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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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For the past month or so, I’ve been searching for a series of photos that simply doesn’t exist. Somewhere along the way as spring bled into summer, I convinced myself that there just had to be a photo set out there that showcased Japanese surfers in the 1960’s. Now, my level of expertise on Japanese culture in the sixties is minimal at best, and for that matter my knowledge of Japanese surfing probably hovers right around a big fat zero, but somehow I got this idea that a subculture of Japanese youths that spent their days riding waves had to exist. Although, after coming up empty-handed, I’ve concluded that my theory was little more than a delusion fueled by an all too steady diet of Japanese style blogs, while daydreaming of glassy waters.

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While that photo set might have been a figment of my imagination, I actually did come upon the exact look that I thought I would see in this imaginary images when I stopped into Inventory’s New York location this weekend. Ever since I first heard of Battenwear, the two year old line designed by Shinya Hasegawa a former student of Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments fame, I had been more than intrigued. The brand, which looks somewhat like a cross between early Patagonia and Take Ivy, received a resoundingly positive reception when it was first unveiled, but it wasn’t until this Saturday that I finally got a chance to check it out for myself, and instantly I knew that if there was one brand that perfectly encapsulates how I’ve been approaching menswear lately, it would be Battenwear.

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Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, George Martin, hell even Eric Clapton. These are the the obvious (and not so obvious) candidates whose names always seem to crop up whenever there’s talk of who had enough influence on the Fab Four to earn the title as “the fifth Beatle.” And yet for all the debate on who should transform that quartet into a quintet, there’s always one name that I’m surprised is left out of the discussion – Astrid Kirchherr. If Yoko Ono gets the blame for breaking up The Beatles, than Kirchherr at least deserves some credit for uniting them together.

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Despite whatever unnaturally low number your thermometer might be broadcasting at this moment, today is Memorial Day, which can only mean that the unofficial start of summer has arrived. While you might have reached for a jacket this morning, for all intents and purposes as the sun rose up this morning pools and beaches across the nation finally rolled up their covers and opened up their shores for business. Some people applaud the arrival of our warmer months, but to be honest, for me summer is nothing but a quandary.

Fall and Winter, these are the easy months. With layering as the modus operandi, you’re free to pretty much revel in the glut of options that layers allow. It’s far easier to add then to subtract, and so when summer, and it’s all encompassing hug of humidity arrive, allowing for only one (if you’re lucky) layer, then you better choose wisely. One of my favorite choices right now is Orlebar Brown‘s terry cloth polo. The idea is so simple, yet so brilliant – take a towel and reshape it into a tailored polo shirt.

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As you all probably already know, I really don’t like posting photos of myself on this site. I’ve never wanted this to be a personal style blog, simply because I don’t think I really have that much personal style. But this week my friend Chris Fenimore kindly asked for me to participate in his “In Media Res” series in which he shoots someone for five days. Normally, I’d have turned the offer down, but as I’ll explain below, I figured this week was a bit of a milestone, and so I might as well record it in some way. And yes, please ignore my crooked smirks and bleary eyes, I am truly bad at this sort of thing.

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Monday: I think that designers and publications alike tend to focus too much on color. Color in my opinion should always be secondary to texture. I would rather wear the same three colors everyday and riff on textures than try to worry about working in a whole mess of colors just for the sake of it. The washed Double Breasted on top of washed denim look is one of my all time favorites. It reminds me of all the ex urbanites that flee to the southwest and end up with these wild wardrobes that area blend of a lifetime’s worth of different styles.

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Maybe I am as crazy as my friends say. Maybe they are right to shake their heads at me. Maybe I would just end up looking like a young Hugh Hefner wannabe (also known as the rare twenty something actually creepy enough to get rejected from OK Cupid.) Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my recent interest in robes (coupled with my current pajama obsession of course) isn’t exactly normal. And sure it’s quite possible that I have gone a bit off the deep end with this one, but I really can’t help but wonder what ever happened to the good ol’ house robe?  Read More

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I knew this day would come. I have finally reached the inevitable menswear milestone of developing an (un)healthy obsession for the Nepenthes family of brands. All good dogs may go to heaven, but all good bloggers eventually find their way to the land of Engineered Garments, Needles, South 2 West 8, and all the other rare and remarkable brands that line the racks at the Garment District’s only worthwhile menswear emporium. I had originally intended to write about Engineered Garments today, because this past week I purchased, and subsequently fell in love with my first piece of EG ever, an act that also happened to coincide with their release of their latest look book. But I’m sure at this point you all have already seen that collection elsewhere so instead I’ve decided to write about my favorite subrand of the Nepenthes umbrella -Rebuild by Needles.

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Cary Grant and the "live" boutonnière - 1959

Cary Grant and the boutonnière. – 1959

Before sponsors. Before blockbusters. Before 3D. Before Indie. Before stylists (the “adult” equivalent of having your mom pick out your clothes for you,) Cannes was just Hollywood’s “business trip,” where the fame hungry would petition to become headliners and the anointed lounged along the French Rivera by day and drank their way through galas at night. Now, I’d be remiss to ever proclaim any celebrity as being entirely genuine but at least these personalities from the late fifties to early seventies looked the part. Whether they were walking down the red carpet, or simply sitting poolside, there was an authenticity to their style that’s hardly ever seen in Hollywood today. Hell, maybe I’m naive, or I’ve just watched a few too many old movies lately, but I’d like to believe that even if the cameras weren’t around, these actors and musicians would’ve dressed just the same.

Vittorio de Sica and the grey streak

Vittorio de Sica with the solid white TV fold and grey streak.

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Before the linebacker shoulders, safety pinned sportcoats, technicolor critter coats, metallic brogues, and Hell-raiser headdresses, Thom Browne was just a fresh-faced, grey flanneled purveyor of high hems and short suits, a designer that depending on who you ask either made the suit relevant again, or tarnished the reputation of American tailoring. There was an odd purity to Thom Browne’s (the brand) first handful or so of years, as Thom Browne (the man) made the leap from Club Monaco to his own project. While the runway show has now become Browne’s personal theatre in the round, from which he present spectacles that could easily be confused with scenes from a Nantucket horror story, in his early days Browne was merely a party of one, filling a dual role (that he still holds today) as both designer and poster boy – the first enlisted member of the “Thom Browne army.”

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Every step forward comes with a look back.

When I started this site a couple years ago, it had always intended it to be a record of my own learning process, as I studied “the classics.” You see, back then it was my belief that menswear was just some sort of side hobby for me, and that down the line my interest in all this would really only manifest itself in my daily wardrobe, so I figured I should focus on the more staid side of menswear and hopefully one day I’d end up as the best dressed guy at some non-menswear related workplace. All this changed as I got further and further down this fully-canvased rabbit hole though, as the more conservative side of things no longer seemed applicable to my lifestyle. By the end of this week, I’ll have finished college, and started working full-time at a menswear brand, and yet now that “the real world” is here, I’ve never felt less interested in being a traditionalist.

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