UNIQLO U Spring/Summer 2020

Uniqlo USA has announced their U Spring/Summer 2020 collection in collaboration with Christophe Lemaire a.k.a. the slouch God, and it’s pretty great. Uniqlo U is known for well-designed, fashion-forward cuts that look more expensive than they are, and it has definitely delivered on that this collection.

As always, there are lots of repeats from previous seasons that makes getting in on them now a little less cool. The fabrics used also disappoint year after year and are almost never as good as the designs they are paired with. However, Uniqlo U is essentially Lemaire’s diffusion line, and the extremely high design-quality-to-price ratio means that you’re getting the best bang for your buck in all of menswear.

Here are my 4 standouts from this season’s drop.

Denim Work Jacket in Light Washed, Medium Washed and Raw

This work jacket is one of the few new designs for the season, but it’s the best piece of the entire collection. It is beautifully cut with the correct collar choice for 2020 and a great selection of pockets to boot. This is THE chore coat that all the Engineered Garmentses and Orslows of the world will be compared to this Spring, and it’s made by Uniqlo for crying out loud. All three colors are great, but I’m leaning medium-wash to add to my already robust collection of blue outerwear.

Striped Regular Collar Long-Sleeved Shirt in Beige

That slightly A-line silhouette in combination with the low pocket placement makes for a #fashun version of what your dad would wear to work, in the best way possible. I have my fingers crossed that this comes in anything but broadcloth.

Cuban Short-Sleeve Shirt in White

Camp collars had their moment in 2019, but they are about to explode this Spring. While everyone zigs with loud prints on simple silhouettes, you can now zag with solids white on this beauty of a Cuban shirt. It is on trend, but different enough from the pack that you’ll stay ahead of the curve.

Denim Relaxed Shorts in Tan

Wide waistband? Double forward pleats? Side adjusters? Check, check, and motherf’in check. These shorts have all the rich guy features you want, without the need for rich guy bread, though rich guy confidence would absolutely help you pull these off. One of my favorite pieces this season, and one I hope they bring back in long form this Fall.

Throwing Fits: Return of My Favorite Menswear Podcast

In last few years, one’s stable of podcast subscription has succeeded one’s list of frequented websites as a true signifier of content taste level. I’m personally proud of my personal Avengers of podcasts that I’ve assembled. And no, I’m not f’in telling you what they are. Go develop your own taste.

The crown jewel, the Iron Man, if you will, of my subscription Avengers is a podcast that I am not proud of. I’ve never admitted this, and I’m extremely embarrassed to say this, but the now-defunct Failing Upwards was my favorite menswear podcast bar none.

Hosted by two menswear fixtures in Lawrence Schlossman and James Harris, the podcast takes an interesting and distinct approach to covering fashion and its adjacent subcultures. Beneath the veil of obnoxious loudness and mildly problematic humor is an emphasis of personal style over trend-hopping. Also, because of the show’s notoriety, it essentially self-selects its guests, so even the high-profile, distinguished folks who do go on are all ready to play ball.

I’m not the only one who raves about the podcast. Its huge following is cult-like, with its acolytes speaking in the same weird code (“on deckington”, “GDMF” and “Zoovie” come to mind) as the hosts. It’s not just speech that has trickled down. Some followers have adopted the camp collar + really short shorts + loafers combo or fleeces + Blundstones that the podcast hosts espouse.

After a complicated breakup with Barstool Sports, the podcast is now back under a new name — Throwing Fits. In the meantime, I’ve been replaying my favorite episodes (standouts from this year being Alex Delany, Antonio Ciongoli, Corey Stokes, Naomi Fry and Mister Mort), getting more insights out of them each time. I’m stoked that it’s back, and I can’t wait for the rumored Ezra Koenig episode.

Their series premiere is available on your podcast app of choice.

Review: Supreme Hanes Underwear

Honestly, from a technical perspective, these boxer briefs are some of the worst you can buy. They’re identical to Hanes boxers with the exception of Supreme branding at the waist band, and they cost 17 dollars more per 4-pack. They don’t last very much past a dozen spin cycles and they don’t work well on anyone who has done a single barbell squat in their life.

