It’s On Sale: A Few Things I Like At Mr. Porter
In honor of Mr. Porter’s spring sale, a few things I found there that I think are cool:
It’s On Sale: A Few Things I Like At Mr. Porter
In honor of Mr. Porter’s spring sale, a few things I found there that I think are cool:
Six Sales I Like
As many readers may know, I put together the sales roundups for our Inside Track. Lately, each week’s post has contained 25-50 sales announcements, and the whole thing takes me hours to put together. On the upside, it means that I get to shop at sales a lot. Not a bad benefit for a guy who enjoys clothing. Here are six sales going on right now that I particularly like, along with a selection of items I’ve been eyeing.
Roden Gray: These guys just did another price drop yesterday. I really like this Aspesi M65 jacket, which I think would look great with a pair of jeans or chinos. Union in Los Angeles has the same jacket on sale, and there are more colors and sizes available, but the discount is less tempting (they do have nicer pictures though). Also, if you don’t mind the price, this Nanamica jacket is pretty awesome. I picked it up two months ago from Barney’s (who has it on even deeper discount). The quality and fit are hard to tell from online photos, but it’s a wonderfully made piece with a great silhouette. Take another 10% off at checkout with the discount code getgray
UshowU: Both Jesse and I really like Nigel Cabourn, but his stuff is very expensive. The only way I find myself owning his designs is to wait until they go on deep discount, like right now at UshowU. Of the more affordable pieces available, I really like the “granddad henleys.” I own a few and wear them on occasion with leather jackets and jeans. They come in white, green, and British tan.
Exquisite Trimmings: Exquisite Trimmings has a bunch of men’s accessories on sale, including some Drake’s ties and pocket squares. With the right brown sport coat, I think this textured green boucle tie could make for an excellent look this fall. I also like some of the batik pocket squares still kicking around. You can expect another 20% discount at checkout if you don’t have to pay European taxes, and the discount code SF10 will knock another 10% off as well.
Emmett Shirts: Emmett specializes in shirts, but they also make some pretty nice ties. Some of them are on sale right now at half off, with another 20% taken at checkout if you’re outside of the EU. I like some of the basic blue designs, like this simple pin dot. You’d be hard pressed to find a sport coat or suit that won’t go with this tie.
Trunk Clothiers: Sizes are limited, but there are some Boglioli suits and sport coats, Common Projects low tops, and a Nanamica jacket on discount. Boglioli, for those who aren’t familiar, makes a pretty good version of the softly tailored, unstructured sport coat that’s been so popular. As with many of the aforementioned stores, non-EU customers can take another 20% off at checkout.
Carson Street Clothiers: Carson Street Clothiers just put much of their stock at 50% off. I’ve always liked chukkas for casual wear, and of all the chukkas in the world, I think Loake makes one of the best looking, affordable options. It’s on sale right now at Carson for $200, which is slightly less than what they go for at Pediwear.
Five Sneakers for Summer
As much as I like leather hard-bottom shoes, summer is really a great time for sneakers. They go well with chinos and madras shirts, jeans and t-shirts, and even the occasional casual button-up with shorts. I mainly rely on five different models for my rotation.
German Army Trainers: If German Army Trainers (GATs for short) seem new but familiar, it might be because the two brothers who invented them would later go on to launch Adidas and Puma, two classic sneaker companies that often make shoes bearing a familial resemblance to GATs. They were also used by German soldiers for indoor exercises during the 1970s, which is how they got their name.
You can find GATs today at a pretty affordable price. They’re about $30 if you’re in Germany and can get to a military surplus store, but if you’re not, you can find them between $60 and $90 on eBay and through German proxy sellers. Jesse wrote a great article on how to score them here.
There are also a couple of slightly modified designs by Svensson and Maison Martin Margiela (the second of which issues them in a number of different colors every season). I have the black pair you see above, the grey ones here, and the classic white leather/ grey suede combination. The last is probably the most popular among style enthusiasts, but I find myself wearing the black and grey pairs most often. You can get Margiela GATs for about $250 on eBay or during sale seasons.
Common Projects: Enough has probably been said about how useful this minimalistic design is, so let’s talk about alternatives, in case Common Projects are too expensive for you. The good news is that there are a ton of alternatives. Check, for example, these by Acne (some on sale here), ETQ, Erik Schedin, Vor, Marc Jacobs, Svensson, National Standard (some on sale here), Twins for Peace, Kent Wang, Zegna Sport, Aspesi, Buttero, Generic Surplus, Superga, and Adidas (Stan Smiths, Soloist collaboration, and Campus 80s). Admittedly, the last few don’t look very much like Common Projects, but they’re somewhat similar and it’s nice to have options.
Hydrogen-1: A few months ago, Hydrogen-1 offered to send me a free pair of sneakers to review. I was skeptical, to be honest, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give their black Oxygen high-tops a try, so long as they knew a positive review wasn’t guaranteed.
I’ve been happily surprised with them and find they’re just as well made as my Common Projects or Margielas. The slightly pebbled black calf leather doesn’t show creases easily and the padded collar makes them exceptionally comfortable. The sole looks chunkier online than in real life, but they do give the shoe a nice casual look. Like the aforementioned minimalistic options, the simplicity of these high-tops makes them very versatile.
I also like these grey chukkas. Hero, the founder behind the company, tells me they’ll be doing an end-of-season sale in a few months, and that both models will be coming out in different colorways and materials this October or so.
Billy Reid: Billy Reid has a collaboration line with K-Swiss that I really like. It’s a very sporty, slightly retro design that goes well with a grey sweatshirt and pair of jeans. A bit more “designed” than the other options on this list, but in a way that still feels simple and basic.
