So, are Paraboots having a moment? To answer this, firstly we must put to one side the reprehensible use of the phrase, ‘a moment’. Secondly we can examine some recent evidence. There was this interesting pair we looked at in December. Then there are these hairy ones remember? Exclusive to Goodhood, I ended up buying these. Then I wore them around Peckham and a bloke in a pub asked if they were Paraboots and I told him they were and he was wearing a pair of Paraboots too. The scientists amongst you will already find this extremely compelling. But add to this wealth of research a new pair of Paraboots from YMC, and it’s case closed. Time to get back to the Hadron Collider.
I’ve become anaesthetised to the term ‘easy pants’. So frequent is its use across the menswear sites I enjoy, it no longer raises an eyebrow. For a chap brought up in the Midlands it’s quite an achievement. By rights I should be Debenhams wearing, 2.5 kidded, cul-de-sac dwelling, middle manager who’s only just started The Sopranos boxset and never shuts up about it. I’d probably be a knuckle-headed Brexit-liker too. But no, years ago I dragged myself out the Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton basin and now look at me. I’m comfortable calling ‘trousers’ ‘pants’ and everything.
There’s a tiny subsection of menswearists for whom the opening of Nepenthes in London (see yesterday’s report) is a bad thing. Or not bad so much, as mildly concerning. Does it make the roster of Engineered Garments, Needles and South2 West 8 in particular a little too available? A little too easy for the bridge-and-tunnelers? Yes. I know. I’m a horrible, dreadful tit. But is it rather like when an obscure techno artist (who you love) starts working with Kanye. One of your things goes mass. People you know, who have never, ever expressed an interest in your obscure techno artist are suddenly name dropping them at every opportunity. I hate that. And I hate myself for feeling this way. Just not enough to stop.
Fortunately for the truly wankery, there are plenty of global brands that remain impossible to get in London’s London town. Porter Classic is one. This is one of their tops.
“Thank you so much for waiting so long”, said the store manager.
“This is a game changer”, a fellow shopper whispered to me.
“Sure you can take photos”, the sales assistant said, “I don’t see why that would be a problem.”
I arrived an hour and a half early. I had a coffee in the cafe opposite. I watched as the staff dusted and swept and polished the new Nepenthes store. Then it was midday. The doors opened. Nepenthes arrived in London. And, as one of the first handful of customers, I can tell you it’s very lovely indeed.
My girl is unable to put things back where they belong. I’m not entirely confident that she grasps the basic premise that things, stuff, objects we own, can (and arguably should) be placed where we’ve previously agreed they live.
Radical viewpoint it may be, but I tend to find that by putting things where they should be makes it easier to find that thing again later. My girl on the other hand prefers to put things in the nearest available place. Hence outstanding gas bills tucked under the cutlery and iPhone accessories in mixing bowls, while piles of receipts I need to expense are frequently discovered making friends in my pants drawer.
At least with a jacket like this I can be the master of my own domain. Look at the pockets on it – it’s a wearable cupboard.
A big circle on a hoodie. What do you think about that? What kind of statement is it making? What story is it telling? I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea. This top is from Sasquatchfabrix. It’s called “Otentou-Sama”; a phrase that even Google doesn’t seem to comprehend. According to retailer Goodhood, the brand represents, “high-performance vandalism.” Sitting somewhere between, “avant-garde and street fashion”.
It all sounds terribly earnest. When I look at it I just see a hoodie with big circle on it. What am I missing?
The ‘statement sock’ game is one riddled with peril. I was following a dude up the stairs on the Underground the other day. I’m not saying he was a primo clothesman, but he was neat enough; mostly in black and grey: trim trousers, simple shoes, mid-length wool overcoat. But his socks were fluorescent orange. They featured some kind of recurring, embroidered motif; I couldn’t really make them out; maybe pheasants, or golf clubs or some-such nonsense.
Point is, clearly this guy was buying into the philosophy that wacky-socks-equals-wacky-personality. It’s remarkable how such stale ideas (who even invented this rubbish?) have such a lengthy real-world shelf-life. Either way, he was ruining himself.
Of course, there are statement socks and statement socks. Fluorescent orange suggests you think Urban Outfitters is edgy. These socks, from Japanese makers Anonymous-Ism, offer more refined potential.
