It's been a while since I've taken on the 40% persona. The last rant I went on was about the religious zealots that are taking over Norfolk. What a horrible way to go out! Since then I've been working on other projects, being generally lethargic during the winter months, and lamenting over my lack of big city life. However, it's allowed me some time to refocus my energies and really get to the core of what I want to do with this outlet. (My main goal being to score a gig writing for a magazine or paper one of these days when the economy evens out. Or maybe even make money off a culture blog! We can dream, right?)
If you paid any attention to fashion week(s) this year, you'd have noticed special attention to men's lines. A lot of fashion houses added men's stuff to their production to beef up their sales first of all, but also because the Dapper Dan is making a comeback. I got endless amounts of inspiration from shows like Band of Outsiders, Tim Hamilton, Rag & Bone and Antonio Azzuolo (even if I didn't agree with the use of fur everywhere). I'm in love with all of the classic styles for summer and fall, and it's inspired me to create a series of mini style guides, incorporating a few of the ideas pitched at fashion week, but also putting my own modern twist on a few things.
A few months ago, I decided that chambray was going to be huge throughout summer and fall '09, and I'm happy to see that I've been validated! Chambray is a breathable, denim-like material that was primarily the material of choice for blue-collar work shirts when American men did things like manual labor on a daily basis (a much under-appreciated skill). It's a sturdy fabric, with a comforting rigidness that keeps its shape, no matter what you do to it. So naturally, the brilliantly quirky Koto Chambray Workshirt is number 2 on the style guide.
1. Zuriick Beata Chukka Boot. I actually bought this Zuriick Beata Chukka Boot from Provisions here in Norfolk in a black, with a purple sole. Though I considered buying the grey shown here. The baby blue piping breaks up the gloom a little and adds a modern, whimsical twist to the overall construction - which is exceedingly simple. This is a one-piece shoe molded from the same fabric and shaped for a more fitted look to your foot. They're also mega-comfortable and look great with a skinny jean or even shorts. 2. Koto Chambray Workshirt. Oh, Urban Outfitters, you've always got affordable finds that look so expensive. One of my favorite things about this shirt is the attention to design. Check out how the left breast-pocket is actually turned upside down and in the shape of a jean pocket. The rounded hem, and webbing n the sides (for a bit of stretch when you sit down without giving away too much skin) really add to the style of this easy, comfortable spring/summer day shirt. And it's on sale! 3. Matt & Nat Warhol Grey Weekender. Hello, new gigantic weekender bag I'll use for everyday toting! Matt & Nat are an eco-friendly design company that specializes in women's bags, but has recently branched out into men's accessories and unisex bags. This is one of their new styles, and it's definitely a favorite of mine right now. Grey canvas is broken up by bright blue zippers and vegan purple leather straps to give this throwback to one of the world's greatest art marketers a pop feel, with a fashion forward (and animal-friendly!) twist. Simply, I love this bag. It's a tad pricey ($325), but you're not paying for animals suffering so maybe it's a more satisfying buy. If that's not your thing, and you prefer a more classic bag, the Deerfield Weekender Bag I wrote about a few months ago is available in different colors now, at a more affordable price. 4. Dolce & Gabbana The One. Every now and then I'm pretty into typical big brand things. I love D&G's Light Blue, and was really excited to discover that The One is an even better summer scent. It's a more spicey scent than Light Blue with notes of ginger, cardamom, tobacco (!), and orange blossom, and literally makes you think about a permanent sunset. (The best part of the summer day for me is that hour between sunset and night, when everything is just a little more burnished by the sunlight and the breeze seems at rest.) $70 at Nordstrom, which isn't too bad. 5. Safari Animal Belt. Remember The Darjeeling Unlimited? If you're a Wes Anderson fan you probably noticed the Marc Jacobs-designed luggage featuring safari animals that the brothers carried around India with them. In a brilliant stroke of inspiration, Urban Outfitters is now offering this belt, which bears a striking resemblance to the luggage. At $38, it's definitely not a Marc Jacobs piece, which I'm totally fine with since Marc Jacobs is a bit of a bank breaker. It features a removable roller buckle, so you can replace the buckle with one of your choice. I got this as a gift from the Easter Bunny (via my mom), and can't wait to start rocking it in a whole Hemingway-inspired outfit. (Without the elephant gun, or dead animals of course.)
Summer is all about classic, personalized style. Think literary references like Thoreau, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby wasn't great for nothing.