Leafing through his Fall 2013 lookbook, I immediately felt a kinship toward Central Saint Martins MA graduate Craig Green, with his deliberate omission of color, relaxed shapes, and weathered, raw finishes. The kinship soon turned into some sort of yearning for a long lost brother as I read in an interview with Thisispaper that Craig Green was a “self-proclaimed DIY enthusiast,” treating each garment in his collection as an individual project. He would crinkle-wash fabrics, apply raw-cut anti-fray techniques, and even dip sleeves in rubber, then apply these things to a classic silhouette—it is DIYing at a designer level. His technique shows strongest on his sweaters, where this honest craftsmanship meets the relaxed, weathered look that I so fancy.
It is the patchwork sweater on the left, in both cream and black, that I yearn for the most. There is something about the fabrics in different shades of the same non-color, pieced together in different positions, that just speaks to me. I hear the lightly metallicized striped one on the right, in the darker black, also calling to me.
The metallic one on the left is an impactful nighttime piece and could double as a great wind blocker. Nearly all of Craig Green’s sweaters, particularly the white one on the right, work as great layering pieces. As of late, I’ve been layering long to short—long shirt to cropped bomber and things in between, as similarly illustrated above.
I’ve been mulling over the idea of comfort these past few months. After an affair with sharp tailoring bordering on male corsetry, I did a one-eighty and started experimenting with pajama dressing—doing volume over volume and finding the experience sublime. And though I appreciate a stature-lifting suit as much as any modern dandy, I was fascinated with the idea of looking put-together and precious in something as cozy as sleepwear. It was that notion that I had in mind when I had a jumpsuit made by tailor: I wanted one that was spare, comfortable, and elegant—and in velvet, the tactility is unlike anything else.
tailor-made velvet jumpsuit of my design, Common Projects officer derby shoes
The velvet jumpsuit was a 90′s women’s staple, at least in my household, where my mother would wear her mock-turtleneck halter-top palazzo-pant velvet jumpsuit with a large diamond brooch. I wanted the easy glamour of velvet overalls done in a typically masculine, workwear silhouette. As soon as I had picked out this textured, semi-crushed black velvet, I took it to my tailor’s with photographs of traditional work jumpsuits: pretty much cut straight from the armpit to the ankle, metal zip down to the crotch, minus all the patch pockets and tabs. I was very pleased with our little project; my very own Forever Lazy passable for New York nightlife.
I love the texture of this semi-crushed velvet that shines as if it were iced.
I wanted a modest point collar and a silver metal zip to keep everything minimal.
I’m folding up my collection of Alexander Wang and BDG scoop-necks for now; I think I’ve found my new blank canvas t-shirt. The American Apparel power washed tees have an ever so slightly wider neck opening, ample sleeve length, and hang so perfectly that they softly skim the shoulders and chest, then hang lightly just past the stomach. These tees are given an enzyme treatment that simulates 40 wash cycles, and really do feel like t-shirts you’ve had for years—minus the scandalous holes and unsavory stains. This summer, I’ll be going from bed (in outfit on left below), to brunch in relaxed black trousers and kung-fu shoes, to dinner in a precious jacket and toe-ring sandals, all in the same white t-shirt.
Tuan Bui owns An Choi, a dark and sexy Vietnamese restaurant and bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and creative hub for many young visionaries in the area. I don’t exactly live in the neighborhood, but find myself with my grilled lemongrass shrimp banh mi there all the time; it was the first meal I had coming back to New York after a two-month-long hiatus. Get it with fried egg and a side of their clear soup. I see Tuan there regularly, and second only to my envy of his ability to grow a full beard is my admiration for the ease and coolness by which he puts himself together.
Tuan Bui wears a quilted Barbour jacket liner as a vest, Clark’s Wallabees, and drop-crotch skinny pants by Oak, which though harder to pull off than big drop-crotch pants, he wears them well.
quilted Barbour jacket liner as vest
An Asian man with a substantial beard is a unicorn in the world of grooming.
Monolith necklace by Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons
In the winter, nothing makes better sense to me than a big black coat. I like them double-breasted to keep the wind out, long enough to not have to wear long underwear, and belted, not only to keep myself from growing into my oversize clothes, but also to keep my stomach warm. This vintage Yohji Yamamoto piece features the most graceful rounded shoulders, almost like a relaxed Balmain, that play off well with the cinched waist and the full skirt. The subtle artistry of Mr. Yamamoto is not lost in this large, cozy, portable home of a coat.
I am so pleased to announce the winners who will participate in Do It Ourselves, the collaborative DIY menswear project I started with Andrew and Giuliano. It was hard to choose just one, so we picked Pete Skibinski of SKIBINSKY and Daniel of WeHaveNoStyle to join our circle. Thank you so much to everyone who send in their entries; we were overwhelmed with the creativity and enthusiasm that was tweeted and Instagrammed to us. Stay tuned, and hopefully, we create something inspiring.
the final lineup for Do It Ourselves: Izzy of The Dandy Project, Giuliano of HHHoly, Andrew of Pull Teeth, Pete of SKIBINSKY, and Daniel of WeHaveNoStyle
BJ Pascual was my first fashion friend. We would turn up at Philippine Fashion Week in high, high hair and outfits freshly cut-up and DIYed in the car, and collaborate on experimental photoshoots, the outcomes of which shall never be released. He is now the Philippines’ top photographer, having shot every cover and billboard and every major campaign in the country. BJ’s style has mellowed through the years, now favoring well-worn comfort and muddy hues and subtle luxury over tight, ferocious theatrics—a mood akin to what I feel about men’s style today. I paid a visit to his photo studio in Manila, and took some portraits of this young photographer I so respect and admire.
