Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tech-styles: Advances in Mensware

Good evening to what few ardent readers and followers that I have that have stalwartly continued to encourage me to continue my blog and have held my feet to the fire in producing the new material that I’d promised months ago. First and foremost, thank you all for your being insufferable. Without your support, this blog would have faded like jeans in the white-wash. You are all as much a part of making this blog an active medium for men’s fashion discussions as I am, and I appreciate your input from the bottom of my soles.

Without any further puns and analogies to abuse, today’s post takes a progressive look into men’s fashion and considers some of the modern advances in menswear. I’m talking about fashion-tech. In a world inundated with ipods, ipads, it was only a matter of time until ifads came to be. However, the pioneers of fashion-tech were not well reviewed upon their debut. Efforts to capture markets appealing strongly towards sustainability through the use of new supposedly sustainable materials (i.e. bamboo, synthetic fibers, etc.) were sharply scrutinized by environmentalists as being misleading to consumers and in some respects had even greater impacts than conventional products. Additionally, and quite frankly, the designs that were being produced in this first generation of new men’s ware was also by-in-large fairly unimaginative in design, despite the initial creative push.

And while these issues uniform throughout the industry, it was prolific enough that it never really caught on even with the eco-minded.

Enter now the next generation of fashion-tech, the weird and extreme. While Lady GaGa’s meat dress will not soon be forgotten, some of the weird and the wild things designers came up with in this generation could have been promo-models for LED lights and glow sticks.

some more-so than others

As a fair disclaimer, the picture above was taken in 2010 and is merely an example.

While many of these styles were in fact aesthetically pleasing, if not at least amusing, they weren’t practical in any respect. However, in as fashion often does, the industry began to slowly evolve with both advances in technology and to public polls. In 2004, the first generation of solar jackets came out that were compatible with mp3 players. And while the idea was a good-one, few people subscribed to portable digital media with the same fervor that many do today. Note: the iphone wasn’t released until January, 2007. Additionally, as before, the jackets appeared cumbersome and unattractive.

However, as the widespread use of portable digital media began to take hold, and access to information on a real time basis became increasingly commonplace through such media as facebook and twitter, progressive designers again took a stab at trying to do fashion-tech right. This time, they hit the jack-pot. Loe and behold, the Zegna solar jacket. Extremely light weight, durable, surprisingly fashionable, and can extend the battery life of your iphone for hours on end.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better solar jacket that this puppy. But be warned, the price tag on these techno-threads runs around $700-900 depending on the season.

Not all new fashion tech necessarily involves technology in the conventional sense per say however. The sustainability side of fashion as also vastly improved, incorporating recycled synthetic fibers made from disposed of plastics, organic cottons and other natural plant fibers, and even biodegradable attire just in case you get bored of your outfit and have a compost heap out back. However, due to the fact that men’s retail business makes up 20 percent of the market, with eco-fashion constituting only 7 percent (5 percent of which is women’s) companies tend not to focus on eco-menswear (Ecotourre, 2011). A list of a few companies that I personally like which subscribe to these practices is listed below with links to their products.

This is a directory site with multiple links can be found at

With that, I’ll leave you all to cogitate upon whether or not fashion-tech designs are something you’d subscribe to, or just turn you off. Until next time –

Cade signing out…

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fashion Hijack

Recently I've been getting a lot of questions regarding the issue of -- what makes some looks 'work’ and others fall flat? Why is it when I try to be fashionable by putting on the exact same thing as so-and-so I just don't look the same? Now some of you will inevitably laugh at this remark, however this is a perfectly reasonable question. In order to both prove that this is a serious question and resolve it; I'll start by pointing out the obvious and subsequently allude to a more subtle point.

First the obvious point. When two people look nothing alike (ethnically, physically etc.) there is very little chance that either person will look as good as the other wearing the exact same thing. Indeed, John Doe down the street wearing the same thing that you saw walking down the catwalk in your most recent Armani catalog is unlikely to look nearly as "complete" -- his wardrobe may be matching but his attitude simply isn't. But now here I want to challenge you to consider whether this mismatch is due exclusively to a difference in physicality or whether there's something deeper going on. Do you happen to know any identical twins? Or even two very similar looking people where you would normally imagine them literally sharing wardrobes? If so, picture for a second what they'd look like having swapped wardrobes. Now picture them out in the real world interacting with you and everyone else in exactly the manner they normally would. Notice the disconnect? You've now discovered the subtle point, that even when all physical circumstances are equal, the way in which someone carries themselves on a day to day basis and more specifically how you perceive the totality of that person, mind, body and spirit, can make or break a look.

