This week’s featured outfit: a utility parka, shawl-collar cardigan, and raw denim jeans from Mott & Bow. While technical fibers are great for efficient insulation, for pure looks, it’s hard to beat cotton and leather. Even if they are, well, a little old-fashioned.
Before anyone cries “hipster,” let’s distinguish correlation from causation: the older ways aren’t automatically better. Progress doesn’t work that way. Even within fashion, thoughtful refreshes of age-old designs can dramatically improve iconic pieces.
However, progress is by definition unfamiliar – and yes, also a little messy. If you have both the fearless personality (and cavernous wallet) to embrace the avant garde, for the love of God, continue. However, for much of the world’s other 7 billion, dressing well means something other than martyrdom for fashion.
For me (and many others), dressing well means keeping one foot planted in the past. In this case, it’s a pair of raw denim jeans on top of leather hunting boots. Neither has changed much in the centuries since their births, and if they did change, it was typically for the better (ex. more reliable manufacturing techniques, more comfortable insoles).
Case in point: the Rivington raws from Mott & Bow. It’s pure cotton denim, cured then stitched using modern techniques that were honed over 30 years in a single family-owned facility. The Bean Boots on my feet have just a pedigree every bit as dignified. Bring these refined classics together, and the results don’t just look great – they feel great.
Before you again cry out the H-word, remember that there’s another foot out there to explore all that’s shiny and new. That’s the beauty of not being a cartoon character: you can own more than one set of clothes. Even in this specific outfit, the Fjallraven Yupik Parka I’m wearing is fully waterproof, packed with synthetic insulation, and stays warm past -10° F. That’s hardly a slouch where materials science is concerned.
Does it look like an old-school expedition coat? Yup. Does it perform like an Arc’teryx parka? Yup. Is it as efficient per weight as my Camosun? Nope. But with these darn good jeans, these darn good boots, and two layers of cotton, it looks pretty darn good.
Short of wilderness survival or a TSA line, I’m hard-pressed to think of times where I’d sacrifice confidence and style to save 2 lbs of coat. Even if the old-fashioned creates mild inconvenience, there’s a lot to be gained from embracing classic things done well.
I guess that makes me a willful anachronist.
And definitely not a hipster in denial.