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