It’s On Sale: (Almost) Everything at Bench & Loom

Bench & Loom is having a clear-out sale. Everything except their Chapal jackets is available at 50% off with the discount code END50. The available stock at this point is pretty slim, but there’s still a full run of sizes for niche brands such as Hansen of Denmark and Black Sign (the latter being a Japanese workwear label). I particularly like the loopwheeled t-shirts from Barns, but be warned that they run slim. A small should only be taken if you usually buy an extra small in everything else. For people who can’t find anything in their size, check out the grooming products from Jack Black

Note, everything here is final sale, and the promotion ends September 1st. 

(Pictured above: Filson moleskin shirtScott A-1 jacketBlack Sign linen work jacket, and loopwheeled Barns t-shirt)

It’s On Sale: Stuff at Mr. Porter and Bench & Loom

Two great sales going on at the moment. One at Mr. Porter; the other at Bench & Loom. 

  • Mr. Porter: Arguably one of the best online men’s stores right now. Prices are usually high, but made much more attractive when they hold their end-of-season sales. Today, they did another price drop, so things are discounted by up to 70%. Stuff is going fast, however, and will probably clear out in the next few days. Of what’s left, I like this APC field jacket. It has a removable faux-shearling lining, which makes it a great piece for fall. 
  • Bench & Loom: I’ve been turning to Bench & Loom a lot for casual, rugged clothes. Today, they just started their half-off sale. Except, where most people are discounting their spring/ summer stock, Bench & Loom is discounting fall/ winter items. I particularly like this Schott coat

It’s On Sale: (Almost) Everything at Bench & Loom

Bench & Loom is having an early spring cleaning. All full-priced items (except grooming products) are available at 40% off with the discount code SPRING40. 

The most amazing item in stock might be this Chapal A1, although even with the discount, the jacket is pretty expensive. A bit more affordable is this rubberized Mackintosh raincoat (which is usually hard to find on sale) and this waxed Filson jacket. There are also some nice shirts available, such as this Levis Vintage Clothing chambray and this Five Brother flannel. I own the same flannel and wrote about it a few weeks ago. Note that the sizing runs really slim on Five Brother. I’m a size 36 chest, and the small is still pretty slim on me. 

All sales are final and the sale ends April 2nd. 

Thick Flannel Shirts
Over the weekend, Jesse listed this Spring’s Seven “Must Have Or You’ll Die” Essentials. Do you know why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, and in Southern California, the four seasons are: spring, summer, summer with slightly chillier nights (but not by much), and spring with slightly chillier nights (but again, not by much). Dear readers: know that I - as your correspondent in the Bay Area - understand that we’re still solidly in winter. Here in the Bay, it’s still cold enough to need chunky sweaters, heavy coats, and the occasional pair of gloves. 
It’s also useful to have a few thick flannel shirts around. I’ve been wearing mine every once in a while with jeans and a leather jacket, and prefer ones made from heavy, coarse fabrics. My favorite sources so far include:
John Lofgren: A highly underrated and underappreciated workwear label. Really nice, thick fabrics made into shirts with slightly short, vintage-y cuts. Available at John Lofgren’s site directly, but also Self Edge and Bench & Loom (although the last two don’t have woven shirts right now).
Flat Head: A Japanese workwear label that draws a lot of inspiration from American motorcycle and hot rod subcultures. They have two lines of shirts – the mainline, which is slim and shorter fitting, and Glory Park, which is just a touch bigger. Of all my flannels, these are easily my favorite, but they’re expensive. If you don’t mind the price, they’re available at Self Edge and Rivet & Hide.
Five Brother: A genuine workwear label that recently started making slim fitting shirts for the fashion crowd. These are made from vividly colored fabrics with coarse weaves and a dry hand. Of all the companies on this list, Five Brother probably offers the best price to value ratio. You can find them now at Bench & Loom, but in the past, Context and Hickoree’s has also carried them (they will again this fall).
Nigel Cabourn: Always a favorite, but his prices are stratospherically high. If it matters, his flannel shirts are sometimes reversible, although the other side of the one I bought is perhaps too “fuzzy” to realistically use. Still, he has some nice subtle detailing that the other brands don’t offer (unique pocket designs, smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and extra, extra thick fabrics). Available at Nigel Cabourn’s own website or any of his stockists. If you’re not able to afford those retail prices, you’ll have to trawl Yoox and eBay like me.
RRL: Ralph Lauren’s ranch inspired sub-label. The fabrics on RRL shirts really run the gamut, but in general, they’re typically a bit flimsier than the aforementioned brands (at least when it comes to fall/ winter shirts). On the upside, they can often be found on deep discount (I bought mine for about $75). These are available at Ralph Lauren’s website, and certain niche stockists such as Unionmade and Frans Boone.
The best part about wearing thick flannel shirts? With designers such as Daiki Suzuki and Heidi Slimane incorporating them into last year’s looks, you can simultaneously feel very “aritansal heritage workwear” and “high fashion au courant.” Plus, Rick Owens wears them! The dream of the 90s is alive in menswear. At least until spring comes for the rest of us. 

