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Worn as effectively on the sleeve as in the heart

Look at this image. This is what a man should be about right now. Beige. Unthreatening. Too much corduroy. Tied up like a creased envelope.

As the evident beastliness of so many prominent males in our current news feed illustrates, some blokes can be bad. Intollerably shit. But that’s some blokes mind. So in my own meager and frankly superficial way, I propose, morality, honestly, sweetness and just downright decency can be worn as effectively on the sleeve as in the heart. If that results in a look that sits halfway between fast asleep and an experimental 1960s poetry-disco, then so be it.

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A fiscal penitentiary

Don’t know how many of you have ever tried to buy a flat? But for those that haven’t, have you any idea how many clothes you can buy during the purchase period? Let me tell you. No clothes. No clothes at all. None. You know one clothes? It’s one clothes less than that. I currently find myself in just such a hinterland, an Upside Down between committing to buy a flat and not yet actually buying the flat. Every available quid is shunted from my grasp into a fiscal penitentiary. The only rule of parole is that it must vanish into a black hole of stamp duty and legal fees.

This state of affairs leaves me feeling fortunate that I’m able to even consider buying a flat, while simultaneously sulking like a toddler because I can’t afford these ridiculous trainers.

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The Man Who Fell To Earth played by Howard Keel

This is some fabricated voodoo right here. A jacket that can be worn four ways. And by that I don’t mean a removable pocket here or there, this piece works regular inside out and then turns it’s entire body inside out to offer up another two variations. Extremely difficult to explain in words, remarkably easy to negotiate when you’ve got the garment to hand.

It’s from Meanswhile and it’s one for the heads. Proper outerwear origami, exquisitely made, Cordura ripstop nylon, webbed tape detail, snap buttons in a beautiful matt finish… If you don’t want a slice of this we can never be friends.

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Exactingly scientific conclusions

It’s cold. A trip from under my quilt to make a cup of tea demands the constitution of a lifer in a Siberian gulag. Outside it’s white. Stinging flakes of chill. Blizzards, blankets, sleet; it’s proper shit is what it is. The whole of London is suddenly a icebox. It’s inconvenient and tiresome. It certainly puts the bore in boreal.

I know what you’re thinking? Some kind of obscurely branded, overly ornate, Korean body-warmer is what’s called for. And as always reader, it’s as though you read my mind.

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The working man

He waits for the pub to open. Just like decades of working men before him. Seeking respite from exertion, from worry, from responsibility. He has a thirst on him. It’s early, but the toil of the morning is already weighing heavily. He aches. He wonders how generations previous managed to face this toil, week-in, week-out?

He hears a key turning in the lock.

They’ll surely offer a flat white he wonders, but what’s their wi-fi like?

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An enigmatic cachet

At first glance this is reasonably unremarkable. We’ve seen this stuff before, patchworking knits, plenty of wooly topography, makes you think of Inverallan and certainly S.N.S Herning.  But this is Comme des Garçons Homme. And when Comme tells a story, you take the yarn onboard.

Even in a landscape of numberless Play logos and unworthy Dover Street colabs, Comme, particularly when attached to the main lines, carries an enigmatic cachet.

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A staged stroll along the Seine

For him Paris is both a place and a state of mind. He’s thankful that on this occasion while geographically in Paris, he also feels psychologically in Paris. This pleasure is expressed through a stroll along the Seine, wearing a Barbie duvet as a scarf.

Gendarmerie as traffic lights, children smoking and the queasy realisation that Parisians guzzle Starbucks. What is Paris, he wonders? For surely it is a city in only factual terms? But the sun is low and it’s growing chilly. He’s happy to leave this riddle to the world’s finest minds. While remaining confident that given time, he could figure out the answer himself.

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Scone thieves

Dadcore is over. Long live Grancore. At least according to the latest Sanca drops over at Alpha Shadows. My grandmother used to wear a poncho not a million miles away from this. I think it was Aquascutum, or Burberry. The ideal accompaniment to a neatly folded Telegraph, a milky tea and a slice of Battenberg. Hats off to Alpha Shadows for going after that illusive market of bros who take their style cues from frosty-haired, right-of-centre, regional dowagers.

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Lizard King vibes

For those drawn to the dreamcatching, beads ‘n’ bangles philosophy of dress strongly espoused by brands like VISVIM, moving towards suede as a top layer makes a lot of sense. A suede shirt. It’s got Lizard King vibes. It says you dig mysticism, you’re all about nuts, pulses, henna tattoos and maypoles and you’re not averse to a spot of transpersonal psychology. At the very least it suggests you’re comfortable choosing the clementine drizzle loaf in Costa.

