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As snug as a snug in a pub

This whiskery beard of a blazer is a stand-out from the current Engineered Garments collection over at The Bureau. Seemingly woven from the pelts of the Hair Bear Bunch, it’s as fuzzy as a pub carpet, as comfy as a pub armchair and as snug as… the snug in a pub. Basically it’s a wearable pub; in every respect other than most of them.

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Pretender to the throne

This is some Stannis Baratheian shit right here. Proper regal leisurewear, designed for kicking back in a damp castle, while gnawing on a pig’s leg and watching a few disloyal peons get executed to death. I dare say Stannis would have no trouble finding the 236 Gold Dragons needed to cop this magnificent Undercover madness. For the rest of us, a credit agreement with the Iron Bank might be required. 

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Does this mean something?

Appearing mildly irradiated, this dip-dyed shirt from Sacai apparently offers a “three-dimensional gradient effect.” Basically, everything up to the collar has been immersed in indigo, so it looks like you’ve got a spotlight on your face. As is usual with such conceptual pieces, I’m unsure if I entirely grasp the (presumed) bookish rational behind it. Does this mean something, or does it just look weird?

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On the baseline between sentience and cement

There’s no question, the Japanese embrace the big trouser. In the UK, for every brave menswearman  swishing about in large pants, there are approximately 750 blokes still stalking about in spray-on, Love Island dunce-jeans. Seemingly oblivious to this calf-sculpting  style as a visual metaphor for a billion pints of dunderheaded clottery, these ‘Jack The Fucks’ with their ‘legs out for the birds’ attitude sit right on the baseline between sentience and cement. Arses, the lot of them. I dare say they could barely raise their oaken heads from the sports pages to even comprehend the appeal of these giant cords. Too thinky. Too not sexy. You can’t even see the outline of your balls.

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You’re the realness bruh

So on Monday we discussed ochre. And yesterday brought the brand Folk back to mind. Today touches on both themes as this ochre jacket, with its bold yellow circular pocket trim, looks like it’s come straight from a Folk 2010 look book. Actually we’re looking at a Tender Linen Type 944 coat – £510 worth of English woven cotton canvas. Practical, yet conspicuous; it’s a banger, but is it half a grand’s worth of banger?

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Is the genius becoming clear?

Of this Marni piece, retailer Union in LA urges, “Layer up in a new way….Knit sleeves. Get creative.” Yes, this is a pair of knitted sleeves. There is a neck. There’s no body. What we are looking at here is a completely new paradigm concerning the notion of arm coverings. There is nothing ridiculous about this.

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A highly successful televangelist

Specialising in reconstructing boro fabrics and garments, Japanese brand KUON also offer a significant range of more modern, directional casual wear. The Bureau now provides UKists with their first opportunity to easily access the brand, although be advised, this is premium merch, with a vigorous approach to pricing.

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Convenience party food

Ochre is a constant in the workwear palette. It’s a natural clay pigment. When people describe ochre, you often hear stuff like, “burnt orange”, or “yellowy orange”, or “browny, yellowy, orangey.” All of which take longer to say than ochre, which on close examination is just one word.

Whatever you call it, it is the colour of this jacket. Which perhaps more interestingly is from Japanese creators Spellbound, a new brand over at Kafka.

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I should probably be more servile

By the time you finish this sentence, this coat has probably sold out. If you act immediately, click here and have an adjacent $1,350 you might get lucky. Oh, and you’ll have to take a size large, there’s only one left.

It’s from Needles Rebuild. And although wearing it will make you appear destitute, there is a sizeable global fan base who seem to crave just that.

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Darkly sexual trousers

Velvet trousers? They’re all tinsel, yule logs and Cadbury Heroes no? They’re Christmas trousers and even then, only as a knowing comedic nod to the festivities.

Or are velvet trousers are still the preserve of a certain kind of Middle-Englander? You know the sort, Land Rover full of Terriers, Elgar on the organic stereo, wife called Poppy who’s on the board of the heritage trust. The kind of improbable, dragged-through-a-hedge poshos that populate Richard Curtis films.

Perhaps. But one look at these velvet trousers and it’s clear they belong in neither camp.

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It may look relaxing, the truth is quite the opposite

I don’t know about you but I insist on Nepalese craftsmanship. If it’s not Nepalese craftsmanship I’m not interested. “Is it Nepalese craftsmanship?” I’ll ask, and if it isn’t, fuck it, I’m off. I won’t even buy a Mars Bar Ice Cream if it isn’t Nepalese craftsmanship. Which it rarely is.

