I’m generally not big on flags as a prominent motif on clothing, especially the flags of other nations. A t-shirt with the American or British flag printed across the chest is very boring to me. Knitwear is even more perilous. Yet the show-off part of my brain still hankers after the sheer cockiness of the Union Jack as a dominant theme of a look. So, I need to find a way to do it with wit or originality, or sheer bravado.
This picture is from one of my favorite features of all time, in the September 2011 US issue of Marie Claire.
The trousers looked like perfection: the stripe, the skinny cut, the sheen. They were credited to Malandrino and I wanted them so badly I was ready to spring US$670 for them. After fruitless emails to their online presence and phone calls to the New York store, I finally went in person to the store in Paris and learned that they had never entered production. So annoying!
The jacket is actually a mens’ jacket from Bolongaro Trevor, the line started by the founders of All Saints after they sold the label. It intermittently reappears in the Bolongaro Trevor collection, or on Asos or Coggles, but the only continuous stockist seems to be RhinoGB, purveyors of apparel to the discriminating rugby fan. It being a mens’ jacket has made me reluctant to order one – I suspect that with my body shape the effect will not be flattering, and will be beyond the scope of a tailor to correct. I did attempt to try one on in London, but they don’t hold stock of these at the store, so your only option is to mail order, and my trips to the UK are usually so fleeting that finding a post office to be able to send it back would be a major headache. Also this is very costumey, and still a quite literal interpretation. At GBP236, around US$370, it’s quite a bit for a piece that I might not get much wear from.
Here’s how it looks worn by a man:
Bolongaro Trevor did do a women’s version last season, but overdyed. I don’t like this so much.
Perhaps the most iconic example is Kate Moss in John Galliano:
TopShop flirt with the flag every once in a while… but I’ve graduated from TopShop’s quality level. Unlined, thin, not for me.
So I guess I can wait and see if the women’s version comes around in less murky colours, or make the effort to try the men’s one.
In the meantime I did flirt with this cashmere sweater by C3 collection via Bluefly. I really liked this – the fit was nice and snug, the mood was casual and not precious, and the treatment of the flag on one arm was unconventional and more appealing than blazening it across the chest. They are out of stock at the moment, but this one seems to keep on coming back year after year. The downside of it is that when you wash it, the red dye bleeds into the white – even if you wash it in cold, cold water. I wash all my cashmere sweaters and I’m not about to buy one that I have to get dry-cleaned, so I had to pass on this.
While browsing Farfetch I came across this tank by Buddhist Punk. I like the monochrome treatment, the raw edges and the haphazard alignment. Yours for US$126.