But, as someone who struggles to wear any Supreme (I can only authentically wear their fine art and menswear-y stuff), but loves what the brand has come to be, these work. I’m not cool, and I don’t dress cool, but having that good Barbara Kruger-flipped italic bold Futura peek out from below my too-short tees when I’m seated lets me feel like I can at least tribe-signal to people who are actually cool.

Buy these overpriced undies at Supreme, and I’d definitely recommend getting them in black. Not that I would ever, but I don’t want to see your shit stains.

Review: Iron Heart Ultra-Heavy Flannel

I’ve written and rewritten so many versions of this review, all of them starting with this Kiya (of Self Edge fame) interview about how Rick Owens bought an Iron Heart Flannel. It was a cool reference to bring up years ago when that article was only known by the real heads, but now I just sound like a plebby bandwagoner. Another gem in that article, though, is this quote about Iron Heart:

I love that brand. It has this certain will to it, like “we will try to find the heaviest things that cannot be put together or stitched together, and you know what? Fuck it, we’re going to do it.”

That really sums the Ultra-Heavy flannel up. It’s so unreasonably thick that none of your sweaters or cardigans will work as a layer over it, that it’s impossible to button up the morning after a night of binge drinking, that all your other shirts become incels after witnessing its chadness. Those may sound to your like drawbacks, but that’s because unlike the Ultra-Heavy flannel, you’re not a chad.

Okay enough stupid incel talk. Not often mentioned with this shirt are the completely unnecessary but nerdily cool details such as the dangly orange chainstitch runoffs and screenprinted wash instructions on the interior. With every new release also comes more interesting patterns than on the one I got a few years back.

The decent-but-uninteresting buttons on the non-Western version leaves something to be desired, the collars look weird when the top is unbuttoned, and at over $300 per, the heaviest flannel shirt in existence comes with an equally heavy price tag. But, it is the ultimate expression and the only true endgame version of the flannel shirt. The process of handpicking wild Andes-mountain cotton followed by shipping to Japan for dying, weaving and stitching is over-the-top in a way that only Iron Heart is capable of.

Go true to size if you want that oh-so-soft double brushed cotton rubbing against your nipples, or go up a size if you’re worried that its constant arousal would distract you from work and want to fit a layer in-between. Support the good people over at Iron Heart America, Canoe Club, or my favorite store, Self Edge.

Review: Anonymous Ism Socks

This is the sock of choice of Instagram boot guys who are oblivous to the fact that heritage workwear has not been culturally relevant for more than 5 years now and don’t see the irony that appropriating workwear is just as phony as avant garde fashion. And yes, I’m throwing shade at myself here. I have 6 of these and I’ve taken more boot-sock-selvedge pics in the past year that I would dare to admit.

Anonymous Ism makes a shit ton of different models, but they can be loosely categorized by construction method into two groups — intarsia and jacquard. Jacquard knits, the ones people usually refer to when talking about the brand, tend to have the appearance of loose threads on the inside and feel more textured, whereas intarsia knits look and feel softer and more 2-dimensional.

Left: Jacquard Knit. Right: Intarsia Knit.

The material composition varies with the patterns and colors involved, but expect some combination of cotton, acrylic, polyester, wool, nylon or polyurethane. I’ve found that ones with a higher proportion of cotton have a better hand feel, whereas the acrylic dominant ones tend to stand out in color more due to the material’s color retention and sheen qualities.

Enough technical talk. We highly cultured, postmodernist dressers know that clothing’s true value is in the feeling it brings us and not in its technical merits (that’s racist, or so Marx Derrida anarcho-communists have had me believe). When I’m seated, I feel all my insecurities and lack of accomplishment in life wash away knowing that other people are seeing those beautiful knits beneath my (obviously) selvedge cuffs.

Shallow, sure. But after you unpromptedly barrage them with the fact that they were made on a machine that can only make 50 pairs a day, think of the number of people who now see you as a true connoisseur. These days, even locals (née normies, plebians, the uneducated masses) have come to see ‘Made in Japan’ as a true taste flex.

