I admit, I’m more than a bit of a reactionary when it comes to fashion, particularly menswear. I’m sure in some circles, once upon a time, my attitude that every man should tie their own tie and anyone over twenty five should have at least one good suit and a selection of sportcoats would probably get me labeled a “cryptofascist,” no matter if I could recite the chapter on “Fetishization of Commodities” from Capital verbatim. Moving on, I just like to look nice and maybe a little respectable — and it doesn’t cost me much to do it, thanks to being a lifelong thrift store shopper and a a one-time New Yorker who knows how to get tipped to sample sales and where to find the outlets where department stores and local designers unload their misfits at much less than retail. (My friends also organize a clothing swap, SwapSF, which I have yet to attend but imagine must be magic.)
The nice thing about menswear is that it’s not as seasonal as its more feminine counterpart. And old joke goes that a woman boasts of the most recent addition to her outfit, whereas a man shows off his oldest article. Me? I like to show off the best bargain. “Oh, this grey, wool felt jacket from Bertoli? $20 at the Salvation Army on West 8th.” God I love that.
That said, it’s nice to be up to date on what’s going on in Milan (which, along with London, is to menswear what Paris and New York are to couture) and, to an increasing degree, Tokyo. So I have a few menswear blogs I subscribe to. What’s nice is that not only do they point out the latest styles, but offer tips as to appropriate dress for different occassions, explanations of menswear lingo and remembrances of styles past.
The Sartorialist is photo-heavy, especially on a recent run through Florence and Milan. This Florentine does so many things right with such an ecclectic outfit, it’s a wonder — as does this Milanese gentleman. I would kill for a linen suit like that, not to mention the two-tone shoes.
“The Manolo” was an early shoeblogger who’s started something of a fasion blog empire (House of Manolo?). When I discovered there was a Manolo for the Men, I actually sat in a Manhattan cafe and read the entire archives. Izzy is always funny and often quite trenchant (see his notes on the geopolitical implications for outfits worn by George Bush and Vladimir Putin), and he seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of menswear terminology.
I have to admit, Off the Cuff was a recent addition, and “Menswear from D.C.?” Our nations capitol is probably one of the most boringly conservative menswear markets on earth. I couldn’t disagree more with the assessment of a polo shirt’s value, for instance. Still, know thine enemy! And for those of us who weren’t born in East Coast aristocracy, know their etiquette and conventions to better insinuate yourself across enemy lines.
Finally, I’d like to say that English Cut, a blog by a Saville Row bespoke tailor that doesn’t post often but when it does posts such invaluable information, insight and history that it’s a must-read. Sadly, for me it seems to be a can’t-read, as the URL refuses to resolve, even though I can see an update from just this month in my RSS feeds. Also, I’d like to nudge Molly Bloom to bring back Guy Fridays — I loved that feature.
Any other menswear fetishists or bloggers out there? Please do leave suggestions in the comments.