The Latest: Sunday 26 October 2014

An Unrefinery Haiku: Zip-Out Bibs | Fail

When you deploy "the
Clip-on tie of outerwear"
You fail at winter

(Previously on Unrefinery: How to wear a coat with a zip-out bib.)
16.oct.2014 style
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Polar Parkas | Buy

Unrefinery is on the record as endorsing a winter white palette for the cold months, and the most useful building block is a classic off-white parka that will work with just about anything. It's of course possible to find a heavy wool specimen with an exotic fur ruff, but given the necessity of solid water resistance and the increased likelihood of winter outerwear being destroyed in combat there's a good argument for going with a synthetic shell (which is cheaper) and faux trim (because wearing real fur is still pretty douchey).

The best example found so far this season is the ASOS quilted parka [$152] which hits all the classic cues: good length, dual zip and button closure, a proper hood, and those vertical side slash pockets that offer refuge for cold hands without collecting snow. Another option is Zara's four pocket parka [$189] which is considerably shorter in length. Too short? Hard to tell; model may be just wearing stupid drop crotch trousers a la Justin F*cking Bieber. And while it's not from a current collection, the classic Woolrich parka can sometimes be found on the secondary market. We're including it here as it's pretty much the ideal: moderate length, and absent of dark buttons or hood linings that might detract from its glorious snowy goodness.
13.oct.2014 style
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On the latest attempt at reviving pleated trousers | Fail

Clothing trends—in all segments—are more cyclical than linear; it's the rare design element that goes away and never returns in some form or another. Part of the reason things change at all is an organic evolution brought about by our collective fatigue of seeing and wearing the same thing. But a significantly stronger contributing factor is the need for an industry that sold you a new wardrobe last year to convince you that you need to replace it all this year. It's important to remember that this industry is led by people like Anna Wintour, who thinks we should be looking to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian as style icons.

"But wait," we're told on all sides, "pants are getting fuller." Well that's true, but only because the pendulum has swung as far as it can in the opposite direction. Skin-tight trousers literally can not get any slimmer. There's noplace else to go. And so meggings and 7" ankle openings may be very well be on their way out for everyone but hipster dead-enders. Doesn't mean abdomen-puffing pleats are coming along for the ride.

Basically what we're saying here is that you can keep your flat-front trousers and that pleated pants are still for the TGI Friday's and Wal-Mart set.

Shown: Club Monaco not helping.
09.oct.2014 style
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Corduroy Colours | Buy

There's something about the convergence of the plushness of the material and the fact that we wear these things only with autumnal and winter wardrobes that makes corduroy trousers work in colours that we might not wear in other materials. The most obvious example is a sort of golden tan or umber shade that pairs brilliantly with the entire cool end of the spectrum. Bottle green into deep forest green is also kind of a classic cord colour. A little more bold and contemporary is the aubergine to plum range, which everyone here is a fan of since the Berluti S/S 2014 collection came along and rocked Unrefinery's collective world.

Shown left to right: Brooks Brothers Milano. Lands' End Tailored. Incotex Ivory.
06.oct.2014 style
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Kent Wang Custom Suits & Jackets

Kent Wang has been offering custom tailoring for some time now, and Unrefinery finally got to trying it out. We opted for a casual, partially lined windowpane jacket in a Draco wool/linen blend, and chose to be measured in person at Kent's New York office. The process involves trying on the RTW sample suits, noting where adjustments need to be made, and choosing from a wide variety of options for pockets, stitching, linings, lapels, and other details. There are no intermediary fittings; the garment is then made and shipped to you.

As expected from such a process there will be some tweaks needed that you wouldn't get from a bespoke method—our jacket needed to be let out at least an inch to ease a buckling lapel and a bit of vent flaring—handled for about $120 at our local tailor. On the other hand, the process is very fast; the jacket was shipped less than 4 weeks from the day of the fitting. And for the price, which naturally varies based on fabric and options, the quality is outstanding—there's tons of detailed handwork evident in the pick-stitching, shanking, and buttonholes.

All in all an efficient process with a high value proposition that offers an excellent entry into custom suiting.
02.oct.2014 style
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The Return of +J | Buy

Uniqlo's 2009-2011 +J collection with Jil Sander set a standard for accessible designer collaborations that has of yet been unsurpassed, and now three years later it makes its return. Starting this Friday (in stores) and the Friday following (online) Uniqlo is making their Best of +J Collection available for purchase. And while we'll agree to disagree on whether these are the best of the collaboration—it omits the standout patterned knitwear and light cotton jackets—there is some superb stuff in here for everyone. The more conservative outerwear, including a trim rain mac ($150) and a peak lapel overcoat ($230), was consistently great the first time around. The stretch cashmere sweaters feature a flattering cut, some highly sophisticated colours, and a quality of cashmere that punches above its weight at the price point (around $150). And the dark wool flannel suiting, while strictly for the slight of build, is at under $250 perfect for a younger man looking to start dressing better at work and after hours.
29.sep.2014 style
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Someone is making monkstrap sneakers. Dead serious. | Fail

Just let that sink in for a minute.
F**k you so hard, #menswear.
26.sep.2014 style
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The Ottawa Senators, official hockey team of Unrefinery.com

Here the boys are arriving in St. John's last Friday. You see this? Sharply tailored suits, no neckties, no BEATS BY DRE headphones. We'll forgive the wheeled luggage. Welcome to Newfoundland, lads.
24.sep.2014 culture style
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Velvet suits, aviator glasses...

As a counterweight to the estrogen-drenched spectacle that is New York Fashion Week, The Washington Post has posted a great archival photo gallery of mostly '70s-vintage men's fashion. And while a lot of it naturally looks dated, we can't help but appreciate the graphic power of strong plaids and herringbones, and the reminder that broad lapels and pants that don't taper to a tiny ankle are always flattering to the masculine form.

If you think a lot of this 40-year-old stuff is unwearable, take a look at what's going on right now in the 2014 women's runway shows. Wearability is relative, friends.
22.sep.2014 culture style
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The Shawl Collar Cardigan as Outerwear

When someone asks how to wear a shawl collar cardigan the conventional answer is to think of it as a casual blazer, but a sufficiently heavy sweater can reasonably stand in as a coat as well. And while nobody should wear one over a double-breasted waistcoat as Suitsupply have styled it here—on the basis that nobody should wear a double-breasted waistcoat under any circumstances—their demonstration of layering suggests some interesting ideas. To overcome the inherently porous nature of a knit garment one might consider an inner layer of something like Uniqlo's HEATTECH that adds warmth with virtually no bulk. With an insulating layer like this, a shirt and a heavy wool cardigan, you're set for temperatures below freezing.
18.sep.2014 style
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