Pop-Up Flea Market X J.Crew Sample Sale

You know what I like most about living in New York? Alongside Paris, it’s the fashion capitol of the world. And I’m a bonefide junkie. Pupils dialted with excitement, precision pacing, eyes glazed and glassy, drool peaking at the corners of my lips, body uncontrollably undulating, grabbing for shirts and ties, surely bystanders believe the “Intervention”  production crew is nearby documenting the agony and ecstasy of my retail therapy. Ok, so  that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not out blowing thousands of dollars on clothes, frankly because I don’t have thousands of dollars to blow on clothes. One day I will. I’ve made an important decision. I’m not buying anymore clothes, except a Christmas present to myself, until the spring. Developing more self control is vital for life. I have cultivated self control in areas of my life most people claim absolutely impossible and are always flabbergasted when I tell them. It shouldn’t be that difficult to do the same for clothes I hope.

Lots to do this week. I ventured out with my homeboy Kenric to the J.Crew sample sale. This was my first sample sale experience. There were plenty of people and plenty of great clothes. I wasn’t looking for much – a sweater, maybe some neckwear. I ended up purchasing a sweater, two ties, and a beanie for myself, and optimistically got my girlfriend two sweaters, hoping she liked them and hoping they fit that scintillating body she carries with meticulous expertise. No pics of the J. Crew goods or the sample sale scene.

The  fourth annual Pop-Up Flea was this past weekend. I’m glad I discovered this impromptu menswear haven, but also slightly saddened. Saddened at the fact the only way you would know about the event is either casually walking Bleeker St., a friend telling you, or obsessive-compulsive immersion in menswear tumblr/blogosphere. I’m the latter. I should definitely devote more time to more important things. It was a sunny, breezy fall afternoon and there were hoards of other casually, sharp dressed guys just hanging outside the Pop-Up Flea. Presumably checking the scene out, live blogging and tweeting, texting, networking, and possibly shopping. Conversation was casual, personable, and informative – waxed leather, fabrics, denim construction, shoe construction, suede, and furniture.

That's me.

I politely sipped (my coffee) and surveyed. There were some labels I had heard of and really admired like Hickoree’s (dope BK spot), Levi’s. Gitman Brothers, BillyKirk, etc. But there were plenty of undiscovered labels to examine. I was most impressed by Alexander Olch neckwear and Dehen 1920. Absolutely gorgeous ties. I must have hovered around their table set up five or six times, talking myself out of buying a bow-tie. Dehen 1920 is an Oregon based company making extraordinary varsity jackets and cardigans. They were going for about $420, which is actually reasonable and accurate considering the superior craftsmanship. Next fall you can bet I’m investing in one of these guys jackets. 

Alexander Olch Neckwear

Dehen 1920

Flawless Victory.

I ended up spending only $60 with Wooden Sleepers out of Greenpoint-Brooklyn. Which was excellent considering some of the prices other gear was going for. Lovely, luxurious, 3-inch width knit tie and flannel shirt on deck. I’m really growing to love flannel shirts. Not a lot of people wear flannel in the south, so I’m really not accustom to wearing it, but I’m starting to love it.  All in all it was a fantastic event and a fantastic day. Enjoy the rest of the pics. And stay clean.

GANT, Goldfinger, and GQ

Y’all know I’ve been itching to shop. I really do need a couple of sweaters. I was walking to the train from my internship waiting for the light to change on fifth avenue. I thought, “H&M right beside you Brandon. Why don’t you go in there and have a look at the Versace collaboration?” My stomach was twisting with hunger. “Oh look at that, there’s the GANT flagship store. I’ll just  take a peek.” Sure, take a peek. “Sir Imma need you take your hood off”, says the large door man. I looked right at his big fat scowled face, barely heard him with  my headphones in bumpin’ that Drizzy “Lord Knows” track. But he said it to me like I was some kind of deviant klepto. I wanted to say, “Nigga it’s raining outside”, but he’s just doing his job.

