Cloth and Hide · Musings

Amazon Launch and the Australia Tax

Seems like everyone waiting with bated breath for Amazon to launch in the land of Oz have had their shopping heaven dreams crushed. Newsflash: Amazon is not the retailer-Armageddon. Not yet anyway. Not only is the range of products on Amazon Australia much much smaller than the US counterpart, but the prices are pretty much what they normally are in Australia (read: rubbish).

Continue reading “Amazon Launch and the Australia Tax”

Cloth and Hide · Musings

Ethics in fashion

With the annual orgy that is Black Friday sales just around the corner and Christmas and boxing day sales looming, it pays to think about the ethics of fashion when you are diving into those deep deep discounts. Sure we all love a good bargain, and with these fast fashion brands springing up everywhere, the prices are lower than ever before. But who is really paying the price?

I watched a documentary recently where Ricky Yates went around the world looking at where sable furs and croc skins come from. Some of the ‘farms’ where they keep these animals are absolutely horrendous. The scale of operations in China are so huge now that real fur can be bought at a lower price than synthetic furs. Live plucking of down has also come under the spotlight recently. Continue reading “Ethics in fashion”

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The Not-a-Blazer Jacket for Work

I love my blazers and sportcoats. But I will admit that in 2017 it can be hard to wear a blazer or sportcoat without people asking you if you are going to an interview or “why are you so dressed up?”. In our current dressed-down society, anything beyond the boring button-up shirt plus chinos will get a second look from other people. I mean, you can just say to hell with it and wear what you want and I do wear blazers and sportcoats regularly to work, but there are other options as well that are not quite as formal but also not as boring as just a shirt and pants. I personally don’t like to wear certain kinds of outerwear indoors – long jackets/coats and anything puffy are usually out for me. These are usually just too long/unwieldy/hot indoors and belong on the coat rack. They are called outerwear for a reason.

Cardigans

These are my usual go-to if I need something other than a jacket. It’s more interesting in a heavier knit or with a bit of pattern like a cable knit. Merinos are usually too light and can be a bit boring – I like it chunky. I also like shawl collars for their shape – the collar rolls a bit like the lapels of a blazer and just looks better than a regular cardigan. I buy these a little oversized so they are a bit slouchy and relaxed looking. Plus if the weather gets cooler I can wear a thicker shirt, overshirt, or jumper/sweater underneath the cardigan. And pockets, I like pockets ’cause you need somewhere to put your hands/phone/pens/sandwich. A nice alternative to the shawl cardigan is the shirt collar cardigan – I’ve been digging some of the models from Inverallan. Chunky numbers also can come in cotton/linen/blends if wool is too hot (my building’s heating is ridiculously cranked up in winter…no wonder we have global warming). I’ve got a nice indigo cotton/wool blend cardi from RRL and it is great for our temps in Sydney.

Chore/workwear jackets

But summer is just around the corner, why the hell am I talking about knitwear?? Yeah sorry. When the mercury goes up, chore jackets and work jackets are a nice light option. French chore jackets were all the rage a few years ago thanks to the love of all things workwear and heritage but they are still a good option now. If it’s made out of a lighter weave in 100% cotton or cotton/linen blend or 100% linen they will be nice and breathable in warmer weather (they also come in wool, corduroy, and moleskin for the cool months). Continue reading “The Not-a-Blazer Jacket for Work”

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Another one bites the dust

It is with great sadness I receive the news today that Cone Mill’s White Oak plant in North Carolina is closing its doors at the end of this year. These guys have been making denim for Levi’s for over 100 years and is the last mill in America to make selvedge denim. Their parent company was bought out about a year ago and obviously dwindling profits has meant that White Oak is becoming another casualty of profit margins and changing times.

But this isn’t just another unprofitable business going down. This is the end of an era, much like the ceasing of car manufacturing in Australia. Much like how Commodores and Falcons are intrinsically Australian, denim is intrinsically American. And to no longer be able to buy quality denim woven in America is a sad day indeed. 

Continue reading “Another one bites the dust”

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

In our modern dressed-down society where virtually every day is casual Friday, it can be easy to misjudge situations where you should dress up. As the old adage goes, it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. And more importantly than that, it’s about respecting other people and dressing appropriately for the occasion.

Firstly let’s be honest here: if you are a man, you should own a suit. It doesn’t have to be a fancy Tom Ford number or tailored on Saville Row – just something that fits you and in a conservative colour like charcoal, navy or grey in boring worsted wool (don’t buy a black suit please; only funeral directors, cast members of Reservoir Dogs, and Mormons should wear black suits). Something you can whip out for that job interview/wedding/graduation/funeral. Continue reading “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”

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My beloved Filson bag 3 years on

Filson bags were everywhere in 2014 (and still are to some extent). The mix of fantastic quality, heritage, rugged-outdoorsy but sophisticated image, and constant recommendations on just about every menstyle blog meant their popularity just exploded. Like virtually every other guy I lusted after an original briefcase but I already had a slim messenger bag and it was hopelessly impractical for me because I couldn’t fit my laptop AND my lunch into it. So I broadened my search and ended up looking at Filson’s 72-hour briefcase. It is bigger than the original briefcase and has big front zip pockets and pouches behind the zip pockets. Hardly anyone seems to stock the 72-hour version anymore but the 24 and 48 hour briefcases look similar.

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Cloth and Hide · Footwear

Sock it to ’em

Socks are often overlooked as an accessory and lately I’ve been paying more attention to them. I guess it’s logical… if you have better shoes, you start to invest in better socks. Why get better socks? Well they last longer for one. And they look better to start off with, and for longer as the colours don’t run or fade. Here are 3 brands I have been enjoying lately – these are mostly chunkier styles as it is winter here and I am wearing heavier shoes and boots. Winter also allows me to be more creative and crazy with my patterns!

Continue reading “Sock it to ’em”

Cloth and Hide · Musings

The Magical Shrinking Act of Menswear

It’s been creeping in and you probably have noticed it. Menswear has definitely been shrinking over the last decade or so. First it was skinny jeans. That led to skinny chinos. It was bound to happen as the internet and #mensstyle blogs started teaching men to dress better, cleaner, and tighter. I think somewhere along the way fit, comfort, and silhouette have been thrown out the window. Maybe it’s just because I am in my thirties and my metabolism is slowing down and I want to be able to eat my lunch, a piece of cake, and still be comfortable. Or maybe I’m just sick of zipping up those ridiculous short flies at the urinal – how are you supposed to get anything done with a fly that short? Continue reading “The Magical Shrinking Act of Menswear”

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Frugal basics 

We aren’t all high rollers and we all can’t wear Turnbull & Asser every single day. I love my RRL cardigan but sometimes I need some cheaper basics as well. Also for a lot of guys starting out in menswear, it’s a learning process and you don’t necessarily want to invest huge amounts of money into an item of clothing only to discover that it ain’t really you. But just because you aren’t paying that much, doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice quality. Sure, the item won’t be BIFL, but you still want to get the most quality per dollar ratio. Here are a few brands I have come across that are decent for their price. Continue reading “Frugal basics “