Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Staple - Messenger Bags

Don't Shoot the Messenger; Steal His Bag!

Just as rucksacks become hot property in menswear, I've decided that I'm all about the courier bag. It stems (as with many of my purchases recently) from the bicycle. Much as I love a rucksack, you can't swing it around your body to get your phone/keys etc on a regular basis, and if it's warm, your back will get all sweaty. Plus, I just can't get a rucky to look good with my trenchcoat (in fact I've not even worn a cross-body bay with the trench - it crumples it and spoils the lines...or something). Anyway, since late last summer I've been reusing what was my old school bag from 6th Form - A red Manhattan Portage number that my Dad bought me back from NYC. I must've had this for a good 12 years, and aside from a slightly mashed buckle, it's still in perfect order. It's probably about the simplest bag you can buy, one zip pocket and a main pouch, thick black strap and that's it, but that's why it's lasted so long. It looks fine whatever it's stuffed with and is moderately waterproof as well, which helps. A quick glance through my wardrobe shows it's actually the oldest thing in there (vintage stuff that I've bought more recently excluded), which is a testament both to the durability of Manhattan Portage and the vast turnaround of clothes one can have in a decade. From the oldest item to the newest, and it's another courier bag. This time, it's one from the recent(ish) Raf Simons for Eastpak SS09 range which I picked up from Le 66 on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on a recent 2-day trip for my birthday. It might look like a dodgy shopping centre from the outside, but inside it's packed with discounted clothes and shoes for boys and girls - I'm talking Acne, Marc Jacobs, Paul & Joe, Castelbajac, Helmut Lang - good quality streetwear in other words. This beauty was tucked away and 50% off, making it a perfect indulgent-but-not-mad Paris purchase. It's longer than a conventional courier bag (oblong rather than rectangular) and zips up with some lovely little silver leather zip-pulls. It's also got a reflective silver leather base; perfect for cycling at night! Sale+Simons+Cycling=Too good to miss. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and all's working out nicely. It more than copes with the crap I haul about all day, and like the Portage is pretty waterproof. This might all change if I find a rucksack I like the look of, but for now, I'm firmly in/a Camp Courier. Other Staples this week:
Raf Simons for Eastpak & Manhattan Portage courier bags
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie icecream
Music from Ibiza 1999 (and DJing it at a house party)
Tom Ford's film, A Single Man
Finishing work, and embarking on a freelancing career
Paul Auster's new novel, Invisible
A pack of new socks from M&S

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Staple - Navy APC Trenchcoat

A French Trench Quench

My APC obsession began some years ago. As this blog has progressed, I've been through a period of much APC-purchasing, which has only become worse now that the brand is so easily available in London. It used to be just a small concession in Liberty and a stand at Selfridges, but now there's racks of it in both stores, and in Urban Outfitters, as well as a dedicated standalone store on Dover Street, opposite the famed Market. Anyway, after a lovely Xmas gift of a Liberty-print shirt from my fantastically generous parents (not quite right, sadly, and very similar to a Prada one I have), I decided to trade up for something a little more substantial. APC's coats are a particular weakness of mine (I already have a chambray/cotton striped peacoat), and spotting this gem in the Liberty sale sealed the deal for me. The detailing is superior, from the waistbelt to the front shoulder flap (originally designed to correctly shoulder a rifle, apparently), and the colour a slightly unusual navy, it was perfect for my birthday trip to Paris (which involved a trip to the APC sale shop in Montmartre, 20 rue Andre del Sarte; a must-visit if you're there). I've worn it practically every day since, and I particularly like it for its extra-long sleeves (to fit my silly ape arms) and French Resistance charm. It's one of those pieces (like so much of APC) that is made great by simplicity of cut and good quality detailing, but which doesn't scream 'designer'. Like an Audi RS2, or a Ferrari-engined Lancia Thema 8.32, this trenchcoat punches well above its weight (and price) and I'm hoping that it will make a great first impression at some interviews. It certainly did when I was in Paris, and met up with the fantastic Editors of BuckStyle, Celia and Steve. Whatever happens, this coat has certainly started my year off well, and been surprisingly warm in the recent cold snap, and I reckon it's going to be a brilliant Spring transition coat - hopefully smartening up my wardrobe and weaning me off the oh-so comfy canvas plimsolls...Watch this space! Other Staples this week:
The fantastic Renee Ashby
Pawel's album on Kompakt
Washing my APC wool bag (which was disturbingly filthy)
Champagne breakfasts
Shouting out the answers to University Challenge
Dalston Jazz Club
David Byrne's book 'Bicycle Diaries'

Stapler's Note

It's been three months since my last post; the time has slipped by all too fast and unfortunately, The Staple has been sorely neglected from my usual weekly updates. Reason being a combination of a massive internet clampdown at work, and a bit of a Twitter addiction. However, I'll be leaving my current work in 3 weeks time to start some somewhat more interesting projects (fingers crossed), so I should have time at least for two addictions! Am looking forward to getting back into it - have a couple of posts planned already - and connecting with any readers that might still check back here...note over; on to a post!