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I bought a ladies’ coat

Not sure if these are womens’ glasses? Even if they were, it wouldn’t be my first dalliance with female attire. During secondary school I bought a ski jacket. It wasn’t till I got it home that I realised it was a ladies’ coat. Subsequently I spent countless terms having to ball it up every time I took it off. No one could read the style label, which simply read “Gina.”

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Still for the locals

There’s a lot of cultural tourism right now in Peckham, particularly at the weekend. The cafes and bars are becoming home to a surfeit of White Company couples and their accompanying stockpile of child-rearing apparatus. While at night, it’s becoming easier to spot the rugby shirts. Cartels of the boorish, overcompensating for their cerebral dissonance by jumping on each other’s shoulders and being loud; no doubt hoping their antler rattling will capture the attention of an appropriate dimbo.

Fortunately, during the week, Peckham is still for the locals. Calm. Interesting. Stylish.

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Beyond beyond

Like literally, fuck ya’ll. I’m in this Haversack linen robe and I’m, like, beyond. I’m beyond you. I’m beyond beyond the most beyond you’ll ever be.

It’s sunny. I’m in the park. I’m wearing some shorts and a tee. Can’t remember where they’re from. It doesn’t matter. Clouds smother the last of the afternoon sun, and I toss on my robe. I’m wearing shorts, a tee and a fucking robe. I adjust my sunglasses, light up a smoke and squint into the distance. I’m not just the man. I’m every man. And more.

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From high street also-ran to fearsome garmsman

Imagine a dude was looking to completely change his game. Totally upscale his look. Planning to take the leap from high street also-ran to fearsome garmsman. You’d expect a ruinous level of expenditure right? Going from just another pair of ASOS jeans supping IPA with the rest of the Brewdoggers, to an extinction-level hemline juggler in a white leather cowboy hat? That’s gonna rupture a bro’s Maestro card. Or is it?

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It’s a real shame

Looking for a summer sale featuring insane bargains, tinged with an uncomfortable sense of capitalising on someone else’s misfortune? You’ve come to the right place. Gentry, the Brooklyn based stronghold of left-field menswear, is very sadly shutting up shop. The store had been offering peculiarly large mid-season sales for time, but announcement that the store will close at the end of July has now come.

I was fortunate enough to visit the store last year, received an amazing welcome, became introduced to brands such as Death To Tennis and Abasi Rosborough and left feeling like I’d visited somewhere special. It’s a real shame.

That said, guess we should look at some bargains…

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Punch me for being confusing

A long, long time ago I used to frequent a discotheque in Stafford called The Colosseum. These were glitterball nights. Nights when any pair of threadbare trousers and leather lace-ups equalled ‘class’. While anything too casual was viewed by the venue with deep suspicion. The doorman, squeezed into his polyester tux, knew nothing of style, yet remained happy dismissing youths ambitious enough to try and convince the barely sentient oaf that chambray was in fact not denim. I can’t help but wonder how I would have fared in these denim shoes?

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Slightly luxe-up your stylings

Over in their (fairly) new Soho outpost, OTHER/Shop are still quietly going about the business of decking out London’s most arch in a uniform of baggy, truncated leg-wear, simple plimsolls and wallet-blitzing Lemaire shirting. While new brand, the fossil-fuel-tutting Fanmail are getting the OTHER/Shop push right now, I still find myself drawn to their house imprint and this corduroy jacket in particular.

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Floating mountains and underwater spirits

Amongst the indigenous people throughout various chunks of America, the thunderbird remains a prominent mythological symbol. A super-creature of considerable power; legends boast of its feats of strength and paranormal abracadabra-ness. Thunderbirds hang out in a floating mountain according to tribes in Northern Wisconsin. While the Chippewa people believe thunderbirds spend their time fighting underwater spirits. According to my research it is only the Japanese loons at heritage-manglers Kapital who choose to picture the mighty bird puffing away on a tab.

 

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A once every two-weeks-er

Sure, this is square cut, it’s got a bunch of useful/ornate pockets and it’s got that sort of a shirt, sort of a jacket thing going on. Bang on utilitarianism. Thing is, it’s also busting some power-patterning. Such is the tricky duality of this piece from Japanese imprint Sassafras. From one perspective it’s a day-to-dayer. From another it’s the shirt your peers will notice. The piece you hoped would form a regular lynch pin of your weekly wardrobe quickly draws unsolicited, “ha, got your big shirt on again…” witticisms.