However, fans of Nepalese craftsmanship will enjoy this monstrous mound of cloth from Japanese makers Kapital. It is definitely Nepalese craftsmanship. Which is, as I say, really important to me.

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Jorah Mormont on a bad day

At this point in the (discerning) menswear season, it can seem like an eternity before the pieces you glimpse (via curiously small images) on Japanese retail sites, turn up in UK stores. Engineered Garments, indeed all Nepenthes brands, seem to take a malicious pleasure in taunting their fanbase with images, but no easy option to buy. This is such a piece.

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Awkward tow-path encounters

Fleeces are tedious family trips to see a Neolithic henge monument. Fleeces are flasks of soup, inadequate mobile phone coverage and feigning interest as the lock keeper oh… so… slowly… opens his water door. Fleeces are storm-proof pouches containing an emergency whistle endorsed by Bear Grylls.

When you’re alone, walking along a quiet towpath, fleeces are that moment when another walker slowly approaches and you have to decide whether to look them in the eye and mumble a greeting, or grit your teeth, stare at the path and pretend it’s not happening.

Or are fleeces something else now?

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Where’s the entry-level fire?

Okay. So you’re a regular guy. You want to look decent, you probably own a pair of APC jeans. You like the idea of getting into some more interesting kit, but you don’t want to look like a boxset of penises.

Looking like a try-hard is not on the agenda. But neither can you face the cheese-ball safety of uniforming-up in Ted Baker. Where’s the middle-ground? Where’s the entry-level fire? I’d say you’re looking at it.

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Such men as these

Google the brand Sage Dé Cret and you’ll be presented with the following:

It has their own style, to wear in your own style. I will support the wardrobe of such men.

Mutilated Japanese translation, yep.  Fundamentally meaningless, yep. And yet, from this moment forth, I consider myself “such men.” And if you check out yesterday’s drop of Sage Dé Cret at The Bureau, I expect you will become “such men” also.

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An assumption of pomposity, self-regard and elitism

This is a beret. I’m not going to wear a beret. Oddly amorphous Japanese bucket hats yes, baseball caps, occasionally. Berets, never. This isn’t, I suspect, going to get in the way of brands I like making them and offering them to me, and by extension you. Indeed, this winter season has seen the beret crop up with some frequency. Berets to note would include this khaki corduroy number over at Engineered Garments, and Present’s colourful collections of Boinas Elosegui. Then there’s this from Mountain Research.

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What is your major malfunction?

I’ve always found Tiger Camo rather aggressive. A statement that, now I read it back, exposes me as the honey and rosemary salted almond nibbling, dribble of a man I really am. Thing is, the original remit of military camouflage never crosses my mind. It might as well have been invented to wear sprawling about in east London cafe-bars whinging about the wi-fi connection. And to be fair, I think this garment was.

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Aye, pet…

Yesterday we looked at a ts(s) popover vest and we’re back with the brand today with this overcoating savagery. Principally it’s just a roomy, sandy, nylon mac. But with ‘Northumberland detective’, specifically Brenda Blethyn’s Vera, one of menswear’s most overlooked influences, this fits the bill perfectly. I can’t count the amount of emails I’ve had from readers frustrated by their inability to find the right coat to best channel a cantankerous but calculating fictional middle-aged woman. I am relieved I can finally offer the solution.

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Manning the carvery at Casterly Rock

How do you feel when you read the phrase, ‘popover vest’? Pretty hot right? Gets you going doesn’t it? Admit it, you think popover vest and you want one. You want one hard, you want one on you, you want one real bad.

I’m glad you feel this way. I suspect most do not – the pop-over vest just being another thing to blindly scroll past while shopping for Pharrell Williams trainers. But as humdrum as they might initially appear, the pop-over vest can be a pretty transformative piece.

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Cubic rooms?

Sometimes, it’s best just to let a brand speak for itself:

Kuboraum are masks designed on the face of those who wear them, masks that highlight personality and emphasize character. The mask is synonymous with mockery, with game. the Kuboraum masks are synonymous with accentuation, protection and shelter. Kuboraum are like cubic rooms where we shelter ourselves, where we are free to live in our intimacy, where we live all our identities and look at the world through two lenses.

