Thursday, 31 December 2009

My wardrobe in 2009: A sartorial review

Just to warn you, for what is possibly my final post of 2009, I have disregarded the more accepted short blog, and gone long.

The year started on quite a smart tip in my wardrobe. As I surveyed rails of sharp Thomas Pink shirts and one or two cashmere knits, I truly believed that this time I had definitely put my streetwear days behind me.

I was going to dress my age, choose collar and crew neck over tee and hoodie. Cardigans had become my best friends.

I was quite comfortable with this new direction - I had felt it coming for a while, and over the previous few months the shirt collection had grown somewhat while my sizeable t-shirt stash had stagnated.

By early February this smartening up of my wardrobe was in full swing - I was even choosing my crisp dark denim Visvim jeans over my well-worn and loved Imperial Dukes.

It was around this time that I decided I needed a trenchcoat. Burberry had upped its game a bit with a sharper fit. After a month of deliberating I went for Dunhill, and splashed out a bit on some Visvim in the Hideout sale with the change.

A memorable trip in early march to stock up on Rapha in the sample sale included a visit to Dunhill for a particularly tasty cut price leather trapper cap, and then back to Hideout for more Visvim. That excursion has gone down as a particularly fruitful one.

I was still persevering with my silk scarves right through spring. They had become something of a personal trademark over the previous couple of years. A favourite was one in navy-black and silver stripes by Louis Vuitton. The more knackered it got, the better it looked.

By May I was convinced the classics were the way forward. I was taking my style points from the likes of Steve McQueen and Daniel Craig's James Bond. My single factor when deciding on an outfit was whether Steve McQueen would wear it.

I changed hairdressers. She asked me how I wanted it cut. I told her I wanted it to look like a modern-day Steve McQueen. She had to ask someone who that was.

Of course the single overriding garment of any McQueen or Craig based look was the harrington. Barracuta's was considered and dismissed by way of market saturation, and the hunt was underway for the ultimate harrington, otherwise known as the Visvim Ketchikan.

This proved elusive. In desperation I resorted to a Dunhill blouson which, while exquisite in fabric and manufacture, made me feel 50-years old. Even my renewed taste for polo shirts and smart shorts wouldn't shift the stigma. It was worn twice.

But the summer was no time for jackets anyway. This was polo shirt and shirt sleeve weather, casually untucked and hanging over my new Orlebar Brown shorts, Visvim Hockney deckshoes on my feet and Tom Ford aviators on my nose.

Chinos made a comeback for me. Those t-shirts for the most part remained rolled up in the drawer, but I caved in to the march of plaid, adding no less than two madras shirts to the collection. Gingham checks were still preferred though - in particular a very reasonable western cut shirt from Uniqlo.

On the cycling front, much was done, much Rapha comfortably worn.

The Ketchikan (Gore-Tex paclite) was tracked down and bagged in mid September, in time for an outing to Kew Gardens and the heaviest downpour of the summer. It passed.

By early October my sartorial sensibilities were changing, along with the weather. Where there once had been shirts, I was unrolling t-shirts to wear under my cardigans. I was thinking no more in terms of cinematic style icons before choosing my garb. The street style was calling again.

I rediscovered my love for Supreme, with a wicked bright blue hoodie, and was getting desperate to get involved with the Visvim Serra hiking boots I'd bought and tucked away in the summer. Then I bought a Supreme micro checked cap and I knew my dress-mood had shifted.

As the year drew to a close the t-shirts were out in force and in some cases were added to, along with long forgotten hoodies and a new brand or two (for me at least) was on the block, in the form of Original Fake and Norse Projects.

The classics were still there, with the early December arrival of the Visvim Alta, even though this was tempered by a decidedly street and bright Original Fake blue Gore-Tex jacket.

And that's where we are at. A year in clobber, and as I look back it feels like a good one. I like the choices I made, the guidance I took from style icons, even if some were dead.

On the cusp of another year, with the sales on, I don't see much changing in the way of my style.
Although I've already got my eye on a few things in the January sales.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Uniform Experiment Alpha MA1: A light touch

It always amazes me how Fujiwara can add the subtlest detail to a garment and all of a sudden it looks marvelous. Sometimes all it takes is that Fragment Design logo, or a splash of colour. Other times it's the monotone nature that makes something striking. A kind of less is more approach.

Take the Alpha MA1 flight jacket. A pretty mundane affair most of the time. Then along he trots and sticks a new panel on the arm and adds some stars and insignia and bingo, you're looking at a different gravy.

This latest Uniform Experiment release is in conjunction with Alpha, which provides a heavy dollop of added authenticity.


