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Knit-mental Gileadan wives

Perhaps not the most practical of garments. Nevertheless, I believe most of you feel that life without a short sleeved knitted top, featuring a slab of crochet on the front, is no kind of life. Let’s put aside the news of treasons, lies and grotesque human injustices being metered out, hourly, on a global scale. Really, is this top any less important? I mean, it’s from a weird Japanese brand. It’s really tricky to buy it. No one you know will have it.

We’re all going to hell anyway. It’s not like you can do anything about anything. You might as well buy a stupid sweater.

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Indigo punctuation

There’s something about indigo in the sunlight. I understand that, scientifically speaking, most things are more visible when the sun’s shining. But the opulence, the profundity of colour that indigo dyeing affords, is really triggered for me under a cloudless sky. Which makes these Asahi kicks (from yesterday’s drop at Alpha Shadows) so appealing. A baggy, off-white, pair of trousers, a simple navy long-sleeved tee, maybe a pair of Max Pittion Politicians, all punctuated by a pair of these. That, right there, is exactly the kind of stripped back, urban minimalism so beloved by readers of Monocle. Personally I’d say that look is still missing something, but I’ll get to that in a second…

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Look, I found a shell

Facebook is officially a graveyard of the banal.

Look, I’m drinking an alcoholic beverage on a weekday. I’m ‘checking in’ at a members bar (that was trendy in 2005.) I’ve just been running. I’ve been in the sea and I found a shell. I’m flying to a different country. I’m flying back from a different country. I’ve just given something to charity – see how I modestly tell everyone. Here’s a picture of my child. Here’s a video of my child doing a thing all children do. Look at my child doing that thing. Look at my fucking child. It’s my child. Look at it.

This shirt would break Facebook. It’s too interesting. I won’t even bother putting this post on Facebook. Primarily because it’s not a picture of raccoon looking blankly at a camera, so everyone can type “soooooooo cute’ underneath, before heading to Primark to buy some piss-dreadful shoes that were probably stuck together by a Bangladeshi worker who’s developed leukaemia from persistent solvent exposure.

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A collision of Punk, Teddy Boy and anal romance

Plain leather, grain leather, woven leather, zig-zagging, pinking sheared leather… it’s all here. An agressively sexual montage of hides. The only things missing are a pair of meaty cocks and an artfully drizzled, egg cup of semen and you’ve got a Tom of Finland art work. Of course, I’m not suggesting that these shoes have an erotic preference as such. I just don’t think they’d look out of place at a Vauxhall pants night.

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30 years later, thinking the exact opposite

These are the Steve Mono artisanal sandals. In the 1987 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, Robert Downey Jr’s character, pharmaceutical-liker Julian, wore something similar. His were black and he wore them with socks. It might have been the LA setting. It might have been the 80s. It might have been the character’s preference for self-medication. But that’s what he did. And upon seeing the film at the time, I thought it was the ugliest, most effeminate and downright obscene approach to bloke’s footwear.

And here I am, over 30 years later, thinking the exact opposite. Read More

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The best way to combat middle-aged spread is to slither into a form-fitting tee

Middle-aged men wear t-shirts that are too small for them. When it’s boiling they’re everywhere. Men with their families, men in groups, men choking back the lager, men competing to see who can hoot the loudest at their own jokes. Their fleshy bellies, shoulders and backs throttled by gossamer cotton, like an unappetising Superdry sausage. Contrary to the basic laws of physics, it seems loads of men seem to think the best way to combat middle-aged spread is to slither into a form-fitting tee.

Such tops are really a relic of the 90s. Hence all the 40+ blokes sticking with what they still think represents peak cool, oblivious to the culture around them and the changes they have undergone physically. Specifically their now plentiful tits.

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I prefer an Uber

NYC bicycle-likers Chari & Co opened in 2008. They offer all manner of clothing and accessories centred around the humble velocipede; from socks and caps, to jackets, tees and those weird fingerless gloves worn by Tour de France participants and stranglers. However, you don’t need to dig the ‘dandy horse’ to get involved.

The brand is now stocked over at Sunny Siders in East London and presented alongside their usual slouchy Japanese olives, navys and greys it seems to make sense. This shirt is the standout – available in the Sunny Siders bricks and mortar, but seemingly absent from their webstore. Non-Londoners can swag direct from Chari & Co. The only question is, do you fuck with that collar?

