Lightweight Jackets
California has been going through a heat wave in the last week, so I’ve been unexpectedly getting a little more wear out of my summer clothes. Pictured above: a blue safari jacket from Ascot Chang, a pair 3sixteen jeans, some unlined Alden chukkas, a white Barns t-shirt, and a new belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.  
The nice thing about a lightweight jacket such as this is that you can get a little layering in even when the weather is hot. Unlined and unpadded, such jackets wear a lot cooler than sport coats — even when they’re made from heavier, thicker materials. They’re also great for the cooler conditions of early fall, when you want something to protect you from the chill, but don’t want something as warm as a heavy coat. 
If you’re interested in one, there are a bunch of options. Ascot Chang’s safari jackets can be found in both ready-to-wear and bespoke form at The Armoury, but you’ll have to call or stop by one of their stores. Alternatively, if you have a custom shirt maker, they should also be able to make you something. For something more affordable, browse eBay for Engineered Garments’ models. They’ve made a few in the past. You can also try to get one as cool as Hooman Majd’s, which was made by Maison Martin Margiela.
Generally speaking, safari jackets are better suited to hot summer weather (or when summer won’t seem to leave). For something more fall appropriate, try CPO shirts, which is a kind of heavy shirt jacket originally worn by Chief Petty Officers (hence the name CPO). I really like the unique material on Buzz Rickson’s model, but Steven Alan’s and Fidelity’s are more affordable. J. Crew also has this one on sale for sixty bucks today, although I’m not sure of the weight of the fabric (in the photo, it looks a little shirt-y). Additionally, there are Pendleton Board Shirts. They’re not technically CPO shirts, but they’re close enough. If you want something with a little more of an edge, check your local thrift shop or Vintage Trends.

Lightweight Jackets

California has been going through a heat wave in the last week, so I’ve been unexpectedly getting a little more wear out of my summer clothes. Pictured above: a blue safari jacket from Ascot Chang, a pair 3sixteen jeans, some unlined Alden chukkas, a white Barns t-shirt, and a new belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.  

The nice thing about a lightweight jacket such as this is that you can get a little layering in even when the weather is hot. Unlined and unpadded, such jackets wear a lot cooler than sport coats — even when they’re made from heavier, thicker materials. They’re also great for the cooler conditions of early fall, when you want something to protect you from the chill, but don’t want something as warm as a heavy coat. 

If you’re interested in one, there are a bunch of options. Ascot Chang’s safari jackets can be found in both ready-to-wear and bespoke form at The Armoury, but you’ll have to call or stop by one of their stores. Alternatively, if you have a custom shirt maker, they should also be able to make you something. For something more affordable, browse eBay for Engineered Garments’ models. They’ve made a few in the past. You can also try to get one as cool as Hooman Majd’s, which was made by Maison Martin Margiela.

Generally speaking, safari jackets are better suited to hot summer weather (or when summer won’t seem to leave). For something more fall appropriate, try CPO shirts, which is a kind of heavy shirt jacket originally worn by Chief Petty Officers (hence the name CPO). I really like the unique material on Buzz Rickson’s model, but Steven Alan’s and Fidelity’s are more affordable. J. Crew also has this one on sale for sixty bucks today, although I’m not sure of the weight of the fabric (in the photo, it looks a little shirt-y). Additionally, there are Pendleton Board Shirts. They’re not technically CPO shirts, but they’re close enough. If you want something with a little more of an edge, check your local thrift shop or Vintage Trends.

Uniqlo’s Flannels

I picked up a couple of Uniqlo flannels last month and have been happily surprised by how often I turn to them for casual wear. They’re admittedly pretty simple — no high-end materials or unique detailing — but they come at fraction of the price that designer labels are charging these days. Plus, these are plaid flannel shirts — the kind of staple that was part of the thrifted ’90s grunge look, which designers such as Hedi Slimane have been ripping off and repackaging for 100x the price. The cheap versions are arguably the originals. 

Like most non-workwear flannels, these are thin, which makes them great for layering. You can wear one open, layered over a t-shirt, with the sleeves rolled up so you don’t look too stuffy. When the weather gets cold, you can also throw on a jacket. I like field jackets in this case, but leather ones also work well. This makes for a nice, comfortable look, without any of the bulkiness that a thicker flannel might bring. 

