Splurging on Outerwear and Knitwear

The centerpiece of almost any ensemble tends to be outermost layer. It’s what people see most easily, and what covers up everything else underneath. Which means, if you splurge on outerwear and knitwear, you can often get away with spending little on everything else. 

In the above, my white tees above are from Hanes, which cost $12 a piece, but you can sometimes find them on sale for as little as $2. The shirts are from Ascot Chang, which are admittedly pricey, but you can get good casual shirts at Brooks Brothers for about $50 on sale. For something more affordable, look into Uniqlo or J. Crew. They’ll often have shirts on sale for $25 to $40.

The jeans above are from 3sixteen. I bought them on sale for $125 five years ago, when they retailed for $175. They’re now $225. I think they’re still worth the price, but for a more affordable alternative, try our advertiser Gustin. They have raw, selvedge denim jeans starting at $89.

Next, for shoes, I think it’s worth splurging for a pair of boots. The above are shell cordovan cap toe boots from Brooks Brothers, but you could just as easily swap these out for a pair of calf leather chukkas or bluchers, depending on your style. You can get those new through Meermin for $200 or as little as $125 if you’re willing to go second hand on eBay. For something more affordable, try a simple pair of sneakers. For $70, you can get the German Army Trainers Jesse talked about. For $45, you can get Chuck Taylors at ShoeBuy (where they’re almost always on sale). 

After that, there’s just outerwear and knitwear. If you can’t afford to spend on both, then cut back on sweaters. The grey sweatshirt above is one of my most versatile knits, and it cost me $30 on clearance at J. Crew. Sure, it doesn’t keep its shape as well as more expensive sweatshirts, but a quick wash and dry after every wear solves that problem. This takes a bit of the luster out of the cotton, but sweatshirts look good worn-in anyway. As usual, if you can’t afford to get things made from fine materials, then get things that look better beat-up.

Spending little on everything else can make you feel less guilty about splurging where it counts. For fall, this mostly means outerwear and knitwear.

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.

Q & Answer: What Clothes Can You Wear for Running?
Michael asks: I saw in your post about activity trackers that you run. Do you have any suggestions for good running clothes? 
There’s a joke about how runners only wear special clothes so that people don’t think they’re running from or to anything. A bit tongue in cheek, but it’s true. Outside of needing running shoes (which you should be professionally fitted for), you can more or less run in anything. Which, frankly, is what makes running so great.   
If you’re OK with spending a little more money, then I’d suggest the following.
If you run at night, get reflective snap bands. They can potentially save your life. Nike and Ovadia & Sons also have some cool looking reflective jackets, but they’re expensive. Brooks has their Nitelife collection, which is more affordable, but slightly dorky looking.
Get running socks, which will wick sweat away. Cotton socks absorb sweat, which can give you blisters.
Depending on how hot your summers get, you may want to consider lined running shorts. Wear them with compression shorts if you need to reduce chaffing, or if you want to add a layer of warmth during the cooler spring and fall seasons.  
Synthetic shirts are ideal, as they’ll help wick sweat away. Cotton t-shirts on the other hand, will only hold sweat, which will make you feel clammy and gross.
If you plan to run in the snow, make some screw shoes. Be careful, however. If the roads are icy, you’re best off staying in or running at the gym. Slipping and spraining your ankle a few miles from home is a bad, bad situation.
Depending on how cold your winters get, consider wool beanies and gloves. Baselayers are also useful, but again – avoid cotton, as it’ll hold sweat and possibly give you hypothermia. Instead, get wool or some kind of synthetic material that will wick sweat away.
A lightweight nylon jacket is useful for rainy days, but otherwise, I find they kind of get in the way.
I assume GPS watches are useful, but I’ve never used one.  
As for where to get some gear, I really like Nike, which you can find on discount at Nike’s outlets, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. Iffley Road also seems really nice, although expensive. For something more affordable, check out C9 by Champion at Target, Under Armour, and the Airism and Heattech lines at Uniqlo. Dependable brands such as Saucony, Brooks, Adidas, and Hind are also worth looking into, as are general running sites such as Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports. In addition, Track Smith is a new “Ivy inspired” line, although their clothes look like they’re more geared towards style than performance. 
Personally, I wear Nike Miler Dri-Fit tees with Gyakusou running pants on most days. Gyakusou is a collaboration line between Nike and Jun Takahashi (the designer behind Undercover). The more recent collections look a bit funky, but you can find older seasons on eBay (and at cheaper prices). Gyakusou’s clothes are really slim fitting, however, so be sure to size up. For baselayers, I wear Nike Pro Combats; for gloves, I wear Smartwool; and for shoes, I wear Flyknit Lunars. Other than that, I take a single house key and my Nike Fuelband, the second of which I use to time my laps. 

