Tuesday, December 28, 2010

School Supplies: Levi's for J.Crew Rinsed Indigo 511

-If you've been a reader for any length of time you probably know that I'm a big fan of Levi's 511 cut. Though I love my raw denim, lately I've been looking for a pair of clean, dark jeans that I can wear on occasions that are casual enough that denim will suffice, but nice enough that I want to wear something without a faded back pocket and noticeable whiskering. I haven't been buying a ton of clothes lately, my wardrobe is pretty solid for this juncture in my life, but I had a J. Crew gift card so I was perusing the site and stumbled upon, and bought, this pair. They're dark indigo so they look clean, but they're a washed denim, a phrase which LAS insightfully pointed out awhile back  has become unfairly stigmatized amidst the raw denim resurgence. I still love my Baldwins, but the 511 remains the best cut I've found from any jean, and these will make a nice back-up to my go-to denim. more

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Break:

-Posting has been a bit sparse as I had a pretty hectic finals week, but in case you missed them, I've had a few recent posts elsewhere: a look at my Baldwin 77s few weeks ago over at Denim Debate, and the one from which the above photo is taken, my review of Bertucci field watches over at the Wharf blog. I mentioned on my Tumblr yesterday that I just sold my primary camera, but that doesn't mean I won't be blogging over winter break, it just means that any photographic content will come from iPhone photography or the unlikely chance that I get some film developed soon. In early January I will be getting my hands on a new camera and I'm very excited about what it will mean for the blog. Look out for even better photos and a lot more video projects in the coming year. As always, thanks for the continued support. more

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fall Quarter: Super Layering

-I live in the northernmost moderately-populated city in Washington, so I'm no stranger to cold weather, but usually we get to January before we see snow and temperatures in the twenties. This past week we got hit with an atypical snow storm followed by several days of sub-freezing temperatures, which when combined with wind gusts topping out at 65 mph, forced the telling "feels like" meter down to single digits. But alas, school was not cancelled, and I had to make a number of trips up to campus early in the morning and at night, when the high winds and low temperatures were at their worst. I found myself layering my thickest and chunkiest pieces with little regard for aesthetics, which might have been refreshing if it hadn't been out of necessity.

-I didn't take photos of everything I wore during the storm, but a few things struck me as worthy of documentation. For one of the evening hikes to campus I started with the incredibly thick Aran sweater I posted on awhile back, and topped it with this J. Crew chamois utility shirt I picked up a few weeks ago. I covered my face with my J.Press lambswool scarf and then went with my go-to winter coat as the outerwear. This combination was, without a doubt, the thickest and warmest layering I've ever performed. Follow me after the jump for one more set and a look at the boots that got me through the week.

-The above photo is from a day when I had a presentation, so I had to look at least marginally presentable beneath my armored exterior. I flipped the collar up on my Rugby sweater for the uphill trek to school, wrapped the scarf over my neck and mouth, and again topped it all off with my coast guard jacket.
-I like the idea of flannel lined trousers, a lot of people praise Filson's, but I haven't ever come across any in a slim enough fit for my tastes. Until I do, my go-to for cold weather is long johns under denim.
-I've been meaning to buy some Bean Boots this fall, but every time I've gotten close I've thought "well the weather hasn't really turned yet, I should save my dough." I should have pulled the trigger back in September, but luckily I've got a serviceable pair of boots in my possession. I bought these Band of Outsiders for Sperry boots about a year and a half ago and they've served me well in inclement weather. I know that they come from a pretty fashion-y collaboration, and I've even seen some people write about the lackluster quality of other pieces from the BoO x Sperry collection, but I am saying definitively that these boots are pretty fucking tough. The thick Vibram sole kept me sturdy on the iced-over sidewalks, and even though I've only waxed these boots once (last winter I think) they kept my feet dry. They aren't the warmest winter boots, there isn't much lining beneath the leather, but they're solid winter boots and I plan on keeping them for many years, even if I do snag some Bean Boots for truly torrential rains. And though they weren't pictured, wool camp socks were essential too.
-The weather seems to be returning to normal now, but actually glad I got to test out some gear against some truly brutal conditions.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Field Trip: Blue Owl Workshop

