Monday, 31 January 2011

The Staple - Parka

Parka and Ride

Well there we go. Straight into 2011, and I fail to post for two weeks. Ah well. In my defence it was my birthday (and that seems to have been going on for about two weeks...) But yeah, anyway. It's bloody freezing at the moment, innit? And I'm Northern (well, originally, at least). I've climbed hills in freezing snowy conditions (including a memorable whiteout on Ben Nevis), I've lived in the Midwest where one day in October, 3 foot of snow suddenly falls and doesn't disappear for 6 months, I've skied in the Alps, but it took a parky night out with my parents in the Lake District last Autumn for me to fully appreciate the brilliance of this parka. Having arrived home without a practical coat, and not wanting to pair my nice jeans with an enormous fluorescent cagoule, I decided that there was nothing for it but to cocoon myself inside this somewhat voluminous parka. A relic from my student days, it had been languishing in my room at my parents house (much to my Mum's consternation) for, maybe 4 or 5 years. I originally bought it in a vintage shop in Camden back in my first year, wearing it incessantly, and looking like a tramp with my 'artfully' distressed jeans, floppy fringe and filthy Puma Roma trainers. Fast forward half a decade, and look how things come full circle! Parkas are everywhere on the high street, and wearing this one with my gorge electric blue suede APC desert boots and a pair of narrow chinos have given it an updated look. Yes, it's a bit obvious, but you can't swing a fake-fur cat in Shoreditch without hitting someone in a 'heritage' parka, and I'm safe in the knowledge that mine was a measly £25 quid a decade ago, and not the best part of a grand from Present or Nigel Cabourn (as lovely as these brands are). It's also, (as I'm sure I say every week, about every item of clothing that I wear) perfect for cycling; warm, voluminous, durably and not too long. The fur around the hood does look a bit ratty, but with its orange lining, it feels more 'miner at a picket' than I normally would, and the hand-warmer pockets give it a certain cosiness that I just don't get from any of my other jackets. It has become, without a doubt, my Staple winter coat. Not quite sure if I'll wear it to LFW yet though - what d'you think? Other Staples this week (ahem, fortnight)
Feasting on cheese
Taking high tea at Liberty
A French magazine (about magazines) called Magazine
Mason & Taylor in Shoreditch
Hercules & Love Affair's new album Blue Songs
(shamefully) Watching old, old Sex and the City DVDs
Acne t-shirts

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Staple - Jazzy Rucksack

De-Fendi of the Earth

This last week I've been on the hunt for a new bag. Back in November I had my backpack stolen in a pub in Soho (annoyingly one of my favourite Sam Smiths; the Glasshouse Stores on Brewer Street). It wasn't expensive - in fact it was only £17 from an agricultural supplier - but the stuff inside was priceless to me. Ancient Moleskines, my diary, my Comme wallet, my iPod, a Westwood scarf that was a gift from an old friend and trinkets from holidays past - I was not a happy bunny when that happened. It did however prompt me to reconsider what I carry around: I might love my old notebooks, but it's not worth carrying around ten years of notes and mementoes on a daily basis if it's going to be stolen. Your memories are worth more than that. Aaaanyway. I'm kind of into rucksacks at the moment, but I'm avoiding anything too 'Hackney heritage farmer'. Unfortunately, that rules out just about everything apart from Givenchy's fantastic studded leather backpack from a couple of seasons ago. Luckily, back in September I chanced across this oldskool backpack in a slightly ridiculous geometric pattern. It's pretty striking (to say the least) and is also, apparently vintage Fendi. I've got a hunch that it's actually a children's rucksack, but it just about fits an A4 folder in, and that makes it practical in my book, so I've started using it for work. The size also means that I've also been carrying it like a clutch bag, which feels surprisingly comfortable; like a big, jazzy document wallet, rather than a rucksack. Alright, so it's pretty Hackney, but at least I don't look like I'm going on a ten mile hike in 1922, when I'm actually going to the office (far from it: I look like an 8-year old Italian exchange student). What I want is a kind of simple, unstructured leather knapsack (unfortunately missed out on the recent Gaspard Yurkievich collab), in a nice tan colour, but it's been pretty fruitless so far. The Fendi will do me for now (it's a hard life, innit?), and while it might not be a Staple, it's definitely MY Staple of the moment. If you happen to come across any rucksacks that are anything like, then do let me know. Here's a few more Staples from this week:
Wolf & Lamb vs. Soul Clap's DJ Kicks compilation
A chilled bottle of Corona
Finally having the right prescription in my black Prada glasses frames
Bargain homewares from Argos & Matalan (I know!)
Leon chocolate brownies (yep, again)
Rearranging the living room

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Staple - Sweatshirt

'Mark My Words

Well hello there! It's been awhile hasn't it? 2010 was not a successful year for The Staple, however, as you may have gleaned via Twitter or previous posts, that's cos I finally got out of the world of financial journalism and into magazines; Notion Magazine to be precise. And as the Online Editor of, I've been in charge of a bigger platform for 'blogging'. However, it's time for The Staple to come back - I need some personal perspective. So expect at least weekly updates on the usual things, with an injection of style-related bits that I come across through Notion.
So, what am I feeling at the moment? Sweatshirts. I'm not entirely sure what sparked this one (though I think the fashion show in the latest issue of Fantastic Man might have been Genesis), but for some reason I'm all about sweatshirts. Not jumpers, but cotton, fleece-lined sweaters with a crewneck are my order of the day. I sit here wearing a grey marl one from (amazingly) Primark, which was £3 and worth every penny. In this cold snap, it's been a practical purchase, but I've been desperate to find another in the January sales. Luckily, I snagged this bargain Marc Jacobs number in Selfs: it's that shade of cobalt blue that I think seems pretty flattering with my skintone, and the perfect shape and size for me (amazingly as I didn't hit the sales 'til NYE - even the nice tillmonkey was surprised that I'd managed to find something nice and in the right size with almost £100 off)> In fact, it was my NYE outfit, and roundly complimented as well. I was dubious about sweatshirts at first, but there's something that feels modern and fresh about them, especially after years of thin-knit cotton V-necks. I've never held with chunky jumpers (I just get too hot, even in this weather) and there's something cosy but not suffocating about the humble sweat. Even the Primark one. In fact, I've been surprised by Primark. Yep, the menswear isn't exactly groundbreaking (in fact much of it is sub-River Island printed tshirts), but the sweaters are actually wearable, and for £3 a jumper, it's definitely worth investigating (if you can put the sweatshops out of your mind, though I don't reckon Primark's any worse than the rest of the High Street). Either way, Primark or Marc, it's time to get into a sweatshirt. Here's some other Staples from my week:
Walking in the snow
Paul Auster's latest novel, Sunset Park
Monocle Alpino
James Blake's debut album
Home cooking at Xmas
Terry's chocolate orange
Moleskine notebooks