The varsity jacket is experiencing a menswear renaissance...
But unlike many of the upcycled varsities we’ve seen lately, Epaulet’s newly unveiled jacket has got some serious fall/winter chops, with its peacoat-grade Melton wool body and shawl collar at the ready to fend off any unexpected turns for the brisk.
Which was the impetus behind J.Crew launching their latest menswear initiative, “Discovered,” an ongoing project that will feature a rotating cast of handsome, hard to find items hand-selected monthly. The idea came about when Frank realized that over the many years of research, world travel and word of mouth, he and his team have come across some very rare and unique items that changed the way they thought about design. Items that each tell a story that deserves to be heard, and most importantly: worn.
It’s the sort of poetic sentiment that we thought only Frank Muytjens himself could convey, so in a very special episode of the Stat Sheet, we chose one of our favorite items from the inaugural release—the fall-appropriate Cotton Bomber Jacket—and asked Mr. J.Crew incarnate to write it for us.
The Story: Club Monaco continues its #menswear crusade by tapping Mark McNairy, heralded as a footwear luminary in certain circles (for good reason). They make beautiful shoes together (exclusively available at seven Club Monaco stores and online). Your feet get handsomer.
Who to Channel: A young tailor making his mark at Pitti Uomo; an aging Tom Buchanan (these shoes weren’t popularized in America till the late 1940s); a tassel-wielding-expert burlesque dancer.
When to Wear Them: These are good year-round, with rolled chinos or gray flannel trousers. Just add socks.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium. The tassels add a dandy-ish flair to an already preppy shoe, so you’ll want to keep it in the oxford cloth and tweed zone—unless you’re bold enough to go full-on Luca Rubinacci...
Camouflage print has been a thing since what feels like the dawn of time. In the past several years, it’s managed to navigate off the hunt/aisles of Wal-Mart to enjoy a bit of love in proper menswear circles.
Each designer has their own spin on the stuff, but we’ve never seen such a unique take as from Gant Rugger with their Arctic Camo E-Z Original Button Down. It just hit their online shop yesterday—here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: The earliest iterations of camo can be seen as far back as the fourth century, when Julius Caesar used a Venetian blue to blend his ships in with the sea during wartime. Since then it’s evolved umpteen times at the hands of everyone from the US Army to Dries Van Noten. This pre-fall number from Gant Rugger takes it one step further, swapping penguins in place of nonsensical color swatches.
Who to Channel: Alan Alda, if the M*A*S*H hospital landed in March of the Penguins instead of the Korean War; the personification of Mr. Popper’s affinity for wildlife.
When to Wear It: It’s a lightweight selvage madras, so anytime between now and early autumn is fitting; occasions of arctic safaris are preferred.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium. It’s tough because, ya know, you’re wearing a penguin shirt. But made easier by the fact that you’ll blend into your surroundings.
The Story: Nigel Cabourn based the shoes on 1940s British military-issue sneakers, built them on a similar-era Chuck Taylor last and sourced the Ventile canvas upper from the material still used in pilot suits to this day. The shoe comes in track brown, gray and the summeriest of all: eggnog.
We’re swan-diving into the peak of summer—it’s all piña coladas and steel drums over at Kempt HQ.
Which is probably why we’re feeling this American calico floral print number from the latest just-released-to-the-web collaboration by the boys of Gitman Vintage and The Hill-side. It’s one of five new looks that’ve just landed over at Need Supply Co. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Emil and Sandy Corsillo, the duo behind The Hill-side, searched the depths of Japan’s most sought-after mills for the fabric, which was then sewn into popover excellence right here in the USA by the seasoned hands of Gitman Vintage.
Who to Channel: Think George Harrison circa Lonely Hearts Club, with a shake less psychedelic absurdity and a bit more self-aware style icon à la Russell Westbrook.
When to Wear It: Now feels about right, but these bright-yellow hues will carry you straight into fall when paired with the correct shawl cardigan complement.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium. Though it’s mostly about the attitude. So button up, throw on some shades and hit the ground running.
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.
This isn’t stiff denim we’re dealing with here—when it comes to rumpled luxury, there’s no better place to turn than the fabric mills of Italy, so you can leave the twill in the closet this summer. Not to mention, the wash of this denim comes in the recently on-trend shade of “dad jean.” Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: The gents at Taylor Stitch built their small empire in SF’s Mission District on well-made, impeccably cut shirting and have been expanding into other realms of menswear with equal success. This jacket—which is actually part of a denim suit, if you dare—might be their most ambitious offering yet.
Who to Channel: One of those impossibly well-heeled older Italian fellows who only seem to exist in mythical Pitti Uomo street style photos; Ryan Gosling just nailing his native Canadian tuxedo.
When to Wear It: Be prepared to be reaching for this jacket way more often than you initially assumed. This is basically your denim jacket on sprezzatura-PEDs, so wear it whenever you’d like a leg up on the competition. (Plus, it’s office appropriate in most instances.)
Degree of Difficulty: Not as high as you’d think. Unless you’re bold enough to pick up the matching pants and go full-on denim suit... Then we’d suggest steering clear of bolo ties—unless you’re in the Southwest.
Cotton blazer season is upon us and—assuming you’ve already got one in the requisite tan or navy—here’s one worth considering.
Yes. It’s bright red. But one of the more pleasant side effects of the Italian renaissance in menswear is that something like this doesn’t look as out of place as it did three seasons ago. And it’s just landed at Context by way of Band of Outsiders. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Designer Scott Sternberg has been twisting classic Americana into new, brighter, striped iterations for some time now (see: the polo shirt), but this blazer might be his most adventurous move yet.