Desert Island moment in menswear history? I’d say mid-late 80s Comme des Garçons. That was when Comme was Comme. Gargantuan silhouettes, floppy jackets, t-shirts as shirts. Architects marched about in pyjama suits, pointing enthusiastically at pastel triangles, while prodding at their Psion Organisers. Trousers were vast and shirts had mismatching buttons. Blazers were boiled, making them look all wonky and bobbly and that was considered a good thing – you’d basically pay a fortune for cooked wool.
The mainline, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, has left this relative simplicity behind – preferring to explore the importance of dinosaur skulls as hats and assless liquid leggings. Fortunately the Comme des Garçons Homme line persists in delivering a variation on classic Comme.
I don’t visit Trunk Clothiers much. When they first opened in 2010, I worked nearby and enjoyed their large selection of trim, considered Italian tailoring, but more-so the irregularities: Comme des Garçons Homme and (if memory serves) even a little Kapital. Those days are gone and the store now stands as one of the most tightly edited in town; with a buying policy that seems focused on what Marcello Mastroianni might have worn.
It’s all a bit Monocle Man for me: v-neck knitwear over a white tee, suede loafers, Incotex chinos cuffed just so. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that if I’m going to dress-up as something, it’s more likely to be a 60 year old Japanese whittler than a Riviera gigolo.
That said, if anything will get me reaching for a phrase book and the Abdominizer it’s a jacket like this.
It’s increasingly amusing to hang around east London’s Goodhood on a Saturday and watch as the patrons try to out Hunter S. Thompson each other. Cowboys hats, bucket hats, giant wooly pom-poms, tracksuits tops, garish shirts, velvet pyjama trousers, animal print, double-glazed specs. I haven’t seen anyone with a cigarette holder, but it’s only a matter of time.
Be of absolutely no doubt, this is an astonishing coat. It’s easy to flip past clothing online, skimming your feed, not pausing long enough to really evaluate. And then, of course, there’s nothing like actually seeing a piece, trying it on and realising instantly that the digital medium could never do it justice. I had that moment yesterday. I tried this coat on. It immediately made everything I own look shit. Best believe. There’s next level. And then there’s this Tatamize coat.
So it’s announced. Nepenthes London opens on February 15th. For fans of the world we can succinctly refer to as luxury-international-casualwear-frequently-but-not-exclusively-employing-workwear-reference-points (LICFBNEEWRP for short) this is big news. I hear there’s no invite-only launch party – unless I’m entirely out the loop. It just opens on a Friday, in Euston. I will be there.
For many, this news is reason enough not to buy anything right now. To keep your loot trousered for a trip Euston-ways in a couple of weeks. Furthermore, most of the country is seemingly losing their shit over the meteorological phenomenon known as ‘a bit of snow’. Which all suggests that writing a post about a difficult to get, lightweight pair of summer loafers is the perfect way to provoke no interest whatsoever. Evidently I’m more obstinate than I thought.
Rarely do products adopt both the image as well as the ideology of early 70s counterculture. It’s common enough to see renditions of ‘flower power’ imagery – the kind machined onto high-street garments by impoverished Bangladeshis. But Story MFG take their brand and their role in the global marketplace seriously. Organic cotton, natural dyes, hand embroidery: this is a piece that preaches sustainability and love for our planet through philosophy as well as design.
I showed the above image to my girl.
“Ohmygod, I can’t breathe”, she said.
Naturally I was extremely concerned and performed a quick diagnosis. It turned out that in fact she could breathe. She was simply saying she liked this vest. And for some reason, choosing to use words that have no business in such a statement.
Somewhere between the Cosmological Constant and Daedalus’ Labyrinth lie these tie-dyed shirts from Japanese brand Curly. Look upon them with care. It’s conceivable they represent our first confirmed sighting of dark matter. I understand the chaps over at CERN are taking this very seriously indeed.
I heard boutique garden centres are the new nightclubs. So I went to see. I quickly noticed that there’s no booze. And no sexy dressing – unless aprons and Wellington boots do it for you. There’s no dancing, no DJ, no drugs and no piss-flooded toilets. There are few singles, barely any spray tan, no spinning glitter-balls, lasers or projections of any kind. And I didn’t see one tattooed man beating another tattooed man over the head with a metal stool. In all other respects though they are identical.
