Posted onNovember 3, 2022|Comments Off on This has style, this has grace, this here watch has a minimal face. (Get your fill of fashion here)
I’ve been wanting to to simplify and minimize my style lately. If that’s appealing to you, check out this link to minimal classics that never go out of style. Want to simpify your watch? Well you could get this one. But maybe that’s too minimal. This might be better. (shown above)
The suit is dead! Well, if not dead, likely on death’s door. To see what I mean, read this: The end of the suit: has Covid finished off the menswear staple? The suit has been already dying off somewhat in the last few years, with the decline in necktie use and the introduction of more casual shoes to go with it, among other adaptations. Perhaps it will be gone altogether in the next few years.
I was thinking about the death of the suit when I was eyeing this work above in London last spring. That form of business attire has been dead for centuries! No doubt in centuries from now people will be standing in galleries looking at painting of men with neckties and double breasted blazers and thinking how odd it looks, just like how we think the Dutch men above look odd. Suits — of all eras — eventually die off.
What will not die off, though, is the need for some form of fashion to indicate the person wearing it has a specific business function. What form that will take, I don’t know, but there will be something, some form of “suit”, that indicates you are talking to a doctor or a lawyer or a banker or a businessman (or woman) of some stature. Of that you can be sure.
The suit (as we know it) is dying: the suit (will come to know) is being born. Long live the suit.
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Posted onAugust 25, 2022|Comments Off on Is Kanye West a good clothing designer? And other fashion thoughts
Is Kanye West a good clothing designer? That’s a good question, and one this piece spends many words considering. Part of the problem is what is the standard for “good”. His work resembles the work of other good designers. His work, like the products he makes for the GAP or this Goyard Robot Face Backpack, seem to be sought out by people:
I don’t think he is good as some of the best clothing designers, from Armani to Valentino. But I don’t think he is bad either. Just how good he is will be best measured over time. One thing for sure, he is not dull. That’s a good thing.
Men’s running shoes often have boring colour palettes: those don’t.
Finally, thanks to Cup of Jo for this piece on Striped shirts. Like dots, stripes never go out of style. If you are freshening up your wardrobe this Fall, why not add some bold stripes to the mix? There are so many ways you can bring stripes into your wardrobe. If you are leaning to the sporty side, you cannot go wrong with Adidas:
(Images from the good folks at Uncrate)
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There are three good suits you can wear in the summer: cotton, linen and seersucker.
Seersucker is lightweight and doesn’t wrinkle easily, but it tends to be limited in terms of colour options. (The one on the left in the photo above looks good though). If you have to wear suits in the hotter months, having a seersucker suit will help you get through them.
Cotton is also lightweight and can come in a wider range of colours than seerksucker. However cotton wrinkles. Alot. Really it is a dry cleaners dream. It looks great well pressed, but after a few minutes it looks wrinkled and disheveled.
That’s why I like linen: it looks great pressed, and it looks great wrinkled. Plus it comes in lots of colours and cuts. Hands down it is the best looking of the three types of summer suits and it has been for some time. I had a black linen suit from Hugo Boss and even in the heat I could wear it and feel comfortable.
That’s why you should ignore the Guardian when it talks about how the loose linen suit became retirement wear. They use Boris Johnson wearing linen as an example of why (younger) men should not. I mean, please. The other comparison point is Brad Pitt who wisely decided to promote his new film in the hotter months by suiting up in linen. A smart choice. (Also note the style of Pitt: draw string pants, loose necklines, casual shoes….all good looks to steal.)
It would be a shame if men, especially young men, gave up wearing linen suits. They are extremely versatile in terms of cuts, colours and styles. They are supremely comfortable. You can wear them to a wedding and you can wear them to a show. You can wear them in the city and you can wear them in the country.
Posted onAugust 10, 2022|Comments Off on Issey Miyake was more than a designer of turtlenecks for Steve Jobs
I’ve been a fan of the late great Issey Miyake since the 1980s. No one at the time was doing anything as wonderful with fabric as was. Perhaps Armani, but Armani’s cuts seemed conservative in comparison.