Canvas sneakers: The great thing about sneakers is that they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, aim for something classic and made from canvas. My go-tos are Superga 1705s in white and navy, but you can read about a number of other options in this old post I wrote a couple of summers ago. It’s hard to go wrong with any of those models.
If you want something more unique, check out these other designs by Superga, Converse, Twins for Peace, Industry of All Nations, and Nigel Cabourn. Wooden Sleepers also has a pretty neat-looking Italian military sneaker that I’ve always admired. Like with all the models mentioned in this post, I think they’d make for a really great pair of summer shoes.
(Pictured above: Margiela GATs, Common Project Achilles, Hydrogen-1 Oxygens, Billy Reid x K Swiss, and Superga 1705s. For what it’s worth, I’ve found all these run true to size, except for the Supergas, where I had to take a 10 instead of my regular 9).
I wrote a post last month about a Loden coat I picked up from Aspesi, and since then, have received more emails about that it than anything else I’ve ever written. Some people want to know more about the Aspesi coat; others ask where else they can buy one. So, in an effort to put everything in one place, I thought I’d list some options here.
The term Loden refers to a soft, exceptionally durable cloth (usually green) that has a slightly hairy look. For its thickness and density, it’s great at keeping out the cold, and because of the natural oils inside the wool, it’s fairly water resistant. Most of all, however, it’s very beautiful. A Loden coat, then, is simply a garment that’s been made from this cloth. The classic model is a single-breasted garment that ends just below the knee. The back is made with a very deep center vent that swings out from the shoulder blades, and the front has a fly opening. It’s a peasant’s coat, originally worn by Bavarian farmers and hunters sometime in the 11th century. A 1956 article in Sports Illustrated had this great line about it: “Loden is to the Bavarian what tweed is to the Scot – a fabric so long indigenous to its land, of such peasant origins that it has become almost a folk cloth.”
Those origins helped make it immensely popular with European preps in the 1980s, but since then, it seems to have been forgotten (though, The Sartorialist had a great shot of a man in Milan wearing one earlier this year). It’s still a wonderful, classic coat however. You can wear it with jeans or corduroys; checked shirts or sweaters; and wingtips or boots. Everything that made it appealing thirty years ago, in my opinion, still holds – the cloth, the drape, and of course the color.
The one I have is from Aspesi, an Italian company most known for their outerwear. The product shot on their website suggests that it’s shorter than it is. Mine comes just above the knee, and I’m of average height. I admit I wish it were longer, but on the upside, it’s slim enough to fit my unusually skinny frame, and the back comes without the center vent (something I thought might be too conspicuous for my lifestyle). Aspesi also makes two other jackets from the fabric, which you can see here and here, though they’re not in the styles I’m focusing on in this post.
For the original design, you can turn to Cordings and Schneiders of Salzburg. I haven’t handled their particular Loden coats, but everything else I’ve seen from them has been of very high quality, albeit a bit fuller in fit. Loden coats really should be worn a bit looser anyway, as you can see in their photos. There’s also Loden Haus, Born for Loden, and Lodenfrey, the last of which used to be the most popular supplier, though they don’t seem to make them for men anymore (they do for women). In the US, you can enquire at San Francisco Clothing and Princeton’s Landau, both of whom sell quality products.
As usual, men’s coats tend to cost a lot brand new. If you can find something vintage, you’ll likely pay a fraction of the cost. On the upside, the designs of classic men’s coats have largely remained the same since they were codified. On the downside, it can take a bit more work to find something in your size (especially if you’re skinny). Easier if you’re looking for the ubiquitous pea coat or trench, but harder if you’re looking for something niche like a Loden. To start, however, you can try eBay.
December Fair Isle
December is one of the last months you can best wear Fair Isle. They’re not holiday sweaters, but there’s something holiday feeling about them, and while they look great in the fall, I think they look best in the winter. You can stretch them out to maybe about January, but past that, they start to lose their appeal.
A Fair Isle sweater, for those unfamiliar, is a type of knitwear garment that uses a distinctive geometric motif originating from the remote Fair Isle island. They were originally made from undyed wool, so they came in various shades of brown and grey, but nowadays they’re mostly recognized for their very colorful patterning. The best ones, in my opinion, still use the traditional Fair Isle knitting technique: two strands of yarn are knitted throughout an entire row, and continually intertwined on the “wrong” side of the garment. This creates an almost double-thick knit that can lend a lot of warmth.
Now, to be sure, there’s a lot of ugly Fair Isle around, but that can be said about almost anything. The key is to find one you like, and know how to wear it best. I have this tobacco, moss, and oatmeal one from Drake’s, and usually layer it underneath a coat, just so the pattern isn’t too overwhelming. You can see an example here, where I’ve paired the Drake’s sweater with a Loden coat by Aspesi. You can, of course, also wear the sweater without the extra layer, but generally, I find that the louder the pattern, the better it looks when layered underneath something more subdued.
There are plenty of places that sell Fair Isle sweaters. Traditional clothiers such as J. Press and O’Connell’s regularly stock them, as do stores on the slightly more fashionable side of classic, such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Gant. You can also find a selection by Jamieson and Barbour at Oi Polloi, William Fox and Sons at Present London, and Howlin by Morrison at End Clothing. For more affordable options, turn to Land’s End and J. Crew. Both of those merchants regularly discount their stock by 30-40%, and a full array of sizes is usually still available once they hit their sales.
Finally, if you’d like one custom made, check out Spirit of Shetland and Louise Irvine. As usual with online made-to-measure garments, you want to take multiple measurements and figure out the averages before you submit your numbers. And when in doubt, err on the side of large. You can always wear something that’s just a touch too big, but you’ll never wear something that’s too small.