Right off the bat, the Snow Peak Spring Forward: Archive Sale is the best sale of the virus season to date. These Japanese-designed (some Japanese-made), crunchy G.O.R.P-wear is everything I want to wear right now. From my experience, everything Snow Peak makes fits easy and wears cozy. If I had the bread, I would buy all of this and peace out of the clothing game forever. Maybe move to a little cabin in the mountains and be one with nature.
Don’t sleep on this sale; sleep in it. Here are my standouts.
In my last ‘What’s On My Mind’, I talked about how my style pickups were just as important as worldly issues, Coronavirus included. Granted, that was before I really felt the impacts of the virus, and making that statement now would be regarded by many as insensitive at best. But riddle me this: why is it that I’m thinking more about things I want to buy, instead of that damned institution-shattering, job-depleting, people-killing virus? Am I a sick and twisted add-to-cart addict?
Anyway, here are some clothes.
I’ve written about Kapital Bandanas before, and I love them to bits. Recently, as my Gavin Newsom-certified runs remain the only opportunities to flex my fit, I’ve been sporting a little bandana-on-forehead action. I mean, how else am I to show the 3 other runners and that one annoying stroller-rocking young family that I’m heavy in the Amekaji game?
The bandanas have been useful outside of runs, too. Now that I’m barberless, I’ve been using the bandanas to hold my mane up, both kung-fu style and Rosie-the-Riveter style. Also, as @johnbbrooklyn on Instagram has shown, these expensive 21” x 22” pieces of fabric could be reappropriated as makeshift face masks.
Even without the pandemic-specific use cases, the rising temperature signals a re-up on these glorified color accents. Here are some of the styles I’ve been looking at:
Patagonia Natural Baggies
I’ve never been a fan of the regular Baggies, partly due to my general distaste for synthetic materials, partly due to the cultural baggage of Failing-Upwards-influenced menswear. Don’t get me wrong, I love the podcast, but anyone outside their little Instagram bubble would agree that super short shorts, hoodies and loafers look terrible together.
The Natural Baggies, on the other hand, are very much my speed. Made out of a lightweight hemp-cotton blend, this version is sure to keep my important parts cool after long runs. Plus, with these, there is no worry of brutally murdering sea animals with microplastics. Win-win, I’d say!
This year, I’m skipping light outerwear season and going straight to my summer top of choice — the venerable T-shirt. While my claim to fame as a clothes writer was my article about stupid expensive T-shirts, I’ve come to appreciate the regular, less-stupid-expensive-but-still-expensive-to-that-cheapo-friend-of-yours garment dyed tee.
I’ve had my pair of 3Sixteen heavyweight indigo tees for a few years now, and I really like how they have faded at their seams. They look just that little bit different with every wash, and it’s fun to get that denim-y fading on a top. Recently, the brand released their garment dyed tees for the season in ‘dark smoke’ and ‘ash’, and they’re both bangers. I might just have to pick a few of these up.
Another fade-friendly tee I’m looking at is the Whitesville 2-Pack. Made by Sugar Cane, my favorite denim brand, the Whitesville tees have been swept aside in favor of the newer, hipper brands. However, revisiting these recently, I found them to still be a good option, providing the softness and great boxy fit of a loopwheeled tee at non-loopwheel prices.
French Chore Coat, with a Twist
In the past few weeks, I’ve been finding it difficult to get any work done due to the lack of separation between work and play. Work turns into play, but never the other way around. To get myself in a productive mood, I think I need to start cosplaying as a worker, and no garments speaks ‘work’ more than the classic French chore coat.
The one I’m after is more than just the prototypical Vetra jacket, though. Junya Watanabe has one this season with a large printed ‘Amsterdam Tulip Museum’ on it, presumably to mock hypebeast kids for their lousy clothing choices. Danton, another one of those resurrected, heritage-by-way-of-Japan brands, puts out a lightweight one every season that puts every vintage piece to shame. And if I were to go for a French brand, it would have to be Arpenteur, the brand behind this beautiful, natural-dyed three pocket work jacket.
My closet is full of blue outerwear, and I already own a chore coat (in heavily patchworked denim by FDMTL), but THIS IS DIFFERENT I SWEAR.