So is it a good buy or not? Such are the serpentine puzzles facing the modern menswearist.
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I want to be somewhere else

The wind tugs at the clouds, heaving them, seemingly inch by inch. Sunlight is screened, then it’s not, then it is, then it’s not… Clouds are hauled, warmth interupted. The sky drags on. An eternal conveyance. The sun, a sushi dish that never quite arrives.

People love parks. I don’t. They’re uncomfortable and vapid. Their allure mythic and specious. I want to be somewhere else. Watching a film. On a plane. Somewhere I can make out my laptop screen. Somewhere that doesn’t poke me with wirey grass. Somewhere my bottle of orange juice won’t get warm. Anywhere.

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From blazing sun to torrential rain within an hour

More meditation in origami than garment, there are, believe it or not, four different ways to wear this reversible banger from Meanswhile. I will leave the exhaustive explanations around inside-out-ness, what buttons go where and when to deploy the two-way zip front closure to retailer Alpha Shadows. What I can confidently state is that pieces as confident, crisp and downright fascinating as this don’t come along that often. I’d commit a minor felony to own it.

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A soft target for those on the outside to gleefully point at

I find there’s little point engaging your regulation simpleton on the subject of socks with sandals. It’s the kind of thing that immediately provokes people with no business commenting on personal style, into a frenzy of knee-jerk opinion. “Oh no“, they say. “Hahah“, they jeer. Seemingly oblivious to the ramshackle chain store debris they’ve got wrapped around their own carcasses. Fashion, or style as I prefer, is provocative like that. A soft target for those on the outside to gleefully point at, while furiously agreeing with each other about how ridiculous it all is.

Anyway, here’s me minding my own business in socks and sandals.

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Avoid any confused stares

A fundamental aesthetic clash within menswear right now is that of paired back, progressive minimalism (think Our Legacy, N. Hoolywood, Wooyoungmi, Lemaire…) versus the kind of woke dandy, beads ‘n’ bongos vibing going on over at VISVIM, Needles and Japanese upstarts Bohemians. Personally, I’m a bit half rice half chips on this one. I think both have their place in single wardrobe; different needs, different moods, different requirements, different levels of bead-craft. What’s your ratio like? If you’re too heavy on the concealed pockets and architectural lapels, maybe grab one of these bags and add a puff of incense nonsense to your fit.

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A navy jacket sufficiently different from your other navy jackets

I was talking cloth with an associate at the weekend. “Problem is“, he said while peering at a smart piece on my phone, “I’ve got too many navy jackets.” I suspect many of you will feel much the same. On the one hand you wear them all the time and want more of them. On the other you’ll have to justify to your significant partner why this navy jacket is different from all your other navy jackets. And why you need it. And why is it different exactly? You could say the pockets, you could say the collar, the colour, the fastening. You could say all that. But the truth is, it’s different because it’s a navy jacket you don’t own.

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Watertight blazering for the sex-funk set

Neither one thing or the other, but weirdly effective for it, this blazer/coach jacket hybrid from N.Hoolywood is killing it for me right now. Yes, you’ve got some freaky wet-suit like material going on, and a cropped blazer silhouette that brings to mind the stage attire of 80’s Word Up! sex-funker Cameo. But with the nation’s high streets still chock-to-the-balls with yawnable New Balance and Palace tees, perhaps a bit of electric-bass eroticism is what’s called for.

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Dong shaped chest pocket

If you’re looking for T-shirting that doesn’t howl its branding into the eyes of passers by, these fits from Burlap Outfitter are a move. Perhaps the best tees I’ve seen this season, they’re all about the supremacy of fabric, finish and pocket detail, rather than twatting someone around the chops with a giant sans serif font.

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Less knotty and labyrinthine

There’s a precociousness to Kapital’s clothing that isn’t for everyone. A steely adherence to an aesthetic which, at its most wearable, appears complimentary to brands such as Engineered Garments, Nanamica and Post Overalls and at its most challenging seems to exist only to service ageing Japanese greasers.

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Becoming subordinate to your own outfit

How long have I been looking for a pair of shorts with a colourful Tyrolean-inspired woven detail running down and off the leg seam? It’s difficult to apply a time scale to the question. But if forced I’d say around 0.27 seconds. I’ve just seen these and now I want them. I have no doubt that I’d look like a guy who’s had his trouser legs ripped off while trying to paint a moving Waltzer. But then I’m sure GQ said that was a big look for summer.