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A deeply invasive pricing policy

Who the hell does this dude think he is? Look at that robust hairline. Look at that implacable stare. Shit, this guy knows he’s modelling for Très Bien and he’s modelling as though his life depended on it. No ambiguity, no whimsy, just raw modelling – literally standing straight while wearing a thing. That takes some mad skills.

That said, it doesn’t hurt that he’s  got that banging Undercover jacket thing on. In fact, take that away and he’s just a bloke, looking out your screen, probably feeling as awkward as you do.

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Soil drainage searches

Japanese Americana fetishists Riding High are another new imprint over at The Bureau. And these reversible fleecey zip up cardie/jackets are about as now as it’s possible to be. I clocked this model in tan while over in Paris last week at the outfitter Jinji – only an inopportune state of insolvency prevented me from copping. Now, on my return, I find the olive and charcoal colourways are taunting me from my browser.

When one is in the middle of harvesting an absurd amount of stamp duty with which to purchase a flat, I find it really insensitive that desirable Japanese brands continue to mock me with new garments. Garments that without which I am incomplete. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the entire global independent menswear industry isn’t especially concerned with my ability to effectively conclude a property purchase.

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Banishing the troublesome evening gown neckline

Substantial heat over at Peckham’s Alpha Shadows as the late season drops keep coming. And yes, it’s more corduroy. But check the neckline on this Tatamize smock thing – it’s tight, it’s high, it’s utterly brilliant. The main thing I find challenging about a smock isn’t the capacious body, but the prevailing neck shape; they’re frequently yawning; giant voids that without an underlying tee expose far too much neck and shoulder. A bro can end up looking like the belle of the ball.

By modernising the collar, Tatamize have created a smock must-have, one that finally banishes that troublesome evening gown neckline.

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Freaky mammalian mosh-pit

AiE, Nepenthes most recent imprint, is still chugging along with no UK, or to my knowledge western stockists. Looking at this I’m not entirely surprised. It’s enough to make even the most effete Soho fash-hag totter away in terror.

Charged with the kind of feral lunacy usually found in servants of the moon. This is quite probably a cursed garment. To wear it is to consciously submit to a unique, fabricated form of lycanthropy. Be warned, you may actually grow a snout.

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Properly finished seams are frowned upon

Outside of Engineered Garments fanboys, and practitioners of certain faiths, the whole long-line shirt thing never really caught hold on the street. I’ve personally given it a fair crack, while my favourite Instagram feeds keep the look on lock, but as a ‘trend’ it seems absent from your average Costa queue. All of which is, of course, a good thing.

This number from NAME by Noriyuki Shimizu offers an EG alternative for the long-shirtist, one that looks like it’s been dipped in the future.

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All that’s missing is A.C. Slater’s pouting face

Sometimes you’ve just got to listen to your body. My body is saying, “I’m cold“. It’s saying, “can you please put the cotton layering on hold, and just put a sweater on you ridiculous penis.” Under the circumstances, here are some sweaters.

These knitwear specials for Garbstore have been knocking around for a few weeks. I did notice them, I just forgot them. It wasn’t cold when they arrived in store. Now it appears it is.

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Only the Japanese?

Cloth based metaphors for being just a lovely cuddly chap rarely come more profound than this. Taking the robustly masculine outdoorsman fleece and splatting it with dancing butterflies and beaming flowers makes for quite a statement. Even the most misanthropic sneerer would crack a smile at this. Only the Japanese could conjure up such candid and unreserved a creation. Or so I assumed.

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How To Make An American Quilt through a Black Mirror lens

Yaaaaaasss boss. Now this is living. Are you man enough to leave the house in something that’s fundamentally homewear? I think I might be, although I suspect I’d be so corrupted by anxiety as to render the entire activity emotionally ruinous. What will people think? What do I look like? Can I adopt sufficient swagger to imply it’s no big deal I’ve got a rug round my neck?

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Isn’t that why you read this nonsense?

These smocks from (new to me) Japanese brand Setto are flying out over at The Bureau. Smalls and Mediums are gone, only Large or Extra Large bros need apply I’m afraid. Interesting insight into The Bureau’s audience though. Clearly brand recognition is secondary to great fabrics, interesting styles and quality make up. That said, price point may also be relevant, this smock is on for £180, hardly cheap, but pretty reasonable for such a neat and detailed piece.

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I’ll give you sorry in a minute

Retailer Haven calls this Mountain Research peacoat, “eccentrically styled.” I’d go slightly further and suggest it’s the kind of thing you’d find yourself wearing post-lobotomy. Looking at this, I’m not really sure Mountain Research entered the incarcerated spree-killer market on purpose or by accident. You know, the kind of accident where parts of your wife are discovered in the freezer as a forensic scientist swabs your gums.

