Faith in the brand based on prior accomplishments will warrant a return visit once they get it together.
Here at Unrefinery we write about style and design for gents,
and occasionally we try not to be
Summer offers unique opportunities for the wearing of sweaters. Heat is only one parameter in the equation, along with activity level, prevailing wind, humidity, and the possibility of day-into-night dressing on holiday. A few types of sweater are particularly suited for the warm season:
Polo sweaters, whose ribbed cuffs and hem present a sleek counterpart to generally looser summerwear—most notably when rendered in a nicer cotton with a bit of sheen.
T-shirt sweaters, preferably in interesting slubby textures, with airy open knits and boat necks to combat solar gain.
Long-sleeved linen sweaters, the kind you pull on poolside or push up to your elbows, accepting that they'll be stretched out and worn by fall. Fast-fashion brands like Zara and H&M are great for this sort of thing.
Sometimes previously-useful brands are rendered obsolete. It could be attributable to external market forces, to their own inability to adapt, or more commonly both in varying degrees. Looking through the Unrefinery archives one can observe the frequency in which certain names appear gradually decreasing and ultimately halting entirely. A couple of examples:
What they were good for: Affordable, trim-fitting basics like merino sweaters and casual shirts.
What happened: Uniqlo, mostly, who did everything BR did well with higher quality, a lower price point, and in 12 colours. The Banana seems to be in the same downward death spiral as parent company The Gap, with 40% discounts even on new arrivals a not-uncommon occurrence.
What they were good for: Tasteful (usually) twists on classic forms, mod wear, and indestructible leather goods.
What happened: This one hurts, because JV himself is an extremely cool guy and everyone at Unrefinery is a fan. The big problem here is that the brand's aesthetic has grown too narrow. A typical piece on the website is modeled by a slender reed of a man with long hair and cultured stubble... and his style and occupation make him one of maybe a few thousand people who are going to wear what is essentially offbeat rock'n'roll stagewear in their daily lives (and if then, maybe only at the club). Varvatos' pieces are typically well-made with beautiful materials but because of their narrow appeal and the equally narrow acceptable age for wearing them they don't make good investments. The kids will probably view these styles as wearable for a year or two and thus will hit Zara for disposable alternatives.
What they were good for: Sophisticated sportswear, refined outerwear and affordable suits of reasonable quality.
What happened: This wound was largely self-inflicted, as Bauhaus-inspired knitwear with fine details and textures gave way to gaudy prints and logo-branded polos. Their suiting, mass-produced and burdened with fused jacket construction, veered into trendy tiny lapels and actually bumped up to the $900-$1,000 range just as Suitsupply came along with fully canvased offerings for hundreds less—and with a much more timeless and sophisticated aesthetic. Their coats are still OK, but unless there's a sale on, you can probably get one made to measure elsewhere and spend less in the process.
Suitsupply's Spring/Summer 2017 Collection is now online for pre-order. A few highlights from outside the reliably great suit department:
Havana Lightweight Checked Jackets [$400-$500]
Ranging from partially to completely unlined, in linen and linen blends, this is a slim but traditionally styled jacket in some of Suitsupply's best materials. The blue checks are beautiful, but check out the tan windowpane. Very Hermès. Baller as f*ck.
Merino Short-Sleeved Sweater [$60]
You wear it like a t-shirt, but it has the sheen you only get from extra-fine wool. The elasticized cuffs and hem elevate it and whatever casual sportswear you pair with it. This is the kind of thing J.Crew would ruin by putting a triangle sweatshirt stitch at the neck.
Wool Field Jacket [$500]
Descended from the classic M65, and normally encountered in their treated cotton variants, Suitsupply's grey and navy field jackets are slimmed and shortened and made from VBC wool—but just as water-resistant as their military forebears.