Wednesday, April 28, 2010

School Supplies: Alden Horsebit Loafers

-I've been on the hunt for some loafers for awhile, and I was lucky enough to snag these Aldens on eBay for about $40. This is my first pair of loafers and I'm pretty stoked on them, though I don't really like the word 'loafer.' I'd like to think of myself as someone who gets shit done, rather someone who loafs. Etymology aside, the price was right and I'm excited to see how these age. Check out a few more photos after the jump.




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Extra Credit: The Badass Backpack

-I love backpacks. I used to blog about a lot of great backpacks that I wanted, but then I bought an awesome bag from Duluth Pack, and my longing for the perfect backpack was sated. I decided that I should cool it on the backpack blogging. But then I kept finding more badass backpacks and decided, instead of clogging up this page with them, that I'd start a Tumblr just for badass backpacks. So if you, like me, enjoy looking at backpacks, click on the above link.
-In other news, posting has been a bit slow. I am very busy, and I apologize. These next two weeks are going to be hectic, but I've got some dope blog-related ideas to execute in the very near future. Keep checking back. more

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dress Code: Rugby Newbury Chino Jacket

-I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was contemplating buying this khaki blazer from Rugby. When RL was offering 25 percent off all items, I couldn't justify not picking it up for about $130. After messing around a bit it's become pretty clear that this jacket is going to be a favorite heading into summer, but it's also heavier than I'd expected and it should make the transition to fall pretty easily. For this first look I very blatantly referenced the May GQ cover, going with the Gap chambray work-shirt and a dark tie (tie and clip are vintage.) I'm a pocket square novice, but pairing my chambray pocket square from The Hill-Side with the shirt/jacket was a no-brainer. I'm going to try this look again with my Naked & Famous denim and see if it still translates. I might rock the white denim a few times this summer, but it's probably not something I'll go with regularly.
-Check out three more jacket-based looks I came up with after the jump.

-Click the images to enlarge.

-This second look is from yesterday's post about 511s, I think it shows the jacket in a more collegiate assemblage.

-Despite the inadvertently douchy poses, this is how I might rock this jacket in late September when the weather is starting to cool down. The shirt is Gitman Vintage, jeans are Naked & Famous.

-It's rare that you'll see me wearing a shirt without a BD collar, but I've been meaning to give this J.Crew purple gingham more play this summer. A grey tie always works with purple. The jeans are my raw 511s.
- When I previewed this post on TwitterJeremy and Lawrence clowned on my shoe-game a bit, and I must admit that their admonishments were warranted. Shoes, like the dudes from PutThisOn say in their new video, are an investment. For that reason, upgrading your footwear is a challenge for those on a college budget. I'm always on the eBay prowl for Alden steals, but until I've got a spare $500 to drop on some quality kicks, I'm happy with my beat-to-shit Sperrys and my $68 DKNY wingtips (among others.)
-Anyway, this jacket fits great (mine is a small) and it was a steal, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

School Supplies: Levi's 511 Trouser

-Slim khakis are an essential part of any wardrobe upgrade. I recently bought J. Crew's Ubran Slim-Fit chino, their slimmest cut khaki, and found that they were fuller than I'd hoped. Lawrence beat me to the punch espousing the merits of the Levi's 511 trouser, but I thought I'd throw up a hands on look at my new favorite non-denim pant. Since I 'graduated' from the 514 to the 511 about 2.5 years ago, I've acquired four pairs of the jeans and a pair of the corduroy version. A few weeks ago I came across the 511 trouser at Urban in Portland. I grabbed a pair (the khaki colored pair below) and didn't even bother to try them on because I knew that the 511 in a 32 would fit me perfectly.

-After about two weeks I realized that the 511 trouser was just the pant my wardrobe had been missing: A casual, slim and surprisingly solid feeling chino. I hit up the Levi's site and ordered the blue pair and I think I like them even better than the khaki joints. At $54, I really don't think there's a better go-to khaki out there right now.

-There seems to be a recurring debate between style-types about the cut of the 511 vs. the 514. I was pumped on 514s when I was in high school, but back then I was still wearing skate shoes regularly, so the larger 514 leg opening didn't really bother me. To me, upping your style game begins at the feet. When you slim down your shoes, the next thing you notice is the ratio of leg opening to shoe. As the Top-Sider became my go-to shoe, the awkward 514 leg opening didn't look or fall right, so I moved on to the 511 and have been satisfied ever since.

