Tag Archives: fashion

The Nimbus Cloud 990v5 running shoes from New Balance

NB 990s

New Balance has been making some form of the 990s for a very long time. If you are a clydesdale runner you may have owned one of more of these.

I wanted to highlight this pair because I just love the styling of them. Long after they no longer provide you the cushioning you need to run with, you can still walk around in them and be stylish IMHO.

For more info on them, check out this Uncrate piece.

Of course, you can also go to the New Balance site. The all black ones look great too.

In praise of the cardigan, perfect for your pandemic fashion needs

Fancy cardigan
Finally! Advice we can all use: How to wear a statement cardigan | Men’s fashion in The Guardian

You might think I am joking but I am not: the cardigan is my favorite article of clothing. It’s dressier than a hoodie, more comfortable than a jacket, adjustable for different temperatures, and definitely stylish. I mean look at that one above! A cardigan with a shirt and tie is casual chic. Add more layers and you will be the picture of elegance.

I only have one piece of advice about cardigans: if you see one you like, do not hesitate to buy it. Clothing lines usually have a very limited number of cardigans they make every year, and often those are boring. Some years I have not found one good cardigan worth owning. A good cardigan is a rare and wonderful thing: don’t hesitate to get one or more.

On the greatness of wearing black

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the importance of wearing red. While red is great, there’s much to be said for wearing black, and Grace Dent says it so well, here. As for me, I’ve argued that if a man has to have only one suit, it should be a black one. Gray and navy are great colours for suits, but black is best. After all, if you wear a white dress shirt, solid black tie and suit, you will look cool .

You could do worse than look as cool as this:

Hey man. Wear more red

Men don’t wear enough red, in my humble opinion. That’s too bad, because red is a great color to wear. Especially so in the cooler months, when men’s clothes tend to go towards darker and neutral colors.

If you are interested but unsure how to proceed, then check out this Guardian article. It has the tips you need. (The above picture is from there. The red shoe laces are really great. Consider getting a red watch band or a red scarf too.)

Meanwhile, here are my rules for wearing Red, written in 2008. They never go out of style:

  1. Bernie’s Rule of Wearing Red | Smart People I Know
  2. Bernie’s Rule of Wearing Red Revisited | Smart People I Know

On capsule wardrobes, or minimalism in the closet

If you are transitioning your clothes from summer to winter, you might be asking yourself: why do I have all these clothes? Do I need so many pieces? What can I do to pare down?

One option is to aim for a capsule wardrobe.  Here’s a piece on how to create one.For more on this, see this.

As for me, I am a failed minimalist, and I would likely fail at this too. But I feel the need to do it.

P.S. These guides are directed at women’s wear, but people who wear traditional men’s clothing can easily adapt this.

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The problem with hand me down cheap clothing?

Is simple: it’s wanted less and less. As this piece shows, No One Wants Your Used Clothes Anymore. 

What’s changed? Well…

For decades, the donation bin has offered consumers in rich countries a guilt-free way to unload their old clothing. In a virtuous and profitable cycle, a global network of traders would collect these garments, grade them, and transport them around the world to be recycled, worn again, or turned into rags and stuffing.

Now that cycle is breaking down. Fashion trends are accelerating, new clothes are becoming as cheap as used ones, and poor countries are turning their backs on the secondhand trade. Without significant changes in the way that clothes are made and marketed, this could add up to an environmental disaster in the making.

I think there is no easy remedy for this, unless you’re someone happy to wear a limited number of pieces of clothing over and over again. But something will have to change. If you thought all those clothes you put in the donation bin are going on people’s bodies and not to the garbage dump, then read the piece.

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Is Forever 21 doomed?

Yesterday I asked that about Muji. The short answer for Muji: not doomed yet, but in trouble.

For Forever 21, it appears to be a different story. If you read this, The Failure of the Fast-Fashion Forever 21 Empire – Bloomberg, you see an organization in big trouble, with poor management and poor demand for their product. It is still possible for them to pull out, but I would be surprised if Forever 21 is still a going concern in 2021.

