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.
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, South2West8, Folk, 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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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, simple, and preppy without looking like he was born with a pastel spoon in his mouth
The elusive tucked in polo with tasteful pleats and an interesting waistband
The classic RL denim tuxedo
This past month I’ve been writing more and more frequently for other publications, and so I figured it was high time that I did a bit of housecleaning by putting all these links in one place. Aside from these “special” features, be sure to keep up with my weekly columns: Dropping Knowledge for the GQ Eye, and One Icon, One Detail for Esquire.com. And my monthly work for Well Spent.
The 25 Most Important People in Menswear
“Who The F Is That Guy?”: Revealing Street Style’s Most Mysterious Men: Parts One and Two
Gianni Agnelli: 10 Style Moves From a True Master
How to Wear A Hawaiian Shirt
How to Wear Linen
How to Wear a Panama Hat
New York Times
It’s now more than a month old, but I was interviewed as part of a New York Times article on Dad Jeans
If you would like to contact me about possible freelance assignments, or writing jobs, please contact me at Jake@wax-wane.com
I could tell you that Lavenham was started in 1969 in Lavenham Village, a town that now has well under two thousand people. I could tell you that they begun with quilted horse rugs, before applying their quilting techniques to other classic country designs. I could tell you that their products are still made in an English factory, using the same watchful approach that they started with nearly fifty years ago.
But, none of that really matters when you look at the price tag.
If you purchase one thing this Fall, it should be a quilted Lavenham. Two pockets, button snaps up the front, corduroy collar, the same way it’s looked since the seventies. After all, why ruin a good thing with bad design?
Pick one up today at C.H.C.M.
“The Master of the Universe stood up and managed to hold on to the leash and struggle into his raincoat. It was a worn but formidable rubberized British riding mac, full of flaps, straps, and buckles. He had bought it at Knoud on Madison Avenue. Once, he had considered its aged look as just the thing, after the fashion of the Boston Cracked Shoe look. Now he wondered.” – Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities.
As someone who at least attempts to be a writer, reading Wolfe is a cruel game. His passages at once show the possibilities of the English language and act as a constant reminder that I’ll never achieve such dexterity over the written word. All that aside though, Wolfe’s 1987 assessment on life in the evolving big city, is rife with passages such as the one above.
As Bonfire of the Vanities cuts across New York’s avenues and alleyways, Wolfe drops bread crumbs along the trail, leading the reader back down the rabbit hole to a fading era of this city. I’d like to believe that Wolfe was well aware of the fleeting nature of New York and its many establishments when he wrote this book, as he lines the pages with references to storefronts, restaurants, and even landmarks that no longer exist. Wolfe’s work is that of a written time capsule in a way, which brings me back to Knoud on Madison.
Michael Hainey in Houndstooth by Tommy Ton
It’s been a while since I’ve written an actual, applicable “style” piece on here, a fact that I’ll attribute to my general distaste for these last few weeks of summer. The back half of August into September is always a struggle for me – I’m long since tired of linen and rolled up sleeves, but the more I look ahead to fall, the more I’m reminded that those sweaters and tweed jackets sitting in my closet, will have to remain idle for a couple more fortnights. In the spirit of publishing though, I decided to torture myself and write a bit about the one item that I’m really hoping to pick up for this fall – an unlined wool houndstooth sport coat.
Of course when I say “hoping to pick up,” I mean spend my imaginary monopoly money on, but never actually purchase. Nonetheless an unlined houndstooth sport coat is, in my opinion, the perfect fall jacket. My biggest issue with many cold weather weight jackets, is that they end up looking frumpy, with far too much padding that ruins the natural silhouette. I believe that most of a jacket’s structure should stem from the wearer itself, which of course, doesn’t mean all jackets should be devoid of padding, but for right now I will totally admit that I do much prefer a softer shoulder year round. The lack of lining makes it easy to layer both under and over, which helps to steer clear of Pillsbury Doughboy territory. The most important reason I like this particular jacket, is that houndstooth is favorite fall pattern. It’s not too countrified like many tartan checks, but it still has a solid motif that mirrors the molting leaves, and it happens to be easy to pair with everything from formal dress trousers, to grey chinos, to washed out denim.
Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan
Wax Wane World HQ has been on the move this week, as I finally fled my old apartment for a new adobe that has a ceiling that actually won’t cave in for a change.
More importantly though, as I was unpacking things and getting situated yesterday morning, I was reminded of one of my favorite series of photos that I’ve ever come across in my #menswear-ian travels – Rose Callahan’s portraits of Sean Crowley in his apartment. If you know me personally, you know that Crowley’s apartment has become somewhat of an ever-present obsession of mine. I’ve had these photos bookmarked for probably a year now, and from time to time I’ll still send them to people to address such pressing questions as:
How does one man own more ties than there are days in his entire life?
How many bottles of scotch do you buy before they begin cascading onto the floor?
What’s an acceptable number of hours that a man can wear a house robe?
Are top hats the new five panels? Or just the old trilbys?
How does one decide which pipe to smoke in the morning?
Why do all other apartments (mine included) suddenly seem so inferior?
Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan
Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan
Sean Crowley by Rose Callahan
Do yourself a favor, and see the rest of the shots on Rose Callahan’s site, The Dandy Portraits