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Whether you listen to Grace Jones is not really the point

Never heard of Japanese brand Bal? Never heard of Japanese painter Masashi Ozawa? Doesn’t matter. At the very least you’ll be familiar with the new-wave art-pop stylings of Grace Jones. For it is she we find rendered beautifully and repeatedly by Mr Ozawa all over this Bal shirt. Does it look a bit too much like something you might find on a Camden Market stall for 15 quid? Perhaps. But the truth is you’ll need to add a zero to that number to cop. Watch as the line between disposable tosh and a piece for life becomes ever finer.

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Dreaming of being indoors

The ashen legs of the typical British man are amongst the most objectionable sights in the known world. That they are a sight at all is down to short-wearers’ dogged indifference to the sick-in-throat feeling they are inspiring in others. But it’s hot right? What are you supposed to do?

In my head, the only appropriate course of action is to never wear shorts. I don’t care how hot it is. Keep your grotesque butcher’s off-cuts hidden from view. Period. No true gentlemen of culture is caught with his deathly pins out. That is unless you’re anyone except me, and you have a less preposterous and more healthy relationship with short-wearing. In which case, you may find the above of interest.

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Blue-handed laundering credentials

How much writing should you have on a hat? Typically, I’d go with none, although it seems Japanese brand Kapital have an alternative view. Rather than no writing, they’ve gone with all of the writing. A subtle difference of perspectives, but one, I’d venture, that’s perceptible to most of you.

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A surgical scraping from a student’s social feed

The Inbetweeners, series two, episode four, original broadcast date 23 April 2009. It’s the one where they go to the central London club. It’s the one where Neil keeps saying, “no problemo”. Result: national hilarity ensues. Fast forward to now. London based clothier Aries produces socks featuring the phrase, “no problemo”. Result: a small number of narcissistic Instagrammers raise an eyebrow.

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Beyond the Black Rainbow on Foo-Foo Dust

How much do you have to do to a found object to make it an entirely new thing? It’s a notion the art world has wrangled with for generations. Music samples, gifs loop and designers ‘homage’; these days starting with a blank sheet of paper just seems so passé.

In most fields significant effort is taken to obfuscate any ‘borrowing’. Dye is splashed, paint is daubed; scribbles, stitches, rips, patches and badges, anything and everything to add-to, to modify the original and produce a fresh original. This makes the work of Japanese brand HESTRADA Gee-Wiz all the more interesting.

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I genuinely feel quite bad now

You might know the Japan Blue Company from its namesake jeans line. But it’s also an umbrella brand, offering further lines including, amongst others, Soulive, Momotaro and Setto. It’s no coincidence that one recent drop over at The Bureau came packed with Japan Blue, Momotaro and Setto. It all came from the same place, the manufacturing centre in Okayama.

Japan Blue offers some smart looking baggy trousers right now, in both a light and dark indigo finish, but it’s the Setto line that really delivers. This kimono jacket is a power-piece, while this baseball style denim shirt is a primo-basic. For me though, its this indigo hunting vest that’s the standout.

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The unwinnable war

As if my sterile attempts to write the important south east London novel weren’t already enough to pulp my confidence. Now I have to go and look at Nepenthes NYC Instagram. Any remaining morale I had, has been replaced by a heartful of whatsthefuckingpoint? I mean, I know the guys that post on Nepenthes NYC work for Nepenthes NYC. And I know they’ve got access to all the SS18 kit. And I’m sure they’re all talented stylists in their own right. But do they have to look so good? Do they really have to make it look that easy?

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I think I read somewhere…

The line between dopeness and looking like a perfect cock is fine indeed. Take this overshirt. It’s by Japanese brand Undercover – a label that suggests membership to the deepest recesses of conspiratorial cool. Can’t afford it? Hard cheese. Don’t understand it? Go back to H&M loser-face. Undercover is inscrutable. It’s abstruse. It’s obscure.

Having said all that, this overshirt will make you look like a fucking tin solider.

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Disgraceful male specimen

It’s sad is what it is. That a man of my years would see the brand of these Japanese underpants and immediately think that it sounds like “an a poo”. It’s actually Anapau. It’s probably pronounced ‘anna-pow’. But still… it could be that in Japan it’s a bit like bum cream brand Anusol? In that it’s a portmanteau of two words. In this case, ‘anal’ and ‘poo’, but spelt ‘pau’ and without the ‘l’?

