Look for Less: Cost or Quality

This or that?
Buy designer digs or buy the less expensive option.
You decide. It’s your money that you earned, but let’s look at the options.
  • Designer quality goods generally have, well, a higher quality. Nicer factories, more substantial garment construction techniques, higher quality fabrics and more luxurious blends are used, such as cashmere. Designer brands usually have specialty characteristics, such as seaming and fit, yanno, a little personality. You get the tag with the designer’s name on it. “Hey, this was constructed and dreamed up by the imaginary, or imaginaries, under this brand that saw this as something worth constructing and associating their name with as a part of their intimate collection that fits within the brand’s lifestyle and identity.” I mean, some of my favorite pieces are designer, because they fit so damn well and have a story behind it.
  • Off-brand, or “house” brands, generally use fabrics of lesser quality along with less strict quality control procedures. For example, your sweater may fall apart because a seam wasn’t secured after one wear. You get something mass produced. It’s not as unique or poorly made (see: Forever 21.) What’s interesting is that if you look closely at a clothing line or when you walk into a store, you can tell if the store is pushing a product or a lifestyle. Is this store trying to sell me something? Or is this store trying to sell me a lifestyle, an identity, a sense of community— a story.
Left to right: Speckled jersey sweatpants by 3.1 Phillip Lim, $350; Salt & pepper sweatpants by American Apparel, $38; Shetland Varsity Letterman Jacket by Thom Browne, $1,298; Brown Varsity Jacket by Abel, $110.

$350 is a bit much for sweatpants. I totally agree, but do I want these? Absolutely.
Are they necessary? No way. But here is where the bridge splits and you can decide…



Left to right: Fairisle crewneck by CPO, $60; Fairisle shawl collar cardigan by Burkman Bros, $250; Gameday chinos by Bonobos, $88; Hayden pant by Theory, $195.

Certain designers cut their pieces in particular fits. Huge Boss suiting runs slim, so does Ben Sherman, A.P.C., D&G, Prada, etc. If you need a suit and you’re built like a toothpick, you’ll probably have to fork out the extra dough to get a suit that fits you well… off the rack, if you don’t have time for a tailor. Same goes for chinos, sweatshirts and Lord, don’t get me started on dress shirts.

Hear me out, there is nothing inherently wrong with designer brands, off-brands or mass-produced pieces, although some would argue in relation to relativism, ethnocentricism and ethics. Save it for a family meal.
Ultimately, you’re the consumer and you have the choice.

fashionhippie - Funny thing is, I actually like the look of the cheaper versions more

Jeff - Urkel was a badass, man…

nemajo - You are kidding about the sweatpants right?

I mean come on, 350 buck to look like Urkel..

midweSTYLE: Bridge II

Jeff’s post a few weeks ago got me thinking about my own fall uniform. The ensemble that automatically pops into my mind when I get out of bed in the morning. This is what I came up with. It’s not necessarily limited to these exact pieces, but they do represent the basic formula. It goes something like this: plaid shirt, shawl-collar cardigan, and a lightweight jacket on top of denim and boots. The variations are endless. Nonetheless, this is perhaps my favorite.

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If I could, I would be completely content with only wearing Gitman shirting, for the rest of my life. The fit and details are spot on (their mediums are ideal), and every season seems to improve upon the last. There’s a consistently wide array of fabrics and patterns – chambrays, oxfords, tartans. There’s something strangely familiar about a Gitman Vintage shirt, like you’re ninety-five percent sure you saw your dad wearing the same thing back in ’74, but you can’t be sure.
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This service blazer by Apolis has been my go-to top layer for fall. I was turned on to Apolis a few summers back when they teamed up with Katin to produce some chambray board shorts. From there, my interest in the brand and their philosophy has only increased. If you’ve got the time, take a moment to read up on their story and check out their new fall arrivals, which happens to include some beautiful Italian-crafted suiting. Truly a brand worth supporting and investing in.

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These boots were a gift from my dear friend Travis Craig. And get this, he gave these to me on his birthday. If he ever finds a pair of shoes or boots a size or so too big while thrifting, he grabs them anyway and then tells me hes got something I need to try on. Talk about generosity. It’s thoughtful people like him that I aspire to be like and hope to be lucky enough to surround myself with. Thanks again, Trav. You’re the man.

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A NOTE ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: When she’s not petting stray cats, tweeting in all caps, or rocking a quasi-middle part, Mallory Wiegers is busy working on her undergraduate degree in graphic design at the University of Kansas. She’s a longtime friend and compadre. She’s also a huge asset to the blog. That header up there – her doing. We’re lucky enough to have her input and expertise at our disposal when it comes to all things design. She’s currently working on some more projects for the Midwestyle, and considering her 21st was just a few short days ago, I’m sure she’ll be reimbursed with pink champagne. Or kittens. Be sure to check her online portfolio and give her a follow on the Twitter machine.
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On Cameron: chambray service blazer by Apolis; green plaid button down by Gitman Vintage; grey shawl collar cardigan by J. Crew, slim-straight selvedge denim by Wings + Horns; watch by Timex for J. Crew; vintage tracker boots; vintage belt.
Photography by Mallory Wiegers.

