Thursday, 18 December 2014

Edwin, win and win

IN SOME ways you could attribute the term Primus inter pares or First among equals to the denim strong label of Edwin, but taking that term to its uppermost literal meaning does not do justice to the role of the Japanese label in the world of denim manufacturers.
Edwin really are not first among anyone, they are simply the first or to use its native tongue, Ichiban.

It takes something special to remain at the top of the tree, or its take special actions, approaches, designs, to make you remembered as the first to achieve something ground breaking and that’s exactly what the Tokyo based company has done.

Bucking trends, or not following the herd has resulted in a manufacturer that has reached the top of the mountain and gleefully sat there since its creator Mr Tsunemi decided not to use ‘inferior’ quality denim, being manufactured in Japan in 1947.
Mr T, chose instead to import American denim, due to material contestants on the country after the Second World War. 
He would launder, repair and carry out whatever else was needed to the garments, before selling them on. 
A decade later he went alone, creating his own jeans, before the brand, that we all know now called Edwin, a play on the word denim itself, was finally launched in 1965.

It didn’t take long before the label was back at it, raising the bar higher once again, this time to a height that every denim manufacturer now has to work from, with the invention of stone washing.

Knowing then, that a pair of Edwin jeans are a standout purchase, It is the variation of other garments that also strike home.
Of the jeans, the ED ranges cover all needs and tastes from Selvedge in their red label, I like the ED-47 myself, to heavy indigo in the ED-55, to washed and even tapered, I must say the Japan X Edwin ED55 Japan Rainbow selvedge are something quite beautiful. 
The range also offers black chinos in the same cut as the 55 jeans.

Of the other garments, I like the Oiler range of cable knit jumpers and beanie hats, my favourite being the Mulled beanie, with its fleck detailing and simple Edwin hem patch, it also comes in navy, and has a natural ‘distressed’ look that works well.
The jumpers are a simpler crew neck navy or marl grey and you just know these are warm and comfortable, especially with the soft ribbing on the cuffs and waistband.

Shirt wise the Labour French collar offerings are a delight, and hold an industrial workman feel to them, with oversized buttons adding to the sturdy/relaxed look.
Poles apart in finishes, the Blue Off White shirt, with delicious contrast stitching, offers two chest pockets in a Herringbone finish, while the Multi shirt is a striped navy, biege, red and muted yellow design, where the colourings highlight the garments cotton material perfectly. It almost has the feel of an over shirt.

There’s fun and flippancy in the range with the One in Every Port, a white cotton T, with a Sailor Jerry style print on the front.
Or you could play it straight with a delightful Baller wool bomb jacket, with contrast black sleeves and navy body, and a cool leather topped zip chest pocket, or wrap it up with the straight fit wool blend Coach jacket.

As shown at the top of this article, the cover of DJ and one time Housemartin Fat Boy Slim’s second album: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby sported an overweight youngster with the T-shirt legend, ‘I’m No: 1, so why try harder’.

Edwin is exactly that, but it keeps trying and succeeding to stay top of the pile.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Gloverall's Winter Wardrobe Wonderland

ANIMALS HAVE their winter coats, but I much prefer the human approach, especially if it comes in the shape of a Gloverall.

Keeping warm with style is something this iconic British label has a natural talent for. The always favourite duffle coats, drip with class, from the 512C to the Classic duffle, it’s all toggle fastening, a hooded majesty, but it’s the additional delights that have caught my eye this season, from men's jumpers to beanie hats

The jumper de jour this winter is definitely any variation of the cable knit style and the Gloverall Aran, based on that classic knit is perfect.
Coming in soft pure wool crew neck loveliness, you feel warm just looking at this garment, it comes in natural (cream) or navy.

Keeping your nut warm is obviously important and doing it with style is just as important in my book. So the Naval Wool Beanie coming in red, kale or navy is a superb way to do both.
The simple design with Gloverall tag in the side and large white patch on the front make for a terrific item.
I like it when a label makes choosing difficult and it is definitely so with the jumper and beanie.

The horn buttoned long sleeve Classic shirt coming in either navy check or navy, with different material finishes.
The check shirt comes with brushed cotton finish: long collar, regular fit shirt is quite simply lush. 
The wool finish also produces a delightfully soft touch, with anchor embossed buttons and comes in a regular fit and a relaxed one at that.
Both shirts also sport the brands logo on the bottom right hem.

The simple colour ways of these garments, make for a beautifully muted and interchangeable addition to any man's wardrobe, but especially a Christmas one.