Thick Flannel Shirts

Over the weekend, Jesse listed this Spring’s Seven “Must Have Or You’ll Die” Essentials. Do you know why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, and in Southern California, the four seasons are: spring, summer, summer with slightly chillier nights (but not by much), and spring with slightly chillier nights (but again, not by much). Dear readers: know that I - as your correspondent in the Bay Area - understand that we’re still solidly in winter. Here in the Bay, it’s still cold enough to need chunky sweaters, heavy coats, and the occasional pair of gloves. 

It’s also useful to have a few thick flannel shirts around. I’ve been wearing mine every once in a while with jeans and a leather jacket, and prefer ones made from heavy, coarse fabrics. My favorite sources so far include:

  • John Lofgren: A highly underrated and underappreciated workwear label. Really nice, thick fabrics made into shirts with slightly short, vintage-y cuts. Available at John Lofgren’s site directly, but also Self Edge and Bench & Loom (although the last two don’t have woven shirts right now).
  • Flat Head: A Japanese workwear label that draws a lot of inspiration from American motorcycle and hot rod subcultures. They have two lines of shirts – the mainline, which is slim and shorter fitting, and Glory Park, which is just a touch bigger. Of all my flannels, these are easily my favorite, but they’re expensive. If you don’t mind the price, they’re available at Self Edge and Rivet & Hide.
  • Five Brother: A genuine workwear label that recently started making slim fitting shirts for the fashion crowd. These are made from vividly colored fabrics with coarse weaves and a dry hand. Of all the companies on this list, Five Brother probably offers the best price to value ratio. You can find them now at Bench & Loom, but in the past, Context and Hickoree’s has also carried them (they will again this fall).
  • Nigel Cabourn: Always a favorite, but his prices are stratospherically high. If it matters, his flannel shirts are sometimes reversible, although the other side of the one I bought is perhaps too “fuzzy” to realistically use. Still, he has some nice subtle detailing that the other brands don’t offer (unique pocket designs, smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and extra, extra thick fabrics). Available at Nigel Cabourn’s own website or any of his stockists. If you’re not able to afford those retail prices, you’ll have to trawl Yoox and eBay like me.
  • RRL: Ralph Lauren’s ranch inspired sub-label. The fabrics on RRL shirts really run the gamut, but in general, they’re typically a bit flimsier than the aforementioned brands (at least when it comes to fall/ winter shirts). On the upside, they can often be found on deep discount (I bought mine for about $75). These are available at Ralph Lauren’s website, and certain niche stockists such as Unionmade and Frans Boone.

The best part about wearing thick flannel shirts? With designers such as Daiki Suzuki and Heidi Slimane incorporating them into last year’s looks, you can simultaneously feel very “aritansal heritage workwear” and “high fashion au courant.” Plus, Rick Owens wears them! The dream of the 90s is alive in menswear. At least until spring comes for the rest of us. 

It’s On Sale: (Almost) Everything at Bench & Loom

One of my favorite stores for casual clothing, Bench and Loom, is holding a big sale (I think their biggest to date). Everything is 50% off with the checkout code NY50. There are just three exceptions: Buzz Rickson, Chapal, and grooming products. That still leaves many other great brands, however, such as Mackintosh and Filson, as well as much-coveted Japanese names such as Stevenson and The Real McCoys.

I particularly this waxed Filson jacket, Mackintosh raincoat, Real McCoys sweatshirt, Merz b. Schwanen henley, Stevenson Sportsman shirt, and brushed Hamilton Western shirt. If this Real McCoys deck jacket was available in my size, I would have bought it in a second, but alas, it’s not. 

The sale lasts for a week and will end next Monday. 