-I was looking for a place to get my Baldwin 77s hemmed with a chain-stitch in the Seattle area when someone told me about Blue Owl Workshop in Bellevue, Wa. I checked out their website and found myself wondering how I hadn't heard of the shop yet. A few weeks ago I took a trip down to the Blue Owl showroom to drop off my denim and check out owner Jay Doughten's unique space. Follow me after the jump for some photos and thoughts from my visit.

-Seattle denim aficionados may remember Doughten as the owner of the shop's former iteration, a downtown retail location called Atsui Tokyo. After closing Atsui and taking a season off from sales, Doughten relaunched as Blue Owl Workshop and showroom, which sells through its website and appointment-only visits to the Bellevue showroom.

-Mr. Olive shirting.

-I don't consider myself a hardcore denim head, but I wanted to bring Blue Owl to the attention of my audience because of the stock they carry, which includes denim and a well-editied selection of pieces from hard to find labels such as Mr. Olive, Denime, Triple Works, Sunny Sports, and Man of Moods. The shop also carries denim from Kicking Mule Workshop, Left Field and Naked & Famous, which though they may be better known, are still relatively hard to find outside of the country's few worthwhile menswear locations.

-Triple Works denim.

-While I was at the showroom Doughten, who seemed to know more about the history and processes of the Japanese denim industry than anyone I've talked to, online or elsewhere, broke down some of the finer details or well-made denim for me. Comparing a few different pairs, he pointed out stitch placement and other things a casual observer like myself might miss. With budget always on my mind, I asked Doughten for his opinions on various brands and how they compare at certain pricepoints. Blue Owl's profile has continued to rise lately as they've come out with collaborations with Triple Works and Left Field. Momotaro just landed at Blue Owl, and the shop is slated to carry 3sixteen next fall. What struck me about Blue Owl was the rapport Doughten maintains with the people behind the brands he carries. The fact that a shop without a traditional retail location is one of few places in America, and in the case of a few brands, the only place, speaks volumes about the ownership and their commitment to serving the West Coast demand for quality denim. I might not be pulling the trigger on new denim anytime soon, but when I do I'm definitely heading back to Blue Owl to try on a few pairs before making a decision.

-Left Field chinos and denim.


-Some of the much sought after Sunny Sports shirts.




-Leather goods from Corter.

-This post sounds a little more PR-ish than my usual posts, but I was sincerely impressed with the selection, and I'm always pumped on gems in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Quarter: Wintergreens

-I start the majority of my posts with something like "it's well-established that I love military garb blah blah," so it's no surprise that my closet is full of green. The muted greens of army surplus have their place, but lately I've been seeing a lot of richer greens and wondering how I can get my hands on some. I think green has always been a pretty daunting undertaking for me; one false move and you end up looking like you're ready for the St. Patrick's Day parade. But after taking another look at the Close Up & Private A/W10 photos I've been inspired to try to work some non-military greens into my wardrobe. I stumbled upon these olive jeans from Rugby on sale and pulled the trigger almost immediately. I've been on the hunt for green denim for a long time. I haven't quite figured out what to wear the pants with yet, but I think I'll keep it pretty muted up top, stick grey or white, and maybe even try them with my Harris Tweed.  

-Side note: I still haven't found a light crewneck sweater that isn't droopy in the waist like this one from J. Crew. Who has a recommendation?

-I like this patch. An absence of logos is rare among Rugby garments.

-Unattainably boss vest from Moncler.

-An old favorite from The Sartorialist.