-One of the commenters over at Sart-Inc points out that the jean pocket makes these more of a chino-jean than a true trouser, which is definitely a valid point, they're not really office appropriate. But, as I rarely find myself  in the types of places where such distinction are important, I'm keeping my Hill-Side pocket square in the jean pocket and digging that these pants cant be dressed up (relatively) or down with ease. These pants have given my denim a much needed rest this spring. more

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dissertation: In Defense of GQ

-My frustration came to a head last month. A realization that had been slowly building in the back of my mind, a betrayal by a good friend, had finally become clear to me: Most of the content in the April issue of Gentleman’s Quarterly did not interest me. 
-I’ve read nearly every GQ since I became a subscriber in 2002. When I first left for college in 2006 I threw out four years worth of magazines. Every issue since then, save for a few that have been inexplicably misplaced, now sit organized neatly on a shelf in the last place that I’ll reside as a college student. Keeping all these issues doesn’t make me any cooler than any other dedicated or casual reader, but the ever-growing stacks serve as a great resource to me when I need them. I recently purchased a khaki-colored chino sport coat, and I was having trouble figuring out what to wear beneath it. I grabbed a couple spring issues from the past few years off the shelf and casually perused, looking for anything that might help me craft some sensible looks around my new jacket. Flipping through the pages from years past was strangely nostalgic. It’s odd how I could clearly remember individual pages, stories and editorials. I found what I was looking for, a couple ideas of how to wear a khaki sport coat, but I also found myself remembering why I loved the magazine. When I started reading GQ there were no blogs, no online magazines or style forums. As a young man trying to set myself apart from my peers through my style, GQ offered guidance and helped to keep me from pushing my stylistic expression a little too far. I tried to figure out what was different now. Why can’t I get into the issue? What's missing?
-Nothing is missing, except my younger self and the lack of pretentiousness with which I used to approach the publication. The pages still contain the same helpful advice and smartly styled editorials they are known for. It’s me that is different. Flipping through the April issue’s guidelines for budget conscious shopping, tailoring and eBay finagling I found myself, like I’m sure many of you did, more informed on matters of style and shopping than the intended GQ audience. I’m not suggesting that the editors and writers of GQ do not possess more knowledge and insight than myself, I am confidently certain that they do, it’s that they craft content for an audience that wants to know, not one that knows.

-So why should we continue to support GQ even if we know how to measure for a custom shirt, match patterned shirts and ties without looking like we got dressed in the dark, or how to roll our chinos to show just enough ankle peeking out of our ocean-soaked Top-Siders? Because the magazine isn’t for us anymore; it’s for the guy who might not spend hours reading blogs and forums researching which pair of raw denim is best for his build. Obviously, I love the style blogosphere. I love the proliferation of unique points of view the Internet offers. But I’m a GQ subscriber, and I’ll probably be one for life. Not only because the magazine initially fueled my desire to pursue a career in journalism, and not because I’ve been to a print-shop and smelled the oddly agreeable aroma of ink as it lathers huge sheets of uncut paper. But because it’s an important publication, plain and simple, and just because I feel like I could give much of the same advice as the magazine, doesn’t mean the kid ransacking the thrift shop for vintage ties won’t find the same guidance and inspiration in GQ that I once did.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

School Supplies: A.P.C. Army Petit Standards

-I can't believe I'd never run across these pants before, I've been on the hunt for slim army-green pants for a minute now. I've never been the biggest fan of A.P.C. (ubiquity, price, etc.,) But I'm really digging these. I always thought the Petit Standard would appeal to me more than the New Standard, given my taste in cut.
-Portland's Francis May has these, but it's probably a good thing they're out of my size, or I might be dropping $190 on a pair right now (but does anyone know anywhere else that has these in stock? 32.)
-Kind of a side note, but about five (ish?) years ago there was a spring GQ spread that had these great, dark green Gucci jeans. Ever since then I've wanted some dark green denim. It seems that, with all the great raw denim experimentation that's going on right now, someone could make a great dark green denim that would fade into some great hues. The pair above isn't denim, they're cotton gabardine, so more like a khaki but cut like any other Petit Standard. I had a pair of Levi's khakis cut like jeans that I thought were pretty ace, so the A.P.C.s could maybe sate my hunger until someone executes on my green denim idea. more

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Class Discussion: Product Shots

-The topic of product shots comes up quite a bit when discussing men's shops with other bloggers/shoppers. I wanted to post this as a kind of initial research for future career moves, and I'm really interested in what people think. Do you necessarily need to see the garment on a model? For me, fit is the most important thing about any piece, regardless of the name of the label. But on the other hand, I think Nomad's shots are the most elegantly photographed of any shop's. Oi Polloi and a few others show alternate views of the item on a mannequin, but that doesn't translate as well as seeing the garment on a real model. But that brings up the issue, which has also been discussed at length amongst bloggers, of model body type. Sometimes it's hard to gauge how a garment may look on yourself when you're seeing it on a manorexic model.
-An added component to shots on models is how the looks are styled. When I look at the four different images of the Wings + Horns chambray parka, I try to notice the little differences like what's layered beneath the jacket and what color pants were paired with the jacket. Subtle differences in styling can have an affect on buyer perception.

