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073: The innermost winter layer is ego death
Plus Uniqlo x Marni, 60% off at Net-A-Porter, and a big Outdoor Voices sale.
This newsletter can be many things: timely, ruminative, wry, much too long, or not enough. It’s also, I like to think, occasionally helpful. By now you must know I’m allergic to any packaging of fashion that feels prescriptive or overly problem-solving, but especially at times of season change, it becomes difficult to ignore the fact that our expressive, emotional wardrobes are massively reliant on our practical ones.
As with white tanks in the spring, fall challenges us to quickly figure out what we’re wearing under our coats and above our boots, because at some point we’ll be required to take those off. The brands behind our essential inner layers—the dark side of the year’s most reliable henchmen—fall across a matrix that spans American heritage, Euro luxury, mass market, and boutique.
Uniqlo, often the first name out of our mouths when we renew this conversation each fall, has become such a stalwart through its HeatTech line, it’s practically standard-issue for consumers living under seasons. A coordinating turtleneck and leggings set is a natural entry point (and quite sensuous in a slinky, aprés-ski way), but flared leggings from the Mame Kurogouchi collab and craftily colorblocked socks from the newly minted Marni line are pro-level exploitation of the requisite thermal pitstop.
Baserange, with its wide assortment of lettuce-hemmed and exposed-seamed paper-thin long-sleeves, covers this ground for a left-of-center group. There’s a reason every curated Brooklyn shop builds out an extensive buy with every new Baserange release: The brand’s cleverly muted colors and wonky designs do the work of adding intrigue to any outfit they join.
Gil Rodriguez, Giu Giu, Haus Label, and Flore Flore also serve this same demo, though their fabrics tend to offer more heft, the overall effect being a crisper and more concrete reality to Baserange’s (and by extension, similarly delicate, papery brands like Eterne and Bite’s) own.
A few quote-unquote designer options may earn their spot in this space—the unmarred elegance of Rick Owens Lilies’ draped pieces, a sporty, logo-baring Jil Sander quarter zip, or Helmut Lang’s asymmetrical core concepts—though categorically it’s less susceptible to their allure.
In fact, an interesting thing that happens when you start asking about people’s inner layers is that household names arise as though they’ve been gatekept: L.L.Bean, J.Crew, Falconeri, Intimissimi, Icebreaker, just to name a few.
These undersexed brands are at the heart of this conversation, really. When the substance of what you’re wearing is so responsible for your physical wellbeing, pieces that prove themselves technically take on a holiness about them. We’re moved to instill in them a supernatural, intangible value as our protectors, and all the better if they’re from a source so obvious it becomes unlikely within a niche and selective landscape.
That break outlines your wherewithal to distinguish between form and function and your wisdom to err on this occasion to the latter. You dared dip a limb into the raging current of “clothes” “people” “wear” so tacitly skirted for every other category, and from the rushing water you pulled a perfectly great knit.
It may be anathema to nearly everything this newsletter stands for, but I’m ready to concede that the best inner layers may be the ones that get the job done.
While the first installation of Uniqlo x Marni thudded out fairly quickly—a surprise, given the anticipation and magnanimity of the two players—the latest collection for winter reverberates much louder. Cool weather clothing, like the $180 striped cashmere sweater and sky-blue HeatTech leggings, and accessories, like the nubbly $30 balaclava and combined scarf-hood, better reflect the potential of these two forces when they find themselves in step.
Gucci Vault’s take on Dickies’ workwear has a sense of humor, as any endeavor to make traditionally affordable, proletarian garments into collectors’ items must, lest it reveal itself to be completely tone-deaf. The levity comes with the invocation of punk style by the studs and spikes that adorn each piece in the collection, a self-conscious nod to the friction between “cool” and “luxurious.” The shoulders of this cropped jacket might be able to inflict damage in a mosh pit, but careful patterning and high-quality construction testify to its designer pedigree. These pants, however, need no pretense—caked in studs that seem to ripple with the wearer’s movement, they speak for themselves as works of art.
A purchase from Yoshitomo Nara’s latest collection for Stella McCartney might prove to be a Birkin-like investment opportunity, given the outlandish resale market for the duo’s past collaborations. It would be near-impossible to keep the pieces in mint condition, though, given how fun they’d be to wear—Nara’s uncanny illustrations of rebellious girls grace luxurious knits, spouting unnerving yet heartening slogans: “Don’t waste another day,” one admonishes. Anti-war sentiment, one of the throughlines of Nara’s work, permeates the collection in the form of structured totes and baseball caps, while a dream-worthy bomber jacket declares “No” to the use of animal products (this rejection is literally stitched onto the jacket’s chest).
