Dandy & Dapper
I keep reading about a jacket called a blouson as something every guy should buy, but I still don't get what it is. Any idea?
Mr Dapper: Excellent question, reader. Editors have been throwing the term around willy-nilly recently, leaving confusion in their wake. In the broadest sense, a blouson in menswear is defined as a loose-fitting, casual jacket that draws in at the waist. Its roots are often linked with flight jackets and military uniforms from the 1950s. It is closely associated with the Harrington or G9 jacket made famous by brands such as Baracuta (www.baracuta-g9.com) and celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen and Ryan O'Neal. Today, some brands distinguish between the blouson, the bomber jacket (which has a ribbed waistband) and the anorak (a hooded windbreaker). Many don't. Uniqlo's designer collaboration with Japanese cult label Undercover has yielded the wonderful zip-up blouson available in grey, olive green, wine red or dark brown (HK$499; World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2881 5101).
Mr Dandy: The word doesn't exactly make me want to run out and buy one but this season's blousons are so rad, who cares what they're called? Maison Martin Margiela's doing awesome understated blouson styles from sporty textiles to luxe leathers (HK$12,300 to HK$16,199; 10 Ice House Street, Central, tel: 2869 7707). Hogan's City Rush in a black, navy, beige or ochre yellow technical fabric is super slick (HK$4,800; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 0181). I love Richard James' retro cotton version in white or blue (HK$6,700; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 3388). Don't miss the to-die-for colour-blocked bomber/Harrington at Neil Barrett (HK$10,500 and up; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2526 0168).
Where can I get some collared short-sleeve shirts (not T-shirts) with cool patterns on them (not the old Hawaii Five-O). My wife tells me they're 'in', but I've only got plain colours and the odd check so I wouldn't know what's good from what's bad.
Mr Dandy: Printed shirts are so in right now, and I'm so excited you're ready to move out of your comfort zone and that you're not leaving the shopping to your wife. Some of the coolest around are the tribal Sunburst print and the Eclectic print by Burberry Prorsum (HK$3,700 each; Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 3511). Marni has a modern take on botanical and geometric prints (HK$3,600; Joyce, 16 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2810 1120). Paul Smith, duh, is a master of patterned shirts, especially mini florals (HK$1,650 to HK$1,790; Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2730 7622). Now, I know you said you didn't want old-fashioned, but I just have to point out the incredible vintage-inspired shirts you can't miss this season. Gitman Vintage is an amazing brand which re-issues old designs from its archives (HK$1,680 and up; Kapok, www.ka-pok.com); and Midwest Vintage always has some delights on its racks (HK$400; 15 Watson Road, Tin Hau, tel: 2802 6886).
Mr Dapper: Loud prints are almost as offensive as short-sleeved shirts. To be frank, I wouldn't be caught dead in either. If you want to go shorter, roll up the sleeves of a proper shirt. Trust me, it will look infinitely more stylish. What is wrong with a good check pattern anyway? Even I know that hipsters wear them just as well as the old fogies. For proof, visit Ice Fire, which stocks a wide array of them (188 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2836 0633); or American Eagle Outfitters, Esprit and so forth.