Some good off season Kenneth Cole and Old Navy

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.


10 Comment

  1. Illusory Duniya says:

    “the Israeli girls hocking Dead Sea Salt”…

    And the cute, curly-haired Israeli guys hocking that nail buffer that makes your nails super shiny as if clear nail polish was on them.

    I loathe malls but had to go into one 3 winters ago. The Israelis scorned me coz I didn’t buy, but hey, THEY called me over and I just had to get “buffed” by a hot kiosk guy.
    It eased the pain of being in a contained environment of noise pollution, that indecipherable “buzz” that fills the mall.

    I’ve never seen a straight man write about shopping like this before.

    And be careful with this;

    “I enjoy people watching in general, the cute mall-brat girls half my age are pleasant distracting eye candy”

    It’s on the edge of pedophilia, maybe, depending on the age.

  2. Those buffers really work. They are amazing, they make your nails look like mirrors.


  3. Naw half my age is legal.

    Barely, but still legal.

    It’s more of an aesthetic appreciation. Having actually made the mistake of dating in that age range the idea of actually being in a relationship with someone that young is actually about as much of a turn-off as having my nails buffed by Dick Cheney. Total turn-off, revulsion actually.

    Mall brats are nice to look at but possessed by a general level of annoying inanity that simply curdles the blood with revulsion. Witnessing beauty is refreshing, like watching a lake, of crystal clear waters, in a forest. Like seeing a doe, a majestic deer walk through a glade. Thus is my appreciation for female beauty.

    However when they open their mouths to talk, and sounds come out, and I’m sitting there dumfounded by what emits, I wonder. Again, under 25 “Never again”

    Then there is the texting, most women under 26 send text messages in an annoying string of broken English with numerals mixed up in it. It reminds me of the “3133t sp34k” that we used to type on bbs’s when I was in high school.

    Women over the age of 26 text in sensible correct English – with a few exceptions. I like this. And then there are the intellectual conversations, and the ability to cook – which the under 25 crowd in America typically lacks.

    Yeah, I’m being horrible. But I’m in a horribly amused mood and in such moods I’m prone to amusing myself by writing such things. Imagine a lemur sitting in a tree watching the world with these big astonished eyes and utter glee.

  4. Illusory Duniya says:

    Except that there is nothing astonishing or gleeful in this duniya to witness. There’s so much pain, suffering and inconvenience here, unfortunately.

  5. some weird reason Old Navy pants always fit me extremely well.

    Well aren’t you lucky. Old Navy pants never fit me well. There is always an awdul lot of space in the waist. They must make their pants for women who are shaped like spone bob square pants.

  6. 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.

    You fool, those 30 pants made you a default alpha(not to be confused with my other love default user).

    Shop like an alpha spend like a beta next time.

  7. Ouch. I’ve been schooled.

  8. You know chic, I think they use the same model for the guys and gals, a 18yr old Mexican black tar heroin shooting fashion school hipster dropout with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics.

  9. LOLROF @ your description of the Old Navy fit model Kamal.

  10. Glad to have provided a bit of levity for your day. How’re you doing anyway?

Leave a Reply