-Of course the best way to avoid all these problems is to head to a reputable shop and actually try things on, but we're talking about high-end niche markets here, most of these shops do the majority of their business online. For many of the items in these stores you could refer to the brand's lookbook, but that just adds another step between shopping and actually getting your gear in hand. Though I'm not really a fan of anything they sell, the Japanese shop Utility Coop has the perfect product shot balance: Isolated products shot against a white seamless, and in-house lookbook style shots with models. To me, that's the most effective way to give shoppers a complete view of what they're potentially spending a good deal of money on. What do you think? Is there a shop that you think has exceptional product images?
-Update: The brand new Patrik Ervell shop is super clean, combining video, still model shots and isolated garment shops. It will be super frustrating if you're on a slow machine though, but I guess they assume if you're on a slow machine, you probably can't afford Ervell.

Friday, April 9, 2010

School Supplies: 10.Deep SS10 Shorts

-I might never have blogged about 10.Deep before, but they're definitely one of the few streetwear brands that I consistently pay attention to. As with most streetwear collections, you've got to bring a discerning eye to the company's SS10 drop, but upon looking I was pretty stoked to see these great looking shorts. As you probably know, camo is making a pretty big push in 2010. I think camo is best utilized minimally, as it is here, to add a bit of character to a garment. I also really love the small cargo pocket on the right, and the button tabs that allow you to shorten these up a bit and expose more of the lining.

-I would expect these to come in at around $100 so, though I'd actually like to grab all three pairs, I might consider pulling the trigger on the navy pair.

-The chambray joints are pretty clean also, although chambray use is getting a bit out of hand as of late. more

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

School Supplies: Vans x Giants

-It's been a long while since I've blogged about limited edition kicks, but these appealed to me on a number of levels. Eras, the more skate-worthy version of Authentics (notice the ankle padding) are a classic, clean sneaker. I've always wanted a pair of leather Authentics or Eras, and the colorway here is dope. But mainly I'm wishing I could grab one of the 12 pairs of these because my large, California based Italian family are all huge Giants fans and, though I think baseball is terribly boring, if I were a fan my allegiance would lie with San Francisco.

-I'm gonna get on Facebook and try to convince one of my 30ish cousins to wait in line at HUF on April 9th to try to get a pair.
-Via Hypebeast more

Sunday, April 4, 2010

School Supplies: The New Pocket Square

-I came across this photo over at Denim Debate and was inspired. The picture is from The Hill-Side's Sandy Corsillo, and I'm really digging his use of the pocket square in the jean pocket. I love how the indigo has rubbed off on the pocket square, and how the hint of green in the selvedge peeks above the pocket (I just ordered the scarf version of this natural/green combo the other day.) A lot of times  find myself needing something to wipe my hands on, or maybe just something to cover up a cough. Utilizing one of The Hill-Side's chambray pocket squares in this capacity could help me out in that department, and add a little quirk to my back pockets the same way that a traditional pocket square amps up a suit-jacket. I'm a bit conflicted because my back pockets are usually alway occupied by my wallet and iPhone, but this picture has me considering changing it up a bit. Either way, it helped me refocus on the idea that little details and personal style quirks are what help us to stand out in a world where people are paying more and more attention to style.

-I'm sort of contemplating calling Blackbird and having them add this hickory striped pocket square to my order. I think the stripes would play nicely off of dark denim without being overly bold.
-Update: Check my later post to see how this idea translated in real life.  more

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Classmates: Movie Style — Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles

-It's no secret that John Hughes' movies are stylish. But I noticed something interesting recently while watching the 1984 Hughes classic Sixteen Candles; Romantic interest Jake Ryan's style was icy, not just for 1984, but in a very 2010 manner.  Check out this first combo, a standard (and admittedly baggy) oxford/vest combo, but it's paired with cuffed jeans and worn boots. Was there any item more prevalent on the scene in the past year than work boots?

 -Continue on to the dance scene and check out what dude is rocking — slim, front-pocket cargos. Similar cargos were huge this year, though I'm still conflicted about whether or not that's a good thing. Still, the timeframe makes Jake's wardrobe selection very intriguing. I can't really tell what the shoes are though, this cap is taken from a downloaded version of the film, I apologize.

-At the end of the movie Jake returns to his go-to sweater vest and denim. Am I stretching too far here? Does this dude not look like he could have stepped out of a 2010 lookbook? Maybe it's just me, but the wardrobe choices here seem distinctly different from those made for the male leads in the other two parts of the Hughes holy trinity (Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club.) Maybe it's because Jake ends up being a nice guy and not a douche, even though he drives a 944, which everyone knows is the poor-man's Porsche. more