Via slamxhype

Talking about a resolution

We're almost there. This time tomorrow it will all be going off, bubbles flowing, arms in the air, that kind of thing.

So I'm thinking about resolutions. I'm not really the type. Although I did complete the five-year renovation of my flat the year that I resolved to do it. Six months later, I'd sold it.

But we've done just about everything to this house, apart from the loft, and that's a cash issue, not a resolution.

I'm damned if I'm going to do something stupid like give up drinking, or smoking, or buying clothes. Resolutions shouldn't be about torture.

Although it might help a bit if somewhere along the line there was a mention of spending less, or - God forbid - saving.

But if I'm going to do that I might as well go all out and resolve to become The Pope, or win the lottery, start a multi-billion pound business. In China. Because let's face it, some things will never happen.

So I'm going to have to stick to the realistic and look inwards. Resolve to do stuff like stopping to look around a bit more, appreciating what I've got. Worrying less about what I have not achieved. The kind of things that would be good to resolve to do even if it weren't the new year.

And the kind of stuff that no one will notice when it doesn't happen.

Supreme box logo tee: Sometimes Ebay turns up a winner

The thing about Ebay is that just when you're sick to the back teeth of it, of non-paying bidders, customs charges, sellers who have already sold, along comes the perfect trade.

I hadn't even been looking for a new T-shirt, let alone a rare-as-hell Supreme tee in black with a box logo in purple. These are the stuff of legend. Supreme didn't even release a box logo tee this year in the UK (unless you count the Damien Hirst polka dot effort).

It would be safe to say I have waited years for one of these t-shirts.

So when this turned up at the standard (very reasonable) Supreme t-shirt price, I hit the Buy It Now button with the full expectation that I would be returning that tee to the seller with a few sharp comments about the pedalling of fake goods and a swift negative feedback blow to the back of the head.

The parcel made it through the Post Office's backlog this morning. Delivered with not a hint of a customs charge, because it didn't even breach the charging level, and arriving in pristine condition with a Supreme carrier bag to boot.

What's more, it's a totally legitimate, made in USA piece of Supreme history. And it fits.

My faith in Ebay is restored, for the time being.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

How to do ski chalet at home in one simple knit

Right now the only place I want to be is in a ski chalet somewhere in the French Alps, if possible about 1600 metres high, with a fire blazing and a mug of hot chocolate in my hands.

I am actually in Essex. The snow has gone, it is raining. And cold.

I could of course find a flight and head over to Courcheval or some other equally adventurous ski resort, which is a great idea but a logistical nightmare. Or I can make myself an Ovaltine, stoke up the fire and put on a nice chunky knit.

Something like this SNS Herning number would do a treat. A hark back to 1971, the year of my birth coincidentally, when jumpers were cable knit and beards were bushy. Much like today in fact.

And voila! We're in Courcheval! Just like that.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Damien Hirst x Louis Vuitton butterfly case

It would be a bit hypocritical of me to say anything against Damien Hirst. I did, after all, only recently queue up to purchase one of his Supreme t-shirts with "Life's a bitch and then you die" scrawled over it at Dover Street Market. Then sold it at a near-50 per cent profit (£17 to be exact), thus offering my very soul to the altar of capitalist art.

Nevertheless it is all I can do to hold back from slating this Damien Hirst Louis Vuitton trunk, which appears to be a take on a butterfly collector's case, embellished with pictures of butterflies and a skull logo, and featuring up to eight specimen drawers.

Why does this annoy me? It is plainly obvious that no butterfly collector in their right mind would employ the use of one of these objects, so it couldn't be considered cruel. I think it's more the fact that it can't really be used for anything else. Not to mention that this is bound to become one of Hirst's most popular pieces among the colectors.

To be honest, I think they are the ones I feel sorry for.

More images at Slamxhype

Sale time

Time stands still for no man, and while Christmas remains a glowing ember in the fireplace of recent history, there are those who have already forgotten all those presents and have set their sights on the January sales.

A lot of the sales have been on since Boxing Day, while some even started before Christmas. Bit there are still some bargains to be had.

I got in quick this time. The Original Fake Goretex jacket I had my eye on all autumn is now mine after I bagged it on the first day of the Goodlife sale.

Here's a list of some of the sales that matter. Good luck hunting.

Hideout: Starts January 4th
Dover Street Market: Starts 11am December 28 (today).
The Glade: Starts today
Hanon Shop: Sale now on
Goodlife Glasgow: Sale now on
Liberty: Sale now on
End clothing: Sale now on
Oi Polloi Manchester: Sale now on
Norse Store: Sale now on
CP Company: Sale now on
Dunhill: Sale now on

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas in a box

This year Christmas arrived in a box with a big bow round it.