Hello, I’m an infant.

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You’d tell me if I was too cool wouldn’t you?

What happens when the impossible cool becomes possible? Popular Instagram page The Impossible Cool documents fleeting moments in history, when certain celebrities, totally and completely embodied the very notion of cool. But what happens when that’s you? What happens when you realise, during someone’s birthday party, on a Sunday afternoon, in a Hackney beer garden say, that the impossible cool is you? That your combination of Noma t.d. shirt, Bru Na Boinne trousers and Engineered Garments DMs make you the coolest man alive. And not just for a fleeting moment. But for a good few hours of polite chat and lager and lime. What then I ask you? What then?

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A child’s worst nightmare

Sweet Christmas. The lovable maniacs over at Japanese brand Son Of The Cheese don’t dick about. When they set their minds to creating a shirt to set the human soul on fire they see it through. It’s the third in a trilogy of posts about foolheaded summer chemises – we’ve had flowers from Unused and embroidery from Noma t.d. – but this photographic fuckshow is properly next level.

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Even the most nonchalant dry cleaner might want you to sign a waiver

Increasingly feverous weather encourages short-sleeve thinking. Some reach for last summer’s white tees. But white tees don’t stay white. Even with judicious washing, after a season’s wear they’re the shade of cheap builder’s brew. What was crisp white is now shallow grey, as though the result of a passing acquaintance with a tea bag. Marry that with the pre-sun pallor of the average Brit and you’re entirely blanched. An ashen, anaemic ghoul; soaking up the beaming sun with the enthusiasm and glamour of pizza dough.

So fuck the simple white tee – even a brand new one offers the briefest satisfaction. Far better to face the warmer weather in an impractical, imported, embroidered shirt, one that takes your bank account to the very edge of anguish.

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Life and soul or queasy-making abomination?

Not to sure what your relationship with flowers is? Mine is relatively rudimentary. I understand what they are and I know where they’re likely to be. I know some of them smell. I know you can watch them grow in a garden until you get bored. Or you can chop them off with scissors, stick them in a vase and watch them slowly die. You can also wear clothes covered in drawings of flowers. For confirmation of this final point please see above picture.

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Welcome to the track top lifestyle

Spend a lot of time sitting on that knackered sofa in your front garden, drinking Strongbow and muttering “fuck” a lot? Course you do. And when you’re not taunting that emaciated mutt on a string, you’re hanging around a phone-box, dolling out rollies to school kids; playing the big tattooed man in a tiny pool of your own miserable making. Welcome to the track top lifestyle bro. Just because you’re a loser at life, doesn’t mean you can’t win at style.

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Why did Comme stop making trousers like this?

So after yesterday’s peculiar trousers, here’s more peculiar trousers. These aren’t quite as peculiar in truth. They’re baggy, naturally – tight cut trousers are only manufactured so people know who to avoid at parties. There’s a couple of styles here, both from Japanese makers Haversack and both available over at NYC’s Green in Blue. But look behind the baggy and, as with all the best men’s clothing, it’s the little details that count.

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In the parlance of retailers everywhere, ‘relaxed’

Not one thing in this world remains as is; seasons change, the stream of a river flows, and every moment passed becomes history.” Such is Prospective Flow‘s pitch. It’s an LA based brand, but with Japanese design direction. And two things are immediately clear. The Japanese touch extends to pseudo philosophical truisms, while the US’s eye on economics keeps the pricing reasonable.

The result is trousers like these. Massive and directional, with a hint of Bow Wow Wow. You last encountered these in a Jay McInerney nightclub scene. But surprisingly the swing ticket belies their pretension. You’re looking at just $205. Which comes in at just over 150 quids. Dunno about you, but to me that seems the right side of wrong.

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It costs a bomb and makes you look like you’ve been hit by one

Understanding the brand Tender is a bit like understanding fancy cuisine. When a restaurant features ‘chalk stream trout’ I have no idea whether that’s better than just trout? And when it’s served with ‘monksbeard’, I have literally no idea what fucking monksbeard is, but you try and stop me dropping £16 on that bad boy.