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Grappling a stag into servility

Furry shoes (all be they faux) are perhaps not for all. These bestial loafers are a seasonal standard from LA based Yuketen and while we’ve seen them and their like a few times, to my mind this style remains a short cut to major-league standout. Teamed with simple (straight, loose-cut)  jeans and clinical neutrals up top, these shoes will do all the work. Rich chocolaty suede with a fucking eiderdown of fuzz on each upper – no you don’t want to be stepping in any puddles, yes you’ll look like the kind of low-key dandy who could grapple a stag into servility.

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A real beauty that images just can’t represent

For many in the UK Kolor is a rarity. It’s been around since ex-Junya Watanabe designer Junichi Abe launched the brand in 2004. Yet its presence in stores over here remains scant. It’s a shame. Certainly, Kolor bends towards fashionable seasonality in a way other brands covered on these pages (Engineered Garments, orSlow, Eastlogue) don’t so much. And because of this, some may dismiss Kolor as the kind of primpy fabulousness so beloved of the sequin-brained Selfridges crowd. But look closer and you’ll see solid utilitarian, American workwear influences, collegiate references, teamed with remarkable construction and fabrication. If you’re comfortable with unnecessary appliqué on a bomber jacket there’s a lot to like.

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You’ve got to have goals

If only adults put as much effort into their daily wardrobe as they do during Halloween. Even Peckham turned into a Spielbergian suburban nightmare of kidults knobbing about with spiderwebs in a can. Social feeds the world over are rammed with faces covered in flour and red food colouring. Yep, we get it, you really like Star Wars/Ghostbusters/Star Trek/Marvel etc… As long as you understand you don’t actually look like a superhero – just a tired middle-manager grimacing inside a cardboard box painted to look like some kind of Pixar fish.

I don’t Halloween. But gun to head time. If I absolutely had to dress, up I’d probably wear one of these. I’d go as a middle-class woman who shops at Toast.

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You just can’t buy that kind of wisdom

When I was young they were tanktops. Now they’re popovers. Or pullovers. Or just vests. Tanktops they are not. They’ve got zips and poppers on the shoulder, they’re rendered in a huge variety of fabrics and if you spend much time poking about Japanese menswear e-tailers, you’ll see they’re everywhere. These corduroy numbers are by the brand Ohh! Nisica and they’re strong.

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Comfortable in my ignorance

Fed up with wearing your eco-credentials on your sleeve? Try your neck. Little says recycled porridge and a biodegradable personality more than these Kapital neckpieces. As though hewn from the very notion of giving a shit, with a handful of Al Gore’s whiskers woven in for good measure, what we’re looking at here are scarves with a moral centre, scarves with conscience, scarves that would never peek up a girl’s skirt as she rides an escalator.

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I’d be totally paranoid

It’s all about levels I guess. And these shoes represent a level I don’t have the keycard to. Usually you’ve got to have around 400 coins in your pocket to entertain Yuketen footwear. Sale magpies can frequently swag for less. But broadly we’re looking at the low hundreds. This pair however… This pair (one of the most beautiful pairs of Yuketens I’ve ever seen) takes your low hundreds, doubles it and chucks more wedge on top. You’re looking at a £1,250 pair of shoes. To say this pricing structure represents an inconvenience is downplaying the situation somewhat. This is a fucking disaster. A marvellous and alluring disaster.

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A slave to your glands

Our Legacy rarely pops up on these pages these days. Partly, I guess, because it’s so widely available. A big turn off for la-de-da label-geeks. But then Our Legacy rarely produce heavy-hitting stand-outs like this furry-as-fuck heater. I have no idea who this dude thinks he is with his thrift store shades and ‘end of the world is nigh’ demeanour, but that cardie is killing.

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Full-power orange and brutal topstitching

Those workweared up in customary orSlow washed cottons and crinkly EG denim might balk at these. They’re all a bit polished. A bit zippy. A bit farrrrshon. They’re not quite the kind of suedey, Japanesey, Clark’s reimaginings so often found on these pages. But open your mind brotherman. These numbers by French cobblers Adieu have a regulation chunky sole, a full-power orange hue and some brutal topstitching. This is an event shoe. These shoes are literally happening. Now. Or thereabouts.

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His work is done

A middle-aged man in corduroy. A knight of the street. Jacket grooved like gently raked sand. Trousers the width of his ego. Shoes as polished as mirrors; reflecting, multiplying his majesty.

He moves like a hot panther. He knows what he wants and he’s read somewhere on the internet how to get it. He pauses, alert now. He knows he’s being watched. Elegantly he lopes towards the nearest graffitied wall. Framing his look against the aggressive patterns is unthinking, instinctive. He tweaks his trousers to display maximum volume, and squints into the haze. His work is done.

This is a man who knows he’s a man. This is a man who knows what it means to be a man. This is a man of answers. He just can’t remember the questions.

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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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