Q & Answer: What Clothes Can You Wear for Running?

Michael asks: I saw in your post about activity trackers that you run. Do you have any suggestions for good running clothes? 

There’s a joke about how runners only wear special clothes so that people don’t think they’re running from or to anything. A bit tongue in cheek, but it’s true. Outside of needing running shoes (which you should be professionally fitted for), you can more or less run in anything. Which, frankly, is what makes running so great.   

If you’re OK with spending a little more money, then I’d suggest the following.

  • If you run at night, get reflective snap bands. They can potentially save your life. Nike and Ovadia & Sons also have some cool looking reflective jackets, but they’re expensive. Brooks has their Nitelife collection, which is more affordable, but slightly dorky looking.
  • Get running socks, which will wick sweat away. Cotton socks absorb sweat, which can give you blisters.
  • Depending on how hot your summers get, you may want to consider lined running shorts. Wear them with compression shorts if you need to reduce chaffing, or if you want to add a layer of warmth during the cooler spring and fall seasons.  
  • Synthetic shirts are ideal, as they’ll help wick sweat away. Cotton t-shirts on the other hand, will only hold sweat, which will make you feel clammy and gross.
  • If you plan to run in the snow, make some screw shoes. Be careful, however. If the roads are icy, you’re best off staying in or running at the gym. Slipping and spraining your ankle a few miles from home is a bad, bad situation.
  • Depending on how cold your winters get, consider wool beanies and gloves. Baselayers are also useful, but again – avoid cotton, as it’ll hold sweat and possibly give you hypothermia. Instead, get wool or some kind of synthetic material that will wick sweat away.
  • A lightweight nylon jacket is useful for rainy days, but otherwise, I find they kind of get in the way.
  • I assume GPS watches are useful, but I’ve never used one.  

As for where to get some gear, I really like Nike, which you can find on discount at Nike’s outletsMarshall’s and TJ Maxx. Iffley Road also seems really nice, although expensive. For something more affordable, check out C9 by Champion at Target, Under Armour, and the Airism and Heattech lines at Uniqlo. Dependable brands such as Saucony, Brooks, Adidas, and Hind are also worth looking into, as are general running sites such as Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports. In addition, Track Smith is a new “Ivy inspired” line, although their clothes look like they’re more geared towards style than performance. 

Personally, I wear Nike Miler Dri-Fit tees with Gyakusou running pants on most days. Gyakusou is a collaboration line between Nike and Jun Takahashi (the designer behind Undercover). The more recent collections look a bit funky, but you can find older seasons on eBay (and at cheaper prices). Gyakusou’s clothes are really slim fitting, however, so be sure to size up. For baselayers, I wear Nike Pro Combats; for gloves, I wear Smartwool; and for shoes, I wear Flyknit Lunars. Other than that, I take a single house key and my Nike Fuelband, the second of which I use to time my laps. 