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Store visit: Envoy of Belfast

While in Belfast a few weeks back I visited The Bureau, my favourite menswear store. But also probably the best womenswear store I’ve ever seen, Envoy of Belfast. The two stores originally grew out of the same location at 4 Wellington Street, but while The Bureau relocated further out of town, Envoy remains; entirely womenswear, entirely like a female version of The Bureau and entirely full of premium garmenture.

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You’re on your own

Sure, there’s something of the ornithologist about this – tucked away in a hide, peering at a Kittiwake, tin foil parcel of cheese and cucumber triangles just an arm’s reach away. But look past the moss green and the hood and you’ll discover an abundance of Japanese tricksiness. Fiddly, desirable details, the sort that get menswearists refreshing their PayPal balance.

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Particularly effective on a simpleton like Trump

As dangerous tensions rise between the US and North Korea, we bystanders can do little but hold tight to whatever offers us a sense of reassurance and hope during these unpredictable times. Enter this jacket from Japanese makers Hurray Hurray. The brand name is unapologetically positive and their wares frequently reflect that. I mean, what kind of infant-headed, maniacal despot could bring themselves to hit the red button after seeing this mash-up of military camo and lovely flowers? And look, there’s a butterfly. I expect this would be particularly effective on a simpleton like Trump. I can see him all furious, his big chinny-wattle glowing red, because Jong-Un hasn’t replied to his text again. Trump’s about to action the ICBMs. Then his Minister for Guns strides in wearing this. And Trump sees the butterfly and the flowers, and he starts gurgling. He calms down. Pops in his dummy. And curls up for a sleep.

Could totally happen.

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Sounds about right

Nothing pretentious to see here. There’s nothing pretentious about walking around Shoreditch. Being photographed, wearing an assortment of global casual-wear. Nothing pretentious at all. Nothing pretentious about cropping your head off the shots so they look a bit more arty. Nothing the least bit pretentious about juxtaposing your look with images of street art. And nothing pretentious about buying a book about pretentiousness and walking around being photographed holding that book. It’s hungry work though. Eight quid for a coffee and a doughnut? Sounds about right.

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Nothing to do with Mods

The last trend-aligned piece I bought was a pair of Needles tracksuit trousers. I bought them last year and have worn them a handful of times. Yesterday High Snobiety pronounced them “The worlds most hyped trackpants“. Clearly, I can never wear them again.

I am suspicious of things that may become too popular. Obviously not suspicious enough, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought the trackies. But certainly suspicious enough not to want to get burned again. This cross-body bag from Master-Piece is a case in point.

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Store visit: Story MFG / Open As Usual

Two UK indie makers/retailers partner and launch a new store in Hackney. Good news for anyone whose coffee table currently features a bowl of honey and rosemary salted almonds and a pile of Puss Puss back issues. The imprints in question are ethical indigoers Story MFG and obscuro brand purveyors Open As Usual. A pairing complimentary in outlook and ethos, even as their respective portions of the new store appear, aesthetically at least, two sides of an entirely different coin.

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It’s not a jacket

I do like it when a shirt tries really hard to be a jacket. I see a fit like this and I know it’s a shirt, but it’s also sort of a jacket. Even though it’s definitely not. Look at the guy up there, sliding his hand into one of those jacket-like patch pockets. Look at him coming on all Little Lord Fauntleroy, like he’s in the Royal enclosure at Ascot, offering a sip from his pewter flask to Tiggy and Verity, while hoping to catch the eye of Henrietta, the second cousin of the Baron of Greenwich, who has a column in Tatler and a wispy beard.

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Mommy, we’ll be late for the quilting bee

I know for a fact that my girl has a reasonably wide appreciation of the cinematic arts. However, I frequently choose to amuse myself by lightly ridiculing one specific area of film I know she is especially passionate about. Broadly, they’re films about women. Lots of women. Sisters, mums, grannies, friends, all hanging about together, getting their hair done, sharing fortune cookie wisdom and crying. The films are mostly from the 90s. Often featuring Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst or Julia Roberts. Collectively, these films don’t have a name, there’s no formal genre grouping, but I would argue they’re recognisable due to three recurring elements.

1) A younger character will develop a cough in the first act and by the third act will receive the last rights, as a large collection of women blow their noses into doilies.
2) At some point there will be a mad rush to get some pies cooked and cooling on a sill before someone called Billy-Bob returns from a war.
3) There will be continual sewing and a long speech about how the different squares in a quilt represent the extraordinary variety of life in a way no other creative medium could.