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What the smart socialists are wearing these days…


Is socialist slogans spelled out in pinstripe! Interesting. For more on this, see:  Socialist pinstripe: the secret message stitched into Jeremy Corbyn’s new suit | Politics | The Guardian

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Atoms Shoes: now in quarter sizes


Among other good features of  Atoms Shoes is their availability in quarter sizes. So if you really want an accurate fit, you can get it. They are a nice looking shoe, too. Worth checking out.

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It’s fall. You need a scarf. Here’s how to tie it

…via the good people at Leffot.

Check out their shoes: they are amazing.

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How to make a man’s Zara suit look expensive


GQ has the five good ideas here: 5 Tricks That’ll Make Cheap Suits Look More Expensive. I said “Zara” but you could do the same with lower end suits as well.

I’d add:

  1. Get the whole suit tailored to fit. They mention the sleeves, but if you get the jacket tapered to your body, the impression of fit will be strong and it won’t look off the rack.
  2. Go with a conservative colour. I like this suit over the one in the GQ article. It’s somewhat bold with windowpane plaid (vs pinstripe or solid), but the charcoal grey tones it down. Grey suits and jackets are deceptive: even the cheapest of them are hard to guess how expensive they are unless you look closely and know clothing.
  3. Go with good accessories in general, not just shoes. A great watch, French cuff shirt with cufflinks, a beautiful tie: all of those things give an impression of being expensive. Be bold here. I like how the suit pictured is paired with a shirt and tie that have a tiny pattern to compliment the larger pattern of the suit. It’s a good look. And his shoes stand out in a good way and look great with the tapered pant.

For details on this suit, go here.

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On Fred Perry, fashion writing, and the Guardian


Here are two pieces on the association of Fred Perry and political fashion.. This one, Why does the far right love Fred Perry? Mainstream fashion is its new camouflage | by Cynthia Miller-Idriss in The Guardian and this one, Fred Perry, Proud Boys, and the Semiotics of Fashion.

The first one superficially touches on how the political right adopts certain clothing to wear as a uniform. The second goes deep into the history of clothing to signify membership within social groups.

If you read the first one, you’d get the impression that some good PR could shift the negative associations of the far right with Fred Perry. After reading the second one, you may realize it would be much harder to do than that. The associations go deep.

Sadly, many of the pieces I read in the Guardian are like that. They are a good jumping off point, but if you want to better understand a subject, you need to go elsewhere.

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Supreme is releasing a branded 3G burner phone *eye roll emoji*

If you must, more about it is here: Supreme is releasing a branded 3G burner phone

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The fascinating story of Paris Green, a tint that literally was drop dead gorgeous

I love stories about colours and their origins, but this one on Paris Green is especially good: This Trendy But Toxic Shade of Green Left Thousands Dead in the Victorian Era.

Turns out 19th century patrons loved this tint that was produced using…arsenic. You can imagine how this turns out, but save your imagination and read the story.

Image and story from Town and Country, of all things. Not sure how I came across it, but I am glad I did.

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Crunch time for Barneys


Bad news for Barneys, the premiere merchant in NYC. On one hand they are getting hit with a huge rent increase, and on the other, people’s shopping habits are changing. Could this be the end? It seems so.

See this for more: Bankruptcy for Barneys? Symbol of New York luxe faces uncertain future | US news | The Guardian

On the mechanics of the Met Gala

The Met Gala recently completed as it does every year, and it seems to draw more and more attention. Part charity event, part costume spectacle, it is a parade of fame and fortune and costume.

Yet even if you could afford the $30,000 for one ticket, you can’t necessarily get one. As this piece illustrates, there’s alot more to it than that.

Sure if you are Rhianna, you pretty much get to go the front of the line. For anyone else, reading the article in the New York Times will tell you all you need to know about this event.