Incidentally, for those interested in vintage clothing, Bench & Loom also has a new site up called The Phoenix Project, where they’re recreating certain clothes worn by classic style icons (Johnny Cash, James Dean, and the like). Items are sold on pre-order, and then sent to their manufacturers for production. You can check it out here

Addendum: Mistake on our part. An earlier version of this post said that the sale will end this coming Monday. It actually ends today (Tuesday) at midnight, so if you’re interested in anything, you’ll need to buy before the clock strikes. 

Deck Jackets

I probably should have anticipated this before I started a blog called Die, Workwear!, but as we get closer to winter, I’ve been thinking about getting myself a deck jacket. The term deck jacket refers to heavy winter coats worn by sailors during the mid-20th century. They’ve become highly prized among vintage collectors and workwear aficionados, not only for their history, but also their durability and protective warmth.

Some of the earliest deck jackets looked very much like the US Army’s winter combat jacket (also known as a tanker jacket). It had a dark blue outer shell made out of a heavy corded cotton, and a basic zipper-front design. Over the years, however, it’s been improved upon by the US military for naval use. In 1943, for example, the jacket was lengthened and lined with alpaca fur so that it’d be more protective for sailors. The knit waistband, exposed knit cuff, and patch pockets were also done away with, as they were at risk of snagging on different parts of the ship. As replacements, the knit cuffs were brought in, sort of like the storm cuffs you see today on certain Barbour jackets, and the jacket’s hem was made with a drawstring. The basic zipper front also saw the addition of a button-closure wind flap, and then later metal hook claps, which were easier to operate when you had big gloves on.

There are still many makers of deck jackets today, and they typically come in the garment’s original colors - dark blue, light olive, and dark green. My favorite version is probably by Mister Freedom, who released one with a striped blanket lining a few years ago. Most sizes have long sold out on their website, but you can sometimes find some floating around on eBay. Other makers include the many Japanese companies that specialize in workwear and military reproductions, such as Buzz Rickson, Toys McCoys, The Real McCoys, and The Few. You may also want to look into stores such as Blue in Green, Self Edge, Superdenim, and Bench & Loom, who either carry those aforementioned brands, or similar ones.

Unfortunately for me, all those are well outside my budget. I’ve seen slightly more affordable models by Spiewak, Engineered Garments, Orvis, and Pike Brothers, but they’re still pretty pricey. Going vintage here won’t yield any more savings, as collectors have been hunting for originals on eBay for years. For a good vintage piece, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to a whooping $1,500.

So for now, no deck jacket for me. Perhaps for the better, since I don’t think you can look like a sailor with a size 36 chest. 

(Pictures above from Secret Forts, Superfuture member Five, Christophe Loiron, and Good Wear Leather)

Getting a Good Grey Sweatshirt
Every fall season, I can’t seem to stop myself from buying more sweaters, but the one I keep coming back to, year after year, is my reliable grey sweatshirt. For casual use with chinos and jeans, I can’t think of anything better. It’s low-maintenance, sporty, and if the fit is right, can look pretty great.
My favorite sweatshirts are made by Japanese companies such as Buzz Rickson, The Real McCoys, and Strike Gold. These brands specialize in mid-century reproductions, and often use older production techniques (these techniques don’t lend any special advantage, they’re just neat if you care about such things). They’re also thicker and denser than most other sweatshirts on the market. You can find them at them at Self Edge, Blue in Green, Superdenim, and Bench & Loom.
Other really great companies include Archival Clothing, WTAPs, Levis Vintage Clothing, Sunspel, Reigning Champ, Battenwear, Loopwheeler, RRL, and Velva Sheen. Many of these will have their own unique selling points. Archival Clothing, for example, has theirs made in Portland, Oregon by the old-school American manufacturer Columbiaknit, while Levis Vintage Clothing often draws from Levis’ extensive in-house archive. These models tend to be quite expensive, however, so if you want something more affordable, check out Champion, American Giant, Land’s End, Uniqlo, and J. Crew. The last three hold sales pretty often, so you can knock the price down further if you exercise some patience.
Naturally, many people may be wondering what’s the difference between a ~$150 sweatshirt and something that you can find for ~$50. Some of this will be in the detailing, such as some having loopwheeled constructions (which again, are just old ways of making these garments). Some of this will be in the quality of the materials. My Buzz Rickson sweatshirt, for example, is nice and dense, and doesn’t stretch out as easily as the one I bought from J. Crew. It also has a “vintage” fit that I like, which is slightly boxy and short. I think it goes well with the kind of boots, jeans, and jackets I like to wear. 
In the end, however, you just need to find something that fits you well, and works for your budget. Not all sweatshirts have to be dumpy, and not all nice ones have to cost an arm and a leg. If you find that your sweatshirt stretches out easily, just throw it in the wash and put it in the dryer after each wear. It should shrink back to shape. The color might dull from being in the dryer so much, but … it’s a sweatshirt. These look better beat up. 