Within a few hours of these Bode shirts hitting Alpha Shadows they started selling and selling quick. I won’t go into the whole Bode thing again here – the re-purposed antique American textiles, the one-of-a-kindness, the indiscreet approach to pattern – check out the brand bio over here (also incidentally a Rampboy product) and you’ll get the picture.
The fact is, I’ve been slow to pimp these. But they literally started flying out so fast I wondered if it’d be worth it. Who knew there were so many menswearmen keen to drop the best part of £400 on a shirt? Makes you feel pretty inadequate.
My relationship with Facebook has evolved from casual distain to abject masochism. Perhaps your feeds are vibrant, informative and thrilling. Mine is full of people expressing apparent shock and indignation that Tesco are already selling Easter eggs. “WTF!” they breathlessly exclaim. As though the basic principles of capitalism have come as a surprise. Same thing happens at Christmas; “OMG crackers in ASDA in October!” And again if they have a glass of wine on a Tuesday; “Look at me! On a school night as well!” Indeed, you are a counter-cultural renegade. Don’t people get board of pointing at themselves in the same way day after month after year?
The worst is Brexit. I read the other day that an acquaintance of mine had “finally had enough”. Before offering their solution to the governmental impasse as a pedestrian checklist. What I particularly like/hate about this last example, is the complete lack of self-awareness exhibited. As though now this individual had “had enough”, it was time to stop messing about and sort it out. I briefly tried to strangle myself, but just carried on scrolling.
Anyway, here’s a shirt.
Suddenly, people are smiling on The Tube. More and more. Headphones in, breaking into a grin, sometimes even a giggle. Maybe they’re enjoying a particularly winsome Pet Shop Boys’ lyric? More likely, they’re ears-deep in the podcast revolution. It’s odd though, seeing the traditional wall of blank faces cracking with smirks. Disconcerting too. Especially if, as a gentleman of the cloth, you’re watching this unfold while wearing a vaguely outré outfit. You see someone smiling to themselves, they catch your eye, they carry on grinning – are they amused by the contents of their earphones or the cut of your trousers? Is your leopard print roll neck too much?
It is through such seemingly trivial moments that the insecurities of the enthusiastic menswearer are exposed. Logic tells you that that girl is giggling along with Pandora Sykes on The High Low. Your cowardly mind tells you she’s laughing at your shoes.
We’ll stay in saleland today and if yesterday’s puffa was a bit wallet troubling, you might find this Meanswhile shirt more fiscally comfortable.
This piece has waist and rear mesh lined pockets. They’re both brilliant and ridiculous. If you (mentally) step back from it, and really think about the practical application of deep waist and lower back pockets on a shirt, you’ll probably conclude, as I do, that they wouldn’t be terribly useful. Furthermore, if you did stuff them full of stuff, you’d end up with a thin top, a bulging midriff and thin legs; you’d look like a cartoon character who’s swallowed a spanner.
Dunno about you, but I think ‘Texas’ and I think cowboy hats, cowboy boots, lipsticked ladies with giant 80s perms and a casual indifference to loaded firearms. I don’t think interesting global menswear. I don’t think Document, Eastlogue, and ts(s). I don’t think the entire contents of Namu Shop basically. And yet Namu Shop is in Texas, and by all accounts offers a world-class selection of tough to get brands.
Pieces like this shirt from Needles are soon going to be a hell of a lot easier for Londoners to nab. As you’ve perhaps heard, Nepenthes is opening in Euston (in the first quarter of the year if the rumours are accurate) which means, as well as a comprehensive selection of Engineered Garments, we can assume Needles will have a big presence; alongside the more niche South2 West8, AiE and RANDT lines.
Needles is of course an acquired taste. And while the label always produces its reliably wearable Arrow Jacket and ghillie sneakers, there is always much in each collection to challenge the more risqué clothesman. This shirt is a prime example.
How does £229 sound for a woolly hat? It’s got a wool bit and a suede bit. Look at it, it’s Tibetan lothario-wear – Yak for breakfast, Yak for lunch, and for dinner, a spot of knee-dancing with the chicks down the panpipe disco. That’s a lifestyle right there.
