After dinner at 1-Utama today, I was walking past the shops with my friend when this guy came charging across us from our left with a purposeful walk and curious eyes. While I first thought he might want to attack us, it turns out he was actually attracted to the window display on the shop to our right. It was a Clarks shop that he was looking interested in (not us), and I was wondering what the fuss was all about.

After all, the Clarks in Malaysia hardly ever sold the classic favourites like Wallabies and Desert Boots. I remember entering the MidValley shop, and the sales assistant told me proudly that they seldom stock old products like that anymore. Rather taken aback with this ignorant answer, a Malaysian Clarks shop never caught my attention eversince, until today. But I digress.

Back to the story, I waited for the guy to finish salivating in front of the window display so that I could check it out for myself. No wonder he was staring for so long, he was looking at all 6 of these:
What a sight, right? These are actually the 60th anniversary collection of the Clarks’ Desert Boot.
The original desert boot is a suede one in tan, first sold in the 1950’s. The six designs shown here represent each decade since the birth of the iconic desert boot. From left is the tweed version (50’s), women’s paisley (60’s), women’s purple suede (70’s), women’s acid washed denim (80’s), men’s Britpop (90’s) and for the noughties, a reproduction of the first desert boot according to its original specifications.

My favourites are the oo’s (obviously), and surprisingly the women’s paisley and purple suede ones. While it is designed for women (and selected flamboyant or secure men), the paisley pattern is beautifully designed (“uses a classic print from the world-famous Liberty fashion house”) while the purple shade gives the suede a rich feel, and the fringe is rather FBT. The tweed one for me is just OK, while the acid denim one lost a few marks with the odd-looking pocket design. As for the Union Jack boot, I think the flag is more suited on a pair of Doc Martens than on the rather dandy-looking Desert Boot.

Each pair is retailing in the UK for 89 quid (~RM500), but with Malaysian markups I am not sure of the price here. The regular Clarks desert boot is sold at GBP69.00.

The desert boot, be it the anniversary version or the regular boot, is a classic shoe that should be on every discerning man’s shopping list. The classic shape with its ankle length and four shoelace eyelets is timeless and versatile.

I’ve been eyeing on a regular sand-coloured pair for some time already, but first I need to replace my ailing wallet and crumbling notebook.

Read more on the 60th anniversary collection here.

When buying men’s clothes in KL, there are three main factors that come into play: the mercilessly scorching weather, the limited selection of menswear labels and the negative perception about guys even attempting to dress up. I found a solution in Americana labels like Gap, Banana Republic, and the recently departed Gant that seem to adress all three concerns. These Americans sure know how to make their summer clothes comfortable in balmy weather while maintaining a modest but tasteful aesthetic .

I thought that the summer collection menswear that was brought to KL shores this year was pretty good- lots of nice shirts and shorts in breathable material and tasteful patterns (plaid, stripes, madras, gingham). That was until I saw this photo as I was flipping through a Japanese men’s fashion magazine (Men’s Non-no, if you must) and saw this ad in its first few pages:

[photo credit: BOI]

This is the Spring/Summer ’09 ad campaign for Gap Japan. I was as green (as the second model from left’s canvas sneakers) with envy at the realisation that so many of the items did not reach Malaysian shores. Model 1’s shoes, t-shirt, mint green bag; Model 3’s scarf, bag, t-shirt, belt, pants, shoes.. and the list goes on. Luckily, I calmed down after I looked at the ad hard and saw the words: Gap JAPAN. Japan, the country with a fashion sense/buying power so advanced that clothing labels have released separate clothing lines especially for the Japanese market, Converse Japan, Paul Smith Japan. Some items released in Japan will never see the light of day even in the native countries of that brand, I comforted myself.

I got hold of the said issue of Men’s Non-no, and the picture above does not do justice to the full-blown ad in the glossy pages of the magazine. Several details are not visible in the picture above, such as the crumpled texture of Model #1’s t-shirt, the stripes on model #3’s pants and the knitted belt on model #3,4,6 and model #5’s micro check shorts.

Sigh, the sad state of Malaysian menswear.

