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May’s TPE Menswear Monthly

5/30/24

I will always submit that May is the most underrated month in the NYC calendar. The heat of Summer has yet to consume us, the frost of winter has left our bones, and multiple holidays give the month some levity as school lets out and families pack up to go out east. Add to it the thrill of relevant Knicks and Rangers playoffs, street fairs, the odd half marathon here and there, and all outdoor activities officially starting back up, and you’ve got a hum back in the city that had previously all but quieted in the early months of the year. If you’re not coming to the city in the Fall or for Christmas, May is about as good as it gets!

‘Fit of the Month:

Practically speaking, there’s not a lot to this look — a tee shirt, trousers, sneakers, and a light jacket with some shades to top it off. But this is a collection of some of my favorite finds from over the years.

Sunglasses: Madewell

**I’m admittedly not a big sunglasses guy, so when I find a pair I like, I just wear them ’til they get lost or scratched to oblivion in the blender of life. I’ve found these to be a middle ground from some of the trendier, tinted shades you’ll see out there, with a shape that’s flattering and simplistic enough to feel like it won’t fade out in two years. In short, it’s nice to have some glasses that aren’t aviators or wayfarers for a change.

Jacket: Vintage Rocky Mountain Featherbed Rain Jacket

**I was first introduced to RMFB via Blackstock & Weber’s collab with them last year. Chris has immaculate taste, so it’s no surprise these are some of the coolest and highest quality down jackets you can find. Turns out, their vintage jackets are still around and are generally bangers in their own right. I stumbled upon this rain jacket, and I had never seen anything like it before or since. It runs big, but with the leather yoke and waterproof shell, I don’t even care.

Tee: Whitesville T-Shirt — An Honest Review…

**I highlighted Whitesville in my “Best Stuff” shop as, hands down, the best tee shirt money can buy. I had heard great things about these tees for about 7 years, but The Bear caused a stir that made them much harder to find last year. I resisted jumping on the bandwagon then, but I had always wanted to see if these were as good as advertised.

One obstacle: people warn that they shrink like crazy after the first wash, and buying a size up still leaves them fitting slim. These are $45 tee shirts you can only buy in two packs… did I really want to risk wasting $100 if the sizing gets wonky on me? After all, I prefer easy over nice almost every time and am particular about how my tees fit.

One random eBay search a few months ago led me to a two pack someone was selling (they tried them on once but never wore them). They didn’t come with the iconic, vintage packaging, but I was able to get both for $60, so I wasn’t complaining. The tees showed up a few days later, looking as good as new, and, as I’ve indicated already, they’re as good as everyone claims. What’s more, they only shrunk about a half size total after multiple washes (wash cold, tumble dry low), which means they’re actually easier to care for than a hanes undershirt, and the sizing isn’t as wild as people claim.

Simply put: I don’t think there’s a more flattering tee shirt a guy can wear — the collar sits close to the neck, the sleeves sit right on the bicep and don’t ride up, the chest fits close, and it’s loose around the waist. These Japanese made shirts are loop wheel constructed and tubular knit (in short, they don’t make ’em like that anymore, especially state side), the neck ribbing is reinforced so you never have to worry about stretch or baconing, the weight is perfect, and the fabric is buttery. They’re so good I actually went ahead and ordered a two pack of the navy color, too!

*For sizing, I am 5’10” 175lbs and ordered an XL. I am normally a M or L in tee shirts depending on the size, but I find I’m an XL in most of these vintage-inspired type of t shirts (eg, Knickerbocker, 3Sixteen, etc). I could’ve gone with a Large, but it would’ve been a bit snug for my taste. Check the measurements, and you should be fine!

Pants: Vintage Eddie Bauer Pleated Chinos

I wrote about Eddie Bauer’s merits as a vintage brand last year, and as an alternative to Ralph Lauren, they’re my favorite (and extremely affordable on secondhand sites). This pair is a deep green that’s faded to an almost greyish hue, and they’re extremely comfortable to just throw on and go.

Shoes: Onitsuka Tiger California 78 Vintage “Silver”

This sneaker was my first true grail and fully catapulted me into 70s running shoe obsession. This specific pair is a sales sample of a reproduction that came out in 2011, and they have yet to remake it since. I found it on eBay after 6 years of searching! Follow your dreams, kids (no matter how sad they are).

Wythe, Purveyors of Luxury Rodeo Wear

The torch bearers of modern Americana & Cowboy-core do spring and summer just about better than anyone else. Tight lineups of thoughtfully designed silhouettes, unique fabrics and dyes, and a general look that stands out even from the arbiter of Americana in Ralph Lauren, where Peter Middleton (Wythe’s founder) cut his teeth.

