Ask Me Vol. 13 H&M Collaborations and Unique Jewelry

My question is, what are your thoughts on denim jackets? Would you ever wear one? Would you go for faded blue or indigo? How versatile is it? Have you spotted any nice ones? When and with what would you wear it? – Jakob
Denim jackets are quite versatile, however, you need to pair them with the right things and/or accessories. Last season Cucinelli used them as layering instead of outerwear. Denim jackets are not the warmest in winter, some designers have found great ways to use them as a layering piece for cold weather. Some of the more outstanding denim jackets are from Visvim and RRL (roper Jacket). Personally, I do not think I can “pull off” the jacket under the blazer but, I would definitely wear denim jackets with other casual clothes such as cargo pants and boots. The “stand alone” denim jacket is not a winter piece and I think it should only be worn as outerwear in the warmer months.

This is urgent! navy pinstripe pants with a solid navy blazer, yay or nay?
Yay. Make sure that the blues somewhat match. If the blues are too off the whole outfit may look off.

You may or may not have gotten questions like this but I’ll ask it anyway. People are always looking for a good deal so buying name brand items at a low price is always great.
For the past years H&M has been doing capsule collections with big name designers like Versace, Lanvin, and more recently Maison Martin Margiela.
On the 15th I stood in line at my local H&M in Philadelphia to get the double-breasted camel colored topcoat with the inverted lapels. The line was ridiculous. Most of the conversations going on included people buying as much merchandise as they could get their hands on and reselling it. Of course I was pissed off cause if didn’t get the coat, then waiting in line for an hour would not be worth it. I did manage to get the coat but there were many people in line behind me who couldn’t even mange to get their hands on anything.
What are your personal thoughts on these collaborations? Are the pieces in the collection worth it or is it a warzone with a frenzy or people trying to get in on the latest deals just to resell them later? – David P.
I am glad that you asked me this question I honestly am not a fan of the whole down-market and designer collaboration. The items that are created in these collaborations are never near the quality level of the designer’s original items. Even though it is nice to see designers create clothing and collections for lower price-points, many of the customers who purchase these items are purchasing them for the wrong reasons. As you noticed, many people resell the items and hope to generate a profit on these very sought after pieces. You can find some of the Margiela x H&M items on eBay for a multiple of the retail price and sometimes the prices are even higher than actual Margiela items on eBay. We all know, that eBay is a place for bargains and Margiela items are no exception, you can find a margiela sweater on eBay for less than $100. Why would you spend more on a product that is arguably inferior than the real thing? Clearly, some people buy these collaborations for the wrong reasons. At the end of the day, you are bound to run into “that guy” who bought the same coat you are wearing on eBay for three times retail. If I were you, stay away from these collaborations and buy the real thing so you can walk past that H&M line with the real stuff on.
Margiela HM Campaign Ask Me Vol. 13 H&M Collaborations and Unique Jewelry

I just found your site. Love it! I’m heading back home to NYC for the holidays and had a thought: I have one truly great fitting pair of slacks (from Armani) that are several years old now. Would you recommend bringing them to a fine tailor and getting copies made? If so, can you recommend someone? Thanks in advance from a new fan.
I am not too sure how tailors in New York will react to you bringing in pants for them to copy. Bespoke tailors whom I know in New York are very proud of their work and would not be happy with you bringing in other people’s pants to copy. This is strictly another world procedure, ie., Hong Kong or some lesser developed area or country, where it is customary to “knock off” another designer, or alternatively, you have an extremely close relationship with a friend tailor.

Need your point-of-view on Thom Browne’s Norfolk Herringbone Tweed Jacket that you featured here.
- do you feel they are TB’s unique collectible piece?
- do they fit like TB’s classic 3 button suit with the signature snug silhouette?
- are they japan made or US made?managed to find one online and contemplating to purchase them for my collection. – Nat

I really enjoy my Norfolk jacket. Made from an extremely heavy tweed fabric, it is one of the thickest jackets I own and is great for the winter. I feel that it was one of the better pieces from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection and would say that it is a “collectible item”. It fits a tad bigger than a regular Thom Browne jacket, however, it is so slight you would hardly notice it. The jacket is made in Japan and has a good deal of handwork in it. There are not that many of these around and it is one of the more unique pieces he has made (I would also try to hunt down the pants as well). In sum – get the jacket.

What do you think of black chinos? I bought one that is slim fitting and I have been unable to put them to good use. I can’t find any shirt that matches it. Any suggestions? – Leonard
Black pants are difficult; and I would only wear black with other neutral colors such as white, gray and black. It is hard to pair black pants with any other colors and I suggest wearing your chinos with other casual pieces such as a tee-shirts or hooded sweatshirts.