It’s an odd thing, but this week when he died, many of the news articles kept mentioning how Miyake designed the classic turtlenecks that Steve Jobs wore all the time. And it’s true, he did make those black tops of Jobs. However, those were among the least interesting thing he designed. To get a sense of just how beautiful his clothing designs could really be, see this: Issey Miyake’s best celebrity fashion moments at the Daily Mail. As well, Vogue has some highlights. (This piece in the Guardian is the best by far in recognizing his greatness.)
It’s quite a legacy. And right up until the end, he was making beautiful clothes.
Besides the clothes, he has always been associated with great fragrances. Next time you can, pay your local fragrance shop a visit and see if you can get some. You may not be able to wear his garments, but you can wear his scents.
(Image: link to image in Daily Mail piece)
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First off, a baseball cap can look stylish if worn the right way, even with a nice summer suit. But if you insist on switching it up, you CAN go with a bucket hat, sure. I mean, they are very trendy right now. In his latest film, even Brad Pitt’s character wears one.
And that’s one of the problems with them. For young men, bucket hats look great. But as you start pushing into your late 20s or more, you look like an old guy trying to look like a young guy. That’s never a good thing.
The other problem with bucket hats is a practical one: the brim is often too narrow. It doesn’t provide any shade for your eyes or protection of the sun. Other than hiding a bald spot, all it does is make your head hot. Who needs that?
What you do need is a good straw hat. A straw hat works in any situation. You can wear it to the beach, you can wear it to a fancy restaurant. It provides coverage from the sun. It’s lightweight. It breathes. It comes in all shapes and sizes. It never goes out of style.
So toss the baseball cap, skip the bucket hat, and get a good straw hat. Or several. They don’t even cost much. This Straw Hat from H&M costs 12 bucks. And looks great.
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Posted onJune 8, 2022|Comments Off on The irony of the Nike’s new shoe, the NikeCraft x Tom Sachs General Purpose Shoe
If this shoe was coming out from anyone other than Nike, I would just straight-up praise it. It’s a practical shoe. It will likely wear well over the months and even years. If you are someone who likes to wear the same shoe all the time (e.g. Birkenstocks or Blundstones) then these could be perfect for you.
Coming from Nike, though, which is famous/notorious for making rare and high priced shoes intentionally, the fact that they make these and portray these shoes as typical of them is …well, something.
To step back, Nike does make shoes for different markets. The Pegasus brand and the Air Force 1 lines are for mass markets, just like these are. Just like the Jordan brands and other high end lines are for different markets. It’s all just capitalism: they have a model for whatever you value and whatever your values are. For more on the these shoes, check out Uncrate and Yanko Design.
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Posted onMay 4, 2022|Comments Off on On the Gap, sweat shirts, Ralph Lauren blazers and other things fashion
It’s funny: the reason my blog was able to get so many visits initially was because someone at the New York Times took me to be a influential fashion blogger and put me on their blogroll many years ago. Talk about good luck!
Since then I have not wrote much about fashion. I don’t know why. It’s not like my deep thoughts on other things are all that great. Maybe I wanted to come across as smart and not shallow and scattered like I am.
Time to change that up. So here’s a good story on The end of the Gap and their Rise and Fall. Very good journalism.
The 212 is all about “revisiting New York institutions that have defined cool for decades, from time-honored restaurants to unsung dives.” New York is always NEW, but old New York is great and continues to be for good reason.
Posted onFebruary 2, 2022|Comments Off on The 80s were cool. Don’t believe me? Ask the kids
It’s easy to mock any era for its excesses – and the 80s had those – but it still had much good about it. Perhaps that’s one reason why some Zoomers are so wistful for that era. Your mileage may differ, but I think the kids are alright.
One of the things about that time that was great was Giorgio Armani. I love his clothes and his look then, and I still do. Here’s a good piece on what makes it great: Permanent Style.
I want to pile on and recommend monochrome. As they say, monochrome dressing (i.e. wearing only one colour at a time) is a good way to simplify your dressing. It’s also a good way to travel too: having only one colour to wear means you need to take less and everything goes together.
You don’t have to be as bold as to wear lime or violet: black, blue and gray all work nicely. And if you are wearing summer clothes, all white or all beige is excellent.
If you kind of like the idea but find it too much, mix in some neutral colours: blue and a bit of gray, black and a touch of white, brown and beige combined. Easy!
However you do it, monochrome dressing makes it easy to get dressed and make a statement at the same time. What’s not to like?