Who to Channel: Lapo Elkann (but not going double-breasted means you could actually wear this to something other than a yacht christening); Craig Sager on an impossibly good day; an American-Lister in Paris.
When to Wear It: This has got a shelf life of spring to late summer. Wear it loudly and proudly.
Degree of Difficulty: Somewhat high. You might want to review your office dress code before showing up in this. Garden parties, rooftop bars and the like are fair game.
As the warm-weather gear continues to trickle into shops, we couldn’t help but notice this two-tone shawl-collar cardigan from Drumohr sticking out like a sore, overly warm thumb as it recently arrived at Unionmade.
But upon further review, the Scots over at Drumohr had us fooled: it’s a cotton-linen blend that’s knit so loose, you could almost see through it. Which seems uniquely well suited for this time of year. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: The legendary knitwear brand was founded in southern Scotland in the 1700s and has been a favorite among Europe’s well-to-do ever since.
Who to Channel: Steve McQueen piloting a pontoon boat; a royal of Monaco on the kind of French Riviera day when socks aren’t necessary but a little extra warmth might be nice.
When to Wear It: Right about now, and anytime a warm day cools off into the sunset as the summer approaches.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium. This is a pretty slouchy garment, so we’d keep this for the breezy-weekend-and-beach-bonfire circuit.
It’s just finally starting to warm up, but we’re not quite into gray cotton sweatshirt territory just yet...
Unless you’ve got one that’s been toughened up with a bit of merino wool, like this Dean Sweatshirt from Cardigan. At first glance, this heather-gray crewneck looks just like all the other upcycled cotton gym sweatshirts that have been flooding the market, but this one is secretly packing some extra warmth with a 50% merino wool/cotton blend. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Cardigan is an NYC-based knitwear label focused solely on the concept of the sweater in all of its forms (most notably, the cardigan), so you can expect a thoughtfully made sweatshirt here—even down to the telltale triangle stitch at the collar.
Who to Channel: A young JFK sailing one of his first rigs; a particularly dapper boxer; Paul Newman on a dirt bike.
When to Wear It: When all signs point to a perfect spring day, but it’s actually still about 20 degrees colder than it looks.
Think of This As: Your secret weapon in your early spring arsenal.
We’ve been noticing more and more suede bomber jackets on the menswear scene lately, but mostly they’ve been in the usual sandy shade of buckskin.
So when this navy number from Levi’s Vintage Clothing landed at Hickoree’s Hard Goods this week, we were pleasantly surprised. Naturally, it’s got all the period-specific sturdiness you’ve come to expect from LVC, but here’s what else you need to know. The Story: LVC is dedicated to reproducing archival Levi’s pieces—even down to the “pine tree” green jacket label of this 1960s-era bomber jacket—and this one is based on a WWII-inspired bomber jacket in a luxurious navy sheepskin suede.
Who to Channel: You’ll want to land somewhere between Chuck Yeager and Tom Cruse in Top Gun. (So cool it on the “fist pumping while motorcycling alongside fighter jets” thing.)
When to Wear It: Right about now, as long as rain isn’t in the forecast.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium to high, actually. Even though it seems the suede bomber is making a comeback, the years of billowy excess and mob ties have given the jacket a bit of a bad rap. In other words: keep it classy.
With another spring arrival—this time at Unionmade—comes another lightweight jacket perfect for the wintry side of spring we’re soon to be transitioning into.
This Fairfax shawl-collared varsity jacket is the next piece in the long-standing collaboration between San Francisco’s own Unionmade and Golden Bear—just in time for spring training. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: SF men’s shop Unionmade has made a name for itself selling sensible, heritage-leaning menswear, and they’ve also made a habit of collaborating with some of their favorite labels—including Golden Bear, a local company that’s been in the varsity jacket business for nearly century.
Who to Channel: A well-heeled relief pitcher warming up in the bullpen; a varsity boat skipper.
When to Wear It: This one is your windbreaker for all seasons—the shawl collar can be turned up for even more protection to your breeze-susceptible neck.
Think of This As: The ideal love child between a windbreaker and a varsity jacket.
The spring gear is beginning to trickle into our favorite shops—and Wittmore has just received the newest batch from Fred Perry’s made-in-Britain Laurel Wreath collection.
Since the temperatures aren’t exactly springlike just yet, our gaze skipped over the polo shirts and went straight to this navy Harrington jacket—a nice update on the classic mild-weather staple. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: After a long and fruitful tennis career (he won Wimbledon and the Davis Cup three times), Fred Perry turned to his passion of tennis clothing. So in 1952 he started with a piqué cotton polo, sewed a laurel onto the chest, and the rest is history.
Who to Channel: An accomplished tennis player grabbing an après-match Pimm’s Cup at the clubhouse; a rebel without a cause.
When to Wear It: On a spring day threatening to be a little too breezy for just a sweater.
Degree of Difficulty: Low to medium. For the low end: keep it casual (like Mr. Dean, below). The stakes rise to medium if you’re in trousers-and-tie territory—but this jacket is cut trimmer than a classic Harrington, which makes it a good outer layer for the morning commute.
The Story: Clarks have been making the poster-boot of desert footwear since WWII—and have since become a staple in most guys’ wardrobes. This pair replaces the usual uppers with a navy nubuck and dyes the crepe a brick-red, like your favorite pair of bucks.
Who to Channel: Britain's Desert Rats battalion in their finest dress uniforms; Steve McQueen, had he kept the boots on with his tuxedo (shown below).
When to Wear It: Anytime you would wear your suede pair. You can leave those in a dark corner of the closet until everyone starts wearing upcycled versions of the desert boot—and it’s time to go back to the originals.
Consider These: The best update to a classic you’ve seen in a good while.