The conventional wisdom within classic menswear is that the shirt collar performs the necessary function of framing the wearer’s face. Hence the fixation with collar height, and in particular the structural integrity of the unbuttoned collar, the collapsed collar providing no frame at all. Without such a frame, so the theory goes, the face is but a naked, wilting canvas, wandering through the world utterly bereft of protection, purpose, and presentation.
I’ve come to believe this theory is a bit overwrought.
If you’re in the Northeast United States, you’ve probably got wintry weather at your doorstep and perhaps even a day or two off from work. If these days away from the constraints of your work wardrobe mean relaxing at home in a hoodie and sweatpants from your college bookstore, you are missing an opportunity to treat yourself better.
When you think of mohair, you might think of crisp, vibrant worsted fabrics like Dormeuil’s Tonik blend made famous by Michael Caine in Get Carter, or the Smith’s version often used for tuxedos. That’s certainly a part of mohair’s identity - its stiffness prevents wrinkles and allows trousers to hold on to a crease like Wilson Phillips holds on to their fifteen minutes of fame (they’re still going!). In an open weave, mohair blends wear cool, which is why it’s often worn in summer.
This autumn has been the season of the Mega Hearing. First with the grilling of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and then with the marathon Benghazi session that finished last Thursday, we’ve seen two instances of Congress summoning powerful women to a chair and keeping them there for almost unthinkable stretches of time.
The ingenuity of Japanese design is innovation building on an awareness of history. I’ve never been to the country myself, but from my seat, menswear in Japan takes this ethos to a whole new dimension. Where else are you going to find a place willing to re-authenticate American culture (however defined) and subversively re-create it?
It's been almost ten years since the “Look At My Striped Shirt!”book came out, and yet, when I go out, it still seems like three-quarters of the men around me are wearing jeans and a “button down” striped shirt.
If you follow the #menswear scene even casually, you recognize this guy. But you may not know who he is. His interest and influence in menswear began long before the hashtag, before even the Internet. Kamoshita is a sartorial polyglot - as a young man he immersed himself in Ivy Style; as a buyer and now Creative Director of the famed Japanese store United Arrows, he has gained mastery over Italian style; and he remains an advocate of Japanese style, meticulousness, and respect of craftsmanship.