from YSTLE | In hard times, men rock the lumberjack look
Into The Woods : In hard times, men rock the lumberjack look
by: Victor Basa
Band of back-country brothers: The band, Fleet Foxes, drew straws as to who got to wear the iconic flannel for the shoot.
Think of a scene from movie that involves mountainsides, the great wilderness, and at the very least a person wearing something that looks suitable for, say the Northwoods of Wisconsin. This imagery captures the not-so recently elevated status of the clothing influence of a very respectable occupation into the mainstream consciousness.
Now imagine just the person suitable for the Northwoods of Wisconsin and transport him to the greater part of Metropolitan somewhere, away from Americana workwear territory, and the picturesque log cabins where Bon Iver may have very well recorded his debut album For Emma, Forever Ago and consequently did, in complete seclusion. I believe the person, presumably bewildered as to how he got here, and so quickly without immigration hassles and airport stress would not look very much out of place.
All plaid out: Burberry Prorsum jackets and shirt, art work by Damien Blottiere in V Man
Before I tell you why though, let me explain what a lumberjack looks like. You know those sleek, clean shaven, androgynous looking males sometimes decoratively sprinkled in would-be conceptual or sailor style tattoos which are so popular in big fashion houses’ ad campaigns, runway shows and such? They look nothing like that. We’re going the opposite direction – back to the basics, when shaving facial hair was eschewed, the red and black lumberjack (plaid flannel) wasn’t referenced yet in a Notorious B.I.G. song , and well before the advent of multi-colored bespoke axes. Red Wing boots were well worn and not treated like Italian loafers – too precious to scuff up. Imagine Paul Bunyan, or if that’s too far back, imagine Brad Pitt when he was going through a beard phase and allow it to go unkempt for maybe a month or two. Combine that with a plaid check shirt, straight cut jeans, suspenders, a beanie, some right sturdy boots, and you may have yourself the quintessential lumberjack look. You could throw in a shearling jacket but that could possibly be a bit too fussy, not to mention incredibly suffocating considering our often times balmy climate.
Woodland wonder: This Comme Des Garçons Junya Watanabe ensemble could very well cost more than his truck.
Back to the part about the bewildered, teleported traveler. I was window shopping in a number of upscale fashion boutiques (Joyce, Harvey Nichols, and Lane Crawford) that carry brands such as Ann Demeulemeester, Comme Des Garcons, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, McQ, Martin Margiela, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, etc. in Hong Kong last week and noticed that majority of the guys stuff seemed very outdoorsy for the lack of a better term, but the prices were definitely otherworldly to say the least. So from there I made my way to a very popular Swedish label (H&M) frequented by the frugal, yet savvy shoppers to windowshop some more. On the way I spied a noticeable trend in what people were wearing especially the guys (since guys secretly size each other up, comparing, not exactly competing) they all looked like they were off to go to the woods, a hunting trip, or at the least did not look like the typical city slickers one has grown accustomed to in such metropolitan conditions. Then it struck me – it has now become a full-blown trend. The Mountain Man of 2006 (as seen on evolution of a hipster) who longed for working class authenticity is back, and plaid is still the pattern du jour. Men want to look like lumberjacks (with or without the beard since not all Asians are blessed or cursed – depending on how you look at it – with excessive facial hair). Duffel coats, flannel or denim shirts, work boots, fitted henleys, and beanies abound. Our overly romanticized transient would definitely fit into this scene. It’s a definite departure from the 90s unisex phase and the Y2k metrosexual.
Red valentine: Ryan Gosling in California wearing a peacoat of buffalo check descent
I think men want to look like lumberjacks, sometimes unconsciously because maybe it reminds them of an era of old world masculinity, hard labor earned yourself a strong drink at the end of the day, sweat on your brow meant more than just a few numbers on a treadmill or a faulty A/C in a Bangkok taxicab, people spoke straight to the point minus the flowery two-faced diplomacy, and I imagine one would buy a thicker coat because the climate calls for it. It is about donning a more conservative and practical attitude that may suit our recent economic landscapes as of late.
Northwestern front: Vintage plaid shirt, Penshoppe jeans, and Red Wing boots
Music trends also affect clothing trends, which can also add to the allure of looking like you’re equipped to take on the woods rather than a suffocating cubicle or an antiseptic design studio. The recent resurgence of folk music, by way of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and many other bearded, and unbearded bands singing tunes about Blue Ridge Mountains, Skinny Love, and Sighing No More [sic].
Seasons also dictate what kind of clothes we’ve grown accustomed to. Coats and long sleeved shirts are always present for fall and winter more especially. It is only in true utilitarian tradition that most of the quintessential Americana heritage type clothing will be staples for many seasons to come.
Lumberjack art: “Small Fires” by Paul X. Johnson
People take inspiration from various sources, and sometimes yearn to create something more substantial than in your face flamboyance or something purely for shock value. We must also remember that clothes are meant to serve specific purposes, and when worn with the right intent, that’s when style is created. Know what you’re wearing and why, just try not to let everyone know. It’s always better to surprise people when asked, than to sound like an unsolicited know-it-all. Do that and you won’t seem like you’re lost in the woods.
Channeling the brawny man: Vintage plaid shirt, Penshoppe jeans and Red Wing boots
Fashion and music movers are humming the same song
by: Victor Basa (The Philippine Star) Updated October 21, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - It’s an affair that’s lasted through the ages. The current relationship of fashion and music is stronger than ever, just like those real life on-screen love teams but without the tabloids or shocking news reports about breakups and third parties. It’s an interdependent relationship, and it is mutual admiration at its most unmistakable. Together, they can create imagery that shapes movements and kickstarts trends that can transcend into classics. Take, for instance, the decade-long resurgence of slim-cut suits, nobody else could have started that except for Hedi Slimane. (There are a few arguments on whether Helmut Lang came first.) But it was Karl Lagerfeld who dubbed Slimane’s work as “pure genius” and even lost a substantial amount of weight just to wear his stuff. It’s a prime example of how trends can transcend and eventually find their way into one’s wardrobe. His exit from Dior Homme shocked many. He then decided to focus on photography — coincidentally his images mostly feature musicians, exploring aspects of fleeting youth and festival outtakes.
