|Jury's out on what this pose means|
So I took a chance during the last East Dane sale and picked up Canadian brand Naked and Famous' Kimono Selvedge Chambray Shirt, a noragi-inspired overshirt N&F have been putting out for a few seasons. I've spent quite some time now with it, and I think I've come to a point where I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would.
A closer look below.
A closer look below.
Materials and Construction
Naked and Famous produces its kimono shirt in various fabrics like printed patterned cotton, a selvedge lyocell/cotton denim, and the selvedge chambray reviewed here. Chambray is a plain woven fabric consisting of a colored warp thread and a white weft, as opposed to denim which also uses a warp/weft but is woven in a twill construction (the warp thread passes over two threads in the weft before going under the next one. That's why the underside of jeans are whiter than the outer surface). This fabric is a beautiful slubby steel grey/blue selvedge chambray of medium weight, though certainly on the lighter side as an outerwear piece compared to a standard denim jacket or a heavier flannel. In low light it reads as a charcoal grey/blue but brightens up considerably into a lighter grey in brighter conditions.
The shirt is minimally designed with long sweeping clean lines. The sleeves have been slimmed down to modern western proportions finished plainly without cuffs, and the stitched placket is fastened with simple ties, though I've found they can be tucked into a small loop stitched on the backside of the fabric to be more hidden when wearing the shirt open.
Sizing, Fit, and Styling
|After wash/dry. Also pictured: Sweater - Barbour, Shirt - Wolf vs Goat, Belt - Don't Mourn, Pants - Rag & Bone|
I've split this into two separate sections as I think the garment fits and drapes notably different enough before and after laundering.
I'm ~ 5'11" and 155 lbs after a morning pee and a satisfying deuce, and I normally wear a 36 to 38R in most suiting and a small in most US standard shirting sizes. East Dane's site suggested taking my normal size, though I've also seen other sites like Tate and Yoko state that recommend sizing down. I went with a small (no XS available anyway).
Tate and Yoko are closer to the mark by modern standards if you're used to slim-fitting clothes. Fresh out, the shirt fits over a tee or an oxford cloth shirt easily with room to spare in both volume and sleeve length. It's not terribly blousey, nor would I say it's clearly oversized, but those hoping for what most would consider a comparable S/M/L fit these days - even over another shirt - should consider sizing down.
From a design standpoint, the one thing I would like to have is some sort cuff opening as it otherwise may limit your ability to roll up the sleeves more than a couple turns. Keep in mind, I have the type of forearms some might describe as "dainty" or "like those of a malnourished child," so it's not like I'm bursting out of most shirt sleeves. On the contrary, I definitely skipped arm day (and leg day. And...whatever other days there are).
Though the chambray itself feels rugged, I also found on the whole it seems to drape and wear more gracefully than I would want as an overshirt - almost delicately, I think, due to the minimal design and more relaxed fit. In that sense, I think it pairs best with more of a streetwear style and/or a simple plain tee, which is how I've seen most fit pictures online.
|Also pictured: Jeans - Neuw Denim, Shirt - H&M|
I couldn't tell at first if it was the fit or the fact that I wasn't used to wearing something in this style that I didn't immediately love the look. Upon thinking about it more and wearing it a few days, I noticed inside at the care tag it said that washing results in 8-10% shrinkage and to make sure to hang dry after washing. I decided to see what it would be like after a quick wash/dry to see if I could achieve a better fit by slimming it down a touch.
|Left - Before, Right - After|
|Left - Before, Right - After|
|Also pictured: Sweater - Ralph Lauren Denim and Supply (I know, right?)|
The updated silhouette and more textured appearance also lend themselves better to fitting in with my wardrobe, almost like a shirt cardigan. Though the "after" pics show it worn over a similarly toned chambray shirt, the piece really blends in better with outfits on the whole without reading as distractingly foreign.
|Also pictured: Sweater - Banana Republic Heritage|
Impressions and Value
|Also pictured: Shirt - Alex Mill|
It's easy to compare an oxford button-down to another oxford button-down - you know what it's supposed to look like, what higher quality buttons are made of, the differences in construction, etc. So from a strictly materials and construction standpoint, I think Naked and Famous' construction is good, as usual, and their selvedge chambray is great. That's not really a surprise, given the brand focuses on quality textiles probably more than anything. But when it comes to judging value in an item like a noragi shirt, the frame of reference for design is lacking, at least in this hemisphere. Similar to some avant garde higher fashion, there's just less to compare to, and that's where design aesthetic weighs more heavily into what constitutes value. I will say that of all the brands making noragi style shirts/jackets, Naked and Famous' kimono shirt is one of the cheapest, especially on sale.
The only way you can really learn what works and what doesn't is to go out and try new things a little outside your comfort zone from time to time. There's really no substitute for that, even taking into account how deep the ocean of information available on the internet is. Sometimes even if you've done your homework it doesn't work out at the end of the day, and that's okay. I've felt at times it can get a little stale in Americana-land (...err...America?), and finding things to incorporate into that style that are slightly left of that box has really been an enjoyable experience. In this case, I took a shot and I'm pretty happy with the results. If you're into street style and looking to pick up something like this, it's really a no brainer. But if you're like me and this may lie slightly outside your comfort zone, give it another look. You may be surprised at what you find.
- Japanese inspiration translated into approachable design
- Beautiful chambray fabric and solid construction
- Relatively affordable compared to competitors
- Potential sizing issues
- Not the most versatile piece
- If you're not careful, you're suddenly the Last Samurai or a Uniqlo employee