In a similar vein, this Tender Double Front Butterfly Jacket uses ‘warp/natural jute weft sawtooth twill’. Plus ‘rope-dyed ring-spun indigo cotton weft canvas’. Frankly that’s just too many words. I am baffled into assuming this all makes it good. And it is based on this level of insight I now recommend this jacket to you.

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In truth, it makes no actual difference

These trousers are by the brand EEL. It stands for ‘Easy Earl Life’. I have no idea what that means. I copied the About Us bit from their website into Google Translate and it gave me, “Aiming for a universal and special one.

Fortunately, it’s not like you need to get the oblique brand ethos to see these trousers are total weapons. The cut is on point. There are buttons on the side to keep the fit locked. And the pockets have no mercy. No one in the UK will have them. You don’t need to take a Rosetta Stone course to know your lifestyle needs a pair of these.

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Anyone with fundamentalist apron leanings can frankly do one

Where to find a weird vest that by virtue of its obscurity in the UK, is less ‘overground’ than Engineered Garments, Sassafras and Post Overalls? I imagine it’s a question that manifests like a chambray phantasm in your most feverish nightmares. Well calm yourself. Flannel the wet from your brow. This ridiculous vest might fit the bill. It’s from Japanese imprint BROWN by 2-Tacs. It’s called a ‘Seed-It’ vest. It’s probably for dispensing seeds, you know, like strange gardening types do instead of watching boxset TV. But it’d look well furious under a blazer. Furious, ridiculous and weird. Consider your nocturnal torment at an end. Read More

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A compelling sole sandwich

Loafers rule. Or rather, loafers can rule. If you’re rocking a thin-soled pair, sockless, with wetsuit-tight jeans you’re a wazzock. Loafers do not rule under those circumstances. I mean (hello, a large percentage of UK men) what the fuck are you thinking? If you dress like that, please leave this website. And take your Davidoff Cool Water with you.

Those remaining might find these stocky loafers from Japanese brand Nonnative of interest. Call me a snob, but I feel like these were designed for a man with more than hair gel between his ears. They’re for tossers like me to feel superior about. Although I think it’s also fair to say that the design team at the brand’s Nakameguro HQ aren’t actively targeting the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding demographic.

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Jon Favreau in Couples Retreat is not the goal here

It’s difficult to go off a plain coloured shirt. You might knacker it. Or out grow of it. But stylistically, plain shirts tend to deliver strong value per wear. The same is not always true of patterned shirts. One minute they’re a pleasing novelty, the next they’re disrespected and balled on the floor. Once the pattern feels too familiar, once it loses its punch, they become a irritation. Good for no occasion. Even a careful ironing won’t resuscitate such a piece, you’d need a full mind transplant.

Yet even in the face of this preamble, I’m feeling pattern. Years of plain navy, acres of olive green and finally I’m here, looking at patterned stuff and thinking, maybe…? It might be the weather. It might be the dogged smooshing together of prints over at thought-leaders Needles. It might be that I’ve finally gone full Colonel Kurtz. But patterned shirts are starting to make sense.

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A higher plane of taste

LOLO is one of those brands that appears to exist only within the labyrinth of Japanese e-retail. You can usually spot it over on Strato, but its stark monochrome label reveals nothing of its heritage or ethos. The crucial thing to note is that they make shirts like this. And as the weather warms up, and dudes countrywide reach for their t-shirt with something inane printed on it, this here is what you need. A loose-cut, crisp, simple shirt, airy and cooling, neat and hazily formal. Let other guys rock last summer’s tees, tees that hug a little too close and broadcast their paunch. You wanna be in one of these. Yes, it’ll be physically comfortable. But it’ll also make you feel superior to other bros. Which, lets face it, is pretty much the only reason you’d buy a white shirt from the other side of the planet in the first place.

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Practical, useful fact

If this shirt seems familiar, it’s because it is. Japanese brand Itten puts this piece out seasonally, in a variety of colours, all featuring a vaguely glossy nylon material. This makes them water repellent, which is good. But it also makes them a bit shiny, which, depending on your taste, is either perfectly reasonable, or scarily Eurovision.

