It’s On Sale: Nigel Cabourn at Marrkt

The British flash sale site Marrkt is very quiet, but they do have semi-annual sales on the brilliant English designer Nigel Cabourn. Their Spring/Summer sale just went up, and it’s really full of great stuff. The green military shirt-jacket pictured above is one I own and wear all the time, and the other two are ones I wish were on sale in my size.

Orders ship to the US free(!), and folks outside of the EU get a 20% discount in the cart to account for VAT. Remember that these are Euro sizes so drop ten - I’ve found that a 52 is a pretty true 42.

Here’s our invite if you don’t have an account already.

It’s On Sale: Nigel Cabourn at Marrkt

Derek and I are both enamored of the British menswear designer Nigel Cabourn, whose work tweaks archival military and expedition clothes in just-right ways, making a sort of Platonic ideal of classic streetwear.

Cabourn’s rarely on sale, but the English flash sale site Marrkt is currently offering a selection of items, along with some stuff from Highland 2000 and Edwin Vintage. Lots of beautiful outerwear for those of you who need coats for the fall and winter cold.

As usual, the site is by invitation, and if you’d like to use ours, we get a kickback.

Cheap Shoes That Age Well
Although I wouldn’t call it a “rule” for myself, when I can, I try to buy things that I think will look better with time, rather than worse. That is, after all, why most of us value full grain leather shoes over corrected grain ones. It’s not because they’re cheaper in the long run (because they’re not). It’s because high quality shoes acquire a beautiful worn in look that only good materials and years of wear can impart. Shoes made from corrected grain leather, on the other hand, look terrible new and even worse with time.
Unfortunately, shoes that age well are typically expensive. The exception to this is canvas sneakers, which always look better with a bit of dirt and grass staining. Think:
Converse Chuck Taylors and Jack Purcells
Vans Authentics and Classic Slip-Ons
Superga 1705 and 2750
Sperry Top-Sider’s striped CVOs
Tretorn Nylites
All of these retail for under $75, but can be had for less than $50 if you wait for sales.
The best thing about these shoes isn’t their price, however. It’s their designs. Most have been around for decades and their designs are hard to improve on. Take Maison Martin Margiela’s interpretation of Vans’ slip-ons, for example. The heavier look and feel of leather doesn’t evoke the airiness of summer like canvas, even if the design itself looks more luxurious. Similarly, Nigel Cabourn’s interpretation of Chuck Taylor All Stars has a nice retro feel, but truth be told, I think the standard model today is hard to beat.
You can wear these with any number of spring or summer ensembles. I often wear my Chuck Taylor high tops with a white t-shirt, leather jacket, and pair of jeans, and my Superga 1705s with chinos and a madras shirt. On a cooler spring day, the madras shirt gets swapped out for a sweatshirt and light parka. Neither of these feel like compromises over full grain leather shoes, and they’re appreciably much cheaper. It’s nice that good things don’t always have to be expensive. 

Cheap Shoes That Age Well

Although I wouldn’t call it a “rule” for myself, when I can, I try to buy things that I think will look better with time, rather than worse. That is, after all, why most of us value full grain leather shoes over corrected grain ones. It’s not because they’re cheaper in the long run (because they’re not). It’s because high quality shoes acquire a beautiful worn in look that only good materials and years of wear can impart. Shoes made from corrected grain leather, on the other hand, look terrible new and even worse with time.

Unfortunately, shoes that age well are typically expensive. The exception to this is canvas sneakers, which always look better with a bit of dirt and grass staining. Think:

All of these retail for under $75, but can be had for less than $50 if you wait for sales.

The best thing about these shoes isn’t their price, however. It’s their designs. Most have been around for decades and their designs are hard to improve on. Take Maison Martin Margiela’s interpretation of Vans’ slip-ons, for example. The heavier look and feel of leather doesn’t evoke the airiness of summer like canvas, even if the design itself looks more luxurious. Similarly, Nigel Cabourn’s interpretation of Chuck Taylor All Stars has a nice retro feel, but truth be told, I think the standard model today is hard to beat.

You can wear these with any number of spring or summer ensembles. I often wear my Chuck Taylor high tops with a white t-shirt, leather jacket, and pair of jeans, and my Superga 1705s with chinos and a madras shirt. On a cooler spring day, the madras shirt gets swapped out for a sweatshirt and light parka. Neither of these feel like compromises over full grain leather shoes, and they’re appreciably much cheaper. It’s nice that good things don’t always have to be expensive. 

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. 

Ten Sales Here and There

In addition to Pete’s recent post on Hickoree’s sale, I thought I’d list ten end-of-the-season sales I’ve been looking at. Much of the stock has been sold, but there are still some nice items here and there. 

