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Monthly Archives: September 2013

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If you’ve been following menswear for the past decade or so then you’ve surely heard of Eunice Lee and her renowned trousers (among other designs, particularly her now legendary varsity jackets.) The Unis story had always intrigued me, but at first I thought the brand was simply not for me. A year or so ago I went into their Elizabeth Street store and tried on a pair of Gios (their most popular pant), and I knew right away that they weren’t for me. The Gio was just too slim, too constricting for me, and so for a while I just didn’t consider Unis as an option.

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A couple months back I started searching for an affordable pair of well-fitting everyday single pleat pants, which I soon realized was no small order. After searching for a few weeks, I found that all roads lead to Unis and their Davis pant, a high rise all cotton pleated chino.

The fit is slim through the leg with a slight taper, and the fabric actually feels substantial unlike so many comparably priced pants on the market, but what’s most important is that upper block. Prior to putting on the Davis, when I thought about how a pant fit, I was primarily concerned with how the legs fit, not how they looked through the rise. After trying out the Davis though, I realized that most pants are just far too tight across the front for my build, and thanks to those single pleats the Davis actually looked (and felt) like it fit properly. Now every morning I’ve been reaching for those olive green Davis’ and if I have any regrets, it’s that I’ve wasted far too much money on ill-fitting pants when I should’ve gone to Unis from the start.

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For a writer, or for someone such as myself who attempts to string sentences together into something intelligible, the greatest gift you can receive is a reminder of the triviality of your own work. I’ve written about JFK so many times that I feel like I know the man. Or I at least know the persona that John Fitzgerald Kennedy wanted the American public to become familiar with, yet the truth is everything I’ve ever penned about our thirty-five president could easily be classified as trite.

When writing about bygone historical figures, especially when discussing something as narrow as style, everything boils down to projection. I will never know if JFK dressed, or looked as he did as a conscious move, or if his status as a “style icon” is simply a byproduct of good genes and the standards of dress that existed during his lifetime.

I don’t intend to discredit all of my writing, nor all of the pieces that have been composed about JFK’s style over the years, for his attire was certainly not without merit. Especially when looking back, Kennedy’s style certainly had more than a little to do with his immortal status. JFK (and the same could be said for RFK) quite simply looked as a president should – dignified, but not stuffy like a monarch, and yet also spirited. If ever there was a politician that looked like hope it was JFK.

But what lies beneath all that? And more importantly, why am I bogging down your Friday afternoon with this essay. Last night, I read Chris Jones’ marvelous account of Kennedy’s assassination for Esquire, and I felt compelled to respond here today. Jones’ report is as thorough of a story as I’ve ever read, and I can only speculate how many hours of interviews and footage he had to scour through to piece together the complete tale (complete almost feels like too weak of a word to describe the piece.) I implore you all to read his report, because for as much coverage as JFK’s assassination has received over the years, I’ve never seen an account that takes such an exhaustive look at those that were closest to the President.

This is not the time or the place, so I’ll leave out my misguided lefty dreams about the possibilities for this country if JFK (or once again for that matter RFK) had never been assassinated. What I can say is that it was not Kennedy’s sack suits, nor his impeccable collar roll, nor his Shetland sweaters, that captivated this nation, and leaves his untimely death as an unhealed wound, ready to be reopened at any time.

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If you aren’t familiar with Gentry (the store that is not the magazine), I can’t blame you. “Gentry” only surfaced in relation to a New York retail outlet over the past few months, prior to that, the store which now bears the Gentry name was called H.W. Carter, which is a name that I’m sure many of you are familiar with. Now, as far as I can tell (and of course I could be wrong) the H.W. Carter label, which included both the store and a house line, is gone entirely. I could only speculate on why this occurred, I have heard it had something to do with licensing issues, but who really knows.
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Regardless of why it happened, Gentry has now replaced H.W. Carter, leaving behind a store that never really seemed to understand what it was to begin with. H.W. Carter might have looked like an independent boutique from the outside, but it carried a selection of products that covered too many styles at once, without covering any set style that well. Yet, in a brilliant move (at least thus far) the team behind the shop have hit the reset button. By closing the book on H.W. Carter and redirecting the ship, Gentry now has a chance to bring something significant to the New York market.

