Unionmade is a great shop for workwear, heritage brands, and hard-to-find Japanese imports. They carry everything from Levi’s to Kapital, but the clothes come together in a way that can be roughly described as a classic, casual West Coast aesthetic. There are slim-straight jeans for guys who normally wear sport coats, as well as a huge selection of casualwear drawing militaria, workwear, and neo-retro outdoor gear.
From now until Monday, they’re also having an early spring sale. Take 25% off all orders with the checkout code -25FINALSALE (be sure to include the minus sign, which is easy to miss if you copy-and-paste). As the code suggests, all purchases made with the code are final sale, so be sure to check measurements. The code does stack, however, on already discounted items in the sale section, although it excludes anything from Alden and Birkenstock. Some highlights I think are worth a look:
Notable Brands: Chimala, Kapital, LVC, and Barena
Chimala and Kapital are two of my favorite brands these days. Both are Japanese labels specializing in the sort of things you’d could imagine unearthing from the world’s best vintage store (although expensive, they also take out the legwork required for good vintage shopping). The cuts are often idiosyncratic, the detailing better than most. Kapital can be hard to wear unless you go all in with their style, but Chimala can be easily incorporated into almost any workwear wardrobe.
I’m also really digging the retro Californian vibe this season from Levi’s Vintage Clothing. They have Aloha-inspired shirts with camp collars, flannel button-ups in ocean blues and sun faded oranges, and 1950s-inspired white tees. Note, the tees have shorter-than-usual sleeves, so be sure you’re comfortable with that fit. For something less rugged, check out Barena. The Italian brand is most known for their soft knitted sport coats. Those are a bit too short and slim for me, but some guys wear the style well. I mostly want their textured cotton-linen shirt, but the price is woo wee expensive – even with the discount.
Summer-Ready Printed Shirts
I love oxford-cloth button-downs, particularly in light blue, which I find to be more versatile than white. They’re an easy, failsafe choice because they occupy that narrow territory between formal and casual – a shirt that’s smart enough to be worn to the office, but also features a collar and fabric that aren’t too uptight. My usual OCBD recs these days include Brooks Brothers, G. Inglese, Kamakura, Proper Cloth, and Michael Spencer (the last is a sponsor on this site). I use Ascot Chang for bespoke, but their prices aren’t too far off from high-end ready-to-wear.
Once the weather starts to heat up, however, I like bolder prints. Oxford button-downs can look boring on their own without a jacket – flying a little too close to business casual. With an unusual print, a jacket-free look can come into its own.
Unionmade has some great prints this season. Afield’s tropical style look like they belong in the film The Talented Mr. Ripley; East Harbor Surplus’ feels vaguely Javanese with its Batik-ish design; and President’s washed plant print looks like it would work well underneath leather jackets. Additionally, Universal Works has a gauzy long-sleeved shirt that would allow you to show a bit of shirt cuff if you can manage to layer this summer.
Finally, this could be a good time to re-up on basics. Unionmade has a huge selection of jeans, including raw denim and washed. Levi’s 1947 version of their iconic 501s come with a slim-straight leg and medium rise, which I think makes it nice for wearing with casual sport coats. It’s also a good for anyone who prefers a middle-of-the-road cut – slim, but not skinny, with a rise that’ll cover your butt. Get the New Rinse version, which will take out any guesswork in shrinkage.
Chuck Taylors are some of my favorite sneakers and their 1970s collection is a little nicer than mainline. The insole is cushier and more comfortable; the uppers made from a sturdier cotton canvas. It has a slightly more substantial looking silhouette as a result, but in a way that sits well underneath jeans and fatigues. Lady White Co is also terrific for t-shirts (I was happy to hear George Wang of BRIO say they’re his favorites as well). Just be sure to size up, as they fit fairly slim. If you’re in search for a new bag, check out Filson, Bleu de Chauffe, and Il Bisonte.
As for myself, I’m thinking about picking up this silver cuff from Toulhoat. Over the last couple of years, I’ve come to appreciate how a bit of tasteful jewelry can make a casual outfit, especially during the warmer months when you can’t wear much more than a button-up and some pants. I’ll have a post in the next month or two on jewelry with links to some of my favorite makers.