Uniqlo Fits Short, Slim People … For Now
PRI reports that Uniqlo’s expansion into the US hasn’t been very successful, partly because Americans are having a difficult time fitting into clothes originally sized for the Japanese market. An excerpt: 

And Uniqlo’s US operations aren’t doing so well. They have more than 25 stores on both coasts and they’re collectively losing money for the company. One of their biggest challenges in breaking into the US mainstream market is sizing.
Yuya Tanahashi, Uniqlo’s Boston area manager, calls it an ongoing struggle for the brand. “We are actually analyzing every year about the fit,” he says. 
Basically, they’re checking sales data in each of their stores around the world, including here in Boston. “We’re going to try to find the best fit for the Boston customers as well by analyzing what items sell and what sizes sell,” Tanahashi says.
Uniqlo is looking into changing the sizes they offer in the US. In their words, they’re figuring out how to provide “a more ‘3D’ fit” for American shoppers.
So all those glorious form-flattering Smalls in the Boston store? They may not be small for long. But Tanahashi did offer me this: “We have kids line as well, and many adults actually purchase [clothes from the] kids line, meaning the boys and the girls style. So I would try to recommend the girls style as well.”

You can read the rest here. 

Uniqlo Fits Short, Slim People … For Now

PRI reports that Uniqlo’s expansion into the US hasn’t been very successful, partly because Americans are having a difficult time fitting into clothes originally sized for the Japanese market. An excerpt: 

And Uniqlo’s US operations aren’t doing so well. They have more than 25 stores on both coasts and they’re collectively losing money for the company. One of their biggest challenges in breaking into the US mainstream market is sizing.

Yuya Tanahashi, Uniqlo’s Boston area manager, calls it an ongoing struggle for the brand. “We are actually analyzing every year about the fit,” he says. 

Basically, they’re checking sales data in each of their stores around the world, including here in Boston. We’re going to try to find the best fit for the Boston customers as well by analyzing what items sell and what sizes sell,” Tanahashi says.

Uniqlo is looking into changing the sizes they offer in the US. In their words, they’re figuring out how to provide “a more ‘3D’ fit” for American shoppers.

So all those glorious form-flattering Smalls in the Boston store? They may not be small for long. But Tanahashi did offer me this: “We have kids line as well, and many adults actually purchase [clothes from the] kids line, meaning the boys and the girls style. So I would try to recommend the girls style as well.”

You can read the rest here

Real People: The Endurance of Prep

Prep style is a little like ska music (bear with me). Although it’s never really gone, every decade or so it creeps into the culture, and everybody’s into it, then, once it recedes back into the world of niche enthusiasts, we’re all a little embarrassed by how much we dug it. “That pink sweater/trombone? Yeah, it’s in the back of the closet.”

Prep influence has been ebbing in menswear for the last few years, largely in favor of more European references, but like good ska (if you’re willing to admit there is such a thing—I recommend Hepcat), good prep endures. Eric, who posts at Acute Style, does a fantastic job with clothing rooted in the prep tradition without descending into RL Rugby caricature (RIP) or fetishization. Blue blazers (3 roll 2), madras, repp ties, and seersucker; tassel loafers and classic Allen Edmonds oxfords (bit loafers, too; perhaps surprisingly, bit loafers made it into the original Preppy Handbook). Trousers are almost universally cotton, flat front, and cuffed. Eric wears his clothes a little trimmer than might be classically preppy, but the proportions are not overly cropped or boyish. I tend to roll my eyes a little at paeans to “timeless style,” but in my eyes, this is it. It’s enough to encourage me to break out some madras ties and a Skatalites record.

Maybe the best part is that Eric endeavors to build his wardrobe on a reasonable budget, reflecting some old school Yankee thrift. Vintage pieces, Uniqlo, L.L. Bean, and Lands End outnumber the pricier J. Press and Brooks Brothers pieces, for the most part, with accessories from upstarts like The Knottery and Cordial Churchman.