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An objectionable individual

Somewhere between a Navaho reservation and a Ginsters Steak Slice you’ll find these. The brand is Malibu. And the style (one that’s become rather familiar to fans of indie menswear retailers in recent years) is called Latigo. What appeals about this specific pair is the addition of a gum sole instead of the more usual white EVA. Normally I’d swerve a gum sole under all but the most urgent circumstances; you just can’t clean them. But for a warm weather shoe, one that shouldn’t encounter slush, mud or puddles, maybe they’re starting to make sense?

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That’s your level right there

Perfectly poised between the ridiculous and the useful, this Spellbound apron shirt is all about that pocket. It’s a big pocket. It’s a really big pocket. You could put Infinity War’s weekend takings in that thing and it wouldn’t bulge. When the chaps on the International Space Station look out the window they can see the Great Wall of China and that pocket. Peer inside and see the face of God.

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A detour from the expected

Nepenthes sub-brand AiE seem to have taken their time getting any new season product out. But it’s clear from the new range that they haven’t been standing still. Those expecting more block-pattered cotton windcheaters might be surprised by the drawstring smock shirts, dressing gown jackets and this oily looking, sci-fi polyester taffeta coat. I’m pretty sure this thing is the lead in a new Netflix series.

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A fair bit of effort just so you can roll your eyes

Shoes that do the same job as Clarks, but aren’t Clarks. Something of a recurring subject on this site. Casual shoes that are smarter than a sneaker, but avoid the polished-up, city-soled trappings of formality. But then of course they’ve also got to be from brand that’s suitably off-the-radar. Obviously Clarks just don’t cut it.

Your next step might be to look to somewhere like Oi Polloi, experts in the squashy-shoed field. They’ve got Astorflex, Finn Comfort, Mephisto, Nature, Padmore & Barnes and Yogi – all of which offer variations around foamy soled footwear, cut in posture-positive shapes from nutmegy suedes and chocolatey leathers. And some of them are great. But the irresponsibly pedantic menswear fan will still find all this too ‘overground’, a little too available; the barrier to entry is simply too low.

Such individuals might wish to consider Rainbow Sandals from the US. They have no UK stockist. And in order to get them you might want to engage a proxy service and point them at Japan’s Chicken Shack. You could try and buy them from the US but you’d probably get hit with higher import duty. All in all an entirely satisfying pain in the arse.

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Grin like a chimpanzee

To itchy-eyed menswear gawpers this might be old news. And to be honest, when I first saw this a few weeks back, I quickly dismissed it. Now however, my anticipation for Avengers: Infinity War is so childishly heated that I feel compelled to celebrate Marvel in a site-appropriate fashion. By musing on an unwearable denim jacket covered in super hero badges.

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Honesty is integral

Authenticity is all. The most meaningful component of digital content. The most effective scheme with which to engage Gen Y.  Content must be authentic. Which is why I’m diminishing the extravagance of my crumpled but expensive casual-wear by standing near some urban art works. See? Authenticity.

I could be a destitute painter, a slave to my vision, not my accountant. I could be a poet. No one’s buying poetry these days, but I simply must write, my meter is my lover. I could be a threadbare historian. Spending my days writing a book nobody wants to read, about a forgotten empire no one has heard of. I could be. I’m not though. I’m just another impossible tosspile who works in digital media who spends his money on lavish clothing. Honesty is integral to authenticity after all.

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Non-existent, yet somehow vital

If you’re a blazerman and you don’t own an Engineered Garments Loiter you are not a blazerman. I don’t know how much stock you place in being able to refer to yourself as a blazerman? Probably little. I don’t really care. But if there’s a tiny sliver of you, a minuscule piece that takes some pleasure from occasionally being able to say something like, “yeah, well, I am something of a blazerman“, and you don’t own a Loiter, consider that pleasure gone. Finished. Absent. You are not a blazerman. You are just a man. And barely that.

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A walking wall tidy

As warmer weather threatens, a sweatshirt made of fleece with an attached waistcoat possibly isn’t top of your must haves. You may have clocked this season’s emergent pastel tones and are considering a pair of dusty lemon shorts. At the very least you’ve probably got the iron out, angrily trying to revitalise last summer’s purchases – seeing how many of them will make the cut this season. Dropping £368 on a fleece, that during sunny beer garden sessions will broil you alive, is understandably not that appealing. Beading up as you juggle a can of Red Stripe and fag, frantically picking at the stupid built-in vest, hoping it does actually come off – it’s not a strong look.