The latest collaboration between Melissa and Y/Project expands the duo’s fantasy-inspired footwear into more colors (solid gold and radioactive emerald being standouts), but the pieces that dazzle most are the Court Boots, which scale the Cinderella-like mules that made the collaboration famous up into ornate, wide-necked, rubber wellies. The jury is out on how practical they’d be as rain boots, but even with wet feet, you’d look regal wearing them.
Big, zazzy skiwear collections seem inextricable from the era of 1980s excess and fiscal gaucherie, but Camille Miceli’s vision for Pucci doesn’t seem to consider this a drawback, rather perhaps a point of inspiration. The house’s latest collaboration with French heritage performance brand Fusalp, an exercise in psychedelic graphic prints (it’s Pucci, after all) is primed to move Barbie-core into a broader interpretation of the trend—one in which bottomless budgets may take wearers to St. Moritz, Switzerland, as Pucci did for its influencer crew this past week to launch the collection.
Bypassing the facets of balletcore that can read as costumey or young, Paloma Wool’s latest collection is elegant but not overly prim, mature without sacrificing vitality, and subtle without toeing the line of boredom. A translucent knit dress spills into a sheer skirt, stirrups grace leg warmers and unitards, ready to slip under ballet flats or Mary Janes, and a knotted felt corset finishes off any look with a cozy flourish.
The rain boots and rubberized bags in Tretorn’s capsule for Zara all run under $200, but the simple, carefully crafted shapes make them look luxurious. The just-under-knee-high rain boots come in black or off-white, and either could be worn on a daily basis without that “prepared for a torrential downpour” look ruining the vibe of your outfit.
Gabriela Hearst’s quickly selling-out collection for Moda Operandi is all fringe, silk, and neon cashmere. This boxy top dripping netting and fringe is a standout, as is a highlighter-yellow cashmere sweater that layers perfectly with a wrap of the same material.
There’s also: Miaou opens up its archive to sell rare and never-before-seen pieces, including latex corsets, crocheted dresses, and silver silk brocade pants; Hunter releases a capsule of rain boots featuring Rowing Blazers’ signature zig-zags and stripes; Arc’teryx’s millennial-oriented diffusion line System_A launches its 4th capsule, which manipulates black and orchid pink through a gorp-core lens; Tyler, the Creator’s pastel-inflected brand le Fleur has restocked its perfumes, puffers, nail polishes, and more colorful goods after selling out almost immediately upon launch; Tommy Hilfiger seeks to renew its ‘90s hip-hop credibility in a collaboration with Dutch streetwear brand Patta; Palace and Calvin Klein’s second genderless underwear drop cheekily hams up the thing most loved about the brands: their logos; Toga’s latest collection offers neon leather pouches, tees with cotton bodies and inflated nylon sleeves, and psychedelic jacquard knits; 20% of proceeds from Stine Goya’s crystalline, lime-green #StandWithHer capsule for Olivela will be donated to Girls Opportunity Alliance; the craft-obsessed German brand A Kind of Guise’s holiday drop makes a strong case for paisley print; Fear of God’s “Eternal” collection features pared-down classics, from car coats to bombers to sweatshirts, all available in a careful selection of neutral colors—excellent fodder for a capsule wardrobe; this tweed knit sweater—a blissful pairing of plastic-y blue and chocolate brown is interrupted, to excellent effect, by green and yellow stripes—is a highlight of Olivia Latinovich’s new knitwear capsule; Justine Clenquet is repurposing her jewelrey, embedding it in luminescent resin alongside flowers, cigarettes, and other miscellanea to make sculptural and functional dishes and ashtrays; Playboy’s new denim collection largely consists of jeans plastered in bunny stamps and cutouts, almost all of which cost less than $90; FRUiTS magazine’s spirit lives on in the launch of MadeMe’s Trinity bags, for which the founder of the shuttered publication created fake FRUiTS covers featuring the sleek purses; A-COLD-WALL* takes an architectural approach to its collaboration with Dr. Martens, utilizing panels, rivets, and zippers to give the classic shoe a futuristic edge; Ghia’s highly asked-about White Bark Workwear aprons are back in very limited supply; APL releases its “purpose-built” Streamline running shoe in new shades; Asics’ year on top continues, or possibly concludes, with a collab alongside French fashion house A.P.C.: three sneaker SKUs at $230 each; and Jacquemus celebrates a successful show yesterday in Paris with the release of “Le Bisou” bag.
What’s on sale
Eytys’ winter sale is fit for the Martian attempting to assimilate at an earthen kickback while still maintaining an otherworldly edge to their look. That is to say, the dusty blue suede loafers with scalloped edges, jeans that fade in and out of a galactic shade of purple, and calf-length boots with angled, futuristic heels are all ahead of their time (or perhaps just Swedish), and they’re all currently selling for significantly less than their usual, already-decent prices.
