Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Make Black Friday Great Again

You must be joking.
I'm not doing a Black Friday post this year - for a few reasons: 1) there are a lot of good Black Friday lists already popping up on sites like Die, Workwear, Styleforum, and Dappered 2) I'm consciously trying to not blow my load before leaving for Japan in a few days, and 3) Black Friday is just not that great.

Listen, listen. I'm not saying that there aren't any deals around, because there are plenty of good deals. But they're mostly good deals, not fantastic deals. Stores know that we are trained, like a pack of Pavlovian dogs, to salivate at the words "Black Friday," and they don't need to have insane clearances on a day when people are already primed to buy things anyway. So most of them run a normal sale (which have started to be like a week long or longer), call it their "Black Friday sale," and then sit back and rub one out in self satisfaction as people buy things anyway.

Looking back over the last year or two, the best sales had nothing to do with Black Friday or Cyber Monday. They were usually end of seasons sales or at the end of a fiscal quarter - like the extra 75% off Final Sale at J. Crew (not sure if we'll ever see that again), the Unionmade Archive Sale (no one knows if there are any on the horizon, but it seems like no time soon), or the Mr. Porter semi-annual sale (still the best all-around sale out there).

I'm really not trying to kill your Black Friday Holiday Boner - in fact, I totally support it. The pure volume of sales on Black Friday is definitely a thing to behold, and it's a good time to buy things that aren't usually on sale. I just want to inject a little bit of perspective into a day many assume is a must-do for shopping, because there's gotta be a few guys in the world who have been in a coma for a decade, woke up last week, and believed that this is the very first time J. Crew has done this sale. So please just approach things with a skeptical eye.

In other news, this Document Robe Coat at No Man Walks Alone is insane and you should buy it. See, I support you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Winter is Coming - Woolrich John Rich & Bros Down Parkas (from $238.80 and Free Shipping)

Woolrich John Rich & Bros Arctic Parka
Nigel Cabourn Everest Parka
Every year people seem to be surprised winter is coming and they might need a winter jacket, which is why I like to buy my outerwear off season and on sale when people start to forget again. The trouble is, finding a quality heavy duty parka often requires an investment, and we can't all own Nigel Cabourn Everest Parkas (you don't want to know what those cost).

Though they bother some people, I actually like the aesthetic of many down parkas and I'm not ashamed to own a Canada Goose Citadel. But I'll be the first to admit they suffer from the malady of ubiquity and some negative connotations that go along with their stratospheric popularity - they've become more or less known as the winter uniform for wealthy urbanites and their college age children. For anyone who has considered or is considering one, I will say that you are getting a high quality product for your money and I'm sure you would be happy with it, but I'd also agree that there are plenty of viable options either at or below the price point that are comparable.

Woolrich's John Rich & Bros down parka line is one of those options. It's no surprise that the tried and true silhouettes are there, and you'll find similar design cues throughout the parkas as well, but I've found they also stand up to close scrutiny for make and construction, unlike some of the other cheaper versions I've seen in person. Barneys Warehouse has had them stocked for a while now, though they haven't been found on much further discount until recently. Currently, the line is eligible for an extra 40% off their already slashed prices, which brings them down as low as $238.80 (with free shipping) for some quality down parkas that should keep you toasty warm in subzero temperatures (there are non down versions that start even cheaper, though I would choose the down versions). I'm particularly intrigued with the shearling-lined collar models, though I should note that the generous fur lining on the hood of my CG truly helps keep out the biting wind when things get real.

Friday, November 11, 2016

In Review - Kapital Denim Peacoat

I have to admit I hate being called "dapper." Don't get me wrong - though it usually comes in the form of a compliment and from a good place, the term just suggests to me a certain sense of silly peacockiness that brings to mind all of the polka dot bowties, skintight suits, bright socks, and the most cringeworthy aspects of #menswear in the past decade (of which I am not without blame). It also implies a somewhat fanciful impression I try to avoid - in part because I look young so it can be harder to dress well without looking affected or like I'm "playing dress up," and in part because it's just not my personality. So when I shop, I consciously avoid buying clothes someone might look at and say "oh, your outfit is so fun!"

Kapital challenges me in this regard.

Mr. Porter Sale
I like many Japanese brands for their unique takes on Western menswear, and Kapital is one of them, but Kapital often pushes into territories that I feel can only be comfortably inhabited by homeless nomad cowboys. And there's no debating - Kapital is undeniably fun. Still, at its core Kapital produces some incredible and cohesive clothing (their indigo and denim are the stuff of legend), and the more center-leaning designs I usually love. When the Mr. Porter semi-annual sale over the summer had Kapital's denim peacoat on sale for $178.50 (!) from list $595 USD, I jumped on it.

Suck it, Nordstrom Semi-Annual Sale
Then I stuffed it in my closet and waited 4-5 months before it got cool enough to wear. Over the past month, however, it's finally been put to good use.

Design, Materials and Construction

The venerable peacoat has roots that travel centuries deep, and is traditionally constructed in a shorter length, double breasted design from heavy wool to keep out the harsh elements while simultaneously allowing full range of motion for your legs to climb ship roping.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Favorite Style Twitter Account - Die, Workwear!

I don't twitter, or tweet, or do whatever the active verb I'm looking for is, so when I say "my favorite Twitter account," keep in mind this compares to virtually nothing. A closely-guarded secret I've kept until now is that I only joined twitter to see when Jomers would be dropping their next pants so I could finally check them out for myself (they're alright I guess, but not sure what all the Jomers boners are about..aka Joners?). But one day while I was bored on the toilet, I came across Derek Guy's Die, Workwear! Twitter account, and now I'm pretty convinced he's my spirit animal.

If you need something to read while on the train or on the john, have a look at Die, Workwear's Twitter. I don't know much about Twitter, but I have read a lot of things in the bathroom in my time.

This post has also served as a wake up call for me to start eating more fiber.

*Update* - As you may be able to tell from one snippet above, I should point out that this account includes some political commentary as well, which has understandably become more prominent after the events of this past week unfolded. It's still primarily style-focused, but please take this into account if things like this bother you. The only thing I'll say is that it's definitely been the most shocking and, quite honestly, disturbing turn of events in America that I've witnessed in my lifetime, but whether or not you agree with me I hope we can move forward as a society without giving in to the darkest corners of our society and our own interests at the cost of our brothers.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Movember Thought of the Month

Why Do I Keep Trying to Grow A Moustache?

Because other guys do it so easily, so why can't I?  Because, as an Asian man, it's easy for me to look 15 when I'm 33.  And because, sometimes when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.  Sort of a scraggly, uneven lemonade that women aren't attracted to.