If you wear a flannel shirt on its own, however, then you might want to add what Jesse sometimes calls a "point of distinction." That means something to set what you’re wearing apart, so it doesn’t look too simple or boring. For me, this would be a pair of really beat-up jeans and some tan jodhpur boots, which is a type of strapped ankle boot similar to the Chelsea. I also like wearing my flannels with a mid-length steerhide wallet and some jewelry I bought from Self Edge

At full retail, Uniqlo’s flannels cost $30, but you can sometimes find them on sale for $20 (which is how much I paid for mine). For something more affordable, try visiting your local thrift storeAfter all, many of those higher-end flannels are just inspired by thrift store finds. In a recent talk with The Fashion Law, Courtney Love said of the Saint Laurent FW13 collection: “It reminds me of Value Village. Real grunge. I love that rich ladies are going to pay a fortune to look like we used to look when we had nothing.

Pictured above: Green field jacket from Aspesi; white pocket t-shirt from Barns, red plaid flannel shirt from Uniqlo; straight legged jeans from 3sixteen; tan jodhpur boots from Ralph Lauren; mid-length wallet from The Flat Head; bracelet and necklace from Self Edge; and horsehide Clint Stitch belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.

Most Common Types of Denim Damage (and How to Avoid Them)

Coincidentally, shortly after Jesse’s post last week on patching jeans, I received my 3sixteens back from Denim Therapy — one of the many shops nowadays that specializes in denim repairs. Like Jesse, I’ve had my jeans for about five years now — and although they’ve already seen a trip to Self Edge’s Darn It (another speciality repair place) — they’ve experienced some more wear-and-tear in the last year and needed fixing. So, I thought I’d do a post on the most common types of denim damage and how they can be repaired, as well as avoided altogether.  

Crotch Blowouts

Crotch blowouts refer to when you get holes in the place where you least want holes. To fix them, you can use any of the methods listed in Jesse’s post, although for this specific issue, I recommend darning. That’s when a specialist “reweaves” new threads into the material, using threads that most closely match your pants. This not only makes the repair nearly invisible (which is nice since this is, um, at your crotch), but it’s also much sturdier than patching. The downside? It’s also more expensive. 

How to avoid: Wash your jeans more often. It doesn’t have to be after every wear, but it’s the combination of dirt accumulating and the fabric rubbing against itself that causes blowouts. Those dirt particles act like tiny little razors, first thinning the material, and then finally breaking it open.

Other Holes 

Areas around the thighs and knees can also wear thin and eventually break. For these repairs, you can again refer to Jesse’s post. I personally like the slightly more ad hoc method of just patching thighs and knees with a piece of cloth. Jesse’s LVC jeans look great here. A local tailor should be able to do that for you for not too much money. And if the holes aren’t too big, you can also just leave them in, like I’ve done above. Personally, I think a hole or two can give a pair of jeans some character. 

How to avoid: Again, wash your jeans more often.

Stretched Buttonholes

Whether because you’ve gained weight or initially sized too far down, the buttonholes on your jeans can stretch with time. If the damage isn’t too bad, a local tailor can reinforce the area with new stitching. If it’s really stretched out, however, then you’ll need to get the area darned. I had the second done, and you can see the results above. 

How to avoid: Raw jeans are often a bit tight at first in the waist, but you don’t have to size so far down that things feel skin tight. Doing so will just put unnecessary stress on the buttonholes. 

Damage at the Cuffs

If you wash your jeans infrequently and leave them cuffed, you’ll find that the dirt that accumulates will eventually wear through at the crease. Unfortunately, the solutions here are less than ideal. You can get the cuffs darned, but the material will be stiff and hard to fold again (you use an iron to help them along). Otherwise, you can ride them out until the cuffs fall off, at which point, a tailor can put in a new hem (which is what I’d recommend).

How to avoid: Uncuff your pants every once in a while and brush out the dirt. You can use your hand (obviously), or a clothes brush. Having a clothes brush is handy if you have tailored clothes (suits, sport coats, the like), as that’s how they should be regularly cleaned

If you’re looking for a darning service, check out Self Edge’s Darn ItDenim Therapy, and Denim Surgeon. For more suggestions, check this SuperFuture thread dedicated to denim repairs.