Having said all that, and ignoring the seasonal practicalities, this Mountain Research number is a pretty solid piece.

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Going full Popeye

Regular readers will recall this site championing the wider trouser. And this long-standing preference hasn’t changed. However I do have a vague amendment to the ‘big is best’ mantra. It specifically concerns wide trousers cut parallel from the knee, as apposed to wide trousers with a gentle taper to the ankle. I’ve concluded that having a taper is best. This is not a statement I make lightly, it stems from wearing a number of parallel cut purchases, for long periods of time. It comes from fidgeting awkwardly as, sitting with my legs crossed, giant folds of material dangle from my ankles like flags. It comes from catching my reflection while thrashing down the road and feeling like half-man half-yurt.

These trousers from Document are of the parallel variety. Frequently termed ‘painters pants’. But don’t let that put you off. I have a solution.

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Indifferent to the accepted rules

I saw this new Engineered Garments vest over at The Bureau a couple of days ago. I thought it looked okay. Then I saw the above image on the Nepenthes Hakata Instagram. Now I want this vest more than the ability to teleport into a bank vault, grab loads of cash and teleport out. And while I have been working on developing that ability for some years, I’m starting to think it’d be easier to find £221 for this.

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Carnivorous space maggots

I’ve got one of these. It’s an And Wander Stuffsack, made of Cuben Fiber, a tech material resistant to weather, wetness and tearing. In the ‘real’ world this high-performance non-woven fabric  is used for boat sails, airship hulls and kites. So don’t worry, it’ll keep your fags dry.

When they call it a Stuffsack they’re not messing around, you just stuff it with stuff and that’s it. Crammed to the chops with whatever you reasonably need, you basically just hoof it about. Yes it’s got handles and a badge on it, but it’s basically the most expensive bin liner you will ever buy.

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Free money

There’s a Comme des Garçons sample sale in Paris. 70% off everything. It runs from the 20-22 of April,  at 15 Rue du Cheval Blanc, 93500 Pantin. My girl and I were planning to go. Then we thought about the £200 we’d spend getting there and the £300 we’d spend on a hotel. We’d be spending £500 to save £500. We canceled the plan. So, from a certain perspective there’s now £500 waiting to be spent. Free money basically.

I notice that over at The Bureau, this dangerous Nicholas Daley jacket comes in at £475.00. I’m sure my girl would be happy with £25?

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Sway around to some space-rock and ponder the wisdom of another Appletini

You’re holding a social. A few like-minded friends and associates with a couple of oddball outliers to provide uncertainty. A good mix. It’ll happen in your living room, but mostly in the garden. The forecast is fine. Cocktail weather. You’ll be offering grilled vegetable quesadillas with kale pesto; you’ve been reading Modern Barbecue Magazine. You’ve got half a mind to buy a giant box-canvas and some oils, prop it in the garden and encourage your guests to daub away – communal art… so fucking lifestyle. You wanted to serve opium, but have had to settle for a furtive block of hash from a baseball cap outside Greggs. Your soundtrack is exclusively Turkish funk. It’s going to be amazing.

Course, you’re going to need a killer shirt.

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Lunacy you’d be mad not to want

Clothing that chooses to contravene the rules established for them are often the most interesting. Take the t-shirt. Originally derived from 19th century underwear, the basic tee has morphed into an item of light, airy outerwear. They’re often stamped with random words and phrases so those with no personality can publicise their existence. And they’re good for keeping cool as our planet slowly becomes a poisonous uninhabitable furnace. But, as you can see, the professionally foolish design team at Kapital ignore all this.

Rather than featherweight cotton, they’ve gone with denim. Rather than offer the ventilation of a billowing hem, they’ve gone with a deep, elasticated rib. Rather than a simple, dainty neck line, they’ve bolted on a hefty V, loaded-up with complex sashiko stitching. Lunacy of course. But lunacy you’d be mad not to want.

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Your wallet unzipping on its own

Tokyo based label KUON have a habit of creating pieces that appear too good for your existing wardrobe. As though when worn, mixed in with your other pieces, they’ll protrude, illuminated, making the rest of your fit look like Uniqlo. This terrifying sashiko coach jacket is perfect example; more detailed than strictly necessary, a miscellany of shades, dyes, stitching and texture. Up against this, even your crispiest cotton chinos will seem like a proctologist’s apron.

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