Notes of a shopaholic
Saturday, January 25, 2003:
Advice for New Zealand men in Thread; entirely applicable in the US.
Steven Sherman // 2:07 PM
You never know what you're going to find, and where. Actually that's not true. For the most part, an experienced shopaholic knows pretty well what is likely to be in any given store. But once in a while, surprises await. For example, there is a discount store near me that generally stocks the most boring imaginable selection of factory extras from J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Abercrombie and Fitch. I usually don't even bother with it. Today, I wandered in because of 'clearance--everything 20% to 50% off' signs not expecting to find much. Instead, I stumbled on a pair of pants from Keenan Duffy--an obscure clubby London label, quite pricey--for 32 bucks. Stretch woven cotton in a kind of Tartan pattern--almost early eighties St. Marks Place punk, but with a flared leg. They remind me of D&G, but I like them better than a similar pair of pants from them I ordered from Bluefly and returned. Now if I can only figure how to get out of the house in them...
Steven Sherman // 1:59 PM
Friday, January 24, 2003:
I just found out about guyshop, and I love it! Tons of small designers that are hard to find. Amusing descriptions, too. Check out 'Metropolis' inspired Romain Kapadia. And they have Evisu. And Cynthia Rowley--I didn't even know she still has a men's line. Just the sort of site we need more of on the web.
The Diesel shirt came today, and I am very happy with it. A size large, so fortunately it's one of those Diesel numbers they cut too small. A wonderful lightweight cotton. Complain all you want about their overwrought ad campaigns and denim fades, there are some things Diesel does better than anyone else.
Steven Sherman // 4:19 PM
Thursday, January 23, 2003:
I've never seen an advertisement for Theory. If they have a website, I haven't been able to find it. They don't have a big flagship store on Madison Avenue. I've never heard of them throwing expensive parties for the 'in' crowd. They only put their name on their clothing where it should be--on the inside of the collar or the waistband.
And yet they seem to have cornered the market for a certain type of consumer--looking for fashionable, grown up items, willing to spend quite a bit ($150 or more for a shirt) to look good. They have done so without following the advice of relentlessly building a brand name, but instead by producing a particular type of product (clearly they also do some work to get fashion editors to tout them). The world would be a more pleasant place if more brands concentrated on their product, and less on cluttering public space with their ads and logos.
Steven Sherman // 8:03 AM
Wednesday, January 22, 2003:
This weekend I got a chance to further assess the most notable trend lately, the deconstructed bohemian look, with patches, extra pieces of fabric, and rips providing interest to shirts. I saw a bunch of this stuff at Daffy's, which always has loads of minor Italian brands that rip off the latest trends at very affordable prices. My sense was strengthened that this is a trend to be approached with caution, and consider a do it yourself effort with vintage stuff. Whatever you do, don't wear shirts with patches that say things like 'poison' or 'danger'. A real 'bad boy' would never do so. In general avoid words on clothing. Mouths are good for words, cause we can add more of them and make a conversation. Clothes are good for color, fit, texture, etc.
Steven Sherman // 6:04 PM
Since this blog is based on full disclosure of my shopping habits, I have to confess to purchasing this print shirt from Diesel on Bluefly last night for, including delivery and with FLYDEAL discount, less than $30. This is the sort of thing Diesel does best--funky and kind of over the top, but not logoed-out or excessively contrived.
Steven Sherman // 6:00 PM
I don't think there are two words associated with men's fashion that I like less than 'job interview'. For men, dressing for the job interview is comparable to women dressing for their weddings--it is the most important sartorial choice of their life (men just rent tuxes, mostly, to get married in--they can let their fiance decide. One of the meanings of getting married is that, unless you haven't yet landed 'the job', you no longer need to worry about what to wear). What makes job interview dressing particularly sad is that the goal always seems to be to not stand out, to be completely discreet and proper. Supposedly this is even more true lately, but I've been hearing this advice for ever. Personally, I'm not sure assessing a prospective worker by how they dress is any less silly than assessing them by how many degree programs they've muddled through. And doesn't the perpetual 'be bland and fit in' advice for job interview dressing speak poorly of the prospects of the job to provide some sort of creative fullfillment?
Steven Sherman // 5:57 PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2003:
Bluefly's been getting a lot of Zegna lately. Not really my style. But I am curious about this item. Does anyone really purchase a $1250 Italian suit--even one marked down to $700--for the convenience of being able to throw it in the washing machine? Does that really work? I mean, wouldn't you need to steam it anyway? And doesn't the phrase 'Wash and Wear' pretty much demolish its fashion credibility?
Steven Sherman // 5:55 PM
January inventory clearance continues. Snagged a pair of cotton/linen green wide leg Theory pants for $42 from my favorite small store in Raleigh. At least it was a good day with Amazon sales today.
Steven Sherman // 3:06 PM
Monday, January 20, 2003:
Guy Trebay tries to make it all sound like there is some logic to it, but Men's fashion shows continue to look as if they are staged for comic relief. Be sure to check out the slide show.
Steven Sherman // 2:29 PM
Being out of town, in a major metro area, is always a provocation to the shopaholic nerve. This weekend, I wound up overnight in DC following the anti-war protest on Saturday. It being mid-January, that means inventory clearance... Which means poking into every possible store to see what's on the sales rack. Nevertheless, sales at Diesel, French Connection, Armani Exchange, etc weren't all that impressive. I did manage to find: a pair of twill khakis with a kind of interesting same-color stripe down the side at Sisley (really Bennetton) for 45$, a wonderful black and white stretch glen plaid dress shirt (why doesn't Banana Republic make such nice stuff? Sigh.) at Club Monaco for $40, and a pair of light grey pants with a kind of interesting texture from DKNY at Bloomingdale's that came out to$13 after the 'take an extra 50%' . And I went home wondering if I should've snagged a pair of black Theory pants in a material that might be described as dressy stretch denim for $100 at Neiman's.
Stopping at plenty of stores allows one to quickly assess them:
Armani Exchange: too many little gimmicks on their clothing, overpriced.
French Connection: ludicrously overpriced, somewhat uninspired.
Diesel: some wonderful stuff, should edit out their more annoying things.
Bloomingdales: has the look of a store that does not care about itself. Not enough people working.
Club Monaco: pretty basic, but does what it does very well. Sales prices make things reasonable.
Steven Sherman // 9:17 AM