Clothing (or ‘fashion’ if you must) stands apart from other routine middle-class interests. Seemingly it’s culturally acceptable to bore others with your new found chooseatarian lifestyle, your recent visit to the Karni Mata Temple in India, or your devotion to some bullshit fusion of yoga and watching period dramas (all of which I apparently, “simply must do”). But if I pushed clothing in the same way, I’d receive wrinkled noses and dismissive smiles. When someone enthusiastically insists I should visit an expensive restaurant I have no interest in, no eyelids are batted. However, if I insisted that someone’s piss-dreadful coat must be upgraded to a costly imported Japanese number, I’d be called a twat.
I genuinely don’t get it. Anyway, for all you chooseatarian’s out there, here’s a costly imported Japanese coat.
Pre-dishevelled jeans, be they sand-blasted, scribbled on, or God forbid, ripped, are frequently a disaster area. Witness the legions of regional Don Juan’s in calf-clinging abominations; slashed at the knees, throttling at the ankles. That they go sockless in winter, with flimsy ASOS plimsolls or pointy loafers framing their ivory ankles merely adds to the shambles. Taken alone, the jeans are shit enough.
So what to make of a pair like these? They’re hardly disco-bar regulation skinnies. Plus they’re from Japanese casual wear boffins Bru Na Boinne – which is cool. On the other hand, they appear to have been an unwilling participant at a bukake party.
There are a couple of reasons why End Clothing is so successful. Firstly, they’ve masterminded an effective long term growth strategy incorporating both bricks and mortar and massive global digital reach, engendered support from a superior range of brands at presumably favourable rates, while simultaneously serving everyone from the luxe consumer to the sneaker aficionado. Secondly, when the weather’s cold, they don’t put Inverallan knitwear in the sale.
This is one of the few times during a year when the brand Sacai becomes affordable. Comparatively. But with a sale come dangers: mishaps, mistakes and mispurchases and (in a perfect reversal of the rest of the year) those moments when your wallet is bigger than your eyes.
Sacai is the perfect brand to fuck up with in the sale. During off-sale periods it’s so rudely expensive you just want it all. You can’t have it, so you want it. Then the sale drops and you’re fresh out of Christmas, trousering a cash stuffed brown envelope from your folks. Suddenly Sacai’s on sale in Dover Street. The piece you’ve wanted all year has sold out, but there’s still other stuff… It’s Sacai, you’ve got to buy something. Haven’t you?
Let’s start 2019 as we mean to go on, with an amazing pair of shoes, seemingly available only in Japan and the US, and so costly that even those with a healthy envelope of leftover Xmas money will need to secure a supplemental finance arrangement. Sound like a plan?
If you’re visiting friends and famalam over Yulemas, you’ll want to look good: like you’re a success, like you know what’s going on, like you’ve got life by the antlers. This is especially true if your holiday destination is a provincial town in the heart of Brexit country. At least if you lose your cool, trying to explain for the 40th time how exporting goods and services are not the same thing, your outfit will not.
Fortunately a brand new drop at Alpha Shadows contains just the thing.
I bought a faux fur Engineered Garments gilet a couple of years back. It’s reversible actually, black and furry one side, blue canvas the other. Unfortunately, I bought a size medium and due to the thickness of the fur it’s too snug for me. Just another impulse purchase destined for my girl’s wardrobe.
My intention was to wear it, furry-side up, but underneath a medium weight jacket; offering ostentatious glimpses of phoney pelage whenever the wind caught my jacket – yes, I really am this self-obsessed. However, as I say, it was not to be. Although, as we speak, I am in the middle of some equally poncey thoughts concerning this fleece.
Here’s another piece you might find comforting during the impeding Brexmas. It’s a rollneck, with pockets. It’s by Japanese imprint *A VONTADE. And it’s sold in Namu Shop, which, while sounding Japanese, is actually in Texas. Funny that. A thing that sounds like it should be something, but isn’t. Perhaps that concept might click into place amongst this country’s leave voters when local investment dries up, they’re made redundant, they start getting charged double for medicine and they’re left sipping their Special Brew still grumbling about immigrants.