Getting a Good Grey Sweatshirt

Every fall season, I can’t seem to stop myself from buying more sweaters, but the one I keep coming back to, year after year, is my reliable grey sweatshirt. For casual use with chinos and jeans, I can’t think of anything better. It’s low-maintenance, sporty, and if the fit is right, can look pretty great.

My favorite sweatshirts are made by Japanese companies such as Buzz Rickson, The Real McCoys, and Strike Gold. These brands specialize in mid-century reproductions, and often use older production techniques (these techniques don’t lend any special advantage, they’re just neat if you care about such things). They’re also thicker and denser than most other sweatshirts on the market. You can find them at them at Self Edge, Blue in Green, Superdenim, and Bench & Loom.

Other really great companies include Archival Clothing, WTAPs, Levis Vintage Clothing, Sunspel, Reigning Champ, Battenwear, Loopwheeler, RRL, and Velva Sheen. Many of these will have their own unique selling points. Archival Clothing, for example, has theirs made in Portland, Oregon by the old-school American manufacturer Columbiaknit, while Levis Vintage Clothing often draws from Levis’ extensive in-house archive. These models tend to be quite expensive, however, so if you want something more affordable, check out Champion, American Giant, Land’s EndUniqlo, and J. Crew. The last three hold sales pretty often, so you can knock the price down further if you exercise some patience.

Naturally, many people may be wondering what’s the difference between a ~$150 sweatshirt and something that you can find for ~$50. Some of this will be in the detailing, such as some having loopwheeled constructions (which again, are just old ways of making these garments). Some of this will be in the quality of the materials. My Buzz Rickson sweatshirt, for example, is nice and dense, and doesn’t stretch out as easily as the one I bought from J. Crew. It also has a “vintage” fit that I like, which is slightly boxy and short. I think it goes well with the kind of boots, jeans, and jackets I like to wear. 

In the end, however, you just need to find something that fits you well, and works for your budget. Not all sweatshirts have to be dumpy, and not all nice ones have to cost an arm and a leg. If you find that your sweatshirt stretches out easily, just throw it in the wash and put it in the dryer after each wear. It should shrink back to shape. The color might dull from being in the dryer so much, but … it’s a sweatshirt. These look better beat up. 

The Occasional Henley

So lately, I’ve been wearing this outfit pretty often on weekends – a white t-shirt, brown leather jacket, pair of raw jeans, and either sneakers or brown leather boots. It’s an incredibly simple thing to put together and requires very little maintenance. No ironing, no dry cleaning, and no worrying if I’ll stain my t-shirts (as they’re quite cheap to replace).

Wearing the same thing often can be a bit boring though, so sometimes I’ve been swapping out the white t-shirt for a henley. Henleys are pullover shirts with rounded collars and short, buttoned plackets at the front. In the mid-century, they were sometimes know as Wallace Beery because of their association with the 20th-century actor, who was sometimes seen wearing the style on-screen. Some men understandably feel that henleys look too much like long underwear, while others who are old enough to remember the 1990s might think they’re a bit too “Eddie Bauer.” However, if worn with the right kind of clothes, I think they can look pretty good. I wear mine with jeans and leather jackets, but in the photos above, you can see Fok from StyleForum wearing his alone, and Brett from Viberg Boots wearing one underneath a cardigan.

You can find henleys at any number of places. Wings + Horns, RRL, Archival Clothing, Schiesser Revival, and Reigning Champ make them almost every season. Certain stores, such as Blue in Green, Unionmade, and Cultizm also have wide selections, and now that J Crew carries Homespun Knitwear, there should be a decent version in almost every American mall. Additionally, folks looking for a deal might want to visit Bench & Loom. They have a ton of great stuff on clearance right now (though not everything is listed in their sale section, so you’ll want to click around). Included are some henleys starting at $56

Mine are designed by Nigel Cabourn and made by Merz b. Schwanen. They have some vintage-reproduction detailing that I really like, but this particular model is hard to find nowadays (it’s from an old season). Retail is expensive, but like with everything, if you wait for the right sale or scour eBay, you can pick one up for a fraction of the price (I paid about $100-125 for mine). Merz b. Schwanen also makes a wide range of henleys that they’ve designed (here’s one on sale).