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Everything comes back to language.

When I began writing this site I envisioned it as little more than a hobby, a down-time diversion in between working a “real” job. I imagined myself wearing a daily suit and tie, and so I always thought that my interests, both in the real world (ah yes, that elusive IRL) and on this site, would lean toward the classically tailored. Of course, it took less than half a year of writing Wax Wane for me to realize that the thought of me entering any office wearing the same sort of suited style as my father was little more than a farce. As my graduation neared and the workforce loomed, it was even more evident that a wardrobe of Savile Row suits and Italian ties was not in my immediate, or even extended future. And now, as summer has come to a close and I’ve found myself writing on a full-time basis, I can say that I’ve only worn a suit once in the past six months. That’s not to say that I’m ready to sell my lot of unstructured sportcoats just yet (although that day might be nigh) but I can say that these jackets, which were once among my most prized possessions, now sit idle on their hangers. 

What began as an exercise in building not only a wardrobe, but an internal encyclopedia, based on the tenets of traditional menswear, has now evolved into a far more personal discovery into what makes me, for lack of a better term, happy (a term that I favor simply because it is so free of any set criteria.) This isn’t to say that I don’t still have a fascination with the “classics” (which after all aren’t even that “classic” anymore), but it’s time for me to admit that right now, that’s not for me. There’s no reason for me to dress up in cuffed wool trousers to sit at my laptop all day, it is simply not applicable to my lifestyle, nor my present state of mind. Maybe one day I will arrive back at that point, but for now, I’m much more interested in buying clothes that I like simply because I like them. I do not set out to fill any void in my wardrobe, or buy things because some list says that I “need it” (again, if this is what brings you joy, please do not let me discourage you, as I said, this is entirely personal) rather I’m just trying to reveal in the fact that for now, I can really wear whatever I want.

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A friend recently told me that I had an addiction to M-65’s. How did I respond to this news? By buying another M-65 of course.

In my defense though (after all every addict has to have a defense) this latest M-65 was different, for it was the holy grail of faux #menswear militaria: an Aspesi. Now I will admit, until this point, I certainly did have a mild hoarding problem with olive drab jackets. There was the nineties Ralph Lauren piece (which may or may not have been womens), the random worn-out vintage jacket from the eighties, and of course a few actual surplus M-65’s thrown in there for good measure. But none of them ever quite worked. The sleeves were always too short, the armholes too low, the lining too puffy. And so now they’re all gone, relegated to the bloated racks of my local consignment shop.

The Aspesi M-65 is everything that a tailored (read: bastardized) M-65 should be. The shoulders fit closer to an unstructured sport coat than a surplus piece, a clear nod to the jacket’s Italian make. The material is soft and lightweight, making it easy to toss on over a middle layer for that high/low vibe that every capital F publication heralds so ardently.

So what’s the point of this story? Well aside from letting me brag that I finally own a jacket that I’ve coveted for the past year and change, the moral ties back to that old blogger adage (read: cliche) about saving up for the real deal (read: fake deal) rather than wasting money on second rate pieces. I knew all along that I’d eventually have to save up and actually buy an Aspesi if I wanted to get that slimmed down Aspesi fit, but instead I wasted my pennies trying to find a cheaper jacket that would suffice. As a result I probably wasted about double the price of a single Aspesi along the way, when I would’ve been wiser to just bite the bullet and invest from the get-go.

