Archive - Shirts RSS Feed

Weekend Offender: It’s a UK Thing

What was it George Bernard Shaw said? Two countries divided by a common language?

Consider the case of UK urban fashion brand Weekend Offender, a clothing company that’s exploded out of no where (technically known as Wales) in 2004 to become one of the hippest UK youth brands. They’ve done it by sticking to basics, with high-quality material, sharp, no-nonsense styling, and an attention to British youth culture past and present. The results speaks for themselves. Weekend Offender is now being worn by celebrities like Tom Hardy and Liam Gallagher, and is about to make the jump to North America this fall.

As with any urban youth brand, there are a lot of t-shirts in the Weekend Offender collection, but what separates them from the rest of the pack is the way they craft garments that make reference to the historic British fashion trends without seeming kitschy.

For example, look at this button-down gingham shirt, the Dhanni.

Weekend Offender Dhanni Gingham Shirt

Or this cotton beeswax jacket in green.

Weekend Offender Beeswax Jacket

Waxed cotton and button down gingham are both explicit references to the early Mods, the 1950s English youth movement that gave us scooters and anoraks. But the cut of the shirt, and the color of the jacket make these more than slavish copies of Mod originals. These are actually items that can be work by men who are a little older than “youth”.

So, bravo to Weekend Offender, you’ve made the transition from being just an “urban youth” brand into to being a clothing mark with wider appeal. That’s a pretty good trick.

Back Pak

munib-nawaz-pakistan-jacket

Pakistani designer Munib Nawaz shows his national pride by placing an outline of his homeland on the back of a tailcoat.  

The only major brand Izzy can think of that puts a country’s map on its products is the British label Hackett, which every now and then stamps the outline of the United Kingdom across a shirt or and tie.  Izzy himself has been known to don such a shirt—he likes to wear his anglophilia on his sleeve.

His House, His Rules

obama-without-jacket

The new president has, it would seem, brought a new sartorial informality to the White House:

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

Thus did an ironclad rule of the George W. Bush administration — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times . . . .

In cranking up the heat and ditching his jacket, Obama is showing himself to be anything but Jimmy Carter in a malaise-colored cardigan sweater, which he wore in an intentionally cold but more energy efficient White House.

Obama has explicitly changed the rules from the prior administration:

Over the weekend, Mr. Obama’s first in office, his aides did not quite know how to dress. Some showed up in the West Wing in jeans (another no-no under Mr. Bush), some in coats and ties.

So the president issued an informal edict for “business casual” on weekends — and set his own example. He showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.

“I’ll never forget going to work on a Saturday morning, getting called down to the Oval Office because there was something he was mad about,” said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. “I had on khakis and a buttoned-down shirt, and I had to stand by the door and get chewed out for about 15 minutes. He wouldn’t even let me cross the threshold.”

Izzy finds it amusing that the Bush was such a stickler for decorum, when he otherwise tried to represent himself as an ordinary Joe. Indeed, were his official portrait hung in the Oval Office, it would appear to violate his own office dress code.

The Beard that Would Be King

prince-william-with-beard

Now sporting a full beard, darker than his blond locks, Britian’s Prince William is looking excedeedingly kingly—and it also happens to emphasize his eyes (royal blue?). But will he continue the bold style when he takes the crown? As far as Izzy can tell, the last leonine King of Britain was George V, who ruled from 1910 to 1936.

You Can’t Spell America Without “C”

TV Colbert Colmes

By wearing a lapel pin that combines the U.S. flag and the letter “C,” Steven Colbert shrewdly blends mock patriotism with self-advertising. Yet, by donning a button-down collar with a tuxedo, he really goes beyond the bounds of taste.

Making Glove

dents-leather-gloves

Izzy recently popped into H. Herzfeld, possibly New York’s last true habedasher.  Inside the cozy store, which has been in business since 1890, it is easy to imagine one is on Jermyn Street in London, not E. 57th Street in Manhattan. It probably the only place in New York city that sells shirts by Hilditch & Key and Harvie & Hudson, among with many other rarities in America, such as sock garters. Browsing toward the back of the shop, Izzy felt a pair of gloves from Dents, the leather of which was so surprisingly soft that it truly sent a shiver up his spine. The salesman said that the British glovemaker was the best in the world, which, Izzy had to agree, was not a hyperbolic claim.