Hi Austin! As the holiday season approaches, I am stuck once again finding the perfect gift for a very stylish man. He is a 30year old LA/west coast guy, great sense of style, so it’s always exhausting to find the perfect gift for him. This year I decided to do a vacation as a gift, but I want to add a little present to that as a memorable supplement. He is been looking for the perfect daily necklace, and I am determined to find it before he does! However, as I browse through my regular men’s fashion sites and blogs, I have yet to come across some unique necklaces for men! I am looking for something that stands out, with has almost an organic look, a vintage flare, maybe a casual handmade style to it, darker shades, and fitting of his LA/west coast fashion style of course. Do you have any recommendations? I am running out of options! – Gabriela
I was introduced to this jewelry line a few months ago and I think it would be perfect as a gift. Cartography 40n 74w makes necklaces with little workable trinkets on them. When I say workable, I mean that the miniature binoculars on the necklace actually works; the little books on them actually open up and the little pocket knives can cut you. Each piece has “a story to tell” and the trinkets are from sources all over the world. I have never seen such a unique jewelry line.
Cartography 40n 74w Necklace Ask Me Vol. 13 H&M Collaborations and Unique Jewelry

Please suggest me couple of good tailoring place for alterations of suits,pants,jeans etc in NewYork City.Thank you. – Robin I.
Last January, I wrote about my tailor, G&G tailors in downtown Manhattan. They do wonderful work and I highly recommend them. Try them out and let them know I sent you for better service.

I know you’ve said on here that you’re not a huge fan of black but I’ve been super into my BLK DNM black jeans and I am having some trepidations about the proper footwear pairing. I’ve been wearing murdered out shoes but I am kind of worried that it makes me look like a try-hard or some shit. What are your thoughts? – Xiaoping
Whenever I wear black or brown pants, I always wear black or brown shoes. Black jeans are a more casual piece and I do not see a problem wearing worn out shoes with them. If you think it goes, it goes.

hey, really love your blog, was reading some of your older posts, namely Snapshots Part XIX: A Walk Around Florence, and I could see Justin Chung is wearing a Barbour jacket, is it a Bedale or Beaufort if I may ask? thanks – Bill
I believe that Justin is not wearing a Bedale nor a Beaufort instead, he is wearing a Barbour International jacket.

What are some nice F/W boots to look for? everyday or every other day casual? I don’t want to spend a big chunk but i don’t want something cheap either. I’m willing to spend about $300 to $400. – Richard
I always swear by Tricker’s and I think that you should be able to get a good pair at the Tricker’s Factory eBay shop. The eBay shop is run by Trickers and the shoes on there are labeled as samples or defects. Personally, I have never had any problems with any of there shoes and later found out that many of the shoes they sell on eBay are rejected made-to-order pieces for customers. Whenever a customer is unsatisfied with their purchase they would send them back to Tricker’s. You should defitely check out the Tricker’s factory store on eBay. All of these are labeled as “defects and seconds” but, from personal experience, I have not run into any problems with the shoes. All of them seem to be made to order pieces that were not claimed and they are all superb quality Tricker’s makes some of the best shoes and boots on the market today; and I would highly recommend getting a pair.

How do you feel about the sizing of the Barbour International jacket? It seem rather baggy. Visvim took a stab at this and came up with the alta jacket which intend to mirror barbour international. How would you compare? – Eric
I have only tried on the International jacket and I was not impressed with the sizing. Overall, the jacket seemed way too big. From experiences of other people, I tend to notice that you need to size down when buying Barbour items. Given the original use and heritage of the brand: hunting and country estate clothing, they do tend to fit a bit bigger as their pieces are meant for rugged, outdoor use.

About a year ago I lost 160 pounds and recently had reconstructive surgery to remove lose skin, etc. I am at the point now I feel comfort with investing in a new wardrobe, as my body has stabilized. I have save $5,000 for this and this is my current budget. Little about me, 6 foot, 190 and have a athletic build. I am in the midwest and do experience some cold temps during the winter. I do need several suits (2 or 3) Really enjoy brands like Belstaff and Roadmaster jacket is a must for me. My Question I need to build a wardrobe foundations, What pieces and brands should should I be looking to acquire? I will be traveling to New York in December to do most of the shopping. Thank you for your help, – Derrick
Congratulations on the weight loss it takes a lot to lose that much weight. If I were you, I would not just go on a spending spree when you are here in New York. Try and wait for pieces that you really want and then purchase them. I have said time and time again that you will need a gray and navy suit. I would stick to more traditional makers like Isaia, Boglioli and Lardini.

This one’s a typical “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” question but I figure if anyone can answer it, it’ll be you: what is the perfectly versatile sneaker? Not yet being out of university, I tend to spend alot of time on campus and in class so I was looking for a pair of sneakers that are comfortable and that could also make the jump to smart shoe territory (e.g. with a button down, chinos or military trousers). Although I’d love it if your recommendation was price friendly, its not a major concern. If the price is high it will give me something to work toward over the Christmas holidays. Stay killing it, friend! – Randy
I would try and stick to something classic like a white canvas sneaker from either Superga or Converse. If you are looking for something a bit more substantial or “designer” try the German Army B18 trainer. This is the original sneaker which inspired Dior Homme and Maison Martin Margiela. Dior took the sneaker and redesigned some parts and Margiela replicated the design to make $500 variants. You can find the original sneaker on eBay and various army surplus stores.

