Sunday, December 19, 2010

SAVE - New Balance for J. Crew 1400 Sneaker - $130

I still have fond memories of my first pair of grey New Balance sneakers from when I was a kid. They go with everything and add a sporty but sophisticated look to any outfit.

This 1400 model, a special collaboration between New Balance and J. Crew (available only at J. Crew) that was originally only available in Japan, comes in both green and navy suede. Additionally, these sneakers are hand made in the USA and are extremely comfortable. And trust me, they only get better with age. Save.


The denim market has been flooded in the last 10 years. While Levi's still holds its role as mascot of the denim industry and luxury designers continue to produce overpriced denim offerings, "Premium jean" (jeans priced at above $100) startups, such as 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, and Ernest Sewn to name a few, have infiltrated the market with niche styles and high fashion connections, and emerged with huge profits and expansion in the way of additional categories beyond denim that have allowed them to become powerful lifestyle brands.

7 For All Mankind is a great example. Started in 2002 in Los Angeles, their sales quickly climbed to $13 million dollars in their first year through both celebrity and media endorsements. Over the years, they have seen their offerings expand to product categories including women's, men's, and kid's sportswear, handbags, and footwear. A trip to Bloomingdales' No. 59 Metro is sure to convince you of both their denim domination as well as their growing sportswear and accessory presence.

For more aspirational brands like Gucci, Prada, and Armani, jeans have become an introductory item that serve to allow the consumer to feel a part of a larger luxury world while giving the brand the opportunity to splash their label and logo all over the behinds of their customers, effectively making them walking advertisements.

There has also been a demand for better quality, design, and materials in denim, prompting an increase in prices. While there are those denim devotees out there that are willing to spend upwards of $800 on a pair of jeans (coughBALMAINcough), I believe that it is entirely possible to find a great pair with an excellent fit and superior dye for anywhere from $40.

Below, I have assembled a collection of my four favorite pairs (dark and slim, just how I like em'). Personally, I would never spend more than $250 on denim, so you won't see any of those "hand ripped" or "limited edition dye" pairs here. That said, I am fully aware that $250 is a large sum to spend on a garment that has its roots in durable workwear, so I have a range. In addition, I follow a strict "no branding" policy (the less labels and logos the better), so all pairs depicted have little to none of it.

Of course, if you guys have an horror stories, suggestions, comments, or questions, let me know. I own a pair of each of these, so I would be happy to address any concerns.

Pro: Super comfortable, excellent fit, and no branding whatsoever
Con: Doesn't take wear too well (rips and holes will ensure with a few weeks of wear), and the price...

Pro: Comfort and durability
Con: Branding and minimal fading

Pro: Cheap, great fit, and no branding
Con: A little uncomfortable, but I'm sure they will break in with time
Pro: SUPER cheap and great fit
Con: Comfort is an issue and there is the classic Levi's swoosh and red tab on the back pockets

SPLURGE - Christopher Fischer Andres V Neck Sweater - $325

With dark jeans and a pair of New Balance (more on that obsession later), this sweater is a fun and colorful take on the classic winter cashmere v neck that will make any man look chic and pulled together without trying to hard. Splurge.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

TRIPPIN' - Barcelona and Egypt

My apologies for my inactivity of late. I've had a crazy couple of weeks finishing up school and preparing for winter break and the holiday season. I will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow as I am leaving for vacation early this year. While I am a little bummed that I'm missing Christmas in NYC, I am pumped for my impending trip, which as you may have gleaned from the title, is an excursion to Barcelona and then a cruise down the Nile in Egypt.

If the combination seems a little strange to you, it is. After planning an epic trip to Egypt, I convinced the crew that we had to hit at least one major city. After we all agreed upon Barcelona, it was decided to depart a few days earlier and spend the holidays in España. I've heard great things about both places, so I am beyond excited, but at the same time, I'm facing a little bit of a dilemma: How do I pack?!

While Egypt will be scorching hot deserts, Barcelona is going to be a bit cooler with temperatures around 40-50. To top off this little "climate crisis," I'm only allowed to bring a small carry-on (see picture above) for the entire 10 days!

Of course, I have taken the necessarily steps and made my Christmas wishes with this trip in mind, and I will now share with you what I have devised. Please, if anyone has any recommendations or insight, let me know. Enjoy!

Though a little stiff at first, I'm sure these faded slim jeans will break in quite nicely after a couple days wear in Barcelona.