This is Berlin based brand Kuboraum. In case it’s not clear, they make glasses.

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I must know the wrong people

Why don’t I know anyone who talks about sustainability? The media is full of it. Why I don’t hear more about it from people I actually know? I can’t even remember a time when someone told me they’d specifically chosen a product due to its meagre ecological impact. I must know the wrong people.

That said, I’m not sure I talk about it much either. Like so many loathsome, aubergine nibbling, pseudes, I bring it up when it’s convenient. I mention sustainability when I’ve done something that paints me in a conscious light. For example, if I buy a small run, Japanese, handmade, hand-dyed garment, you won’t shut me up about my considerable contribution to the planet’s well-being. All the while simultaneously ignoring the smoke-belching planes and vans used to deliver it to my door.

If you give any shape of shits about atmospheric issues you might want to take a look at re.sustain – a new brand from Matthew Murphy of OTHER/shop and Prama Bhardwaj an expert in sustainable clothing manufacture.

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Selling your cow for a bag of beans

Capturing the twin perils of oversized check and smock, this monster from Kaptain Sunshine is pure weapon. Smocks are difficult. I tried a plain navy cotton one on in Present once, took one look and removed it  – I looked like I should be puffing on a clay pipe while operating a ducking stool. But that one was too baggy. This one is more trim, more shortly cropped. It’s pretty tempting. And at least with that loud check there’d be no confusing me with a Hammer Horror extra.

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Something of a visual cliché?

For all the talk of Comme des Garçons as a pioneer of the unfamiliar, their patchwork shirt is a oft repeated signature. Season after season, in the SHIRT line, at Junya Watanabe, at Homme Deux and, as we see here, at Comme Homme.

Thing is, everyone else is at it too. Brands from Needles to Lanvin, VISVIM to Gant; the grafting of complimentary (or contradictory) fabrics and pattens into one shirt has become something of a visual cliché.

Even so, with right approach, patchwork shirting can still look extraordinary and Junya Watanabe’s lighter touch at Comme Homme provides exactly that.

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Calling all active urban lifestylers

While knowing little about what the brand Alk Phenix is about, I really like what they’re about. Being resolutely monolingual, I can’t decipher the ‘about‘ page on their site. However, I know from a bit of digital poking about that the label is Japanese and concerned with servicing “active urban lifestyles.” I’m definitely urban, just not active.

Thing is, just because I don’t puff about in Power-Tech Running Tights, I don’t see why I should be excluded from calisthenic-clobber entirely. I occasionally appreciate the look of a bit of activewear mixed in amongst my usual canvas dandyism. And, to my under-exercised eyes, Alk Phenix do ‘activewear’ really well – progressive, unusual and cyber-sleek.

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Thoughtful evolution of form

Back at the start of the spring/summer season, Nicholas Daley dropped at The Bureau and right from the off it looked different. Among the store’s expected revisions of military and workwear styles, suddenly there was this slightly askew, slightly effete, slightly (dare I suggest) fashiony looking brand. Billowing, pleated parkas, wildly irregular hemlines, bows on side seams; easily enough to wrong-foot the average orSlow foot-soldier. And yet, as the season played out, it started to make sense. Styles which, at first glance, seemed a little sashay-happy, began to reveal themselves as imaginative and gently reformist expressions of practicality. In other words, entirely complimentary to The Bureau’s usual inventory.

Nicholas Daley’s relevance has only become clearer with the recent autumn/winter 17 drop.

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Design whimsy. Arguably overwrought. Genius

I find it remarkable that some people seemingly don’t believe that ‘having a look’ is the most important reason to be alive. Children, family, work, health, holidays, peace in the world – there’s no question these things have some relevance. I’m not saying they’re trivial.  But getting a look. And having a look. Really having a look… I mean, if you haven’t got a look, who are you really? What are you? Why are you? What is the point of you?

I know I’m preaching to the converted here. I know you’re picking up what I’m throwing down. I know you’d choose a slamming bomber jacket over an urgent surgical procedure. That’s why I know you’ll understand this jacket.

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Too much of a tosser to just buy a pair of Converse

As a genus, the canvas sneaker is over-subscribed, over-worn and, arguably, over. Do you go lazy and pick up a pair of Converse (they’re the 70s heavy ones honest) or street-kid-wannabe and grab some Vans? Want to look like a European tourist? Go Superga. Still seduced by what John Lennon used to wear? Get some Spring Court. Thing is, none of these brands provide any stand out. They’re all too available. Too popular. Too well known. Paradoxical it may be, but to generate canvas sneaker stand-out, you need something less conspicuous.

