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Not That, This: In Defense of Low-Tech

  • Najib Benouar

Clothing has seen a lot of great technological advancement in the past century—new-age nylon, moisture-wicking fleece, genetically modified gloves that work on touchscreens—more often than not, sacrificing some handsomeness in the process.

But last week’s post on tweed trumping tech in the blazer game reminded us that sometimes the choice between high-tech and high-handsome doesn’t have to be made—because the best-looking option also happens to work just as well as any newfangled technology.

So, herewith, your high-handsome alternatives to today’s high-tech jackets, sweaters and more.

Not That: A performance fleece ski sweater your overly zealous new-age outdoorsman uncle has been raving about.

This: Merino wool/cashmere button-collar sweater from Orvis. It keeps its warmth even when wet and will look infinitely more lodge-worthy while you’re drinking your après-ski snugglers.

Not That: We can’t even begin to explain how these touchscreen gloves work (sorcery, probably) or why they have to look so hideous.

This: Free your fingers (and your mind) with a pair of old-school finger gloves. Mark McNairy has an irreverent take on the situation (it’s not often we get to share in his curmudgeonliness), and if your hands start getting cold: that’s what pockets are for.

Not That: The reflective-coated-triple-weatherproof-every-seam-is-sealed-with-melted-electrical-tape rain jacket.

This: A waxed-cotton jacket. The Barbour Bedale is the industry standard, but there are plenty to choose from. You’ll stay equally as dry and avoid looking like an extra from Tron.

Not That: The impenetrable nylon messenger bag that’s guaranteed to outlast your computer and any landfill it ends up in.

This: An equally tough leather briefcase that’s got a shoulder strap option for long hauls. Like the English briefcase from Frank Clegg. There’s no comparison on this one—leather is just plain handsome.

We rest our case.