These socks are available at your favorite multi-brand retailers at a retail price of about $30 a pair, but you can regularly get them for under $20 bucks on sale. Large-footed readers should stick to intarsia as the jacquard versions are notoriously difficult to put on (even as a Brannock size 8 myself) and shrink temporarily after every wash.

Review: 18 East x Standard Issue Tees Hooded Sweatshirt

Simple logo apparel is usually treated as a cheap(er), money-making entry point that doesn’t actually represent the ethos of the brand. This hoodie OBVIOUSLY isn’t that, just as the fact that I’m OBVIOUSLY the most unbiased reviewer around even though I’ve loved 18 East ever since they were a thing.

I’m sitting here sipping on my beer (Deschutes Obsidian Stout, if you must know) thinking if I should remove I just wrote and not ruin relations with the brand. But, even if the hoodie were a money grab (I still suspect not wink wink), I don’t think it matters. This weighty, slouchy, and comfy hoodie was the only I’ve wanted to wear in the last few weeks.

The imperfect block print, but something something it’s MY imperfect block print

That beautiful purple color, in combination with the volumous silhouette of the drawstringless hood, makes me feel like I’m on some Mace Windu shit in the best possible way, a.k.a. less wimpy death to Anakin, more merciless slaying of Jango Fett. I also forsee the garment-dyed purple fading around the seams, making the hoodie look a lot better with each successive wash or wear.

I don’t know if I buy the whole “best sweats” thing they claim in the description, or if it is that much more insulating that other hooded sweatshirts. I also wish the sleeve cuffs and waist were more elasticated for better silhouette control. But, what seals the deal for me is that the paisley block print on mine is Certified (TM) hand-stamped by the designer/owner Antonio Ciongoli himself. I went by their cool store in Chinatown and I saw that happen in front of my own two eyes. Call me shallow, but the designer-cult-of-personality thing is real.

Many colors have already sold out on 18 East’s website, but you can still get them sans paisley print on the Standard Issue Tee site.

Supreme FW19: My Favorite Pieces

Supreme’s typical interseason is now over and the brand has just released their Lookbook and Preview for Fall/Winter 19.

This is shaping up to be a great season for the brand, using the same formula of remixing loud prints with Americana classics. It also seems to be the most accessible of the most recent collections as most of the pieces feature silhouettes and cuts that most people should be familiar with already.

Here are my favorite pieces from this upcoming Fall/Winter season.

GORE-TEX Contrast Stitch Anorak in Brown or Grey

… A.K.A. flexing in the rain.

Wool Harrington Jacket in Black or Leopard

A classic American silhouette, but with Loro Piana wool. What a great time to be a dad (or a dripped out yet comfy South-East Asian predator).

Iridescent Puffy Jacket in Green, Grey or Purple

Reflective materials are on-trend right now (thanks Instagram, Fear of God and Louis Vuitton), and this is how you get on it.

Leather Collar Puffy Jacket in Yellow

A puffer jacket with an actually good collar has never been done before, but we have one now.

New Shit Tee in Grey

Can’t say if I’ve ever called Supreme to ask if something is in stock before.

Sharkskin Suit in Navy

It’s a suit.

Monogram Shirt and Work Pants

That monogram is sick. Make a good bag in that print and you’re looking at LV and interlocking-G levels of iconic in a few years. You’re welcome for that free consultation, Supreme.

Striped Denim Shirt

Just like the suits, Supreme has some version of these every season and it’s always amazing.

Review: Kapital ‘Rat Brand’ Fastcolor Selvedge Bandana

Introduction

Kiro Hirata, the creative director of Kapital, is a certified bandana nut. As the founder of the Elephant Brand Bandana Museum and author of ‘The Bandana Book’, he makes bandanas that you already know are going to be huge, California wildfire-like FLAMES 🔥🔥🔥.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to up my accessory game recently. After closely monitoring John Mayer’s Instagram and Getty Images feed, I decided to pick up two Kapital bandanas (shoutout Zenmarket sponsor the blog) to integrate into my wardrobe. Now that I’ve successfully done the John Mayer cosplay thing for a few months, I’m ready to give you all my thoughts.

