Saturday, July 23, 2016

Chamula Cancun - The Perfect Summer Sandals




This was originally supposed to be a first impressions post after I bought them myself, but then SuitSupply Outlet happened and I had to take myself out the game for the moment or else sell one of my kidneys. So now this is a feature on something I hope to own at some point in the future.

I've been half-obsessed this summer with finding a pair of huaraches, traditional Mexican footwear with simple woven leather uppers, ever since I saw a post on Put This On about them, but I was never able to find any that hit all the right buttons for me aesthetically. It's just that most tend to look stubby in a lot of pictures or like something The Dude from Big Lebowski would wear to a backyard BBQ, at worst. For that reason, my summer shoes have mostly been my old standby Rainbow sandals (that my puppy just chewed up) and some cheap espadrilles from Soludos, which have been fine but have never scratched any itches for me, if you know what I mean. Not like...in a dirty way, you deviants.

I almost gave up hope of finding some I liked until I ran across a couple reviews on reddit on some huaraches I hadn't seen before - the Cancun slip-ons from Chamula Original. More sleek than the average huarache and sporting a less common close-toed design, they hit the spot immediately...if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nomos Watches on Massdrop

Nomos Metro

I love watches, which is a horrible thing to be into if you're not independently wealthy (which I'm not). I just can't help it. And like many watch lovers, tiny details and seemingly minute things will either make a watch for me or ruin it entirely forever. When my in-laws (to be, at the time) offered to buy me a watch for my wedding a few years ago, it took months of research and obsessing to finally pick out the wathc I own today and love, my Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche .

Buying a watch in person can be a real pain in the goat, though. You go to an authorized dealer (AD), an associate sizes you up, you talk a little bit and they try and they figure out if you're really serious or not while giving a couple watches a test drive, trying to reflect while you feel their eyes watching you. At some point, they may try and gauge your interest and offer you a certain % off retail to draw you in. I always feel a little awkward accepting their business cards and having to act like I might nonchalantly walk in and drop $10,000 at first blush (or ever, honestly).

If you don't want to go through that process or are trying to get the best upfront price possible, this is where the grey market retailers come in. The term sounds shady, I know, but grey market shops sell genuine watches for larger discounted prices as a trade off for not qualifying for manufacturer's warranty. The most notable of these is probably Jomashop, which usually has some of the most rock-bottom prices out there. 

Well, lately I've been noticing group-buy specialist Massdrop has been on a roll with its watch selection, recently featuring the gorgeous Bauhaus classic Junghans Max Bill line to my surprise. Back in the day, one of my friends was telling me people were voting to get Nomos watches onto the site, and I said it would never happen. Well, I'm happy to say I was dead wrong. They're here and they're fantastic.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Suitsupply Outlet is BACK



Thought your wallet was safe today? Wrong.

Suitsupply Outlet is back, surprisingly ahead of expected schedule. Code is FIRSTACCESS, and if history is any indication of the present, things will move FAST. Be aware, everything is final sale, so read sizing carefully. For what it's worth, after the last one I saw things sold on eBay for over the outlet cost.

Link to the Online Outlet


I snapped up this wool hemp silk Merano DB coat in a brown herringbone weave. Yes, I know it's 95 degrees out today. Yes, I know about global warming. Yes, I know I might have a problem.

Go on. You deserve it. Just have ramen or something for dinner. For a while.

Friday, July 15, 2016

All Aboard the Hype Train - Jomers Impressions (MiUSA and MiHK)

Jomers Barstow Chino - Indigo Chambray
Trying to buy anything from Jomers feels like you're waiting outside Walmart on Black Friday morning for a Tickle Me Elmo, shoulder to shoulder with a thousand guys who really love Sesame Street. Prior to the scheduled release of any new Jomers product, hundreds of hopeful men plop themselves in front of their computers waiting for just a glimpse at some of the new fabrics posted through the company's Twitter account. As countdown approaches, a refresh frenzy starts on their new products page until, in one magical breathless moment, ten or so different chinos (or shorts, or tees, etc.) suddenly appear. The madness that ensues typically leaves the entire stock run through in seconds to minutes. In fact, the top comments on deal forums for Jomers alerts routinely include "if you're reading this, it's too late."