“I don’t know about you but I went through a bunch of gyrations in college and settled into a sense that, “all right, this is my look.” Remember having “going to school”- clothes and “going out”- clothes? And your “going out”- clothes were just ridiculous? Hopefully by the time you’re in your mid-to-late twenties you’ve settled on something. Then it’s just a matter of drilling into that even deeper & getting that perfected.” -Michael Bastian 

The GANT flagship store has collections spread across two floors. The 2011 (Holiday & Fall) collections are on the first floor while GANT Rugger collections are on the second. I enjoyed the second floor the most. It was great. I was literally the only person shopping and felt like the floor was closed to the “public” for my personal shopping experience. I spent about an hour perusing and fantasizing. I didn’t plan on buying anything. A conviction I usually have no trouble standing on; that is unless I start trying clothes on. I spotted a flannel button down I’d been admiring online for some time and had to try it on to see if it looked as good on me as I had imagined.

Country Twill Flannel Shirt I dressed myself in my head occasionally.

Of course it looked good – great fit, great fabric, great colors. I picked up a similar button down and tossed that on as well. Looking in the mirror I thought, “This shirt looks better. It goes well with my skin tone.” I’ve never been one of those shoppers who shop thinking about colors and skin tones but I couldn’t ignore the reflection in the mirror. “Let’s be financially wise about this Brandon” I said to myself. I mean this was an expensive shirt. Seconds later, “Will that be debit or credit sir?” Damn you, Michael Bastian. You got me. The man didn’t win CFDA menswear designer of the year for making unattractive, ill-fitting clothes. Check this interview out with the GANT designer – http://www.parkandbond.com/the-intersection/men-of-style/michael-bastian-q-and-a

Purchased Flannel Button-down

I also took a Friday afternoon stroll down to Barnes & Noble on 86th street to pick up the new GQ. I didn’t really need to go to Barnes & Noble, I could have bought the GQ at the train station, but I wanted to get out and kill a couple of hours. Just so you know I’m pretty obsessed with James Bond. In my mind every man has a slight obsession with 007. And if you don’t I’m afraid I have to question your manliness. Not really (yes really), but he is arguably the quintessential model of male bravado and excellence. My fascination is somewhat half-hearted. I’m only familiar with the onscreen Bond, having no concrete knowledge of the literary character or how Ian Fleming eloquently constructed Bond’s persona.

“Bond picked up the body and laid against a wall in deeper shadow. He brushed his hands down his clothes, felt to see if his tie was straight and went on to his hotel”

So I impulsively bought “Goldfinger”. I’m only fifty or so pages into the book and it’s really good; clever, witty, and engaging. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It’s about James Bond. I think it rather outlandish that I’ve neglected reading any of Mr. Fleming’s series for so long. I don’t read a lot of fiction. Doesn’t really interest me. I prefer reading magazines and non-fiction. But buying “Goldfinger” was a choice decision. I’m no longer relegated to my Android games, I’ll have something to read on the train. I’m working on several pieces to post and I believe I’m most excited about the Bond piece. Who knows when I’ll finish it but I hope it proves readable. Stay Clean.

Polo Rugby Tweed Run

Fitness and Fashion? Sign me up! But dont actually sign me up because i dont own a bicycle. Inspired by the British cycling event, this year the Polo Rugby Tweed Run will take place October 15 in New York. The proper attire for such an event is tweed jackets, tweed vests, newsboy and driving caps, and herringbone belts and ties. Bikers will begin in Manhattan, break for a spot of tea and crumpets, and end with a proper do in Brooklyn. That’s British slang by the way. I won’t be around for the biking but you can bet I’ll be around for the partying. The tweed run is sure to bring out a tapestry of style and has inspired these selections for your consideration. Check them out here at Chaos Magazine http://chaosmag.blogspot.com/2011/10/polo-rugby-tweed-run.html