-Pete

Five Great Things That Come With A Leather Jacket
I wear sport coats most days of the week, but for the last two years or so, I’ve been breaking it up a bit with leather jackets. In that time, I’ve found leather jackets to have some nice advantages over tailored clothing. 
Shirts
Paul Newman looks great above in his button-up shirt, but for me, a leather jacket really calls for a t-shirt. The good news is that t-shirts can be had for not too much money. Jesse sells Alternative Apparel ones every summer at a wholesale price. They’re soft, finely knitted, and somewhat stretchy. I wear Hanes Beefy Tees myself, which are more stout. I’ve also heard good things about Uniqlo’s t-shirts, although I’ve never tried them.
All of these can be had for less than ten bucks a piece, which means you can get a whole week’s worth for less than the price of a good dress shirt.
Pants
Similarly, jeans can be had for much less than wool trousers. Unbranded and our advertiser Gustin get regularly recommended in the denim community, and they sell raw, selvedge denim options for about $85 a pair. APC New Standards retail for $185, but can sometimes be found on sale. 
The upside to jeans isn’t just their price, however. It’s the material. Denim is an exceptionally tough fabric and can take a lot of abuse. Some guys wear their jeans every day for two years before retiring them. Do that to a pair of grey flannel trousers and they’ll disintegrate in a few months.
Shoes
Shoes are a bit more tricky. With a heavy horsehide or cowhide jacket, you might need something like a chunky boot. With a lighter lambskin or goatskin jacket, however, you can wear canvas sneakers. I often wear this jacket, for example, with white Chuck Taylor high tops, which I bought for $50. There’s no good dress shoe that retails for $50.
Fit
There are few things that can smarten you up more than a sport coat or suit, but they are admittedly difficult to fit. This might be because of their construction: the shoulder pads, wadding, canvassing, haircloth, etc. Add to that the stylistic details (width of the lapel, shape of the quarters, pitch of the arm, height of the gorge, etc.), and you can see how complicated a tailored jacket can get.
On the other hand, leather jackets (and everything that goes with them) have a lot more wiggle room. It’s OK if your jacket doesn’t look like it was perfectly tailored and if your jeans aren’t hemmed to a perfect shivering break. In fact, they shouldn’t look like that anyway. 
Care
Finally, it’s nice to not have to iron a shirt before you go out, worry about whether a dry cleaner will ruin your jacket, or care if some food drips onto your clothes. Everything above – the t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, and jacket – is meant to be worn and beat up. Some items (such as the jeans and sneakers) look better after they’ve been worn in. Others (such as the t-shirt) are cheap enough to easily replace.
Granted, the leather jacket itself can be pretty expensive. You’re either going to spend a lot of money for a new one, or a lot of time searching for something used. On the upside, once you find one you like, there are five great things that come with it. 

Five Great Things That Come With A Leather Jacket

I wear sport coats most days of the week, but for the last two years or so, I’ve been breaking it up a bit with leather jackets. In that time, I’ve found leather jackets to have some nice advantages over tailored clothing. 

Shirts

Paul Newman looks great above in his button-up shirt, but for me, a leather jacket really calls for a t-shirt. The good news is that t-shirts can be had for not too much money. Jesse sells Alternative Apparel ones every summer at a wholesale price. They’re soft, finely knitted, and somewhat stretchy. I wear Hanes Beefy Tees myself, which are more stout. I’ve also heard good things about Uniqlo’s t-shirts, although I’ve never tried them.

All of these can be had for less than ten bucks a piece, which means you can get a whole week’s worth for less than the price of a good dress shirt.

Pants

Similarly, jeans can be had for much less than wool trousers. Unbranded and our advertiser Gustin get regularly recommended in the denim community, and they sell raw, selvedge denim options for about $85 a pair. APC New Standards retail for $185, but can sometimes be found on sale. 

The upside to jeans isn’t just their price, however. It’s the material. Denim is an exceptionally tough fabric and can take a lot of abuse. Some guys wear their jeans every day for two years before retiring them. Do that to a pair of grey flannel trousers and they’ll disintegrate in a few months.

