because the polo shirt department is an area where I've been seriously lacking since I lost my favorite Penguin polo when I was 12. The only polos I currently own are an Abercrombie one from 2004 and a $7 white one from Wal-Mart. I've actually have a few of the latter because they're pretty much disposable — given the price, and my inclination toward spilling chocolate on white shirts. Anyway, the point is that I've neglected to upgrade my polo selection as I've continuously sought to upgrade the rest of my wardrobe and, come springtime, I'll be in the market for a quality polo. The new Band collection looks pretty good to (I grabbed my favorites above.) I love the nautical wavy stripe and the Baumer-worthy white piece. The price points are pretty high ($150-$200) but that's to be expected from Band. Normally I wouldn't consider dropping that much for a polo, but these are made in Japan and I'd wager that one would last me quite awhile, so we'll see how I feel this spring. The collection also marks the start of Band of Outsiders online shop, which is something many of us have been asking for for a couple years now.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

School Supplies: Timber Preservation Society + Miniview

-I first encountered Timber Preservation Society at our friend Heather's basics boutique Swell. I bought the "Old Man Maze" shirt (top right) and probably got more comments on it than any other t-shirt I have. A few months later I bought the "jugs" shirt (top left) and encountered the same interest from people I bumped into. As I began to accrue an interest in the brand, TIMBER! shirts became like Pokemon to me, I want to get them all. Graphic tees aren't something we feature often here, but the TIMBER! style just resonates with me for some reason, probably because my love for the Pacific Northwest lumber culture is something that influences my style heavily. I spoke briefly with TIMBER! artist/creator Chad Eaton about the roots of his lumberjack theme. Check out his answers and a few more of my favorite TIMBER! shirts after the jump. 

CA: What's the root of the timber/logging/lumberjack theme? Is it something that emerged early in yoru artistic career or a later development?

T: Forest related things have always interested me, so it made sense that the first shirt I ever designed for myself had a lumberjack on it. Really the whole concept just grew from there.

CA: How did you become involved with Element and other skate companies?

T: I started printing TIMBER! shirts first, while a friend of mine was interning at Element. Lucky for me, he wore a TIMBER! shirt to work, and before I knew it, I was submitting designs for them on a freelance basis. It has proven to be a great relationship so far, and I get to see my art made into things that I couldn't make myself.

CA: When did you decide to adapt your art to clothing? Did you always intend to make shirts or was it just a logical step for you?

T: I started out working as a screenprinter, so it was clothing first. Once I got serious about designing for clothing, I took my art a little more seriously too.

CA: Tell me a little bit about the Timber book you're working on. What else can we look forward to from Timber in the future?

T: The TIMBER! book has been coming together very slowly. I have always been a visual person, and created different aspects of the TIMBER! story visually, but I am excited about  articulating how my designs are related. Maybe it will be ready sometime in the next decade or so.

-Be sure to check out the TIMBER! site and their Etsy store for all the shirts and some other original TIMBER! pieces of art.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dress Code: LIFUL, and a Discussion of Varsity Jackets

-I recently learned about Korean brand LIFUL through Hypebeast and was very impressed by their collection. Their varsity jacket variations, two of which are seen in the bottom image, are stripped of the typical letterman adornments—leaving just the essential wool, leather and color. I always see varsity jackets and think that I'd like to buy one, and the LIFUL versions are probably the cleanest that I've seen, but I started to wonder why they appeal to me. Varsity jackets, and their appeal, seem to be more a product of the idealism of high school in America than a product of well-thought style. Let's examine further after the jump.

-I've got two secondhand lettermans that I purchased at vintage/resale stores. Both have goofy names, interesting patches and great color combos — but I don't wear them ever. I think I want to avoid looking like these jackets are actually my lettermans from high school and I'm still wearing them, refusing to let go to past glory. So why then, would I choose to rock a new varsity jacket? Well, nobody's really likely to confuse a Supreme varsity with some high school, but I think it's just the idea. My group of friends in high school, though most of us lettered in something and some of us actually bought the jacket, would never actually wear ours. We didn't want to be those douches with letterman jackets. We didn't like those douches. I'm not saying that every athlete who wore a letterman is a douche, but in American cliche movie culture, that's pretty much the idea. We had an image to protect: Even if we we lettered, peopled needed to know that we cared a lot more about skating, rock and roll, and drinking and partying then we did about our athletic/academic achievements. I don't know if all those things are at play when I see a dope piece like the LIFUL or the Supreme, but it's interesting to consider.

