On Raiding my Closet


I’m not sure how self-referential I want to get but there have been several comments about my closet. My closet is, indeed, a place of weirdness.

One of my industry friends, Jayson Street, started posting pictures of the snappy suits and accessories he got for his Wall St. job – I call it “corporate cosplay” so I’ve been jerking his chain a bit on facebook by posting stuff from my closet. Here’s some. I’ll probably most more, occasionally, simply because when someone else starts wearing Han Dynasty robes to play World of Warcraft, you’ll know who they got the idea from.

“Hampton leather jacket” in sniny red python [link]

I discovered the “make your own jeans” site back in the early 00’s when I was looking for custom-cut jeans for a friend who has very unusual dimensions. Around that same time, I was getting married, and had a tux tailored for me in Hong Kong by a local tailor who did a great job. “Hey, custom-fitted stuff really does look better, and isn’t more expensive!” In fact, sometimes it’s cheaper. It depends on the material, really.

Urban Camo Nehru tux jacket [link]  (A friend of mine said I needed something that’d be suitable for a North Korean hacker)

Then, I realized that I could get stuff made in really weird combinations. That was the beginning of it.

I know lots of hacker types who say “I’ll never wear a jacket” (or whatever) and I consider that attitude to be as much a case of “doing what the man says” as just doing proper corporate cosplay. The question, for me, is the degree to which you bend over to live up to other people’s expectations. That’s a choice, of course.

Battle dress camo blazer [link]

The US military used to have a special fabric for BDUs in the 80s; it’s fire-retardant and supposedly had some kind of infrared suppressing weave (I doubt it, but)  I had a few yards of the stuff that I bought back when it was still available, and shipped it over to the MYOJ guys, in India, and had them do a blazer. I’m still trying to get them to do an international safety yellow blazer for me, but they’ve gotten busy lately. Or they’re just tired of me.

The folks at MYOJ liked this design so much they now offer it as an official option. Which is OK, I suppose; now there’s going to be a rash of camo tuxes and blazers, etc. Yay!

Pinstripe gray Harris tweed biker jacket [link]

This will do for now; I’ve got a bunch more I will post in due time. I’ve got to haul a bunch of stuff over to the studio, and then cleaning up the digital images in photoshop also takes time.

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    Yeah, custom fitted stuff really does look better (especially with a figuration such as that low right shoulder you’ve got), and I like to hope that the people who make it get better pay and working conditions than the average south-east Asian garment worker. Custom work doesn’t lend itself to sweatshop labour.

    Unfortunately, the journey into better fit either ends up in spending a lot of money, or a lot of time over a sewing machine… I ended up teaching my myself shirtmaking because I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results I was getting from internet shirtmakers – there’s only so far you can go with standard measurements. Then one thing led to another, and I’ve just put about 30 hours into waistcoat… Proper tailoring techniques are hard.

  2. says

    Dunc@#1:
    that low right shoulder you’ve got

    Holy…!!! I never noticed that. I wonder if that’s the result of decades of hauling over-heavy briefcases full of books, or what!>

    I ended up teaching my myself shirtmaking because I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results I was getting from internet shirtmakers

    That is super duper amazingly cool! I have done smallish bits of tailoring (or as I used to call it “failoring”) – enough to know how hard it is, and to stop there.

    A friend of mine once told me a thing about getting stuff tailored in his case it was specifically regarding Hong Kong tailors, so I’ll phrase it as he did:
    “When you go to a Hong Kong tailor you can get the best suit that you know how to ask for.”

  3. says

    I love, love the python, you know that, ’cause black and red, and the pinstripe Harris tweed, that’s fabulous! I’m not really a camo person.

  4. says

    Marcus:

    Holy…!!! I never noticed that. I wonder if that’s the result of decades of hauling over-heavy briefcases full of books, or what!>

    Or could be you just hike your left when tense or stressed. When I get stressed out, my right shoulder hikes up damn near my earlobe.

  5. Dunc says

    Pretty much everybody has some degree of asymmetry, and it mostly goes unnoticed unless it’s really extreme, or you talk to a tailor… I’m starting to get my eye in, but some of the tailors I’ve talked to are incredible – you show them a picture of something you’re working on that isn’t quite right, and they can instantly spot subtle asymmetries you were completely unaware of.

    A low shoulder is usually the result of shifts in the ribs, often because of postural issues whilst growing up. School desks have a lot to answer for.

  6. jazzlet says

    Asymmetry also results from the fact that we don’t grow evenly, so if you have ay illness as a child it will affect the growth of which ever side is growing most while the body’s resources are taken up with fighting the disease, and the odds are low that you will have illnesses at just the right times to affect both sides evenly. It is offered as one reason why, whatever a culture’s other standards for beauty, symmetry is always part of our standards for human beauty as it reflects a healthy childhood which suggests a good immune system etc etc.

    The most serious tailoring I have done was a full skirted mid-calf length coat with a fitted bodice. Came out pretty well considering I had to have a complete novice measure me up – you really can’t measure things like your own centre back neck to waist.

  7. Sunday Afternoon says

    I see a lot of C. Hitchens in the red python jacket (imagine a glass of scotch cradled in your left hand doing double duty with a lit cigarette) and love the tweed biker’s jacket!

    I’m very conscious of my low right shoulder in photographs. In my case, this is a result of fracturing my clavicle and scapula…. twice. If I ever do so again, I have plans to have the clavicle pinned so I’m a bit more symmetric. The less painful, and probably cheaper, way would be a bespoke suit or two.