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Ideal for the easyJet to Marbs

It’s always impressive when someone I know checks in on social media at a place that isn’t their home. I appreciate the selflessness of the act. Giving others a glimpse into their exciting lives, allowing friends to take vicarious pleasure through their actions. Some people think that checking in at a place like Soho House for example, is just a digitally legitimised instance of vulgar and asinine boastfulness. I won’t hear a word of it. I never get tired of seeing check-ins at Pop Brixton, or an airport, or a regional pizzeria. It’s all so thrilling.

I see this coat as a physical manifestation of this phenomenon. It’s a coat so bombastic, it’ll check you in at your destination before you arrive. Although whether it will generate as much envy as a long weekend in Venice is of course subject to taste.

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Visiting an independent printers

Taking a walk to a local independent printers to get something printed is the kind of commonplace and entirely innocuous task that, to my mind, demands a studied, premeditated approach to attire.

Where are you going to keep the precious USB stick? What if you encounter some rough terrain? What if a bloke walks towards you clearly sporting a superior garment? What if he knows he’s wearing a superior garment and just blanks you, without even once eyeballing your fit? What if you remain plagued by thoughts of what you should have worn for the rest of the day, and well into the early evening? A conundrum to be sure.

So clock my ‘visiting an independent printers’ look. And just be thankful you’re not that other guy walking towards this overcooked firestorm of menswear and insecurity.

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Unbecoming holdall to jacket ratio

Here’s a garment akin to the film series Sharknado, only with pockets. Pouchnado if you will. This is what happens when pockets attack. An inappropriate array of flaps on flaps on flaps. I’m all for having somewhere to stick your essentials. But I’m not that bothered about being able to transport an entire fossil collection, geological hammers and a pneumatic air scribe.

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Stick two fingers up to practicality

Rarely have the sartorial requirements of both winter and summer been exhibited so effectively in a single garment. On the bottom, it’s loose, light-weight cotton. Around the neck, a throttling knitted tube. Interesting to find a garment so vociferous in it’s desire to stick two fingers up to practicality. It’s almost as though it doesn’t want to be worn.

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Practical and inarguably sensible

As non-essential essentials go, this is right up there. Unless, I guess, you’re actually into hunting? Like, actually shooting, spearing or snaring living beasts for fun. If that’s your bag, would you mind leaving this site, you’re a 1000% prick. If on the other hand you appreciate the idea of hunting inspired menswear, but plan on using those pockets for nothing more murderous than an iPhone, some headphones, a tasteful wallet, your house keys and a packet of Extra, then please stay. The more I stare at this non-essential, it’s looking much more essential than non.

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Weaponry for the sartorial braggadocio

I like the brand Tender very much. I like its ethos. I like the bedraggled, shagginess of it all, the  sheer crudity: a perfect encapsulation of vagabond chic. I don’t own any though. Never quite got to the point where 300 coins on a high-necked, high-pocketed knot of creased linen seemed like the right move.

This denim piece over at Present would at least sidestep the wrinkles. And assuming you’re happy looking like a cartoon train driver you’re in the right place.

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If you can buy it in Selfridges I’m not interested

If you enjoy this site I can make a couple of assumptions. Firstly you are interested in menswear. Secondly your ideal of what is cool will fall into one of two camps. In camp one is a guy who wants labels at least some of his mates have heard of. Norse Projects, Our Legacy, AMI, ACNE, YMC, Battenwear, Beams Plus, Nanamica maybe, perhaps even Sassafras if you’re an Oi Polloi blokey. In camp two there are tossers like me. Guys who rate the success of their purchase based on how obscure the brand is. If you can buy it in Selfridges I’m not interested. If the sales guy in Liberty has even heard of it, forget it.

For a loser like me, a garment doesn’t have to even be that exceptional, as long as it’s from a brand that’s bloody awkward to get your hands on. Exhibit one: this shirt.

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A conundrum I feel I could probably have unraveled

My girl nabbed one of these bags last season. Hers is in light pink. I’ve never borrowed it. This colourway is a bit more me. Probably a bit more you too.  It’s called, “white forest printed sacoche.” Basically it looks like a camo that’s been kicked around the bins a bit.