In a word, nice

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

What's not to like? Shoes Like Pottery

WHAT IS there not to like about Shoes Like Pottery?

All that beautifully crafted, vulcanised or Ka-Ryu , processes and simple colour choices, (white, black or blue) they are so Japanese it's unreal. All that attention to detail and always adding something a little different. 
Hand assembled and sewn, these versions on the classic tennis shoe are, well, stand out.

I love the ink stamped logo on the side of the sole, along with the matching contrast blue soles.

That really is the key to those delights, attention to detail in the creative process and simplicity of design, which allows the wearer to know they are buying something cared for and well built, that they can fit into their wardrobe easily, that will enhance not to take over.


The only down side I can see, is that they sell out so quickly, better get a move on then hadn't I?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Perfect balance, with New Balance

NOW THE mung bean salad tossing brigade or the Bikram hot yoga gang may tell you it’s the pursuit of a work life balance that makes for a happy life.

This in some ways may be right, but for The Colonel immediate happiness is quiet easily achieved through purchasing New Balance trainers.

It is all about the perfect balance after all.

It is always difficult to gauge exactly why one type of trainers, or trainer manufacturer instils such affection and adoration, but New Balance does it or has it and in spades.

It could be the fact that the company produced the world’s first running shoe with its Trackster in the 1960, or that it produces its shoes both Stateside and in England, obviously touching brand loyalty with this approach, with the shoes being made in Cumbria since the early 1980s.

Or it could be, well not for me, the expert design points, such as the size selections adapting for extra wide or slimmer, gel inserts and Empac heal support.

It is simply because they look cracking, for me it is all about the aesthetics with New Balance.

Every time I buy a pair and I have recently purchased the M670 SKO in black, I always get a knowing nod or comment from the assistant, something along the lines of: ‘You cannot go wrong with New Balance’.

Then there is always a brief conversation about their favourite one from the latest ranges, or the ones they are aiming to buy.

After a tortured half-hour mulling over the M670, or M576 KGS also in black, oh and the M670 in bright orange and the M576 PLG in grey suede. See what I mean, it is never simple, but then that’s part of the joy, I made my decision.

The superbly worked suede upper and mesh combination used in the ranges, plus that iconic N logo on the side of the trainers, is always easy on the eye, and has any fan of the brand looking to see the subtle variations of new designs. This season the stand out has to be the M576Mod khaki shoe.

I don’t think I have furniture that is as comfortable as this stunning shoes, fur lined Parka style, suede upper, this limited edition, with the added touch a Union Flag embossed on both heals just shows me why I and so many others love these shoes.

New Balance get the Balance between style, functionality and performance perfectly.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

HyperGrand: The times they are a changing

IN MANY ways the men’s watch has always been the last piece of any fashionable wardrobe, with owners having to choose either one design or another: sports or dress.
This one way timepiece street is due in one part to cost issues, with a lot of ‘kettles’, (kettle means watch in Cockney rhyming slang), being expensive and in the second, due to an historic lack of flexibility.

Those days are well and truly gone with the HyperGrand range of reasonably priced men’s watches, being completely interchangeable, oh and very, very cool.
Creating a vast amount of interest, HyperGrand are as individual as their owners, with a sleek design, varying dials, hands and of course straps, with Stuarts London bringing the brand to town.

The brand’s NATO strap allows for the full range of watches to be switched around, so a sports strap, as featured on the Sweeney watch, a crisp clear one winder mechanism in a stainless steel case, can be moved onto the more dress watch style of the three winder Nautical Blue, which initially comes with a leather strap.

The watch casings vary in depth and colouring, and this plus a reasonable price, or should that be a realistic price range, make HyperGrand exactly as the name says ‘grand’.

As the brand says of itself: ‘We create products that allow a spectrum of individual expression’.
With the upcoming festive season’s party merry-go-round meaning countless wardrobe changes, the chameleon ability of the HyperGrand range, means there could not be a better time to add one to your wardrobe and express your individuality.

The times they are a changing.

3,2,1 and we are live: Lacoste Live

TWINS are not always the same, this rule also goes for brothers they all have their differences, they may be minute, they may be glaring, but they are there, if you look hard enough.
And so it is with Lacoste and it’s younger brother or brand twin Lacoste Live.