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It has been nearly four months to the day since I first wrote about the onset of my fixation with the Nepenthes family of brands, and I’m happy to report today that this interest has grown into a full blown obsession. Like Alice stumbling down the rabbit hole, there seems to be no turning back for me, and all I can say is that I feel bad for my bank account going forward. My recent mania over Engineered Garments is what lead me to one of the best online stores out there – Silver and Gold

Founded in 2007, Silver and Gold is an Osaka based menswear shop that packs an impressive brand roster. The best way to describe their stock would be like a more avant garde Inventory, blending the expected – EG (including one of the best Fall collection buys of any account worldwide), orSlow, South2West8Folk, etc. with some unknown exports from Japan and abroad. It’s this selection that sets Silver and Gold apart, and they realize use their new arrivals section to the utmost to showcase these more obscure brands. 

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The calendar would indicate that today is my birthday, but according to the weather outside it certainly doesn’t feel like any birthday I remember. Yesterday, I stepped out in a tee shirt and jeans, but I might as well have been wearing a portable sweat lodge, and while today is shaping up to be a bit better out there, I still wish I was facing a gorgeous autumnal day. On birthday’s past, I’ve had to toss on far more than a single layer to brave the day, and so in honor of my ideal birthday climate, I decided to piece together an ideal fall outfit. It’s nothing groundbreaking (aside from the first ever genuine mention of Visvim on this site) just more “dad” style at eye-popping prices, but as they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

And in case you have a few hundred dollars to blow and would like to get me a last minute gift, the links are below.

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Engineered Garments Deck Jacket – Ovadia & Sons Midwood Indigo Dip Dyed Denim Shirt – Visvim Social Sculpture 04 Damage 6 Jeans – Brunello Cucinelli Wool/Cashmere Baseball Cap – New Balance x Concepts 998 “C-Note”

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It was like being in the stands to watch your high school quarterback make it to the pros. The room was filled with every fixture of the New York scene, from buyers, to bloggers (as if we really needed an excuse to get together) but it still felt entirely personal. I don’t like writing about NYFW, as the lack of any real possibility for critique in “fashion reviews” makes me question how authentic I really am whenever I write a piece such as this, but for Ovadia & Sons, I’ll make an exception. It’s not because I feel that I know the brothers well enough to critique them, but because I genuinely feel extremely proud of what they accomplished this season.

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It was in late 2010, just as my interest in clothing became less a hobby and more of an obsession, that Ariel and Shimon Ovadia, two identical twins from Brooklyn emerged on the scene as the face(s) of what would the New York Times would call the “neo-geezer” movement. To me, and many of my peers, it was just American sportswear done right, a collection of clothes that was designed with us in mind. The inspirations were classic, the cuts were flattering. The designs were innovative, the clothes were wearable. The collections were timely, the spirit was timeless.

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From the first time I saw their collection in person, at Capsule a couple years back, I was amazed by the duo’s extraordinary creative output. That collection felt like four, or even five collections in one, spanning across eras, movements, and cultures, to create one of the deepest debut offerings I’ve ever seen. They continued on this way with each subsequent collection, exceeding expectations, and progressing the line without ever losing their direction.

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Sometimes I get the feeling that #menswear has sucked the vintage Ralph Lauren well dry, as if our ever-present adoration for the designer formerly known as Lifshitz has finally emptied the tank on the man’s mystique. Just when I think that seeing one more photo of RL galavanting across his ranch, or reading one more article about the tchotchke’s that cover across his office, will finally turn the man mortal, another set of photos pops up that starts the fanboy cycle all over again.

I came across this latest crop of images through one of my favorite Tumblrs, Ralph Lipschitz (despite the unfortunate typo in the title) who found them on Mike D. Sikes site. The fourteen shots are actually scans from the book Ralph Lauren: The Man, The Vision, The Style and fully capture that “good ol’ American” look that Ralph embodies (or at least attempts to embody) through every facet of his life. I’d never seen these specific photos before, so I figured they were worth a repost, so here they are, ranked in order from the average to the absurd. 

Clean, and simple with just the right amount of preppy arrogance

Clean, simple, and preppy without looking like he was born with a pastel spoon in his mouth

The elusive tucked in polo with a great strapped waistband

The elusive tucked in polo with tasteful pleats and an interesting waistband

The classic RL denim tuxedo

The classic RL denim tuxedo

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