-Two great images from Close Up & Private. more

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Quarter: Big Ol' Navy Peacoat

-I've never really been a fan of pea coats1. If you live somewhere with incessant rain like I do, it's not your best cold-weather option (unless you're down with rocking a 50lb water logged wool blanket.) I also see an inordinate amount of guys walking around in ill-fitting pea coats (is this a national problem, or just a Seattle/Portland area problem?) so I've been subconsciously turned off from the aesthetic. But I happened upon a surplus pea coat for free about a year ago and have just recently been trying to work it into the rotation. Anyone whose ever handled an actual government pea coat will attest, these things are heavy. I'm not sure of the weight in ounces, but the melton seems to be about a half inch thick, so this coat is really only a viable option when it gets really cold. The jacket looks black in almost any light, but in full-on natural light you can tell that it's really a deep navy. The shoulders are a tad big in this one, and the old-school collar is bordering on Dracula status height, but I'm going to keep rocking it for super cold evenings until I have the spare dough for a Schott.
1-I mentioned this back in my Favorites Series piece.  more

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Quarter: Hickey Fair Isle1 Cashmere Crewneck

-Continuing with my quick rundown of some of my favorite sweaters, here's another great cashmere piece that I got for much less than the suggested retail price. I blogged about this sweater back when it first appeared online with a lust-worthy but unattainable price tag of $450. But like all remnants of the sad tale of Hickey, this sweater ended up on Gilt last winter for $150 (and, like most things I snag off Gilt, it came back later at an even lower price, shmeh.) Typical of Hickey, the fit is great, and the made in Italy cashmere is super soft and warm. This crewneck is about twice as thick as the previously-posted Burberry knit, so it's one I save for the truly cold days. Though the fall of Hickey is a lamentable, I can't say I'm sad to have acquired four pieces from one of the best, albeit short-lived, lines in recent memory for about 1/4 the original cost.
1-Before somebody gets uppity about accuracy: No, the pattern on the sweater does not seem to be traditional Fair Isle, but that's how the sweater was marketed and therefore how I described it.  more

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dress Code: Epaulet Rivet Chino in Double-Faced Digital Camo

-It's no secret that I've got a tendency toward loud style, but apart from my red Polo jeans, my pant game is relatively tame. I became aware of these digital camo chinos from Epaulet via a post over at Dreams of Perfection and I felt the impulse to pull the trigger almost immediately (which, as L.A.S. points out, is usually a good call when shopping Epaulet.)
-If you're reading thing you're probably aware that camo and cargo had a big year, and I might have even said a negative word or two about the trend. In my defense, I think digital camo can work in a casual setting with much more ease than its woodland counterpart, and the fact that these were camo but not cargo is one of the main reasons I was drawn to them. I stand by my... stance on cargo pockets: If you carry so much shit that you need more than five pockets, it may be time to reevaluate your life (or maybe just upgrade your bag.)
-As you might imagine, it took a bit to figure out what I'd wear the pants with, a task not aided by a bit of miscommunication with my tailor that resulted in the chinos being shorter than I'd hoped. Nevertheless, I tried to channel a bit of Josh Kissi's high-crop steeze and put together some functional looks, check out a few more photos after the jump.


Friday, October 1, 2010

School Supplies: Vintage Madison Senators Bag

-Breaking out my yellow cableknit got me thinking about other things I've had for a long time but had never featured on the blog. This vintage gym bag from Portland's Madison High School is one of my favorite, albeit not entirely practical, vintage possessions.
-I bought the bag at Magpie, a vintage shop in downtown Portland I've mentioned here quite a few times, in early 2006. I don't have any idea of it's age, though once I was carrying it and had an exchange with an old guy that went like this:
     OG "Hey, you know how old that is?"
     Me "I dunno, like 70s?"
     OG "Naw man that's like 50s or 60s."
     Me "Word."
-I really dig the plastic handles and the bit of rust on the fasteners. Those details let you know the bag's age when compared to some similar modern bags (there are a bunch from Fred Perry that look just like this.) The color scheme is great, but obviously it's a bit loud for daily use. I do use the bag to carry shoes when I travel though. I like having a designated bag for shoes rather than trying to fit them in and weighing down my normal luggage. This isn't something I break out too often, but it's definitely a piece I'll hold onto for a years to come.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elementary School: Crewcuts Inspiration

