Category Archives: fashion

Thoughts on the legend that is Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat in a suit

The big art news this week was a record sale for one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings.  Right after reading about that, I saw this tweet by Will Black: “Painting by street artist Basquiat, who lived in a cardboard box, sells for $110.5m in New York. Value PEOPLE while they are ALIVE”.

A few thoughts on that tweet. First, while Basquiat may have been poor starting out, by the time he died too young at the age of 27, he had a net worth of $10 million dollars. Second, that transition from poverty and obscurity to wealth and fame was fast. We should value people while they are alive, but there are better people to use as an example than Jean-Michel Basquiat.

As for my own thoughts, I have always loved Basquiat’s paintings since the 80s. Their greatness was there from the beginning. If we knew nothing else about the artist than his work, we would still think he was great.

But Basquiat was not just a painter: he was more like a rock star. Like Keith Haring, he had a public persona more akin to music superstars much in the same way that Andy Warhol did. It’s no surprise that Basquiat was influenced by Warhol in more ways than one. And now, at least in the world of the art market, he has surpassed Warhol.  It’s good to see that too. For many reasons.

Jean-Michel Basquiat had something else that was great, and that was his sense of style. There’s a good piece in Dazed on the importance of clothing to him. They correctly note that:

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a fashionable man. He walked the Comme des Garçons runway for their SS87 collection and favoured the long, slim cut, slightly militaristic jackets of Issey Miyake. Biographers and friends recall the stories of Basquiat setting up tabs at his favorite clothing boutiques, trading canvasses for clothes.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a legend for his time, and a star. It’s good to see that star is getting brighter.

For more on his fashion, see: The meaning and magic of Basquiat’s clothes | Dazed. It’s a strong piece.

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Karl Lagerfeld and his Atelier in Paris (a must for book lovers)

Karl Lagerfeld in his atelier

The Selby has a gorgeous photo shoot of the atelier of Karl Lagerfeld. Anyone who dreams of having a library in their home will love it. The photo above is just a taste: for a feast, see: Karl Lagerfeld at his Atelier in Paris in the selby

Zara makes good fragrance for young men


My teenage son was wanting to wear fragrance, and I found that when it comes to this, there is something of a dilemma. On one hand, low cost fragrances (e.g. under $20) smell awful. (Think fresh cut lime juice mixed with a bottle of cat urine.) Fragrances that are appealing, on the other hand, can easily cost $50, $60, $70 and more. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that teen age boys (based on my limited observations) go through a lot of fragrance.

A way out of that dilemma is to buy fragrance from Zara. The fragrances above cost around $15 and they cover a range of scents. Some have more citrus, others more floral, some have dominant woody notes. In short, you can likely find a scent he will like that won’t cost you a fortune.

Do these fragrances have the richness or complexity of a product from Issey Miyake or Tom Ford? Nope. But he’ll smell better than his buddies drenched in Axe, even if he puts on too much at first, which he probably will. Your pocketbook and the people who have to share close space with him will thank you.

P.S. The two fragrances above come from a line of Zara fragrances named after famous streets. The packaging looks like the kind you would get with high end fragrances. I recommend them. That said, Zara has a number of fragrance lines. It will likely be painful, but try and get him to go and check out the fragrances himself so he will pick one he’ll like and wear.

P.S.S. These fragrances are not just for teenage boys,  of course. Anyone can wear them if it appeals to them.

Glitches as a design pattern for fabric

The good folks at Glitchaus have taken an oddity of the digital world – glitches – and used it as the basis of their designs of scarves and wraps. If you are in need of either, or you’d just like to see some innovative fashion, it’s worth visiting their site.

On the benefits of wearing a uniform

There are benefits to wearing a uniform: you look good, people can read you, and you simplify your life. I think that is what this article is getting at too, but to me, it oversells it: The Genius of Wearing the Same Outfit Every Day. Still worth a quick read, though.

I add that there are drawbacks to wearing a uniform: you can get stereotyped and you can get sick of it. I have tried it, and I think the trick for me was to have more of a template of clothing to wear and stick to that. By that I mean you have a number of different things to wear, but all the clothing fits a certain pattern or template. That approach  allows for some variation, but you gain all the benefits of a uniform.

Having read this, do you think the uniform idea is good or bad?

One of the best style guides for men can be found ….

Here: Garb, from Uncrate.

This pix is just a sample; you can see lots more here: Garb: First Class | Uncrate. Lots of great looks and ideas. For men who are stylistically challenged, I recommend you go here and steal all the ideas you can.

A fashionable option for men who don’t want to wear leather shoes (or Tom’s shoes)


If you are a man (or someone who like to wear shoes traditionally associated with men) who doesn’t want to wear shoes from leather, don’t want to wear Converse or Toms shoes but do want to wear dress shoes, you have what I think is  a good alternative: Delli Aldo shoes. I came across them via Cool Tools (a newsletter and a section of Kevin Kelly’s website) and I think they are great for a number of reasons:

  1. they are very stylish
  2. they come in a wide range of styles
  3. they are low cost
  4. they are vegan

Beware: they run large (e.g. if you wear 8, consider getting the size 7 or 6.5) and they stink the first few days you get them (then apparently they do not).

For more information, check out the link to Cool Tools or go right to Amazon and pick up a pair.