-On a more concrete level, there's the issue of actually working a varsity into an adult wardrobe. We see almost every streetwear brand with a varsity this year, and your stock streetwear kid can easily pull one off. But how does a responsible, but still young and risk-taking, sartorialist pull one off? I'm thinking I could do the red/white LIFUL with a white BD and black tie, maybe even a bow tie. I think scarves and varsities are always a good combo, especially if you can play the scarf color off one of the minor colors in the jacket. As far as adornments go, I can see the appeal of both. The Supreme piece is more traditional, it harkens more to the high-school ideal. The minimalist LIFUL reduces the jacket to the essentials – but does removing the patches and names also remove the context of why people in America (and Korea and Japan) are so intrigued by the aesthetic of a varsity jacket? Share your thoughts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dress Code: You Won't Catch Me In... Vm. 3: Humor

-Spending the last semester in Denmark has allowed me to get a firsthand look at the country's fine fashion and design offerings. I have been truly impressed by brands like S.N.S. Herning and stores like Wood Wood and Norse Projects, all of which I will have more on later this week. However, one of the more popular brands in Denmark has nothing to do with shoe collaborations or maritime sweaters. Instead, Humor specializes in clothing that is pretty much ridiculous in every aspect. Their collections are dominated by tacky patterns and outlandish color combinations, while their obnoxious "drop-crotch" jeans (see above) are often worn tucked into socks. I respect brands that do original things and have the ability to start such dominant trends, but I am still completely perplexed as to how this company became so popular. I can at least say that Humor got their name right, as I have spent that last four months laughing at teenagers with Euro mullets and jeans that give the illusion of a full diaper. more

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Professors: Underrated Icons Vm. 1 — Malcolm McDowell

-I quit reading A Clockwork Orange about 60 pages in. I should probably give it another shot. But I've seen the movie, and I watched a bit of the movie on cable the other day. When I clicked 'info' I learned something about which I was not previously privy: The actor who plays Alex is Malcolm McDowell. I've become a fan of McDowell in the past few years from his roles on Entourage, Heroes (I only watched 2.5 seasons, I swear) and Rob Zombie's terrific Halloween remakes.  After his performance in If..., which impressed Kubrick and won him the role in Clockwork, and his leading role in the controversial Caligula, McDowell's career descended into a series of typecast villains in b-list movies. Now, as an older man, McDowell's career is again flourishing. Hopefully others will take greater notice, as I have, of this incredibly underrated, authentic and iconic actor.
-I will be continuing the Underrated Icons series in the near future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Break: Seinfeld Postal Parka

-Taking a train ride today so I'm just dropping a little post. I recently bought a vintage L.L. Bean parka on eBay, but I spotted Newman's Postal Service parka in an episode the other day and now I'm thinking of trying to find one on eBay.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peer Review: My COE Favorites Series Contribution

-Head over to Components of Enthusiasm to read my guest post for The Favorites Series. Be sure to check out the previous guest posts and check back because there are still some great ones coming.  Thanks again to Paul for asking me to be a part of this collaboration. more

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dress Code: You Won't Catch Me With... Vm. 2 Tote Bag Hype

-Peruse the magazines/blogs and you will find a great many handsome, well-made tote bags. There are fantastic bags made from old sails, and totes made in America by companies who have been making canvas goods for 100 years. Talk most any style-savvy man and he'll tell you that in Japan and Europe, there isn't a stigma about men carrying bags. I've never cared much about the stigma attached to  particular item of dress, I'm actually inclined toward things that might be a bit effeminate just so I can argue when someone makes an ignorant comment. But as I became more intrigued about the prospect of using a bag that I must carry in my hands, and I came very close to buying the exquisitely-made tote from Makr (above, bottom-right,) I saw a girl in class with a tote packed to the brim and I had an epiphany: If I bought a bag like this, what the fuck would I put in it? Follow the rest of my train of thought after the jump.