Specifications

Size (Pre-wash/Post-wash):
Material: 100% Selvedge Cotton
Country of Origin: Japan
Price: 2484 Yen in Japan, typically ~$35 in the US
Purchasing Link: Kapital Webstore

The Review

Right off the bat, it’s evident that Kapital takes a lot of design cues from vintage Elephant Brand bandanas, for better or for worse. The most obvious one is that Kapital calls its line of bandanas the ‘Rat Brand’ as a homage to Elephant Brand, but with Kiro Hirata’s Chinese Zodiac animal — the rat — instead.

‘Rat Bandanna’ sticker

The ‘Fast Color’ designation also carries through here, signalling that Kapital thinks its bandanas hold their prints well. I have no reason to doubt that claim, as I’ve worn the bandanas out of my jeans’ back pocket or cargo’s thigh pocket for a few months now and the prints are still legible with minimal color loss.

To achieve this, Kapital uses discharge printing (basically screen printing with bleach) to redye the fabric with those strange yet beautiful patterns. Check these photos from their Instagram page showing their printing setup:

Speaking of patterns, on my olive drab bandana, the ‘DADS FAVORITE ADAGES’ Kapital has printed on it refer to phrases commonly passed down to boys in Japan. I see a good mix of both noble ideas like ‘don’t neglect your obligation’ and weird put-downs like ‘be a sucker’ — a translation error? Or maybe that last one is Kapital taking a progressive stance and standing with the gays through a coded message. Who knows?

Rectangular Kapital bandana with shorter selvedge side (left to right)

Another feature drawn from vintage Elephant Brand bandanas is its rectangular shape. Because it is not a perfect square, the back side of the bandana shows through a little when folded triangularly, making for a more visually interesting and voluminous aesthetic.

Back side showing through when folded triangularly

The material used here is a super thin, plain-weaved and hairy cotton that is silky smooth to the touch. Nothing really special here in terms of slub or nep. It also isn’t the most durable of materials, but it’s a necessary tradeoff for softness and vintage replication.

Is this cultural appropriation: Thunderbird symbols appropriated from various indigenous tribes

What holds the edges of that cotton together is simple stitching on three sides and a selvedge/self edge on the 4th. That’s right — the feature that makes your fancy and expensive as shit Japanese denim cool is also what makes this bandana cool. Now, instead of needing to hoisting your leg up onto a barstool to show the person you’re hitting on how cool your clothes (and thus you) are, you could just pull out that piece of cloth from your butt pocket to the same effect.

In the past, my readers have complained about the fact that I make way too many stupid jokes in my reviews, and yeah you right. I’m sorry. Please keep reading my blog. My entire self worth is predicated on the reaction to my writing. Please like me.

Tonal lock stitch on the side, blue selvedge on the bottom

Back to the review. The single row of stitching is not the most durable method of finishing the edges — I’ve seen overlock stitches on bandanas way cheaper than these — but Kapital sure loves its vintage so what do?

Conclusion

Kapital bandanas are pretty good in terms of quality, sure, but what really makes em unique is their huge selection of patterns and colors on offer. In an interview with Haven, a Canadian stockist of Kapital, Kiro Hirata said that he wants to “put as much passion into bandanas as my father put into jeans for his generation”, and he has definitely done so in my book.

Fit Check: bandana selvedge matching the top + bandana print matching the footwear + bandana green accent matching the cargo + rule of thirds accent at the cargo thigh pocket = graphic-designer level composition and color matching

Bandanas aren’t exactly the most popular of accessories in fashion right now, but I love ’em and I love Kapital ones the most.

Review: Warehouse & Co. “Bamboo Textured” Loopwheeled Pocket Tee

Introduction

Founded in 1995, WAREHOUSE & CO. is a historied brand having contributed much to heritage clothing. As the last member of the Osaka 5, the company began production at the tail end of that initial Americana reproduction craze in Japan, specializing in accurate details and meticulous construction above all else. 

More recently, WAREHOUSE & CO. has gotten a tiny bit of attention from your Complexes, Hypebeasts and Highsnobieties of the world as it currently provides the manufacturing capabilities behind Nigo’s HUMAN MADE label.

I bought the pocket tee from Australian workwear purveyor Corlection during their sale back in February, and I’ve been wearing it once-a-week since. Here are my thoughts.

