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.
Or this cotton beeswax jacket in green.
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.]]>
Pakistani designer Munib NawazÂ shows his national pride by placing an outline of his homeland on the back ofÂ a tailcoat.Â Â
The only major brand Izzy can think of thatÂ puts a country’s map on its products is theÂ BritishÂ label Hackett, which every now and then stamps theÂ outline of the United KingdomÂ across a shirt orÂ and tie.Â Izzy himself has been known toÂ don suchÂ a shirtâ€”he likes to wear his anglophilia on his sleeve.]]>
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,Â President ObamaÂ 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.
â€œHeâ€™s from Hawaii, O.K.?â€ said Mr. Obamaâ€™s senior adviser,Â David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. â€œHe likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.â€
Thus did an ironclad rule of theÂ George W. Bush administrationÂ â€” 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 aÂ malaise-coloredÂ 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. Obamaâ€™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 â€œbusiness casualâ€ on weekends â€” and set his own example. He showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser,Â Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.
â€œIâ€™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,â€ said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. â€œI 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 wouldnâ€™t even let me cross the threshold.â€
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.]]>
Now sporting a full beard, darker than his blond locks, Britian’s Prince William is looking excedeedingly kinglyâ€”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.]]>
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.]]>
Izzy recently popped into H. Herzfeld, possibly New York’s last true habedasher.Â 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.]]>
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.]]>
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 poseâ€”bent over, sitting on a couch while smilingâ€”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.
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?]]>
While political corruption is a dog-bites-man story, according to the New York Times the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has been “charged inÂ [an] 101-count indictment with taking over $230,000 in cash, clothing, and jewelry.” Could this be an allegedÂ crooked polÂ Izzy can sympathize with?Â Not ifÂ the mayor’sÂ ill-gotten gains include thatÂ painfully loud Burberry-esque shirt.Â He does have great hair, though.]]>
In honor of the belated release of GunsÂ 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,Â know that the world does not want to see a vast swath of denuded pinkness.Â And is it Izzy’s imagination or is that cross trying to get as far as it can from Axl’s chest?]]>