We all know how closely intertwined, hand-in-hand, symbiotic, and downright chummy fashion and music are. You cannot deny the facts (complete with pictures) of those seated (or standing, i.e: Balenciaga S/S 2012 show) at the major shows’ front rows of the various Fashion Weeks. In Paris, we have Kylie Minogue at Yves Saint Laurent, and Ciara at Givenchy (which has the starriest rows of the week, Jared Leto included). In London, you have Peaches Geldof sitting front row at Sass & Bide, and of course we have Beyoncé present at the House of Dereon (she’s the company’s figurehead). The list goes on.
We can even go from runway to print with the unending number of musicians who are, or have been, on the covers of the more famous fashion magazines. Just this month we have Lady Gaga baring all for Harper’s Bazaar, Adele on the cover of British Vogue (followed by Rihanna in November). It seems every time I see a monthly or quarterly with a musician on it, I imagine that the people behind it are humming the same song “entice the buyer, connect with their sensibilities and be current” then they offer buzz-worthy band remixes of said tunes. Of course I’m only guessing, who knows what those clever magazine people have up their sleeves?
Music itself has such a strong influence when it comes to people making personal choices on what brand/s to buy. Brands closely associate themselves with genres and various artists (if even just for an isolated campaign) hoping to inherit or increase their credibility among their potential and existing clientele (and perhaps a few or many aspirational hopefuls).
One noteworthy personality who has been commissioned before by French luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton isn’t too keen on just sitting by and letting all the action happen without him. Getting up off of his front row seat, Kanye West recently launched his women’s wear collection dubbed “Dw by Kanye West” (Dw stands for Donda West, his late mother) I can only imagine and wait in anticipation now that a much-sought menswear line is well under way. In spite of all of his detractors, you cannot deny the impact he has made in hip-hop’s choice of staples. (T-shirt exodus, and venturing into sometimes dangerously dandy territory.)
Lady Gaga sees viral marketing opportunity very clearly and collaborates with top designers and artists alike to fulfill certain specific visions she has that are perfectly ripe for social media and the mainstream press. Designer Alexander McQueen and English artist Damien Hirst (infamous for his animals, mostly huge, preserved in formaldehyde) are just a couple of names on her illustrious list of successful fraternization. I’m sure most people are at least very familiar with the imagery that Gaga co-creates even if they aren’t so well-versed with the exact designers or artists. Meanwhile nobody can deny Justin Bieber’s influence on how tweens and some young adults dress. He singlehandedly brought throngs of high-top Supra-wearing kids, complete with colored hoodies and flat-billed, fitted baseball caps. I can still remember my nephew’s requests for “limited-edition dunks” when I asked him if he wanted to check out a toy store. This alone shows the impact music has on people’s choice of clothes. Kids want to look like their idols. This fact hardly ever changes. Fast-forward to years from high school and it’s still the same, music is still as particular to an individual as it’s ever been.
I’m usually in raw denim, an oxford shirt rolled up at the sleeves and various ensembles that wouldn’t disturb the sensibilities of the local maitre d’. Still, I often find myself getting bored of wearing a uniform day-in day-you get the idea. So I decided to mix it up a little bit with a fabric I’ve never really worn (corduroy) Just a few pieces that can easily blend into your current wardrobe and retain your personal style.
So simple, and elementary. The collared shirt and jacket combo can be traced back to the 17th century or even earlier! (okay maybe just the shirt collar) I’m no expert in history. The point is, it has survived this long with very little change so you can rest assured that what you’re wearing has some sort of history and pedigree.
here’s a quote from German writer and poet Goethe that Karl Lagerfeld himself maintains as his personal mantra for Chanel: “Make a better future by developing elements from the past.”
Alright, so cords and a jacket. Found below is how to wear both effortlessly without looking inappropriately overdressed. I personally don’t think men are supposed to look like peacocks anyway.
corduroy pants (cut like jeans, slim and very flattering) with a check shirt and dark gray single breasted jacket, with tassel loafers add a little bit more to this otherwise basic (yet effective) combo
dark gray patterned slacks (like straight cut jeans) and corduroy trim polo with a navy blazer. oh, and a plaid neckerchief. something slightly different from the ubiquitous pocketsquare sighted around recently. chukka boots lend some grown up charm to this outfit.
relaxed and confident, a corduroy jacket plus a check shirt matched with light pinstripe walking shorts and plum suede loafers is the most casual look among the three. so i decided to pair it with a chrono watch to dress it up a little bit.
watches need not be expensive. choose something personal and distinctively yours, like I choose this calculator watch that my dad used to have in silver.
and this no fuss, no winding watch from swatch that couldn’t look shabby even if it tried.
*all clothes from Penshoppe, shoes from various brands.
They’ve gone before, stood by your door all day. For what it’s worth, defend your kind from shame. The lights are down, go on inside, they’ve paid. You’re the face in stone, through the land I own. You never found it home. You’re not the girl I used to know.
What would you hide from such a glow If I had only told you so?
You’re on in five, it’s time you rise or fail. They’ve gone before, stood by your door all day. But you never found it home. A fair price I’d pay to be alone.
What would you hide from such a glow If I had only told you so?