Thanks Ed

Friday, 25 December 2009

The spirit(s) of Christmas

Well this is it. Lizzie is running round like a headless Christmas turkey getting lunch ready, the fires are roaring, the in-laws will be at the door any moment and the bloody Marys are going down rather well, thankyou very much.

So just to get you in the spirit, here are a few festive shots from this morning.

Hope you're all having a wicked time.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The birthday post

Don't expect a lot from me on the blogging front today, cause it's my birthday. This means I will mostly be eating and drinking nice things, like my birthday triple choc muffin. That's what I call a start to the day.

I wonder if birthday sharers Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Carla Bruni will have started the day in such style. Chet Baker wouldn't have. He's dead. But he lived!

Back tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Visvim spring / summer 2010 first look

Just to labour along with Visvim for a little bit longer, we are now getting an idea of what to expect in the SS10 season.

We have the standard offering of trainers, shirts and bags so far, in some nice bright sunny colours, which is exactly what we need as we shuffle along under an SAD cloud.

Visvim also has a great way of presenting stuff. I'm loving the way that the bags have been put on a pristine white shelf which looks like it's been hung in a derelict factory.

Kind of illustrates the fact that if you buy this stuff you won't have enough money to live anywhere other than a squat. I know there's an economic crisis in Japan, but all the same.

Images via Slamxhype

The dining room fitness circuit

I've just seen someone jogging through the snow on the TV. Not because he was late or anything - he was kitted out in sportsgear. This man was jogging for the sake of jogging.

Now I know it can become an addictive pursuit, and I'm not averse to a little run myself, but in this weather? Are you mental? There's ice everywhere. It's difficult enough to remain upright during casual walking, never mind a turn of speed.

So no, I haven't been running, or cycling for that matter. That really would be taking my life in my hands.

Instead I have devised a little fitness circuit within the four walls of my house. This involves:

Five minutes warm up running up and down the stairs and doing swirly things with my arms.

Fifty pushups.

Ten pullups under the table (lie under the table, grab the edge, pull up). requires a sturdy table.

Ten dips between two chairs.

Ten dumbbell curls with each arm.

Ten dumbbell shoulder presses.

Ten dumbbell bench presses.

Ten dumbbell lateral raises.

Thirty situps.

Thirty elevated situps.

One minute plank (body straight, only feet and forearms touching the floor, remain still).

Repeat three times.

Warm down with stretches.

Now this might not seem like much but it's had me aching for the past two days. That could of course mean that I'm totally out of condition.

And in this weather it's a damn sight safer than pounding the streets.

Unless that table breaks.

New David Choe at Lazarides

You'll have to be quick to grab one of these David Choe prints that have just been released at Lazarides. There are only 33 of them available and it is a very nice print.

In fact if you really want to bag one you'll have to be a bit quicker than it would take you to repeat the title to the gallery staff: "Not Counting The Vintage Jizz Crusted On The Thrift Store Sweater You Just Shoplifted You Have The DNA Of 6 Gross Guys On You I’d Be Screaming Too."

I'm not kidding. Although maybe if you just asked for "that new David Choe" they will probably know what you're going on about.

Visvim Horween Hockney: Worth waiting for

I'm always about a year behind when it comes to buying Visvim. Mainly because the stuff is so difficult to come by in the UK and I have to wait until it reaches the listings of Ebay before I can get hold of it. That and the prohibitive price of new release Visvim, which has gone stratospheric in the UK since the pound lost its strength.

These days you won't get much change out of £500 for a pair of Visvim shoes from somewhere like Dover Street market. That would buy you a few pairs of very respectable shoes from other manufacturers.

But that's what makes Visvim all that more attractive, and to be honest, tracking down pieces from proxies or on obscure sites that you wouldn't usually associate with the brand brings with it a certain degree of satisfaction.

And this is where I will be looking for these Horween leather Hockneys. Possibly the nicest Hockneys released so far, even if they do look an awful lot like the Americana deck shoe that I have been banned from buying because they look too much like Lizzie's dad's Timberland deck shoes.

In keeping with Visvim's policy of using only the finest materials, Horween is a traditional leather company dating back to 1905 and one of the oldest leather companies in the US.

That knowledge should provide you with a bit of comfort when you're laying down half-a-bag on a pair.

I'll start looking for a pair about this time next year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Stussy 30th Anniversary GRDIII

The trouble with technology today is that it goes out of date so quickly. Successors to my Panasonic Lumix FZ20 have double the pixel count and HD video recording to boot.

So I've been looking at a Lumix DMC LX3 or a Canon S90. Then I hear about this.

