This season, many of the the big-name retailers – the ailing J.Crew and limping Ralph Lauren foremost amongst them, but also big department stores like Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and the larger online specialty stores like SSENSE – held off on price slashing seasonal sales until very close to Christmas, playing a high stakes game of chicken with consumers in a bid to preserve their margins (and according to WWD.com, mostly losing).
This led to a pent-up demand for sales items when the sales finally started – and this post Christmas shopping season felt much more like pre-Great Recession sales than the “start-in-October” free-for-all that we’d gotten used to seeing.
I’ve seen the effect of this in the Styleforum microcosm. Yes, someone is always going to gripe that sales are not deep enough, but both the traffic through our “Official Sales Thread” and the tone of the comments in that thread have been more positive than I remember from the same time last year. Spending as much time as I do on the forum, I’m inevitably influenced by the the virtual mood around me.
There are more things that I want this year than I’ve wanted for a bit now. Unfortunately, I can’t get them all. So, I’m presenting my humble list to you, in hope that either you’ll 1) send me something, or, failing that, 2) that I’ll live vicariously through one. Yeah, if you do get something off this list, whether for me or for yourself, please tell me in the comments.
Nearly all of the below are chosen with travel in mind – the traveling circus that is the fashion trade shows starts in January with Pitti Uomo and closes, over a month later, in Las Vegas.
1. Engineered Garments reversible Brookline jacket in navy stripe, ($288, www.theloit.com)
I normally regard any piece that is described as “versatile” with great suspicion, because “versatile” is often synonymous with “boring”. Mix that with a gimmick like “reversible,” and my spidey-sense is at red alert. The Engineered Garments Brookline jacket is an exception. I got y first Brookline years ago, at a traditional brick-and-mortar on final sale. It’s one of the less talked about of Daiki Suzuki’s perennial designs, perhaps because it’s sometimes hard to translate the appeal of a piece to a computer screen, so I’m going to post two pictures of it. One side sports larger, dark buttons on a striped suiting fabric; the reverse side is made from sportswear’s traditional quilted nylon and features a snap button closure.
2. Battenwear warmup pants ($161, www.mrporter.com)
Mr. Porter held out, as it usually does, until actual Boxing Day. I’ve been on a bit of a Battenwear tear recently – loving the 80s hiker vibe that a lot of pieces have, right down to the Battenwear logo – and the pieces, while they have a retro sportswear feel, can fit into a variety of styles, whether you want to be an urban commando or a woodsy hiker. And it doesn’t hurt that these pants are cut in warm and fuzzy Polartec 200, which will make them freat for winter travel, something I dread as the trade show season looms.
3. Guidi Chelsea boots ($726 USD, www.ssense.com)
I’ve been a big fan of Guidi’s unconstructed, vat-dyed footwear for about three years running. A few years ago, the dollar was much weaker against the Euro, and you could expect a pair of Guidi boots to run you about $1000. For the iconic “986” model with a zipper in the back of the boot, in basic black, you were going to pay a pretty penny, or you were going to the secondary market, or you were going to order from a European retailer – always a crapshoot, given the variable sizing of Guidi footwear due to the vat dyeing process. If you have the money, at $726, these boots are a strong buy.
(I’ve heard that the Guidi tannery will not sell third parties leather in the colors that they use for their own products, so if you want Guidi colors, you are going to have to buy Guidi)
4. Faliero Sarti scarf, ($168, www.farfetch.com)
I like wearing a scarf. Apart from the variety of practical reasons you’d want a scarf in winter, they are very close to being an actual security blanket. Every Faliero Sarti scarf I’ve handled has been uniformly luxurious feeling and expensive; the product, I assume, of decades of textile manufacturing. I typically don’t wear the “huge ass scarf” style that can double as a tablecloth and has been the norm in fashion circles for a while now, but I can see the appeal. At 50% off, I’m willing to give it a shot.
Farfetch is not a retailer, but more like an agent or a fulfillment and shipment solution for small, often niche, boutiques. Each piece is sent to Farfetch, where pictures are taken for the site, to maintain consistency, and then sent back to the retailer. So, the sales are non-uniform, and the prices can vary for the same piece between sizes, or even sometimes be listed twice, at two different prices. That you can comparison shop on the same online “shop” is a little odd, but it does make things interesting, if nothing else.
5. Mark Cross vintage Duffel bag – ($1199 ($1079 with discount right now), www.barneys.com)
I like leather products. I really like leather bags. This bag I’ve admired more than just a few times. It is elegant and structured, with sharp lines meeting rounded shapes. I imagine it getting admiring looks while I wait for the flight from Amsterdam to Florence. Then I will walk on the plane, pass business class, and to the end of the coach seats where I will grunt and stuff it into the remaining space in the overhead compartment.