BJ Pascual in an Eairth sweater, Maison Martin Margiela trousers and sneakers
detail on the Eairth sweater and BJ’s no-shower curls
Margiela shoes against a Margielic wall of frames, by Cheska Nolasco
sitting in his cyclorama in an asymmetrical sweater by Zara, shorts by ÅLand (Korea), and Alexander McQueen for Puma shoes
Puma x Alexander McQueen high-tops with gill-like detailing
dressed up in the dressing room: shrunken blazer by Ziggy Savella, double-collar shirt by Jerome Lorico, Margiela trousers, Dries Van Noten shoes
Dries Van Noten canvas and leather lace-up shoes
I find this worn floral shirt (by French men’s high-street brand Celio) to be reminiscent of Comme des Garcons Fall 2012. Levi’s pants and Alexander McQueen shoes
I wish I could say I DIYed this piece, stitching individual star appliques on an oversize coat, but the genius belongs to Yohji Yamamoto. Long before stars were a favored print by fashion boys and rappers, Yohji created this now-vintage star-spangled swingy black wool coat which has enlivened many of my dark winter days. The stars, in dull silver-gray yarn bring a sense of lightness to all black, to which Yohji says, “Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: “I don’t bother you—don’t bother me”.”
vintage Yohji Yamamoto star coat (Fall 2006) and sweater, Yohji Yamamoto hakama pants, Tim Hamilton x Guidi boots
six small stars in front, one big star on the back
There is a lazy comfort that comes with wearing big-on-big in the winter, in that what lies between you and your layers, be it trapped warm indoor air or an expansion of yourself fueled by holiday indulgence, doesn’t matter; what matters most is protection from the cold. And on the topic of DIY, why not customize your granddad’s old overcoat with boy scout badges, or fruits and flowers to remind you of warmer days—anything militaristic, or meaningful, could easily revive an old treasured piece.
silver gray yarn star appliques on a Yohji Yamamoto coat
I’ve skirted around the idea for years, but I’m glad I finally got to wear a kilt. The Scots have been wearing them for centuries, and fashion had reinterpreted the garment in a multitude of ways: heavy and black at Yohji, voluminous and tartan-plaid at Comme and Westwood, shorter and over pants at Rick. I’ve shied away from wearing skirts for the trouble of having to overcompensate and butch the outfit up with combat boots or the like, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and have a simple one tailor-made while I was in Manila for a couple of months. I was very pleased with what came out: a simple basic black skirt with the ease of big shorts; my tailor kilt it.
Missoni sweater, tailor-made kilt of my own design, Vans sneakers
It really is more of a basic pleated skirt than a traditional kilt, for the lack of the fold-over, because I wanted to keep things simple in this maiden foray into legless bottoms. I had my tailor construct the skirt out of black suiting wool, zip and hook sides with a side zip, 2.5-inch pleats, and pockets. I had it measured to hang right at my hip when worn on its own, and it can hike up to my true waist when worn over pants.
tailor-made kilt with pockets
Wearing a kilt for the first time was a treat. It was breezy, and very comfortable. Looking at myself in the mirror, I never felt more masculine than I did wearing this skirt: it had heft, it was strong and angular, and it showed off my calves. One thing of note though—I learned the hard way to make sure not to spread my legs while wearing it. Next time, I’ll wear shorts underneath. I’ll be donning this through the warmer months, with t-shirts and beat-up oxfords, perhaps even with a button-down and a structured jacket.
concrete, a net, and a ball: concrete corner ring by 22designstudio and net+ball ring, both from Kapok Hong Kong
Yoshiaki Hayashi is a model who has walked the runways of Lanvin, Jil Sander, and Damir Doma and regularly graces the pages of one of my favorite magazines Men’s Non-No. Yoshi is Japanese and Chilean, and this fascinating combination of ethnicities and his passion for football give him a very striking look and physique. His style is part model-off-duty, part Japanese boy quirky, with a touch of athleticism that makes it all his own.
Prohibit cap, Joyrich paisley t-shirt, Bed J.W Ford bracelet, Motel jeans
red cap by Prohibit NYC
a beaded red wrap-around fabric bracelet by Bed J.W Ford
inscribed with a verse from one of my favorite poems, Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Bed J.W Ford t-shirt, Motel checked pants, YSL leopard sneakers
checked and spotted: Motel checkered pants and YSL haircalf leopard print sneakers
oversize Bed J.W Ford t-shirt with raw-edged side slits
GAP denim vest with doodles by Yoshi and his friends
GAP denim vest, Adidas t-shirt, Balmain jeans, Puma sneakers
These Balmain skinny motorcycle jeans, worn beat-up and entitlement-free, can spark a change of heart.