Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Innovation makes menswear go 'round" a wise man once said. I heard it. I was there. Who innovates menswear? College bros, that's who. Visors? Some bro needed to keep from getting hat hair while, at the same time, shade his eyes. Truly, an invention of genius.

Surprisingly, there is an innovation in menswear still waiting for the bros to popularize and permeate into the mainstream. What it is, I am still getting to, but with all the style conscience bros out there, one would have thought that this trend would have already made its rounds to the department stores. Style conscience bros are usually wearing selvedge denim with faded knees because they on their knees all the time (because they're beer bonging... what did you think they were doing?), but like any body else, they gotta' mix it up. Cargo pants are the obvious choice, with all the pockets to carry stuff, and they are popular on campuses. Companies have been producing many high quality cargo pants that have been missing a necessary feature: the butt-chugging fly.


When butt-chugging, no true gentleman should have to remove their pants, so why not make a fly for the funnel? It's perfect. Can't wait to see this in stores F/W 2012.

Photo originally from Mark McChuggin

Parting thoughts: Sequel? What is this, a Harry Potter fan-fic site?

Monday, March 21, 2011


2041. Harold sat in his office. He thumbed the edges of the envelope that he held in his hand. He sighed, held the envelope in his right hand, and thumbed the worn lapels of his bespoke jacket with his left. "Well, it was a good run. No reason to whine" he sat and thought. His equipment in his office was outdated. Actually, the whole office was outdated: Macbooks from 2023 and polyeurethane chairs from some heritage movement 22 or 23 years ago. The MensWear Approval Committee (MWAC) had been formed in 2012 to give unemployed menswear bloggers a job in tough times. Can't be bespoke and flip burgers, it doesn't work; Harold knew first hand. Unfortunately, MWAC never really held any power. Washington could expand the bureaucracy but they couldn't enforce something like tasteful dressing. MWAC merely made recommendations to other men for decades. MWAC employees scoured public cameras, sending vocal messages through a megaphone system across America. Messages of "don't wear that with that!" and "Sneakers and suits? What do you think this is, GQ?" were doled out daily. Harold remembered a time when his superiors wished for so much more. Fueled with divine right and a Rand-ian fervor, his superiors had fought tooth and claw to get some sort of legal power. "Charge that man for wearing out of proportion boots!" they would scream. Washington threw their reports in with the National Park Service reports. The only real reason MWAC was around was to expand bureaucracy. Washington enjoyed that sort of thing.

MWAC paid well. It wasn't tax dollars that fueled his salary, it was loans from China. Or it was, until China decided that US was unlikely to pay those back. China cut their losses and invested elsewhere. Other developing countries tried their hand at buying US debt but it never turned out well. But Harold still got paid. He could afford domestic goods and the like. Hong Kong tailors? Out of the question 20 years ago and even more so now. Harold had to make do with what was made in the US. Harold remembered a time when MWAC actually did help men dress better. It was back when Americans still made a wage comparable to China. Now everything was domestic except for t-shirts. They made those in Somalia.

Not that men needed anyone telling them how to dress anymore. It hardly mattered with man's current status. Harold's wife was a nice lady. A stout traditionalist. She didn't believe in abandoning the male species, she took care of Harold, and she understood how things used to be. Still, there were many men who had no spouse, lived off the streets, and scraped to get by. Men never went to college any more. The smart ones went to technical school to fix cars and the like. Women didn't like to fix the plumbing or lay flooring. Offices jobs? Forget it. Fewer men had been enrolled in college than women for years. With female economic 'independence', few women needed to take on a spouse. Make some kids, then toss 'dad out the door. He'd probably just become a drunk anyway. No need to expose the kids to that. MWAC really did nothing. No reason for them to yak at Joe Schmo for wearing square toes. They probably kept his toes warm in the winter and he wasn't getting wedded anytime soon. Well it had been coming to man. Didn't Thomas Jefferson say something like, "Man was made to carry others on his back like a horse"? Maybe not, he had read it off some tumblr was back in the day and they tended to be unreliable.

Harold opened the envelope and read. He was fired. So was everyone else. It had finally happened, they were getting rid of MWAC as part of government cuts. He sat back in his chair. It was 20th century and well-made in the USA. He could finally go home. He would sit on his porch with other well suited men, drink whiskey, and hope the world would forget about him. Hopefully his liver would give out before his wife's patience did. No one cared about the MWAC anymore. No one cared about men anymore. Maybe men would get a second chance in some heritage revival, but Harold doubted it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SeaVees: The Tragedy?