I admit, I don’t wear my henleys often, but it’s nice to have a little variety in the dresser drawer when I want to (slightly) deviate from my weekend uniform. 

Ernest Hemingway’s Game Bag
Every once in a while, Jesse and I will list a fishing or game bag in our eBay roundups. Nice ones are made by companies such as Brady, Hardy, and Chapman, and we think they make for nice bags whether or not you go hunting. I have a fashion brand’s interpretation of a fishing bag, for example, and use it to carry my laptop, books, and papers when I go to campus. 
Above is Ernest Hemingway’s personal game bag, which was recently sold at auction through Bonhams. The description reads:

HEMINGWAY’S GAME BAG, inscribed under the flap in white ink “From Ernest and Mary Hemingway — Bag of Tricks, Best Always, Papa.” The photograph is also inscribed by Hemingway, “I wonder if my wife can tell / That I’ve been raising hell. / To an afternoon of Joy / With a good old boy,” and signed by the unidentified recipient (“Cano”?). A printed headline on the matte reads “Fernández, Canivell y Cia. Málaga,” and a crayon inscription “Ernest Hemingway’s game bag used in Europe 1944/59 - La Consula, Malaga.”
In 1959, Hemingway made his penultimate trip to Europe, in part to add an epilogue to Scribners’ new edition of Death in the Afternoon (first published in 1932), but also to research a series of bullfighting articles commissioned by Life magazine. He stayed at La Consula, the estate of an American, Nathan (Bill) Davis, who happened to be the brother-in-law of Cyril Connolly. Hemingway briefly returned to Spain in 1960, to be photographed for the cover of Life.

According to Field & Stream, the inscription was made to one of Hemingway’s closest friends, Charles Thompson, “the owner of a marine hardware store in Key West and the inspiration for the character ‘Old Carl’ in The Green Hills of Africa.”
Ending price for the bag? $12,500.
(via Bench & Loom)

Ernest Hemingway’s Game Bag

Every once in a while, Jesse and I will list a fishing or game bag in our eBay roundups. Nice ones are made by companies such as Brady, Hardy, and Chapman, and we think they make for nice bags whether or not you go hunting. I have a fashion brand’s interpretation of a fishing bag, for example, and use it to carry my laptop, books, and papers when I go to campus. 

Above is Ernest Hemingway’s personal game bag, which was recently sold at auction through Bonhams. The description reads:

HEMINGWAY’S GAME BAG, inscribed under the flap in white ink “From Ernest and Mary Hemingway — Bag of Tricks, Best Always, Papa.” The photograph is also inscribed by Hemingway, “I wonder if my wife can tell / That I’ve been raising hell. / To an afternoon of Joy / With a good old boy,” and signed by the unidentified recipient (“Cano”?). A printed headline on the matte reads “Fernández, Canivell y Cia. Málaga,” and a crayon inscription “Ernest Hemingway’s game bag used in Europe 1944/59 - La Consula, Malaga.”

In 1959, Hemingway made his penultimate trip to Europe, in part to add an epilogue to Scribners’ new edition of Death in the Afternoon (first published in 1932), but also to research a series of bullfighting articles commissioned by Life magazine. He stayed at La Consula, the estate of an American, Nathan (Bill) Davis, who happened to be the brother-in-law of Cyril Connolly. Hemingway briefly returned to Spain in 1960, to be photographed for the cover of Life.

According to Field & Stream, the inscription was made to one of Hemingway’s closest friends, Charles Thompson, “the owner of a marine hardware store in Key West and the inspiration for the character ‘Old Carl’ in The Green Hills of Africa.”

Ending price for the bag? $12,500.

(via Bench & Loom)

Bench & Loom Sale

One of my favorite online stores for casual clothing, Bench & Loom, just started a clearance sale. Prices are now discounted by up to 70%. They seem to have a sale section, but not everything is included on that page, so you may want to check around the different categories to see if there’s something for you. 

Some particularly attractive prices include these $89 selvedge denim jeans by Tellason (both the Ankara and John Graham Mellor models), $39 1950s-style white t-shirt by Levi’s Vintage Clothing (note, this has very short sleeves), $57 grey sweatshirt by Levi’s Made & Crafted, and $39 belts by Tanner Goods. And although they’re not cheap by any measure, these Brooks England jackets are amazing (available in both cinnamon and grey) and this is the lowest I’ve seen the price go.