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The past is best left there

A little Ivy League, a bit posh golf course, a lot Marty McFly; this time machine of cloth and thread will usher you back to a time when you could smoke in offices, people ate meatloaf and being sexually inappropriate to your secretary was simply good manners. This new wind-cheater from Japanese US obsessives Kaptain Sunshine will make you look like a bloke from the 50s. I’m not entirely sure how desirable looking like a bloke from the 50s is mind you? Let’s consider this pointless conundrum.

Within menswearism, you can always spot the real vintage-head. I’m not talking about a guy rocking a pair of old army surplus trousers. I’m talking about a guy who looks like Biggles. Or a moustache greasing P. G. Wodehouse character. You see such sights frequently around Covent Garden. Typically (and unsurprisingly) milling about The Vintage Showroom.

I tend to find an absolute representation of the past too much like caricature, rather too stagy, too affected. I admire a passion for styles of the past. But I can’t help thinking that by adhering your influences to a period, or a certain style is incredibly limiting. It’s blindly suggesting that the past was better then now – a misguided, rose-tinted doctrine that infects everything from appreciation of the creative arts to politics. Throughout recent history generations have revered the output of the preceding 20-30 years, often oblivious to the notion that in 20-30 years generations will revere today similarly. I like to see a little of now in my vintage. And Kaptain Sunshine are masters at that.

An original 50s blouson like this would be billowy in the body, with capacious, arm holes, rendering the top of the sleeve, baggy and bat-like. Here the silhouette is trim, modernized. You’ll also spy a double-zip in the mix. A stylish and practical addition, enabling the wearer to open up from the hem when seated, or after consuming a large plate of meatloaf. And of course there’s that check, both strident and soft – that’ll be the 100% Finx cotton make up, none of your polys or nylons here. It’s a strong piece. That it draws influence from the 50s is appealing. That it isn’t actually from the 50s is a blessing.

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