-On any given day I may have to carry with me: A large camera, multiple lenses, a computer, an umbrella, notebooks, pens and pencils, Gatorade or water bottle, granola bars, iPod, headphones, etc. I'm just trying to list the things I might have to take with me when going somewhere, then trying to think about how a tote bag would help or hinder me.
-If you've been in college in the last 5-10 years you probably know that in the age the Web, e-mail and Powerpoint, there isn't really a lot of demand for lugging books to class. I might have to take a novel to a lit class or carry my AP Stylebook around, but I never, ever, have multiple heavy books with me. So, one novel and a notebook and a pencil, does that warrant carrying a tote? No.
-My computer, in a tote bag, would neither stay upright or lay flat in  a tote.
-My camera/lenses are too fragile to be flopping around freely in a tote.
-Basically everything I have, I don't want flopping around freely in a tote. And if I'm bringing enough things with me that the bag is packed tight and secure, what the fuck am I doing with so much shit?
-If I'm heading home to Portland/Vancouver I'm probably taking the train. I don't want my shit falling out everywhere, plus I've got a small/mid-sized duffel that will take everything. I might throw my computer in my brief case.
-The only reason I can see for carrying a tote would be going on a picnic, when I might have a thermos and a blanket and baseball mitts and maybe some small speakers. BUT! If I'm going to be all organic and go on a picnic, I'm probably riding my bike in the first place, on which I can't very well carry a tote bag. I live in the Northwest, so I ride my bike to the grocery store too. And I don't use plastic bags. Backpack.
-I'm just saying, I have a great appreciation for some of the great-looking, impeccably made totes bags, but I just can't see any reason why most men would choose to carry one around. Your hands will get cold! And seriously, I dunno if it's just because I live in America, but a lot of times, if that bag is too small, it looks like a purse. Is that a bad thing? I'm leaning toward yes.
-There are great backpacks out these days. I'm on a never-ending quest to find the perfect one, but I bet I'll find it before I ever realise that I'm in need of a tote/shopper/whatever.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Field Trip: Winn Perry, Portland Oregon.

-Portland has been my primary shopping destination since I got my driver's license in 2004. In addition to the standard stops such as J.Crew and Saks, the city has a handful of amazing vintage shops. But since I've been in college, and since I've been blogging, my tastes have refined a bit and I've found it harder and harder to find a quality retail experience in the 503. Winn Perry opened a little more than a year ago and I've been anxious to check it out since I first became aware of the store about six months ago. The shop has received quite a bit of press, but I wanted to grab some photos of the store's incredible stock and give an account of my impression. While wandering the store I had an interesting semi-interview chat with WP owner Jordan Sayler, who dropped a bit of knowledge about the store's future and his personal style tastes. My photos and thoughts are after the jump, because it's probably gonna be a bit run-on-y.

-Firstly, I apologize that it took me a week to get this up, I had a shitload of problems with Blogger's terrible handling of high-quality photos. If you'd like to see any of the photos in greater detail I'd implore you to command+click them to open them in a new tab. It had been awhile since I'd shot indoors, so I had to pump 400 iso on a couple shots, so, sorry for that.
-Secondly, when I enter the world beyond the jump, I tend to care less about structuring my sentences.
-Thirdly, I didn't bring a recorder with me and, as a journalism student, I can't in good conscience directly quote anything Mr. Sayler told me, but I can paraphrase with confidence.

-I'm no expert at interior/retail design, so I'm always at a loss for words when attempting to describe a particular feel of a retail layout. But I thought the store was very inviting. Nothing seemed cluttered, which is my pet-peeve when it comes to shops. I really liked the goods that were presented within the drawers of old furniture, more on that later...

-Before coming there were a few designers/brands I was excited about seeing pieces from. Alexander Olch was one of those designers. WP had the angora bow tie that was floating around all the blogs a few months ago along with a nice collection of other dope Olch items.


-I've slept a bit on Billykirk, but after looking at the pieces firsthand I've got a newfound appreciation for the workmanship therein. I wanted to check out some of the Makr goods first hand, but Sayler said the store was out of Makr at the moment but expecting some of the items from the new collection.

-I haven't really liked a lot that I've seen from Our Legacy, but this flannel might have been my favorite at the store (which included flannels from, Pendleton, Band of Outsiders, etc.)

-Interior shots, not my strong point, but here's Grace with her (fitting) Pendleton bag. On the rack you can see the super-dope Pendleton x Opening Ceremony macs.

