We’ve had a long-standing fascination with the Aloha shirt. (Last summer we went so far as to name the 58 greatest Hawaiian shirts of all time.)
And since then, it would seem that menswear has begun to really embrace the tropical-friendly shirt usually relegated to cruise ships and Nick Nolte mug shots. In fact, a few of our favorite labels have been turning out some pretty handsome stuff recently.
We know. It’s summer. Your mind is a veritable View-Master of barbecues, long-weekend sojourns and scantily clad beach flings. But eventually, after the sand settles, and Mandy heads back to Vassar, it’ll be fall. And from what we’ve seen, you’re going to look fantastic.
Herewith, the definitive list of must-have sartorial trappings from our favorite Fall/Winter ’13 lookbooks.
Blame it on spring fever, but we’re feeling for prints today.
So we couldn’t resist mentioning this floral popover from Engineered Garments. It’s just landed at Odin as one of two exclusive patterns from the label. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: The popover style of shirt has been gaining favor in menswear circles—bridging the gap between a leisurely button-down and a long-sleeved polo shirt—and going short-sleeve with this one manages to up the summery ante.
Who to Channel: A 21st-century Magnum, P.I.; a sport fisherman enjoying a post-catch daiquiri in the Keys (mustache optional on both accounts).
When to Wear It: On days as bright as the shirt—and not with a pair of these patterned shorts. One loud pattern is already pushing it.
Degree of Difficulty: Somewhat high. This shirt should be strictly reserved for the beach or places that unironically serve drinks with umbrellas.
The Dude may have been on to something…
On the heels of our Friday post on Ian Velardi’s robe-style outerwear, it seem the gents over at Four Pins managed to dig up another equally handsome robe: this polka-dotted flannel number from Engineered Garments. And we’re inclined to call two a trend on this one. Unlike the down-filled parka-robe, this one doesn’t quite have the outerwear chops—most likely to become the extra layer to your game-day sweats and morning patio-wear. The fact that it’s cropped above the knee might give you a bit of leeway in the not-accidentally-dapper-coffee-run department, but proceed with extreme caution.
Just remember, the Dude abides.
Steven Alan has quietly launched an online sample sale with up to 70% off a good chunk of the tailored bohemianism you’ve come to expect. His signature single-needle shirts are always a strong bet, though we’d also like to point out a few non-Alan offerings going for a steal, like this Engineered Garments blazer and this Batten Sportswear anorak. Happy hunting.
Engineered Garments is in a tough spot.
Circa 2007, they were one of the coolest brands there was—a playful riff on the workwear obsession that was only beginning to show its teeth—but as the flood of Barbours and Red Wings gave way to Isaia and double-monks, Daiki Suzuki’s brand of well-tailored woodsiness hasn’t been quite as much in demand.
So how does one of the best designers in the business respond to a sea change? Let’s just say it gets interesting…
The corduroy jacket doesn’t get much love.
It’s too low-class for the Italians, too precious for the waxed-cotton crowd, marred by years as a thrift store staple and wholly ignored by the boutique set. But even through the dark years, it never really went away.
It looks like Schott’s not the only one trying out a lighter take on the classic leather bomber. Behold, Engineered Garments’ Explorer Jacket, a twist on the classic Schott silhouette and fabric straight from a trench coat.
It’s good for a couple reasons. First off, it brings the bomber into warm weather with the breathable poplin. It also addresses a certain portability issue that plagued the old, heavyweight Schott—well-known to anyone who’s gotten an incidental upper-arm workout from carrying around their bomber all day. This version is lightweight and plays well with suitcases and coat-hooks, which means you may end up getting a lot more wear out of it.
In short, it’s a mint green Vespa to the Schott’s Ducati.
Fashion rulebooks tend to have a small section on the three color rule—the idea that a gentleman shouldn’t have more than three shades on your person at any one time. That’s fine if you’re working at a bank or a mortuary, but otherwise, we’d direct your attention to this gentleman, who’s wearing no less than five colors and pulling them off better than anyone we’ve seen all week.
It helps that the jacket is the kind of soft-shouldered, high-wristed item Engineered Garments has been chasing for the past few years. It’s still an eyeful, but the colors are all sharp and bright enough that it never looks anything other than exuberant. It’s a young look, make no mistake—but we’d guess he’s young at heart.
It’s easy to overlook, but increasingly crucial as we move into the arctic parts of the year. And unlike previous entries, this one’s pretty responsive to the styles of the day, in particular the trad, the lumberjack and the sailor. (Choose wisely.)
As for tying it, we’ll just say this: pros use the European Loop.