-I've wrote in the past about my interest in iced out kid's style, and though I understand the complete economic idiocy of buying expensive children's clothes1, I often find myself digging certain brand's boy's styling more than their men's.
-J.Crew men's styling is hit or miss, they've got to navigate the challenge of appealing to a varied audience that includes both sartorial obsessives and casual shoppers. But their children's styling is almost always on-point, mainly because it employs a sentiment that most of us could stand to remember; rules are made to be broken. If the catalog featured grown ass men with neon green laces in their desert boots the internet haterade would flow like crazy. But thrown them on some kids and nobody will care, because kids can do whatever they want. And that's the problem. You don't have to be a kid to stand out a bit. I, like most people, am glad that there's been a sort of underground men's style Renaissance in the past few years, but one side-effect of that movement has been young dudes trying to dress like Don Draper. Most of you (readers) are in your 20s. There's still time to throw something wacky into the mix every once in awhile2.
-In the first picture, what I like even more than the laces, is the play on sleeve length and the mixing of tech materials with more traditional fabrics. I wouldn't put a windbreaker under a blazer anywhere that it might actually rain, but I've always tried to find ways to work in my nylon pieces without looking like a jogger from the future, which I think this look accomplishes. More than the use of the materials themselves, I love how the henley and the windbreaker give this kid some layers and some contrast at the cuff. I've said it before, but sleeve-length variance can add some much needed dissonance to your look.
-This might sound a little weird, but the sleeve cuff (along with the pant cuff,) is my favorite sartorial stomping grounds (which I was why I only mess with jackets with working button-holes.) My go-to uniform of OCBD/tie/crewneck sweater could look pretty Sunday if I didn't provide some variance in knot, tie color/material, and the way I roll/push/fold/whatever the layered cuffs of oxford cloth and sweater. There are few places in an outfit where several fabrics are revealed, the neckline and the cuff being the primary spots, and it is in those areas that I think men can best set themselves apart.
-This post diverted a bit, but the point is: take a cue from the kids, find your own quirks. Play with a few layers of varying sleeve length, reveal an unexpected color fabric at the cuff. You're (probably) not old yet. Chill out.

1- Glenn O'Brien wrote a great piece about this subject in City Magazine a few years back, but I can't seem to find it on the interweb anywhere. 
2- I do think the neon laces in the desert boots looks dope, but I'm not suggesting you take your style cues straight from the styling of a major chain, I'm just saying to find something, some quirk that will piss off traditionalists and is yours alone. more

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Quarter: Cashmere Burberry Crewneck

-I have way too many sweaters, but most of them are just plain grey/navy/brown crewnecks and v-necks. So I thought, fall being in full swing now, that I'd highlight a few of my favorite fall/winter knits (in addition to the Aran knit a few posts down.)
-This yellow Burberry is probably my favorite sweater overall, and one of the best things in my entire closet, but I think it has only appeared on the blog once. I bought it way back in 2005 when I should have been saving my money instead of buying clothes. Years later, it seems the investment was worth it, as this is one of the warmest pieces in my FW arsenal. Made in Scotland, this sweater is definitely the softest of the couple cashmere sweaters I own. Bright yellow isn't normally part of my repertoire, but I love pulling this out every once and awhile and brightening up the typically gloomy FW style scene. more

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Quarter: Blackbird Alden Shortwing Blucher

-With so many Alden collaborations and custom makeups around, it's rare that I get too excited about any, but I like this pair from Blackbird for a few reasons. Mainly, I dig them because I think it's the first time I've seen a shop put their touch on the shortwing blucher. Alden longwings are almost universally lusted after, but I'm part of the small minority that prefer the aesthetics of the shortwing. Something about that uninterrupted stretch of leather down the side makes the style seem a bit bulbous to me. The shorter wingtip will also cost you quite a bit less than its elongated brother. I also appreciate that the folks at Blackbird chose this great looking burgundy calfskin, whereas most folks automatically spring for shell cordovan when doing custom Aldens. What I like the most about this shoe is that Blackbird kept their local climate in mind and went with the double Waterloc outsole, which will help the shoes hold up in the wet Northwest weather (though we've seen this same tactic in a few of Winn Perry's Alden collabs.) I'd still love to own some whiskey cordovan longwings someday, but if I were in the economic position to pull the trigger on some new Aldens, these might be my first choice.