It's a limited edition Stussy x Ricoh GRDIII, all set for an April release as part of Stussy's 30th anniversary celebrations, with a nice toppy price tag.
Looks good though, and those GR Digitals have got quite a reputation among photographic circles for the quality of their pictures.

Nike Dunk high RESN Gucci: The experiment

Time for a little experiment. This is the first time I have actually bought a pair of trainers with no intention of wearing them.

But this time is different, because I actually think that this release of the Nike SB RESN Dunk in deep forest and hot paprika "Gucci" colourway is going to be the next Tiffany Dunk (that turquoise and black colourway which has become stuff of legend). And we all know how difficult they are to come by these days.

This is because, along with the colourway, these Dunks already come with a bit of history. They were designed by one of the Girl Skateboards crew to be released alongside the Tiffany Diamond SB Dunk in 2005, but Girl got the hump that they were being associated with Nike and the project was shelved.

So only 29 pairs were produced in that initial release. The 2009 version is virtually identical, with the addition of the letters RESN on the tongue tab in homage to the Girl's Sam Smyth. RESN is his tag.

Now you don't get many trainers with this kind of a story behind them, and for that reason I made sure I secured my pair from my local skate store, Switch.

And against all my instincts, these kicks will not even be tried on. They have already been packed away on top of the shelves. In six months' time I will guage the price these trainers are fetching on Ebay and decide whether to store for longer, sell or wear.

Until then it will be an exercise in self restraint to leave them where they are.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Cold lions

The snow has given us many things. Mild hypothermia. Frostbite. As well as the chance to learn to ice skate outside our very homes by way of the pavements.

It has also given the stone lions in my garden a mohawk hairdo. I don't think it's any coincidence that this new look comes at a time when we celebrate Rage Against the Machine beating that X-Factor joker to the Christmas number one.

A triumph of taste over the mundane if there ever was one. If that isn't a sign, I don't know what is. I fully expect Three Kings to turn up any day now carrying jars of exotic substances.

More pics of the winter wonderland that my garden has become at www.bigleaves

Banksy on the water

Looks like Banksy's been getting up to his old tricks again, this time along the Regents Canal in London. About time too. It needed a bit of brightening up.

This time Bristol's best paid painter and decorator is on a bit of an environmental tip, with one of his pieces a satirical comment on the fact that we're all going to be needing to go to work in wetsuits and flippers before long.

That's the trouble with all these people sparing aerosols all over the place. They're killing the ozone layer.

Via Slamxhype

Friday, 18 December 2009

There's only one fishtail parka

My latest fixation has been towards the fishtail parka. A classic since it was adopted as leisurewear by the mods in the sixties and enjoying something of a revival of late.

As usual my interest was piqued by a chance sighting of a Visvim Townsend on Ebay. This is Visvim's version of the fishtail, in Goretex, with multicoloured seam taping and all sorts of other Visvim-esque details. I decided I needed this despite having recently taken delivery of my Alta on the basis that the Townsend has a hood and is Goretex.

I missed the Ebay auction, mainly because I had my eye on a Townsend being sold by Seenmy on I missed that, too, but then the Ebay one became available again, so I hit the BIN button. Three days later when I emailed 99katemoss99 to get the tracking number, I was informed I had bought a jacket which had already been sold to someone else. Livid. Totally.

So the trail has dried up on the Townsend front, and I have started to explore other fishtail possibilities. Supreme have one (above), which is wicked but fails completely in the waterproof stakes. Nike does one, called the M51, (top right). Waterproof, seam-sealed, nice looking, but, well, it's Nike, and I hate the way they jump on every streetwear bandwagon going. This NSW QS line is just a cynical attempt to rip off the likes of Visvim with its technical revisits of classic styles.

WTaps has a nice three-layer Sherpa Field Jacket (bottom right), but it isn't a fishtail, which is obviously the key detail when looking for a fishtail parka.

Which all makes me think I should just wait. A Townsend will come up in time I'm sure, and it is hardly as if I am lacking in the coat department right now. In fact, my wardrobe actually looks like a coat department.

But you know what it's like when you've established a need for something, and so far I have imagained that fishtail parka as the perfect solution to a whole host of sartorial dilemmas. Just as I did with the Alta, and just as I'm sure I will do with whatever comes next.
It could be a long wait.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

All sorted for the snow

There's got to be a couple of inches of snow out there. The blizzard is a-blowing as I write and I'm getting quite excited. Snow in this country is still a bit of a novelty for me. Makes the world look nice and clean for a bit.

It also means I can dig out every cold weather, snow-ready garment I pack away for precisely this sort of event. That walk down the hill to the station is going to be a bit of a challenge tomorrow.