There’s no better way to help me get through this crisis than a super peaty, complex, 8-10 year old, un-chill filtered, sherry-and-bourbon-finished whisky that is bottled at a cask strength of 54.2%.
A common refrain among Internet shoe nerds is that expensive footwear is an investment. In that case, I would say that I manage a well-diversified footwear portfolio. I now have a shoe for every situation I can imagine, and probably shoes that I don’t actually need.
Last summer, after seeing the cool Japanese streetwear kids sporting technical slides, I got myself a pair of Suicoke KAW-VSes. At the time, it was a stupid, impulsive purchase. It was late into the summer and stocks were tanking, not unlike the S&P 500 was just a few weeks ago. While I saw a specific and regular use case for them — the if-you-know-you-know footwear for the dash out for high hydration sourdough bread — they saw little foot action outside the home and were relegated to glorified house slippers.
However, as many a seasoned investor would tell you, stupid investments can pay off in the long run. Or something like that. The Suicoke KAW-VSes’ oh-so-plush suede uppers, backed by the softest mesh lining I’ve felt, has made my every quarantined hour in the last 2 weeks so much more enjoyable. When worn, the suede part of the upper never actually comes into contact with your feet, but you could always slip just one side off and get some sole-on-suede action going.
Vibram is featured heavily in the KAW-VS, and if I were to be honest, was the whole reason I impulse-bought the slides. In my 9 months of ownership, the tonal Vibram outsole has been bearish on the stain side of things, but almost neutral in terms of wear — almost unheard of in a typically depreciating asset class that footwear is. The contoured Vibram footbed has a heel bump that can seem irritating at first, and still seems unnecessary to me, but doesn’t bug me anymore now. But maybe that’s because I’m so sexually attracted to Vibram yellow that I can see past all of her flaws.
The KAW-VSes look at home with gorpcore, easy suits, light wash jeans and Japanese workwear, but the real key to pulling these off is to pair them with looser fitting trousers. Proportion is everything, and tight pants will only make your dick feet look unnaturally big with these on. I mean, who are you trying to impress, anyway?
For all you eToro kids out there: invest in Suicokes now. Just as the American economy is crumbling, stocks are rising for repression-proof assets like gold and comfy home footwear, and the outlook is especially great for ones you can wear out the home come summertime. Get the KAW-VSes at your favorite highbrow, super niche, struggling small business you could never previously shop at because you were too uncool. And Nordstrom.
I’ve wanted to pen this review a for a while now but mainstream media has consistently managed to snipe my beat before I full send the article out into the universe. Condé Nast, Gear Patrol, and New York Mag have all given these pants some play in the last few months, but I’ve decided that I can’t let corporations dictate what I write about.
Just as I am now liberated from the shackles of other media, the Double-Knee Painter Pants have now liberated my outfit from the shackles of the pant color. While most other pants out there place constraints on the range of footwear or top that could be paired with them, the DKPP, obviously pronounced ‘dick pee pee’, go well with everything. Mix ’em with different genres like classic menswear or high fashion for the artsy Parsons student look.
For what you’re getting, the Double-Knee Painters are a steal. I count 10 additional pieces of cloth not typically found on other pants: 4 extra pockets, 2 knee fabrics, 2 extra belt loops, and 2 hammer loops. Plus, no pants at this price point, except maybe Dickies’ own 874 work pant, pack as much cultural clout.
If there were one thing I want you to take away from this article, though, it wouldn’t be how well they fit, how comfy they wear or how much clout per dollar they give you. It would be the utility of those hammer loops, especially now that you’re working from home. Here’s a list of non-hammer items you could fit in there:
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ales. Alcohol and coronavirus, name a more iconic duo. 2. Purell. That uncomfortable bulge will most definitely remind you to sanitize. 3. Your kid. One leg goes in each loop and the pants basically carries your baby for you. 4. A bandana. An accented touch that elevates your entire fit. 5. A mic receiver. Yup, I know you’re trying to start a podcast.