Do you think collars look better under crew neck jumpers or over?
(In or out) – Alex

It really depends on the size of the neck opening. Personally, I wear a lot of ties and feel like the shirt collar should be under the sweater. It looks a bit sloppy when it is outside and usually my sweaters have smaller openings which makes the shirt look a lot better inside.

Jeans are getting too boring what would be good to replace jeans but still look casual – CJ
I almost never wear jeans and have substituted them with chinos, corduroys and cargo pants. They are great casual pants and can be paired with more traditional and classic pieces such as blazers.
Gant Michael Bastian Cargo Pants Ask Me Vol. 13 H&M Collaborations and Unique Jewelry

Always been a TB fan and always make a point to treat myself to one piece a year from the collection. I recently read about the TB collaboration with Target here in the States. Any thoughts on the construction of the blazer TB is doing for Target this year? a $150 TB blazer def saves a couple bucks…. – Ross
I have not seen the blazer in actuality yet, but, at $150 I do not expect the quality to be that great. Honestly, I would not purchase the jacket if you already own other Thom Browne pieces. After seeing the Odin x Target pieces, this jacket will not be anywhere near the quality of “original line” Thom Browne pieces. Also, do not be surprised if you see other people wearing this jacket, stick to the regular Thom Browne items.

Austin would love your thoughts on Thom Grey! please Thanks – Victor.
It is great that he is now offering a different line, a more street and casual line. However, I really think that it is way overpriced for what it is. You can spend about $100 more for a 100% wool jacket with horn buttons, fully canvased compared to a wool/poly blend navy blazer with the “grayscale” tri color grosgrain stripe down the middle. Better yet, you can check out the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece section and buy an American made garment for five hundred bucks. Sure, Thom Grey is “cool and trendy”, but there are better and cheaper garments out there.
Thom Grey Blazer Ask Me Vol. 13 H&M Collaborations and Unique Jewelry

How do you feel about the Visvim elmendorf jacket and how they have used Horween Leather horse leather ? The leather seems to wrinkle quite easily. Also what is your take on the recent Visvim Lhamo shirt and the Noragi look? I find it rather difficult to pull off comfortably – Eric
I really like the Elmendorf jacket and I feel like the leather makes the jacket stand out from most. I like the two Visvim shirts and do agree that they are quite hard to “pull off”. I would try and pair it with other casual items, feeling that a tee shirt or a crewneck sweater would be the best. As you may know, they do look very similar but the Noragi shirt has tighter sleeves then the Lhamo. Personally, I like the fit of the Noragi more than the Lhamo.

I am thinking of getting the Moncler Gamme Bleu patch work jacket. I have been tossing between the black/ navy and the grey/ black version. Which one would you recommend? There seem to be a difference between the % of down and feather? What is the difference? – Chaky
I just got the all navy patchwork jacket and I am loving it. Unlike most patchwork jackets, they used very similar shades of solid navy fabrics, making it look a somewhat more subtle. I am not too sure about the fabric compositions for the two jackets you are considering, but I do not think it should make that much of a difference. I feel Moncler has studied the fabric compositions and really thought through their products before execution. For instance, I thought the down jackets without visible quilting would not hold up to daily wear. I thought that the down would fall straight to the bottom of the jacket. Under closer examination, I discovered the down was “pocketed” internally and evenly distributed around the jacket. I have not seen the navy and black one and I think you have mistaken the black for navy. If that is the case purchase it immediately This has to be one of my favorite jackets in my whole collection.

I have just bought a neat pair of orange chinos, but I wasn’t thinking – I don’t have a clue what to wear with them! Do you have any ideas? – Morten
The navy blazer is probably the only thing that would work with orange chinos. Maybe other dark blue pieces will go with your pants, but I think a navy blue blazer is your best bet.

Your recent answer to down vests reminded me of what my friend told me about Brunello Cucinelli’s down garments. He said that BC removes the down from the stems which allow the garments to stay light-weight and prevent the down from poking out. This sounds labor intensive but think it’s genius, if true. – E
I honestly do not think that Brunello Cucinelii would do such a thing. If there was a person whose job was to cut off every stem of every feather, I think he would be institutionalization by now i. Imagine yourself cutting the stems off little feathers with a razor blade eight hours a day five days a week for a year. I do not think that many people would sign up for this job, let alone stay sane while doing it.

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    Hey there!

    We just found your blog and we love it. You find such original things to post, it’s fun to see a Q&A that goes deeper than the ask for favorite designers of the moment or best basics in your closet.

    You have a very good sense of style, we are curious for more.

    Hope to see you soon.