Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shopping Japan (Frugally) - The Haul

Freemans Sporting Club, Harris Tweed, Alex Mill

I came back from Japan last year with a handful of memories and a suitcase-full of new purchases - some of them new and many bought from secondhand stores, also known as "recycle" or "reuse" shops. I wanted to share what I brought back with me in the hopes of encouraging more guys to consider it, be it online or on vacation as I was. Truth be told, I was a bit wary of shopping in Japan as I've heard it many times considered a particularly "expensive" destination in many regards, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it really doesn't have to be. I've mentioned it before, but one of the highlights of my Japan trip was the secondhand shopping - and not just in Tokyo, but in every city we traveled. I have more I want to cover about secondhand shops, but suffice it to say for now that if you're on a budget and traveling in Japan you should definitely consider looking into stopping into a few.

The Blue Blue Japan indigo wool zip sweater pictured above was bought at a reuse shop in Osaka, if memory serves me right, for roughly $115 USD, with the other accessories (a couple pairs of socks and a handkerchief) from the Okura/Blue Blue stores in Kyoto and Tokyo.

I also found this belted Tomorrowland cardigan and a Buzz Rickson herringbone twill shirt (with the tags still attached) at a Jumble Store in Shibuya, Tokyo for about $70 and $50, respectively (I also randomly snagged a pair of Alex Mill moleskin chinos (pictured above) along the way at 80% off).

Friday, March 17, 2017

What I Wore Today - Buttero B101 Boots and Mackage Shearling

Given the specific aesthetic of my most recent boot purchase, a pair of Buttero powdered nubuck boots, I've been getting some questions about what I wear with it. So here's a few fit pics from this week, where the late winter weather has permitted me to continue indulging my outerwear fetish.

Jacket: Mackage, Sweater - Banana Republic, Jeans - Neuw Denim, Boots - Buttero, Sunglasses - Persol

I bought this shearling jacket years ago when I was just starting to figure out how to dress better. As you may expect, the vast majority of things I bought at that time I'd characterize as being "a learning experience" (aka things I would never wear today), but this jacket is one of the rare bright spots in a sea of too-tight chinos and skinny ties. Subtle panelling, a slightly dramatic collar, and weight and warmth to keep you warm in the 30-40s, it was made by Mackage, an outerwear designer in the mold of Vince/Rag & Bone/etc. that I don't usually care for. But I found this one in a Saks Off 5th outlet in a rack of otherwise underwhelming Mackage stuff, and it really stood apart, especially at ~$230, which for a beefy shearling jacket is straight bananas.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sock It To Me - Anonymous Ism on Sale

It seems when the whole "#menswear revolution" went off years ago, hand in hand with the slim flat front pants, contrasting buttonholes, and loud bowties, wearing crazy socks was one of the first ways guys started trying to express themselves and their newfound style. Like most things related to that phenomenon, it was probably just a little too much for too many men that weren't ready to make that type of statement (yours truly included in that group).

That being said, socks are still one of my favorite accessories, and can add a kind of cherry on top to a great outfit you could say is similar to the contribution from a well-matched pocket square. Tokyo-based brand Anonymous Ism makes some of the best for casual wear I've found.

Alongside CHUP, another Japanese-based sock brand, Anonymous Ism is well-known for combining high quality materials and construction with interesting colors, patterns and designs that largely manage to avoid the whole "LOOK AT MY F*CKING SOCKS" vibe you can sometimes get from less-finessed design. The pairs I have are holding up beautifully. The problem is that they're usually on the more expensive side for most, unless you find paying $25-30 for a pair of socks to be not a big deal. Me, I'm personally trying to decide right now if adding chicken to my noodle dish for lunch is worth the extra $2.

Club Monaco currently has a decent selection of Anonymous Ism socks on sale for as low as $9 (plus shipping) right now, though I've been sitting on them hoping they'll have an extra discount code this week. $9 is probably the lowest price I've seen them for on their own as it is, with normal sale prices usually being in the mid teens at end of seasons sales. If you're interested in upping your casual sock game, this is already as low a price as you'll likely see all year. If an extra discount code comes up, I'd consider it an insta-buy.

Link to Club Monaco Anonymous Ism Stock

Also keep your eye on J. Crew's stock, who recently had CHUPs on sale for $12 (+ extra code discounts). Those sold out quickly.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Two Weeks in Japan: A Style Journal (Week One)

While in Japan last winter, I tried to keep a style daily diary of little things I saw here and there so I could piece them into a post or two down the line. However, when I got back I thought rather than relegate it to my own reference, it might be interesting to post on its own while preparing for more complete pieces in days to come. It's a bit of a stream of consciousness at times, and patched together from snaps I took on my phone, pictures from my camera, and snippets I found online while traveling, but here it is:

Day 1 - A Night in Tokyo: Beams, and Getting X'd Early and Often

Top Floor - Ta Ca Si Denim Shawl Coat
  • Shortly after arriving, we head into Ginza to have some dinner and check out a few stores, including my first time in a Beams store (!). And oh, is it awesome. Basically, Beams is what J. Crew wishes it was. Or what I wish it was. Lots of cool collaborations, well thought-out lines with basic and more interesting apparel and several different price points. The bottom floor is stocked with casual wear and accessories, and the top floor has mostly tailored wear and higher end clothing. And by higher end, I don't just mean construction. Conceptually, it's a few degrees further outside the realm of what you'd normally see in the US outside of boutiques. Except for all the Wrangler jackets. For some reason Japan is really into Wrangler jackets.
  • I'm quickly learning that almost nobody lets you take pictures in their stores (like 0 for 5 so far). 90% of the time when I'm trying to snap a picture of something they make a polite X sign with their arms at me just like in my phone emojis. Sometimes I like to pretend they are just telling me I'm SO X-TREME. They're not. But it's really hard to take pics of anything, and it's frustrating and a bit deflating because there is a ton of amazing stuff in stores I wish I could capture and share - like the denim shawl coat pictured above.

Beams - Ginza