Get your blue collar cosplay fix directly from Dickies. A 32W is a 32′ measured flat.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve been slow to put out content recently, and y’all are hungry for some non-rony content. Chill. Trust that I’m buying more clothes than ever now that I’m shut in. For now, though, here are some of the best reads from the last week:
Errolson Hugh: the Canadian Designer Behind Berlin-based Apparel Brand Acronym It could be the apocalypse-prep in me these days, but I’ve been looking into techwear much more recently. As anyone who has travelled down this dark, dark path, I have found myself looking at ACRONYM, the brand that has been doing it the best for a really long time. Here’s a recent interview with ACRONYM designer Errolson Hugh that I really enjoyed.
I got these boots three years ago while visiting some friends in London. I didn’t think much of leathers, outsoles or any sort of specifications then. It was a good deal and I was looking for a pair in a tan color.
In writing this review, I thought back to that moment, remembering vividly how the salesperson said that it was made from the hide of a young cow. Yearling, they called it. For softness, they explained. At the time, I thought: ‘Choosing the right leather to create the best possible boot? Fire. All brands should do this.’
Now that I think about it, though, THEY KILLED A BABY COW FOR MY BOOTS!!!! Nevermind that the whole upper is made of one piece of leather — who knew that the lack of under-gusset-stitching could be an if-you-know-you-know flex. Nevermind that it is comfortable, is easy to put on and works with a range of different pant options. Nevermind that its silhouette strikes a perfect balances between dress and workwear. Nevermind that these Goodyear Welted boots are made to last for years as they have for me so far. THEY KILLED A BABY COW!!!!
Can I really recommend this boot knowing that young Bessie would be brutally slaughtered for what boomers consider a drop in quality? Yes. This boot, like many others made of the same hide that Bessie died for, will long outlive what life Bessie would have had. I got my pair before R.M. Williams’ ownership transfer to the LVMH group, which means that my pair doesn’t suffer from the recent quality control complaints, but the newer boots are still built-to-last and worth the price of admission.
I’ve been getting lots of emails recently from SEO/site analytics people trying to sell me products to boost my page views. Maybe I’m big enough of a fashion blogger that people think I have the bread to pay them for better SEO performance. Or maybe it’s because I stupidly put up my email address on a publicly accessible webpage. Who really knows at this point? (it’s the latter)
Regardless, Sophie, Helen, Priya, it breaks my heart to tell you this, but maybe I don’t want to be popular. Maybe I don’t care about getting more views on the articles I spent countless hours on. Maybe it doesn’t hurt me that no one knows how much time I spent formatting the website to look good on both web and mobile. Maybe your fake, suspiciously only female-sounding names don’t compel me to click on your emails.
I’m gonna slog away on this expensive custom-designed mechanical keyboard, day-in day-out, without care for SEOs or analytics. And that’s cuz I’m indie. As in independent, bitch.
Nose: Classic bourbon profile, with an immediate hits of vanilla and oak. Palate: Oak, vanilla and sweet corn forward with a side of nuts and dusty corn. Full-bodied bourbon profile with that little bit of rye spice that makes it interesting. One of the sweetest bourbons I’ve tried, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Finish: Short, but oak-dominant with hints of rose (!!!).
Alright. This is my first foray into alcohol reviews. Despite my lack of writing experience in this field, trust that any opinion here is valid because I drink a shit ton. I mean, alcoholic writers are fire, amirite? Also, I’m trying to write this series ONLY when I’ve had a bit to drink. It’s my way of PRETTY MUCH guaranteeing that the content is FULL OF CAPS LOCKS and VERY GOOD.
Back to the whiskey. There has been lots of boomer talk about how Elijah Craig is no longer listed as 12 year-aged, but rather an NAS (no age statement — bourbon boys REALLY love their acronyms). Personally, I think people put too much stock in a whiskey’s age. Sure, a higher age can show up as additional complexities and nuances in flavor, but from my experience, what it mostly does is temper the harshness little, and I like all the #feelthebern I can get.
12-year aged or otherwise, the Elijah Craig Small Batch is incredibly smooth drinking. It’s not as sharp as its 47% ABV would indicate. Yet, it is far more complex than other bourbons at a similar price point, easily trumping, to my taste buds, under-$30-staples such as Wild Turkey 101 and Maker’s 46.
