Year-End Round-Up: From Nautical to Nordic

New Year’s Eve! It’s my favorite holiday! Out with old, in with the new. Take stock, move on. Speaking of ch-ch-ch-changes, this has been a really dynamic year in fashion and so I thought it fitting that the last IBC post of 2010 celebrated the most fantastic labels and ideas out of menswear this year.


Even though I think Guy Trebay is an out-of-touch turd, I thought it interesting that he saw style as a return to the masculine this year. You know what I thought? This was the most lesbionic year of the decade! From flannels to work wear to designer sweatpants to big boots, it’s a fitted version of 90’s era queer fashion. Chew on that! And…here we go:


1. Collaborations, Heritage Collections and Sometimes Both–OH MY.

Kumbaya, dudes! Everybody is working together and the experimentation has largely paid off. Even those who have  failed (Converse x Woolrich) were at least interesting. Who thought Converse had anything left to give?


The winner for best collaboration, however, is hands-down Pendleton x Opening Ceremony. Seeing the combo in person at the LA Opening Ceremony storefront only sealed my feeling that this is utter genius:


Pendleton x Opening Ceremony


Bad ass SoCal meets old-school Oregon winters. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better:


Pendleton x Opening Ceremony x Timberland


BAM! Everyone forgot about Timberland and then they hit it out of the park with the best boot of 2010. Bravo all around!


All this stirring of the style pot seems to have contributed, in fact, to some great revivals of “heritage brands” like Woolrich Woolen Mills who I mentioned in my last post because they have nailed it with their Fall/Winter Collection.


Barbour’s Heritage Collection is another notable blast from the past. In particular, the Barbour x Tokihito Yoshida mash up continues to yield thrilling results, like this:


Barbour Beacon Heritage Range Military Jacket


(Side note: Maybe it feels like I’m leaving a major heritage collection out, and I know everyone talked all about it, but I wasn’t interested in Levi’s workwear because a) I didn’t think it was interesting and b) I found their We Are All Workers campaign super offensive. It was unseemly and I am a gentleman).


And finally, working together isn’t just about the clothes. Check out this amazing window display from the 2010 New York Fashion Week, a beautifully grotesque and frankly mythic  merge of  Dennis McNett x Barneys New York:


Dennis McNett x Barneys New York


2. Summer Nauticals

Sperry x-ed all over the place, making dock-side summer in Docksiders (or at least the dream of them) more spectacular everywhere. But the label that did the tattooed yachting dream best was most certainly Band of Outsiders who continue to rule, despite their baffling association with that jackass Jason Schwartzman. This summer they conjured up the perfect fantasy paradise bender:


Band of Outsiders


I love this guy’s face–so disaffected. It’s hard being rich! It makes you litter!


3. Designer Sweatpants

Speaking of Band of Outsiders, their contribution to the designer sweatpant trend was by far the most stellar:


Band of Outsiders


It’s like sailor x Band of Outsiders x dyke! A perfect collaboration if there ever was one.


4. Bags

For Christmas, the lovely Michael von Braithwaite surprised me with a sweet and rugged overnight bag from Australians Whillas & Gunn that looks a lot like this one:


Whillas & Gunn


Don’t you wish this was your life? I will not be with my dog on the Aussie frontier but I will be at the Renaissance Inn in Sonoma in a bath robe this weekend, drinking a martini and admiring my bag which is also tough work.


Pendleton has also done an excellent job with bags, as evidenced here:


Pendleton Bag


Fit it in the overhead! There’s enough room for your swimsuit, your cotton pants and some essentials. You don’t have to pay to check a bag (the worst kind of indignity–paying for something you once got for free) and you’ll look handsome in pretty much any situation: land, air or sea.


5. Men’s Jewelry

Over the last few years men’s jewelry has become…tough. I should know, my wedding band is a pinky ring. If you don’t believe me, check out this dude:


Philip Crangi for GQ


Philip Crangi, jewelry darling, looks like he could totally kick your ass.  In the portrait above he wears his own designs (necklace by Philip Crangi , bracelet by Giles & Brothers by Philip Crangi).


Macho necklaces only need be heavy and preferably worn with thermals, v-necks or under open flannel. As for rings? I love this railroad spike. There’s basically no way to fuck it up:


Railroad Spike by Giles & Brothers


Except, of course, with a suit.


6. Nordic Style

Michael von Braithwaite and I have recently decided that as soon as we can afford it, we’re going to Spitsbergen, Norway. Why? Because we will see the Northern Lights via snowmobile when not sitting by a roaring fire contemplating the glaciers!



And what will I wear? You bet I’ll be in some serious Nordic business if I’m to hang out with polar bears. Copenhagen-based Norse Projects has created a whole depot of cold-weather awesomeness, as well as a brilliant line of their own designs, like this:


Norse Projects - Aarhus Blazer


Even if you’re not planning expeditions to the Arctic, this rough-and-ready take on a classic is one of the most exciting style developments of the year and a fitting way to leave you on this wintery last day of 2010.


Happy New Year! Here’s wishing you a fancy night and a beautiful morning. Hope your resolutions serve you well and your year ahead is gorgeous.


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here:

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