Friday, September 10, 2010

U.S. History: Family Artifacts from WWI

Great grandfather's WWI dog tags and pins
-Anyone who has been reading for awhile will know that I, like most men it seems, have a soft spot for military garb and artifacts. Predictably, my interest in such items is increased tenfold when they have a familial connection. I had dinner down in Portland the other day with my dad and grandmother, who happened to have a couple boxes of her father's things, most which were from his time in France during World War I. Everything she had, old journals and letters, dance cards and photographs, were things I'd love to have in my collection. But I've got nine aunts and uncles and 40+ cousins that all deserve a piece of our grandpa/great-grandpa's stuff, so I tried not to be greedy and picked out something that I really wanted; his first set of dog tags. In addition to the tags I selected this Army Air Service (a very early predecessor of the Air Force, est. 1918) pin, and an American Red Cross pin. Though I wear dog tags often and believe them to be one of the few masculine forms of jewelry, I'll resist the urge to actually wear this pair for fear that that the nearly 100-year-old canvas string would break. I might rock the pins sometime though, but I fully expect some streetwear kid to ask me if that A.R.C. stands for Alife Rivington Club.   more

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall Quarter: Sperry 7-Eye Boot

-In June I posted about a number of great looking deck boot options. Oddly enough, none of those options were by Sperry. That's because, at that point, Sperry was notably absent from the deck boot game. I don't know how long this 7-Eye boot has been out, but I spotted it while browsing the selection at Need the other day. They're the same price ($140) as the aforementioned Sebago collaboration, not limited edition, and certainly not made to the same quality specifications as Quoddys; but my general rule is, if you can go with Sperry, go with Sperry. They look a little awkward laced so tight, but I like that they're the only deck boots out right now with hooks1 instead of eyelets at the top. If I end up getting these, I'll surely throw some sort of waterproofing treatment on them to help endure the Northwest winter.
1-I don't know the correct name for these things.  more

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall Quarter: Authentic Aran Sweater

-I recently had the opportunity to visit Ireland with my girlfriend and her family, who moved to the states in 1994. Traveling with natives of the isle was a great way to experience my first trip abroad, mainly because I got to see the worthwhile sights without having to resort to overpriced tourist traps. Apart from the history and the incredible food and drink, the best part of the trip was meeting the extended family, which brings me to the focus of this post: The hand-knitted Aran sweater that Grace's grandmother made for me.
-Originating in the Aran Islands off Ireland's west coast, the super chunky knits have been a part of Irish fishing culture for hundreds of years. Grace's grandmother knits hats and sweaters, which she sells for around $200 a piece, in her spare time. The past couple winters I've been looking for a similarly massive knit, and I'm lucky and grateful to have happened upon one for free. This sweater will definitely be in heavy rotation this winter, especially considering that we try to bundle up rather than pay for gas to heat our apartment. More photos after the jump.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Vacation: Three Weeks in Ireland

-I'm about to take off for a few weeks in Ireland (pictured above,) so it's not likely that I'll have any new posts. But I am doing some very cool blog-related stuff while I'm gone, so don't forget about us. I'll try to update my Flickr and Tumblr with some preview shots while I'm away, and I'll be keeping people up to date on the Class Act Twitter.
-If you're bored over the next few weeks, be sure to check out some vintage Class Act favorites:
-Newbury Chino Remix
-A visit to Winn Perry.
-A discussion of Chuck Palahniuk  
-A cereal discussion.
-The Loose-Tie Lesson Plan. more

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer School Supplies: Gitman Violet Chambray

