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