A year ago we decided we were sick of goddamn Steve McQueen showing up in every goddamn article, gallery, slideshow and listicle about icons and their iconic style trademarks. So we banned him. First for six months. Then for a year.
It was surprisingly easy. It forced us to find alt icons where usually we’d use him and it gave us the idea to handicap the icons of the future. We kind of enjoyed being McQueen-free.
Almost exactly six months ago, we imposed a six-month moratorium on ourselves from making the ubiquitous #menswear references to Steve McQueen. We’re going to keep that going (this doesn’t count) as long as we don’t starve for a lack of shawl-collar sweater photos.
McQueen’s brown herringbone tweed jacket, replete with giant leather elbow pads, hits the Bonhams auction block in two days, courtesy of his son Chad, along with a couple muscle cars from the family stable. And considering the jacket’s estimated to go for $600K to $800K, you might as well spring for the 1968 Ford Mustang Bullitt to match the jacket and fully channel the King of Cool. (But in a pinch, a navy turtleneck will do.)
Here’s a little history lesson for you: plain white T-shirts first appeared in the late 19th century, when some manufacturer decided to split the union suit into separates. And originally, they were meant to protect one’s finer outer layers from the perils of, well, sweat.
Like boxers for your chest.
But the rules have changed in the past century. The undershirt has, on occasion, been called to take sartorial center stage. Like before bed. Or between takes on set. Or during takes, for that matter. And throughout it all, some brave, overtly stylish men have succeeded in proving that these baser layers can be worth way more than their thread count.
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.
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.
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.
For centuries, mankind has relied on sweaters for winter layering and autumn-night warmth. But beyond that, they’ve been something of an afterthought. Until today.
Because today we’re celebrating the venerable garment in all of its forms by counting down the 70 greatest moments in sweaterdom—from lumpy cardigans to clingy cashmere hugging the shapely, we’ve found them all. And we’ve assembled them in full splendor.
Every year around this time, the pantheon of fine menswear purveyors sets up shop in a warehouse deep in the hinterlands of Manhattan. And every year around this time, we trek downtown to check it out. Since most brands show clothes that won’t be available for about six months—and because the show is enormous—we decided the best thing to do was break it down, using our patented scientific formula.
The down vest has been experiencing a renaissance—in many forms—but we’re most interested in the old-fashioned armless outwear version. And this new waxed-cotton down vest from Archival Clothing is exactly that. Here’s what else you need to know about it.
The Story: The nostalgic outdoorsmen at Archival Clothing got together with Seattle’s coziness experts at Crescent Down Works to insulate this waxed-cotton vest—even the pockets are stuffed with down to keep your hands extra warm—and Centralia Knitting Mills for the worsted-wool rib collar.
Who to Channel: Steve McQueen dirt-biking on a crisp fall morning; Sidney Poitier in Shoot To Kill; Marty McFly; not the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
When to Wear It: Chopping firewood, on morning commutes that might require reaching for a subway straphanger or on trips back to the future.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium. If you’re feeling adventurous, layer it over a jean jacket—or, if you’re at Pitti Uomo, over your suit jacket—otherwise, throw it over a thick flannel shirt or sweater.