-Rack of flannels. Also, I didn't get a photo, but it was my first time checking out first-hand some pieces from wings+horns, whose collections I've liked across the board.

-Here's one of the other items I was pumped to see IRL, the Alden x Winn Perry "Little Tanks" most of us first saw over at Inventory.

-The exquisite workmanship of some things really can't be quantified on the Internet. These boots fall into that category.

-The button detailing on the S.N.S. Herning, I'd love to try some creative stuff with these, a la that one picture on Close Up and Private (you know what I'm talking about?)

-I forgot the name of this model, but the hooded action might be my favorite piece from S.N.S.

-Pendleton blankets, if only I had money.

-Quoddy mocs, again, much better in real life. After reading about Quoddy everywhere for the past year or so, I finally got a chance to check some out. I asked Sayler about the potential for future collaboration with brands. He told me that there was nothing on the horizon with new brands, but that the Quoddy and Alden collaborations would continue. UPDATE: Check these, newest Alden x WP boots, look amazing and I love how Sayler localizes the item by getting special waterproof soles for the PNW climate.

-Field Notes, about which I have to second something Thom Wong of The Sunday Best tweeted the other day: Would be great if I didn't already have a million Moleskines. I like the idea of putting these, and the Billykirk belts, in drawers. It makes the shopper feel kind of like they're discovering something at an antique store.

drake's ties.
-Drakes ties. As a tie aficianado, I really liked this selection, especially that houndstooth piece.

-These Hillside selvedge chambray scarves and ties are definitely on my after Christmas list. I don't know which color of the scarf to buy, I may have to get all three.

-A little bit of Portland love here. Winn Perry teamed up with local designer/knitter Laura Irwin for some great knit caps. The caps are a unique machine-washable blend of merino, microfiber and cashmere.

-Sayler was wearing the S.N.S. red quarter-zip (I don't know the exact model name) shown on the racks in the first picture. I'd actually had some doubts about the fit of some S.N.S. pieces, but as you can see they fit pretty snugly.
-A couple other things that came up in our conversation:
     -If things continue on how they have been for WP (which I took to mean, things have been good) there's a possibility the store would expand and add another retail location next fall. Sayler said the new location would be similar to foreign retail locations in that it would offer a complimentary assortment of brands. Different brands, but the same overall aesthetic. He added that he's received a lot of interest from women about providing women's goods, which he has considered, but at this time it's not a high priority for WP.
     -Sayler told me he's pretty content with the assortment of brands/labels he carries. He said he doesn't want to crowd the limited space just to get new brands, he'd rather consistently deliver the high-quality brands he likes (he added that he has been described as having "old man" style.) He also said the store was updating it's Web site, which I have to say is definitely needed. I forgot to ask about the future possibility of selling the store's product online...
-Overall, the experience visiting WP was great and I'll definitely be making another trip when (if) I get some Christmas dough. I've interviewed a number of shop owners and a couple of them have been snobby and dismissive. People are understandably weary of discussing their businesses with student journalists/bloggers/people about whose credentials they have no prior knowledge, but Sayler was incredibly accommodating and answered my off-the-top-of-my-head questions with genuinely thoughtful  answers.
-On a broader note, my visit to the store was really inspiring. My career path has me heading toward men's fashion/style writing/magazine design and layout, but I've always hoped I'd somehow end up designing clothes and/or owning a store. Retail owners, and publications/Web sites, who have taken their commitment to quality to the level of co-branded collaborations are paving a new way into design. If there's an avenue for someone like myself into designing menswear that subverts the design school/draw/drape dresses route, then that's something I'm very inspired to pursue. I certainly have no idea of the finances involved in opening a shop like Winn Perry, but it definitely doesn't seem like an unrealistic goal for myself. As a style blogger, I'm obsessed with a curation of goods that represents my unique style and sets me apart from others. I'm sure my homies Paul and Lawrence would second that sentiment, and probably agree that owning a shop, being the sole buyer, and working with your favorite brands on collaborative pieces is the ultimate dream of the young sartorialist.
-Anyway, if you're in the Portland area and you like good clothes, check out Winn Perry, and pick up a copy of Inventory (which has a blurb in it about WP, but I didn't know that until I bought my copy there.)
-Be well, and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