Every piece in Puppets and Puppets’ end-of-season sale is a magic trick. A checkered pattern over saturated rainbow stripes coalesces, as if through optical illusion, into a suit fit more for a clotheshorse than a clown; sleeves cascade to the floor from a cropped button-down to accommodate infinite aces but can be scrunched up around forearms to ensure wearability; and a simple black polo is made special with a rhinestone spiral swirling across the torso like a gesture by a trick wand. It feels inevitable that, if you say the magic word, a rabbit will emerge from this bag festooned with a lifelike carrot. These tricks aren’t cheap, but they are more affordable than Puppets and Puppets’ usual stock, with discounts up to 50% off.
The satisfaction of a glorious discount buy is often tempered by the fact that you’d have to wait a season or two for the piece to be wearable (the curse of September swimwear doorbusters), but Outdoor Voices’ extra 40% off sale items is as timely as it is stacked with gems. Most tempting are these $23 Warmup Leggings in dove gray, a fleece crewneck that would look coherent paired with a skirt for a dinner party or with sweatpants for a dinner consumed on a couch, and Keen running shoes for perennial use. Most of the sale selection is designed to be genderless, making for prime shareability and a handy emergency stock to have on standby if you tend to host holiday guests.
Just as the SSENSE sale is on a steady march to the bottom (of prices), Net-A-Porter is continuing to prod at its sale floor, its latest round of discounts pulling inventory down to 60% off. That the first page of highest discounts reveals amply stocked styles from Re/Done, Loulou Studio, Marques Almeida, and The Elder Statesman reveals this as a true sale, rather than a riff-raff one.
The best sale is a sale-on-sale, true of Vince’s Give More Save More promo, happening now. In step with today’s exploration of base layers and everyday (in the truest sense) cold-weather pieces, I have to once again personally attest to how worthwhile a contender Vince is to join this part of your wardrobe (on that note—here’s the black sweater I keep talking about, and here’s its twin I just got in biscuit cashmere, both eligible for sale). Cashmere jumpers, pinched-waist leather jackets, and smooth chocolate leather boots—all already significantly marked-down—are up to an additional 30% off with MOREVINCE, bringing final discounts into the 70% off range.
The stars of Reformation’s winter sale are its up-to-40%-off dresses. Slinky slips in blood-orange velvet, relaxed sweater dresses made of 90% recycled cashmere, and halter midis with elegant keyhole sternums are all deeply discounted, as are boxy plaid blazers and wool polo sweaters to layer over them all season. But if you feel energized by Katie Holmes’ patently horrible (thus, highly respectable) red carpet appearance this week, a few washes are as low as $84 in the sale right now.
Par for the course, Helmut Lang delivers deep-cut deals in its season-ending sale, which includes an entire selection of goods priced at 60% off. There’s a creatively contoured dress that would leave Jessica Rabbit longing for corporeality, a wide-necked, quilted bralette for around $80—an ideal layering piece—and many more textured, twisty takes on the brand’s signature simple garments.
There’s also: Everything at Tommy Hilfiger is 40-50% off today and tomorrow, no code needed (if you’re willing to submit your email, Hilfiger Club members get an extra 15% off); The Very Warm’s 30% off sitewide sale with HOLIDAY has you covered if you still (somehow?) don’t have a winter coat; Thierry Colson’s private sale is full of cerulean silk skirts and elaborately embroidered corduroy tops in his signature Elizabethan style, all 30% off with COLSONPRIVE until the 18th; Highsnobiety’s winter sale preview includes Raf Simons boots and Marni mohair for 30% off with INSIDERS-ONLY; take 20-40% off sitewide on Koio’s handmade, understated leather shoes; R13’s sale continues to deepen, with more than 30 pages of sometimes contrived, sometimes convincingly cool stock up to 60% off; also 60% off are a selection of crisp, classic, but contemporary pieces from Nili Lotan, including the platonic ideal of a plaid duster coat; Presley Oldham, nephew to Todd and the maker behind his eponymous jewelry and accessory collection, is running a limited sample sale on small pearly tokens; Rose in Good Faith is selling the remaining sizes of its made-from-recycled-dildos plastic mocs for $85 a pair; Phaidon knows books make great gifts, so it’s extending 30% off a number of coffee table titles with BOOK30; and Camper’s house-style eclectic footwear (bill-footed nubuck Oxfords, butter-yellow boots, contrast lug-soled lace-ups for under $100) is up to 40% off in the brand’s private sale with PRIVSALE22.
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