I have therefore got lined up for the journey to work:

G-Star deep green leather ski jacket - one of those things you can't believe a label like that could produce. A virtual one-off.

Prada Sport ski jumper in grey and wine - only gets a rare showing these days but the thermal properties lend it perfectly to this weather.

Prada sport scarf - A navy and taupe beast of a length of mohair, the big hitter from the scarf drawer, only comes out in extreme temperatures.

Dior jeans - don't want to ruin the Visvims, do I?

Leather and lambswool Dunhill trapper cap - probably the best sale bargain I have ever bagged. Vintage look, warm as toast.

Black leather gloves from TK Maxx - another bargain, nice buckle on the back of the hand, no name.

Visvim Serra hikers - at last, the exact day I had in mind when I got these puppies. Mind you, the pain these have given me so far during the wearing in process has been well documented. The ultimate test has arrived.

Let's have some of that snow then!

Futura: I blame him for everything

Futura has a lot to answer for. Thanks to his work on the Unkle Psyence Fiction album in 1997, the New York grafitti artist can consider himself responsible for reawakening my dormant interest in art and for chanelling it in the direction of the street.

Through his Pointman creations and epic alien-looking spacescape creations, Futura as good as put a spraycan in my hand. Since that time I have painted many a picture, nothing remotely like Futura, but I would say it had all stemmed from that moment. Call it an epiphany if you like.

Of course Futura was around a long time before those Pointman paintings - he was one of the founding New York subway artists in the seventies and eighties along with the likes of Dondi and Seen, but even then his work was standing away from the crowd. While his peers were busy scrawling bubble letters across carriages, Futura was producing his spraycan cloudscapes with sharp-edged patterns. An altogether more artistic production.

These days Futura's work commands fortunes at the finest galleries and as well as his art he has a clothing line and other projects on the go.

This video gives us an insight into the artist and what he is all about.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Ursus: Finally something good to say about Bape

Seeing as I've never been backward in coming forward in waxing lyrical about the demise of Bape, it's really only right that I should give a little mention here to developments that could actually turn the brand around.

Bape has just wheeled out the second collection from its Ursus sub label, the formation of which was announced back in July. Ursus has been produced in collaboration with creator Nigo's friend and fellow designer, Tetsu Tet Nishiyama, who is the creative director of WTaps.

This is an example of what appears to be a softening in attitudes towards Bape among the Tokyo clothing institutions. A few years ago the likes of Hiroshi Fujiwara and other label luminaries couldn't find a good word to say about Bape, accusing it of selling out as Nigo jumped into bed (metaphorically speaking) with hip hop stars and became involved in Pharrell Williams's disastrous BBC label.

All that bad blood seems to be water under the bridge now, with the announcement first of the Ursus label and more recently a Bape collaboration with Fujiwara himself and Fragment Design.
With the state of the economy in Japan, these collaborations could well be a bid for survival among the high-end labels. It is certainly the case that this new found co-operation is being welcomed by customers.

Now if those damn gangsta rappers could just leave Bape alone, we might be ghetting somewhere.

For more images visit Slamxhype

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Louis Vuitton Casino Trunk: Vulgarity in a box

The success of Louis Vuitton has always baffled me. This is a brand that increased its prices by 15 per cent in the middle of a recession, and never holds a sale. But still it retains a devoted and blinkered fan base.

Not that I'm averse to the odd LV trinket - I own a particularly dandy silk scarf in a rather fetching navy and silver stripe, with a discreet logo tucked into the corner - it's just that I find some of its products a little bit too ostentatious, mainly the Monogram series.

One area in which you can almost get away with LV's monogram goods is with its custom made luggage. Overlooking the fact that this pattern allows any thieving luggage handler to spot your bags at 50 paces, LV's custom-made luggage is heaped in enough history to outweigh any criticism on the style front, the French company having handbuilt pieces for explorers and adventurers since 1854.

I would happily hang my clothes in an up-ended battered old trunk if I could but lay my hands on one at a reasonable price.

This Casino Trunk, however, stomps all over any respectability surrounding LV luggage. This brand has unwittingly (perhaps) created a pastiche of itself.

Vulgar, flash, pointless, and it will ultimately make you poor. Could one item ever say as much about Louis Vuitton today?

Monday, 14 December 2009

There's something about a vintage Porsche

Old Porsches always make me stop and stare. That's no mean feat when you live in a town where it seems to be a requirement to own a sports car or an SUV, and any stroll to the baker will be punctuated by the roar of a passing Lamborghini.

A vintage Porsche screams class. It demonstrates a degree of brand knowledge, but above all it singles out the owner as someone with taste and respect for design history.