It’s On Sale: Jeans and Things Related
Two denim sales worth noting:
The first one is at Self Edge, where you can take 14% off your order with the checkout code JeanFinder. As usual, the discount percentage matches the year (so in 2013, it was 13% off, and this year it’s 14% off), which means if you’re looking for something half off, you’ll have to wait a long time. On the upside, while the discount isn’t deep, the stock is excellent. Lots of great jeans from brands such as 3sixteen, Flat Head, and Stevenson Overall Co. I also like their heavy flannel shirts from Flat Head, Iron Heart, and Sugar Cane. 
Second, our advertiser Gustin is holding a grab bag sale for one day only tomorrow. Jeans will be $75 and shirts will be $65. You can specify your size and fit, and all orders will ship immediately, but you won’t know what you’ll get. The upside? The stock is mostly indigo - although there are also some black, grey, and brown jeans in there - so at least you know you won’t get something that will be hard to wear. 
Lastly, this is probably a good of time as any to play Neil Young’s "Forever in Blue Jeans."

It’s On Sale: Jeans and Things Related

Two denim sales worth noting:

  • The first one is at Self Edge, where you can take 14% off your order with the checkout code JeanFinder. As usual, the discount percentage matches the year (so in 2013, it was 13% off, and this year it’s 14% off), which means if you’re looking for something half off, you’ll have to wait a long time. On the upside, while the discount isn’t deep, the stock is excellent. Lots of great jeans from brands such as 3sixteen, Flat Head, and Stevenson Overall Co. I also like their heavy flannel shirts from Flat Head, Iron Heart, and Sugar Cane. 
  • Second, our advertiser Gustin is holding a grab bag sale for one day only tomorrow. Jeans will be $75 and shirts will be $65. You can specify your size and fit, and all orders will ship immediately, but you won’t know what you’ll get. The upside? The stock is mostly indigo - although there are also some black, grey, and brown jeans in there - so at least you know you won’t get something that will be hard to wear. 

Lastly, this is probably a good of time as any to play Neil Young’s "Forever in Blue Jeans."

Denim Therapy on Groupon
Groupon has a deal right now for 50% off on Denim Therapy credits. You can buy $40 in store credit for $20, or $80 in store credit for $40. 
I’ve never used Denim Therapy before, but there are a number of good reviews for them on Superdenim (a forum for serious denim enthusiasts). You can use them for the kinds of repairs Pete and I have talked about, such as crotch blowouts, ripped buttonholes, or frayed cuffs. One thing to note - you may want to shop around for prices before you jump on the Groupon deal. Denim Therapy’s prices depend on what kind of damage you need repaired, while Self Edge’s “Darn It” service, on the other hand, charges a $40 flat fee. Depending on what you need done, you may find a better deal elsewhere.

Denim Therapy on Groupon

Groupon has a deal right now for 50% off on Denim Therapy credits. You can buy $40 in store credit for $20, or $80 in store credit for $40. 

I’ve never used Denim Therapy before, but there are a number of good reviews for them on Superdenim (a forum for serious denim enthusiasts). You can use them for the kinds of repairs Pete and I have talked about, such as crotch blowouts, ripped buttonholes, or frayed cuffs. One thing to note - you may want to shop around for prices before you jump on the Groupon deal. Denim Therapy’s prices depend on what kind of damage you need repaired, while Self Edge’s “Darn It” service, on the other hand, charges a $40 flat fee. Depending on what you need done, you may find a better deal elsewhere.

It’s On Sale: Merz b. Schwanen Socks

I’m pretty content with my grey cotton tube socks from Hanes. They’re cheap, stay up on my leg, and go well with sneakers and jeans. A friend of mine, however, is a sharp dresser and likes to be a bit more adventurous with his socks. Even as a guy who doesn’t care for the kind of “happy,” “fun” styles that are popular these days, I often find myself admiring his choices.

So, I thought about getting some of these marled navy socks from Stevenson. Made from a heavy, thick cotton, they have an interesting look and texture. $38 for a pair is pretty expensive though, and Self Edge rarely holds sales. When they do, the discounts aren’t that deep.

