Men’s Free Style

Screen shots
January 21, 2009, 18:48
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve just come across this article on ASOS – while it’s great to see the site being promoted, I’m not convinced by the journalist’s claim that it has little competition on the internet.

buy now

The vast majority of the brands I have linked to on this blog have online shops (H&M, the label mentioned in the article, being very much in the minority), and I’ve never had any issue accessing them.

The article would have been better off concentrating on the fact that ASOS is used by so many people because it’s great at putting people in touch with the best lesser-known brands. It’s one of the only major retailers in the UK of classics like Superga, for example, and you’ll see from their index page that there’s a whole new sartorial world out there to discover through them.

Now, before I get accused of completely selling out, I would like to point out that I realise there’s a lot of overpriced rubbish on there. But any site which shines a light on otherwise forgotten treasures is A-OK in my book.


Time to quilt?
January 20, 2009, 16:00
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apparently a huge row has erupted at the Milan Fashion Week, as Giorgio Armani has accused Dolce & Gabbana of ripping off (not literally, I don’t think, but in the design sense) a pair of quilted trousers that had appeared in the last Armani collection.

While I would hate to trivialise the sort of plagiarism D&G are supposed to have committed, one look at the offending trousers prompts in my mind the question: who would actually want to claim responsibility for them?

Best fit forward
January 15, 2009, 11:21
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The web has been buzzing this week with rumours that brand du jour Uniqlo is preparing to enter the vanguard of designer collaborations by hooking up with Steven Alan (best known in the US for his sharper-than-a-knife but pricey collections).

I first spotted it in this New York Magazine article, and then later came across a Telegraph piece extolling the virtues of a new tailored menswear collection Uniqlo has planned for Spring 2009. I can’t work out whether these two revelations are linked, especially as the brand’s press department are keeping very quiet about the Steven Alan rumours – but we can sure as hell hope that we will have something very special to look forward to over the next few months.

Sheep in wolf’s clothing
January 8, 2009, 14:07
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have previously discussed on this site to the pitfalls of slavishly following fashion trends – be they styles of clothing or individual brands.


Negotiating this particular minefield is made especially difficult by the fact that niche labels that you may have picked up on in their infancy can suddenly tip and end up on the backs every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country – or, indeed, every Josh, Seb and Harry in the case of British brand Jack Wills.

Their clothes have recently become the satorial weapon of choice for our glossy, vacuous teenagers – ‘Nike for the middle classes’ according to the Guardian – an image which has undoubtedly chased away a number of its previous customers. But while the rapid spread of an individual brand can in any instance seriously detract from its style (as opposed to fashion) currency, it will naturally be the ones making their branding the most visible that will be the hardest hit.

A dramatic increase in the use of large logos on its clothes is one obvious change that has accompanied Jack Wills’ rise to prominence (the picture heading up the Guardian article shows this in its full glory). Previously the branding was more or less limited to a discreet ‘JW’ motif, letting the inherent style of the items do the talking.

Now, of course you can argue that the emblazoning of large logos all over Jack Wills’ clothing is precisely what has prompted it to tip into the wider population. But I can only feel that sticking to their original formula – attracting customers with its quality, not its visibility – would have left the brand in a stronger style position than they are in now.

Aim to sustain
December 30, 2008, 16:29
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , ,

The end of a year like 2008 is bringing with it numerous cautionary tales about how our recent attitudes to clothes shopping will have to change and how we must all strive to become ‘recessionistas’.

This recent Times article is in some ways no different, but while it is primarily warning against excessive buying so as to avoid excessive recycling, the following quote caught my eye:

If we spent exactly double the amount of money on each garment and bought exactly half as many garments, nobody would be impoverished by that.

Quality, it seems, is very much back on the agenda – and choosing your fabrics carefully will certainly go a long way towards preventing the ecological problems we currently face.

Looking forward to it?
December 30, 2008, 15:44
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , ,

We shall soon be saying goodbye to 2008 and welcoming in 2009, so the time has come for me to make the obligatory predictions for the coming 12 months.

This task is always tricky, but given the unforeseen nature of the ‘facelift’ the high street has suffered in 2008, the job has become even harder. One thing that is almost certain, however, is that we will be saying farewell to more shops, but what has not been so well publicised is the difficulties certain brands may also face.

The availability of labels that may in themselves be solid going concerns could well be limited by the fact that the stores they supply are financially insecure. If, as some people have suggested, fashion brands do become more like cash-and-carry businesses, only producing items at short demand from retailers, then their ability to produce clothes of real quality may as a consequence be reduced.


All is not lost, though, as 2009 looks like it will be the year in which the value of clothes will be scrutinised more than ever before (for more on this, see the linked Times article). With more collaborations between designers and our favourite high street shops (Matthew Williamson is next up at H&M) and the credit crunch doing a fine job in some cases of separating the wheat from the chaff, I expect the new year to have more and more people hankering after what this blog is aimed at promoting: well-made, unfussy clothes at affordable prices.

The 3 R’s – Reduce, Re-use and Recycle
December 29, 2008, 12:56
Filed under: Advice | Tags: , , , , ,

So Christmas has come and gone, and in all likelihood will have left you with a few more items of clothing to squeeze into your already over-full wardrobe.

It is also likely that the festive season will leave you with a bit of time on your hands (especially now the mad panic of present buying is over), so why not put it to good use and sort out what killer pieces will be (and certainly won’t be) adorning you in 2009.


If you’re anything like me, you will have been hoarding clothes wherever you could stash them for quite some time – now is your chance to think about what you are realistically going to wear again and what you are not (the latter almost certainly including anything with holes artfully gouged out of it).

One thing to watch out for, though, are items that may not have been worn for a while, but are great candidates to be brought back into circulation under the umbrella of simple style. Re-introducing things that a few years ago might have been considered rash additions to a student wardrobe but now fit well with a more polished look is a great way to kick-start the new year.

And for those pieces that don’t make the cut, always remember that one man’s loss is another man’s gain. While I can’t foresee male swishing parties taking off any time soon, charity shops or shelters are always grateful for clothes that are in good condition at this time of year – look up where your nearest one in located and see whether they have given any guidance as to what types of clothing they really need.