If you feel the same way about vintage Porsches, then the following films will have you dribbling over your keyboard.

If a vintage Porsche is sex on wheels, then this is a no holds barred orgy.

Via acl

Art: WordToMother

Artist Profile : WordToMother from Andrew Telling on Vimeo.

I love it when I can catch a glimpse of the creative process of other artists, in particular those I admire. Watching them come up with their masterpieces within their studios, checking out the scribbles on the walls, and catching hints at where the inspiration came from.

Here we get a behind the scenes look at London artist WordToMother as he prepares for his third solo show, ‘Lost For Words' at the Stolen Space gallery in the Truman Brewery, which was held earlier in the year.

The video's an inspiration in itself.

Via Slamxhype

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Out and about: Sunset shiver

Here's a little break from the norm, a few scenic shots around the Thames estuary down the road to brighten up your Sunday.

It might look harmless enough, but on the day these shots were taken it was blowing a gale and the wind chill was like being slapped in the face with a cold haddock.

All the same, it made for some nice shots as the sun went down.

Some colours just go

I love it when you pull a couple of bits from the wardrobe and they just go together perfectly. No need to worry if it really looks OK because you know it does.

This is what happened here - plum coloured Uniqlo merino cardigan and a beluga Rapha Fixed shirt. Worn with a pair of raw denim Visvim Fluxus jeans and some Visvim Hockneys.

This is one outfit I'll be rocking again this party season, for sure.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Kaws: The beginning

Here's one for all the graff artists out there, something to let you know those early morning scribblings might not be in vain.

This is a video of Kaws doing his first bus stop pieces in 1997, which involved inserting the face of that now trademark Companion over the top of the adverts that were already up there.

It's a style which can still be seen in Kaws' art to this day, although it's now found printed on his Original Fake T-shirts or as artworks hanging in achingly hip galleries.

Not a bad career development Kaws. Well done fella.

Via Slamxhype

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Grey: Let's be safe out there

I have to say, I'm a quite partial to a bit of grey in my wardrobe. It is the number one worry-not colour. It is pre-pigmented for the modern world.

What's more, it's the most inoffensive colour you can imagine. It has no pretentions, like black, not angry like red, or frustrated like purple. Or even mental like orange. No, grey is just there to get along with everyone and everything. I can't think of a single colour grey won't look good with.

That said, it's the shade of grey that counts. Never too light, you'll look like someone who had a washing machine disaster. Too dark and it looks like faded black.

Kind of mid range is just right. Grey marl t-shirts just scrape in, on account that they're t-shirts. But generally you want that shade of grey to be something between primer and elephant. In my opinion.

Like this Acronym SSJ 11 and Norse Projects scarf. These shades look all right.

I reckon two grey items at any one time is going to be your limit. In terms of a suit that's your two items right away. In this case - grey scarf and jacket - I'd liven it up a bit somehow. Battered jeans, bright trainers. That'd do it. Don't want to end up looking like a lamppost.

There goes another great T-Shirt

It was inevitable really, even though I was wearing one of those white suits, hood up and everything. I still managed to get paint on one of my all time favourite t-shirts.

I'd only just rediscovered my Stussy x Undefeated World Tour Tokyo edition tee. Must have been rolled up in the tee drawer for a year without any wear. Pulling it out was like getting a new tee again without spending the cash.

And I couldn't be bothered to take it off when I started painting. Turns out the white suit is porous, and white paint stands out quite a bit on a black t-shirt.

Now, it's a rag. Something to clean my brushes with. Such a waste.

Maharishi sample sale: December 10 to 13

Does anyone still wear Maharishi? This is truly a brand that is a victim of its era. Things moved on and Maharishi had become so well known for its look, that it was unable to keep up.

Which is a shame, because the quality of this stuff is amazing. Maybe things will pick up for it.

In the meantime, take advantage of the sample sales it seems to be throwing with increasing frequency. This one takes place at the Floral Street store between December 10 and 13.

So that's starting today. Get down there and support your local army surplus customiser.

Visvim Fluxus 01: Too tough for their own good

I bought these Visvim Fluxus 01 jeans as raw denim, with a view to wearing them in myself, thus creating another pair of perfect vintage look jeans.

I'd already done the same with my Imperial Dukes, to amazing effect, but three years later and as you can see, these are only just beginning to show signs of fade in the crucial areas, such as the 'cat's whiskers' and the 'honeycombing' at the back of the knees.

For anyone who wants to get the perfectly worn in looking jeans, the process is simple. It takes a pair or raw selvedge denim jeans, much wear, and plenty of patience. Oh and don't wash them. Maybe once every six months if you have to, but that's it.