Hannah - Great style! I love the look. :) And the pictures are great too.
Hannah
http://alittleburdtoldme.blogspot.com/

sartoriography - I plan to evangelize this outfit to every dude I know, demanding their allegiance to the religion of dressing like an artsy, trail-climbing badass. You’re a prophet of a great faith, sir.

bungalowbungahigh - Boy, this is great! I was just turned on to your site by Valet. I tend to have a typical fall uniform as well: dark jeans, desert boots, oxford cloth shirt, light cardigan, and a military jacket over it all. I’m in Chicago too and have hit up most of your thrifting haunts (and a few of my favorites too). Anyway, nice work!

Tuuwa - I would agree. The colors (medium) of that shirt is lovely. Just says Autumn.

also, would like to say Im pretty new to this site(first comment) & it is everything I inspire for when on the interwebs. I too am a midwest boy (central IL) and have always had clothes pasted down to me from older cousins, my father and now my grandfather. Keeping it in the family. haha. In high school is when I would see how far my dollar could stretch at recycled clothing centers in my small home town (7Kpop). Before I even found the midwestyle, I would stride to be like you guys. Mostly taking classic or older fitted clothing and giving a more modern-my style kind of twist. Every time I make my nightly clicks to my sites I wish i would be apart of this. ha! So Kudos to all that helps and I can only hope I could buy one of you a drink at a show next time I’m in the city.

peace.

THRIFTY THURSDAY: Duck hunt

I love novelty sweaters.
And by novelty, I mean obnoxious.

This “Duck Hunt” sweater triggers memories. Memories of my brother and I sitting in front of our large, practically furniture-sized television in our basement, non-stop clicking the Nintendo gun for pegging ducks off the screen. We spent hours mastering this game, totally cheating when the other got suckered into to running upstairs to grab the pizza rolls that Mom so kindly prepared for us.

I snagged this sweater at Arizona Trading Company in Kansas City when I flew back to see my baby niece. (Yeah, this guy is an Uncle! Congrats, Brother and Sister-In-Law.) Per usual, I did the rounds in Kansas City in hopes of scoring glorious plunder. I’d call this sweater alone a win in itself. If you wanna shell out the big bucks, Mr. Porter and Need Supply have a few options for the animal at heart.

On Jeff: Thrifted “Duck Hunt” sweater ($6) by Montgomery Ward from Arizona Trading Company; thrifted denim shirt ($1) from Salvation Army; thrifted bomber jacket with faux shearling trim ($12) from Salvation Army; grey slim-fit “Davis” chinos ($70) by Club Monaco.

wreckedstellar - Love me a duck sweater.

Hannah - I love this outfit. It reminds me of a page out of a Land’s End catalog. Great outfit.
Hannah
http://alittleburdtoldme.blogspot.com/

ME BUDDHA BANANA - awesome sweater….first photo is a dream!

raneytown - yep. sweater is awesome.

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS - montgomery ward! lol. that sweater is awesome.

Matthew Hranek - my dad owned that sweater and wore it til’ his dying day. thanks for bringing it back into my life

Ashley - Is it just me or does Jeff look like Dr. Who?

fritts - Missouri Goldenrod! I studied that a lot in ecology.

Dillon - That sweater is awesome. Your guys’ blog is awesome as well. Keep up the great work!

Jackietron - Lovely blog! If you’re in Chicago this weekend, be sure to check out CITY SOLES in Wicker Park for the Cushe Trunk show Saturday, October 29th. Shop shoes all weekend long :-) http://www.citysoles.com

Azalea - My brothers and i spent HOURs playing Duck Hunt back in the day. Love the sweater.

dani - This sweater is amaaaazinggggg. Truly!

ScoutVintage - I ALSO love novelty sweaters! Great find.

mallory wiegers - seriously can’t wait to swipe this when i visit

two birds - who doesn’t love an obnoxious sweater? not that this is…i truly love it!

