Fall is made in the fabrics. Burnt orange donegals, sage green herringbone tweeds, ivory colored cashmeres, dark grey lambswools. These are the textiles that spring to mind when we think of fall, the many textures and hues that mirror the rich fall landscape. Coming from the brighter yet simpler summer palate we are quick to jump on these dynamic fabrics, searching for something a bit more dramatic than the flat textiles that we have been wearing for the past dew of months. As a result though, we tend to forget that amongst a sea of the bold and the complex, it’s often the most understated pieces that stand out the strongest.
At this point they’re so commonplace that we hardly even notice them, but the lingering aftershocks of the early aughts workwear movement can be felt with no greater force than within the spectrum of winter boots. Between beefed-up Midwestern farm boots, round toed Northweastern hiking shoes, and even the now very countrified New England brogue boots, it’s as if you can’t get a boot produced these days without conjuring up at least one of the oft-abused heritage buzzwords, be it “rugged,” “vintage inspired,” or “Americana,” (regardless of if it’s actually made here or not.) With an over saturated market full of chunkier boots in colors that reflect every shade of the molting leaves, it’s hard to see through to the other side of fall footwear, those sleeker, rich leather dress boots that reflect a more European sensibility. At the front of this class is my most sought after boot for these next few months: the Jodhpur.
We purchase two kinds of clothes, those that rest in our closet and those that rest in our minds. We buy those essentials-shirts, shoes, socks, trousers that sit idle throughout our rooms waiting for us to toss them on absentmindedly as we piece together a Monday morning outfit. And then there are those rare few pieces that drive us simultaneously towards inspiration and obsession. They make us never want to wear anything else, to find a way to fit them into every single outfit we wear with in a week, these are the items that illustrate the true value of clothes. They make us happier when we wear them, they strike confidence in us, and when they’re on our backs we truly believe we’re the best we can be. I was fortunate enough to acquire one of these elusive pieces this past week, as I stumbled upon a late eighties Polo Ralph Lauren double breasted cardigan.
You know, I swore to myself I wouldn’t do it, but I suppose the time has finally come where I have to talk about street style. Since day one, I’ve always rejected the idea of giving any shine to street style photos on this blog, mainly because I feel that street style has evolved into this attention hungry beast that gets further away from itself with each subsequent fashion week. I watched this belief get validated over and over again this past week, as it seemed like half the people that I saw heading into the shows were painfully uncomfortable in their own skin. I say uncomfortable because I’m not going to dig into the whole “fashion Halloween” thing or whatever people like to compare street style to these days. I don’t mind that people dress in ways that I would deem ridiculous, it’s never been my place to critique someone’s personal style. But what does bother me is when I see a guy who can barely cross the street because his leather jeans are painted on so tight he can’t bend his knees, forgoing ability to function normally, all in hopes that someone will take his photo.
Dare I say that we’re nearing the end of the soft seasons? Fueled by menswear’s Neapolitan love affair, for years now the dominant belief has been, the more unstructured the body, the more subtle the shoulder the better, but based on what I saw this past week I have a feeling we might be heading toward a changing of the guard. This isn’t to say that I’m relishing the day that the soft shoulder is no longer king, I mean to be fair the jackets that I throw on most often are all Italian made, unstructured slopping shouldered sport coats, and I happen to think they fit me better than anything else in my closet. Yet, even I’ll admit that it’s high time we get a few more options out there. The soft shouldered jacket is an undeniably great piece of design, but that doesn’t mean every label should go find their own tailoring house in Naples and forget every other suiting style out there. Which is why, a couple collections I saw a week ago felt like a breath of fresh air, albeit a very small one, but menswear is glacially slow, and it all it takes is a handful of looks now, and maybe things will be different in say half a decade or so (if we’re lucky.) What I’m referring to of course, is the return of the under-appreciated roped shoulder.
Looking back on these past ten or so days, I would have to say that the best way to describe Fashion Week is like watching a thousand movie clips, all at once. Sped up, slowed down, spliced together, forward, backward, until I can’t even tell what I’m watching anymore, everything just becomes a two dimensional blur. Sitting through show after show, picking up on a random shirt here, a fabric there, maybe a pair of shoes, or a full suit in a rare moment of clarity, it all became really difficult to process. And I won’t even try to touch upon the nauseating circus of try-hards in their best “please-take-my-photo-please-please” outfits that congregated outside the show. All I know is that by the end of the week it was next to process anything. Each show had some takeaways but trying to interpret them instantly just became an exercise in futility.
For as much as I love such things, I think it’s only right to recognize that, no one ever came out of their mother’s womb wearing double monks and a DB blazer, that’s just a fact of life. We all started out with this blank canvas and embarked on a similar journey. Some of us were taught things by our father or grandfather, others were fortunate enough to learn things first hand in an heirloom family-owned store, but the majority of us (at least most of the people I know in my general age range) found our way through the same channels. We came up before the mass appeal of the internet, before the invention of a “blog” and before the world was at our fingertips.
On the Streets