  • Haven: Haven is a Canadian shop with a strong streetwear focus. At the moment, they have a bunch of stuff from Yuketen, Levis Vintage Clothing, Common Projects, and Engineered Garments on discount. I’d like to think I can look as cool as Takahiro Kinoshita in this varsity, but that’s definitely not happening.
  • Totokaelo: Totokaelo mostly stocks “edgy” designer labels, but they also have a lot of casual footwear that I think would appeal to men with classic tastes. Although the discounts aren’t that deep, these APC Ranger boots and Common Projects track sneakers look great. 
  • Bodega: A buddy of mine recently picked up these sneakers by Converse and Nigel Cabourn. They look a bit funky, but work well with the right kind of clothing. Bodega has them for $60, albeit in very limited sizes. Nigel Cabourn and End have them in a wider range of sizes, but not in white. 
  • Roden Gray: Another Canadian operation. They have some Randolph Engineering aviators on sale right now for $107. 
  • French Garment Cleaners: Lots of nice stuff from Engineered Garments and Oak Street Bootmakers. I like this chambray and these boots.
  • Berg & Berg: Lots of accessories at half off. Included are some neckties, scarves, and leather laptop sleeves, the last of which I reviewed a few months ago. 
  • Soto: These guys have a Barbour Bedale made from a very unique grey wool (it usually comes in a waxed green cotton). You might want to check with the store about sizing before you buy, as many people size down on the Bedale, but also have to take it to Barbour to have the sleeves lengthened. I can’t say for sure if Barbour can lengthen the sleeves on this model. 
  • Gentry: Lots of stuff on sale, including a very well-priced pair of chukkas from Eastland’s Made in Maine collection. Eastland’s Made in Maine is … well … made in Maine, and produced from much better materials than what Eastland uses for their mainline.
  • UnionmadeTake another 20% off sale prices with the discount code PLUS20. You can check this old post to see what I thought was particularly nice the first day the sale went up. 
  • J Crew: The official line is that “final sale items” can be discounted by an additional 40% with the checkout code BYEWINTER, but the code also seems to apply to things that aren’t marked as final sale. Such as these tan workboots by Chippewa, which get dropped down to $156 with the code. 

Australian Convict Uniforms

Here’s a curious thing. Above is what the Australian government used to make their convicts wear. The broad arrow you see on the pants originate from the UK, which used to be put on government owned property (such as their convict uniforms and military items). Today, it’s been used by designers such as Nigel Cabourn for decorative effect. Dare I say, the UK version of broad arrow convict pants look much more stylish, and I can can see them being recreated today and sold at fashion boutiques for a crazy price. 

To be fair, the Australian ones were made to look silly on purpose. These were used in the mid-19th century to distinguish repeat convicts from others. The loud, bi-color design was made so that their wearers would feel humiliated and stand out in a crowd (thus preventing any escape attempts). The long trousers had broad arrows stamped on them, and the jacket was unusually short and had a high, stand-up collar. The cloth used was also a very itchy woolen, apparently so that the wearer would be extra uncomfortable (I mean, what’s up with that hat?). Prisoners who wore these were nicknamed “canary men.” 

(Photo via New South Wales Government page on “A Convict Story”)

It’s (always?) On Sale: Yoox
My favorite place to order Italian, Yoox, has cut prices further on a lot of items, putting a lot of really nice pieces at half retail or less (even considering Yoox’s occasionally inflated “retail” prices). Check out bargains on tailoring and outerwear from L.B.M. 1911, bicycle culture casual from Pedaled, soft Italian tailoring from Boglioli, unusual, texture-heavy fabrics from Barena, Drake’s scarves, Cote et Ciel accessories (I recommended their backpack awhile back), hard-to-find Filson Italy gear, Incotex group shirts from the regrettably named Glanshirt, good value shirts from Guy Rover, oddball Japanese old timiness from Haversack, very good prices on slim Incotex trousers, a single but very nice Nigel Cabourn jacket, more soft Italian tailoring from Piombo, Sartoria Partenopea's traditional Italian tailoring, a small selection of Tricker’s British shoes (I’d avoid their sneaker-styled models), Valstarino blousons, unusual Yuketen moccs and boots, and understated Zanone knitwear.
Pictured: Yoox’s giant Italian warehouse.
-Pete

It’s (always?) On Sale: Yoox

My favorite place to order Italian, Yoox, has cut prices further on a lot of items, putting a lot of really nice pieces at half retail or less (even considering Yoox’s occasionally inflated “retail” prices). Check out bargains on tailoring and outerwear from L.B.M. 1911, bicycle culture casual from Pedaled, soft Italian tailoring from Boglioli, unusual, texture-heavy fabrics from Barena, Drake’s scarves, Cote et Ciel accessories (I recommended their backpack awhile back), hard-to-find Filson Italy gear, Incotex group shirts from the regrettably named Glanshirt, good value shirts from Guy Rover, oddball Japanese old timiness from Haversack, very good prices on slim Incotex trousers, a single but very nice Nigel Cabourn jacket, more soft Italian tailoring from Piombo, Sartoria Partenopea's traditional Italian tailoring, a small selection of Tricker’s British shoes (I’d avoid their sneaker-styled models), Valstarino blousons, unusual Yuketen moccs and boots, and understated Zanone knitwear.