-I posted about this shirt when I first ordered it, but I never gave any commentary once I had it in hand. Based on other chambray shirts I had seen and worn, I expected my first shirt from Gitman to be a bit heavier. In actuality, the shirt is the lightest of any in my closet, and in early March when I bought it, the weather didn't afford me many opportunities to work it into my wardrobe. However, as the mercury has been staying put at around 80 degrees for the past month, this shirt has become my go-to. What you see below is what I've been rocking most days this summer. I don't actually promote doing the half-tuck in most situations, I just wanted to show that the shirt can work both tucked or more casually untucked. I've kept my undershirt rotation tight, switching between light grey and dark grey v-necks, mainly because grey and purple always work well together. Most days my walking commute can get pretty hot, so I prefer to keep it open with a V rather than my usual white Hanes undershirt.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer School Supplies: The White Linen Shirt

-I've mentioned often that, having lived my whole life in Washington, I've always felt more comfortable and more creative dressing for fall. Furthermore, I've been keeping it pretty casual this summer, so I haven't really felt compelled to blog my looks (though I did Tumble this one, this one, and this one.) Living in a temperate climate, I haven't invested much in summer-weight shirts, but I bought this white linen joint from J.Crew about four years ago and I'm really just starting to appreciate its value. I've only handwashed/air dried this shirt, so it has a kind of rugged, rough texture that I think contrasts nicely with its light weight. There's not a ton to say, but the shirt is steezy and breezy, and every guy should have a white linen button-down for summer. Now, if only someone would make one with a BD collar...
-As for the rest of the kit: I didn't have the dough for the Rogues swim trunks I wanted, but I did grab this pair from American Apparel. I wanted a really simple suit, and this navy pair with one pocket, a drawstring and a strip of velcro, is about as simple as you can get. Other than that, you saw my new Top-Siders two posts down, and I take my Duluth Pack everywhere I go these days. I'm going to post a few more of my favorite summer shirts in the next couple days, then I'm out of the country for a few weeks but will still (maybe) be blogging, stay tuned. more

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer School: Giving my first pair of raw denim their first wash

-My first videos were relatively well-received mainly on the basis that they were marginally funny. You know what's a hard subject to make funny? Washing your jeans. A few people, upon seeing the great still-shot a few posts down, expressed excitement about the coming video, and to them, I am sorry. A combination of lack of forethought, planning, vision, concept, skill, etc. has left me with a video that I think is kind of bad. Sorry. BUT! The jeans did come out of the Pacific looking great, so maybe it's still worth sharing, even if it does wander about not knowing if it should be funny, artsy or neither.

eyefivestyle.com | Naked & Famous Ocean Soak from angelo spagnolo on Vimeo.
-Early on I committed to a kind of dumb and tedious editing decision about the split screen, which I realized about halfway through was a terrible idea, but lacked the motivation to go back and fix. Like everything, this was definitely a learning experience, which taught me that even on non-consequential videoblog posts a plan of action is terribly necessary. I've had quite a bit of video experience, but mostly in the realm of editing, and since I'm planning on upgrading my camera and doing some more video posts in the future, I definitely need some more content/shooting practice.
-In other denim news, I did just get a new pair of Baldwin 77s, so I'll be posting some more coherent denim-related content on DenimDebate in the next couple weeks. more

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Vacation: Much Needed Sperry Upgrade

finally got new sperrys
-I finally got around to replacing my old Top-Siders. Unlike a lot of Sperry aficionados, I don't really dig the white sole found on most models, so I sprung for the Sahara colorway with the darker sole. Over the years I've heard of people recommend wearing Top-Siders in the shower or the ocean initially, something I didn't do when I bought my first pair back in high school. After consulting a few experts, I decided to go the shower route, which helps soften the leather a bit and also helps to keep the laces from coming untied. I also cut a few inches off my laces because I don't really go for the bunny-ear look. This time around, I'm going to make a point to shoe-tree my Sperrys after long days of wear to keep them from disintegrating and stinking too terribly. more