For this week’s installment, StyleForum Robot suggested a host of awe-inspiring holiday gift selections to our users. This is their story.
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: A goddamn Neuromancer
You can hear the smoke alarm wailing from outside your house and you throw the door open in a panic. The smell of burning rubber assaults your nostrils, and you see your roommate standing over the stove with a wooden spoon, a cauldron of bubbling orange goo decorating the wall with garish splotches. The whole scene would make Shakespeare’s witches jealous.
“What are you doing?!”
“Melting shoes,” he says.
“Melting? That’s my stew pot! The walls! Help!”
“Well, it’s no worse than your exploding spaghetti. Check it, I was talking to a designer friend and had this great idea: I’m melting down a bunch of orange galoshes. Then I’m going to take my own pair, paint them black, and dip them in the melted ones.”
He points to the rain shoes on his feet. The floor is covered in black paint and orange streaks. Your cat is lying next to him, an orange, plasticized mohawk on his head. He looks up at you and meows.
“Dear god,” you say, “not Miniver.”
“He loves it,” says your roommate. “No longer will he live in fear of baths.”
Blazer: Peir Wu
Sweater: Patrik Ervell
Pants: Snowman x Peir Wu
Boots: Ann Demeulemeester
Covy’s Cover Shoes, Recommended by A Fine Pair of Shoes
You’re one of SF’s most famous success stories, and you’ve even released a pair of trousers in collaboration with Peir Wu. Has a taste of clothing design and production influenced the way you shop for and wear your clothes? Do you think you’ll be able to go back to buying pants off the rack?
It goes both ways. I have definitely noticed a difference in my shopping habits since my trip to London. I’m not sure if it’s because of the design process or because I wore the same few garments for the whole month. I’ve been more content with the items I own and would love to have a wardrobe exclusively of Peir Wu. But on the other hand I want to experiment with proportions and check out the finishes, fabrics and cuts that designers put out each season. I need to observe!
And yeah, I’ll still be buying clothes off the rack. There’s a bunch of Dries Van Noten and Bless on my Xmas/kop list!!
What is it about Peir's work that appeals to you?
Well, the first thing that caught my eye was this little shoulder pad detail in the ribbed blazer. It made the whole thing sharp and I thought that was smart. The fabrics she uses are definitely interesting too. The powermesh and 3M medical Velcro is just some of the stuff she uses on her clothing.
The thought put into every piece is overwhelming! The right materials with the right cut, and they match up with the right season.
Plus, COLOUR! I love the colourful pieces she's made. There was a nice turquoise blazer that I’d like to get my hands on. And those laser-cut knits are a nice blend of primary colours in my opinion. But if I want to dress in all black, she’s got those pieces as well.
I think your current interest is in furniture design, is that correct? Are there aspects of Peir Wu that appeal to your architectural sensibilities?
Well, my professor asked me if I was dabbling in industrial design or fashion. I like the idea of applying different disciplines to fashion or vice versa. Peir’s work definitely hits the spot for me. The industrial metal buttons and stark cuts fall into that industrial design category, and I enjoy minimal design movements. I can compare the buttons to the cold steel of the Bauhaus cantilever chairs or her artisanal knits having a playful Memphis group feel to them. As I learn more I'm sure I’ll be able to make more connections!!
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: “My mule don't like people laughing.”
“Everyone needs another tie?”
Yeah, right. You can’t even remember wearing one on an occasion that wasn’t an interview. What are you supposed to do with this one? It’s an incredibly thoughtful gift, painstakingly made from scratch and perfectly engineered to...not go with anything you own. Your mother is most definitely sending a message here. If you don’t wear it on New Year’s Eve, you’re going to hear about it for the rest of your life. So you thread it through your belt loops, hoping that the orange and blue will give you a, uh, “festive pop of color.” You saw it in a ‘What is Styleforum Wearing’ article once; that’s got to count for something, right? You throw your stole around your shoulders and check the mirror. Not too bad, really: You’ve gone from Man With No Name to Grungy Ranch-WASP in the blink of a tie. Your mother will hate it. Perfect.
Shawl, Pants: Stephan Schneider
Bespoke Necktie, recommended by Passagio Cravate.
This is a great play on volume, and it’s rare that we see adventurous pieces like the Stephan Schneider shawl. Is there anything particular about that piece that lends itself to a certain manner of styling? What convinced you to buy it?
To somewhat respond to your question; for a while, I had this image in my head of the cover of a record by Felt, with this English kid wearing a poncho. I hadn’t seen it in years, or even bothered to look for it, but I wanted to try something like that. I really like what Schneider does with the shapes and fabrics of his scarves and stoles and ponchos, and I thought this one could work for what I had in mind.
More and more, I’m attracted to garments with little structure (I might be the only person on the forum to prefer soft-toe Guidi boots to the regular ones) and I especially enjoy all the nuances that this can bring to a silhouette. There is also something very comforting to soft fabrics that don’t need to be broken in and instead adapt immediately to your body.
By the way, this cover actually doesn’t exist; when I finally looked for it, I realized I had somehow replaced a grey and orange cardigan with a poncho.