  8. EigenSprocketUK says

    …international safety yellow blazer…
    Every time I have an original idea, I find out on the Internet that someone else had it first. Grrr.
    My fevered dream idea was for such a high-viz (as we call it here) suit, rather than the blazer you suggest. But I got stuck thinking about how to avoid looking like a slab-sided slice of ultra-yellow lemon cake made from radioactive pus. Now … maybe some piping, and all the lapels and trimmings and linings, should be made with Chigau’s deer camo….

  9. says

    chigau@#12:
    srsly???

    Military camo; humans are the prey. The blue/grey/black is nighttime woodland – tuned to defeat human night vision. The grey/brown/green is woodland – daytime.
    It can’t use deer colorblindness because people aren’t colorblind in those ranges.

  10. says

    Sunday Afternoon@#8:
    I see a lot of C. Hitchens in the red python jacket (imagine a glass of scotch cradled in your left hand doing double duty with a lit cigarette)

    One of the sad things about people like Hitch is you can generally be sure they’d wear any of your stuff better than you do.

    I’ve had a few humbling experiences photographing models in some of my old kit that doesn’t fit me any more. It’s kind of sad-making to see how awesome your stuff looks on someone else.

  11. says

    EigenSprocketUK@#13:
    Every time I have an original idea, I find out on the Internet that someone else had it first. Grrr.

    There was a shop in NYC called Daffy’s that had the most gorgeous blazers in high vis orange back in 1997. They sold out immediately.

    I want one that’s done like a British holiday jacket, with black piping on the lapels and cuffs – sort of a “The Prisoner” jacket gone horribly wrong.

  12. says

    Wow, I sure like such leather and camo jackets. But I’m biased here. I like tailored menswear in general, which means that I’m bound to like any cool jacket.

    As for symmetry. Doing digital art made me realize that I want a bit of asymmetry in my pictures otherwise they just look creepy and weird. At one point I had the temptation to just draw half of the picture and then copy and flip it resulting with a perfectly symmetrical drawing (saves half the working time). And it just didn’t look right. For example, this https://avestra.deviantart.com/art/Cat-Head-Tribal-Tattoo-546085559 picture. The first version I made was perfectly symmetrical, but that looked weird, so I intentionally edited this picture to have a bit of asymmetry.

    My brain seems to prefer quite lots of symmetry, but not absolutely perfect symmetry. I’m not sure how it is for others though. In stylized designs I also always keep eyes, face and key details symmetrical. It’s always fur, hair and other such minor details, where I like seeing asymmetry.

  13. says

    Ieva Skrebele@#17:
    My brain seems to prefer quite lots of symmetry, but not absolutely perfect symmetry. I’m not sure how it is for others though. In stylized designs I also always keep eyes, face and key details symmetrical. It’s always fur, hair and other such minor details, where I like seeing asymmetry.

    I’ve heard various descriptions of Japanese aesthetics and zen aesthetics embracing imperfection but I’ve never liked the reasons; they’re usually something silly like “only god can make perfect things, so it’s disrespectful for humans to try.” Obviously, that was before humans invented CNC machines that could churn out symmetries and perfect copies so good that philosophers would have to argue what “copy” means.

    My guess is that asymmetries tweak our pattern-finding and give us a little shock of reward recognition when we find something, so it “gives our eye something to do”. Otherwise, it’s “consider all art as perfect spheres”

  14. says

    “only god can make perfect things, so it’s disrespectful for humans to try.”

    Before I learned to use Photoshop, I did traditional art and then I always tried to make my images as symmetrical as possible (when appropriate for the specific image). And then it looked just fine on paper. It was only when I got the ability to make an absolutely perfect symmetry that I concluded that it looks unnatural and weird.

    Obviously I do try to make my artworks as perfect as I possibly can. It helps that I don’t care about disrespecting a nonexistent entity.

    My guess is that asymmetries tweak our pattern-finding and give us a little shock of reward recognition when we find something, so it “gives our eye something to do”.

    This seems plausible for me. For human or animal faces I prefer to draw almost perfectly symmetrical ones with only a bit of asymmetry. When it comes to landscapes, trees, rocks and so on, I prefer to have almost no symmetry at all. For example, when it comes to bonsai trees, I prefer the completely irregular designs. The straight and symmetrical ones seem stiff and boring for me.

  15. Dunc says

    I’ve heard various descriptions of Japanese aesthetics and zen aesthetics embracing imperfection but I’ve never liked the reasons; they’re usually something silly like “only god can make perfect things, so it’s disrespectful for humans to try.”

    Interesting point, especially in the context of tailoring… For a long time, the push was towards very uniform cloths of ever-greater fineness. However, now that mass-production spinning, weaving and dyeing are so highly developed that more-or-less anybody can lay their hands on perfectly uniform cloth of a fineness that would have been unimaginable even 50 years ago, the trend is turning much more towards imperfection – schlubby yarns, variable dyeing, marls, and so on. Especially at the high end, hand work (with its inevitable minor imperfections) is back in demand, and commanding high prices.

  16. says

    Dunc @#20

    People always like whatever is scarce and expensive. During my mother’s youth in USSR plastic shopping bags were hard to get, expensive and really fashionable. Those few who were lucky to get one of those few bright, vivid, colorful and pretty plastic bags treated it like an extremely valuable possession and kept using it until the bag disintegrated. Anything rare and expensive is seen as desirable.

    When identical mass produced factory made “perfect” products are cheap and ubiquitous, handmade (and expensive) stuff is bound to be seen as fashionable. By the way, when it comes to fabrics, very uniform cloth just reminds me of cheap, ugly, and poorly made shiny polyester suits. And it’s not just fabrics. The same trend can be also observed with furniture. Now that anybody can get some cheap and perfectly painted IKEA furniture, handmade stuff with visible wood grain/texture becomes cool. And rustic style interior design takes this even further with a lot of natural “imperfect” wood texture.

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