Terms like “luxury rodeo wear” & “Texan cowboy with East Coast flare” get thrown around when describing Wythe, and it’s very clear Peter and his team have specific ideas they’re trying to bring to life. This isn’t just a brand trying to make something for the sake of making something.

Wythe didn’t start with a marketing gimmick or a “solutions based” model. They’re trying to make their — very specific — idea of the perfect Oxford, tee shirt, sweatshirt, influenced by the best stuff from the past 100 years of workwear, western wear, and sportswear. And it’s awesome to watch!

My favorite standouts from this years collection are an indigo dyed Oxford style button down shirt in a sateen cotton fabric, their iconic pearlsnap shirt in a tencel gabardine fabric that feels like butter and drapes beautifully, and a pleated chino in a cotton linen twill with awesome color choices and a classic straight leg fit.

Todd Snyder, Bringing the Knits

Keeping with the theme of Ralph Lauren disciples, Todd Snyder has making some of my favorite summer knits since last year. They use linen and tons of unique cotton blends to create breezy fabrics that feel cool to the touch but avoid the papery feel you usually expect from linen. Here are some of my favorites (Click pics to shop!):

Hidden Gem of Summer: Vintage Ralph Lauren Silk-Blend Shirts

Click on the link above or image below to learn more about my favorite shirt for Summer.

The Raiments, Having Fun with It

I’ve talked often about brands that are bringing the art of storytelling back to fashion marketing. The Raiments are an upstart brand taking it to a new level with cheeky filmmaking that makes each drop feel like can’t miss tv as much as a chance to snag a nice vest or button down. I can’t speak to their garment quality, but the content they’re creating is very fun and completely irreverent!

Aaron Levine | The One Man Moodboard

Every now and then I see someone and think, “That guy’s figured it out.” I assume I’m not alone in this sort of thing — even if you’re not into fashion, there are times when you feel getting dressed would be easier if you could just copy & paste someone else’s entire wardrobe. It’s not envy so much as an appreciation for someone who seems to have mastered the odd mixture of art and science that goes into dressing well.

This year, for me, it’s been Aaron Levine. The king of airport bathroom mirror selfies and head of Abercrombie (the primary reason for their sudden revival) has an effortless aura of (what he calls) “disheveled elegance” that I aspire to. Every ‘fit looks thrown together in the moment, while each individual component was no doubt well-considered when he added it to his wardrobe.

As someone who loves vintage clothes and archival pieces, is drawn to prep, appreciates streetwear, and strives to mix it all together in a way that feels timeless without wholly disregarding modern trends, Levine’s personal taste clarifies the hodgepodge of ideas in my head. His wardrobe is consistent and well-worn while referencing genres all over the style spectrum. He’s the Aime Leon Dore aesthetic embodied, perfected, and aged like an excellent bourbon. Here are some of his recent looks:

A Quick Word on the Knicks…

I’ve been an NBA fan for as long as I can remember. Iverson was my guy, so I followed him religiously ’til around 2007, when I decided I needed a team to root for. I’m from Atlanta, and back then you really only went to Hawks games to watch the other team play, so I had to figure something else out. I grew up an Ole Miss fan, so when the Giants drafted Eli Manning in 2003, I became a Giants fan, which led me to think being a Knick fan was a good idea. What followed was dashed hopes, heartbreak, tough injuries, horrible trades, worse contracts, one good season, and a lot of pint-up frustration.

Needless to say I’ve watched my fair share of terrible basketball for the last decade and a half. Most seasons, this time of year was spent watching other teams play actual basketball while I poured over draft guides and tried to predict who the Knicks would (not) get in free agency. Compared to that… the last 4 seasons have felt like a fever dream.

The rise to relevance a few years ago was relieving, if not invigorating — I couldn’t allow myself to have hope, considering we had only recently missed out again on big name free agents. Then it started to feel like we had something cooking as young players became real assets and Plan B’s (Julius Randle) became — for better or worse — indispensable. Then we landed an overachieving point guard who felt like an overpay but was someone we needed nonetheless (after all, it had been awhile since we could convince someone good to take our money).

As the pieces continued to fall in place and each new player seemed to embody the culture we didn’t even know was being cemented before us, we fell in love with these Knicks. They had graduated from a cute story, a plucky little engine that could, and started to give us ideas of something more…

This group of underdogs and overachievers didn’t go the distance, but they did something I wasn’t sure would ever be possible in my lifetime: they made me proud to be a Knick fan.

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