Longer coats feel right at this time of year for the most obvious of reasons – more coat, more coverage, more warm. But a coat like this also offers a stylistic imperative absent from bombers and hip-length variations on the chore jacket. It smartens things up. Even tossed over a standard jeans, tee and sneakers fit, the transformation from regulation dosser, to someone-that-could-be-a-someone is immediate. And you can up that notion x 1000 when it comes to this indigo edifice from Porter Classic.
The other night, while suitably ‘refreshed’, I stumbled into a 24 hour shop with the intention of purchasing a low quality pre-packed sandwich and other assorted comestibles. I left the shop with a new lighter featuring a picture of a woman wearing an inadequate swimsuit.
A couple of factors influenced this result. Firstly, I rarely see rude lighters sold these days. Just like pens featuring women with disappearing dresses and porno playing cards, they are items now deemed wildly out of step with contemporary values. Secondly, as I say, I was leathered.
All of which makes me wonder who’d buy one of these erotic bangles?
Paraboot have been making their Michael silhouette for over 70 years. And it’s taken that long for me to take notice of it. As I’ve touched on before, I’ve previously relegated the brand Paraboot to the pile of brands that are lovely and well made and all that, but rather too ‘available’, too commonplace and easy to buy, to get excited about. My encounter with, and subsequent purchase of, this limited edition cow hide pair a few weeks back has changed my perspective. And while I’m unlikely to seek the Michael out in a standard tan or brown, I am now on full alert for more interesting versions, the freakier styles Paraboot appears to produce for certain indie retailers.
Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to standing out. Too gaudy? You’re self-aware, everyone’s checking you out, you feel like a dick. But too subtle (and regular readers will surely get this) you’re an extra in your own life; you’re background noise; no one’s even clocking your triple-stitched pouch-pocket. Miserable.
Japanese brand Sassafras produce clothing inspired by (and presumably intended for) gardening. Utilitarianism dominates, with pockets, snap buttons, hanging tabs and more pockets, littering shirts, jackets, trousers and, as we see here, vests. Horticulture might be the original design intention, but for me, this piece would also be extremely useful while navigating the obstacles common to a traditional sofa-hopping Yuletide.
I’ve been waiting some time for Primury to release a sneaker in blue rather than their typical black. And now, for SS19, they have. However, unfortunately for me and my financial arrangements, they’re overshadowed by these. I’m not sure if they should be. It really depends on your position on camo. Is it still a valid symbol of countercultural cool, or has it been so thoroughly rinsed by teenage hypebeasts as to render camo impotent?
Having given this issue literally seconds of thought, I’ve decided I don’t care. I like them. I’m even prepared to endure the kind of “mid-life crisis” mumblings inevitable at certain (unenlightened) yuletide gatherings.
Haven’t we all, at some point, hung around outside a London art gallery, wearing an assortment of imported menswear, attempting to convince passing patrons that the most exciting art isn’t in the gallery, but rather it’s you, it’s what you’re wearing?
If I’m not eating, sleeping, working, showering, playing Black Ops 4, reading Julian Barnes, watching Strictly: It Takes Two with my girl, watching Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter on my own, shopping, Googling stuff, taking photographs, drinking booze or browsing Bandcamp it’s definitely one of the things I like to do most.
You’ve probably encountered the old saying; dress for the job you want, not the job you have. It obviously infers that by ditching your old suit and buying a new (more up-to-date) suit you’ll be next in line for a promotion.
Of course in reality that’s just half the story. What happens when your boss feels challenged by your new look? Now they feel scruffy and out of touch, disempowered in front of their team. So they take their insecurity out on you through excessive criticism, undermining you at every turn. Despondent, and unmotivated, you leave, to take a job for a smaller salary, just to get away from a diabolical manager of your own making.
Fortunately in these increasingly post-suit times, this is less of an issue. Besides, I say, why aim for just the job you want. What about dressing for the life you want. Case in point, this ridiculous robe coat.
It’s expected that different independent stockists will choose to stock different Yuketen styles. What I find difficult to grasp is that frequently they’re styles unavailable on Yuketen’s own webstore. Take these leopard print loafers. Recently dropped over at San Francisco’s Union Made, yet, based on my Google prowess, unavailable anywhere else – including Yuketen direct. I guess that’s the game. If such garmentry was easy to find, some of the allure would be lost. As a side point: it’ll be interesting to see if interest in Nepenthes depreciates once their London outpost in Euston opens in the new year.
