Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Barbour

Barbour Clifton cardigan in brown

Somebody told me that last week was fashion week. It seems fitting for me to begin to post again after the fact. Yeah, you heard right! I'm back!

Barbour has had its Steve McQueen collection for a while. It was around even when I last posted. Some wondered why I'd failed to write much on it. Well, I have plenty of things I'm yet to go into in depth, but I doubt I'll write much more on the Barbour Steve McQueen collection. I get too angry sometimes. I at least want to try to focus on positive stuff, and I only see the negative in that collection.

While I'm on the subject, for a similar reason I'm unlikely to write much more about Dockers. I intimated that chinos were a thorny issue the last time I tried to tackle them. More than anything, I recommended Dockers for want of better alternatives. I had little else to offer, but even given that it was something of a mistake.

All the usual designers of the moment seemed to have a chino or two in the collection then. These other chinos were more money and all told about as good as the Dockers. It was only just over a year ago, and the situation is much the same. Those Toys McCoy still look great, mind.

I have another couple of chino recommendations to make in time. That's quite an achievement when you look at the choice. That's the least of it, though. I've learned much more about the Levi's Sta-Prest type of option and boy, do I have the mother of all posts on Steve McQueen trousers to come?! Yes. Yes, I do. I've done an incredible amount of research and joined many dots in a unique way. I honestly am a genius of Steve McQueen style. You'll just have to wait… 

I hope, now I've said that, the trouser post will live up to your expectations.

Anyway. I'm similarly unlikely to recommend anything from Grand Prix Legends and sister site The King Of Cool, as I did initially. The umbrella company name is Lylebarn. Close readers (there are some!) will have watched my misgivings for the company's "Frank Bullitt jacket" grow. (Things are always complicated: I'll defend the version of the jacket when I next write about Bullitt and natural shoulders and all that.) It's obvious to anybody that Lylebarn goes for a broad market. That's incidental insomuch as if something turns up for me to recommend then I will.

Take that company's cardigan, for instance. People fail to achieve anything like Steve McQueen style if they're simply in Steve McQueen fancy dress. It's fun, but just fun is something other than Steve McQueen cool. I've said this kind of thing again and again, but it'll always bear repetition: Steve McQueen style is about being as stylish as the man, more than dressing as much like him as possible. (This blog relies on the idea you can pay homage and get away with some items that are exact or thereabouts, of course.) I like the idea that the Lylebarn cardigan, despite the blurb, is something other than "a very close replica" of one worn by McQueen. The problem is that, except in the crudest sense, it hardly looks like any kind of cardigan. OK, I exaggerate. A bit. Ho ho.

It makes me feel a bit bad to say any of this, because I can't help but feel a connection. The Lylebarn guy is obviously a genuine McQueen fan. That kind of thing sounds silly to anybody who isn't a fan but I take it you understand, as you're reading a blog called Steve McQueen Style. Apparently tenuous to some, it's a connection that counts. I suppose it's odds-on this Lylebarn guy cares little in the overall scheme of things, though. Perhaps he started out rich. Regardless, odds-on that company's made him a good deal richer. The real bottom line is, he owes his customers more.

One final tiny stab-wound in this Greek tragedy. Lylebarn peddles imitations of the Bullitt roll-neck. I thought the blurb for these jumpers said the original was French Navy. Well, it does. They mean the colour, though. They confusingly capitalized navy. Ho ho. That's right. It's a rare example of a tiny mistake that causes genuine confusion and justifies grammatical pedantry.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Barbour. Must stay positive. I can recommend a couple of things outside the Steve McQueen collection. I'll do another cardigan post at some point, but I'd like to recommend a great example now. I found the Barbour Clifton chunky shawl collar cardigan early. I know others have found it too.

Here's the bad news. It's taken me a long time to get round to this post. The Barbour Clifton cardigan is somewhat difficult to find. Since you began to read this mother of a post, it's doubtless even more difficult. Barbour is at fault, of course. They've discontinued it.

The Clifton cardigan comes in four colours: brown, blue, green and barley. The barley colour strikes me as ridiculous for some reason, but that's almost certainly just me. The blue is just like the Big Sur one McQueen wears, at least in that it's difficult to determine the exact shade. It's a mid-blue in about half the photographs, but I believe it's navy. They call it navy and that's how it looks in other photographs. Sage or seaweed is a classic green for a shawl cardigan and the seaweed Barbour Clifton looks great on paper and screen. I've seen this one in real life, though. It's in fact something slightly more hideous than a classic sage or seaweed. The brown is great. Darker than a Cincinnati Kid or Bullitt brown, mind.

The Barbour Clifton is a quality ribbed cardy. It's big, as uh big cardigans tend to be. Five-gauge 100% lambswool. Leather knot buttons including collar button. Two patch pockets. Remember, all the cool kids leave the bottom button of their cardigans undone.

You might be able to find the odd colour to interest you in your size if you're fast. Barbour By Mail, "Barbour's official online partner", has a few Clifton chunky shawl collar cardigans left for £110. Shop around if you have time.

9 comments:

  1. Glad to have you back.

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  2. Agreed! I love your take on SMQ style. Your research is wonderful. Looking forward to more posts!

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  3. Love the blog, nice to see you're back. I am guilty of an item from their collection, the Rexton jacket, I fell for the American flag lining, and if you watch Top Gear, Richard Hammond has it!

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  4. I've just stumbled across your blog and 'wasted' half an hour skimming it. Good blog Sir.

    The problem with these cardigans is that they became very popular during the last two winters, worn by men who I really don't want to dress like.

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  5. it's worth mentioning that Levi's now produce a "Classic Crew Sweatshirt" in blue, which is worth your attention, once matched with a pair of chinos, brown suede chukkas and an A2, for that Virgil Hilts look to a T...

    excellent blog.

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    1. I'm trying to catch up on a few comments: thanks for the tip and the compliment, eightball. Will mention it when I get chance. Nice blog yourself, too. I'm from Birmingham! Anyway, yes, very nice looking blog. I'm gonna have a root around there. I want to find out about UV Ray now...

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  6. How about that "mother of all posts on Steve McQueen trousers" post? It's been god damn 9 months since your last post...

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  7. All right, actually all I want to know is which chino's should I buy to get that steve mcqueen style? The modern day spirit of the style not a replica like you always say... I'm in Ireland, around the same part of the world as you, so whatever is available to you is available to me.

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  8. You failed to mention the Clifton cardigan Barbour did in grey. A nice mid grey which got you away from looking too much like a Steve wannabe in navy or brown. And you're so right about what quality cardis they were....their meanie buttonholes apart. But when are we going to get the inside story on Steve's formal shirts and ties, those practically forgotten items of his wardrobe?

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