Luckily, I remembered that Jesse mentioned these Merz b. Schwanen socks last Christmas (pictured above). I haven’t handled them, but they look great, so in Googling around, I found that my friend Greg is selling them through his store No Man Walks Alone. All merchandise from Merz b. Schwanen is on sale at the moment at 20% off with the checkout code Merz. That puts these at $24/ pair. Still pricey, but a bit easier to swallow than the Stevensons. I bought a couple of pairs in navy and grey. 

As Jesse mentioned, for a more affordable option, check out Wigwam

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. 

I mentioned Rick Owens in my post yesterday, and needless to say a guy who consistently designs intentionally overlong, body-hugging clothing is not someone I get the chance to mention a lot, but it gives me the excuse to link to this interview with Self Edge’s Kiya Babzani on The Crossfire, in which Kiya tells his Rick Owens story.

…we got an order on the online store a couple of years ago and it’s for four or five different items – a couple of Iron Heart things, a couple of Flat Head things. And the credit card was declined over and over again… and then it went through finally – and that triggers a fraud alert for us. So I’m looking at it and thinking – OK, it’s going to Paris, it’s going to Owenscorp – I don’t know what that is! It doesn’t have someone’s name on it… so I e-mail the person, I didn’t even put it together – Owenscorp. So I e-mail the person and she says, “oh it’s for Rick – he wants these things, sorry if the credit card didn’t go through – he just wants it sent to his studio. And I’m thinking, “holy s—-, this is Rick Owens.” It’s his assistant e-mailing me! …
A year goes by and I get an e-mail from the woman at his studio – “Rick lost his favorite flannel [shirt].” It was a red buffalo check from Iron Heart. “Please send another one and charge us.” Well, that was a year before and we didn’t have that flannel anymore. But then I looked and in New York or somewhere, we had it in blue. So I e-mailed her and said, “well, we have it in blue” – and she replied, “no worries, mail it. We’ll dye it.” And that was the end of it. We sent it to her and never heard back. But I thought, “dye it? You can’t dye a buffalo check flannel.” But then I was thinking, “I’m not arguing with Rick Owens.” Maybe Rick Owens has this crazy-ass way of dyeing. It’s a blue and black flannel, how are you going to make it red and black? You can’t, it’s impossible!

The rest of the interview is worth reading, too. Kiya gives one of the best explanations I’ve heard of what differentiates Japanese denim lines and why he chooses to carry the lines he does.
-Pete

I mentioned Rick Owens in my post yesterday, and needless to say a guy who consistently designs intentionally overlong, body-hugging clothing is not someone I get the chance to mention a lot, but it gives me the excuse to link to this interview with Self Edge’s Kiya Babzani on The Crossfire, in which Kiya tells his Rick Owens story.

…we got an order on the online store a couple of years ago and it’s for four or five different items – a couple of Iron Heart things, a couple of Flat Head things. And the credit card was declined over and over again… and then it went through finally – and that triggers a fraud alert for us. So I’m looking at it and thinking – OK, it’s going to Paris, it’s going to Owenscorp – I don’t know what that is! It doesn’t have someone’s name on it… so I e-mail the person, I didn’t even put it together – Owenscorp. So I e-mail the person and she says, “oh it’s for Rick – he wants these things, sorry if the credit card didn’t go through – he just wants it sent to his studio. And I’m thinking, “holy s—-, this is Rick Owens.” It’s his assistant e-mailing me! …

A year goes by and I get an e-mail from the woman at his studio – “Rick lost his favorite flannel [shirt].” It was a red buffalo check from Iron Heart. “Please send another one and charge us.” Well, that was a year before and we didn’t have that flannel anymore. But then I looked and in New York or somewhere, we had it in blue. So I e-mailed her and said, “well, we have it in blue” – and she replied, “no worries, mail it. We’ll dye it.” And that was the end of it. We sent it to her and never heard back. But I thought, “dye it? You can’t dye a buffalo check flannel.” But then I was thinking, “I’m not arguing with Rick Owens.” Maybe Rick Owens has this crazy-ass way of dyeing. It’s a blue and black flannel, how are you going to make it red and black? You can’t, it’s impossible!

The rest of the interview is worth reading, too. Kiya gives one of the best explanations I’ve heard of what differentiates Japanese denim lines and why he chooses to carry the lines he does.

-Pete

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.