On the heels of our tireless survey of the sock world, we thought we’d take a look at winter hats. These aren’t for decoration; they’re for that rare time of year when going out of doors uncovered is practically an invitation to frostbite. So in the interest of protecting both your earlobes and your sense of style, here are three of the best.
While we’re big fans of the tweed-heavy layering look, it’s not the only way to tackle fall. If you prefer a more trim, military vibe, you may want to swap the tweed jacket for another fall staple: the Harrington jacket.
It’s a waist-length waxed cotton shell just slightly warmer than your cardigan, and weatherproof enough to get you through anything short of a monsoon. The classic is the heritage Baracuta model that’s been kicking around London since the 30s, but plenty of more modern options have popped up in the meantime, including this newly arrived ripstop jacket from Engineered Garments.
Our advice: Find the slimmest one you can, keep the pockets buttoned closed and don’t zip it past the belly button unless you’re in danger of catching a cold.
With the level of plaid in your closet set to reach eye-popping levels, it may be time for a new trick. Naturally, we’ve got one in mind.
It’s time to reacquaint yourself with jacquard.
It’s a weaving trick that lets you work bumps and ridges straight into the cloth, resulting in seersucker-style ventilation. You may have seen the shinier silk version on ties or some of the world’s flashier tuxedos, but we’re thinking of something a little earthier.
This Engineered Garments shirt puts a simpler fabric through the same intricate weaving to end up with a texture that looks like something you might have seen onstage at the Fillmore East in 1971. Not a bad place to find inspiration.
Today saw a lot of Engineered Garments gear arriving in stores, but our favorite so far is this linen boater. The madras strap gives it some sartorial heft, but mostly the draw is light, summery fabric and a design that went out of style with the telegram. Happy boating.
Corduroy is usually a little too delicate for the workwear crowd, but it looks like it’s finally getting its day in the sun.
This pair comes from Engineered Garments’ Workaday collection—the cheaper, staple-oriented diffusion line—and while there aren’t any cargo pockets or extraneous seams, it’s a lot more solid than what you’ll find at the outlet shops. And more importantly, it gets the color just right.
This shade of red might be a bit heavy for a pair of pants, but it’ll surprise you how well it goes with just about anything in your closet. It’s well on its way to becoming a staple—and we’d choose this pair over just about any of the others.
Engineered Garments’ latest line of casually rumpled elegance is definitely worth a look, and it provides some prime trendcasting fodder. The big loser? Ironing boards. The big winner? The plaid tie.
To be fair, plaid neckties have been a growing presence for some time now—not least on the racks at J.Crew—but this kind of wide, large-check neckwear is more the kind of thing you’d get from J.Press, and it rarely gets this much love from the fashion-forward crowd. Matching it with your pants like this gentleman is still a pretty advanced move, but it’s good to know Mr. Suzuki’s still got love for the preppies.
We love Engineered Garments, so it pains us to say this, but this is a bad idea. It’s almost impossible to make a belly-side pouch attractive, even when you’re working with the most respectable fabrics in the world. You can cover it in tweed and call it a “waist bag,” but it’s still a fanny pack. Sorry gents, but we’re not buying it.
One of the nice thing about having a particular style is that it lets you turn old staples on their heads.
By now, Daiki Suzuki’s style is pretty well-known. Under the Engineered Garments label, he’s championed simple, trim workwear items from the beginning, and birthed a trend in the process. Now he’s taking on the traditionally bulky leather bomber jacket…and turning into a slim cotton twill jacket that looks like exactly what you’d expect from Suzuki.
Take notes; this is how brands are made.
As American as it is, workwear has always been a good deal more popular in Japan—see Engineered Garments, the endless stream of Red Wing collabs—which means in addition to the domestic stalwarts who keep producing the way they did 80 years ago, there’s a generation of designers in Tokyo trying to put a futurist spin on things.
Comme Des Garcons is hardly the most rugged label on the map, but Junya Watanabe may have brought out the outdoorsman in them. You’ll have trouble getting hold of his latest collection unless you’re passing through Hong Kong this month—hey, you never know—but it’s interesting to watch the way it blends L. L. Bean-esque fishing gear with more urban nylon vests.
At the very least, they’ll be ready for the rain.
It’s always nice to see an old friend…
Selectism is sharing a peek at Engineered Garments’ new Spring collection, and it’s interesting as always. The workwear pioneers have moved on from the chaplin-esque bagginess of last year’s spring line to a more modern trim, with a new set of ornate fabrics along for the ride—a few which look like they might be more at home on curtain rods.
But don’t worry: they’re still cutting jackets with an eye towards turn-of-the-century steel workers, and they still do it better than anyone else.
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