Live is definitely the irreverent young buck, in some ways the cooler sibling, with a propensity to chuck in contemporary designs, the one the girls eye playfully. 
It is of course a matter of choice, and Lacoste Live is a citadel, not in the classic sense of being fortified, but it is a smaller city within the confines of the big one, or label, that is Lacoste.
The two choose different tracks within the same route. Big brother with all of his timeless style, classic looks ranging back since he kicked off being a cool kid in 1933, while Live trades on its youth, playing with the classic styles of its big sibling, adding new angles where edges may have been rounded off.
From a design aspect the label has given itself a wonderful space to rework its creations, a great idea.
There is definitely no case of one over the other as all the expected Lacoste refined quality, is here the two are one or under one umbrella. 
Yet they are perfectly different.

The main feel of this season’s range is relaxed, from sweats, to hooded sweats, to image styled T-shirts. It’s all fleeces thrown over shoulders, casual and cool, but with little intricacies such as the tri-colour trim on the cuffs, with all stocked by Stuarts London.
The fleeces, ultra slim sweatshirts come in natural (cream), noir (black) or ultramarine (navy), while the ultra slim cut continues throughout. 
In the polo range I love the classic pique shirt, with a marled pattern which gives a beautiful soft feel to the cotton in the Myrtillier Chine, while the rest of the range hark back to the iconic men’s pique polo shirt.
You know the two button placket icon.
Introducing a quilted detail to various garments such as the Paladium Chine polo, which sports the design on the shoulders and arms, while the sweats, in light grey and black sport it throughout contrasting he ribbed cliffs and waistband works well.
It’s a plain canvas in many ways that runs through the range, until of course you drop in the Otaku printed twill shirt, which also comes, of a fashion in a noir polo.
This delicious ghost like flower print is as much of a contrast as the lighthearted print image shirts, such as the Honet , with its transformer come robot print, while the City Noir t-shirt is a two tone treat, all 50s image quality.
The hooded sweats are again simple yet stylised, some with contrast inner lining, some without.
The American preppy look drops in with the Varsity striped two tone green and cream button through jacket, the colour set up of contrast arms appears again in the Block jersey, and the Paladium noir. 

There are button down shirts and a bomber jacket and a stunning skinny fit denim shirt, while the warmth comes in the shape of the Iguana multi pocket jacket, button through while the contrast orange lining provides a fun touch and the shearling collar the obvious comfort and warmth as things get chilly.
Two completely different jumpers the Jacquard knit and Marled Farine provide a great example of the various sides to this range, one a soft monochrome crew neck, the other a three banded Jacquard pattern of blues and yellows, whites and blacks, with contrast ribbed cuffs and waistband.
One side of the road to the other, but both producing a beautiful winter warmer, just like the brothers.
Perfectly different.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Keep it simple for winter

Simple out fits using a common thread of colour is something I always like.
It also means a wardrobe can be recycled, not in the local council sense, but to make variable looks. 

With the main colour of navy blue in one look as the main coat in the other as the jumper, these two looks are current season wise to keep you warm with style, but you could always drop certain aspects and wear for other times of year.

So for the coat, how about the Ten C grey Snow Smock, or the Hardy Amies Herringbone light grey wool jacket, which both have a lovely light grey allowing the darker colours to standout.
The Amies is a button through, four front pocket, flap covers on the hand with a quilted lining which is a bright contrast orange. The Ten C is as you would expect harking back military days of old with drawstring hood and as many pockets as you would ever need.

Slide in a Barbour Kirktown cardigan, all cable knit class with all over design and chunky leather (football) buttons, sat nicely on a contrast placket.
If zips are you preferred fasten, the Hugo Boss Orange Zaid 1 navy cardigan with two front pockets is perfect and has a less rugged feel.

Returning to the grey I would slide in a Matinique Cutaway shirt, long sleeved, French collar with adjustable cuffs, while in the pocket keeping your hands warm the Norse Projects x Hestra Svante gloves in charcoal are a great leather lambswool combination.

Kicking off the next look, for the jacket the Hardy Amies navy wool jacket, is a navy knockout. Shearling collar, button through, with two hand pockets it’s a delight. 

A crisp white shirt is needed, and there isn’t much that says it better than the Armani Jeans white shirt, with two chest pockets, contrast elbow patches.

In exchange for a jumper, slipping in a waistcoat works well with this number, the Gibson  Vintage brown wool waistcoat to be precise.
Wool button, satin back, the slim fit waistcoat, with two front pockets is a corker, you could drop a Newsboy Boy Stetson hat, to keep with the waistcoat colourings the Goat suede brown is ideal.

The Penfield Pennystone tan sheepskin gloves provide an outdoor feel to the look, and of course are bloody warm, a splash of variable pattern comes nicely with the Tootal Paisley wine scarf, a silk powerhouse of heat with fringe finish.

