On these pages I’ve talked too much about sweatshirts — about Champion, about the Dexys’ “Athletic Monk” phase and about how Einstein wore fleece jersey very well indeed. But I like to exorcise my preoccupations on this blog, so I’m happy to repeat myself. “Exorcise” was the intended spelling, because I’ll be damned if I ever wear cotton fleece to actually exercise. I love grey cotton jersey.
It can be worn with anything as an utterly neutral accompaniment. For me, it’s a wearable comfort blanket — I can remember growing up in bootleg ‘A-Team’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ (complete with a lurid Smarties stain) grey sweats, then becoming obsessed with the same colour in skate wear before getting myself some ludicrously oversized Carhartt hoodies in outmeal and grey that had the perfect imperfections that the marl meeting-of-faintly-differing-yarns guarantees.
Some days the repro slim fit feels right, and other days, I want some cheap boxy excess to my sweats. So I keep a stack at hand. It could be made in Japan, Indonesia, Canada, England or assembled in the Dominican Republic (from American components) — it doesn’t matter. Loopwheeled or straight from a sweatshop? Whatever. Raglan sleeves and side panels make for the very best examples of everyman apparel done to perfection.
Sometimes those excessive stitches externally can make the garment too fussy. Less is more, but I mourn for the mass of zig-zags and ribbed shoulders of my £9.99 Gap 1969 variation – missing in action since 2005 . Just as Gap seem to have missed the khaki boat of recent years, much of the year 2000’s 1969 collection was slept-on before it was reduced to little more than a tenner for each component.
Like my white t-shirt quest, each sweatshirt has a shortcoming somewhere that reveals itself during repeat wears and washes. Thus, I’ll keep adding to the pile until I reach my platonic ideal (though it’s worth noting that Our Legacy make a sweatshirt that veers toward my idea of a perfect fit after 20+ washes).
If finding a solitary sweatshirt that ticks the boxes is tough, finding the whole suit is an even tougher brief. Nothing beats the grown-up romper suit styling of the marl tracksuit (hood and zipper optional) for the last word in anti-formality. It’s you’re engaged in physical activity for a living, it’s the non-work suit . Patta’s underrated outfit with Reigning Champ last year has the best track pants I’ve worn in a long, long time. They’re heavyweight, but they’re not excessively ASBO baggy.
Despite working in an environment devoid of dress code, my plan to visit work in them fizzled out because a. They made me look like a mature sports science student who’s going to get kicked of his course and b. Because I didn’t want to associate loungewear with the workplace — that’s separate worlds colliding.
Still, the full tracksuit shouldn’t be confined to the sofa and the airport. It shouldn’t just be for the wifebeaters, shoplifters and crap degree seminar attendees. Executed correctly, it’s a work of art (Timberlands are optional). Just as the tracksuit deserves an open mind, marl doesn’t need to be grey. Pink and orange marl are strong looks. But the wings + horns Large Loop Terry Sweat Suit (a pretty late arrival, seeing as there’s only a month or two left of probable full sweatsuit weather left) as brought to my attention by Hypebeast, but available from Canada’s Haven are more proof that CYC keeps on running this sweatshirt game. It’s officially the best item of clothing I’ve seen this year.
Other good things spotted today:
The UK’s Beat Butcha producing Havoc’s pre-Prodigy release banger ‘Bang On My Bullshit’ (when P gets on Twitter, the current Sheen-mania will subside in favour of Albert’s trouble-making) is worth repeat listens. I don’t fuck with too much UK hip-hop, solely because our scene is corny as fuck, but Beat Butcha’s got beats for days and he’s had Sean Price and Tony Yayo (over the Hav beat) blessing his productions. UK stand up.
The terrifyingly prolific homie Maxime Buechi’s Flickr account is probably better than yours: www.flickr.com/photos/sangbleu
‘PORT’ finally hit shelves. Of course, it couldn’t live up to those breathless pre-release Vimeo testimonies, but it’s very good. It’s content-heavy without being oppressively dense with text, beautifully designed and well written. It still doesn’t feel fully formed — as is the case with any launch issue (and I always feel like an idiot buying anything billed as “Intelligent”), but the Commentary section is better than anything I’ve read in any other magazine lately. There’s a decent article on Nike’s Sports Research Laboratory and Innovation Kitchen, plus Margaret Howell extols the virtues to the duffle coat in here too. I hope it proves successful. There’s a decent Creative Review interview with guys behind the magazine here.