If you want your jeans to look worn in within your own lifetime, probably best swerve Visvim. They are a bit too hard wearing.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Karl Lagerfeld drinks Dom Perignon. I'd never have guessed

This is a bit hi-fash couture, I admit, but that Karl Lagerfeld is quite a character, and he does like to have some glamorous types nearby all the time, which makes the whole experience a bit more bearable.

Did you know Dom Perignon releases its Oenotheque Vintage once in a generation? Neither did I. Or many other people it seems, or they wouldn't have found it necessary to enlist Our Karl, Claudia Schiffer and Brad Koenig to star in it.

Maybe it wasn't selling very well.

Mastermind Japan x Bearbrick mousepad for Sense Magazine

OK how much do I want this mousepad? Not too bothered about the magazine, because it's written in Japanese, although I'm sure it has some nice pictures. How much am I never going to get hold of one because the only two that come into the UK are going to be bought by someone who's slept outside the newsagents or something?

You just know that this edition is going to go down in magazine and perhaps even mousepad legend. It's the Mastermind logo on the nose that does it.

Now as a side point, have you noticed the slick segue from the last post? Lupe's Mastermind gloves? Like that?

Via Highsnobiety

Lupe Fiasco: Solar Midnight behind the scenes video

I've always liked Lupe Fiasco. He seems like a nice enough bloke, the sort you might be able to get into a decent converastion with, about clothes and stuff.

He likes all the brands I do - he sung about a lot of them on Gold Watch, and he knows how to put an outfit together, which always helps.

But best of all I like those lyrics. Just the right side of wtf are you going on about?

Here is is bouncing around in downtown LA on the set of his new video for Solar Midnight, from the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack.

Show your love, follow Openzedoor

There's now a followers button added to the left side of the blog, so you can, well, follow it.

Not sure what happens when you press it. You might get a tingling sensation in your finger or something, but nothing too bad. And just think of the benefits! Far too many to mention!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

FOR SALE: Acronym SS J2. The bombproof hoodie

Here goes another wardrobe favourite, my Acronym SS J2. It's a windproof, waterproof, oil proof, blood proof, bombproof piece of equipment that is so tough that it will probably be dug up by an archeologist in 10,000 years and still look spotless.

Not to say that I went around lobbing oil and whatever else at it. I've just taken Acronym's word on that one. But I can vouch for the waterproof and windproof bit. This thing would get you through a sizeable tropical storm. In fact it might even stop fire and brimstone.

I'll let you try that one.


Visvim Serra Veggie F.I.L. Exclusive: Some gain, lots of pain

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that's the nicest pair of Visvim Serras you've ever seen. You're loving the whole covert black thing, the simplicity of it.

You'll also love the fact that they are an F.I.L exclusive, which means you will have to go to Japan to get them, or know someone over there who can pick them up for you.

However you manage to secure them, you will be safe in the knowledge that only a couple of people on the same continent as you will have them. Unless you live in Japan.

You can also relax in the knowledge that those same people on your continent are enduring day after day of Serra - induced agony, and I speak from experience.

Three months I've been trying to break in my Serras. I might as well have bought a job lot of blister plasters. Just when I think that the pain is over, that they have finally broken in and I can skip through the rest of my life in true comfort, they deliver more agony.

They won't tell you that when they're boxing them up in F.I.L. Guaranteed.

Via Highsnobiety

Gucci snowboard goggles: don't even bother

I can imagine it now, hammering towards that kicker, vision clear in these Gucci goggles, when wump! A mogul appears, sending me headfirst into a snowdrift.

As I'm dragged out by my ankles, my first thoughts are not of breathing once more - they are of the goggles I laid down the equivalent cost of my holiday for and which are now nowhere remotely near my face.

That snowdrift has just become the most expensive pile of white stuff outside Colombia, and I spend the rest of the holiday excavating it in order to retrieve them.

So in other words, no I won't be rocking these Gucci goggles on the slopes.

For one thing they are a liability, and for another I will look like a plum.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Visvim Alta jacket: The arrival

Last week was spent in a kind of expectant limbo. My new winter coat, the last coat I would ever buy, due to a new economical philosophy which basically involves the cessation of clothes buying, was supposed to have arrived from New York.

By rights it would have turned up by Wednesday at the latest. I'd already waited a weekend. I'd become so hyped up about this jacket that I'd actually had a dream about it.

This dream turned out to be a premonition. In it I was forced to drive to the depot to pick up my Visvim Gore Windstopper Alta 2008.