Top top this out completely the Barbour Travel Explorer bag in dark brown, zip fastening with padlock, aged appearance, detachable shoulder strap twin leather carry handles, with tartan lining. You can keep other one of the outfits in it as well.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A hot front in this cold weather

WELL THE season of the chill is definitely upon, the skies have bruised, the leaves turned and all that prosaic stuff, but I haven’t had time to worry too much about the autumnal change into winter, rather how to still look good and keep warm.

I know my last post spoke about the incredible Canada Geese jacket range, which are a one-stop-shop for winter warmth, but I am looking at other styles and outfits that provide both warmth and wonder.
Now, what better way to hit the cold snap than with a statement and one of peace? 

Well dropping the Moschino Love two tone Peace jumper, with it chest size CND peace symbol, is the perfect way to do that.

The v-neck grey and navy ribbed cuffed and waist jumper, with inverted two tone symbol is part of the excellent range, coming as it does in a black and white, the Love range also has the superb Block grey and black crew neck jumper with a metal CND or peace logo on the chest.

Maintaining the block colour look, the Metal Stud peace logo sweatshirt.

The tighter fit of the Versace puffer in blue is what I like for this look, open of course, hence the heavier jumper, the zip through, two hand pocket, with zip close and satin lining make this a comfy and classy choice.

If the weather is slightly warmer, break from the norm and choose the Ten C navy down liner, which although designed for one job, is perfect for another.

Just be aware it has no buttons and is a lightweight garment. It comes in black.

The neutrality of this overall look can be continued or altered with the choice of trousers, throwing in a bit of punk retro tartan (check) feel is easy enough, plump for the Prince of Wales check Hardy Amies, which come in grey or a blue, button fly, two hand and two back pockets in a tailored fit.

The Oliver Spencer Pleat Hallington green trouser is also perfect with it’s fleck design and pleated front, four pocket style, zip fasten.

Or if you aim to keep the solid style, the Iceberg Uomo trousers in black, waist fitting, straight leg, slanted side pocket will work or for a tighter or slim fit, the Paul Smith Red Ear chinos in navy, complete with waist adjusters and four pocket style.

Trainers are a must for this, running shoes especially, so how about the Adidas Onix with the course textured upper, smaller three-stripe logo, coming in a grey or black, which also keeps the grey sole.

If you want to go slightly bigger in build, but keeping similar colour ways, then the M577 GNA New Balance in grey works a treat, all the usual NB styling on this classic and Made in England. 

There is also a navy version and the dark blue SBK shoe.

Topping any set up out is vital and throwing in a tad of colour to this on your head is easy enough.
Something like the Matinique Logian wine beanie hat, or why not through it all out with the bath water? The CP Company Goggle in strawberry is a 100 per cent wool delight.

Now to maintain or recycle items from this look is easy to do when transferring to a jacket driven look, simply exchange the trainers for Beckman Wing Tip Cigar boots from Red Wing.

A stunning quality boot coming in Featherstone as well, for a darker colour.

Or try the Trickers’ Stow Acorn Antique brogue in tan. A daddy of boots.

The same grey, navy or black will work on a plain jumper this time, the Uniforms For The Dedicated Indian summer charcoal crew neck, in softest Merino wool, it also comes in navy.

Of course John Smedley and Aquascutum would have to step in here somewhere.

The Cleves black pullover and the Patch crew neck in grey, respectively  both offer all and more than you could want.

A cream cable knit, say the Gloverall Aran knit, or the Paul Smith cable, which comes with a wider softer knit pattern, will allow the puffer jackets to remain, but I think a longer jacket will work better with the plain, one colour jumpers, so try the Gloverall Classic 512 CT duffle in navy, all here, toggle fastening, large bell front pockets, throat tab, simply yes.

The Common People Chalke Heather grey Mac acts a perfect canvas, large white five button front fasten, with a raw contemporary finish and large front pockets.

For a shorter cut, the Ten C Drill tan jacket works well against the pattern trousers, with three button front, one flap chest and two flap hand pockets, this has the added Ten C stamp of moulding to the wearers shape after time, so it really is YOUR jacket.

I’ve plumped for the Barbour Dept B Beacon Sports tweed jacket as a last possible, but feel a deeper red jumper may sit better here, say the Folk Clothing Check knit burgundy wool jumper, which sports a soft square knit pattern.

That way you could go for an oatmeal or beige colour hat such as the Fred Perry Oatmeal Beanie, with embroidered maroon laurel logo.

Right I am off to sort out some more looks me thinks.