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I had planned to write something, but that piece is so good I can’t possibly express my meh feelings to the empty activism and her presence there better than that piece does. For example, this is just one sliver of goodness from the Atlantic piece:
Ocasio-Cortez has fired up her base, raised her profile, and reminded everyone that she is the standard-bearer for today’s activist left.
At the same time, the Met Gala is essentially a costume ball, which removes the potential for actual subversion…the Met Gala red carpet is now an arena where people go to make statements, which inevitably robs those statements of their power. No one here is rebelling against the Man. The Man loves the extra publicity; it helps sell more $35,000 tickets to socialites who love a frisson of revolution as long as it’s safely divorced from the threat of actual tumbrels. … The Met Ball is … a safe space for political statements that all attendees will applaud, regardless of whether they truly believe them. … no one gets booed, or thrown out, or shunned by their peers for wearing an ensemble supporting any progressive cause to the Met Gala. … So what is the risk of wearing a sloganeering outfit to the Met Gala…? For Ocasio-Cortez, that’s just a day ending in a Y. (Emphasis is mine)
I like AOC for her intelligence and her seriousness and I like the Met Ball for it’s vapid ridiculousness. The two don’t mix. I am glad she got to enjoy the party and wear a great dress and support a good designer, but either go and acknowledge you are part of the ridiculousness, or stay serious and avoid it.
Home decor is fashion, as much as clothing is fashion. The fashion for a time has been minimalism. Minimalism not just in having less items in your homes. It’s has also been about the colour of people’s walls. Or the use of mid-century modern furniture with its clean lines. The fashion of minimalism has always been about paring back in all areas of home decor.
Now that form of minimalism is slowly going out of fashion. Home decor may be fashion, and no it doesn’t change as frequently as fashion in clothing, but yes it still changes. And the direction it is going to change towards is maximalism.
I suspect we will see more and more maximalism in the next few years. Especially so as we eventually exit the pandemic. Things will get more colourful. Bolder lines and styles. Bigger pieces. More of everything. (Just like what you see in the photo above.) That will continue to increase until it too goes out of fashion. It’s all a pendulum.
After the hype of the collaboration of Kanye West and Gap, we now get to see the first item from what should be a long partnership. The jacket (above) is a bit of a surprise for me. I am so used to West using muted colours that I was pleasantly pleased to see he went with an electric blue. That’s a good sign. And the price is reasonable too.
Here’s hoping the pairing of the brand with the artist is beneficial to both of them.
Well, I guess. I can’t ever see them having the classic appeal of Stan Smiths or Converse high tops, but I can see why people might pick them up from time to time. I wear them around the house every day. I find them perfect if you do a ton of standing. But wear them outside? Nope. Strictly a utility shoe for me. I suspect they will go back to being that for a lot of people after this latest craze.
Posted onMarch 31, 2021|Comments Off on With Nike’s Every Stitch collection, athleisureware grows up
To me, athleisureware is athletic clothing worn for some activity other than working out. Nike is taking that to another level with their Every Stitch collection. It’s made of similar materials to work out gear, and it comes from a company that makes workout gear, but it’s not workout gear. One example is in the photo above.
It’s a great collection, I think. If you want to see more on the collection, go here.
If you love it, you can buy it here. Nice it is: cheap it isn’t.
Perhaps this is the next progression in men’s and women’s fashion, just as the sport coat went from being clothing you wore for hunting or horseback riding to something worn every day.
Posted onJanuary 12, 2021|Comments Off on You know you want to know: how to dress up sweatpants
Like many of us, Fashion has thrown in the towel and has decided to embrace sweatpants. Don’t just take my word on it; here’s one of the Guardian’s fashion writers explaining, well, How to dress up sweatpants.
Once the pandemic is over, I predict we are going to see a wave of fashion that is the total opposite of sweats. In the meantime, if you are going to wear them, use that article to be both comfy and stylish.
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Posted onDecember 1, 2020|Comments Off on The Nimbus Cloud 990v5 running shoes from New Balance
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.
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.
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:
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
Posted onDecember 16, 2017|Comments Off on 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.
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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.
Posted onAugust 10, 2016|Comments Off on 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.
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Posted onMay 19, 2016|Comments Off on 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.
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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?
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