Then I got the message that all importers of nice bits dread. It was in customs. This signifies more than a sizeable charge. When customs impound your parcel, you are at their mercy. They can do what they want with it, kick about a bit, stand on it, open it , wear it. When they've finished their spiteful carrying on they might then release it and send it by means of a man on a bicycle the length of the country to your local Parcel Force depot, which will be a 40 mile return journey from your home. The man there responsible for booking in your parcel will then be off sick.

Around six months later you will receive a letter telling you that a parcel has been waiting in the corner of the North Essex depot since December, and you can have it upon the payment of a £54,000 duty fee which bears absolutely no relation to the value of your item.

Alright, I'm exagerating, but thanks to Customs, a delivery that would have taken three days from door to door took ten. And no, the duty charged bared no relation whatsoever to the amount paid for the jacket or the 15% VAT rate. And they say bribery is prevalent in the former Eastern Bloc.

On top of all that, the jacket turned up on a Saturday, which meant that if I hadn't gone to collect it, I would have spent another two days waiting.

Now there are two trains of thought here. The idea of duty is to line the pockets of our bank-bailing out Government, and I therefore despise it. One the other hand, had I been supporting UK retailers and brands, I would never have had such trouble.

None of which matters now, because I have the jacket, and it is the last one I will ever buy. (!)

London to Paris on a trackbike? Rather you than me

LONDON TO PARIS from Amazing Grace on Vimeo.

I've thought about doing the London to Paris bike ride many a time before. The closest I have got is the Essex 100, which is the equivalent to one stage of the London to Paris.

By the time I'd finished that, I was done. Every sinew in my body was killing me. And that was on a racer. To attempt a cycling feat of that magnitude on a fixed gear or a track bike? No gears, no freewheel, no brakes? That is madness. I'm wincing at the mere thought of it.

But that's what a bunch of fixed gear riders have done. The London to Paris on track bikes. That's more than madness, that's self harm.

The film's out now. The trailer is above.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

For sale: One Prada jacket, history included

The system of 'out with the old, in with the new' that I employ in order to fund my wardrobe can often prove a tough call.

When it comes to some items, they have become more than just clothing. They unlock fond memories, key moments. Like going back a couple of pages in my history.

The sale of this Prada bomber is a case in point. I still remember the very day I bought it. Late spring I think, quite warm, 2004. Paul, Andre and my new love interest Lizzie had got the train to London, ostensibly to find Paul some new bits.

Him and Andre managed a couple of shops before plotting up with a pint in an Australian pub in Covent Garden, and I dragged Lizzie right across the West End to Prada, where this vision in black satin hung before me. There was no question, had to have it.

That jacket then accompanied me on many a memorable adventure, on holiday to the Isle of Wight, promenading in Pescara, a few lively evenings in town. And it still looks as good as the day I bought it.

But there's no room for compassion in an evolving wardrobe. You have to be tough on yourself.

Soon it will be on the back of another proud owner. Gone, but not forgotten.


Friday, 4 December 2009

WTaps shemagh: More than a tablecloth

The reasons not to own this WTaps shemagh are legion. For one it is essentially a tablecloth. It is also cotton, and I would suspect it is not really much different to one of those shemaghs you can get from an army surplus store for a tenth of the price.

On top of that I don't even wear shemaghs. Because they give the wearer an appearance of someone with a tablecloth wrapped round their neck.

And in the case of this one, it is red.

But on the other hand this could prove a very useful piece of equipment. A ready made blanket at all times, a pillow, a groundsheet. I do believe Bear Grylls has even been known to pee on his in the desert to keep his head cool.

So useful are these things in fact, that they are standard issue for the SAS.

Good enough reason as any.

Available from The Glade.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The shelving unit of our lives

Now here's something you don't see every day: the shelves in our office. I call it an office but in reality it's a spare room, which doubles as an office, studio, clothes drying room, walk in wardrobe and dressing room.

Anything, in fact, except a bedroom. Because it doesn't have a bed. But it has got the shelves. Ikea, if my memory serves me well.

What I like about these shelves is that they are little glimpses into our lives - our taste, inspiration, past. Each little compartment has a story to tell.

Take the jeep at the bottom there - I built that jeep from a kit when I was about 15. Its got a little motor which still drives it, and every time my niece comes round she takes that jeep and sends it clattering off up the lawn on some mission. She makes ramps and puts obstacles in its way. The rest of the time it sits in its hole.

Then there are the art books, Monocle mags, Batman, Star Wars DVDs, the Munny I never painted, and up there in the top right, Lizzie's Where the Wild Things are toys. A stranger assortment you will never find.

There's more you can't see, records mainly, hundreds of them, but this is the bit of the shelving that I like the most.

A psychologist would have a field day analysing this lot.