Unrefinery

The Latest: Thursday 18 December 2014

Florentino A/W 2014-2015

A lot of neat things happen at that point where traditional mens clothing is just slightly bent towards casual streetwear. (A lot of terrible things happen there too, but let's stay positive.) The new Autumn/Winter book from Spanish label Florentino does a lot of nice things with tonal textures, warm greyscales and layering, with every look featuring at least one unexpected element—trousers in ochre or green, casual ankle boots, a shawl pullover as an inner layer. A nice starting point for winter style inspiration.
15.dec.2014 style
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When not to use a novelty font | Fail

The societal scourge that is the killing of unarmed black men by white cops, and our horrifying inability to bring the perpetrators to justice, may be the most important civil rights issue of our time. And we're going to applaud James, Rose and the others who take up the message.

But for God's sake say it in a typeface other than Comic Sans. The subject matter deserves better.
09.dec.2014 culture
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Beard oils. For men. With beards. | Buy

The Guardian warned us months ago that we may have reached "peak beard", but if that just means it falls out of hipster favour it's all the more acceptable to those of us who bathe and read books. It doesn't take long before whiskers reach the point where they could be a little softer and more pliable to a bit of taming, and a few drops of beard oil does just that without greasiness. While this sort of product is available in a variety of scents, it seems appropriate to go with something quietly masculine. A couple of favourites:

Beardbrand Four Vices [$30] combines tobacco, coffee, hemp and hops, and you can discern all four of the key notes in the earthy end result.

Tom Ford Oud Wood [$50] is woody, spicy, and due to its subtle smokiness maybe hints at sour mash whiskey. Good for the lounge lizard who is a part-time lumberjack.

Unlike body fragrances which are applied by the spritz for the benefit of all in your vicinity, you're the primary audience for beard oil. You're going to smell it off and on all day; choose carefully.
01.dec.2014 culture style
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Mailbag: Wearing a scarf with a hoodie

An anonymous reader asks, "Can I wear a scarf with a hoodie?" Answer: Totally. This combines two previous Unrefinery directives regarding hoodies that don't suck and the wearing of undersized scarves: you need just enough scarf to keep your neck warm but not enough to add bulk when tucked in. The result can be both practical and an aesthetically pleasing shoulder/neck silhouette that frames your face. Hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn't even think of wearing the scarf outside the hoodie.
24.nov.2014 mail style
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Epaulet Doyle Jackets | Buy

If you've been admiring Vetra's classic French chore coats, Epaulet now offers an American-made update. The Doyle jacket [$175-195] slightly trims the form and rounds the hip patch pockets while retaining the simple, unlined construction and that visible stitched outline of the internal chest pocket. Also available in denim, but the washed duck canvas options offer the most authentic textures and colours.
20.nov.2014 style
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L.L.Bean Signature A/W 2014: Menswear sighting!

The men's division of L.L.Bean's Signature line essentially took the year off in 2013, offering primarily the same tractor chic found across the brand's main line. So it's nice to see a few solid items in this newest collection that harken back to the updated classics that earned them the 2010 Unrefinery Award. A few highlights:
  • Herringbone tweed sport coat [$249] in staple blue and grey; also available in a warm plaid. Looking really good for the price. In the past their entry-level jackets and suiting have been well reviewed here.
  • The Slim straight washed cords [$69] have a modern leg profile without an impractically low rise. The sage green and deep red are particularly nice.
  • Lightweight Fair Isle Sweater [$99]. 20% nylon "for strength". Whatever. Classic autumnal pattern and the flecked solid tweedy trim looks great.
No firsthand experience here with these pieces, but LLBS fits have typically been pretty good and it's noteworthy that just about every product includes the word "slimmest" in its description. So minimal tailoring should be required.
17.nov.2014 style
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Uh... hey, Ventee-Privee, were we supposed to know that? | Fail

"This item is not eligible for return." No kidding.

It was revealed yesterday that V-P is about to cease operations, so we may expect more "editorial comments" from soon-to-be-unemployed crew members.
13.nov.2014 tech
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Wingtip Ankle Boot Buyer's Guide | Buy

Wingtip ankle boots: from a footwear standpoint, about as dressy as you want to be if your day might involve trudging through snow. They work with denim and you can wear nicer specimens with worsted suits, but the sweet spot is clearly a pairing with your coarsely textured wool flannel or tweed trousers. Ideally you want either a heavy rubber tread or a leather sole that your local shoe repair shop can easily winterize. As the four boots we found here clearly demonstrate, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and finish. Shown: Florsheim [$150], Massimo Dutti [$225], Loake [$440 at East Dane], To Boot New York [$450 at Nordstrom].
10.nov.2014 culture style
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L.B.M. Coats at Yoox | Buy

Unrefinery discussed L.B.M. 1911's current season back in August, noting the great comfort and rich patterns of their jackets in particular. And while they come out of the gate a little pricey, by the time they reach everyone's favourite European thrift shop Yoox.com they are some of the best values in men's outerwear. To break it down:
  • Minimally structured, looks like a nice coat but wears like a bathrobe... check.
  • Variety of staple solid colours and sophisticated plaids... check.
  • Single- and double-breasted styles available... check.
  • Made in Italy... check.
  • Under $250... check.
  • 100% wool... well...
OK, so they're usually between 15% and 40% polyamide. In theory this helps with shape retention and water resistance. In practice, normally a cost-cutting measure. No matter, we have two of them here and the materials feel nice. Again we have to mention the under $250 bit. Is there a similar value for nicely cut, highly wearable, comfortable coats to be found anywhere?
03.nov.2014 style
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A teachable moment regarding angles and proportions

This photo, which you probably don't need to be told was taken at Pitti Uomo, is in keeping with the event a bit over-the-top but nonetheless serves as a useful demonstration of how angles affect the wearer's perceived proportions.

Generally speaking, lines in menswear are oriented to emphasize height—pinstripes are always vertical, both neckties and open collars form narrow V-shapes, and so on. One of the reasons not everyone can wear double-breasted coats is that the angle of DB lapels is by necessity more horizontal than in single-breasted models. Similarly, cutaway collars create a wider, more horizontal angle that emphasizes width; this is exacerbated when the proportion of band height to collar point length is low. Which brings us to this photo of two gents, who are probably of a normal height and reasonable fitness but whose broad, almost 45-degree lapels and short, broad collars are working against this perception.

This was a learning moment for Unrefinery as well, where Tom Ford and 1970s fandom had us all thinking that there's no such thing as too-wide lapels. So much for that theory.
27.oct.2014 style
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