I like to say that during winter I wear lots of colors, they all just happen to be either blues or greens. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a pretty poor joke, but the real joke is the fact that last week I actually contemplated buying yet another olive green jacket to add to my current collection of at least six. While the summer sun essentially acts as an excuse to wear whatever colors combinations you can imagine no matter how distasteful, winter has the opposite effect, driving us all to pare down our wardrobes. As I’ve talked about before, I view how we dress as a reflection of our surroundings, and whether that’s a conscious decision or not, to me it becomes all the more apparent in the cold. With the flower beds all but shriveled up entirely, naked trees abound, and sidewalks littered by dead leaves, it feels only natural that we settle into this pattern of fewer, cooler tones.
A long-haired brunette model sits against a stark white back drop, staring away from the camera disinterestedly as she tries to look natural in some oversized sweater, or beat up OCBD. I can’t say how original of an idea it is at the point, but this concept of “dressing like the boys” has become a pretty common sight throughout whatever look-books or ads are being released on any given month. There’s even been the memorable incidents of women walking during runway shows for Umit Benan and Michael Bastian (complete with nip-slip.) For as much as the bleeding over of women into menswear is accepted, and even embraced by twenty-something bloggers who seem to be in a constant search for a girl that they could just share their cable-knits with, the flip side of this coin is rarely seen.
For the past year now, I’ve been suffering from a bit of conversational deja vu. Every few days or so I keep getting caught in these identical discussions wherein I’ll tell someone that I don’t own a single item of black clothing and they’ll proceed to tell me in so many words that I’m insane. For the first few months that I had these sorts of conversations I felt some form of superiority over whoever I was talking to, as if my choice to abstain from wearing black somehow made me better than them. There were even times where I’d go as far as to say that wearing black was lazy, a shortcut to looking well-dressed.
I’m currently down at my parents’ house in Maryland for the holiday, not so patiently awaiting the arrival of the rest of my family and tomorrow’s epic meal. So, to whet my appetite, as well as yours, for my favorite meal of the year, here’s five Thanksgiving inspired kits. Have a good holiday everyone, eat, drink, take a nap, and rest easy. Now, go get off the internet and enjoy yourselves.
Epaulet Daltrey Shetland Tweed Sportcoat – Howlin’ by Morrison Neish Sweater – Aspesi Button Down Fine Corduroy Shirt – Gant Rugger Cords – Alden Sand Suede Chukka Boot – Paul Stuart Oriental Tiger Scarf – Dents Peccary Gloves
A few days ago, thanks to several well-placed, cancelled classes, I was fortunate enough to be graced with the coveted five day weekend. With Thanksgiving on deck, and not much on my docket, I fell back on the old standby of absentmindedly walking the streets and watching the hours tick by. It might’ve been that the impending holiday was on my mind, but as I walked around, meeting up with friends, and running into people, I found myself preoccupied with all that surrounded me. I consider fall to be the only real season that really has a distinct character to it, which some say is produced by the colors of the season, but to me it really has more to do with the emotions and ideas that this atmosphere creates.
A couple years ago, while I was down in the D.C. area on a break from school, I stopped into the Smithsonian to check out a Norman Rockwell exhibit that was put together using pieces donated by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, both of whom are avid collectors of Rockwell’s work. The concept behind the exhibit itself was fascinating, as two modern American cinematic storytellers humbly paid homage to a painter who’s artistic style had greatly impacted their own creative endeavors.
It’s been about eight months since I first saw the above photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig wearing Yankees sweaters on Kiyoshi’s blog, but I don’t think there’s been a week that’s gone by that I haven’t come back to it. The photo has become one of my favorite fall points of reference, but it’s also been quite a curiosity, leaving me to wonder where exactly those sweaters come. At first I suspected they were just something that the players might have ordered for themselves to wear on off days. But then a couple weeks back while watching a football game, the idea came to me that maybe the sweaters were some sort of warm up gear for the players, akin to the windbreakers and nylon jackets that we see today. With this in mind, I began searching and that one photo of Ruth and Gehrig quickly lead to others. Images of players sitting on the bench wearing cream colored cardigans covered in logos, team photos with all the players wearing identical navy sweaters, teams taking the field in matching shawl collar sweaters.
Since sometime around the seventies or eighties, the conversation on “the best of” American menswear always seems to include the same, undoubtedly deserving, but all too familiar cast of characters. Ralph Lauren, Jacobi Press, Henry Sands Brooks, Cliff Grodd, Ralph Ostrove, these are the names that pop up time and time again, riding an infinite echo that drowns out any mention of other possibile contenders. While these men were (and still are) responsible for the guiding the ever-changing look of American sportswear and it’s modern white-meets-blue collared audience, they still do only make up a fraction of the story on continental menswear over the past century or so. The rest of the tale is full of designers and figures, most of whom have fizzled out over the years, or never really made a mainstream mark, but there is one man in particular that certainly deserves consideration as one of the greats: Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia.
There was a time not long ago that if you asked me how I felt about New Balance I probably would’ve scoffed and said something snarky about how well they compliment boot-cut jeans and banker bros. And yet, as the adage goes “fashion is cyclical,” or as I like to say, eventually you’ll learn to love what you once shunned. My relationship with the sneakers began in my latter high school years, during which I practically lived in a pair of grey New Balance 574’s. But as I got older and outgrew my lax-bro sensibilities, those shoes suddenly became a symbol of everything that I wanted to leave behind.
The last few weeks of fall normalcy were abruptly disrupted this past by Hurricane Sandy, which quickly propelled us into full on winter. This represents a month’s worth of diners and art galleries, floods and order, silence and sirens, darkness and brilliance. Fake fall, fast winter.