A few notable things happened yesterday.
While at Shoreditch House I yanked and yanked at a sliding metal door until my face went red, only to have a staff member explain that what I’d taken to be access to the swimming pool was in fact welded shut. Looking at my phone on the train home, I found that because I was once distracted by a video of a gurning loon jumping into a gorge attached to an elastic rope, Instagram is now feeding me endless videos of gurning loons jumping into gorges attached to elastic ropes. To cap it off, when I arrived home, there was a fox sitting on my doorstep eating a Swiss roll.
Perhaps for you, none of this is especially noteworthy. However, once I’d shooed the fox away and shovelled its dirty pudding into the bin, I came to a completely unrelated but nevertheless important realisation.
I’ve reached peak clothing.
It could be that this feeling is tied to the cost of living crisis (the choice between a Toga Virilis marble print cardigan or keeping the lights on is no kind of choice). But I actually suspect not. You see, I’ve got a few gift cards waiting to be spent, a not insignificant few hundred quid. And while typically they’d have been drained within hours of receipt, they remain intact, tucked away in my messy top drawer, amongst the stopped watches, lens cleaner and vintage Star Wars trading cards. This is not forgetfulness. I just don’t want to buy anything. More than that, I don’t need anything.
I should make it clear. This is not late-stage capitalistic guilt, nor is it motivated by ecological dread (as much as it should be), it’s simpler than that. I’ve got too much stuff. I have more clothes than I can conceivably wear.
Recently I’ve taken to giving pieces away. Great pieces, hardly worn. A pair of *A Vontade chinos to one of my oldest friends, an old but beautiful, mint condition Albam corduroy jacket to my sister-in-law. I’m just finding it increasingly uncomfortable to justify keeping things I’m just never going to wear. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because they’ve long been superseded by styles or brands I now prefer.
So right now, I’m not sure where my personal clothing journey is going to take me. Of course, I love the experience of buying new pieces. But when I look at the stores right now, I just see minor variations of things I already have. When you already own over 30 jackets where do you go? In order for me to dust off the Paypal it’d have to be something genuinely unusual. I’m not motivated by this season’s Engineered Garments prints or yet another Needles mohair. If I was to pull the trigger it’d have to be something different. Different but affordable, or different by virtue of it being so cripplingly expensive that you’d definitely never see anyone else in one.
So here are a few pieces that I’m not going to buy, but if I was going to buy something, it would probably be one of these.
Issey Miyake Homme Plissé overshirt
Short and boxy and kind of utilitarian, but also with the echo of old Duran Duran videos. There’s something slightly wonky about catwalk-level designers doing workwear — the fabrics are a shade too fancy-boy, while great effort is taken to conceal the details more ‘authentic’ brands stick front and centre, usually triple stitched. And the thing is, I’m feeling it. I like snap buttons. I like the austere minimalism. Another fucking Brain Dead sweatshirt this is not.
What I love most about this number is that while the world and her mother are re-rinsing Y2K affectations, Keizo Shimizu is knocking out stuff like this, something last seen on Leroy in Fame. It’s the return of the sleeveless sweat. And not just sleeveless, but pretty much sideless. It’s Jan-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport. It’s Jan-Claude Van Damme in anything. Or maybe you’ve caught Physical, AppleTV+’s celebration of cocaine-fuelled aerobics? Either way, forget the torso-out thing. I think it’d look weirdly interesting worn over a shirt. I’m determined to get one of these, although my girl has already warned me I’d look, ‘ridiculous.’
Japanese imprint Bru Na Boinne is a rarity on these shores, to my knowledge there isn’t a UK stockist. The wallet-troubling swing-tickets don’t help either. Still, they do have a habit of producing some easily wearable pieces injected with just the right amount of freaky. Check out this elastic-powered smock, or their scrumptious looking tasselled wallets. I kind of dig this shirt. The collar detail reminds me of the kind of thing Comme des Garçons Homme Plus did in the 80s. Those colours, they just seem a little off, like they’re working from an exclusively eastern Pantone library. I’d wear this buttoned to the neck with a suitably IYKYK pomposity.
Sacai nylon twill MA-1 crew sweat
I know, I’m always chucking Sacai into the mix. The brand is just so beautifully made. If you find yourself in Dover Street Market, go and handle some of the garments — feel the weight and the rigidity. I’ve had some Sacai pieces for years, they’re still going strong and when I wear them they always make me feel like my most premium self (whatever that is.) I’ve wanted one of their MA-1 sweats for years and while this one is technically from last season and a little busier than some, I can see it’s currently discounted on Lyst. Total savagery. It’s almost enough to make me break my vow of abstinence. Almost.
Finally a bit of South Korean weirdness. Full disclosure: I don’t know whether I actually like these or not — they look interesting from the side, but top down things get a bit stealth bomber. What’s with all that extra width? Reduction of wind resistance? Perhaps they’re good for sneaking up on people? Although if sneaking up on people is a prerequisite of your footwear choices I suggest you see a doctor.
Google ‘opneg sneakers’ and they don’t show up, they’re that obscure. So if you do buy a pair, you can be sure you’ll be the only person wearing them at the bottomless brunch. Although again, if you’re in the habit of going to bottomless brunches I suggest you see a doctor.
That only leaves a radical change in size, leading to a complete wardrobe refresh, as your way out.