Like this paragraph, my only critique is that the finish could be longer.
7.5 Very Nices. Elijah Craig Small Batch destroys all the competition under the $30 price point, in the same way (insert your favorite conservative podcaster/talk show host) destroys (insert random pink-haired liberal). This, along with Buffalo Trace and Old Forrester Rye, represent the ne plus ultra of Broke Boy Bourbons (BBB).
No, this is not about worldly issues like the Coronavirus’ impact on Weblen goods, Michael Bloomberg’s appropriation of Instagram meme culture (and by association, democracy!!!), the global rise of right wing populism or the shift in global weather patterns due to environmental damage. Though it may not be obvious, equally important is my next style move. To be clear, I’m not talking about what anyone else should buy. It’s MY next style move. That’s what’s important. Me.
Here’s what’s keeping me up at night.
Le Tricoteur Guernsey Jumper
Style-wise, I’ve become boring as shit. Gone are all the flex outerwear and Japanese off-kilter workwear, and back is British-made clothes — the most boring of them all. Yet, I’ve never been more pleased with my style. All the experimentation with color, references and silhouette from that by-gone (6 months ago) era remain, but with now with familiar, well-made, heritage clothes.
While browsing the wares at Dover Street Market New York, I stumbled upon a guernsey under the label Labour and Wait. The guernsey is actually made by Le Tricoteur, a classic British sweater maker that has been making them for decades, if not centuries.
It’s thin enough for 3-season wear, yet well-made and textured enough to be long-lasting and interesting. I also suspect that Le Tricoteur does private label work for all your favorite boring brands.
Slouchy, Textured Blazer
While browsing 18 East’s Chinatown, NY outpost, I tried on a hand-loomed cotton khadi tweed blazer and was immediately smitten. It is slouchy and loose in all the right ways, wearing more like a structured cardigan than a traditional sport coat. Even going up a size, there’s no risk of looking like a Men’s Wearhouse type bum. The fabric used is irregular, extremely textured, and unlike any fabric I’ve seen on a blazer ever.
Unfortunately, I took a little too long to decide, and they sold out the day after my store visit. That did get me thinking about the prospects of wearing blazers again, though. Personally, I’m holding out until 18 East drops the Spring season blazer they teased on Instagram stories, but many other brands also do this well.
I adore the CT70. I’ve been thinking about adding a high-top for casual wear — my two pairs of lows have been relegated to gym wear — but I’ve been hesitating a little with the color choice. White, the classic choice, is terrible. Natural/Parchment is cool, but reminds me too much of the shoes I wore to secondary school. Black is probably the best, but is Self Edge-y in a way that is too hardcore for me.
Converse makes the CT70 in a sunflower yellow, which is, while a bright color, extremely versatile. I can see these complementing denim of all washes, natural painter pants, and workwear greens.
Like the fashion victim I am, I’ve been really enjoying looser pants. With all my existing slim denim relegated to bring-back-in-10-years status — my balls need time to recover from all that constriction — I can’t seem to fade jeans quick enough to a Spring-friendly light wash.
To shortcut the fading process, and to make me feel better about my consumerism, I’m on the hunt for dead people’s denim that’s been upcycled, and preferably patchworked. I’ve been shopping offerings from Levi’s Vintage Clothing, visvim and Kapital, but neither of them make the pant I’m envisioning.
I keep coming back to Atelier & Repairs’ The Detroit, a pair of upcycled Levi’s 501s I reviewed in the past but have since sold due to a sizing issue. This is exactly what I’m looking for right now; I just wish they weren’t so gosh darn expensive.
Paraboot has a distinct advantage over many other companies because of its vertical production. While other shoemakers source their soles from companies like Vibram, Dainite and Cortina, Paraboot produces its own rubber soles as it’s been doing since the early 20th century. Having in-house production of its own materials means Paraboot has greater control over the quality of the product, ultimately resulting in a better shoe.
I’ve always thought that Paraboot shoes were great, but I couldn’t wrap my finger around exactly why. The company having full control over production explains that and, in my eyes, raises the stock of the brand quite a bit. The rest of the article is similarly, wonderfully detailed, and is unlike what you’d expect from Gear Patrol’s style vertical.