(This is just an idea of what they look like because the slim, green pair I bought at their store in the West Village is not available online)
These pants have a superior fit, and the cargo pockets will be great for holding guide books and cameras while we're strolling across the Egyptian sands.

Great for chilly days in Barcelona over a t-shirt or under a blazer, and sans t-shirt in Egypt with white Jeans.

To cover up on a windy day on the boat in Egypt.
Picked this up at the Theory Sample sale (at about 70% off) for Christmas dinner in Barcelona.

This timeless shoe is versatile and comfortable, both for strolling around the city and hanging on the boat.
Steven Alan's famous rinkle-and-wear shirts will be suited for the overall casual style of both destinations.

A pair of shades are a must for this trip in particular, and these are damn cool. That said, I do usually pack more than one pair...

You can't find a better fitting short than this pair from J.Crew. Trust me, I've tried. Since I probably won't have room for more than one pair, I'm opting for the faded blue over the usual khaki, which looks great with a white t-shirt or a striped button down.

This hoodie will be great for layering under a blazer at night for warmth, or over a t-shirt during the day.

This polo is classic and branding free, which is surprisingly hard to find in a nice polo shirt these days.

Very European and chic.

Of course I'm throwing in a few of my favorite Velvetmen T-Shirts for layering.

Monday, December 6, 2010

WEEKDAY WATCHING - Industrie Magazine

All those interested in the little billion-dollar-a-year industry that is fashion should pick up the second issue of Industrie magazine. Focusing on the real movers and shakers, Industrie manages to create a glossy devoid of celebrity stories (outside of fashion) and shopping guides, and full of informative articles and interesting profiles on the people, places, and things behind the scenes of the "garmento" business. Enjoy this quick flip through of the magazine to get an idea for what it's all about.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SAVE - Lark and Wolff by Steven Alan Waxed Country Jacket - $198

It appears this is the year of diversification at Steven Alan. Adding on to an already lengthy list of collaborations with brands and stores like Dockers, Chari & Co. Bike Store, and Warby Parker Eyewear, Mr. Alan has done a collaboration line by the name of Lark & Wolff for the hipster chain store Urban Outfitters. Alan manages to achieve a significantly lower price point while still retaining his signature rinkled-cool aesthetic in garments that don't stray far form what he is offering in his full price line.

From a quick review of his website, you would see that the Waxed Country Jacket I have suggested here is a fine example of this fact. Reminiscent of a classic Barbour waxed cotton jacket, this piece is an affordable substitute with a slim cut and simple look. And, like I said, it also happens to resemble his Rain Slicker, which runs around $330. Save.

SPLURGE and SAVE - Theory Sample Sale

The Theory Sample sale is definitely one of the best I've ever been to. Hurry down today to snag a suit or tuxedo (around $350), a sports jacket (around $150), dress pants, dress shirts, sweaters (around $100), winter accessories, and even a few racks of outerwear and jeans. There is a HUGE selection with racks and racks organized by size, a helpful staff, and spacious dressing rooms. Theory makes amazing dresswear that will slim almost any body shape, so don't miss out!

Theory Company Store
139 5th Avenue (Between 20th and 21st Streets)
2nd Floor
Thursday, December 2 and Friday, December 3: 8AM- 8PM
Saturday, December 4 through Monday, December 6: 10AM-6PM

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WEEKDAY WATCHING - Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2011 Video ft. Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell, the famed New York City skin and multimedia artist, is the star of this promotional video by Louis Vuitton to showcase their Spring/Summer 2011 collection, to which Campbell lent his vision. As I mentioned in my review of the collection a few months back, while some of the wears bordered on "Ed Hardy-esque" with Campbell's tattoo inspired etchings spilled across them, his group of accessories were stunning. In this video we are able to examine more closely the fine detailing and design that goes into a Louis Vuitton product. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SPLURGE - Moncler x VISVIM Down Jacket - $618

This simple and stylish jacket is exactly what you would expect from a collaboration between the luxury ski jacket supplier Moncler and the Japanese streetwear fashion authority VISVIM. Moncler's classic shape is updated with a clean design in a beautiful blue grey that should look good with most anything.

While those label-whores among us will be upset to find that the Moncler logo has been dialed down to merely a white silhouette of its former self, I for one am happy to see an absence of branding alongside a strong presence of style and sophistication. Splurge.

Natty NYC

A collection of items, videos, songs, happenings, people, places, things, and the like that embody the natty lifestyle in New York City and abroad.