The Latest: Saturday 22 November 2014

Epaulet Doyle Jackets | Buy

If you've been admiring Vetra's classic French chore coats, Epaulet now offers an American-made update. The Doyle jacket [$175-195] slightly trims the form and rounds the hip patch pockets while retaining the simple, unlined form and that visible stitched outline of the internal chest pocket. Also available in denim, but the washed duck canvas options offer the most authentic textures and colours.
20.nov.2014 style
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L.L.Bean Signature A/W 2014: Menswear sighting!

The men's division of L.L.Bean's Signature line essentially took the year off in 2013, offering primarily the same tractor chic found across the brand's main line. So it's nice to see a few solid items in this newest collection that harken back to the updated classics that earned them the 2010 Unrefinery Award. A few highlights:
  • Herringbone tweed sport coat [$249] in staple blue and grey; also available in a warm plaid. Looking really good for the price. In the past their entry-level jackets and suiting have been well reviewed here.
  • The Slim straight washed cords [$69] have a modern leg profile without an impractically low rise. The sage green and deep red are particularly nice.
  • Lightweight Fair Isle Sweater [$99]. 20% nylon "for strength". Whatever. Classic autumnal pattern and the flecked solid tweedy trim looks great.
No firsthand experience here with these pieces, but LLBS fits have typically been pretty good and it's noteworthy that just about every product includes the word "slimmest" in its description. So minimal tailoring should be required.
17.nov.2014 style
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Uh... hey, Ventee-Privee, were we supposed to know that? | Fail

"This item is not eligible for return." No kidding.

It was revealed yesterday that V-P is about to cease operations, so we may expect more "editorial comments" from soon-to-be-unemployed crew members.
13.nov.2014 tech
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Wingtip Ankle Boot Buyer's Guide | Buy

Wingtip ankle boots: from a footwear standpoint, about as dressy as you want to be if your day might involve trudging through snow. They work with denim and you can wear nicer specimens with worsted suits, but the sweet spot is clearly a pairing with your coarsely textured wool flannel or tweed trousers. Ideally you want either a heavy rubber tread or a leather sole that your local shoe repair shop can easily winterize. As the four boots we found here clearly demonstrate, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and finish. Shown: Florsheim [$150], Massimo Dutti [$225], Loake [$440 at East Dane], To Boot New York [$450 at Nordstrom].
10.nov.2014 culture style
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L.B.M. Coats at Yoox | Buy

Unrefinery discussed L.B.M. 1911's current season back in August, noting the great comfort and rich patterns of their jackets in particular. And while they come out of the gate a little pricey, by the time they reach everyone's favourite European thrift shop Yoox.com they are some of the best values in men's outerwear. To break it down:
  • Minimally structured, looks like a nice coat but wears like a bathrobe... check.
  • Variety of staple solid colours and sophisticated plaids... check.
  • Single- and double-breasted styles available... check.
  • Made in Italy... check.
  • Under $250... check.
  • 100% wool... well...
OK, so they're usually between 15% and 40% polyamide. In theory this helps with shape retention and water resistance. In practice, normally a cost-cutting measure. No matter, we have two of them here and the materials feel nice. Again we have to mention the under $250 bit. Is there a similar value for nicely cut, highly wearable, comfortable coats to be found anywhere?
03.nov.2014 style
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A teachable moment regarding angles and proportions

This photo, which you probably don't need to be told was taken at Pitti Uomo, is in keeping with the event a bit over-the-top but nonetheless serves as a useful demonstration of how angles affect the wearer's perceived proportions.

Generally speaking, lines in menswear are oriented to emphasize height—pinstripes are always vertical, both neckties and open collars form narrow V-shapes, and so on. One of the reasons not everyone can wear double-breasted coats is that the angle of DB lapels is by necessity more horizontal than in single-breasted models. Similarly, cutaway collars create a wider, more horizontal angle that emphasizes width; this is exacerbated when the proportion of band height to collar point length is low. Which brings us to this photo of two gents, who are probably of a normal height and reasonable fitness but whose broad, almost 45-degree lapels and short, broad collars are working against this perception.

This was a learning moment for Unrefinery as well, where Tom Ford and 1970s fandom had us all thinking that there's no such thing as too-wide lapels. So much for that theory.
27.oct.2014 style
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An Unrefinery Haiku: Zip-Out Bibs | Fail

When you deploy "the
Clip-on tie of outerwear"
You fail at winter

(Previously on Unrefinery: How to wear a coat with a zip-out bib.)
16.oct.2014 style
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Polar Parkas | Buy

Unrefinery is on the record as endorsing a winter white palette for the cold months, and the most useful building block is a classic off-white parka that will work with just about anything. It's of course possible to find a heavy wool specimen with an exotic fur ruff, but given the necessity of solid water resistance and the increased likelihood of winter outerwear being destroyed in combat there's a good argument for going with a synthetic shell (which is cheaper) and faux trim (because wearing real fur is still pretty douchey).

The best example found so far this season is the ASOS quilted parka [$152] which hits all the classic cues: good length, dual zip and button closure, a proper hood, and those vertical side slash pockets that offer refuge for cold hands without collecting snow. Another option is Zara's four pocket parka [$189] which is considerably shorter in length. Too short? Hard to tell; model may be just wearing stupid drop crotch trousers a la Justin F*cking Bieber. And while it's not from a current collection, the classic Woolrich parka can sometimes be found on the secondary market. We're including it here as it's pretty much the ideal: moderate length, and absent of dark buttons or hood linings that might detract from its glorious snowy goodness.
13.oct.2014 style
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On the latest attempt at reviving pleated trousers | Fail

Clothing trends—in all segments—are more cyclical than linear; it's the rare design element that goes away and never returns in some form or another. Part of the reason things change at all is an organic evolution brought about by our collective fatigue of seeing and wearing the same thing. But a significantly stronger contributing factor is the need for an industry that sold you a new wardrobe last year to convince you that you need to replace it all this year. It's important to remember that this industry is led by people like Anna Wintour, who thinks we should be looking to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian as style icons.

"But wait," we're told on all sides, "pants are getting fuller." Well that's true, but only because the pendulum has swung as far as it can in the opposite direction. Skin-tight trousers literally can not get any slimmer. There's noplace else to go. And so meggings and 7" ankle openings may be very well be on their way out for everyone but hipster dead-enders. Doesn't mean abdomen-puffing pleats are coming along for the ride.

Basically what we're saying here is that you can keep your flat-front trousers and that pleated pants are still for the TGI Friday's and Wal-Mart set.

Shown: Club Monaco not helping.
09.oct.2014 style
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Corduroy Colours | Buy

There's something about the convergence of the plushness of the material and the fact that we wear these things only with autumnal and winter wardrobes that makes corduroy trousers work in colours that we might not wear in other materials. The most obvious example is a sort of golden tan or umber shade that pairs brilliantly with the entire cool end of the spectrum. Bottle green into deep forest green is also kind of a classic cord colour. A little more bold and contemporary is the aubergine to plum range, which everyone here is a fan of since the Berluti S/S 2014 collection came along and rocked Unrefinery's collective world.

Shown left to right: Brooks Brothers Milano. Lands' End Tailored. Incotex Ivory.
06.oct.2014 style
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