This is nerdtastic: Columbia’s limited edition “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” Collection


Yep. Columbia Sportswear has teamed up with the folks at Star Wars to produce this limited edition collection of clothing, and the details on it can be found here in this Design Milk article. Since it is a very limited collection, I expect that (A) it will sell out very quickly (B) the pieces will show up again for exorbitant prices on sites like eBay. Still…fun.  Cosplay people can get this and wear it all winter long! Good luck if you try and get it.

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.

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.

It’s winter. Scarf season. Here’s 25 techniques to wearing them.

You may never need more than one or two of these. But scarves come in all sizes lately, and some techniques will work better than others.

from Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/25-different-ways-to-wear-a-scarf-in-one-5-minute-vide-1497868372

If you are a young man looking to build up a wardrobe, study this

The Essentials, at the MR PORTER web site, has a long visual list of items you should have in your collection of clothing. Even if you don’t buy them from this site (which is not cheap), you should use this page as a guide of what to acquire elsewhere.

My only quibbles are these:

  • I would go with a longer length for men’s shorts
  • skip the cargo pants
  • Introduce colour via accessories

That said, the list is great and well, essential, if you are building up your wardrobe.

How to wear short sleeves, men’s edition

Two great looks come from classic icons of style. First up, Kennedy

Next up, Chet Baker

Lots more looks here:the Selvedge Yard

If you wear a white dress shirt, solid black tie and suit, you will look cool

And if you are already cool, it makes you look more so.

Essential wardrobe item for men: the solid black suit

If you  search for Tim Gunn’s Fashion Essentials on the Web, you will find a number of things he recommends for women. To some degree, many of these things — classic white shirt, jeans, trench coat — work for men as well. But there is one thing on that list that women have had for a long time as an essential, namely the “little black dress”, that men should also have. Except it is the “solid black suit”.

I’ve read that if men are buying their first suit, they should go with a navy suit. Navy suits are great. But if I were recommending an essential piece of clothing for men, it would be a solid black suit.

A solid black suit is tremendously versatile. If you wear it with a white shirt with French cuffs and a solid coloured tie, it is the height of dressing up (save for wearing a tuxedo). If you replace the shirt and tie with a high quality T-shirt or a bold print shirt, you can wear the same suit to a gallery opening or a night club. You can wear it to weddings, funerals, and pretty well any special event in between. It travels well, doesn’t show stains or wrinkles as easily as some other suits, and if you have to pack light, you could add some light gray or beige pants and make the jacket coordinate with those slacks for extra business attire. You can even wear the jacket with the jeans if you want to mix it up.

I think solid black is more versatile than one with stripes. As for the cut of the suit, that should be one that works well for you. Since you want the suit to be versatile, the cut should be versatile as well. And get the best one you can afford, especially if you will be wearing it often.

There are lots of great articles of clothing a man should have in his wardrobe to look his best. A basic black suit should be one of those.

To see what I mean: if you want to see just how elegant such a suit can look, you can check out this post with Tim looking great as usual in a solid black suit. Meanwhile, this post on the new line of Comme des Garcons wear at H&M illustrates how to make such a suit look more casual.

Zara thrives by being smart

This article, Zara Thrives by Breaking All the Rules in BusinessWeek, talks about how Zara is succeeding by doing things differently. However, the fallacy is saying there are “rules”. The “rules” are how other people do it. What Zara has done is seen the weaknesses in those rules and done things differently. Zara knows that the sum is what matters, not the parts. So even if parts of its manufacturing could be made cheaper, it would add additional costs down the line. That’s smart. And that’s why they are thriving.

Of course, unlike some of their competitors, they know what to make that will sell. You can have the best supply chain in the world, but if you are delivering something people don’t want, you are dead. Zara knows what people want, and they can adjust quickly when they make a mistake. Not only that, but Zara has lots of ideas, unlike some of their competitors. They seem to produce way more styles than other clothing manufacturers, making it more likely you will find something you want. That’s also very smart.