The amount of hype Jomers has been able to generate and maintain since their launch a few years ago is really something. In fact, it's been enough to keep me from buying anything from them for quite a while after giving it a moderate effort, setting an alarm a few times and coming back with nothing but an empty cart and a sour taste from the whole process. But as someone who loves interesting fabrics and prides himself on hunting out great value, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I had to see for myself if the juice was worth the aggravatingly difficult squeeze.

Jomers Shorts - Homespun Cotton
In May of this year, Jomers announced they were expanding their previously exclusive NYC-based manufacture to include facilities in Hong Kong for certain releases due to the inability to meet demand as the company continued to grow. Given that Jomers has prided themselves on being a MiUSA clothing company to this point, it was surprising to many, though they noted in an email to their customers that the only noticeable difference in the Chinese-made clothing would be a lower price - same standards, same fabrics, same construction. As it happens, the indigo chambray chinos I bought were made in HK. I didn't have any particular agenda at the outset about seeking out strictly the HK or USA-made clothing - they just happened to be in stock and I liked them. I also bought a pair of the shorts on a different drop in grey lightweight homespun cotton that were made in their Manhattan facilities, giving me the ability to compare the two side by side in an apples to apples comparison.

Design, Materials, and Construction



Jomers fabric preview
The entire philosophy for Jomers (pronounced like the name "Joe" plus "mers" - I asked) centers around the idea of producing high quality affordable menswear staples, starting initially with chinos and later expanding into wool trousers, shorts, tees, polos, belts, and suiting. In particular, they tend to use interesting and higher end textiles such as Indian madras, Kramerton army cloth, and Japanese chambrays, just to name a few, with prerelease product shots often comparing their garments against higher priced niche brands like Engineered Garments using the exact same fabrics. The homespun-style cotton used on the shorts I purchased, for example, were also used for an EG Bedford jacket in the past. On the chinos, the indigo chambray is a beautiful lightweight steel blue with a slightly coarse hand - my favorite of the two, and a perfect choice for warmer days.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dropping Anchor, and Judging Value Imperfectly

Anchor Graveyard - Portugal (Photo: Travel-in-Portugal.com)



I like to think I'm a sophisticated value hunter. I trend prices over time, I use page monitors to track changes on websites for stock and pricing adjustments, I search all corners of the web and the world looking for the absolute best buy for my money. When it comes to judging value, I also try to use a relatively discrete set of criteria to help me pin down what I think an item is really worth to me. I would wager that's more than 99% of the population cares to do, but there are still some ways merchandisers affect how you or I often perceive something should be priced, whether we are aware of it or not. One of the simplest and most powerful of these is anchoring.

Anchoring is a form of cognitive bias that occurs when an initial value (the "anchor") influences subsequent estimations towards it. For instance, the stereotypical used car salesman may set a price very high initially - this is the anchor. The perception of fair value in the eyes of the customer then relies in part on the anchor, and what is seen as a good price or good deal is relative to that initial price, even if it is still higher than the average price paid for that car.

In the clothing industry, the initial list price or manufacturer's suggested retail price sets an anchor on what you decide an item's worth to ultimately be, and by setting a higher number our minds naturally have a tendency to choose an acceptable price closer to that number. It doesn't correct the bias knowing that this is the case, either. In a number of experiments, anchoring still had an effect when subjects were told that anchoring would affect them as well as when a monetary incentive was introduced.

Anchoring has been shown to have a significant effect even when the numbers are obviously unrealistic. In one study, people were asked to estimate if Gandhi died before or after age 9, and before or after age 140. Both of those numbers are obviously way too high/low, but subjects who were given 9 as their anchor guessed a significantly lower number than the 140 group (average 50 years old vs. 67). Even when numbers were seemingly spun on a wheel at "random" (though secretly preset to always land on either 10 or 65), a different experiment asking subjects to guess how many African countries were in the United Nations found that people would tend to estimate closer to the initial anchor - 25% for those that saw the number 10 vs. 45% for those that saw 65 (the real answer is 54, just FYI, in case it was eating you up like it was me). The initial reference point still influenced decisions even when it was perceived to be completely meaningless.