I have a pair of Yuketen’s in this print. They’re lace ups with a (apparently uncleanable) gum sole. The Vibram 2021 sole on these loafers is much more appealing. But be advised (and speaking from some experience) if you have leopard print shoes poking from beneath your salvage denim, uninvited wisecracks will be forthcoming.
This rollneck from Chamula is a serious winter heater. It looks like a knitted M&S Belgian biscuit collection. Yet is entirely free from pecans, almonds and eggs and is safe for nut and peanut allergy sufferers. That said, there’s a lot of brown going on. And that hefty ribbing. You could be quite tempted to take a bite, were it not for the fact that you’d just end up with a mouthful of damp fluff.
I’m currently enjoying the nylon belt. In current rotation I have a couple: a navy one by Hobo and a camel one by Meanswhile. More than the nylon itself, I’m appreciating the ‘clunk-click’ fastening; somewhere between a seatbelt and climbing equipment. The Meanswhile belt also features a magnetic clasp, resulting in a satisfying snap and the feeling that your belt’s actually compelled to fasten.
This belt is by Japanese brand Bal and it appears to share the same hardware as Meanswhile – both from German fastenings experts Fidlock. Bal is pretty under the radar in the UK, but this salmon coloured belt makes a compelling case to check them out.
Last week I visited Garbstore. There was a guy in there wearing a bright orange padded vest. I was in the middle of buying a considerably more sober navy padded vest.
“I like what he’s wearing”, my girl said, gesturing towards bright orange padded vest man. I didn’t say anything. I just bought the navy padded vest. Then sulked.
Cut to now and bright orange padded vest man is still tugging at my mind like a deranged puppeteer. Should I be in the market for a padded vest in a bolder colour? If I got one would my girl love me more? If I don’t get one will I die cold and alone, tortured by the vision of a youngish bloke in a bright orange padded vest? Could I be any more of an ignoramus?
When you’re Google Translating text from Japanese menswear sites into English, it’s rare to find much of worth. Usually you get an apparently abstract block of breathless adjectives. And from this you try and pull the ethos of a freaky-looking brand you’ve never heard of.
However, in the case of this coat from Humis two words stick out. “Overwhelming presence.” It’s a phrase at once perfect and arguably inadequate. This coat is legion. A great wall of fabric and pocketing seemingly built to withstand elements both known and unknown. Should you to be performing a wartime exorcism I can imagine no better place to store your grenades and rosary beads.
There was no fanfare when this Dr. Martens x Nanamica colab dropped a couple of days ago. Just the whisper of a page refresh and there they were, for sale over at Garbstore and End. Entirely at odds with the recent Nepenthes x DM drops, which bruise my social feeds for weeks on end, these have seemingly come out of nowhere. Admittedly, they’re subtle. But arguably no more so than the asymmetrical ghillie by Engineered Garments. Either way, I think they deserve a nod.
Like a cathedral for the worship of weathered denim, Blue In Green sits on 8 Greene Street in New York City’s SOHO district. The modest entrance belies a cavenous interior, rammed to the rafters with cult brands: and Wander, Goldwin, Monitaly, N. Hoolywood, Foot the Coacher, Blue Blue Japan and Kapital. A lot of Kapital. For the first time visitor, it’s a paralyzing vision of desirables.
We looked at Prospective Flow back in May. Based in LA, but with a clear reverence for traditional Japanese clothing, the brand offers loose, boxy pieces; perfect for an aspirant karate kid.
The range is designed for layering. But beware. When you start piling on elongated collarless shirts and dropped crotch, wrap-waisted trousers it can end up looking a bit costumey. You know, a bit sacred. A bit devotional. All spiritual and that. Like the kind of bro who’s all about the human soul, not material stuff. Which would be a bit rich. These trousers cost a good $200.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume you already own a jacket like the one above. Some variation on a blue chore coat at least: high buttoning, utilitarian in style, plenty of pockets. So why would you need another one?
In my head at least, the line between actually needing, and wanting for the sake is frequently blurred. Is the specific function of a garment genuinely absent from my wardrobe? Or am I just (sub)consciously building a collection because it makes me happy?