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: A steezy, mass-produced EVA unit less likely to impale you with replicated extraterrestrial artifacts and then eat you.
Ah, yes. You fight bears in your spare time, don't you? We all know that that's the only real use for a flannel shirt. But there's a problem: You don't have any bears to fight, and even if you did, you probably wouldn't want to. But your girlfriend, in an effort to silence some of the comments she gets from friends, has purchased you the ultimate symbol of backwoods masculinity, and the stubbornly heteronormative side of you feels slightly ashamed just thinking about the black-and-red tartan shirt that hangs in your closet.
Should you tie it around your head and roll around in the mud? Should you buy an axe? Where do you even buy axes? Home Depot might have them, but that place is terrifying, and the last time you tried to choose a plunger you were too embarrassed to ask an associate for help and instead decided you could simply never use the toilet again.
Your girlfriend said something about dressing like a normal human being and wearing it with blue jeans. Would that work? Maybe you'll go for a 90's throwback look and tie it around your waist - underneath a sports coat? GQ might like that, but your boss probably wouldn't. And so, in a fit of desperation, you throw it on under an architectural hoodcoat; a stark contrast to the monochrome, futuristic white of your weekend wear. If anyone asks, just tell them that sure, you'd fight a bear if you could, but there are no bears in the dimension you come from.
Shirt: Stephan Schneider
United Stock Dry Goods Brushed Tartan Flannel, recommended by Sydney's
I thought that the monochrome challenge was surprisingly successful. Did you have to think about styling in this case, or did everything come together easily?
My standard uniform is pretty rote (leather/tee/jeans/sneaks), besides some biz-cas and other outerwear. I was looking for something a little less easy, and my mind immediately jumped to my canvas Bless hoodcoat as the foundation of the fit.
This is my most striking piece: it's huge and foreboding, especially with the hood up, aggressively ecru-colored (adding to its encompassing impression), and has precious little to distract from its overall wall of color (hidden placket, one very unisexual button in the back, one silver button on a front pocket. Honestly, the rest of the fit is akin to how I normally dress. I sometimes pair those jeans and sneakers together, and the Schneider shirt adds pattern and much-needed contrast.
I felt very conspicuous, but in a comfortable way. I got a lot of, “You look like Neo gone white.” It was fascinating to have the constraints of the challenge force me to add only a bit of creativity to my fit, yet result in a much more interesting look.
Original WAYWT post here
What this looks like: I was a friend of Jamis.
Your dad’s a cool dude. And he dresses better than you do, which makes it awkward when your female friends meet him. It’s not like you don’t appreciate his gifts, but seriously, what the fuck are you going to do with a pair of Balmoral boots?
“Wear them with a suit,” he says, annoyingly blue eyes staring at you over the impeccable roll of his turtleneck. “Or with a pair of nice jeans or trousers.”
“Trousers.” You look down at your legs, swathed in Champions’ latest Fall/Winter collection, and try to imagine a pair of Victorian boots and what your art-house friends are going to say about them. Oh, sure, your dad could wear them, but you have never been referred to as "dapper." "Non-traditional" is the best you've ever gotten. Thing is, it’s a seriously nice pair of boots, and they’re probably worth more than your car. Dad’s dismissive; tells you to just wear them with your sweatpants like a bum.
That pair of green cargo pants you hacked off at the shins; that slouchy blazer thing he’s always saying makes you look like a homeless person; the giant felt hat you found at a thrift store...Dad might not like the cut of your jib, but at least there’s hope for your art cred.
Coat: Stephan Schneider
Sweater: Brooks Brothers
Denim: Big John
Sneakers: Raf Simons
Montrose Balmoral Boots, recommended by Foster & Son
You’ve recently opened, to much acclaim, No Man Walks Alone. Has operating a retail store altered your own style at all? Are there details you look for now that you didn’t before?
Yes, because I am no longer part of a highly codified dress environment (I used to be a banker on Wall Street) so there is a certain element of additional freedom that I take advantage of. I love wearing suits and ties, but I wear less of them now - I have a more balanced style than before. So that's the entrepreneurial part of the answer. As far as being a store owner is concerned, my style has evolved a bit from the immersion in the menswear world. I see a lot of things and a lot more things that make me cringe in this industry where everyone wants to simply stand out. In the CM world, I feel that standing out glaringly is often (not always, but often) correlated with extraneous "pieces of flair" or generally a lack of good taste. So I have become even more picky and conscious about not looking like an attention-seeking clown now.
In terms of how I look at clothing, I would say that visiting so many makers and seeing how the workers do their job, made me a LOT more conscious of how things are made and how to see/spot quality work in a garment or shoe. Between that and all those news of labor conditions in Bangladesh and China, etc., I am now extremely focused on giving my business to people who treat their workers well. Touring the Buttero factory is amazing because so many of these men and women have worked there for decades. It's very much an extended family - I want to support these businesses. I do it when I buy for the store, but I also do it when I buy for myself. I look at the tag and want to know where it is made as a first step.