Those of a logical persuasion might be looking at this and wondering, if the bag was full, would that cord bite into your shoulder, rendering the whole exercise one of teeth grinding discomfort? Interestingly, I can reveal the answer to that…

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Sitting for hours, on your own, in the damp

Built for pleasure or for pain? For function or fancy? Seemingly systemic in its codification of all that is prominent in left-field menswear, this monster features flap pockets, zip pockets, breathable sections, side zips, dangling cords, metal loops and (naturally) a pom-pom on the sleeve. No prizes for knowing what this garment is for, but I’ll give you a multiple choice. 1) A night down ‘Spoons surrounded by blokes in Ted Baker shirts. 2) Fishing.

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Space-brothels with three-nippled ladies

These shoes are called Mutation 2. Presumably because, in a sort of way, they mutate. Not sure I ever saw Mutation 1; must have gone straight-to-DVD.  Anyway, as I say they ‘mutate’. In so much as there’s a big panel that velcros over the laces. You could wear it up or (presumaby) hanging down and danging. Mutate. MUTATE. Is it me or does mutate seems quite a strong word for a velcro patch?

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In the market for a level of discomfort

Just when it appears there is nothing to be added to the whole plain-t-shirt-with-fancy-pocket conversation, these appear. I don’t know much about Japanese imprint Habanos. They refer to themselves as HBNS on their website. And a quick Google Translate reveals the usual patter about, “expressions“, “work, military and surf” and experiencing things through “nature“. But beyond peddling the ecosystem of feels, the brand seems to concern itself with sporty windcheaters, roomy, pleated shorts, patchworky denim and putting weird pockets on t-shirts.

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Another sporty but ephemeral, hypebeast-heater?

Facetasm is one of those oddball streetwear brands that resides in the Dover Street Market basement. It’s an imprint as crackpot as it is inscrutable, boasting a pricing structure ruinous to all but the most muscular of checking accounts. Their billowing tees and jumbo backpacks suggest Facetasm is just another sporty but ephemeral, hypebeast-heater. But look closer and you’ll find some solid, wearable pieces in the mix.

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Musical poetry about highwaymen

It’s often Chamula’s none-more-chunky knits that get props in menswear circles. Handmade by Mexican craftspeople, audacious of pattern and immersive of pile. They’re shaggy-dog garments, designed to be worn for a lifetime, and moult bits of themselves wherever your travels take you. Personally I find the idea of knobbly, lived-in knitwear fairly repellent. And yes, I’ve tried battery powered knitwear de-bobblers. They don’t work. If I’m going to trouble the Mexican artisans of Chamula, it’ll be for these shoes.

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The gentrification of punk motifs

There comes a time when pretty much every design house resorts to the artful splash. An apparently random application of complementary colour, seemingly flicked onto the product. Shirts, jackets, jeans and yes, those tiresome Margiela sneakers; when inspiration is a no-show, reach for a couple of tins of Dulux and a taut brush.

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Why Denise?

DENISE“, he shouted. Then silence. Then, with a whisper, “Denise.” When he shouted, he crunched up his face as though wracked with torment, he held his fists aloft and glared to the clouds. When he whispered, he sank back, shoulders slumped, as though vanquished by the power of his own emotion.

What do you think?“, he said to not Denise.

Why Denise?, ” she said.

Dunno“, he said, “just a funny name.” She peered at him with a straight face.

It’s acting“, he said, grinning. “It’s my best acting, you know, like I’ve just lost a lover or something. Like in a film. I’m acting for you.

I’m not convinced” she said. “I’m not convinced by that dreamcatcher round your neck either.

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The backbreaking labour of devising intercontinental synergies

More from the house of Nepenthes today. After yesterday’s fancy-boy EG shirting, here’s a Fall 17 piece from Needles to get us back to the relative safety of blue jackets. It’s a blue jacket. Chore style. Fairly standard on the whole cut front; four pockets, a collar, some arms. It’s made of wool Serge, which for those in the know means a twill fabric with a diagonal weave, and for those not in the know, well now you know. The most interesting thing about it (other than, let’s be honest, the Needles label) is its irregular dye job.

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I mean, this isn’t 1997

Engineered Garments routinely interweave florid prints throughout the navys, greys and khakis of their workweary collections. Often the patterns are relatively muted, particularly within the Fall collections. But check out the kaleidoscopic horticulture on this. And the butterflies.

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