*Please click here (Boimpression blog) to see pics of the full ad campaign for Gap Japan SS09

The Sartorialist, the book.

September 5, 2009

I was browsing The Sartorialist website and the current post was about his book signing in Colette, Paris. It was then that I realised that the book he has been mentioning about since early this year (here and here) is already out in the stores.

I am hoping to see it in the Malaysian bookstore shelves soon, but I have yet to decide whether or not to buy it. I love the works of the Sartorialist, but I follow it so religiously that I may not even need the book. I am not expecting the contents of the book to be vastly different from the blog postings, so if I decide to buy the book it would only be for easy referential purposes and as an homage to the man on the front lines of street fashion photography.

The book, available in hard cover and paperback versions, has been release in the US on August 12th and on worldwide release early this month. It can be ordered online from Amazon and the like.

Scott Schuman’s blog, the Sartorialist is one of the most widely read style blogs for a reason. His eye for detail is among his blog’s many qualities. I am certain that I am one of many who would turn to his blog for style inspiration and, with the availability of large hard disk space nowadays, save countless photographs posted by him for future reference.
Here I’d like to share photos that I would keep for my personal style reference, and the reason behind liking the particular photo. Click on the photo to go to the original post at The Sartorialist.

original pic by Scott Schuman

  • I can’t determine whether or not the tie was a silk knit one. All I know is that the tie’s colour and texture looks great in his outfit.
  • Love the ethnic bracelets. It’s not unlike another photo also posted by Scott last year, where a man wore similar looking ethnic bands around his ankle (no socks, obviously)
  • Electric blue pants are the obvious attention seeker in this outfit
  • Belgian velvet slippers as seen here, and not too dissimilar from the English house slippers seen here. Don’t let the word ‘slipper’ fool you into underestimating their make and price tag!


The South Park creators took a jab at Kanye West’s ego with a parody episode called “Fish sticks”. Kanye is portrayed as a ‘gay fish‘ who embraces his true nature and swims with the other gay fishes. Hilarious!

I haven’t watched it yet, god knows how long it has been since I last watched an episode of South Park.

I love how the guys at South Park used Kanye West and his crew’s actual outfits (seen here outside the Commes des Garcons FW09 show, taken from Jak & Jil blog). Good effort, Trey and Matt!


I am a few pennies poorer today, thanks to the Amanah Saham 1Malaysia.
No DSLR for now, I’m afraid.
I had many hours to spare today though, and in usual KL fashion, the ‘sale’ sign was everywhere. I was mindful of my new financial status, but says who you can’t get good stuff on a budget? My two pairs of patterned rocks from Zara and plastic aviators from Topman only set me back a grand total of RM48.80. Yay me.

Sorry this was an absolutely pointless post, beside the fact that I am using the phone camera and phone blogging feature


American Casual (probably Ame-kaji to this guy) done well, as captured by The Sartorialist.

I am in full support of the American Casual summer style to be adapted by more Malaysian men. Why not?

  • The style is relaxed and unpretentious, if you are afraid of being labelled an attention whore. (refer: picture above)
  • Most items are worn in relaxed/regular fit and not figure-hugging tight, if you’re afraid of looking ghey. (refer: picture above)
  • Materials are lightweight, if you’re afraid of getting soaked in sweat. And shorts are definitely acceptable! (refer: picture above)
  • The shirts are in bright summer colours that would look great in the Malaysian sun. (refer: here)
  • Most elements in American Casual clothes are time-tested classics, if you’re afraid of ending up looking like a fashion mistake.
  • The styles are conventional, if you’re afraid of looking too modern.
  • The colours and patterns can be modern, if you’re afraid of looking too conventional. (refer: here)

So what IS the American Casual style? Discussing that would need a whole separate blog posting.
In the most superficial sense, it’s (in terms of a 21st century summer):

gingham, summer plaid, seersucker, ribbon belts, boat shoes, loafers with no socks, Ivy League, East Coast, tailored shorts, plimsolls, madras, oxford button-downs, chinos, linen, repp ties, cardigans, cotton blazers, nylon raincoats

OK, I’ve found a way to shorten it to two words: Ralph Lauren. 🙂