Specifications

Brand: WAREHOUSE & CO.
Model: Lot 4601 Loopwheeled Pocket Tee
Color: Pepper (Heathered Light Grey)
Size: Medium
Material: 5.5 0z. 100% Loopwheeled Cotton
Purchasing Links:
https://www.ware-house.co.jp/?pid=137107178
https://corlection.com/collections/warehouse-co/products/warehouse-bamboo-textured-loopwheeled-pocket-teepepper

Measurements (Size Medium)

Pre-Wash (Actual/Provided by Corlection)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 17in./16.5in.
Pit-to-pit: 20in./19.75in.
Back Length: 25.5in./25.5in.
Waist: 20.5in./NA

Post-Wash
Shoulder to Shoulder: 16.5in.
Pit-to-pit: 19in.
Back Length: 24.75in.
Waist: 19.5in

Personally, I would have ‘loopwheel’ printed all over this fabric tag for the flex

Fabric

The fabric used in the WAREHOUSE & CO. is a 100% loopwheeled cotton. I previously wrote about loopwheeled tees here, saying this:

Loopwheeling refers to a knitting method in which yarns are knit slowly around a cylinder, with the resulting tube-shaped fabric falling downwards. Because the only tension present in the knitting process is its own weight, the resulting fabric is a low tension weave that retains the softness and natural characteristics of the yarn used.

Me

Tees made by loopwheel are blessed with greater comfort on the body by way of the softer fabric and lack of side seam.

No side seam = maximum comfort

With the WAREHOUSE & CO. pocket tee, the thick and plush fabric is soft to the touch while still remaining very breatheable. Even with the treacherous combination of equator heat and sweat-inducing humidity that I’m faced with in Malaysia, the loosely woven loopwheeled fabric allows good air circulation. Combined with the stretchiness of that loosely woven fabric, the shirt is incredibly comfortable to wear.

Similar to other grey loopwheeled shirts that I’ve come into contact with, the WAREHOUSE & CO. pocket tee has a marbled appearance that is very pleasing to the eye. This is because the fabric is knit with 5, maybe 6 yarns of varying shades of grey. On the fabric’s outward facing side, the horizontal streaking provides strong visual interest; on its inner side, the fabric is incredibly textured to the touch.

The plush inner side fabric

According to Corlection, the pocket tee is overdyed and will ‘age gradually with wears and washes’. This has not been my experience as I’ve found the tee to hold its color well, even at the typical high wear points like the seams, under the armpit and around the collar.

This isn’t a bad thing, especially with its already visually interesting fabric. I like a bit of color fade on my plain-colored tees, but I don’t think I would feel the same about the marbled grey found on the WAREHOUSE & CO..

Construction

As per WAREHOUSE & CO.’s excellent pedigree, the construction across the entire tee is immaculate.

That beautiful, triple-stitched collar

The standout feature of the pocket tee is its collar. The collar features a ribbed fabric reinforced by another raised ribbed band that’s then all triple-stitched together. In high end tees, the three rows of stitching is typically employed to prevent the collar from drooping down. However, that also means that the collar can get really stiff and difficult to pull over large heads (like the one that houses my galaxy brane). Unlike those high end tees, though, the addition of ribbed fabric in the WAREHOUSE & CO. means you get the best of both worlds — a stretchy collar that’s easy to put on but also holds its shape. I’ve been wearing the tee for a while now and it doesn’t look like it will sag any time soon.

Where the strips of ribbed fabric come together

A key indicator of quality and quality control is how the hems are handled. In this case, the two-thread cover stitches are neat enough, but there is some excess fabric hanging off the back side that isn’t cleaned off. It’s not a deal breaker of course, but that little bit of fabric could cause some scratching and discomfort.

Some fabric sticking out of the cover stitches

Another nitpick I have with the construction is that the hang tag tends to fold upwards and crumple after a few washes. This makes it really hard to get a pic of the (very nicely designed) hang tag for the ‘gram — obviously the reason I spent so much money on the tee in the first place. Plus, I’m no finger model so holding it down won’t do either.