No, Minister

prime-minister-taro-aso

Wearing a patterned suit and a shirt with contrasting collar, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is attired far differently than most American politicians. It itself, that is not such a bad thing. But Aso’s necktie is knotted lamely, and the acutely angled collar, which appears to be curved, is unflattering, especially when paired with his low and relatively substantial lapels.

A Portait of the President on Casual Friday

The National Portrait Gallery just unveiled the official portrait of President George W. Bush, which should look familiar to Izzy’s most faithful readers.

official-george-w-bush-portrait

Izzy is almost certain that that light-blue shirt, with its two unusual pocket flaps, is the same one Bush wore when engaging in diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. As Izzy pointed out at the time, that quasi-militaristic style has also been favored by fellow Texan Charlie Wilson. Clearly, Bush’s choice of shirt and pose—bent over, sitting on a couch while smiling—was intended to give an air of casualness and familiarity. Unfortunately, given how the shirt’s cuffs ride up due to bent arms, Izzy mainly sees poor tailoring. (The pleats adjacent to the cuffs are a further sign that the shirt was not custom-made.)

Artistically, Izzy thinks that the official portrait pales next to one by the same painter, Robert Alexander Anderson, which was created for the Yale Club of New York City.

george-w-bush-portrait-for-the-yale-club

Here, Bush actually looks somewhat presidential, though it’s amusing that he crosses his leg in the European style that some American yahoos consider effete. (Also, what’s with Barney’s demon eyes?) It’s a shame that even this portrait contains a sartorial blunder: loafers with a suit. W simply can’t escape informality, which, admittedly, is a very American peccadillo. It even looks like his right French cuff is undone.

And is it Izzy, or does that sofa bring to mind a Rorschach test?

Will Steal for Clothes

While political corruption is a dog-bites-man story, according to the New York Times the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has been “charged in [an] 101-count indictment with taking over $230,000 in cash, clothing, and jewelry.” Could this be an alleged crooked pol Izzy can sympathize with?  Not if the mayor’s ill-gotten gains include that painfully loud Burberry-esque shirt.  He does have great hair, though.

Unsweet Rose

In honor of the belated release of Guns N’ Roses’ latest album, it’s worth remembering why no one regretted Axl Rose’s disappearance from the collective consciousness. Most men, even the most aesthetically clueless, know that the world does not want to see a vast swath of denuded pinkness.  And is it Izzy’s imagination or is that cross trying to get as far as it can from Axl’s chest?

Bondage by Tom Ford

The Los Angeles Times has a long but excellent article on the new wardrobe 007 in Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond movie. Ditching Brioni, Bond now has Tom Ford as his custom tailor. That helps to explain the above three-piece suit, a style Ford has tried to re-popularize in recent years. While a three-piece is appropriate now that the franchise is looking back to its early years (e.g., Sean Connery wore one in Goldfinger), it’s a shame that the vest was cut so voluminously and short. Also, Connery’s Bond knew not to fasten the bottom button.

In any case, Ford, acting like a sartorial Q, at least gave Bond some tricks up his pants:

one of Bond’s coolest secret weapons this time around is a small button tab inside the cuff of each trouser leg that never has a second of screen time, and whose sole purpose is to keep 007’s pant legs precisely where they should be

Izzy has never before heard of such a thing, and is curious how it works. Another interesting tidbit from the article is that the costume designer

desperately wanted to source a very specific, very expensive suiting fabric known as “mohair tonic,” a wool-cashmere blend with a subtle sheen not unlike that of a subdued sharkskin suit. “It was extremely popular in the ’60s; all the Mods and all the wannabe Bonds wore it,” she said. “I’m sure Sean Connery would have worn it at least once.” According to a Ford rep, when a sufficient quantity could not be found, the Tom Ford team developed the proprietary fabric to specification in its Italian mills (and cloaked in Bond-worthy industrial secrecy, she declined to identify the specific mill).

Note that the costume designer does not say that Bond himself ever wore such shiny fabric, which, whatever its merits, has never been considered high class.

The Clash of Civilizations

Prince Charles meets the Sultan of the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. Notice how the Sultan’s decoration is barely visible in the midst of his technicolored top, while the Prince’s poppy, well, pops.

Page 1 of 1312345»10...Last »