Put a bird on it (K/R Armani man bag)

The zipper has broken on the black leather sling bag I have been using for the last couple of seasons. This is a major setback. The thing never made much sense aesthetically, but it was nice to wear and incredibly useful. A poorly made but lovable item that made itself indispensable. I am considering repairing it, which will probably be messy and not worth the effort. Rather like the selfies from my mobile phone.

The frog purse i posted earlier is very wearable. Too wearable, if such a thing were possible. It ticks all the usability boxes, but it is a poor team player, too distinctive for daily use. If I’m not careful, it will become a signature.

I need to find an alternative, a hands free arrangement that I can wear under a jacket. Something small and flexible, almost but not quite a cross body man-bag. Larger slings and chest bags are generally too bulky, and the current fanny pack trend looks terrible on me.

I have said many times, bags are a problem. I think of them as luggage, and am always looking for functionality, which invariably means compromising my stylistic impulses somewhere down the line. Also, I dislike panic purchasing. I would sooner let things turn up rather than shop to fill a niche. Mostly, I do just that. This time, the failure needs to be rectified.

So I looked around and ordered this thing here, on a deep discount with promotional extras, and I doubt I could do better for the price unless I get very lucky. A stylistic wild card that fulfills all my functional requirements:


I never imagined I would wear Armani, but there is lots to love about this bag. It is compact and tactile, lush like a little cushion. It wears well from many angles, although it may need tweaking to get it working how I want it. I was drawn to its unique appearance from the get-go, and while I was hoping for black I can happily live with this blue. Almost KLM blue, in fact. Come to think of it, the eagle logo makes it look like a miniature flight bag. Also available in olive drab, which is more versatile but less appealing. Given the choice between Top Gun and Airplane, I choose Airplane every time. Insert ongoing Great Planes gag and a multi-layered fashion joke which nobody gets but me.

So why is this a keep or return?

  1. This is not a replacement for the sling, but an alternative to the frog purse. It is not a neutral option. It makes a bit of a statement. It goes with many things, but not with everything. Mr Edge said he thought it looked a bit boxy, but correctly pointed out that if I liked it, his opinion was irrelevant. I can see myself wearing it all summer, then swapping to something else when the weather cools down and the winter wardrobe kicks in. If I keep it, I will still be shopping for another sling, but less urgently.
  2. Not wild about the strap. An arrangement that doubles as a belt or shoulder bag was a major selling point, and the bag works well both ways, but the strap is way too long. It feels like it may rub in some wearing configurations. The quick release buckle is a mixed blessing, so bulky and awkward I had to convince myself it was fitted correctly. If this is a keeper, at the very least the strap will need shortening so that the buckle sits closer to the bag and does not clash with my collar. This is a simple alteration, not a fix I can do myself but I know a man who can.
  3. For reasons I cannot quite fathom, I feel very odd about wearing the visible branding, and I have no idea why. Maybe it makes me feel like an imposter, or maybe the brand is wearing me. No logo should ever intrude on product design, even though this is nicely done. The question is, if I am going to be anybody’s walking advertisement, why should it be Armani? This is not a club I belong to, and I never will. That bird will have to do an awful lot of work.

My inclination is to keep it and wear it without alterations, and either alter it or pass it on depending on how I feel about it. I may even learn to love the strap as it is, along with the rampaging imposter syndrome.

What do you guys think? 

Yay: it’s cute and a keeper. Pretend you’ve joined the mile high club!

Nay: too much logo and the strap is annoying. Keep looking!

Seen here with a kimono jacket, with which it plays very nicely thank you.


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Buffalo Kawaii

First of all, allow me to apologize for being such a flaky correspondent, but writing is a chore all of its own these days. Furthermore, I am struggling to regain my fashion mojo, not to mention some persistent nameless anxiety about engaging online. The less said about that the better. We shall see how we go.

Anyway, a few things happened lately to rekindle my enthusiasm, one of which being the rediscovery of a long lost jacket. This opened up some possibilities which in turn prompted the assemblage of a new spring outfit capsule. Since I have neither the means nor the motivation to take a decent selfie right now, I decided the thing to do was give you an idea of what I am wearing, as well as record some outfit ideas to get me thinking creatively again.

The jacket, unearthed by Mr Edge during an archeological dig into a hitherto unexplored storage area, was thrifted some twenty years ago. At the turn of the millennium, I liked it enough to change up some nasty gold toggles for wooden beads, and to take it on holiday with me to Italy, which I suspect may be its spiritual home. I had forgotten all about it until a couple of weeks ago, when something reminiscent passed me on the street and I wondered what had happened to it. Days later, it reappeared. I put it straight on, and immediately felt like myself.

It lacks identifying markings, but I think it dates back to the early 1990’s, an era commonly known as the Golden Age of the Factory Shop. Judging by the slope on the shoulders, it was designed to be worn oversized, or maybe a size 38 was much bigger back then. I cannot for the life of me recall any precise moment when something as odd as this was fashionable, but it’s an oddness that appealed to me then, and still appeals to me now.

The inspiration for this look came once again from Japanese streetwear, without which I doubt I could get dressed at all. This is where I learned how to pair the jacket with distressed denim and a printed tee. The kawaii kicks in with the Tokyo Bopper platforms and a purse arrangement small enough to wear inside the jacket. A quirky choice, but the best match I can manage right now. Something slightly less daft is on its way to me from Yoox, which may or may not be an improvement. Mid layers include a Henrik Vibskov cardigan, lately a firm favourite, or a stretch denim jacket from Oska, perpetually orphaned but too nice to pass on. Footwear is a good way to sharpen things up, and I am pondering variants with the Church’s brogues or the Santoni winklepickers. Finished with a cute pin purchased from Jane Weaver at last night’s gig.

And there you have it. The name of my new look is Buffalo Kawaii, although the closest this jacket has been to the Great Planes is Schiphol Airport. Still pretty scruffy, but at least I feel somewhat pulled together. A fistful of silver jewelry and a nice watch may go a long way, but this has to be an improvement on my lockdown concept wardrobe, aka Uniqlo Accessorized.


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