Pictured: Yoox’s giant Italian warehouse.

-Pete

Notebooks
I’m a little late to the notebook party, but I picked up a pack of Moleskine Cahiers a few months ago and have found them to be incredibly useful. The Cahier is a small paper journal that differs from Moleskine’s other models in that it’s significantly smaller (measuring just 3.5” x 5.5”) and made with a soft, flexible cover (rather than the hardbacks that their more famous journals feature). They come in packs of three for about $9, but unsurprisingly, you can find them for a little cheaper on eBay. 
I mostly use my Cahier for writing down shopping and to-do lists, but when on the go, I find it’s also useful for keeping phone numbers, addresses, and directions that I might need to refer to later. I like that the back half of the notebook has perforated pages, so that I can easily tear things out once I’m done with them, and that the cover is simple and plain, rather than designed with some graphic. The back inside cover even has a small pocket where I can keep things such as return receipts and subway tickets.
Of course, there are dozens of other companies that make notebooks like this. Leuchtturm 1917’s Jottbook is similar to the Cahier, but has a few more features, such as numbered pages and a blank table of contents. Word is nice in that it has a unique “check off” system for people who primarily use these for to-do lists. Rhodia and Field Notes are good if you want something a bit more robust (useful if you keep your notebook in your back pocket, rather than jacket pocket). And Scout, Hit List, and Banditapple Carnet are better for use with fountain pens, while ELAN and Rite in Rain are made for use in the field.
For people who want their notebooks to look a bit more “hip,” check out Skilcraft, Calepino, Doane Paper, and these used by the US Department of Defense. If you have a bit of money to spend, there’s also this collaboration design between Midori and Nigel Cabourn. It features two broad arrow symbols, which were used in the mid-20th century on British military items. It looks quite handsome, even if the price is hard to swallow. For the opposite of that, there’s PocketMod, which is essentially a free notebook you can make yourself. 
(Photo via Hooman Majd, who’s seen above using a notebook from Muji)

Notebooks

I’m a little late to the notebook party, but I picked up a pack of Moleskine Cahiers a few months ago and have found them to be incredibly useful. The Cahier is a small paper journal that differs from Moleskine’s other models in that it’s significantly smaller (measuring just 3.5” x 5.5”) and made with a soft, flexible cover (rather than the hardbacks that their more famous journals feature). They come in packs of three for about $9, but unsurprisingly, you can find them for a little cheaper on eBay

I mostly use my Cahier for writing down shopping and to-do lists, but when on the go, I find it’s also useful for keeping phone numbers, addresses, and directions that I might need to refer to later. I like that the back half of the notebook has perforated pages, so that I can easily tear things out once I’m done with them, and that the cover is simple and plain, rather than designed with some graphic. The back inside cover even has a small pocket where I can keep things such as return receipts and subway tickets.

Of course, there are dozens of other companies that make notebooks like this. Leuchtturm 1917’s Jottbook is similar to the Cahier, but has a few more features, such as numbered pages and a blank table of contents. Word is nice in that it has a unique “check off” system for people who primarily use these for to-do lists. Rhodia and Field Notes are good if you want something a bit more robust (useful if you keep your notebook in your back pocket, rather than jacket pocket). And Scout, Hit List, and Banditapple Carnet are better for use with fountain pens, while ELAN and Rite in Rain are made for use in the field.

For people who want their notebooks to look a bit more “hip,” check out SkilcraftCalepinoDoane Paper, and these used by the US Department of Defense. If you have a bit of money to spend, there’s also this collaboration design between Midori and Nigel Cabourn. It features two broad arrow symbols, which were used in the mid-20th century on British military items. It looks quite handsome, even if the price is hard to swallow. For the opposite of that, there’s PocketMod, which is essentially a free notebook you can make yourself. 

(Photo via Hooman Majd, who’s seen above using a notebook from Muji)

It’s On Sale: Eddie Bauer x Nigel Cabourn, Wm. J. Mills, Duluth Pack, Gitman Vintage on Mrrkt

The English flash sale site Mrrkt is offering quite the smorgasbord of cool stuff today, with shipping to both the UK and elsewhere. Among my favorites are the collaborative pieces between Nigel Cabourn and Eddie Bauer, but there are many others, besides.

Discounts are around 60% off retail, plus an additional 20% for VAT if you’re in the US. International shipping is 20 pounds.

If you don’t already have an invite for Mrrkt, use ours.

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.