13 June 2014

Wardrobe Update

Yohji Yamamoto cotton coat

Ann Demeulemeester cotton shirt

Yohji Yamamoto cotton trousers

Ann Demeulemeester cotton shirt

I do not usually talk about product on the blog, but I thought it might be interesting to give a little update as to the state of my wardrobe in the form of my List. The List, as the name implies, lists all the garments I would like to buy - if it does not feature on the List, I do not buy it. Formulating the List happens at the start of each season. Each and every morning for one month I write down everything I would like to be wearing that day. The only rule is that is has to practical for what I am doing that day – the List must necessarily reflect the realities of your day-to-day activities. At the end of the month I tally up each garment and order it in terms of frequency. Thus the List is born.

What you discover is that not only do the same garments tend to turn up again and again, but hopefully you already have a few of the garments in your wardrobe. Everything else goes on the list, and by ordering the frequency, you get an idea of what you need to buy first. Of course the list carries over into the next season, so if you list a Winter coat, and then Summer comes, you still keep the coat on your list, even though it would not crop up on your Summer list. You can always add emergency items to the list, say a pair of swim shorts for going on holiday, but for the most parts, the list rules supreme. If you see something that fits the bill, you buy it. Simple.

Above are four garments I have acquired this year in preparation for Spring/Summer. Where the coat and white shirt are concerned, they are garments that have been on my list for over two years. It was simply a matter of finding the right garments - something that felt right. The Ann Demeulemeester shirt at the bottom is something both my brother and I liked the look of when we went to Dover Street Market to check out the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. We both tried to get the other to try it on, but both left without trying it on, because we knew just by looking at it there on the hanger it would work for both of us, and we would have to buy it there it then. Fast forward a few months and I was in Dover Street Market, again with my brother, and decided to try it on. Needless to say, just as we had imagined, as soon as it went on, we knew I was walking out with it. 

Anyway here are a few of the items that have been on my list for a while now (in some cases, just like the white shirt, for over two years). They say that the thrill of the hunt is more exciting than the kill, and I think that is definitely the case with building a wardrobe. I find it more fun and interesting probing all my options and getting a clearer idea of what I like and what suits me, than actually buying the garment. Once I have it, of course it is enjoyable to wear it, and that opens you up to a whole new avenue of learning, but there is something quite remarkable in the journey leading up to that point. Plus there is the fact that if you put the thought and effort into making the right choice for you and your needs, then there is less to think about each morning - you simply grab what is there and know that it works together and will be practical for your day.

  • Wool overcoat: I am essentially looking for a fully lined gabardine wool version of the Yohji coat I already have in cotton. I like the A-line cut of it and the way it moves when you walk. But obviously for Winter I need a version with more pockets. The more pockets the merrier actually, and thankfully Yohji would seem to have me covered as far as that need goes  
  • Heavy overcoat: You need a serious coat when it snows or the temperature otherwise drops dramatically. I am thinking either some manner of black Y-3 quilted hooded jacket (preferably in wool or some other matte fabric) or a black cotton parka with a quilted lining. My brother owns a rather nice Our Legacy parka with a removable quilted jacket inside, which is incredibly versatile, so I think something similar would be perfect.
  • Grey scarf: For the past two Winters I have wrapped a six foot long black cashmere shawl around my neck and shoulders. I think it would be nice to introduce a textured or dyed grey shawl into the mix. Most probably a Faliero Sarti shawl of some manner. I am not overly keen on chunky knit scarves, simply because it can be quite stuffy when commuting, and overheating in Winter is actually quite a realistic issue on the Tube.
  • White collarless shirt: I had a beautiful white collarless shirt, but thanks to a tailoring mix up it now resides somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas (long story). Shirts that could potentially fit the bill seem to pop up in COS at a reasonable price quite often, but unfortunately they tend to use a rather odd poplin that is not entirely pleasant. I bought a poplin dress shirt from COS a while back because I was in a pinch and needed one quickly - somehow they made cotton feel like polyester, the slightest perspiration and the fabric felt slick against the skin. I have seen some nice shirts in Muji, but unfortunately at my height the sleeves tend to be comically short.   
  • Baggy black sweater: A cuddly oversize black cashmere crewneck. Simple enough, but surprisingly hard to find. Would prefer sleeves long enough to cover my hands that I can roll back, but normal length would be acceptable.
  • Black sweatpants: Something comfortable for lounging around the house or when in hospital. Either the standard drop crotch Rick Owens sweatpants in heavy jersey or, preferably, the skirted version. The lightweight jersey skirted sweatpants are easy enough to find, but the heavy jersey versions are proving difficult to track down (if you should so happen to have a pair to sell that fit a 46 - holla!).
  • Waistcoat: I do not particularly like carrying a bag if I can avoid it, so having a number of pockets is a must. As much as I love Ann Demeulemeester's waistcoats, they are far too dressy, and have too few pockets to be useful for me. What I really want is one of Yohji's worker waistcoats, in a heavy cotton or canvas, with multiple pockets on it to store anything and everything I may need to carry. 
  • Shorts: I may be tall and have incredibly skinny legs, but at the risk of looking like a scarecrow, Summer sometimes requires shorts. I have two pairs of Yohji trousers for Summer, but I would rather like to add a pair of black cotton shorts to the roster. Preferably some Rick pod shorts in lightweight jersey or the unwaxed poplin. 

There are a few other pieces on my list, but these are my priority for the near foreseeable future. The hunt continues.


  1. I don't like poplin shirts either. Interesting about your shirt ending way out there... I like the Ann D shirts you featured, they look soft and light as air.
    COS recently opened an eshop for the US, but for some reason the US version loads like crap.

    Happy hunting!

  2. Really smart idea, I may copy your list method one day.
    I keep a to-buy list too, but I go about it a bit more randomly. When I think of something I'd like to add, I simply add it. I also keep a list of what I've bought for each year.

  3. P: COS always looks nice from afar...then I walk into the shop, go up to it on the rails, and pretty much turn around and leave. It comes so close to being nice, but I have yet to see anything anywhere near as nice as the basics they used to sell a few years ago. They're going all "fashion" on us and although everyone seems to be lapping it up, I preferred them when they just sold simple basics!

    ODYSSEY: I actually have a list of everything I own, have owned, have sold, have donated, etc. going back a few years. It's quite a formidable list! Still sad about letting some FW99 Helmut Lang go :(