midweSTYLE: Campus

7:57 A.M.
It’s midterm season. You hit the quad, half walking, half running, panicking because your bike got a pinch flat back on University Avenue and you had to lock it up and ditch it by Mumford Hall, but your class is over off 6th St.
You had five minutes then. Now you’re down to three.
You didn’t sleep last night; you didn’t have that luxury. Eating, that wasn’t exactly on the agenda either. You’re breathing though, running over a general timeline of early medieval history again in your head. Professor said exact dates weren’t necessary, so you subconsciously purged those. Diocletian. Constantine. The Council of Nicaea. You know this is all living in your short-term memory, trying to bleed back out.
You need to get this down on paper. Now.
You bust through the auditorium doors. Heads turn, people stare. Whatever. You’re past embarrassment. You sit, loudly. That TA, the one who always wears the sweat-stained Cardinals hat and a smug, condescending frown, he hands you the exam. Your eyes close. Open. You check the essay questions first. You always check the essay questions first. Pressure releases, you’ve got those on lock. Multiple choice takes care of itself. You write, and write, and write, shaking slightly from the triple espresso you put down a few hours ago. But it’s not long before it’s all over. You turn in the exam, with an unexpected confidence in your performance. You leave content. You’re walking back across the quad, tired, but more than elated that that midterm is over. Maybe just more excited that you have an opportunity to relax.
And it’s then that you stop and look around. You take it in. The leaves. The colors. You’d been ignoring them for the past few days—too busy. But your studying is over now. You hear the soft rustle of leaves being trampled underfoot. You inhale the crisp air. It feels good. And your once overwhelmed and over distracted mind can ignore it no longer.
Fall is here.
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Fall, for me, is primarily about two things: layers and fabrics. Flannels, wools, thick-knits. Jackets over sweaters over shirts, with scarves on top. Hats too, sometimes. Put on boots, any boots. And don’t forget tweed. Fall is your time to experiment. It’s your chance to find who you are, sartorially. Throw on some sportcoats. Or don’t, it’s your call. But really, above all, have fun. Clothes can be fun. They should be fun.
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Wear a watch. You should know what time it is without fishing your iPhone out of your pocket. Plus, watch straps are the new way to display your personality (sarcasm). But in all seriousness, start collecting. Or just buy this.

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Fall is also a great time to break in a fresh pair of raw denim. Or, if your selvedge collection is already three or so deep, get on that duck canvas jam. You’ll be glad you did.

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On Cameron: thrifted herringbone blazer by Hill and Archer, thrifted heather grey sweater by Ireland Group; Kurabo denim in the 77 fit by Baldwin Denim; thrifted blue oxford by Gant, beeswax desert boots by Clarks; military watch by Timex.
 
Photography by Mallory Wiegers.

rL - I adore that Heather pullover, and your all around style here.

rL

iripple - Love seeing the guys getting out there and making style accessible. I might just forward this blog to my BF who (I sadly have to admit) isn’t too concerned about what he wears.
Michelle

p.s. I do imagine poor Cameron left shivering in his briefs when that last picture was taken.

Raquel - That little narrative was absolute 100% descriptive of the fall season. Who can ever forget running laps around the quad to take your early morning exam? Good times… that are happening now for me.. Love the look, I would die for that blazer (in a women’s size)!

Nick - Cam, have you found any places that sell cool straps for the weekender besides Corter? I’m loving mine watch, got it a couple months ago.

Dustin William - In love with you guys! You look so amazing!

Austin Storm - That was my thought, too.

annogus - Love it! Really great last photo, but I can’t help but imagine Cameron standing over the clothes, snapping a photo in his underwear. or perhaps he was raptured…

glen - mistermidwester… fantastic name.

yale, the drive from Jeff City to Columbia was one of my favourite college memories (Not related to the football/basketball team).

mistermidwester - Great colors and fit on this one. I take a lot of my style cues from nature, and this outfit is a grey fall day to a T.

Was Cameron standing in his skivvies while arranging and taking that last photo? :)

Yale Hollander - Sixth Street? The EE auditorium perhaps? Back in my day (ugh) the History Dept. decamped in the A&S building (although I do recall taking History 3 and 4 in Geology Aud. Nonetheless, I agree with Joy on the hitting close to home thing. I minored in history at Mizzou(fell 6 hours short of a double major but decided I’d rather move on to law school than hang around another semester).

Fall in CoMo is specatcular (in addition to my 4 years at Mizzou, I also happened to grow up just down 63 in Jeff City) and downtown used to be resplendent with great men’s stores. I think Bingham’s is the only holdover from the old days. Puckett’s (where they’d be all to happy to offer you a glass of Scotch while you browsed), Mr. Guy and Woody’s were all within a couple of blocks of each other. Harry Smith’s was out west at Parkade Plaza (back when there were actually stores there).

Ah, memories.

IndiaMorgan - This last photo reminds me of one of my favorite pic blogs. Do you guys read thingsorganizedneatly.tumblr.com? Aesthetically up your alley, maybe?

Joy - Great post but man your opening paragraph cuts too close to home.

Cameron - The natural strap is a sample from Corter Leather – he’s working on getting those available in 20/22/24 mm, I believe. Corter’s product is always great, so I’m definitely grabbing one when they drop. Rigging up your own sounds awesome too. I’d just eBay a cheap nylon Nato and strip its hardware. Let us know if you make one, we’d love to see it!

Jason Brozek - Love that natural leather watch strap – where is it from? Or where can I pick up the nato strap hardware to make my own?