Shoes

Shoes are a bit more tricky. With a heavy horsehide or cowhide jacket, you might need something like a chunky boot. With a lighter lambskin or goatskin jacket, however, you can wear canvas sneakers. I often wear this jacket, for example, with white Chuck Taylor high tops, which I bought for $50. There’s no good dress shoe that retails for $50.

Fit

There are few things that can smarten you up more than a sport coat or suit, but they are admittedly difficult to fit. This might be because of their construction: the shoulder pads, wadding, canvassing, haircloth, etc. Add to that the stylistic details (width of the lapel, shape of the quarters, pitch of the arm, height of the gorge, etc.), and you can see how complicated a tailored jacket can get.

On the other hand, leather jackets (and everything that goes with them) have a lot more wiggle room. It’s OK if your jacket doesn’t look like it was perfectly tailored and if your jeans aren’t hemmed to a perfect shivering break. In fact, they shouldn’t look like that anyway. 

Care

Finally, it’s nice to not have to iron a shirt before you go out, worry about whether a dry cleaner will ruin your jacket, or care if some food drips onto your clothes. Everything above – the t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, and jacket – is meant to be worn and beat up. Some items (such as the jeans and sneakers) look better after they’ve been worn in. Others (such as the t-shirt) are cheap enough to easily replace.

Granted, the leather jacket itself can be pretty expensive. You’re either going to spend a lot of money for a new one, or a lot of time searching for something used. On the upside, once you find one you like, there are five great things that come with it. 

Real People: Intent vs. Practice

Nearly every piece of clothing we own was designed as part of someone’s vision, whether that vision was personal or creative or focus-grouped for impact on the mass market; prep pastiche, minimalist performance, louche Italian cafewear, what have you. Those visions are are articulated through runway shows, catalog photography, in-store merchandising, astroturf marketing; whatever. It’s tempting to buy into these visions entirely, and acquire a lot of one line (or vintage era, or subcultural dress code) in order to be coherent. These unified worldviews can also be intimidating, sometimes intentionally so, implying that a certain level of commitment is required to wear, for example, a designer leather jacket.

I think that’s unrealistic and ridiculous.

Brian in DC provides a good example of building a coherent wardrobe from seemingly disparate sources. He wears some relatively accessible basics (like Uniqlo and Steven Alan), with more unusual, special items, like his Rick Owens leather jacket or a wool Veronique Branquinho coat (Branquinho’s label hasn’t made menswear in a few years). He doesn’t shy away from heritage-influenced brands either, like Nigel Cabourn or Folk. Runway shows don’t usually say “comfortably understated” to me, but Brian’s photos do. It helps that Brian seems to know what he likes: quiet colors, refined fabrics, mixed textures, and fitted but not tight silhouettes. The outfits pictured above are a template for modern casual wear, and Brian’s approach of finding what works for him from perhaps unexpected sources is a model for filling and refreshing your closet.