School Supplies: Moccasins

-I wore moccasins pretty religiously throughout high school, and since my last pair disintegrated I have failed to fill the void left by their absence. Thus, I have decided that it is time to snag a new pair.
-Wisconsin's Russell Moccasin Co. had some nice options (below left), and I was impressed by Yuketen's unique design (below right) and recent collaboration with Woolrich.
-Of all the moccasins I looked at, the offerings from Quoddy were far and away the most enticing. Quoddy's mocs (above) are hand-sewn in Maine and they look absolutely perfect. The price tag is a a little intimidating, but the quality is unbeatable and I will surely own a pair of these someday. I have become a firm believer in the High/Low Philosophy championed by my co-editor, but after going relatively high on some A.P.C. denim and a new coat my bank account is hurting. Luckily, I found some leather Minnetonkas for an insanely low price, and I'm hoping they hold up until I win the lottery and can cop a pair of Quoddys.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

School Supplies: Red Wing for J. Crew

-While having a look around the Inventory Magazine site (formerly h(y)r), I came across these Red Wing for J. Crew leather chukka boots. They are fairly similar to the Sperry for J. Crew chukkas, which I really liked but ultimately refrained from purchasing this fall as, unlike my co-editor, I am not a fan of wearing boat shoes year round. These are a bit pricier but will fare much better in the PNW winter weather, and I may end up giving them a second look. more

Monday, November 30, 2009

School Supplies: Vintage L.L. Bean Parka eBay Snag

-I was pretty much mentally prepared to drop some real money on a parka next quarter, but on a whim I searched eBay for some vintage pieces. I grabbed this 80s gem tonight for $15. This will be the first time I've owned a hooded coat since I've been living in one of the country's rainiest non-vampire inhabited areas. I'm happy. More real posting to come late tonight. more

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

School Supplies: Toms Holiday Styles

-I posted about Toms way back in the early days of Class Act and a couple times after,  and I actually just wore my pair for the first time in a long while the other day. In the last year Toms has really been expanding their range of styles and patterns. I really like these new boot-ish models they're making. I especially like that they kept the trademark wrapped toe and the addition of the leather heel patch is a nice touch. Good shoes for a good cause, probably going to grab the brown ones sometime soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Administrative: Twittered (Again)

-I posted when I first made a Twitter account back in August, but I rarely tweeted and seemed destined to become one of the 60% of Twitter users who quit tweeting in the first month. Partly because I bought and iPhone and partly because I took a little time to follow some more interesting people, I've started to embrace and enjoy Twitter. I'm trying to convince co-author Tim to get one, but so far both myself and eyefive creative director/girlfriend Grace are utilizing eyefive-endorsed Twitters. If you're a fan of eyefive and a Twitter user, I implore you to follow both of us. We don't want followers just to boost our egos, we just want to make sure people who enjoy our content receive as much of that content as possible, even if it's just me on the bus reciting a rap lyric that popped into my head. Word. more

Thursday, November 19, 2009

School Supplies: Still Life Paratrooper Jacket

-I saw this jacket awhile back and I'm surprised nobody else in the blogosphere picked it up. I wasn't aware of Still Life before I found this jacket, probably because their primary product is hats and I'm not much of a hat enthusiast. But their small accessory and apparel lines look really promising, especially this poncho-style jacket made from military grade canvas. I really like the slant breast pockets and the brown accents. The jacket is $370, but I'm inclined to trust the quality and accept that the price is reasonable. This is definitely on my buy-sometime-this-winter list.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

School Supplies: Considering Bomber Hats

-I'm not much of a hat guy, but this year I've opted against my tradition of long hair for winter and my ears have been cold. I'm still deciding whether or not I could actually rock one of these hats and keep a straight face, but I definitely appreciate some of the options there are and I'll give props to anyone who pulls one off. The top left hat is my favorite, the Aviator hat by Canada Goose, $115 from Context. The Canada Goose version is lined with coyote fur which, despite the fact that I'm not to keen on real fur, is pretty badass. The other three hats are all from L.L. Bean. The leather version is priced nicely at $69 and the other versions are only $40. The L.L. Bean bombers are lined with rabbit fur and both the buffalo check and leather versions are boss and assuredly warm enough for some legitimately cold temperatures.