I like good quality off-the-rack clothing, and when I can actually afford it I certainly like bespoke, or made to measure, items as well. Sometimes I discover gems in the rough, very nice items where you wouldn’t expect. Away from the usual boutiques and in plainer locations.
I decided to mall hop yesterday. I enjoy people watching in general, the cute mall-brat girls half my age are pleasant distracting eye candy, the rural families coming in from the sticks, eyes open in wonder at the consumerist glory of it all are interesting to watch, the serial shop-lifters and their patterns, the Israeli girls hocking Dead Sea Salt (on the side, for those interested I have a warehouse full 0f Dead Sea Salt available wholesale, FOB point Amelia Ohio, 200 lbs minimal order quantity – email me for details), the Israeli part-time art student guys selling weird trinkets, the Punjabi Jewelry and diamond sellers, the bored Chinese kids manning belt kiosks, the human painting before me. I like mall hopping and seeing which way the wind blows. I only do it infrequently, though.
Yesterday, I discovered, to my surprise that last season’s stuff seems nicer than this seasons. I also discovered that I’d lost far more inches off my waist that I’d remotely expected. Which amused me. I blame it on kettlebells and Intermittent fasting. Reining in my white sugar addiction may also have played a role.
I stumbled on a few Kenneth Cole shirts at Dillard’s. I actually started out at Macy’s dress and club shirts were nice, there was a pretty good selection of Calvin Klein. Hugo Boss wasn’t too bad. A few of the Alfani’s were nice (though most were obnoxiously male peacock wear, stuff resurrected from the worst cutting-room floor discarded scenes of Miami vice. I did like some of the iridescent ones though. The DKNY stuff was crap. There were a few twill iridescent pattern Tasso Elba Shirts that weren’t too over the top, they fit well enough, and could actually be worn in an office (you’d get a few stares though)
I swung by Express and a few of the other smaller boutiques, nothing they had for this season impressed me. So then I made my way to Dillard’s and stumbled on a few awesome Kenneth Cole shirts. What shocked me was that the cut, and quality, was better than Calvin Klein or Hugo Boss, the men’s slim shirts have a nice athletic fit, a trim and tailored look but not gaudy. The shirts were very well constructed and fit me much better than other counterparts. Kenneth Cole’s production quality, in their men’s shirts at least, seems to have gone up over the last few years.
Weirdly enough their solid slim fit seems to fit my shape very well, in spite of my slight paunch. Their athletic cut for some reason or another is more natural than Calvin Klein’s. Calvin Klein looks good on me, but there is something too sharp to the look, and it feels artificial. The Kenneth Cole shirts were tailored in appearance and fits me very well, but feel natural, they move with my body. Better, the nicer colors and selections were on discount.
How lucky can a guy get? Because the discounted 2009 stuff is more to my taste anyway, as far as color and fabrics are concerned.
From what I see of the ’10 Kenneth Cole dress shirts, the quality is just as good, but the colors are softer this season. I gravitate towards dark clothing, black, or midnight blue with black stripes or patterns (herringbone, piques, etc.) so the happy happy pastel stuff doesn’t quite appeal to me.
Same cut and same quality though. There are also a few metallic satin like patterns that are appropriate for office wear but also look great outside of the office.
I later stopped at Old Navy – and picked up a few loose Men’s striped dress pants and herringbone khakis. For some weird reason Old Navy pants always fit me extremely well. I have some Calvin Klein’s and they are uncomfortable. I also have some more formal suit pants that fit me well, but the super 120 wool stuff needs too much caring.
I need cotton pants that can take a bit of a bruising and yet still look nice. Old Navy – low end as they are – didn’t let me down last year, when I picked up some 2008 grey Herringbone pants.
They fit me like a dream, but are now a bit loose in the waist (though they’ve held up well) – I liked them so much I decided to return – and return I did. Beyond the rash of unsolicited complements I got on the ones previously picked up, they simply felt naturally comfortable.
Old Navy’s “loose” patterned dress pants and Khakis really are not “loose” – they just simply are not scandalously and effeminately skin tight. They are also not Khakis or Chinos, the fabrics are cotton, and they are constructed like flat-front Khakis but they have a bit more of a dress flair. Back to the fit, they have a natural and somewhat athletic feel to their fit.
Last year I picked up some of the 2008 discontinued size 33 and 32’s – they fit me well, but this spring these are simply too loose and bunch up with my new belt. So I decided to try out a size 31 and 30. Both fit me naturally, like a dream, they are comfortable, and look quite flattering. Also they are not over-tight – though my observing friend did inform me that the size 30 pants – while a perfect fit everywhere else – seriously bulges in a scandalous way at the crotch. Which simply will not do.
I took my friend’s advice and just bought the 31s. If I do lose any more weight off the waist I’ll probably just have the 31’s taken in instead of buying 30’s. The last thing I need at work is flaunting an obscene man-bulge. That would be bad, and gaudy. Downright tacky.
So I like these pants. They are dressy but not in an over the top, overly formal way. They have a somewhat casual and relaxed edge at the same time. Not that I remotely care, but the unsolicited complements today do seem to indicate that my appraisal of their fittingness was correct.
These pants wear nice with blazers and suit separate jackets, and nice without them. If they had an affiliate program I would probably hock them on my blog like a cheap pitchman, but they don’t. Yet I still say “gentlemen, buy them. They will look good on you and are a huge upgrade to the typically boring khaki chinos your office expects.”
And predictably enough Old Navy discontinued them. The same as with their unwashed hard shiny indigo dye jeans, they discontinue the best items and keep the ones appealing to 19 year old frat boys.
Bloody tossers, the lot of ’em.
In any case this means these items are shoved in the discount racks for the rest of the season, a perverse joy – their best ’09 items are marked down next to nothing while their worst ’10 items are still premium price. Strange.