-Pete

Staying Warm at Home
I recently moved into a new apartment, and like most homes in the Bay Area, the insulation is terrible. Heat leaks through the windows and drafts come in from under the doors. It doesn’t get too cold here in the Bay, but it can get pretty dang chilly.
Rather than run my heating bill up, I often just rely on some simple at-home layering. Wool long johns can be put underneath a pair of pajamas to give some extra warmth, and a wool sweater can be thrown over whatever else I might wear at home. My favorite long johns are by Smartwool, who produces them in both light- and mid-weights (I prefer the latter). You can usually find them on sale at Camp Mor, Sierra Trading Post, or REI. Icebreakers is also pretty nice, though from my experience less warm than Smartwool, and I’ve heard good things about Uniqlo’s Heattech.
For sweaters, cashmere is obviously the warmest, but unless you’re going second-hand, the good stuff can be exorbitantly expensive. Cotton is pretty useless since it doesn’t retain heat all that well. Best, I think, are really thick sweaters made from lambswool or merino, which will have the kind of loft necessary to keep you comfortable. I personally wear a chunky, 6-ply lambswool cardigan from Ovadia and Sons (they’re having a sale right now, but sadly this season’s cardigan is not included). There similar pieces by Scott & Charters, Ben Silver, O’Connell’s, and Inverallan (the last of which Pete recently wrote about). Of course, you don’t have to wear a cardigan. Any style will do, so long as the sweater is thick.
In the mornings, I usually wear a pair of long johns and some pajamas, but once I come home at night, I’m usually in a pair of jeans, some at-home slippers, a button up shirt, and my chunky cardigan. It’s cheaper in the long-run than running the heater, more environmentally friendly, and frankly a good excuse to buy nice clothing.
And for those of us with significant others, sometimes excuses are necessary. 

Staying Warm at Home

I recently moved into a new apartment, and like most homes in the Bay Area, the insulation is terrible. Heat leaks through the windows and drafts come in from under the doors. It doesn’t get too cold here in the Bay, but it can get pretty dang chilly.

Rather than run my heating bill up, I often just rely on some simple at-home layering. Wool long johns can be put underneath a pair of pajamas to give some extra warmth, and a wool sweater can be thrown over whatever else I might wear at home. My favorite long johns are by Smartwool, who produces them in both light- and mid-weights (I prefer the latter). You can usually find them on sale at Camp MorSierra Trading Post, or REI. Icebreakers is also pretty nice, though from my experience less warm than Smartwool, and I’ve heard good things about Uniqlo’s Heattech.

For sweaters, cashmere is obviously the warmest, but unless you’re going second-hand, the good stuff can be exorbitantly expensive. Cotton is pretty useless since it doesn’t retain heat all that well. Best, I think, are really thick sweaters made from lambswool or merino, which will have the kind of loft necessary to keep you comfortable. I personally wear a chunky, 6-ply lambswool cardigan from Ovadia and Sons (they’re having a sale right now, but sadly this season’s cardigan is not included). There similar pieces by Scott & Charters, Ben Silver, O’Connell’s, and Inverallan (the last of which Pete recently wrote about). Of course, you don’t have to wear a cardigan. Any style will do, so long as the sweater is thick.

In the mornings, I usually wear a pair of long johns and some pajamas, but once I come home at night, I’m usually in a pair of jeans, some at-home slippers, a button up shirt, and my chunky cardigan. It’s cheaper in the long-run than running the heater, more environmentally friendly, and frankly a good excuse to buy nice clothing.

And for those of us with significant others, sometimes excuses are necessary. 

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. 

Lunch with the FT eats with Tadashi Yanai, owner of Fast Retailing and Uniqlo. It’s a slightly surprising interview in which both the FT editor, David Pilling, and Yanai are uncommonly frank. They discuss labor practices, Uniqlo’s potentially self-dectructive ubiquity, and globalization. 
“‘Some European people tend to believe that these labourers are being exploited and deprived of their human rights and that, therefore, what they need is a strong union,’ he says, waving away imaginary agitators. ‘But in my opinion, unless each one of those labourers and all the people in Bangladesh can stand on their own feet they will have no future.’”
-Pete

Lunch with the FT eats with Tadashi Yanai, owner of Fast Retailing and Uniqlo. It’s a slightly surprising interview in which both the FT editor, David Pilling, and Yanai are uncommonly frank. They discuss labor practices, Uniqlo’s potentially self-dectructive ubiquity, and globalization.

“‘Some European people tend to believe that these labourers are being exploited and deprived of their human rights and that, therefore, what they need is a strong union,’ he says, waving away imaginary agitators. ‘But in my opinion, unless each one of those labourers and all the people in Bangladesh can stand on their own feet they will have no future.’”

-Pete