As brands revamp their lines to meet consumers interest in 'heritage' and the like, some will miss the boat as their impressions of what their consumers want. Given the amount of times I've seen SeaVees with the label, 'on sale', and the cold shoulder from the blogging community, I think it's reasonable for me to say that SeaVees is one of these brands. Sort of like a washed up salesman who does not understand a new trend, SeaVees attempted to re-invent themselves and created product that few want. SeaVees products don't remind me of the business class from days by gone, they remind me of sneaker hybrids that have been shunned as of late.


First, we've got the basic white sneaker. JCrew stocked these in the past, but this spring we haven't seen them yet on the web. If I were more obnoxious, pretentious, and ill-informed, I'd call these "iconic". Unfortunately, so are all white sneakers. Where a brand like Alden can sell their shoes based on quality, and sneaker brand has to find a good blend of quality and price. Converse and Vans have found their sweet spots, so more than $60 is too much to charge for a canvas sneaker. SeaVees have better quality? That's debatable, plus, unlike a wingtip or a penny loafter (or, erm, a tassle loafer), nobody buys white sneakers to last them 20 years. Give them 2-3 years and then they're cast away like a Disney star that hasn't learned to juggle their movie career and their cocaine addiction at the same time.


Too much stitching and too much suck. Looks like they were made in Malaysia for Gap's in-house shoe line.


Obviously a Wallabee knock-off, these should do well, right? They look more stable and lighter than the Walla' low boot. That is, until you consider the mark up. And, if you look real close, the sole continues up the heel. Dumb as hell? Dumb as hell.


Yep, that's their interpretation of a chelsea boot. If you haven't figured it out, SeaVees, like Detroit of a few years ago, just takes old cars, puts some crap on them to make them look new, and sells them to the public. Or if that simile doesn't satisfy you, they rape the classics and have some babies that are traumatized for life.


Ok, this one isn't bad. It's a desert boot that stands fairly true compared to the classics. But it doesn't stand true to the classic $100 price point. Also, you can tell the sole isn't real crepe, which would make critics cringe. You don't have to be an expert to know that the rubber sole cheapens the look. That won't win you any battles... times your mom.


Here we are, the only boot that SeaVees offers that I think may deserve consideration for any guy. Though, to consider it, you have to hate the bean boot and the LL Bean return policy (which is impossible) and you have to do a whole lot of sloshing around. Spend much time wading around in the mud, digging for shellfish? Plus the whole completely rubber boot thing gives off more of a 'lesbian fisherwoman' vibe than a masculine 'I'm all about America and the Adirondacks' vibe.

So what made SeaVees miss the target? It looks like they were under the impression that streetwear guys converting from sneakers to wingtips would need some help bridging the ravine. SeaVees made a bunch of sneaker hybrids that they thought would win them sneakerheads who couldn't dig wingtips. It turns out that those sneakerheads could dig wingtips. So now SeaVees is producing shoes that look like sneaker hybrids for business casual. Count me out. JCrew carried a number of SeaVees for the last few seasons, but this season has less. I'm sure you've perused the sale sections. I don't know about you, but I saw a number of SeaVees. SeaVees attempted to create a 'heritage' but missed with the execution and the price point. Guys want "classics" but SeaVees hasn't been able to deliver.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Relative vs. Set Taste

This debate has been floating around for a bit. It deserves a bit of light, a bit of mediation, and a few more people to participate to fully grow into something. I'm going to say straight off the bat, I don't think style is relative. It can be defined and it is not dependent on the beholder. Would you not agree that a good artist is someone who effectively conveys his message though some medium? If I wanted my picture to convey a message of violence and everyone sees it as sadness, then I am not an effective artist. If you aim to dress well but everyone sees it as slobby, then you failed to convey the message that you are a well dressed person. I could continue, but others have walked these paths.

Jon Moy presents the argument for relative, though is by no means, a complete relativist.

Die, Workwear! presents a piece arguing for a set taste as he is arguing that style is not relative.

It should be noted that both authors are not black and white on this issue (based off their other written pieces), and that this issue is not black and white either.