Can’t be posting this ‘crumpled tag’ shit on the ‘gram, dawg

The tee is built well. Not the best that I’ve seen — that honor goes to either The Flat Head or Lady White Co. — but still good enough that it probably won’t break on you.

Fit

True to their ethos — “the faithful reproduction of authentic vintage garments” — the pocket tee replicates well the general characteristics of a vintage 60s pocket tee. It has a boxy fit (characteristic of the loopwheel method), a slightly shorter length, tiny pocket and an medium-lengthed sleeve.

Size Large // Don’t feed my body dysmorphia

Coming from shit basic tees, I was initially thrown off by how short the tee was. Having my lower back exposed when seated for the first time was quite the shocker. However, I started catching people noticing my ass more and I’ve found that to be one of my best features (aside my beautiful voice — God, do I love hearing myself speak!). In all seriousness, because of its middle-of-the-road fit, I found that it works well with a range of different outfits — slim, wide and everything in between.

One distinctive feature with the WAREHOUSE & CO. tee is that its elaborately constructed collar runs pretty high up the neck, especially right out of the box. Not quite mockneck or turtleneck high, but definitely higher than you’d be used too. Personally, I like the unique aesthetic it provides, but I’ve heard it described as ‘a small child strangling you.’ The collar does loosen up slightly after a few wears, but it still sits on the high side of things.

One downside is that the tee shrinks a significant amount after the first wash. Going by the measurement chart I posted up top, its length shrank by almost a whole inch and every other key measurement shrank by 0.5-1 inch. I made a sizing mistake as I failed to compensate for the shrinkage, which is why I bought one in a larger size later.

The shrinking in the wash thing probably comes from WAREHOUSE & CO.’s insistence on period-correct details, but I personally prefer tees that are washed/preshrunk as that takes all the guesswork out of sizing.

As such, you should consider sizing up once from your US sizing for a regular fit. If you wear a US Medium, buy a WAREHOUSE size Large.

Conclusion

In short, the WAREHOUSE & CO. loopwheel tees represent the best value in high end tees, and are the gold standards to which I compare all other tees.

Compared to the other loopwheel tees in my collection like The Flat Head’s, Iron Heart’s and The Strike Gold’s, this execution has the most interesting fabric, is the most democratic-fitting, and is priced at about $10 less. It also comes in a wide range of beautiful colors. I’m a big fan of their rendition of electric blue and grape purple.

The WAREHOUSE & CO. loopwheeled pocket tee is the blank T-shirt I swear by. Period.

Collected Content #4

  1. Cooking As an Art, Vol. 2, with Roberta Smith by Dave Chang
    A second installment of chef Dave Chang speaking to art people, this time with Roberta Smith, arguably the best art critic in the game.
  2. How I Design Stuff, Straight Up by Christopher Schwarz
    A detailed yet consise read on how a furniture designer goes through his design process from start to finish. Now that I’m interning at an industrial design firm, stuff like this is all I want to read about.
  3. Why Patek Philippe’s Thierry Stern is Stubborn About Steel by Joe Thompson for Hodinkee
    This comes as no surprise to many watch enthusiasts, but Thierry Stern has officially admitted that Patek Philippe is intentionally limiting steel watch production despite being aware of the Nautilus’ aftermarket craze. Stern cites IWC’s failure to go back to gold after they moved to steel as an example, saying that “once you lower the price with steel, it is very hard to come back.”
  4. Op-Ed: How Barneys Lost Its Cool by Eugene Rabkin for StyleZeitgeist
    The big fashion story this week is on Barneys New York’s shuttering of 17 out of 22 of its stores. Rabkin explains really well how Barneys used to be the shit, and how financial pressure have forced it to “lose its cool”.
  5. Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? by The Cut
    It’s been said multiple times already, but another piece of edgy yet great reporting on super-rich-rapist Jeffrey Epstein by The Cut.
  6. The Real Story of Supreme by Noah Johnson for GQ
    Hands down the best profile of Supreme out there, by a fashion writer who’s comes from a skate background.
  7. Why Fit Pics Are Headless by Die, Workwear!
    Another great article by Derek Guy linking the headless fit pics to masculinity.