Not entirely sure I agree with the last point. However if these women really had their heads screwed on, they would have knocked those quilts into jackets like this one from New York makers Bode. They could have sold them for $1,445.00 a piece, got themselves some decent healthcare and splashed out on a couple of M&S steak and peppercorn pies like everyone else.

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This is Suspiria

To explore the labyrinthine corridors and staircases within Peckham’s Bussey building is to enter a blood red torment worthy of Dario Argento. Eroded over time by incalculable bumps and scrapes, now the paint seemingly weeps from the guts of the building. Hollow and cold, the thick brickwork mutes the outside and suffocates the cries of those within. This is The Shining. This is Suspiria. Built for function, with all the courtesy and allure of an abattoir. So, ideal for pratting about in, while wearing Japanese menswear.

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A languorous expression of authentic

Here’s a long sleeved top from Gaijin Made. It’s handmade. And it really looks handmade. It looks the kind of handmade that makes me think I could make it myself; so primitively are the random patches stitched on. A little cord on a split collar, some cotton squares, some dye splashes… Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like it. It just looks quite easy to do. Looks authentic I suppose. An especially languorous expression of authentic.

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More detail on new Nepenthes brand AiE

Writing a few days back about the new Nepenthes brand AiE I wasn’t exactly overloaded with information – some loud shirting, some tartan and the understanding that the range originates from the US arm of the brand, rather than the Japanese. Anyway, that was then. Thanks to the hasty acquisition of the latest The New Order magazine and the emergence of a new digital lookbook, the picture is somewhat clearer.

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Shit, that’s a nice green

There I was, just two days ago, blahing on about high streeters copping M-65 field coats to wear with spangles, and now I see this. And I think, shit, that’s a nice green. And I remember I saw this over at Sunny Siders at the weekend. And I think I don’t know much about the brand Fujito. And I start to think I want this jacket. It would work with my entire wardrobe. And thoughts of a “here come the girls” style mob, identical and straight-haired, sequinned and army jacketed, dims. The sound of them stumbling and squawking in their heels fades. And I feel whole again.

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18Montrose is coming to London

So, multi-brand retailer 18Montrose is coming to London. These guys currently boast outposts in Glasgow and Nottingham; luxurious looking, polished concrete and glass affairs. Chock full of low-hanging casual standards like Filling Pieces, Beams+, Maison Kitsuné, Our Legacy, Norse Projects, Red Wing and Sun Buddies. Apparently the capital is next. “Spring 2017” according to their site. But why should you or I care?

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Hang outside H&M loudly tutting

Feels like there’s a lot of army green out there right now. Certainly down London ways there’s a constant battalion of young girls still channelling the whole M-65 jacket over flouncy top thing; a kind of 2009 Carine Roitfeld via Primark vibe. Reason enough to steer clear? Or just an excuse to double-down and look farther afield for your military reinterpretations?

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Fills in the dots with whatever seems most appropriate

After yesterday’s radioactive cotton scream, let’s take it down to a whisper. Here’s a piece that’s subdued and easy to wear, albeit still boasting the obligatory robust price tag. It’s from Japanese imprint …Research, or is it Mountain Research? I understand the brand fills in the dots with whatever it deems most appropriate. So just to confuse, there’s also Horse Blanket Research, Hunting Jacket Research and so on. Just for the sake of being juvenile, I have no idea if this concept extends to Underpants Research.

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Tridents and big nets with little skulls sewn round the edge

Perhaps, at some point in the future, when the seas have swallowed the land, humans will go to war in garments like this. Part military jacket, part dressing gown, it’d be ideal to slip on after an aquatic skirmish with tridents and big nets with little skulls sewn round the edge. I guess I’m rather assuming the US’s insane new environmental policy will shortly result in a planet somewhere between Mad Max and Waterworld. It would appear LA brand Long Journey are too.

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Little more than farce

On retailer Union’s site I read recently (in between the “FUcking DoPe!“s and “FucK yEAh!“s) that it would be the last season of Ganryu. Not, the implication being, the last season the store was carrying the label, but rather the last season of Ganryu period. Something of a shame that. I rather enjoy looking at, if not buying, Fumito Ganryu’s Comme des Garçons line. For the man looking to spend a fortune on t-shirts featuring entirely unnecessary and impractical pocketing there are few brands better.