I call this level of personal wardrobe matching 'aptitude'; if someone has a high aptitude for a certain fashion, that person is very likely to be successful at a look with some diminutive bearing being granted to physical restrictions. Why is there any weight given to physical restrictions? Because at the end of the day, no matter how cool you may be as a dude, there's simply no way you'll be able to wear a V-neck T shirt as successfully as, say, Russell Brand without having a comparable physique.

The following is an arbitrary formula I've invented to demonstrate this quantitatively for all you business and math majors out there.

Attitude = (2 x Aptitude) - Physical restrictions

So what's the solution to wearing something successfully? First Stop. Now Breath. Now ask yourself in the privacy of your own head; am I comfortable with who I am deep down? If not, ask yourself, who do I want to be more like and why? Next, will others accept me more readily if I acted more like this person? Would they really see me in a similar light? Lastly, will wearing something different accomplish my goal of changing who I am? These are not easy questions to answer in honesty, and to be perfectly fair there is no right answer here. There are a lot of people whom deep down truly feel that they'd rather be someone else and work their asses off to be that ideal person; indeed so strong is their conviction that they eventually manage to pull it off. But this is where rubber meets the road folks, you need to be honest with who you feel you are and how you feel you want to express that through your wardrobe.

The golden rule: If you feel self conscious or uncomfortable about what you're wearing, that discomfort is magnified 3x by those viewing your discomfort.

This isn't to say you shouldn't try new styles and create new fashion. Far from it! Because everyone is unique there is no ONE fashion that is right or wrong. Indeed, nearly every rule of fashion is malleable so long as you're committed to working with it. It may not be ideal at first, but then again, where fashion is the reflection of a person, what person do you know is perfect to begin with?

Above and below are some photos from The Satorialist that I find to be masterful expressions not only of fashion, but of self. The last picture is undeniable proof that following this principle, you don't need to look good, to look great.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Like a Bad Itch...Styles Always Come Back

Before I get any further into this post, first and foremost I'd like to apologize (to my admittedly limited viewership) that I've not updated my blog in the last half year. Due to the rigors of law school I find myself with less and less time to spend with friends and family, and admittedly, by comparison to these two elements of my life, blogging about fashion falls short of the most rewarding use of my free time. Nevertheless, I am committed to what few of you there are whom have shown an interest in my blog with keeping you updated upon what I see brewing in the world of men’s fashion.

All that being said, today’s post will be a blend of history and observation of what I feel might be coming down the cool kid’s assembly line.

Behold Exhibit A: The Men’s Clutch: not so affectionately dubbed the 'man-purse'
The era of the men’s clutch bag never made the same splash in American fashion through the 1970s-1990s as the dramatic fashion shift from Beatnik to the ready-to-wear simplistic styles of Gap, Calvin Klien, Banana Republic and the like. However, through this same period, the casual use of men’s clutches in Europe remained prolific, with major brands including Prada and LV having continued their production to date.

So what, the educated reader should ask, would cause a come-back of the man-purse. I propose the following hypothesis.

If we accept the premise that the man-purse never truly left the world of men’s fashion to begin with, having persisted (valiantly) in Europe throughout the years, then it becomes less of a surprise that in a time of increased globalization and through the hyper-evolution of western fashion in Asia (e.g. Japanese/Korean pop-couture) that the man purse would eventually naturally find its way back into the hands of people willing to experiment with its use again. Subsequently, there has been dramatic feminization of men’s fashion in the last few years (e.g. skinny jeans, V-neck tops) the cause of which expands from media reinforcement to a market response by designers further perpetuating the process.

Needless to say -- guys, expect to get a lot of flack for trying to rock the man-purse. This is one look that you'll need to have some tremendous machismo going for you in order to overcome the man-purse stigma. But rest assured, you're not alone. David Beckham was recently seen rocking the new Prada man-purse shown above, and Brad Pitt is said to have one as well (unconfirmed). I leave you now with a bit of humor and paradox.

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Ross says:
December 5, 2010 at 11:10 am
um…anyone happen to know what brand or name that advertisement is from…? Cause that murse & jacket are amazing! hahahah but yeah…seriously…

knightmeric says:
December 5, 2010 at 11:43 am
Its not a purse its a satchel.

Psilence says:
December 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Is this from Water for Elephants? I read the book and heard they were making a movie of it with Robert Pattinson in it… not sure if want :S

Lorna says:
December 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm
It’s not a purse, it’s called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.

And the verdict is: the forum trolls approve.