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Not ready for these levels

Here’s one for the heads. Silently and with zero fanfare a new brand has appeared under the Nepenthes umbrella. Called AiE, these are the first product shots. Hardly a full range at this point; we can see some colour clash shirting and some tartan tunics. But what’s AiE? Where’s it come from? And what’s it all about?

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A man of specific tastes and a mastery of panache

Stockholm store Tres Bien is now punting its in-house line out to other retailers, the first notable target is London’s Goodhood. The line mirrors the same stripped back, Scandi minimal approach common to most of the brands Tres Bien carries in store. If you were being ungallant, you might say it’s a virtual xerox of Our Legacy via Lemaire. I would never say that though.

Goodhood refer to the range as comprising “premium basics”, but I’m not sure this grey blouson is a basic as such. Subtle yes. Uncomplicated certainly. But if handled right, far from only a basic.

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Still turning the odd head down the crab shack

Check out The Sandalman site and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this brand from Newport Beach, California is pretty trad. Their products are beautifully handmade, they’ve been going since 1974 and their aesthetic seems straight up athletic fogey. The kind of silver fox who goes boogie boarding, wears beads and can still turn the odd head down the crab shack.  As you’ll see here though, The Sandalman’s Japan only product is another thing entirely.

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A chink of progressive light

Within the gloom of retrograde political actions, the rolling back of the US’s climate policy and the absurdity of Brexit, it’s pleasing when you catch a chink of progressive light. Over at the Design Museum in London, Dutch artist and designer Christien Meindertsma beautifully illustrates the kind of thinking that, if realised at scale, could help steer us towards a future that doesn’t involve weather systems or nuclear attack maiming the only planet we have.

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Extremely realness

A short walk from the posh cafes, restaurants and chintz of gentrified Peckham, you’ll find the real Peckham. It’s Afro Caribbean, it’s Pakistani, it’s pound shops, it’s Sports Direct, it’s yams. This is what I’m about. You see, I’m real. I’m the realness. You’d have to look quite hard to find someone more realness than me.

Some scientists believe our entire universe could be one of countless simulations created by beings billions of years in advance of ourselves. Fuck those scientists. They don’t live in Peckham. I’m so real I don’t even know what a panini is. The fact that I’m a white, middle-aged guy from a village in the Midlands is irrelevant. I’m here. I’m wearing real clothes. Walking around the real. Get over it bouji losers.

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Indulging your penchant for self-aggrandisement

From an intent perspective, is there much difference between this and the ‘zany’ office party tie? I mean, sure, this star-struck bomber is by none-more-cool denim hooligans Kapital and your typical look-at-me neck accessory comes from the Disney store. But is the intent, that of standing out, that of using clothing to suggest a personal sense of fun, kind of the same? Is this jacket actually a bit David Brent?

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I wish I’d never seen this

If you buy this shirt, the last thing you should do is wear it. It’s so cool it’s disgusting. Just having this shirt, at home, in your closet is enough. Friends will know how irritatingly cool you are, even if they’ve never seen you wear it, even if they’ve never seen it, or heard of it, or met you. So vigorously correct is this shirt that even as I look at it, I feel vaguely ashamed to have been born a mere human man, rather than a rendering  of over-dyed cotton and elastic ribbed hem inserts.

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Reinforce your status as an irritatingly overconfident alpha

Moshing up numerous traditional Maya patterns, this magical mystery tour from obscuro Japanese makers Bohemians isn’t for the frail. As a potential heart-stopper, it’s up there with nicotine and saturated fats. Bombastic, and showy; this thing is has a proper ego. As likely to roll its eyes at your oafish attempts at wit as your mates down the pub. Approach with caution.

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Squinting at the sea like it’s speaking to you

Don’t let that yawping, head-swallowing neckline put you off. We’re in smock territory here; loose, practical and designed to be pulled over whatever you’re already wearing. Course, you don’t have to actually call it a smock. No one says they’ve got to nip back to the flat to grab their smock. It’s a jacket, or a coat. Even though it’s definitely a smock.

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Shaolin styling on a post-apocalyptic tip

So, in one corner there’s a man with a sow’s face, who ironically can’t stop telling porkies, and in the other there’s a 14 year old man, who’s actually 33, with face straight out of Minecraft. It’s all going nuclear. For those of you oblivious to global affairs, Trump and Jong-Un are getting proper pissy. Rounding up their death sticks and nudging them nearer to each other’s front lawns. Most inconvenient. It’s almost enough to distract a man from thinking about progressive casual wear. If only North Korea could be a bit more like South Korea. Their most noteworthy launch is this collection from IISE.

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